By Jed Dyal
Rescuing an Awakened Wizards Tower Lost in the Ethereal Plane
Originally banded as an excavation crew, the party now grows ever suspicious, as they wade through the blackened waters of the Mirrahn Swamp. A strange, viscous film started to appear on the surface of the water some months ago, and now coats more than a full square mile of the vast marsh. After coming within first glance of the film, the troop immediately noticed a dead and rotting stench, inescapable and unyielding. They also notice the weird surface goop begin to thicken as they move past and into it. The sensation of cold bog water slowly shifts to that of warm snot, as it seeps through boots and between toes. Trekking further still, the surface film takes on a mirror-like reflection. Not that of a deep blue lake on a windless day, but actually mirrored. Shiny and unmoving, the adventurers can see their reflection in perfect clarity, as they reach the middle of the swamp.
Every step seems to become more solid, and every movement seems more buoyant, then, almost suddenly, the party finds themselves standing on the surface. Mirrored and perfectly level, the clearing ahead becomes visible. (Time for the 1st map)
As they look across the open stretch of mirror, everyone hears a voice in their head, powerful and frantic.
“The Respite has been taken. You are the first of many souls along this path who may help me. You are the first of many souls along this path, to be good. Please. Help me. Slay the evil in my keep. Free my bonds so that I may spread divine assistance and knowledge throughout the planes once more.” The adventurers look back and forth to each other, confirming that each individual had heard the odd plea, just as a gnarled black obelisk explodes from out of the center of the mirror clearing. It juts 30 feet into the air and sits as thick as a redwood tree at it’s base. Before anyone has time to react, a portal opens from it’s center and a terrifying mix of undead and carrion crawlers begin to flood out.
(Pick as many as you see fit, default to 2 enemies per party member, use zombies, skeletons, or homebrew monsters) Roll initiative!
After the fight, two powerful voices boom from the portal. One is familiar and calming, even warm. One is sharp and gritty simultaneously, and sends shivers down the spines of the party. They can be heard arguing, the voice of the Wizards Respite urging the PCs to come through the portal as he holds it safe, the voice of the vampire who took the tower trying to convince PCs not to enter, or daring them to. DMs choice. (If PCs refuse to go through the portal, they need to roll Willpower based saving throws to resist the call of the goodly sanctuary. Eventually they must go through, as this obelisk is acting as a secret door attached to the bottom of the Respite, via the Material Plane.) As the party passes through the magical doorway on the twisted
spire, their senses are bombarded with brand new feelings. First, they feel themselves hover in complete darkness, while a pressure starts to push in at them from every angle, enveloping the PC.
It begins to crush, and as it sinks in it also seems to drift out, stealing the weight from some parts of the body and adding it to others. Then the characters flips, as the pressure shifts to gravity, above their heads. (PCs roll dex check to land or fall 10ft)
The party plops down in the middle of a massive, smooth piece of obsidian. As their senses return to normal, the adventurers find themselves in a huge crystalline and rare stone tower. The floor is made of multiple pieces of polished black rock, each as big as the last. They lay in a puzzle piece arrangement, and wisps of blueish white mist seeps through the cracks where the pieces come together, acting as a sort of grout. The walls are comprised of thin, opalescent crystal sheets, acting as windows. Each stand 30 feet wide at the base and stretch hundreds of feet to the top of the tower. Framed with adamantine encrusted with glimmering gemstones, the crystal windows sit at a slight angle, repeating to mathematical perfection as they corkscrew their way to the infinitely tall towers ceiling.
The entire tower is one amazing, breath taking, spire of beauty.
After just a moment of taking in the new scene, the party hears the calm yet powerful voice once more, this time out loud. “Thank you, good and brave adventurers. The vampiric entity that has crept into this Respite shall be no more after the likes of you. I banished him once you entered, but his presence here is strong and he will be back. It is an evil drow, one who wishes to stop me from spreading my divine light through this, The Ethereal Plane. I stand as an awakened tower, you stand as my holy defenders. Prepare yourselves. He is returning…” As the voice fades the whisps of ethereal mist stop coming from the floor, and all goes still. The hair on the backs of everyone’s neck stands straight, as a globe of magical darkness appears in the middle of the room, and skull plated drow steps out from within it. (Time for the 2nd map) Roll initiative!
(10th level vampire stats, and maybe a zombie or carrion crawler at his side. You can even give him a pet rust monster, if you’re feeling sinister. Get em DM! After the fight the PCs find a miniature carving of the obilesk, and the Wizards Respite tells them that’s the tool the vampire used to infiltrate the tower. They may destroy it or use it to get back themselves when they want, as they are champions of the Respite.)