By Jenny Jarzabski
This mini-adventure for characters of 10th level delves into the lair of a coven of night hags. Synothra, the coven’s mistress, commands the respect of four night hags and a changeling witch. She won this lofty position after covertly slaying the coven’s former leader.
Before Synothra’s reign the coven harvested the souls of helpless dreamers for trade in the hellish markets of Dis but kept a relatively low profile on the Material Plane. Synothra is bolder than her predecessor, however, and forays into the surrounding cities and towns more frequently of late. The other hags resent this fact, and plan to unseat Synothra in the future.
When PCs arrive, most of the coven members are away from their lair. Vargora, a particularly powerful but unambitious night hag, stands guard outside the caves. Synothra and her changeling daughter Vivica wait in the ritual chamber to entertain their guests.
PCs might infiltrate the coven for several reasons. Perhaps they wish to destroy the threat the hags present to local villages. Maybe they are trying to recover the stolen soul of a loved one, or save a victim of a dream haunting. Evil PCs may see the hags as rivals that need to be destroyed, or may visit the coven to steal a hag’s heartstone.
This adventure uses GameMastery Flip-Mat: Haunted Dungeon. The rooms are numbered starting from the bottom right corner (area 1), and then go clockwise with the final area (area 9) being the central room on the flip mat.
PCs who plan to invade the coven must first deal with Vargora, Knight of the Coven, who guards the cave’s entrance. The PCs then navigate a network of rooms and tangle with the hags’ wards and guardians, including a haunt left by the death of the coven’s previous leader and a pack of shadow mastiffs.
If the PCs manage to pierce the cave’s deepest reaches, they find coven’s current leader Synothra and her changeling daughter at work in the ritual chamber.
A. Coven Entrance
The mouth of a cave yawns open between boulders slick with moss. Stalactites and stalagmites jut like green fangs just inside the cavern.
Unless otherwise noted, the ceilings inside the covern’s headquarters are 15 feet high. There are no torches or other light sources here, as the hags prefer darkness.
Creatures: Synothra recently divined that her coven would play host to unwelcome visitors, and ordered an increase in security for the next three nights. Vargora, a mounted night hag cavalier, patrols near the cave’s entrance.
VARGORA, KNIGHT OF THE COVEN
CAVALIER NIGHT HAG CR 12
NE Medium outsider (evil, extraplanar)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +16
AC 25, touch 14, flat-footed 21 (+4 Dex, +11 natural)
hp 92 (8d10+48)
Fort +14, Ref +8, Will +11
Speed 30 ft. (40 ft. mounted)
Melee longsword +15 (1d8+7) or 2 claws +15 (1d4+7), bite +15 (2d6+7 plus disease)
Special Attacks cavalier’s charge, dream haunting, staggering assault
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th)
Constant—detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, detect magic
At will—deep slumber (DC 16), invisibility, magic missile, ray of enfeeblement (DC 14)
At will (with heartstone)—etherealness, soul bind
Before Combat Vargora uses her change shape ability to appear as a beautiful maiden on a white horse, or some other image she thinks will appeal to her audience, and tries to bluff her way out of a fight. She tries to avoid direct combat with mortals, preferring to visit their dreams and trap their sleeping souls in gems for trade in extraplanar markets. If the enemies in question directly threaten her coven, however, she wastes no time in charging into battle.
During Combat Vargora challenges the foe she perceives as physically strongest and uses cavalier’s charge.
Negotations Vargora is loyal to her coven but hates Synothra, who she believes murdered the coven’s previous mistress. Vargora may grant PCs entry to the coven if they agree to dispose of Synothra.
Str 25, Dex 19, Con 22, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 17
Base Atk +8; CMB +13; CMD 29
Feats Alertness, Combat Casting, Deceitful, Mounted Combat
Skills Bluff +16, Diplomacy +11, Disguise +16, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (Arcana) +12, Knowledge (planes) +15, Perception +16, Ride +15, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +15
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal
SQ change shape (any humanoid, alter self), heartstone, mount
Treasure heartstone, longsword
Challenge (Ex) As a swift action, a cavalier creature chooses one target within sight to challenge. The cavalier creature’s melee attacks deal extra damage whenever the attacks are made against the target of its challenge. The extra damage is equivalent to the cavalier creature’s Hit Dice. An order of the seal cavalier creature can make a free bull rush or trip combat maneuver anytime it takes the full-round attack action against the target of its challenge. This free combat maneuver does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The cavalier creature can use this ability 2 times per day. The cavalier creature takes a –2 penalty to its AC, except against the target of her challenge. The challenge remains in effect until the target is dead or unconscious or until the combat ends.
Disease (Su) Demon Fever: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 20; onset immediate; frequency 1/day; effect 1d6 Con damage (target must save a 2nd time or 1 point of the damage is drain instead); cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Dream Haunting (Su) A night hag can visit the dreams of chaotic or evil targets by using a special periapt known as a heartstone to become ethereal, then hovering over the creature. Once it does so, it rides on the victim’s back until dawn. The sleeper suffers tormenting dreams and takes 1 point of Constitution drain upon awakening. Only another ethereal being can stop these nocturnal intrusions by confronting and defeating the night hag.
Heartstone (Su) All night hags carry a heartstone—a special gemstone worth at least 1,800 gp that is worn as a periapt. A heartstone’s magic is fueled by the hag’s spirit and proximity—once separated from its owner (or upon the hag’s death), a heartstone retains its magic for only 24 hours before becoming a nonmagical gem again. The heartstone instantly cures any disease contracted by the holder. In addition, a heartstone provides a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws (this bonus is included in the statistic blocks above). A night hag that loses this charm can no longer use etherealness or soul bind until it finds a replacement gemstone.
I Shall Not Be Moved (Ex) A cavalier creature can draw on its dedication to overcome physical weakness. Whenever it does not move more than a 5-foot step, it receives a +2 dodge bonus to her CMD to resist bull rush, overrun, reposition, and trip combat maneuvers until its next turn.
Keeper (Ex) The knight of the coven gains a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls when directly defending her coven.
Staggering Assault (Ex) A cavalier creature can drive opponents back without giving ground. As a full-round action, a cavalier creature can make a single attack at its highest attack bonus. If the attack hits, the attack does damage as normal, and the cavalier creature may attempt a bull rush combat maneuver against the target. The creature gains a bonus on the bull rush combat maneuver equal to half the amount of damage dealt on the original attack.
NOCTURNE, BONDED MOUNT
NIGHTMARE CR 5
NE Large outsider (evil, extraplanar)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +12
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 17(+2 Dex, +8 natural, –1 size)
hp 51 (6d10+18)
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +3
Speed 40 ft., fly 90 ft. (good)
Melee bite +9 (1d4+4), 2 hooves +4 (1d6+2 plus 1d4 fire)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Before Combat When given the order by Vargora, Nocturne uses its smoke ability to cloud the field of battle.
During Combat Nocturne obeys its master’s orders and attacks when it has the opportunity.
Str 18, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 12
Base Atk +6; CMB +11; CMD 23 (27 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, Improved Initiative, Run
Skills Fly +13, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (planes) +10, Perception +12, Sense Motive +12, Stealth +7, Survival +10
Languages Abyssal, Infernal
Smoke (Su) In battle, a nightmare exhales smoke that chokes and blinds foes, filling a 15-foot cone each round as a free action. Anyone in the cone must succeed on a DC 16 Fortitude save or become sickened until 1d6 minutes after leaving the area. This smoke acts as obscuring mist for the purposes of concealment. The smoke persists for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.
A1. Anteroom (CR 5)
A cloying twilight fills this natural cave. A carpet of green moss and pale toadstools covers the floor and walls, and stalactites hang from the ceiling. Scattered bones crunch underfoot. A narrow tunnel off the western wall of the cave leads into blackness.
The hags magically excavated the adjoining rooms (areas 2-9) years ago after discovering this naturally occurring cavern. The coven encourages their shadow mastiff pets to leave the remains of kills in the anteroom to discourage unwanted guests from venturing deeper into the complex.
Traps: Any creature that steps through the tunnel to area 2 risks triggering a particularly nasty trap.
Death Trap CR 5
Type spell (phantasm [fear, mind-affecting]); Perception DC 29; Disable Device DC 29
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect spell effect (phantasmal killer, DC 21, CL 7th)
A2. The Kennels (CR 9)
No natural light penetrates this square chamber. The scrape of claws against stone echoes in the darkness.
The hallway to the southwest of this room houses four small chambers that serve as kennels for the coven’s shadow mastiffs. The mastiffs typically sleep and eat in this area, but are free to roam about the dungeon, and pursue any PCs who try to flee. This room is completely dark. The ceiling is 10 feet high and the walls and floors are sturdy stone.
Creatures: A pack of shadow mastiffs lairs here, loyally guarding the hag’s secrets from intruders.
Shadow Mastiffs (4) CR 9
XP 1,600 each
hp 51 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 3)
During Combat The shadow mastiffs bay as soon as they detect the presence of PCs.
A3. Haunted Chamber (CR 9)
Only silence occupies this bare stone room. A grim rust-colored stain mars the central tiles of the room. Hallways branch off to the north, south, and northwest.
A dark stain in the middle of this room marks the death of a past coven leader. The hags typically avoid this room whenever possible, since it is haunted. Even in death the murdered hag is a victim of her coven’s machinations; Synothra refuses to destroy the haunt as she believes it makes a useful ward.
Hallways lead to the north (area 9) and the northwest (area 4). A third hallway, little more than a narrow tunnel less than 5 feet wide, leads to a dead end to the south.
Creatures: The coven’s previous leader died here several months ago, betrayed by Synothra. The remnants of the magical ambush still remain as a haunt.
Hag’s End CR 8
CE persistent haunt (dark stain of a 10-foot radius where the coven leader was murdered); Caster Level 8th; Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear the words of a spell followed by a scream); hp 36; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 hour
When this haunt is triggered, a cone of cold (DC 18) shoots out of thin air, aimed in a way that affects the greatest amount of living creatures possible.
Using a counterspell on cone of cold eliminates its power.
Treasure: The murdered hag’s heartstone (a single ruby worth 2,500 gp) is hidden within a cache in the northern wall, noticeable with a DC 25 Perception check.
A4. Stables (CR 8)
A layer of rotting hay fills three empty stalls. The room stinks of smoke, and a work bench lined with obsidian horseshoes occupies the eastern corner of the room.
The night hags stable their nightmare mounts in this room. The “stable boys”, two wayangs bound to the hags’ service, reside here and tend the nightmares.
Creatures: Two nightmares currently occupy the stables and attack any strangers who enter. Lyv and Kirri, twin wayang brothers, keep watch over the stables.
Nightmares (2) CR 7
XP 1,600 each
hp 51 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary)
During Combat The nightmares use their smoke ability to disable PCs before attacking.
Wayangs (2) CR 1
XP 200 each
hp 8 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 4)
During Combat The wayangs are no match for PCs, but fear what will happen to them if they fail to protect Synothra’s stable. They attempt to trick PCs with spells such as hypnotism and silent image. If the nightmares are destroyed, the pair cast vanish and try to flee.
Treasure: Four of the horseshoes on the workbench are horseshoes of speed (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Equipment).
Development: If the PCs take the wayangs prisoner, the twin brothers admit that long ago they traded a lifetime of service to Synothra to free their father from a dream haunting. The hag double-crossed them and trapped their father’s soul in a gem. The brothers are now enslaved to the coven. The wayangs lack the power and courage to attempt rebellion or escape, and expect to perish in the Synothra’s service. They may share information about the layout of the dungeon and the creatures found there, but refuse to help PCs fight.
A5. The Backdoor (CR varies)
What appears to be a well in the west wing of this oblong chamber houses a swirling vortex of red light and ink black shadows. Four heavy chains bolted to a metal dais near the well link to oversized, empty manacles.
The well is actually a portal to Abaddon. Synothra refers to this location as the “backdoor,” which she uses to freely travel to and from Abaddon and other evil-aligned planes. Creatures who touch the well are instantly transported to Abaddon.
The metal dais and chains are constructed of adamantine, and used to imprison outsiders summoned to do Synothra’s bidding. Currently the dais is devoid of prisoners. There is a 40% chance that a leukodaemon (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2) emerges from the portal while PCs are in the room.
A6. The Waiting Room
Synothra “entertains” expected visitors in this featureless chamber. Suspicious brown and black stains splash across the floor and walls.
A7. Ritual Chamber (CR 10)
Arcane designs drawn in blood, chalk, and tar criss-cross the stone floor of this room. A cauldron boils in the center of the chamber. Grisly fetishes of bone, feather, and bits of sinew dangle from the ceiling. Flies buzz around the stinking trinkets. A shelf well-stocked with jars of organs, vials of murky liquid, and books bound in human skin stands along the western wall.
Synothra conducts most of her rituals in this room. Vivica, Synothra’s fledgeling night hag daughter, assists her mother with various spells and incantations here.
Creatures: Synothra and her changeling daughter are in the middle of casting bones when the PCs arrive. Though they are expecting company, they may be surprised by stealthy PCs.
Night Hag CR 9
hp 92 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary)
During Combat Synothra casts invisibility on herself if she hears the party approaching. She casts deep slumber before entering melee while Vivica blasts the PCs with spells.
Cabalist CR 8
hp 92 (Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea NPC Codex)
During Combat Vivica slings hexes and spells at PCs while her mother engages the party in melee combat.
Treasure: 17,000 gp worth of black sapphires, all containing the trapped souls of mortals, reside in a locked chest (Disable Device DC 30) on the shelf. The shelf also houses 1,700 gp worth of spell reagents and rare herbs.
Development: If PCs defeat Synothra, any creatures afflicted by her dream haunting are freed from their condition. Synothra’s collection of black sapphires can be destroyed or dispelled to exonerate the souls trapped there. Conversely, an evil party could sell the gems to the appropriate buyer for a tidy sum.
This long, unfurnished hallway leads from the ritual room to the coven’s living chambers.
A9. Living Quarters
The coven relaxes and sleeps in this suite of rooms furnished with three beds, a chest of drawers, and cracked mirrors. Worthless personal effects litter the messy chambers.
15. COPYRIGHT NOTICE
Genius Guide to Simple Class Templates for Monsters © 2015, Rogue Genius Games
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea NPC Codex © 2013, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game NPC Codex. © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Magic. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Equipment. © 2012 Paizo Publishing, LLC