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Making a 1st level hot spring / spa dungeon


Advice


Before Gormann's invasion of barbarians and humanoids last year, the town of Blagenz was known for it's hot springs. Lying alongside a major highway, visitors from the Imperial capital several days away would alway make sure to stop here for a refreshing soak on their ways to the east.

The players, a pair of 1st-level gnomish sorcerers (fey and rakshasha) are traveling east to investigate a lord who got himself appointed governor of a devestated territory. Halfway along the way, the PC's are traveling in a coach, stopping in Blagenz in the late afternoon. One of the fellow passengers will be a lady in her forties who owns the spa, having the deed to prove it. There is one pool in the heart of the spa known as the "Gnome Boiler" that I'm sure will catch the party's interest.

The Gnome Boiler is a foot and a half deep, nearly scalding, and has a delicious aromatic steam from both the minerals and the surround moss. And it has bubbles.

But getting to it is a problem. Months of barbarian occupation haven't done it much good. Not that they were nasty, but that they actually liked being clean, and used the heck out of the place, as a bath, as a laundry, as a hospital, etc. After that, the barbarians were mostly chased out by the Imperial army months ago, though wandering bands remain. Plus, since the whole town has been largely abandoned, monsters have settled in. Plus there might be a squatter laying claim.

This is going to be a 1st level adventure for a pair of crafty players playing gnomish sorcerers. They have a 1st level fighter and a 1st level cleric NPC traveling with them, and a 3rd level rogue agent of the people sending them east who is their handler who might not like this sidetrack, but is still observing them and judging their ability. Plus there's a cat dude on the coach with them who they will probably want to throw in the water.

Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas, encounters or maps that they can help me out with? I got about a week.


If the water around the hot spring gets stagnant you could have an encounter of 2 stirges. A tribe of goblins could be inhabiting the area as well.

Qadira

There's a trope from 1st Edition that any non-flowing body of water encountered in a dungeon has magical powers. The boons should be minor and temporary unless you want the PCs migrating back there every time they have a new PC/NPC they want to baptize. Stuff like 1d4 temporary hp, or +1 to saves for an hour, is about the power level I'd recommend for beneficial pools: baneful pools might leave the characters fatigued or drain spell slots. (That's bad, yes, unless the PCs realize they can trick NPCs into the water as well.)

As far as monsters, from the sound of it the place looks like the aftermath of a biker convention. A few giant roaches or rat swarms might set the proper tone.

Although, for the joke of it, I'm picturing them exploring one of the rearmost rooms and finding a bugbear soaking. "Go AVAY, snack-sized peeples! Kent chu see I'm havink TIS YEAR'S BAF?!"


That's so in there...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kilmore wrote:

Before Gormann's invasion of barbarians and humanoids last year, the town of Blagenz was known for it's hot springs. Lying alongside a major highway, visitors from the Imperial capital several days away would alway make sure to stop here for a refreshing soak on their ways to the east.

The players, a pair of 1st-level gnomish sorcerers (fey and rakshasha) are traveling east to investigate a lord who got himself appointed governor of a devestated territory. Halfway along the way, the PC's are traveling in a coach, stopping in Blagenz in the late afternoon. One of the fellow passengers will be a lady in her forties who owns the spa, having the deed to prove it. There is one pool in the heart of the spa known as the "Gnome Boiler" that I'm sure will catch the party's interest.

The Gnome Boiler is a foot and a half deep, nearly scalding, and has a delicious aromatic steam from both the minerals and the surround moss. And it has bubbles.

But getting to it is a problem. Months of barbarian occupation haven't done it much good. Not that they were nasty, but that they actually liked being clean, and used the heck out of the place, as a bath, as a laundry, as a hospital, etc. After that, the barbarians were mostly chased out by the Imperial army months ago, though wandering bands remain. Plus, since the whole town has been largely abandoned, monsters have settled in. Plus there might be a squatter laying claim.

This is going to be a 1st level adventure for a pair of crafty players playing gnomish sorcerers. They have a 1st level fighter and a 1st level cleric NPC traveling with them, and a 3rd level rogue agent of the people sending them east who is their handler who might not like this sidetrack, but is still observing them and judging their ability. Plus there's a cat dude on the coach with them who they will probably want to throw in the water.

Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas, encounters or maps that they can help me out with? I got about a week.

How about a few rogue bathing contraptions/luxuries that have gone awry sense then? Like the worlds best towel that was so good at drying you it could dry you to death? What sort of crazy military leader wouldn't want that towel technology for his own? Or scrubbing bubbles, animated scrubbing bubble ooze swarms or something. That Gnome boiler sounds like a potentially potent weapon they could turn on the barbarians.

Also, don't forget about terrain! Suds, soaps, steam and bubbles could provide concealment, and slippery, wet floors could impede movement or even call for Acrobatics checks to get around.

Also the stagnant pool stirge idea is a good one. We always think of baths as clean places, but what if the water had since become befouled? Imagine all the giant vermin you stick in there, or maybe a particularly fashionable otugh decides he's read for a dip?

Finally, of course you can go the tradition route and stick in some bound elementals still lurking about miserably?


Steam Mephit! Bath Salt Mephit!


slippery surfaces is a really good idea as well.

Sczarni

If you want to have a "trap", maybe a rusty pipe leaks steam and will collapse if walked on, scalding anyone nearby. This would be a decent trap if you want to catch your players in one, since the Rogue NPC's trapfinding won't work on it-- it's not really a set trap.

Don't underestimate the fun you can have with found objects-- you could easily imply what went on here simply by what your PC's find left behind. Personally, I like the idea of various "herbal" rememdies and unguents that don't actually work-- hot springs are fun, but they don't really have the health benefits that most of them claim to.

Grand Lodge

How is the water obtained and heated? If it flows in from a natural spring, a Nixie (Bonus Bestiary) may have laid claim to it on grounds it flows from her spring.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If the barbarians were actually using it as a bathhouse then I assume someone must have been running the place for them, someone who might not be happy to have a "real owner" show up. You could easily just run this as a diplomatic encounter, with the PC's acting as moderators between the legal owner and the people who actually kept it open through a barbarian occupation.

On a darker note, ghosts are always fun. Perhaps the barbarians were cannibals and the Gnome Boiler was used as a natural cooking pot? Now the PC's have to find a way to appease the spirits of the devoured.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

I would recommend a twin pair of succubus masseuses, but then I hate gnomes.


Okay, I have a map. I haven't keyed everything yet, but I have ideas.

First, the environment. It hardly ever gets freezing cold here, therefore, there are few steps taken to counter frozen surfaces. However, it happens to be a nasty winter, and not only is the party kept from traveling east because of a freak blizzard, but things are slick and frozen here as well. The thermal heat of the pools mean they are still unfrozen, though.

On the map, the light gray and dark gray are relatively flat, the mid tone grays are sheer.

1. healing pool? Something to make it worth going through 3.
3. is boiling hot, 2d6 damage per turn. The bridge overhead is slick and rotten. 6 in 20 chance of breaking if walked on, +1 per 50 pounds. Ref save DC 15 to cross.
5. geysers: mostly just slick up the road, but damaging if you get too close.
6. Overhead bridge: goblin ambush?
7. Gnome Boiler: goblins, wall by edge ready to splinter, sending bathers 30 ft over the side.
10. Formerly a pool, broken dam/wall means it is mostly empty, characters ending up in here sluice straight down to 11.
11. Slides down to 13. Meant for amusement.
12. Broken bridge over spring. Water gets boiling hot a dozen feet in, discouraging exploration until higher levels.
14 and 15. Washing baths for hotel. Mens and wimmens.
16. Hotel
17. River outlet. Maybe some diving deep in one of the pools gets sucked out through here.
18. Highway, signs advertising pools.

map

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