Portals Under the Black Gauntlet
By Robert Wiese
The Kzelter Portal
The small town of Kzelter was conquered by Teldorn Darkhope's Knights of the Black Gauntlet in 1369 DR. Since then, the occupied town is ruled on a day-to-day basis by the highest-ranking Banite cleric there, Neth Arrovar. He is also the chief cleric at the Tyrant's Hope Temple in the town, built atop the crumbled husk of a temple to Oghma. From here, he supervises the daily affairs of the town, the temple, and the ongoing search for the rumored cache of ancient Tethyrian magic items. The legends say the items are buried or otherwise hidden somewhere in, near, or under Kzelter. Darkhope's Knights are not the first ones to seek it, and they've been just as successful in finding the cache as all those who came before. Arrovar has also had to react and adapt recently to the suddenly much more competent and deadly efforts of a local resistance group. Arrovar believes a powerful new figure has entered the village and is aiding the locals, although his oft-ordered searches, detentions, and intimidation of the villagers has not yielded a single clue.
Much of the town and many of the farms surrounding the village resemble archeological digs more than a military encampment, with many exploratory holes being dug (by local residents pressed into this labor) anywhere the Banites think the stash might be. The dozens of tents full of Banites and their hired mercenaries also mar much of the lovely scenery in the area.
The portal lies beneath the rubble of the temple to Chauntea on the northern outskirts of town. Ilindyl Fireblade (see The Academy Portal) reached Kzelter via this portal, explored the town under the pall of night, found a group of drunken Banites attacking a young couple that had been trysting, and killed all the Banites. Before he was done, though, one of the Banites sounded an alarm. The couple and Fireblade fled the scene. The trio was aided by some locals working to resist the Banites in town. When the young couple told the story of Fireblade's prowess, the fighter was introduced to Lantana Darkeyes (LG human female Ftr5), the leader of Kzelter's resistance movement.
The underground resistance in Mintar and in Kzelter now share information and resources as they work together to throw off the Banite yoke on the region. Fireblade has taken on Darkeyes as a swordsmanship student, and although he is ten years older than she, a romance of epic proportions maybe be brewing between them.
Opposing the actions of the underground in Kzelter is the Tyrant's Hope Temple, led by the aforementioned Neth Arrovar. The maps here are from Lords of Darkness, and the temple is fully detailed therein. For those who lack this product, a brief description follows.
1. Entryway. Two guards (details to be determined by the DM) guard this door, preventing unauthorized access.
2. Guardroom. Quarters for eight guards.
3. Minor Clerics. Quarters for four 1st-level clerics (details to be determined by the DM) of Bane.
4. Storage. This room is full of weapons, dry goods, tools, and other equipment. A trap door in the floor leads to the secret dungeon beneath.
5. Sacred Chamber. This room has a large, raised dais in the center, bearing a symbol of Bane inlaid atop the dais in colored tiles.
6. Lesser Clerics. This room houses quarters for two 3rd-level clerics of Bane.
7. Clerics. This room is the sleeping quarters of two 5th-level clerics of Bane.
8. Greater Cleric. This room houses a 7th-level cleric of Bane.
9. Arrovar's Quarters. This is the official temple residence of Neth Arrovar. He stays here only a few nights each week, however, since he has taken the best home still standing in the village as his private residence.
10. Dungeon Entrance. When prisoners are being held here (which is almost always), a guard (details to be determined by the DM) is stationed here.
11. Cells. The doors to these cells are locked (Open Lock DC 20), and there's straw on the floor and places on the walls where manacles can be attached.
12. Additional Storage. Items such as additional cookware, uniforms, and so on are stored here.
13. Interrogation Room. This room has a table large enough for any Medium creature to be strapped to, restraints to secure a being to the table, and several implements of torture.
Roof. Access can be gained via four ladders in area 5 or through the secret doors in the eastern tower. The parapets provide one-half cover the four guards guard (details to be determined by the DM) always stationed here.
Neth Arrovar: Male half-elf Cleric 9 of Bane; CR 9; Medium humanoid; HD 9d8+18; hp 58; Init +5; Spd 20 ft.; AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 19; Base Atk +6; Grp +8; Atk +9 melee (1d8+4 plus 1d8 sonic, +1 thundering morningstar); Full Atk +9/+4 melee (1d8+4 plus 1d8 sonic, +1 thundering morningstar); SA rebuke undead (3/day; +2 damage); SQ half-elf traits, low-light vision; AL LE; SV Fort +9, Ref +5, Will +11; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 11.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +12, Diplomacy +10, Gather Information +4, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (religion) +10, Listen +5, Search +3, Spellcraft +14, Spot +5; Combat Casting, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Power Attack.
Half-Elf Traits: Neth has elven blood. He is immune to sleep effects and has a +2 bonus on saves against enchantments, a +1 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks (already figured into the statistics above), and +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks (already figured into the statistics above).
Cleric Spells Prepared (6/5+1/5+1/4+1/3+1/1+1; save DC 14 + spell level): 0 -- cure minor wounds, detect magic, detect poison, inflict minor wounds (2), read magic; 1st -- bane, cure light wounds, curse water, detect good, protection from good*, shield of faith; 2nd -- align weapon, death knell, enthrall, enthrall*, find traps, sound burst; 3rd -- cure serious wounds, discern lies, dispel magic, invisibility purge, protection from energy; 4th -- death ward, fear*, poison, summon monster IV; 5th -- dispel good*, flame strike.
*Domain spell. Deity: Bane. Domains: Evil (cast evil spells at +1 caster level), Tyranny (Add +2 to save DC of any compulsion spell cast.).
Possessions: +1 full plate armor, +1 thundering morningstar, light crossbow, 20 bolts, cloak of resistance +1, unholy symbol, 529 gp.
How to Incorporate the Kzelter Portal Into Your Campaign
- PCs could come across the village of Kzelter during their travels, be accosted by the Banites, and either have to flee the area or stand and fight. If they choose the latter, they are likely to encounter the local resistance and perhaps Lantana Darkeyes.
- If the PCs are working with the Mintarian underground, they could be sent by Fireblade to Kzelter to aid Darkeyes' organization and leadership of the resistance in the village.