Kobold Press

Secret Lairs: The Snow Star Cavern

ice caveAmid the wild snows, a tempting light shines, luring the lost or frightened to safety. Stumbling and numb with cold, these poor wanderers find a warm, inviting cave mouth at the source of the light.

The brightness is obscured and then disappears entirely as the wanderer seeks shelter. Standing at the cave’s mouth, one feels an eager pulling, often confused with the allure of simple warmth. Once entered, the cave mouth sinks into the ground and appears elsewhere, never in the same spot twice.

Inside is a tunnel of solid ice, pulsing with veiny fingers of light. Within, the pulling sensation grows stronger, pulling intruders down the tunnel to the cavern’s heart…

The heart of the cavern is a circular hollow carved from ice, nearly 50 ft. in diameter. At the center floats a snowflake shape crafted from flame—the Snow Star.

Those that enter are devoured by the cavern’s Keeper, eternal servant to the long-dead sorcerer who created the Snow Star and its home. The Keeper does not communicate and attacks all intruders without pause.

Combat in the Snow Star Cavern

The tunnel is 3 squares wide and 15 squares long; the central cavern is a circular chamber with a diameter of 10 squares. The cavern’s only features are the Snow Star, the Keeper, and a few shattered remnants of bone.

Once combat begins, the environment is a prominent factor on the otherwise stark battlefield.

Magic of the Snow Star (Permanent Terrain Effect)

Effect: When moving directly away from the Snow Star, all movement counts as if difficult terrain. If forced movement would move you away from the Snow Star, the distance is reduced by 2 squares.

Effect: The entrance to the Snow Star Caverns moves, and the location of the caverns themselves is unknown. A character entering the caverns never exits them in the same place. The cavern’s mouth always appears in areas surrounded by snow and rarely “travels” more than a few miles in a day.

The Snow Star: Both effects end if the Snow Star is destroyed. If it is destroyed (AC/Reflex 10, Fortitude 5; HP 15), all creatures present are shunted to the place the mouth last appeared.

Release the Light (At-Will Terrain Power)

Requirement: You must be adjacent to the cavern wall.
Check: Athletics check (moderate DC) to kick or slam the tunnel wall hard enough to make a crack.
Success: Surging veins of light burst from the cavern walls, dizzying and confusing those nearby, including you.

At-Will
Move Action
Close burst 1
Target: All creatures in burst.
Attack: Level + 3 vs. Reflex.
Hit: 1d4 + 1/2 level damage, and the target is dazed (save ends).
Miss: Half damage.

Keeper of the Snow Star (Level 8 Solo Controller)

Made from the same magics as the object it guards, the Keeper resembles a giant, crystalline ape. Its eyes and teeth are raging fires, out of proportion with the rest of its body. Its bulky arms end in razor claws of ice.

Large immortal animate (cold, fire) XP 1,750
Initiative +3; Perception +10; darkvision

HP 340; Bloodied 170
AC 24, Fortitude 22, Reflex 18, Will 20
Speed 6
Resist 10 cold, 10 fire; Vulnerable 10 necrotic, 10 radiant
Saving Throws +5; Action Points 2

TRAITS
Guardian’s Curse • Aura 4

Creatures within range and attacking the Snow Star grant the Keeper combat advantage. Damage dealt to the Snow Star while the Keeper is within 4 squares is instead dealt to the Keeper.

STANDARD ACTIONS
[m] Keeper’s Claw (cold) • At-Will
Attack—Melee 1 (one creature); +12 vs. AC.
Hit—2d8+4 damage, and the target slides 2 squares.

[C] Fury of the Star (fire) • Recharge 5, 6
Attack—Close blast 3 (enemies in blast); +13 vs. Fortitude.
Hit—3d6+5 fire damage, and the target is dazed (save ends).

[C] Guardian’s RoarAt-Will
Attack—Close burst 2 (enemies in burst); +9 vs. Reflex.
Hit—2d8+4 damage, and the target is knocked prone.

MINOR ACTIONS
[R] Snow’s Entrapment (cold, teleportation) • Recharge when Keeper hits with fury of the star
Attack—Ranged 10 (one creature); +12 vs. Will.
Hit—Target is teleported 5 squares and is slowed until the end of its next turn.

Str 18 (+8)           Dex 15 (+6)         Wis 12 (+5)
Con 18 (+8)         Int 12 (+5)           Cha 14 (+6)
Alignment unaligned; Languages understands Common

Hooks

  • You become aware of the Snow Star as a source of powerful magic either through your own efforts or those of your employer.
  • Someone has gone missing, and you are hired to find them. (They wandered into the cavern and were eaten.)
  • You might find the entrance all on your own—an unhappy accident while wandering in a blizzard.

2 Replies to "Secret Lairs: The Snow Star Cavern"

DoomedPaladin

September 22, 2010 at 1:49am

This could work in a desert campaign as well. It is Ice AND Fire themed after all, and the tunnel could offer a cooling breeze in a parched desert just as easily.

Wolfgang

September 22, 2010 at 10:31am

I was surprised when I saw ancient ice (as in 10,000 years old, from the retreating glaciers of the last Ice Age) in a cave in New Mexico or Arizona.

I agree it’s entirely possible to have ice in a desert, odd as it sounds.