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Encounter Codex: The Scribe’s Puzzle

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, Assumptio Mariae (1735)Encounter Codex presents encounters you can quickly slot into any adventure. They are system neutral and easily adapted to any edition (and other game systems for that matter) with little effort—just add stats from your favorite monster manual.

[previous encounter]

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Features of the Chamber

• This cramped chamber has a domed ceiling nearly 15 ft. overhead. It is covered in an elegant fresco of subjects around the edge of the dome worshipping a radiant queen in the center.

• A single ray of light shoots down through the apex of the dome, illuminating a marble bust set into a niche. The bust is fixed in place.

• Rising from the floor below the niche is a stone altar, its surface angled sharply like a scribe’s desk. Nine small painted panels in three rows of three are fixed on the altar’s surface.

• The scent of burning glass singes the air.

This dungeon chamber contains one encounter element: the sliding picture puzzle…

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Encounters of Fortune: Discarded Guardians (Part 3 of 5)

Carl Grossberg, White Tubes (1933)To celebrate the release of Open Design’s Soldiers of Fortune sourcebook for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, author Matt James brings you additional material for a military campaign.

[previously]

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Azlazier, a wealthy merchant from the desert city of Cindass, has hired you to find an important relic. You have followed his map to where he claims an ancient society once lived. Once there, you battled giant camel spiders and an arcane magical lock sealing a marvelous wizard’s tower.

As the PCs descend into the first room of the tower, their eyes quickly adjust to the surroundings, and softly glowing sigils provide faint magical light. Scattered around the room and carelessly stowed away in wooden crates, discarded sprockets, gadgets, and tools lie abandoned. On closer inspection, the PCs may notice many of these parts are flawed in some fashion (Perception DC 15). Some may be broken or missing pieces, others constructed poorly or with shoddy materials…

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Encounters of Fortune: The Tower of Zazerlae (Part 2 of 5)

painting by Victor HugoTo celebrate the impending release of Open Design’s Soldiers of Fortune sourcebook for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, author Matt James brings you additional material for a military campaign.

[previously]

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Encounter Background

During the last encounter, the PCs located the entrance to the abandoned dungeon and were attacked by roaming giant camel spiders. Now, they must enter the dark and mysterious complex.

Any PC who makes a successful History check (DC 22) knows this location was once a vibrant and wealthy city. Sadly, the city was lost to a great cataclysm that left the entire area buried under leagues of sand…

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Encounters of Fortune: The Camel Spiders (Part 1 of 5)

Giant Scorpion and Giant Camel Spider, Fight!To celebrate the impending release of Open Design’s Soldiers of Fortune sourcebook for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, author Matt James brings you additional material for a military campaign.

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The riches and treasures diverted through the city of Cindass are quite remarkable and fuel a burgeoning enterprise for those motivated by money. Wealthy investors back dozens of archeological expeditions each year, and keeping these parties protected from the evils lurking in the sandy landscape is a premium job.

With more and more expeditions every season, Cindass has one of the largest concentrations of mercenary companies anywhere. Each week, these expeditions depart for destinations farther and farther away, hoping to find an ancient relic to bring them riches and glory…

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Encounter Codex: The Trial of Fate, Faith, and Fortune

Portrait of Govard Bidloo by Gerard de Lairesse

Encounter Codex presents encounters you can quickly slot into any adventure. They are system neutral and easily adapted to any edition (and other games for that matter) with little effort—just add stats from your favorite monster manual.

[previous encounter]

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A three-headed skeleton encased in ceremonial plate armor surveys this pillared hall from atop a throne of glass.

Features of the Chamber

  • The air in this wide hall is cold and drafty. It carries the faint odor of incense and burning wax.
  • Two rows of columns support a vaulted ceiling. The pillars are inscribed with hundreds of screaming faces; iron torches are set into them at two humans’ height.
  • A three-headed skeleton wearing plate mail etched with arabesques sits on a black glass throne. It clutches a bone staff topped with an elf skull, and its central head wears a crown of platinum.
  • Three black marble pedestals stand before the throne. There are closed tomes with a silver bookmark threaded between the pages atop each.
  • A wrought iron scale also stands on the altar…

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