Skull Quest 3

The Fate of the Third Master

The third master was Kelandor, a proud, arrogant and brilliant human wizard. He was, in many ways, the leader of the Conclave of Freedom.

Kelandor, wracked with guilt over his actions back in the Snowy Timber, fled the eastern lands to pursue his own projects. Over the years, he became increasingly obsessed with finding an ancient artifact called "Yagrax's Grimoire". This book of spells could reportedly open gates to other dimensions, bend space, affect time and other great feats.

Kelandor eventually found the final resting place of this book. It was in the ruins of a city submerged beneath the waves of the Captured Sea. Using the power of the Codex, Kelandor raised the ruins of the city from the depths and formed a small, unchartered island. He has kept it hidden from ships with his magic. There, on his new island home, he studied the grimoire and slowly rebuilt the ruins of the Irenni city in which he had found the book.

Kelandor eventually succumbed to the dark power of this book and turned to evil. Now, after many decades of feeding off of its power, he has changed into a withered undead/lich guardian of the book. The now thoroughly insane and paranoid lich Kelandor dwells alone on his island hidden away from the world.

The Current Whereabouts of the Third Skull

The third skull is not just a skull. It is part of the lich Kelandor and is, to be blunt, still be used by its owner. In order to acquire the skull, the players will have to confront and defeat Kelandor.

An Overview of the Labyrinth

Kelandor rules a small hidden island. On this island is the ruins of an ancient Irenni city. For the most part, this city is deserted. However, Kelandor has rebuilt some of it. At the center of the city is one large building which he has completely rebuilt. Within this building is the "Labyrinth".

The Labyrinth is an interdimensional maze. Using the power of the grimoire, Kelandor has created a particularly large and elaborate maze. This maze consists of more than just traps, puzzles, chambers and hallways. This maze literally spans dimensions. That is, certain sections are on different plans. Some sections exists in pocket dimensions created specifically for this maze. Each section is connected to the next by an interdimensional portal - a magical stone gateway.

The Mission

The players will follow the map coordinates to the middle of the Captured Sea. Once they get there they find empty ocean. In fact, the island is surrounded by a magical invisibility screen that wraps around the island like a wall. Any ship approaching too near the island is gentle guided around it by magically generated winds and currents. This prevents any ship from venturing too close. If any ship were to venture close enough to go through the invisibility screen, the island would suddenly become visible to the crew of that ship. This is what has allowed Kelandor to keep his island hidden all these years.

The characters will have to find a way to detect the island (probably with magic). Even if they do manage to detect the invisibility screen (and they know that SOMETHING is out there hidden) they still have to fight wind and wave to approach it. Once they manage that and they pierce the invisibility screen, the island suddenly appears. A ruined city is visible on one shore and there are docks for them to moor the ship.

Once on the island, the players should get a chance to scout out the island and explore. It's a very small island with one medium sized city. Most of the city is in ruins and obviously very old. There is also evidence that this entire island has been underwater for many years. They should explore the city and find the central, rebuilt building.

Feel free to litter a few monsters or guardians (Kelandor's pets) in the city or elsewhere on the island. Give them a few obstacles. Once they enter the central building, you can play with them. Have the main doors slam behind them, sealing them in, if you like.

The characters must enter the central building, enter the labyrinth, navigate the maze to its very heart and there, do battle with Kelandor at the center of the maze. If you set it up right, naturally curiosity on the players' part will do the trick. They'll follow their noses from one section to the next naturally.

Notes on Running the Labyrinth

As DM, this is a great opportunity to really run the players through the gauntlet. Once the characters have entered the Labyrinth, there is no going back. They will have to play by its rules. They will have to navigate this maze clear to its heart. Kelandor will be spying upon them with scrying spells the whole time.

You can spice things up having servants of Kelandor (golems, undead, familiar, charmed monster, whatever) chase the characters through the maze. The pursuers should be powerful enough that the characters will fear them and flee deeper into the Labyrinth. Also, the pursuers need not be right behind the players to be effective. They can simply show up and give some chase any time the characters sit and think too long in any one section of the labyrinth. Feel free to use the pursuers as a way to give the players a nudge if things slow down too much. The idea is to add tension and fear to keep them moving.

What follows is a section by section description of the Labyrinth.

The Temple

The central building in the city was once a great temple. It has been slightly rebuilt to suit Kelandor including several subterranean levels. The main doors of the temple are massive bronze doors that swing outward. Inside the main doors is a long hallway lined with stone statues on either side. The statues depict the deaths of various people.

At the center of the Temple is a great chamber with a wide flight of stairs leading down into darkness. The stairs end in a small room with a stone gateway in the middle. A flickering blue energy field is visible in the gateway. If the characters step through the magical gateway, they are instantly whisked away to the first section.

Chamber of Doors

With a flash of blue light, the characters materialize. They find themselves standing in the center of a large octagonal room. Each of the eight walls has a single door in the center. All 8 doors are identical. Each is iron and has a large vertical slit in the center. Except for door #4, all of these are false doors and reveal stone wall behind them. All of them except door 4 are trapped.

1 - If touched, this iron door gives a powerful electric shock.

2 - If opened, greenish poison gas fills the room. It persists for several minutes before dissipating.

3 - If this door is opened, a large spring loaded blade will lash out from the vertical slit. Anyone standing directly in front of the door (most likely the person opening it), will likely have their arm lopped off unless they are heavily armored or very quick.

4 - This door is mechanically locked with a very sophisticated lock. It can be picked by a good thief. It is also magically held fast, but this spell could be overcome. This door is the way out. This door reveals a short hallway that ends in another magical portal with glowing blue energy field. The characters walk through the portal and are magically whisked away to the next section.

5 - This door, when opened, explodes. It is a deafening explosion that will fill the room with flames and knock everyone to their feet. All characters will take some damage.

6 - When the handle of this door is turned, the vertical slit in the door will spray forth a sticky acidic goo that will cling to the clothes and skins of the heroes and burn viciously for several minutes. This acid will damage and corrode the weapons, armor and equipment of the characters in addition to doing damage.

7 - When the handle to this door is turned, the slit will fire 20 spring loaded, poisoned darts. If one of these darts pierces flesh, the character is paralyzed for 1-6 hours.

8 - When this door is touched, a magical burst of energy will place the victim into a form of suspended animation. This effect is permanent until dispelled.

The Rift

After going through the magical portal, the characters step through and find themselves on a ledge, overlooking a great chasm. Mist hangs in the air. Floating boulders and rocks form stepping stones from one ledge to an identical ledge on the far side of the chasm. The floor of the chasm, far below, is strewn with boulders. High above, the top of the chasm can be seen and above that, a star lit night sky. Overhead, strange reptilian creatures glide to and fro on leathern wings.

Visible on the far side of the cavern is a cave. Obviously, the way out. The characters have to find a way to cross this rift. This is the first section of the labyrinth that takes place on a different dimension.

Option: You can use this if you like or don't use it. To make things really tough, no magic works here at all. (Well, actually some magic works. After all, the portals leading in and out work. But the magic has to be tuned to a certain "frequency". Which could take hours or days for the characters to figure out).

The challenge here is to figure out a way to get across the chasm. The safest method is to lash each other together with rope and relay across. If one person falls, the party hoists them back up. Only one person moves at a time.

The party members may decide to crawl down one side of the rift, walk across the floor of the chasm and then climb up the other side. This is a perfectly acceptable solution. You might want to scatter a few monsters down there on the floor to keep the players busy. Make it a new monster. Something the players haven't seen before. How about a four foot spider made entirely of stone. Or, put a heavy mist down on the floor of the chasm. This mist could make it difficult to see or could actually harm the players (poison gas, etc.)

The cave on the far side has the portal in it that leads to the next section.

The Drone Spheres

Stepping out of the portal, the characters find themselves in a small corridor with only one direction to go. The corridor ends in an oak door. If they listen at the door, they will hear a faint humming sound.

The characters open the door and find a 20’ by 60’ chamber with a door at the far end of the room. The chamber is filled with 30 metal volleyball sized metal spheres with numerous protruding blades. With some experimentation, the players will learn that the "drones" are attracted to movement and sound. The drones attack whatever they sense. The best way to deal with these drone spheres is to use very slow movement. If you move slowly enough and quietly enough, you won't attract the drones. Another tactic is to distract the spheres with a variety of thrown objects and noise. These tricks only work so far as the drones learn quickly and are will not be fooled by subsequent distractions of the same type. 

Each of these spheres attacks a sound or movement by floating toward it and then spinning, effectively slashing the target with its blades. These spheres are very tough. There are essentially iron spheres and hence have very tough armor. They are unaffected by fire, cold, electricity, light, darkness, etc. These are semi-intelligent magical constructs. They are not mechanical. They have no internal workings.

The door at the far end is locked. But the players won't know that until they try to open it. The door opens up to reveal a short corridor which ends in another door.

The Hall of Mirrors

The corridor on the far side of the Drone Sphere room leads to a small chamber with a single door. A handle, lock and keyhole were all visible. Light shone through the keyhole. Upon opening the door, the players are faced with a room in which the side walls and far walls were huge mirrors. The floor is flat featureless stone. The ceiling is a smooth sheet of crystal which glows and fills the whole room with a soft light. 

If any character enters this room, he will cast three reflections, one in each mirror wall. Upon reaching the middle of the room,  the three reflections will step out of the mirror and attack. Each duplicate is identical to the original character, but one third as powerful in all respects. (DM's discretion). While a person's duplicate is outside the mirror and attacking, that character will not have a reflection in that particular mirror. If a duplicate is killed, the duplicate vanishes and the reflection returns to the mirror. The new reflection will not step out from the mirror. So, if all 3 duplicates are killed, the character can walk through the chamber unmolested. 

If any object is tossed into the room, it will also be duplicated. The duplicates are identical to the original.

If an invisible character walks into the room, no duplicates are made. He can proceed without fear.

The only way to leave this room is to walk through the reflection of the entrance. 

The Mist Forest

Upon stepping through the mirror, the characters find themselves standing in knee deep mud. They have apparently just stepped through a sheer stone cliff. The characters find themselves in a swamp at night. It is cold and clammy. A chill mist hangs in the air. The thick fog seems to sap heat from the characters' bodies. The characters will be damp, mud splattered and shivering very quickly. 

The ground underfoot is soft and mucky. Footsteps make squishy, sucking sounds. Tall, dark shapes stand only yards away, all about you. As you move through this desolate area, you see that the dark shapes are black, leafless, withered trees. Distantly, you can hear scraping sounds (metal on wood, perhaps) and hear footsteps approaching through the muck. This whole place feels cold. It feels like death.

Dozens of skeletal creatures will advance upon the party. Each softly moans. A hellish green light emanates from their eye sockets. These creatures can be turned only one at a time. It requires the priests complete concentration. If successful, the undead creature will disintegrate. These creatures feed on fear and will do everything to chase, hound and terrify the player characters. These creatures will pursue the party unendingly. 

These creatures are very tough. They should be strong enough to present a serious threat to the players. The are immuned to poison, disease, fear, mind affecting spells and body affecting spells. Slash and pierce weapons do only half damage. 

As soon as any player character demonstrates courage and/or leadership, the exit from this pocket dimension will become apparent. The party will see a blue glow distantly through the mist. As the approach, the will see a large pit with a swirling, glowing mist in it. A large tree stands next to the pit. Vines extend down into the pit. Those who jump in are on their way to the next part of the Labyrinth. They don't know this though. It's a leap of faith. The only clue is that the pit has the same blue glow as all of the previous portals. Those characters who stay will fight until killed. The skeletal creatures will pursue the characters up to the pit but will not enter it. (They might climb down on vines to attack characters that are hanging on vines in the pit).

The Glyph Chamber

The characters have jumped into the pit to escape the mist forest. As they fall, their descent slows. They land lightly on a stone dias in a large stone chamber. The dias is raised about a meter high above the chamber floor.

The ceiling is 14 meters above you. Looking up, the characters find that directly above them, painted on the ceiling, is a large mural. It is painted as if the viewer is standing at the bottom of a deep pit. Skeletal creatures surround the mouth of the pit staring down at the viewer. Some climb down on vines. A starry night sky can be seen beyond.

Looking about them, the characters find they are in a large square chamber, 14 meters square. The dias upon which they stand is in the exact center of the room. There are four doors, one in each wall

The most unique thing about this room is the floor. It is tiled with large clay tiles each a foot square. Each clay tile has a glyph inscribed upon it. There are only ten glyphs and they are repeated randomly throughout the room so that any glyph is within reach of any one symbol. Each far wall has a closed door in it. If a character touches a clay tile, a magical effect is invoked. The nature of the magic depends on which symbol is touched. The symbols are :

Crossed Sword and Hammer

The victim suffers several cuts and bruises as if made from slashing and blunt weapons. 


Character dies.


A fiery explosion detonates from the glyph. May knock others nearby off their feet.


Character is encased in ice. Can be thawed out.


Stone hand emerges and grabs. Locks.


Character is struck blind


No effect. This is a representation of Yagrax's Grimoire. The safe path.


Electrical shock.


Dispel magic. All items on the character are rendered non-magical.


Character is polymorphed into random small, harmless mammal.

You can be as tough as you want to be or you may allow for some sort of resistance rolls or saving throws. It's up to you how strong this glyph magic is. 

All four doors are closed but unlocked. Each has a stone passage beyond. All four passages lead to the same place... a small chamber with a magical portal.

The Hall of Traps

The hall of traps is actually a long, wide corridor with a series of mechanical and magical traps. One after another. It's like running the gauntlet. At the far end, a portal is visible.

The Spiked Pit
Ten foot wide corrider. Up to three human sized characters abreast. Ask for the party's marching order. Wall to wall 10' across pit opens up with more than 10 pounds of pressure. 30 foot drop down onto spikes. (3d6 + 1d6 X 1d6). Roll dex check to avoid.

The Fire Trap
A section of this single file corrider (40' long) starts to sink when the characters reach the midpoint. As it descends, it simultaneously closes off both ends of the section and exposes grills through which pours flaming oil. [ASK EACH PLAYER THEIR ACTION - 3 SECOND RESPONSE]

Those who run for one of the two openings must make a Dex check to dive through and clear the exit.
First person - Standard Dex Check.
Second person - Dex check at -4.
Third person - Dex check at -8.
Fourth person - Dex check at -12.

If any person fails a Dex check, he stumbles in the opening and those behind him cannot get out. Anyone who rolls their Dex exactly is caught and crushed. 1d10 damage plus lose a random limb. Those inside suffer 30 points of fire damage. No save. All normal equipment must save versus fire to survive.

The Electric Floor Trap
A sheet of metal covers the floor. 10' wide corrider, 20' across. Strange substance lines interface between metal and stone. Black and gummy. As soon as anything touches the metal sheet that is also touching the stone (i.e. grounded) then the sheet delivers a shock of 40 points of damage. Save for half. If grounded contact is continuous, damage occurs each round. If a PC jumps onto the plate, nothing occurs. He must also jump off the other side to avoid damage. (By jumping on to and off of, no grounded contact occurs). The plate maintains its charge magically. Multiple touches result in multiple shocks. The black gummy substance is a specially treated resin that does not conduct electricity at all and insulates the plate.

The Wall Of Fire Trap
The players will notice a series of strange symbols stretching across the corridor from one wall to the other. A spellcraft roll at -4 will reveal a preprogrammed Wall Of Fire. Its direction is away from the party. Anything identical series is 40' further down the corridor but with the opposite direction. As soon as anyone crosses the midpoint, both walls spring into existance. Inbetween the walls, damage is 2d4/rnd if within 10' of a wall. 1d4/rnd elsewhere (i.e. midpoint). Moving through a wall results in 20 points of damage. The walls stay up for 20 rounds and then vanish. Once activated, this trap is neutralized.

The Energy Drain Trap
The party finds a circle carved in the floor with three symbols in it. The circle is 10' diameter. A Spellcraft Roll is needed to recognize EACH symbol. The three symbols are : MAGIC + ENERGY + DRAIN. (Meh, eha, doh). If any party members attempts to move across this symbol in any way, the symbol flashes and all magic items on the person must save versus magic drain or be destroyed. (DM's discretion as to how difficult such a save would be based on the power of the item).

After continuing down the corridor for another hundred paces or so, the corridor comes to a now-familiar magical portal with the blue energy field. Stepping through the portal takes the characters to...

The Hall of Courage

A short corridor ends in a plain wooden door. It has a handle, but no lock. A search for traps will reveal nothing. This is, in fact, a plain, unlocked, untrapped door. If the door is opened, the players will find it opens up into a large 40'x40' room. A magical portal is on the far side in the wall. The room is completely empty.

This room is actually a red herring. This room REALLY IS EMPTY! But after all the crap the characters have been through, it's likely that they will spend a long time hesitating on the threshold of the door before summoning the courage to venture in. They will discuss, plan and test. They may throw things into the room to see if the floor is solid. etc. That's fine. Let them have their paranoia. It's all for naught. This room is empty. 

Why? Remember, Kelandor is truly mad. This labyrinth is his enjoyment. Watching victims go through this maze is entertainment for him. Why not throw an empty room in and watch the players squirm. It's fun for Kelandor. It's fun for you. Let 'em squirm. Hopefully, the characters will use up lots of spells trying to figure out this room and/or defend against all sorts of imagined terrors. 

Of course, they will be kicking themselves when they get to the portal at the other side and find that nothing happened.

The Gate

The last "trial" is really just a gateway. It's a massive stone arch with a pair of ornate iron doors. The doors are magically sealed with a large iron seal that joins the two doors. This seal is metal, very ornate and shaped into the likeness of a demon's head. When the characters approach, the demon's head will open it's eyes and ask them a riddle. If correct, the gate opens. For each incorrect guess, the demon head opens its mouth and breaths a roaring cloud of fire at the players. 

Here are a few good riddles. Use which ever one you like. Or if you prefer, have the demon head ask several riddles. Each correct answer could undo one part of a multi-part lock. 


Pure and lucid like a diamond, Yet of little worth
Of a mother it is born, Yet itself to her gives birth. 
What is it?

Answer - ICE

What is it that every man prefers to life
Fears more than death or deadly strife
The contented man wants it
The poor man has it
The rich man can't afford it
The miserly man spends it
The spendthrift saves it
The blind sees it
The deaf hears it
And all men carry it to their grave
What is it?

Answer - NOTHING

My house is salt, my salt is stone.
I hold my hostel of mantle-spun bone
I welcome sailors on the drifted wind
Floaters, feasts ushered in.
I am able to make appear
An orb of milk for a woman's ear.
I fear man and tentacled star.
I am the queen of the sea's sand bar.
Alone in dark and without sight
I am the cripple that cradles light.
What am I?

Answer - AN OYSTER.

The Garden

The demon head gate opens up to reveal a huge outdoor garden. Sky above. 

Huge terraced garden broken up into sections. Many strange, alien looking plants. Many types are moving and appear to be semi-sentient. A number of ashen skinned, hairless humanoids are quietly moving about the garden tending the plants. These creatures are mute and will not fight. They will allow themselves to be slaughtered if they are attacked. Although they cannot speak, they can answer simply questions by nodding or shaking their heads or by using gesture.

Some players will note that they are now back on the island (they think). Several of the larger plant life forms will lunge out and try to make a meal of the players.

The Fountain

A huge stone fountain rests at the center of the gardens. This structure involves hundreds of humanoid and non-humanoid skulls mounted into a great pile in a decorative fashion. Ten humanoid skulls circle the pile near the bottom and vomit forth continuous streams of colored liquids into a large circular basin. In the basin, the liquids mix into a thick red elixir (it is blood).




Effect if Save is failed



Fort, 15

Polymorph into a wolf for 1 day.



Fort, 15

Poison- burning sensation in belly. 1 point per round to 0 hp then coma 1 day.



Fort, 15

Strength reduced to 3 for 1 day.



Fort, 15

Aged 1d20 years.



Fort, 15

Blindness for 1 day.




Potion - Heal spell. Heals all damage, poison, disease, etc.



Fort, 15

Completely deaf for one day.



Fort, 15

Consume 10 times normal food amount. Permanently.



Will, 15

Transform drinker into a worker.



Will, 15

Charmed by Kelandor and given orders telepathically. Worship the Codex.

Beyond the fountain, the characters come to stairs that lead up the side of a what looks like a man made hill.

The Amphitheatre

The characters climb up the stairs, crest the top and find a spectacle before them. Huge multi-leveled amphitheatre with dozens of gateways. All of them dark except for a few. Each leads to a different plane of existence.

Down below, in the center of the amphitheatre, is a large oval courtyard. Standing on a large stone platform is Kelandor, the Lich. A small podium rests before him and on the podium is a book. Two tables flank him, one filled with books and scrolls, the other filled with pouches, boxes, beakers, flasks and other small items that you can't make out.

Standing off to one side is an armored knight in full plate armor standing absolutely still. (This is Kelandor's bodyguard - an iron construct of sorts. Part golem, part machine, all bad ass. He is a metallic skeleton wearing enchanted heavy plate armor. His helmet has a magically enchanted solid metal visor.)

The Final Battle

This is the final battle. The big climax. The arch enemy at the center of the maze. Make it a memorable experience. 

Once the characters enter the huge amphtheatre, Kelandor notices them and looks up at them with an annoyed expression. "You. Aren't you dead yet? How dare you enter my realm and interrupt my work. For that insult, I shall make your deaths slow and painful." He then proceeds to summon all manner of beasties through several of the gates. Kelandor's bodyguard will also march forward and begin pounding on the hapless characters.

Kelandor prefers to summon creatures to fight for him, but if pressed, he will have an arsenal of deadly spells ready to unleash. Remember, this is a lich and he's paranoid. He is laden with defenses and immunities. Kelandor should be a very tough and hard to kill opponent. His bodyguard is a walking nightmare and should be damned near unkillable. Very heavy armor plating. Multiple immunities. This battle should be the toughest fight the characters have ever faced.

The Book on the pedestal is none other than Yagrax's Grimoire. An artifact of great power and unspeakable evil. 

Conclusion - Leaving the Labyrinth

The characters are able to flee the amphitheatre by running up the stairs and back across the island through the ruined city and back to the dock where their ship is waiting. They will be pursued by whatever monsters are still alive. If the lich still lives and the gates are still active, the lich will send an army of monsters after the fleeing characters. If they managed to steal the grimoire, he will pursue relentlessly, even leaving the island.

On To Skull Quest 3

Assuming the characters successfully obtain the third skull, the map coordinates will change again indicating that the fourth skull is located in the city of Arcanum.

FAQ The Anchor Glyphs Prelude Skull

This page last updated Wednesday, December 24, 2008. Copyright 1990-2009 David M. Roomes.

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