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Dangerous Designs is a starting adventure in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, taking place in 835 PD as part of the War of Ash and Light. The adventure takes a party from level 1 to level 3.

Adventure Summary[]

Background[]

Several years before 835 PD, Huron Stahlmast was a brilliant engineer assigned to Hupperdook to develop weapons for the Dwendalian Empire. However, his eccentric designs and inhumane methods of experimentation led him to be ousted from the city. During the War of Ash and Light, he made contact with Den Hythenos of the Kryn Dynasty, who hired him to create weapons for their effort in the war. With the den's funds, Stahlmast created a subterranean lair within the Silberquel Ridge, with an entrance in a hidden cave at the top of Silver Falls. There he amassed a following of kobold underlings and devised a plan to take over Hupperdook using his latest creation, a large mecha-suit he named the Stahlmaster,[1] as well as using large explosives to create a landslide that would bury much of the city.[2]

Stahlmast and his underlings kidnapped Nima Cinnarid, a munitions expert at the Firemark Facility, when she came to the secret cave at Silver Falls, which she uses to collect bat guano for the production of blast powder.[3] There they forced her to make several bombs, including explosive seeds, which were implanted into several of the underlings to explode if the kobolds are killed.

Prison break[]

Sken Zabriss' escape

Depiction of Sken Zabriss' escape, by Brian "Tots" Valeza from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount.[art 1]

Three weeks after Nima's capture,[4] Stahlmast broke Sken Zabriss, a Kryn operative and prisoner of war, out of Gearhole Prison as part of his plan to take over the city.[1] He delivered a bomb, a Ring of Obscuring, and a note to her prison cell via a vox seeker dropped through the cell's skylight. Sken blew a hole in the wall escaped, rendezvouing with several of Stahlmast's kobolds.[5]

While running through the streets of the Ironlot, Sken and the kobolds had a chance encounter with a group of adventurers. Though the party was able to defeat the kobolds, Sken used the Ring of Obscuring to escape to Stahlmast's lair. Watchmaster Bram Gulchswattle arrived on the scene shortly afterwards, and after questioning the party, he hired them to investigate the breakout and capture Sken. He offered a bounty of 500 gold pieces, with 250 up front, as well as a badge to show they were working for him.[6]

Investigating the Lower Slab[]

Investigating the kobolds before their bodies exploded revealed that their feet were stained with red mud and carried a key to Stahlmast's lair.[7]

Upon arriving at Gearhole Prison, the party found that a bounty hunter, Yinra Emberwind had heard the commotion and was already investigating. At the prison, they found the remains of the bomb used to blast Sken out of prison embedded in the bed, which she used as a shield, as well as the remains of the vox seeker.[8]

Taking the vox seeker to the Builder's Plot, Cleff Tinkertop identified to the party that it was of his design, but was a cheap copy built by Stahlmast, an old colleage of his.[9] At the Lay of the Land Herbalist shop, Zendasa told the party that the red clay on the kobolds' feet isn't from around Hupperdook, but could be found higher in the Silberquel Ridge.[10] At the Firemark Facility, Sleese Firemark told the party that he had no blasting powder missing, but that his top powder artisan, Nima Cinnarid, and alledgeldy fallen ill and hadn't been to work for weeks. Throughout these investigations, the party can run into Yinra again as she continues her own search.[10]

When the party investigated Nima's home, they discovered several of Stahlmast's kobolds hiding there to attack them. Within her home, they also found a journal scrap written by Nima pointing the party towards the Silver Falls cave she used to collect bat guano.[11]

After traveling to the top of Silver Falls, potentially encountering more of Stahlmast's kobolds, a pair of wolves, or a hungry hippogriff along the way, the party found the secret cave. Within was Nima chained to a work table, and several kobolds playing dice with Sken Zabriss. After a fight, the party captured Zabriss and collected their reward from Watchmaster Gulchswattle. After telling him about Stahlmast and his lair, the watchmaster offered the party another bounty of 1,500 gold pieces for Stahlmast's capture or elimination, as well as evidence of his plans.[12]

Confronting Stahlmast[]

Stahlmaster - Wesley Burt

Depiction of the party confronting the Stahlmaster, by Wesley Burt from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount.[art 2]

The party returned to the Silver Falls cave and entered the iron door leading to Stahlmast's lair, either by unlocking it with a lead key from one of the kobolds or Sken, picking the lock, or blowing the door up.[13] Once inside, the party found that Yinra Emberwind had been captured and was being held prisoner. She would escape if freed, but could be convinced to help fight Stahlmast.[14]

Within the lair, the party also encountered many more of Stahlmast's kobold underlings, an inexplicable tank full of sharks[14] that Stahlmast planned to release within Silver Falls Grove, found his blueprints for his mecha-suit and plans to bury the city,[2] and two of his lieutenants. Training the kobolds was Ishel Hythenos,[14] who acted as Stahlmast's liaison with the den, and his blacksmith, Roguun.[15]

If the party's presence in the lair ever became known to Stahlmast, he would taunt them over the series of speaking tubes placed throughout his lair.[13] Once the party confronted him in the Clockwork Forge, Stahlmast attempted to convince the party to join him. Assuming they refused, Stahlmast fought the party within his giant mecha-suit, the Stahlmaster. Once Stahlmast was defeated, either by being killed or captured, the party claimed their reward from Watchmaster Gulchswattle, and was given a bonus if the party presented his plans and connections to Den Hythenos.[16]

References[]

Art:

  1. Depiction of Sken Zabriss' escape, by Brian "Tots" Valeza from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount. Used DM response with permission. This page contains unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  2. Depiction of the party confronting the Stahlmaster, by Wesley Burt from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount. This page contains unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
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