Well­springs of Vi­tal­ity

The Van­quished: Chapter 7

Table of con­tents

The Well­spring of Vi­tal­ity flows and warms. The bit­ter cold of De­nau makes it im­possible for many to sur­vive but the Well­spring’s hot wa­ters gives life a chance to en­dure and, at times, thrive.

The ori­gins of the springs have been for­got­ten by most. A fi­nal al­li­ance between Ay­meluma and Sil­vat com­bined ma­gic with the nature of the fire deep in the moun­tain when the cold ar­rived from Ely­dir over 500 years ago.

The Icebring­er’s Ic­tus have twis­ted the pur­pose of the en­chanted gems of this spring, which en­hance the power of the mol­ten earth be­low, to freeze the in­com­ing wa­ter - pre­vent­ing the flow of new hot wa­ter.

Now the power of the springs is wan­ing, and soon, all those who live in its warmth could per­ish.

Ran­dom en­coun­ters 2

Check for an ran­dom en­counter whenever the party, back­tracks, rests for 10 minutes, or at­tracts at­ten­tion. On a res­ult of 18 or more, a ran­dom en­counter oc­curs.

2d4 En­counter
2 1 Chuul
3 2 Cult Fan­atic
4 2d4+1 Cult­ists
5 1d4+1 Ice mephits
6 2d6+4 Gi­ant rats
7 2d4+2 Dark Mantle
8 1 Snow golem
Cult Fan­atic
Ice mephits
Gi­ant rats
Dark Mantle
Snow golem

Out­side 2

Ap­proach­ing from a dis­tance:

You glimpse the near­ing moun­tains through the tops of the trees. The hills get­ting steeper to­wards the moun­tains. As you climb, the wind bites and whips at you.

From close by:

The trees give way to a 30ft semi-cir­cu­lar clear­ing be­low a cliff, the tall moun­tains hid­ing the sky above. An en­trance to a cave tun­nel is 10ft up the cliff face. Four thug­gish hu­mans huddle around a fire in the clear­ing be­low, pelts and tents break­ing the wind. A fig­ure cloaked in ice blue stands in the cave en­trance, mostly look­ing out and oc­ca­sion­ally scowl­ing down at the people be­low.

The thugs and cult­ist fan­atic have been told by the cult­ists to de­fend the en­trance of the caves and not let any­body in. They will aim to dis­cour­age oth­ers from en­ter­ing be­fore fight­ing (it’s easier money to not die).

The cult­ist at will to warn the other cult­ists in­side that oth­ers are com­ing.

A char­ac­ter must suc­ceed on a DC 13 check to climb up the cliff-face.

Up­per cave 2

The up­per cave is cold and icy. The cult­ists have wrestled con­trol over it and have frozen the wa­ter­falls.

B1. En­trance tun­nel 2

The nat­ural tun­nel twists into the moun­tain, frost cov­ers the sur­faces. With each step the air gets colder but stil­ler.

Each of the other tun­nels in the cave are also frosty and cold.

B2. Lake room 2

An ir­reg­u­lar trench cuts across this cav­ern from east to west, a thick layer of ice cov­er­ing the bot­tom. In­side the chan­nel, twelve cloaked fig­ures, robed in icy blue chant. The fig­ure closest to the back wears lar­ger and brighter robes. A small spec­tral orb floats in the centre of the room above them, thick snow spill­ing out of it.

At either end of the chan­nel is a smal­ler tun­nel. To the north, op­pos­ite to the en­trance, a pas­sage­way is blocked by fallen rock. The cav­ern is 30ft at its widest, 20ft at its tallest, and 40ft long. The chan­nel is 20ft wide in the middle, 10ft wide at the edges, and 10ft deep.

In the space south of the trench, frag­ments of a shattered stone tab­let lie on the floor, be­low a po­dium.

If the char­ac­ters enter the chan­nel, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion:

At the bot­tom of the chan­nel, be­low the ice, two thick veins of metal runs through it. The chan­nel slopes up­wards slightly to the east.

The bot­tom of the chan­nel is slip­pery ice (DMG p110).

One of the ice wor­ship­pers is a cult fan­atic, Mor­row, the oth­ers are cult­ists. The ice wor­ship­pers are chant­ing to open a small portal to the ice realm. They will ac­cel­er­ate their ef­forts if they are in­ter­rup­ted, aim­ing to open a smal­ler un­stable portal. At the end of each round, check if the ice wor­ship­pers are suc­cess­ful in open­ing a portal. Roll 1d20, if the res­ult is less than the num­ber of cult­ists chant­ing, open a portal in the centre of the room, bring­ing in 1d4 ice mephits. This can be done at most 10 times in 24 hours.

If the char­ac­ters in­spect the broken frag­ments, give the char­ac­ters the dun­geon puzzle.

The blocked pas­sage leads to the pas­sage op­pos­ite B6, the chan­nels lead­ing to the east and west por­tions of B3.

B3. Wa­ter chan­nels 2

The icy floor is dif­fi­cult to walk on and the cold seeps through your boots. Two thick metal veins fol­lows un­der­neath the ice.

When the wa­ter is fol­low­ing, it is dif­fi­cult to travel through the chan­nels.

If the char­ac­ter falls into the wa­ter, they must make a DC 14 Strength sav­ing throw or be swept down­stream, tak­ing 1d8 points of bludgeon­ing dam­age.

The bot­tom of the chan­nel is slip­pery ice (DMG p110).


This con­nects area B2 to areas B4 and B5, the pas­sage split­ting as it goes along.


This cuts across the main pas­sage­way (area B6), between areas B8 and B9, then curves to­wards area B9, join­ing the chan­nel from area B8.

B4. East wa­ter­fall 2

A wa­ter­fall of ice flows down the east wall around a vein of thick metal into the chan­nel. Set into the ice at the top of the metal vein is a large blue gem.

A tun­nel to the north leads to B5 and the chan­nel leads to B2.

The blue gem is a Nixig­nis Gem. Once re­moved, the wa­ter­fall will slowly melt over 24 hours.

B5. North east wa­ter­fall 2

A wa­ter­fall of ice flows down the north east wall around a vein of thick metal into a chan­nel.

A skel­eton lies in the corner, a small pack to its side.

Five an­gu­lar winged creatures with blue skin breath fly near the wa­ter­fall. One breaths frosty breath onto it.

The tun­nel to the north is the en­trance to area B6.

There are five ice mephits in this room who are try­ing to keep the wa­ter­fall frozen un­til the cult­ists sent be­low re­turn with the fi­nal gem. If they are stopped, this wa­ter­fall will melt in 6 hours.

If a char­ac­ter suc­ceeds on a DC 13 medi­cine check, they will find that the skel­eton be­longs to an elf. On the skel­eton, is a [Ring of Fire Res­ist­ance]. The pack con­tains a Lan­tern of Re­veal­ing, and 12gp.

B6. Main pas­sage 2

This walls of this stone pas­sage are smooth. The moss on the walls turned to ice. Sounds echo along this oth­er­wise si­lent cor­ridor.

This pas­sage starts at area B5 and con­nects to areas B7, B8, and B9. Between areas B8 and B9, the west wa­ter chan­nel (area B3) cuts across this. A pas­sage to B2 is blocked.

If the char­ac­ters reach the west wa­ter chan­nel for the first time, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion.

A chan­nel cuts across this cor­ridor, ice at the bot­tom.

After the wa­ter­falls have been melted and the char­ac­ters reach the wa­ter chan­nel, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion:

Wa­ter rushes through the chan­nel in this cor­ridor, spray­ing on each side.

B7. Stairs 2

From carved stone stairs, warmer air rises and, with it, a smell of damp and mil­dew. Wa­ter trickles down the steps from slowly melt­ing ice.

On each side of the stairs, a stone statue of an elf stands, each with their hands out­stretched and a rising sun em­blazoned across their robes. At the bot­tom of the stairs is a dark room.

These are Fire-breath­ing statues, with the fire com­ing out of their hands. The pres­sure plate cov­ers the space across the stairs.

The stairs start con­nec­ted to B6 down to C1.

B8. North west wa­ter­fall 2

This is a very cold cave. A wa­ter­fall of ice flows down from the north west into a chan­nel. In­side the ice, one foot in, you see a blue gem.

Two fig­ures cloaked in el­eg­ant blue robes stand watch­ing the cave en­trance.

Two cult fan­at­ics guard the gem in this wa­ter­fall, talk­ing about the fly­ing ser­pents be­low.

B9. Whirl­pool 2

Carved into the ground of this large cave is a huge fun­nel, 30 feet across, its walls coated in ice. At the bot­tom, a 5 foot wide dark void swal­lows the dim light of the room. A chan­nel from the north con­nects par­al­lel to side of the fun­nel, at the point closest to the en­trance. Three metal veins, start­ing from the chan­nel, spiral around and turn into ice covered poles, equidistant down the fun­nel’s hole.

A skel­eton lies in the corner of the cave.

The bot­tom of the chan­nel is slip­pery ice (DMG p110).

If a char­ac­ter suc­ceeds on a DC 13 medi­cine check, they will find that the skel­eton be­longs to an elf. Between the bones is a spell scroll of Stone Shape and 2 gems worth 10 gp each.

Lower cave 2

The lower cave is warmer than the up­per levels, though it’s not hot. The cult­ists have struggled to gain con­trol over this level. Ini­tially, they trav­elled with force to steal the Nixig­nis gems from the deep but were thwarted by the Cou­atls, Tlene and Icpi, though Tlene was also slain in the pro­cess.

C1. Stairs 2

Warmer air flows from two carved stone cor­ridors, one to the east and one to the west.

C2. East reser­voir 2

Once area C5 has filled with wa­ter, this cave re­fills at 5ft per hour per wa­ter­fall, up to the top of the empty basin.

When the char­ac­ters enter this reser­voir, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion if the wa­ter is­n’t flow­ing:

This gi­ant reser­voir is empty of wa­ter, a large is­land, now a hill, in the centre. A 10 wide chan­nel opens into the reser­voir, 25 foot up the south west wall, the shad­ows bey­ond im­pen­et­rable.

To the north of the reser­voir stands a 30 foot tall slimy cliff atop which a tun­nel exits. A boat hangs down the wall, chained to the top of the cliff.

Read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion if the wa­ter is­n’t flow­ing:

Wa­ter sur­rounds a large is­land at the centre of this reser­voir. Wa­ter flows in from a chan­nel on the west wall, the shad­ows bey­ond im­pen­et­rable.

To the north of the reser­voir, a tun­nel exits onto a short dry cliff. A chain hangs down into the wa­ter.

Then, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion.

At the top of the is­land, a hunched old man sits near a small fire, star­ing into it, a bag of weapons to his side. Closer to the man, a mound, shaped in a cres­cent is covered in a sheet.

At the edge of the is­land, to the east, a few small bunched mounds are covered by a white sheet. Nearby those, two un­con­scious blue robed fig­ures are tied up.

The chan­nel in the south west wall of the basin leads to area C4. The tun­nel leads to area C1.

A char­ac­ter who suc­ceeds on a DC 15 Strength check can pull the boat up us­ing the chain.

The man at the centre is Icpi, Icpi­c­ou­alt, (LG Cou­atl male) in the form of a Vet­eran male. Icpi is mourn­ing the loss of his mother, Tlene (Tlene­nepil­c­ou­alt), and is plan­ning on burn­ing her body. He has been tasked by his mother, and there­fore the gods, to pre­vent the power of the Nixig­nis gems from be­ing used for ill. Tlene had pro­tec­ted these be­fore against the an­cient wiz­ard who used the lava cav­ern as its base.

Icpi is not quick to trust oth­ers and will be fear­ful of. He will use his abil­it­ies to mind read co­pi­ously, and be very ques­tion­ing of any other creature’s pur­pose here. He will be evas­ive of any ques­tions and will try to lead oth­ers seek­ing the Nixig­nis Gems away. If he be­lieves there are those that will help, he will ask them to re­turn the Nixig­nis Gems to their right­ful place and to drive any re­main­ing cult­ists from the caves. In re­turn, he will warn them of what is likely to hap­pen once the wa­ter flows again and will of­fer to help them es­cape when the time comes. He also knows of the flameskull in the Lava Cav­ern.

Be­neath the white sheet closest to Icpi is the corpse of Tlene. Un­der the other sheet are corpses of the cult­ists who failed. Icpi is also plan­ning on burn­ing those corpses, out of re­spect, though he does­n’t know that this would be blas­phem­ous to them. If a char­ac­ter suc­ceeds on an DC 12 In­tel­li­gence (In­vest­ig­a­tion) check, they will see that none of the corpses have weapon marks on them, but bite marks.

The fire at the centre of the cav­ern is in­cred­ibly hot, des­pite its small size. At the centre of it, is a Nixig­nis Gem.

A char­ac­ter who at­tempts to scale the cliff, either up or down must make a DC 14 Ath­let­ics (Strength) check or fall, tak­ing fall dam­age. If a char­ac­ter at­tempts to climb around the cav­ern, they must suc­ceed on a DC 16 Ath­let­ics (Strength) check or fall.

C3. West reser­voir 2

Once area C5 has filled with wa­ter, this cave re­fills at 5ft per hour per wa­ter­fall, up to the top of the empty basin.

When the char­ac­ters enter this reser­voir, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion if the wa­ter is­n’t flow­ing yet:

This large cave has an empty basin. A make­shift lad­der climbs down the 30ft slimy basin cliff, at the top of which a tun­nel exits fur­ther to the north east. Strewn around the bot­tom of the lad­der, slime covered corpses lie dis­figured.

To the south, 25 foot up the basin wall, a dark tun­nel stares out at you.

If the cave is is re­filled, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion:

Apart from a small area of ground to the north, this large cave is flooded with wa­ter. A make­shift lad­der floats on the wa­ter. A couple of slime covered dis­figured corpses lie half sub­merged at the edge of the wa­ter. Wa­ter flows into the cave from a chan­nel in the south.

If the cave does­n’t have any wa­ter in it, at the bot­tom there are three gelat­in­ous cubes, stay­ing per­fectly still. One is dir­ectly at the bot­tom of the lad­der, wait­ing for an un­lucky vis­itor. If the cave is filled with wa­ter, the gelat­in­ous cubes will be wait­ing just be­low the wa­ter at the edge of the cliff.

A char­ac­ter who at­tempts to scale the cliff, either up or down must make a DC 14 Ath­let­ics (Strength) check or fall, tak­ing fall dam­age. If a char­ac­ter at­tempts to climb around the cav­ern, they must suc­ceed on a DC 16 Ath­let­ics (Strength) check or fall.

The tun­nel to the north east leads to C1, the tun­nel to the south leads into C4.

C4. Wa­ter pas­sages 2

Once area C5 has filled with wa­ter, this is flooded.

Read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion if the wa­ter is­n’t flow­ing:

The tun­nel floor and lower walls are smooth and slip­pery. Stalac­tites hang down from the ceil­ing.

Read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion if the wa­ter is flow­ing:

The wa­ter flows quickly through this chan­nel. Stalac­tites hang down from the ceil­ing.

The wa­ter is flow­ing at 5 feet per second.

There are six dark mantles in the main pas­sage that exits C5. When a creature ap­proaches them, they will use their dark­ness aura to sur­prise the un­sus­pect­ing vic­tim. Read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion if this hap­pens:

The room plunges into dark­ness. You hear pop­ping and squelch­ing above you.

This pas­sage con­nects areas C2 and C3 to area C5.

C5. Stairs to the deep 2

This cave re­fills at 5ft per hour per run­ning wa­ter­fall, up to 40ft.

When the wa­ter is­n’t flow­ing read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion:

This large square room has been slowly softened by time.

When the wa­ter is flow­ing, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion:

Wa­ter fills this large square room.

Then, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion:

The smell of sul­phur fills the air. A plat­eau, 80ft high and 20ft wide, stands in the centre. Half way up the plat­eau a stone pro­trudes out and, from it, a 10 foot wide stair­case climbs around the plat­eau. Four statues stand atop it, watch­ing out to be­low. The air around shim­mers like them air on a hot sum­mer’s day.

Two corpses lie broken on the pro­tru­sion, dried blood cov­er­ing their clothes. To the north east and south west, tun­nels exit 20ft up into room.

The statues are [an­im­ated ar­mour] and will ac­tiv­ate when creatures reach the 3rd on the steps. The cor­ridor to the north east leads to area C4 and the cor­ridor to the south west leads to C6.

When the char­ac­ters reach the top of the stairs, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion:

A glow­ing red light em­an­ates from a spiral, caus­ing the air to shim­mer around it. You feel hot dry air flow from it, along with the stench of sul­phur.

The stairs lead to area D1.

C6. Whirl­pool 2

This huge cyl­indrical room has been cleanly hewn from the walls. The ground feels warm be­low your feet though the air fall­ing down from the small hole at top. Three metal poles stick around the centre of the room from the floor to the ceil­ing.

The hole in the top leads to area B9. A cor­ridor leads to area C5.

Lava cav­ern 2

There is a Flameskull hid­ing in the lava which wants the Nixig­nis Gems, cre­ated by its long-gone mas­ter to pro­tect them. The ma­gic of the cave pro­tects the Nixig­nis pyr­amid from un­dead when powered. If the gems are in place, any un­dead within a 60ft of the plat­form be­come frightened of the plat­form.

The Flameskull is in­tel­li­gent and will choose a mo­ment with ad­vant­age to at­tach the any­body who has the gems. It will try to con­vince the char­ac­ters to give it the gems, if the gems are re­turned to their place.

Throughout the build­ings of the lava cav­ern, there is weakened floor. If a char­ac­ter steps on the weakened floor, it will col­lapse, and the char­ac­ter must suc­ceed on a DC 10 dex­ter­ity sav­ing throw or fall into the lava.

A creature takes 6d10 fire dam­age when it enters lava for the first time on a turn or when it ends its turn there.

D1. Broken stair­case 2

The spiral stair­case is built into a huge stalac­tite. The tower be­low. The re­main­ing tower built up to reach it has col­lapsed.

The stair­case spir­als down, hewn into nat­ural rock. Sconces spread a dim red light from the walls.

130 feet down the stairs, the stairs end, leav­ing a 40 ft drop to a tower be­low.

The stair­case ends in the air in this huge lava flooded cav­ern. Three fea­tures stand out of the lava 80 feet be­low: a frag­men­ted castle, with a half-broken tower; a hexagonal pyr­amid, with three large statues stand­ing at the top; and a broken bridge between. The half-broken tower reaches to­wards the stair­case, leav­ing a 40 foot gap. Around the tower, you see a few bod­ies wear­ing blue robes, some burnt, some broken. A knot­ted rope hangs down from the stair­case to the tower be­low.

D2. Old castle 2

The floor of the castle is 10 feet above the lava.

The old castle’s found­a­tions and outer walls are broken in many places, leav­ing pools of lava be­low. Areas of the floor look are cracked and un­even. Very little fur­niture re­mains. The few in­ner walls that stand in­side are crum­bling.

D3. Broken bridge 2

The bridge spans the 60 foot gap between the castle and the pyr­amid.

D4. Hexagonal pyr­amid 2

When the char­ac­ters reach the hexagonal pyr­amid, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion:

Three statues stand fa­cing out­wards on ever other side of this pyr­amid. Each statue holds their right hand low, a dia­mond shaped hole in their palms; their other hand holds onto the shoulder of the next statue. Between each statue, there are holes to pools of lava be­low. Metal poles des­cend from the ceil­ing to each, wrap­ping around to form their cloth­ing - the poles split down into each of the lava pools. The statue fa­cing the left of the bridge is a man wear­ing ar­mour fash­ioned after oak leaves. The statue to the right of the bridge is a wo­man wear­ing a tu­nic with im­ages of fruit and har­vest and her hair covered in carved wild­flowers. The statue fa­cing away is wear­ing a plated ar­mour, a hel­met con­ceal­ing his face.

The statues are Sil­vanus, Chauntea, and Helm.

Restor­ing the Nixig­nis gems to this struc­ture will re­turn the heat to the metal con­duits that run to the wa­ter­falls. For every gem re­stored and each thirty minutes there­after, the wa­ter level in the dun­geon rises by five feet. After an hour, the wa­ter also be­comes to hot to touch in the lower cave. Any creature who touches the hot wa­ter must make a DC 13 dex­ter­ity check. A creature takes 1d10 fire dam­age on a failed save or half as much dam­age on a suc­cess­ful one.

When the char­ac­ters re­store a gem, read the fol­low­ing de­scrip­tion:

From each of the gems across the metal flows a golden light. The light flows along the poles to­wards the roof of the cav­ern.

When a gem is re­stored, the Nixig­nis Gem goes into hot form.