Scene 1: Invitation to Smoker’s Manor and A Hot Kitchen.
Window Dressing: The adventurers have been invited to Lord Alder Smoker’s ‘palatial’ estate for a meal celebrating their recent victories in the area. Alder is a very self-promoting individual and his symbol (a flaming boar’s head) can be found on posts, packaging, and banners around the area. Smoker’s lands are well known for their beautifully cured meats and fine foodstuffs that are made by this industrious fiefdom. Players may purchase these foods directly in the main city of Hampton, but they cost 30x the normal amount for any normal food.
Any player who eats a full meal of Hampton meats, cheeses, and drink can rest assured of a full tummy and a +1 competence bonus to attacks and skill checks within the day of digestion. Lord Alder’s people love their lord, but are afraid of the foods made with their last harvest. Smoked meats that are imperfectly cured, cheeses that crumble under the touch, and casks of bitter cider have made some fear witchcraft or even the predations of merchant guilds who do not wish to pay the Lord’s prices for his heavenly foods. Some have even gone so far as to be ready to take their skills to another Lord in fear that the House of Smoker will fall if another bad harvest were to come through.
The Lord’s Manor has seen better days. Somewhat plump lazy staff seems to be rubbing with disbelief at hard stains on the floors and the difficulty of their work. If questioned they will discuss the ease of work in the home, and how their Lord’s house has fallen into disrepair as things have gotten harder and harder. The cobwebs of a year’s leavings are seen around the home, and the place has a deep chill usually seen in forgotten keeps and tombs.
Even so, Lord Alder is a jolly fellow in worn finery, offering his ‘fine old stores’ for the adventurers at table. The meal passes without incident, with the handmaids delivering the chef’s best gifts. The chef comes to table with his final and best gift, tears down his eyes and stains of soot and tears across his cheeks. He whispers to the Lord, which the adventurers may hear from a Listen Check of DC: 15 to summarize as a possible problem in the kitchen. The Lord smiles, and begs pardon for having to leave the table for a few minutes to allay the fears of his ‘wise and elder’ chef. The chef looks to be no older than Lord Alder himself, but the Lord is all too obvious in claiming dementia.
The boar in front of the players is burned beyond recognition without its head. The whole beast has an odor of sickness around it, though an adventurous mouth will find that this smell seems to be only cosmetic, and anyone with scent abilities will find the meal passable with a strange faint odor that reeks of something other. If the adventurers sit at table for their benefactor they are confronted by a disheveled Lord Alder being followed by the sounds of shouts coming from the kitchens. Singed staff begin to retreat, making signs of their gods, as the Cook’s screams are heard from the interior of the kitchen. Staff mention black flames from the hearths, and things crawling from them.
The adventurers find the following scene when they enter into the hallways around the kitchen:
The kitchen screams are caused by the scene within. The staff is rushing out as they see a group of four tall pillars of flame surrounding the Chef. His clothes have been burned in multiple areas, and the stoves and hearths surrounding him are filled with black flames from which the sound of cackling may be heard.
Can’t Take the Heat Stay Out of Chef’s Kitchen (CR: 9)
Area: The kitchen is a 10*20 square location beneath the home. Much of it lies unused during any season but it becomes busy when the Lord’s harvest is brought in and needs to be seasoned for smoking. Cleavers, deboning equipment, and sausage processing equipment surround, and a large larded off the kitchen in the basement is filled with stores.
Medium Fire Elementals (4): See SRD for stats, add Hellfire Furnace Passive abilities.
Hellfire Furnaces (4, Traps, CR: 4 each, HP: 20, DR: 5/good or Cold Iron, Vulernable to Cold, Heals to Fire, Unholy, Light damage. Disable DC: 22):
These stoves and hearths radiate foul heat, and a Spellcraft, Knowledge (Arcane Lore), or Search (DC: 20) suggests a connection to these items and the living flames around.
- Passive ability: The four hearths filled with black flames are feeding the Fire Elementals who are wreaking havoc in the kitchen. The Furnaces provide a +1 bonus to hit and damage to each Elemental for each furnace active, and an additional 3 HP per Elemental.
- Active Ability: Once every 1d4 rounds the furnaces send out gouts of flame from their location. Anyone in a 15’ burst around the Hellfire Furnace takes 2d6 Fire Damage. Half of this damage remains with the player until the wounds are treated via remove curse or by a poultice made of powdered iron, salt, and a cure wounds spell is cast. Any elemental caught in the burst heals for an amount equal to the damage.
- Once/Combat: The Furnaces can summon an additional 1d4 Fire Elementals, -1 per Furnace that has been disabled.
The Chef will make a break for the Larder when given the chance, and is never considered a ‘target’ by the elementals. They are waiting to spawn more of themselves and then burn the Manor down. Throughout the combat a mote of light may be seen jumping between the elementals, and small flashes of light appearing here and there around them. When the elementals are defeated the mote disappears up a flue, the sound of a small gruff voice huffing and puffing following.
Aftermath: The Chef is shaken, and can be calmed through a Diplomacy Check against Unfriendly DCs with a +2 to PC checks for each Fire Elemental slain/Furnace disabled before he made it to the Larder. If brought to Indifferent the Chef will describe the scene of seeing a small man mixed in with his salts and spices who asked him if he could hide somewhere, anywhere, and then the whole business happened. He blames the fell creature for bringing the demon fires.
If brought to Friendly the Chef knows of kitchen secrets for healing burns, presenting the option of the salt and iron for binding the tainted wounds from the Hellfire Furnaces. The Lord thanks the adventurers for their forgiveness of his ruined meal, and offers dessert and a fine nightcap as they enter back into the dining room… Seeing that the boar has left of its own volition, trailing an apple and grease stains on its hooves behind it.