Free Module: The Plane of Water

Your travels find you at the hamlet of Grimrane, a cozy array of houses that have been built into the side of a mountain. A small path snakes along the cliffside, leading up and down to the different homes and shops that stick out of the mountain's face. It winds its way up to the top with stairways at the end of each level, and little more than a wooden railing for protection. At the base of the village are farm fields that sit uncultivated and dead, and next to them gives a good clue as to why. There's a completely dried out riverbed coming off the mountain and out into the valley below. Decayed fish skeletons line the bottom, along with some old and wilted seaweed.


[The players can explore the town as they wish, it's a hamlet of about 30 people so they won't be able to buy anything more than 10 gp in price. The populace is mostly Humans, Halflings, and Dwarves. The rulers are Half-Orcs, descendants of ancient orcish warlords that claimed this place centuries ago. When the players decide to go to the tavern or inquire about the drought you can continue.]

You come to The Witch's Stag, a small tavern (or wherever they went) sticking out of the mountain on large oak logs. It's one of the largest buildings in the hamlet and looks like a series of renovations have caused it to bloat out at the sides and tops from its more humble constructions. The new additions are supported by a series of joints and wooden pillars seated into the rock. The whole thing looks a bit haphazard, but is structurally sound. There's a set of chimes blowing softly by the door. Inside your noses are greeted by the smells of cured meats and cheeses that hang from the ceiling. A pair of halfling women are sat by the hearth and a large bookcase, flipping through a pile of books at their side while idly chatting. You see the owner of the establishment, a woman dwarf, bringing a platter of meat and cheese to the halflings. She notices you and gestures you inside, “Hello travelers! Please come in, there's plenty of room.”

[The dwarf is Valida Orcfoe. She wears a worn and beaten armor. She has a moderate pudge and is not very fit. Her white hair is messy but she has gleaming, smiling amber eyes. The first halfling is Callie Goodbarrel, her right leg is replaced with a steel prosthetic and wears tight clothing. Her silver hair is in a pixie cut, and she wears crescent spectacles with a black brim. She's got a bit of an eccentric personality, and tends to be skeptical. The second halfling is Paela Shadowquick, wearing a clean blue cloak over studded leather and a large topaz ring on her right hand. Her hair is wavy and red, while her unseeing hazel eyes look right past you. She mostly flips through the books because she likes the sound and company.

[The three women will be discussing the drought and trying to research ways to fix it. If pressed for details they'll be unsure, saying it just dried up one day despite their families relying upon that river for generations. The moisture and rainfall is captured on the mountain peaks and flows down past the village, making for very clean and crisp water. The valley doesn't see much rainfall, as it's all captured in the mountain peaks and flows down. It's still been raining in the mountains, but none of it has flowed down. They're worried the area will become a desert if the water doesn't return soon. Some have gone up into the mountains to investigate, but none have returned.

[If the players are willing to investigate they'll offer them a reward for the water's return, but caution them to be careful of harpies and ask if they can find the missing villagers as well.]

You set off into the mountains, following the dried riverbed as it snakes its way up the landscape. The temperature is chilly but not freezing, and up near the peak you can see a ruined stone wall around a decayed fort. About halfway through the day a heavy wind picks up and buffets at you as you climb, making the trek somewhat precarious as you struggle to keep your balance on narrow ridges and pull yourself over ledges. By night a light rain begins to fall and you feel the fatigue of hiking all day really start to set in.

[The rain is heavier farther up the mountain, but remains mostly at the peak. The party will be attacked by harpies early the morning. For a group of 5 level 4 characters, use 4 Harpies (Monster Manual pg 181). For a different size or level, you can use the Encounter Maker to make an appropriate medium encounter, but try to include some harpies. The harpies will accuse the players of stealing the rains with magic, but after being defeated then other harpies overhead and in the area will flee. After dealing with the harpies they can continue on their way.]

After another couple hours of travel you find yourselves in the heavier rainfall that has continued at the mountain's peak overnight. Curiously, not much rain is falling on you despite the heavy volume. The rain seems to curve away from you, pulling towards a spot further up the mountain. As you continue the effect becomes more pronounced, with the rain curving in its trajectory more and more.

As you follow the path of the rain, you eventually come upon its source. A large, flickering portal sits upon the ground, funneling water into it.

[The portal is about 60 ft around, and a DC 20 Arcana check will identify it as being connected to the elemental plane of water. Looking inside they'll see flowing water into a great ocean, but will need to go through the portal to see anything else.]

On the other side of the portal you find yourselves standing upon a great ocean, spanning out infinitely in every direction. The water beneath you is as solid as ground, while gently rolling waves cause the floor to ripple and gently lift you up and down. Great pillars of swirling water dot the landscape like immense towers and mountains made of water. Beneath you is a myriad of sea life, tiny fish and huge whales. A blue whale bursts through the water of one of the watery pillars to take a breath before plunging back below. The water from the portal rushes past you into the sky as swirling tubes that lead east.

Water Temple

Following the path of the water for about an hour brings you to the base of a great pyramid carved from coral. The colorful structure has bits of coral randomly growing off it in all directions, with seaweed growing between. A staircase leads up to the entrance, and great flows of water channel their way into it from all directions. Dotted around the temple are a few other portals, all with water flowing through them and into the temple. At the base of the steps is the corpse of a human and a half-orc.

[The portals lead to different planes of existence or locations in the Prime Material. Players that get curious and inspect them may find themselves in dangerous locations of the multiverse. The corpses are the missing villagers.]

The Water Temple

[Resting in the temple is very dangerous, provoking Hard encounters after a Long rest, and a 25% chance of provoking Easy encounters after a Short rest.]

(1) Inside the first room of the temple are small booths with religious decoration, where the faithful can sit in quiet contemplation. In one of the booths are some fangs of unknown origin scattered around. The passage continues to the west.

(2) The passage opens into a small kennel partially submerged in water. It goes up to about your waists, but you find that the water doesn't seem to impede your movements, flowing around your legs as lightly as air. Instead of cages, the kennel has aquariums full of quippers, tiny blue and red pirahna. The kennel is connected to a large open room with circular walls. It appears to be some sort of kitchen, or some other place where food is prepared. There's 3 passageways leading to the north, east, and west from this central room. The north is an open passage while the west is behind a small wooden door, and the east is a great stone door covered in arcane symbols. Two crabmen are sat at a table eating.

[The crabmen (Fifth Edition Foes pg 69) will stand in alarm at the sight of the players if they're not all stealthing and fail to beat their passive perception. They'll bubble and gurgle some sort of shout, causing a giant frog (Monster Manual pg 325) to emerge from a pool of water. During combat they'll smash one of the aquariums in the kennel, causing a swarm of quippers (Monster Manual pg 338) to join the fight. If you need a different group, then make a Medium encounter in the Encounter Maker with the Aquatic environment. The door to the west is locked (DC 15), and the large stone door is magically sealed and requires at least a DC 30 check to open.]

(3) (North Passage from Kitchen) The room to the north has a number of cells and appears to be some sort of sacrifice chamber. This room is almost completely flooded, with water up to your neck. Within the cells are a number of Merfolk.

[There are 2 Dark Triton (Fifth Edition Foes pg 233) and 3 Merfolk (Monster Manual pg 218) in the cells. They only speak Aquan and will attack if released, but if a player speaks Aquan and passes some checks they may be able to convince them not to attack if released. The only information the prisoners will have is that they were captured by sahuagin. Within one of the cells is a key to the door blocking the west passage from the kitchen if the players failed to open it.]

(4) (West Passage from Kitchen) In this room is a large dormitory for study. There are two doors, one to the east and one to the north. Along the north wall is a lectern with 6 levers all in a row, and a chalkboard with a riddle written upon it:

"Your dexterous and charismatic ways always have two in-between.
While your raw strength comes first, it's not to be mean.
If I were to rate your intellect, it's next to your fortitude. Which itself comes next to your nimbleness.
Placing your charisma and brutish strength together would cause great impotence.
To proceed, draw on your wisdom to enter this room.
You'll find it next to your dexterity, pull it now or be doomed."
As you finish reading the riddle, both the doors slam shut.

[The doors re-lock (DC 15) and become trapped. Pulling the wrong lever or attempting to unlock the doors triggers an Acid Spray which targets all creatures within a 20 ft. cone, DC 20 save or take 15 (4d10) acid damage for 2 (1d4) rounds. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to deduce the trap's presence from connections in the lever's mechanism to it. A successful DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves' tools disarms the trap. Any unsuccessful attempt triggers the trap. The solution to the puzzle is to pull the “wisdom” lever, which is #2 from the left and causes both the doors to open and untrap.]

(5) (Both previous rooms eventually lead here) The path leads to a small robing room containing ceremonial outfits for the clergy to wear.

[If the robes are searched they'll find a religious token that if brought to the stone door will cause it to glow and slowly open. Wearing the robes will also achieve this, since the token is in the robe.]

(6) (Behind the stone door) A hallway flanked with great marble and coral pillars heads north down an intricately decorated and ceremonious run. A great silence hangs over the hallway, and you can smell incense burning in braziers hanging from the ceiling. On the ceiling is a phrase written in a bunch of different languages, it simply reads: "quiet."

[If anyone reads it aloud or speaks, they'll trigger a Ballista Trap. +6 to hit against one target, 5 (2d10) piercing and poison damage. A spell or other effect that can sense the presence of magic, such as detect magic, reveals an aura of divination magic around the phrase. A successful dispel magic (DC 13) cast on the phrase destroys the trap.]

(7) (At the end of the hall) The hallway opens up into a great underwater church, with benches lining the sides and facing towards a central platform for ceremonies. Swirling vortexes of water enter the room from all directions, entering a great pearl that sits upon a pillar. Around the pillar are sahuagin Priestesses chanting a religious ceremony. As they chant, creatures seem to pop into existence around them and bow their heads in religious reverance.

[2 Sahuagin Priestesses (Monster Manual pg 264), a Killer Whale (Monster Manual pg 331), and a Monstrous Crayfish (Fifth Edition Foes pg 70) will immediately attack. This should be a very challenging fight for the players, and if things start to go badly for the priestesses, they'll summon more water elementals to help. When things start going badly for the players and they start to consider fleeing or start dropping, a bunch of harpies will come to help.]

Suddenly, a group of harpies burst into the church. One comes up to [hurt player] and casts a healing spell on [him/her]. The other harpies begin to attack the sahuagin and summoned creatures.

[The players may have been attacking the pearl during this combat, or if they're not then after a couple more rounds of combat you can have a harpy attack it. Either way, have the pearl crack and break once combat starts to wind down or if it's dragging on for too long.]

Tidal Wave

As the pearl cracks and begins to break, a loud “WHOOOSH” echoes throughout the temple. The water swirling into the pearl stops, and explodes outwards into a massive flood that smashes against the walls and throws everyone back. The rumbling builds as you see a great tidal wave of chaotic water falling towards you from the ceiling.

[The water, released from its spell, will quickly and violently begin to gush out of the temple and back to its home planes. The players will need to escape from the temple, this time in reverse and with torrents of water chasing behind them. You should require a few checks on the way out, with failure causing the water to smash them up against the walls and deal damage.]

The water bursts out of the entrance of the temple right behind you, with a great roaring wave chasing you down the steps. As you run out across the vast ocean, the wave catches up to you and lifts you into the air as it crests over the surface, funneling you towards your home portal. You feel yourselves flung through it, sucked in like an ant in a storm drain. You're thrown to the side as you find yourselves back on the mountain, a massive blast of water shooting several stories high into the sky like a hose. The great torrent crashes down onto the mountain, flooding vigorously down the cliffs and smashing through rock as it overflows the previously dry riverbed.

[At this point the players can follow the river back to the village.]

It takes another day of travel to get back to the village, but you're unharassed by harpies this time around. The river has overflown the original channel, and flooded that farm fields of the village. Fortunately, the high up homes are mostly unaffected by the flood. Looking back upon the mountain you can see that the water has taken a new route down it, forming a huge waterfall along its side.

[The players will be rewarded for returning the water to the village, while the villagers will need to spend some time reworking their fields to account for the larger river now flowing by. It's seen as a great boon though, for the larger river will allow more boats to reach the village from other cities, and everyone enjoys the sight of the new waterfall.]

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