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The Snow King is a cruel undead lord residing in a remote castle in the frozen wastes. His power is far too great for level 2 adventurers to risk a direct confrontation, but legends tell of riches and rare treasures found within the castle vaults. This has proven too tempting a mark, so the PCs have decided to sneak into the vault and take what they can find.
In this scenario, the PCs may leave at any time. Rather than there being a specific goal to reach, the PCs are motivated to find the treasures hidden throughout the vault. Dangerous undead sentries patrol the vault; while they may not be the most perceptive, they are much more deadly than the common variety. The PCs must avoid direct confrontation.
Because the Seekers are all undead, there's no need to hide bodies. The undead patrols don't pay any attention to any collapsed undead creatures they come across.
Note that the Torch Bearers illuminate their occupied region, overriding the darkness otherwise present in most of the patrol route. That means that PCs in adjacent regions can see where the Torch Bearers are without needing Darkvision.
|Lighting||Mixed (see regions)|
G - F > H | / \ ^ D E | \ / | B - A - C - I
|(Region A) South Wing [lit]|
|The stone vault does nothing to relieve the bitter cold from outdoors, and your need to be stealthy means you can't make or carry any fire to stay warm. Four similar-looking hallways lead into darkness.|
|(Region B) Statuary [dark]|
|These chambers are filled with large, heavy statues. Something about them is deeply unsettling. You feel as if they are watching you, and you could swear one of them just moved.|
|Whispers of Madness|
|(Region C) Unfinished Area [dark]|
|This section of the vaults was never completed. That or it suffered catastrophic damage. Deep holes in the northern area lead into darkness. Rickety planks give an option for navigating the area, and you notice ladders here and there as well.|
|North||E||Narrow Platform (Height 1; fall to I)|
|(Region D) West Wing [dark]|
|This network of cold stone hallways is utterly bare of decor. Fortunately the design isn't particularly maze-like, so it's relatively easy to navigate despite the lack of landmarks.|
|Guard Dog 1||See Patrols|
|(Region E) East Wing [dark]|
|This wing is in poor repair. Hallways to the south are partially collapsed, with makeshift wooden planks haphazardly placed across the holes. The once-grand staircase leading down on the north side is missing many of its stairs and much of its railing.|
|Down||H||Damaged Staircase (Height 2)|
|South||B||Narrow Platform (Height 1; fall to I)|
|Guard Dog 2||See Patrols|
|(Region F) North Wing [dark]|
|A few rooms in this area are filled with worthless junk. To the west the temperatures grow even colder as the ground gains a layer of ice. To the east a hallway slopes sharply; sliding and tumbling down the slick stone is a real possibility.|
|Down||H||Steep Incline (Height 1)|
|Torch Bearer 1||See Patrols|
|Torch Bearer 2||See Patrols|
|(Region G) Icy Vault [lit]|
|This massive chamber is largely empty. Strangely, much of its contents are stored on shelves fixed to the walls rather than on the floor. A closer look reveals why; the layer of slick ice on the floor rests over dark, frigid waters. What madness leads one to construct a frozen pool to protect a vault?|
|Treasure Cache 1||Hidden: 1d8|
|(Region H) Trophy Room [lit]|
|This large sunken chamber is filled with what appear to be trophies. Some are objects taken from defeated foes, but more common are the frozen corpses of beasts and heroes that have fallen to the Snow King. It's all deeply upsetting.|
|Up West||F||Steep Incline (Height 1)|
|Up South||E||Damaged Staircase (Height 2)|
|Treasure Cache 2||Hidden: 1d8|
|(Region H) Icy Pits [lit]|
|Bare earth makes up the walls and flooring in these holes beneath the vault. Perhaps these holes in the earth were unknown to the builders, and part of the vault eventually collapsed. Or maybe some would-be thieves tried an inventive way to get inside and accidentally collapsed a corner of it, probably right atop their heads. Thankfully you can see, but then you realize that's because of the presence of glowing blue mold seeking to swallow what's left of your warmth.|
While you may of course place anything you like within the two treasure caches, here are some recommendations. Adjust based on how much loot you're giving out across the rest of this level and how many players you have so the PCs remain on the right track.
Any PC that takes the Stairs from region A before all Stealth Tokens are lost gets away unscathed with any discovered treasures.
The PCs are discovered and must flee the vault. If they insist on fighting, either narratively detail their crushing defeat or, if that would upset them, go ahead and run a quick combat scenario against higher-level undead, all but ensuring their defeat. Regardless, the PCs are able to get away with their lives, but any that hadn't yet left the vault suffer an Injury. You might force such PCs to drop any treasures they had found in the vault as they flee or suffer a second Injury due to being slowed down.
This scenario is filled with a ton of Challenges in order to make both the stealth and damage portions interesting. If you want to run it more purely as stealth so that damage is not a real threat, you can remove the Chilled Winds and Unsettling Ambiance. You'll also want to redo region G, swapping the Obstacles and Trap for something stealth-themed such as a Trained Guard and Excessive Clutter. You might eliminate region I entirely.
On the other hand, you could also run this as a normal scenario, removing stealth as an aspect. Toss the Seekers and the Bell Tripwires, then include some Creatures such as Vermin Swarms, Cave Bats, and Wandering Spirits.
PCs who excel at Actions against Seekers might trivialize this scenario by defeating all the patrols. Particularly with higher player counts, consider giving them Respawn timers like with Creatures, representing their undead nature (or the automatic arrival of replacement undead).
There's a lot of treasure available to be found here. It assumes the PCs will have to complete one or two additional scenarios just to reach the vault and try for the treasure, with those scenarios offering little to no reward. If that's not the case, you can drop the Glowstone and Flashy Jewelry from the caches, perhaps adding another Valuable or two to each so it's clearly a better haul than a lucky Fortune. If the PCs aren't very interested in the Treasure Gear they gain here, you might let them try to find a buyer that'll offer more than a meager 1 Wealth each by running an Interaction scenario.