As the party navigates through SLEEPY MOUNTAIN TOWN NAME they come across a Half-orc weeping outside of a storefront. The sign above the door says “Custom Bustoms” and the party will notice busts of important figures from their travels in the window. Noticing the party, the half-orc wipes his tears and says, “oh good, you’re here! Who would have thought, I, Alexandros Strazza, would have to stoop to hiring a lot like you to stay in business.” He scoffs as he stands and approaches.
Even if the party explains they’re not who he’s looking for he goes right into the task he thinks the party is there to complete. “I’m completely out of marble and my backlog is tremendous. As you can see I am the finest sculptor this side of the Realm in an industry that is booming. The supplier is here.” He points on a map to a location in the mountains nearby. “If you don’t get that marble back today, I’m ruined. So chop chop.” He claps at the party and hands them a purchase order, a Belt of Stone Giant Strength, and a chisel, “just in case.”
Heading out, the party has about a two hours journey into the mountains to the location on the map. Depending on party level and DM/campaign preferences, they are susceptible to random encounters with mountain creatures, roaming bandits, etc.
Nearing the area on the map, they see a set of ornate stairs leading up to a huge entrance into the side of the mountain. Tiny crumbles of marble and other stones can be seen as the party heads up the stairs.
Reaching the entrance, there are torches that light the area, but no one seems to be there.
A Warm Welcome
The party is welcome to wander around a bit, but after a few moments, a skiddish elderly gnome will pop up and exclaim, “ah! The marble movers, right? We’re just finishing up your order for 20 marble prisms.” She’ll ask for the purchase order, and will squint then raise her glasses and squint again.
“Perfect, right this way. The Marbler will see you now.”
The gnome leads them through a series of doors, as she reaches the last one, she says, “this is as far as I go.” She plugs her nose, opens the final door and scurries away.
A stench fills the air and the party must make a CON saving throw of DC10 or become extremely nauseous. A roll of 8 or lower will cause party members to vomit.
Before them lies a large cave area that measures 50 feet in depth and width and 30 feet high. The cave appears to be dug out with precision from marble excavation. In the center of the room are 21 rectangular chunks of marble, likely the goods the party needs to retrieve.
At the back of the cave, a huge mass shifts away from the wall (15×15), the sound of clinking chains and thuds reverberate around the room. As the mass approaches and comes further into the light, the party recognizes it as a Sibriex. As it gets toward the center of the cave, the stench in the room grows stronger and the party will need to make a DC15 CON save. If they succeed, they are immune to the sibriex’s “Contamination” for 24 hours. Any member that fails takes 4d6 poison damage and will need to check again every 5 minutes, or take the damage again.
As the hideous fiend approaches, a wave of calm comes over the party and they must make a DC21 spell save or be charmed by the Sibriex.
It’s gnarled mouth begins to move and the party hears a voice say in garbling Common, “ahhhh, welcome, here for the marble it seems?” Its water-like body wriggles around the marble, hugging it close. “My assistant told me you’d be coming.” Bile leaks from its body and another stench cloud farts out as it coughs a few times, each successively louder, the final cough expelling another marble block from its mouth onto the pile.
“As you can see, I’ve added two extra blocks here. I was wondering if you’d be so kind as to make a quick sculpture of me before you go.” The door to the cave slams shut as the Sibriex continues. “I unfortunately won’t be young forever, so I’d like to immortalize my exquisite physique before it melts away.” Part of its body falls off as it speaks. “See what I mean?”
The sibriex is nothing but kind if asked additional questions, and though extremely hard to look at seems like a fairly reasonable individual.
Sculpt or Scram
If the party nopes out of the situation, they will have to fight The Marbler immediately as it will become extremely agitated that you aren’t willing to sculpt it. Defeating The Marbler will turn it into a pile of goop and if they dig around will find the key to the door to leave.
If the party decides to go for it and sculpt the sibriex, it will be delighted and ask “what pose would you like?” Whatever the pose, its body will morph and shift in a grotesque fashion, taking whatever form was noted.
Sculpting the sibriex will take five rounds of rolls, each successively more difficult. Charisma checks are to persuade The Marbler into thinking that you’re not entirely grossed out by what you are doing, Dexterity checks are for the finesse of releasing the bust from its marble cocoon.
- Round 1: Charisma DC10, Dexterity DC10
- Round 2: Charisma DC12, Dexterity DC12
- Round 3: Charisma DC14, Dexterity DC14
- Round 4: Charisma DC16, Dexterity DC16
- Round 5: Charisma DC18, Dexterity DC18
After each round, the sibriex will ask how things are coming along, getting more and more excited each time around. The more excited it gets, the worse it smells. If at any point the sculptor rolls a Nat 1, they bump the marble and it falls to the ground, shattering.
Upset, the Sibriex will calm itself and say “no worries, there’s an extra one right there.” It will request another member of the party try their hand.
The party must succeed on 4 out of the 5 rounds. If not on the first block, then they have to succeed on the second, otherwise the sibriex will fly into a rage and attack them, disgusted with their lack of ability. “I LOOK NOTHING LIKE THAT!” Its vanity drives its anger, so play up the anger in the vein.
You Have No Marbles
As long as the party resolves the encounter in one way or another, they will be able to acquire the 20 marble chunks and head back down the mountain. The assistant will offer up a sled or wagon if the Belt given earlier isn’t enough to lift all of the blocks.
If you’ve killed the sibriex, the assistant will cough and gag as she runs into the cave area to its aid, cursing you as she goes.
If you’ve appeased the sibriex, she will congratulate you and reward you with a Figurine of Wondrous Power (the kind is up to the DMs discretion).
Returning to Alexandros Strazza, the half-orc is elated that you returned. He will ask how Marty (the Marbler) is doing. DC15 Deception if you’ve killed the sibriex and want to lie.
If he is pleased with you Alexandros will offer to make a bust of each of the characters, and will send it to their hometown if they’d like. He also offers to let them keep the Belt of Stone Giant Strength. From there he will pick up the first block and begin carving away.