Vicious Venues11/23/2005

Torgart's Undermountain Bakery

Torgart's Undermountain Bakery contains an encounter of level 7-8
and is suitable for use with any D&D campaign.

Wonderful smells rise from this fortresslike building day and night. The place is famous for its excellent bread and sweet cakes that are shaped like stone buildings. A trio of lookalike dwarves runs the place -- a fact that helps explain the unusual cakes. If you think dwarf bakers are just too strange to be believed, you might be right. Most of Torgart's Undermountain Bakery lies underground and out of sight, and who knows what lurks beneath the surface?

Background for the DM

A trio of dwarf cousins -- Einjar, Josgar, and Dajmarda Torgart -- owns and operates Torgart's Undermountain Bakery. The three also have a small number of young dwarves in their employ. The cousins share similar features, and they're all about the same age, leading many people to think they're siblings, or even triplets.

A one-story stone building with a flat roof houses the business. On the roof, the Torgarts have erected an artificial mountain, which serves as the bakery's sign. The false mountain is made from canvas panels stretched over a wooden framework and painted to make the mountain look fairly real. The bakery gets its name from its most unusual sign. Unfortunately, the whole affair tends to literally come apart in the wind. Einjar Torgart, who is responsible for maintaining the sign, often grumbles about the "chaos of the weather on the surface."

The three Torgarts offer excellent bread baked fresh several times each day. Because many of their customers seem to have a sweet tooth, the Torgarts also offer a few confections. Most of these come in the form of chewy cakes studded with rock candy and made in the shapes of buildings or natural rock formations. The Torgarts don't care for light, airy confections. The bakery also sells meat pasties (a savory pastry consisting of a flaky crust filled with chopped meat and vegetables), and assorted dried fruit and meat (suitable for use as trail rations). All these items remain available throughout the day, though a few baked items usually are gone from the shelves by the end of the business day. Each day, the Torgarts also prepare one selection of soup or stew. The selection varies daily. The Torgarts hang a ladle outside the shop to indicate that the daily soup or stew selection is still available. When the day's supply is gone, the ladle comes down. The Torgarts serve their soups and stews in bowls made from hard, fairly waterproof bread. A bread bowl can hold soup for about 45 minutes before getting soggy. Stew takes a little longer to soak through.

The Torgarts also make their ovens available to the local residents who need to bake or roast meals. Officially, they charge a small fee for the service, but they generally waive it for people who are truly needy.

Visitors generally consider Torgart's Undermountain Bakery a peculiar business. Most people don't think of dwarves as skilled bakers, and the sight of flour-dusted dwarves scurrying about making and selling bread strikes visitors as quite odd. Strains of dwarven working songs (hearty but not always on key) emanating from the basement add to the eccentric atmosphere.

In fact, there's more to the Undermountain Bakery than meets the eye. The bakery actually has three underground levels. The first holds the ovens and storage areas for the bakery. The second is a series of snug apartments for the Torgarts and their staff. The third and lowest level contains a shrine to Moradin, complete with the requisite forge. When not busy baking, most of the Torgarts are working at the forge, secretly making weapons and armor. Exactly why the Torgarts pose as bakers while making implements of war is left up to the DM. Perhaps the Torgarts simply enjoy working with metal, or perhaps they are outcasts from their clan and have been forbidden (for some reason) to work stone and metal. Or perhaps the bakery is a secret dwarven outpost or safe house, and the Torgarts are surreptitiously keeping watch for some threat to the dwarven community.

The Setup

The bakery is located on the fringes of a dwarf enclave in a large town or city in which the main population is human or elf. You can also place it in a smaller community located a short distance from a major dwarven settlement. In this latter case, the Torgarts and their employees should be among the very few dwarves in the community -- or perhaps the only dwarves there.

The player characters might visit the bakery to buy provisions for an adventure, or some event might draw them there. Here are a few possibilities.

  • A mysterious but diminutive figure swathed in a cloak or hood steps in and does the PCs a favor. The favor can be minor, but it should be memorable. Perhaps he helps the PCs catch a thief who has stolen an item from them. Or perhaps he steps up to vouch for the characters when they get into trouble. Or perhaps he gives the party an important piece of information in exchange for a favor to be named later.

In any case, the mysterious character wants the PCs to respond in kind. They merely need to stop at Torgart's Undermountain Bakery and pick up a special order. The character gives the PCs a locked box decorated with dwarven runes to present as payment.

The box contains a modest amount of wealth -- a few hundred gold pieces at most. The special order is a crate full of bread and cakes, and the PCs must deliver it secretly to a specified location.

The whole business might be innocuous -- perhaps the mysterious character is merely laying in supplies for a surprise party. Or perhaps the baked goods conceal an item of value such as a piece of treasure, a weapon, or a document. The PCs' errand might go well, or they might be assailed by stealthy enemies. It all depends on what the DM decides the Torgarts really are up to. The three Torgart cousins are sincerely lawful good, so they will not be involved in any dastardly or immoral dealings. Nevertheless, they might have secrets they wish to keep.

  • The PCs find an unusual item hidden in their rations. It might be a small trinket or gem, or it could be a small tool or weapon. Upon investigation, they discover that the rations came from Torgart's Undermountain Bakery. (The PCs might have purchased the item themselves, or bought it from some merchant who resells the Torgarts' wares.) The hidden item might have wound up inside the rations by mistake, or it might be part of a secret shipment that somehow went astray.

  • The PCs meet a desperate -- or perhaps mortally wounded -- dwarf who begs them to take him (or her) to Torgart's Undermountain Bakery. The hapless dwarf might be a relative of the Torgarts' who has become lost, a rival sent to deliver a challenge, or a secret messenger or agent who almost failed a mission.

  • A government official who has authority over the place where the Torgarts have their bakery has become suspicious of the dwarves. So she hires the PCs to infiltrate the place and discover what's going on there.

Visiting the Bakery

The Torgarts are open for business every day of the year, from dawn until dusk. Early mornings are their busiest times -- that is when most customers come in to buy fresh bread for the day. The view from outside isn't very encouraging, however.

The squat building has a plain stone facade broken only by a single wooden door bound with black iron and a few slitlike windows. A fortress or prison might look more inviting. Atop the roof is a towering artificial mountain whose craggy flanks seem to tremble in the breeze. Occasionally, an eddy of wind brings the mixed scents of fresh bread and coal smoke.

Inside, the first-time visitor finds a little more charm. The text below assumes a visit fairly early in the morning, when the shelves are still full.

Inside, the atmosphere feels warm and dry, and the comforting aroma of wholesome baking fills the air. Still, the hint of cool and damp that rises from the stone walls and floor keeps the place from feeling stuffy or overheated.

The bakery seems to have only a single room. The open serving area is backed by a low counter with a green marble top. Neat pyramids of rolls and loaves are arrayed along the counter, and at each end stands a charcoal brazier topped with a steaming cauldron and flanked by piles of deep bread trenchers.

Behind the counter stand rows and rows of wooden shelves filled with loaves of bread, stacks of rolls, and amazing-looking confections made in the shapes of stone buildings or natural rock formations. A fresh-faced but portly dwarf lass dressed in a spotless white apron, a loose smock, and a ridiculously floppy white beret serves customers from behind the counter. She seems to have an infectious smile. A few young dwarf males, also very chunky and dressed in similar clothes, assist by retrieving goods from the back shelves.

One can't be sure, but strains of some sort of jolly song seem to rise from somewhere below the stone floor.

There isn't much more to see here. The shop has a back door for receiving shipments, and a set of stairs leads to the levels below. Both are out of sight behind the shelves.

Creatures: Several townsfolk are usually in here buying bread at any given time. These people are mostly commoners, but the PCs might also meet any of the area's notable NPCs (provided they're the sort of folks who do their own shopping).

The dwarf lass is Dajmarda, the oldest and most experienced of the three cousins. She is nominally in charge of the bakery, and she serves as the manager, salesclerk, and goodwill ambassador. Like all the cousins, she wears a chain shirt under her smock, which makes her look portly and causes her to jingle when she walks. She keeps her weapons handy behind the counter.

Dajmarda CR 8

Female dwarf fighter 4/paladin 4
LG Medium humanoid
Init +4; Senses Listen +1, Spot +1, darkvision 60 ft.
Aura courage (10 ft., allies +4 against fear)
Languages Common, Dwarven

AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 17; +4 AC against giants
hp 65 (8 HD)
Immune disease, fear
Resist +2 on saves against spells and spell-like effects, +2 on Fortitude saves against all poisons, stability (+4 against bull rush and trip)
Fort +13, Ref +5, Will +6

Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee+1 greataxe +13/+8 (1d12+4/x3) or
Ranged mwk composite shortbow +9/+4 (1d6+2/x3)
Base Atk +8; Grp +11
Atk Options Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, smite evil 1/day (+2 attack, +4 damage), +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids
Special Actions lay on hands 12 points/day, turn undead 5/day (+2, 2d6+3, 1st)
Combat Gear 4 scrolls of cure light wounds, 2 oil of magic weapon, scroll of bless weapon, scroll of magic weapon
Paladin Spells Prepared (CL 2nd): 1st -- bless
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th): At will -- detect evil

Abilities Str 16, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 14
SQ stonecunning, strong aura of good
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Negotiator, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (greataxe)
Skills Appraise +0 (+2 for stone or metalwork), Climb +6, Concentration +6, Craft (baking) +2, Craft (metalworking) +4, Craft (stoneworking) +4, Diplomacy +8, Jump +0, Sense Motive +3
Possessions combat gear plus +1 chain shirt, amulet of natural armor +1, ring of protection +1, +1 greataxe, masterwork composite shortbow (+2 Str bonus) with 20 arrows, +1 cloak of resistance, gold and emerald ring (60 gp), 18 gp, 10 sp

Hook "How can I help you?" In a fight, Dajmarda prefers to cast bless before meeting foes in a clash of arms.

Two or three dwarf warriors assist Dajmarda throughout the day. Three more dwarf warriors are present on the lower floors at any given time.

Dwarf Warriors (6): hp 6 each; MM 91. These dwarves wear chain shirts instead of their normal scale mail with heavy shields (AC 14), and they have Craft (baking) instead of Craft (stoneworking).

The remaining two cousins, Einjar and Josgar, are usually at work or resting down below in the morning. Later in the day, they relieve Dajmarda at the counter. They also wear chain shirts under their bakery garb, but they are not as good with customer service as their charming cousin is.

Einjar CR 4

Male dwarf expert 3/warrior 2
LG Medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Listen +8, Spot +8, darkvision 60 ft.
Languages Common, Dwarven, Orc, Undercommon

AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 16; +4 AC against giants
hp 29 (5 HD)
Resist +2 on saves against spells and spell-like effects, +2 on Fortitude saves against all poisons, stability (+4 against bull rush and trip)
Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +3

Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee mwk greataxe +7 (1d12+3/x3) or
Ranged mwk composite shortbow +6 (1d6+2/x3)
Base Atk +4; Grp +6
Atk Options Power Attack, +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids
Combat Gear 2 potions ofcure light wounds, 2 flasks of alchemist's fire, tanglefoot bag

Abilities Str 15, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 8
SQ stonecunning
Feats Alertness, Power Attack
Skills Appraise +2 (+4 for bows or baked goods, +6 for stone or metal work), Climb +6, Craft (baking) +7, Craft (bow making) +7, Craft (metalworking) +9, Craft (stoneworking) +4, Diplomacy +1, Handle Animal +3, Heal +5, Jump -1, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) +7, Listen +8, Sense Motive +6, Spot +8
Possessions combat gear plus +1 chain shirt, ring of protection +1, masterwork greataxe, masterwork composite shortbow (+2 Str bonus) with 20 arrows, silver and onyx ring (10 gp), 3 gp, 10 sp

Hook "Whatcha want?" Einjar is a rather straightforward melee opponent and likes to get into the fray quickly.

Josgar CR 5

Male dwarf fighter 4/expert 2
LG Medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.
Languages Common, Dwarven

AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 17; Dodge, Two-Weapon Defense, +4 AC against giants
hp 49 (6 HD)
Resist +2 on saves against spells and spell-like effects, +2 on Fortitude saves against all poisons, stability (+4 against bull rush and trip)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +6

Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee mwk dwarven urgrosh +9 (1d8+2/x3) or mwk dwarven urgrosh +7 (1d8+2/x3) and mwk dwarven urgrosh +7 (1d6+1/x3)
Ranged mwk composite shortbow +8 (1d6+2/x3)
Base Atk +5; Grp +7
Atk Options +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids
Combat Gearpotion ofcure light wounds, 2 oil ofmagic weapon,

Abilities Str 14, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
SQ stonecunning
Feats Dodge, Lightning Reflexes, Toughness, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (dwarven urgrosh)
Skills Appraise +0 (+2 for stone or metal work), Climb +6, Craft (baking) +4, Craft (metalworking) +4, Craft (stoneworking) +4, Heal +5, Jump +0, Tumble +7
Possessions combat gear plus +1 chain shirt, ring of protection +1, masterwork dwarven urgrosh, masterwork composite shortbow (+2 Str bonus) with 20 arrows, cloak of resistance +1, gold and onyx ring (20 gp), 3 gp, 10 sp

Hook "Hmmph." As with Einjar, Josgar prefers to face his foes head on, but he will use his ranged attack if tactics dictate a better advantage.

Neither Einjar nor Josgar thinks much of being a baker, but they both have resolved to do as good a job as possible. Einjar, with his knowledge of architecture, is responsible for the bakery's building-shaped confections. Both of the male cousins are characteristically taciturn for dwarves, and they wear dour expressions that bespeak their dissatisfaction with running a bakery instead of pursuing more appropriate activities. They tend to be abrupt with customers, though they stop short of being rude. However, the bakery's customers tend to be indulgent toward the two male cousins because of the quality of their wares.

A middle-aged human female steps up to the counter. "A loaf of peasant bread, please, and a dozen of those adorable little building cakes," she says in a bubbly voice. "Do you have any shaped like temples? Oh, I just can't get over how cute they are!"

"Just townhouses today," says the dwarf behind the counter with a surly expression. He slaps a loaf of bread down hard on the smooth surface, then begins boxing up cakes while muttering to himself. "Temples now, they want," he says, pushing back the floppy chef's hat that has drooped down over his eyes. "I can make temples to the Soul Forger, but they probably want those frilly, prissy little elven temples. Hmmph."

He ties the box closed and slams it onto the counter. "That'll be 5 silver," he says gruffly.

The woman pays, then leans over the counter to pinch the dwarf's cheek, eliciting an expression of sheer horror. "Thank you so much! I'll be back tomorrow!" she sings merrily and heads for the door.

The dwarf reflexively reaches to his hip where a weapon would normally hang, then seems to remember himself. "What are you all looking at?" he growls at the other gathered customers and turns to the next in line.

As noted earlier, the Torgarts work at their forge when not resting or baking. They sing or chant working songs while shaping metal to help cover the sounds of their hammers.

Tactics: All the cousins play the role of harmless baker to the hilt and wave off any suggestion that something else might be afoot at the bakery.

In a fight, all the cousins prefer melee combat, though Dajmarda usually takes a moment to cast a bless spell before entering the fray. The cousins usually meet the foe head-on while their warrior employees try to work their way around the enemy's flanks.

About the Authors

Skip Williams keeps busy with freelance projects for several different game companies and was the Sage of Dragon Magazine for 18 years. Skip is a co-designer of the D&D 3rd Edition game and the chief architect of the Monster Manual. When not devising swift and cruel deaths for player characters, Skip putters in his kitchen or garden (rabbits and deer are not Skip's friends) or works on repairing and improving the century-old farmhouse that he shares with his wife, Penny, and a growing menagerie of pets.

Penny Williams joined the roleplaying game industry as Game Questions Expert for TSR, Inc. in the 1980s. Since then, she has served as RPGA Network Coordinator, PolyhedronNewszine editor, and Senior Editor and Coordinating Editor for the RPG R&D Department at Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Now a busy freelancer, Penny edits for several game companies and runs the online playtesting program for Wizards products. When not enhancing the cruelty of the deaths PCs will suffer at the hands of designers, Penny puts up jam, works jigsaw puzzles, and tutors students in math and science.

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