Little is known of the two lost deities. Not even their names. Not even their images. But some priests claim their influence still can be sensed in the world…
Annals of the Nine
There were nine gods; that much is certain. But a void in the common knowledge burns brighter the more scholars study it. The fact is that two gods are lost to the ages. Their names purged from all ancestries’ memories. Their imagery vandalized, destroyed, or stolen. And yet, some texts from eons ago still mention these gods; though never by name. And some cultures still retain a taboo or a myth that can be tracked down to their existence.
Not men, nor elves, nor dragons can make sense of this lack of information. Why were these gods purged from existence? Is this a punishment? Will they ever be known again? Scholars have wondered about those questions for centuries. Still, they hope that a new text, relic, or ancient location shall soon be unearthed and that it may hold the key to understanding the forgone past.
A band of lowly brigands found such a place a month ago in an uncharted cavern near a large town. In its depths, they found seven limestone, tentacle-like, slithering yet immobile appendages converging on a glowing gemstone. The gem is an ancient device used to commune with one of the two lost deities. The bandits were enraptured by the multi-faceted stone. The Eye of the Lost spoke to them. Threading thoughts into their minds and gifting some of them with the power to manipulate the weave of magic. They became the Cult of The Lost.
Since then, the bandits raid the merchant roads looking for live prisoners to bring to the eye. Some of them are enraptured by it and become new cultists. The rest are slain on the stone and the blood that drips onto The Eye of the Lost is absorbed by the strangely glowing gem.
Justice. Fifteen people have gone missing. It is enough. The bailiff posts a bounty contract for vanquishing the growing cultist group once and for all (30 gp, 1 XP).
Concerned Father. A nobleman begs the characters to help him. His daughter, Anna, was taken by the cultists 4 days ago. He offers a pearl as a reward (40 gp, 2 XP).
Vincent. He hires the party to investigate the cult as they have used strange magic during their raids. The mage is worried about the implications (20 gp, 1 XP).
|1||Prospectors went to the cavern a decade ago and left in a hurry. An underground, insect monster attacked them.|
|2||Some of the cultists are known brigands and criminals of the region. None of them were overly religious before.|
|3||Two loggers approached the mine stealthily 2 days ago and claim they saw two lit braziers by the entrance.|
|4||The bandit leader is wanted for robbing a banker’s home and holding two noblemen hostage for ransom.|
|5||A survivor of a recent incident claims she heard a cultist say: ‘All for the will of The Lost”, while casting a spell.|
|6||The cultists attacked a noble caravan 3 days ago.|
Level 1 Adventure
- Danger. Risky. Check for encounters every 2 crawling rounds and after a battle or loud noises (1-in-6 chance).
- Light. Some chambers have braziers with permanent light; the rest are dark. All denizens are dark-adapted.
- Seismic Activity. Once per hour, there is a 2-in-6 chance that any of the limestone tendrils moves, causing a quake in the area. Debris falls from the cavern ceilings, dealing 1d6 damage to all creatures (DC 12 DEX check).
- The Hum. The hum of cultists chanting in area 7 can be heard from anywhere within the caves. When in close proximity, it is revealed the cultists chant in Primordial. The Eye of the Lost appears to react to this language.
|RANDOM EVENTS d6||Details|
|1||Two cultists (peasants) approach, drop their arms, and ask for help. They have been pretending to be cultists.|
|2||A giant bat swoops from the dark ceiling and attacks a random creature. It only wants to find prey.|
|3||A patrol of 1 cultist and 2 bandits approaches. One of the bandits is Anna, a noble lady (see Adventure Hooks).|
|4||A vision of a desolate land assails the characters (DC 13 WIS check). Two faceless entities meander aimlessly through a darkened forest. They are The Lost.|
|5||The Eye of the Lost produces a magical pulse. All light sources in the cave are suddenly extinguished, magical or not. Complete darkness takes over the cavern.|
|6||A cave creeper approaches from the depths. The stench of blood and rot has brought it to this place.|
1. The Surroundings
Two large iron braziers burn by the cavern’s entrance. The trees within 100 feet of it have all withered.
- Getting Here. By now, the cultists’ lair location is common knowledge. Anyone can show the characters its location on a map. It is a 1-hour, uneventful trip.
- The Braziers. The braziers are filled with unburnt logs. The fire produces no heat. A spellcaster identifies the source of this flame as the light spell (DC 9 INT).
- The Trees. A strange blight has assailed these trees. A careful observer notices that the trees have sustained greater necrotic damage on the sides facing south.
- The Patrol. Each crawling round that the characters remain here, there is a 3-in-6 chance that a patrol of 1 cultist, 1 bandit, and 2 peasants returns from the east. If alerted, one of them goes inside to warn the others.
2. The Mound of Bones
In the darkness of this cavern, there is a mound of countless bones. Most are humanoid, others are not. Some bones appear to move when no one is looking.
The Cult of The Lost has killed numerous people, forest creatures, and animals to their foul gemstone. After such a ritualistic sacrifice, the bodies decay rapidly over the course of hours. The bones are then piled up here.
- Ghastly Remains. Inspecting the bone pile for 1 crawling round reveals there are at least 30 different bodies here. The bones belong to humans, elves, horses, and small forest mammals. Inspecting the pile causes two skeletons to emerge from the mound and attack.
- Treasure (1 XP). Hidden in the bone pile, there is a pouch with 10 gp and a potion of invisibility.
3. Fungal Growths
Strange clumps of a green-tinted powdery substance freely float in the air of this chamber. The bulking forms of fungal fruiting bodies hug the stone walls.
The characters encounter the effect of the spores when squeezing through the narrow passage (see below). The cultists avoid this cavern because of the fungus.
- The Spores. Creatures that breathe the spores take 1d6 damage as they poison the lungs (DC 12 CON check). Repeat the check per each round of exposure.
- The Fungus (1 XP). A brave botanist can attempt to hold their breath while taking a sample of the fungus (DC 15 check). It can be used to breed more of it.
4. The Elevated Ledge
A set of crude steps leads to a seemingly bottomless pit. The other side of the chasm is 20 feet across.
- The Crossing. Each character must make a DC 14 STR check to cross over jumping or climbing. Roll with advantage if the party spends 1 crawling round setting up pitons and rope to cross. The chasm is 40 feet deep. Creatures that fall take 2d6 damage (DC 14 DEX/half). The passage leads to a ledge that overlooks area 7.
5. The Blood Vessel
A curved, tubular, limestone thing traverses this chamber. A golden vase lies by the north wall.
- The Vase. Cultists collect some blood from each victim and pour it here. It is a heretic relic that contains a liter of blood. Destroying it awards 1 luck token.
- The Tendril. The limestone object pierces the wall eastward. If inspected for 1 crawling round, its presence and nature defy explanation especially since dragging marks on the floor suggest it has moved, slithering like a snake. Three bandits hide behind the 5-foot-tall tendril.
6. The Cursed Antechamber
Two cultists converse. Their conversation is barely audible over the humming chant from area 7. There is a 3-in- 6 chance that they are not aware of the characters.
- Lady Anna. Anna’s mind is deluded by the strange visions of The Eye. She refuses any offer of rescue (see Adventure Hooks). The characters must find a way to capture her without harming her badly. Lady Anna is not here if she appeared previously in Random Event 3.
7. The Eye of the Lost
A 5-foot-radius, purple gemstone glows and pulses in the center of this chamber. Seven twisting limestone tendrils emerge from the stone walls and converge on the stone from all sides. Many cultists surround it.
- The Cult. The cult leader, one cultist, and two bandits chant by the stone. They are aware of the characters if they had fought in area 6. Otherwise, or if they approach from the ledge (area 4) the cultists are unaware. Ten more people are chanting, cultists of lesser resolve. They are cowards who flee or cower by the walls.
- The Tendrils. Careful inspection reveals that the shifting monuments have gotten closer to the gem over the course of centuries. Their nature remains obscure and inexplicable. They may be alive, running on a time-frame much slower than any mortal could imagine.
- The Eye of the Lost. It is a relic from ages past, connected to The Lost though it refuses to reveal any useful information. It is fused to the stone floor, immovable.
- Treasure (2 XP). The cult leader carries a leather pouch with 30 gp, 250 sp, and a potion of healing.
After the characters defeat the cult leader, the power that the gem had over the cultists fades and The Eye of the Lost becomes duller. Those who were brigands run to the hills if able to lay low. The rest, who were forcefully conscripted by the cult, return to their homes in the nearby settlements after thanking the characters.
The Eye of the Lost is a valuable relic that may hold the key to understanding more about the missing deities from the past. But it is also dangerous for it to remain unguarded because of its power to seduce weak minds.
Before leaving, the eye glows once more and the characters experience a strange oneiric vision. They see a faraway forest and two monstrous entities emerging. Their passage flattens sections of the darkened forest. Both beings look at the moon with longing expressions.
The vision eludes explanation. But a pulsing drive now exists within each of the characters. An impulse to go to a forest far away south. Are The Lost hiding there?
A cloaked, dark figure with a smoldering drive in his crazed eyes that cannot be from this world.
AC 13 (chainmail), HP 13, ATK 1 dagger +1 (1d4) or 1 spell +2, MV near, S +2, D -1, C +0, I +0, W +2, Ch +1, AL C, LV 3
Fearless. Immune to morale checks.
- Blast (INT Spell). DC 11. Far, one target. 1d8 damage.