Cursed are those who stand in the way of Gede and Arbael, for together they triumph against insurmountable odds. They are a mountain to contend with.
Book of Gede and Arbael
Few mortals can comprehend the extent of the primordial wars and the conflicts among the known deities. Untold stories led to the apparent death and disappearance of two gods, now commonly known as The Lost. All details about them are absent from written and oral history.
Gede, the god of feasts, mirth, and the wilds, is worshiped by elves, fey, and even humans. A temple dedicated to her right-hand, the archangel Arbael, is located a mile from the nearest human settlement, Cherryplum Town. Centuries ago, the locals often went to pray. Alas, it all changed when agents of The Lost carved their way through the mud and established an altar to their forlorn deities. They cast a terrible incantation that cursed the compound and trapped the angel’s essence in an inscrutable prison. Since then, the place is shunned and dangerous, and the angel has been lost to Gede herself.
Release. A bishop of Gede begs the party to explore the shunned temple after a dream. He saw Gede’s archangel, they have been trapped for centuries. (0 XP).
Retrieval. A criminal leader hires the characters to retrieve the Altar of the Lost from Gede’s shunned temple. They may keep other trinkets found there (80 gp, 8 XP).
Explorers. Jamil, a scholar, hires the characters as bodyguards to explore Gede’s temple. He claims there are wondrous treasures and unique tomes (40 gp, 4 XP).
|1||The temple of blessed Gede has been cursed for ages. Only the bravest priests ever visit the place.|
|2||Legend has it that cultists of The Lost committed a terrible sin near the temple to curse it forever.|
|3||A hefty treasure is said to be hidden in Gedde’s temple. However, it would be frowned upon to plunder it.|
|4||Some records claim that the temple is dedicated to the great Arbael, Gede’s most trusted archangel.|
|5||Strange grunts and howls come from the underground temple; they keep most onlookers and explorers at bay.|
|6||The temple can be reached from a cavern system that features an underground stream. Spelunkers found this entrance a few years ago but didn’t venture further.|
Level 4 Adventure
- Danger. Risky. Check for a random event every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (3-in-6 chance).
- Light. Areas 6 and 9 have light sources; the rest of the dungeon is dark. All denizens are dark-adapted.
- Aura of Corruption. Each crawling round, a random character is assailed by The Lost. They become possessed and attack their allies (DC 13 WIS check). Protection from evil dispels this nefarious possession.
|RANDOM EVENTS d8||Details|
|1||Two giant bats swoop from the dark ceiling and attack random creatures. They fiercely fight to the death.|
|2||A basilisk spawns by the Altar of the Lost. The souls of those it petrifies are absorbed by The Lost.|
|3||Arbael speaks into the characters’ minds: “Be valiant and free me from this eon-long imprisonment.”|
|4||1d6 skeletons approach the characters. The axe-wielding undead are fearsome, merciless warriors.|
|5||1d4 giant dung beetles emerge from the caverns and attack. They are territorial but do not pursue.|
|6||A gelatinous cube approaches and attempts to consume a random character. The ooze is almost invisible.|
|7||Supernatural wind blows through, snuffing out all light sources. The braziers in area 6 turn on again in 1 hour.|
|8||The sounds and smells of a recent battle attract a giant scorpion. The large vermin fights to the death.|
1. Entrance Hall
A copper-lined circle on the floor dominates the room. Two sets of inscriptions are laid on it, some delicate and lavish, others crude and improvised.
- The Circle. The original runes and the face carvings speak of Gede and Arbael, her archangel. The ugly etchings were carved by visitors to prove that they were here at some point. Some signatures date back decades. The stone circle’s primary function was to be used as a focus for summoning spells (DC 14 INT check).
- The Enclosures. When the characters approach any door, four wights emerge from the standing sarcophagi.
- Treasure (2 XP). Inside the sarcophagi, there are 15 gp, 200 sp, a potion of healing, and a +1 dagger.
2. Cavern Entrance
Narrow meandering tunnels from an active mining site lead to a large chamber with a shallow, slow-flowing stream. The water is green-tinted and opaque.
The characters may access the underground compound through here if they hear the sixth rumor and actively look for this entrance. Coming through here changes the structure and allows early access to some areas.
- Crawlers. The tracks and droppings of a strange creature can be detected. They belong to two cave creepers; these caves are their hunting grounds. If the characters are noisy or bear any wounds, the insects approach.
3. Ancient Library
Against all preconceptions, the contents of the library have withstood the passage of time. A book floats in mid-air while a pen writes new lines into its pages.
- The Library. An invisible servant cares for the library and logs the characters’ names and appearances in a log. The servant is impervious to all damage but can be dispelled for 24 hours. A mighty incantation protects the books and tomes from the passage of time.
- Book of Gede and Arbael (5 XP). The tomes are historical recounts of Gede’s followers and logs of miraculous deeds. The Book of Gede and Arbael (50 gp) is unique among them. It tells the story of the powerful angel and how they served Gede for millennia.
4. Tombs of Hollows
The first chamber contains shallow niches with offerings and a stone coffer; the north chamber contains two lavishly-decorated, gold-inlaid, stone sarcophagi.
- The Offerings. Ancient tradition dictates that all visitors must leave something of personal value on the niches. They are crammed with strange trinkets and mementos. If any character refuses to do this small sacrifice out of respect, the guardians emerge (see below).
- The Hollows. The spirits of two renowned paladins have been cursed and corrupted by the essence of The Lost. They emerge as two wraiths and attack. Deeming any refusal to leave an offering as a terrible offense.
- Secret Area. Close inspection of the area for 1 crawling round reveals a hidden iron lever behind a niche. Pulling it reveals a narrow passage to area 8.
5. Chamber of Abandon
Two red vases flank a door decorated with Gede’s sigil. One of the vases is cracked; sand spills from it.
The chamber once featured a terrible deadly trap but it was disabled long ago. A spellcaster learns this from the runes on the clay. Twelve people perished in this grim manner; they were turned to fine sand (DC 15 INT).
- Locked Door. The north door features a sturdy lock (DC 18 DEX). The area can also be reached from area 7.
6. The Archangel’s Effigy
A towering statue of an armor-clad angel stands proud on a dais surrounded by green, opaque water. The angel’s face is clouded in grime and mist. The water flows out of the room through a barred gate.
- The Pond. The water flows endlessly from two spouts on the dais. The water is polluted and toxic to drink. The Altar of the Lost (area 9) causes this. It coalesces into a greater water elemental when the characters arrive.
- The Gate. The iron bars must be broken of bent to walk across the shallow waters to area 7 (DC 16 STR).
- The Effigy. After dealing with the water elemental, archangel Arbael manages to project its voice from its eternal prison: “Dauntless travelers, my name is Arbael, I have been imprisoned by The Lost. Release me and earn Gede’s endless gratitude. An altar to the foul deity is nearby. You must sunder that evil artifact.”
7. North Cavern
The characters may reach area 6 from here by bending the iron bars in the western passage (DC 16 STR). Exploring the area for 1 crawling round reveals a buried toolbox and a set of bones. The miner came to explore the place but was killed by the savage cave creepers.
8. The Lost Vault
This dungeon section collapsed from water erosion and seismic activity long ago. Little remains of its contents except for a chamber that was once a vault.
- Treasure (6 XP). The chests contain 100 gp, 2,600 sp, two potions of healing, and a circlet of wisdom.
9. The Altar of the Lost
A bizarre-looking altar bears a glowing sculpture of a mind-bending entity with twisting tentacles, sprouting eye sockets, and maniacal faces of untold madness.
The altar embodies a sliver of the godly energy of The Lost. Its power corrupts the area, animates the nearby undead, pollutes the pond in area 6, and keeps Arbael captive within their statue. The altar has been here for centuries and does not suffer foolhardy attempts to destroy it. It releases the energy contained within when the characters arrive to protect itself from harm.
- The Guardians. The altar’s energy is violently released, summoning a marilith accompanied by two dretches. The despotic demons are loyal to The Lost and fight to the death to protect the nefarious altar.
- The Altar. The limestone relic can be destroyed with hammers, spades, or similar tools in 1 crawling round. The stone relic weighs 1,000 pounds and may require a pulley or other equipment to haul it out of the dungeon. See Development for the consequences of these actions.
The characters reach the end of this adventure and face the consequences of their valiant deeds.
The characters defeat the terrible demons conjured by the Altar of the Lost and are free to destroy or move the altar as they see fit. Destroying the altar concludes its evil influence on its surroundings, clears up the stream, and liberates Arbael. The characters can meet the archangel in area 6 as they recover their senses and become a beacon of gratitude. The archangel owes the party their freedom and promises to come to their aid in a time of need. The angel gifts them a magical flute that shall summon them to their help when the time comes.
If the characters were hired by a criminal organization and manage to move the cursed altar back to Cherryplum Town, they earn their payment and are sent away. The criminal guild soon becomes possessed pawns of The Lost and causes havoc and numerous unnecessary deaths in town. The town becomes a nest for low-lives, criminals, and corrupt politicians within a year.