It is the most morbid punishment of all. An eternity not living nor dead. An inextinguishable source of agony, anguish, and pain. Is it humane to allow it?
The Black Tome
Elves mages and craftsmen are to credit for some of the most marvelous creations. From sacred forges to fine weaponry. Elves have created wondrous things but they are also to blame for the most despicable uses of magic-craft. Few know the extent of the elves’ magical achievements.
Millennia ago, during a despotic elvish reign, the overseers created a magical prison. It took them decades to perfect it. The Tomb of the Eternally Damned is truly a work of the sickest minds. Since then, the worst criminals have been sentenced to eternal damnation. When a person is found guilty, they are brought to the tomb, slain ritualistically, and presented to the effigy of Crucified-Gede. The person is then turned into an undead spirit; forever trapped within the tomb walls. This imprisonment is an everlasting source of loneliness, anguish, and pain in which they retain full consciousness.
Rescue. An elf named Darael claims his father has been imprisoned in the tomb for centuries. He believes the punishment has been enough (60 gp, 3 XP).
Greed. The characters learn that fantastic treasures and relics are stored in the Tomb of the Eternally Damned. They are ripe for plundering (0 XP).
Collector. An elvish necromancer offers the characters a hefty reward for retrieving the valuable Black Tome from the well-guarded tomb (75 gp, 4 XP).
|The last person to be interred in the tomb was a despicable elvish warlord. It occurred two hundred years ago.
|There have always been disputes among elvish groups about the morality of the fate of eternal damnation.
|Rumor has it that a significant number of innocent people have been interred in the cursed tomb.
|Many explorers have tried to plunder the tomb but it is well-protected. None have emerged victorious.
|An elvish faction tried to release all the trapped souls a century ago without success. They died in the tomb.
|Some people theorize that the trapped souls are later used as an energy source for the creation of elvish magical marvels and as foci for complex incantations.
Level 3 Adventure
- Danger. Risky. Check for a Random Event every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (3-in-6 chance).
- Light. Some areas have sconces or braziers with permanent light spells. All denizens are dark-adapted.
- Evil Bolstering. All undead creatures have advantage on checks versus turn undead and rebuke unholy. In addition, all undead noted in area descriptions reform at dawn unless the Rite of Deliverance is performed by a cleric during the new moon on the chapel (area 10).
- Soul Stealing. Living creatures that die in the Tomb of the Eternally Damned have their souls stolen and added to the hundreds of contained souls (DC 18 CON).
|RANDOM EVENTS d8
|Supernatural wind blows through, snuffing out all light sources. The braziers in area 6 turn on again in 1 hour.
|1d6 brave peasants with forks arrive at the tomb looking for treasure and renown. They ask to join the party.
|A mage named Garlus arrives looking for the Black Tome. He is indifferent to the characters’ goals.
|1d4 skeletons approach from afar. They repeat phrases they said in their lives as they fight without mercy.
|A ghost approaches the party asking for directions to the nearest barracks. The spirit is disoriented and lost.
|A giant leech drops from the ceiling and attempts to attach to the character wearing the least armor.
|1d6 zombies unearth themselves from below. They still carry tatters and armor pieces of an ancient kingdom.
|The ghost of a corrupt priest manifests behind the party. It chants mass while attempting to slay the living.
1. Entrance Hall
The mausoleum stairs lead down to a grim landing with a 1-foot-tall, stone circle etched with fine runes. A plaque with a fine script stands over the circle.
- The Circle. A wizard can record the rune sequence for future use with the teleport spell (DC 9 INT).
- The Plaque. The ornamental tablet reads in Elvish: “Here await those guilty of heinous crimes. They were sentenced to eternal damnation by their peers. No one has the right to appeal to such a well-earned sentence.”
2. Jade Niches
Each of the alcoves along this long passageway houses a golden urn surrounded by nine jade containers. They tremble and vibrate faintly every few minutes.
The Urns. Each urn contains the desiccated bones of 2d8 people. From the remains, it can be deduced that the majority were elves, the rest humans (DC 14 INT).
- The Jade Niches. Each small box contains the ashes of a single individual. They are coveted by necromancers to be used as spell foci. None can be moved from their resting place without the retaliation of four wights.
3. Circles of Deliverance
The dungeon corner features a faintly-glowing, magic circle inscribed with necromantic runes and spells.
The characters must use the Rite of Deliverance. The incantation is described in the Black Tome (area 8). The rite must be performed in each corner of the dungeon to dispel the magic circles (DC 12 WIS). Before dispelling each magic circle, 1d3 shadows appear in it and attack all living creatures nearby without mercy.
When all circles are dispelled, the characters must perform the rite once again before Gede’s effigy in area 10.
4. Storage Rooms
Two chambers interrupt the long, narrow passage. Each is filled with wooden shelves and containers.
Those brought to the tomb were stripped of their possessions, which were stored here. They belong to no one but the dead. This treasure is considered to be cursed.
- Treasure (10 XP). Collectively, the two chambers contain 80 gp, 3,600 sp, and 10,500 cp. There are also a potion of healing and a +1 longbow of the elven kings. Whoever touches this treasure is cursed (disadvantage on CON checks) until a restoration spell is used.
5. North Chapel
A dozen dark apparitions sit in silent prayer before a painting of Crucified-Gede. They lament their fates.
If attacked or disturbed, some of the spirits retaliate. Four shadows rise from the pews and attack.
- The Painting. The striking portrayal of Crucified-Gede goes against all that the goddess stands for (DC 12 WIS). This is sacrilegious. The elves of yore used the mutilated image of the goddess to empower the necromancy that makes the prison function.
6. Receptacles of Souls
Each alcove contains a gilded vase on a shallow plinth. The vases are sealed shut and cannot be opened. If broken (DC 16 STR check), they contain a mixture of ashes and sulfur. A wizard infers that these were used as foci when creating the prison and kept as a relic (DC 9 INT).
7. Tomb of Kings
Four lavishly-decorated sarcophagi hug the walls of this chamber. Each bears an intricate family crest.
Since the prison’s inception, four elvish kings have been imprisoned here. Despite their crimes, they were awarded a place of honor in the Tomb of the Eternally Damned.
- The Fabled Shield (3 XP). Within the sarcophagus of the king, Ix-Natheer, awaits the shield of the witch-king. An elvish wraith emerges when the shield is taken.
8. The Archives
Two chambers interrupt the long, narrow passage. They contain an accurate archive. The tomes contain historical recounts of the crimes that all those trapped in the Tomb of the Eternally Damned committed. Included are also those who participated when dictating sentences.
- The Black Tome. This leather-bound book contains the incantations and magic used to create the prison. It contains the Rite of Deliverance which can be used to deactivate the prison and release all souls into the ether. A cleric can perform the rite after studying it for 1 day. It must be cast in the four corners (area 3) and in area 10.
9. Chamber of Representatives
This large tomb contains the remains of six elvish criminals that once served as political figures. Out of all interred in the tomb, these undead are the most aggressive and unrepentant. Coming within 5 feet of any enclosure causes six skeletons to emerge and attack.
10. South chapel
An effigy of Crucified-Gede hangs on the west wall. Bloody tears pour down from the goddess’s eyes.
The chamber is peaceful and contains nothing of real value. Before a cleric recites the Rite of Deliverance here, five shadows manifest by the despicable effigy. They were the original creators of the prison and were interred here for their wretched deed. They are compelled to fiercely attack and slay the characters.
If the characters plunder the Tomb of the Eternally Damned, they earn the enmity of elvish factions who believe the prison is a sacred creation of elvish culture. They shall seek the characters to set things straight.
If the characters succeed in casting the Rite of Deliverance, the tomb collapses in the course of a few minutes and all souls are freed. Some of the beings released may soon wreak havoc upon the world. Even in death, they shall soon prove why they were better imprisoned.