Different cultures vary in traditions. The matter of life and death, for instance, is a complex taboo for some. But for others, the dead are a part of life. They understand that for life to exist, death must occur. But it does not matter if they fear or venerate death. All cultures have this in common. They respect death and those who have parted.
Setting the Scene
In this adventure, the characters have just finished a mission. They travel the country roads, and today, they reach Cherryplum Town. They learn of the town’s current situation from its sociable people (see Rumors).
No one has information or clues that point to a culprit, but someone or something defiled one of the local sepulchers, the one where the Trentons were buried. A family of knights, loyal protectors of the realm. The Trentons were granted this tomb in honor of their valiant deeds.
They all perished in combat, defending the kingdom’s goals and values. But someone trespassed and interrupted their eternal rest. An unknown agent planted a seed of dark energy in the main sarcophagus, the one where the former leader of the knights rests: Kevin Trenton. Little by little, the corruption spread, and the former knights have become an army of dead, an army of hollows.
Investigation. Skeletons and zombies terrorize the poor people of Cherryplum. They come from the Trentons’ Sepulcher. Bailiff Hank summons the characters the moment he learns they are in town. He needs them to eradicate all sources of danger (60 gp, 5 XP).
Religious Deed. Father Julian summons the characters too but he asks them a different thing. He claims that he perceives dark energy coming from the sepulcher. He begs the heroes to do their best to find the source of evil and cleanse it from the sepulcher (40 gp, 3 XP).
|1||People believe the dead came back to life as a punishment for their sins. Most folk can be heard praying.|
|2||A town guard tells the heroes Bailiff Hank needs them.|
|3||The characters hear three farmers (peasants) gossiping. They organize a raid into the sepulcher. They are confident they can become folk heroes and save the day.|
|4||The local tailor is almost blind. However, he claims he saw a cloaked figure near the sepulcher a few days back.|
|5||The Trentons were a family of good warriors and knights. They were loved by all people in Cherryplum.|
|6||Father Julian believes the core of this problem must be hiding within the sepulcher. The solution must be there.|
Level 3 Adventure
- Danger. Risky. Check for a Random Event every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (4-in-6 chance).
- Light. Some areas have sconces or braziers with permanent light spells. All denizens are dark-adapted.
- Unholy Water. The water in the sepulcher canals was once clean and holy. But the divine spells that made it this way are gone. Coming in contact with this corrupted fluid poisons living creatures (DC 13 CON). Disadvantage on attacks and checks for 1 crawling round.
- Evil Bolstering. All undead creatures have advantage on checks versus turn undead and rebuke unholy.
|RANDOM EVENTS d6||Details|
|1||The characters hear a woman calling for help up ahead. When they arrive, they only find a laughing, hostile ghost.|
|2||A group of four bandits and one thug arrive at the scene. They want to go in to pillage and plunder all they can. The men fight if the heroes try to stop them. The five criminals flee if the battle turns against them, though.|
|3||A lonely ghast with a broken foot walks with a limp When it sees the heroes, it runs on all fours to attack!|
|4||1d4 skeletons approach from afar. They repeat phrases they said in their lives as they fight without mercy.|
|5||The ghost of Augustus Trenton appears. He apologizes for their sepulcher’s state before sobbing and vanishing.|
|6||A couple of rust monsters arrive from the Shadowdark tunnels (see map). They flee if reduced to half their HP.|
The characters leave Cherryplum Town and reach the edge of the forest. It is not hard to find the sepulcher following the directions given in town (DC 12 WIS check). On a fail though, the heroes get lost for a while and stumble onto an owlbear cub. Its mother is 40 feet behind and becomes hostile if they interact with it in any way.
A brazier illuminates the area outside the sepulcher day and night. This fire does not burn, however. It is warm to the touch but it does not harm the skin.
The characters can make camp in this area to prepare for their dungeon-delving if they wish. If they choose to do so, they draw the attention of a brown bear. The animal is just looking for food and leaves if given some. Otherwise, it becomes hostile and fights fiercely.
- Options. There are two entrance tunnels. The characters may choose where to enter the dungeon from. The south path takes the heroes directly to the Sepulcher of Hollows while the easternmost entrance takes them to the Shadowdark Tunnels (see map).
- Battle. Regardless of the path they choose, the characters find a group of six skeletons waiting at the end of the tunnels. The dead fight without mercy. When this encounter ends, roll once on the Random Events table.
The cavern forks into several narrow paths. There are tracks and slithering marks on the packed soil. The tunnels are home to darkness and silence.
The characters have nothing to do here unless they wish to spend some time as spelunkers. If they spend a crawling round searching this area, they discern some valuables buried in the soil. They find a golden bowl (15 gp), a silvered dagger (10 gp), a cracked emerald (60 gp), and rare incense that is repulsive to undead (50 gp).
- Uncharted Territories. While the heroes retrieve the treasure described above, they are surprised by a gelatinous cube (DC 12 WIS). On a fail, one of the characters is attacked and engulfed by the cube in a surprise round.
Tomb of Greed
A strange, green, tentacle-protruding spheroid attaches to the sarcophagus like an alien, monstrous leech.
If the characters attempt to remove the corruption, dozens of eyes and lipless mouths open. The gibbering mouther detaches and attacks the nearest character. After combat, the heroes may search the room. The stone sarcophagus has a silver plate that reads: “Here lies Kevin, leader of the courageous Trenton knights. May his soul rest in peace.” Kevin’s remains though, are gone.
Recent cave-ins changed partially collapsed this chamber, but the people in Cherryplum still cared for the chapel and kept it clean. Whoever corrupted the sepulcher made sure there were no signs of lawful gods left. Nothing remains of Gede and Ord’s shrines. Roll once on the Random Events table when the characters come.
Sepulcher of Hollows
The largest chamber of this tomb. Ten standing sarcophagi rest on the walls, each in their respective alcove.
The characters find no enemies at first. They are free to search the room. The undead emerge when two of the heroes stand by the edge of the pool. Ten hollows emerge from the enclosures and attack. They close in on the trespassers to push them into the noxious water. The hollows fight until slain and chase the heroes if they flee.
The souls of the people interred here cannot rest in peace anymore. They have become empty vessels, hollow bodies with nothing but a drive for murder and death!
A zombie with a missing limb, a skeleton with half its skull. A mockery of life, but a relentless killing machine.
AC 12, HP 12, ATK 1 slam +2 (1d6), MV near (swim), S +1, D +1, C +2, I -2, W +0, Ch -3, AL C, LV 2
Undead. Immune to moral checks.
Relentless. If reduced to 0 HP by a non-magical source, DC 15 CON to go to 1 HP instead.
An alcove (see map) hides a secret passage (DC 13 WIS). If the characters find it, they obtain 70 gp, 1,874 sp, a bag of holding, and a random 1st-tier wizard scroll.
The characters get paid for a job well done after getting rid of the monsters. They earn Father Julian’s favor if a cleric in the party performs a cleansing ceremony to prevent more corruption. But, where are Kevin Trenton’s remains? That is an adventure for another day…
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