The King of Dust shall judge all those who stand before its regal presence. Those deemed just are granted a wish. The king shall aid them succeed in life.
Book of Dust
The King of Dust is an obscure entity that appears in the origin myths of many cultures. Some think it was once an elvish king who was banished from the world of fey. Others believe it was a knight who chose to aid those in need and vanquish the unjust after death. And a few claim it is an otherworldly immortal being. But all theories have one thing in common: the King of Dust judges those who stand before its presence and issues a final judgment on their values and deeds. The king aids the just. But it also mercilessly orders the death of those with dark hearts.
The rumors of the blessings and gifts that the King of Dust has bestowed upon many people are only eclipsed by the countless folks who visited the king’s sepulcher and never came back. Timeless guardians guard the place, but the greatest danger is the king’s judgment.
Aid. The characters know of the King of Dust and seek its presence to retrieve important information, a powerful item, or for selfish purposes. The characters secure a map to the king’s sepulcher and set out (0 XP).
Escorts. The characters are hired by a scholar, Sir Damahee. The scholar plans to visit the king’s sepulcher to learn important information. The place is dangerous. The characters are bodyguards (40 gp, 4 XP).
|People say the King of Dust was once the great ruler of a bygone realm. Nothing is known of that lost culture.
|Legend has it that the king’s sepulcher is well-guarded by immortal guardians and ghastly apparitions.
|People remember a man who stood before the King of Dust decades ago. He was deemed just by the ghost ruler and became a wealthy merchant. He died years ago.
|The King of Dust judges petitioners on their values and deeds. If they are found to be good, the fair king rewards them. Otherwise, the tomb guardians dispose of them.
|Rumor has it that petitioners must wait for the king to appear in a room where they can commune with the dead. Some claim lost ones can be contacted there.
|The king’s judgment is delivered only to those who wish to hear it. No one is forced to stand trial before the otherworldly entity. Wrong-doers may just leave empty-handed.
Level 4 Adventure
- Danger. Risky. Check for a Random Event every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (3-in-6 chance).
- Light. Some areas have light sources; the rest of the dungeon is dark. All denizens are dark-adapted.
- Aura of Truth. Areas 4 and 11 are enchanted. Creatures within cannot say falsehoods (DC 18 WIS per lie). On a fail, the person chokes before stating a false fact. They are not forced to say the truth, however.
|RANDOM EVENTS d6
|Four townsfolk (guards) arrive at the sepulcher seeking to change their stars. One of them expects to reunite with his brother in the Chamber of Waiting (area 11).
|A woman’s ghost appears. She tries to dissuade the characters from petitioning the King of Dust as she lost her husband and children to the ruthless king.
|A deep voice speaks into the characters’ minds: “There shall be no mercy for those with darkened hearts.”
|1d6 skeletons approach the party. They brandish the obscure sigil that represents the King of Dust.
|A chittering swarm of spiders emerges from a nearby crack in the wall and attacks a random character.
|A random character steps on a pressure plate and triggers a barrage of poison darts to shoot from a nearby wall. The creature takes 3d6 damage (DC 15 DEX).
1. Main Hall
A long journey finally leads to a stone gate and a descending stairway into the king’s sepulcher.
The landing opens to a grand chamber with a rune-scribed circle and a throne by the chamber’s far end.
- The Circle. The runes in Primordial tell the tale of an old pilgrim who came to the king’s presence and had his life changed forever after; his heart was pure and bright.
- The Sarcophagi. Each of the four enclosures contains the dusty remains of a bygone warrior. When the king commands it, their spirits return to fight for it.
- Seeking Audience. Creatures that stand on the circle experience a calling to venture further and find the Chamber of Waiting (area 11). When they come back here after that, the King of Dust shall receive them.
2. The Archive
The narrow passage leads to a small archive with stone shelves and a circular pond in the center.
The magical archive self-updates once per month and keeps an accurate record of past petitioners and their fates. An invisible servant takes care of this chore.
- The Petitioners. Perusing the archive for 1 crawling round reveals that seven hundred and twelve people have stood before the King of Dust in the past two millennia. Among them, only thirty-five were rewarded by the king. The rest were slain in front of the throne.
- The Pond. The crystalline water is magical. Drinking from the pond is equivalent to a potion of healing. A creature can only be healed this way once per week.
3. Chamber of Offerings
A statue of Gede stands before four stone plinths that hold trinkets and keepsakes of a varied nature.
- The Blessing. Leaving an object of important sentimental value for Gede to keep awards a luck token.
4. The Throne of Dust
The fabled Throne of Dust is where the king sits to judge those who seek its favor. The seat bears no marks or sigils but is surrounded by gray ashes.
- The Throne. Creatures that dare disrespect the King of Dust by sitting on the throne suffer a smoldering death (DC 18 CON). Nothing remains of the charred body.
- Treasure (2 XP). The table in front of the throne holds two random, tier-3 wizard scrolls, a potion of healing, and an unmarked gold medallion (15 gp).
- The Trial. After visiting the Chamber of Waiting and standing before the throne on the circle (area 1), the King of Dust appears and judges whoever stands on the circle. See Development for the outcome of this moment.
5. Crypts (First Layer)
The hallway splits into two and leads to mirrored crypts with unmarked, stone sarcophagi. They are filled with the ashes of countless failed petitioners. There is a 4-in- 6 chance that when visiting any of the crypts, two shadows emerge from the enclosures and attack.
- Treasure (3 XP). The west crypt features a medium-quality lock (DC 14 DEX). A circlet of wisdom is hidden in the ashen remains within one of the sarcophagi.
6. Crypts (Second Layer)
Both crypts feature unmarked and unlocked, stone enclosures. The lids on the east chamber are ajar and the remains within were manipulated recently (DC 16 WIS). The last visitors to the king’s sepulcher are the culprits.
7. Crypts (Third Layer)
A ghost emerges from one of the sarcophagi in the west chamber. Oddly enough, the apparition is not hostile. It speaks an old form of the Common tongue (DC 14 INT) and claims that he petitioned the King of Dust for aid a thousand years ago but was refused and slain on the spot. The undead assures the characters he had a clean conscience. The ghost only fights if attacked.
- Treasure (1 XP). The east crypt features a low-quality lock (DC 12 DEX), scattered in the ashes are 13 gp.
8. Font of Desires
The small, 2-foot-deep font contains clear water. The font’s stone rim is carved with meandering runes and sigils of Gede and Saint Terragnis. There are 4d6 sp at the bottom of the font. An ancient tradition claims that leaving a coin earns the favor of the deities (DC 12 WIS).
- Secret Passage. Pulling a brick causes a section of the wall to slide inward and reveal a passage to area 11.
9. Room of Effigies
A quasi-translucent humanoid uses rock carving tools to craft strange, half-foot-tall busts of people who have come to visit the sepulcher. Some are accurate. Other effigies are severely deformed and stylized.
An invisible servant crafts busts of the party at the moment and places them on the wooden table. The degree of accuracy in the effigies amounts to how pure of heart each person is. Those of the darkest motives are deformed in the stone representations. This is a way to measure the risk of petitioning the King of Dust for aid. The GM must determine how accurate each character’s effigy is according to their personality and past deeds.
10. Secret Vault
The door to this chamber features a high-quality lock (DC 18 DEX check) and has stood the test of time.
- Treasure (6 XP). The stone coffers contain 40 gp, 150 sp, and 600 cp. There are two potions of forgetfulness, two potions of vitality, and a pearl of power.
11. Chamber of Waiting
Narrow canals flow with clear water along this chamber with six stone pillars and four wooden benches. Strange whisperings come from the water below.
The characters must remain in this chamber for 1 crawling round before returning to area 4 to see the King of Dust. During this time, harmless spirits emerge from the water canals to mingle with the characters. There is a 4-in-6 chance that deceased individuals that know the characters make an appearance here. This place is a great location to commune with lost loved-ones as they are bound to come sooner rather than later.
The characters reach the end of this adventure and face the consequences of their valiant deeds.
After the characters visit the Chamber of Waiting and return to the Throne of Dust (areas 1 and 4), the legendary King of Dust appears on its throne and gazes at those brave enough to stand on the stone circle and stand judgment. The GM must determine how strict and ruthless the King of Dust is meant to be for this adventure. Alas, the adventure background and evidence in area 2 point to a rather harsh judgment of those who come. If any person is found wanting and of a dark heart, the king orders their death. Four wraiths emerge from the sarcophagi to perform the king’s grisly commands.
Conversely, those found to be just and pure are granted the King of Dust’s favor. Each can state something they desire to know or to possess and the king shall grant their wishes. The king’s harsh judgment is a failsafe against self-serving, greedy individuals. Those deemed just receive what they request with no limitations.