689 Shrine of Ascendance – Lv5 Shadowdark Adventure

True change in life is never achieved easily. We are the ones who craft blessings and our fate through our actions, determination, and hard work.

World’s Philosophy, Vol. II

Most people dream of becoming something greater, increasing their wealth, or turning into a prominent, important figure. But the sad truth is that very few of these people ac­complish what they long for. That is because regardless of what they want, hard work, endless determination, or nerves of steel are some of the things required for this.

Not everyone has what it takes to change their stars. And there usually are no shortcuts. Soldiers must risk their lives before becoming knights. Others must work for years to earn a noble’s trust. But sometimes, one-in-a-lifetime opportunities present themselves, and people’s minds or hearts are often too weak to resist temptation.


It all started a few months back when Father Bertrand passed away. He was a beloved, respected, and power­ful religious figure. Thus, the arrival of a new priest in town marked the end of his era. The authorities won­dered how people would take this change.

To everyone’s surprise, Johan, the new man in charge, became popular in little time. He calls himself ‘Master Guide’ because he shall show people the way. He claims to know how to guide people’s minds into ascension and help them attain and higher status in life.

With these promises, people quickly started to follow him and believe. No one knows his real name so they re­fer to Johan as “master”. Johan moved his newly formed group to an abandoned tomb on the city’s outskirts after convincing them that the path to ascension was there.

Adventure Hook

Missing People (70 gp, 6 XP). Three months after Fa­ther Bertrand’s passing, more and more innocent peo­ple are convinced by Johan’s words about ascension and join his group. But nothing has happened. No one has changed their lives, and no one has returned to town to share any good news. Families are worried and they want to see their relatives back. The town’s constable cannot stand idle any longer. He offers a hefty bounty to anyone who can track the suspicious priest and find out what happened to all the people that followed him.

Level 5 Adventure

  • Danger. Risky. Check for a Random Event every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (3-in-6 chance).
  • Light. Some areas have braziers with permanent light spells; the rest are dark. However, only the dead are dark-adapted. Johan’s followers carry lamps or torches.
  • Secret Passages. Several areas in the dungeon fea­ture secret corridors. The characters must press specif­ic, loose bricks on the walls to reveal them. These spe­cial bricks must be spotted from the rest (DC 13 WIS).
1 One of Johan’s followers (cultist) has taken the task to patrol the place. The characters may try to convince him that they seek the Master Guide (Reaction roll).
2 Four torch-wielding peasants stumble upon the charac­ters. The villagers ask the heroes if they came looking for ascension. If they say no, the peasants flee. They retreat to the closest area with allies to defend them.
3 The characters notice a pressure-sensitive plate before them. Pressing it causes several tiny apertures in the walls to release poison gas. Living creatures within the chamber take 1d8 damage (DC 14 CON check for half).
4 Three guards working for Johan find the characters.
5 A knight arrives in the dungeon and finds the characters. The armored man took the same job as the heroes but does not know if he can trust them (Reaction roll).
6 A sharp, steel blade moves in a pendulum motion before the characters. It blocks the way. Creatures passing through take 1d8 damage unless they move fast enough (DC 14 DEX). The characters may try to stop the blade with sheer strength or by using thieves’ tools.
7 Johan’s magic has taken its toll on the tomb. Two skel­etons from area 8 come out of their enclosures. The undead move around the dungeon aimlessly, looking for living creatures. The skeletons fight until slain.
8 A strong wind current blows through the dungeon, snuff­ing out fires and any uncovered light sources.

1. Entrance Landing

After following basic directions, the characters find the place where Johan hides. The tomb belongs to a wealthy family that used to bury their dead here. They moved a couple of decades ago and everyone forgot about this place until Johan turned it into his lair. The characters enter the tomb by descending a set of stairs.

2. Archive

This room contains two desks, two wooden shelves, and a chest. A single crossbow rests on an alcove and a set of stairs takes to a seemingly empty corridor.

The characters can spend 1 crawling round reading the documents here to learn that the tomb belonged to the Porter family. It was decades ago when the last member of their family was buried here. And it has been years since they left these lands and moved to the capital. The automated crossbow shoots whenever a creature passes in front of it and deals 1d8 damage (DC 14 DEX for half).

3. Standing Sarcophagi

A glowing rune floats before each of the four standing sarcophagi and a wooden chest rests by the south wall. It is a holy rune of protection (DC 12 INT check).

  • Enemies. Johan asked his followers to pass through here to reach area 10. Thus, he placed protective runes that keep the undead within their enclosures. If the char­acters touch or interact with any of them, they all vanish and four ghouls emerge and fight to the death.

4. Treasure Chamber

There are a couple of tables and a wooden chest here. The characters find 10 gp, a dagger, a 60-foot-long rope, a lamp, and one potion of healing in this chamber (1 XP).

  • Vault (5 XP). If the characters find this hidden room, they can search the chest, the desk, and the table. There are 4 gp, 178 sp, and 1,963 cp stored in leather bags. There are two shortswords and one shield. There are also two random Tier-1 Wizard spell scrolls.

5. Antechamber

There are two identical corridors. The door that leads to area 8 has a message on it. A piece of parchment nailed to the wood reads: “Do not enter, take the other door”.

6. Magic Circle

The Porter family placed this magic circle so they could access the underground sections of their tomb easily. But since they left, the circle does not work anymore.

  • Secret Vault (5 XP). If the characters find this hidden room, they can search the chest and shelf here. There are 18 gp. But they also find a broken silver ring (8 gp), a rusty, incomplete suit of chainmail, a hand-carved wood­en scarab (7 gp), and a dagger of the goblin hero.

7. Room of Thoughts

This room is for meditation and prayer. The green jade jar at the end of the room is supposed to gather all prayers and people’s good thoughts. The jar is worth 30 gp but removing it causes a ghast to emerge from the sarcophagus. The guardian fights to the death (2 XP).

  • Pray. The characters may spend a crawling round paying their respects here and earn a luck token.

8. Main Tomb

Five identical sarcophagi rest in the 10-foot-wide alcoves. They flank the central corridor which leads to a larger sarcophagus next to the west wall.

Johan’s presence and magic have caused the corpses in here to come back to the world of the living. However, he did not bother placing protective runes in this area. Five skeletons and one ghast emerge from the sarcophagi to fiercely protect their eternal resting places.

  • Treasure (4 XP). If the characters find this area, they find 195 sp in a bag. There is a set of thieves’ tools, a crowbar, a backpack with ten rations of food, a bag with ten steel marbles, and a random Tier-1 priest spell scroll.

9. Secret Corridor

The characters may surprise Johan and his followers in area 10 in case they find this hidden passageway.

  • Treasure (2 XP). In case the characters come through here, they find a set of leather armor, a longsword, a lamp, a bag of caltrops, a wooden staff, and a crowbar.

10. Shrine of Ascendance

Johan stands before a dozen men. Six peasants, three thugs, and three bandits. They defend their leader with their lives. Hence, the heroes shall have a hard time if they do not wish to harm or injure innocent people. How­ever, before the armed confrontation ends, Johan pulls one more ace out of his sleeve and shows the characters the meaning of ascending (see Ascension).


Johan enchanted his followers with a ritual. They shall ‘ascend’ whenever he commands. When the characters are about to succeed and defeat Johan’s followers, he says “Now you will know what true ascension means!” With a snap of his fingers, the bodies of all his follow­ers, standing or not, bend, twist, and are drawn to the same spot. The deformed bodies join and fuse magically. A flesh golem is what remains of the innocent villagers. This is clear proof that Johan never intended to help. He probably is not even a real priest. Who sent him then? That investigation is an adventure for another day…

Johan, the Master

Crazy eyes filled with determination. Messy hair is visible under a dark cloak. The Master Guide.

AC: 12 HP: 18 LV4

ATK: 1 staff +1 (1d4 ) or 1 spell +4 MV: Near (Walk)

S:+1 D:+2 C:+0 I:+2 W:+1 Ch:+1

Conjure Flames (INT spell). DC 12. One target in far takes 2d6 damage.

Mage Armor (INT spell). Self. DC 12. AC 16 for 2d4 rounds.

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