700 Trials of the Knightly Tenets – Lv2 Shadowdark Adventure

Only one of pure heart and noble values may wield my sword. You shall have a moment to demonstrate your chivalry. May the heaven bless your valiant souls.

Sir Gawain

Centuries ago, when the Zarv family first con­quered the land and established Zarveck County. There was a valiant knight who fought without fear in gruesome battles to re­take the region from brigands and warchiefs. Sir Gawain was an exemplary knight who lived by the core tenets of chivalry: loyalty, valor, honesty, and selflessness.

Sir Gawain lived to see the fruits of his valiant efforts as Zarveck City was founded and built upon. He perished of old age and was interred in a knightly mausoleum in the southwest fold of the county. The mausoleum is located in a region with rolling hills, irregular terrain, and pre­ternatural mists. Decades after Sir Gawain’s interment, pilgrims were unable to find the crypt. Legends claim it was swallowed by the mists that often cover the coun­ty’s territory. During his life, Sir Gawain wielded a sword that grew with him and became more powerful as he car­ried out his knightly deeds. Sir Gawain’s Blade has be­come a sought-after relic that many wish to retrieve. The legend says this weapon cuts through the darkness and admonishes the virulent abominations spawned from evil magic. But one must be worthy enough to wield it.

Adventure Hook

Explorers and hunters report that an eerie en­trance has appeared in the hills west of Yellowhide. It can be reached only at dawn, the entrance is surround­ed by dense clouds of mist. None of the witnesses dared cross the threshold. They were invaded by a feeling of longing and despair, which made them desist. Charac­ters looking for the legendary weapon and treasure have an incentive to come. They may be the first to arrive.

Level 2 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 light spells; the rest are in darkness. Denizens are dark-adapted.
  • Aura of Truth. A permanent zone of truth spell per­vades the dungeon (DC 13 WIS). Creatures are immune to the aura for 1 hour on a successful check.
  • Smells. The fragrance of jasmine and roses covers the dungeon. It appears to come from everything.
1 Four faeries are summoned into the room. They consid­er the presence of trespassers an insult to Sir Gawain’s heritage. They fight and vanish upon reaching 0 HP.
2 Two adventurers failed the tests a week ago and became ghasts. The undead monsters approach groaning.
3 The ghost of Sir Gawain appears. He is conversational and willing to share some of the history of the county and his knightly deeds. The characters may each ask one question of his life and deeds. He answers truthfully.
4 A scarab swarm boils out of cracks in the floors and walls. These are a breed of flesh-eating vermin.

1. Reaching the Misty Hills

It takes the characters 2 days to reach these hills from Zarveck City. Hours before reaching the dungeon gate, the hills are bathed in dense mist that obscures visibility and hides the landscape. It is denser than normal.

An otherworldly gate parts open from a wall of seem­ingly-unassailable mist that flows and unfurls. A set of stairs descends into the darkness beyond this gate.

The stair walls are painted with images of brave knights facing adversity and conquering the tests of evil.

2. Sir Gawain’s Tomb

The stairs open to a grandiose, lavish burial chamber. The wings of a stone angel by the far wall cradle a large coffin marked with silver inlays and gems.

Except for two lonesome adventurers (see Random Event 2), the characters are the first to visit Sir Gawain’s tomb. The translucent outline of Sir Gawain’s ghost is visible, standing by his lavish sarcophagus at the end of the church-like chamber. The knight’s ghost welcomes the characters and bows respectfully. Sir Gawain says it is time for him to bequeath his heirloom blade to a wor­thy warrior. But that person must first demonstrate wor­thiness in the four tenets: loyalty, valor, honesty, and self­lessness. The characters must explore the dungeon to prove themselves thus. When the three trials from areas 6, 8, and 11 are concluded, Sir Gawain shall conduct the Trial of Valor here, once the challengers return.

  • Treasure (5 XP). The coffin contains 45 gp, 200 sp, a potion of healing, and Sir Gawain’s +2 longsword.

3. Tomb of Scribes

Four standing sarcophagi with gilded lids await in the darkness. They are marked with the scribe’s rune.

Four laborers who lent their scribing services to Sir Ga­wain’s order were honored with a burial in this chamber.

  • Scrolls. An assortment of documents lies strewn on the table. Most have rotted and decayed. One still reads a set of poetry dedicated to Sir Gawain’s deeds. It would make for a great gift for Countess Eleanor Zarv.
  • Treasure (4 XP). Within a lacquered box, Brak’s cube of perfection is hidden. It has been here for centuries.

4. The Old Archive

The contents of this chamber are clean and resistant to the passage of time. Even ink appears fresh in some of the books, tomes, and magic scrolls.

  • documents. The archive contains fantastic recounts of knightly deeds and poetry exalting Sir Gawain’s deeds. The documents detail how each of them would constant­ly prove their worth in the four tenets of their order.
  • Treasure (2 XP). Hidden in the shelves of poems are five priest spell scrolls (DC 13 WIS). They contain the spells augury, bless, light, smite, and cleansing weapon.

5. Lonesome Purgatory

Several ghostly apparitions stand by the fire. They whisper and complain of their mistakes in life…

  • Doomed Souls. The ghosts of knights who failed to uphold the core tenets of the order lament their fail­ures here. They are projections from another plane and cannot be interacted with (DC 11 INT check). Casting protection from evil brings momentary respite to these souls and awards 1 luck token to each character.
  • Crossbows Trap. The north door is connected to a clockwork sensor that triggers the two crossbows in the next room when the door opens (DC 13 WIS to find). Two bolts are shot at the threshold when the door is opened, the creature there takes 2d6 damage (DC 12 DEX).

6. The Font and the Vault

A bronze plaque over the clear font reads: “Here lie the earthly treasures of valiant knights. They are left here to honor their deaths and valor.” In addition, the secret pas­sage to area 7 stands ajar, as if inviting explorers.

  • Trial of Honesty. Characters who shamelessly plun­der the treasure from the vase or enter area 7, even just to snoop around, fail the Trial of Honesty. A pure knight would respect the dead and their treasures.
  • Treasure (3 XP). The pewter vase in the room con­tains 280 sp and a set of +1 chainmail armor.

7. The Vault

The chamber contains two stone coffers, a plinth, and small, worthless trinkets arranged on shelves.

  • Treasure (4 XP). The coffers contain 45 gp, 140 sp, a scroll of lay to rest, and a scroll of prophecy.

8. Souls in Pain

Countless souls of innocents gather by the plinths in this chamber. They are engraved with an ancient rune that reads ‘Hope’. They clamor and beg for mercy and rest.

  • Trial of Selflessness. One or more characters can bring solace and rest to these souls and send them to the afterlife by meditating for 1 crawling round and fore­going 2d6 years of their lifetime. A pure knight would al­ways do this to lessen the suffering of the commonfolk; thus talking the heavy burden on their shoulders.

9. Circle of Faeries

Four armor-clad statues surround a gleaming circle of runes. Tiny wisps of light float about the chamber.

The Circle. Characters who speak Sylvan read of an ancient covenant between Sir Gawain’s knights and the faeries. Both groups shared the same values and of­ten worked together. The faeries often come to visit the knight’s tomb and to help Sir Gawain’s ghost in the trials.

A Trap for Thieves. 

A plaque over the coffer reads: “Begone filthy thief. Your hands are not meant to touch this treasure.

  • Explosive Runes. Opening the chest causes an explo­sion that deals 3d6 damage within 15 ft. (DC 14 DEX).

Ewers of Life. 

Four ewers pour clear water on the stone tiles. The fluid disappears as soon as it reaches the ground.

  • Trial of Loyalty. Sir Gawain’s ghost makes an incred­ible offer to each person. He offers to grant them what­ever it is they want the most. But in exchange, they must renounce their religion, goal, or whatever it is that drives them. They must betray their ideals to earn this gift. Ac­cepting means failing the Trial of Loyalty. A knight would never renounce the cause they swore to uphold.

The Final Trial

If at least one person has passed all three trials, Sir Gawain (knight) challenges the party to a fight to prove their valor in area 2. Four faeries fight alongside him. After his defeat, Sir Gawain gifts his blade to whoever passed all tests. If no one is worthy, Sir Gawain grim­ly orders the party to leave. Should they challenge the knight anyway, Sir Gawain does not back down and fights fiercely. The characters may wrongfully steal Sir Gawain’s blade after this. Using the blade in this man­ner earns them the eternal enmity of Sir Gawain’s ghost.

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