704 Throne of Forlorn Desires – LV3 Shadowdark Adventure

It was several hundreds of years ago when vi­olent wars ravaged the lands and destroyed civilization. The dwarven kingdoms of yore are present today in the form of words. The capital’s Great Library contains books, tomes, and his­torical scrolls that spell out all known facts about the an­cient dwarvish clans and their bygone epic rulers.

The Sad King

One of the most popular characters of this lost era was King Kumi from the Jund clan. During the great wars, he was the first to be stripped of his troops, his lands, and his kingdom. And even if in the end, all the dwarves lost and had to move their cities north, Kumi was considered the weakest, and the one who broke their defenses.

Adventure Hook

Treasure. The word in Hillton is that last week’s earth­quake unearthed a cavern near the Rocky Hills, where King Kumi’s people lived. More and more people start to believe the cave could contain great treasures! Furthermore, a couple of mercenary groups have not returned from their expedition trip the day before. This seems like the perfect place for a group of adventurers. The taste for gold and glory shall be their two main motivations.

 RUMORS d4 Details
1 Most people in Hillton believe the dwarves left valuable stuff behind during the wars. And it is most likely to be found underground. Thus, most folk assure there is trea­sure to be found in the recently found caverns.
2 The local priest warns the heroes before they leave. He claims he had a strange vision of a throne. But it was covered in blood and it reeked of death and putrefaction.
3 A historian in town is interested in the newly-revealed cave location. He thinks it could be a long-forgotten buri­al place. But he wants to wait until heroes and mercenar­ies sack the place so it can be safely inspected.
4 Two different groups of mercenaries went to the Rocky Hills to prospect the cave. They have not returned and some people start to think they never will.

Level 3 Adventure

  • Danger. Unsafe. Check for a Random Event every 3 crawling rounds and after loud noises (4-in-6 chance).
  • Lights. Some areas have braziers with permanent light spells. The undead denizens are dark-adapted.
  • Dwarvish Chants. The spirits of hundreds of dwarves from the Jund clan still have not found peace and eternal rest. Their spectral voices sing sad elegies that fill the cold halls of the compound. They are the loudest near the throne, where King Kumi’s spirit sings as well.
1 The characters witness a vision. Two dwarves dressed in beautiful attire gossip about King Kumi’s inaction during times of war. They fear their king’s decisions may be the end of their kingdom. The pair vanishes after this.
2 A lonely ghoul has been roaming around for ages. The characters are the first creatures it has seen in years. The ghoul craves living flesh and fights until slain.
3 A group of four dwarves (thugs) arrive at the compound. They claim to be long descendants of the Jund clan, and that therefore, all treasure in here belongs to them.
4 A magical current of wind traverses the entire dungeon. All sources of light are put off. After 2 crawling rounds, light comes back to the dungeon’s magical braziers.
5 The characters see a suspicious floor tile 10 feet before them and strange openings on the corridor walls. Step­ping over the pressure-sensitive tile triggers the trap. Two blades swing from one side to the other of the corridor. Hapless victims take 1d10 damage (DC 13 DEX).
6 A soldier from Hillton comes looking for the characters. His name is Hank, and he wishes to help them.

Entrance Hall

The opening in the mountain descends a few dozen feet and reaches this landing. The circle on the floor features dwarvish symbols that belong to the Jund clan. A histo­rian knows this (DC 11 INT check). Locked doors bar the east and west corridors. Their surfaces bear the Jund clan’s coat of arms: a hammer over a round shield.

  • tracks. The characters spot footprints on the floor (DC 11 WIS). They belong to the mercenaries that came before them. No tracks are going out, though.
  • doors. The locks can be disabled with fine tools (DC 12 DEX). Failing by 5 or more messes up the gears and blocks the doors. Damaging them in any way causes a lot of noise and draws the undead’s attention. Two skele­tons wait on the other side of each stone door.

The Weeping Effigy

The massive statue at the end of the room shows a dwarf with a sad, weeping expression. The fire before the stone helps to notice the dwarf is indeed crying.

Not everyone knows this, but King Kumi and his closest kin were so dejected that they looked for a magical way to hide away from their despondency (DC 13 INT).

  • Treasure (4 XP). There is a small alcove on each side of the statue. Stone pedestals hold gold vases in each of them. They are worth 20 gp a piece. However, taking them invokes the anger of two shadows.
  • Sarcophagi (2 XP). A ghoul comes out and attacks the characters if they open their enclosures. However, each one contains 100 sp in a leather bag.
  • The characters may learn the statue’s story if they spend a crawling round looking at the beautiful il­lustrations engraved on the walls and columns’ surfaces.

Crypt of Priests

The characters find this area if they notice the secret panel on the wall (DC 12 WIS). Alternatively, they can enter through the underground tunnels (see map).

  • Treasure (5 XP). The bookshelf contains books and scrolls with precious information for historians or uni­versities. The entire collection takes up 6 gear slots. The right buyer should pay 60 gp for this trove.

Secret Vault

The characters find this area if they locate and push the right brick in the throne room (DC 13 WIS check).

  • Treasure (10 XP). There is a chipped greataxe (9 gp), a gold circlet (40 gp), a set of polished bone dice (25 gp), and a beautiful, engraved, silver +1 shortsword (200 gp).

Gazes from Beyond

The narrow corridor features four 10-foot-long alcoves. Each of them contains five funerary urns. However, the urns have the shape of a screaming, weeping skull that seems to move slowly.

An incredible feeling of mournfulness overcomes living creatures that approach the urns (DC 13 CHA). A char­acter who fails makes their next check or attack with dis­advantage. Nothing can prevent this from occurring.

  • Encounter. Failing by 5 or more (see above) makes a character so dispirited that their feelings summon forth a shadow. The undead spirit exists only to feed from the negative feelings of the living trespassers.
  • Tunnels. The urns are located on a secondary lev­el. The corridors traverse the Entrance Hall from below. Plus, they are connected to the Crypt of Priest on the east, and the Broken Tomb to the west (see map).
Broken Tomb

Cave-ins destroyed most of this chamber. If the heroes follow the tunnel west, they find a swarm of spiders. The insects flee when reduced to half their HP.

Vengeful Spirits

Ghosts roam this area but the heroes cannot interact with them in any way. They look lost and aloof. Beyond the individual door though, the characters may spot the weak, crumbled wall and pass through (DC 12 WIS).

Grim Spectacle

If the characters approach the several piles of bones, six skeletons form and attack the fool and curious. Howev­er, the heroes may recover a warhammer of the dwarf lords if they search this area after the fight (5 XP).

Throne of Forlorn Desires

The mercenaries from before did not make it. Seven corpses lie between the sarcophagi. The king’s voice echoes from this throne. His guardians intercede.

  • Guardians. One wight leads a squad of five undead dwarf soldiers. The warriors weep while they fight. Their screams form a malevolent, ear-piercing cacophony.
  • The King. King Kumi (ghost) feels forsaken and mis­understood. He does not participate in combat. This al­lows the heroes to parley. They may comfort the king and make him feel better. If they do so well (GM’s discretion), the king’s soul finally rests. If the heroes antagonize the king or insult him, the ghost fights until slain. Either way, this chamber holds a kingly treasure, free for the taking.
  • Treasure (10 XP). The throne’s gold and ornaments are worth 1,000 gp. The sarcophagi contain fabrics and small gems (500 gp). This may well buy a property.

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