718 The Valthornes’ Wish

They came from the woods near the cemetery. I heard a man say they roam an unmarked mausoleum. What cursed souls must be interred therein?Concerned Merchant

In the somber shadows of the old Ebonwood Cemetery, shrouded by gnarled trees and per­petual mist, lies an ancient mausoleum. Its presence is an enigma, its origins lost to time and deliberate erasure. The weathered stone structure, adorned with faded, unrecognizable heraldry, stands as a silent memento of a family’s eternal damnation.

Centuries ago, the mausoleum was erected to house the remains of the Valthorne family, a once-noble lineage that fell from grace due to unspeakable crimes. Their transgressions were so heinous that the ruling powers decreed their existence be stricken from all records; their memory erased from history. The Valthorne name was to be forgotten, and with it, the souls entombed with­in the accursed mausoleum. The few remaining relatives changed their names and step away from their heritage.

Current Events

After a century of obscurity and silence, a malevo­lent force awakened within the crypt. The spirits of the Valthorne family, consumed by rage and a yearning for recognition, have begun to lash out. Spectral appari­tions and undead manifestations plague the nearby set­tlements and roads, sowing chaos and fear. The locals, though aware of the source, are unable to quell the un­rest. The decrepit mausoleum from whence the undead come is quizzical in that no records in the region men­tion it. No one knows who it belongs to or who is bur­ied within. According to scholars, there is no other site of burial of its size that defies recognition. Despite the strange mystery, something must be done soon about the merciless undead attacks that scourge the area.

Adventure Hooks

  • A Cry for Help. There have been recent reports of un­restful spirits. Brave adventurers are needed to investi­gate the source of these disturbances. This quest is sanc­tioned by the local governance who also offers a hefty reward to inspire more sellswords to act (100 gp, 3 XP).
  • The Scholar’s Discovery. An eccentric historian, Dr. Alessan, discovered a document fragment referencing the ‘Erased Lineage,’ sparking interest in uncovering the truth behind the forgotten mausoleum. Alessan wish­es to visit the crypt himself if the characters promise to guard him from the undead creatures. (0 XP).

Unknown Heritage

There is a slim possibility that one of the characters is a distant descendant of the Valthorne bloodline (1-in- 10). All undead have disadvantage when attacking such a character and shall not attack them altogether. They inform the character of this and beg for deliverance: “You! Only you can help us regain our pride and peace.”

Level 1 Adventure

  • Danger. Unsafe. Check for a Random Event every 3 crawling rounds and after loud noises (3-in-6 chance).
  • Light. Some chambers have braziers with light spells. The rest are dark. The denizens are dark-adapted.
  • Deathly Whispers. Countless awakened spirits abound in the area. They clamor, barely audibly, for peo­ple to remember their name and place in the world.
1 An animated armor, emblazoned with an erased crest, comes to life and attacks the party, driven by an unseen spectral force.
2 In a dimly lit alcove, a stone statue of a mournful figure weeps tears of blood. Anyone who touches it experiences brief, visions of the reason for the family’s downfall and their terrible crime. The grim assassination of a rival family’s children and heirs.
3 The ghost of a young Valthorne child appears, lost and confused, seeking help from the adventurers to remember his name.
4 A section of the floor collapses, revealing a hidden lower chamber filled with skeletal remains and cursed treasures. A skeleton wears a chainmail and carries a longsword. A spider swarm emerges from the cracked walls to attack anyone who descends.
5 The party discovers a series of runes etched into a wall; deciphering them reveals the presence of the library (area 5).
6 Two roaming skeletons stumble upon the characters. After a moment of confusion (1 round), they attack without mercy.

1. Ebonwood Cemetery

Finding the Valthorne crypt is a simple task. The char­acters must follow the tracks of the undead through the countryside and into Ebonwood Cemetery. Therein, the tracks lead to three mausoleums (areas 2 and 3).

  • Magic Darkness. The area is shrouded in mist and darkness. A detect magic spell reveals its nature.
  • Roaming Guardians. Three skeletons emerge from a random edifice looking for prey in nearby roads. They are drawn by light sources the characters carry.

2. Lesser Mausoleums

Two ancient mausoleums, their stone facades crum­bling, stand solemnly amidst a fog-shrouded ceme­tery. Eerie, hollow whispers echo from their depths.

  • Heraldry. On the stone door, walls, and the decorative sarcophagus within, all family names and crests have been defaced. None can be read or deciphered.
  • Secret Entrances. Each of the decorative sarcopha­gi contains a narrow shaft that leads down to the crypt. These passages lead to the landings closest to area 4.

3. Grand Mausoleum

This building is twice as large as the other two mausole­ums. It contains the same decorative sarcophagus plus two smaller enclosures. In the same manner, the central sarcophagus contains a hidden passage that descends to the landing just north of area 7 (see map).

  • Guardians. Opening the central enclosure causes a zombie to emerge from each side sarcophagus.
  • Treasure (3 XP). The side sarcophagi contain 30 gp, a potion of healing, two torches, and a flask of oil.

4. Crypt of the Unnamed

This chamber houses five ornate niche columns, and four ancient sarcophagi, each etched with defaced runes that glow ominous under the torchlight.

  • Enclosures. The sarcophagi contain the bodily re­mains of nobles of yore. The niches contain the ashes of lesser family relatives. Opening any of them causes two shadows to appear as a warning. They retreat if the par­ty stops their intrusion. Otherwise, they attack.
  • Treasure (3 XP). The enclosures in each room la­beled area 4 contain 60 gp and two rubies (10 gp each).

5. Secret Library

This hidden area, accessible from several other dun­geon areas (DC 14 WIS to find secret passage), contains a bookcase. The documents herein contain the only re­maining records of the Valthorne family. If Dr. Alessan is present (see Adventure Hooks), he finds the tome from which the fragment he possesses was torn. These docu­ments can be gifted to the ghostly patriarch in area 10 to lift the curse that assails the Valthorne family.

6. Blade Traps

Two swinging-blade traps hide in the darkness of this hallway. Each is triggered by stepping through the trig­ger wire next to it. The swinging blade deals 2d6 damage and resets after 1 minute (DC 14 DEX check).

7. Embalming Room

Two half-embalmed bodies rest on metal tables. They appear fresh as if they had only been brought for burial hours ago; a trick of the necromancy that veils the crypt. The two zombies rise to attack living creatures.

  • Treasure (2 XP). Among the dusty shelves, there is a potion of healing, a crowbar, and two flasks of oil.

8. The Poet Ghost

A ghost sits on an unmarked sarcophagus. Once a poet, the person now exists in despair, crafting poems of the nameless family. In his art, he claims that all of them were doomed by the crimes of a few evil men. Thus re­sulting in the current rage that cannot be quenched.

9. Tomb of Artisans

Craftsmen who once worked under the patronage of the Valthrone family were interred here. Their funerary urns are the only ones still bearing their names. All from dif­ferent families; none of them named Valthorne.

10. Tomb of Patriarchs

In this chamber, eight defaced sarcophagi lie in chill­ing symmetry. Their austerity and lack of heraldry are amplified by the stone braziers’ cold, ghostly light.

The last Valthorne patriarch (shadow), wearing a shim­mering robe, and two skeletons coalesce at the cham­ber’s center. Like their kin, they suffer the curse of non­recognition and yearn to rediscover their heritage.

  • Eternal Rest. If the characters bring the papers from area 5 that reveal their lost family name, the undead in the crypt pass on to a better life and rest eternally. Oth­erwise, defeating the patriarch rids the region from their insane attacks for 1 century. Helping them thus is a mor­ally gray deed that the characters must ponder with care.
  • Treasure (4 XP). The sarcophagi contain 40 gp, two emeralds (5 gp each), and the patriarch’s magic robe. Whoever wears it knows the direction toward their worst enemy as long as they are located in the same plane.

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