745 Crypt of Ashen Bones – Level-1 Adventure

This adventuring supplement is designed for D&D5e. On out Patreon page you can get it in PDF format (see image). The downloads include hi-res images for the maps. And there is a variant PDF version designed for Shadowdark RPG.

“The silent kings of yore await a worthy soul’s tread; in the ashen crypts, their power lies dormant, a legacy of might for the living to wield”.

Dungeon’s Inscription

This crypt is the final resting place of a dynasty of warrior kings. Their legacy, once inscribed in the annals of history, was consigned to flames when the empire reached the verdant expanse of Red Leaf Vale. The conquering forces, fearing the resurgence of these mighty rulers, sought to erase all memory of their existence, burning scrolls, tomes, and records that bore witness to their reign.

Yet, the essence of these warrior kings could not be so easily extinguished. Their spirits remain, bound to the mortal realm by a yearning for deliverance. These spec­tral monarchs seek a worthy soul to whom they might be­stow their accumulated power. This ethereal inheritance awaits one who possesses the courage, the strength, and the virtue to claim it. Whoever wields this power, may be able to shape the destiny of Red Leaf Vale and beyond.

Adventure Hooks

Explorers. Knowledge is power. Learning about the ancient rulers of these lands may help the heroes in their quest to liberate Red Leaf Vale from the orc invasion. Or perhaps gold and treasure are what they seek.

Level 1 Adventure

  • Danger. Risky. Check for a Random Event every 20 minutes and after loud noises (4-in-6 chance).
  • Light. Some areas feature magical braziers that stay ever-burning. The undead within have all darkvision.
  • Magic. The crypt’s incantations and spells remain intact. Some are meant to protect some areas from the passage of time while others aim to stop intruders or fool tomb robbers. Many explorers have perished within.

Getting Here

The heroes follow the river upstream. A small de­viation west takes them to the mountain skirts. A good tracker identifies tiger dung and knows how to avoid the wild beast’s path (DC 11 Survival). On a fail, the heroes encounter a hungry tiger before reaching the crypt. The strong feline flees when reduced to half its Hit Points.

Unexpected Allies

Sharp-Teeth Bagark, the orc chieftain, gave clear orders: “Explore the area, find the so-called Crypt of Ashen Bones, and retrieve all valuables.” Six orcs entered. However, the undead in the crypt were too much for them. Only half of their group escaped, and they are scared of returning to Bagark empty-handed. The orcs would rather parley. They offer to help and accompany the heroes if they allow it. Otherwise, they try to flee.

1 The ghostly apparition of a king steps forth from the walls, he stares at the heroes, makes a disappointed face, and vanishes.
2 A group of four guardians (skeletons), armed with rusted blades, catch up with the intruders to defend the crypt’s sanctity.
3 Whispered voices fill the crypt, reciting the old kings’ deeds. Those who listen closely may glean wisdom from these spectral echoes, gaining advantage on their next save (DC 12 Charisma). On a fail of 5 or more though, they get disadvantage instead.
4 A current of air traverses the entire dungeon. It extinguishes all light sources. The dungeon’s braziers turn back on in 1 minute.
5 The heroes experience a vivid vision of a beautiful font (area 10). There, the specters of three ancient kings float above the bright, clear waters. With a gesture, they bestow their blessings upon them, allowing them to take a magical artifact.
6 The heroes stumble upon an inscription on the wall. It reads: “And one day, a worthy successor shall continue our legacy…

1. Verdant Cliffs

Red Leaf Vale is a land filled with green and nature. Even this rocky section of the territories, and the mountains, are covered in grass. Three orcs camp outside by the large, ever-burning braziers. They seem to be waiting. The heroes can set up an ambush before attacking or talking to them (see Unexpected Allies below).

2. Antechamber

Beyond the main door, the dungeon smells nice, and the walls and furniture show no wear or tear. Both of these areas feature a magic circle. The rune sequence can be easily copied if the heroes take 10 minutes to do it.

There are shelves and tables with countless scrolls and books. The heroes can spend 10 minutes reading these documents to learn the history of this place.

3. Sarcophagi of Darkness

These two areas have no light source. The absence of light for so long has corrupted the souls of the people in­terred here. One shadow coalesces in each area.

  • After the fights, the heroes may recover a potion of invisibility in one area, a bag with 29 gp, and a silver-and-gold circlet from the other one.

4. Sarcophagi of Light

These are mirrored counterparts of each area 3 but an ever-burning coal brazier illuminates each chamber.

  • Disturbance. In one of the areas, one skeleton rises to fight intruders. In the second area, a ghoul does.
  • The Lost’s Blessing. Markings and prayers to The Lost are inscribed all around. Reciting these prayers to bless the souls interred here grants a divine advantage on their next save; the heroes are free to not do this if they do not believe in The Lost or pray to a different deity.

5. Chapel of the Lost

Six wooden benches face south, toward a two-head­ed golden statue. Giant cat heads, lion manes, and sage’s beards. This is only one of the many represen­tations of The Lost. An ancient, foreign deity.

Three golden urns rest on each side of the chamber. They hold the ashen remains of dozens of people who were honored with burial among their kings.

  • Paganism. The ancient rulers were not perfect. Their main religious figures were The Lost, considered by most a rather evil deity. These theosophical differences were one of the main reasons for the old war, and the be­ginning of the end for the former kings. Much of this is explained in the history books found in area 2.
  • Reading Between the Lines. The heroes have seen enough. The old kings were followers of The Lost (DC 10 Intelligence). This information may help them in their interaction with the kings (see area 10).

6. Secret Vault

The heroes must notice the hidden lever behind the gold­en statue in area 5 to find this area (DC 13 Perception).

  • The heroes are free to take the following: a mithral shield etched with soaring dragons, a pair of silvered daggers, a set of leather armor dyed black, two potions of healing, and a large, green scarab encased in glowing amber, and a leather bag with 264 gp.

7. Antechamber

Beyond the long descending stairs lies a deadly gauntlet. Four menacing crossbows, hidden fire jets, and a colos­sal spiked roller loom threateningly, everything poised to crush the bones and spirits of the unwary.

  • Button. The door to area 10 is magically locked. The only way to open it is by pressing the pressure-sensitive tile in the middle of this area. However, this also triggers the traps within the room (see below for each).
  • Crossbows. Four bolts fly toward the center. Attack +3 (1d6) for each. They magically reload every minute.
  • Fire. The fire jets burn everything 15 feet before them. Whoever stands in the room when they activate takes 1d10 fire damage (DC 12 Dexterity save for half).
  • Roller. It rolls east in a straight line. It crushes who­ever stands in the middle (2d8 damage, DC 12 Dexteri­ty save). The roller returns to its original place at dawn.

8. Laboratory

This area spells evil and darkness. A ghoul rests on the table. It looks asleep or unconscious. Any interaction with it startles it. The ghoul fights until slain. The em­balming tools in the room can be sold for 250 gp.

9. Arcane Chamber

The heroes lack the magical skill to understand these engines. Interacting with them has a 1-in-6 chance of causing an arcane burst: creatures in the area take 1d8 damage after a strong pulse. Attacking the engines starts a chain reaction; all engines explode, destroying the en­tire crypt, and taking the lives of all within 1 mile.

10. Cells of Hate

The chamber of kings. Six locked sarcophagi keep the remains of the six ancient kings, their specters floating above the shimmering waters. Two tables laden with magical, ever-tasty food. A hero’s feast for those who reach the depths of this sacred domain.

The heroes must press the button in area 7 to enter. The characters are considered worthy only if: they learned the kings’ history (area 2), they did not defile The Lost’s golden statue (area 5), and they are (or claim) to be fol­lowers of The Lost. In case of a lie, (DC 12 Deception check to convince the kings). Being unworthy or caught in a lie summons the dead kings’ anger. Their champion (wight) stands forward to remove the intruders. Howev­er, worthy heroes are bequeathed a sword of sharpness.

If the heroes defeat the champion and try to rob the crypt or open a sarcophagus, the kings (one wraith and five shadows) make them regret their decisions.

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