756 Temple of the Rot

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 sphere of beginnings and ends whispers secrets of decay and doom. Here lies the Orb of Rot, where life’s end paves the dark path to rebirth’s bloom.

Faded Wall Inscription

Nestled in the mist-shrouded southern hills or El-Unore Reaches, the Temple of the Rot stands as a dark beacon of ancient and lethal power. Constructed by an old civilization with deep insights into the cyclical natures of life and death, this temple houses the Orb of Rot, a cursed artifact that emits a deadly fluid capable of smothering all life.

A decade ago, a cadre of scholars wished to unlock and contain its secrets, only to meet with disaster; half were lost to the orb’s toxic waste and the temple’s traps, leaving the survivors scarred and resolute in their avoid­ance of the site. Today, the Temple of the Rot is shunned and feared. Heroes seeking to breach the Heart of De­cay’s protective barrier must neutralize this orb among others, a mission that challenges their courage and pits them against the darkest elements of their world.

Level 2 Dungeon

  • Danger. Risky. Check for a Random Encounter every 20 minutes and after loud noises (4-in-6 chance).
  • Light. Some areas have sconces or braziers with per­manent light spells. All denizens have Darkvision.
  • Decay. Creatures and organic things within the tem­ple are affected by a magical deterioration and fester­ing. Food and plants spoil or become rotten much faster. This translates into a quicker aging process; the heroes get older by 1 month for each hour spent within the dun­geon. This means that 12 straight hours represent a year.

The Orb of Rot

The Orb of Rot, the Orb of the Wild, and the Orb of Rebirth, the triad. As the embodiment of decay, the Orb of Rot is an obsidian-like sphere, etched with intricate patterns that mimic the forms of putrefaction at a microscopic level. Emitting a noxious, life-extinguishing fluid from its core, it symbolizes the necessary destruction that clears the way for new growth, ensuring the balance of the natural cycle. The orb constitutes a warning, a required change, pushing life towards evolution or extinction.

The characters may learn the locations of the temples in Satyr Grove. The ancient satyr seers are the only ones aware of this information. The fey leaders are happy to see outsiders and seek their help. A good tracker can follow directions to the temple’s entrance (DC 13 Survival). On a fail, the heroes do not see the owlbear droppings and walk into a nest with three eggs. Momma bear stares at the heroes from behind the bushes (DC 12 Perception to spot), readying its body to pounce.

1 A sudden collapse of a decayed wall releases a swarm of spiders. The insects attack the intruders but flee if reduced to half HP.
2 A thousands of years old Eladrin (shadow) appears. The spectral guardian acts neutral if an elf walks among the characters. Otherwise, the shadow becomes hostile, believing the heroes are somehow responsible for the corruption in the region.
3 Vines and roots pierce the walls and the dungeon’s ceiling. Two vine blights detach from them and attack the intruders.
4 Stepping on a floor tile triggers a deluge of a dark, orange, deadly fluid (DC 12 Perception). An ochre jelly emerges and attacks!
5 Toxic spores burst from the floor when disturbed, causing hallucinations and disorientation. Creatures affected must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution save. On a fail, they suffer the effects of a confusion spell but this only lasts for 2 rounds.
6 A grotesquely mutated creature approaches, begging for a swift death. If the PCs refuse, the deranged being (ghoul) attacks.

1. Temple’s Entrance

After traveling in El-Unore Reaches for a while and find­ing their way through the misty hills, the characters stumble upon a dark, mysterious cave. Ten minutes of spelunking brings them to a long set of descending steps.

2. Fire Jet Traps

The flames, shot at random intervals, deal 1d8 damage to anyone who passes. Only the fastest may avoid getting burned (DC 14 Acrobatics). A thief may attempt to dis­arm the apparatus (DC 13 Thieves’ Tools). Failing by 5 or more causes an explosion that deals 2d8 damage.

3. The Three Brothers

Three alcoves hold an intricately adorned sarcopha­gus: one with a crown of oak, the middle with swirl­ing air motifs, and the third with flames and flowers.

The three Eladrin siblings rest here. They were heroes in their time. And their sacred resting place is now filled with evil. Their remains have been defiled by this corrup­tion. Two zombies and one wight emerge from the en­closures. They fight the heroes until slain. Failing to spot the hidden trap door near the middle sarcophagus (DC 12 Perception, see map) causes a PC to fall to area 9.

4. Defiled Sacred Chambers

Two statues of armored warriors stand sentinel beside a cross-shaped opening. Flanking a flickering brazier, the only source of light, are two sarcophagi. This eerie illumination casts dramatic shadows.

These chambers were formerly used to perform initia­tion rituals that were meant to bathe worthy elves in the sacred waters of their lands. In the current era, falling through the chasm results in anything but sacred.

  • Encounter. Two ghouls emerge from the sarcopha­gi. They attempt to push intruders toward the opening. Victims land in area 12 and are completely submerged.

5. Arcane Office

This small chamber stands above a 10-foot-tall ladder. The secluded studio features a single desk and a large shelf with countless books, tomes, and scrolls.

There is also a pink, glowing circle on the floor. Its runes reveal this is a teleportation circle. Whoever steps on appears on the other side instantly (area 11). It takes 20 minutes for the circles to recharge.

  • Treasure. If the heroes search this area for 1 minute, they find a warm cloak woven of spider silk (25 gp), a 1st-tier spell scroll (80 gp), and a gold circlet (40 gp), and they also learn the history of this place.

6. Eladrin Studio

  • Lore. If the heroes read the documents in this area for 10 minutes, they learn that the Eladrin had to deal with the Heart of Decay too. They describe this event as part of the cycle of life, and something that must occur for life and death to find balance again.
  • Treasure. A fine suit of chainmail (60 gp), two lus­trous pearls (40 gp each), and an entire chest filled with ancient coinage: 234 gp, 2,853 sp, and 12,867 cp.

7. Hidden Vault

The heroes learn the location of this vault only if they read the documents in both areas 5 and 6. The magic word ‘meh-lonn’ removes the magical barrier.

  • Treasure. An oil painting of an elf woman (35 gp), a holy symbol of Ramlaat with a ruby (55 gp), four potions of healing (150 gp each), a 2nd-level spell magic wand (100 gp), and 5,876 gp in several leather bags.

8. Fonts of Corruption

The black, gooey liquid traverses the dungeon despite its viscous appearance. Its evil nature hides a mesmerizing property. Making the dark substance seem alive.

  • Grasp of Death. A viscous, swift appendage of black liquid whips any creature that gets too close. Attack: 1 slam + 3 (1d8). Can only attack 1 target at a time.

9. Secret Pitfall Trap

A clever illusion at the end of the corridor conceals the entrance to this chamber. A detect magic spell reveals this ruse. Impaled victims take 3d6 damage. It takes 10 minutes to pull them out of the rusty spikes.

10. Hallway of Death

A thief may disarm the corridor’s blades (DC 14 Thieves’ Tools). Failing this check messes up the device’s tempo­rizer and the blades swing uncontrollably for 12 hours straight, making it deadly to walk by the swinging blades.

11. Teleportation Circle

There seems to be no exit from here, but it is only a mat­ter of removing the rocks and debris from the tunnel. This takes 10 minutes and at least two people.

12. Pools of Corruption

To get here, the heroes fall from either area 4 or climb their way through the tunnels from area 8 (see map). This is no easy task (DC 14 Athletics). Failing by 5 or more means the climber loses their grip and falls.

Three shadows coalesce if the heroes touch the emer­alds on the enclosures’ lids (200 gp each).

  • Foul Liquid. Submerged creatures take 1d8 damage per round, and another 1d8 after they come out.

13. Arcane Mechanisms

The Eladrin created this device to maintain their sacred waters’ properties (DC 13 Arcana). Currently, they are immobile and silent. Turning the machine back on makes the interaction with the Orb of Rot easier. A mage may at­tempt to restart the arcane engine (DC 15 Arcana).

14. The Orb of Rot

A sinister, dark glass sphere that pulses rhythmically, as if breathing, releasing waves of putrefaction that whisper of desolation and the inevitable death.

Consider this when the heroes approach the orb:

  • Reek. DC 12 Constitution or vomit during 1 round.
  • Possession. One target. DC 12 Charisma. On a fail, the target is possessed. Repeat save each round.
  • Encounter. The orb has HP 14, and AC 13. A gib­bering mouther spawns when reduced to half HP.
  • Advantage. Reduce AC and all DCs by 2 if the en­gines in area 13 are operational. Heroes have advantage in checks related to the orb if they receive the Eladrin’s Blessing before delving into the Temple of the Rot.
  • Destruction. Dropping the orb to 0 HP clears all cor­ruption; the place is healed. The healing waters return if the device in area 13 is restored. Drinking this fluid of life heals all wounds and non-magical diseases.

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