Hexcrawl Series No. 9 – Crescent Moon Dagger Vault

This adventure is part of the Brukesian Duchy Hexcrawl. Find more about it here!

The Dewborn in the Brukesian Duchy differ greatly from their past kin. They’ve lived far from home for so long that they have started to forget their origins and the darkness they left behind.

The Dewborn built this vault to guard a dagger key to the prison of an immortal enemy. The people from the Fey Realm have forgotten of its existence. Despite being well-guarded, it is there for the taking. In the wrong hands, the dagger could cause the return of a horrible threat.

Lore

Two thousand years ago, the Dewborn fled from the Fey Realm, their home. They escaped a horrible war that threatened their survival as a people.

In a desperate attempt of survival, the Dewborn opened a gate between worlds and crossed the veil of the planes to reach the Brukesian Duchy. Only a portion of them could go through; their relentless enemies were aware of their plan and attempted to stop them from escaping.

Seven Dewborn heroes fought to keep the portal open and let through as many of their people as possible. Despite their efforts and sacrifice, the warriors couldn’t prevent a mighty foe from crossing the gate before it closed.

A fey spirit with an endless hunger for living matter made it through. A horrible battle ensued. The Dewborn, injured and tired, knew that it was a matter of time before they met their maker.

The seven zealots’ duty was to protect their kin. But they realized they were no match for the mighty fey spirit. In an epic display of heroism, they sacrificed their lives to imprison the corrupted fey spirit in a magical jar.

The Dewborn built a prison to keep the jar away from the wrong hands. They decided to hide the magical jar’s key far away from the secret prison.

Ozgul is the name of the fey spirit that crossed. After two thousand years, most of the Dewborn have forgotten about both the prison and the key.

It was the Dewborn’s wish for the key to remain untouched. Nevertheless, treasure-hunters believe that the more protected a place is, the larger the reward. And the dagger is, indeed, well-guarded.

General Features

The vault’s entrance is hidden in the mountain skirts. The underground place is abandoned and somber.

Despite the deterioration and disrepair, the Dewborn decorative stone carvings can still be appreciated.

The vault, unless otherwise noted:

Demanding construction (delicate details and carvings). Eye-watering stench (smell of decay and putrefaction). Wear and tear (due to abandonment and erosion). Desolation (feelings of despair and hopelessness fill the mind).

D8 Random Encounters

1

1d6 ghouls looking for food. They run and attack living creatures they see

2

2d4 giant centipedes

3

1d10 zombies

4

1d6 giant spiders attempt to surprise their prey using their webs and attacking from above

5

2 wraiths, their ghostly figures wear tattered Dewborn armor

6

1 mummy. It wears Dewborn tattered garments and jewelry

7

1d12 troglodytes. They came here to hide from a monster for a while

8

1 flesh golem. Its body is made of several zombie corpses unified by a sticky reeking goo

D8 Random Events

1

A gust of wind blows suddenly and extinguishes exposed light sources

2

Dense mist covers the vault for 1d4 hours, the floor is not visible

3

1d6 harmless zombies arrive and stare at each other

4

Unnatural cold fills the underground area for 1d6 hours. Breathing creates visible vapor

5

A zombie grunts in the distance

6

The roar of a huge monster is heard outside the vault

7

The tiles crack and break under the weight of the creatures on them

8

A path of dry blood and desiccated guts marks the way toward the zombie pit, it ends there

1. Vault’s Entrance

Hidden entrance (concealed by the mountain skirts). Iron bars portcullis (rusty but sturdy).

  • Barred Entrance: The iron bars put up a fight despite their rusty look. A strong individual or a few good hits of a hammer are enough to bend them.
  • Dewborn Architecture: The columns, the arc at the entrance, and the decorations of the ledge that overlooks the main hall are proof of the dedication and care that the Dewborn invested when they built this place.
  • Ledge: It stands 50 feet above the ground. It breaks if three or more people stand on it at the same time.

2. Main Hall

Debris (chunks of the destroyed column). Gory display (impaled skeletons).

  • Platform Heights: The two larger platforms stand 40 feet above the ground while the thinner, wider one reaches a height of 50 feet.
  • Certain Death: Two different spiked pits rest at the bottom of the gaps between platforms. To reach area 8 requires a creature to jump the gap to the eastern ledge. Creatures that fail to jump the distance in any of the gaps fall 50 feet to the floor, get impaled, and die.
  • Echo: The size of this room causes noises to echo around. It is harder to be stealthy and keep a low profile.

3. Spiked Pits

Rusty iron spikes (long and sharp). Boneyard (hundreds of bones at the bottom).

  • Impaling: The spiked pits represent the first hazard for those willing to steal the Crescent Moon Dagger.
Those Who Failed
  • Unnatural holes (impaled bodies). Garments (scraps of clothes).
  • Reaction: Six zombies arise from the remains and bones in the spiked pits. Some of them miss body parts due to the injuries they suffered in life. Hatred and frustration brought them back to haunt the living. They are the ones who failed.

4. Zombie Pit

Tormented souls (non-stop moaning and grunting). Disgusting goo (soaking all zombies).

  • Origin: This pit is the doing of a Dewborn necromancer who participated in the construction of the vault.
The Horde

Overwhelming (zombie swarm).

  • Reaction: The zombies react to any living presence in the vault. They pursue living creatures with insatiable hunger.
  • Sticky Goo: A viscous liquid drips from the zombies. It is hard to remove and it slows movement. The goo hinders the zombies’ pace too but they never stop moving toward their prey.

5. The Limbo

Cold atmosphere (premonitions of death overwhelm the soul). Dewborn runes (carved in the arc-ways).

  • Nowhere to Go: The Dewborn coldly designed the vault to be lethal. Those who fail to jump but survive the fall are likely to draw the attention of the zombies from the pit. The horde of zombies isn’t fast. Once here, treasure-hunters are left with two options: the zombie horde, or the sarcophagi in area 6.
  • Treasure: Hidden inside a crack on the wall by a column is a small leather pouch. It was left by a deceased adventurer. Inside, there are 54 gold pieces in assorted coins, a rusty knife, and a wooden holy symbol.

6. Sarcophagi

Sarcophagi (granite and limestone). Dewborn sun (Carved on the sarcophagi’s lids).

  • Dewborn mages: The makers of the vault rest in here. With a forsaken ritual, they surrendered their souls’ right to exist in peace after death and became immortal guardians of the dagger.
The Guardians
  • Reaction: The two undead spirits of the Dewborn mages attack all living creatures that visit this part of the vault.

7. Trap Cell

Iron bars (rusty but sturdy). Ancient bones (scattered all around the spikes).

  • Trap: A portion of the hallway’s floor that leads to area 8 is a trap. Creatures that trigger the pitfall trap fall, get impaled and die here.
Dancing Bones
  • Reaction: The bones of previous victims of this horrible trap dance and reshape in skeleton warriors. Three skeletons attack any survivors from the trap.

8.Crescent Moon Dagger

Granite pedestal (the dagger rests on it). Treasure chests (limestone and golden clasps).

  • Pitfall trap: Ten feet before the dagger’s vault, there is a pressure-sensitive plate. When triggered, a 10’ by 10’ section of the floor opens to a shaft that falls 50 feet to the iron spikes in area 7.
  • The Key: The Crescent Moon Dagger is dented on one side and its tip is curved. It has blue runes that glow on its blade. The hilt is a masterwork piece of art. A carefully hand-carved silver picture of a beautiful crescent moon over the mountains decorates it.
  • Treasure: Dewborn cloaks made of silk and cotton from the Fey Realm, leather and wooden accessories, and some texts about their culture that explain the origin of this place are found in the chests. The lot is worth 532 gp.

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