728 House of the Lidless Abominations – Lv-4 Adventure

Let us practice our beliefs! Or else we shall require your gaze, lidless, to continue guarding this harbor of evil after the living have long departed.

Father Harmens

Beneath the forlorn ruins of Eldergrove, where twisted trees whisper untold secrets, lies a forgotten tomb known as the House of the Lidless Abominations. This underground sepulcher, once the resting place of the noble House Valthrun, has become a place of dark legend. Rumors tell of a grand sarcophagus within its Main Hall, holding treasures beyond mortal comprehension. However, it is guarded by the twisted machinations of a nefarious cult.

The Cult of the Unseeing

The tomb has been desecrated by a small, insidious cult known as the Cult of the Unseeing. These fanatics, led by Father Harmens, worship the concept of eternal watchfulness, believing that true vision comes from be­yond mortal eyes. They have performed vile rituals to reanimate those interred in the tomb below; the lidless abominations, undead monstrosities stripped of their eyelids, cursed to eternal vigilance. Whatever treasure is guarded in the Main Hall the cult has kept safe. Under their leader’s teachings, they believe that guarding the sarcophagus shall grant them seeing into other worlds.

Adventure Hooks

  • Swords for Hire. Lord Daven, a collector of ancient artifacts, hires the characters to follow a map to the crumbling tomb of House Valthrun to retrieve the con­tents of its patriarch’s sarcophagus. Any other valuables found in the burial site are for the characters to do as they please. Lord Dave does warn the party that a pet­ty cult is rumored to have taken over the tomb. He cares not for what happens to the cultists (800 gp, 6 XP).

Level 4 Adventure

  • Danger. Risky. Check for a Random Event every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (4-in-6 chance).
  • Light. Some areas feature magical braziers with light spells. The undead monsters are dark-adapted.
  • Heraldry. The walls are etched with House Valthrun’s seal (DC 14 INT), an old and powerful noble family.

1. Entrance Hall

This chamber is empty except for a glowing rune on the floor and a magical brazier. The rune is a clever trap meant to attract the attention of trespassers and trigger the two crossbow traps hidden in the alcoves (see map).

  • The Walls. North and south, the two 10-foot-deep al­coves are shrouded by illusory walls. Observant individu­als notice their slight transparency (DC 17 WIS).
  • The Crossbows. Standing on the glowing rune square triggers both devices to shoot. The target takes 2d8 damage from the bolts (DC 15 DEX check).

2. Cultish Quarters

Each chamber contains sparse furnishings and attire for mid-level cult members. 2d3 cultists rest in each cham­ber at any given time. The cultists emerge to combat the trespassing characters if the trap is triggered in area 1.

  • Lore. A journal on the north chamber reveals that the teleportation circles in the Main Hall (area 5) are the only means to reach the lower level. It is located 300 feet below and consists of two unconnected wings.
  • Treasure (3 XP). Inspecting the south chamber for 1 crawling round yields 40 gp, one potion of healing, and two Wizard spell scrolls (hold person and misty step).
1 The party hears hushed, unintelligible whispers emanating from the shadows. They claim they still see, even with lidless eyes.
2 A spectral figure of a long-dead noble (shadow) drifts silently through a corridor, leading the way toward its tomb in area 5.
3 A wall effigy’s eyes seem to follow the party. Those who meet its gaze feel a wave of deep nausea for 1 minute (DC 14 CON). Those affected by this effect have disadvantage on all checks against the undead guardians in the lower level until they rest.
4 Two undead warriors (ghasts), clad in rusted armor and lidless, approach to attack anyone who disturbs their eternal watch.
5 After an arcane wave, all light sources flicker simultaneously, plunging the dungeons into darkness for 1 crawling round.
6 A supernatural cold, brought forth by the cult leader, engulfs the party. It saps their life-force if they fail to resist its effects. Each character takes 1d6 CON damage (DC 16 CON check). Dying from this effect spawns an abominate, lidless ghoul.

3. Cultish Barracks

Each chamber contains furnishings, double bunk-beds, and attire for low-level cult members. 2d4 peasants study in each chamber at any given moment.

  • Treasure (2 XP). Inspecting the chambers for 1 crawling round yields 20 gp, and two flasks of oil.

4. Priestly Quarters

Each chamber contains a single bed and a shelf. Father Harmens lives in the north one but is not currently there. The cult’s second-in-command, Mother Dianora (mage) studies in the south one and emerges to fight when inter­rupted or if a battle in the barracks (area 3) breaks out.

  • Painting. The oil painting over the bed-frame depicts a stern, old man, dressed in priestly robes.
  • Treasure (4 XP). Inspecting Dianora’s chamber for 1 crawling round yields 30 gp, a potion of vitality, a carved mithral ring (40 gp), and a scroll of zone of truth.

5. The Main Hall

An ancient chamber adorned with cryptic Elvish runes up to the domed ceiling. A raised dais holds a grand sarcophagus. It is flanked by two pulsating magical circles. Mystery and magic fill the air.

  • The Circles. Stepping on the circles instantly tele­ports up to six creatures to area 6 (south circle) or area 7 (north circle). They recharge after 1 crawling round.
  • The Congregation. Father Harmens (mage) is here with two cultists and two lidless ghouls. The cult lead­er commands the characters to leave at once as their objective is only to peacefully guard the contents of this dungeon. If the characters refuse, the cultists fight to the death to impede them from accessing the lower tomb.
  • Treasure (8 XP). The sarcophagus can only be opened by operating the valves in areas 12 and 13. It contains 3,500 gp, 2,800 sp, two potions of healing, a +1 chainmail, and a scroll of protection from energy.

6. East Wing Landing

The small chamber contains nothing but a teleportation circle. It connects to the south circle in area 5. When the characters teleport in here, they cannot return to area 5 until 1 crawling round has elapsed. During this time, the circle stops glowing and appears to be inert.

7. West Wing Landing

This chamber is identical to area 6 except that the magic circle in it connects to the north circle in area 5.

8. West Gallery

A tall statue of a masked bloodletter stands impassive at the end of this gallery. Six standing sarcophagi, their covers well decorated, flank the strange statue.

  • Lidless Monsters. Six ghouls emerge from the en­closures when a living creature enters the chamber. Their implacable, lidless gazes disturb mortals’ minds.
  • Treasure (5 XP). The secret vault (DC 16 Wis check to find the hidden button to open it) behind the far wall contains 300 gp, 2,100 sp, a potion of invisibility, a ring of invisibility, four flasks of oil, and a pound of lard.

9. East Gallery

This chamber is identical to area 8 except that there are only four ghouls. Two of the enclosures are open and empty when the characters arrive. In addition, there is no secret chamber behind the north wall.

10. Pond of Solace

These chambers serve as the entrance to the Slither­ing Tombs (areas 11). They contain a single, 5-foot-deep pond filled with clean water. The stone railing is etched with Elvish runes. If translated, they read: “Drink in hon­or of House Valthrun and ease the pain and weariness.

  • Water. Visitors who drink from either pond and make a toast for House Valthrun are awarded a luck token. A toast made in jest or drinking from the pond without translating the runes causes the person ingesting the water to become poisoned. 2d6 damage (DC 12 CON).

11. Slithering Tomb

This serpentine burial site is dotted with eleven alcoves, each containing a single, standing enclosure. These buri­al containers are marked with the House Valthrun sigil and are labeled with a person’s name. If the characters open these tombs, the contents are random (1d4):

  1. A ravenous, lidless ghast emerges from within.
  2. 200 gp are stored inside.
  3. A random Wizard scroll and two lidless zombies.
  4. An adamantine trinket (20 gp) lies within. It bears the heraldry mark of House Valthrun.

12. Tomb of the Patriarch (East)

The statue of an armor-clad knight oversees this chamber. The pedestal on which it stands is also a burial container that bears an ancient family sigil.

A phantom (wraith) emerges from the stone pedestal. Its lidless eyes are evident even in its incorporeal form. If at least half the party drank in honor of House Valthrun in the nearest area 10, the wraith deems them friends of his house and does not attack unless antagonized first. It even allows the use of the valve wheel.

  • The Device. The wheel valve, in the closed position, has to be operated by a strong character (DC 14 STR check) to reach the open position. Both this and the one in area 13 must be opened for anything to happen.
  • Treasure (5 XP). The pedestal features a drawer-like container where the patriarch’s remains are interred. It contains 500 gp and a +1 longsword. Pillaging this trea­sure earns the characters the eternal enmity of House Valthrun. These ghosts shall forever haunt them.

13. Tomb of the Patriarch (West)

This chamber is a mirrored version of area 12. The valve wheels in both chambers must be operated for the grand sarcophagus in the Main Hall (area 5) to open.

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