To become a saint has something in common with the legendary philosopher’s stone. You must not desire it or want it. It must come to you naturally.
Ord’s Teachings, Vol. IV
The gods created the world and the creatures within it. Most religions describe mortals as servants of the divine creators. And as such, dreaming of immortality is ill-regarded. People should not aspire to become equal or better than the deities. Those who do are often deranged mages, necromancers, or mad reavers possessed by evil weapons.
But what happens to kindhearted souls who wish to be remembered for their deeds? Those who want to hold a place by the deity they followed and respected their whole lives. There is an alternative for these divine warriors; becoming a saint. But very few attain this honor.
A century ago, Zalathar, the Kind walked as a mortal. His deeds in life were such that archbishops and archpriests from all around gave him the status of a saint even before his death. When his time came, people built statues of him, prayers were written to honor him, and his remains were buried in a Sacred Tomb of Ord.
However, realizing the value of this man’s bones, traps, and immortal guardians were placed therein. To this day, there have been many attempts to get hold of Saint Zalathar’s remains, but no one has succeeded as of yet.
Protectors. The church of Ord takes great pride in its saints. Zalathar, the Kind is no exception. Church scouts observe the tomb at all times and they report any anomalies. Last week, they spotted a group of suspicious people nearby. Three days later, one of the scouts died, his throat was slit open. Two more scouts were murdered in the following days. In response, the church recalls the scouts, expecting an intrusion to the tomb, and hires the characters to protect Saint Zalathar’s remains from these murderous would-be robbers (50 gp, 5 XP).
Pillagers. A criminal guild called “The Hand of the Lost” hires the characters after two failed attempts to pillage the tomb. Their reputation precedes the criminal antiheroes and the guild requires them to enter the Sacred Tomb of Ord and steal Saint Zalathar’s remains. The guild sends three thugs to help (70 gp, 7 XP).
Level 4 Adventure
- Danger. Dangerous. Check for a Random Event every crawling round and after loud noises (3-in-6 chance).
- Light. Areas 3 and 5 have light sources; the rest of the dungeon is dark. All denizens are dark-adapted.
- Holy Aura. The guardians of this tomb are infused with divine energy. All denizens of this dungeon have one luck token. The GM is free to use it as they see fit.
|RANDOM EVENTS d6
|A random character steps on the wrong tile and triggers a trap. Slits open on the wall and poison darts fly. The target takes 2d8 damage (DC 13 CON for half).
|A magical ward targets intruders (DC 12 INT). This works like the confusion spell on a random character.
|A random character pushes the wrong brick on the wall. The triggered trap releases a sharp blade from above. The target takes 1d12 damage (DC 13 DEX for half).
|An invisible stalker approaches the characters from behind. This creature is bound to protect this place forever. Its tracking ability is meant to locate Saint Zalathar’s remains. It flees if reduced to half its hit points, so the immortal guardian can track the bones if they are stolen.
|Five animated armors appear and fight! These magical apparitions disassemble when reduced to 0 hit points.
|A seraph angel appears. It helps the heroes if they are here to protect Saint Zalathar’s remains. Otherwise, the angel sees them as robbers and fights to the death.
Note. If the characters have come to protect the tomb (see Adventure Hooks), they are too late. The robbers are inside. The tomb’s defense mechanisms are on.
1. Descending Stairs
The characters travel for a couple of days. Their uneventful journey takes them to a mountain range. Following the trail between the mountains for a couple of hours reveals an entrance. A dark tunnel ends by a stairway.
- Welcome.The characters reach the landing. A set of switchback stairs descend further. The statue here is the first guardian (gargoyle). The heroes are surprised unless they spot its faint movements (DC 15 WIS).
- Note. If the heroes were hired to protect this place, this statue is destroyed on the floor. The robbers did it.
2. Main Landing
Saint Zalathar’s remains have been buried here for almost a hundred years. The tomb’s walls feature the wear and tear caused by the passage of time.
There are two ways to go from here. However, both paths are blocked by a closed door or gate (see below).
- Library Door. The lock of this door can be opened with the right tools (DC 13 DEX). If the heroes attempt to destroy it, magical runes explode and all creatures in the room take 3d6 damage (DC 13 DEX for half).
This room contains tomes and books on religion. If the heroes spend a crawling round searching this place, they find a leather-bound book with golden strappings that reads: The Story of Saint Zalathar, the Kind. This book is worth 100 gp to the right buyer (10 XP).
- Pillagers. If the heroes came to protect the place, they find two cultists and three thugs here. The robbers did not expect visitors, they fight until slain.
4. Sacred Gate
The crystal doors of this gate are magical. Images are projected in them, and the people in these fully-colored illustrations move. Saint Zalathar’s most meaningful deeds can be seen and learned here.
The gate is locked but it will open if the characters recite any of Saint Zalathar’s prayers, provided they know one (DC 13 INT). If they do not know any, they may find many of these prayers within the library, in the tome The Story of Saint Zalathar, the Kind. Whoever pronounces the prayers to open the gates earns a luck token.
- The Gate. There are no locks to be picked. The only other way to open this door is by wrecking it. An augury spell would describe woe regarding this course of action, though. The heroes would have to attack and destroy the crystals where Saint Zalathar’s deeds appear. Breaking the door is easy but it is considered a divine transgression. If the characters resort to this to advance, they trigger a trap: two wraiths coalesce from the shadows and the broken glass. They attack the heroes until slain.
5. Saint Zalathar’s Remains
The walls of this large chamber feature the same decoration as the rooms above. But the north and south alcoves display bas-reliefs of Saint Zalathar.
What occurs in this area depends on the characters’ reason for being here (see Adventure Hooks).
- Protectors. The characters open the gate. There are bodies on the floor, blood everywhere. But the leader of the intruders and some of his goons are still standing. The characters must fight four bandits, two thugs, two cultists, and the leader of the thieves (knight). On round three of the fight, one of the bodies on the floor moves. The bandit was just knocked out. Taking advantage of the fight’s noise and confusion, the first thing he does is open the lid of Saint Zalathar’s sarcophagus.
- Pillagers. The characters must defeat the main guardians of the tomb to even approach Saint Zalathar’s remains. Two seraph angels appear and fight until slain.
- traps. The rugs cover trapdoors. Creatures that step on them fall 40 feet, land in the tomb’s prisons (area 6), and take 3d6 damage (DC 13 DEX for half).
- Saint Zalathar. Opening the sarcophagus is a divine transgression. It is a vile act that defiles the entire Sacred Tomb of Ord. Whoever opens it shall face the wrath of Saint Zalathar’s spirit (domini angel). The saint is mad with rage for having to deal with mortals’ stupidity and blind ambition. It cannot be reasoned with until it is reduced to half its hit points. At this point, protectors of the tomb shall be spared and Saint Zalathar apologizes. But whoever wants the saint’s bones must defeat the domini angel outright. But doing so earns the enmity and wrath of the church of Ord. See Conclusion for details.
6. Divine Prisons
Walls of sacred, invisible light cover these 10-foot squares. The bones of tomb robbers and old pillagers lay on the ground. A great calm bathes the prisoners. It robs the victims of any desire to be free.
The trapdoors in area 5 connect to these magical prisons. These horrible devices cause the person within to feel calm and content (DC 13 WIS). On a failure, the victim has no desire to be free or come out. Creatures may repeat this save every hour. Otherwise, they may try to climb the 40-foot shaft up (DC 17 STR).
If the heroes spend a crawling round searching, they spot the hidden lever they must pull to reveal this area.
- Treasure (6 XP). The characters find leather bags with 78 gp, a bag of rare spices (15 gp), a gold censer (70 gp), a kytherian cog, and a war horn of the angels.
The characters reach the end of this adventure and face the consequences of their valiant deeds.
Servants of Ord
The characters enter the tomb and remove all threats. They stop the thieves before irreparable damage is done and the Sacred Tomb of Ord is saved from corruption. The heroes become local celebrities and the church or Ord grants them the title of “Ord’s Falcons”. This is a great honor among the Ord, the Unbending community.
The characters defeat the angels and wreck the place. They steal everything they can and remove the saint’s remains from this sacred resting place. They are either true to their word and bring the bones to The Hand of the Lost or keep the holy remains for themselves. Either way, the characters become the most-wanted enemies of the church of Ord. They shall be hunted day and night until the bones of Zalathar, the Kind are returned.