Sunday, September 12, 2021
A wizard creature levitates while reading a spell book. This monster (?) has arms which originate well below human shoulders...not having shoulders as as such, it's arms are almost insect like, except that it only has two arms, like a human, and legs, and a long tail like a rattle snake. This creature is one of a race that divides it's people into Wizards, warriors, and Workers, ruled by a Priest Class. I'm thinking they are called the Zreen. God help the party that ever runs into a Zreen Sorcerer.
Friday, September 3, 2021
You are members of a tribe of people who dwell in a sequestered valley amid well forested mountains.
The winters are harsh in your land, but your fur-skin clothing and fur draped dwellings protect you from the bitter winds and snows, and the other seasons being rich and pleasant, your people, on the whole, rejoice in their home and celebrate it in festivals and hymns to Holl, the one god of your tribe.
Your people know some farming, and in lowlands of the valley a few hardy crops of squash, beans and corn are grown, but you mainly live by hunting and trapping game and by harvesting nuts and berries and the like, as well as fishing the streams and rivers and a few lakes in the region.
The rigorous life and hardy diet of your mountain fastness bear a proud and strong people, the Children of Holl.
Many many moons ago, more than can be now be counted by your crude time keeping, your ancestors were led here from the Burning Lands to escape the judgment of Holl upon the world. Their guide was a fanatical priest figure named named Arn. Arn was Hol's prophet, and the god told him of the mountain valley, as well as providing him with the charisma and wisdom to lead, guide and govern a new tribe whose origins, it is said, came from Holl making One of Many.
Arn died in course of time, but long after establishing the Children of Holl in their new home and raising up an order or priests, as well as beginning the building of an elaborate stone Temple to Holl in the cliffs of a distant mountain.
It is said to have taken three generations to see the completion of the temple of Holl. and much labor. Holl's priests were learned in secret studies that ensured a truly wondrous edifice to their god. For many moons, the priests governed the Children of Holl and a thriving and largely peaceful society flourished.
In course of time, others came to the mountains. New tribes of humans, but also strange beings who were like men but not men, some small, some great. There were early conflicts and struggles with the desperate people, people who knew not Holl. But the most significant incursions were by the Wolfen, a strange and terrifying race hitherto unknown to the children of Holl-- the Wolfen walked upright and were in bodily shape as a man, but covered with coarse fur, long brushy tails, and having wolve's heads.
They were abominations to your people, though some could speak the tongue of Holl's Children to the astonishment of your people.
There were many battles with the aggressive and warlike Wolfen, with great losses on both sides.
The Wolfen had all the forest senses and skills of a real wolf, but also cunning and iron smith skills like those of your people. They bore not only fang and claw but sword, knife and spear. And there were priests among them as well, ministers of a strange religion who, it is said, wielded Ancient Magic from before the Great Burning.
The greatest victory of the Wolfen, however, was the isolation of the
Temple of Holl from your tribe and the slaughter of the priests and
priestesses therein.They devoured everyone in the Temple and defiled and cast down its sanctums. With the near decimation of the Order of Holl, the knowledge of the priests and priestess was lessened when it died with it's greatest teachers, who, it is said, preserved nothing save through spoken learning. This knowledge included astronomical and numerical arts.
Yet Holl was with your tribe.
After a decade of intense warfare with ruthlessness on both sides, the Wolfen were brought to yield to demands of an end to the battles.
Your people were blessed by Holl with a secret weapon that led to this truce-- the Lost Wolfen.
It is the custom of the Wolfen to subject their cubs to an ordeal in very early childhood of a lone quest in the wilderness for a period of days during which the weaned cubs are commanded to survive by their own cunning, strength and devices before being returning to their home and being fully accepted into a Pack.
Many do not survive the ordeal--known among the Wolfen as the Quickening. These usually perish to wild animals, poison, the elements, or human hunters. The Wolfen do not mourn such unfortunates as they believe this affair is the means by which their goddess, the Moon, purges the weak and unfit from their ranks.
Early in the Wolfen/Man wars, questing Wolfen cubs were discovered by people of your tribe, lost and weakened in the mountain forests.
The more bloodthirsty of your people demanded the execution, and even the torture, of such Lost Wolfen. But the priests of Holl sternly forbade this, issuing prophetic words of Holl; these pitiful ones would become the salvation of your tribe.
They were to be rescued, raised and nurtured among humans.
In this way, Lost Wolfen became one with your tribe.
These Lost Wolfen became indomitable scouts and warriors. Although it was impossible to eradicate in them their native reverence for the Moon Goddess, they also became Children of Holl, and in course of time, some even became priests and priestesses to the god.
Confronted by the tenacity of your tribe combined with the Lost Wolfen advantage, the Wolfen were forced, after serious defeats, to agree to a peace.
Now comes the tale of your life time.
The lands of the Wolfen lie between your tribe and the ruins of the Temple of Holl.
The Children of Holl are not permitted to send re-builders or new acolytes to restore and populate the Temple, but small groups of pilgrims, including clerics, are allowed to pass through the Wolf Lands to the Temple and to return without violence, albeit being followed and watched by Wolfen scouts.
Lost Wolfen are hated by the Packs, but their tribal affiliation with the humans is honored in so far as pilgrimage is concerned.
Over time, the Temple has become a testing ground for certain brave Children of Holl.
Many perils are are said to lie within Holl's Temple, as well as treasures and artifacts.
To go and return grants one both wisdom and status, as ones having known the secrets of the Temple, though to speak of what lies within it's gates is forbidden, save among those who have made the pilgrimage and returned. Many who go never return...some return insane.
Now, you are of age to decide whether or no you will journey to the Temple of Holl and seek the secrets of the god and of the lost past of the Old Tribes, who were destroyed in the Great Burning.
What say you, Child of Holl?
Will you go? And with whom?
Friday, November 27, 2020
|A Short Bibliography in the Intro|
|Territorial Maps by Period|
|Irish Warriors at top and Visigoth Infantry at bottom|
|Harness and fittings of 9th and 10th Century Carolingian mounts.|
|Norman Warriors and their Banners|
|Viking Warriors, including wolf-skinned Berserks, and various Raven standards.|
|Back in the Day!|
|Evil Evie, the Huntress, permits me to give her a small serving of milk. Nothing says wargaming like a cat sipping milk. |
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Greetings Maze Dwellers! Long time no see. I have been somewhat beaten up by this year called 2020 (as have we all in one way or another) BUT there has been some gaming in spite of it all and, just in time for Halloween, a little one level adventure created for use in the setting of the wondrous world of Te'kumel and using the Empire of the Petal Throne Rules.
Really, it can be adapted, reworked, torn apart and completely rebuilt to fit any setting or rules set you wish to use, but I hope it will be used in someone's Te'kumel games.
It is submitted for you to for free, non-commercial use, as the rights to Te'kumel's intellectual legacy belong to the Te'kumel Foundation and M.A.R. Barker's family.
I do not claim to be a scholar of the setting, so it is offered with the caveat that it may not perfectly reflect the way an underworld would have worked in the Professor's games.
Doubtless, there will be discrepancies and error. The layout and secrets of a Tomb for Gru'ganu worshipers might be different upon "real" Te'kumel- this is only how I imagined them. Also, there are references to records of Iron Clan Helm shortly before the 2nd Imperium; upon reflection, I am not certain the Iron Helm Clan even existed then.
I am open to any suggestions for revision and editing of this adventure which might serve to make it more accurate.
It has not been play-tested, though I am planning to use it in the near future. The DM should read carefully through it and make any changes if he or she sees problem areas I have missed.
One major goof is after writing it I realized the level of characters should probably be at least 7th level, not 5th or 6th, as it is quite deadly and there are many ways to perish quickly here.
This can be amended, however, by making sure that if it is run with 5th or 6th level characters, the DM makes sure they have a reasonable means of magical healing and some good protective magical items against evil beings, as well as magical weapons, before they assay into the Restless Tomb.
Also, when I originally made this post, I realized that in writing the adventure I used AD&D H.D. (d8) to calculate enemy hit points, when in fact EPT uses 6 sided dice- I have amended this.
I do plan to print up my pages of this adventure and scan them all so that it can be printed up easily for a better physical copy, and when I do I hope to add more art, but for now, you have it in the form of a blog post to make of what you will. You may of course print it up by copy and paste into Word and printing up the images to assemble your own booklet.
I hope you guys enjoy it!
|Map: Squares are roughly 5'x5'|
The Restless Tomb is an ancestral burial vault of several noble lineages of the Iron Helm Clan.
The DM may place it nearly anywhere in his campaign, including the City of the Dead in Jakalla.
The Tomb is the resting place of many devoted followers of Gru’ganu, and also hides an active shrine dedicated to this Cohort of K’sarul, the Ancient Lord of Secrets.
The DM may
have any premise for the party knowing about and assaying against the Restless
Tomb, such as their having found a map to this Underworld in a previous
adventure, or their being sent upon a quest.
Because Gru’ganu is the Knower of Secrets, one interesting hook could be that a Clan or Faction has learned that a person buried there was interred with a book of secrets about several notable Clans or Figures…it wouldn’t do to leave such a record lying there to be dug up at any time and spread shame. Far better to find and destroy it!
This is but one suggested plot hook to entice players to explore the Restless Tomb. A clever DM can invent any number of plausible reasons for the party to trespass in this forbidden place.
Those portions of text
rendered in italics are sections to be read aloud to players as they enter the various
vaults and passages of the Underworld. It will help the DM to read them while looking at a copy of the map to help visualize the dungeon and thus help run and describe it during the game. Many aspects of each room are not given narrative descriptions, so the DM should have a grasp of the dungeon as a whole before attempting to present it to players.
The DM is also at leisure to change the Clan and Deity of the Restless Tomb to fir his or her campaign or party composition. Suggestions for such a switch would be placing the tomb in a non-Tsolyani nation and making it an older or unknown deity who would likely be an earlier aspect of Gru’ganu.
Entry- Outer Door
“You have gathered at the entrance of the sealed Tomb of the Iron Helm Clan. In this 20’ x 20’ vestibule with a 30’ ceiling, a heavy double door fitted with bronze plates and an intricate heavy rope knot worked in gold and silver fittings gleams in your torchlight. Engraved in the bronze plates is flowing Tsolyani script and, very prominently, an etched outstretched hand, symbol of Gru’ganu, the Knower of Secrets, Cohort of the God Ksarul. There are also engraved here the names of several lineages of the Iron Helm Clan. The knot, woven between two great brass rings affixed to either door, seems to serve as the only apparent lock upon the double door. Lying in the vestibule are several skeletons…perhaps the remains of tomb thieves, still garbed in Chlen-hide armor where they fell before this door for whatever reason. The floor is engraved with strange magical glyphs. It does not appear that this tomb door has been opened in recent history.”
This entrance is a trap of a magical nature, and a Detect Magic spell will indicate a strong presence of magic. This is not the entrance used by those who minister in the secret shrine, and no one has passed through here for many, many years. If the Skeletons are closely examined parts of their bones will reveal bite marks as by closely set fangs. A priest or sorcerer of Change alignment can make an Intelligence check to gain the following knowledge which the DM can relate to them.
‘The glyphs are some sort of a magical ward and appear distinctly evil in nature-they are likely charged with power of the Tlokiriq’aluyal, the Gods of Change. As for the Script, it is a dark blessing of Gru’ganu upon the occupants of this tomb, and a curse upon trespassers which promises they shall meet their death at the power of a terrible guardian.”
If any person either handles the knot, strikes it, or otherwise disturbs it, or should anyone think to cast a Dispel Magic spell on the door or the knot, its true nature will be made manifest as it suddenly transforms into a brightly feathered Vrin’galu, “The Flying Snake”, and attacks. This magic effect is demonic in nature and was placed here by the Demon Guardian of this tomb to punish grave despoilers and trespassers. It has never suffered defeat and heals, over time, from any damage when it returns to its rope-form. If killed the spell is destroyed.
Vrin’galu HD: 4 + 1 HP: 22 AC: 5 Move: 6”/24”
Notes: Poison teeth. Use Remove Curse or apply T’sural buds within 3 Turns or die if bitten. Wings worth 100 K’aitars each to a leather tanner.
There is no treasure to be found in the vestibule or upon the skeletons.
“As the double doors to the tomb swing inward with a groan upon ancient hinges, your fire pierces the cold darkness and lights up a 30’x25’ square chamber. You immediately note two great pillars, 20’ in height, supporting a vaulted ceiling, and two ornate doors spaced about 10’ apart set in the north wall. A dark passage can be seen leading off to the west through a square doorway of tightly fit stones, while another door is directly across from it in the east wall. The room is filled with haunting, lavish frescoes of dark robed figures amid strange and lurid scenes, and the pillars, made of black stone, are inlaid with golden filled spidery script, but before you can make anything at all of the paintings or the writing, you are horrified to discern a towering, blubbery shape emerge from the shadows against the North Wall. A creature standing some 9’ in height clutches a wicked looking halberd of immense size- it is covered in doughy, draping folds that fit it like a robe made of gray, knotty skin. Two pale disc like eyes glowing with a burning inner light regard you, squinting briefly as a croaking voice speaks through a beak like mouth: “K’ayyal! K’ayyal! K’ayyal!” This is the Tsolyani word for “eyes”, and it is spoken with a hunger and lust that leave you in no doubt of what it desires of you. Bloody giant spoons, sharpened and stained red with blood, jingle upon the creature’s belt, which supports a strange leather baldric. From somewhere beyond this chamber, you hear a low, murmuring terrible music of drums and occasional chanting voices which was not audible in the vestibule.”
DM: Check for surprise.
The creature is a Thunru’u, “The Eater of Eyes”. It is stationed here most nights that rituals are ongoing in the Secret Shrine, even though no one has passed through the entry chamber in many years. The keepers of the Secret Shrine are very careful to set guards at the two means of egress into the Shrine.
The Thunru’u is under the control of the Priestess of Gruganu in the Secret Shrine. It is commanded to attack anyone who might intrude.
Allow players an Intelligence check at a penalty of +25 to possibly recognize the creature and know that it is driven away by T’sarul buds. Any characters who have already encountered this monster before may use their previous experience, of course.
Thunru’u HD: 5 H.P. 20 AC: 4 Move: 12”
Carries no treasure, though it does have a pouch filled with a great collection
of rotting eyes. It can be repelled by T’sarul buds- this will drive the
creature to flee either into the door of the passage leading to Hall of Violet
Robes, or through the passage to the Buried Chamber (50% chance of either). It
avoids the Hall of dreaming repose due to the Shed’ra there. It will still
fight if attacked when thus cornered. If it is pursued in the Hall of Violet
Robes it will attempt to flee to the Outer Passage of the Shrine.
If the party examines the painted walls, they reveal black and purple robed devotees of Gru’ganu worshiping his image and carrying out unspeakable rites. They also show a Demon painted on the north wall, staring at onlookers with malevolent burning eyes. It is depicted as black shape of immense size.
The flowing script on the pillars is from the 1st Imperium, as any priest or sorcerer or other language specialist will know. It is remarkably well preserved.
These lines are mostly recitations of lineage names of the interred dead, prayers and invocations to Gru’ganu for enlightenment, and wards of vengeance against any who would rob the tomb of any secrets, treasures or remains. However, there is a strange inscription set alone and of note. It reads, roughly, as follows:
“Beyond Violet Door, Three Wedded Nobles Sleep, lo! The Key is Red, the Song is Brief, a song well pleasing to Black Sword of Doom, this key and this song for the visitant who in Gru'ganu comes seeking Secrets. Let Holy Seekers come, death to all others, Hi’guri will wake to sunder thief or heretic from soul. Beware.”
This inscription is a clue to the means of accessing the Crypt of the Noble Dead elsewhere in the Tomb.
The carven door in the west passage is opened relatively easily- it has been used with some frequency.
The two doors in the north wall are identical, carven with reliefs of frightening scenes of demons feasting upon human victims with Gru’ganu seated at the right of a depiction of K’sarul.
The carven door in the east wall also opens without difficulty.
S1: Statue of Gru’ganu
“You see here a statue, set in a carved alcove, and slightly larger than human size…it is of a robed humanoid with the head of a snake. It is carved from black obsidian and leers with a gaze you would swear truly sees you. One hand clutches a stone book to the creature’s bosom, the other raised in seemingly arcane gesture.”
The statue is a depiction of an aspect of K’sarul’s Cohort. Give a priest or sorcerer an Intelligence check to determine if they discern this. The statue is blocking the secret door which leads to the Antechamber and Crypt of the Noble Dead. It cannot be moved except by means of the secret mechanism hidden in Sarcophagus 2 inside the Crypt of Seven Brothers. If that mechanism is activated then the statue will sink into the ground as the secret door behind it simultaneously grinds open.
Crypt of Seven Brothers
Another carved wooden door, locked and shut up fast, blocks the entrance to this crypt. Unless the party acquires a key from the Priestess in the Shrine, it must be forced open. If players open it, read the following:
“Your torches reveal an elongated chamber, some 15’x 30’ in size. Set in the walls, at intervals, are alcoves dug through the rock, each large enough to house a stone sarcophagus painted in faded violet and black. There are seven such alcoves, three in the west wall, one in the north, one in the south, and two in the east. There is a painted scene of what appears to be a battle, seven prominently painted figures rendered gloriously in the fray, and an engraved inscription filled with fading paint in Tsolyani.”
DM: Have each player make an Intelligence Check at a penalty of +20. If anyone succeeds, or, if a player mentions they are carefully inspecting the features of the crypt, read them the following.
“Most of the chamber appears untrodden for many years, but you note that the door appears to have to have been in use and that a more worn path, free of dust, leads from the door to the alcove directly across from it.”
The inscription will reveal that this is the resting place of seven brothers of the lineage hiDurinomen. The brothers are Z’gal, V’rumi, D’lash, Hikeltal, Dra’sim, Nekt’uru, and H’ret. All were distinguished warriors or officers and died to a man in a battle against N’luss forces shortly before the 2nd Imperium . The great tragedy of such noble brothers all being taken at once is recounted poetically- it relates that their spouses and lovers, of those who were married, were subsequently buried with their spouses, and there are dates given. The name of each brother and their spouse/spouses/lovers is inscribed above each alcove. If anyone searches the coffins (1-7) they will discover the following contents and features:
Coffin 1: Z’gal and Chuma. 2 skeletons in decayed finery. A sword, shield and helm are buried with him, they are of iron. The man and woman (distinguishable by their garments) wear jewelry, head and arm circlets , eight items, in all worth 500 Kaitars. The helm is magical and adds +1 to A.C.
Coffin 2: V’rumi, H’lana and B’rit. Three lovers, two males with a female between them, all clad in rotted splendor. V’rumi is buried with a rusted iron long sword and his Chlen hide helm. All are adorned in Jewelry, twelve pieces in all worth 600 Kaitars.
There is a hidden compartment at their feet (Intelligence Check to find). If opened there is revealed a circular stone implement inserted in a deeply set groove. It is set right. If it is pulled left by two or more strong characters, a mechanism is activated and the party will hear it underground, a sound of chains, scraping stone, whirs and clicks. They will then hear in the passage outside the crypt a stone grating noise and if they check it out, they will note that the statue of Gru’ganu (S1) is sinking downwards as a door opens behind it, revealing the stair to the antechamber. Restoring the lever will close the secret door in similar fashion- the device which effects this was actually engineered by an android and is far beyond the ken of the party.
Coffin 3: D’lash. Buried in a suit of Chainmail and Helm. There is a Ren’yu skeleton buried with him, his faithful and loyal companion Quick Fang, who was put to sleep with pleasant intoxicants and laid to rest with D’lash after it could not be consoled after his master died. There is an engraved stone tablet at Quick Fang’s feet which relate this sad account. There is also an Amulet of Mastery Over Renyu at D’lash’s neck with 6 Uses.
Coffin 4: Hikeltal and Vremissa. He is buried in his Chlen hide armor, she in once splendid grave clothes which lie now in tatters. Vremissa wears an abundance of golden ornaments and precious stones, six in all, worth 400 Kaitars.
Coffin 5: Drasim, K’muri and J’lan. A male and two females, his wives. Drasim is buried in once fine robes, his helm at his feet and a +1 iron sword beside him. They are all decked in jewels and gold, seven items in all, worth 400 Kaitars.
Coffin 6: Nek’turu and Hassalum. Two male skeletons buried together, both warriors in Chlen hide armor and wearing their helms, their great swords at rest upon their bodies. Austere and given to no considerations of anything beyond martial duty, they wished no treasures buried with them but their weapons. Hassalum died with Nek’turu at the battle-field.
Coffin 7: H’ret and Z’muna. Opening this coffin, the party is shocked to see a Chlen armored skeleton lying with his weapon, a great sword, and beside him, a young woman who is apparently alive and sleeping. She is beautiful with paper-white skin and gleaming ebon hair. An engraved stone lies at their feet. If read, it is an account which reads as follows:
“H’ret hi’Durinomen, exalted warrior of Iron Helm, servant of the Tirikélu, sleeps in Gru’ganu’s Knowing with his lover whom he found on his adventures in the Forbidden City. Ageless Z’muna! She went veiled at his side all the days of their bliss, twenty-two years, serving him joyously, and by her wish and his she is laid to rest with him, let none disturb them.”
Z’muna is an automaton of the ancients, an android discovered by H’ret in his early years when he went abroad on quests of exploration. He and his companions encountered several of her kind, known as Yeleth – a few of their men died fighting the perilous machine-women. But some glitch, perhaps due to past physical damage, existed in Z’muna’s programming which falsely identified H’ret to her as her programmer and master (the Gods alone know why) and not only did she not kill him but gave herself willingly to him as his servant. H’ret kept her as a lover (unable to marry her because of Clan pressures) and hid her mysterious nature from his family and friends, a great source of mystery to them all.
Within moments of the coffin being opened, Z’muna will spring into action, attempting to hypnotize and kill as many of the trespassers as possible.
Within the coffin is a scroll, remarkably well preserved and in Ll’yani script, which relates the nature of the Yeleth , their origin as automatons of the ancients, and offers instructions which grant some chance of controlling one (25%) if used by a person of high Intelligence. It of course is of no use in the current situation. There is also a scroll in Tsolyani which relates H’ret’s adventures in the Forbidden City, his “acquisition” of Z’muna, and a map of a buried Temple to unknown gods in that dreadful place, to be used by the DM for a future adventure.
Yeleth: HD: 3 HP: 14 Move: 9” AC 6
Notes: Z’muna attacks with a dagger buried with her. She has a power of hypnotism, which lies in her mesmerizing eyes, as do all Yeleth; but because she has little time to use it she can only affect 1-3 Party members, who all get a savings throw. She will command any hypnotized party member to join her assault (50% chance) or else paralyze them. Upon her destruction she will collapse and begin to shake and smoke, with portions of her synthetic skin burning away to revel wires and circuits.
The door to this chamber is of carven wood like the others. It must be forced open. Once it is, read players the following:
“As the door gives way, you shine your lights into a small circular chamber some 15’ in circumference. It might have once served as an entrance to some passage or room eastward, but long ago a cave in left that direction buried in a heap of rubble and timbers. The ceiling to this room collapsed, leaving the raw earth overhead exposed. It does appear that some kind of burial chamber was here and a sarcophagus lies clothed in rubble and debris.”
There is great danger here. Any action undertaken in the room, such as to perhaps dig out the coffin, results in a 45% chance of further collapse resulting in falling stones doing d6 damage to everyone in the room. This will happen for as long as players stay active in the chamber, and it will prove impossible to clear any rubble. If they spend more than a turn in here, there is a 70% chance the entire chamber will be buried and anyone failing a savings throw against their Dexterity will be buried alive.
This section should only be read if the secret door behind Statue S1 has been activated from the Crypt of Seven Brothers.
“Behind the sunken statue that once concealed this secret door, you see in your fire lights an ancient stone stair winding down into darkness. Following the stair downwards, you travel about 20’ down and discover a strange chamber shaped like an arched door, with the curved portion at the chamber’s south end. The north wall is flat, with a great door of gleaming painted stone, colored in a deep purple hue. At the curved end of the room is a dais with another terrible looking statue upon it, perhaps 10’ tall. It is similar in aspect to the dog-headed statue you saw outside but it holds a great and terrifying looking sword pointed towards the north. Below the dais there is an ancient, blood stained altar and around the room are heaped skulls as evidence of past victims. The altar is dedicated to Change and Gru’ganu. In the floor near the altar, opposite of the evil statue, is a strange carved symbol, some sort of giant glyph in which any officiant at the altar would stand while ministering. Around the walls are six large braziers, filled with tinder and coals, which, if lit, would provide enough illumination to fill the entire room brilliantly. The place has a pungent, disturbing aroma of death and blood.”
This antechamber is a ritual chamber to appease the Demon Guardian of the Restless Tomb so that sacred persons may safely enter the Crypt of the Noble Dead and examine the contents and rituals of the Violet Book therein.
A clue to its use was given in the Outer Vault inscriptions (See Outer Vault description.)
The Violet Door is magical in nature. It cannot be opened by any normal physical means but must be moved by Hi’guri, an invisible Demon who will open the door from within IF the proper ritual is performed, unless the party possesses spells or magical items which can breach it.
Only the blood of a sentient creature can activate the Door Spell.
Upon inspection it will be seen that blood from the altar, which has left trails upon the engraved floor, has been applied upon the door countless times. Some is relatively fresh, perhaps only weeks old. This should clue players in as to the intent in the altar’s design.
The players have choices here, which will depend upon both their general alignment (Stability vs. Change) and their own deduction. There are five ways the Violet Door can be breached and entry gained into the Crypt of the Noble Dead:
METHOD ONE: If the party are Change worshippers and are so inclined, if they have a slave or other prisoner handy, they can sacrifice the person and apply their blood to the door.
METHOD TWO: Characters may lightly wound themselves for d4 damage and apply their own blood to the door. It will take at least four people to produce enough blood to activate the Door Spell.
METHOD THREE: An implausible outcome of the encounter in the Shrine is that the Priestess can be subdued and brought here alive; she is able, by means of her amulet, to command the Demon to open the Violet Door and to stand down from attack.
METHOD FOUR: If the players can gain the Amulet of Hi-guri after defeating or killing the Priestess, and have means to discern its nature (magic spells or Intelligence Checks for spell casters), they can use it command the Demon to open the door, but they must then roll a d20; a roll of less than 18 means the Demon opens the door but attacks. A successful roll (18-20) will result in the Demon opening the door and not attacking the party.
METHOD FIVE: a spell of Transmutation will affect the door. It can be thus transformed to water or mud but this will incur the immediate wrath of the Demon and result in Melee.
There is no treasure in the Antechamber.
If the players manage to get the Violet Door to open, read them the description of the Crypt of the Noble Dead. The statistics of Hi’guri are noted therein.
Crypt of the Noble Dead
“Beyond the Violet Stone Door, you behold a passage way carved through stone, some 5’ wide and ten feet in height. As you pass down its shadowy length, you come to a square portal, and as your torches light its confines, you are amazed to see a great circular crypt filled with precious goods and three raised stone sarcophagi, one at the north end of the chamber, one at the west, and one at the east. Two great pillars stand towards the north, supporting the domed ceiling. Gold, jewels and tall urns, as well as lavishly lacquered and painted furniture and other crafted items are piled about the walls. There is a small black wooden table in the center of the room and upon it is a great bound book, its cover of Violet hue. Flowing Tsolyani script is painted on the walls, black script against purple background.”
If the party gained access by using a spell of Transmutation or by failing to properly use the Shrine Priestess’s Amulet to open the portal (See Shrine Description), then at this point Hi’guri will attack.
If the party entered through the application of blood, the Demon will only attack if any grave goods or the coffins are molested. He will also attack if summoned to do so later in the Shrine.
The Violet Book is an ancient artifact which contains spells and rituals of Gru’ganu. If it is touched or read at all by any Stability priest or magic- user they will suffer 2d6 damage and must save vs. spells or change from Stability to Change and become devoted to Gru’ganu and K’sarul! Whether or not they save, they will still receive the Book’s special power (The Knowing of Secrets, see below). Any warrior or other non-priest or wizard who touches it will likewise suffer 2d6 damage but not change ethos. If perused by a priest or wizard who worship a Change god, it will automatically increase one level of experience, once in a life time. Furthermore, it will grant the following power to such a reader, The Knowing of Secrets. They will be able to know, with certainty, 1d6 +2 secrets about anyone or anything. The character will instantly become aware of this power, and the number of secrets/uses they have received. Thenceforth, the player has only to inform the DM when they wish to use it. It does not confer secrets of the Gods, only secrets of human souls such as hidden deeds or aspirations, the whereabouts of places or things, secret doors, lost ruins, or, Gods forbid, the secrets of their own heart! It can be used to figure out technology of the Ancients, but only in specific uses and instances, not as permanent knowledge of technology in general. For example, it may grant knowledge of how to activate and use a Tube Car once but it will not give a player permanent knowledge of the entirety of Tube Car technology. It is up to the player whose character receives this gift to decide where and when to use it, and the DM to interpret how to apply it, but it will reveal the unknown.
The Book will do this only once for a person. If taken from the Tomb complex it will crumble to dust within minutes.
The three coffins in this room contain the remains of a nobleman and his two wives. He was Heshru, a High Priest of Gru’ganu and the designer of this tomb complex. It was also he who summoned and bound the Demon to this tomb. The Script upon the walls are the initial of each occupant .The coffins are depicted by A, B and C on the map and contents are as follows:
A: S’ramis, wife of Heshru. Her skeletal remains lie in state and although her finery is crumbling, she still wears exquisite jewelry, six items worth 300 Kaitars. She also has an Excellent Traveling Volume with her, a magic tome which will allow any reader to transport his or her self and companions to any location upon Tekumel, one time.
B. Heshru. Buried in fine robes of his priesthood, Heshru is seen by his skeleton to have been a tall and imposing man. He wears a fine necklace of gold set with purple stones worth 400 Kaitar and a ring worth 200 Kaitars. He is also buried with a +2 Mace.
C. M’rine, wife of Heshru. Finely garbed and wearing ornaments of gold and jewels, six in all, worth 400 Kaitars.
Grave Goods: There are numerous vessels, crafted items, and pots of coins. In all, the deposit of buried wealth here is worth 1,300 Kaitars.
The Demon Hi’guri, Guardian of the Crypyt
Hi’guri is a minor Demon of K’sarul and Gru’ganu who was summoned by the Noble Priest Heshru and commanded and bound to guard the Crypt of the Noble Dead and the Violet Book. He has spent centuries in this tomb, absorbing its evil and the black power of the rites that take place here. He is mostly bound to this chamber and is the Opener of the Violet Door. However, he is at the summons of every High Priest or Priestess who oversees the Shrine of this Tomb by means of an Amulet passed to each new officiant over the years. The secrets of his invocation and summoning are part and parcel of the training of all such officiants.
Hi’guri is able to become Invisible, as per the spell. He will also become visible after attacking and when he does, he appears as a big black shape with eyes of fire.
Hi’guri HD 8 HP 40AC 3 Move 12”
Notes: Hi’guri is often invisible, and when he is, he has +3 to Savings Throws and it adds +2 to the number needed to hit him. Ch’len hide weapons do not harm him. He will manifest physically as a big black shape with eyes of fire and in this form he can terrify an opponent- they must save vs. spells or suffer a -2 to all attacks due to shaken morale. Once per Turn, Hi’guri can send forth a shock wave that will shake the tomb and everyone within range (30’)- when he does all must Save against Dexterity or fall down, requiring one round to regain footing as the player’s only action. Hi’guri will fight until dead, though when he is killed he is not truly dead but banished to an outer dimension.
Hall of Dreaming Repose
This hall is the resting place of a number of Iron Helm Clan members of the hiHi’mikul lineage, and this is noted in engraved inscriptions upon the south wall. The doors into this chamber are locked and of carved wood, as related in the description of the Outer Vault. Note that the right door opens onto a small passage which is trapped. The first character to enter and walk upon the floor stones in the center of the passage will cause a heavy stone to be released from a snare holding it up, doing d6 damage unless a Dexterity Saving Throw is successfully made.
Once the party has entered the crypt, no matter from which end, read the following:
“Your lights reveal a long hall, some 55’ in length and 20’ wide. The ceiling is some 13’ in height. Your nostrils are immediately assaulted by a stench of old blood and urine and excrement. Upon the south wall are two entry passages and between these openings there are inscriptions upon the wall. Above these inscriptions is an engraved relief in large, flowing Tsolyani script, which proclaims this place to be ‘The Hall of Dreaming Repose’. The north wall is identical in appearance to the south wall, except for the inscriptions, with two entry passages. Along the east and west walls there are set, in the fitted stone walls, ten alcoves, each large enough to house a large stone coffin. Torch sconces are set upon the walls between alcoves. There is evidence of violent struggle on the floor, here and there patches and streaks of dried blood of varied ages, and strange trails of excretion all over the tomb, including the walls and ceiling.”
This crypt is the lair of three Sh’edra. They are confined here as a tomb guardians by many spells of the Priests of Gru’ganu, under authority of K’sarul. They are fed drugged and weakened victims from the temple rites on a continual basis and kept at bay by protections of magic utilized by the Shrine attendants. They will not attack immediately but wait for opportunity, and they hide behind the coffins in Alcoves 5, 6 and 8. As soon as anyone disturbs any of these alcoves, they will spring forth. If no one disturbs a coffin the Sh’edra will attack as the party is about to leave.
Sh’edra “Eater of the Dead” HD 2 HP 10 each Move 9” AC 6
Notes: Anyone slain by a Sh’edra will become one themselves in two rounds, attacking their former companions. Only a Remove Curse spell can halt this effect- if a person becomes a Sh’edra, nothing less than either a Wish spell or Divine Intervention will reverse this effect. S
The coffins here contain occupants and treasures that may be time consuming to deal with individually, only three coffins are worthy of specific note. Thus the DM should roll percentile dice and multiply the result by 10 to generate an amount of treasure value in Kaitars, mostly jewelry, armlets, necklaces and head circlets and rings. Some of the coffins contain couples buried together, some single occupants, others may hold up to three. This is left to the DM to describe.
As to the three coffins which hold special contents they are as follows:
Coffin 3: This coffin contains a husband and wife. He is dressed in rotting finery of a court official and she wears robes of a Priestess of Dla’melish. Each wears d4 pieces of jewelry worth up to d100X3 in total. The dead woman also wears an Amulet set with a great emerald and inscribed at the top with the symbol of the Green Goddess. The first is that the wearer always has a+25 reaction bonus when dealing with anyone who prefers the wearer’s sex. It also has three uses which grant +25 to a character seeking Divine Intervention from Dla’melish. Alternatively, it may be smashed once (and thus its magic destroyed) for a guaranteed audience with the Mistress of Demons one time. The powers of the Amulet are inscribed in fine engravings on the outer rim and back of the Amulet, instructing the owner.
Coffin 8: This coffin holds a Pe Choi skeleton who was accepted into the Iron Helm Clan. He wears garments of a priest. His name, engraved upon a stone at his feet, was Krrihiri’ksst. Buried with him is a map and directions relating to a hidden Shrine to the Black Mother in the Pan Chakas, as well as four scrolls, magically preserved and written in Tsolyani. They are spells: Remove Curse, Creatures, Extra Vision, and The Silver Halo of Soul Stealing. (Refer to Empire of the Petal Throne rules for complete spell descriptions, or substitute spells from whatever rules you are using.) He also wears jewels and gold worth d100X3 Kaitars.
Coffin 9: Within this coffin lies a lone skeleton wearing moldering robes that identify him, most likely, as a bureaucrat. He wears jewelry worth d100 X 2 Kaitars. Hidden upon his person is an Eye of All Seeing Wonder which reveals all illusions, hidden physical features, and invisible things or creatures, with 4 uses.
Hall of the Violet Robes
There are two “read aloud” descriptions here, depending on from which end of the hall the party enters since it is possible, they may arrive here by different routes. Both entries can be read aloud when they enter the appropriate area.
The Southern Door (Square Chamber).
“Thrusting your torches forward, you find revealed a square chamber roughly 15’ wide and 20’ in length. The roof is 13’ high. The chamber is part of a long, 10’ wide hall which appears to be a catacomb of burial alcoves set in the walls, running both north and south. In each alcove rests a great stone coffin. The square chamber is painted with murals. Its most prominent feature is a great stylized Silver Hand with fingers open, large, worked in silver upon the West Wall. On either side of this symbol, in each corner, are painted, to life-like scale, two human figures adorned in violet robes, each with one hand outstretched and clutching a dagger, depicted as standing directly upon the spot where the wall meets the floor. On each side of each dagger are jewels cleverly worked to resemble Chri flies, two flies on the left side of each knife and seven on the other. Across from these figures, on the west wall, are painted their exact likenesses with the same features, on either side of the entrance, so there are four identical painted figures. Above the Silver Hand is an engraving in Tsolyani which reads ‘Hall of the Violet Robes’ In the center of the chamber floor is a square, decorated with black and purple , in which is painted, in Tsolyani numerals, a double number, 27.”
The North Door (Circular Chamber, The Purple Room).
“Herein lies a circular chamber with a 15’ radius, its domed ceiling 13’ high. To the south stretches a hall of catacombs, with alcoves set in the east and west walls at 5’ intervals, each housing a stone coffin sunk in shadows. The circular chamber is painted very bright purple, which under the glare of your torches creates a surreal atmosphere. In its center is a stone table upon which is constructed a wooden framework housing a silver bell. Upon the table lies a metal rod for sounding the bell. Engraven upon the table are lines of Tsolyani Script and underneath them a double number, 27.”
The Hall of Violet Robes is a resting place of Iron Helm priests and priestesses of Gru’ganu, and it is also a special ritual chamber visited often by adepts of Gru’ganu.
The Purple Room specifically is a place of Divination, but its secrets are only revealed through the proper ritual, which is discerned only by deducing a mathematical puzzle presented in the Square Chamber of this Hall. The secret is known to initiated officiants of the Shrine but it is a test to acolytes who come here.
The inscription upon the stone table in the Purple Room reads as follows: “The Four as One Possess the Keys to Gru’ganu’s Bell, That What is Hidden May be Seen.”
The riddle will be unraveled only if players discern the puzzle in the Square Chamber of the Hall of Violet Robes.
The Chri flies divided by the knives of the painted figures, denote the number 27. In the Temple of Gruganu it is believed the Cohort has 27 different aspects. The depiction of the number 27 being divided by the four daggers references the fact that this number has four divisors: 1, 3, 9, and 27. The sum of these factors is 40 (ie. The “Four As One”, meaning the sum of the four divisors). This sum is the number of times the bell must be rung, and not a single time more, to activate the Divination Spell in the Purple Room. Hopefully a player will deduce this, but at the DM’s option, he or she may provide further clues by granting Intelligence checks for characters, giving clues as needed until the matter is solved. Conversely, the DM may simply leave it a mystery unsolved if no one deduces the puzzle. The DM should show the players the visual provided below- it is a stylized depiction of the paintings and engravings the Square Chamber holds.
If the Bell in the purple room is properly rung, the walls of the Purple Room will begin to move and shadows emerge which will become an animated sequence dancing before the eyes of the party. Each player will be mesmerized by the events unfolding and by means of the animations will be able to divine personal insights into the future.
Roll a D4 for each character present and note the effect of receiving this vision, using it during this game or in a future adventure, as applicable.
1: Receive an automatic favorable reaction upon the next available NPC reaction check; because having glimpsed an interaction before it happens, the character will have the right words.
2: Glimpse the next future combat before it happens and gain a free natural 20, as they will know what moves the opponent will make. Their hit in the actual combat will do double damage and if followed by a roll of 19 or 20 grant an instant kill or subdual, player’s choice.
3: See the contents and occupants of a dungeon room in advance, as though by means of a Clairvoyance spell. This may be used at the player’s option.
4: Automatically win the next Dexterity savings throw required of the character.
The Hall of Violet Robes contains 12 coffins; to save time, if players inspect them all, the DM should roll a d100X12 + 300 to yield total treasures found in Kaitars value. This will be mostly jewelry and small chests of treasure laid in the coffin with the dead.
All coffins contain skeletons of dead priests and priestesses laid in state in decaying purple robes.
In addition, four coffins are special and are noted as follows:
Coffin 2: Here lies a dead priestess who clutches a scroll of the spell Revivify.
Coffin 5: Herein is a withered, skeletal figure of a priest buried with a book, written in classic Tsolyani…Chnesaq KhyChneshayalu, “The Mystery of Mysteries”. It adds +5 to appeals for Divine Intervention.
Coffin 8: This coffin contains the remains of a priest in rotted apparel who holds a book which appears remarkably preserved beyond its years.
Coffin 12: Herein lie the remains of a priestess. She wears a necklace which is in fact an Eye of Being An Unimpeachable Shield, which grants immunity, for two turns, to blunt and edged weapons to d4 beings (the user being one). It has three uses.
Outer Passage of the Hall of Gru’ganu
This Hall is accessed by leaving either the Hall of Dreaming Repose or the Purple Room in the Hall of Violet Robes. If the former, read Description One. If the latter, read Description Two.
Description One: “Your firelight reveals a long passage running east and west, about six feet wide and with a ceiling of 10’ At the East end, you can vaguely make out a looming, humanoid shaped figure cloaked in shadow. Towards the west, you can see the passage turn towards the south. Just before this turn, however, in the north wall of the passage, you can make out the vague outline of a recessed archway, probably a door, flanked on either side by what appear to be carved statues of warriors set in niches. The sound of the strange drums is very loud hear and you can hear voices raised in chanting and moaning, filling the passage with a song that is terrifying.”
Note: The looming figure is statue S2 and the DM should read the S2 Description to the players when they examine the statue.
Description Two: “Your torches reveal a long passage, some 6’ wide and 10’ high, running towards the east. To your immediate right you see, in the north side of the passage wall, a stone archway set with a bronze door, flanked on either side by what appear to be two stone statues, set in niches, of grotesque, skull faced warriors, clutching ancient iron swords. To the west, the passage disappears into darkness. The sound of the strange drums is very loud hear and you can hear voices raised in chanting and moaning, filling the passage with a song that is terrifying.”
Note: When the players examine the east end of the passage, read them the S2 Description.
The two skeletal warriors are in fact M’rur, undead creations of the Priests of K’sarul, resting in these niches for time immemorial and so covered by the dust of ages and cobwebs that they appear to be part of the wall. However, they will awaken and attack instantly any intruders, their eyes opening to glow with the blue fire of K’sarul. The DM should check for surprise unless a Psychic Ability check is successfully made by each player, due to the horrifying spectacle of the animation of the M’rur. They will fight until killed and must be burned after death to completely destroy them, or they will re-animate in 1 Turn.
M’rur HD: 1+3 HP: 8 each AC: 6 Movement: 6”
The bronze door is not locked, as the Shrine devotees have never yet suffered intrusion and the passageway beyond it is also trapped (See the Shrine of Gru’ganu description).
Statue of Gru’ganu Aspect (S2)
This statue stands at the eastern end of the Outer Passage of the Shrine of Gru’ganu. When it is examined the DM should read the following description aloud:
“Before your torches, set in a hewn alcove and mounted upon a round pedestal, stands a grotesque statue, 7’ in height and 2’ in width. Carved from a roughly hewn cylinder of stone is a crude figure with a humanoid body and a vulture like head. Its arms are crossed with a hooked staff held at an angle. Under its bird feet, upon the round pedestal, are carven a series of stylized eyes and ears. The eyes of this statue are set with two giant red rubies, worth many Kaitars.”
The statue is a carved representation of an aspect of Gru’ganu, and blocks the secret door to the Secret Cave. If the secret lever is activated in the secret escape passage of the Shrine, the statue will pivot in place and characters may squeeze around it to enter the cave. The ruby eyes, if pried loose, are worth 200 Kaitars each. The secret door cannot be opened by any other means than turning the lever in the hidden passage of the Shrine.
The Shrine of Gru’ganu
The entry to this shrine is the bronze door of the outer passage way. An “X” denotes the trap behind the bronze door, a falling stone which is triggered by walking through the middle of the passage (Shrine devotes pass by hugging the walls of either side of the passage and thereby avoiding the trap.). Give a warrior, or any Pe Choi or Pygmy Folk character an Intelligence Check to possibly discern the trap. The falling stone will do d6 damage to the first character who treads the centern of the passage (Dexterity Save is applicable).
If the stone trap beyond the Bronze door is triggered, it will alert the Shrine occupants immediately and negate any surprise the party might gain.
Once any characters enter the Shrine, read them the following description.
“You have entered a large, torch lit pillared hall, 50’ in length, east to west, and 25’ in width. The ceiling is almost 20’ high, and the large carven round pillars run along the north and south walls, six in all. Directly to your left, against the west wall, stands a 15’ statue of an ugly, Serpentine headed humanoid holding a staff in its left hand and a long key in it’s right; the key is pointed inward at a slight angle, towards the statues feet. At the eastern end of the Hall a dais rises some eight feet above the hall floor, atop which is a stone altar ascended by a broad light of ancient steps. Beside these steps on either side sit two naked drummers, old men, beating out the tattoo you have heard since entering the Shrine. They looked drugged. Atop the dais is a square altar, upon which writhes a young nude woman, bound hand and foot. At the left side of the altar, flanked by burning braziers, stands a black and purple robed priestess with a huge, black feathered headdress. The hall is filled with celebrants of some dark ritual about to take place, some robed in purple, others in garb of war. To your horror, you realize that all are not truly alive.”
If, by some chance, the party has avoided the stone trap, they will have the element of surprise.
The Shrine is filled by a number of acolytes being initiated into the rites of Gru’ganu, the Priestess, two Q’ol (Serpent Folk) and three M’rur. The party will have to fight the all for as soon as they notice the interlopers, the Shrine attendees will attack. The DM should place the figures of these celebrants roughly evenly throughout the hall. The drummers will not attack, being under the influence of narcotics, but will play their drums endlessly as the characters battle the Shrine keepers.
Acolytes HD: 1 HP: 1 Each AC: 9 Movement: 12”
Notes: The Acolytes are naked beneath their robes and bear only daggers with which to fight- they have minimal fighting skills and each will be slain by a single hit. They can only inflict a single point of damage if they successfully hit, unless they roll a 20, in which case they do two points.
M’rur HD: 1+3 HP: 7 Each AC: 6 Movement: 6’’
Q’ol HD: 1+1 H.P.: 7 Each AC: 2 Movement: 9”
Notes: The Q’ol will only fight as long as the party is outnumbered. As soon as this is not the case, they will attempt to flee the Shrine and hide within the tomb complex. They attack twice per round, once with a poisoned weapon and once with a bite. If either of these hit, a savings throw vs. poison must be made or death occurs in 1-4 rounds.
S’sunu hiHalal’lesh ,Priestess of Gru’ganu HD: 7 HP: 20 AC: 6 Movement: 12”
Notes: The Priestess is 7th level. S’sunu can fight with a dagger as a last resort. She wears an Amulet of Hi-Guri, the Tomb Demon, and bears and Eye of Contolling Thunru’u. (3 uses). She will try to cast spells from the dais as long as the players are engaged with the Shrine celebrants, but if this fails and she is attacked, she will try to escape the Shrine via the secret passage in the South East Wall, but only after summoning Hi-Guri with the Amulet. If she does summon Hi-Guri, the Demom will come forth from the Crypt of the Noble Dead and within 1 Turn arrive in the Shrine to attack the party. If S’sunu can get away she will flee through the secret door and activate the lever to move the statue of Gruganu (S2) in east end of the Outter Passage of the Shrine. There is a trap in this passage identical to that in the passageway beyond the bronze door of Shrine. She will try to escape to the secret cave and the ladder therein which leads top-side.
In running a battle with the Priestess involved, the DM should use her spells as advantageously as he or she would if in her shoes. Her spells are as follows:
Priestly Skills 1-7 Know 2 modern languages (Tsolyani native language + Salarv’yani & Liv’yani) , know 2 ancient languages( Li’yani & N’lyssa), Produce Light, Detect Evil/Good, Cure Light Wounds, ESP, telepathy)
Spells: Curse (Lowers Attack Hit Dice of enemies for 1 Turn, -1), Dispel Good (negates any spell cast by a Stability follower within 20’ for 3 Turns), Shadows (send flickering shadows at a combatant which lasts 3 Turns and can only be dispelled by a Light spell. Each party member must save vs. spells or be blinded for 3 Turns, range 30’) Hands of Kra the Mighty (Magic hands grapple and squeeze victim-savings throw permitted, range 12”, damage: roll d6: the result if the number of 6 sided dice thrown for damage.) Invsibility (renders her invisible for 3 Turns, +3 to savings throws, -2 to enemy attacks.
If S’sunu is able to flee (invisibly or otherwise), the party will see her flee through the secret door. If captured, she will spew forth venomous curses upon them and promises of retribution from the temples of K’sarul and Gru-ganu, as well as from the gods themselves for desecrating the Shrine. If killed, she will utter these curses with her dying breath. If taken to the Antechamber of the Crypt of the Noble Dead, she can be forced to open the door upon threat of death, which will cause her to use the Amulet.
There is no treasure to be found in the Shrine proper.
The nude victim on the altar is a clanless slave girl, quite attractive, brought here for sacrifice. If rescued she will gladly become the servant of any rescuer who claims her. Her name is T’rismu.
The great statue at the west end of the Shrine stands upon a square pedestal. The crooked staff points inward between the statues feet and there in the 3’ pedestal is a secret door which may be found by the usual means. It appears as a square stone like any other in the pedestal but if pulled out, it reveals a crawl space into the Shrine’s Treasure Room.
“Crawling through the narrow space under the great idol, you hold forth your torch and behold beyond it a square chamber, 15’ wide and 20’ long, with a ceiling only 6’ in height. In your torch light you see piles of golden Kaitars , glittering gems, and silver and golden figurines…a magnificent treasure fit for a king. Upon the walls are painted squat, ugly demons and classical Tsolyani script. The painted demons, veiled in a pale yellow glow, seem to stand guard over the hidden treasure, their painted yellow eyes still luminous after passing centuries.”
The treasure in this chamber is worth 3,000 Kaitars.
There is, however, a light yellow mold dusting the walls and chamber contents, indiscernible as such until anything is disturbed, in which case a cloud rises which requires each player in the chamber to make a savings throw vs. poison or suffer a wasting sickness which immediately saps 1-2 points of Strength and will remove a point of strength everyday thereafter until a Cure Disease is cast.
The Secret Cave
Once the party finds the secret passage behind S2, the
Statue at the end of the Outter Passage of the Shrine, read them following. (Note: The DM may have to alter the
description based on the actions of the Priestess, as to whether she is alive
and free and fleeing into the Cave. If the party has slain or captured her
before they enter the cave, this will not be necessary.If alive, she will attempt to scale the ladder which gives exit from the Cave.
“The great statue at the eastern end of the outer passage of the Shrine has turned backwards on it’s pedestal- beyond it, the alcove has opened as a secret door, and a chill wind comes from the dark doorway, as does the sound of dripping water. Squeezing yourselves around the idol and entering the door, your torch lights illumine a large, natural cavern, the height of which extends some 35’. It is roughly circular, how big you can’t tell from here, but at the edge of your light, further back into the expanse, your fire light flickers and plays upon a great pool of water which can only be dimly made out from the doorway. A small flight of steps leads down to the sandy floor of the cave. The whole place is dank, cold and smells of old wet stone. From some hole in the roof, water trickles down and plops into the pool in a slow but steady drip that echoes throughout the cavern.”
If the players explore the whole cavern, they will find it to be roughly 45’ in circumference, with the great pool being about 20’ x 20’.
Into the west wall of the cave are set iron rungs which lead 30’ up to a trap door- this is the intended escape route of the Priestess, and depending on where in his or her campaign the DM has placed this Tomb, it will lead to either a wilderness location or a city surface. Wise players will not go this way but exit the way they came or via the pool…
The Pool is a semi- circle- the edge nearest the cave’s entrance is linear and does not appear wholly natural but bears evidence of being ancient stonework, now long calcified and covered with layers of mineral deposits. This feature seems to have a semblance of a small quay- the water is cold and dark and about 10’ deep. If anyone dives into the pool and searches its depths, in its center, on the bottom, will be felt a circular convex metal steel plate some 12’ in diameter. Also, there will be found a circular iron valve set in the side of the pool with the ancient stonework, about 6’ down from the center of the ledge.
If the valve is turned it will release the iron plate’s mechanisms which will cause the plate to drop, draining the pool. At this point the party will hear deeply set machines clicking and grinding, as well as sounds of whirring as the plate continues to drop away. It will drop down a 15’ circular shaft until it locks into a floor 35’ below the Secret Cave. An iron ladder is in place from the edge of the hole in the pool’s bottom to the chamber below where the iron plate has ended.
If players descend the ladder, the DM should read them the following. This feature is not pictured on the map.
“Having descended the iron ladder nearly 40’, in and of itself remarkable as to its gleaming workmanship, you step down upon a strange floor in a circular, domed chamber like nothing you’ve ever seen. The steel plate that dropped down into the floor of this chamber lies in it’s center- around that plate lies a floor set with a concentric pattern of 5’ squares. As you step down upon the square below the ladder, it lights up with a pale green glow beneath your feet! Stepping from square to square, you find that each square, which appear to made of some translucent crystalline material, illuminates in this fashion and then goes out when no one is standing on it. By these squares sufficient light is given with each step, to reveal the spherical chamber- it’s walls seem all of gleaming iron, with strange tubes and boxes adorning it here, there, and everywhere. In the west wall of the chamber is an archway which leads to a narrow passageway. Following this route, you travel some 20’ until you come out into another spherical chamber of equal dimensions and similar features as the first, but in this one the only exit, beside the way you just came, is a 15’ circular pit in the floor which drops away into a seemingly bottomless shaft! To your utter amazement, floating above the shaft at a height of some 6’ is a great, shiny metal sphere only slightly smaller in circumference than the shaft it hovers above, as if held in place by invisible strings of the gods! At the edge of the pit, nearest the passageway you have just come through stands a strange cubical protrusion with a sloped top. You see a strange pulsating green light upon the pedestal’s top. The air around you seems to carry a slight humming noise, almost just below the edge of hearing, but notable.”
This is a tube car station, and the floating sphere is a tube car of the Ancients. If anyone approaches the pedestal and touches the green light, they will hear a sudden hiss as a round door in the tube car’s side opens and from its mouth a telescoping gangplank of metal will extend from the tube to the pedestal, allowing boarding. If anyone enters, they find a comfortable spherical space with consoles, seats and viewscreens. There seems to be a main console with a slot and some controls, and slumped over this console is a withered husk of a corpse, clutching in its hand a golden disc. The corpse is dressed in strange, rotting, silvery garments and wears a strange round helm with a front visor.
The fact is that if any character inserts the golden disc into the slot, it will activate the Tube car! The gangway will retract, the door close, and the occupants will find themselves dropping away into the Tube Car Shaft, bound for…where!!?
And from here, we end the adventure of the Restless Tomb and leave it to the DM to decide what further adventures the hapless players have unlocked upon the exciting world of Te’kumel!
Note: If the party are not sufficiently beaten down already and can stand it, the DM may wish to insert a water-creature encounter in the pool.
AFTERMATH: Whatever happens after their foray into the Restless Tomb, the party will face repercussions if their identity is uncovered by the priests of K’sarul and Gru’ganu ; perhaps their impudence may even warrant even a visit from the Knower of Secrets Himself….