Death Became Them
Hello Dear Readers,
It’s certainly been a while.
Of late I have been writing a series of short stories I plan on publishing and that has taken up what little free time I have had during this time of year.
For this article I present to you a short little adventure that I originally wrote for a E-Zine. In the problems getting the zine put together it either got lost or dropped so I have decided to put it here for any who deem to use it. So I present to you Death Became Them!
Please forgive the map quality, I simply put them together in Excel and never had any of the map makers (who have so kindly helped in the past) create a better version for me.
This is an adventure for 3-6 characters of level 2-4 for 1st edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.
This adventure contains some creatures that can only be harmed by magical weapons. All of the creatures contained within can be found in the Monster Manual, Monster Manual 2, or Fiend Folio.
For success it would be best to have at least one Cleric in the party.
There was once an evil temple dedicated to the Demon Lord Pazuzu in the area (many decades ago) evil magic gone wrong transformed the priests and guards of the temple into undead. Over time the temple, which was already in a secluded location, became overgrown and all knowledge of it lost. From time to time people who attempt to camp in the forest will disappear. This has gone on for years and tends to be blamed on bears, wolves, or humanoids.
While stopping to rest in a small village (any village in a temperate climate in your campaign will do) the PC’s will overhear a local woodsman telling of a strange discovery of ruins that he has found deep in a nearby forest. He found them while searching for a friend of his who disappeared several weeks ago while trapping in the forest.
For a few silver pieces the woodsman will gladly guide the PC’s to the ruins. He will take them to the location, but will refuse to enter or spend the night anywhere near the ruins. The trip should take 2 days and 2 nights with the PC’s arriving a few hours into the third day of the trip. Once each day, and twice each night a wandering encounter should be rolled for (1 in 6 chance). If an encounter is indicated use the table below.
Dice Roll Encounter Number
01-10 Human Trappers 1-4
11-30 Orcs 2-5
31-45 Black Bear 1-3
46-65 Wolves 2-5
66-85 Bandits 2-8
86-95 Goblins 2-8
96-100 Hobgoblins/Ghouls* 1-3
* If a day encounter then Hobgoblins, if a night encounter then Ghouls.
The Temple (Map M1)
Description: Overgrown with vines and brush this rough stone building looks to have been abandoned for a long time. What were once double wooden doors are now rotten and fallen off the hinges, exposing a 20’ wide passageway leading into darkness.
DM Note: This was once a hidden temple dedicated to the worship of the demon prince Pazuzu. It has been abandoned since experiments in necromancy by the priests got out of their control, and the temple was overrun by undead and the priests killed.
#1 Nave and Altar
Description: The hallway opens into a large 80’ x 70’ room. There are several rows of rotting pews, and towards the back of the room is a large round stone altar. The walls are covered with moss and a green fungus, and weeds grow through cracks in the floor.
In the pews are several skeletons slumped over, as you step further into the room the skeletons rise and shamble towards you
DM Note: 5 Skeletons (AC: 7 HP: 4, 7, 6, 5, 5 A/DAM: 1/1-6)
These unfortunate souls were once temple guards. After being killed they were cursed to remain here as eternal guardians.
This was the Nave of the temple where the small congregation would gather. If inspected the altar is covered with moss, if it is cleaned off the PC’s will see the depiction of a great winged demon, the stone will be stained with a rust color (dried blood from sacrifices). There is nothing else of interest in this room.
Description: This room is 20’ wide but stretches 70’ long. Along the back wall are a large number of rotting black robes hung from pegs.
DM Note: Hidden in this room are 4 shadows, they were minor priests who were killed by summoned undead and cursed to haunt this room for eternity.
4 Shadows (AC: 7 HP: 13, 15, 18, 17 A/DAM: 1/2-5 + special)
#3 Dining Hall
Description: Inside this room you see two large round tables surrounded by chairs, all of were made of wood and have now rotted. There are large patches of a green slime like substance on the wall.
DM Note: The slime is just plain slime, this section of the temple has a lot of moisture causing it to stay damp.
#4 Guard Barracks
Description: This room appears to have been a sleeping chamber at one point. There are 5 double bunks lined against the wall, and small standing lockers beside each one.
DM Note: A nest of Giant centipedes have made the rotten mattresses and lockers their home. If any of the lockers or beds are disturbed the centipedes will rush out to attack the PC’s.
8 giant centipedes (AC: 9 HP: 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1 A/DAM: 1/poison)
The lockers were used by the temple guard to hold their gear. Inside are rotten vests of leather armor, rusted swords and daggers. In 1 locker however there is a short sword that appears to still look as if it is new (short sword +1). There is also a small metal chest under 1 bed that holds 100 gold pieces.
#5 Cleric Chambers
Description: This looks to have been a sleeping chamber. There are 5 cots along the wall with a wooden foot locker at the end of each cot.
DM Note: This was once the sleeping chamber for the temple acolytes, it is now abandoned. The foot lockers contain nothing but rotting black robes and other normal clothing items.
Description: There are barrels and bags stacked along the walls of this room, you also see several pots over stone circles that were probably once used to hold cooking fires. Gnawing on the bags you see several very large rats.
DM Note: This kitchen/storage room is now the home to a nest of giant rats, they will attack the PC’s after they enter the room. The rats will attack with great numbers, but will begin fleeing if a number (1/2) of them are killed.
20 Giant rats (AC: 7 HP: 3, 2, 3, 1, 3, 4, 3, 2, 2, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3,4,2,3,2,4,1 A/DAM: 1/1-3+special)
Among the refuse used to build their nest the rats have stashed two gems
Ruby (100 g.p.)
Emerald (300 g.p.)
#7 Head Priests Room
Description: In this room you see a large bed and dresser, near the south wall on the floor is a large circular stone trap door with a metal ring attached to it.
DM Note: This was the former head priest’s bed chambers. In the dresser are rotten worthless clothing items, and the priest’s journal.
Reading the journal will inform the players that the temple was built for worship of the great prince among demons Pazuzu. While there were not a lot of followers one of the nearby villages at the time had a secret following. The head priest and his acolytes, along with a number of guards lived at the temple. The Pazuzu followers would secretly gather under a new moon where the priest would conduct vile rituals including human sacrifice. The last few entries tell of experiments to try and create undead to raid the nearby villages, for the priests, to get more sacrifices without any of the human followers having to risk being caught. However the experiments were failing and the final entry reads
“I believe I have found the problem with my necromancy. I believe that great Pazuzu’s ancient rival Orcus has been blocking my traditional attempts at creating those with unlife. Tomorrow I have a special ceremony that I have uncovered, which I believe will circumvent his ability to block my attempts, as well as create even more powerful undead than I originally hoped for.”
It is signed Wevlend Nightklan.
The stone door in the floor opens up to reveal a set of stone stairs that lead into the darkness of the catacombs below.
The Catacombs (Map M2)
Description: The stairs spiral down 20 feet into the earth and end in a carved stone tunnel that has the lingering stench of death. Immediately to your right you see a small shelf dug into the tunnel wall that contains some bones. There are also bones scattered on the tunnel floor, there seems to be one of these shelves about every ten feet.
DM Note: the catacombs were used as tombs for both followers and sacrifices of the cult. There is a 40% chance that the Ghoul pack in alcove #8 will hear the trap door open and the party descending the stairs. If so they will attack the party shortly after they arrive in the tunnels.
The shelves holding the skeletal remains have nothing but bones in them, the bones on the floor are from the ghouls raiding the graves looking for flesh and marrow.
DM Note: This alcove is the home to a pack of ghouls. If the ghouls did not hear the party come down the stairs, then there is a 75% chance they will hear them coming down the hallway and will be prepared to attack them.
6 Ghouls (AC: 6 HP: 9, 14, 8, 12, 6, 9 A/DAM: 3/1-3, 1-3, 1-6 + Special)
Description: This large alcove has a large section of the wall carved out and houses two large coffins.
DM Note: The coffins contain the remains of a husband and wife who were wealthy members of the cult. Buried with each corpse is a box containing 500 silver pieces.
Description: This smaller alcove has a section carved out of the wall and is home to a single coffin that appears to have been ornately crafted.
DM Note: This is the tomb of a wealthy member of the cult who could afford special treatment for his burial. In fact his evil and greed was so great during life, that he is now a coffer corpse locked in a wooden tomb. If the PC’s open the coffin the coffer corpse will rise and attack, attempting to choke the nearest PC.
Coffer Corpse (AC: 8 HP: 9 A/DAM: 1/1-6)
The corpse is wearing a sapphire and silver ring worth 200 g.p., and a gold necklace with a pendent of a grinning demons face worth 100 g.p.
Description: The tunnel ends abruptly at a large stone door.
DM Note: Open doors roll required.
Description: Inside this large dank room are 2 stone sarcophagi. The lids have been ripped off and lay broken on the ground. There are a number of clay pots along the walls of the room.
DM Note: This was the resting place of two higher ranking priests who died before the failed necromancy attempt. Ghouls have ransacked their coffins, the clay pots along the wall contain worldly goods, mostly fine silk and cotton clothes that have long rotted, but also contained in one pot is 500 copper pieces.
There is a 40% chance that the ghouls and ghasts in room #11 will hear the PC’s commotion and come to attack the party.
Description: The tunnel ends abruptly at a large stone door that looks to be slightly ajar.
DM Note: if the ghouls and ghasts have not already heard and attacked the PC’s they will be in this room and are 60% likely to have heard the PC’s approach and will be ready to attack as they enter.
5 Ghouls (AC: 6 HP: 7, 11, 9, 11, 5 A/DAM: 3/1-3, 1-3, 1-6 + Special)
2 Ghast (AC: 4 HP: 14, 20 A/DAM: 3/1-4, 1-4, 1-8 + Special)
Description: In the center of the room is a Single large Obsidian sarcophagus, the lid has been removed and is shattered on the floor.
DM Note: this is the resting place of the original head priest before Wevland took over. The evil magic that permeates the temple has turned him into a ghast.
Stored in his coffin is a large sack with 500 g.p., and a small leather sack with 2 gems
1 Amethyst (250 g.p.)
1 Pearl (200 g.p.)
#12 Ritual Room
Description: The tunnel comes to a stop in front of a large iron door.
DM Note: Open Doors rolled required to open it.
Inside this room is the former Head Cleric Wevland (now a wight), his 2nd in command (now a ghast), and 2 acolytes (now ghouls). They will be alerted by the party forcing open the door so there will be no surprise.
Even though he is now a evil and hateful undead, Wevland still retains his memories and can even recall some minor clerical spells which he can cast at the 6th level of ability (Darkness, Detect Magic, Resist Fire)
Wevland (Wight) (AC: 5 HP: 27 A/DAM:1/1-4 + Special)
Ghast (AC: 4 HP: 19 A/DAM: 3/1-4, 1-4, 1-8 + Special)
2 Ghouls (AC: 6 HP: 6, 4, 10 A/DAM: A/DAM: 3/1-3, 1-3, 1-6 + Special)
Description: In the center of this room is a large Obsidian Altar. There depictions of demons carved across its face, and glyphs outlined in red carved around the edges.
DM Note: This was the secret ritual chamber for the clerics, it is where their sacrifices and special prayers to their evil patron took place. The altar radiates evil, and anyone of good alignment touching it will take 2-8 points of electrical damage.
There is a secret door along the west wall that leads to #13 Wevlands secret chambers.
#13 Secret Chambers
Description: The secret door swings inward to reveal a elaborately decorated chamber. There is a large plush bed with a rotting mattress, an oaken desk, and several chests.
DM Note: This was the secret chamber for the temple head priest. The desk and bed are ruined, and the chests are beginning to rot. However inside the chests the PC’s will find
A gold bracelet embedded with 3 small rubies (400 g.p.)
A potion of Extra Healing
A potion of Longevity
Scroll protection from Air Elementals
Spell Scroll: Mage (Levitate, Locate Object)
M1 (click to enlarge)