Between Two Worlds
The Undead Necromancers Army
The Rasheman empire has always had to deal with many enemies. Thay to the South. Nar Barbarians to the north. And now their scouts have returned with grave news; a powerful necromancer only known as Hargrave has risen to power and is amassing an undead army. Truly the numbers are staggering; left uncheck the entire eastern front of Faerun could be threatened by a man in his position! Being the superstitious types the men and women of Rasheman greatly fear the undead hordes, and even if they didn't they didn't believe they could defeat their numbers and still remain safe from their enemies. Thus they have reached out and found you; a group of adventurers as powerful as they could afford to take the fight to the necromancer lord himself.
In actuality while they will put up a fight, the Necromancer and his horde will probably barely put up a challenge to the adventurers. This quest is designed to gauge the capabilities of the adventurers, to see where their limits lie in designing future adventures as well as setting up the main game hooks.
1. The Iron King
Adventurers of your caliber rarely follow the commands of a lord, often going where the winds take you, but this is different. You have received word that the Iron King, the ruler of the Rasheman empire, desires an audience with powerful adventurers. "For those whom are worthy, he promises a proper challenge, and a reward to match it." Intrigued yet with little else to go on you make your way to the capital of the Rasheman empire, Immilmar, where upon arriving and being treated like nobility you are eventually ushered into a large wooden building. Furs and large torches cover the walls and floor, giving the room a cozy, warm feeling. It is here that you are given an audience with the Iron Lord. The king eyes each of you individually before eventually standing up and bowing.
The players are brought into the den of the Iron King, Hyarmon Hussilthar. The role of the Iron King is more to see to the safety of his people than overseeing the day to day operations of Rasheman. (The true rulers are the Wychlaran, the Witches.) The King feels that his own country, with ever increasing pressure for the Nar Barbarians and the wizards of Thay, is ill equipped to handle the Necromancer themselves; instead he has decided to seek the help of outsiders; those with experience fighting abominations like this. In return for their help, he is willing to give each of them a small abandoned castle inside his kingdom, as well as the surrounding land.
Quest giving Details
- They are not entirely sure where the undead army is located; the scouts who originally found the army were killed en route. We only got word because other scouts whom he grouped up with managed to make it back.
- The scouts we have out in the field report seeing zombies, skeletons, but have also reported seeing some stronger undead as well such as Vampires.
- Scouts came from the west; if asked he can circle the general area where the army was seen.
- We don't know much about the necromancer himself; our best guess is that he is from Thay. Perhaps he was exiled and now seeks to carve out his own empire?
The players probably have their own way to locate the undead stronghold by now. If they don't, find a way for them to easily find the stronghold. Give them monsters to follow, tracks to track, smoke of a burning village, or a big neon sign. For the most part it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to make it. Maybe give them a skill challenge. I'd say no combat; we'll have plenty of opportunity for that later.
2. The entrance of the temple of the honored
You walk down the path to a relatively large stone temple, clearly a mausoleum of sorts. The tall building feels like a sacred place of sorts to the Rashirem. To the left you spot a horse shelter, and to the right you see a watch tower with a small yet well maintained building behind it. As you approach you see 4 men seemingly waiting for you in front of the large double doors of the temple.
As the players arrive at the temple of the honored, they are greeted by 6 warriors; one is in the watchtower, one tends to the horses in the pen to the left while the other four stand before the gate. As the players arrive the leader, Alistair, steps forward to greet the players. He introduces himself and then tells them that this is an honored and sacred ground of the Rashirem, and therefore he must ask that they leave, for the doors are only to open when one of the Rashirem joins them. The leader has his arms crossed, and they all watch the party carefully.
In actuality these are bandits who were hired by the Necromancer Hargrave to keep people away from the temple, and also to raid nearby villages to provide fresh materials for the necromancers. The original temple guardians were killed by Hargrave and his men, and now walk the land as the undead. Alistair will attempt to convince the party to leave, and will deny the existance of any undead in the area. If the party tries to push forward he will strongly insist they leave now by drawing their weapons and making veiled threats. If the party opens the doors to 3 or tries to open the doors to 3, the bandits will attack.
The bandits in the watchtower and in the horse pen will fire arrows at the party while the four in front of the door will close the distance with short range weapons. If the party manages to open the doors to the temple (DC 22 Dex check), what are inside will attack the players along with the bandits.
(bandit template: http://rpgtinker.com/index.php?template=Soldier&race=Human&radioattribute=Standard+Array+%2815%2C14%2C13%2C12%2C10%2C8%29&numberofhitdice=13&hitdice=d8)
Besides what the bandits have on them, if they search the building to the back they will find several beds. On the table they will see a map of the surrounding area with x's on multiple areas. A DC 10 Int check (or some appropriate skill) will show that each x marks the location of a village. You note that there are villages on the map without x's. There are also a few coins on the table; 3 gp, 2 sp and 10 cp. Inside a chest in the room (unlocked) you will find 30 gp and 210 sp as well as silver utensils, plates, holy pieces and other knick knacks.
3. The entranceway
Upon entering the room you feel an immediate perversion of the temple. There is a sickly pulsating of red everywhere and the rotten smell of flesh and blood is persistent. Across the room you see a large statue of a skull which appears to be crying blood. Before it is a worn wooden table, large enough to hold a person. You see two doors on the left wall and one door on the right.
The door to the left is unlocked and leads to a supply room. The two doors to the left and right further on are locked (CR 18) and lead further into the temple.
If the players inspect the skull, they trigger the fight with some vampires who swirl in.
It appears that blood is pouring out from inside the skull somewhere, before pooling below it and draining into channels back into the wall behind it. As you get closer to inspect it, out of both eyes dark whisps of smoke billow out, fly around the room several times before setting on either side of the party. They solidify into humanoid forms whom hiss at you with long, sharp fangs. "You have made a huge mistake in coming here!" One cries before the vampires attack.
Two vampires fly out of the eye sockets of the skull, solidify and attack the players. http://www.5esrd.com/gamemastering/monsters-foes/monsters-alphabetical/monsters-v/vampires/vampire/
If the players check inside the skull they will see there is a small lever. Pulling the lever will open the doors.
4. Supply Closet
The room has clearly not been touched for years. As you open the door you see a fine layer of dust and spider webs on everything. Crates and barrels line the walls, while rusty embalming tools lie on shelves on the walls.
This is a supply room filled with embalming fluid, wrapping, forceps, jars etc. everything needed to embalm and prepare them for the afterlife.
Note: Nathan's Campaign:
If the players search to any degree they will find someone hiding in one of the crates (DC 8) He will scream; say he had no choice but to try to escape and will plead the players not to kill him. If the players calm him down he can give some basic information about the courtyard. He can tell them that the other villagers are being held in the courtyard further down, but that they are being guarded by two undead creatures with a powerful gaze.
5. The paths with no railings
You walk into an open room onto a platform. On one side is a 10 foot high stone wall, and on the other a 20 foot deep an at least 40 foot wide pit. You note that there are no handrails. The pulsing red glow seems even brighter here, and the sickening smell of rotten flesh is nearly unbearable. It's then that you notice that in the pit is a swarm of undead creatures, all climbing one another attempting to reach you. On the other side of the bridge you see several men in robes and undead creatures. They take notice of you and move to engage.
This is the room the necromancers use to raise and store their undead. On the opposite side of the room is a magic sigil painted into the floor, glowing with power. Two necromancers are on either far corner of the room, along with an undead of some sort. (2 or 3 revenants each?) The revenants will move to engage the players while the casters will cast spells from a distance.
In the meantime there is a stronger necromancer near the magic sigil whom will cast spells at whomever believes is the strongest threat.
At the start of the fight roll 1d6+1. This is how many undead are crawling up the walls of the pit. Next roll 1d4+1. This is how many rounds it will take them to reach the top and join the fight against the party. Once the 1d4+1 rounds passes, repeat the process. This repeats until the boss necromancer is defeated. If the undead climbing up are 5 feet away from a player, they will attempt to grab them and pull them into the pit. Revenants may also try to grab and pull players into the pit. Roll to determine whether the undead climbing up is a wight, ghast or something else.
OPTIONAL: Once the party defeats the minor necromancers and reach the boss, they'll surely surround him or try to fight him. At this point he reveals his trump card; He speaks an activation phrase that causes the pit to rise to ground level. This will happen in 1 round. He'll then grin and say that the party can try to kill him and probably will succeed, but then they will be torn apart by the hordes of the undead. These will mostly be low level undead, (use your own numbers and types, thinking around 20 or so) that can probably easily be killed in 1 hit.
The doors are locked shut. The head necromancer has the key to open them, otherwise it's a DC (20) to unlock them.
Note: Marshall's Campaign
In the middle of the right pathway every single time someone crosses it roll 1d4. On a 1 the pathway collapses and crumbles. The character must make a dc 14 dex check or fall into the pit.
If the players beat the head necromancer but don't kill him and try to question him, all they will be able to get out of him is that if they are trying to save villagers they will find them behind the large doors behind him. HE will say this with a large smile on his face.
basic necromancer: http://rpgtinker.com/index.php?template=Evoker&race=High+Elf&radioattribute=Standard+Array+%2815%2C14%2C13%2C12%2C10%2C8%29&numberofhitdice=13&hitdice=d8
Boss Necro: http://rpgtinker.com/index.php?template=Evoker&race=Human&radioattribute=Standard+Array+%2815%2C14%2C13%2C12%2C10%2C8%29&numberofhitdice=14&hitdice=d8
The courtyard would be a peaceful place to rest if it weren't for the splotches of blood, piles of bones and the cage full of terrified, villagers. Other than that, the courtyard seems calm…
The players get a chance to make a spot check. (DC 14) If they make this check they notice a pair of shadows on the ground. Above them are a pair of Death Tyrants. The Death Tyrants will attempt to stay out of players reach and will attempt to fire beams out of their eyes at the players.
Once the players win the villagers will yell and scream for the players to release them. If the players release them they will say that they should be fine leaving on their own and can make it to the nearby village of Illimar. As they leave one of them will hand the players a bottle; an eversmoking bottle. They were going to use it if they saw a chance to escape, but feel the party may be able to use it now. If the villagers were all killed somehow beforehand, they will find the bottle smashed in the hands of one of the dead villagers, it's last motes of smoke spilling out into the ground.
Note: Nathan's Campaign:
After the players let the players out, one of the men who is absolutely mad, will run up the players, pull out a shiv and will attempt to stab one of the players screaming about how he will not go with the necromancers easily. His attack will be 1 points of damage, but he also poisoned the shiv. If someone gets hit by it they get hit by wyvern poison; they must make a DC 15 constitution check or take 7d6 poison damage, or half as much on a successful save. The man has 8 hp and an ac of 10 if the players want to kill him.
7. The Hallways
The hallways are dark and damp, and any footsteps you make are magnified by the stone halls. Beams of light shine through the Embrasures, illuminating motes of lights, and
This Hallway is mosty empty, but has a sinister trap in it. About 30 feet in there is a small, almost undetectable tripwire. (DC 14) It's a DC 15 to disable it with thieves tools. If the players trip it spears rain down from the ceiling and attack the players. The spear range is 5 feet from the door all the way to 5 feet in front of he tripwire. It's a +11 to hit and deals 12d10 if they get hit by these large spring loaded spears.
If the players are in the left hallway, a DC 14 wisdom check notices that the stonework on the left wall seems a bit off. There is a secret room here, and by pressing the proper stone they will find the door to the room. Inside is 700 gp, 40 pp and a set of ceremonial robes worth 20 gp.
Note: Marshall's Campaign:
They are swords that go up from the floor instead of spears. If the playres take the left hand side as they try the door, the ceiling will collapse above them. DC 14 to spot how bad the structure integrity is, DC 15 dex save to dodge it, can take 6d10 points of damage on a failed save or half on a successful.
8. The Main Chambers
As you enter a somewhat large, elaborate room you see an old, seemingly frail man wearing robes and sitting in the center chair. He slowly rises as you approach. "I have been watching you since you entered", he says slowly. "Do you realize what you've done? Do you know how long it will take for me to recreate my army?!?! You've ruined my plans! I'll kill you all, then raise you all as my undead minions! As he finishes his speed two plumes of mist falls from the ceiling and solidify as vampires in front of you.
Big Baddie fight. There are two vampires that span in front of him. Any motion from the players before the big baddie moves triggers the vampires to fly in and solidify. (The necromancer is about CR 14 and the vampires are CR 13 themselves. If the players have been cakewalking everything so far, consider having one or both of them Vampire Warriors. (They have plate armor that gives them AC 18, multiattack 2 and a Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.
Once both his minions die, or he is reducd to under 20 hp (or if he is reduced to below 0, fudge the numbers because this introduces some basic mechanics) Have the necromancer retreat behind the door behind him. Let's say the door is covered by fabric so that when he runs behind it players lose line of sight. This is where we swap bosses. The players will surely come after him. When they walk in they will see someone ocmpletely different from the person they were fighting before, looking around and looking very confused. When the players arrive he will look at the players and say something like, "You did this, didn't you? You collaborated with those other fools to trap me!" or "This isn't my temple… where am I?" Or something like that. Investigation checks will show that this is a high necromancer, like the ones they were fighting beforehand. If the players interrogate him he'll begrudgingly state the he was fighting some other adventurers who got the better of him. He tried to escape, got disoriented when the party caught up to him. But that this isn't his temple.
For loot: Roll for it I guess.
Note: Marshall's Campaign:
The Necromancer keeps a portrait of Myrkul on the wall behind the chair.
Note: Nathan's Campaign:
The Necromancer keeps a portrait of himself on the wall behind his chair. On your own discression the necromancer may decide to pretend to give up, then attempt to kill the players with a very quick spell.
With that the adventure is basically over. The necromancer will either die or give up (or maybe you have some other trick up his sleeve?) Leaving the players with time to talk about what happened.
leader necromancer: http://rpgtinker.com/index.php?template=Evoker&race=Human&radioattribute=Standard+Array+%2815%2C14%2C13%2C12%2C10%2C8%29&numberofhitdice=16&hitdice=d8
(I just use these templates, feel free to use something else)
Differences in the World
the Iron King's name is Hrathgar Hussilthar. While he tries to make his rule look kind and generous, in reality he is interested in keeping his rule, as the witches have the true power and can take his away at any time. While he knows that paying people off can help in this regard, being a bit heavy handed and veiled threats can go a far ways too, which is why he doesn't want the players to say anything about what happened.
The bandit leader's name is Jack, not Alistair.
The Trapped Hallway has rusty sword that shoot up from the floor.
The necromancer's leader just calls himself the Lord of the Undead. (Real name is Marvin) He is a man in his 40's who quickly rose to power as a leader among the followers of Myrkul, god of the dead, known as the lord of bones. He has black hair, one eye is completely white and has a powerful build. He and his followers searched Faerun for a good staging ground to gain land and a following of their own, as he hoped to force many people to worship Myrkul, and decided Rashirem was the best place to do so. He considers anyone a potential threat to his power and if threatened he has no qualms at taking the first strike at them. He is mostly quiet, yet seemingly always angry.
The Iron King's name is Hyarmon Hussilthar. He is a kind and generous ruler, values the security of the land and his people. While he doesn't outright forbid the party from talking about this, he would prefer not to talk about it in Rasheman.
The bandit leader's name is Alistair, not jack.
The trapped hallway has spears that shoot down from the ceiling.
The Necromancer's name is Hargrave, and he is an old, spindly man who seemingly can barely stand up from his chair. He has long white hair, a scar on his left cheek and is clean shaven. Looks can be deceiving though as he can quickly fire off spells that can kill those who oppose him however if they underestimate him. He was a leader in Thay until he had a disagreement on how to handle the Rashirem with the rulers of Thay. This caused him to be demoted from his post, which caused him to strike out on his own to prove Thay wrong. He is loud, boisterous and arrogant, believing almost everyone is below him.
Upon returning to the Iron King, the players will immediately be ushered into an audience with him. After the players tell him what happened and give him proof, he will be overjoyed that you have saved his kingdom. He will give the players 1000 gp each (which seems to be a lot in 5e) with a 200 gp bonus each if they saved the villagers. He will then give the players a plot of land and a castle they will surely want to fix up and make their own.
Upon leaving though he says that peace and prosperity is what he wants, and therefore he doesn't want word of this adventure to get around, for fear of spreading panic in Rasheman. Therefore he gives the castle only on the word that the players keep quiet about this; if they speak of their achievements the iron lord will be taking back the castle.
Impact on the World
No possible necromancer attack quest, players gain a bitch ass castle. People with sources may find out about the players exploits and secretly congratulate them.
If the necromancers end up living, we may bring them back for revenge.
If the bandits end up living, we may bring them back in an encounter for revenge.