Excerpt from
The Twilight Tomb Excerpt
By Greg A. Vaughan

The coming night approaches. Will your PCs stand against the darkness and successfully vanquish it, or will they fall to the Duskwalker? The Twilight Tomb is a stand-alone Dungeons & Dragons adventure designed to take four 3rd-level characters from the sun-dappled paths of the Yuirwood into a realm created by a bygone betrayal. Although the adventure is set in the Aglarond region of Faerūn, it can be placed in any D&D campaign easily. To learn more about the adventure, please take a look at our two excerpts below. You'll see the introduction plus a sample encounter for The Twilight Tomb.

Introduction

This adventure takes place within the vast forest of the Yuirwood, located in the heart of the Aglarond region in eastern Faerūn. Aglarond is a divided land, its people segmented into three groups: the citizens of Altumbel, the humans who inhabit the cities along Aglarond's rocky northern coast, and the insular half-elf villagers and foresters who call the Yuirwood their home.

The tangles of the Yuirwood are thick with old magic. Masters of powerful spells, the ancient star elves, or mithral elves, of Yuireshanyaar left behind ruins of all sorts. These ruins include circles of menhirs, standing stone monuments that bear inscriptions carved in an ancient Elven dialect. Their magic has faded with the strength of the Yuirwood, but some power remains in them yet.

The menhir circles -- which are difficult to locate in the forest's undergrowth -- form a network of portals that can be activated by those who know their secret, though many are keyed to star elves. Some allow quick travel across the forest. Others are said to grant access to the hidden realm of Sildėyuir. And a few open into dangerous splinter realms sealed away for reasons that have been lost to the centuries.

As the player characters explore the Yuirwood, their investigation leads deep into the wilderness, where they discover the portal to the forbidden Night Realm.

The Twilight Tomb is a Dungeons & Dragons® adventure designed for four 3rd-level characters. Heroes should advance at least one level during the adventure and perhaps two by its conclusion.

Preparation

As Dungeon Master, you need four books to run this adventure: the Player's Handbook (PH), the Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), the Monster Manual (MM), and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. The following supplements contain descriptions of creatures used in the adventure: Monster Manual III, Monsters of Faerūn, Libris Mortis, Unapproachable East, and Lost Empires of Faerūn. None of those books is necessary to use this adventure, because all the relevant information is provided herein. If you are planning to run this adventure in the Aglarond region, review the information presented on pages 199-200 of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. In-depth information on the Yuirwood, the relics of the ancient star elves, and the nilshai is provided in Unapproachable East. Otherwise, feel free to modify the adventure to suit a different location.

Paragraphs in italic type should be read aloud to the players or paraphrased at the appropriate times. Sidebars contain additional information for the DM.

Adventure Background

More than two thousand years ago, star elves lived in the depths of the Yuirwood. Faced with aggressive human coastal settlements along the Wizards' Reach that sought to carve out lands from the ancient forest, the star elves decided to withdraw from Faerūn altogether. The elf high mages forged a forestwide network of stone circles and then worked a mighty spell through the standing stones that created a demiplane for the star elves. Once this was done, the great majority of the star elves departed Faerūn for a realm called Sildėyuir.

Sildėyuir is a plane of eldritch beauty, a land of perpetual twilight illuminated by a host of glittering stars. The star elves raised great glass citadels for themselves and live there still, the masters of song magic and lords of this realm.

While Sildėyuir was designed as a realm of quietude and contentment, it has had its share of troubles. A star elf named Mourel Duskwalker was one such. Corrupt and hungry for power, Mourel sought dominion over all other star elves. He went so far as to marshal evil forces against the main star elf city in a bid for supreme power in Sildeyuir.

Mourel was eventually defeated. His body and the remnants of his life force were sealed within the glass citadel that served as his home, and then his glass citadel was cut free of Sildėyuir. That same citadel of glass now serves as his tomb, a sepulcher permanently severed from the larger star elf realm.

Unknown to the star elves, Mourel's tomb retained a portal connected to the Yuirwood. The evil nilshai sorcerer Tolg'byri found and activated this entry. Since then, the nilshai has been using the tomb as a base of operations in an effort to gather an army for the conquest of Sildėyuir. This activity caused the unquiet spirit of Mourel and his servants to be roused against the interlopers. Tolg'byri became a victim of treachery, and the nilshai's fledgling army is now led by a half-orc named Savera, whose true nature remains a mystery to "his" followers.

Adventure Synopsis

A "loose" piece of the star elf demiplane of Sildėyuir contains a single glass citadel that serves as the tomb of a corrupt star elf called Mourel Duskwalker. A malevolent nilshai sorcerer discovered the citadel and unsealed it, intending to use the stronghold as a base to marshal its evil forces. Worse, Mourel's twisted experiments have been disturbed by the invaders' presence, along with Mourel's unquiet spirit and elements of his vanquished army. The PCs are drawn into this dangerous realm, pursuing their own ends (see Adventure Hooks).

Once the characters enter the splinter realm containing Mourel's glass citadel, they are trapped until they can sneak or fight their way through the arrayed threats to finally defeat the nilshai's minions and/or the undead Mourel and his servants. Each leader possesses a method of opening the portal back to Faerūn.

Adventure Hooks

Characters can become entangled in this adventure through a wide variety of methods. Four suggestions are provided below.

-- An old circle of stones at the edge of the Yuirwood forest is reportedly haunted. Strange lights and missing travelers in the region give credence to these stories. Other tales claim that the old stone rings lead to abandoned citadels of the star elves. Who knows what treasures lie ripe for the taking in these hidden realms?

-- A prominent noble's rambunctious daughter has gone missing after she went to investigate the story of a functioning portal in the Yuirwood forest. Adventurers could do worse than to find the wayward daughter and collect the 2,000 gp reward.

-- Half-elves of the Yuirwood approach the PCs for help with a problem. A powerful oracle's divinations have revealed that Mourel Duskwalker has risen and once again threatens the forest. The half-elves don't know precisely what this means, but all signs point to some disastrous occurrence if this threat from a bygone era is not stopped. This hook works particularly well for parties that have one or more elf or half-elf members from the Aglarond area.

-- The affable Velprintalar merchant Tulin Farweather approaches the characters with a rather embarrassing request. He was recently hired by a powerful wizard to transport a object of great importance -- the Grail of Shargrailar -- from a ship in Velprintalar through the Yuirwood to the village of Glarondar. With a grimace, Tulin admits that he lost the Grail in the Yuirwood near an ancient stone ring. He's sure the menhir circle has something to do with the item's loss, but he and his companions knew better than to tamper with one of the ancient constructions. They assumed that a group of well-traveled adventurers might be willing to do so for the right price . . . say 2,000 gp?


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