One: The Descent
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Miguel Durans The Hallowed Hills
a party of
low-level adventurers must explore a system of underground caverns recently
discovered beneath the Monastery of the Risen Star. But this is more
than just a casual dungeon crawl the group must locate and, if
possible, rescue the three members of the Order who went down before
them and never returned.
four-part adventure is designed for four to six 3rd-level adventurers,
though DMs should be able to modify it for parties of varying sizes
and/or levels fairly easily. For larger parties, simply increase the
number of monsters until the Encounter Levels are appropriate. Alternatively,
if your group comprises especially potent player characters, you can
change the monster types to something more challenging that is,
use ghasts rather than ghouls, bugbears rather than orcs, and so forth.
The Hallowed Hills is adaptable for use in the World of Greyhawk,
another D&D campaign setting, or a world of your own creation.
Story So Far
The Order of the
Risen Star is a peaceful monastic commune whose members dwell within
a small chapel upon the crest of the Hartsblood Hills. Its priests
often descend into the surrounding valleys to tend to the villages
there and perform last rites and burials as needed.
A recent earthquake
has opened a passage to a series of uncharted caverns beneath the
Order's vaults. The brothers dispatched to explore their depths have
not been seen nor heard from in a week's time, so the Order must seek
aid from outside its walls.
characters may be either locals or travelers passing through the area.
Any of the following adventure hooks may be used to draw them into the
depths of the Hartsblood Hills:
- The monks of
the Risen Star recently saw to the burial of a person directly related
to one of the player characters. In return for this service, the
Orders members now entreat the PC to aid them in their time
- The Order makes
it known throughout the nearby villages and towns that any skilled
trackers or adventurers who come to their aid will be rewarded with
good coin and an additional favor bestowed by the gods.
- Followers of
good-aligned gods (be they clerics, paladins, or particularly devout
characters of another class) each have a dream shortly after the
earthquake. Though the details are vague, its meaning is clear -
there is something evil beneath the monastery.
of the Risen Star (monastery) conventional -- abbot patriarch;
lawful good; 150 gp limit; 4,000 gp assets; 51 population; Isolated
(94% human, 4% halfling; 2% half-celestial).
Figures: Abbot Martine Gerrard, male human Clr 7.
Characters: Brother Durham (missing expeditionary), male human
Clr 4; Brother Ambrose (librarian), male half-celestial, half-human
Clr 5; Old Arley (groundskeeper), male human Exp 3.
of which adventure hook you used to bring the characters here, the
adventure begins with their arrival at the Monastery of the Risen
Star. The Order's complex is both small and spartan, made up only
of the worship chapel, a few communal bunkhouses, the abbot's chambers,
a library, a supply room and kitchen, and the crypt.
abbot welcomes the group in the chapel and imparts the following details
- The earthquake
that took place more than a week ago tore apart the Order's crypt,
creating a rift that led into a previously undiscovered network
of caverns below the hills.
- Brother Durham,
the abbot's second, led two acolytes into the caves to recover the
bodies and goods that had tumbled into the depths from the damaged
crypt. No one has returned from that expedition, nor have the other
members of the Order received any sign or news regarding their fate.
For some reason, even the standard divinations have proven extremely
ineffective in this case.
The abbot asks
that the adventurers enter the caverns, find his missing brothers,
and rescue them if they are still alive. In addition, he would like
the lost bodies and items from the crypt returned for reinterment.
Finally, he is very worried about the dangers that these new developments
may present for the Order, so he requests that the heroes scout out
any present or future threats below.
As a reward for
these services, the abbot is willing to bestow upon each member of
the party a gift of 100 gp as well as a magical item blessed by his
god (a benevolent deity appropriate to your campaign).
the player characters agree to undertake the task, the abbot asks one
of his acolytes to lead them down to the crypt.
The crypt is a
network of dimly lit tunnels carved into the hillside beneath the
monastery. Rows upon rows of coffins fill hollows within the walls.
The deepest passage is near-collapsed, with a gaping pit, 10 feet
wide by 20 feet long, at its terminus. The tombs there are in ruins,
and several caskets are missing.
The walls of the
pit extend downward only about 30 feet before tapering out to form
the ceiling of a natural cavern. From there, it is a 100 foot drop
into the next room (Area 2). Climb checks to descend safely into the
cavern are at DC 15 for the pit and cavern walls, and DC 25 for the
each character make a Listen check (DC 22) upon reaching the cavern
below the crypt. If you're feeling particularly sneaky, you may wish
to roll the checks yourself and keep the results secret. These check
results determine whether the characters are aware of what waits in
ambush for them here. . . .
Duran endured a great deal of pain and humiliation in Skip Williams
after-work game when he first arrived at WotC several months ago. He
insists that this adventure is a by-product of the fond memories those
nights carved into his subconscious. By day, Miguel is the Promotions
Coordinator for the Dungeons & Dragons Game.
By night, he practices writing and consistently forgets to call his
mom and dad. (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!)