Cliffhangers!
Into the Forsaken Temple's Crypt
By Ramon Arjona
Complete Cliffhanger (648k ZIP/PDF)
Episode 5: Ellowyn Blacktree the Traitor
Episode 4: The Silent Guardians
Episode 3: Other Guests Arrive
Episode 2: A False Tomb
Episode 1: Gather, Gloom
Cliffhangers Archive
The Approaching Swarm
Kingdom of the Blind
Into the Forsaken Temple's Crypt
The Trouble in Town
Sharkbait!
The Light of Despair
Training Grounds
Lorin's Chasm
Bridge Work
Nest of Corruption
Hindsight
A Giant Ransom
Black Water
The Horror of Lannock Hill
Over the Edge
Equinox
The Proper Count
The Tower of Lore
The Candlemaker's Fire
The Hallowed Hills
The Village of Camiram
Unearthing the Past
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Cliffhangers Adventures
Into the Forsaken Temple's Crypt

By Ramon Arjona

Episode Two: A False Tomb

Into the Forsaken Temple's Crypt is a short adventure for four 10th-level characters. The adventure takes place in a buried temple crypt, which has been sealed for centuries. Dungeon Masters can adjust it for higher-level characters by widening the dead magic areas and increasing the number and power of constructs and undead that inhabit the complex.

Adventure Background

The PCs had just entered the Forsaken Temple's crypt in the last episode. Now they can begin to penetrate deeper into the crypt, discovering more of its hidden dangers.

A False Tomb

As the characters move onward, the air becomes even staler and the temperature drops steadily. This is not enough to injure them, but it could certainly make those susceptible to cold feel uncomfortable. The elves built this tomb to keep Ellowyn in and to keep grave robbers out. Therefore, they built a false tomb in area 3D, hoping to draw would-be looters away from Ellowyn's true resting place. They decorated the door with symbols and writing that, they hoped, would draw the attention of anyone who invaded the crypt.

The elves did not anticipate the oozes and fungus that have taken up residence in this area. These creatures now serve as accidental, but effective, guardians of the Traitor's prison.

Area 1A (EL 9)

As the PCs enter this area, read the following text:

This large room has a flat ceiling about 20 feet above you. There are carvings and letters on the walls here, as well, but it is difficult to make them out because the walls seem to have eroded in many places. A smaller set of double doors hangs open immediately to the north. In northeast corner of the room, a large black mass jiggles and shudders.

The black mass is an extremely large black pudding. It seeped into the crypt years ago, when it was much smaller, and it has been feeding on shriekers, and sometimes on the floor and walls. The pudding is hungry for real food, such as the flesh of the PCs.

The drow, who have spent years studying the crypt through magic, circumvented this monster by teleporting directly into Area 4.

Advanced Black Pudding: CR 9; Gargantuan ooze; HD 20d10+150; hp 290; Init -5; Spd 20 ft., climb 20 ft.; AC 5, touch 1, flat-footed 5; Atk +18 melee (2d8+10 plus 2d8 acid, slam); Face/Reach 10 ft. x 20 ft./10 ft.; SA Acid, constrict 2d8+4 plus 2d8 acid, improved grab; SQ Blindsight 60 ft., ooze traits, split; AL N; SV Fort +12, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 25, Dex 1, Con 23, Int --, Wis 1, Cha 1.

Skills and Feats: Climb +15, Hide -17.

Acid (Ex): The advanced black pudding secretes a digestive acid that dissolves organic material and metal quickly. Any melee hit deals acid damage. The pudding's acidic touch deals 50 points of damage per round to wood or metal objects. The opponent's armor and clothing dissolve and become useless immediately unless they succeed at a Reflex save (DC 26). The acid can dissolve stone, dealing 20 points of damage per round of contact.

Constrict (Ex): The advanced black pudding can crush a grabbed opponent, dealing slam and acid damage with each successful grapple check. The opponent's clothing and armor suffer a -4 penalty on Reflex saves against the acid.

Improved Grab (Ex): If the advanced black pudding hits a creature that is at least one size category smaller than itself with its slam attack, it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple (grapple bonus +34) as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it gets a hold, it can also constrict with the same attack. Thereafter, the advanced black pudding has the option to conduct the grapple normally, or simply use its pseudopod to hold the opponent. Each successful grapple check it makes during successive rounds automatically deals slam and acid damage in addition to constriction damage.

Blindsight (Ex): An advanced black pudding is blind, but its entire body is a primitive sensory organ that can ascertain prey by scent and vibration within 60 feet. Invisibility and darkness are irrelevant, though the pudding still can't discern ethereal beings. The black pudding usually does not need to make Spot or Listen checks to notice creatures within range of its blindsight ability.

Ooze Traits: The advanced black pudding is immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, polymorphing, and mind-influencing effects and is not subject to critical hits or flanking. The pudding is blind.

Split (Ex): Weapons deal no damage to a black pudding. Instead, the creature splits into two identical puddings, each with half the original's hit points (round down). A pudding with only 1 hit point cannot be further split.

If the characters attempt to read what's left of the text on the wall, they gather only the following snippets:

Holy power...blight...truth of the forest...save us.

Make sure the characters realize that it is very difficult to try to read ancient writing while a black pudding is trying to devour you.

Area 2 (EL 7)

As the PCs enter this area, read the following text:

A stone door is to the north, and mushrooms crowd the floor. As soon as you enter the room, however, the mushrooms begin to make a terrible piercing noise.

The mushrooms are shriekers. They feed on the insects and vermin that get into the crypt over time, and the black pudding in turn feeds on them. The shriekers have grown at a rate sufficient to sustain the black pudding so far, but over time it is likely the pudding will outgrow its food source, devour all of the remaining shriekers, and starve.

The sound echoes throughout the crypt. If the drow in Area 5 didn't know they had company before, they do now.

Shriekers (5): hp 11, see Monster Manual, page 93.

Should the PCs make it through the shriekers to the northern wall, read the following aloud:

The carvings that once decorated the face of the door have been eroded over time, so it is almost impossible to make out what they once represented. They could be branches. They could be roads. They could be veins. It's impossible to tell.

If the characters attempt to flee from the black pudding into this area, it follows them. If they attempt to close the stone double doors behind them, the pudding burns through it in 3 rounds. Since the pudding is so large, it makes this room very crowded if it gets in.

The pudding has tried to burn through the door at the north end of Area 2, but it couldn't due to the magic the elves used to reinforce the door, which makes it immune to acid and other corrosive damage. If the characters can get through this door and shut it behind them, they need not fear the pudding. The doors are locked (Open Lock DC 30).

Magically Reinforced Stone Doors: 1 ft. thick; hardness 10; hp 60; AC 5; Break DC 45.

Attempting to pick the lock triggers a trap that floods the floor of this room with a powerful corrosive, creating a puddle 10 feet wide at the base of the door. It seems the elves had a reason for making the door impervious to acid....

Acid Trap: CR 9; mechanical; touch; automatic reset; multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft. by 10-ft. area); acid (Reflex save avoids [DC 16], 10d6); Search (DC 28); Disable Device (DC 30).

Should the characters read the barely legible script on the door, they get the following:

mythal...Corellon...elves...salvation

Area 3A

As the PCs enter area 3A, read the following:

This is a narrow corridor, with doors to the north, east, west, and south. The doors to the east and west are made of wood and hang on rusted old hinges. The door to the north, however, is made of stone and is covered with more of the same ornate carvings that appeared on the entrance.

The northern door has the same statistics as the door at the entrance to the crypt. The doors are locked (Open Lock DC 30), reinforced with both iron (just under the silver) and stone (as another set of doors directly behind the silver/iron set).

Crypt Doors: 1 ft. thick; hardness 10; hp 60; AC 5; Break DC 45.

The other doors are strong wooden doors, but they are not locked. The elves hoped that by making it more difficult to enter Area 3D, persistent looters would be drawn to the false tomb they constructed. If they read the carvings on the door, this is what they learn:

Eternal prison for the Traitor, and vengeance for the blood she shed.

Areas 3B and 3C

If the PCs wish to advance beyond these empty rooms, they need to succeed at Search checks (DC 30) to find the secret doors in each room.

Area 3D (EL 9)

If the characters enter this area, read the following text:

A golden sarcophagus sits at the north end of this room. Delicate frescoes decorate the walls, showing woodland scenes from the depth of winter. The face on the sarcophagus seems to be that of a young elven woman. Her arms are folded across her chest and her eyes are closed. Five other sarcophagi stand against the walls. These show the faces of grim elven warriors clasping longswords in their hands.

Should the characters attempt to open any of the sarcophagi, the remaining five immediately open and the the mummies the elves left here as guardians assault the characters. The elves created these mummies from elven warriors who willingly gave their lives to guard the Traitor's resting place. As such, they are of lawful good alignment. Otherwise they conform to the statistics listed in the Monster Manual.

The mummies in the sarcophagi against the walls are discernibly elven males, though they wear archaic and molded armor. The mummy in the sarcophagus at the north end of the room is discernibly an elven female.

Mummies (10): hp 42; AL LG*; see Monster Manual, page 138.

*These lawful good mummies can be rebuked or commanded by a good cleric and turned or destroyed by an evil cleric. Neutral clerics who normally rebuke or command evil mummies turn or destroy these mummies, and those who turn or destroy evil mummies command or rebuke these mummies.

The elves left no treasure behind in the false tomb. They hoped that any looters who came this far would be discouraged by having worked so hard for nothing and would leave the crypt without trying to proceed further. If the PCs wish to advance beyond these empty rooms, they need to succeed at Search checks (DC 30) to find the secret door.

The carvings on these walls say the following:

Traitor forever, living and dead, dwell here in torment for the blood of your sisters.

Development: At this point, the characters may believe that they've found and destroyed some ultimate evil that inhabited the crypt. They may be put off or they may be misled by the carvings left behind by the elves. If they turn around and leave now, the drow proceed with their plan as noted in the last episode. If they want to keep exploring the crypt, the PCs may notice the secret doors that hide narrow passages that lead north from Areas 3B and 3C. These passages are so narrow that Medium-size characters must walk single file to get through them. At some points in these passages, Medium-size characters must turn to their side and squeeze through. Those with plate armor should consider taking it off, in fact. What lies beyond these narrow corridors is the subject of our next episode.

Cliffhanger

Have the characters found and destroyed Ellowyn Blacktree? Do they dare press further into the crypt? Or will they leave, confident of their victory and unaware of the horror that is about to be loosed on the world?

 





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