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 Four: The Silent Guardians

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 have entered the Forsaken Temple's crypt and started exploring a bit. They had the opportunity to work with some drow, who warn of some clay golems ahead. Now they face the very golems that killed a drow cleric.

The Silent Guardians

The PCs move deeper into the crypt, perhaps with their newfound drow "friends." They know they're going to confront a pair of clay golems who guard the Traitor's final resting place. The crypt holds other dangers, though, and they are probably not yet aware of the statue of Corellon Larethian that also serves to dissuade would-be tomb robbers.

Area 6 (EL 9)

As the characters enter Area 4, read the following boxed text.

Atop a raised dais in the northeast corner of this room stands a statue of a tall elven man in chainmail. His right hand rests on the pommel of his longsword, which is sheathed. He holds a large round shield up, as though defending himself against an attacker. More ancient writing decorates the shield and the steps of the dais.

Elven characters recognize this immediately as a statue of Corellon Larethian. The writing on the dais steps is a final warning to turn back. If the characters succeed in reading it, they gain the message below. The "writing" on the shield is in fact an intricately carved symbol of persuasion. Tolth is aware of this, and if the PCs look like they might try to read the writing on the shield, she warns them to stop. She makes up whatever lie she thinks will keep the PCs from triggering the symbol, probably trying to convince them that it is actually a symbol of death.

Dais Message: The golden thread binds the great evil. Turn back lest it unravel or entangle you.

Symbol of Persuasion: CR 9; once read, all creatures in 60-foot radius become neutral good for 1d20x10 minutes and fall under a charm person spell as if cast by an 18th level wizard -- see spell description; Will save negates (DC 26); Search (DC 33); Disable Device (DC 33).

Touching or looking at the symbol will not trigger its effect, only attempting to read it will. Characters affected by the symbol of persuasion are much more receptive to the warnings posted here and elsewhere in the crypt, and they heed them immediately to the best of their ability. If the PCs have only partially understood the messages, they try to heed what they believe the messages mean rather than what they actually do.

If Tolth herself is unaffected by the symbol, a likely outcome with her high Will save and spell resistance, she encourages Surya and the PCs to use dispel magic spells to counter the effect of the symbol, or she waits until the effect wears off.

If Tolth is affected by the symbol, her sudden change of alignment gives her a completely new perspective on her situation. She immediately tells the PCs everything she knows about the Traitor, and then she confesses that she and her companions came to the crypt to free her. She deeply regrets this, and now she is committed to destroying the Traitor so no other misguided souls can attempt this again. She is now even more committed to getting past the clay golems. Surya and Turizz, if unaffected by the symbol, both assume that Tolth is playing a clever ruse. Once the effect of the symbol wears off, Tolth may continue to play along as if her "change of heart" were permanent, if this serves her agenda.

It is simple for any Medium-size or smaller creature to squeeze past the statue of Corellon and get through the door he is guarding. This door is slightly ajar from the drow's hasty escape from the golems.

Area 7, 8, 9 (EL 12)

As the characters enter Area 7, read the following:

The temperature rises sharply as the stench of burning tar fills the air. A stone bridge stretches across a boiling tar lake. At the other end of the bridge stands a pair of tall elven statues formed out of brown clay. They begin to move slowly toward you.

These guardians have a more elegant shape than the average clay golem because of their elven manufacture, but otherwise conform to the statistics listed in the Monster Manual. They cross the bridge and attack characters in Area 7, but they do not pursue characters back to Area 6. If the golems engage in melee while on the bridge (Area 6), they shift their tactics somewhat. Instead of trying to pummel their opponents, they sometimes try to trip them. Player characters who fall into the tar take 1d6 points of damage the first round. They must then make a Swim check (DC 20) to avoid sinking. A character who has sunk into the tar takes 10d6 damage each round and must make a Swim check to struggle back to the surface. A character at the surface may escape the tar with a successful Climb or Escape Artist check. Due to the sheer heavy and clinging consistency of the tar, those attempting to pull characters out of the tar must make successful Strength checks (DC 20) to do so.

The characters should be expecting the golems and have likely had opportunity to discuss strategy beforehand. One possible plan of attack is to collapse the bridge while the golems are standing on it, then use some other means, perhaps magical, to get across the boiling tar. There is a weakened section of bridge near the middle, which PCs might notice, that would be the ideal target for this tactic. Use the rules for causing a cave-in on page 114 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. If the clay golems fall into the tar, either because the bridge was destroyed under them or through some other means, they sink like, well, large lumps of clay and are not heard from again.

Under normal circumstances, Tolth is not above sacrificing the PCs or her own followers (with Surya being the only exception) if it will get her past the clay golems and into the Traitor's tomb.

Clay Golems(2): hp 60; see Monster Manual, page 110.

Ad Hoc XP Adjustment

Because of the bridge, the golem encounter decreases by 20%. Additionally, if the drow help the PCs, you should award the resulting XP from the encounter to the group plus the drow.

Cliffhanger

The entrance to the Traitor's tomb lies ahead. The final secrets of the crypt may be uncovered, but will the PCs withstand the evil they are about to encounter?

 





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