Click here to see the map or read my rooms so far. Go here to see who else is playing (or has already played) along.
Oddly, while the area just beyond the secret door accessed from room #3 should be the assumed entry point for the second half of the dungeon, it’s not keyed other than possibly being part of area #25 off to the right. Four our purposes, though, that passageway on the south side of the secret door needs its own description. Before we get to that in the next post, I want to lay out what we know so far about the dungeon and then fill in a few more blanks.
One, it’s a ruined monastery that was sacked some years ago by an invading army seeking a magical gem. Two, it’s haunted by at least five specters and some number of ghouls. The specters were once the human occupants of the abbey; the ghouls were once the human invaders. Three, the aforementioned magic gem is still somewhere in the ruin (area 29 to be precise) and the only key that we so far know about is located on the remains of the abbot in area #2. The players either came into the dungeon searching for the gem, discovered its likely presence during the adventure or are oblivious to it.
There are twenty ghouls in total residing in areas 24 through 38. These are the crypt areas. The ghouls are violent, vile and possess the keen and singular intelligence of a predatory creature. They remember very little of their previous lives as soldiers, but must have conducted more than one atrocious act to have succumbed to un-death in the manner that they have.
While the specters were most likely ambivalent to or unaware of the party’s presence in areas 1 through 23, the ghouls found in areas 24 through 38 should react violently, but not stupidly, to anybody found in the crypt areas. If you roll for reactions in your game, use 3d6 vs. 2d6 for the ghouls. This prevents a friendly result and overall leans them toward aggression. The ghouls may outright attack a weaker looking party or, if given the jump, may seek reinforcements to take on a large or capable-looking one. Their goal will be to kill the party to consume their organs and suck the marrow from their bones. Mmmm, mmmm good.
Amongst the ghouls is a 3HD leader that remembers much of his previous life. His name is Drogo and he was a captain of the invading forces that brought the abbey low so many years past. He is cunning but quite mad at this point. At times he is obsessed with the finding of the magical gem, believing incorrectly that its power can reverse his current state and restore his humanity. Mostly, though, he succumbs to the dark impulse to feed and organizes sorties out into the surrounding countryside to capture and devour victims.
The crypt areas once held the remains of those that had died within the abbey. During the time of Ergon the monks of the abbey began using the powers of the gem to extend their lives at the expense of nearby villagers. At this point the function of the crypts changed from "place of interment" to "unholy temple to the dark power that controls the gemstone". This will be demonstrated further when the room descriptions begin anew.
The curse of the abbey was set into motion when the abbot Ergon uttered his dying words. Horkos, once his deity, chose this time to answer the fallen priest to both punish his former followers and to keep the gem safe from the invading army. All of those still alive within the abbey were struck dead while its above ground walls and structures were tumbled down. The priests and monks of the abbey were cursed to un-life. Most of these have manifested as the disembodied voices heard in area 14 & 16. Ergon and the four other monks of area 21 became specters. Of the attacking soldiery, most of these passed on to the afterlife. Drogo and a handful of his most heinous men became ghouls and took up residence in the crypt areas. The curse has no direct effect upon a party exploring the tomb.
My next post will return to the room description format and I’ll cram as many as I care to into it.