This is a stop-gap adventure which begins while the characters are traveling between destinations. It is evening and the sky has become overcast and stormy. The adventurers are pelted by rain and the clouds, moving almost supernaturally fast above them, are indicative of ill portent. The way ahead becomes increasingly misty, and visibility becomes greatly limited. Elves using infravision will detect nothing but grazing animals in the surrounding plains.
The well-trodden path begins to lead through a sprawling cemetery, although the party are only able to discern the archaic and gothic tombs which immediately surrounding them. The sepulchral designs are strange and ornate; a stone angel stands with arms broken off at the wrists, an intricate gravestone engraving depicts a withered rose.
At this point a figure appears, seeming to have descended from the sky, and halts the travelers in their path. This is a somber but striking woman who delivers the following speech;
"I am Tiphereth of the blood-clan Kabbalah and you have strayed into our domain. For centuries our blood-line have held a seat of power in this region and slain any who have dared to venture this route by night."
Tiphereth - Vampire
AC: 1 Hit Points: 80
Damage: 1d4, 1d4, 1d8 (+3/+6)
Sombre, Dispassionate, Entrancing, Valiant
If the party respond without actual violence, Tiphereth continues; "Fortunately for you, our tombs have been taken over by a rival blood-clan and we have been ousted to live like vagabonds upon the earth. What we require from you is not blood, but all magical weapons that you are carrying. With these we may reclaim our lost homes. Surrender them to us and we will let you leave in peace."
In the unlikely event that the party surrender their weapons, Tiphereth will hurry away down the path with them at vampire speed. If the party offer to help or decide to attack, a second vampire will appear atop a gravestone.
Malkuth - Vampire
AC: 0 Hit Points: 100
Damage: 1d10, 1d10, 1d8 (+5/+8)
Amoral, Predatory, Aggressive, Feral
"Tiphereth, I need to feed," Malkuth will declare at this stage, wielding a terrifying set of blades where her hands should be. By now violence should be inevitable.
Inciting combat is in fact a trap. As soon as the players win an initiative role, the vampires will grab and steal the characters' weapons instead of attacking. If the players win initiative again they may backstab as the vampires escape. In either instance, Tiphereth and Malkuth run away at preternatural speed, following the path ahead.
Malkuth will be heard saying; "We must find cover before daylight."
To prevent the party quickly following by magical means, the vampires summon a pack of wolves to attack the adventurers.
Wolves (6-12 appearing)
AC:3 Hit Points: 8
Having been relieved of their preferred weapons, the adventurers will now be more than keen to retrieve them... and perhaps some payback. It should be clear, perhaps by a trail of blood, that the vampires have taken the footpath and not ventured into the cemetery grounds. A successful tracking role will validate this information.
However, the party may decide to explore the graveyard. If so then they should see ten humanoid figures emerging from among the crypts. If that does not prompt a hasty departure, then the players find themselves quickly overcome by superior numbers and subsequently slain by the blood-clan Satyr. Two days later they will awaken from death as vampires.
In either instance, the party travel uneasily through the night, following the trail of blood. If they have means to gain ground on Tiphereth and Malkuth quickly, the vampires will transform into mist.
By daybreak the adventurers reach a very unusual clearing which will arouse great curiosity. A large rock sits alone in a field, carved into the image of a gigantic head. It appears to be hollow within, its open mouth stretched open as an entrance. If the vampires were wounded, a trail of blood leads to this ominous entrance.
Approaching the entrance, the party will see evidence of a battle recently fought. Two soldiers in plate mail armour lie dead on the ground, their swords stained with crimson. Examination will reveal that each has received bites around the neck and is completely drained of blood.
Behind them a decorated obsidian doorway has been wrecked by strikes recognisable as being made by the adventurers' lost weapons. The door now lies shattered, half hanging from its fixture and revealing a dark descending stairway.
As the adventurers survey the scene, a voice is heard saying; "Those knights deserved to die. Do not waste your tears mourning their passing."
The voice belongs to a strange robed Druid who approaches the characters. He waves a sprig of leaves around him as if to consecrate the ground against evil. If the party members engage the Druid in discussion, he tells them that his name is Norfolk and that he worships Talliana, the Earth Elemental who dwells within the cave. He has done so for decades, but since travellers began using this route, the sacred site has provoked unwanted attention.
"Things went from bad to worse when the evil Paladin Morgana-Rose discovered the latent power hidden here. Together with her band of vagabond adventurers they have taken over this sacred site and now try to coax Talliana to endow Morgana with her powers. Of course, this is not possible, but Morgana is mad and thinks that she can harness the elemental energies and become a god!"
Whatever the parties intentions, Norfolk offers little support. He is a man of peace not action, but may proffer useful advice if he thinks the adventurers will try to oust the anti-paladin.
He knows that Morgana-Rose will commit any atrocity in order to force the Elemental to do her bidding. The land will suffer badly is Talliana is not liberated and free to work her magics upon all of nature's creations.
The interior of the Earth Elemental's lair is a small network of rooms which surround a circular hall. The central hall itself is sealed by double doors which cannot be opened by lockpicking skills or by a 'knock' spell. Only excessive physical strength will cause it to yield, well above the adventurers statistics, whatever they may be.
The party is free to explore the other rooms at random. Each is accessible once the stairs have been descended and sealed by a door. However, it is suggested that encounters occur in the following order:
A team of knights, matching the party in number, are patrolling the circular corridor. They will attack on sight and will be the first encounter unless the party are employing particular stealth or invisibility.
AC: 1 Hit Points: 35
Damage: 1d8 (+3/+4)
This room projects the most nauseating aroma of rotting flesh. Opening the door will reveal a hideously mutilated collection of woodland beasts, deer, rabbits and the like. Each has been executed in some kind of ritual sacrifice which has involved removing all the innards until death occurs. The scene is now rife with carrion and cannot be endured for long.
This room is being used by Morgana-Rose's gang as a rest and recuperation room. Blankets and crude bedding are found all over the floor as well as some sundry equipment and rations. One knight is fast asleep wrapped in his blanket. He has one hand missing, wrapped in bloodied bandages, and claw marks on his face. He will surrender rather than die, unless of course he is killed in his sleep. He may, if questioned, reveal details of the other party members and the capture of the vampires from whom he received his wounds.
Howarth - Knight
AC: 1 Hit Points: 35
Damage: 1d8 (+1/+2)
Here the Earth Elemental Talliana is held prisoner, trapped within a magic circle which she cannot pass until the spellcaster dies or releases the magic. A listen at the door or a sneaky entrance will reveal a snatch of her conversation with Dugan the Thief who taunts her.
"I've worked for Morgana for three years now," Dugan explains. "And let me tell you she's a lunatic. She'll defile this whole land unless you give her your power. Every beast, plant and humanoid for miles will be put to the sword or razed by fire. She thinks that she's on a divine mission to become a goddess or a saint. If you really wish to protect the land, you must succumb to her demands."
Dugan - Thief
AC: 3 Hit Points: 56
Damage: 1d8 (+3/+6)
cunning, articulate, loyal, calm
If the party intervene to help Talliana, she will restore each character's hit points to maximum. She will ask the party to expel Morgana-Rose from her sanctuary and promise them great reward in return.
This room comprises one cell area within which Tiphereth and Malkuth are imprisoned. Having sought sanctuary from the rising sun, they decided to take cover within this temple and fought their way in. However, they were overpowered by the sorceress Helena who here holds them shackled and imprisoned.
Helena - Wizard
AC: 3 Hit Points: 20
Damage: 1d8 (+2/+3)
Superior, Intolerant, Strategic, Mercenary
Magic Missile 1d4 + 1 (x5)
Burning Hands 1d3 + 10
Mirror Image (1d4 +3)
Helena's box of treasure is also in this room and is protected by a Guardian Familiar, a small black cat which sits upon the chest.
AC: 8 Hit Points: 6
Magic Resistance: 50%
The Familiar has 9 lives, and each time it is killed, will return to life instantly with an additional 6 hit points, -1 to its Armour Class and + 1 damage.
Its statistics for lives 2-9 are as follows:
AC: 7 Hit Points: 12 +1 damage AC: 6 Hit Points: 18 +2 damage AC: 5 Hit Points: 24 +3 damage AC: 4 Hit Points: 30 +4 damage AC: 3 Hit Points: 36 +5 damage AC: 2 Hit Points: 42 +6 damage AC: 1 Hit Points: 48 +7 damage AC: 0 Hit Points: 54 +8 damage
Within the chest, which can only be opened after the ninth death of the Guardian Familiar, can be found:
If the adventurers kill Helena, the imprisoned vampires will petition them for release, promising to return items stolen and not to cause violence. The vampires will keep this promise unless unduly provoked, and will be interested in some pay-back on Morgana-Rose. The vampires will be willing to work with the party for this mutual objective.
If Tiphereth and Malkuth have joined the party, they will have the strength requisite to break open the doorway of the large central room. As an alternative, the key found in Helena's treasure chest might also unlock this area.
This room is a large circular chapel area, with a central altar feature. The room glows with a natural and pleasant ambiance generated from the enhanced plant life within. Roots and tendrils twine like veins around the walls, creating a mystical sense of awe. However the altar itself is awash with blood both old and new. A newly slain deer lies dissected beside the slab.
Being raised aloof from the bloody scene is the anti-paladin Morgan-Rose, supported by what appears to be three nuns with their faces covered.
Morgana is quite mad with delusions of god-hood. She will respond to sudden entry with the words; "Greetings my children. You may worship at the shrine of the Goddess Morgana-Rose!"
Morgana Rose - Anti-Paladin
AC: -2 Hit Points: 100
Damage: 1d10 (+5/+8)
Insane, Ruthless, Decadent, Violent
Cause Serious Wounds (2d8+2)
Protection from Good
The nuns are in fact Huecuva undead who will fight to defend their master.
AC: 3 Hit Points: 16
Damage: 1-6 (Save vs poison or be diseased)
If the battle goes badly for Morgana, she will attempt to flee. If she is killed her body will immediately disappear to a secret location due to a wish spell expended for such an eventuality.
If the adventurers successfully clear the sacred lair of the Earth Elemental, she will heal all characters and cure diseases. She will also award the following items:
If the characters united with the vampires, then Tiphereth and Malkuth will ask for help in reclaiming their rulership of the gravesite and eliminating the rival vampire clan.
[email protected]Copyright 2000 by Alexander Wallis. Posted October 22, 2000. v.1.0