An Adventure for 5th-7th Level Characters
Thousands of years ago the
area now known as the Wastes of Torenta was ruled by a powerful kingdom. Almost
nothing is now left of that race, save for a few crumbling, blasted ruins. Even
its memory is all but lost. Legend--and a few remaining artifacts--tell that
the rulers of this kingdom were a race of minotaurs, though if that's true they
were almost certainly a breed more intelligent and social than those that
remain in this era.
It would seem that the wastes
were not always the desolate and barren place they have become, for the ruins
of the lost kingdom are scattered far and wide over leagues of desert and arid
steppes. And though most of the lost kingdom's ruins contain little beyond a
few crumbling walls and toppled columns, some also contain worn fragments of
forgotten monuments and great statuary.
Among these desolate and
generally ignored ruins, one stands out. It can be found at the edge of the
Pergia highlands in a narrow gorge leading to a sinkhole--a wide pit descending
deep into the barren stone. Some say that a mystic power can still be sensed at
this site and, on occasion, it is still sought out by spellcasters looking for
a site of power in which to perform complex or powerful rituals. The denizens
of the lost kingdom apparently held the site in some reverence, for they chose
it as a burial place for the greatest among them. The walls of the gorge are
pitted with the tombs and crypts of these heroes from a forgotten age.
This necropolis has long been
a magnet for adventurers and treasure-seekers, though over the centuries these
visitors have picked the complex bare of its valuables. Indeed, it is now
attractive mainly to those scholars seeking to glean bits of information about
this ancient culture--or those following vain and foolish rumors--for all the
great treasures of the site are as gone and forgotten as the ancient kings and
priests of the lost kingdom.
Or are they?
There remain pervasive rumors
of lost or hidden crypts, of tombs within tombs that have never been
discovered. Could such chambers contain the true wealth of the once-mighty lost
kingdom? The PCs come to the necropolis following one such rumor, but one that
just happens to contain a grain of truth and may allow the group to stumble
into more than they ever expect.
The true history of the
Necropolis of Pergia begins thousands of years before even the lost kingdom.
Beneath the necropolis, beneath the sinkhole, far down in the earth, lies a
series of fissures in the veil that separates the natural world from the Realm
of Echoes. Ripples in the fabric of reality around these fissures create faint
eddies of supernatural power that lend a subtle mystic aura to the area--an
aura that has made the site a place of importance for successive
civilizations over the course of aeons. It would certainly continue to be so
today if the growth of the Torenta Wastes hadn't made the location so
inhospitable and far away from the hubs of modern civilization.
Before the lost kingdom of
the minotaurs, another race built its mystic structures upon this site,
developing a temple complex within the sinkhole. Realizing the source of the
supernatural eddies lay further underground, these precursors dug shafts and
mines down toward the fissures, ultimately reaching them--and then
disappearing, perhaps having been destroyed by what they found.
These tunnels and passageways
were forgotten in the era of the lost kingdom, laying unused beneath the
feet--and the tombs--of the minotaurs. For the most part, the minotaurs
centered their activity around the lip of the sinkhole, which became the site of a
holy oracle. By the end of the minotaur kingdom, even rumors of the passageways
had died out, and the world truly forgot them.
In recent years two forces
have returned activity to the site.
First, a new oracle has
returned to the sinkhole--an insane ogre hermit. This unusual creature now
lives in the heart of the necropolis, where she communes with the voice of the
sinkhole for reasons known only to her, if indeed even she truly understands
But that is not all. A group
calling itself the Blind Cabal has been investigating the chambers deep below
the sinkhole, drawing upon the power of the rift and the Realm of Echoes. The
Blind Cabal has a plan and, should it come to fruition, it might unleash upon
the world the same dark forces that brought an untimely end to the lost kingdom
of the minotaurs, the precursors before them, and perhaps an untold number of
other civilizations back through the course of antiquity.
What has drawn the PCs to the
Necropolis of Pergia? One way or another, it should center around a document
(see the handout)
that tells them the following:
It is written of Garlenthatir, the greatest of the minotaur kings,
that the key to his lost tomb lies in onyx and pearl. Bear such treasures to
his crypt and they shall admit you to his great rewards, which have ever been
sought but never found!
There are any number of ways
that the PCs can gain this document. To make a smooth transition where,
hopefully, the PCs decide on their own that they want to explore the
necropolis, use one of the following options (or a method of your devising) to
insert the document into an earlier adventure.
* The parchment is mixed in with a treasure hoard.
* The heroes win the parchment in a game of chance.
* The parchment is discovered hidden within the binding of a book
in which the heroes are doing research.
* An employer attempts to pass the parchment to the heroes in lieu
of a payment owed, claiming it is worth far more than their fee.
* The parchment is the McGuffin in an earlier adventure; a
mysterious item that several parties are seeking. Its nature and content is
only discovered when the heroes finally win it.
Researching the Necropolis:
Characters may wish to learn a bit
about the necropolis before deciding to act upon their clue. What they find out
depends on the depth of their research and the resources at their disposal.
Basic information can be
found through a number of means, including common rumors, the use of Diplomacy
to gather information (if it is available), or a Knowledge (history) check (DC
20). Basic information includes the location of the necropolis, along with the
* There was once an ancient
kingdom of minotaurs, but it was forgotten after being swallowed up by the
Wastes of Torenta a thousand years ago.
* The necropolis is a deep
gorge with tombs in the walls. The tombs used to be filled with fabulous
wealth, but they've long ago been completely looted.
* There are always rumors
of "hidden" tombs containing greater wealth, but nothing new has been found in
centuries. Only a fool would believe such rumors.
* The area around the
necropolis is some sort of mystical junction--arcanists sometime seek out the
strange powers of the region.
* Like most wilderness
areas, the necropolis is home to strange and dangerous creatures.
Greater detail can be found
through more thorough research, including Knowledge (history) checks hitting DC
* Garlenthatir was the
greatest of the minotaur kings.
* The necropolis was built
at the site of a sacred shrine and oracle, revered by the minotaurs.
* One would expect the key
to entering Garlenthatir's tomb to be leaving tribute of value commensurate
with his stature--an onyx or pearl worth several hundred gold pieces at least
would be needed.
Advanced results might be
determined via a legend lore spell or similar effect, or a DC 30 Knowledge
* Garlenthatir believed he was
descended from the original minotaur, the child of the goddess of day and the
god of the night.
* The oracle site is in a
deep sinkhole. It was a sacred site not just to the minotaurs, but to races and
civilizations that preceded them as well.
There are 40 encounters in
The Necropolis of Pergia.
There are no random
encounters in The Necropolis of Pergia.
Click here for a map of the Necropolis.