This map comes from our currently running 5e campaign. I think the PCs were around 3rd Level when they explored the Temple. The map was not quite finished when we used it but I dusted it off and finished/updated it for this post.
Setting notes: This adventure takes place in my own campaign world, which has some quirks that may not be applicable to yours. Obviously, feel free to change any elements to suit your taste. Suggestions are made at the end of the post in the glossary.
Mentioned Sources: The creatures found in the Temple come from different sources. If you do not have access to these, simply make a substitution of another creature you feel is appropriate. The sources referenced are as follows:
CB – Campaign Bestiary, a list of home-brew creatures I made for this campaign. These may appear on the blog eventually
CoS – Curse of Strahd
DMG – Dungeon Master Guide
MM – The 5e Monster Manual
MME – Monster Manual Expanded
SPCM – Sandy Peterson’s Cthulhu Mythos
VGtM – Volo’s Guide to Monsters
The image is designed for use online, I think its A3 (3508×4960) low dpi (72) despite its size. Squares are half size compared to other maps I have done. This helped fit the two levels on one map. Maybe I could export at a higher res but I’m not sure. I can’t check if it prints well as the printer be dead. Hopefully, it doesn’t look too bad if you do print it but I imagine the detail may get lost. The map was drawn with a XP-pen tablet and the free image software Gimp.
The Temple in the Campaign
The temple played a pivotal role in the early campaign and became relevant again later. The PCs rested there and also enquired after a book for an NPC. Adventuring through the temple occurred after the villains assaulted the town in a surprise raid. Bondur sealed off the temple and attempted to open a Void Rift. The PCs attacked, stopped the Rift from opening and investigated the Temple. This took several sessions and climaxed in a guest player sacrificing his character to restore the Avatar of the Roiling Stone of the Mountain. They ended up leaving a few areas and unexplored, which led to consequences later. Much later the PCs returned to the Temple seeking information in the library. They also explored the Crypts after meeting Gweth Lleffyn. This then led them to another adventure location: The Underkeep.
Full Rez map – Non-commercial use for your home games only.
Player Facing Map with the room key removed is available here.
Scenario (Lvl 3)
- The Temple in the Campaign
- The Map
- Scenario (Lvl 3)
- Room Key – Ground Floor
- Room Key – Lower Floor
- Glossary and Substitutions
A stairway of ancient stone rises to the top of a stepped hillside, each terrace topped in a well tended garden. At the summit sits a stern architectural marvel of a previous age. In a time when goblin and dwarven craftsmen toiled together, they had raised a temple of well worked stone in a style now long abandoned. Its high centre is ringed by stained-glass windows and is topped by a large dome bedecked in glazed tiles. Flat roofed, low wings sit either side, their crenellated tops and slit windows suggesting fortification as well as worship. At the front, two statues point accusatively over the town while at the rear two minarets point triumphantly into the sky. At the peak of each tower, flames unextinguished for centuries burn bright and strong. On the exterior, red and white marbling makes uneasy alliance with later repairs of lesser craft and stone. Weathered decorative reliefs with meanings lost to time wrap like bandages around this unbeaten, on guard soldier of the gods.
The Red Temple is a large monastery and temple complex. It was built over a thousand years ago as a temple for old religion and was more recently reclaimed by The College. The main temple is open to the public and well maintained. Hunters, miners and townsfolk alike pay tribute to the gods and the elements by giving a portion of what they can spare to its upkeep. Meats and hides, minerals extracted from the earth and cold coin are all given in offerings. The woods at the back of the temple provide apples, pears and other fruit for making the temples famous cider, perry and chutneys. The gardens at the front are tended to by an ancient Sipofu called Talrun and they are treated much like a public park.
The scent of trees, apples and pears. Hard, well carved granite and red marble. Old styles repaired with newer slightly inferior workmanship. High ceilings and cool, still air. Dust and incense.
Bondur, the high-priest, is in league with Url-Kass and is currently his most trusted lieutenant. Bondur’s kinsmen, dwarves of Clan Blodrail, have been kidnapping people and bringing them to him for arcane experiments. They are smuggled in under cover of night through the minaret back right. Bondur came to the Temple around 50 years ago as an acolyte but really he sought information on the Roiling Stones. He proceeded to trap the High Priest Methwyn in a Mirror of Life Trapping and took his position. Subsequently, Bondur has utilised his shrine to the mother to influence the priests during their meditations. Some began to have haunting dreams and visions. When they sought advice on these from Bondur he tempted them with deeper knowledge. So far, several priests and the chef have been corrupted. No one in town is aware of these facts.
Reasons for PCs to go to the Temple
- They picked up information in town or elsewhere that raised suspicions of Bondur
- They need lodgings, healing or information following previous sorties
- To visit an injured NPC e.g. injured wannabe huntsmen Tramoc and Filam (following their failed adventure in Spider Plunge Cavern)
- Reports have reached them about strange movements in the woods behind the temple
- An encounter with Jolerun, an innkeeper or other NPC has led them to purchase some cider or some chutney
- The assault on Gallow has occurred and the PCs must rush to stop the ritual
- A PC’s back story is connected to Methwyn and they seek to uncover what happened to him
- General thievery
There are several elements that the PCs can discover here. You may consider leading them onto the trail of odd goings on. Alternatively, wait for the Assault on Gallow event, which will encourage them to enter the Temple to prevent the ritual taking place there.
- There is a secret entrance in the right hand Minaret. The side entrance is also ripe for stealth entry.
- Many areas will likely be off limits to players during normal operation.
- Any loot taken from the temple may be recognised by a trader in Gallow. However, Momo, or one of his agents, will still take these off the PCs’ hands.
- ‘Marble Cider and Perry’ and ‘Red Pear Chutney’ are sold to raise funds and are well respected in the local area. The exact recipes are closely guarded.
The following NPCs can be found at the Temple:
|Bondur Azkramund||Current High Priest and secret lieutenant of Url-Kass|
|Methwyn Darragh||Former High Priest, held prisoner inside the Mirror of Life Trapping in the Collapsed Treasury [LF 10]|
|Talrun Mlokuna||Old Sipofu groundskeeper|
|Julik Vlanstoll||Junior priest and chief healer|
|Chef Gamizj||Human chef. Corrupted by Bondur’s promises.|
|Ralra Werlyn||Old and tottering librarian who is a little too familiar with the Temple’s cider|
|Chota Shatteropal||A new, young Neren priest imprisoned by Bondur|
|Drune||An old and mad merchant from Ivhalor imprisoned by Bondur for his visions|
|Fearnog||A minor dryad from Plathyg Forest, trapped by Bondur|
|Ououourourkrkrkrak||Earth elemental and Avatar of the Roiling Stone of the Mountain|
|Drumaz, Aflen, Lokonu, Pramizj etc.||4-7 priests, some travellers and townsfolk.|
Use of the Facilities
Library – The library is managed by Ralra Werlyn, an old and tottering priest who is a little too familiar with the Temple’s cider. If/when the PCs gain unrestricted access to the library, they can research any reasonable topic. Whilst well equipped, the library is by no means exhaustive and is mainly focused on religious texts, myths, history and the like. A day of research on a chosen topic requires an Investigation DC 12 check for one piece of information. Spending half a day increases difficulty to DC 14. Multiple PCs may work on the same topic. With multiple PCs or a high success make sure to give the players something important e.g. weakness of an enemy, an actionable piece of intelligence or history. Sustained research should result in something major, like a map of the sewers or other location. You can bread crumb such finds e.g. ‘You find reference to a map of the sewers but have not found the map itself’, encouraging more searching.
There are also several key texts strewn around the building. The ones below can be found if they have not been uncovered elsewhere (see campaign items for descriptions):
- The Vodruna by Izelrin Kjern
- Mopfu’s Guide to Dryads
- Glyphs, Runes and Symbols by Master Kwoluno M’Passa
- Alchemos al Evrel, uncredited
- The Chronicles of Tlaskon-Moro, uncredited
Baths – Temple is known for relaxing healing baths. PCs may make use of the baths for free to heal disease and sickness. This includes, sewer plague, afflictions from the swamps or other ‘normal’ diseases. Magical afflictions such as Nightscale cannot be cured in this manner. In addition, bathing before a long rest removes an additional point of exhaustion. You may deem the baths capable of removing a minor curse. Once per day, after being immersed in the water for 2+ hours, a PC gains Advantage on saving throws for diseases or poisons until they take a long rest. Diseases or poison the PC is currently afflicted with that do not require a save are cured automatically, with the above caveats.
Infirmary – If the PCs gain the priests’ favour, a PC is a Cleric or a PC has a suitable background e.g. Acolyte, healing services will be offered to them. Julik will be willing to sell healing potions for 50gp each. Their production capacity is limited and they will not have more than two available at any given time. The cost is related to the ingredients rather than a charge. You may deem them able to provide other minor healing e.g. use of lesser restoration, Scrolls of Healing Word or similar.
Accommodation – PCs who do not mind the meagre facilities may pay for accommodation at the Temple. A small breakfast intended for pilgrims is also included. The price of lodging is 2 sp although the priests may wave this in favour of menial work around the Temple and Grounds for a few hours.
Room Key – Ground Floor
1. Entrance Hall
A vast entrance way stretches out before you. Walls covered in faded mosaics stretch high to a curving ceiling. At either end, stone tablets bearing religious inscriptions are bedecked in offerings. On either side of giant doors stand looming statues, two of robed figures and two of fearsome looking gargoyles carved from red marble.
The 2 Gargoyles (MM p.140) here protect the Worship Hall. If the doors are opened without Bondur’s ring they will attack. Methwyn’s staff or the Guidestone of the Mountain will allow command of the Gargoyles.
2. Worship Hall
A wide open hall, with high domed ceiling. In places the walls are decorated with intricate tile work, in others raw brick. Around the outside are a series of red marble plinths. Atop all but one are beautifully carved statues of the gods surrounded by offerings of their worshippers. Fluted pillars surround a recessed central area bedecked with wooden pews. At the far end of the hall lies a giant single slab of beautiful red marble bathed in light from the large stained-glass windows behind it. Hovering above its centre is a large, egg-shaped stone that emits faint brown light in a golden stand.
The worship hall is where services and devotions are performed and it forms the centrepiece of the temple. The stone floating in the air above the altar is the Roiling Stone of Earth. Bondur, priests and laymen may be found here preparing for or engaging in worship.
- Stairs at the rear of the hall have a false step that sets off an alarm in Bondur’s quarters (Perception DC 14).
- Secret Door on the right leads to the Cloistered Garden [GF 13] via a hidden passage. The door is well concealed but its outline is slightly visible in the surrounding brickwork. It requires a DC 15 Investigation check to find. A hidden latch causes the door to slide into the adjacent wall .
The Altars are made of red marble from the Red Mine to the south. Gods who opposed the Void in myth such as Ucannus, Lonrualain, Destron, Stradj are not present. Religion check (DC10) this is unusual, (DC12) get the connection between missing gods. The statues and symbols upon them are dedicated to:
Main Altar: The Roiling Stone of the Mountain
Left Plinths: Boreabh, Rothsiul, Tyosion, Brawen, Feymara, and an empty plinth (This previously held a statue of Stradj, see Crypt [GF 15]).
Right Plinths: The Scribe, Rechter and Veiginaar. The remaining four plinths contain statues of the Zodiac Wardens in tableaux.
Infirmary Altar: Siohya.
3. Surgery and Laboratory
Alchemical devices bubble and hiss. A priest in long robes scribbles notes at a wooden desk crammed with metal and glass implements. The air is laced with the smell of herbs and iodine.
Julik, an uncorrupted, polite wood elf priest, works here to create remedies and medicines. He also attends the Infirmary [GF 4]. He has some low level healing magic but reserves it for the needy.
Medical treatments are brewed and patients are treated here before being returned to the infirmary. The room contains several Healer’s Kits, vials of antitoxin, a variety of herbal remedies and ingredients. 3 healing potions and a scroll of purify food and drink and a scroll of lesser restoration are secured in a locked cabinet.
4. Infirmary (bottom) and Bunk Room (top)
Various figures lie convalescing in rudimentary beds. A dark-haired elven priest moves through the space tending to the needs of his patients. A red marble plinth has a large statue of Siohya bedecked with wreaths of flowers.
The Temple also functions as a local hospital. The sick are tended to here in the infirmary and sheltered until they recuperate. Injured townsfolk, guards, miners and huntsmen are all treated and often donate to the Temple itself. Other people who simply need rest or shelter can stay here as well as volunteers or pilgrims. Between the two private rooms is shrine to Siohya decorated with small trinkets and prayer scrolls placed there by relatives of the sick.
5. Storage Room
The space is piled high with crates, barrels and other storage items. A pile of chairs in various states of ill repair are clustered to one side.
The door is locked with a simple lock (DC 10) to prevent those staying in the bunk room from entering. The materials in this room are largely without significant value: extra chairs, robes, clothes, bedsheets, basic tools and equipment for the maintenance of the Temple. There are a few piles of unsewn linen worth 1 gp.
6. Groundsman’s Quarters
The room is full of gardening implements, chopped wood, bags of seed and supplies. A rough looking bed lies unmade in the corner.
These are the quarters and storage room of Talrun, the Sipofu Groundskeeper. He has grey wrinkled skin and his tongue darts in and out idly. Talrun tends the gardens in front and the woods around the Temple. He has worked here for 100 years, feigns stupidity but observes everything. He has the following information that he will be reluctant to impart:
- He is not allowed into the cloistered garden and is suspicious of it. ‘Don’t like the way the trees rustle in there’.
- He knew Methwyn the old high priest vanished around 50 years ago. ‘A good man, serious and hard working’
- He has noticed tracks in the woods near the minarets. ‘Probably kids stealing our fruits’
- He tries to stay out of Temple affairs but doesn’t get on well with a few of the priests and the cook Gramizj. ‘Bad attitudes, especially for holy folk’
7. Blessing Well
A series of stone benches run around the edge of this room. A large well takes pride of place and is decorated with religious inscriptions.
This room is used to feed and wash the poor. Blessings and holy ablutions are performed here with the water from the well. On holy days, this is performed on each worshipper before they enter the main hall. There may be 3 Commoners here, gathering water and getting a blessing from an Acolyte (MM p.342).
- A large faded mural on the wall depicts dwarves and goblins marching under a large banner. The banner itself appears to have been scrubbed off the wall. It used to be a picture of Stradj.
A lavishly decorated dining room lies before you. A heavy carpet covers most of the floor and ornately framed artwork adorns the walls. Modest cutlery and plates lie stacked on a wooden dresser. The walls are covered in ornate paintings.
Priests eat their evening meal together presided over by Bondur. The room also doubles as a social area. Crockery and cutlery is of very modest nature and worth little. The walls are covered in paintings:
- A picture of the temple with an earth elemental guarding it
- The gods and heavens
- A goblin warrior wielding a spear and presenting the Roiling Stone of the Mountain to a dwarven noble
- A series of small portraits of high priests. Each carries a wooden staff with a headpiece made of grey stone. The last two are of Methwyn and Bondur.
- An empty space where a painting appears to have been taken down. (DC 13 investigation or perception).
9. Curing, Pickling and Drying Room
Delectable smells emanate from this room. A large vat stews fruit over hot coals. Barrels and jars line the walls and floors.
The priests produce various dried meats, fruits and pickles here. These are used for sustenance but excess is sold in the markets and to the townsfolk. Their ‘Red Pear Chutney’ is particularly well regarded. Careful inspection of the room (Investigation DC 12) will reveal a small glass vial. Remnants of a sticky blue liquid with an unusual acrid smell remain inside. A Medicine Check DC 15 will reveal this to be a magically tinged poison. Slow acting and unusual it will caused madness over time if ingested. It’s only known source is the plant Starbloom. Bondur has had Gramizj slowly dose key members of the clergy.
A wash of hot damp air rolls over you. Your eye is drawn to a pot steaming over a large open fire. A heavy scent of stewed meat and vegetables emanates from it.
The temple’s kitchen is basic but functional. A large hearth and oven and well stocked cupboards. Gamizj the chef is a cheerful, bald and portly human thug (MM p.350). He has been corrupted by Bondur’s promises. He may offer tainted food to the PCs is he is suspicious of their motives in an attempt to drug and kidnap them. The following useful/valuable items are present:
- Collections of rare spices in a locked cupboard (DC 10): 4 pouches worth 5gp each.
- A well made pestle and mortar bearing the temple’s seal and worth 3gp.
- A hatch leads into the lower floor, cider production area and allows for barrels to be hoisted up.
- A pot of strange stew.
- Gramizj’s keys are stored here when not on his person. They open the Larder .
This small room is filled with four beds. Sparsely decorated and austere.
This is the priest’s quarters. 3/4 Acolytes (MM p.342) will be here at night any others will be on watch and attending duties in the temple or around town. A few small chests contain items of low value and personal belongings. Hidden at the bottom of a trunk (DC 12) is an acolyte’s diary:
- The diary is signed: ‘Chota Shatteropal’ and entries cease a week or two ago
- Mentions nightmares of a one-eyed thing pressing against a window, an old man calling for aid from a great distance away (Methwyn trapped in the mirror), dark black tentacles reaching out to grab them.
- Faint cries in the night when downstairs.
- Strange behaviours of some of the priests, being banned from the Cloistered Garden , only select priests being allowed into the Trial Room [LF 6] and Meditation Area [LF 7].
- Noticed Bondur carrying a book and small wooden box leaving the worship hall via the secret door.
Crates and barrels of food and drink are piled high. Sacks are filled with apples, pears, wheat and other produce. Dried meat hangs from hooks dangling from the ceiling. Dusty bottles of wine lie in a rack. Cool air flows in from a high window on the right wall.
The larder door is locked (DC10) and is normally accessed only by the Gramizj, the chef. Occasionally, unusual creaking sounds emanate from the high window (Perception DC 13), which opens into the Cloistered Garden . If they wish, PCs can plunder several days worth of rations here.
One bottle of wine is of an extremely valuable vintage originating in a wood elf kingdom in the Marawyd (DC 15 to recognise it and worth 100gp to collector). Even a small taste of this wine will cause drunkeness (Con Save DC 15 or poisoned for 24 hours). The wine will also functions as a Healing Potion if you drink at least a third of the bottle.
13. Cloistered Garden
A large well tended garden replete with carefully manicured trees. A covered stone path hugs the outer wall. Fenced shrubs and vegetables are flanked by clusters of darkly wooded trees. A faint sound of running water emanates from a fountain.
The Cloistered Garden is off limits to everyone but Bondur. Here has cultivated various dangerous Void-tainted plants. The fenced shrubs are Starbloom (Nature Check DC 15) and produce a slow acting poison. Bondur has used this to drive some of the clergy mad.
A minor Dryad (MM p.121) named Fearnog (Alder) whose sapling was taken from Plathyg Forest to the north. He has been tortured for information, is trapped here and wishes to be returned to the woods. He can move inside a small branch. He revealed to Bondur that the Roiling Stone of the Woods and Old Mother Oak could be accessed via the Dryads’ pathways. This shortcut requires an Alder in the woods and a Dryad’s seeds to access. Bondur has already extracted these from Fearnog.
- If you need a combat encounter you can select one of the following:
- 4 Needleblights, 2 Vineblights (MM p.32).
- After the Raid on Gallow: A Greenvise (MME p.303) will have grown.
- A Tree Blight (CoS p.230)
- 1 Corrupted Wood Woad (VGtM p.198) and an Awakened Tree (MM p.317).
- Fearnog has been driven mad with rage and anguish
A winding stair case makes its way up the outside of this tower. A heavy wooden hatch lies in the center of the floor.
Booted dwarven footprints lead up to and away from outer walls of the Minaret. Investigation/survival DC 12 reveals tracks of something being dragged between them. The sheer walls on the outside contain a hidden door into the minaret, investigation 15. A dwarf will have advantage on this roll.
- The hatch on the floor is not locked. It leads via ladder down to the lower floor.
- Stowed under the stairs are torches, a lantern, a bottle of oil and a coil of rope.
- The stairs ascend 120 feet to the summit. Religious inscriptions dot the outer walls. At the summit, a large Continual Flame spell burns and one can find a view of the surrounding town. There is evidence that something has been burnt recently in the flames, perhaps scraps of clothing. Personal effects of kidnapped townsfolk.
Heavy double doors give way to reveal an austere crypt containing two sarcophagi. Small statuettes of goblin soldiers sit atop stone plinths, as if guarding the resting dead. A pile of smashed marble lies in the corner.
The heavy double doors to this room are locked (DC 15). Only Bondur is allowed into the Crypt. Crammed out of the way are piles of broken polished marble. Intelligence DC 12 to realise they are a broken statue of Stradj. The sarcophagi and the plinths contain remains and ashes of people significant to Gallow such as the previous high priests. However, Lords and dignitaries are buried near the Keep.
The door to Ancient Crypt is hidden and trapped. It can be found with an Investigation check DC 15 (see 13).
- Methwyn’s staff is wrapped in leather and hidden to one side, Investigation DC 10. It appears to have had something removed from the headpiece (the Guidestone of the Swamp).
- DM note: you may wish to move the staff to another location not so near where it is most useful
- The left sarcophagi is magically sealed and contains a shaft that descends 120 feet to a tunnel deep below the Temple. This passage leads to the Underkeep area. It can be opened via a puzzle in the Hidden Crypt .
16. Hidden Crypt
Your eyes are met with a deep darkness that appears to lick out of the entrance like curving tentacles or animate shadows. No light penetrates inside.
The door to this room is Hidden and Trapped. Investigation DC 15 reveals faint Dwarven runes on the wall in an arch shape. A high success reveals magic elements that suggest a trap. The inscription reads: ‘To pass, say the name of the master of crafters, to see, ask the lady of the sun for light’. The name is Ucannus, god of crafts. A religious character or someone with background in trades will know the answer implicitly. Touching the door springs the trap unless the PC has spoken the password or carries Methwyn’s staff. The trap causes severe mental pain, DC 14 Int Save or the creature takes 3d6 Psychic Damage and forgets about the doors existence.
Inside the room is affected by a powerful Hallow spell with the following effects:
- Magical darkness connected to the Shadow Plane fills the room. The darkness can be dispersed by uttering the invocation: ‘Lonrualain bring light’ or by possessing Methwyn’s Staff.
- Undead creatures have advantage on saves and are prevented from leaving the room
- Each creature attempting to enter the room or on the start of their turn must make a DC 15 Char Save or be Frightened until they leave the room. Once they pass they are immune to the effects for 24hrs. A creature holding Methwyn’s Staff is immune to this effect.
If you need a potential combat encounter, Bondur’s activities could have created angry movement in the ethereal plane:
- Poltergeist (MM p.279). This entity is a mixture of Gallin Stormbrow’s spirit and energies from the Shadow Plane. Describe the Crypt as ransacked. Returning the Crypt to proper order will sate the poltergeist.
- 1 Ghost (MM p.147) of Gallin and 4 Wights (MM p.300) of the heroes. They remember little and are wracked with anger at their treatment by Bondur. With difficulty the PCs may convince them that they are not in league with him. Upon defeat the ghost will mutter: ‘thank you’ and ‘My town, my duty, my oath is kept in safe hands now.’
Six ornate sarcophagi dot the centre and side walls. They are carved in an ancient goblinoid and dwarven style much like the oldest parts of the Temple. A more elaborate sarcophagus with golden trim lies at one end of the room on a raised platform. It is flanked by two statues of armoured guards. A masterwork sculpture of a prone knight wearing a crown is prostrate on the top. An inscription reads: Lord Galin Stormbrow.
- Galin Stormbrow’s Tomb: Investigation can reveal:
- An indentation in the middle of the carved breastplate that would fit a crystal.
- The edge is chipped as though it has been pried open relatively recently.
- Inside is the skeletal corpse of a human man in plate armour. The breastplate of the armour is missing.
- The arms appear to have been moved as they have fallen apart slightly and the head appears to have been moved and placed back.
- A black stain runs around the skeleton’s neck and down to the chest bone where it forms a mark around two inches long.
- A poor roll in search of a cause might make it seem like charring caused by heat. A good roll reveals the marks have the character of animated shadows, pulsing and flickering slightly in the presence of light. If the darkness is touched by organic matter it will move over their body and connect with their shadow becoming a part of it.
- Guards’ Statues: A hidden compartment under one of statues contains: one 50gp diamond, five Ward Necklaces and potion of necrotic resistance all wrapped in a disintegrated cloth with partial imagery of a unicorn horn.
- Sarcophagi around the walls: The are each inscribed with ‘Saviour of Gallow’ and bear the following names and images:
- Gamran Hrothfled (Mamran Barbarian), Kanan Vjalbard (Human Ranger), Toki Springnight (Neren Sorceror) and Othwyn Gryth (Elven Fighter).
- If any player in the oneshot ‘Search for the Shadowstone’ took the Wissthalath’s bargain and his blade there is a 50% chance it was buried with their character. If one of the PCs was not used it is buried with that character.
- Two Central Sarcophagi: These contain lludreth Ileffyn ‘Tomb Guardian’ and Aldrae Lleffyn ‘High priestess’:
- Gweth Lleffyn, who is trapped in the Vault of Nkrez in the Rot Basin, is related to them.
- An inscription reads: “In the Age of Undeath, when SSutep’s forces overran the town, they defended the Temple when the town was overrun.” A further inscription appears coded, INT DC 14. It implies that in death they still protect something important.
- If Methwyn’s Staff, a Seal of Gallow or Gweth is present the following inscription is also revealed: “Your heart must be true or pain shall come to you. From here to under there and beyond. Only allies of the Lord of the town and the Lord of the Lake may pass”
- A charged guidestone and a Seal of Gallow can be inserted into appropriate slots in the inscription. One charge of the stone will be consumed. A clicking sound followed by the creaking of stone on stone echoes from the Crypt .
Room Key – Lower Floor
A heavy scent of apples, pears and fermentation assails your nostrils. Sealed kegs line the walls, whilst opposite the door is a large pile of burlap sacks stacked between two large stone vats filled with frothy liquid.
Large pots for stewing chutneys. Kegs of cider both strong and weak. Pipes go up into the ceiling and vent out of the side of the building. The room contains little of interest or value.
A warm, damp and heavy air permeates the space. Stone pools and baths surround the outside of the room. A luscious, mineral heavy steam arises out of them. Water drips down from pipes on the ceiling onto hot coals in heavy braziers.
General cleanliness and religious bathing take place here. The water comes from an underground streams below Gallow and has high a mineral content. Occasionally sick persons are washed here, as it is believed the water is good for ailments. See: ‘Use of the Facilities‘
A small purse left behind by a patron of the temple contains 3sp and 8 cp.
Heavy wooden stacks house row upon row of dusty books bound in heavy leather. The walls are decked with mothballed tapestries that hang from ceiling to floor.
In the evening, several priests may be found studying here. The library contains the collected texts of the Temple. The works range from recent to ancient. They are largely concerned with religious and esoteric matters but some secular and historical texts exist here also. The collection was originally assembled to aid the townsfolk, as well as the priests. Valuable texts are chained to the stacks. See: ‘Use of the Facilities‘.
A secret door to the Secret Library (4) is hidden behind an ornate tapestry. Faint trails in the dust and wear around the edges of the tapestry will reveal its location: Investigation DC 13. A giant book that contains an index of texts in the library is easily visible. Several texts have been blotted out, these may or may not be decipherable. See: ‘Plot Related Texts‘.
4. Secret Library
The stone wall gives way to a small study space surrounded by a lush ornamental carpet. Shelves laden with ancient looking texts and scrolls frame a solitary desk and chair. Atop the desk are scattered papers and an unusual looking hourglass.
The entrance to this room is hidden in the Library . The shelves are laden with forbidden and restricted texts, a wild collection spanning many topics in many languages some recent and some ancient. Bondur’s collection of sacreligious texts: unfounded stories and unofficial writings about the gods offensive to those of traditional faith. There is however lore regarding the Void and the Malice perhaps of interest to those less fervent.
The library shelves contain:
The Vodruna by Izelrin Kjern, Alchemos Al Evral and The Chronicles of Tlaskon-Moro.
- On the Desk:
- An ornate hourglass (25gp) of the type used by Golvor to keep track of time underground. It is embossed with the symbol of Clan Blodrail.
- Assorted papers strewn on the desk have the following information:
- Sketches of an arcane ritual designed to drain the Roiling Stone of the Mountain, which will kill the Elemental Avatar and open a Void Gate.
- Mentions of constructing an idol for the old shrine and powering it with twisted rituals. Using it to ‘skirt the dreamworld‘s edges in order to touch the slumbering eyes of naive sleepers’. This is how Bondur entered the dreams of priests and others to corrupt them.
- Notes on the Mirror of Life Trapping in room the Collapsed Treasury (10). The command words, names of those trapped inside and their cell numbers are written in deepspeech. Mentions obtaining the Mirror from the Shudder and that the Twins were originally captured by them.
- Diary entry on the trip to the huntstower with Url-Kass, the traitor huntsmen, the use of the void egg, attempts to rebirth the first children of the mother with a larvae but the host rejecting it.
- The supposed locations of each Roiling Stone with a side note about how to get the stone from that bloody druid and mention of the Plathyg Forest and Old Mother Oak.
- Bondur gave the guidestone of the swamp to Url-Kass after removing it from Methwyn’s Staff.
- Research related to Galin Stormbrow a previous lord of Gallow in the Age of Unlife. Slain in battle with the Necromancer Ssutep. Galin possessed the Guidestone of Shadow.
- GM only note: Gallin’s crypt was plundered by Bondur and the guidestone delivered to Url-Kass. Intending to take the Shadow Stone he was betrayed by the Shudder who took it instead.
- In a drawer: A small tightly sealed pouch containing one dose of mesta and a drawstring purse containing 15 gp.
5. Avatar’s Chamber
In each corner, a golden chalice filled with smooth pebbles. In the middle, a large hexagonal well filled with sand. In its centre, an uncut diamond the size of a fist. Four black stone rods twisted at odd, geometrically sickening angles surround the well. The glistening runic inscriptions upon them pulse with dark light. Puffs of dusty air swirl and twist angrily in the dry air.
This room can be entered either by a secret door in the corridor below or from the Secret Library . The secret door is not well hidden. A stark red marble wall section is inset with a white marble symbol of the triumvirate in the centre of which is the goblin rune for mountain. A small indent in the shape of the triumvirate sits where a key hole would be. Bondur’s Ring can be placed here to open the door.
This room is the home of the Avatar of the Roiling Stone of the Mountain, an earth elemental (MM p.124) called Ououoruorkkrkrkrak. Its name is not easily pronounceable by humanoids. Bondur has been trying to siphon its energy to make earth shattering elemental bombs. Dark, deep speech runes have been scrawled around the room covering over goblin and dwarvish runes and any symbols of the triumvirate. Two black stone flasks lie to one side.
The defaced Inscriptions around the walls:
- Tell the story of the Rune-Engine, its collapse and the tale of those who rescued the Roiling Stone before it did. It also speaks of the stone and avatar coming here after the Goblin hold of Tlaskon-Moro was abandoned.
- GM note: This is the plot of the one-shot ‘The Rune-Engine‘. If the players do not play this feel free to omit this detail.
Black Stone Rods: To ascertain their function requires Arcana DC 15.
- They control and hamper the elemental’s manifestation and siphon off energy.
- They look as though something can be placed atop them
- If they are removed from the ground CON Save DC 12 or take 2d6 force damage as uncontrolled elemental energy courses through the remover.
- Can be shattered easily with a blunt object, exploding in shards of sharp black stone that deal 1 piercing damage in a 10 foot radius.
Black Stone Flasks:
- These can be placed on top of the Stone Rods. They will drain energy from the staffs and store it. This will allow the rods to be destroyed without incident but this process will harm the Avatar. It will whip up a storm of pebbles and roar like cracking rock.
- The charging of the rods not being complete, filled stone flasks will function as grenades that do only 2d6 piercing damage in a 20foot radius.
The Avatar of the Roiling Stone of the Mountains
The Avatar forms from the sand with the large diamond glowing with amber light in the centre of his ‘head’. Parts of him drip off and turn into pools of mud around him. The avatar cannot speak but can communicate through telekinetically arranging small minerals, stones or coins into goblin or dwarvish runes. If the Roiling Stone of the Mountain is too damaged, the elemental’s grasp on the mortal plane will be lost. In this case, the only way to secure its permanence is for a sentient being to give up its body for the elemental to inhabit. If secured, or the PCs convince it they are on its side, the elemental will charge the Guidestone of the Mountain.
The Elemental Knows:
- Bondur was drawing power from him and storing it in stone flasks. He has siphoned considerable energy and the collected flasks could create a serious explosive blast.
- It was trapped by the black stone rods which are of cursed dwarvish design
- The avatar knows that each Roiling Stone has its own Avatar but does not know them all.
- It knew the Hag Cronespire, Avatar of the Roiling Stone of the Swamp. It considered her friendly but arrogant and changeable. She was flattered by gifts but obsessed with deals and bargains. Believes that showing a charged guidestone would communicate serious intent to her.
6. Trial Room
Chains, whips, and various other implements of flagellation are dotted about the room. A heavy scent of incense lies on the air.
Cult Fanatic and 3-4 Acolytes (MM pp. 342, 345). Branches and leather flails, pots of water, sponges and herbs. The people in this room are engaged in dangerous trials and will not notice anyone nearby. Flagellation sounds will echo down the corridor. There is little of interest here to PCs.
7. Meditation and Isolation Chamber
Small, sparse cells with stone beds. A small trough for ritual washing. A long table set with candles and religious texts lines the bottom wall.
Meditation area. Long tables with stone pillows. Pillows futons and religious script running around the walls. A faint odor of incense. Isolation chambers. Knives for ritual scarring, bowls and urns to pour water back and forth between. Long scripture scrolls for chanting. There is little of interest here to PCs.
8. Alms and Ceremonial Storage
Crates, boxes and chests are arranged around the outside of this room. A silver five foot mirror reflects the light from an ornate candleabra. Ornate priest’s robes are positioned on wooden manikins and a dusty rolled up tapestry lies haphazardly in the corner.
The large ornate door bears symbols of The College. It is locked, Thieves Tools DC 10. Western door is also locked. Around the edge of the door are symbols of the triumvirate except in one spot where there is a little indentation. Placing Bondurs ring in the socket opens the door. The corridor is trapped just after room 11 (room 15).
This is a storage area for various ceremonial implements: incense burners, offering bowls, candles, incense, holy wine, various small wooden symbols of the gods etc. Different robes for different seasons. The treasury (500gp) of the church is here locked in a stone chest (DC15), knowledge of dwarven design (DC12) reveals hidden mechanisms to unlock it. The tapestry lying in the corner was taken down from the refectory. It shows Stradj and Feymara laying waste to shadowy figures with righteous Purple dragon breath and flaming arrows. It had been spattered with paint and slashed with a knife.
9. Holding Cell
An odd twisted humanoid shape lies curled at the back of a small dirty chamber amongst fetid looking straw. A stench of sickness, blood and ozone assails your nostrils. chains rattle faintly.
Locked, heavy duty, steel reinforced door with small locked viewing slot. The creature has large pustules covering its swollen back. Tentacles whip out of it while extra mouths covering its body breath heavily. This creature is an Outer Mutant (SPCM p.352). It is one of Bondur’s ‘failed’ experiments with using void energies to create dangerous servants. If slain, a cursory investigation reveals a distinctive tattoo with the name.
10. Collapsed Treasury
The outer walls of this room have collapsed inward. Piles of earth have plunged out of the walls and trails of dirt cover the floor. A rectangular object covered in a dust-ridden cloth lies in the centre of the room. Clothes, a chest and a collection of valuable looking items are arranged against the walls.
Heavy, reinforced wooden door. A clear path leads to the covered mirror. To one side are five valuable looking copper and silver cups (25gp total), small religious artworks, collections of gems worth 10gp. And what look like personal effects of several people, shoes, pouches, clothes, a bracelet (people that have been bumped off). A Locked chest (Thieves tools DC 10) is a potion of hill-giant strength and a scroll of identify.
The object covered in cloth is an active Mirror of Life Trapping (DMG, p.181) – DC15 Charisma save for looking directly at the mirror without knowledge of its nature or be trapped inside. The command words of the mirror and a list of its prisoners can be found in the Secret Library or Bondur’s Quarters. Alternatively, the mirror can be destroyed to release a trapped PC, and everyone else inside. The mirror contains the following creatures:
- G’mok (Grell, MM p.172) – If a player has a reason to related to their backstory G’mok may know some of it. It has only recently been trapped here. However, Grook only speaks Grell and Deep Speech. G’mok was a traveller and had knowledge of the Shadow Plane’s connection to the Dreamlands. It is hungry.
- The Twins (Nothic, MM. p.236)- A pair of conjoined Nothics looking like two large eyes surrounded by shadows. Their hunger for secrets is like a terrible addiction. If a secret is given, they will exchange small morsels of information for them. They have no fondness for Bondur and want to pick his brains for secrets. If Bondur is alive they will ask to feed on him and reveal some of what he knows. They don’t have knowledge of the Roiling Stones. They don’t remember being trapped by the Shudder.
- Methwyn – a brown skinned, white bearded human priest of the College. Frail but sharp of mind. The former high priest of the Red Temple. He was trapped here fifty years ago by Bondur, who took his place. If released and Bondur deposed he will reassume leadership of the Temple. He knows:
- Bondur wants to return the children of the Mother and summon her back to this world.
- The general layout of the Temple, although some elements are different from his time.
- The elemental avatar
- He is concerned about his staff that was taken from him and walks fraily without it.
- Optional – If the PCs will need a prod as to what to do next, you can place another creature here from a location you wish them to go to. For example, if you want them to travel to the Huntstower place a captured hunter inside.
11. Bondur’s Quarters
The ornate wooden door gives way to reveal a lusciously furnished bedroom. A carved oak desk lies to one side while the floor is covered in a thickly piled rug. An incense burner and various papers sit on the desk. An odd smell permeates the room.
The door to this room is locked (DC15) and is opened with Bondur’s Ring.
- The smell emanates from the Incense burner that contains mesta residue.
- Mapfu’s Guide to Dryads and any other book.
- A small magnetic disc embossed with the symbol of Clan Blodrail worth 120 sp. A dwarf will recognise the symbol automatically, alternatively check History DC 15. The fallen dwarf clans are shameful to other dwarves and they generally do not share such knowledge with outsiders.
- Hidden behind a wardrobe or under the carpet (Investigation DC 12) is a loose brick that contains: a sending stone (DMG p. 199). The other sending stone is held by Url-Kass.
- A small wooden box that contains a lone Dryad Seed extracted from Bondur.
The Desk contains the following notes written in Dwarvish, Common and Deepspeech. Some are encoded requiring INT Check DC 10 to understand. Depending on languages known and Investigation checks you may withhold some of the below:
- Cursed ramblings about experiments with elemental and void energy, fusing creatures together to make ‘Void Chimeras’, the usefulness of Hippogriffs for such purposes, visions of the void, the Mother and her ‘slithering embrace’.
- How to access the Hidden Crypt (16) and the words to temporarily suspend the Magical Darkness: ‘Lonrualain bring light’. Methwyn’s Staff is mentioned as useful.
- Notes on the Mirror of Life Trapping in room the Collapsed Treasury (10). The command words, names of those trapped inside and their cell numbers are written in deepspeech.
- Drune’s visions and about him:
- Bondur found Drune in Ivhalorgate. He was once a prominent merchant there dealing in spices and had various contacts and contracts on the Wormroad.
- Drune’s visions are cryptic but appear true. He spoke of Url-kass before he arose in power and of a shadow that haunts the mountain.
- Recurring mentions of The Shudder and The Shuddering. Annotations by Bondur imply that the Shudder might be a person or creature and the Shuddering an event of some kind. The words ‘traitor’, betrayal and thief often occur with these words.
12. Corrupt Shrine
An unspeakable effigy of bones and flesh lies on the floor in front of you. The darkness of the space is almost physical, the corners dark as the space between the stars. The deep dark licks out to attack any sources of light. Bones litter the fetid earthen floor that seems to seethe with blood, beetles and worms.
Unremarkable wooden door carved with the deepspeech word ‘Family’. Entering the room requires a DC 13 WIS Save or be frightened for one minute. The room is suffused with magical darkness around the edges.
4 Shade Scouriers (CB). Shade Scouriers can continue to spawn once per round until the statue is covered over, destroyed or all shadows in the room are lit with light (one light source per corner). When a Shade Scourier spawns, the darkness pushes back against any light source and a dark halo surrounds the effigy. The Shade Scurriers will use their shadow shift ability to leave the room if PCs retreat or shut the door.
Effigy of the Mother – A horrific latticework design formed from tendons, bones and entrails. It is in the shape of a large eyeball with twirling tentacles around the outside. It is suffused in a dark corona that seems to twist and move in four dimensions. The effigy has:
- AC 15, 20 HP
- Resistance to non-magical damage. Vulnerability to Radiant Damage and Fire.
- When it takes damage the creature that dealt the damage must make a Wisdom Save DC 10 or take 1d10 Necrotic Damage.
The smell of damp air laced with tar, blood and fear hangs in the air. Three heavy surgeon’s tables lie in front of four dirty looking prison cells. The cells appear to be occupied.
2-3 Re-animated Guards (SPCM p.360) protect the room, unfortunate souls brought back to life through cursed secrets of the Blodrail Dwarves.
The room is strewn with torture and surgical implements, vials of ether and alcohol. Parts of a test subject are collected in glass jars along with animal parts, claws, beaks etc. The surgical tables feature manacles and are soiled with blood, black tar and who knows what else. A heavy set of rusted jailer’s keys hang from the wall. The entrance to the Secret Passage (14) is hidden. Perception or Investigation DC 10 will reveal a faint air current moving through cracks in the brick. A hidden lever opens the doorway to the passage. Chota may also reveal its general location.
Various experiments have been performed here on living test subjects. Bondur tried to activate a void egg and impart void and elemental energies into creatures. He is attempting to create weapons and warriors for Url-Kass.
- Chota Shatteropal, a young, malnourished and terrified brown-furred neren priest. Chota discovered another priest chanting in Deep Speech and reported it to Bondur. Bondur knocked him out and he woke up in the cell. He has been here several weeks. The others probably thought he ran off as he found priestly life difficult. Chota has seen:
- Bondur performing experiments on prisoners – muttering about Chimeras and imbuing people with elemental earth energies
- Taking Drune in and out of his cell
- The secret door
- Drune, an insane, ancient and blind Alfrurdr from Ivhalor. He is wearing faded, threadbare, old fashioned clothing. He rocks back and forth whilst mumbling to himself. Drune’s mind was unmoored by contact with the Shudder and his subsequent visions of the void have struck him blind. These terrible visions are however prophetic. Feel free to improvise based on the current events of the campaign or use any of the following:
- Tree roots turning to tentacles that grasp towards the heart of a forest,
- He swats at marsh flies buzzing around him that aren’t there and complains his shoes are sodden with bog water (he wears no shoes)
- A bleeding, black unicorn with shadowy worms wriggling out of it
- He has wings and wants to soar but a snake, born from a hole in his heart, is swallowing him
- A tired dead thing inside his mind asks him questions: ‘he took me to the bog and he took out my mind and what he put there instead is a curse’
- A mirror with four eyes and four minds whispering about secrets and things that are hidden
- No more questions, no more questions let Drune sleep, Drune needs his sleep.
- Hurl (recently deceased) – a young, brown furred Cernos huntsman kidnapped from Little Claw. Twisted experiments have been performed on him. His skin is stoney and cracked. His hands and one leg below the knee have been replaced by hippogriffon claws. Hurl wears a Brotherhood of the Claw tag with his name around his neck.
- The dead body of an unknown vagrant with a gaping black hole in the centre of his chest. Tiny, black crystalline shards lie around the body – Perception DC 12. If the players investigate the Temple before the Raid on Gallow this person will be alive but impregnated by a void egg. This will hatch before the raid and be sent to kill Linya.
14. Secret Passage
Raw earth and roughly cut stone form a winding passage that stretches into the darkness.
This earthen passage was part of the original structure and formed an escape route out of the Temple. As such, the top exit leads to the woods outside the walls of the Fort. The right hand path leads to a small ladder that exits in the bottom floor of the right hand minaret (GF 16). This passage is how Bondur has been able to move unnoticed to communicate with the Troglodytes. It has also allowed the bringing of people and things in to the temple without being noticed.
Glossary and Substitutions
In a previous post, I outlined various terms and substitutions related to our ongoing campaign. Rather than repeat those I have created a World Glossary Page that contains all terms discussed there plus new ones related to this post. If you have any questions about anything not included in the World Glossary, shoot me a message or comment.
So there it is. A mammoth amount of time went into sorting this out… I’m not sure how plausible it is to do things like this very often. As the map gets larger, it gets more complicated to sort out its parts. I also think, pulling something out of a long campaign makes it contain a lot of likely extraneous information. That said, I am really happy with how the map looks and have again learned a lot from doing it.
Let me know if you use the Temple or ideas from it in your game!