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    Death at Dawn
    Posted on Tue, September 07, 2004 by Farcluun
    cwslyclgh writes "Here is another mini-adventure, in the style of the 1e book of lairs, or the adventure cards from the CoG or FtA boxed sets. Taking place in the Mounds of Dawn a shadow out of Perrenlands past returns, in this adventure for 6th level characters.

    Death at Dawn
    By: cwslyclgh
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Death at Dawn

    By C. Wesley Clough

    Terrian: Hills (The Mounds of Dawn in Perrenland)
    Average Party Level: 6th

    Set Up:

    · Legend states that a powerful paladin of Pelor was buried with a holy sword in the Mounds of Dawn, the characters have somehow attained a map to his cairn.
    · The son of a rich merchant from Schwartzenbruin has not returned from a hunting trip in the Mounds of Dawn, and the party is hired to go look for him.
    · While traveling through the Mounds of Dawn the party stumbles upon Klathun’s cairn.

    The Lair:

    Klathun the Proud is little remembered in Perrenland, aside from the fact that he was one of the few Voorman to not finish his allotted time. A Paladin of Pelor, Klathun died in combat during the arch-wizardess Iggwilv’s initial raids into Perrenland in 480 CY. Klathun had not been able to access to his paladin abilities for some time prior to his death however. With Iggwilv’s attacks and subsequent decade of domination of Perrenland it is not surprising that the troubles of the previous years are often forgotten, but 478-479 where not good years; perhaps foreshadowing the terrors that were to come. Upon being elected Voorman in 475 CY, he began putting in place more and more restrictions on the practice of arcane magic in Perrenland, culminating in the great mage purges of 478 and 479. Entire villages were burned to the ground at the Voorman’s order, accused of harboring magic-users, whom Klathun considered to all be in collusion with demons. By the time of Iggwilvs invasion there less then a dozen sorcerers or wizards left in Perrenland, and Klathun had turned his attention to the persecution of bards, who not only used arcane magic, but in his words also spread foul and untrue tales. Would Iggwilvs invasion have failed had there been wizards and sorcerers in Perrenland to match the magical might of her armies? The answer will never be known, for nearly defenseless on the magical front Perrenland fell quickly to the forces of the witch-queen.

    Following his death Klathun the proud was laid to rest in a cairn in the mounds of dawn, near the shores of lake Quag. The area around his tomb quickly received a reputation for being haunted, and has been avoided by locals for the century since his interment. Until recently the haunting of the area was nothing more then peasant superstition, but several weeks ago a stream that ran near the base of Klathun’s cairn broke through into one of the tombs chambers. The dark stain that his deeds had placed upon his soul did not allow Klathun to rest easily, and he had spent the last hundred years trapped inside his crypt as an undead Morhg. Finally free of his entombment Klathun scoured the hills around his cairn, killing several bands of hunters, and destroying a couple of homesteads that brave families had built too close to the haunted cairn. The Morhg animated his victims as zombies to serve him, and returned to the cairn to contemplate his next course of action. Little remained in him of the paladin he once was at the time of his death, and even less remains now, Klathun is bitter, cruel, hateful, and cold, yet he still thinks that he fights the good fight. His hatred of arcane spell casters has only grown stronger over the years and he will attack them in preference to all other enemies unless doing so would be suicidal.

    The Entrance:

    The only way to enter the cairn is through the collapse created by the creek, it broke into a chamber that was lower then the others and this chamber has about four feet of water in it. A set of steps leads up into the higher parts of the cairn. Tracks of dried mud are readily apparent on the steps. Lurking under the water are 4 zombies that have been instructed to attack any living creature that enters the chamber. The zombies will rise up and attack the round after the party enters. Instead of using their slam attacks the zombies will attempt to grapple party members and hold them underwater until they drown. The desecration effect of the tomb (See the central chamber) affects all of the chambers in the cairn including this one, so any clerics attempting to turn the zombies get a –3 penalty to their charisma checks for turning undead, and the zombies get a +1 profane bonus to attack and damage rolls as well as saving throws. There is nothing of value here, and once the zombies are dealt with the characters are free to proceed up the steps to the central chamber.

    The Central Chamber:

    The central chamber of the cairn is forty feet long by twenty feet wide. The walls are plastered and painted with depictions of Klathun’s life, although the majority of these have been scratched out as if by a set of clawed fingers. The only sections that remain untouched depict men and women in robes being burned at the stake. In the center of the room is a small altar. Once sacred to Pelor the altar has been desecrated and Nerull’s symbol has been carved over Pelor’s sunburst. The alter provides the entire tomb an effect similar to the spell Desecrate, all attempts to turn undead while in the tomb suffer a -3 penalty on the turners charisma checks, and undead receive a +1 profane bonus to attacks, damage and saves. For any undead in the central chamber these bonuses are doubled (to +2 to attacks, damage and saves) and they cannot be turned at all!

    One wall of this chamber has a bricked over exit (which once lead to the entrance tunnel, now completely filled in with dirt and stones). The steps up from the flooded entrance enter into the center of the wall to the right of that, and dark doorways gape in the center of the other two walls. 1 round after characters enter 12 zombies will shamble into the chamber from the doorway opposite the steps to the flooded chamber. This mindless horde will attempt to batter the party into the cold embrace of death, but will not chase them beyond the flooded chamber if they flee.

    The Trophy Room:

    The chamber that the zombies issued from contains war trophies from Klathun’s life, mostly in the form of standards and shields bearing the devices of his defeated foes, but also displayed prominently are the chard skulls of a dozen arcane spellcasters that he personally put to death. The floor is covered with muddy zombie footprints, and the trophies hanging along the walls are covered with the dust of more then a centuriy. There is little of value here, although a detect magic spell will reveal that one of the shields hanging on the wall is magical (it is in fact a +1 large steel shield).

    Klathun’s Crypt:

    Beyond the dark doorway across from the sealed former entrance is an antechamber, about 10 feet square, which leads to a set of stone double doors. Across the doors there is engraved the following words “Klathun, Voorman of Perrenland, champion of Pelor”. The doors are unlocked, although there is a trap upon them. Any who attempt to open the doors with out speaking Klathun’s name will trigger a glyph of warding (see below).

    Beyond the double doors is a 30ft. square chamber with a sarcophagus in the center of it. Klathun has dressed a zombie in his own armor and instructed it to lay in the coffin, ready to attack any openers. The Morhg himself has used his ring of invisibility and will be standing near the doors, ready to attack the back of the party when they are distracted by the zombie. The zombie in the sarcophagus is an especially powerful specimen, created with in the area of the desecration effect from a living prisoner that Klathun had captured. In life he was the son of a rich merchant from Schwartzenbruin that was hunting nearby when Klathun was freed. The burial treasures of Klathun are located in a unlocked iron chest inside the sarcophagus near where his feet laid when entombed, also in the sarcophagus, is a longsword which klathun found painful to touch after his awakening as an undead creature. The chest contains 50 gems (with a 10 gp base value each), 1200 gp, and two potions (cure moderate wounds, and shield of faith). The sword is a +1 holy longsword forged of cold iron, which has the additional property of granting its wielder a +2 resistance bonus to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities. The full plate armor that the enhanced zombie wears is masterwork full plate.

    Glyph of Warding (Acid Blast) trap: CR 6; spell; spell trigger; no reset; spell effect (glyph of warding [blast], 8d8 acid, DC 14 Reflex save half damage); multiple targets (all targets within 5 ft.); Search DC 28; Disable Device DC 28.

    Monster Stats:

    Zombie: CR 1; medium Undead; HD 2d12+3; hp 16; Init -1; Spd 30 ft.(can’t run); AC 11 (-1 Dex, +2 natural) Touch 9 Flat-Footed 11; Atk slam +2 melee (1d6+1); Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.; SQ darkvision 60 ft., DR 5/slashing, single actions only, undead traits; AL NE; SV Fort +0, Ref -1, Will +3; Str 12, Dex 8, Con --, Int --, Wis 10, Cha 1.
    Skills and Feats: Toughness.
    Single Actions Only (Ex): Zombies have poor reflexes and can perform only a single move action or attack action each round. A zombie can move up to its speed and attack in the same round, but only if it attempts a charge.
    Note that Zombie CR’s have been artificially increased to 1 due to the fact that they are all being fought in a desecrated area.

    Zombie (enhanced): CR 2; medium Undead; HD 2d12+5; hp 30; Init -1; Spd 20 ft.(can’t run); AC 19 (-1 Dex, +2 natural, +8 armor) Touch 9 Flat-Footed 19; Atk slam +2 melee (1d6+1); Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.; SQ darkvision 60 ft., DR 5/slashing, single actions only, undead traits; AL NE; SV Fort +0, Ref -1, Will +3; Str 12, Dex 8, Con --, Int --, Wis 10, Cha 1.
    Skills and Feats: Toughness.
    Single Actions Only (Ex): Zombies have poor reflexes and can perform only a single move action or attack action each round. A zombie can move up to its speed and attack in the same round, but only if it attempts a charge.
    Possessions: Masterwork full plate.

    Klathun the Morhg: CR 8; medium Undead; HD 14d12; hp 112; Init +9; Spd 30 ft., AC 23 (+41 Dex, +9 natural) Touch 14 Flat-Footed 14; Atk slam +12 melee (1d6+7) and tongue +12 melee touch (paralysis); Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.; SA: improved grab, paralysis touch, create spawn; SQ darkvision 60 ft., undead traits; AL CE; SV Fort +6, Ref +12, Will +11; Str 21, Dex 19, Con --, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 10.
    Skills and Feats: Climb +13, Hide +21, Listen +11, Move Silently +21, Spot +15, Swim +9, Alertness, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility
    Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a mohrg must hit a creature of its size or smaller with its slam attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
    Paralyzing Touch (Su): A mohrg lashes out with its tongue in combat. An opponent the tongue touches must succeed on a DC 17 Fortitude save or become paralyzed for 1d4 minutes. The save DC is Charisma-based.
    Create Spawn (Su): Creatures killed by a mohrg rise after 1d4 days as zombies under the morhg’s control. They do not possess any of the abilities they had in life.
    Possessions: Klathun wears a ring of invisibility, and a cloak of resistance +2.

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    Re: Death at Dawn (Score: 1)
    by Devon on Tue, September 07, 2004
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    Nice could be a good side-trek, or the hook for another adventure....

    Good work cwslyclgh

    Re: Death at Dawn (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Tue, September 07, 2004
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    This was very cool design-wise. Great idea. Would make a good post-fest format too ;)

    Re: Death at Dawn (Score: 1)
    by diamondb on Wed, September 08, 2004
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    Perfect timing on this adventure, my campaign is currently in Perrenland. I love the format, nice, simple and easy to use. I do hope to see more of these in the future, they make it so nice for those of use who have very little time to work on adventures.

    Re: Death at Dawn (Score: 1)
    by esilv on Sun, September 12, 2004
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    An enjoyable encounter/mini-adventure. I've always been fond of the Books of Lairs and that format.

    Questions, or maybe just comments, on the adventure -

    1. I found it odd that the acid trap wasn't set off when the critter left his crypt room. I suppose that the design of the cairn, including this trap, could have been finalized whilst he lived, thus he would have known that the trap was there and how to bypass it...But it did niggle just a bit.

    2. Likewise, the Ring of Invisibility seemed a bit odd. Paladin warriors tend not to keep such things. Again, this can be explained as a trophy from a burned wizard or a sign of his corrupted nature. Only a niggling thing.

    Overall, I like undead, I like cautionary stories of virtue corrupted. I don't know much about Perrenland, which makes this adventure a plus as it inspires a bit of research.

    Four stars and I look forward to a whole series of these ala "Book of cwslclgh Lairs"

    Re: Death at Dawn (Score: 1)
    by Argon on Fri, September 24, 2004
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    The writing is good but how does one get magical items and spells guarding them if they despise magic. Klathun as an undead is great the descreation of the altar of Pelor is understandable because in his undead state klathun might feel as if it was Pelor who abandoned him. While Nerull embraces him and has shown him his new calling.

    I would junk any arcane magical items, while priestly magic could make sense but wouldn't of it have been Pelorian priests who laid the protection's.

    Instead more zombies maybe even zombie dogs or wolves to add to the effect Klathun is having on his enviroment since his release.

    Like I said with a little tweaking this could of been worth a 5. The sword I get he can't use it as it is a holy sword of Pelor good but the ring of Invisibilty not a item I could see Klathun utilizing even in his undead state.

    I love the writeup which makes this worth a 4.

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