Long dead travelers who followed the goddess of Death and Magic and never lived to see their destinations seek to repay the favor as your adventurers stumble upon their final repose.
Author: Ron Carey
The Ghost of Kelios
by: Ron Cary (email@example.com)
(Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission
from the author.)
In CY 569 a small band of pilgrims from Trinlee (a small village IMC
north along the Lort River) made their way south to Waybury. Kelios, a
human priestess of Wee Jas, and her charge of 5 pilgrims were to meet with
other members of the church to travel on further to Niole Dra. She hired
three warriors and set out.
Their journey began in the early winter, but if you remember correctly
the winter of CY 569 was the worst seen in these parts (there is no canon
reference for this so don't try finding it). After they had traveled afoot
for 4 days deeply in prayer and theological discussion they were beset
by a snow storm. They set camp and chose to wait it out. Aided by Kelios'
divine spells they were able to make the best of what was only to get worse.
Tracking the pilgrims from a distance were several bandits. Seeing easy
pickings in the snow and cold. As soon as the pilgrims were asleep the
bandits made their way to the encampment. The wind and snow concealed their
approach and caught the warriors by surprise. Despite the sneak attack
the pilgrims, Kelios and the warriors were able to kill most of the bandits,
but not without heavy losses. Kelios was unconscious perhaps even comatose,
a warrior and two pilgrims lay dead among four of the bandits. Standing
were three pilgrims, one badly wounded bandit, and two warriors.
At day break the situation hadn't changed. Kelios still wasn't stirring
and the rations would run out quickly without her divine requests for food.
So it was decided that one of the remaining warriors would set out to get
help. The remaining people tried as best they could to fortify against
the cold and snow. Shortly after he left it began to snow again.
After three days of waiting and no change in Kelios things got worse.
The bandit had slowly convinced the last warrior there was no way anyone
was going to survive unless they found food. And the only food was fish
in the icy creek or the dead lying a few yards away under a foot of snow.
After some failed attempts to catch fish, and 2 more days of cold and
one pilgrim dying from hunger, wounds, cold, exposure... The bandit's suggestion
was taken in earnest. The two remaining pilgrims were aghast. Wee Jas would
never condone such an atrocity to the dead. A small scuffle and one more
pilgrim lay face down in the snow. The remaining pilgrim cowered and prayed
to himself. He was frozen in prayer by morning.
A week went by and still no help. Kelios was wrapped in a winter blanket.
Both the bandit and warrior watched over her, realizing that she was probably
going to die soon, but hoping she would awaken and deliver them home. They
dared not touch her for fear of divine retribution, but they were also
too tired to try anything.
Another week and the only food that remained was Kelios. She wasn't
going to awaken and they needed the nourishment. They took her leg from
the knee down. Perhaps it was the shock of the cold steel cutting her skin
or maybe it was Wee Jas' gentle nudging that awakened Kelios. When Kelios
opened her eyes she peered into eyes like hot coals in sunken sockets.
Ghouls were tearing at her flesh. Numbly scrambling away she rebuked them.
They turned their gaze from her and gave her a wide berth.
Driven mad from the ordeal she raised the remains of whoever she found.
Calling forth the dead she gathered a small cadre of undead to protect
her. She died shortly after and became a ghost as a punishment for animating
dead against the will of Wee Jas.
It is onto this site where the party has stumbled. The zombies and skeletons
still obey the order of "Keep them away," but have interpreted "them" to
mean anything that moves. The ghouls take the opportunity to attack anything
the skeletons or zombies attack, and flee when their ancient victims turn
The various snow covered mounds that are in this area are the barrows
for the original party. In her unlife Kelios commanded the undead to construct
the cairns for themselves in an attempt to atone for animating them. The
undead remain in the cairns until they need to fend off someone. There
is little that remains in any of them save for more undead (who come
to attack if Kelios is attacked). A small tunnel leads into each one from
where each has clawed an exit.
Kelios' ghost: Manifestation, Horrific appearance (a portion
of her body has been flayed and eaten) Chill Ray (from Monsters of Faerun
p 88: "Chill Ray (Su) up to 12 times per day the ghost can attack with
a ray of cold light. The ray affects a single creature within 90'; the
ghost must make a ranged touch attack for the ray. The ray deals 2d6 points
of temporary Con damage. In addition, the target must make a Will save
or be affected as if by a Slow spell for 1 round per each of the ghost's
HD.") and in addition to Special Qualities in MM she has Resistance to
elements Cold (as the spell in the PHB p 246.) this is also from the Monsters
Ghost Medium Sized Undead (Incorporeal)
HD: 3d12 (28)
Init: +5 (+4 improved init, +1 Dex)
Speed: Fly 30ft (perfect)
AC: 15, 16(+1 Dex, +4 Chr deflection, +1 dodge vs 1 opponent); or 16,
(+1 Dex, +5 Chain mail, +1 dodge vs 1 opponent) when manifested
Attacks: +4 (+2 Mace +2 BAB) while incorporeal
Damage: 1d8+2 (by mace)
Face/Reach: 5ft by 5ft/5ft
Special Attacks: Manifestation, horrific appearance, chill ray
Special Qualities: Undead, incorporeal, +4 turn resistance,
rejuvenation, resist cold.
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +7
Abilities: Str 11, Dex 12, Con-, Int 9, Wis 14, Chr 18
Skills: +5 spellcraft, +4 knowledge (religion) +9 hide, +10 listen,
search, +10 spot, Ancient Suloise.
Feats: Scribe scroll, Improved initiative, Dodge
Spells: 4, 3+1, 2+1 (*She can't use any of her touch spells) Purify
food and water, Read magic, light, *inflict minor wounds Sanctuary, Bane,
Doom, Nystul's Undetectable aura Knife spray (from Defenders of the Faith,
if that isn't handy use Hold Person instead), *Death knell, Summon monster
She can still rebuke undead 7x per day.
Skeletons (p 165), zombies (p 191) and ghouls (p 97) are all as they
appear in the MM. More on the ghost template can be found on p 212 MM and
Monsters of Faerun p 88.
Fiendish dire rats: (p 212 of MM except the Sample creature name is
incorrect, it isn't an Abyssal Dire Rat, but a Fiendish Dire Rat. I guess
the template was originally Abyssal)
When the party camps in this area, it is snowing or has recently snowed.
After the party beds down for the night perhaps there are sounds or moaning
or chopping sounds in the distance or wafting in and out of the camp. After
nightfall and into the first watch (they DO have a watch don't they) a
retinue of two zombies, two skeletons and one ghoul attack the party. The
ghoul is hoping to pick over what is left from the other's attack.
If that isn't enough to scare the party away...well into the late night
the sounds resume only this time much louder. A glow over one mound lights
up the approach of one ghoul trying to sneak up on the party (Kelios cast
LIGHT spell to warn the party). She will manifest if the ghoul is turned,
otherwise she remains as ethereal. She feels her punishment is to last
for eternity. She warned the party of the ghoul because she still loathes
the ghouls but realizes the futility of killing them--she'll still be cursed.
She manifests and tells the party to leave (she speaks Suel). Those
looking are subject to her horrific appearance. She casts sanctuary, again
she tells the party to leave. If they continue she summons 3 fiendish dire
rats, casts bane then doom upon the person who has inflicted the most damage.
The rest of the undead come to repel the party (they have clamored from
their stony graves). If they are turned by a party cleric, she rebukes
the undead to return to the fray. She uses her chill ray on those who get
close to her. She uses Knife Spray if there is a group of people before
her and as a last resort will wield her mace in melee. If she doesn't have
Knife Spray she casts Hold Person on someone engaged with the fiendish
Kelios' remains are buried beneath a cairn, it has no entrance/exit.
In her cairn the party can find two journals (one belonging to Kelios and
the other was a pilgrim's. These writings will help corroborate the adventurer's
story and give ideas for adventure hooks. I am putting a hook for a paper
maker that makes pages that are used for creating lasting magical tomes.
The writings include prayers, thoughts, where they were coming from, where
they were going, who they were meeting, and later rambling as the pangs
of hunger set in.). She gathered all the items from the rest of the members
to remember them. Most of the metal items are badly rusted (swords, rapiers,
daggers) there are several coins (whatever coinage is appropriate for your
campaign). After several seasons only her bones remain, but her chain mail
+1 (fitted for a shapely female, very stylish and fashionable. A suit of
armor befit a priestess of Wee Jas) is still intact and her mace +2 "Her
Mistress' 'Minder" (decorated with symbols of Wee Jas.) is by her side.
Also hidden in the detritus is a dagger +2 "Knee Biter." (used by one of
the pilgrims for ceremonies) She is unceremoniously laid to rest as the
other undead only followed her direction to bury the dead and buried her
where she lay.
To release Kelios the party must dispel or destroy the undead and properly
bury them as well as Kelios, and take Kelios' mace to the priestess of
Wee Jas in Waybury and explain what happened. The church of Wee Jas is
willing to pay in gold or magic items (potions or scrolls) for what the
mace is worth (8300 gp market value, wow I didn't realize how much magic
items are in the DMG!) for its return. And of course their gratitude which
may include favors. The rest the party may keep.