Avesta

Adventure Ten: Dance of Acamar

Part Four: Visions of the Sleeper

A map of your progress through the Tomb of the Dreams so far:

F1. The Chamber of Sacrifice

Hundreds of 6-inch spikes stab into the air from the center of this grand chamber. The spikes are arranged in a circle, forming the white of a huge eye shape carved in the floor. Extending from this eye shape are three angled channels that run to drains near the wall. The eye shape lies directly beneath the aperture in the domed ceiling high above. Clearly, the darkly stained channels were meant to siphon the blood from victims hurled down through the mouth in the face on the hill. But where the blood would go and why this would be done is unclear. A balcony surrounds this wide circular room, cloaking the walls in gloom, but you can make out images carved in the walls that dully glimmer at various points, and you see that a band of stone with writing runs beneath them.

The walls of the room are carved with images telling story. The first image is of a tall, cloaked figure standing on cliff prominence and looking down upon a village. The face is obscured, but horns project out of the figure’s hood and it holds a great blade in its hands. The next images show the cloaked and horned figure, converting others to follow behind him, either by threat or speeches given to crowds. The middle images show the figure and his allies in battle with forms that you identify as representing the different bloodline houses. The final images show the figure in battle with a frightening knight encased in scale armor decorated with skulls, bones, and wailing ghosts. In this image, the cloaked figure is stabbing the belly of the knight, and the knight is slamming the side of the cloaked figure’s head with his maul.

All the depictions of the cloaked figure’s blade are formed of a darker stone inset into the wall. The semitransparent black stone is swirled with phosphorescent material. After touching the dreamstone, you catch movement on the wall out of the corner of an eye. You notice that that a nearby image has changed: A few of the cloaked figure’s allies now have no eyes and droplets of blood appear to be forming on the wall like tears beneath the eyes. Also, one or two in the group have tentacles instead of arms

The band of stone around the room is writing in Common. It says the following, “Where did He come from? Our dreams. Why did He come? We called. From our sleep came the Sleeper. He opened our dreaming eyes by shutting our waking ones. His defeat was but another sleep and waking Him our dream.”

F3. Stables

Decaying wooden walls separate this room into stalls. Clearly it was used as a stable at some time. You take this in with a glance, then see a circular dais in the center atop which stands the motionless skeleton of a horse covered with dust and cobwebs. Beside the dais is a post with a saddle on top of it, similarly dusty and webbed.

The horse skeleton is undead—the Sleeper’s mount awaiting his return. Gavri’el places the saddle on the skeletal horse, and it stomps a foot and shakes its head, and then looks to the ranger. The party now has a loyal undead mount!

Sleeper’s Skeletal Warhorse (S) Level 5 Brute Large natural animate (mount, undead) XP 200 Initiative +5 Senses Perception +4; darkvision HP 76; Bloodied 38 AC 17; Fortitude 18, Reflex 15, Will 12 Immune disease, poison; Resist 10 necrotic Speed 10 m Kick (standard; at-will) +9 vs. AC; 2d6 + 6 damage. Shadow Symbiosis (while mounted by a friendly rider of 5th level or higher) ✦ Mount The horse’s rider gains resist 10 necrotic. Alignment Unaligned Languages — Str 18 (+6) Dex 16 (+5) Wis 13 (+3) Con 16 (+5) Int 1 (–3) Cha 7 (+0)

F4. Siege Weapon Room

In the musty darkness of this large room lurk siege engines. Small catapults and large ballistae slump in the center of the room and huddle in alcoves in the walls. Their ropes have broken over time, and their metal parts are rusted.

Closer inspection reveals that it appears they weren’t constructed to be strung—moving parts other than the wheels appear ornamental.

As Dharzon touches one of these engines, the ballistae both come to life of their own accord and attack.

S1. The Balcony

You stand on a balcony that encircles this chamber. Below on the floor is an emblem that resembles a spike-filled eye with three sickle shapes projecting from it. Above you is the domed roof and the opening to the sky through which you descended. The dome shows cracks in places and water trickles down from spots where the two great trees on the hill have projected their roots into the abyss. Also above is a constellation of dimly glowing points—the roof of the chamber bears a star chart, with each star foiled with gold. Nearer to hand you spy words in Common carved into the wall that runs around the circumference of the room, and each raised letter is polished with grime collecting in the crevasses. Noting the polish, you then see that half of the wide stone banister running around the room possesses a similar smoothness.

The writing around this room is at the same height as the balcony, which means that a you must walk around the whole chamber to read it. It says, “The Sleeper is the herald. His dreams call to That Which Waits Beyond the Stars. When the Sleeper is awoken, He will dream again.”

S3. Hall to Cultist Quarters

When you open a door to this wide hall, the scents of unwashed bodies and cooked meals hit your nose. Several doors line the east wall of the hall and one stands on the west. To the north you see a large room dimly lit by firelight from around the corner and a guttering lamp on a table.

S4. Bedchamber

Each of these rooms is a separate bedchamber. Because the old beds in the room were rotted, they have been cleared out and bedrolls have been spread on the floor instead. Each room has a bedroll, a pack or bag with various personal belongings, and perhaps a rickety chair and desk. In one of these rooms you discover a ceremonial mask which, while valuable, has served no special task so far. In another room is a small heap of bloody bandages of various ages, and the bedroll shows signs of bloodstains as well.

S5. Latrine

S6. Common Room

The tables are strewn with dirty plates and utensils, decks of cards, and even a homemade folding chessboard with pieces made of bottle corks. A common oil lamp sits on one of the tables, and its wick is turned low. A combined baking oven and fireplace squats in the northwest corner near tables used for food preparation. Coals burn in it for heat but are gradually dying for lack of tending. The southwest corner is dominated by a collection of small barrels, sacks, and crates. These contain foodstuffs, flour, snowmelt water, cheap wine, firewood, and lamp oil.

S7. Armory

A few nearly empty weapon racks stand near the door; a few javelins and a short sword remain. The back half of the room is a tangled mess of materials the cultists cleaned out when they moved in: busted bed frames, rotting tapestries, moldy mattress, sodden rugs, and other detritus.

S8. Barracks

This large room is strewn with the bedrolls and belongings of the rank-and-file cultists.

S9. Guardians of the Descent

The short hallway beyond these doors leads to a chamber within which you spy the base of a large statue made of dimly luminescent black stone. Each wall of the hall has a thick chain running through rings set in the stone every 10 feet or so. The chains are slack between the rings and at the midpoint of the slack areas large metal balls replace several chain links. From the ends of the chain near the door, it appears that each of these balls represents a lidless eye. The chains continue around the corners of the wall into the room.

A tall statue looms in the center of this hexagonal room. It’s made of the same semitransparent black stone as the depictions of the mauls in the lower part of the domed room, and gloomily glowing veins run through its entirety. The statue at first appears to depict a cloaked and hooded figure holding a rusting sickle aloft in each hand, but a second glance reveals that it holds another sickle in a third arm. Between each pairing of arms is the deeply hooded visage, so that the statue effectively has three faces. Peering up into the hood, you see that no true face lies within; it’s just a hollow space.

Gavri’el, while the rest of the party mill around the balcony, pulls one of the chains. Portcullises at both ends of the room slam down, as secret doors crash open to reveal a staggering throng of ghouls marching forward. The statue leaps to life, a reaping eidolon, who phases through the walls attacking the group. Trapped behind the portcullis grates, the party are unable to free the ranger from danger until Dharzon steps through the fey portals to swap positions. His gambit pays dividends of death however, as he’s sequestered from his friends and devoured by ghouls.

B1. Basement Hall

The spiral stairs from Area S9 come down to this hall. The hallway splits to the east and west. The east door is made of wood and open, but the door to the west is made of stone and bears a life-size bas relief of a tall horned-and-cloaked figure holding a blade in two hands.

B7. Hallway Cells

Each of these tiny cells has a locked wooden door with a small barred window. There’s nothing inside but some scattered human bones and the rusty remains of manacles attached to the walls.

B8. Torture Chamber

The character in this room, the Seer, is mumbling and moaning to himself unintelligibly.

The Seer is blind and so cannot notice the light the players might be using. Also, he is so absorbed with his thoughts that he doesn’t hear the party until they shout to him.

Beyond the cells in the hall lies what appears to be a torture chamber. Seated on a stool in the center of this room, you see bald man with his back to you. He’s stripped to the waist, and his back is a bloody mess of lacerations. He has clearly been whipped. The man is just sitting there rocking back and forth and wordlessly babbling. Long chains are attached to the arms he holds limply by his sides. In front of him stands a lectern upon which lies a large open book. Its pages are covered in messy crimson writing that must be blood. The moaning man suddenly shakes his head vigorously as if denying something, and you notice that his eyes have been torn out and his worn face bears cuts around them.

After conversing with the party for a bit the Seer suddenly shouts “I know you. You’re no friend to Volkanth. You’re one of them! One of those the Sleeper told me!” At this he points to the Bloody Book and then starts straining against his chains and screaming, summoning alien creatures from the echoes of his cries.

The Bloody Book: The Bloody Book contains the Seer’s prophecies and visions that he constantly credits to the Sleeper in his writing. The book is a large tome that smells sickeningly of blood. The writing in it is often incomprehensible, and many pages are fused together by crusted blood. Whoever investigates it can read various cryptic passages, such as, ”The eyes are the enemy. Seeing is blindness. Only the dreaming eye can see the truth,” and “The Sleeper needs blood. Blood needs the horn.” In addition, you find a rough description of Aych, although there appears to be no other members of the party described.

Sienna: In one of the cells, lies a slumped figure wrapped in bloody rags. They speak to the ball of misery and guess that this must be the girl they’re looking for, Sienna Sufi. Luring her with promises of a cure, you coax her closer and realise her form is twisted and mutated, her limbs now a mixture of tentacles and vile claws, her eyes gouged out and bound by stained linen bandages. The party place her on the skeletal mount to follow behind them at a safe distance.

Paranoia Stain: After the battle with the summoned foulspawn, Aych and Alheck aquire paranoia stain. Victims of paranoia stain believe that foulspawn are after them and suffer from hallucinations. They see leering shapes in the shadows and can’t shake the feeling of being watched and relentlessly pursued.

B10. Blade Bridges

The hall ends at the edge of an enormous circular pit that is about 50 feet in diameter. A fall from the edge where you stand would be like falling from a three-story building. Dominating the center of the pit is a 15-foot-wide pillar that rises to the level of the hall. Atop it is a kind of turnstile. Extending from three equidistant points around the pillar are huge sicklelike steel blades that scrape the edge of the pit. From the marks you see on the wall, it’s clear that the turnstile must somehow turn the blades so that they can be used as bridges to cross the expanse. Currently the blades are turned away from you.

The blade bridge chambers are flanked on the east and west by landings on the level of the bridge. Each landing has two of the statues with its arms and eyeless face upraised. These statues flank doors into crypts. The stone doors bear the now-familiar image of the Sleeper bearing the Dreamstone Blade.

Elika attempts to dart across one of the blade bridges, but loses her balance and falls down into the pit. Climbing comes more naturally though as she hauls herself up to the turnstile and rotates the blades to allow the party passage to one of the chambers. Opening one of the tomb doors open triggers a trap, naturally, and there’s a dull boom and the floor shakes as something enormous is dropped behind the stone walls and the blades begin to whirl rapidly like fan blades.

An undead, blind beholder rises from its dusty grave, and assails you alongside a trio of haunting lost wraiths whose touches teleport their prey about the room, sending them into the air to plummet down into the scything blades.

Group XP: +702 xp (12,382 total)

Gold: +1,300 gp (6,990 total)

Treasure: Sleeper’s Skeletal Warhorse

Comments

Blind Beholder: bonk

Adventure Ten: Dance of Acamar
Ainsoph

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