Tomb of the Ten Sons
|Status||Explored November 832 TA|
|Campaign||Third Age of Man (late)|
Legend: The Tale of the Ten Sons
Once upon a time, there lived in the northern reaches of the Shadowyarn Mountains, long before the arrival of civilized man, a small kingdom of barbarian fighters. They were a hardy tough race that lived by the power of their swords. The kingdom was ruled over by Ral Thunderfist, and it was called Thunderland. Ral guarded his land like a mother watches over her young. But Thunderland was too vast, and the job aged Ral beyond his years. Relief came when the first of Ral's ten sons came of age.
Tog was given a small holding in the northern part of the kingdom, and soon he was joined by his nine brothers. But as each took more and more of Ral's land, the old man grew more jealous. The final string of Ral's sanity was cut when an old fortune telling woman visited his castle deep in the mountains. She told a story of the ten sons killing off the old king and looting his treasure. So convincing was she that Ral and his high priest called down a plague on Thunderland - a death which boiled the people from within. Each son was killed in turn, and the land was turned to waste. Soon, all of the people were dead, and Ral sat alone in his castle ruing the day that the old woman had read his fortune.
Ral was cursed. All of the dead rose and stood outside the castle. The king had to use his dead army to do one good deed to right his evil, lest all of them be cursed to a life as the undead. But the ten sons believed that their father had gotten off too easily, so, they set about to guard him until the end of time so that he could never get out of his castle prison and remove the curse from his head....
Adventures in the Tomb of the Ten Sons
It was not the lure of treasure at the Tomb of the Ten Sons that coaxed the party into its dark and gloomy confines. The Legend of the Tomb tells of an army of undead that waits to be freed from their curse. While the undead army would be too slow to be much help in the campaigns of MatCon 6, they would be an excellent ally to help in destroying the Troll's Bridge. And therein lay the treasure the party sought. The Troll's Bridge with piles of treasure as large as mountains!!! However, we are getting ahead of ourselves.
In April 831 TA, with grim resolve a party consisting of Ernest Goodfellow, Hylax the Barker, U-Gene the Dwarf, Ohm the Barbarian, Sirfexx Ivancevio, Falstaff, Vince the Invincible, and Fuzzwort the Cleric set out towards the Tomb of the Ten Sons.
There were three brief encounters that occurred before the party reached the Tomb of the Ten Sons. The first came about out of the party's curiosity over the burial mounds found in outside of the valley. The party opened one up and found a wight (what else). Satisfied that there was little to be gained by opening up the mounds, the party continued on to the old crumbled gatehouse. There they found a small two-level building. Inside were five orcs gambling (what else). Dispatching the orcs, the party noticed that the stairs to the second level had crumbled in disrepair. The braver members of the party journeyed to the second floor and found a lair of cockatrice. These were killed, but Sirfexx was turned to stone. The weight of a stoned Sirfexx is indeed massive, and the ceiling collapsed doing more damage (here, the DM is smiling). However, Sirfexx was returned to life, and a magical long sword and a bag of gems rewarded the party for its troubles (here, the DM frowns). The third encounter was with three orc guards and their three hell hounds. The party quickly dispatched their foes, but now their arrival was not a secret.
The ten sons of the cursed king designed several traps for any wishing to enter into the tomb. The valley of the tomb was easily defensible for the party had to first pass through a castle, cross a lake, traverse a tunnel, and beseech a chapel. At each step of the way, a son waited to stop any defilers. What follows is a description of the path the party followed when attacking the Tomb of the Ten Sons.
As the party approaches the castle, several things are worthy of note. The castle is surrounded by a simple two story palisade made of cut stone. The wall is wide enough for a single row of soldiers to stand upon it. Between the party and the castle runs a swift river. A wooden drawbridge spans the river. On the near side of the river is sits the statue of a large dragon. The gaping mouth of the dragon exudes plumes of smoke, and it looks as if it will breathe on any trying to cross the bridge.
As the party stepped upon the bridge, a row of orcs appeared on the palisade. The sounds of hoofbeats preceded the appearance of an armored knight (the first son, Tog the Challenger) by a few moments. The knight rode a nightmare and challenged any to a joust on the bridge. The bridge was fixed so that anybody trying this would tilt and fall into the stream. They would then be attacked by the sea monster. However, there was a secret passage through dragon's mouth into castle - avoiding all the orcs and the first son.
Of course, the party did not accept the challenge of Tog. Rather, they entered through the dragon's mouth and found themselves in the prisons below the castle. What? Give up a good fight. Very un-U-Geneish. While avoiding the joust was a great move, Tog the Challenger came back to challenge the party at the adventure of the Troll's Bridge.
Once inside the castle, the remaining orcs attacked. The top level of the castle was completely deserted. There was a well with steam coming out. The party needed to go to the prisons below the castle There, a prisoner was being held by a bunch of zombie guards and the second son, Vlan the Warden.
Vlan the Warden proved to be a formidable enemy. His flaming crossbow bolts caused many a little gnome to fear. Defeating these, the prisoner told a riddle (about the ceremony and the holies) and gave the party a cross and a key.
"Who seek ye? (the answer is Ral). I was a priest in the temple of the dead across the great lake. A ceremony is needed to free Ral. Gather this the cross of the four holies, they will help you. Seek the temple. Hurry."
The riddle would lead the party to the boat and the key would let them in the chapel.
The party set off for the lake. At the shore of the lake, the party found a funeral barge. They hid inside, and the current carried the boat to the far shore. However, they were overtaken by the twin third and fourth sons (Nal the Blue and Dal the Blue) riding two blue dragons.
The blue dragons were very quickly dispatched with the help of several very powerful runes. As the large hunks of blue cheese (get it, blue cheese) hit the water, hundreds of bluegills (get it, bluegills) came to the surface of the lake to eat (mice can't swim very well).
After reaching the far side, the party was unable to find the entrance. However, a burial mound was nearby. Upon entering the mound, the party came face-to-face with the caretaker of the tunnel (the fifth son, Ladd the Good) to the valley of death. He was cursed and needed to be killed and his curse removed. However, they did not remove his curse. Rather they left Ladd in his mound. This would prove unfortunate, since he would later come back to haunt our heroes at the Troll's Bridge.
A holy candle was found.
"To reach the temple, follow the path unhindered."
The tunnel to valley of the dead was filled with traps. A blessed cup was found in the chest. Solving this trap, the party emerged into the valley. A small chapel sat surrounded by an ancient graveyard. Unknown to the party, the graves could be animated by the seventh son, if needed. Initially, all was quiet. The tunnel trap proved to be a simple set of trick hallways. The party was delayed here, but no deaths resulted. This was the first of two falling stone blocks designed to crush any who timidly hid behind. In this case, the others would merely suffocate.
As they approached the chapel, the stone door was locked. Outside sat a blind beggar. The beggar was sheet white with white hair and white eyes. He was dressed in tattered brown robes and held a copper cup. This was actually the sixth son, Blar the Blind, disguised as a blind beggar. He repeated the same thing over and over again. "ALMS FOR THE POOR." If each party member gave him some coins he would crumble to dust. If the party members ignored him, he would rise up and join the seventh son in killing the party.
Each person gave alms for the poor. However, Goldberry wanted to try and pilfer the coins back out of the beggar's cup. Say no more, U-Gene.
At the front of the chapel a ceremony was going on. A very tall thin priest stood with his back to the door. He was dressed in black robes with a red skull on the back. He was chanting in a strange tongue an eternal curse upon Ral. Periodically, he stopped and wrote a few words in a leather book sitting on the alter. The book was divided into three sections:
- Prayers and Ceremonies (including settling the soul of Ral)
- A map of the church grounds (including where Ral is buried) and a ledger of the church funds.
- The curse on Ral's head which is very extensive.
The element of surprise must be used to kill the seventh son, Mad the Magician. He would not stop writing until something disturbs him. The book also contained knowledge needed to restore the old man to life. The book is the fourth holy.
Mad the Magician proved to be too powerful for the party to kill. They quickly moved to attack, but the magician summoned a great storm which caused the dead bodies in the cemetery to rise from the dead and follow his command. Undaunted, the party continued to wail upon the seventh son, but Mad made for the door (leaving the book behind). From there, he headed for his room and magically held the door. The party picked up the book and moved to the back room. There, a critical mistake was made. Half of the party headed to the crypt outside. Half of the party tried to force their way into Mad's room.
The outer room of the crypt was a burial plot. The rough hewn walls were unadorned and eight skeletal remains stood along the east and west walls. Setting on the slab of marble was an old man dressed in golden robes holding two three-balled maces in his hands. This was actually the eighth son, Dur the Silent (a decoy). He lay still until he could spring the ceiling trap and kill everybody. The skeletal remains were nothing special and will just stand there.
The party that left for the crypt was intercepted by the undead recently called to life by Mad. There they battled while the other heroes finally forced the door. They found nothing. Mad had teleported somewhere else. The undead almost overwhelmed the party, that is until the reinforcements arrived. Proceeding to the crypt, the party took care of Dur before he could spring his trap.
The final two sons (Xyd the Strong and Kyl the Wicked) lay in the tomb underneath the fake burial crypt. They held their father and would attack unless the four holies are held by four different members of the party. Each holder is immune to direct attack and can get the old man without being molested. They will call the other sons, but it will take time for them to arrive. Freeing the father with the ceremony would bring him to life and he would command his army.
The traps were:
- Grabbing the key would release the stone blocks
- Walking along the direct path would release the poison arrows (save versus magic or death in four rounds (2-20 otherwise).
- Exploding guards appeared as skeletons dressed in robes. They are inanimate and will explode for 4-40 save for half if touched.
Hylax "fetched" the key, and the falling stone blocks almost crushed the timid Ernie. The party needed only one poison arrow shot in their direction to avoid the rest, but a number of guards exploded before the party figured out not to attack them. The party dispatched the last two sons before any of the other sons could make it there (remember the first son (Tog the Challenger), the fifth son (Ladd the Good), and the seventh son (Mad the Magician) still remained. The party then performed the needed ritual.
The ritual to remove the curse of the sons was given in the leather book. It required:
- Burning the candle during prayer.
- The chalice must be filled with water from the lake, blessed and poured into the old man's mouth.
- The cross placed in the old man's hand. Another prayer.
- Book to say the prayer. Must be given to the old man afterwards.
After the ritual was completed, the party suggested that the old man use his undead army to destroy the EVIL trolls at the Troll's Bridge. The dead king agreed, and the party departed as fast as one could say "Teleport, Teleport, Teleport."
The tomb was cleansed, and it now lays in ruins.
Upon arriving safely back at the World's End Pub, scouts were dispatched to watch the progress of the undead army so that the party could arrive in time to help them and loot the treasure they sought. Little did they know that the three remaining sons had the same thoughts in mind.