As a GM that runs predominantly One-Shots, returning to the same location doesn’t happen very often. But I’m super excited for this rare opportunity to return to the Tomb of Blacksong!
This tomb is a modified variation of the Tomb of Horutep from Low Fantasy Gaming’s Midlands setting. Great setting. Great resource. Lots of great stuff to pull from. When I ran it the first time, I kept things pretty close to the original. Swapping in a few ICRPG elements, but that was about it. Now, on the return visit, I can’t do that. I have to imagine how things have developed while the adventurers have been away. Hmm…
Here’s a breakdown of each of the rooms in the dungeon and their current status:
- Entry Hall (Explored)
- Offering Chamber (Unexplored)
- Altar Room (Unexplored)
- The Chasm (Explored)
- Servant’s Crypt (Unexplored)
- Audience Room (Explored)
- Sarcophagi Chamber (Unexplored)
- Invocation Circle (Unexplored)
- Ramoran’s Crypt (Explored)
Entry Hall (Explored)
This room was pretty basic. I plan to highlight some of the elements of the excavation and reinforce the Moon-Worship motif. No real mechanics in here, except maybe some Shabby Loot and the ability to choose the next direction.
Offering Chamber (Unexplored)
Leading off from the Entry Hall, this room presents an interesting puzzle. Standing guard on the opposite side of the room are two larger-than-life bronze statues. They stand next to the passage forward and will attack anyone who attempts to get past. Enchanted as they are, they cannot be bargained with and are immune to all mind-affecting magic. The only way past them without combat is to leave an offering in one of the urns lining the walls. Anything, and I mean anything, placed inside them is gobbled up magically and vanishes to Ramoran’s Crypt as an offering, adding to his plunder.
I’m very curious how players will handle this room. There is a high possibility that they place something in the urns during their exploration, and appease the statues before they realize they’re dangerous. And what constitutes an offering? Probably not a rock.
Bronze Guardian ♥♥♥
2 Actions | +6 STR | +3 Effort
Magic Resistant: All MAGIC effort is reduced by half
Spear Strike: ULT, single target
Spear Slash: WPN all NEAR
Shield Bash: WPN, DEF save or thrown FAR
19/20 CRIT: Target’s weapon is crushed
Altar Room (Unexplored)
Past the Offering Chamber is the Altar Room. Dedicated to the Moon, it’s a place where dark rituals are done over a black basalt altar with inlaid marble, representing the moon and stars. Unfortunately, there will be signs of recent use and clues as to what happened to Verkin’s crew. If you’re wondering, it wasn’t good.
As the players investigate, they’ll find ancient runes and frescoes that if studied for too long may invoke madness. I’m thinking it will grant them a WIS spell, Lunar Embodiment, but at the cost that WIS and INT rolls are hard during the day. I thought it would be fun for the spell to change based on the literal phase of the moon when their games are played. Depending on if the moon is Full, New, or somewhere in between, the spell will act differently.
Lunar Embodiment (WIS)
Full Moon: Fill the NEAR area with silvery light. All enemies roll CON or take WPN
New Moon: Fill the NEAR area with darkness that nonmagical light can’t penetrate.
Sanctuary: Ward a single creature against ranged attacks. Enemies must make a WIS check or choose a new target.
The Chasm (Explored)
The Yellow Mold in the chasm gave quite a scare the first time around, but Verkin would have burnt all traces of the mold away as he rebuilt the bridge. Now all that’s left is a mysteriously deep chasm leading into the darkness below.
Servant’s Crypt (Unexplored)
Every ancient mummy would have a slew of servants, but here we’ll find that the Shades that have haunted these crypts will have woken up and are now actively serving Ramoran again later on in the Invocation Circle.
The rest of the crypt will show signs of excavation and that the relics have been claimed by Verkin’s crew. There may be one or two Shabby loot rolls as the crew left in a hurry when the Shades did wake up.
1 Action | +2 All Rolls
Incorporeal: Immune to all nonmagical damage
Ghostly Claw: WPN, ignore DEF
Piercing Screech: CON save or run FAR in a random direction
Drain: Reduce random stat/effort by one until the end of the session.
CRIT: Magical effects are drained from a random item
Audience Room (Explored)
I’m kind of sad that I won’t be able to have the floor drop out again, but perhaps I’ll get a chance with some rickety scaffolding stretching out over the pit that the party found last time. Falling into a 200-foot chasm still won’t be pleasant whether the trap was reset or not.
In addition, Ramoran will have reinforced the door to his personal crypt and treasure hoard with some moon magic after it was so suddenly broken into last time. The Moon Seal placed on the copper door will separate the body and astral form of anyone who crosses into the Crypt unless they are already a servant of the Moon (or mad from studying the runes in the Alter Room). Once the spirit crosses back over the threshold, it may return to its body.
Sarcophagi Chamber (Unexplored)
In the original adventure, the party peeked into this room but quickly noped right out when they saw the suspicious sarcophagi sitting in the corner. They assumed mummies would appear out of there and they would have been right. Now though, these two mummies stand guard as Ramoran and Verkin use the Invocation Circle in the next room.
In addition to the mummies, the Shades are floating about. They aren’t immediately hostile but will join in any confrontation regardless of where the fight might move to. They’ll float through walls and reappear in random locations every couple of rounds or so.
2 Action | +3 All Rolls
Flammable: Fire deals double damage
Mummy Rot: Any target hit by a mummy is cursed and cannot heal until the end of the session
Fist: WPN + Mummy Rot
CRIT: Destroy a piece of armor
Invocation Circle (Unexplored)
Finally, we see what Ramoran and Verkin have been up to. In the center of this black basalt room is a large white marble spiral that radiates magic. Standing in the circle induces a powerful feeling of hunger. Nearby are ceramic urns that contain preserved human brains, both ancient and fresh. Taking a bite of a brain while in the circle will allow you to commune with an entity from beyond the stars. Players will then make two rolls.
The first will be to see what kind of effect the entity will have on the player. Some will be good and some will be bad. The second roll will be a random effect that the divination magic will place upon the player using a d10000 roll because they aren’t attuned to using the circle like Ramoran is. He’s been busy learning all about the world since he woke up and can now speak openly with the adventurers and understands the general state of the world.
My hope is that players will be tempted to gamble with the odds in hopes of gaining boons and minimal side effects. Most players tend to be a little skittish, but a few take the opportunities when they come about.
By the Grace of the Moon
- Drop to 0 HP with a Dying timer of 1.
- Lose 1 INT
- Lose 1 WIS
- Lose 1 CON
- Lose 1 CHA
- Lose 1 STR
- Gain 1 INT
- Gain 1 WIS
- Gain 1 CON
- Gain 1 CHA
- Gain 1 STR
- Gain +1 in a STAT of your choice
Ramoran’s Crypt (Explored)
Ramoran’s Crypt is already known to be filled with treasure and plunder from the ancient world. Every player could get an Ancient, Epic, or Magic Loot roll if they’re lucky enough, but Ramoran will not take kindly to graverobbers. Any physical touch upon his treasure will trigger his rage and he will seek to end the life of the perpetrator, or at least chase them out of his tomb. If he is defeated the guardians stop functioning, and the shades disappear. The party is free to loot the area and make their way home with the spoils as best they can. The Altar Room and Invocation Circle continue to function, and over time might draw the attention of cultists.
Ramoran the Warrior Pharaoh
+5 All Rolls
1. Fist + Mummy Rot: Deal ULTIMATE to a single CLOSE target. Any creature hit with Mummy Rot is immune to all forms of healing until the end of the session.
2. Blade of Ramoran: All NEAR targets make a DEX Check or take WEAPON damage
3. Arn’s Hex: Rot a target for MAGIC for 1D4 ROUNDS
4. Earthquake: Cause a boulder to fall in one random location. DEX Save to dodge or drop to Dying.
19/CRIT: Drain the target of a single random stat or effort or 1 HEART of HP and give it to Ramoran until the end of the session.
Tags & Powers
- Undead – Immune to all mind-altering magic and all non-magical weapons.
- Moon Amulet – Protection against fire
- Blade of Ramoran: Allows the wielder to cast SUNDER: destroy one piece of terrain per session.
- Summon Shade – Summon an additional Shade into the scene
To kick things off, I didn’t expect an impromptu detail of smell to influence the course of the game. Right at the beginning, I described a smell coming through the tunnels. It was stronger from the Northern and Eastern tunnels because that’s where the Altar was and the chasm where they had been dumping the bodies. But exploring the Southern tunnel, they found the air to be a little less rotten and so that sealed the deal on where they would go. Who would have guessed?
The next thing was the Servant’s Crypt. Last minute, I decided to expand on that room with a little secret and balance out the two paths the party could take. If the party had gone North they would have learned more about the fate of Verkin’s party and the truth of what was going on before they reached Ramoran. To South, I didn’t really have much going on, so I thought a small treasure room would help. I quickly put one together before the game and add a small trap to the crypt where the button was. Now North meant information. South meant treasure. Finding the treasure room, they got some really lucky rolls to get MAGIC and EPIC loot instead of CURSED or ANCIENT.
But the Treasure Room wasn’t a free-for-all. One of my favorite techniques for running a treasure room is to require players to spend their entire turn in the room and then add some kind of impending threat. In this case, there was a secret timer that would eventually trap them inside. They didn’t know how long they had, so they had to push their luck on how much treasure they wanted. Sixes narrowly made it out on his last turn before the door came crashing down. Just missed them!
Finally coming to Ramoran and Verkin, the temptation of knowledge wasn’t enough for this party. They knew Ramoran was sketchy and so they initiated the combat. It didn’t last very long because I wasn’t expecting the amount of “fire” power brought to bear. The mummies were done for in a snap, and Ramoran was able to dwindle a few players down pretty low thanks to the Mummy Rot (which is a new favorite affliction that I’ll keep in my back pocket), but he was no match in the end.
Add in the destruction of the Invocation Circle means that there will be less reason for future cultists to set up shop here and so the resurgence of any moon-worshipping cults will mostly go the way of Ramoran. Oh well!