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The Crypt of the Seven is a slightly modified version of Grave Concerns - Waterdeep Faction Adventure by Paul Metzger. This is an expanded faction mission of the Emerald Enclave. It is meant to be a 4-hour adventure with a tie-in to Dungeon of the Mad Mage. I made some changes to make it work for my purposes, but it is a fun little side adventure to throw in.
Taman and Akta watched as the Twins descended from their tombs. Even with their faces covered by their helmets, their words rang clear through the halls of the crypt.
“Is this it then brother? Are we held in such low esteem?” “Perhaps we need to remind them”
Then Finzu and Viigo rounded the corner. The heads of each of the Twins turned to assess them as they descended the staircase.
“Ah, this is better.” “Yes, much.”
As the twin on the right advanced on Akta, Finzu tore down the steps. This had been his standard practice up until now and had thus far served him well. He stepped in close to the sword wraith and his two fists struck out at its torso. Finzu’s face contorted as the wraith’s burning eyes flared with what could only be described as humor. The agile undead body shifted with each punch, turning just enough to watch the halflings fist fly by.
It then brought its longsword up from its left side. Finzu’s momentum carried him into the attack. He cried out as the blade ripped through flesh and armor, spraying warm blood across the brazier in the middle of the room. The wraith then planted its lead foot and used the momentum to step past the shocked monk and bring its blade down against the shaft of the incoming halberd attack.
The force of the parry almost caused Akta to drop the weapon. She took a few steps back to maintain the necessary distance as the burning eyes flared with a silent chuckle. Stopping its advance, the wraith lifted its blade above its head, the tip pointed downward. The steel charged with hazy blue energy before the twin brought the sword straight down to the floor.
As the blade made contact with the stone all the energy exploded outward. The force of the blast forced Akta to stumble backward. She was able to catch her footing in time to watch Finzu fly by her. The monk, seeing an opportunity as the wraith had lifted its blade, attempted to retreat. He turned and, making his way towards the entrance, was thrown forward off his feet. He tumbled towards the staircase and somersaulted at the last moment to keep his balance.
The shockwave struck Viigo and Taman causing each to take a small step forward. Looking over his shoulder to see its source, Taman then motioned to Viigo to help Akta. Turning back to his opponent, he barely managed to raise his rapier in time to parry the incoming attack. The longsword glanced to the side as the wraith stepped past Taman and thrust at Viigo. The blade pierced the dwarf’s armor, diving deep and spraying fresh blood on its exit. Pleased, the twin pivoted to keep both in front of him while he began to back around the brazier.
The twins moved together, one circling the brazier and the other charging Viigo. It missed and slammed into the wall but now the twins had the two flanked. Finzu darted from around the corner to let loose a few darts as Viigo summoned his celestial Warhammer. The twin was now pinned against the wall fending off attacks as best it could. But the damage was beginning to take its toll.
The wraith circling the brazier pulled back its arm and it burst to light with blue energy. Casting it forward, it split Akta and Viigo and struck its brother in the chest. As if it were fishing, the wraith pulled back his arm and its brother’s chest snapped forward. The surrounded wraith sprang forward to stand with its brother.
Taman, who had been attempting to sneak up on the twin at the brazier was suddenly facing two wraiths. They both then began to illuminate a bright blue light, the eyes and mouths of their helmets blazing forth. Both heads snapped backward as their arms stretched out.
Confused, the party blinked the light from their eyes. Nothing looked different. But as Taman scrambled away, he noticed that the wraith standing in front of him lacked the wounds it had moments before.
Regaining his composure, Viigo charged. The wraith parried their attacks and as it stepped through, slashed Akta across the back. Her wound gaped open and a flash of blue danced down the wraith’s blade to its chest. It no longer labored to breathe and struck out. In the searing pain, Akta was unable to bring her halberd up to block the attack and the blade ripped through her chest. She spun to a heap on the floor, her life dripping free.
As the wraith stepped over her body, Viigo let out a roar and swung his war hammer. The connection was solid. The wraith spun to the side and to a knee. Looking down at its chest piece it found a newly formed dent the size of the hammer. It hissed and began to stand. Viigo attempted to capitalize and made to bring the killing blow. But his injury sent waves of pain through his shoulder and threw off his aim. The hammer glanced off the wraith’s longsword.
The dwarf’s eyes widened as the wraith’s blade pierced through his stomach and exited his back. His breath caught as his hands worked to create separation. Violently, the wraith jerked his blade free and stumbled backward as Viigo pushed it away.
Seeing Akta fall, Taman realized that there would never be a moment like the one he was hoping for. He decided, instead, to go with something less subtle. As fast as he could, he ran at the brazier in the middle of the room and threw his shoulder into it. Smashing into the metal bowl he could hear his shoulder crack and a numb sensation went down his arm. But he had done enough to allow gravity to finish the job. The brazier tipped over to the floor, its flames spilling onto the wraiths. Their forms ignited and their screams echoed from all directions as they attempted to flee the pool of ever-flame.
This gave Viigo enough cover to scramble to relative safety. He circled the fallen brazier and helped Taman to his feet. Together they stumbled toward the staircase Finzu had been attacking from. Knowing they were almost out of options Viigo then cast Cure Wounds on Akta, hoping to get her out and flee.
As the wraiths continued to combat the fire, the form of a devil rose behind them. Then the shadow of a halberd rose against the back wall. As it struck there was an ear-piercing shriek. Both twins were illuminated with the blue light but this time, when it had faded, nothing was left but their armor.
The Tale of the Twins
As the twins fell, so did the sword which had been hovering above the battle. Akta plucked it from the air and handed it to Viigo who excitedly tucked it away.
The party then went it explore the tombs. Inscribed across the sarcophagi were the tales of the twins. It told an ancient story about two sword masters who had no rival. As Hallester Blackcloak’s madness spread and he grew more dangerous, the twins set off to slay him. Knowing this, Hallester had a gift delivered to the pair. The sword was beautiful, ornately carved, and perfectly balanced.
But there was only one sword and the brothers began to argue over who it belonged to. At last, they agreed that whoever should kill Hallester would claim the weapon. They set off, each on their own, only to find that alone they were no match for the Mad Mage.
As punishment for their hubris, Hallester interned them in the Crypt of the Seven. He suspended the sword between them to mock them for eternity.
Another door, opposite the staircase they had entered, had opened when the twins had fallen. The party found what seemed to be another dark shaft, identical to the last, save for the fact that this one was pulling up. Viigo tied the rope around his waist, took the orb, and jumped in. Like before, he casually floated. It wasn’t long before another platform came into view. And once Viigo had secured his footing he gave the rope a tug to let Taman know it was his turn. The two of them lifted the door and propped it open while they waited for Finzu.
But time passed and Finzu didn’t emerge from the darkness. Suspecting something was wrong Viigo took a few steps towards the opening. Surprisingly, the pull was now going down. After communicating this to Taman, Viigo jumped in and with the orb began to maneuver through the darkness.
Time stretched on and he began to think the worst had happened. That was when the green light caught a foot dancing in the dark. Viigo made swimming motions and picked up speed. The foot turned into a leg, which turned into a lower body, which eventually turned into Finzu. Having lost his grip on the rope, the halfling was flailing about in the dark in a free fall. Viigo was able to reach him as they passed the lower platform where Akta waited. Seeing the green light she stretched out her halberd and pulled the two to solid footing.
As they weighed their options Viigo discovered that the pull was now going up. Knowing that this was their opportunity, he led the group into the open space and up to the second platform where Taman waited.
A Night With The Seven
Sconces lit the hallway which eventually bent to the left and out of sight. Moving forward, the party was surprised when a suit of armor stepped from its alcove. Its eyes blazing red it boomed -
Armor Guard: Beyond lie the remains of the esteemed foes, which shall lie undisturbed for all eternity.
The party waited, weapons drawn, for an attack. But none came. The armor sat silent as it had been when they entered. Slowly, they moved past the sentry and explored the tomb.
The hall itself was shaped like an “S”. It first curved to the left before straightening and then curving back to the right. At the end appeared to be an ancient cave-in that blocked the way. Seven sarcophagi rested through the hall. Each in its own alcove with a lit sconce above it, four were around the first bend with the remaining three at the end. Each tomb was elaborately engraved, depicting heroic feats and battles of the one interned. A likeness of the hero had been built into the cover of the tomb. These depictions were riddled with gems of all colors and rarity, their fire dancing in the light.
The party inspected each tomb. Remembering what they had been told about the ‘esteemed foes being undisturbed for eternity, they were careful not to touch anything. After checking the rest of the floor for traps they returned to the suit of armor.
They spent some time debating what to do next. There was no obvious exit and the only way out was back into the shaft. After a while of deciding, Taman turned to the suit of armor and asked it what else was in the crypt.
Armor Guard: The army of the dead wait below.
Taman: Wait for what?
Armor Guard: Their master, though dead, he still moves through the halls.
This concerned the party. The twins had nearly ended their adventure and the last thing they wanted was to confront a lich.
Taman: Is their master’s name Manshoon?
This caused the armor to pause for a long time. Finally, it answered.
Armor Guard: The name has been said in these halls though I know no more.
Content Taman then asked if they could spend the night where they were. They took the armor’s silence as affirmation and bedded down for the evening.
Letter of Recommendation
That night Viigo had vivid fever dreams of others trying to steal his new sword. Sleeping, he gripped the blade so tight that he found cuts on his hands the next morning. He also looked more pale than normal and a constant cold sweat dotted his brow. Agitated, he grumbled and snapped at the rest of the party as they discussed how best to proceed.
They had confirmed that there was in fact necromancy being practiced and that Manshoon was involved in some way. Hoping that that would be enough for Davil, they decided to leave the crypt.
Finding that the flow was once again going down, they retraced their steps. Passing through the twin’s tomb and the gore-filled hallway, they arrived at the platform on which they had entered. Thinking ahead, they had left a rope for their return trip. Though fighting the current proved to be taxing, each member pulled themselves out of the darkness.
Finding themselves bathed in the early morning light, they took time to recover in the fresh air. Finally, they left the City of the Dead and made their way to the Yawning Portal.
They found Davil enjoying breakfast in his usual spot. Seeing them he cleared space at the table and had food and drink brought over. As they ate, the party shared what they had learned. Unfortunately, Davil did not believe it would be enough for Istrid. She was shrewd and would need more than hearsay. Though, given their relationship with him, Davil decided that he would pen a letter to her. In it, he stated that given all they had done for the Doom Raiders to this point, he trusted the party at their word. He hoped that Istrid would have enough faith in his assessment to accept what they had to say.
The Sword of Vengeance
Before concluding their conversation, Davil remarked that Viigo did not look well.
Davil: Perhaps a few days of rest would do you good my friend.
It was then that the party began to become concerned for their friend. He had been acting strange since they had risen and his mood had worsened.
Taman wanted to check with Valetta about any information about the submarine. On their way to The House of Inspired Hands, Akta began to suspect the sword itself may have been causing the issues with Viigo. She asked him if she could see the blade and was met with a short and angry negative response. Knowing that this was not normal for the dwarf, she mentioned that she believed the sword was cursed. This angered Viigo. The rest of the trip he muttered about Akta and the tricks she was playing to take away his treasure.
Valetta greeted them in the main hall and was able to provide information about the submarine. She had learned that the inventor had been obsessed with the idea and had spent considerable resources, both his own and the House’s, on the design. Eventually, he succeeded in his goal and, despite their generosity, left as soon as he could. They had tracked as far best they could, using rumors of a ship that did not sail. It appeared he had first docked at Neverwinter before heading to Luskan. It is there that the rumors suddenly died. Suspiciously, the name of the inventor had been struck from the records.
Thanking her for the information the party turned to leave. Only once they got to the door did they realize that Viigo was not with them. They turned and found him standing in the Hall in deep consideration. Valetta stepped forward.
Valetta: Would this be a good time for a tour?
Viigo: Sadly, no. I think I am sick.
Valetta: You do look unwell.
Viigo: What do you know of removing curses?
Valetta paused for a moment before answering.
Valetta: Not much I am afraid. If you believe you have been cursed in some manner, I suggest you find a temple where a cleric may heal you. The nearest one would be the Temple of Seldarine to the south.
Viigo thanked her and returned to the party. He told them that he’d like to go to the temple to see if there was anything that could be done about his ailment.
The Temple of Seldarine
Arriving at the tall, dour structure made of gleaming white stone flecked with silver, they found three priestesses out front. Taman approached them, explained their situation, and asked to enlist the help of the clergy to heal him.
At first, the priestesses were happy to help. However, Viigo’s calloused and stained hands gave him away as a smithy. Seeing their hesitation, Taman realized their error. The clergy of Seldarine believes in the power of nature or machinations. They considered those who work metal, like the clergy of Gond, in opposition to those beliefs.
Jumping in, Taman pleaded with them to help. . He spoke to the priestesses about not holding one’s beliefs against them in times of need. This resonated with one of the priestesses. She eventually agreed to help and for a reasonable price. Hearing this, the other two priestesses scoffed and cast glares at their sister. Then, without a word, they turned and entered the temple.
The remaining priestess approached Viigo and removed the curse. After collecting the coin, she entered the temple. It now occurred to the party that she had stepped out of line to help them and that likely, she would face punishment.
Manshoon’s Shadow - Army of Bones
Mirklav is the ‘master’ that the animated armor was speaking of. He is a Deathlock gnome who is serving Manshoon and helping him to build an army of undead. He controls the flow of the shaft with his staff and uses it to move between levels.
The Badge of the Watch
Going down into the crypt had an unknown impact on the badges that Taman and Viigo received in session 4. As they entered the crypt, the magic concealed them from Laeral’s view. This surprised the Open Lord because the badges had been enchanted to return to her side if they were not on the owner’s person. She finds this very curious and will likely inquire with the group at some point.
I really missed an opportunity with the curse. In retrospect, I should have let it play out much longer than one session to help build tension in the story. I knew, as soon as the session ended, that I should have played this differently but will file that away for next time.
This boss battle was a lot of fun. I took the original sword wraiths and customized them to make it a much more interesting fight. I leveraged Matt Colville’s idea of Action-Oriented Monsters (AOM) but tweaked its application. I also modified the existing life drain ability so that it stole life from a living creature instead of raising a dead character. However, I only allowed this to trigger once the wraith was below 30% health.
Each twin had a unique ability. One twin had the ability to create a shockwave while the other could snatch its sibling to its side at any moment. They also had a shared ability that allowed them to switch HP.
With all this power I needed to come up with some weaknesses. The first was that they would take double damage from fire damage. And secondly, if one twin was killed they both would fall.
I had a lot of fun coming up with this battle and the party really seemed to enjoy the challenge. Afterward, one player commented that this was the first time he realized that they could actually die. Up until this point, they hadn’t come very close at all. But within the first round with the twins, it became very apparent that they were facing fatal adversaries.