Tomb of Horrors

The Story So Far...
A blog for your campaign

The Heroes were contacted by Vyrellis who told them of her resting place, the Garden of Graves, and its defilement by an attack of the undead. The Heroes journeyed to the Feywild where they discovered an elaborate reconstruction of the Garden into a strange focus of eldritch energies. The locus is also the home to many cross-planar events. After defeating many strange undead creatures and surviving many cunning traps, they discovered the Fey Engine. The Heroes destroyed the engine which dispelled the effects of the undead influence. Once their task was complete, the Heroes departed the Feywild and returned to their home plane for a well deserved rest. The instigator of the undead attack was never discovered, though it was obvious they were extremely powerful…

While staying at an in, the Heroes were attacked by a group of shadar-kai assassins. The assassins were servants of the Raven Queen whose trail led to a portal in the depths of the Keep on the Shadowfell. The Heroes determined to follow the assassins and entered the portal uncertain of their destination. They arrived in the city of Moil.

The Heroes followed a trail of shadar-kai corpses and deadly traps through the half destroyed towers of Moil do discover another shadow gate leading to an unknown destination. In order to escape the Tortured Vestige, the Heroes threw themselves through the gate. The Heroes arrived in the Shadow Tomb. They faced many challenging traps and perilous enemies leaving them exhausted, scarred, and in one case transfigured. Two Heroes were trapped in tapestries. The Heroes discovered a coded journal on the body of a shadar-kai that told them of the mighty demilich Acererak, and the suspicion that he was behind the desecration of the Garden of Graves. The Heroes discovered and destroyed a second eldrich device, the Shadow Engine. Lacking any other direction to go, the Heroes again traveled a portal to a location known only as the destination for the power of the Shadow Engine.

The Heroes arrived in Skull City. After fighting battles with powerful undead foes of multiple factions, they stumbled upon the Skullbreakers. After receiving aid and rest at the Haven, the Heroes learned of Moghadam. The Heroes have set themselves the task to enter the Abandoned Tomb of Horrors to find Moghadam and hopefully the answers to many of the questions raised in their quest…

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The Courtyard of the Abandoned Tomb

In our last episode…

The Heroes barely defeated a team of Blackfire Mages supported by Wrath Spirits while suffering the effects of the mysterious Moilian Heart. After the combat, they were forced to return to the Haven to regroup and extended rest. They intend another assault to force their way into the Abandoned Tomb.

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Battles at the Gate of the Abandoned Tomb

The Heroes again assaulted the courtyard outside the Abandoned Tomb and defeated a vicious warband led by a Vampire Lord and once again overcame the powers of the Moilian Heart. After attempting to gain access to the Black Academy they were set upon by a legion of skeletons. The Heroes didn’t panic, but keenly appraised their situation and designed a cunning defense to hold off the army. They bravely held the line until the sunrise drove the skeletons back to their tombs on Blackfire Hill. The adventurers rested in the relative safety of the new dawn and entered the Black Academy. Inside the entrance was yet another portal admitting entrance to the Abandoned Tomb. They entered the portal, but something went horribly wrong and the Heroes were again thrown into the unknown webway of planar travel…

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Transitions...

You step through the portal and immediately know something isn’t right with it. It feels like it’s trying to send you to its destination, but the magic has some kind of disturbance blocking that. For a second it feels as though you are being torn in different directions. Everything goes dark. You feel something solid beneath your feet and our lightsource has a brief blinding effect on everyone as the darkness is extinguished. You are surrounded by natural earth and rock, covered in tangled vines and plant growth weaving through them. Our keen perception notices a way out. The vines almost form a concealing curtain over the exit. Behind you is what you assume to be the portal. Arcane skill tells you it doesn’t work. Whatever disturbance caused it to malfunction, is still affecting it. You also know, this is not where the portal was supposed to go. You determine the disturbance is something Astral in nature, and seems to be almost like an anchor tied to the portal pathway.
Y and Avryl are gone. Someone else is here instead. Maybe it’s Y polymorphed into something else again. That bugbear needs an anti-affliction collar. No it’s not Y, as you can tell his reaction to us is not one of familiarity. Let’s hope we don’t kill and Speak With Dead later on him.

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The Town of Huntress

The Heroes travel through foreign wilderness happening upon a woman traveling a road. She is conspicuous because she was dragging a tree and refusing all help until she collapsed from exhaustion. Before she fell unconscious the woman informed the Heroes of the nearby town of Huntress. The Heroes enter the town seeking aid for the stricken woman. They meet a fearful and cautions populace, who are reluctant to help the poor woman. The townspeople bring the woman to her home, but do not render her aid, citing that no one helps the weak. The Heroes seek out the leaders of the town in order to find out why the town is so strange. On the way, the Heroes come across a tree made of tongues and corpses scattered around the town marking those who were punished for breaking the laws of the community. The Heroes met Lito and his gang who, though claiming to lead the town, seem evasive and mistrustful. The Heroes get little in the way of answers about the town, the woman, the tree, or the rules of Huntress. Lito and his gang give the Heroes the impression that there are mysterious enforcers of the law that keep the tree and make the corpses, though no one admits to seeing when the punishments occur. After a quick tour of the town and the Heroes discover an alarming number of tongueless villagers and everyone is afraid and unknowing about the events in the town; or at least unwilling to admit knowledge. Even the local clerics are afraid. The Heroes decide to defend the helpless woman. After a night passes it seems no harm has come to her. But in the morning, Lito and his gang pick a fight with our Heroes. Though the ruffians lose the battle, they distract the heroes long enough for the helpless woman to have her tongue cut out by some mysterious force. Interrogations of Lito’s gang leave the identity of the mysterious enforcers still shrouded in mystery, but the Heroes discover Lito and his gang didn’t start the problem. The slime have only been taking advantage of the town’s situation as they found it. They know only that the problems are linked to a burned corpse of a accused witch chained to the local inn. No one in the town seems to know anything about the corpse, and desire to avoid the topic when it is raised. As we begin our next episode, the Heroes prepare to speak with the corpse in an attempt to unravel the mystery…

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Return to the Abandoned Tomb
The Heroes interrogated the corpse of the witch the townspeople of Huntress burned. Through repeated castings of their Speak with Dead rituals, the Heroes discovered that the witch was actually a woman who felt discriminated and mistreated as a newcomer to the village. In an attempt to gain vengeance upon those who visited harm upon her she cast a ritual and called forth a creature from the Astral plane. The creature helped the woman punish those in the town who were mean to her, but did so in a very brutal manner. The creature attacked in the middle of the night and erected a tree of the bones and tongues of the transgressors. The townspeople of Huntress, suffering under the astral creature’s threat, decided to take action and kill the witch. They rose up, flayed her, dismembered her, and burned her remains. They did not bury her heart, however, leaving out an important act required to banish the creature and end their curse. Instead of removing the threat, the astral terror was set free of the witch’s control and continued to follow the letter of her instructions in her absence. The town continued to suffer in terror. The Heroes took action and buried the woman’s still beating and bleeding heart. The act summoned the astral creature in a weakened state. Now lacking its invisible nature, the creature called forth its horrible tree, made from the bones of thieves and the tongues of the weak, to attack the heroes as well. After a hard fought battle, the heroes prevailed and put the spirit of the witch and the fear of the town to rest. By defeating the creature, the Heroes also restored the portal they were traveling through to working condition. In the aftermath of the battle the heroes were able to attain a Cloak of Invisibility +5 and an Amulet of Protection +5 Although the terror was defeated the fear and hopelessness of the villagers remained. It was not a magical effect, but one earned from long subjugation to terror. Although waylaid by a portal mis-transfer like the Heroes, Dragoon volunteered to stay behind and further protect and guide the town back to health and prosperity. After a period of rest and recuperation, the Heroes revived their two companions trapped in their tapestry prisons. The heroes said their goodbyes to the town of Huntress, and walked back to the edge of the settlement and disappeared again into a portal to continue their sworn quest. They arrived painfully in a new location. The Heroes fell awkwardly from a stone wall, as the exit of the portal was not oriented the same as the entrance. The Heroes fall on and over each other and rolled to the stone floor. The hallway they appeared in was completely dark, lit only by the Heroes’ magical items. Several pits gaped open along this long hall, and bent, corroded spikes adorned the bottom of each one. Decaying murals and paintings on the walls hinted at humanoid shapes. Despite the current scraped condition of the floor, several sections had the remains of designs and inscriptions. One corridor led off to the west, and its position required them to bypass one of the pits to reach it. They had seen this hallway before in one of the many cross planar visions that occurred during their time in the Garden of Graves.

The Heroes reached the Abandoned Tomb, and it finally looked more like a Tomb of Horrors

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An Insubstantial Choir

The Heroes delved into the Abandoned Tomb after many distractions to attempt to find Moghadam. Despite the tales of deadly traps and monsters, the Heroes were surprised by the emptiness of the dungeon. Spike pits were left uncovered, doors left unlocked and untrapped. Secret doors, easily found, led to other secret doors seemingly with no purpose. They finally stumbled upon an abandoned shrine to unknown and forgotten powers. Initially, nothing of interest caught their attention until they were ambushed by the insubstantial conglomeration of tortured souls intent on devouring the Heroes’ essence. The battle was hard fought, but the Heroes prevailed. After a short rest, they determined they would continue the search.

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Animated Remains

The Heroes wandered through a largely abandoned dungeon and came upon a mummification laboratory. After a brief search of the room, the Heroes were attacked by a sextet of shambling mummies. The Paladin narrowly avoided contracting mummy rot and otherwise the Heroes were largely unharmed in the encounter. Upon a search of the laboratory the Heroes found a silver trinket resembling a sword shaped key. They searched more of the dungeon finding numerous open doors, an abandoned pillared hall and discovered a partially natural grotto filled with water and a yellow mist. The Heroes prepared themselves to enter the unfamiliar environ…

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Grottos and Twins

The Heroes enter a grotto and encounter a fine golden yellow mist. Suspicious of mists in all their forms, Galinn attempts a dispel that eliminates the mist and its charm magic. The Heroes discover a female eladrin who was imprisoned in the grotto and used by the charm magic as a dangerous foe for visitors to the tomb. As a reward for freeing her, she gives the heroes a key and directions a hidden passage in the chapel of the tomb. The Heroes take two keys discovered in the tomb and use them to open the chapel’s hidden passage. The passage leads to a pillared hall with a face of the Devourer. The Heroes trigger a trap manifesting evil simulacrums of themselves that they must defeat in order to survive. Galinn and Mal work together to arcanely defeat the trap. Behind the Devourer the Heroes discover another passage into darkness…

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Undeath in the Vault of Betrayal

The Heroes move forward and discover a gravity defying room housing a deadly gargoyle. After a short period they adapted to the room where every wall was a floor and to move too quickly meant a tumble and fall to another wall. The Heroes quickly overcame the gargoyle and discovered a movable pedestal that opened into a tunnel. The tunnel lead to an alter and a hidden, trapped floor. The floor gave way and dropped some of our Heroes ninety feet to a painful and sudden stop. Just as the Heroes began to recover, the trap unveiled a sinister surprise when the ceiling also fell on them. All survived, however, and they discovered an opening in the central pillar holding the altar revealing another tunnel.
The tunnel led to the heart of Moghadam‘s vault of betrayal. After a hard fought battle the Heroes overcame the evil shadow of Acererak’s architect. Moghadam‘s sword and Ruinblade was recovered and the Heroes carefully considered adopting the weapon to aid them in their quest. They also discovered Moghadam’s library containing a treasure trove of information of Acererak‘s plans.
In his madness, Moghadam gained an understanding of what Acererak’s betrayal implied for the demilich’s future plans. Epic rituals drained the original Tomb of Horrors turning it into the Abandoned Tomb. Acererak drained away eldritch essence underlying centuries of terror to fuel his dark plots. The full nature of those plots remains unknown, but Acererak‘s ambition has grown since his failed apotheosis. Where once he yearned for godlike power, he believes now that he can become something greater.
The demilich’s eldritch engines tap into planar energy. The fey engines stole the burgeoning life energy native to the Feywild. The larger engine in the Shadow Tomb tapped into the essence of death in the deepest Shadowfell. Acererak‘s plan now rests on the creation of one final eldritch engine — this one designed to steal enough energy to elevate Acererak to godhoood. Moghadam believed that this engine would be set in the Astral Sea, but he had no knowledge of where it would be built or when its construction would begin.
With heads full of knowledge and packs full of plunder the Heroes left the Abandoned Tomb. They packed up a bejeweled skull (35,000 gp), a staff of storms +4, a guardian’s cape +4, an Ioun stone of perfect language, a deadblast bone, and 100 pounds (54,000 gp) of materials and scrolls. The Heroes descended into Skull City and reunited with the Skullbreakers at the Haven after minor encounters with the persistent denizens of the undead city. The Heroes shared the story of their adventures and let the Skullbreakers examine the lore they secured from the tomb. Though they were pleased at the possible destruction of such a powerful evil being, the Skullbreakers could not give the Heroes any more information to continue their quest to stop the machinations of Acererak.
With lack of leads or a way to escape Skull City, the Heroes settled into a routine of searching patrols of the city and the surrounding landscape in an attempt to find a way out. After a few weeks the Heroes were set upon by a band of shadar-kai. The band of assassins resembled those the Heroes encountered before in the Shadow Tomb. The assassins did not directly attack the Heroes, but identified themselves as servants of the Raven Queen and bid them to travel with them as their mistress had a task for them. After no small amount of convincing, and the promise of transportation from Skull City, the Heroes departed with the assassins through a planar portal. The Heroes found themselves in the legendary city of Sigil. The assassins would not allow them to wander and explore, however, as time was of the essence. The Heroes were led to an out of the way location in a winding maze of alleys. In a room draped in mysterious darkness, the Heroes were greeted by an Avatar of the Raven Queen. The Avatar expressed the Raven Queen’s displeasure at Acererak‘s presumptive attempt at apotheosis and the effect it could have on the planes, not to mention his violation of her realm in the Shadowfell. The Avatar invited the Heroes to pursue and defeat Acererak and in return for the service would grant them boons in the form of magical equipment and improved powers as well as transportation to a location identified by other servants as place where Acererak’s servants are at work. Realizing there was little negotiation possible with an Avatar of a god, especially one of the Raven Queen, the Heroes agreed. The Heroes were then introduced to two new companions also selected by the Raven Queen’s servants to join them on their quest. The team was joined by a Half-Orc Rogue and a Dwarven Cleric. After a brief exchange of equipment with the Avatar’s handmaidens, the Heroes were led to a planar door. The Heroes passed through the portal and arrived in Pluton…

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