Having recently downloaded Dyson’s amazing Dyson’s Delve: The Original Mini Mega-Dungeon and read through a few old Dungeon magazines, I was inspired to cook up a quick dungeon using one of Dyson’s Maps. If you didn’t already know, Dyson Logos has a super useful list of dungeon maps he’s created that available for commercial use. You can get them all on his website. Already, many of these maps appear in BroadSword Monthly (even in this issue).
Tomb of the Kirin-Born Prince is a Fifth Edition compatible adventure for four 7th-level adventurers, although, it’s dangerous enough for higher-level adventurers. The adventure includes a lot of dangerous traps, so a party with a rogue or a wizard with high investigation will be incredibly useful. A small character will also be helpful. Plus, it includes a few undead uglies, so clerics will also add value to the party.
Note: this adventure is still in editorial mode, and may possess typos and logic problems.
The tomb of the Kirin-Born Prince is one of the older known tombs of the Etturan Dynasty – and one of the few whose location was not lost with the burning of the Tarek Archives. Many expeditions to seek out the later “shaft-tombs” often use this tomb as a sort of base camp, much to the chagrin of the Etran Cenobites.
A small order of religious monks has sprung up around several of the rediscovered Etturan tombs and attempt to maintain or rehabilitate the structures to worship and seek the gifts of the many god-kings that were entombed in the region. However, their numbers are few and the gifts of god-kings are sparse if not completely non-existent – thus the Etran Cenobites eke out a paltry living, only noticed when they harass would-be tomb-raiders.
The adventurers can come upon the Tomb of the Kirin-Born Prince any number of ways. Here are a few suggestions:
- The adventurers are traveling in the wilderness and they notice the opening to the tomb.
- The Etran Cenobites accost the characters, thinking that they’re tomb raiders. The monks themselves aren’t too much trouble, but their persistence that the characters only want the treasure in the tomb may attract the characters to the adventure.
- An old map detailing the location of this tomb (and maybe a few other Etturan tombs) enters the characters’ possession.
- There is an item of interest within the tomb a mysterious NPC needs. This may involve a rival. This item could be Empeku’s scepter or something from within Nebtka’s vault.
Unless otherwise stated, the Tomb of the Kirin-Born Prince has the following characteristics.
Ceiling, Floors, and Walls. The ceilings in the tomb are low, usually no more than seven feet high. The tomb itself was carved into the mountain stone with hieroglyphics and religious iconography set into it. Age and the weight of the mountain above have created considerable cracks all throughout, damaging the stonework in multiple areas.
Doors. Most of the doors are made of heavy, stone slabs, set on stone hinges. Each door has an AC of 17, 50 hp (threshold 5), and immunity to poison and psychic damage.
Light. The only natural light in the tomb is by the entrance. The text descriptions assume that the characters have darkvision, torches, or another method of seeing in the dark.
Regional Effects. The tomb suffers the regional effects of having a mummy lord present which persists until Nebtka’s body (see area 12) is destroyed.
Remove Curse. The spell remove curse does not work inside the tomb but can work outside of it.
Tomb Guardians. Damaging the ceiling, floors, or walls in the tomb, or other implements, such as traps, statues, etc. causes four shadows to rise from the dark recesses and attack. Each time a shadow is destroyed, another takes its place in 1d4 rounds. The only way to stop the shadows is to exit the tomb during daylight hours. A creature may then reenter after the next sunrise.
Entering the Tomb
When the monks first arrived at the tomb, they opened it. However, none of them (or anyone else) have been able to make it past the first room of the tomb.
The door to the tomb has words written upon it in ancient Etturan. A character will need a translator (possibly one of the monks) or a spell in order to read what the words say. The words read “Follow the Path of Light or Fall Forever Into Shadow.”
Encounter. Camped outside of the chamber, no matter the time of day, are 2d6 + 2 Etran Cenobites, all acolytes. They only wish to scare off tomb-raiders and prefer not to fight.
The following encounters are keyed to the Tomb of the Kirin-Born Prince map above.
1 – Door of Shadows
Easily ignored, unless the characters glance around the room looking for clues, is a lone torch stuck into the eastern wall next to the door. The torch is magical. When lit, it reveals the presence of the secret door in the northwestern wall.
Shadow Door Trap. The door is fake; it is actually nothing more than a wall carving made to look like a door. It’s magically reinforced, too, with an AC of 26, 100 hp (threshold 10), resistance to all nonmagical damage, and immunity to poison and psychic damage.
Messing with the moon-tumbler in any way–picking its fake lock, inserting the moon key, etc.–requires the character to make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed saving throw, the tumbler locks around the character’s wrist, grappling them (escape DC 17). While grappled, the target is restrained, and the target’s Strength score is reduced by 1d4 at the end of each of their turns. The target dies if this reduces its Strength score to 0. Otherwise, the reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest. If a non-evil humanoid dies from this attack, it rises as a shadow 1d4 hours later. A creature can escape the trap by hacking off its own hand (it must take 10 hp worth of slashing damage in order to do so).
If the key is placed into the keyhole, it doesn’t open the door. Instead, the key sucks into the door’s mechanism and reappears 1 round later in the gargoyle’s mouth, ready for its next victim.
A character can notice the trap with a successful DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check.
2 – The Story of Nebtka
Nebtka’s Story. Deciphering the text on the wall requires a translator or someone that can read ancient Etturan (through magical means or otherwise). A translator will explain that the text details Prince Nebtka’s history. At first, it may not seem important, but the text actually explains the tricks to getting around the tomb’s many traps using Nebtka’s story as an allegory. The translation of the text can be found on Handout A, “Nebtka’s Story” in Appendix D.
The Scepter is a Key. The scepter that Empeku gives the characters in area 5 can be placed into the slot in the column. Once inserted, it locks firmly into place. From there, a character can use their action to rotate the column clockwise using the scepter as a handle. Once the scepter points towards the east wall, it clicks into place. The scepter is one of the five keys needed to enter area 12. No other object inserted into the column allows the column to be rotated.
3 – Path of Light
The torch from area 2 can be placed into a setting in the northern-most wall. Doing so spreads light throughout the tomb as if each room was illuminated by a continual light spell.
4 – Chamber of Whispers
A successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals that the winged creature is actually a statue.
Whisper Trap. Everyone that enters this room must make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw at the start of each of their turns. On a failed saving throw, the character takes 2d6 psychic damage and must immediately use its reaction, if available, to move as far as its speed allows out of the tomb. On a successful saving throw, a creature takes half as much damage and doesn’t have to move. Each round, the whispers seem to grow louder. The DC increases by 1 per round (to a maximum of 20) and the psychic damage dealt increases by 1d6 (to a maximum of 12d6).
If a character deafens themselves by covering their ears with their hands or placing wax or something similar in their ears, they are unaffected by the whisper trap. A silence spell cast in the room disables the trap for the spell’s duration as well.
Shadow Realm Curtains. The curtains are magical and desecrated. Any creature that touches the curtains must make a DC 17 Charisma saving throw. On a successful saving throw, a character is pushed back by the curtains into an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the curtains in area 4 and is unharmed. On a failed saving throw, the creature enters an alternate dimension shadow realm version of the tomb. The shadow realm version of the tomb looks exactly like the normal version of the tomb except that that it has the following changes:
- The entire tomb is blanketed in magical darkness.
- The entrance to the tomb is area 1 is gone. In its place is a stone wall. There is no non-magical way to escape the tomb.
- There is no treasure in any of the rooms. This includes the golden scepter in area 5, the elemental keys in area 6, the fake treasure in area 8, or Nebtka’s treasure in area 12.
- The entire complex is filled with angry, incorporeal undead. Each room has 1d4 specters that attack living creatures on sight. The specters follow living creatures around the entire complex if necessary.
- The curtains in area 4 disappear, therefore, the character cannot return the same way they entered the shadow realm.
- The moon key and gargoyle from area 1 still exist in the shadow realm. If a character takes the moon key and inserts it into the door of shadows (see area 1), the door actually opens. Stepping through, the character teleports back to their dimension just to the west of the shadow door. The moon key then returns to its place.
There is no way to cross the curtains without entering the shadow realm behind it.
Opening the Slave Door. The door depicting slaves building the tomb must be lowered into the floor. The best way to do this is with the wheel in the northern alcove. To rotate the wheel, a character must use their action and make a DC 15 Strength check. With a successful check, they rotate the wheel downward, lowering the door 1 inch when they do so. Up to two characters may perform this action in tandem, lowering the door 2 inches per round so long as both their checks are successful. If the wheel is left unmanaged, on initiative count 10, it begins to rotate back up after 1 round, simultaneously raising the door 4 inches per round.
The door itself is difficult to move without using the wheel, requiring a DC 25 Strength check to pull down it 2 inches. As the door lowers, the wheel turns with it. As normal, it tries to raise itself back up if left unmanaged.
A creature can squeeze through an opening in the door depending on their size and how much equipment and gear they are carrying. A Small creature can squeeze through a space that is 18 inches wide without a check, or a space that is 12 inches wide with a successful DC 13 Strength (Athletics) check. A Medium creature can squeeze through a space that is 24 inches wide without a check, or a space that is 16 inches wide with a successful DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check. Increase the minimum space by 150% if the creature is wearing medium or heavy armor. (For example, a halfling wearing chainmail can squeeze through a space that is 27 inches wide without a check, or a space that is 18 inches wide with a successful DC 13 Athletics check.
5 – Chamber of Worship (Wind Door)
Read the following description of the door:
The fire key (area 6) must be placed into this door. Any other key placed into the door triggers a trap (see below).
When the characters open the door and enter, read the following:
Wind Door Trap. The door into this chamber is trapped. If someone places any key but the fire key into this keyhole, attempts to violently force the door open or tries to pick the lock, a trap goes off.
A 5-foot diameter round hole in the ceiling, directly above the square in front of the door, slides open revealing a vertical passage. The passage sucks creatures and objects into it, then spits them out of the tomb. Anyone standing within 10 feet of the hole must make a DC 16 Strength or Dexterity saving throw (target’s choice); a creature directly below it makes its saving throw with disadvantage. On a failed saving throw, the creature is pulled into the shaft, then flies up all 100-feet of the shaft and through the shaft’s exit at the top of the mountain. Next, the creature is tossed 100-feet into the air above the shaft’s exit. Finally, the creature falls 200-feet to the ground in front of the tomb, taking 20d6 falling damage and landing prone. The shaft continues to suck creatures up into it as long as it remains open, requiring more saving throws from any creatures still within 10 feet of it. After 4 rounds, the shaft seals itself shut.
Noticing the trap requires a successful DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check. However, the trap is nearly impossible to disarm. The only way to get to the trap’s mechanisms is to dig up the floor, but that would trigger the tomb’s shadow guardians (see “General Features”).
It’s possible that the characters could seal the hole above the shaft by clogging the passage with items. From there, they can break the door down or pick the lock with a successful DC 19 Dexterity check using proficiency with thieves’ tools.
Carrion God. The vulture man statue represents Empeku, the Etran god of carrion and death. In his hands is Nebtka’s scepter. A character that tries to take the scepter must stand upon the stone dais to do so. Otherwise, Empeku will not release the scepter.
After the creature grabs the scepter, Empeku speaks in ancient Etturan, “I accept this exchange.” The statue then casts power word kill, targeting the creature holding the scepter. When struck dead, the dead creature continues to hold the staff, but the scepter can be taken from the dead creature’s hands so long as the creature remains dead. If the creature is returned to life through a raise dead spell or similar magic, Empeku is angered and the scepter instantly teleports back into his hands until another “sacrifice” is made.
If the creature has more than 100 hit points (thus rendering the spell inert), Empeku then says, “You are worthy.” The character may then take the scepter without any further consequences.
Only a wish spell can release the scepter without the statue casting power word kill.
Other Side of the Curtain. Touching the curtain from this side has the same effect as it does on the other side (see area 4).
Treasure. The scepter is made of solid gold and worth 1,000 gp.
6 – Three Priests, Three Keys
Preists Trap. Each time a key is lifted from one of the hands, the respective hand rises up, denoting the absence of its key. If more than one key is taken at a time (including the fire key in area 8), a trap is triggered. Blades swing out from the statues. A creature standing in the nook when the trap goes off must make a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw, taking 10d8 slashing damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.
The slots where the blades hide are easy to spot, requiring a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check to notice. There are three ways to disarm the blades. First, a surrogate item weighing the same as the stolen key can be placed in the respective key’s stead. Second, the mechanism that activates the blade can be disarmed with a successful DC 17 Dexterity check using proficiency in thieves’ tools. Failing the check by 5 or more results in the trap going off. The blades can also be attacked. Each blade has an AC of 19, 10 hp, and immunity to bludgeoning and slashing. After a blade is destroyed, the damage the blades do decreases by 1d8 (to a minimum of 0), and the DC decreases by 1 (to a minimum of 8). However, destroying a blade activates the tomb guardians (see “General Features”). Third, if a key is placed into the appropriate slot in the floor of area 11, someone can take one additional key without triggering this trap. Once all four keys are placed into the slots in area 11, the priest trap here and in area 8 are totally disarmed.
7 – Descent
At the end of the stairway, there is a collapsed hall. The hall once led to chambers below the tomb where all the mechanical implements could be worked upon by the tombs’ architects. When the tomb was sealed, the architects collapsed the passage.
8 – Chamber of Greed (Fire Door)
Read the following description of the door:
The water key (area 6) must be placed into this door. Any other key placed into the door triggers a trap (see below).
When the characters open the door and enter, read the following:
Fire Door Trap. The door into this chamber is trapped. If someone places any key but the water key into this keyhole, attempts to violently force the door open or tries to pick the lock, the trap goes off.
Iron walls drop from the ceiling at either side of the square directly in front of the door. Any creature standing in the square in front of the fire door must succeed on a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or become trapped. A creature that succeeds on its saving throw moves to an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the square in front of the door. After 1 round, the inside of the box created by the fire door and the two iron walls starts to heat up. A creature inside the box takes 1d8 fire damage at the end of each of their turns. On each subsequent round (on initiative count 20), the damage of the fire increases by 1d8 to a maximum of 10d8. The fire door and iron walls have an AC 19, 75 hp (threshold 5), and immunity to fire, poison, and psychic damage. The iron walls can be lifted up just enough for a creature to a crawl out with a successful DC 23 Strength check. After 1 minute, the heat stops and the iron walls retract.
A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check notices the slots in the floor that the iron walls come out of as well as the heating coils in the ceiling in floor. The walls’ slots can be jammed with a dagger or similar implement, preventing them from rising. The heating coils can be disarmed with a successful DC 15 Dexterity check using proficiency in thieves’ tools.
Fake Treasure. None of the treasure in this room is real. Instead, the “coins” are magical constructs that activate when attacked or touched. Each gold coin sprouts legs and antennae and the “coin” itself splits in two, revealing scarab-like wings. From there, the “treasure hoard” comes to life like a swarm of dangerous, golden insects. Treat the entire room as if every square had a swarm of insects in it, except that the swarms’s type is Construct, they have AC 16 (natural armor), and are immune to poison and psychic damage. The insects continue to attack and swarm until the next dawn, at which point they settle down and resume their false appearance. A character can observe the treasure (without touching it); a successful DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals the treasure’s true nature.
Fire Key. Similar to the other three statues in area 6, this column shaped like a priest holds one of the tomb’s four elemental keys. If a creature takes the fire key without first replacing the other keys (or disabling their mechanisms), another trap goes off. The fire door closes, trapping any creature in the room. Then, the priest’s mouth opens, exuding an invisible toxic gas. Any creature trapped in the room must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw at the start of each of its turns, taking 5d6 poison damage on a failed saving throw or half as much damage on a successful one. Each round (on initiative count 20) the poison damage increases by 1d6 (to a maximum of 10d6) and the DC for the saving throw increases by 1 (to a maximum of DC 20). Until the door is opened, the poison remains in the room. A creature can stop the poison gas by clogging the warrior’s mouth with fabric or something similar. The poison jet within the statue can also be disarmed with a successful DC 14 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools.
9 – Chamber of Humility (Water Door)
Read the following description of the door:
Unlike the other elemental doors, this door can be opened with a push. However, failure to place the earth key into this door and turn it triggers a trap (see below). The keyhole is only on the northern-facing side of the door. If the door shuts and the characters are trapped in area 9, they cannot insert the key into the door.
Once the characters enter the room, read the following:
Water Door Trap. The eastern door in this room leading to area 10 is shut and locked. It can only be opened if the earth key is placed into the water door and turned. Failure to use the earth key in the water door before touching the eastern door triggers the trap. Immediately, the water door slams shut and locks. The floor then lowers 2 inches, revealing water jets which immediately start to fill the room. Each round (on initiative count 20), the water level rises 6 inches. After 1 minute, the entire room is filled with water. If the eastern door opens (thanks to the earth key in the water door), there are grates in its frame which allow the water to drain out of the room. Creatures in the room can block the jets, slowing down the flow of water by 1 inch for every 5 feet the characters block (to a minimum of 0 inches per round).
A successful DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) notice that the floor lowers. A creature can make a successful DC 18 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools to disarm the mechanism that lowers the floor, thereby preventing the room from filling with water.
Opening the door to area 10 without the key first requires a successful DC 20 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools to remove the locking mechanism, then a successful DC 19 Strength check to push the door open.
The water remains in the room until the next dawn. The water drains from the room and the trap resets.
10 – Partially Collapsed Tunnel
This was not part of the tomb’s architects’ original design; the tunnel collapsed under the pressure of the mountain above it. Fortunately, there is a narrow passage that the characters can climb through to reach area 11. The passage isn’t visible until a creature is standing within 5 feet of the rubble.
Small creatures can move through the passage without any difficulty. However, a Medium or larger creature that tries to crawl through the passage must make a successful DC 5 Strength (Athletics) check to do so (made with disadvantage if the character is wearing medium or heavy armor). On a failed check, the character is restrained until the start of their next turn. In addition, the ceiling above the chamber shifts, dropping more rubble. When this happens, the DC for future Strength (Athletics) checks made to squeeze through the passage increases by 1d4. If a creature fails its check by 5 or more, the passage completely collapses, dropping the entire weight of the mountain onto the passage. Any creature within 10 feet of the collapsing passage takes 10d6 bludgeoning damage; a creature restrained by the passage takes twice as much damage. Once the passage collapses, there is no way to get through the tunnel through nonmagical means.
11 – Room of Laughing Skulls
The runes on the carvings’ book are in ancient Erratan and read “earth, air, fire, and water.”
To open the door into area 12, the scepter from area 4 must be placed into the column in area 2 and rotated. Then, all four element keys must be placed into the floor and turned. The keys must be placed in the following order: earth, air, fire, and water. Placing a key into its respective keyhole in this room does not trigger the warrior traps when an additional key is taken.
Door Trap. If someone attempts to open the door before all five keys are put into their respective places (or if the keys are placed in the wrong order), or if someone tries to violently force the door open or pick the door’s lock, one final trap goes off. The carving of the king speaks in Etturan, “Be gone, intruder. I curse thee.” Each creature within 20 feet of the door when this happens is cursed. A cursed target can’t regain hit points, and at the start of its turn, a cursed target’s hit point maximum decreases by 1d6. If the curse reduces the target’s hit point maximum to 0, the target dies, and its body turns to dust. The curse lasts until removed by the remove curse spell or other magic, or Nebtka’s remains are destroyed.
The door to Nebtka’s tomb is difficult to open, requiring a DC 25 Strength check to force open or five successful DC 15 Dexterity checks using proficiency with thieves tools to pick. The door is magically reinforced, too, so unless a dispel magic spell is cast upon it, it has an AC of 21, 100 hp (threshold 10), resistance to all nonmagical damage, and immunity to poison and psychic damage. When dispelled, its stats are the same as other doors in the tomb (see “General Features”).
12 – Nebtka’s Tomb
Opening Nebtka’s sarcophagus (a successful DC 15 Strength check) reveals his withered, mummified remains. While his corpse exudes the curse of a mummy lord, Nebtka is not actually an undead creature.
Destroying Nebtka’s Remains. If Nebtka’s remains are set on fire or sprinkled with holy water, the curse over the tomb ends, as well as any other curses the characters may have received while in the tomb.
Treasure. The tomb holds an impressive amount of wealth. There is 13,520 gp; 7 gems (2 black opals, 1 blue sapphire, 3 star rubies, and 1 star sapphire) each worth 1,000 gp each; 2 art objects (a silver chalice set with moonstones and a ceremonial dagger with a black pearl in the pommel) each worth 750 gp each; a +2 scimitar; and a suit of +1 plate.
The Tomb of the Kirin-Born Prince is exceptionally deadly. It’s likely the characters will need to return and recuperate multiple times before they are able to solve all of the tombs’ riddles. Ω
Credits: Adventure by Dave Hamrick, Cartography and Adventure Background by Dyson Logos
BroadSword is HERE.
The PDF version of BroadSword Monthly just arrived on my Patreon. All Patrons of silver tier and above receive a FREE copy of the 100-page adventure book plus all of the other PDFs on my Patreon.
Thumbnail art from Wizards of the Coast.