[“After Game” Notes at bottom of page.]

[Note: The outline was for reference in conjunction with the map from Dungeon Magazine’s adventure “The Whispering Cairn.” Thus the following outline does not necessarily follow the “correct” order the PCs progressed through the tomb. It should be noted that although the adventure was written out this way. Also, the adventure took a stray course at one point, and I basically had to do a rewrite because of the story taking a different arch. ]

Whispering Cairn Part II is a PDF and can be downloaded or viewed here.

It’s a ten minute hike from the old mine office. [1]

  • CAIRN ENTRANCE – SEARCH DC10 The entrance to the cairn has been recently cleared away, likely within the last 48 hours. Debris and underbrush have been carted off and tossed around the perimeter of the cairn. TRACK/SURVIVAL DC14: The debris was carried away by six humanoids of medium to large size. They also entered the cairn about two hours ago. [2]

  • CAVE MOUTH – Sounds: like sighing breath. Thick Cobwebs on ceiling. Close inspection of the ceiling shows that the stones and blocks making up the ceiling seem ill fit and oddly set. Removing the webs hints further that the ceiling is trapped. Door is the trigger. DISABLE DEVICE DC21. Stones fall, 5d10 damage. TRACK/SURVIVAL DC12 Dust on the floor tells that the humanoids spent some time here wandering around and looking at all the walls. [3] However, it is impossible to figure out which way they departed the room. SEARCH DC10 runes on wall nearly obscured by dust. Draconic runes saying “Ashardalon, wyrm of midnight, bastion of souls.” SEARCH DC15 Secret door on wall. [4], [5]

  • DARK HALLWAY: Secret door leads here. TRACK/SURVIVAL DC10 Trail of six humanoids continues. Hallway is dark.

  1. (Small room) The broken portal. More runes and a glyph. Small fragments of black glass on the floor.

  2. (Collapsed passage) Caved in, and impassable.

  3. (Door to main hall) Unlocked but blocked from other side. Must be forced open. DC23 to open. Body of a male orc blocking the way. He is dressed in explorer’s outfit, and he is bloated and swollen, as if killed by poison. Maybe an hour since death. He is stripped of all gear.

Top of the Cairn

They discovered an air chute or chimney that was partially covered by vegetation. They climbed down into the chute, and dropped into the MAIN HALL.

  • MAIN HALL: The room is full of rubble. The floor is damaged. Slabs of masonry have obviously fallen from the ceiling. Irregular piles of debris cover the floor. In one area, blood is splattered on the wall and floor, and it is obvious that someone was smashed under a block. LISTEN DC10 The whispers are louder here, almost sounding less like moans and more like words. SPOT DC12 Notice wolves before they start growling. SEARCH DC14 Treasure: Leather Backpack containing (wrapped in a blanket) an ornate lantern of brass inset with indigo glass. An armband beautifully carved with leaf motifs. Obviously Elven.

  • ACID BEETLES & MAD SLASHERS: If it becomes painfully obvious that the players are planning to run through this story as a “hack-n-slash” rather than “raid-n-investigate” then spice things up with an action scene with swarms and mad slashers chasing the PCs. [8]

  • WORG ENCOUNTER: There are six to eight Worgs here, hiding in the room and stairway. (MM pg 184-185) These Worgs are not from the Prime. These are Shadow Worgs. The lead Worg climbs to the top of the stairs, snarling at the PCs. It will speak to them in Goblin, warning them away. They are protective of a female Worg that has a terrible wound from a slashing weapon maybe an axe. If the Worgs can be convinced that the PCs are not friendly with the thugs that came before the PCs, they will allow the PCs to go on. If the PCs aid the wounded Worg, then the Alpha Worg will follow them and help them. He will not be used as a shield, and hangs in the back. Disrespect will get them no where! Hopefully, role-playing will rule here, not combat! [6]

  • SECRET DOOR TO VERTICAL SHAFT: The shaft is DARK. The shaft is straight down 55 feet. See Use Rope and Climb. As they start down the shaft, they see billowing smoke coming up at them. A little at first and then to the point that they are in TOTAL DARKNESS. Half way down the shaft, the PCs see glowing red eyes coming at them in the shaft. 5 Mad Slashers (Dungeon page 26) skitter up the shaft. They are agitated and begin attacking the PCs as they climb. They will attempt to knock the PCs down the shaft into the TRUE TOMB. [7]

  • SWIM TIME: This is the safest way into the TRUE TOMB if they can swim. Swim Page 84. They can swim through a submerged room, into a flooded hallway, and up through a pool into the TRUE TOMB. Possibility of an underwater encounter with a Wraith or Drowned Zombie. [9]

  • SUBMERGED ROOM: Large room. Here, 4 half-orc thugs have become the victim of Alastor Land. Their bodies are twisted and broken. One of them has been inviserated, and his guts. One of these has a letter from someone named Kullen. The letter is a contract for 2000 gp to recover the same relic that the PCs are looking for. Instructions say to return the relic to the Feral Dog saloon. [10]

  • SUBMERGED ROOM 2: There is a mural on the wall depicting an enormous face opening its mouth in an angry scream. It is drawn around a door which is framed and bound in brass. Looking at the mural requires a WILL SAVE DC13 otherwise the onlooker will be paralyzed, and forced to the ground for 1d4 rounds. During this time, they are unaware of what is going on and are overwhelmed by a thousand screaming voices in their head. The door has seven locks on it. Unlocking the door will be tough, but they must do it in order to get the relic. The locks are Masterwork DC20. The locks are tough, because each time you touch the lock you get hit with a Shocking Grasp spell. No save. 2d6. Disable Device DC24. [11]

  • There is a large chest bound in iron. Opening it causes a small glass sphere to slip out of the lid and shatter on the floor. The marble hits, impacts, and explodes for 5d8 damage. REFLEX DC18. DISABLE DEVICE DC20.

  • ALASTOR LAND: At some point, the Worgs will attempt to barter with the PCs to remove Alastor’s bones from the Cairn and lay him to rest. The Worgs will refer to Alastor as “a troublesome spirit” and will ask the PCs to “remove the remains and lay it to rest.” [12]

  • THE BURIAL SITE: A small area with 2 rows of 3 stone slabs. Lying on the top are the remains of servants of the Vaati. Included are MASTERWORK longswords, coins, and gems. These remains are sacred. Since the PCs will probably not realize what’s going on, emphasize the fact that the remains are laid out ritually. If the PCs attempt to steal anything from this area, and this area only use the Book of Vile Darkness and find a suitable way to make the PCs drop dead after taking a few steps. There is a spell in there that will stop a target’s heart. That will be good enough. [13]

  • THE MURALS: Refer to the Murals from Dungeon Magazine.

  • ALASTOR LAND. CR8. HP: 112. AC:26. (22) Speed: 30. Damage Reduction: 20. SPECIAL:Invisibility, Fast Healing 5, Stunning Fist x3 (pg 101), Special Abilities: Deeper Darkness (217), Circle of Death, Finger of Death, Magic Circle Against Law, Power Word Blind, Word of Chaos, Shatter, Fireball. Summon Slaad: (MM pg 168). Telepathy. COMBAT: 2 Claws +20 3d6+5, 1 Bite +18 2D10+2. Power Attack. (Award XP) [14]

  • Notes: Alastor has been trapped here and cursed to forever guard the tomb of Zosiel, the Wind Duke. Alastor was a monk who served Zosiel, and aid his master during the Dawning War. At a pivotal moment, he wimped out and fled from battle, and now must guard the remains of Zosiel to make up for it. Alastor will have to be slain in order to continue. In doing so, Alastor fulfills his duty for giving his life for Zosiel and is released from service. Alastor will reappear in ghostly form, and explain to the PCs about the Whispering Cairn, Zosiel, and the War of Chaos. Refer to the section “Alastor Speaks” below.

  • BEHIND THE DOOR. The door reveals an arcane burial room. In the center, a sarcophagus levitates and turns side to side in midair. Speaking the name “Zosiel” will make the coffin stop turning, settle to the ground, and open revealing blue light. Inside there is the following treasure: an adamant rod roughly 3 feet long marked with stars, a delicate diadem inscribed with Zosiel’s personal glyph (circlet of wisdom +2), two long curved black horns with red tips (50 gp each), a book called “Chronicles of Chan” (dungeon pg 21) and a small black box marked with wild, strange runes. (Infernal, explaining the box belongs to the Queen of Chaos) The small box must be forced open with a DC15 Strength check. Inside is a loop of adamantine which can be set on the wrist while grasping an attached handle made of some kind of strange black bone. This is a talisman of the sphere and is currently inert. Refer to the section below, “Farewell.”


Alastor gives the PCs some information. “Eons ago, the world as you know it did not exist. The world was ruled by demons and devils. It was simply another plane ruled by evil. There was a rebellion lead by an ancient dragon known as Ashardalon. The great wyrm rose up, and lead an army of dragons, feathered serpents, and elementals against the demons. During the great war, armies form the Abyss and the Hells poured into this plane. Ashardalon was aided by many factions, but one of them was my lord and master, Zosiel the Wind Duke. Zosiel brought with him a mighty weapon forged by himself and his fellow Wind Dukes. The weapon was used to strike down the lieutenant of the demonic army, a beast named Mishka the Wolf-Spider. The weapon was powerful enough to banish her from his plane permanently. As Zosiel struck the final blow, another demon prince used a mighty weapon known as a sphere of annihilation to slay Zosiel. I failed to guard my master, choosing instead to save my own life. The tide of the battle changed with the banishment of Mishka, and Ashardalon gained victory. The gods demanded that to preserve the Balance, the weapon be broken into pieces and scattered throughout the planes of existence.


Alastor will tell the PCs what the thing from the box is, and explain that it is currently inert. He will also tell them that the Balance is in great peril. That a war is raging throughout the planes, and that the gods are locked in combat. During this, their influence is fragmented. Not to mention that some gods have been slayed, and that such losses may have terrible ramifications throughout the great wheel, as well as the Prime Material Plane. [15]

After Game Notes.

  • [1] The adventure differs from that in Dungeon magazine for two reasons: (1) One of my players is a subscriber to Dungeon and had read the adventure (2) I wanted to condense things into a smaller space due to limited time to play.

  • [2] The playing characters have not actively tried to figure out who moved the debris. Also, the players have not actively stated they wish to find out, either. Perhaps a moot point, or perhaps they really didn’t care who did it.

  • [3] The players didn’t catch the hint about the walls. Their characters never found some of the runes about Ashardalon or the air vents.

  • [4] They didn’t check the ceiling, and they were run out by the falling block trap. Here, I had to shuffle around the adventure a little bit. They exited and came back in through a shaft in the top of the cairn mound. This dropped them into the heart of the Cairn, so that was fine with me.

  • [5] They didn’t find the secret door. They tried to get through the locked door and set off the falling black trap and had to run away fast!

  • [6] Although a few of the players tried to make this into a combat encounter, during the next session it was actually played out as a role-playing encounter. It turned out to be a good encounter. Kudos to the players!

  • [7] This secret door was never found by the PCs. Not a big deal.

  • [8] This encounter happened to speed up play a little. It ended up making the PCs have to hurry and got them moving. The drawback was that Shirey took a lot of damage from the swarms and slasher spiders.

  • [9] Due to time, we ended up not getting to go into depth about the wraiths in the water. Perhaps later we can go into it. Although Yuva & Keevan did combat one of the water wraiths towards the end of the story. This was a nice scene with Keevan stabbing at a water wraith while Yuva stood in the back and used the lantern to shed light. She also hit it with her Turn Undead ability, and I believe that Shirey shot at it at least once.

  • [10] The PCs never entered the submerged rooms because they were using Keevan’s spell to find the box. They missed out on some loot. Not a big deal.

  • [11] Yet again, PCs didn’t enter the submerged rooms. Smart on their part.

  • [12] The Alastor thing did NOT go over well. The PCs were convinced that the remains (bones) of Alastor were what were killing Keevan and John. Thus, Yuva used her Turn Undead ability and rolled REALLY well. Basically she destroyed Alastor body and soul, and banished him to the Abyss. Thus, the ENTIRE section with Alastor did NOT happen! Not the end of the world. Smart playing on the part of the players! Good job, folks.

  • [13] Oh yeah. Keevan and John got greedy and stole from the sacred items. They were hit with a Stop Heart spell from the Book of Vile darkness. Greed and looting is fine, just don’t steal the sacred artifacts. Sorry, guys 0 had to do it.

  • [14] PCs never fought Alastor Land due to Yuva’s excellent rolls. The spirit never manifested. Probably a good move on the part of the players to avoid the monster all together.

  • [15] Some of the information that would have been given out by Alastor was instead told to the PCs by Allustan.

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Keevan has been sent information indicating that a necromancer from Sharn, the City of Towers recently moved to Diamond Lake. He’s been told that a price of 5000 gold is on the man’s head if he’s brought back alive. Ironically, Tzin Ho Lee has been asked by Smenk to take a shipment of crates from the docks to the observatory for him. A price hasn’t been set for the delivery. However, Smenk said he’d cut Tzin Ho Lee in for 1/3 the profit of the delivery. However, Tzin forgot to inform his companions about this deal.

The Old Observatory is located in the Cairn Hills not far from Diamond Lake. It was once used by the monks from the Twilight monastery to track and observe the stars. However, the mayor of Diamond Lake fell into a power struggle with the monks, and the mayor seized the observatory from the monks for an undisclosed reason. Smenk did as he usually does, and bought up the seized property. Smenk owns many abandoned buildings in the area.

Currently the party is unsure how long Filge has been at the Observatory. They also don’t know why he’s there. They also don’t know what crimes Filge committed to get a 5000 gold price on his head.






Return to Diamond Lake

The playing characters finally get their pay off!

They attempt to contact Elaydren at Lazre’s House in Diamond Lake. Here they encounter Lazare and Smenk. Lazare is busy making himself look important, and trying to ignore Smenk. Smenk is busy trying to take his mind off his current problems with the Ebon Triad, and stuffing his face with food.

2`Lazare explains that Elaydren had to return to Sharn to see to some business, however she’s left a message for them. They leave the gaming den and go back to the Able Coaching Inn. Here, they discover they need to go to the Sivis Message Station. So, they do.

Unknown to the playing characters, a villain has been to the Sivis message station while they were at Lazare’s house. Filge, a necromancer, took advantage of the foul weather to make an attack on the Sivis Message Station right under the noses of the citizens of Diamond Lake. Using spells to make their passage unseen by most of the residents, Filge headed out.

Before Rugaz and Rhiannath arrived at the message station, the black-clad Filge and his hoard of Spawn of Kyuss assaulted the gnome woman, and kidnapped the gnome translator. They also stole a package from the depot, and departed. The Spawn of Kyuss, nearly unkillable zombies, are special in that they have some intelllect and are able to move silently, among other things. That combined with Filge’s spells, the  the group was able to move through the streets undetected.

One street away, the half-orc and half-elf arrived at the message station. Finding the door knocked off its hinges, they entered. They found the assaulted gnome woman laying there, distraught and confused. Meanwhile, the villains straggled and loped further away. Luckily the rain and lightning had most of the citizens of Diamond Lake inside, and most of the working class were busy at the mines. Few saw Filge and his zombies moving through town.
And when Rugaz and Rhiannath departed the station, they did not think to track the assailants through the muddy streets. They instead departed right away to the Able Coaching Inn, and met with their comrades. They didn’t realize that moments away Filge and his zombies were creeping towards the center square.

Unluckily, four of Diamond Lake’s militia were on their way to the Able Coaching Inn to drop off a message for a ranger named Keevan. They had heard that Keevan had been staying at the Inn, and planned to drop off the message as a kindness. But they had stopped at the local drinking hole to wait out the storm. A few ales later, they set off and stumbled across Filge. At first they weren’t sure what they were seeing. It looked like a black fog moving slowly through the street. But curiosity got the best of them, and they investigated.
Combat ensued. The militia soldiers tried their best to drop the zombies. Their shots did nothing to stop the creatures. Frantic and scared, they did what any sane person would do …. they ran. Running through town they made for the center square. They could make a last stand there. And maybe the ranger from the east would help them. Maybe he would summon help. They could only hope.

And while the playing characters were upstairs, runners arrived at the Able Coaching Inn. They ducked inside, telling everyone to make for the docks. The halflings stopped dancing, and the copper miner stopped eating. Lucky for him, the badger trapper was out in the hills hunting. So the people in the main hall of the Inn fled, and the runner looked to the last halfling of the seven, saying “Is there anybody upstairs?”

The halfing shook his head, and said “Nobody worth saving!” and ducked out the door. The young man looked at the stairs, and the upper rooms. The he looked outside, and thought of the zombies. He was no hero! He needed to get out of here! He turned, and ran for the docks too.

The playing characters were so busy celebrating their newly found wealth, all of this went unnoticed. Until the gunshots and the screams outside. They looked out and saw four militia soldiers making a dash for the Inn. Indeed, they were making a last stand. One would stop and fire, and then the others would run. And the loping zombies loped onward after their prey, hungry for flesh and marrow.

Filge, the Necromancer, knew better. He took his stolen wares and turned off into the hills, heading for the observatory again. Let the Spawn do their work. It would cover his retreat.

And the playing characters were trapped. They might have been convinced that the zombies were coming for them. Maybe they thought it was connected to the appearance of the vampire the other night at the docks. Who knows? Either way, the playing characters knew that there was a horde of zombies outside, and they were trapped in the Inn.
Despite the wind, rain, and thunder the playing characters made a stand. Some went below to secure the doors and windows, while others made for the balcony to rain down death on the undead. Their tactics were sound, and smart. Stay out of reach, and kill from afar. But the zombies were too much.

Zombies are hard to kill. Usually arrows and bullets don’t do too much unless you managed to destroy the zombie’s brain. Even then, it’s difficult to do with a piercing weapon like an arrow. But some zombies will drop if you cut off their heads. It severs the nervous system and they fall like ragdolls. Others, well, you have to hack them up and burn them. Or douse them with holy water. But these weren’t just zombies. They were Spawn of Kyuss! John of Hilldale had heard a little about the unkillable zombies in the Cairn Hills. He knew they were resistant to damage and had healing abilities to cure their own wounds. He also knew that you could identify them by the green worms infesting their undead flesh. And these zombies were crawling with worms.

Worms a lot like the ones that they had been forced to consume several days ago.

Luckily, Rugaz had bought some alchemist weapons, and was putting a hurt on the Spawn with combinations of fire, electricity, acid, and ice. Meanwhile, Tzin Ho Lee jumped from rooftop to rooftop, making for Sheriff Cubbin’s office to summon help.

Speaking of help, Allustan arrived as every wizard seems to do, at precisely the right time. As the tide of battle was turning, and the playing characters would have to either defend the Inn or make a run for it, Allustan appeared. He wielded a staff that shed gleaming white light from the tip. Courageously, Allustan warded off the Spawn with the light, and ordered the playing characters into the Inn. They retreated, somewhat unwillingly. Then, Allustan cast a spell that surrounded the Inn with a prismatic multicolored wall of energy. Nothing could get in or out. Allustan managed to hold off the Spawn until Tzin Ho Lee arrived with Cubbin and some of the deputies.

Cubbin and his men were worthless. They stood with mouths agape, gawking at Allustan. Amazingly, Allustan stood between the wall of energy and the Spawn, warding the creatures off.

Tzin Ho Lee thought he heard Allustan say, “Back, foul Spawn! Return to your master! Kyuss holds no power here!”
And then it happened. Moments passed, and suddenly the Spawn seemed disinterested. They turned suddenly, and with atonishing speed, they loped off into the hills towards the observatory.

Allustan looked as atonished as the others. He breathed a sigh of relief, and wiped his brow. And then, he dropped the spell from the Inn. Before Tzin Ho Lee or Cubbin could say anything, Allustan was gone as if he had never been there.

Wizards…. (huff)



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The Whispering Cairn

Elaydren didn’t want her newly hired mercenaries to show up in Diamond Lake and start talking about their expedition. So, she had her assistant, Snyder, take them by land cart from Shanty Town straight to the Cairn Hills. He dropped them off at the old mining office outside of town and departed. Of course, agents of House Cannith had already been to the location to clear away debris that had sealed off the Cairn’s monolithic entrance in days gone by. The playing characters did not waste any time, and entered under cover of darkness.
Their first attempt at entering the Cairn failed. Zadoc’s traps were too good. As the party entered the Cairn and the party’s two “locksmiths” attempted to open the door into the tomb, Zadoc awoke. He realized that the humans were their to plunder the tomb, and set his traps into motion. The ceiling shook, and blocks of masonry began to fall. To the playing characters, it seemed they had set off a magical trap. Fleeing the tomb, they regrouped.
Luckily, one of the party had recently come from Sharn, and had been to the Morgrave University to do some research on the Whispering Cairn. He had stumbled upon a good find, and found out a lot of information about the Cairn based on past expeditions. Using this information, the party was able to locate a small shaft that descended into the heart of the tomb.
Inside, the party was faced with many challenges. Zadoc hounded them the entire way, using his abilities to set off traps, and menace them with whispering winds and chilling laughter. He was trying to shake their morale and make them leave the Cairn.
The party discovered a lot of information about the Vaati, a race of air elementals as well as their half-human worshippers. They discovered good information about the Battle of Pesh which relates directly to the Age of Worms. Also, they learned about the Rod of Law which had been used to destroy the demon called Mishka the Wolf-Spider during the Battle of Pesh. The Rod of Law was split into seven parts, and scattered throughout the Planes. This suggests that the Rod of Law may be the artifact known as the “Rod of Seven Parts.”
However, the situation with Alastor Land was interesting. Alastor was a being that had been trapped in the Whispering Cairn for some time. The playing characters misinterpreted a situation within the tomb, and ultimately banished the spirit of Alastor Land to the Abyss. This saved them the trouble of having to do combat with Land, however it did not allow them to release Land from his imprisonment. Thus, they did not gain important information from Land.
The playing characters departed the Whispering Cairn seemingly successful. However, future events may require that they return to the Whispering Cairn.








Part Two had the playing characters finding out a little more before sending them straight into the events in the “Whispering Cairn.” The players decided to head into Diamond Lake to have a look around and gather supplies.

Rather than buying healing potions, they decided to raid a local temple and steal some potions. During the burglary, the playing characters discovered that some priests had been possessed by some kind of creature called “The Wearers of the Flesh.” This is important because the characters have already had past experience with this race of monsters in past adventures. These priests were lost already, under the sway of Kyuss.

When they departed the Sunless Citadel via Calcryx’s Planar Gate they ended up in the Abyss. They currently have repressed memories of what happened in the Abyss due to being submerged in the waters of the River Styx. However, they do remember a little of what happened before they were able to get back to Sigil.

They remember being in complete darkness, and having the feeling of falling through space. They remember people dancing around them dressed in black robes. And they remember a woman screaming in the background. They also remember a slithering green worm crawling up their bodies and entering their mouths. When this happened, the worm was about to communicate with them via telepathy. They heard a voice in their minds, making an offer of immortality. Most of the playing characters refused, two agreed, and another refused to answer.

This relates directly to the Wearers of the Flesh, because that’s what the silver worm was that they encountered. The playing characters attempted to rid themselves of the worms, convinced that the things still inhabited their bodies. However, their attempts were unsuccessful. Currently, the playing characters have not gathered information or researched any further information about these beings. However, they do know that the things claimed to be from the Abyss, and seek to take over the Prime Material Plane by inhabitating the flesh of humans. This relates back to Kyuss, and directly links to the Age of Worms.

The playing characters were hired by Elaydren D’ Cannith (in the thinly veiled guise of Elaydren D’Vown) to retrieve an artifact from the Whispering Cairn. Current research done by Morgrave University (Professor Geldem) suggested that the Whispering Cairn was never fully mapped or searched during past expeditions. Although the details Elaydren got from Geldem before he was murdered are sketchy, apparently there is at least one secret section of the Whispering Cairn that was never searched. Elaydren wants the playing characters to enter the Cairn, find the artifact, and return it to her.

First off, Elaydren’s information was sketchy and she’s mixing up two different artifacts. One is something called the Talisman of the Sphere, and the other is an ancient schema in the shape of a star. Both lie within the Whispering Cairn.

And although Elaydren wants the schema, so do the other factions of House Cannith. And to make matters worse, other organizations are looking for the artifacts too. This includes the Emerald Claw, and The Seeker Guild.

That means some of Geldem’s research materials survived, and fell into the wrong hands.
From here, the playing characters would be heading off to the Whispering Cairn.





The Legend of Kyuss



“Thousands of years ago, in or about the year -2995 YK, an elven mystic named Kyuss, gifted with an unusually strong Mark of Death, rises to prominence in Aerenal. But, he is exhiled from Aerenal for practicing obscene acts of necromancy and using his puissant dragonmark to pervert the dead in ways deemed blasphemous by the Undying Court. His assembly of like-minded social outcasts follow him and they make a pilgrimage to the eastern jungles of Xen’drik. In the tropical jungles of the former giant empire, the Kyussians found a humble city among the monoliths and vine-snared tombs of the continent’s former masters. They call their new home Long Shadows. Kyuss preaches his mysterious visions of metal plates foretelling the collapse of civilization. Eager to exact revenge on their brethren in Aeranal, his beguiled followers scour the dark jungles in search of the plates. They also continue their grim experiments under Kyuss’ direction, giving rise to many new species of undead and other abominations. Eventually, in the bowels of an ancient demon lord’s tomb, Kyussians discover a set of brass plates engraved with a long-forgotten script that confirm Kyuss’ apocalyptic premonitions.

The metal plates contain a fragment of the apocalypse myth of the long-vanquished culture of the Age of Demons – a dark time when Khyber’s fiendish children ruled the world; a time when dromoj and other winged horrors swarmed in the skies, before their civilization crumbled under the might of the dragons. The plates speak of an era of doom and decay, a return of the former time of chaos and melancholy, a new time of terror known as the Age of Worms. It was but a sliver of a much broader extinct liturgy, but to Kyuss, it still held promise. In his sweltering jungle enclave, the charismatic madman vowed to bring about this frightening new epoch. As hundreds of his followers sacrifice themselves for the glory of his vision, the twisted prophet declares himself the Harbinger of the Age of Worms.

To amass greater and greater power, Kyuss binds himself to a dragonshard monolith dragged many miles from just outside The Ring of Storms. The monolith is housed in a looming edifice known as the Spire of Long Shadows. The massive dragonshard thrums with energy, and poisoned whispers from its inner void beckon Kyuss to join them in oblivion, revealing hidden pathways and temptations within the placid surface of the monolith. With many of his followers consumed with madness, slain by drow, or otherwise dead at his feet, Kyuss enters the immense shard of otherworldly stone. In so doing, he becomes more than mortal, but his essence is trapped in a horrific demiplane slaved to the shard. In the centuries that follow, the jungle swallows Kyuss’ abominable home, leaving only the forlorn Spire of Long Shadows to peek above the lush tropical canopy.

Hundreds of years later, in or around the year –2700 YK, a powerful red dragon named Dragotha roosts on the Spire’s lofty pinnacle, surveying the crumbling ruins of Kyuss’ realm. Dragotha learned of the potent necromantic monolith from his studies in the annals of The Chamber. Dragotha had left Argonnessen a couple of centuries earlier, frustrated at the silly talk of prophecy, moderation and restraint. The red dragon sought a means to rise to power to bring the dragons and all other races to their knees before him. To this end, Dragotha pries the dragonshard monolith from its moorings and carries it far to the north, across the Thunder Sea, to his lair in the Demon Wastes. Kyuss, trapped within some planar nether-realm connected to the monolith, whispers words of confidence to Dragotha. “Release me,” he asks, “and you shall live forever and have power over your detractors.” Dragotha conducts the required rituals, and Kyuss returns to Eberron.

Shortly thereafter, in the twenty-seventh century before the Year of the Kingdom, Kyuss’ native House of Vol is exterminated in Aerenal, as are any bearers of the Mark of Death. Only Erandis d’Vol and Kyuss survive. The former goes into hiding and Kyuss has been long forgotten, but Dragotha is not. A flight of dragons from The Chamber finds the lone red and destroys him in the canyons of The Labyrinth. Yet, true to his word, Kyuss restores Dragotha to life as a powerful dracolich, fusing a part of his own essence into the bones of his rescuer. Kyuss follows the letter of their agreement, if not the spirit, and the process virtually enslaves Dragotha to the elf’s will. Together the two build an army of undead monstrosities using the practices from Kyuss’ mortal life and the twisted powers he gained while trapped in the monolith.

Several hundred years later the great undead dragon stands at the vanguard of an army of Kyuss’ spawn, which savage the native cliffdwelling folk of The Labyrinth and takes the first steps toward a new empire of evil. But, at the same time the dragonmarked houses begin their crusade against aberrant and mixed dragonmarks. Whispering about the ancient myth regarding an “Age of Worms,” is drowned out by calls to eradicate the aberrants. The few that know of Kyuss’ history in the southern jungles do not recognize that this menace has resurfaced. The dragonmarked houses marshal their forces and, misunderstanding their enemy, consider Kyuss and his thralls another aberrant threat in the War of the Mark, not even contemplating the true nature of this power from the northwest.

While the armies of the dragonmarked houses fall upon Kyuss’ spawn, a party of heroes seeks the source of the undead threat. The group, consisting of druidic Gatekeepers, rangers from Eldeen Reaches, and the Maruk Gaash’kala, inheritors of their own ancient legacies, conceive a daring plan to weaken the undead army. They manage to steal Dragotha’s phylactery, spiriting it far from the Wormcrawl Fissure and hiding it in an unknown location. Dragotha’s sense of self-preservation at last overwhelms his compulsion to serve Kyuss, and the dracolich quits the field of battle. Bolstered by their victory, the party pushes Kyuss back to the Wormcrawl Fissure and bind him once more into the monolith – this time, they hope, forever.

Within a few hundred years, Kyuss and Dragotha fade again from history. New threats and challenges push memories of elven-master and dragon-slave to the peripheries of history. Dragotha never finds his phylactery and retreats to a life of seclusion in the frozen north. But the dragon does not remain idle. With his life essence forever bound to that of the trapped Kyuss, Dragotha cannot abide his master’s imprisonment. Over the course of centuries the dracolich stitches together a secret network of agents poised to release Kyuss once again into the world. As a group of unlikely heroes gathers in the mining town of Diamond Lake, Dragotha’s plan is reaching its final stages.

The Age of Worms is nigh.





We played through this session on September 12, 2005.

Professor Geldem had been doing research on something called “The Apotheosis” for Morgrave Univerity in Sharn, the City of Towers. After several years of research, the professor came to the horrible revelation that Apotheosis connected directly to the fabled Age of Worms. In shock and horror at his discoveries, he destroyed much of his research and development projects, stole a journal he had been working on for the University, and fled to seek help from Elaydren D’Cannith, currently operating under the name of Elaydren D’Vown. Using message stations, he arranged to meet the woman in the one place that he felt no prying eyes would find them, the small and undesirable Shanty Town in Rat Hills. Unknown to the professor, prying eyes were privy to his plan. His actions set in motion a line of dominoes that started to fall the moment he set foot on the streets of Sharn City.
He made it as far as Shanty Town before Saber caught up to him. Saber had been assigned a simple job: find, kill, and retrieve. Find the professor, murder him, and return the journal before it got into the hands of Elaydren. The mission would have gone off without a hitch had the playing characters not intervened. But with their intervention, Saber only managed to complete half of his mission: the murder of the professor. The journal and its information slipped into the hands of the playing characters. They managed to solve the puzzle of reading the journal, and with the help of a simple silver ring.
The link between Kyuss and the Age of Worms is as of now undiscovered.




At the perfumed arcade known as the Emporium, Governor-Mayor Lanod Neff rubs shoulders with common laborers awaiting an appointment in the Veiled Corridor. In an adjoining antechamber, snakes and exotic dancers gyrate to a sonorous weave of cymbals and seductive pipes. A floor below, a gaggle of grasping miners presses against the windowed door of a darkened cell, impatient for a glimpse of a two-headed calf.

Out in the street, a gang of rough miners screams obscenities at a crumpled Halfling, kicking it as if scrambling for a ball. Their drunken laughter echoes off shuttered windows and bolted doors.

In a tower-flanked fortress across the shadowy square, filthy men with nothing to lose shout hymns to the Silver Flame, clutching to their idealism and principles like cornered animals. Their wild-eyed chief minister smiles as he draws a cat-o-nine-tails across his bare back, awash in their adulation.

But it’s just another night in Diamond Lake.

The Age of Worms Adventure Path opens in the small mining town of Diamond Lake, where desperate folk toil in lightless depths for a pittance while corrupt mine managers live in relative largesse, ruthlessly scheming to undermine one another and protect their piece of the action. Most residents of Diamond Lake can be categorized into two groups: those with nowhere else to turn and those who have come to exploit them.

A garrison of sixty militia soldiers stands ready to defend the mines from bandits and rogue humanoids in the local forests. Rival cults share the same flock of potential converts only because the timing is not yet for outright warfare. They muster their forces for the coming battle. Things are not safe in Diamond Lake, and a right-thinking person would have every reason to want to get out of town as soon as possible.