Summary: The party’s hopes of a relaxing week off are unceremoniously interrupted by the arrival of a decrepit zombified corpse that is groaning for help. His body is covered in Raise Dead spells but with few left, can your party work with him to uncover the secrets of his murky past before time runs out? What lies in the cave that was once his training ground? And how will his former master react to the appearance of an old apprentice?
Adventure Hooks: Introducing this adventure to your players is straightforward, and it can be started at any time, provided they are outside of any city or town and it is early in the morning. If you want to plant the seeds ahead of time, I recommend having a local townsperson warn them with rumours of a dead man preying on unwary travellers.
Zombie is What’s for Breakfast: The adventure begins as the party wakes in the morning to a bright, hot sun. They had made camp on the outskirts of a town, city, or anywhere really. The smell of burning bacon fills the air...or is it beef? There are yelps and cries as they discover a dead man laying in the middle of their fire pit. Upon further inspection, they discover that his crusty, charred, decaying body is covered in writings and spells. (Specifically the Raise Dead and Speak with Dead spells) After some deliberation, or not, any slightly magical member of your party can activate one of these spells.
Once he wakes and if your players are willing to listen, he introduces himself as Rafael Snarlfoot, an apprentice thief. He claims that this is all part of a test from his master, and that if he can return to him alive he will advance in his training. Skeptical but intrigued, your party agrees to accompany and aid him in his quest. He says there is a cave nearby that holds the key to his recovery. Rafael attempts to tell your party how exactly this happened but frequently gets side-tracked and confused, either misremembering names and places, or changing the topic at random.
Roleplaying Rafael: Rafael is devastatingly optimistic for a dead former thief. Constantly talking about what he will do when he is reborn and trying to strike up conversation with anyone and everyone that he sees. It's not that he wants to steal. It's just that it feels so good when you do steal something, though he confesses that sometimes his conscience gets the better of him and he will return the stolen goods to their owners. Actually, it seems that he did that a lot. He is confused more often than not, a lazy smile playing across his lips.
The entrance to the cave is covered in thick vines and branches, cleared away with sword swings and elbow grease. Your party stumbles down the dark, dank tunnel into almost complete darkness. With torches you can see macabre markings on the walls and skulls on the floor. Rafael speaks loudly of traps that he would set for unwelcome visitors, falling ceilings, poison darts, and deep pits.
**As he finishes this thought and you walk through the entranceway. Your party can investigate the walls and floor, with disadvantage if they don’t have proper lighting, and discover a Collapsing Roof trap. Spotting the trip wire has a DC 10, and disabling it requires thieves tools and a DC 15 Dexterity check. If you don’t have thieves tools, you have disadvantage on disabling the trap. The trap deals 2d10 bludgeoning damage as the ceiling crashes down around your party.**
Upon further examination, your party discovers one more trap in the entranceway that had been activated a long time ago. A spiked pit filled with bones is evidence of that.
The banquet hall has 4 exits:
Rafael explains that the left-most path is to the *kitchen and thieves’ quarters, and the archway leads to his master’s chamber.
He moves as quickly as he can towards the archway, stumbling in the dimly lit room.
*The kitchen contains excellent but incredibly rusty cookware, and a variety of mold.
*The thieves’ quarters contain many moldy and broken down bed frames, about 50 gold pieces, and an assortment of personal oddments that are either unrecognizable or unimportant. (old photos, rocks, journals, and books) All metal pieces, excluding the gold found in lock boxes, are severely rusted and damaged.
The Master’s Chambers: Rafael stumbles into the room, shouting for Edward, scrambling about the room with a frantic haste. With torches you can see that the room is covered in clumps of mildew and mold. A solitary desk sits at the end of the room, the rest of the furniture had decayed and broken down. A skeleton, dressed in what was once fine clothing, lays in the middle of a wet sticky substance. Rafael falls to the ground, wailing and clutching at the bones of his old master.
With an investigation check your party discovers a series of letters written in dark red/black ink...
The remainder of the pages are too damaged to be legible. Confronting Rafael, he lunges at the party but is stopped short. The better part of his legs are covered in a thick gray substance that is rooting him to the floor. It begins to consume him as he thrashes and screams for help.
(Note: if your party consists of 4-6 members or the average level of the party is 3, consider adding in a second Grey Ooze or buff the stats of the single Ooze.)
If the party attempts to free him from the Grey Ooze: The party should roll initiative and make a strength check against the strength of the Ooze. If they succeed in freeing him, they are free to flee from/fight the ooze.
Upon completion: Maybe your party decides to take pity on the zombified, ex-thief turned killer. Maybe they decide to turn him in to the local authorities. Maybe they want to spend some time excavating the hall, decorating and claiming it as their own. All of that is up to the party but if they are new to DnD then you can lightly nudge them in the right direction.
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