Lets Build an Adventure – Necropolis pt5

Today is the Fifth part of our Adventure Building Post, if you haven’t seen the previous posts you can see them at the links below.
This is an ongoing world building adventure, both on paper and off and some things may have changed since you saw them last.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

So on today’s agenda we’ve got all the loose odds and ends to chase up, our to-do list so far consists of:
NPC’s, items, and plothooks and missions.
So lets do it, but there is one thing I want to include that we haven’t discussed so far.
Currently I am running a party through Rime of the Frostmaiden, and in Frostmaiden Wizards introduced the use of Character Secrets, little one paragraph pregens that can be thrown into a characters backstory that are setting specific.
I absolutely loved the Character Secrets, and want to try and include them in anything I do, so that is where we will begin.

Character Secrets
I have died.
You have died before, was it once? Was it more? Are you on your last life (and we encourage you to roll a d4 if you do not want to choose), what matters is that death means more to you than it does to your fellow party members.
You have already forgotten important facts about your life, and though you know travelling companions may not be so willing to travel with you, but maybe you have a pressing need to enter the Necropolis.

Undead –
you are ancient  from even before the wall was built, you have lived, you have died and now you live again, unchanging, never aging, you cannot  make long term relationships knowing you may be discovered again.

Cultist –
you believe unlife is the purest form of life, you have heard rumours of an end to unlife and have been adventuring to ensure it never happens.

Family Thief –
you’ve been hired by a third party to try and retrieve something precious that was recently interred with a body.

On the run –
you came to the Necropolis after escaping justice for some crime, you keep your profile low, but you’ve still gotta eat.

Fear the Dead –
life after death,  unless divinely given,is an abomination and you have made it your sworn duty to offer a final rest to the dead you find.

Love After Death –
Your partner has died, and is now a member of the walking undead.
Maybe you still have them hidden away at home, unable to give them up to their final adventure, or maybe you are determined to find them within the Necropolis and in some way rescue them.

Plot ideas
You’ve heard rumours of a way to escape undeath,  it is a secret that could give you peace, or earn you a fortune.

You have been hired to explore the Necropolis’ Castle in search of an ancient, vast library that may contain tomes of interest to a wizard.

A necromancer has entered the Necropolis, looking to turn the undead residents into their own personal army.

Missions
Catch a thief –
A thief has been seen with jewels and items that were on recently the interred dead, this is against the Graverobbers charter, and subsequently they have decided to hire a party of adventurers to mete out justice

Supply run –
As a mission this one is more flexible as it has one specific goal, to give the party a reason to run to another town, and thus tie the Necropolis to any location or setting you need.
Potential Supply Run missions include:
Needing to get a fresh supply of Iron, for weapons.
Rushing to get a loved one, for someone about to be interred in the Necropolis.
A manic dash for food, before supplies run out.
A leisurely adventure to get beer for a tavern.

Cull the herd –
An unusual amount of the dead are gathering at the walls of the Necropolis and showing unusual signs of aggression, the Cryptkeepers want a group to go in and reset the dead, knowing that the aggressions currently shown will dissipate if they die once again.

Rescue run –
This mission can be run from either the Graverobbers, or Adventurers Guilds, one of their members has gone into the Necropolis and hasn’t reported back, and they want someone to go in and if possible, extract them and if that’s not possible, proof of death.

NPC’s
NPC’s will be noted in a simple format, covering Name, Race, Ideal, Bond, and Flaw, beyond that you can fill in any details about them that you wish, or change what is noted here to better fit your own game.
If some of the personality traits appear familiar, you will find they’re inspired by the PHB to make your building an NPC more natural.

The Mayor

  • Artemis
  • Human
  • Ideal: Power. If I can attain more power, no one will tell me what to do.
  • Bond: I will form any allegiance to maintain my families power
  • Flaw: I hide a truly insurmountable secret that would ruin my family forever.

The Cryptkeepers Guildleader

  • Vhusmat
  • Elf
  • Ideal: Tradition. The ancient traditions of worship and sacrifice must be preserved and upheld.
  • Bond: I seek to preserve a sacred text that my enemies consider heretical and seek to destroy.
  • Flaw: Refuses to innovate, does things they way they’ve always been down, because that’s how they’ve always been done.

The Graverobbers Guildleader

  • Maurice Soulburner
  • Halfling
  • Ideal: The dead have no need for their riches..
  • Bond: We may break the law, but we don’t break the rules.
  • Flaw: I will flee the moment things look bad.

The Assassins Guildleader

  • Claude Rend
  • Dwarf
  • Ideal: It’s all about the king, and gold is king around here.
  • Bond: If you are useful to me, we have a bond forged in blood, until you’re no longer useful.
  • Flaw: My allegiance changes depending on the highest bidder.

The Adventurers Guildleader

  • Ra’Kol
  • Elf
  • Ideal: Glory. I must earn glory in battle, for myself and my guild.
  • Bond: I envision some terrible disaster coming, and will work to prevent it.
  • Flaw: There is no room for caution if we are facing the end of all things.

The Merchants Guildleader

  • Al’Ghant
  • Dragonborn
  • Ideal: Community. It is the duty of all civilized people to strengthen the bonds of community and the security of civilization. (
  • Bond: I owe my guild a great debt for forging me into the person I am today.
  • Flaw: I would kill to take over this city.

Blacksmith

  • Chani
  • Tiefling
  • Ideal: The purpose of life is the betterment of ones craft.
  • Bond: I study ancient techniques to improve for the future.
  • Flaw: Others may run away from danger, but I want to study it.

The Crypt – Innkepper

  • Kalor
  • Dwarf
  • Ideal: Aspiration. I started at the bottom and now I’ve got my own tavern!
  • Bond: I give to charity, in the hopes it redeems my soul.
  • Flaw: I bought my place with some ill-gotten money, and I will protect my secret.

The Last Rest – Innkeeper

  • Drominal
  • Human
  • Ideal: Innovation. The world is in need of ideas, solutions, action and changes.
  • Bond: A night of drinking can forge eternal friendships.
  • Flaw: My inability to hold my tongue has involved me in a scandal I cannot shake off.

The Undead Leader

  • Cyan’Tau
  • Undead
  • Ideal: Survival. The world needs to let us live.
  • Bond: Those who have suffered death, are my allies.
  • Flaw: A short mortal life means nothing compared to our lives, even in death.

Items
The Sunstone – Wonderous item, legendary (requires attunement)
The Sunstone is a green sun shaped crystal that emits a necrotic glow, whilst attuned to this object, any critical hit against a humanoid will incur one level of death.

Malicious Leather Armour – Armor (Leather), rare (requires attunement)
Contains 1 charge of False Life cast at 1st level that recharges at dawn.

Dread Spear – Weapon (Spear), uncommon (requires attunement)
If this weapon spends at least 8 hours in the Necropolis, the bearer may treat it as a +1 magic weapon.

Dark Blade – Weapon (Dagger), uncommon (requires attunement)
The bearer may choose to deal Necrotic damage with this weapon and gain a +1 bonus to damage.

Spare Ring – Wonderous item, uncommon (requires attunement)
The bearer may cast Spare the Dying once per day.

Combat
So there is one topic that hasn’t been discussed as yet, and is kind of important in a modern gaming environment. Combat.
The combat in the Necropolis is intended to be tough, your players should accept that death will occur but it isn’t the end.

To this effect, if there’s something your players have wanted to fight, but it was always inappropriate for their level, the Necropolis is the perfect chance to use them!
If you get a TPK, you can either pull the party out of the hotzone by having a group of Graverobbers pulling them to a safehouse, but the idea is not to kill everyone in one angry swoop but to make the fights seem more challenging, to go in with a fight rated as hard instead of only medium, it allows you to give your monsters undead descriptions but just be aware that the Undead do heal, so rotting zombie flesh may be off the menu, instead you can consider the age of a monster and the older it is, the more you can change it’s visual design to reflect a somewhat earlier stage in it’s evolution.

The beauty of how Necropolis is envisioned, is that any monster can be utilised as an undead, but doesn’t need any modification to it’s stats.
Within the Necropolis, the undead regain intelligence (but not their memories) over time, so if you want to throw in a monster with a high INT score, you can make them ancient and they’ll slide in like a hot knife in butter.

Results
So, you’ve run your players through the area, maybe they went into the maze-like crypt and returned the Sunstone to the unknown tomb, but what does that mean?
The only core fact of this, is that death returns to it’s normal mode of operation, if you die, you die, but you as a DM have some potential options to play with.

Maybe you want death to catch up with the population, and anyone who has died and returned, must now meet their end, it may be sudden or slow as your narrative fits best, running this slow would be an opportunity for any players who died to scramble to find a resurrection before their time comes.
Your other option? For all intents and purposes the dead are alive, they have a sense of mortality and even if they cannot remember their past lives they are sentient beings now. And the dead beneath the city may hold grudges against anyone who risked their existence.

Right, so what now?
This is essentially the last post in the Necropolis series, but it isn’t ready to release just yet.
I know there are some details I want to fill out in previous entries, so my first step is going to be editing them and then after I will see if I can find anything I know is lacking and then pull it in to a downloadable document.
One area I know I am lacking is that I write some entries as if I am writing a novel, holding the big reveal and twist as if it is to be a surprise, but this is a document for DM’s to build an adventure wrapped around a setting, dramatic reveals mean nothing, so I need to change that.
With that in mind, it could be less than a week before this project concludes, but lets put a loose date of Feb 28th, ten days.

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