Runequest Thursday #111 - Clanking Ruin Locale - The Breshlev Tunnels!

Clint Staples

Tomorrow night, we are playing the Alt heroes to my Brightwater Saga group. The Alt group is made up of characters we made up to explore more of the Clanking Ruin.

Last time we played, they took a commission to explore an area marked on a map they were given, with the idea ttat they have a share in what is found, and add to the map if possible. This takes us to the following Adventure Locale:

(The map, altered slightly by me for the current purpose, is by the amazing Dyson Logos).

 

The Death Rune at the Breshlev Tunnels

Found on a map which may be gained as treasure or looted from an enemy:

A portion of the northern costal section of The Clanking Ruin, with one area labeled the Breshlev Tunnels. The map had Death runes, and an Undead rune and a successful CHA check or Gather Information roll will show that the area is reputed to be haunted AND riddled with subterranean vaults.

 

On investigation:

Getting to the area on the map is not very difficult, but could a trial depending on what is encountered on the way. Beyond the “civilized” Bayside, there is league upon league of ruin.

Some possible roaming encounters could include (roll 1d6):

1 – 3   Manchines: 1 Per 3 player characters, +1 per Runelevel PC

4         Forged: 1 per 3 PCs

5 – 6   Acid Dogs: 1d6+1

 

Arriving at the Mapped Area:

The heroes should roll Spot checks as they search the area. A success finds a jagged crack on the earth some 20 feet deep and 10 to 30 feet across. Across the trench, about even with the surface on which the heroes currently stand, is a large doorway with stone lintel, blocked by a slab of stone marked with the Death Rune.

Further investigation will discover a curved lip of stone and an open doorway in the rock face beneath their feet. This leads them to The Korateck Redoubt, detailed below.

 

The Breshlev Tunnels and the Story So Far, for the Benefit of the GM:

A decade ago, a representative of the Breshlev family (a family of some authority from the center of the Clanking Ruin), commissioned a cult of Koratek (The local name for Ty Kora Tek, funereal goddess of Death) to see to the souls of her ancestors in the crypt under their ancient family home (itself long gone).

Under the priestess, Donanda, the Sisters of Peaceful Repose had been making steady progress.

But recently, something changed in the tunnels. In the first instance of many since, corporeal undead swarmed out of tombs previously laid to restful repose, and overwhelmed Donanda. The survivors fled, bearing the lifeless body of their Lady with them.

Arda, now senior initiate of Koratek, is out of her depth, leading a small but devoted cult in trying to lay to rest the wandering souls of the Breshlev family and their servants, who have roamed these tunnels for hundreds of years as spirits, but now are possessed of physical form, and terrible hostility.

The presence of embodied undead, heretofore unknown in the tunnels themselves, has caused Arda and her followers to pull back into a section of the tunnels, barricading the rest against incursion with a slab marked with the Death rune, and try to hold back the tide.

Arda suspects that there is a power behind the recent influx of walking corpses, and has tried to call the soul of her priestess to her aid, but Donanda is lost. For this reasons, Arda also believes that Donanda’s spirit has been bound by whatever commands the walkers.

Will the heroes attempt to find the soul of Donanda and return it to the Shrine, where it can go to its reward? Perhaps at the same time they will weaken the forces of the undead, and make Arda’s task easier.

 

Koratek Redoubt

1 – This empty open passage reeks of the dead, and spatter of blackened blood and bile can be seen on walls and floor. It is almost directly opposite and below the Blocked Death Rune doorway to the Breshlev Tunnels. Here the Koratek cultists have taken refuge, after being driven from the Breshlev tunnels by waves of corporeal undead. At least two cultists are stationed in the south-end room at all times, but they are exhausted from constant vigilance and fighting the undead (Spot and Listen 50%).

            A dogleg corridor leads to 2.

2 – This corridor bears evidence (visual and olfactory) or the passage of numerous corpses (mostly the destroyed undead, having been carried through here to the temporary shrine to Koratek in 3). It is just as unplerasant in the opposite direction (4) where the bodies are laid in repose after the funereal ceremony.

3 – The Shrine to Koratek, the skull-faced crone of burial practice and the peaceful dead. Beyond two skull-shaped braziers, a tapestry of heavy wool,depicts a solemn and peaceful necropolis, with Death Runes prominently displayed throughout. The graves are orderly, the plots well tended, the monuments clean, the Breshlev name legible. Before the tapestry there is a low dais, on which stands a basalt statue of a bent crone with the face of a skull and dreadlocked hair in a funereal shroud. Before her on the dais is a wickedly curved sickle-knife (magical: Currently embued with Sever Spirit). Arda is here, with another acolyte, unless called away, usually working at laying to rest one of the previously undead corpses.

4 – The main hall of the (once again) peaceful dead. Two skull-braziers flank the entrance from 2, and cast a wan light that doe not reach the far walls. This large room contains the bodies or parts of bodies of some twenty or more individuals. Some are those of adults, others not. Those that have been here the longest are set in the burial niches and carefully arranged in a dignified posture, limbs reattached, features composed, or covered by a death mask (a clay mask with the Death Rune emblazoned in the forehead). More recent arrivals are laid out with less care, as the sisters of Koratek have been more increasingly taxed by new arrivals. The table in the southeast corner bears the body of an ancient woman, frail with a frizz of white hair a cowl of gray lace fine as a spider’s web. Her face is set in calm repose, as if she might awaken from a restful nap. This is the body of Donanda, Priestess of Koratek. Arrayed around her, are the bodies of three dead sisters, in the black raiment. All show signs of violence, which has been sewn or otherwise tidied up.

5 – This anteroom is watched by a single sister at all times, who ensures that those sisters at rest in 7 are able to sleep with some ease. It is empty but for cobwebs and the hoodie crow containing Donanda’s allied spirit, Sinann.

See the attached sheet for stats for Arda and the other Sisters of Gentle Repose

Sisters: Ralani, Jodesta, Heren;

Senior Sister: Arda

If Arda is impressed with the heroes at all, she will ask them to explore "Beyond Death's Door!" (See Part 2 of this post next week). She may be willing to accompany the group if they request it, or aid them indirectly in their quest, either by lending them her ring, which, 3 times per day, can demoralize an undead on a POW vs. POW roll, by sending Sinann, the hoodie crow familiar of the slain priestess, Donanda, or both. You can resolve the level of aid with a CHA check by the highest CHA player, or an Influence check if one pleads for aid. The better the result, the more help is offered.

Sinann: Hoodie Crow with INT 12, POW 16 Allied Spirit. It can speak, and has the following spells at 80%: Halt Undead 1, Detect Undead 1, Fate 1, Spirit Bane 4; Rune Spell: (Single Use) Gentle Repose 1: By ovecoming the POW of a spectral or corporeal undead, Gentle Repose forces that undead to fall unmoving to the ground for the duration of the spell (15 Minutes). This time is usually used by the sisters to perform last rites (using Ceremony) which send the possessing spirit or animating force to its final reward or punishment, and ends the corporeal undead existence.

6 – This room has been blocked with several pieces of mismatched stone, keeping the undead that climb up from the tunnel on the east wall mostly contained. There are 1d6 walkers in there at any given time and a cumulative 10% chance of another climbing up on any melee round of conflict.

 

That is all for now, check back next week for "Beyond Death's Door!"