Pyramus and Thisbe (5e Quest)

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Adventure Background[edit]

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Thisbe is a lovely merchant girl who approaches the players and she begs them to give her love letter to her lover Pyramus, who is currently imprisoned in the palace of Haus Silverblut. Pyramus is noted as a famous bard, artist and poet. The players can see the young lordling Pyramus sitting in his balcony on his families clan Manor on his guarded tower. If the heroes can get a messenger pigeon to him he can send a message back saying that he is forbidden to set foot in the greater city of Ravenna to see his beloved Thisbe and instead he will be wed when the Haus Silberblut finds a suitable companion from either Haus Zubervald or Haus Rotterhammar. He will explain that even if he escapes the Walled Manor, Haus Silverblut will hunt him and Thisbe for the rest of their lives, making it necessary for Pyramus to fake his own death. He will tell them to find a doppleganger, a friend of his, known as Gorgos, who will then be able to impersonate him and convince his family of his death. Pyramus will then need to be snuck through the necropolis of Haus Silverblut by the Heroes to be reunited with his beloved Thisbe. The Vampire Anarchists (known as the Crimson Sabbath) will find a way to sequester them from Ravenna within a great Tireme merchant vessel.

Overview[edit]

Players will first receive a letter from Thisbe to meet at the fish-market at noon near the Port of commons or They can receive this quest from the Crimson Sabbath in the catacombs. Thisbe will be selling fine Quajjari rugs and Almovarid incense near the central market. The players will then be given a map of where her lover Pyramus is located... which is on the Manor of Haus Silverblut near the hippodrome and very close to the Grand Baazar. Thisbe will plead with the players to find out why he has stopped responding to the messages she has been sending via messenger pigeon.

The players will not be able to use the Sending Spell, to contact Pyramus, unless they have previously made his acquaintance. Thisbe will inform the players to speak to the Magi Harvus and if they do a favor for the Mage Havrus, she will allow them to use her Whispering Mirror to see Pyramus in his tower and speak with him, although conversation will be limited, as there are guards outside Pyramus' door. the Magi Havrus is in the Grand Baazar and she sells potions for an Apothecary merchant. She can be persuaded (Charisma check DC 16) or possibly bribed (500gp). The Favor for Harvus is to acquire to exotic cockatrice organs from the Alchemist merchant, Al-Wazzari (A middle aged Quajjari man) and also acquire several fine Medjool dates from him (She eats these with Vynantian Tea). No dates, no favor and they must bribe but at half price.

If they choose to use a non-magical route to attempt communication, they will hear that Telemicles, the Sage, owns a flock of messenger pigeons. Telemicles' house will be baroque and decadent in design, but messy and cluttered from within. The servant Uris will escort the players to Telemicles and will watch them closely to prevent them stealing anything while inside the house. Telemicles will be upstairs, in the loft of the house, working on a design for a new kind of ship. Telemicles will have heard about the scandal surrounding Pyramus and will be reticent to make enemies of Haus Silverblut by using one of his pigeons.

    The players will be able to buy Telemicles' help with a magical item of Uncommon rarity or higher. The players also choose to make a Persuasion check to convince him. On a check of 20 or higher, he will be moved by their tale of Pyramus and Thisbe and agree to help. On a check of 15 or higher, but less than 20, he will agree to help them, provided that they steal some blueprints for him, from an enemy of his, known as Demodine. Demodine will be reclusive, paranoid, and abrasive and will have a +5 on Perception checks to notice the player's sleight of hand checks, if he is in the room when they attempt to steal from him. Demodine is a Zhumerian Dwarf (a rare species of dwarves with high intelligence and blue skin and cuneiform tattoos), Siege Engineer and Artificer who sells Naphatun Fire siphons and Chlorine Gas Bombs for pest removal.
    If the players are unable to convince Telemicles, they will be able to hire the services of a lesser thieves' guild within Ravenna, known as the Undercroft, to send a messenger pigeon, for 200g. 

If a messenger pigeon is sent to Haus Silverblut, Pyramus will send his message with the pigeon back, explaining that he hasn't been contacting Thisbe because he is afraid to tell her that his Noble Clan has forbade him from returning to the city and how he will be wed to a lady of a noble house in 1 week. The letter will contain instructions to find Gorgos, a doppleganger hired by him to help him fake his death, who is hiding in the Haus Silverblut Necropolis . He will tell them to find the ghoul Cyrus, an ancestor of his in the family mausoleum, within the Necropolis and ask him the question "What is born and dies in one day?" If the players answer (the Sun) Cyrus will ask them to awaken Gorgos (room 8) with the remedy for the Faux Morte potion know as Luce Aeterna and then begs them for a final death before he devolves into a monstrous vampire spawn (he also will give them information about the bestial Nosferatu, Strigori, Lamia and Moroi). Cyrus is an Ageing Revenant Ghoul who is slowly metamorphosing into a monstrous vampire spawn. He has Chiropteran and Lupine features but can still speak. Plunging a silver sword into his heart allows him to die in peace (turns out Cyrus was the great grand father of Pyramus and lived for several centuries as a slave to Clan Ishtar before being cast into the dungeon for his "Horrific Vicissitudes"). Gorgos awakens with the Luce Aeterna and quickly changes his body to appear as Cyrus before the Transmutations, Gorgos is also able to then change the body of Cyrus (using his hands and flesh sculpting powers) into looking like Pyramus. There is also the fresh cadaver of a dead actress (Theodora) and Gorgos goes about changing her body to look like Thisbe with his flesh-crafting abilities. Gorgos absorbs them memories of Cyrus and finds several letters that he found inside his treasure chest. These letters come from both the Marquis Jeoffery du Lavigne and the Baron Henrick von Silverblut to the infamous serial murderers known as "The Jack of Knives" and "The Doctor of Jackals"

If the players visit the Manor's Necropolis before trying to contact Pyramus, he will refuse to leave the Tower before he is able to fake his death (with a special letter written by both Harvus and Thisbe and a special Faux Morte potion that will help fake his death. The potion was specially commissioned by Pyramus, but he was unable to pick it up before his entrapment. He will tell you it is being kept in a wrapped package in the downstairs cellar of the mansion. He will then be placed in a coffin and carried to Thisbe. He believes that if Haus Silverblut does not believe he is dead, its members will track him and Thisbe down and kill her. Pyramus will mention that Haus Silverblut is a masquerade of a noble house and that it secretly hides a coven of Vampires known as Clan Ishtar and that the noble house marriages are also ceremonies where they are given the blood of an Ancient to drink and turn them into Revenant Ghouls who are basically living servants that the Vampires feed of and might turn into vampiric neophytes who are still basically servants to the ancient vampire clan members. Pyramus mentions that his Nuclear family members (father (Gorgios), Mother (Rhea) and sisters(Europa and Caldonia) have all been turned in Revenant Ghouls. If the players have killed his living nuclear family members to get to him, he will go mad with grief and only a Modify Memory spell will allow him to reunite with Thisbe and allow the quest to be completed.

Once the party gets the coffin of Pyramus out of the Necropolis they must put it in a wagon (can be found and take it to the docked Galleon known as the Forlorn Hope. They might be approached by 2 Knights of Haus Silverblut with 2d6 Halberdiers (same stats like Orcs but use a Halberdiers instead and have AC 15) guarding the dock but they can perform a DC 16 Charisma (Persuasion check) to get past them without having to fight. If any of the knights or halberdiers are allowed to escape, they will alert the vampiric servants of Clan Ishtar, who will attempt to pursue the players across the water for stealing their ship.

Hook[edit]

The Party could encounter Pyramus and Thisbe in the city and then witness a contingent of Ebon Hand (Ze Dammerung) Thugs violently beating up Thisbe and Pyramus and separating them.

The Party could be in a boat when suddenly a bat or pigeon approaches them carrying a letter from Pyramus.

The Party could be on the shore or in the port and discover a bottle of Pyramus or Thisbe.

The Vampire Anarchists or the Inconnu can approach the players and tell them about a special quest to unite a high clan Dhampir and his fishmonger mistress.

The Necropolis[edit]

Clan Ishtar Catacombs.png

There are three entrances to the Necropolis, the South Entrance, the North Entrance, and the East Entrance.

    • The South Entrance, is accessed by a series of stairs behind a metal gate. A DC 18 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) to unlock the door, if the players have thieves' tools or a DC 24 Strength (Athletics) to break it down. The gate is enchanted, and a Dispel Magic of 5th level or higher is necessary to prevent an alarm from being activated if someone not of House Ishtar blood enters through this stairway. The runes which maintain this enchantment can be noticed by a passive Perception of 17 or higher.
    • The North Entrance is a pit, where the scraps of leftover meals from the mansion are dropped 30 feet down, to the ghouls who dwell in the necropolis. It requires a DC 20 Strength (Athletics) to climb down the slippery surface of the shaft, without falling in the process. The floor of the shaft is covered in bones and fungi, and crawling with rats. Characters who fall will garner the attention of 2d6 ghouls and 2d4 swarms of rats. The rats and the ghouls have developed a symbiotic relationship, where the ghouls will paralyze creatures that fall into the pit and the rats will eat the remains. As such, the swarms of rats in the Necropolis will not attack the ghouls.
    • The East Entrance is a secret passage, accessed through the wine cellar of the mansion. The players will only find out about this secret entrance through either Pyramus' letters or by speaking with him in person.

The Southernmost chamber contains a statue to the possible founder of House Ishtar, Queen Vycanis, who was supposedly cursed by the gods with vampirism after she cannibalized her own family members. The statue is, of course, a Stone Golem in disguise, whose slam attacks cause additional necrotic damage that lowers the maximum HP of the target, in a similar way to a Wraith or Vampire. The Stone Golem can enfeebled, forced to cause half damage with all attacks, if someone uses an action to pour a bottle of holy water on its accursed form, however, the effect dissipates at the end of its next turn and the players can only gather this information by speaking to Cyrus before encountering it.

The Northmost chamber, known as the Pit, contains a group of sleeping ghouls and a mass of chittering rats. A DC 15 Dexterity (Stealth) check will be necessary to leave The Pit without awaking any of its larger inhabitants, and the rats will nip at the heels of the party if they stealth their way through, dealing 5 (2d4) piercing damage every round it takes for them to leave.

The Secret Chamber that can be accessed through the East Entrance, contains a journal written by Cyrus, detailing his horrific experience of uncovering his family's ties to House Ishtar, and his slow de-evolution into a ghoul (albeit, a slightly more sentient one than most in the necropolis).

As the Players make their way through the Necropolis the DM can roll a d10 a determine the encounter. The DM should also roll a d8 to determine what dungeon object the players encounter as they pass from room to room.

Random Encounter Table
Encounter Number of Adversaries d10
Zombies 2d6+4 1
Ogre Zombies 2d4+1 2
Strzyga 1d2+1 3
Domovi 2d4+1 4
Mglak 1d2+1 5
Spawn of Cerberus 1d2 6
Bloated Cadavers 2d4+3 7
Venomous Cockatrices 2d4+1 8
Gas Spores 2d6+4 9
Hell Hounds 1d6+2 10
Random Dungeon Objects
Object Dice Roll Description Numerical Value
Poison Gas Grate Constitution Save DC 17 4d10 poison damage a round in 20 foot radius 1
Explosive Land Mine Dexterity Save DC 16 10d6 Fire damage in 20 foot radius 2
Smashing Pillar Strength Save DC 17 10d10 Bludgeoning Damage one target 3
Hallucinogenic Mushroom Spores Wisdom Save DC 17 4d10 psychic damage and are under the effects of the confusion spell for 1 minute, 20 feet radius. 4
Unholy Altar No Dice roll The Altar grants undead characters within this chamber advantage on attacks and saving throws. It has an HP of 60 and is vulnerable to Fire damage. 5
Howling Ghost Charisma save DC 17 On a failure, one target becomes mute for the next hour and frightened of all enemies until they take a long rest. On a success, they gain a piece of knowledge about the location of treasure in a tomb of this chamber. 6
Treasure Chest Perception Check DC 17 200d10 gold pieces and 1d4 500gp gemstones 7
Magic Item Perception Check DC 17 Roll a d100 Page 147 of the DMG 8

Stage[edit]

House Ishtar Necropolis is a winding mess with various rooms. Gorgos the Doppelganger is hiding somewhere as a corpse or a ghoul. The players will need to ask Cyrus, the ghoul, "What is born and dies in one day?" Then the ghoul will answer "the Sun".

The Rooms should be read from the right to the left. With the central rooms of Seven and Nine as exits to the outer streets of the Grand Baazar in Central Ravenna.

Step or Location[edit]

The Necropolis of Ishtar should be filled with undead, fiends and human servants of house Ishtar. There should also be traps and keys to opening certain doors located throughout the dungeon.

Features[edit]

Spike Pits, Fire Cauldron Traps, Secret Portcullis.

Inhabitants[edit]

Hellhounds, Bloated Corpses, Foglinds, Arachne Ghouls, Nosferatu Carnifex, Winged Strigori, Lamia Dominatrix and Moroi Defilers, Shadows, Ghosts, Zombie Ogres, Zombie Abominations.. Flaming skulls. Cataphracts of House Ishtar, Assassins, Ebon Hand Berserkers.

Developments[edit]

Cyrus and Gorgos can be found on Room 7 (The top central room with an entrance to the deeper catacombs).

Cyrus is a Revenant Ghoul going through the Metamorphosis and will inform the players of Luce Aeterna, Faux Morte and the various letters he found between Baron Henrick Von Silberblut, The Marquis Jeoffery du Lavigne, Jack of Knives and Doctor of Jackalls. He is also the great grand father of Pyramus.

When Gorgos is awakened he is a master flesh sculptor and can not only change his form but can change the bodies of the living and the dead. He will quickly change Cyrus's corpse to look like Pyramus and he will find the autopsied corpse of the Actress Theodora to make her appear like Thisbe. These two dead bodies will appear like a double sucicide, because of Theodora strangulation marks and the silver sword plunged into Cyrus chest.

Gorgos will be able to administer the Luce Aeterna to Pyramus so he might awaken to embrace Thisbe.

Treasure[edit]

If Pyramus and Thisbe survive Pyramus will give them a map of marking the location of a treasure chest worth 50,000gp within the bay of Nikea.

Conclusion[edit]

In rooms 7 or 8, 7 has a passage to the deeper catacombs and 8 has a stairwell to the Grand Baazar. The DM should roll a D4, on a 1 it will be a Noserfatu Carnifex, a 2 Lamia Dominatrix, a 3 is a Moroi Defiler and a 4 is 1d2 Winged Strigori.

Final Encounter
d4 Encounter Type
1 Nosferatu Carnifex
2 Lamia Dominatrix
3 Moroi Defiler
4 Winged Strigori

Solving this quest will start the quest "The Jack of Knives" and the "Doctor of Jackals". There will be letters sent to "Jack of Blades" or the "Jackal Doctor" throughout the Necropolis from Archduke Henrick Von Silverblut and or The Marquis Joeffery Du Lavigne with specific orders to feed their victims to the savage undead that dwell down in the necropolis. the Letters from the Archduke Henrick von Silberblut specifically speak of orphans who have become too Haggard or defiant for the "Saturnalia" while the letters from the Marquis Joeffery du Lavigne speak of Actors and Actresses who have become aware of his Dark Appetites. The Bones of these victims can be found scattered throughout the Necropolis and a basic perception or medecine check DC. 13 reveals that the bones where horrifically tortured.

Rewards[edit]

This is a transcript of everything to be awarded the players, and the conditions attached to those rewards, at the end of the adventure. Think of it as a sort of checklist to make sure everything was covered. If the DM is feeling lazy the players need not track the XP from each encounter and instead will gain 2 levels for completing the quest and another level for completely clearing the entire dungeon. Players can gain 3 levels total to level 8.

If Pyramus and Thisbe are reunited then they can give a treasure map with a hidden treasure of (10d10) 50,000gp gems.

Experience[edit]

Address the Random Encounter Table; above to determine XP for encounter is the DM chooses to calculate XP. This quest was designed to be a milestone quest and so the players should gain 2-3 levels at lvl 5.

Address the Random Dungeon Objects; for treasure and wonderous items

The minimum total award for each character participating in this adventure is 2 levels.

The maximum total award for each character participating in this adventure is 3 levels.

Treasure[edit]

The characters receive the following treasure; (10d10) 50,000gp: divided up amongst the party. Characters should attempt to divide treasure evenly whenever possible. Gold piece values listed for sellable gear are calculated at their selling price, not their purchase price.

Consumable magic items should be divided up however the group sees fit. If more than one character is interested in a specific consumable magic item, the DM can determine who gets it randomly should the group be unable to decide. scrolls with experimental magic can be found down in the necropolis as well as Witcher potions.

Permanent magic items are divided up according to a system. See the sidebar if the adventure awards permanent magic items. Runestones can be found down in the necropolis as well as the items necessary to craft the staff of Samhain.


Sword of Charnylbolg [edit]

When the players find the Treasure chest of Pyramus have one of them roll a d100.

On a roll of d100 and the players get a roll of 90 to 100 they can find a +2 "Sword of Wounding" known as a "Sword of Charnylbolg". (Pg. 206 DMG). When the players acquire this sword you can hear Charnylbolgs sadistic laughing in the wind and whispers in your ear to give into bloodlust and slaughter in his deep and seductive voice.

Enmity[edit]

Haus Silverblut (Clan Ishtar) will hate the players if they discover that Pyramus faked his death.

Renown[edit]

The Anarchists and the Inconnu will have respect for the players for saving Pyramus and Thisbe.

Downtime[edit]

Each character receives 40 downtime days at the conclusion of this adventure.



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