The Crypt (4e Quest)

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The Crypt[edit]

When a mysterious assassination attempt leads further down a rabbit hole, a group of heroic adventurers is called to the task of getting to the bottom of the violence surrounding an ancient ruin just outside the small town of Meritum. What awaits could be more than they believed to have bargained for.
This quest is meant for a party of about 4 players, each around levels 1 or 2. The end of this quest grants 2000 experience points. It is a possible start for a campaign as a seed.

Part I: Bandits![edit]

The party is riding a wagon to the town of Meritum. As the wagon follows the twisty road, something whizzes by and nearly strikes the driver. It is a crossbow bolt. The driver shouts in alarm. "Bandits!" 3 common human bandits[1] leap out and ambush the players, lead by an elf Archer[2]. He shouts the wagon run down and through.


The bandits will try to distract the players while the elf shoots at them from a distance with his crossbow. They are generally uncoordinated and should pose little to no threat. If the bandits are defeated and the archer is left alive, he will try to flee. If the leader is killed first, the ruffians will flee instead.


The enemies award 36 gp upon their defeat. Upon searching the archer's body, the players uncover a note from a man named Grageon of the Blackguard. It details a hit job on one of the players of interest. Further, it says to meet him at the old crypt when the deed is done for payment. There is a small map showing the supposed crypt to be within a day's distance of Meritum down the road.

Part II: Meritum[edit]

The players resume their journey to Meritum, probably to find out who is targeting their teammate. Upon arrival, they see the town in disrepair, with signs of pillaging and poverty rampant. There is a duo of human ruffians[3] setting a house alight. There are screams from within, as they locked the inhabitants inside to die. If the party moves to confront them, they will run away to their horses and ride off, taunting the party. If the party tries to stop them, the town sheriff will get in the way.
The sheriff then tells the party of the sad tale of how the Blackguards run Meritum now at their leisure. They cannot raise a hand lest other townfolks suffer the consequences. Pressed further, he reveals this all began when an initial raiding party came and kidnapped the mayor. They spirited him away into the nearby ruin of Felnore, which is a crypt for some dead horrific entity. Attempts to rescue him were in vain and the town was left no time to recover as the Blackguard presence grew. At first, they came only to collect dues once a month, and now they come multiple times a week.
He begs the players for help. If they are reticent, he will offer his life savings of 250 gp and 2 potions of healing. Once they accept, add a travel encounter on the way to the ruins, preferably with something that follows the theme of the banditry and pillaging the Blackguards have done so far.
Otherwise, in the town of Meritum itself, there is not much other than the local general trading post and tavern. The mayor's house was burnt to ash a long time ago, and a banner of the Blackguards flies at the town square.

Part III: Felnore Ruins[edit]

Upon arrival, the players see half of an old stone arch with a creaky old gate on its last hinges. The amount of moss on the arch makes it hard to tell if it is even made from stone or plants. The arch seems to have been decimated by a being of great strength, as the other half of it lies in pieces by a small birch tree nearby.
When they go through the arch and deeper into the ruin, there is a small enclosure that has a door seemingly leading deeper into a structure, which you can guess is the crypt. Before the doorway is a tall man in Blackguard robes, as well as two skeletons[4]. Upon looking closely at the skeletons, the players can see they wear armor like that of soldiers. The players can sneak past them by hiding among the rubble with a successful stealth roll against DC16. If they fail, the human will announce there to be intruders and sic the skeletons at the party.


The skeletons are powerful soldier types. The human is a mage[5] who hangs back and orders the skeletons around. He will occasionally use ranged spells to debuff the players, but not hurt them himself. His method is to leave them wide open for the skeletons to attack. At any time that the situation seems bleak or the mage sustains damage, he will run away, into the entry of the crypt. It should be very hard to catch him in any event and you should expect the players to let him get away.


Defeating the skeletons yields only the copper swords they use as weapons. On the off chance they beat the mage, they find a trinket on him that seems useless to all but those with trained knowledge. A successful history check against DC16 reveals it to be a magical item from the old legend of the archmage warrior Felnore, who rose to power using magical weapons like swords rather than staves. The trinket grants the wearer a +2 to melee weapon attacks but puts a -2 penalty on ranged weapons.

Part IV: The Crypt Entrance[edit]

Going inside the crypt, the players should be aware they are entering hostile, and extremely dangerous territory, infested with enemies at every turn. In fact, shortly after entry, just in the first hallway, there will be human thugs[6] who lob crates at the party. There should be no more than two of these thugs, and these crates line the walls in a haphazard fashion. On defeat, the thugs yield nothing on themselves, but a thorough search of all the crates yields foodstuffs and supplies, likely stockpiled for the Blackguard's stay here. If the party spends at least an hour searching everything, they will find a ruby at the bottom of one crate, worth 400 gp. Down the hallway is a staircase that descends into the heart of the crypt.

Part V: The Blackguard Parlor[edit]

Down the stairs, the party comes to another corridor. If they were able to defeat the mage from the ruin entrance, they simply find the parlor room empty. Otherwise, they hear sounds of moaning from the room down the corridor, and find the parlor room with 5 decrepit skeletons[7]. They do not have any possessions on them. Here, the mage, who reveals his name is Lars, will run into one of the rooms connected to the parlor, which is the ritual room where he has been summoning undead minions. He locks himself inside. There is another door in the parlor that goes the opposite way of the ritual room.
If the players search the parlor, they find a supply chest that is locked. The key to the chest is in the ritual room. The chest has mainly clothes and a spare potion of healing.
If the players continue into the crypt or after at least 30 minutes pass, Lars bursts out and sics two zombies[8] on the party. He will use the same tactics from the skeleton encounter, and try to run away again when the going gets tough. This time, expect your players to punch his lights out.

Part VI: Crypt Innards[edit]

At the heart of the crypt, the party comes upon a morbid room that has been converted into a perverse altar for horrid worship. The horrific beast that is locked here is in fact an iron gorgon[9] that has been put under a deep sleep. Grageon plans to rejuvenate it with the life force of the mayor which he has been slowly killing by siphoning his energy. He reveals the mayor's ancestors were the ones who sealed the gorgon away. Grageon further reveals that he had sent his guard after the players initially to lure them to the crypt and feed their heroic selves to the gorgon upon its awakening. Because the party probably is not keen on getting mauled to death by the beast, two of his thugs jump out behind the party to prevent exit while Grageon prepares to pummel them into submission as the gorgon slowly begins to awaken.


Grageon will target the party spellcasters first, if any. He has the stats of a human mercenary[10] His thugs will try to see what party members are bloodied or seem to be weakest to pick off. At the front of the room is an altar table and two lit braziers. Behind the altar is the iron gorgon's sleeping form. The mayor is chained on the altar. After 1 minute into combat, he will die as a result of the ritual and the gorgon will awaken, after which the quest is failed and the party is mauled to death by the creature.


After freeing the mayor and stopping Grageon and the ritual, the party can put out one of the braziers to find 300 gp in offerings. From Grageon, they find his full plate and double sword. Upon close inspection, with a DC15 investigation check, the party finds his pendant, worth 500 gp. It has an additional property that adds a +3 bonus to AC for any member of an arcane power source class.


There is a note the players will find on Grageon that acts as a segue into the next quest you can plan for. An example note is as follows:

Grageon, how goes the tomb raiding? The boss himself has a job for you. Come meet me at the Rusty Dragon Inn at a fortnight's time. I promise you treasure hoard upon treasure hoard. See you there, Aismer.

Of course, it has to do with some organization called the Blackguards.

Easter Egg[edit]

If you, the GM, are feeling sadistic or your players are feeling extra cocky, there is a hidden room within the back of the altar room, behind the gorgon. It leads deeper still into the crypt and to a treasure hoard kept by a creature known as the crypt thing. Your players at this level have no real way of beating it so they may as well run after the first vanishing trick.

Back to Main Page4e HomebrewQuests

  1. Mm p.162
  2. MM p. 106
  3. Dungeon 155, H1: Realms Conversion, p.7,
  4. MM, p.234
  5. MM, p.163
  6. Dungeon 155, H1: Realms Conversion, p.7
  7. MM, p.234
  8. MM, p.274
  9. MM, p.142
  10. Dungeon 155, H1: Realms Conversion, p.7
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