Sepulture: Into the Dark We Go

DM notes on running CCC-BMG-13 PHLAN1-1 Sepulture

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Sepulture is a classic D&D adventure that has all the makings for a great story. It’s got darkness, a huge underground necropolis (you had me at necropolis), more darkness, evil plans of mass destruction, and super super dark darkness.

You can buy CCC-BMG-13 PHLAN1-1 Sepulture here.

Adventure Overview

The adventure takes place in Phlan, a city we’ve all grown to know and love because terrible things are always happening to Phlan that require bold and hearty adventurers to fix.

Players that have played the DDEX1 series of adventures such as DDEX1-3 Shadows over the Moonsea or DDEX1-10 Tyranny in Phlan Sepulture references some NPC’s, including Yorvir and an election subplot from the DDEX1 series of adventures. These are nice continuity if the players have played them, but not required.

The election subplot works much better if it is part of an ongoing campaign where the players know the candidates and are invested in the outcome. If you are running this as a one-shot or a limited series, I would drop the election subplot entirely to streamline the adventure.

Our Villain

Our villain is Yorvir Glandon, a former Doomguide of Kelemvor, who is now an insane vampire. Remember that this is the same Kelemvor that loathes undead. Yorvir also believes through some very warped logic that the only way to save the city from the spreading chaos sickness.

This can make for an interesting conversation if the players get a chance to talk to him since he be overcome with self-loathing. 

Front Desk

Mantor’s Library and the Lord Sage have both been featured in other adventures so there is an opportunity to add lore to your

This is a perfect opportunity to give clues, fill on the backstory, and add lore to the adventure.

The importance of the scene with Siria and Maelen is to tell the story of the chaos sickness. Definitely emphasize how unnatural and horrifying the entire event is. For adventure pacing, I recommend keeping the combat short by drastically lowering the HP of the yochlol or even making it theater of the mind.

The Clerics

The three clerics help fill out the story and let you add a surprise twist at the end. Make sure to read their personalities and motivations and think about how you want to play them. It’s more interesting if they don’t get along with each other and are a minor liability in combat.

For the players, their motivation is to keep the clerics alive so they can locate the tomb of Miltiades and perform the ritual to destroy Yorvir.

The Ritual

“For the ritual to work, the vampire needs to be immobilized with a specially prepared stake driven into his heart while a special prayer to Kelemvor is intoned.”

It’s up to the DM on the mechanics of how this workS. I ruled the stake as a dagger and required the player to declare they are going for the heart and hit an AC 25. That added  great drama to the attack roll because the players all knew there was a lot at stake. (You’re welcome)

The Necropolis

This is where things get super dark. It’s the best.

“As far as you can see there are mausoleums, an entire city of the dead that will never see the sun.”

I described the descent from the cathedral as long and steep and at least a mile in length. That gave me the creative license to make necropolis immense and endless with the ceiling at least a hundred feet up with the street stretching off endlessly into the darkness. It’s a wilderness of tombs and crypts.

Into the Dark We Go

Have fun with the journey. There’s tons of storytelling opportunity to bring the necropolis to unlife.

Also be sure to keep track of how long the players are taking so you can calculate the Delay Track at the end. I used the clerics to remind the players of the sense of urgency when they got sidetracked. Zombie squirrel!

Adelajda’s Tomb and Radomil’s tomb are great for developing the story. The combats aren’t necessary for the story so feel free to bypass them if it help the pacing.

The Fountains of Crying Angels is really a cool scene. Give the players a little time to explore then spring the ambush on them. Make it spicy by having the undead try to go after the three clerics.

Sepulture: Militiades' Tomb

Miltiades’ Mausoleum

Things get even darker here. Play that up.

Going into the final battle remember to check your delay track. Yorvir’s minions will try to protect him while he completes the ritual.

I thought the CR of Yorvir’s summoned undead was too low for the experience players in my group. Heck, the cleric could destroy the zombie ogres just by turning them. I added a death knight to spice things up.

Yorvir’s Tactics

He needs some more useful attacks and a defensive reaction so I added fireball and counterspell to his list. And what is up with a DC of 14?!?! That’s way too low for tier 3 characters. He should have at least a spell DC 18 or 20 depending on party strength. As soon as he knows the party is getting close he should cast antilife shell and then use his charm, blight, spiritual weapon, and fireball depending on the situation.

He will command his undead minions to try to keep the players away while he completes the ritual.

Do your homework on the vampire’s charm action. It’s an extremely powerful, unlimited use, DC 17 wisdom save, non-concentration, and if the victim fails they DO NOT GET ANOTHER SAVE unless they take damage from team vampire.

There are a few ways to break the charm by removing the charm status such as greater restoration, calm emotions, dispel good and evil, a devotion paladin’s aura, banishing the vampire, and as well as a few others. It’s possible Yorvir could charm all the characters and just win. Strategically the barbarian, fighter, or rogue are his best targets. But it’s up to you if you think he’s that smart.

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