The Black Priest: An Adventure Idea

The other day, my brother asked me for an idea for an adventure he could run for new players to D&D, and this is what I came up with, more or less on the fly.

The players are drinking and carousing in a tavern when one of the bar wenches tells them that the hooded man in the corner has bought them a drink and would like them to join him.  He turns out to be Marco Oloterbo, a prominent, wealthy merchant in the city.
He explains to them that like the players, his son was a young student of the dark arts, interested in treasure and adventure, but he disappeared a month ago, when he went out to search an old ruin, one of the structures reclaimed by the swamp during the last cataclysm.  His son had a family heirloom, a talisman, that Oloterbo wants returned.  He will pay the players handsomely to go out to the ruin and return the talisman.  He has done his research, and can provide a map to the ruin.
If the players ask around, they can find out that the ruin is reputed to be haunted: it housed a reliquary of some kind, and dark rumors of dark pacts hold that the priest charged with keeping the reliquary never left.
So the players set out into the treacherous swamp.  Along the way they are ambushed by brigands, wolf’s heads and cutthroats who hide out in the swamp.  If the players subdue and question one of them, he knows nothing about Oloterbo’s son, but he does know about the cursed ruin, and he says the outlaws avoid it because of the dreaded Black Priest who haunts it.
The ruin is a small chapel, with three rooms, stacked on top of each other.  The ground floor is a tiny chapel with an alter. Everything is befouled.  Up a rickety ladder is an attic/small belltower, home to a massive and deadly constricting snake, typical of the swamp but grown large and bloated with the malevolent energy that inundates the ruin.  A hidden hatch from the ground floor leads down a cold and foul stone staircase, into a wet tunnel, with roots hanging.  Partway down the tunnel is a trap–a scything blade or a skewering spear trap.
At the end of the tunnel is a locked stone door with holy symbols carved into it.  The door leads to a small crypt with a saint’s sarcophagus and several dark apses.  The ground is flooded with muddy water, maybe ankle-deep.  The rotting body of Oloterbo’s son is sprawled out by the sarcophagus.  The talisman is still around his neck.  As the players move in and investigate the room, they hear sloshing footsteps from one of the apses.  The Black Priest, now a foul monster, an undead being with only the barest semblance of life, shuffles out and attacks the players.  If they defeat him, he does not die–he just retreats into the apse, and disappears into shadow.
Oloterbo’s son has some equipment, including an occult tome written in an ancient language.  The sarcophagus has long been plundered: all that remains are the saint’s bones.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: