As the party approach the entrance to the crypt the sky darkens, a fog creeps up from the earth itself and unearthly sounds can be heard in the air. A chill creeps into the air and sounds echo as if from a far distance. After five minutes the world returns to normal although for the next half hour the characters find their voices still echoing.
Arcana or religion checks might reveal that this location is soaked in dark energy and the veils between this plane and that of the death plane are thin here.
A hooded, cloaked figure stands, leaning against the crypt entrance, their head pressed against the cold stone. Their cloak obscures their shape, but they appear humanoid and the distinct sound of sobbing can be heard from under their cloaked hood.
Should a character touch pat the individual sympathetically on their shoulder (or a similar touch) then the robed figure flinches away from the contact but not before the individual feels they are waif-thin and bony under the cloak.
Should words of sympathy be spoken the individual glances round, face obscured by a long hood, and they make a noise that might be as much a laugh as a sob, they then respond ‘Oh, it’s tragic, tragic.’ Perceptive characters will realise that there is something off with the individual's tone.
Should there be further comfort expressed the individual will push back their hood to reveal a bone-white skull with infernal lights burning where their eyes should be. The individual then says ‘It’s tragic you fools because after hunting me for so long, you’d think they have seen that pit trap. Seriously, I had a whole monologue prepared and a devious necrotic death trap that would have seen them become my lifeless minions but instead they all fall down a…’ and they start laughing… ‘fall down a kobold spike trap. Pathetic!’ At this point, they dissolve into hysterical laughter.
Should the party attack them (whether after the option above or separately) they offer little resistance and instead say, as they are destroyed ‘Good, new foes, I will see you again soon…’ The light then fades from their eye sockets and the skeleton collapses lifeless to the floor.
A badly dressed gnome springs up out of the crypt entrance with their hand outstretched and a bottle in their other hand. ‘Pay the entrance fee and I will anoint you with blessed water that will see you safe. One coin each.’
This is a total con. The gnome is a down on his luck con-man. This con has worked a few times in other locations, and he thought he’d try his luck here. The water is not blessed, in fact, he just urinated into the bottle a few minutes ago to produce the ‘blessed water’. He will splash them with some water as soon as he has coins and then the moment they have gone into the crypt he will run for it.
A large, one-eyed minotaur with a giant two-headed axe strapped to his back is standing stock still staring at the crypt entrance.
Whilst distracted he is aware of the party and if attacked, he will do what minotaurs’ do so well and that is fly into a murderous rage. He will fight to the death. And he fights hard.
If he is spoken to pleasantly or sympathetically, he will gruffly inform the party he’s here to mourn and leave him alone. He also, given they have been pleasant, warn them about the first trap they will encounter in the crypt. He will also add, with a touch of pride that, ‘You’d probably ‘ave seen it anyhow, it ain’t one o’ mine.’ He then turns and walks away.
If ignored, he will turn and watch the party quite intently (as if he is measuring them up) but he will not speak with them.
As the party approaches the crypt entrance a few things happen depending on their intentions:
If they are there to rob the crypt then a swarm of tiny, biting insects swarms them. Their biting and nipping causes minor damage but is frustrating and does sting. After a few minutes, they disperse.
If they are there to learn information from the crypt e.g. who’s buried there, clues to another secret etc. then a beautiful snowy barn own swoops down and hoots as it nods its head. The more observant characters will realise that it is an illusion just before it flies off into the sky and out of sight.
If they are there to ensure one of the buried stay dead – through a ritual or violence then a rabbit and a snake run in front of the entrance and fight one another. The snake bites and kills the rabbit but only after it has taken a mortal wound from a blow from the rabbit’s foot. Their cooling corpses lie on the ground until touched, at which point they both dissolve into dust.
As the crypt entrance is approached a violent lightning storm erupts immediately overhead. Rain lashes down, driving birds from the sky and causing the trees to sag under the tempest of water. The thunder is deafening and lightning blinding.
Should the characters run into the crypt the storm abates but the ground outside has been turned into a quagmire that will be slippy and difficult to traverse.
Should the characters huddle under the trees or in the lee of the rocks dotted around then the ground around them is turned into a quagmire that is slippy and difficult to traverse. Running into the crypt entrance is now impossible but a careful walk might achieve it although there is a real danger of slipping and falling prone. There is also a 10% chance per character, per round that the individual will be struck by lightning.
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Original Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/alter-sanctum-steps-cross-2858654/
Manipulation: The Grinning Frog team