Long ago, during the reign of Emperor Haius the Magnificently Obese, the name Agellar was spoken throughout the land. Some spoke of him reverently, others as if he were a sick joke played upon them by the emperor. But all agreed that he was one of their ruler’s favorites. And perhaps even more so, they spoke of the Coat of Diamonds, an impenetrable suit of armour granted him as a gift from the emperor.
When he died, he was buried in a small tomb in the Plains of Aganderis, where he could watch over his wandering kin for eternity.
Room 1: Entrance or Guardian
The main portion of the tomb is a shrine built to honor Agellar. A small monument sits at the far end of a wide hall, depicting a rearing horse with a richly-clad rider. On the monument’s bottom is a small inscription:
"To he who carried our army to more victories than any other, I, Emperor Haius III, offer a salute. Rest peacefully, my old friend."
The inscription is in the language of said long-dead empire, but it is not unreasonable that a PC may know it.
Long troughs of water line both of the hall’s edges, and an observent character notices that water cycles through them, apparently refilling from some sort of natural spring.
Although the floor is quite dusty, a small, ever-present breeze wafts the dust slowly out the open exterior door.
The only obvious exits are the open door leaving the tomb, and a small door on the right hand wall, which leads to Room 2. However, the head of the horse on the monument twists slightly, opening a secret passage deeper into the tomb (Room 3).
Note that, as the door is always open, any sorts of wild animals could be used as guardians in this room. Perhaps hyenas or lions would work.
Room 2: Role-playing or Puzzle
The Caretaker’s Office
The small door from the shrine leads into this medium-sized office, which is considerably more dusty than the larger room, and which benefits from no breeze.
Although the room holds quite a bit of furniture - enough for two or three people to live comfortably - it’s all old and rotting. Everything which would interest adventurers is gone from the room, including all valuables. Indeed, the PC’s would be unlikely to benefit from entering this room but for a small twist of fate.
When a PC looks out through the door into the Shrine, he sees that what he previously thought was a breeze is, in fact, a ghost, sweeping the dust slowly out the door.
Once a PC has seen the ghost, he will not become unable to see it unless he deliberately stops looking at the spectre. Other PCs, however, will be unable to see the entity at all until they see it through the door from the office.
The spectre is the ghost of a man known in life as Markian. One of Markian’s ancestors swore an oath to the emperor that he and all his descendents would maintain the tomb of Agellar. For centuries, they did so, until one third-born son - Markian - left the tomb, to seek a life outside. This would have been acceptable, for his brothers could have maintained the gravesite, were it not for a band of tomb-robbers.
The plunderers murdered the two caretakers, and their wives and children, for refusing to reveal the entrance into the tomb. Markian never learned of the slaughter, nor did he have any children, and so when he died, his spirit was trapped in the material world by his ancestor’s oath, and would be forever, for he had no offspring to pass the duty onto.
Once Markian is seen, he can be easily conversed with, and he is quite willing to do so, for he has had little human contact over the centuries. Indeed, he has grown tired of his duties, and seeks to end them, caring little for the sanctity of the grave.
He will tell the PCs how to open the secret door into Room Three in exchange for their help sweeping. He wants the entire room clean, and only for this is he willing to reveal his knowledge. If the PCs are particularly helpful - say, they summon something to help him clean forevermore - he may even tell them how to bypass the traps ahead.
Room 3: The Trap or Setback
The Hall of Death
The secret door opens to a long, narrow, and dark staircase leading down. At the bottom lies a hallway, with a T-intersection. The stairs end at one of the two top-pieces, and a large iron door adorned with carvings and images of runes for curses and plagues and other such unpleasantry sits at the end of the other. Down the intersecting hallway is a lever, which, if pulled, opens the iron door.
Unfortunately, the hallway leading to the lever is full of traps - tripwires, pressure plates, etc. Unless the PCs are careful, they’ll probably meet a messy end, or at least take a lot of damage. Indeed, the way is sufficiently dangerous that even the trip back isn’t riskfree, as there are more dangers than one could hope to set off on one trip.
Fortunately, there exists a way to disarm the traps all in one go. One of the stones on the wall beside the trapped hall can be pushed in slightly. This sets the mechanisms ajar, and the traps won’t go off when the PCs descend the hall. The traps can be reset by pushing in a stone on the opposite side of the trapped hall. This realigns the mechanisms, arming the traps and pulling the other stone solwly back to its original position. Note that it doesn’t matter which one is pushed first - each stone can set and disarm the traps.
Room 4: The Climactic Encounter
Once the lever has been pulled, and the door opened, Markian turns on the PCs. With the one obstacle he feared now removed (he worried that there might be a curse on the door), he believes that it is time to put into action a plan he devised long ago. Markian thinks that, should he destroy the corpse of Agellar, he will be free of his ancestor’s oath. Uncertain whether the PCs would be willing to overlook tomb-desecration, he intends that they never find out.
Once the PCs pull the lever, Markian reactivates the traps, hoping to confront them in a flurry of dart volleys and fire traps. Markian needs to become semi-corporeal to push the stone, and will thus be visible to the PCs. After activating the traps, he rushes down the hall to attack them, hoping to force them to move hastily. As Markian is not fully corporeal, he cannot set off the traps, although some of them can probably affect him.
Because of the Oath, Markian cannot actually be killed, and will eventually rematerialize in the Shrine, assuming the PCs don’t decide to destroy Agellar’s corpse.
Room 5: The Revelation and Reward
A Cruel Surprise
When the adventurers pass through the once-sealed door, they find themselves in the burial chamber. The room contains a fair number of coins, and perhaps some jewels and jewelry. More noticeably, an enormous sarcopagus sits in the room’s center, and the PCs will likely be disappointed upon opening it.
The first thing they will likely realize is that Agellar is a horse. True to legend, he has been buried in his armour - a diamond studded suit of leather barding. Although certainly worth a large sum, and just as protective as is claimed, this is probably not what the PCs were looking for when they decided to sack the tomb.