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ID: 82


November 18, 2005, 11:42 pm

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Silent voices in the catacombs of hush demand call out to the King in his sleep. He awakes, pale as bone, raving and delusional, whispering of the Retribution of the Charred Skulls. The servants look on horrified at their foaming lord…

The Cathedral bells ring out once. The Cardinal stands back from his window high in the Cathedral tower looking out over the black skyline. The priests shift uneasily, nervously eyeing the artefact on the table.

“Yes,” answers the Cardinal, unasked, “it is of human origin.”

“Do we advise the King of this?”

“No!” snaps the Cardinal “Know’s thou not his condition? ‘Twould send him beyond the confines of sanity. We must excavate further. Perhaps summon some trusted friend at court who can lend aid in case…”

Work in the crypt has unearthed an unsettling find: a charred skull, the bone deformed in a mask of pain. Coincidence, then, that the King’s sleep is disturbed by dreams of avenging burnt skulls?

Ten centuries ago, forgotten to even the history books, King Aralon II persecuted the Lamezzites, having them slaughtered and massacred. The priests of the Cathedral took pity on them, offered them secret asylum in the extensive catacombs below the Cathedral. But the then Cardinal, Elian XI, was corrupt and, tempted by the offers of gold betrayed the Lamezzites to the King. The King had the catacombs filled with boiling oil and sealed, before executing Elian for his treachery in offering the Lamezzites asylum in the first place. As the Cardinal’s body hung lifeless from the castle walls, the bodies of the dead Lamezzites scalded and charred in their appalling tomb.

The years have passed and the spirits of the dead want retribution for the ancestral misdeeds. The catacombs have been opened by the recent crypt extensions, and the first of the thousand skulls has been found.

Right now, though the priests and their friends from court stand before the newly opened catacombs ready to explore…

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Comments ( 9 )
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March 11, 2003, 11:19
Some questions left unanswered:

Why now? Why didn't the spirits awake earlier?
What will they find? Lots of undead?
What happened to the boiling oil? (Actually that all seeped away into the ground of the catacombs)
History: why was the King persecuting the Lamezzites? Why did the priests have sympathy for them?

I thought there I'd written too much already, so these are just left as open questions.
March 11, 2003, 19:35
Perhaps, as the King and his henchmen prepared the oil, a shaman from within the catacombs was casting an incantation of resurrection. This could entail the dead coming back in corporal form and possess the current King, Cardinal, and other political, spiritual, and military leaders.

History: Maybe the Lamezzites are a scape-goat for failures of the King. Historically speaking, there have been many ethnical cultural, and economical reasons given to execute the Jews, Gypsies, Poles, and Irish; to name a few. Thus, the king could merely be averting attention from his own failures in policy driven decrees.
March 11, 2003, 19:43
I forgot to mention that Lamezzites could only come back to life when the crypt was reopened. This would spur fear amongst the current regime, and temptation from a younger, more disbelieving generation.
March 12, 2003, 3:38
Or perhaps, some other group, historically in some way linked to these Lamezzites, is persecuted right now?

Could well awaken these spirits, even if they were sleeping for such a long time.
March 12, 2003, 15:46
Invariably, in any persecution/genocide, some escape. Could this small band of decendants be the ones motavating the excavations or even the purpetraitors?

The Lamezzites likely had thier own beliefs and had at least one spiritual leader with them, perhaps they beseeched thier gods as they were being slaughtered and now are acting to avenge thier murder.
January 22, 2004, 3:47
Can I just say to ephemeralstability, next time you think you're typing too long...don't worry about it!

You do an excelent job in thinking these things up, and any added flavor you can think of is probably worth our reading.
January 22, 2004, 14:56
I think that you did a great job here, and your not hurting anyone by typing a lot your only helping further, and if people do not want to read all of it, they don't have to. Anyway, catacombs are always a nice dungeon to have.
Voted valadaar
August 28, 2013, 11:33
Not bad - though the scale speaks more of legend than reality. Paying for enough oil to flood the catacombs would probably wreck his economy for years, if it was even possible to source enough oil for the task. And don't get me started on getting it boiling in the first place :)

Perhaps a fair number were slain with boiling oil, and that over the years the legend grew to the scale of 'the entire catacombs' were flooded.

Voted MysticMoon
September 1, 2013, 9:23
Simple, straightforward, and a good seed that could be taken in many different directions.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: tinypoisonousfish

Bag on a Stick

Very simple gag but a great one, since it can be used multiple times over, even in the same adventure. Great for tribal natives gone restless and humanoids, but anyone can have set this up. Just what the header says, a simple bag over a stick stuck in the ground or floor.

As GM you can place the bag on a stick anywhere, in a floor crack the heroes have passed before, outdoors in a clearing or path, or at the edge of the PCs' encampment the following morning, what have you. Place anything on the stick - a coiled yellow viper angered by the bag removal, mini crossbow w/poison, transdermal hallucinatory drug dusted on the bag, yellow mold colony, an NPC ally's head, a weapon, scroll tube or satchel, what have you.

The idea is to build tension and/or stall for time/distract the party. Provided it's used properly, you'll be amazed at how paranoid players will get from this simple gag.

Ideas  ( Items ) | December 31, 2009 | View | UpVote 5xp

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