A long forgotten order of paladins used this circular room to inter their dead. For whatever reason it has remained largely undisturbed by monsters. Perhaps it can only be accessed through a secret door, or maybe the sanctity of the site has held monsters at bay.
The walls and ceiling of the room are simple, unadorned stone. The ceiling is 7ft high at the edges of the room, and rises in a shallow cone to a height of 9ft at the room’s center. The obvious focus of the room is a large terraced pit which dominates most of the floor. The pit has four levels, including the bottom. Each level is about three and a half feet lower than the one above it, and there are no stairs, forcing anyone who wishes to descend to climb awkwardly down the steep steps. Each of the three upper levels is roughly 7ft wide, with urns evenly spaced around them. The bottom level is bare, save for a 3ft diameter circular hatch of iron, with four bold red lines painted across its surface.
The urns are simple grey ceramic, and stand two feet tall. Each one is banded by 1-3 horizontal red stripes, similar to those on the hatch at the bottom. While there is no immediate way for the players to determine the function of the stripes, the GM should be aware that urns with 3 stripes contain the ashes of a great hero of the Order of the Gavel, urns with 2 stripes contain the ashes of those who led the order, and urns with a single stripe contain the ashes of a great evil doer whom the order brought to justice. Each of the urns contains 2 copper pieces, used in the burial rituals of the order.
Behind each urn, on the wall of the steppes, is an engraving memorializing the individual whose ashes are contained within. A hasty inspection will reveal that the urns on the lowest tier are the oldest, and the urns on the upper tier are the most recent. The dates cover a range of 150 years, ending about 300 years ago. I’ve included dates on the list below, though obviously, these will need to be modified to suit your campaign setting. For players who inspect these inscriptions more carefully, they read:
- [Three Bands] Senjar Okin / Fell in the year 702 / “None stood at The Citadel’s Gates more proudly than he. Fell to Orcs during the Seige of Lawund”
- [Three Bands] Yendew Nidaa / Fell between the years 688 and 690 / “We know not why she chose to venture so far afield, nor what it is that she fought. But the monstrous remains found near her body say all that must be said of her boundless courage.”
- [Three Bands] Custis Garret / Fell in the year 682 / “He stood before the sea and demanded it obey the laws of righteousness.”
- [Two Bands] Mahraha of the Mithril Fist / Fell in the year 672 / “Taken from us even as she led us to victory over the prowlers of the southern lands. By her request, she is interred with the dagger of her assassin, that she may return it to him in the next life.” [Burried in the ashes is a +2 Keen Dagger, or other dagger appropriate to your campaign.]
- [One Band] Revet Taroggaram / Slain in the year 660 / “There can be no quarter given to the unjust. No thief, no murderer, no inhuman beast can be allowed to profit from their evil.”
- [Two Bands] Murraha Slevali / Fell in the year 654 / “Unjustly taken from us while held as a captive of the Okarum. Justice will be done in her name.”
- [Two Bands] Torvil Brinebeard / Went to Rest in the year 653 / “The last to stand beside He Who Was First. The first to stand amongst the compassionate, the charitable, and the just.”
- [Three Bands] Hukatee Bularus / Went to Rest in the year 644 / “Those who speak the words of peace must be recognized. They are heroes as much as any who wield a blade.”
- [One Band] [Faint runes surround the edges of the urn’s lid] Erosm Muck / Slain in the year 643 / “Not all evil can be ended with fire and steel.” [If the runes current positioning is disturbed, Erosm Muck, a vampire, will become reconstituted.]
- [One Band] [Top of this urn is sealed with flaking wax.] Donnorel Thinn, Wizard of the Black Gaze / Slain in the year 636 / “It is unjust that one who took the life from so many, only has one life to give in payment for his crimes.” [If opened, an ash monster, ghost, or other appropriate creature is released. It is hostile towards the party.]
- [Two Bands] Shenwa Evacord / Went to Rest in the Year 628 / “When those who brought us peace were toppled, she steadied their triumphs. Interred with her is the Opal of Unariac, a gift from those who died in the wars she prevented.” [Burried in the ashes is a large opal mounted in a golden disk, surrounded with emeralds. Worth 3,000gp]
- [Three Bands] Edinea Kodas / Fell in the year 619 / “Charge forth always, in battle, and in parley.”
- [One Band] Uma Thistledown / Slain in the year 616 / “Let the east wall of the citadel remain forever cracked, as a reminder of the price required by faltering vigilance.”
- [Three Bands] Vinn Drekos / Fell in the year 611 / “Even as the gnoll’s javellins pierced her body, she did not falter in her defense of those innocents she had sworn to protect. Interred with her are the ashes of, Gerek Haverock, whom she loved.”
- [Three Bands] Hedsig Agham / Fell in the Year 591 / “Through the lens of Justice, truth can be found, and the good of all served.” [Urn contains a finely crafted monocle. Looking through it allows the wearer to see Good, Evil, and Untruth, as though they had cast Detect Good, Detect Evil, and Detect Lies.]
- [One Band] “Let none speak the name of the one who was slain in the year 591; for it is they who to he who was first from us.”
- [Two Bands] Karkis, Lady of the Hunt / Fell in the year 580 / “Justice is done by her grace alone.”
- [Three Bands] Mmij Hippamus / Fell in the year 568 / “The Titan Slayer.”
- [Two Bands] Amee The Bold / Fell in the year 555 / “Without her guiding wisdom and swift action, the order would never passed through those turbulent years after the fall of He Who Was First.”
- [Three Bands] Horace the Watchman / Fell in the year 549 / “By the side of He who was First did he fight, and by His side did he fall. May we all know the courage of the Watchman.”
If the players inspect the hatch at the bottom, they will see an inscription in the iron which reads simply: “He who was first.” There is a heavy clamp holding the hatch closed, but it is not locked and can be removed with a bit of effort. When it is opened, the hatch reveals a mumified corpse standing upright. These are the remains of the founder of the Order of The Gavel; a human man named Hassid Gurtoch, The Clear Speaker. The body is still wrapped quite tightly, and seems well preserved. It can be fished out with minimal difficulty. Nothing else is apparent within this small tomb.
If removed from his tomb, Hassid will be temporarily reanimated by positive energy. If there are any non-good being present, Hassid will tear his wrappings off, revealing that he was burried with a sanctified longsword which glows a brilliant yellow. He attacks as though he were a mummy (though he is not of evil alignment, and lacks the Mummy Rot special attack). If only good characters are present, Hassid will question them thoroughly about why they have chosen to loot the tomb of his order. If the players cite sufficient need, Hassid will tell them of the false bottom to his tomb. If they cannot convince him that their need for treasure is mandated by a goodly quest, then he will ask them to leave. If they refuse, or if the characters are caught lying, Hassid will attack them as vigorously as he would attack non-good characters.
The bottom of Hassid’s tomb is false, and can be lifted to reveal an assortment of coins, gems, and at least 2 good-aligned magic items.