Adventure: Rescue the Crusader

For background information, see the article on the Crusaders of Light.

Sora, in one of her more recent incarnations, was a paladin with a tendency to combat undead. She was also still a witch. Furthermore, she also managed to obtain both the White Flame and Ash Walker. Due to events involving confronting the Black Crown, she was even in possession of her full witch powers at the time.

Even more unusually, she survived the encounter. This caused the Black Crown to send a large host of undead after her to make sure she died.

She destroyed most of them, but in the process was mortally wounded. The remainder were sealed away using a combination of magic and the White Flame's connection to the Positive Material Plane.

One of her final acts before she died was to cast a spell that would (eventually) seek out and deliver a message to an appropriate paladin with the strength to defeat the left overs.

This paladin (a PC), will start seeing a woman in shining armor, a pointed black witch hat and holding the legendary White Flame. She'll beckon them to follow, silently. If they don't, she'll start appearing more and more often, until she's completely interfering with their every day life.

Eventually, this woman will lead them to an underground complex, filled with traps and many, many corpses that look like they died suddenly. At the outer edges of the complex they'll encounter Ash Walker, fighting goblins, kobolds or some other kind of invader. Ash Walker has no idea why it's there, but feels it needs to stay inside the complex. Ash Walker is suffering from amnesia due to having far too many memories.

At the center of the structure is a large octagonal chamber, with an unusual scene preserved from the past. Sora is in the center of the room, leaning on the White Flame, which has been stabbed into the floor. The two of them are surrounded by a glowing white barrier, with many glowing symbols chalked into the floor on the interior. Outside the barrier are a number of corpses that seem to have died reaching out for the woman in the center.

An image of Sora will appear and explain the situation. Taking the White Flame will end the sealing spell and re-awaken the undead (the corpses mentioned earlier). She cannot converse with the PCs, as the message is a one-shot programmed illusion. Anyone foolish enough to not pay attention will miss the message. She will be somewhat over-dramatic, since she's speaking in her final moments. Pain should be seen on her face and she's covered in wounds.

The over-dramatic moment:

In the center of the room is a shining, cylindrical barrier, emanating strong white light. Inside you see a young woman with dark hair and green eyes, wearing heavily battered plate armor and oddly enough, a black pointed hat with a slight curl in the tip. Draped over her shoulders are the remains of a black cloak. She's supporting herself on a magnificently constructed glass sword that glows with an inner light. The point of the sword has been stabbed into the floor.

She peers off into space, stifles a cough and begins, “If all has gone well, my spell has summoned a warrior true of heart. I apologize for the abruptness of the summons. I had no time for subtlety or manners. I must speak my final words while I can.”

The woman pauses as she struggles once more for breath, “I'm afraid my wounds are fatal. But my pursuers will not have the last laugh. That honor shall be yours.”

She stops once more to catch her breath and is interrupted by a violent coughing fit. Blood now speckles the ground as she doubles over, barely staying on her feet.

She finally manages to regain a measure of control and continues, “My mission is incomplete. The bodies within this place are not as they appear. They are all undead charged with the purpose of destroying my sword and I. To use an ill-fitting term, the monsters merely sleep. I used my powers as a witch to increase the effects of my sword, in order to seal their negative energies away. Without that, they are inert.

“I did everything I could, but there were too many. For each I slew, ten more rose to strike. I used far more magic than I should have. There have already been…consequences. Dire consequences. I dare not use any more magic than I have, for fear of unleashing a nightmare worse than the one I've already fought.”

She grunts and drops to one knee, obviously in great pain. Blood runs from under her breastplate, down her leg and pools on the floor. She rests her head on the hilt of the sword.

“Three tasks remain. Three tasks I charge you with, warrior. I apologize for burdening you with this, but I see no other way.”

Again, she coughs violently, this time falling to the floor, coming to rest on her side. Once the fit subsides, she crawls back to her sword and sits with her back leaning against it, her hands resting on her knees.

“The first task is simple. Slay the undead in this place, by whatever means necessary. Bring others to help if you require. Destroy them all. When this is complete, my sword may be taken without consequence. She will serve you well, as she has served me. Take care of her, for she is an old friend.”

She unsheathes a large knife that's been hanging from her belt and drops it to the floor, “The second is somewhat strange. Take this knife, but do not touch it under any circumstances. I do not…know what might happen if you do. Much shadow energy resides within it and it may not be safe for anyone other than me to handle directly. Find my family and give it to them. They will know what to do with it. Please tell them how I died. It will be important to them.”

It's becoming clear that whatever has carried her this far is running out and her breathing is becoming more labored. Her voice begins to grow more soft as she continues, “My final task is…the largest. Find…and kill…the…Black Crown. He…is…”

The woman's head bows as she loses consciousness. Within a few seconds she stops breathing. Shortly after this, the image fades, to be replaced by the truth. She's been dead for decades. The blood is now merely a dark coloration on the floor. Her armor is little more than rust, but the sword and knife are still intact, just as she left them.

The complex should have about a hundred skeletons (half of which were zombies before they were sealed away), fifty infectious zombies (anything killed by them will likely rise as a zombie), five shadows that functioned as a special ops unit (should be quite hard to find and dispatch), plus a flesh golem turned vampire that was their leader. Unlike the others, the vampire looks perfectly preserved, if he can be found. He should be well hidden, because he suspected Sora would try something like this. If the vampire escapes, he will report to the Black Hand and may be seen by the PCs again somewhere down the line.

Another possibility is that the spell keeping the undead inert has begun to fail, leaving a number of skeletons and zombies loose and roaming around the outlying edges of the complex. Even one of these zombies running free can easily cause a local zombie plague and can be a useful adventure hook to bring the PCs in to investigate.

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