Accessing The True Vault
Overview: With all the vault keys the players must still gain access to the true vault [Area 45] which can only be reached through the cemetery [Area 30]. The main gates to the cemetery can only be passed through when players are in their incorporeal form, so they can enter it to survey the area but little else. There are three possible routes to getting into the cemetery that the players can choose, requiring various degrees of skill, patience and time.
Puzzle 07: The Abbot [Area 18]
Puzzle Synopsis: By doing a little traveling and using some deduction the players may come across the old Abbots [Area 18] and be told about a secret access point, there is a little leg work with this puzzle but it is the simplest way to get into the cemetery.
In the Abbots House [Area 18] the players if in their corporeal form will sense a presence lingering in the area but nothing more. If the players are in their incorporeal form then around the large table they see eight spirits all dressed the same sat around the table talking to each other; the old Abbots of many generations that appear to be drunk.
The players must ask the abbots about access into the cemetery, but the abbots will require more wine before they are willing to tell the players! Wine can be recovered from the kitchen wine cellar [Area 22], when done the Abbots will tell the players there is a secret access from inside the cathedral [Area 4] that leads out into one of the saints tombs [J] in the cemetery. However, to get inside the secret room the players will need to speak the password, which they are told is the real name of the oldest Abbot (sat at the head of the table), who currently uses a patron name (Abbot Rosen).
Getting the Password: The old Abbot is so old that he cannot remember his real name, and the other Abbots cannot remember such trivial things as the password. The Abbot says if they can find where he is buried in the cemetery then they can read his name off his graves headstone. He does not remember where he asked to be buried, but the physician no doubt was the one who took his last requests. The Abbots last request is archived in the admin building [Area 36]. A search of the files and they can find the recorded final words of Abbot Rosen, though it doesn’t give any clues as to when it dies. It reads:
“I wish to be buried where I can watch the sun rise each morning, under the ever watchful eye of the Loyal Fury beside my brother.”
This statement gives three clues to the location of the grave:
“Where I can watch the sun rise each morning” means an eastern facing grave to watch the sun rise, the players may inaccurately presume the right side of the map is east, but it isn’t. As depicted in the stained glass window the left hand side is the east (flip the map 180 degrees) as the window with the sun is on the left wall of the cathedral.
“… under the ever watchful eye of the Loyal Fury…” means under the watch of the god Torm, a statue of whom is erected in the cemetery [C], which looks over some eastern facing graves. However, the other statue [B] is of Ilmater (Ilmater, Torm and Tyr were known as the Triad in religious lore). With a successful religion check the players will know that Torm is known as the Loyal Fury, however, there is also a painting in the Abbots House depicted Torm with the similarly named caption. The statues in the cemetery have no names on them.
“.. beside my brother.” A few gravestones have the same surnames on them, both those in sight of Ilmater [B] and Torm [C] will have two headstones each where two people next to each other were related. The pair in front of Torm are the two needed, as the Abbot requested to be buried beside his brother it is easy to assume that he died after his brother and the date on the grave will confirm one died later and so the name on that headstone (Arrafa) is the Abbots name and the password needed.
Accessing the Cathedral: The Cathedral, so it would seem, can only be accessed in incorporeal form (through the two incorporeal doors), however, there is a secret entrance from the minor chapel [Area 14] behind the banner [A] that leads back into [Area 01] to a secret door in the staircase [A]. Players may find this access point when they start the adventure in [Area 01]; the door cannot be opened from this side, but has a symbol of a bird in a circle engraved in the wood, which is matched by the same symbol on the banner in the minor chapel. This are can be accessed at any time, however, if the players did not notice the engraved symbol before leaving the cathedral then the Abbot may simply tell them they can access it from the minor chapel.
Puzzle 08: The Bloodletter [Area 35]
Puzzle Synopsis: A fairly simple way to access the cemetery is to obtain a necklace that allows the players to pass through incorporeal doors whilst in their corporeal form, such a device was being made by one of the monks who wanted to be able to further contact those who had passed on. The culmination of this “puzzle” is a fight with a high level solo mob who has stolen the device.
In the High Clerics office [Area 25] the players may discover a diary on the desk of the cleric who oversaw the day to day running of the monks, multiple entries talk about Brother Barstow’s “meddling” and his infernal contraption for seeing and speaking to the dead, the man has become obsessed with his creation and spends most of his days working on it in the workshop instead of focusing on his chores and prayers. This clue directs players to the workshop [Area 12] and Barstow’s private room can be found in [Area 13].
Upon the desk there are documents of the sketched schematics of the device, but they are smeared with blood, a trail that the player now notices leads out of the workshop. With successful tracking skills (the tracks should not be printed on a player map) the players can follow the trail into the garden [Area 13] but are unable to pass through the door [A] and must find another entry point into the Lesser Cloister [Area 34].
Taking the long way round the players may once again pick up the tracks when in the cloister [Area 34] which lead into the bloodletters/surgeon building, in there is a bloody demon of pain and suffering, which will be a tough encounter for the group. At its defeat the players recover the talisman and are able to use it to pass their group through incorporeal doors (Cathedral and Cemetery).
Puzzle 09: The Quizzical Wall [Area 40]
Puzzle Synopsis: Simply by following the general flow of the dungeon the players may eventually make their way around to the school [Area 40], taking this route is for those that haven’t been able to work out the other routes and whilst it rewards logical thinking and getting the puzzles correct, the players can pass through with general combat and skill roll successes. Accessing the cemetery from this point requires two larger puzzles/challenges including a traditional “riddles” puzzle and then a skill/combat based challenge.
The players will enter the school [Area 40] and upon approaching the wall [A] a stone face addresses the players, his brick teeth and hollow eyes baring down on the group, asking if they are looking to go to the library. The wall is quite the smart fellow and says he will pose three riddles, if they get them right or if they get them wrong but survive the consequences, he will let them through. The players don’t know, but if they get an answer wrong they will instantly have to face an encounter based off the correct answer within [Area 40].
Blacken fingers with burning bite
Blind your eyes by brightest light
Strip the clothing from my prey
Unfortunate travellers who’ve lost their way
Wrong Answer: The room becomes freezing and the floor is slicked with ice, moving more than 2 squares in a move action requires a successful acrobatics check or the player falls prone. The players face an ice elemental.
Skin of rock, breath of fire
My heart burns hotter than deepest desire
If angered I shall block out the sun
Then see how fast brave men can run
Wrong Answer: (High chance the players might think the answer is a dragon) the room becomes extremely hot and a number of tiles (GM discretion) turn to flame including the walls, which deal fire damage if passed through them. The players face a fire elemental.
At the end of your journey I await
Sometimes early, often late
I arrange gatherings of friends and family
Though no one ever wants to invite me
Wrong Answer: All the players begin to die and must start making saving throws.
After the players have survived their ordeal the wall grins and opens his mouth wide then become inanimate, allowing the players to pass into the library [Area 41] beyond.
Puzzle 10: The Planartarium [Area 41]
Puzzle Synopsis: This puzzle is very skill based and requires successful skill checks whilst in the middle of combat, this is not a particularly easy challenge but it’s complexity for completing it means the players will always have a route they know they can take; even if it is difficult.
When the players pass into the library the shelves are filled with various bookshelves. The center of the area raises into a high domed ceiling, suspended in the air are a number of metal balls around three feet in diameter. The players sense a high presence of magic in this area, if they try to find the cause they will detect that “Tenser’s Floating Disk” ritual seems to have been used on this room (hence the floating items). At the centre of the library on the ground floor the players can find a golden statue [A] that holds a model depicting the planes of existence with Toril at the centre, this reflects a smaller scale of the larger floating metal balls above them.
On top of the of the golden statue is a darkened blue gem, pushing this down the players will realise it is a button and when activated it the coloured metal balls above moving at quite a quick pace, they seem to move in some form of pattern (irrelevant). The golden balls remain stationary and continue to float. After 5 rounds the button will deactivate and the balls will stop spinning/moving.
Up the stairs into the higher level there are two more similar buttons on the walls [D] and [E], when the button at [A] is active these two buttons can also be activated, however, they must be pushed with a minor action each round otherwise they will deactivate. When activated the metal balls begin to spin faster and begin passing over the stationary golden balls. After five rounds the players may see with a successful perception check that one of the balls that passes over the central golden ball [F] also appears to have another button on it that glows and dims over and over.
The players must keep the buttons pushed [A], [D] and [E] before finally “hitting” the floating button at [F] (only active when the other three buttons are activated for five consecutive rounds). This can be hit with a ranged attack (very high AC/Ref to hit) or from the metal disc at [F] with a melee attack, which has a lower AC/Ref to hit it, but requires jumping checks to leap between the golden balls and acrobatics to dodge the flying coloured balls.
Also, when button D is pushed a portal will open on the bottom floor at [B] in the etched runes in the stonework where minions will pour out each round to try and attack the person at button [E]. Similarly, the player at button [E] will control the portal/flow of minions at point [C] that will attack the person at button [D].
If a player is unable to keep the buttons active then the timer is reset and the buttons must be held for another 5 consecutive turns before the button at [F] can be hit. When button [D] or [E] is deactivated its corresponding portal will shut (but the summoned minions will remain until killed), if button [A] is deactivated it will deactivate both buttons [D] and [E] and shut off both portals.
When button [F] is finally struck the door in [Area 42] at door [B] is unlocked at the players can pass into the cemetery.
Puzzle 11: The Quell and the Portal [Area 32]
Puzzle Synopsis: Not so much a puzzle, but a puzzling situation. In [Area 32] there is a damned shrine that can only be reached when incorporeal, which players may believe they need to resurrect at to gain access to the cemetery. However, upon reaching the room players are unable to resurrect, this is due to the Quell in [Area 31], creatures that stop divine powers from working.
To access the portal [Room 33] which leads to the True Vault doorway [Area 44] the players must open the corporeal door from [Area 32] to reach the portal. However, to reach [Area 32] the players have to be in their incorporeal form to pass through the incorporeal door between [Area 31] and [Area 32]. This means that the players must kill the Quell (thus breaking its effects on the damned shrine), die, pass through the incorporeal door into [Area 32] then resurrect at the shrine to open the corporeal door leading into [Area 33]. Complex!
One the players pass through the portal and reach [Area 44] they will find the metal True Vault door which is locked, in the door are three keyholes signifying that the players need to find the three keys to access the final area.