The Call of Lith'en
Over my Winter Break I decided to run a campaign with my family and some friends who have never played before. It was a great way to work on Encounter Design, Level Design, and improve my storytelling skills. Below will be my notes and write-up of the 4-session campaign with diagrams added when necessary. Any monsters mentioned are from the licensed Dungeons and Dragons books, or are variants I've created myself.
The party starts the campaign at the Second Level, and has just come back from their first session where they cleared a cave of goblins where they were robbed from a sketchy fellow named Felicia. The first session starts as the party returns the needed luggage to Torn the Librarian in the town of Skire.
After escaping from the Goblin cave the adventures make their way to the town of Skire. They find their way to Torn’s Library to deliver the goods they were carrying with them. After speaking to Torn the party notices him search frantically through the boxes. He mentions that an evil tomb is missing from the pile. He tells the party that it is imperative that it is returned, it is a tomb of ancient evil and in the wrong hands could mean complete doom for this whole continent.
The party is given an orange glowing etched ring with a rune carved into the center of it. Torn informs the party that the ring will glow in the direction of the book, and it must be found immediately.
If the party asks further about the world, Torn will answer that recently around town members of the town have gone missing. There has been talks from the church about the end of the world, and possible cult sightings. The town is now only half the population it was a month ago.
Torn mentions that other mercenaries have been asking to help out, and Torn is willing to pay their fee if the party lets them join. Among these three are a Cleric, a Blood Hunter, and a Barbarian. (If there is a third actual person playing, their character would go here).
Torn promises the party their pick of any of the magical artifacts held within the church if they bring the book back safely, as well as gold for any information about any cults or evil doings they find.
Deciding When to Leave:
Wait a Night:
If the party decides to take a night off before heading out, a Mindflayer Cultist will attack them in the night. If he successfully charms the whole party they will be brought into the middle of an open field and placed into a summoning circle along with one other unconscious citizen. This is close by the dungeon and the ring will be glowing massively.
Initiative will start here, and the Players will have 5 turns to escape the circle and kill the 3 Human Cultists doing the ritual. These 3 Human Cultists will not fight back, and one is on guard duty who will fight the Players. Any Player within the circle after 5 turns passes will be turned into a Fused Monster, and have to make a 15 Constitution saving throw to take over control of the body.
In the event that the whole party is fused, they will lose consciousness for 3 days and come to after destroying the town. The Players will have full control of their body and find Torn half alive. He assumes the Players were part of the cult the whole time, and with some convincing can get info out of Torn telling them that he heard a rumor that the Fusions can be undone by finding the cult.
If the party decides to leave right away and follow the direction of the ring, they will come across the same summoning scene from leaving later, except there is two citizens inside of the circle now.
If they successfully save the citizens from the summoning, they will immediately flee. If they are asked questions they will know nothing and try to flee. These people were infected with a plague that will turn them into Lich Souls for harvest. After 3 days these will explode, destroying anything in a 20 foot radius from where they are. If they can be identified to have issues (DC 10) a Paladin or Cleric can cleanse them of the plague.
The ring will bring the Players to the front of the dungeon, the entrance is slightly hidden by a tree but is easy enough to find with the help of the ring.
Slight voices are heard from the entrance, it sounds as though a few people are speaking directly inside the cave.
If the Players try to enter the front entrance blindly a magic trap will go off requiring a Con Save (DC 13). If a Player fails they lose their memory temporarily and try to go back to the dungeon. If a Player doesn’t stop them, they’ll go into the dungeon straight to the Sacrificial Chamber (Area 4).
If the Players take a look around (Survival 12) they will find another hidden entrance to the right of the Front Entrance. The Back Entrance leads into the same room as the Front Entrance, but has no trap guarding it.
If for whatever reason the party goes on top of the cave, they will come across a hole which will break if stepped on. If a Player steps on the hole they will have to make a Dex Save (14) to not fall in. In any scenario unless the Players get creative the enemies inside Area 1 will be alerted of their presence.
All entrances lead the party to Area 1 no matter what. Inside are 4 Human Cultists (Warlocks) who are doing various tasks inside. 1 of the cultists has a long sword, while the other 3 wield various books in an unknown language which they use to cast spells.
If the party captures a Cultist to ask questions the Cultist will reveal that there is no saving the town, Lith’en will bring the end of days to them. The Cultist will then break mid sentence, and start to dissipate, turning to ask before the parties eyes.
If the party looks around the room they’ll see books everywhere, some that Metal will be able to recognize. If he rolls a good enough check (Religion 16) he’ll get info on The Lich Lith’en. The Lich in incredibly old and crazed, his power is lower than ever but is still quite dangerous.
At this point the party can go down one of two hallways. The left hallway leads to another fork in the road, while the right hallway lead to Area 2 and 4.
If the party goes down the right hallway they will come across Area 2 which is a room filled with rocks. They can see a glow in the back of the room, but it would be difficult to traverse.
If they successfully get to the end they will be rewarded with a magical long sword. Two traps are in the room if the players mess up their Survival Checks (DC 13). Both of which are Bear Traps which deal 1d4 damage.
Continuing on, the Players make their way to Area 4 where in the center lies 5 Human Cultists (Warlocks) as well as a Formed Banshee. The right most cultists are far enough away from the others to be picked off by the party if done correctly. When the Formed Banshee is killed she will whisper that death lies below them.
Off to the left of Area 4 is a chest with treasure inside of it. The treasure is a Bag of Holding, as well as 50 gold. At the end of the room is a staircase, man made which feels odd in this cave-like structure.
The Left Hallway leads to another fork, where the left path leads to a tight corridor with a door at the end. If the party tries to open the door without checking for traps the door will explode, dealing 1d8 damage to whoever is nearest to the door.
Behind the door is a Reusable Health Potion. The Reusable Health Potion recharges every 24 hours or every level up. If the trap goes off a d20 is rolled, if it is over 10 the treasure is destroyed.
To the right is a large room filled with large crevices in the ground that lead far down. Inside are 4 Kobolds mining away at the walls. To the sides of the room are cats filled with various minerals.
At this point the party has progressed to the third level. The dungeon walls are much more clean here, as though more time has been spent shaping them. It's important to note this as it helps progress the idea of progression to the party.
Monsters Encountered in this Session: Human Cultists, Choldrith, Ghoul, Seer Eye, Mimic
After making their way down the staircase, the party finds themselves in Area 1. To the parties surprise this portion of the dungeon seems slightly more shaped out than the first level. If the party left any enemies alive above them, the staircase is destroyed and the party is unable to go back up.
Area 1 is fairly empty, except for a hooded figure in the side of the room. On the left side of the room is a small hole large enough to fit one person. If a person walks into the hole they can catch a glimpse of the Choldrith. It beckons the party over. If the party walks over and speaks to the figure, it tells the party that the way down is guarded by a Choldrith. If the party gives the hooded figure 50 gold it will give them an easier way to kill it.
If they give the gold, they will receive a potion of Spreading Acid, and the figure will move backwards into a void, leaving the room. If they fight the figure or try and steal the potion, it will not be there. The figure will not try to fight, but will immediately escape.
From here a long twisting hallway leads to Area 3 where two revolving Seer Eye’s circling a radiating chest. To the immediate left is a hallway leading backwards.
Looking further into Area 3 there are eyes peer in all directions only being blocked by the stalagmites coming up from the ground. Further behind the chest is an opening, with a blue magic emanating from it.
When a Seer Eye catches a glimpse of an enemy it makes a opposed Stealth Check. If the eye sees an enemy it shoots a beam in the direction, dealing 1d10 damage at the direction it saw movement. It assumes the movement is dead, and continues moving along in the circular motion.
If the players can make it to the center chest they will be rewarded with Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals.
The hallway emanating blue is filled with a type of mushroom never seen before. The top of the cap is purple and the underside is blue, leaking a substance. A voice calls them into the hallway, trying to charm them.
If the players fail a Constitution Save (DC 13) they will start walking straight into the pit. For every turn in the hallway the players will take 1d4 poison damage from the mushrooms as they emit poison. At the end of the hallway is safety from the mushrooms, as well as a chest and a bag. The chest holds 20 gold, a key to the boss room, and a Cloak of Many Fashions. The bag is a Mimic, attacking when a player reaches into it. After killing the Mimic and opening the chest, the mushrooms calm down and will no longer harm the party.
The Left Hallway splits into three sections, one with a door, and two hallways that lead to small rooms.
The door seems normal to the party, but is imbued with a magic that keeps it locked. If the party has the key, it will open itself up when a player nears it. Otherwise, the players must get creative to open it.
Inside is the Choldrith which pays no mind to the party. The walls are covered with webs, halving all player speed. When the party approaches it, it will turn on the party and attack.
After dealing with the boss the webs will fall from the ground and decay away. From the ceiling will fall a dead cultist, in his hands holding a necklace. The necklace is a Ring of Free Action.
Down this hallway are three caged Ghouls. The cages seem sturdy, and a fourth Ghoul is in a cage but has been prodded to death. It seems as though the fourth one was tested on multiple times.
The Right Hallway has three mining Kobolds working away. They seem starved, and almost look like they’re about to fall over in death. Several are huddled in a corner, hardly moving or possibly dead. Magic encircles their necks, stopping them from leaving the room.
On a perception check with a DC of 15 the party will notice that a portion of the wall is different, as though it was reshaped differently. Inside will be three cultists doing a fusion ritual. If the party does not find the hidden room in time the fused monster will attack the party out of the blue.
The party has progressed to level four at this point, and the room has drastically changed. Instead of shaped dirt the walls are covered in wood, and the whole area seems all around more lived in than the previous parts of the dungeon.
The Monsters Encountered in this Session are: Human Cultist, Flail Snail, Spectator, and a Combined Doppelganger
The party makes their way down a circular staircase, welcomed by a clapping man sitting in a chair. It is none other than Felicia, he welcomes the party to the dungeon, congratulating them on besting the Choldrith.
He mentions how Lith’en is focused on busy work for the moment, and cannot be bothered, so it is up to Felicia and his crew to stop the party.
He tells Metal that is he still has a grudge against him, they can meet him in the final room and give him what he deserves.
If at any point the party tries to attack Felicia, he will be enveloped with mist and fade out of sight. Moments later, the door in front of the party opens, beckoning the Players in.
After the Players step in, a light shines down onto a cage holding four citizens of the town inside of a cage. The cage is broken and 3 more citizens are strewn about in the room. After walking in, the first party member to walk through is approached by a citizen who asks for his salvation.
Felicia will pipe in and tell the party that one of the citizens in this room are not what they seem, and the false citizen will have the key needed to progress.
Some citizens will be unable to acknowledge them, or even speak to the party. Others will try to bargain for it, giving out items that are not the key (this can be a rock, or a simple stick).
One of the citizens will have a poison drink which they will try and give the players one of them. If he is found or decides to fight, he will try and tell the party that the key is inside of the drink and the only way to obtain the key is to drink it. (But in all actuality the citizen has the key hidden under a nearby rock).
After dealing with the situation however they may, the key will open a side door as well as the progression door.
The room is filled with broken books and staffs. If the Player’s search they can find a Vicious Weapon (Rapier).
The next room is filled with rocks, and seemingly no enemies to the party. Unknowing to the party, there are two Flail Snails hiding as rocks. If the party does not sense them in time, they will attack with a surprise attack on the party.
In the magical door to the south of this room which opens after clearing the Flail Snails, a group of civilians are held up inside of the room. The group is hostile, and will attack the party if they cannot calm the situation down in time.
If the party is able to calm the situation down without any casualties, the party will be rewarded with gold and the survivors helping them fight the rest of the dungeon.
Inside of Area Four is a room with a collapsing wall on one side. Inside of the rubble beneath the crumbling wall will be a Spectator, who will attack once awoken. On the ceiling is the sister Spectator, which if not found will attack the party once the first Spectator has started combat.
After defeating the Spectators Felicia will pipe in, telling the party that it is finally their time to face off against him in combat. The key found on the first Spectator will open a side room which holds a Shield of Arrow Catching.
After clearing their way through the dungeon, Felicia will be standing in the middle of the room applauding their fighting ability. After a few moments about exposition including how long it’s been since he’s had a good fight, he splits into four entities, showing that he is not human but instead a Combined Doppelganger.
After defeating the Combined Doppelganger, his soul will leave the body and make their way down the staircase. An ominous feeling comes about every character, telling them to not go down the stairs.
When the party descends down the staircase, they will notice the walls are made of steel. Runes are etched all over them, magic flaring in and out of them.
Monsters Encountered in this Session: Human Cultists, The Lich Lith'en, Bone Demon, Human Rouge, Upgraded Fused Monster
When the party takes their first steps down the stairs, they find themselves hovering down by some sort of magic. When they reach the bottom of the staircase there are small groups of cultists all around praying in magical circles. They seem to not be chanting and do not notice the party. If the party decides to attack them, they will not fight back or move.
A door at the end of the entrance leads to Area Two. When reaching the end of the staircase the ring on the finger of the party member wielding it points directly forward in the direction of the door.
After opening the door there are two hallways to the left and right. Both lead to a room which holds a jail filled with citizens whose souls are planned to be used for sacrifice in the future by Lith’en. As well, before the door is the hooded figure who offered the party the potion is Session Two.
The hooded figure tells the party that a dark evil is in the next room, and will be no small feat to destroy. He informs the party that Lith’en will sacrifice the souls in the cage to power himself up. The hooded figure will unlock the magic holding the door in place which leads to Area Three, and disappears from the room.
A sense of cold envelops the party as the door is opened, as a mass of bone and cloth lies in a magic circle in the middle of the massive room. The room is filled with runes and bodies, magic energy fills the room. After the door is opened, a magic pushes the party into the room and the bones form themselves into the Lich Lith’en.
It is worth noting here that any players and/or familiars who died during the campaign will be revived by Lith'en to fight the party. I would highly reccomend to have the players fight the party themselves rather than having the Dungeon Master control the revived being.
After the fight with Lith’en the final door opens, revealing the book of evil on a pedestal and a staircase leading to the outside world.
After the Dungeon:
After beating the dungeon and finding the book, the party returns to the city to return the book to Torn. Depending on how the party deals with Torn different endings to the campaign will happen.
Give the Book to Torn:
Torn turns and starts to summon a demon. If the party is unaware of what he’s trying to do he will summon a Bone Demon. The Bone Demon will fight the party. If the demon defeated the party will have to fight Torn, saving the town.
Keep the Book for Themselves:
If the party keeps the book for themselves or leaves without telling Torn, a group of rogues and thieves will attack the party and try to steal the book. If the rogues are defeated, Torn will turn himself into the ultimate Fused Monster and attack the party.
Destroy the Book:
If the book is destroyed Torn will go on a rampage and destroy the town with the remaining Fused Monsters from the rituals. THey all go on a rampage and mutate further into stronger monsters.
Variant Enemies and Classes:
The Formed Banshee chooses only a specific person for her wail, instead of everyone in a 30-foot radius. As well, physical attacks are able to hit it as the Banshee is partially formed with a cultist. These changes were done to better scale the Banshee to the 2nd level party.
The Seer Eye is a massive floating eye which ignores all but movement it senses. At that moment it attacks in the direction of the movement, and continues on in it's path.
Destruction Beam: When the Seer Eye finds movement, it immediately attacks no matter what, adding +5 to the attack roll. They path around in a certain way, with their pupil moving separately from the body whenever it identifies or sees movement.
STR: 8 | CHA: 12 | CON: 14 | DEX: 12 | INT: 16 | WIS: 15
Passive Perception: 12
Skills: Perception, Survival, Insight
Speed: 20 ft.
The Combined Doppelganger is a combination of four Doppelgangers who take one form. After reaching half health, they split into their original Doppelganger forms and fight as usual. After three of the four Doppelgangers have died, the remaining one uses a Legendary Action to reform to it's combined state at half health.
Traits (Same as Doppelganger with new additions)
Split Form: After reaching half health, the Combined Doppelganger splits into the four original Doppelgangers.
Reshape (Legendary Action): When three of the four Doppelgangers have died, the remaining Doppelganger calls forth the other three remains of the Doppelgangers and reforms into its combined shape at half health. This action can only be used once.
STR: 11 | CHA: 14 | CON: 14 | DEX: 18 | INT: 11 | WIS: 12
Skills: Deception, Insight
Speed: 30 ft.
The Fused Monster is both an enemy and possibly a class if members of the party find themselves in the middle of a fusion ritual. The fusion ritual will combine all bodies in the ritual circle into one being, having their souls fight for dominance over control the body each day. If a player is caught in the ritual and becomes part of the monster, they become a stronger variant of the enemy with specific changes that come as they level up, to a maximum of 5th level.
If a player ends up becoming part of the fused monster, they have a few ways to regain their normal bodies. If they find their way into a ritual circle, the other souls in the body may try and use a spell to reverse the ritual. Otherwise, Felicia or The Lich Lith'en may be able to help if the role playing portion of the campaign goes in the players favor.
Temporary Control: Once every day the Fused Monster must make a Wisdom saving throw to keep control of the monster as the other souls inhabiting it. It is then up to the Dungeon Master to decide how the other souls inhabiting the body would react and control the monster.
Hover: The Player is able to hover in most situations, staying a few inches off of the ground.
Sword Arm: +5 to hit, +3 to damage.
Eldritch Blast: +2 to hit, -1 to damage
HP: 30 (d10)
STR: 18 | CHA: 8 | CON: 12 | DEX: 14 | INT: 10 | WIS: 12
Skills: Athletics, Insight, Investigation
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Speed: 30 ft.
Flying Speed: 10 ft
- It is worth noting that while using the flying speed, the Player is unable to fly faster than they fall, meaning that they can slowly fall to the ground but not fly back up.
The Player gets a few choices on how their body will morph at the third level. The Player may choose one of these at level three, with their body making the initial changes needed immediately.
- Morph (Arm): The monster is able to turn the arm into any 3 weapons, or a shield as a bonus action. The weapons and/or shield must be chosen at level three and are unable to be changed.
- Morph (Wings): The player will grow wings, allowing the flying speed to increase to 15 feet and the wings to be used as an attack dealing 1d8 piercing damage.
- Morph (Casting): The monster relearns how to cast spells, allowing them to learn spells the same way a Warlock of the third level would. The monster would use Strength as their spell casting ability physically throwing the spells a the enemies with brute force.
The Player is able to choose an ability score increase, or a feat based on how the Dungeon Master is running their campaign. As well the monster is now able to use a multi-attack.
Stoneskin: As a reaction the monster is able to see an attack coming towards them and raise their Armor Class up to 17 for the attack, lowering it once again after the attack has ended.