Dungeons & Dragons Online

Lost Mines of Siwat: The Town of Living Memory- A Two Part Adventure for 3rd Level Players- Part 1

Hi Everyone,

This is a two-shot that I ran in pathfinder about a month ago, and I decided to convert it to 5e for y’all! It was quite a blast, and my players were super into it. It’s a pretty cool horror adventure that has tons of room for improvisation and has a big reveal at the end which is pretty fun. This was run in my desert campaign, but there isn’t a particularly strong reason why it has to be a dessert. You could easily set it in a mountain range or other desolate area.


Adventure Summary:

The adventurers escort a prospector to a supposed site of a silver mine in a desolate area of the desert. To their surprise, there is a small but thriving mining community waiting for them when they get there. The prospector is upset that someone beat him to it, but concedes the rights are theirs. The town has been recently plagued by attacks of giant kin from the foothills, and asks the party to stay and help fend them off. As their stay continues, they begin to progressively notice that something strange is afoot in town. Everything seems old, and dusty, with several strange occurrences happening over night.

When the giants come later that night, the players find that alarmingly the giants are undead, and have come from the silver mine, where supposedly the town has been doing it’s business. The PCs notice the entire town seems to have aged (buildings in ruin) significantly after the attack, and it’s inhabitants have disappeared. Following the tracks, the party heads to find the truth of what really happened in this town, and why all of the inhabitants have seemed to disappear after the attack?


Hook:

A mining prospector, Skaz (ratfolk), in a nearby city has asked the players to escort him to a mine he found on an old map that might have silver deposits. He found the map while going through old geological surveys, and was surprised that no one had tapped this place yet. He knows little about the area as it is very desolate, but shouldn’t be too far out of wherever the PCs are going to next.

  • NPC: Skaz, ratfolk prospector. Grew up poor and is always looking for a get rich quick scheme. He is a clerk at the local survey office and recently found the map. He sees this as a chance to get ahead. Despite being a little greedy, he is honest and does plan on giving the PCs their due cut. He is also a bit of a coward and is quick to suggest blowing the mine up with dynamite when things go spooky.

Skaz answers any questions that he can, and promises the PCs that he will give them a cut of the profits as long as they stick around long enough for him to scope the place out. He promises a reasonable sum of gold if it turns out to be nothing though. He will fund any supplies the PCs need as well.

Optional: Have another person approach the PCs stating that travelers have gone missing in the area. I tied this into one of my PCs backstories by making the travelers hooked into one of the factions the PCs are apart of. They will find these travellers in the mines later.

If the PCs want to ask for rumors around the area, they can make Perception or Persuasion checks (DC12) to find one of the pieces of info.

  • Pale, wide eyed humanoids have been attacking travellers in the area
  • That area is considered cursed, and wise merchant caravans avoid it
  • Someone thought they saw a town in that area, but it wasn’t there the next day.

Have the PCs, gather whatever they need, and you can make the journey as long or as short as you want it to. It should take at least two days to arrive as something important happens on the way there the night before they arrive.


Night time ambush:

The day before they arrive in town, the PCs are attacked at night by strange pale skinned creatures with vampiric abilities. Use the ghoul statblock, give them sunlight sensitivity, and let them use weapons, shortswords, longbows, etc. They also have a bite attack which is a weaker version of the Vampire spawn bite (I would do 1d6+3 damage, half of which is healed.)They are not intelligent just acting on orders. A DC15 nature check reveals that these creatures are Urdefahn, vampiric humanoids from the underdark. It is strange that these creatures are here, as usually they don’t come to the surface. Treat this like a random encounter. Do not reveal it has any relation to the town. Perhaps add in a few other random encounters to disguise it. If you are using the PC backstory option, I would have one of the assailants wearing some sort of gear or clothing from the faction your PC is a part of. This will help hook them.


Siwat:

What is actually going on here: The entire town is a living memory. A ghost town in a literal sense. Every single person they meet in town is not real, just a very convincing illusion. In fact, they are the projections of the memories of the creatures that were once the townsfolk that now live in the mines. Every month the town lives out it’s last few days, groundhog day style. The power of the painful memory of what happened here in combination with the powerful necromantic energies coming from the darklands have created a powerful haunt that can only be stopped by putting to rest the owners of the memories. It is really important to give each npc here a distinguishing feature so that they can match them to the creatures they find in the mines later. Insight checks on the townsfolk reveal nothing, as they are living out their memories, this is their truth. Inconsistencies should be apparent, and should only confuse townsfolk though. The memory isn’t perfect, and has been altered by the necromancer in the mines to suit his needs. It should be obvious that something is up and it’s ok if your players catch onto it early.

HIstory of the town: About a century ago, the geological survey of the area was complete and a vein of silver was found in the foothills. The Siwat family led an expedition and established a mining community there to take advantage of the resource. Over a period of 10 years or so the mine thrived, and made the Siwat family wealthy. The mayor and the founder of the town, Edra Siwat (human), raised two children there. One notable feature of the town was that they recruited two ogres and a troll to help clear out new tunnels in exchange for food and pay. While not intelligent they quickly became the mascots of the town and were well loved.

Around the 20th anniversary of the town's founding, the trolls dug a little too deep. They found an entrance into the underdark, a dark pit plunging hundreds of feet. This happened to coincide with a cave in shortly after, leaving the giantkin trapped inside. A few nights later, vampiric Urdefahn began crawling up through the hole, led by a necromancer named Gazzaret. They killed the ogres and troll, and raised them as their own. Using magic, the necromancer cleared the cave in, putting up an illusory wall in its place. Gazarret started sending out attacks of the Urdefahn to get a sense of the town's resources and defenses. These attacks were quelled, but many left the town fearing for their safety. Edra sent his own children away to their grandparents while he insisted on staying.

A few days later, a combined attack of the Urdefahn and the undead giantkin, easily overwhelmed the towns defenses, capturing many of the townsfolk. These townsfolk were taken to the mine and turned into thralls for Gazarret, and their memories fuel the haunt that makes up the town today.


Arrival in town:

When the PCs arrive, they should be surprised that there appears to be a decent size town outside the mine. Perhaps one of the first things they notice that is off is that the town is suspiciously empty. Any npc they approach will direct them to speak with Edra, the town mayor.

NPCs around town:

  • The mayor: described below
  • Mayor's wife: Hana. Makes silver jewelry out of some of the finds in the mines. Owns a stand selling her wares in town. Friendly. Identifying token: a large emerald ring on her right hand.
  • Barkeep:Ori, Owner of the Mine Cart tavern. Half orc male. All of his beer is fairly old, and he has a few extremely valuable vintages for sale. Doesn’t seem to notice or care about the state of disrepair in his tavern. Identifying token: a battle axe hung on the wall with an ornamental blade.
  • The children: Siri and Adam, the mayor's children. Age 6 and 8 respectively. Described below.
  • Dipper, town guard, tiefling male. Is fairly green, and it is clear from the newness of his weapons and armor. Half elf human. Only guard in town. Identifying token, iron helmet with his name carved into it.
  • Anyone else who comes up! Remember to give them something to identify them by!

Notable Locations in Town:

  • Town square: A small center fitting a small town. A well leading to an underground reservoir is the main feature. The mayors house is the largest building in town and is just north of the square. Several stands selling goods and trinkets from the mines can be found here. Anything bought here will show signs of wear and age after the illusion is lifted. Hana’s stand can be found here.
  • Mayor's house, two story house containing a kitchen, sitting room, a master bedroom and children’s bedroom. The children’s bedroom is weirdly unkempt whereas the rest of the house is pristine. See below regarding the basement in the house.
  • Town garrison: Small barracks. There is evidence of a much larger group of guards living here at one point than just Dipper. This includes a number of bunks as well as armor and weapons for at least 6 people. Most were killed during the troll attack.
  • The mines: this will be covered in great detail in part 2. They are about a 10 minute hike just outside of town.
  • The mine cart tavern: A small tavern mostly meant for the miners to take a load off after work. There is a smashed window that the barkeep doesn’t seem to notice. This was smashed during the attack. A variety of vintage and expensive wines are on sale here due to this tavern having been untouched for almost 100 years.

Now the PCs should have a little free reign on what to do next. You are free to roleplay this out as you wish but here are a few things that they should notice are off:

  • A DC15 history check notices that the clothing the townspeople are wearing seem very out of fashion. If they roll over 20, they realize that some of the clothing seems almost a century out of date.
  • A DC12 Perception check while inside notices that everything is covered in a thin layer of dust. Far more than what should be even if it is in the middle of the desert.
  • The town is suspiciously empty. A large number of the townsfolk left due to the attacks from the Urdefahn. This is not part of the memory. Most houses in town are empty.
  • The town is suspiciously devoid of children despite there being beds for them in town.
  • If the PCs specifically mention going to the town well for water, they will be attacked by two grey oozes waiting for them there. A DC15 perception or nature check reveals corrosion marks in the stone suggesting they have been there for a while. The town is not real and does not drink water, so they would not have noticed the oozes there.
  • This one is a little crazier, have the mayor's children be the only ones still in town. They don’t seem to want to interact with the PCs and only give short replies to questions. They are seen running around town. Their parents do not seem to acknowledge them. If the PCs for some reason decide to follow the children, they notice that the children seem to be on almost some sort of loop (it takes following them for hours). This is because the children are a memory within a memory, and are less complete. The children escaped so these are the memories of their parents.
  • There is a town garrison but no guards. They were all killed by the invasion.
  • There is a town history museum below the mayor's house that will reveal the true nature of the town. More on this below.

Meeting the Mayor:

Edra is a tall dark skinned man with a bald head, and is in his mid 30s. He found this town when he was young and raised his family here. He is delighted to see new visitors, even more so adventurers. For him, I gave him a silver locket with a god's holy symbol on it to be the trinket to identify him later in the mines.

He asks the party for help with the Urdefahn attacks. He promises to pay them a reasonable sum of gold and let them prospect once the cave in is cleared. He tells them the mine caved ina few days ago and they suspect it will take a few days of time to clear it out. He suspects that the attack will happen just after sundown.

Try to steer your PCs away from going to the mine too early, namely before the attack later that night. If they do, they see a cave in which is an illusion. It is a DC 23 Perception check to disbelieve it, if the PCs specifically ask to inspect the cave in. This is high because the memory is enforcing the illusory wall. If they disbelieve the illusion then so be it, run the mine.

Until the attack, have them explore and interact with other npcs you come up with. Have a little fun with it. My players got pretty creeped out very early.


The mayor's house:

THere is one definitive way to find out what is truly happening here before the giant attack. There is a trap door leading to a basement in the mayor's house. This basement is a town history museum. Here they will find a few surprising things. One they will find the founding date of the town, which was almost a century ago, not 20 years ago like the mayor says. In addition, they will show drawings of the town with dates on them at the founding, including images of the townsfolk exactly as they include the giantkin workers. You might reward them by putting a magic weapon down here (+1 war pick would work) as a historical artifact.

If the players confront the mayor or another one of the townsfolk with this fact, the illusion should be briefly broken. Have the npc beg the players to save them and the towns folk by putting them to rest. Then have them scream, and disappear.


The Attack:

At sundown have the giant kin come into town and attack. This is the first wave. There are two zombie ogres as well as a group of 6 urdefahn described above. I would stagger out the encounter in waves though. Have the townsfolk mysteriously disappear during the battle, and have the player notice the town changes around them. Perhaps one of the urdefahn attacking them has a relic that was in one of the pictures in the museum. Or one of the trinkets of the npcs.

After the attack is finished, the town should appear dramatically different. The town beforehand looked like it did 100 years ago at the time of the original attack. This was a part of the memory. Now that the memory is complete the town is broken down and looks ruined. There are even a few skeletons of dead townsfolk around in the formerly empty houses.

The next step is to track the attack back. It doesn’t require a perception or survival check to see that the attack came from the mines. That is their next step. The mines will be covered in part 2 next week!

I hope you guys enjoyed this. Let me know what you think, and I would love to hear about it if you choose to run it!

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