Tomb of the Gnome King

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When desert gnomes die, their bodies do not rot and perish and return to the earth like those of humans. They are dehydrated, the moisture removed by the sands and sun, leaving a leathery husk. Those husks are then placed in burial mounds. This is the greatest of those mounds, created as the final resting place of the desert monarchy. Gnome Kings and Queens have been buried here for centuries.

A generation ago, the last and greatest of the gnome Kings died. The remaining gnomes still worship the late King Tyrrel and wish to return him to life, and their colony to glory.

The party have arrived here following the discovery that the tomb is the epicentre of a sudden, extreme and unnatural local drought. The nearby town of Trockenvale has sought the party’s help to end it.


  • Cool. A reprieve from the desert heat.
  • Stagnant. Smells of earthen clay and ammonia.
  • Dark. There are no windows or doorways other than the main entrance.
  • Loud. Permanent low frequency hum. Impossible to determine its direction.

1. Guarded Entrance

  • Simple but enormous doorway carved from the rock.
  • Narrow passageway leads to a circular room with a domed ceiling.
  • Closed door on the North side, empty pedestals on each side.
  • Hemispherical brazier in the centre, burning with divine light.
  • Two Glass automatons stand guard, each carrying a small copper bowl of divine light.

The automatons are cognizant and helpful, but will not tolerate their masters’ eternal slumber being disturbed. The years have taken their toll on the programming of these magical robots, causing unpredictable faults or changes in demeanour.

The automaton’s bowls of divine light must be placed on the pedestals on either side of the interior door to unlock it.

Glass Automaton – HD3

Divine fire – DEX (1 nearby) 4 dmg
Punch – STR (1 close) 5 dmg
Mindless – Cannot be charmed, frightened or put to sleep.


2. Room of remembrance

  • Altar covered with unlit candles.
  • Huge bowl filled with objects: headscarf; wooden toy horse; rings and other jewellery; a bottle of alcohol; a journal written in indecipherable shorthand; many small pieces of metal.
  • Vents in the walls at regular intervals.
    One on the west wall hides a secret passage to a corresponding vent in room 5.
  • Stone door to the north is closed.
  • An inscription is carved into the wall above it:
    “Enter respectful, devout with heart pure. Dispell thoughts of theft and of breaking of law.”
  • The door to the East is also closed, but will open with a firm push.

Any character wishing to enter the North chamber must prove their good intentions. They may do so by offering a treasured item into the bowl, praying at the altar, lighting a candle, or with some other sincere sign of respect.

3. False Burial Chamber

  • Door is difficult to open. A thick layer of congealed tree sap around the door frame makes it difficult to push the door open.
  • The door closes on its own if not jammed open. The sap creates an air tight seal when it is closed.
  • A solitary sarcophagus stands in the middle of the space. Contains a few wooden coins but no body.
  • If opened it releases a poisonous gas into the room.
    Succeed a CON check or be poisoned:
d6Poison effects
1Weak – Disadvantage on STR checks and the next save against death.
2Stone – Reduce DEX by 2, increase STR by 2. Repeat this every 24 hours. When DEX reaches 0, the affected character turns to stone and dies.
3Fear – Affected characters must make a WIS check when they next see a gnome. They are frightened of it if they fail.
4Silence – Lose the ability to speak.
5Vision – Experience violent hallucinations.
6Sleep – For one hour, nothing will wake the affected character. If the whole party is affected this way, they wake with their hands bound in room 5, witnessing the waking of the King.

4. Crypt of the fallen Queen

  • The humming is defeaning in this room. Perception checks relying on hearing are made with disadvantage. Tasks and magic requiring concentration are impossible.
  • Large, grand sarcophagus in the centre of the room.
  • Smaller, simpler caskets around the edges of the room.
  • Sarcophaguses contain dehrydrated gnomes, with dark leathery skin pulled taught across their skeletons.
  • Each gnome is buried with a valuable item from the Buried Treasure table. One sarcophagus contains an Axe of Stonesplitting, another a full Orb of Memory Capture.
  • Two gnomes lie dead beside the central sarcophagus. Faces gaunt, skin leathery. The moisture has been sucked from their bones.

5. Gnome King’s Ossuary

  • Deafening hum as in room 4.
  • The air is unpalatably dry. It catches in the back of the throat and makes the eyes water.
  • Metallic sarcophagus encased in a glass chamber.
  • A pair of gnomes wind the handle of a huge rehydrator machine.
  • A pipe extends from the machine to the glass chamber and another through the ceiling.
  • Living beings in the room can survive 2d10 minutes before the moisture is completely sucked from their body by the rehydrator machine. Gnomes are hardy to the arid environment and can survive much longer – but not indefinitely.

If the party dilly-dally or leave the machine and gnomes alone, King Tyrrel will be revived as the gnomes intended, in full presence of mind.
If the party stop the machine from operating, the process will be incomplete and the King will arise a violent and emotionless shadow of his former self, grasping the banner and ceremonial sword he was buried with.

Desert Gnome – HD2

Crossbow – DEX (1 Nearby) d6 dmg
Knife – STR (1 close) d4 dmg
Precise – Damage from attacks is rolled with advantage.
Bomb – Can throw a simple home made explosive to a nearby spot once per encounter. Deals d8 damage to all targets close to it.


King Tyrrel – HD6

Sword – STR (1 close) 8dmg
Rehydrated – Takes double damage from blunt weapons and half damage from piercing and slashing weapons. Psychic magic including sleep has no effect.

1The sound of breaking glass echoes through the tomb, cutting above the low hum.
2Four gnomes carry a pair of empty stretchers into the tomb.
3A glass automaton appears and questions the party on their presence.
4Tomb gas – roll against poison.
5A desert bird enters the chamber and flutters around at ceiling height.
6A squishy yellow cactus grows from cracks in the wall. It’s sap causes hysterical laughter.


2D6Buried Treasure
2A glass spinning top which emanates warm light when spun
3A folding pickaxe
4A grave mask
5An emerald or sapphire ring
6A polished shield and razor sharp spear
73d10 gold
8A dragonfly brooch of silver and turquoise enamel
9Finely decorated plate armour
10A gold tiara with a single ruby in its centre
11Never-ending Rope
12A Jug of Infinite Liquid

Axe of Stonesplitting
A powerful weapon which can tear the very ground asunder. Songs and campfire tales were written of the first wielder of the Axe, who was bestowed it by Storth the earth goddess to shape this land.
It grants the wielder the following:

  • +1 to attacks, +3 against creatures made of rock or metals.
  • Proficiency to checks relating to knowledge of stonework and geology.
  • The ability to cast Mold Earth at will.
  • Once per day, the wielder may walk through a body of stone up to 2m thick as though it were air.

Orb of Memory Capture
This orb may be used to trap a memory, which can be viewed by another creature. While it is trapped, the owner forgets all aspects of the memory. The memory returns to its owner after being viewed 3 times.

Never-ending Rope
When the end of the rope is pulled from the bag it’s containing in, it just keeps coming.

Jug of infinite liquid
Once per day, this litre jug will create up to 10 litres of water, 5 litres of oil, 2 litres of mayonaise, 1 litre of chilli sauce or half a litre of mild poison. The liquid disappears at midnight unless consumed.

Crystal Drone
A perfect glass hummingbird which responds to its owners telepathic commands up to 100ft away. At any time, it’s owner may choose to replace their own vision with that of the drone.

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