Miska Fredman released some more maps at his blog, among them a smaller one he called the Tomb of Devas. Usually, I think that small maps are not that useful, as one cannot turn them into a dungeon of its own. But the addition of the cave complex behind the secret door gave me the idea of turning it into an encounter area for Veins of the Earth. Not that I would actually -play- in that “setting”, but I like to toy with the ideas it inspires in me. And Miska´s maps are a good source of inspiration.
My idea: The Tomb of Devas used to be an underground burial shrine, till it was buried itself by an earthquake. The stairs at the western (left) edge of the map are blocked by so much rubble that it would take weeks of work to clear the exit (much more without pick-axes and shovels). The remains are now connected to the Veins of the Earth (eastern/right edge; the secret door is a breakthrough instead; steps/stairs in the tunnels are manageable slopes and inclines). The area is currenlty occupied by a fossil vampire, a Lich-Mummy and a Gilgamash.
The fossil vampire (p.53) was attracted by the earthquake. It poked through the remains of the temple in search for prey, but did not found any living thing to feed on, and was not bright enough to make conversation with the Lich-Mummy. It fled from the Gilgamash, and creeped back into the adjacent tunnels to make a lair near a deep chasm with a pool of cold water. The other undead entices it, but it cannot fashion a plan on how to overcome the Gilgamash.
Most of the sarcophagi in the northern (upward) chamber have tumbled and broke open, so that many a mummy lies scattered in the room. One of the sarcophagi was bedecked with runes of protection and banishment. It contained a lich that was buried “alive” in a sarcophagus, and as it broke open the lich was freed: the ruined temple was desecrated (due to the earthquake) and did not mean harm to it anymore. Khoras, the Seeker of the Gorged Majesty (6 HD lich) could set out into the Veins of the Earth, would it still have its legs attached. But they broke off as the sarcophagus tumbled, and are now buried under the upturned lit. The lit´s protective runes, still intact, prevent Khoras from getting the legs back.
Even worse… out of the broken three statue guardians, which had been arranged around the central statue in the ante chamber, a Gilgamash (p.66) formed. It calls itself TriKarNas, and considers itself “the Humble Final Guardian”. While it will allow everybody to enter the place and talk calm and peacefully, it will become violent as soon as anybody tries to leave again (so it retains a patient and understanding voice while it beats those who try to escaped into a bloody pulp). It will not leave the grounds of the shrine. The Fossil Vampire was to quick for it, but that shall not happen to TriKarNas again! He watches over Khoras vigilantly.
Khoras used to be after absolute power, and found a away to increase its own might by consuming the life-force and essence of those of royal descend (and gains one HD for every king or queen consumed that way). The lich is cruel and careless aside from its ambitions, and otherwise only interested in its own amusement. But currently it is in total despair in regard to its own fate in this place. When the PC show up, it will gladly lure them closer to TriKarNas. Only as they have entered will the lich steer the conversation with TriKarNas towards its “duties”, and hopes by doing so that the characters will dispose of the Gilgamash. TriKarNas itself is next to immune against most forms of magic (which is why Khoras cannot deal with it on its own).
Things the PC may gain from the encounter:
# Khoras may very well offer a service to the characters in exchang for getting his legs back (and destroying TriKarNas). It will not turn onto the characters, but they may very well encounter the Lich-Mummy again later. And this time, the debt will have been cleared…
#Grave goods found within the broken sarcophagi may include valuable baubles.
# The small shrine in the southern (lower) edge of the map may contain holy texts that could teach a cleric some new spells.