Long ago, a local priest created a warded graveyard on a remote hillside. As the years passed, it gained a reputation as a spot whose defenses were powerful enough to keep undead in and tomb robbers out. Adventurers began to bring the remains of any creatures they suspected might become restless in death to the Tomb Steppe for interment, and in time they also sought aid against such creatures from the friendly priest. After his death, a brief spate of undead activity commenced, then died away once again.
As the years passed, the tales of undead activity in the Tomb Steppe faded into legend, and colonists began to move into the lands nearby. The town of Night Falls was founded a short distance from the graveyard, and it grew quickly into a thriving trade center and farming community. Realizing that the Tomb Steppe was safe enough during the day, the citizens began burying their dead there rather than building new crypts on pristine farmland. Because this method of interment was cheap and easy, people from many surrounding communities brought their dead to the town as well. The business of burial brought new prosperity to Night Falls, and a guild called the Funerary House sprang up to control the trade.
But it seems that the threat from the Tomb Steppe has not entirely been laid to rest. The Great Mausoleum -- the largest and finest tomb in the steppe, has been unsealed, and an apparition has been seen within. Who will go to the Tomb Steppe by night and reseal the tomb?
Lest Darkness Rise is a short adventure for four 7th-level characters. In keeping with the season, it has a stronger horror theme than most D&D adventures. This scenario can be used as the climax of a series of adventures featuring its secondary characters, or it can simply be a site-based adventure that the PCs stumble across at the right moment. The scenario is set in a semi-civilized area in the far north, far from cities and churches, where winters are harsh and summers never get very hot. These inhospitable conditions have resulted in a low humanoid population. The scenario need not be set in such a wilderness; a rural farming community far from cities works just as well. The only real requirement is that the area have few settlements.
The action takes place in the small town of Night Falls and a nearby necropolis of tombs, mausoleums, and graves known as the Tomb Steppe. As always, feel free to adapt the material presented here as you see fit to make it work with your campaign.
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