And finally, part 5...
The Silence of Mothvale: Part 5 -- The Dead are not Resting
After descending the staircase what seems like about 60 feet, the 10-foot-wide passage opens up to a circular room roughly 60 feet across, with ceilings 10 feet high. The room is adequately lit by a pair of torches, one on either side of the room, and across the room on the North side is a hallway leading out of the room, closed off by a portcullis. A series of 8-foot-tall marble statues line a path directly through the room, each extending a skeletal arm, holding a set of scales -- the symbol for Kelemvor, god of the dead.
Unbeknownst to the party, there is a pit trap in the very center of the room, directly in the path lined by the statues. The trap can be spotted with a DC 16 Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation) check conducted at or near the center of the room. If more than 125 pounds of weight is put on this pit trap at once, it tips inward, attempting to drop the target into an oubliette below. Any creature standing in the center 10' square when the trap is triggered must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw to avoid being dropped into the pit below.
The oubliette chamber directly below the circular room mirrors its dimensions, save for a conical ceiling leading up to the pit trap at its top. Any creature that falls down into this chamber takes only half of the 6d6 fall damage if they land on the large mound of bodies in the center of the floor. Unfortunately though, this awakens the bodies, which are in fact a single giant mass of rotting flesh -- a Deadmass (see figure 5.1 for statistics).
There are several other corpses not part of the deadmass strewn about the room, which the deadmass may consume, and which may or may not be carrying items of interest or value. This room is not a true oubliette, as there is a thick, sturdy metal door set into the Western wall of this chamber. One corpse near the door has an outstretched hand in which can be found the key, but if this corpse is absorbed by the deadmass, it must be killed to retrieve the key. The hallway just outside the oubliette is empty and slowly ramps up to the floor above, connecting to the hallway beyond the circular chamber.
If the party does not enter the oubliette (willingly or otherwise), The torch sconce on the Western wall can be pulled to open the portcullis to the North. This switch can be detected with a DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check on the Western wall, or a DC 17 Intelligence (Investigation) check on the torch.
The corridor to the North trails on for another 60 feet or so before opening up into the grand crypt, the final resting place of Mothvale's most heroic defenders.
The Grand Crypt
This 100-foot-square room has a vaulted ceiling, a raised catwalk around its outer rim, and several 10-foot-thick columns rising up to the ceiling around the back half of the space. A number of stone sarcophagi are placed in very orderly rows around the Southern half of the room, which are each about 3 and a half feet high. Near the center of the room is a bubbling pool of a viscous purple liquid, flanked on either side by bloody slabs which seem to have been used as altars for some dark ritual. The room is brightly lit by torches in various places around the walls of the room.
The surrounding catwalk begins to either side of the entrance hallway, rising up 10 feet above the crypt floor, where it then follows the outer walls of the room to the back side, rising up an additional 10 feet above the floor, and then meeting in the center of the far back wall. At this point, a small flight of stairs rises an additional 5 feet to a 10-foot-square ritual platform, directly overlooking the pool 25 feet below.
Mothvale's mayor, clad in dark purple robes, stands atop the ceremonial platform overlooking the entire room, and is in the middle of a lengthy incantation, so he may not immediately notice the party's entrance. Standing on the catwalk behind him are two to four Skeletal Rangers (see figure 5.5 for stats), and down near the pool below are two Skeletal Knights (see figure 5.4 for stats). All of the skeletons have their gaze firmly fixed upon the mayor, and will not notice the party unless they come very close, or until the mayor points them out.
Once the party is spotted, the mayor immediately commands his skeletal minions to attack, while he casts spells from his high platform (for the mayor, use the Mage stat block from the NPC section of the Monster Manual). The mayor stays as close to this platform as possible throughout the fight, and if he falls, he will stick as close to the bubbling pool as he can.
When the mayor is reduced to 0 hit points, with his last breath, he stumbles to the edge of the pool and collapses into it, and the party watches as his flesh is quickly boiled away, and his remains sink to the bottom of the opaque pool. However, a few moments later, the mayor makes a dramatic return. Read or paraphrase the following:
After a few moments, the pool begins to bubble violently. The top of a bleached white skull appears, and a wicked skeletal form slowly emerges, hovering over the pool and back up to the platform above. The skull lets out an ear-shattering scream, as a crack winds its way down its face. With a sickening sound, the skull splits into supernatural duplicates, and where there was one skull on these shoulders, now there are three.
The three skulls survey the room silently, then focus on various party members. With a disturbing laugh, the skeletal creature points at the two closest party members and unleashes spectral bolts from his mouth.
At this point, the Skull Lord (see figure 5.3 for stats), a grotesque, three-headed skeletal mage assumes the current spot in initiative and uses its multiattack. He targets the two closest party members with his damaging skull attacks and reanimates a fallen skeletal minion with his third skull action.
The skull lord continues to use his multiple skull attacks every round unless another action is necessary. If there are no more of his initial skeleton minions to revive with his Skull of Death's Command, he will instead target one of the sarcophagi at the front half of the room, reviving a new skeletal fighter from within (these can be copies of his existing minions, or regular skeletons from the monster manual, depending on your desired difficulty).
Once reduced to 0 hit points for the final time, and his last skull explodes, the Skull Lord slowly disintegrates into dust. As he does, he stretches out a hand, and as it dissolves, his signet ring clatters to the floor, to be retrieved by a member of the now successful party.
The pool clears to a fine beautiful blue after a few moments, and the air immediately smells clear and cool, contrasting the suffocating smogginess that had filled the crypt to this point. Once they exit the mausolem, the air is already beginning to clear, the fog lifting and revealing a crystal clear sky.
Now all that's left is to return to the town of Last Rest. Mothvale as a population is now almost entirely destroyed, but the majority of the town itself remains. While the loss is will forever remain a massive tragedy in the town's history, at least now efforts can commence to restore it to its former productivity.
Upon returning to Last Rest, Lineiros is shocked and dismayed to hear about the massacre, as well as the mayor's fall, but he knows what must be done. He happily pays the group their well-earned reward, and begins immediately on assembling teams to move into Mothvale and begin the restoration process.
And now, with a job well done, the party is free to move on to their next adventure.