This Avenytr Adventures location is for characters of any level.
Located on the southwest side of the Baevonian Mountains, the Gate of Bones, sometimes known as “the Boneyard” is one of three gates holding Baevonia Pass. Securing the path up the mountain to Baevonia Pass on one side and staving off the wilds of the K’naghi Savannah and the roaming hordes of undead from Valindar on the other, the Gate of Bones is the first line of defense into Baevonia and former Chonia.
The Baevonians crave law and order to such an extent they’ve struck evil alliances and made shady deals to further their own dominance in former Chonia. The Baevonians have become so obsessed with crushing the Chonians, they have forgotten the true threat in the region: Valindar, City of Eternal Death, ruled by the Great Lich King.
Current Events. In recent years, hordes of the living dead have been streaming out of Valindar. The Baevonians justify any foul deeds and their need of Chonian slaves all based on the fact that they are the only thing holding back the Lich King and his forces from overrunning former Chonia. At the same time, the Baevonians are not supplying the Gate of Bones with enough soldiers and supplies necessary for its survival. Resources are being diverted off to regional conflicts with the Chonians and there’s not enough to also supply the Gate of Bones.
Arrival of the Adventurers. The characters enter the Gate of Bones just before it comes under siege, with undead forces surging up the exterior walls and gaining entry through windows, arrow slits, and any other means they can find. As the Baevonians struggle to hold off the dead, the characters are thrust into the action. This onslaught of undead is covered fully in the adventure Brush with Death at the Baevonian Stronghold, available in Mini-Dungeon Monthly #8 (feel free to adjust enemies to fit the adventurers’ current level). An extensive overview of the Gate of Bones continues below.
Guard attitude and morale. Those stationed here are less concerned with the offensive in Chonia and more focused on holding this stronghold. While the Baevonians here are fully loyal to their country, there is a growing number who are discontent with the lack of resources and support coming from Baevonia Pass. The soldiers seem more concerned with when the gates will fall rather than how.
- Entry from K’Naghi Savannah
This gate opens up into the west, toward the K’Naghi Savannah and the lands beyond. The Baevonians do not take this route and although traders and travelers frequent this road, they have been less frequented as of late, likely due to roaming undead, either that or those traveling the road never make it here alive.
The wooden ramps shown on the map to the right and left of the top line of pillars are used to lower travelers, their mounts, wagons, and cargo into tunnels which exit onto the road to Baevonia Pass to the northeast.
Each of the entry pillars has a special ward usable by a creature in contact with the pillar and speaking the words “We are Baevonia. Our blood runs thick and strong. Feed me with might so I may fight on.” is healed for 2d4+4 HP. The pillars are usable only by Baevonians and each works but once per day, replenishing as the scintillating rays of dawn creep over the claw-like, jagged mountains.
- Fountain of Life
A stone fountain dating back to Grekian times, this flowing work of art is quite out of place in a military stronghold. The curves of the fountain make it appear as if made entirely of water, transformed to stone just as the water sprung from the ground, this stone fountain now holds the actual water which flows continuously from the source, a small spring that is a miniature gateway to the Elemental Plane of Water. Drinking this magic water requires a bonus action and imbibers are healed 2d4+4 HP.
After drinking from this fountain, a riddle appears upon the stone, glowing with an orange-red light and written in Grekian. It reads: All across the countryside, to front doors he travels, but you never let him in. Answer: “Paths” or “Roads”. If answered correctly, a faint path of blue light with floating motes of silver appears and begins to snake its way throughout the stronghold, eventually leading right through a wall and out into the wilderness of the Baevonian Mountains. The magic path continues for miles, much of which requires professional climbing gear and eventually ends at the distant Ruins of Rultmoor, detailed in the adventure Restoration of Vasi’s Waterclock in Mini-Dungeon Monthly #9.
- Guardian Statue: Law
This statue of the famous war hero Grektharia represents law and enforcement for the Baevonians. Grektharia stands tall and honorable in a unique garb and heavily decorated, for she created the Baevonian Blackguard, an elite group of guardians that watch over the General (or Emperor) of Baevonia. If the main gates are breached, this statue transforms into an armory golem to help protect the Baevonians and the fortress. Two bookshelves in this room hold 222 books on law enforcement and similar subjects. One book, located and identified with a successful DC 23 Intelligence (Investigation) check is a tome of clear thought, although it is difficult to translate, being written in Grekian, a mostly dead language.
- Guardian Statue: Order
This is a statue of Ciomtian, a famous judge, and represents order for the Baevonians. If the main gates are breached, the statue transforms into a stone golem to help protect the Baevonians and the Boneyard. A shelf nearby holds 23 books of both Baevonian and Grekian origin, most are about law and building a structured society although some of the Grekian tomes warn of “tightening the bonds of order too firmly around the neck of one’s own citizens so that they choke and strangle on their own unhappiness and malcontent.” An incandescent blue sphere (ioun stone of insight) can be found with a successful DC 25 Intelligence (Investigation) check, hidden inside a small section of this book where the pages have been perfectly cut out to hide it. The stone has been here since Ciomian himself hid it away.
- West Barracks
Military cots and beds occupy most of this room, half are filled with sleeping soldiers. Chamber pots in need of emptying stink up the barracks, mixing with the sour smell of sweat. Stairs lead up to the second floor, an eating hall lined with arrow slits all facing the K’Naghi gates. The second floor connects the east and west barracks. Meurtrière (murder holes) are located on the second floor and used by the soldiers to drop oil and rocks onto enemies from above. If the Gate of Bones comes under attack, the majority of the Baevonian guards stream out to the main gates (area 1) in order to protect the stronghold while a select few remain behind to fire arrows or drop oil and rocks via the murder holes from above. The number of guards occupying the Boneyard varies greatly depending upon how many undead attacks have occurred recently, and if Baevonia Pass has sent reinforcements. Typically, there are at least 50-75 guards stationed at the Gate of Bones and as many as 75-150. (LN, guards)
- East Barracks
This room is nearly identical to the west barracks (area 5). If any enemies enter the stronghold proper, Captain Heighbron (LN, city watch captain) emerges from this room to join in the defense of the Gate of Bones. A small, walled-off, private office is tucked away in a corner of the barracks for the captain to conduct business, such as requesting additional soldiers and supplies from Baevonia Pass, a request that frequently comes back declined or unanswered.
Quests from Captain Heighbron
Captain Heighbron is in dire need of assistance from any outsiders who are willing. The captain requests a meeting in private, so as not to appear needy and keep discussion discreet and out of the ears of ever-vigilant Baevonian officials. The following quests may be given to the adventurers if they are willing.
- Convince the colonel in Baevonia Pass to send reinforcements, at least 50 soldiers, and enough food for another month. This will be a near-impossible mission to fulfill but it is that which is most important to the captain. It is unlikely the colonel or any of her high-ups will meet with the adventurers. If someone is able to make a successful DC 30 Charisma (Persuasion) check they can at least get an audience although Baevonians are less than receptive to outsiders and the colonel will still refuse the request. Even if the characters fail, the captain will still reward them for their efforts with food and refuge anytime they need it, here in the Gate of Bones.
- Investigate strange writing on the Fountain of Life (area 2). The ancient Grekian writing on the fountain has long dumbfounded the Baevonians, even those knowing a bit of Grekian. Perhaps the adventurers can decipher the strange writing that appears after one drinks from the fountain. The catch is, that until one has drank from the fountain for the first time, the writing is not visible.
- Take a bundle of letters to the pass. Most of the soldiers have loved ones living at or near Baevonia Pass. If the adventurers can take a bundle of 35 letters to the pass, they receive 10 GP from the captain. For each letter personally delivered, they’ll receive an additional gold piece and curry some favor amongst the soldiers at the Gate of Bones and their loved ones, perhaps even receiving places to stay in Baevonia Pass including meals, and even some weapons, armor, and items as needed.
- Reconnaissance on a local orc tribe. Numerous tribes of orcs live in the Baevonian Mountains but none is more notorious for attacking shipments bound for the Gate of Bones than the Bulk’Wa tribe. The Bulk’Wa live in ancient Grekian ruins adorned with devils and are said to revere and even summon these evils into the natural world. While some soldiers have approached the location before, only one woman made it back alive, the rest of the soldiers were slaughtered by what the woman reported to be “otherworldly evils”. Soon after her return, the woman came down with a strange illness and was dead in days.
- Reconnaissance on the undead hordes. Hordes of undead have been released from Valindar and are currently roaming the desert wastes and the K’Naghi Savannah. Their intentions are unknown although occasionally, one of the hordes brushes up against the mountains and sends hundreds of undead soldiers to attack the Gate of Bones. Captain Heighbron believes the Lich King of Valindar is testing the Baevonian’s defenses in preparation for a larger assault.
The captain would like any information the adventurers can glean via a reconnaissance mission into enemy territory. The mission will not be easy and is not for the faint of heart. The captain warns them that some may not return but provides horses, food, water, supplies, and anything else the group needs (so long as he deems them trustworthy). He will reward them by gifting them a magic family heirloom of the Heighbron family.