Ghouls. The Ghetto of the Dead is full of them. And once a year, these undead humanoids roam the streets of Erelhei-Cinlu in a ritual that is called the Great Hunt. On that day the ravenous horde is allowed out of their district to feed. What do they eat? Flesh. Dead, preferably living! Let us hope today is not the Great Hunt.
The Fighter leads his brother and sisters into the Ghetto of the Dead. And it is not a happy place. The whole district is sealed up by a fence, the Black Chalice Tavern near the entrance: an inn that is ruled by a female vampire. The drow clientele not only visits for the high quality food & drinks or decadent games (where one of the participants probably dies), but also in search of knowledge of the Arcana.
They walk into a gloomy area, and it is like walking into a big graveyard, no lights, no torches, nothing. There is a faint purplish gleam though. A big gate gives access to the huge Necropolis Square. Eight obelisks are placed evenly around the square – one for each of the Ruling Houses – sixty feet apart. A group of about twenty drow is gathered around the central altar, lost in the last ceremony to offer body and soul of the deceased to the Spider Queen Lolth. Fragments of the spoken rituals carry back towards the gate, speaking of ‘his body’. Phaedra notices the sigil of a brown staff on the robes of the gathered. It is the sigil of the House of Eilservs, the owners of the Ghetto of the Dead. Seems like the entire noble family is present, with only the Matron Mother Eclavdra missing. A very high male within the family must have died…
As soon as the ceremony is over, the drow depart and the ghouls stream in to feed. The Xaniqos hurry across the square, moving in a wide circle to keep clear of the altar. The ghouls’ attention is solely focused on feeding on the corpse and the drow make it safely past the square. In that area the normal graves are situated. Well ‘graves’, a lot of rubble and stones on murky and damp grounds are all that is left of what were once gravestones and tombs. No use searching for the name Nuchar.
As they roam over the graveyard, they finally chance upon an entrance to a mausoleum. Around the opening are ashes and the remains of a house. Could this be the place? Before they can investigate, a group of ghouls draws near, lured closer by the smell of fresh flesh. They seem to have followed them from the square. Lilith, drawing upon her Cleric powers, utters a spell and rebukes the undead until they cower and shuffle away.
Large stairs lead down into a silent darkness. Carefully Phaedra moves ahead, until the stairs end in a pool of dark green water. A horrible stench fills the space and the Scout signals the others to stay clear of the water. She loads her crossbow and then nimbly climbs the wall until she reaches the edge of the corridor. Around the corner she sees a door, with an iron seal mechanism covering it from ceiling down to the water. When she examines it, she notices the seal is magically enhanced. The iron is rusty with age.
Back with the others, she reports her findings. When the Cleric can not detect any poison in the water, Jharrath wades through to check the magical seal himself. The Wizard points his wand at the door and a faint aura lights up. The seal has to come off before the door can be opened. Lilith orders her brother to summon some monsters to open the friggin’ door. Three goblins appear on his command, and Jharrath sends the tallest one down into the water to try and open the door. The goblin, his hear barely above water level, jumps up to the handle and pulls, dangling from its arms. Nothing happens.
Phaedra goes down too to search for traps, and after a while succeeds in unlocking the door but warns her siblings that a trap is on the door. By this time, the three conjured goblins have returned to their own planes and the Wizard has to summon new creatures. When one of them opens the door, the whole corridor is lit in light and flame, obliterating the poor goblinoid. But the seal has been broken! Jharrath sends the two remaining shadowgoblins around the corner into the second room.