Mini Module: The Ancient Facility

The king's sorcerer has gone rogue and seeks to uncover a massive ancient construct with devastating power. The party is sent to stop him, but in the end the group must choose whether they should destroy the construction or hand it over to the king.

The Ancient Facility

The king or another powerful noble contacts the party wanting their help on a delicate and discrete problem, and emphasizes the need for their discretion. His court sorceror has gone rogue, taking an important magic item that is used to activate large constructs. The sorceror was last seen heading into an old tomb known for housing ancient constructs. The noble asks that the party stops the sorceror and recovers any construct he activates with the item, since the stone is his property and once used to claim a construct it can't be re-used.

Noble NPC: Jabbie Fiddlefen, Male Gnome
Description: He is a husky man, who wears a weathered and beat up set of banded mail beneath an oversized brown coat. His Stetson hat is riddled with cuts and holes. His eyes are green and catlike.
Personality: A skeptical and narcissistic man, Jabbie's first love is himself. His second love is also himself. Further he is a bit of a stoner and is frequently out of it.

Sorceror NPC: Mindartis Othronus, Male Elf
Description: With grey face paint in a stripe pattern across his face, he has a large brown mantle and cape that has been intricately interwoven into his black robe. His black hair is still thick. He is missing an eye and his face is severely sunburned. His one remaining eye shines blue.
Personality: He tends to agree with only himself unless someone else's opinion sounds like he can profit from it. He tries to control his temper but he can't always stop himself from what he feels what must be done. He loves his children and doesn't want them to worry about him.

The Tomb

It's the middle of noon when you reach the tomb in the middle of the desert. The sound of the soft wind is amplified by the rolling mounds of sand, creating a sort of whistle. The wind blows sand in your face, scratching at your skin and drying out your throat. You see the front of the tomb, a massive and partially submerged entrance with two large obelisks flanked on either side.

The obelisks contain a pair of constructs which will emerge when the entrance is approached. They demand that the party turn around and leave, and aren't capable of arguing about it. If the party refuses to leave then they'll attack. The guardians are 2 Helmed Horrors (Monster Manual p. 183), once defeated the party will be able to enter the tomb.

Tomb Map


The entry room is a small robing room for priests to prepare for burial rituals, but has been stripped bare. The walls are dry and worn down, with sand all over the floor and braziers in each corner. Through bits of the sand the party can see parts of the mural covering the tiles of the floor. It's a large golem head, with eyes and various parts made out of a hollow glass casing of a variety of different colors. Inside each of the glass parts is a small mechanism. Anyone can make a DC 10 Arcana check to discern that the mechanisms are supposed to light up and glow, but currently aren't. Along the southern wall is a huge door that almost perfectly blends in with the wall, with no sort of latch, handle, or any sort of openings. It has a few scratches where it appears goblins or kobolds have tried to bash their way in with weapons, but it doesn't look like they succeeded.

The braziers need to be lit to open the way forward. Once each brazier is lit the lights in the golem head will activate and glow, causing the large door to slide open. Inside they'll see the lights have turned on deeper inside the tomb as well. Once room 2 is fully vacated the doors will close again and the braziers will go out, but the lights in the tomb will remain lit so long as people are inside. The doors can be opened from room 5 by simply touching them.


This is a divination room, used in rituals to contact the dead for guidance. Much of the furniture is still present, but has been long since wrecked. Along the walls are several constructs, but they've been long since deactivated, with some completely destroyed from lack of maintenance. There's a large divination circle in the middle, a DC 15 Arcana check also reveals that it seems to be linked to the tomb itself. A DC 25 Arcana check allows them to realize that the tomb is some sort of magical storage facility for constructs, and may have been used to make them at some point.

As the party heads through the door on the west side of the room, the facility will turn on. The sorceror Mindartis is further ahead in room 1, and has managed to activate the facility causing the entire place to boot up after hundreds of years of inactivity. The circle in the middle of room 5 will begin to glow and spin, more lights will turn on as runes begin to glow and the constructs along the walls will begin to slowly reactivate, some more capable of doing so than others.


This was a former guard room, meant to protect the core of the tomb (and later facility) from introduers. It's still in a pretty pristine state aside from a few cracks in the ceiling, and the players can see various animated constructs begin in their tasks of maintaining and building new constructs. Two Pentadrones (Monster Manual p. 226), and an Animated Armor (Monster Manual p. 19) will activate and attack as the party comes through.


This room seems to be some sort of crypt, and hasn't seen much transformation from its former purpose. There's some small evidence of various tables, books, and other research items but they've all been burned and are now little more than ash.

A Flesh Golem (Monster Manual p. 169) is kept here, an experiment gone wrong to create a person. The party can find some burnt notes discussing failed attempts to create life, ultimately culminating in this creature. The creator shows nothing but contempt and disgust for their creation, and decides a construct's only real purpose is slaves and weapons of war. The Flesh Golem is hostile, but your party may try to reason with it and talk it down, which you can allow them to attempt. This might be a good opportunity for some RP and skill checks, or an interesting fight.


This large octagonal former crypt has been converted into a storage and construction chamber for a gargantuan construct. The walls are covered in glowing runes, and the construct itself has various magical circles spinning around it which are siphoning magical energy into it. The elven sorceror Mindartis stands at its base, channeling his own magic into the runes on the floor. Roll initiative!

This is the showdown with Mindartis. He's a 9th-level spellcaster with AC 15 (mage armor) and 40 hit points. His attributes are STR 8 (-1), DEX 14 (+2), CON 10 (+0), INT 17 (+3), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 11 (+0). He has the following spells prepared (spell save DC14, +6 to hit with spell attacks):
Cantrips: friends, mage hand, mending, message
1st level (4 slots): charm person, mage armor, magic missile
2nd level (3 slots): hold person, invisibility, suggestion
3rd level (3 slots): fireball, haste, tongues
4th level (3 slots): dominate beast, stoneskin
5th level (2 slots): hold monster

He also has a Helmed Horror (Monster Manual p. 183) and Animated Armor (Monster Manual p. 19) defending him, which will do their best to get in the way and keep the players from reaching Mindartis. He's channeling a spell that the players will need to disrupt by dealing damage each turn, giving him too many turns un-harassed will allow him to activate the construct.

If activated, the construct will have similar stats to an Iron Golem (Monster Manual p. 170), but of gargantuan size and two large hand cannons meant for sieging castle walls. Its Slam and Sword attacks can be melee or ranged, out to a distance of 60 ft. The Iron Golem has no loyalty if activated, and the players will need to fight with Mindartis to wrest control of it. Consider making this a skill challenge, where the PCs will need to roll 5 DC 20 successes before 3 fails with no repeat skill checks. If they win the skill challenge, the golem will attack Mindartis, otherwise it will attack them.

There's one small catch with the Iron Golem: it can't fit anywhere but this room, it's much too large to fit through any of the doorways, and attempting to dig out will just collapse the entire tomb. It won't pursue anyone outside this room, and will cease to be hostile if Mindartis activates and takes control of it once he is dead.

Mindartis could also be talked with, and maybe even reasoned with through several rounds of combat. He is fearful for his children, and doesn't want anyone else to take control of the golem since he is sure that it will only be used as a powerful siege weapon to incite more war. He suspected that Jabbie (the king / noble) knew of this tomb and was planning to take control of it, and he will be very very hostile and suspicious of anyone working for him (such as the party).

No matter how this resolves, two things are for certain: the golem can't be removed from this tomb short of a large excavation project, and Jabbie wants the golem for his own personal use. If the gem inserted in the back of the golem's head is destroyed, it will cease to function. It has no sense of self-preservation, so it won't attempt to stop anyone from doing this unless it's currently hostile already. If the golem is kept active and the tomb given to Jabbie, he will attempt to excavate and use the golem which could have greater consequences. You may want to use this as a jumping off point for an interesting story-line in your campaign, or as a simple one-shot.

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