Nanzobar, Episode 8
Temple of the Wraith-Queen
The children of the Witch-Queen gather in the jungle, forming an army to serve Necali, the undead queen. The characters must destroy the wraith before doom falls upon all the people of the Nanzobar.
A one-shot adventure for 9th level characters. 5th Edition
This adventure is the eighth and final episode in Season Two of the Arcane Vault Assembly One-Shot Series: Nanzobar
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Necali, the ancient despot and one-time queen of the Nanzobar has returned from undeath and has settled, once again, in the ruined city of Kalia - her former capital city of the Nanzobar. Darkness and evil omens fall quickly over the peoples of the Nanzobar, and it is only a matter of time before the wraith-queen throttles all civilization along the river. There is hope, however. The Spear of the Jungle Kings has been found and with it, mighty heroes could stop Necali before she cements her sorcerous reign over the people of the Nanzobar jungle.
To put a stop to Necali’s rise the people call upon the powerful player characters to travel to Kalia, find their way to the temple of the wraith-Queen, and slay the Vaeya sorcerous once and for all.
If your party has played previous episodes of the Nanzobar adventure series, they will know who Necali is, and may well be responsible for her release and return to power. If that is the case, their hook to this adventure is the need to correct their mistakes and do away with the evil sorcerous they inadvertently released from her soul-bound prison.
If the party is playing this adventure as a one-time adventure as heroes in the jungle, they will be approached by leaders of the city of Mezcala, accompanied by a young man named Coyoto. The people plead with the party to seek out and destroy the wraith-queen before she becomes too powerful and subjects all of the river jungle to her domination and evil.
To learn more about the Nanzobar adventure setting and about the mysterious source of power in the jungle known as the Vaeya, visit the About Nanzobar page.
History of Necali, The Queen of Kalia
Two hundred years ago the City of Kalia, on the east bank of the Nanzobar, dominated the people of the Jungle, led by a powerful Vaeya sorceress named Necali. The Vaeyan queen ruled ruthlessly from a temple carved from a mountainside overlooking the city. The people of Kalia were no more than slaves to the witch, and they suffered greatly under her rule for over 100 years.
The hardships of the people led to countless plots to overthrow the Queen. All failed until a young man of uncommon courage and determination named Coyoto found an ancient spear deep in the jungle that whispered secrets to him and gave him the power to lead the people in a massive revolt. Though he did not know it, Coyote had found an ancient Vaeya artifact known in common as the Spear of the Jungle Kings. Wielding the spear, Coyote led hundreds of conspirators in a revolt, stormed Necali’s temple, slew her loyal court, and entombed the sorceress, body-and-soul, in a sarcophagus empowered by the Spear of the Jungle Kings.
Kalia was abandoned as Necali’s enraged whispers filled the streets and hearts of all its people with fear and madness. The people turned on one another as the chaos and evil of the Vaeya’s powers swept over the city. Kalia was destroyed. The people fled the city, leaving dead bodies to rot in the streets. The buildings and monuments crumbled. Some years later, flooding on the Nanzobar consumed half the city, and the jungle swallowed the rest.
Other great Vayae powers condemned Coyoto for his brazen uprising and imprisoned the man, body-and-soul, within the Spear of the Jungle Kings, thereby entwining his destiny with Necali. Now over 200 years later, fate has released both Necali and Coyoto from their soul prisons and their war recommences. Coyoto will never give up his struggle against the evil witch. And Necali again exerts her domination over the people of the Nanzobar. A final reconning looms.
Necali, Manifested Form
Necali is in a state of prolonged undeath, slowly recovering her physical form and former power. When Coyoto raised the rebellion and slew Necali, her soul was imprisoned in the sarcophagus set before her temple on the mountainside overlooking the city of Kalia. If the party is playing this adventure as a one-shot, events have transpired that brought Necali back. If the party played the previous adventures in the series, they likely know exactly how Necali was freed from her prison. It has taken the Wraith-Queen several months to recover her physical ability to manifest in the flesh. Now she is able to use both her physical and incorporeal forms at will. She will be seen in her human form but has the ability to take the intangible form of a wraith as well.
Necali has also recovered many of her sorceress powers. She uses those powers to command and dominate the people of the jungle, drawing many followers and slaves to the ruins of Kalie. She tolerates no intrusion into her sacred temple space.
Necali can only be truly slain if she is brought to zero hit points by a wielder of the spear of the jungle kings. If she is dropped to 0 hit points by any other attack, her spirit is drawn into one of many containers her temple, such as the urns held by the statues in the hallway alcoves or the alabaster boxes in the Cloister area of the temple. Unless the attack that reduces Necali to 0 hit points is from the Spear of the Jungle Kings, Necali's soul is drawn into one of these containers. Necali regenerates 10hp per turn spend inside one of these container and can imerge in her wraith form as soon as she has positive hit points. If all of the containers in the temple are destroyed, any attack that reduces Necali to 0hp destroys the witch.
When the party enters her temple, Necali becomes enraged and seeks to destroy the bearer of the Spear of the jungle Kings first so she can claim the spear. However, when she is brought to less than half her hit points, Necali begins to fear the bearer of the jungle spear and seeks ways to avoid being struck by the weapon.
I. Starting the Adventure
As the players explore the city of Mezcala a crowd of Niwati locals seeks them out and the city leaders stand to exhort the player characters to help them with the darkness that is gathering over the ruined city of Kalia.
A strong young man, named Coyoto, stands forward from the crowd holding an ornate spear and addresses the party:
Oh mighty adventurers! Hear the need of the people of the Nanzobar. Behold the darkness that gathers over the ruined city of Kalia to the north. The man uses the spear to point toward a gathering of black clouds that sit along mountains northeast of the Mezcala. Necali, the old queen has returned from her death, risen again to subject us all to her domination and perversion! We beg you, O great ones, aid us in our hour of need to vanquish the Wraith-Queen, once and for all.
If the party is playing this adventure as a one-shot, Coyoto provides the party details included in the Necali Background section. If the party played the previous episodes of Nanzobar, Coyoto begs the party to help him, once again, vanquish the Wraith-Queen and save the People of the Nanzobar.
If the party accepts the quest, the press of local leaders compels a man named Nocat, the captain of a river barge called the WindJammer to equip the party and take them to the ruins of the city Kalia. Coyoto grimly offers to be their guide due to his knowledge of the city and his hatred of Necali.
Equipping the party:
The people of Mezcala will provide any standard, non-magical equipment that the party may request. They will also supply each member of the party with one potion of healing.
As the party prepares to depart, the leaders of the Niwati offer each of them a “magical” amulet on a leather thong. They say the amulet will help protect them as they undertake this mission. The amulets do not look magical or radiate magic. And the player characters do not notice any difference when they put them on, but the Niwati assure them that the protective magic is there. In fact, amulets bear no magical effect, other than a placebo effect for the Niwati. The truth is that the counsel of the wise ones stewed the stones in chicken blood, tree frogs, and herbs while chanting invocations over them, but no magical effect was inured.
Once the expedition is ready, Coyoto leads the party to the docs in Mazcala to embark upriver on the WindJammer.
II. The Ruins of Kalia
As the party heads north on the WindJammer, read the following as they approach the Kalia on the eastern bank of the Nanzobar.
A massive black cloud sits heavily on the mountains to the east of the river. The East bank has receded as the river invades the jungle along the bank. The gentle flow of the Nanzobar invades the jungle flowing around huge jungle trees and thickets. Captain Nocat guides the WindJammer through waterlogged foliage toward a crumbling stone building sitting at the edge of the water.
Nocat tells the party that he will remain in the main river channel outside the drowned forest for two nights. After that, he will assume that the party is dead and will leave to inform his people. Coyoto will accompany the party into the ruins to lead them to the Sacred Canyon and up to the mountainside temple of Necali.
Coyoto leads the party straight through the ruins of the city toward the Sacred Canyon. Despite the jungle overgrowth and crumbling stone structures, Coyoto can easily find the way through the city. While the jungle dominates the decrepit buildings that remain in the ruined city, the city strangely does not feel deserted anymore. The player characters get a feeling that something has returned to the city and has settled into ruling it.
As the party makes its way from the river, through the ruined city, and into the Sacred Canyon area, you can roll or select encounters from the Kalia Encounter Table to determine what the party finds in the city if anything at all. Depending on the pace and scope of your game, you can choose to add encounters or leave them out until the party reaches the Sacred Canyon.
To randomize the encounter, roll once on the Kalia Encounters Table and once on the Ruins Table to determine the details of the encounter.
Kalia Encounters Table (Roll d8)
The hateful spirits have been released since Necali’s return. They hate all life, but will not venture out in daylight, sticking to their dark ruins during the day, but roam the ruined city at night.
2-5 Ghasts The monsters are drawn here by Necali’s presence. They hunger for human flesh and will pursue prey anywhere in the city.
A strangle vine grows amid a host of other plants, completely camouflaging its presence. Its vines extend 30 feet out from its center root.
2-12 Niwati Warriors
The warriors are superstitious people from the deep Nanzobar jungle, who come to worship Necali as a god. They are hostile but could be appeased by a show of humility.
The Vaeya sorcerer is coming to serve Necali. He plans to present himself at the temple. He would prefer to bring a human sacrifice with him when he ascends the mountain. One of the player characters would do nicely.
The two Children of Necali crawl through the ruins without purpose. They will seek to destroy any living flesh they encounter.
1 Giant Dart (Poisonous Frog) A vibrant red and black giant frog sits upon a bed of ferns within a crumbling structure. The creature will seek a meal of anything that enters its abode.
An awakened tree stomps through the ruins, smashing anything that moves, including wildlife. It makes no attempt to hide its appearance and seems to instead patrol the ruins, having some sort of unexplainable mission. The tree is ancient, slow, and makes no verbal sounds.
Ruins Description Table (Roll d6):
Jungle Infested Ruin
The flooded basin is an eerie sight, as ancient stone ruins emerge from the shallow water like ghostly apparitions. The crumbling stonework and intricate carvings of a long-gone civilization are visible where the stone hasn’t eroded.
Jungle Infested Ruin
An ominous ancient stone villa, engulfed by the dense foliage of the jungle. Thick vines, tangled roots, and flowering branches now cover what was once a proud home.
Ancient stone walls rise up from the jungle floor. The roof has long since collapsed, leaving a tangle of debris scattered across the open courtyard.
The dilapidated ruin looms precariously, threatening to collapse at any moment. Cracks spiderweb across the walls, and vegetation infiltrates the crevices.
Crumbling Plaza The open space is a jumbled mess of rubble and debris, with only fragments of its former purpose remaining. Parts of the plaza have become sunken and the area is no longer as flat as it once had been. A few shading trees have managed to grow between the heavy paving stones.
The ruin appears to have undergone some sort of repair. The walls and pillars have been reinforced with new materials, and missing stones have been replaced with newer ones that do not quite match the originals.
III. Return to the Sacred Canyon
As the party travels up the canyon area of Kalia, they will soon hear the chanting of a large group of people near the lower temple (labeled area A on the map). The party will notice that birds do not call, crickets do not chirp, and monkeys do not howl in the Sacred Canyon. The sounds of the jungle are completely absent causing a disquieting feeling in the area.
A. The Lower Temple
As the Lower Temple comes into view of the player character, read the following:
As you make your way up the canyon, you hear humming and chanting echo off the canyon's walls, and notice that the other sounds of the jungle recede. The chanting seems to come from a partially collapsed temple at the head of the canyon. Several Niwati jungle warriors holding torches crowd around the entrance to the ruined building. Scented smoke from a glowing brazier in their midst seems to have a drugging effect as the people sway and sweat, chanting a dark unintelligible hymn.
If the party watches the situation, they realize a ritual is taking place before the doorway of the temple. Read the following if they watch the rite unfold:
In the doorway of the temple, a shaman dances circles around one of the Niwati warriors who stands quivering before the crowd. The shaman draws another gourd from his belt and pours its contents over the man’s head, covering him in a sticky orange substance. The man’s body stiffens violently at the touch of the liquid, but his face and glazed eyes seem oblivious. Others in the crowd surround the man, spattering him with green paints as well. They grab his arms and legs and drag him through the doorway into the temple.
Inside the building, three braziers burn an herbal substance that fills the air with green smoke. The Shamen and the 11 Niwati jungle warriors complete the ritual by force-feeding the mad a concoction that kills and at the same time transforms him into a special servant of Necali. This grotesque process creates a mummified version of the Niwati warrior and infuses him with the powers of the undead jungle mummies. Once the process is started, the man lies in the smoke of the temple and rises one hour later as one of the Children of Necali. Four other Children of Necali stand around in the temple waiting to be called by the wraith-queen.
If the party interrupts the ritual the Niwati warriors attack ferociously and the Children of Necali inside the temple engage as well. If the party does not deal with this mob, Necali can contact her Children telepathically at any time calling them to her aid in the temple. In that case, the Children of Necali and the warriors arrive at the Temple of the Wraith Queen, 10 minutes after she calls them. Depending on how the events transpire in Necali’s temple, the party may end up having to deal with these minions when they attempt to escape Kalia.
B. The Temple Overlook
Climbing the stair cut into the south wall of the canyon, the party will come upon two figures standing motionlessly at the temple overlook (Area B).
These two Children of Necali guard the path to the temple and attempt to stop anyone from progressing any further unless Necali commands it.
The force fist abilities of the jungle mummies can be a danger on the steep cliffs of the canyon Although the Children of Necali do not intentionally or mindfully use their attacks to push opponents off the cliff, the situation can easily arise. If a character is pushed off the cliff allow them to make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw to catch some part of a ledge, root, or other protrusion to stop their fall. If they make the saving throw roll a d6 and multiply the result by 10 to determine how far the character fell before catching themselves. The player will take a d6 of bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet they fell. If the player fails the dexterity saving throw, they suffer 10d6 damage as they topple down the length of the cliff and lie prone at the bottom of the canyon. Jungle mummies cast off the side have the same opportunity to catch themselves. Climbing up or down from any place on the cliff is very difficult requiring a DC 20 athletics or acrobatics skill check for every 20 feet climbed.
IV. The Courtyard of the Temple
Areas C and D, detail the mountain shelf area before the facade of the temple that is carved into the wall of the mountain.
C. The Courtyard
When the party approaches the bridge that spans a narrow section of the canyon fork, read or describe the following scene in the open courtyard before the temple.
A pack of viciously looking baboons prowls the grounds before the temple facade. The creatures' eyes flash with a red gleam, and they start to scream and holler when they catch your scent on the breeze. They jump around, agitatedly waiting for you to cross the bridge onto the mountain shelf.
It pleases Necali to have this pack of eight evil Barlgang baboons on the “porch” of her temple. The barlgang are fierce and bloodthirsty. They wait a few moments for the party to cross the bridge, but if the party hesitates for more than a few rounds, the evil monkeys scream and rush to attack them where they are. The beasts are difficult to fend off, but if 5 of them are slain, the other 2 will try to escape.
D. The Temple Entrance
When the party approaches the temple, read the following describing the face of the temple:
The facade of the temple is carved into the face of the mountain. A long portico supported by stone pillars overshadows a dark, doorless entrance to the temple. A massive carved face of human crumbles above the portico. A thin reddish mist floats out of the temple entrance and dissipates in the open air.
A large stone sarcophagus stands before the temple entrance. Its lid lies on the ground, leaving the stone chamber open to the elements. The sarcophagus is empty other than a shallow pool of rainwater at the bottom. This stone structure served as the prison of Necali’s soul for over 200 years since she was cast down by Coyoto and his rebellion.
V. The Temple of the Wraith-Queen
Once the party, enter enters the temple, use the numbered areas here to describe the temple. When the party enters the temple roll a d4 to determine which area Necali will first be encountered:
Necali’s Location in the Temple:
1- In the hallway of the Statue Alcoves
2- In the Heart of Worship
3- In the Dungeon
4- In the Cloister
Necali's Lair Actions:
In addition to Necali’s abilities in her stat block, Necali can invoke the following effects while she is anywhere within her temple. On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Necali takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; Necali can't use the same effect two rounds in a row:
Vines rise out of the stone-and-earth floor of the temple in a 20-foot square area anywhere Necali chooses within the confines of the temple. A creature within the area of effect must make a DC 16 Strength saving throw or be restrained by the entangling plants until the start of the next turn.
The temperature in the temple in a 30-foot radius around Necali plunges to freezing levels causing all creatures within the area of effect to make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or take 2d6 cold damage.
Necali causes the reddish mist throughout the temple to thicken in a fog cloud making all areas within the temple heavily obscured. The effect lasts until the beginning of the next turn.
1. Statue Alcoves
These five-foot recesses are filled with 8-foot tall carvings of a woman. None of the statues are exactly the same, but they seem to depict the same human. Each statue holds a clay urn of varying sizes topped with a swollen wooden plug. Some of the red mist floating through the complex gets trapped in the alcove.
The sculptures are depictions of Necali bearing urns. The urns are able to snare and preserve Nacali’s soul unless they are destroyed. If the parted uses detect magic, the urns (and other containers in the temple) radiate the magic of necromancy. The hardened clay urns have an AC of 12 and 8hp each. An urn must be reduced to 0 hp to destroy its souls preserving magic. There are six statue alcoves holding 6 urns throughout the temple.
If Necali is encountered in the hallways, she hisses at the party and draws them back to the heart of worship, where she can call on her guards to destroy them.
2. The Heart of Worship
Read the following when the party enters this central chamber of the temple:
A thick moldy rug lies tattered and matted to the floor. A brazier burns on a balcony overlooking this large room emitting red smoke that finds its way through the temple. Two skeletons bursting with necrotic energy stand guard on the stairs leading to the balcony. A stone altar stands unadorned in the middle of the room. The dark gray stone is stained with long dark streaks.
The two skeletons are wights that serve as Necali's guards. They immediately attack Any creature that enters this room other than Necali. They fight until destroyed.
This central hall was once the place all audience with Necali as Queen of Kalia. When she was cast down by Coyoto and his rebellion, the opulent furnishings of the room and temple were ripped apart, burned, or lost. With all her energies focused on recovering her physical form, Necali has not yet returned the temple to its former glory.
If Necali is here she stands near the brazier basking in the burning herbs that create the acidic smoke. When she sees the party arrive she glares at them with hatred and demands they kneel in homage to her, while she sends a telepathic call to the other two wights in the dungeon area to come to destroy the intruders.
3. The Dungeon
Read the following when the party approaches the doors to the dungeon.
The swollen wooden doors to the section of the temple hang ajar. You smell dank, stagnant air beyond the door.
This chamber was and is the dungeon and torture chamber for victims of Necalis evil. Two wights stand guard in the middle of the chamber and attack anyone other than Necali that enters the dungeon. The wights will leave this area if Necali calls them to her aid.
3a. Dungeons Cells.
The cells in the dungeon are made of hardened bamboo driven into the earthy walls. The cell doors no longer function and can be easily pushed open. 4 Niwati humans are in two of the cells, shivering in the cool, dank cells. They stay in their cells for fear of the wights and the possibility of running into Necali in the temple. These Niwati are no more guilty than any other jungle folk but are here for unknown slights to the Wraith-Queen.
If Necali is located in the dungeon, she is tormenting the human captives. When the party enters, she commands the wights to immediately capture or kill the party. Necali is likely to pass through the walls back into the heart of worship, where she prefers to meet her foes.
4. The Cloister - Chambers of the Queen
The doors to the Cloister are swollen shut and do not open unless forced with a successful DC 20 athletics check. Necali passes in and out of this area in her incorporeal form.
4a. Remains of Necalis chamber
This room is empty other than wet grime that has accumulated over the centuries.
The room was once the personal quarters of Necali, the Queen. When the temple was sacked all of Necali's possessions were violently destroyed as the people raged against anything representing the Queen.
4b. The Paramour chamber
The room once contained the paramours/slaves of Queen Necali. Those servants and slaves were slain here when the rebellion took the temple. Now 4 specters inhabit the room. They are doomed to stay in the areas of the cloister (area 4) and do not leave. Nor does Necali call these spirits to her aid. They are here for her perverse pleasure only.. However, when the players access the cloister area, the specters rage the living and see to destroy the party or be destroyed themselves. Both outcomes are acceptable.
On opposite walls in this cloister area of the temple, two statues in alcoves each hold an alabaster cask. The casks contain small jewels. There are a total of 46 gems worth 10-100gp each in each cask. The casks can also contain Necali’s spirit and regenerate her power, unless they are destroyed. The casks are AC 11 and have 6 hp each.
If Necali is located in the Cloister, she will be in the paramour chamber engaging in her evil pleasures.
VI. Wrapping Up
During the battle within the temple, Necali may use her telepathic abilities to call, minions that in the temple, and those in the lower temple in the canyon below.. If the party is able to destroy Necali and leave the temple, they may encounter the mob of Niwati warriors, and the Children of Necali from the lower temple as they attempt to leave the city. Unless the party dealt with that group before entering the temple, they may need to find a way to escape or fight their way through.
Once the battle is complete, the characters can find their way back to the Nanzobar River to be picked up by Captain Nocat, and sail back to Mezcala, where the people of the Nanzobar will rejoice in their victory.
This ends the Nanzobar adventure series from the Arcane Vault Assembly. We hope you enjoyed these jungle adventures. Look for our future adventures and game resources at www.arcanevaultassembly.com.