Paired with the cemetery, you can run an interesting Halloween-themed session with this map. After all, what cemetery is without its restless undead at this time of year?
A flood of golden radiance washed over the street outside. The last glimpse from between the closing doors was Captain Paeven, his holy symbol in one hand and blade in the other. He held his back to the temple steps, engaging the creatures as his men forced the doors shut.
The pair turned around, panting and sweating. In the temple’s main room stood Father Delwyn, presiding over half a dozen of the townsfolk. The elder was moving between each person slowly. He offered calming words and a wet rag to wipe away the blood from their faces.
Vince looked to Kern. Her face was as shocked and haggard as his. Their uniforms were covered in spatterings of blood and ash, and yet they were the lucky ones. The night shift had meant they were prepared and equipped. It had made the difference in them surviving. Most had not.
With no words between exasperated breaths, the guardsmen shuffled to empty pews. They stayed between the main doors and the people, lowering themselves into the seats with aching grunts.
The temple grounds were sanctified and should keep the monsters at bay. They just had to make it to sunrise.
For hours, the sounds of slaughter filtered in from outside. Vince and Kern were ready to accept any survivors that made it to the temple doors. So were the enemy. Any who made it close enough were vanished away by a pale figure, their screams piercing the darkness of night. Every time that those in the church thought the city had run out of victims, the monsters found more. Perhaps they were bringing their prey to the temple to make a point.
Slowly, over hours, the nearby cries for help stopped. Distant echoes still whispered through, but it seemed that the streets surrounding the temple had been emptied. Vince caught Kern watching him and responded with only exhausted recognition. There was nothing they could do. They had to stay and wait.
What felt like another hour passed in deadened silence. The townsfolk in the room would not speak, for fear of attracting attackers. Father Delwyn had resigned himself to providing small pieces of food and water.
And then there was a knock at the door.
Kern moved first, her clumsy reaction alerting Vince to the situation. His sleepy haze receded and he drew his sword. Neither knew exactly what to do, or what they could do. They did not have the energy to fight. But for the sake of those behind them, they had to appear strong.
The two moved to the doors, pressing their shoulders against the surrounding stone and adjusting the grip on their weapons. Their muscles flinched tense as there was another knock. Those who were still awake were watching them.
“Wh- Who is it? Who are you?”
“It’s me. We’ve dealt with the vermin. It’s best you come out, so we can tend to you.”
Vince’s spine froze and contracted. Across the entryway, Kern’s eyes were wide and her body shaking. The voice from beyond the door, calm and eloquent, was Paeven’s.
“You’ve done well to protect them. I’m proud of you. But the threat is gone and you can come out now.”
Kern stepped away from the doors, motioning Vince to pull it open. Their expressions argued, but it was Kern’s that won. Vince heaved his side ajar.
A gust of bitter air carried the stench of blood and death into the temple’s hall. It was accompanied by an armored hand, coated in red muck and thrusting a similarly drenched longsword at Kern. But Paeven’s hand stopped at the temple threshold, held back by the magical barrier. His tabard and chainmail had been stained and torn. It dripped with fresh crimson that had seeped deep into the layers of armor. But his face had been cleaned. Pallid, white skin reflected the moonlight like snow. His eyes were bloodshot and wide and his jaws clenched together, yet he was entirely motionless. A veneer of calm distinction was betrayed by the crazed anger at his sword not finding its target.
The metal had stopped just inches shy of Kern’s chest, the speed of its movement flicking a few drops against her. Her eyes followed the weapon as Paeven pulled back and sheathed it.
“No matter. You hide until your precious dawn. There are many places for us to wait, and the city’s buildings cast long shadows. You have your temple. The city is ours.”
Vince closed the doors once more, shutting out the sound of growing laughter.
– by Troy McConnell
More content by Troy
The downloadable PDF is as easy to print and assemble as the other set pieces and has a downward staircase in case you want to attach one of the other modular building’s basements. As always, there’s a set of Roll20-optimized PNGs too.
The Tranquil Temple download:
- Tranquil Temple$1.00
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