Free TTRPG Battlemap with Adventure – Bosaan’s Forbidden Crypt
The Answer to Everything
While visiting the impoverished jungle town of Bosaan, which is made primarily of scrap built onto old ruins, you see that some of the locals are distressed. They are running about talking to each other in worried voices. Should you stop to ask any of them what’s going on, they explain that their children have gone missing, along with many other kids in the village.
As you talk a thin man runs up, breathless, and explains to the others that he’s tracked the footprints of the children into the forbidden crypt. Because of your clothes, the group know you’re a mercenary, and the distressed parents turn to you; begging you to go down into that dangerous place and save their children from the shadowy creatures that live in there, before it’s too late. If you do, they’ll give you whatever they can as a reward.
When you go down into the forbidden crypt, you find that the small, barricaded building (which appears to have been made at the same date as the rest of the ruins) leads to a huge underground network of interconnected burial chambers. There are strange carvings on the ancient walls, from the civilisation that collapsed long ago. They tell of the ways that they lived, and the knowledge they held dear.
After descending the stairs, you find clear evidence that someone’s been living down here in the first room. A couple of furs have been laid on the ground in a kind of crude bed, and all forms of excavating equipment have been laid out around it, alongside a couple of books and a stack of filthy journals.
If you look inside the journals, aside from the name Dr. Cederik Dooglestein inside the cover, what’s written in them doesn’t make sense. There is only one which does, and it details the journey of a researcher who came to this land to understand the mysteries of the civilization that came before, though that soon descends into nonesense as well.
You can hear voices coming from further in, and kids excitedly giggling. Should you go look, you find a group of children sitting in front of a bedraggled, homeless looking old man with a blue pendant glowing softly on his chest.
He appears to be mad, and what he’s telling the kids doesn’t make sense—but they seem entranced by his words nonetheless. If you interrupt and ask what’s going on, he turns to you and proclaims that ‘the children know, oh yes, understand they do. The SECRETS.’ Then he starts laughing. Should you ask what he’s doing with them, he’ll appear confused, proclaiming ‘they know, everything!’
At that point the kids will take over and explain that Cederic (apparently the man) was lonely so he asked them to come down and offered to tell them stories. Should you explain that their parents are worried about them and try to take them back to the surface, they’ll grow visibly distressed and beg you not to make them leave now. They explain that the Cederik is close to ‘the answer’, saying wide-eyed that he’s told them all about it and they want to know The Great Mystery he’s about to uncover. The kids beg you to help him find out what it is, so they can learn it too!
It’s inscribed, somewhere deeper within the crypts, but there’s monsters down there so Cederik—who’s an archeologist—can’t get to them to learn the final secrets. They beg you, saying ‘pretty please!’ and generally refuse to leave unless you help them. Some even have tantrums if you try to force them to go.
Cederik tries to intervene, explaining that the answer is in here. The Great Answer. The answer to everything!
If you agree, the kids cheer excitedly, and Cederik sighs in relief. He leads you deeper into the crypt, the eager children insisting on trailing behind you both at a safe distance. You encounter skeletons who have risen at the disturbances he’s caused. Once they are defeated, the children praise you loudly. When you make your way to a central chamber it opens up to some kind of underground cavern filled with mist. At the center is a sarcophagus, waiting at the end of a large platform.
Cederik runs up to the tomb eagerly, but as he gets close the lid of the sarcophagi is pushed off and a tall undead knight emerges, brandishing the great sword he was buried with. If you save the archaeologist, he thanks you profusely (albeit in a very weird, roundabout way). Then he finds a scroll in the inside of the sarcophagi, with something written on it in an ancient language.
He proclaims excitedly for everyone to hear that ‘the answer is 42!’. The kids think that’s amazing, and are way too excited than what seems to make sense. The batty old archaeologist then takes his amulet from around his neck, and offers it towards you insistently. Once you take it, the archaeologist’s eyes blur for a moment, and he blinks a few times in consternation. Then he sighs, and explains in perfectly understandable language that he’s gifting you his most valuable artifact. He found it in the tombs here, and it allowed him to understand their secrets, among… almost anything he put his mind to. As thanks for rescuing him and helping him complete his life’s work, he believes you should have it.
If you wear it, you suddenly do understand what the importance of 42 is—but removing it takes that understanding away, and the answer is so profound that you can’t explain it to anyone not wearing the amulet.
When you leave, the archaeologist insists on remaining behind, explaining that he’s not quite ready to leave the tombs just yet. But he will be moving on soon.
Once the kids return to the surface, they run about excitedly exclaiming ’42!’ to each other and anyone else who will listen. Their confused parents thank you for rescuing their children, and if you explain to them what happened (without the amulet on) they’re horrified to learn about the archaeologist living down there and his potential influence on their children.
They explain that the madman was a general nuisance about the village, and they banished him because of it. He must have snuck into the tomb to live and continue his research, and what they thought were creatures leaving the tomb must have been him sneaking out for food.
If, however, you wear the amulet while trying to explain what happened after the job, they’ll give you a horrified look and say that ‘it’s happened again, the tombs have driven another mad!’. They’ll attempt to heal you with prayers and other nonsense, but if you grow frustrated that they cannot understand, they will be frightened and attempt to drive you from the village, too. This is because you now speak the same, raving nonsense that the archaeologist did while wearing the amulet.
The amulet Cederik gives your players is the Amulet of Madness. It’s an amulet made of bright blue glass and blown in the shape of an eye. The iris glows with its own eerie, white light. Its wearer receives stunning insight and clarity on any topic, far beyond what mortal minds should be able to comprehend. As a result of the complexity of what they learn, they appear mad, as language is incapable of conveying what they mean and they use it creatively to try communicate.
The children understand Cederik’s ravings because they’re young enough to remember, somewhere deep down, the wisdom their souls knew before they became mortals. They cannot articulate as well as adults and the knowledge of what 42 means will be lost to them in time, too.
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