Any chance a dungeon master has to strip his party of their belongings and throw them into a dank cell should not be overlooked. Being defeated in battle is a perfect opportunity for an otherwise slain group of characters to instead get a second chance. Since the campaign began with the characters playing zero level slave-captives to a band of orcs, it was only fitting that the kobolds should offer them up as a live meal to their beloved deity, god of storms. They awoke in cells with barred cell doors and barred windows looking out over the mountain valley five hundred feet below.
With them in an adjacent cell was a femal elf named Sheva, a monk who chose to be there, using the cell as a place to rest. Being a replacement for character for a slain rogue, Sheva began with her normal allotment of starting gear. Starting her at zero level was a possibility, but she appreciated having gear, since none of the rest of the party had anything left.
As the ranger sent his ferret familiar into the hallway, they noticed a large blue dragon slowly circling in the air towards them. They then noticed the blackened and damaged stones of the chamber, and the large size of the windows, and decided they needed to be on the other side of the door. They made it just before the dragon swooped close by the cells, checking for breakfast.
To the south they heard the sounds of kobolds, and saw a descending stair, which they remembered being marched or dragged up, along with their gear. It meant their gear was on this floor. They took the door across the hall after carefully listening and checking for traps, and found a hallway with doors along the north wall and a morning glow coming from an archway further down the hall. The ferret went ahead and saw kobold tracks leading to the first door. IT could smell their gear beyond.
They entered to find a chamber bare except for a sundered stone sarcophagus under arched windows against the far wall. Their gear was thrown into a pile in the center of the room along with a few extra weapons and bags. As they were donning their arms and armor, a ghostly visage rose from the sarcophagus. It was a gaunt skeletal ghost wreathed in black robes forever disintegrating into moths. Its eyes flashed blue and it introduced itself as Erikonig the Oracle. It offered to read the fate of any who would gaze into its eyes.
The three out of four elves in the party conversed and knew this to be an elf lord of ancient times said to be able to foretell destiny. The first elf stepped forward and when she looked into his eyes, he gazed in anger and shouted “yours remains unknown as you shall outlast me!” The next elf had his fate read that he would be slain by betrayal. The elf ranger and human fightress were both foretold to die bloody deaths. Erikonig then stated that when the moment of their fate being sealed has come, if they should somehow avert that destiny, then they will be granted a great gift.
He then evaporates, but before doing so, he thanks them for releasing him from his fate and plucks a hair from his head which becomes substantial as the ghost disappears. It is a heartstone, a sliver of Erikonigs elf spirit.
Moving on they came to the archway and found a room with windows letting in the morning sun. There were laquered weapon racks on the wall. Most were damaged or empty except for four shelves, containing a glistening battle axe, a gently glowing katana, a silvery scimitar and a bright long sword. Below each weapon was a small shelf, with an inscribed poem in elvish script. It read that each of these was a legendary weapon to be weilded by the greatest elven heroes. That to be true, they must lay the heartstone of one who has given them their trust and that shall allow the retrieval of the weapon. It goes on to say that if the wielder is slain or the weapon is lost, it will return to this chamber. Zubizu the fightress lays the hair of Erikonig on the shelf before the katana and so doing claims it as her own.
The next door in this hallway led to another empty cell with a broken sarcophagus. Inside this one a hideous evil elf wraith sprang out to atack the party. He scored on hit on Zubizu, clutching her heart and squeezing it before being hacked apart by the incessant attacks. The wraith wore a circlet with a black diamond on its pale brow. The diamond was a heartstone, and they found another red ruby heart in a concealed compartment in the crypt. There was a secret door, which led to an old library, untouched for ages. They found a spell book and 1500 gold worth of decorative items. The desk was finely wrought and worth 1500 gold, but was too bulky to carry. In the back wall of the room they found a secret door whch led to a door in the outer wall and a narrow stair leading tothe valley floor. It was a secret exit!
They decided to explore one more chamber before leaving. They heard the sound of trickling water down a hallway to the south which led to a room empty but for a trickling pool in the center. As they approached a ten foot snake made of rippling, splashing water attacked them. It was a water weird from the elemental plane of water. No matter how much damaged they did, it reformed in two rounds to attempt to drag them into the pool and drown them. The pool was filled with gold coins, and they even found a rare diamond worth 1,000 gold before leaving while they were still ahead.
Using the secret exit they made their way back to Deadrock to cash in their plunder for around 900 gold apiece. Not too shabby, and they received a much warmer welcome this time around.