Here's the next one in the series! This is a bad place that's going to get a whole lot worse unless the players do something about it.
Here's the link to the high-res art! Like the adventure it's cc-by-nc.
In the spirit of the old B2 module, this is a place with enough goons to overwhelm most parties (especially in systems with flatter PC power growth) unless the players are able to cultivate some allies or sew dissent. The 'factions' are definitely divided against one another, but it's going to take some intervention from the players to get things moving.
For tone, my mental image is of a fantasy version of WWI trench warfare. Groups of cultists are lurking everywhere, but most of them are frightened, hungry or exhausted, pinned down by the emanations and trying to muster the courage to act. There are puddles of water, mud, bits of gore from previous kills, and every now and again a half-ethereal emanation goes screaming overhead, looking for an easy kill. Real end of the world stuff.
This is an opportunity for you to bust out that random NPC reaction table. The PCs and any given group of the cultists might want exactly the same thing, but trust isn't easy to come by in this sort of environment. On the other hand, even the most wicked of cultists might be glad to see apparent reinforcements!
A few notes: the staircase isn't meant to be a big 'fuck you' to prepared parties! Unless your group goes for that sort of thing, be sure to raise their hackles first by describing what it's like to mount a staircase with all those broken and defaced statues looming over it. I imagine most PCs will react pretty strongly to any wastage, so there's no need to deplete anyone. Cultist allies, too, may warn the PCs, and a party with some experience should have no trouble making their own alternate way up through magic or climbing.
Sorg's emanations aren't invincible - they're just immune to "normal" weapons. Blessed, silver, or magical weapons will hurt them just fine. You may wish to adjust this, depending on your system. Mid-level Burning Wheel or Torchbearer parties, for example, won't have much along these lines, while 8th-level Pathfinder PCs will be packed with it.
Also note that other than the scrolls in the archive and the possibility of a boon from Deel, there's no mention of treasure. If your system requires players to haul out a lot of treasure, by all means add some, particularly in the Ruined Archive (a little), the Brewmaster's House (a little more), and the High Temple (plenty).
How To Hook It InA place like this is bad for the neighbours. Many of the cultists are former thieves and similar unscrupulous sorts, and the Blighted Order would have been a thorn in the side of any nearby community, much like a bandit camp. After Sorg's arrival, a number of them would have fled outright, winding up picking pockets in taverns or - if they've cash to spare - drinking away their trauma and telling tall tales.
Nearby patrols, too, would have noticed the sudden drop in bandit activity, a welcome relief. That's until the emanations start showing up, picking off fishermen and wood-gatherers, before finding more populous places to feed.
Hope you enjoy it! Don't forget to check out the others in the series! If you like these adventures, consider supporting the project on Patreon!