The Isle of the Grave

The Isle of the Grave is one of my favorite creations because it was born out of a group idea to start the characters off dead AND from that I had a very clear idea of what the adventure was going to look like. This creates some interesting questions for character creation. How did they die? How do they feel about dying? Do they have any unfinished buisness? What were their expectations for death, loved ones they thought they would see?

If the characters started off dead, then I would have to figure out what death after life looks like for characters with varying beliefs about the afterlife. Thats kinda a lot to figure out so instead this oneshot was more of a limbo situation. The main idea being that everyone grieves death in different ways. If you had come to realize that you had died, you'd probably grieve your death in some way. The Isle of the Grave has mutiple different paths each associated with some emotion of which they may be affected by. At the end, when they have gained courage, they can face death (literally) to pass onto the next step, whatever that may be!

Some things to note:
The squiggly script on the map is just stolen from Zelda. It is the Zoran alphabet according to pinterest. You can translate the text to find out which area correlates to which emotion. The one above the castle translates into "penatacecc" which is an anagram for acceptance.
This oneshot was meant for some crazy level, I don't remeber which one it was but like 13 or something.

Oneshot Outline

Original outline in this color.

Upon review additions in this color

Woken on Endless Shores

You have died, no two ways about it. You are dead. You're not sure when you quite realized it in your misty haze. Maybe because being dead looks quite bleak, dark and void. But maybe that's only because your eyes are closed. Your last conscious moments were only seconds ago. Yet you feel like it has been a long time, and that you have travelled a great distance. You start becoming aware of the darkness, and your closed eyelids, without ever realizing at some point you had forgotten about them. You awaken from your unconscious state, onto a silvery sand beach. Your skin feels cold like stone. And your heart doesn’t beat. You feel the gentle lapping of waves at your feet. Bleary eyed, you look out at an endless ocean of dark green water. The sky above is green too, an almost neon green, and it is filled with unfamiliar stars. It’s bright out, like it would be in the day, yet there is no sun, nor no moon. You make eye contact with the two people beside you, laying on the same beach. (describe your characters!!)
That is when a great big face bows down to the three of you. It’s a goat's face, with two pairs of ears and a third eye with a slit pupil. It stares at you directly. It’s humanoid, towering, three-clawed hands and feet, with a pair of goat legs underneath the pair of arms. Two feathery, arching wings spread behind them and a staff held in one hand.
Behind them is a mass of woody vines and roots that forms a great wall and gate. The two doors are made of smaller, intertwining branches. The face says to you (in a slow, monotone voice):

“Hello, my name is Naidaurgd of Deoduwn (Naida of Deoduwn for short), and I am guardian of your journey. Who may you be that wash on my shores? Please, your names.”
Naida is there to assure the party that they are dead, to offer them a chance to stay on the shore until they are ready, and does not answer any questions about the nature of where they are. They may say in response:
"All your answers await within." They may also say:
"And how did you come to be here?"
“Are you sure you are ready? There are many dangers within. If you wish you may stay on my shores, the waves have helped many find calm."
“Be safe souls of ---, ---, and ---.”

Naidurgd of Deoduwn is an anagram for Guardian of Wounded.

Through the Rooted Gates

When the players are ready, with a wave of Naida’s wooden staff, and a yawn of wood, the thick woody vines untangle themselves to reveal a silvery dusted path. The plants along the path look as though they are roots upturned. Naida steps aside.
As you walk, the party may make a perception or investigation check DC 13, to notice the many footprints that cover the path, it is well worn. If you investigate closer, some of the sand seems to shift, and new footprints are placed, not as if made by a step, but rather a layer of reality replacing the image of this one. Before you really start to settle in with the idea that you are dead yet walking and talking, you hear a loud and resounding:
“YOOOOWWW, ooooowww, please leave Shreigal alone. NO! Not Shriegal’s maps pleease.”
Down the path you see a humanoid with a coyote-face with six eyes, chicken legs, and a huge pack on its back. Seemingly running from a one-armed, heavily armored person. (using the Champion stat block). Upon closer inspection (perception check) his skin looks cracked, bits of skin are floating like shards of glass. The armored man yells “Give me the Mapppp!!!”
If the champion is defeated through combat before "dying" he looks genuinely worried, and cries out, breaking into a million pieces like shards of silvery glass. Grateful, Shreigal will say to the group:
“Mm usually I let people pay for me maps with something more valuable, I’d be happy to let one go if you told mes about your before life. Just moment, a memory, I likes to here these stories of the otherworlds. Of lives I cannots live.” He will trade the map for stories about their past lives.
Other things that Shreigal will share if asked: "This is the home of death, and of course the home of death would be filled with the dead."
" Shriegal is a part of the isle just as much as the plants are. "
"A map to where? Why a map to the gate, the passageway, the great unknown. I mean yous may be dead, but your not dead dead. The essence of who you are is still here. It is a transitional phase."
"Lots of people get lost on the way to the gate, but Shriegals maps help many."
" Recommend yous stay in group, you may be dead but the essence of who you are is still alive "

The Obelisk Crossroads

After obtaining the map, and concluding business with Shriegal, further along the path you come to a dome of the same twisted roots and plants that the wall was made out of. A archway leads you into the interior of the dome. There you are-

-Surrounded by a circle of dark-purple stone obelisks. A mat of vegetation makes the dome, deep green, and slightly off-putting. Except for at the very top of the dome, where a skylight shines down onto an obsidian colored crystal in the center of these obleisks. Three of the obelisks are larger, one to the left, one to the right, and one ahead of you. Shards of this reflective obsidian glass float in pieces around each big obelisk. The skylight is currently just focused into this big crystal in the center and a beam of light reflects from it onto a random part of the dome.

This must have been written down in my physical notes because it is not in the google doc but, in order to access the pathways the party will have to focus the beam of light,using the crystal onto each obelisk. Once illuminated, like a mirror it will reveal what lies beyond. To the left, a swamp with trees that have bone-white bark (woe). To the right, a reddish landscape pot-marked with craters (fury), and forward is a sheer cliff face (resolve). In addition, my brain image of the floating obsidian glass pieces is Dracula's mirror thing in Castlevania. From there the party can decide which of the following paths they take.


You are confronted with a sheer cliff face. The cliff looks like it is moving in a perpetual molten state. Everyone must make a Wisdom saving throw DC 12. If failed they will become irritable and get the feeling they just want to get this over with. If affect small glass-like shards will lift off skin. If the player tries to walk the base of the cliff to get around it, you never make any ground, walking endlessly. Upon closer inspection (perception check), you can see a figure, small but moving, far up on the cliff. It is up to the party to find a way up this cliff, it would be an extreme challenge to climb it through strength alone. If they get close to the figure they see it is a dwarven man with a braided beard. His name is Digz. He will call out to the group “Please help me up, I must get to the top” Yet if they try to pry him away he will lash out, saying "No! I must continue". Some things about Digz:
Had a wife and kids. He died fighting off a group of nasty bug-looking things that came up from the caves. Was able to kill them but one of the bugs got him with poison. He thinks he has accepted death, but really is just avoiding thinking about, distracting himself with climbing this ever moving cliff. shards have lifted off his skin as well. But, if the characters break him out of his trance some of the shards fall back on his skin and expresses more clarity. “I guess I wanted to get where I was going, I didn’t want to think about my kids or my wife, and how they are doing, or how I won’t be there for them anymore.”


The top of the cliff is smattered with curved and jagged rocks. There are parts of the ground that are quicksand-like. On closer inspection bones stick out of the cliff and rocks. Catching your breath, ou can see the castle, and giant once again obsidian glass rings around it. Make another Wisdom saving throw DC 15. Will start to forget your past life and become insisted on moving forward.


There is an expanse of mostly red-to-beige shrubland. You pass craters as you walk along the silver sand path, ranging from shallow pools into volcano-sized craters. Make a Wisdom saving throw. DC 12, to become enraged and irritable. On the cheek a small shard lifts off. Soon enough the path comes to a steep drop, a sheer edge of the biggest crater you have seen yet. Bones litters the bottom. As you get closer and peek over the edge, you see a great spout of flame. Upon closer inspection you can see the outline of a person. The outline looks up, and starts to grow. Use a Fire Giant stat block and the bones start to form around 20 skeletons. Upon defeat the giant mass of flame grows small until it leaves a small girl curled up in the dirt. Sophi: Elf, she/her, long and straight black hair. Her sentiment to the players:
“Thank you, I don’t know what happened. I’m so sorry! I was just walking here, thinking about dying, and I just got so angry. It was like this ball of fire built up in my chest and just burst out. I had hopes and dreams, and this wasn’t supposed to happen to someone as young as me. I couldn’t contain it anymore. I have some more clarity now, thanks to you. Would you mind if I stuck with you?” Other things about Sophi:
Angry that she died young, of an illness like a severe cold. Was on her way to the cleric. Had a little brother and two dads, wanted to be a hero. Archery is her specialty.


A wall of swirling purple mist, like a fog bank in the distance. Short version: make a Wisdom saving roll DC 15 or start losing shards. Longer (if you need to cut for some time): You hear a call in the mist. “Help! I’m lost. Is anyone out there!” Find Digz or Buzz there eyes clouded over. If you try to remind them of who they were then, their eyes start to de-mist. Or the group can just ignore the call lol.


What you see before you is a marsh, except where you step it is viscous, the murky green-ish water sticks to your boots when you take a step. The trees look like they are made of bone fragments. There looks to be marshy plants, and marshy weeds but something about them isn’t quite right, they don’t give you a familiar sense. But, you can still see the silver sand path underneath the water. You walk for aways, when you hear a soft crying. Make a Wisdom Saving throw DC 12, to start to feel sad, and prone to crying. If the crying figure is approached, you can see it is surrond by the viscous water. It grows into a giant water elemental. Bones from beneath the swamp, and from the trees form 20 skeletons. Upon deafeat the water form diminishes into:
Buzz: Half-orc, they/them, old. Died of old age. Lived alone along the coast. Their sentiment is:
“I knew it was my time, and I don’t have any regrets about the life I lived, but I came here and I started to think about my life and where I am headed to now. The uncertainty, the people and places I knew that I won’t see again, at least not as me. My body felt like it was welling up with water until I no longer could contain it, literally.”


The air gets colder. The water starts to form frozen chunks, until it is completely frozen solid. Snowy spikes of ice jut out of the ground. Shorter: Make a Wisdom saving throw DC 15. You start to freeze, physically and don’t really mind that it is happening, your okay with it. Longer: You come upon a figure frozen in ice, either Sophi or Digz.


After reaching the end of Determination, Confusion, or Numbness.

Ahead of you is a glittery, golden but transparent wall. Very annihilation (the movie)-looking. Once you pass through it, you feel a burst of wind, you feel refreshed, a little more sure in your path and gain a point of inspiration, your wounds are healed (your shards are healed) and you are immune to the condition of being frightened.

Peace, Trust, Love, and Contentment

Passing through this wind, the air becomes a little warmer, there is green grass, and the giant castle ahead. The castle itself has these floating rings made up of the same obsidian glass-like substance and they are slowly rotating in the air. The castle has three domes and the central one is the largest. With great big viney doors once again. Little dragon/ gargoyle type creatures seem to be resting peacefully among the branches of trees. You get a good sense from them. There are also big tranquil pools of water. The group can take a short rest her to regain some abilites if need be.

The Dragon Known as Death

As you approach the vine ridden doors they untangle by themselves this time. You enter a chamber of immense size. It seems the dome is translucent and light beams stream through. Straight ahead of you is only what you can imagine is a portal, a gate to the otherside, you feel it in your heart that it calls to you. It is inky and black, framed by branches and vines twisting around the edges that meet at the top of the ring. There lies a huge skull of a dragon hanging above the gate. It looks like it has knobbly vertebrae like growths down the front of it’s skull. And a mass of horns crowns its face. Further above the skull are three crystals that are glowing from the dome’s light. The vines begin to move, growing around the skull, pushing it off the wall. A glow starts to emanate from within the eye sockets. The vines form more and more of its body until an ancient dragon of vines is made, wings spread. The jaw creaks open and says to you.


The inky black gate shatters into shards. The pieces float around the gate, and the crystals above the gate no longer glow. Roll initiative. The party may reactivate the gate by either defeating Death or lighting up the three crystals above the gate.

A Passage Unknown

The dragon defeated,te vines slink away and remount the skull above the gate. You stand at the gate. The surface is sort of reflected. You see your crystal wounds. And the souls next to you. As you step through you feel a touch of warmth return to your skin, and you feel your heart begin to beat.

Player Characters

Honey, Myrth Lachrymos, and Sh'aeyn (pronounced Sean)