I'll be DMing again soon, and this week I ran a one-shot adventure since Allen was sick. It introduced some of the themes of my new campaign that takes place in Allen's (mostly undefined) world.
The party continued upriver along the Erath. As they proceeded the terrain became hilly and after a week of travel, they could see a long mountain range off in the distance. Traveling northward, signs of an ancient civilization became apparent. A weed choked ancient rode ran alongside the river and sophisticated retaining walls lined the banks every so often.
Traveling through a hilly region, they came across a bunch of tombs build into the hillside. The remnants of a stone dock was nearby and a black ship with black sails was docked at the ancient site. Investigating the ship, it contained rows of benches for the undead oarsmen, skeletons that acknowledged the parties presence, but cared little for their intrusion.
Investigating the tombs, the party discovered one with the heavy stone doors knocked in. The doors were carved like an open book, the pages telling the tale of Loremistress Nemeia, a powerful priestess of Oghma, the god of knowledge.
The party entered the tomb and fought a variety of undead minions left behind by a powerful necromancer. One magical symbol that regenerated undead monstrosities identified the necromancer as a follower of Vecna, the god of secrets and hidden knowledge. The party defeated his minions and eventually found him in the bural chamber of the Loremistress.
They defeated the Vecna necromancer after a prolonged battle in which he continually raised the bodies of the dead interred there. Eventually they defeated him and discovered the treasure he was after. He had just about finished removing the wrappings from Loremistress Nemeia's corpse when the party interrupted him. One her skin, from her neck to her feet were blue tattoos, inscriptions written in small text. Loremistress Nemeia was now a valuable text.
The text was called The Way to the Imperishable Vessel, a book of the dead describing the various energies involved in death and the afterlife. Embedded in this book, inscribed on the loremistresses skin, was a powerful ritual called Corpse Gate. This ritual creates a portal linked to the remains of a corpse. It's more an exercise in teaching the temporal-spatial positioning of life force in the multiverse, but it also had the potential for more sinister uses if it fell into the wrong hands. Luckily the party arrived just in time and liberated the body of the dead priestess.
In the end they also confiscated the necromancers powerful Orb of Sanguinary Repercusions and his fancy black boat, minus the undead oarsmen.