The title above is a song by Grateful Dead which I thought was very apt for this post.
So we have a magical throne that urges one towards the dark arts and necromancy. The last human ruler of the city of forgotten heroes was very magical and it was them that caused the throne to be hurled down into the deepest well, or more accurately a cistern, where it should never be found again.
If we are dealing with a lower level party then I would suggest that a Revenant (3rd level) takes the place of the king or queen.
For a mid to high level party I would like to use a Lich. There are three suggestions here. If you don’t have stats for Sprectre771’s ex-wife we will have to discard the first option. So we are left with two possible Lich ‘builds’. For are hack and slash game a Lich Magician is the most aggressive version. The magician base lists lend themselves to straight out blasting combat and there is plenty of more devious lists to challenge an entire party.
The most fun version if you have the time to role play it out is the Lich Sorcerer. The fun a GM could have with the Transferal and Subjugation spells (Soul Destruction 8th and 11th levels)
A Lich is a 20th level foe and spell caster on its own territory, this is a major opponent.
I would like to see the party being surrounded and pushed back and back by overwhelming numbers of undead spectres, ghostly figures. Finally, with their backs to the gates of a palace there is only one place they can go and that is into the palace grounds and the undead don’t follow.
Any experienced players are going to know they have just gone from the frying pan into the fire but right there and then they have a moments respite, a moment to regroup and treat wounds.
Behind the party a palace stands set in dead and withered formal gardens.
It is here that the party can find the actual location of the throne. You could play so that if the party were to simply ask for Lich about the throne then it will tell them that it was thown into a bottomless cistern so no one will ever sit upon it again.
As the party enter the palace there is one ante chamber and then the hall. The most notable thing about the hall should be that there is no throne but a clear place where one had stood. That is a clear and obvious clue.
At its simplest this could be a straight fight with the Revenant/Lich and then search for clues for the location of the missing throne. It will be much more interesting to up the role playing tension here. There is one caveat. As a GM you should read up on the Revenant and what it wants and how it acts before introducing this element to your game. RPGs are meant to be fun and suicide is a serious subject. You should play this in the right way for your group. Alternatively you can swap out the Revenant for either a lesser or greater Shadow (4th or 8th level). I rather like the Shadow alternative as it adds a touch of the vampire palace to the adventure.
The location could be under the palace or at another site. Right now I am inclined to put the throne below the palace.
Thinking about the entire module we have here the party could simply be tasked with retrieving the dark artifact from the city, maybe before some dark agent gets it first. They are told it is referred to as the kings seat of power before the city fell to an undead army. They should be able to find more information at the city library. So the party have to get into the city (gate house or the marshes), visit the library (wight’s domain) and the palace (Lich/Octopus). Between these location we can have a number of semi random encounters. These are easily scaled to the party level. So one to take place in back streets should the party decide to go that way, one for a market place, square or plaza and a third on the city walls. So where ever the party decide to go they will meet a prepared encounter. Then on the way out the party will meet another prepared encounter on the streets of the city, as they now have a cart and heavy load to move and the final encounter is the original gate house with the spectre.
Is that enough?