Over seven hundred years ago the powerful lich Tohloc defeated the last of the valiant adventurers sent to slay him. He was finally free to pursue his arcane research undisturbed. But even for a mind such as his five hundred years spent poring over ancient tomes did begin to grow stale. Apathy set in and he felt his body start to crumble and his mind begin to unravel. But Tohloc fought against the process and refused to simply fade away into a demilich. By chance, he stumbled upon a moldy manuscript describing the philosophy of a long-vanished order of monks. The manuscript was what it took to reignite the spark within him. From that day forward Tohloc dedicated himself to becoming a monk.
After two hundred years of studying the works of long-dead monks, Tohloc was ready to forge his own legacy. Deep in the Forest of Dhome he set up his own monastery inside the tomb of one of his former adversaries. Under the mist-filled cemetery Tohloc would teach his fellow undead. He would demonstrate to them how to achieve their own spiritual and physical perfection. The Monastery of the Undying Spirit grew slowly as word of it began to spread. It mostly attracted intelligent undead at first. A few living students were curious or desperate enough to learn Tohloc’s secrets as well. In recent years, some of the fighting styles developed at the monastery have found their way into the world.
Grandmaster Tohloc runs the Monastery of the Undying Spirit with a very firm hand. No one is admitted without his direct approval. Once admitted only he decides which techniques students are allowed to learn. Through years of study, grandmaster Tohloc was able to acquire monk abilities without sacrificing his arcane power. Under Tohloc there are three masters who oversee the daily lessons of the students. Master Orin instructs his students on defensive measures. They primarily focus on spell resistance and how to overcome channeled energy. On first meeting him, many students find the prayer scroll affixed to his head humorous. But master Orin soon puts them in their place with his mastery of the monastic arts. Master Uzbon was the first of grandmaster Tohloc’s students at the monastery. He was once the star pupil at a monastery in a distant kingdom but failed to uphold his vows and took his own life. Now master Uzbon instructs students in the patience and persistence of undeath. Master Iohta was an infamous bandit in life who raided across the countryside. After she was put to death for her crimes her body reanimated as a wight to continue her reign of terror. Master Iohta instructs students on how to focus negative energy into attacks to harm and disable their foes.
Though they come from varied backgrounds, all of the students at the Monastery of the Undying Spirit are seeking the same thing. They are all trying to better understand the undead condition and the power it conveys them. The lessons are purposely difficult in order to weed out the weakest students. Those who fail end up being consumed by the stronger and more capable students. Cassandra was killed by a deadly plague that swept across her city. A necromancer reanimated her but she was able to break free from their control. Cassandra came to the monastery to learn how to exert her will over mindless zombies. Zahrais was an alchemist who subjected himself to an experiment to achieve immortality. The experiment failed, and he was left dependent on alchemical elixirs to survive in his new form. He came to the monastery to discover a way to keep his undead body from deteriorating further. Qulay was forced to leave her monastery once her entothropic condition became known. Her abilities allow her to keep up with the other students despite not being undead herself.
Once a century the monasteries from all across the world gather to share their knowledge. The Monastery of the Undying Spirit has been invited to this gathering despite the protests of many of the other grandmasters. Grandmaster Sigmund of the Monastery of the Untouchable Mind was one of the few who spoke out in their favor. He argued that the point of this gathering is to promote understanding between monastic traditions. Several good aligned monasteries have threated to boycott the event as a result. Despite the outcry, grandmaster Tohloc plans to attend in order to present the pinnacle of his teachings, the hungry ghost monk. The location of the Monastery of the Undying Spirit is meant to deter all but the truly dedicated from seeking it out. Most people do not venture into cemeteries, and even fewer still enter the tombs of revered heroes. But those defenses have been tossed aside with the arrival of a cairn linnorm. It attacked without warning and devoured three undead students before the monastery was able to drive it off. They were not able to defeat the linnorm and it now lurks in a nearby cave licking its wounds and dreaming of an undead feast. Grandmaster Tohloc has reanimated several mindless zombies to appease the creature. But the linnorm has its heart set on consuming everyone unliving within the monastery.
Drag & Drop Encounter (CR 8)
The mist curls around the tombstones of the cemetery, obscuring the wandering paths that crisscross it. As your feet crunch across the grass and gravel, a raspy voice rings out from the mist around you. “Prove yourselves, my disciples. Slay these interlopers before they reveal our location to the world.” A desiccated figure points down at you from atop a nearby mausoleum, its hollow eyes filled with hatred. A raven-haired woman strides out of the mist in front of you, arms open wide to block your path forward. To your left, a crypt door opens with a clang as an emaciated human shifts into an attack stance. You hear a scraping sound on the tombstones from behind. What appears to be a humanoid mantis is crouched behind you, head cocked to one side.