This final entry on the Song Undying provides plot hooks for adventures of 10th–18th level. For the cult to provide a challenge for the higher levels, you will have to increase the power of Salamondre beyond his basic stats. The original version of Salamondre (see Warlock Lair 41: Song Undying) has a challenge rating of 10, providing a tough battle for 7th-level characters (and there is an NPC that, if rescued, provides an additional ally). If we treat Salamondre as a virtuoso lich (see Tome of Beasts 2) with legendary and lair abilities, he can provide a challenge for a party of 10th-level characters—or higher with the presence of other cultists and undead, especially the hollow ones. For higher levels, he will need his abilities increased significantly and tougher followers and greater resources. One way to explain this increase is to allow him greater control of the Thrice-Cursed Heart. Over time, his experiments with it and the Song Undying can provide him with even greater power. Perhaps he can now—in addition to restoring the flesh to the dead and the living—also grant them dark powers beyond that of the reborn. With some thought and imagination, you can transform the Song Undying into a cult that can challenge even the most experienced adventurers.
- In an effort to purify the effects of the Thrice-Cursed Heart, Salamondre decides he needs divine aid. The cult summons and binds an angel to their bidding, attempting to add its power to the ritual singing of the Song Undying to refine the artifact’s powers, to allow it to truly heal and restore life rather than the twisted mockery it has produced thus far. This experiment goes awry, and the angel falls sway to the Heart’s dark power, becoming a chained angel (see Tome of Beasts). Salamondre can control the angel through his connection to the artifact. He is pained over his failure but takes advantage of his new minion to attack one of the local religions that has been actively opposing the Song Undying. The PCs must aid the clerics in stopping this menace before all their temples burn.
- In order to further understand the Thrice-Cursed Heart and expand its powers, Salamondre seeks books and scrolls from the church of Lada. His agents have been pilfering reliquaries and plundering libraries far and wide in an attempt to find records regarding the artifact. The clerics of Lada seek the PCs’ aid in guarding their greatest collection of books and relics and tracking down who commands the thieves, so they may be properly punished.
- As the popularity of the Song Undying spreads and Salamondre and his cult grow in power, they attract the attention of one of the courts of the shadow fey. A fey lord or lady, intrigued by the tales of the cult and the unearthly beauty of the Song Undying, sets themselves up as a secret benefactor. This new supporter provides new agents, magic, and resources for the cult, allowing them to spread even farther through travel via shadow roads. In order to stop the cult, this patron must be identified and either eliminated or convinced to withdraw their support.
- With the help of his shadow fey patron, Salamondre has managed to conduct rituals performing the Song Undying in the Shadow Realm. This has spawned a new version of the reborn. These dark, stealthy undead can magically transport from shadow to shadow, making them perfect for an army of unseen assassins that Salamondre can unleash against his enemies—and he does. With the patron defeated, all that remains now to block the Song Undying from this new, dark power is to find and close the shadow gates that allow the cult access to the Shadow Realm and its magic.
- Salamondre now considers himself the god of life and death. The cult is powerful. The lich and his forces travel the land in a flying fortress held aloft by the Song Undying itself, which resonates, beautiful and terrible, over the land as it travels, enchanting those upon whom the shadow of the fortress falls. Other religions are given a choice: capitulate or fall. The fighting is fierce between the holy warriors of these religions and the singing legions of the cult, but this war has no clear victory in sight for either side. A strike team of elite heroes must infiltrate the fortress, confront Salamondre, and destroy the lich and his unholy artifact.
- The heroes are contacted by a high priest of Lada concerning the Thrice-Cursed Heart. She has had a vision, showing a way the Heart can be cleansed of the corruption imbued by the three goddesses. However, the damned soul of Salamondre will be needed. The heroes must free Salamondre from hell, recover the pieces of the destroyed artifact, and perform a ritual that will absolve Salamondre’s soul. The link between him and the Heart is still strong enough for the cleansing to carry over to the artifact. That is, of course, if the heroes can find a talented genius able to rebuild it. If successful, Salamondre may become a saint of Lada, using the power of her Heart in contrition, healing a world wounded by the terrors of his cult. Enough people still hold faith in the Song Undying that perhaps he will rise to godhood himself.