Walkthrough for the Gates to the Valley of the Dead area in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. You must advance the quest Along the Cold Trail, acquiring all three Cyclops Incense Burners from the Defaced Sisters, then either head south to the Gates to the Valley of the Dead or return to the Kellid Barbarian Camp. If you return to the Kellid Barbarian Camp your name will be revealed to the raven by the Defaced Sister. If you didn’t acquire all three Cyclops Incense Burners, you’ll have no choice but to return to the Kellid Barbarian Camp
Travel: Valley of the Dead
After either avoiding or surviving the treachery of the Defaced Sisters, it’s time to head to the Valley of the Dead. Fortunately, in tracking the Sisters down you also claimed the Cyclops Incense Burners they held, which are the keys to gaining access to what they sought. If anything could bring ruin to a city like Varnhold, a place named the “Valley of the Dead” seems to be an appropriate place to search.
Before you head there, be warned that this is a lengthy, potentially difficult dungeon. You can’t leave once you enter, and there are enemies that inflict attribute damage and level drain. Bringing scrolls and potions to counter these is all well and good, but bringing rations so you can camp and recover your spells and heal is also a good idea - you’ll need one ration per party member, six for a full party per rest, and rations are heavy. If you have pets, you should be fine, but if not… it still may be worth dragging rations around.
Better safe than sorry.
Another, more burdensome consideration is Tristian. If you want to be able to get all the endings, you have to bring Tristian with you here. He’s got a role to play in upcoming events beyond just being a divine spellcaster. While Tristian is a serviceable enough healer, it’s small consolation if you haven’t been using him and don’t have him geared up. If you care about ending choices and can make do with Tristian, bring him along… but only if you’ve completed his companion quest Kingdom of the Cleansed.
It’s also not a bad idea to return to your lands and see to any events/projects that may have popped up, assign advisors, etc. You probably won’t be in this dungeon for more than a day or three, but it never hurts to keep your finger on the pulse of your barony.
With all that out of the way, it’s time to travel to the Valley of the Dead. From the Kellid Barbarian Camp, follow these directions:
Opening the Gate
When you arrive, follow a trail north a short distance to reach a gate. Interact with it and pick Study the gate., then attempt two [Knowledge (Arcana) 20] checks if you want extra XP. Once done, pick the option [Light the three incense burners from the tombs and hang them on the hooks on the center of the gate] to open the gate in… somewhat dramatic fashion. Continue north past the gate to find an area transition to Vordakai’s Tomb. Loot some rubble to the east to find an Ancient Scrap of Script-Covered Leather, then, when you’re ready, exit the area.
Once you pass through the Gates to the Valley of the Dead you’ll find yourself back on the map. To reach your destination, Vordakai’s Tomb, you need merely head southwest, then southeast.
Encounter: Raven and Tristian
Along the way there, you’ll be stopped by a not-so-random encounter, where your old friend, the black bird, will show up and bother you again. This time it has a generous offer for you: submit to its master, Vordakai, the Chosen of the Four Horsemen and the Keeper of the Oculus of Abaddon. After empty title-reading, the bird will admit its master was indeed behind the Varnhold vanishing, and will instruct you that you need three incense burners - which you should already have.
After that, Tristian will stop you and ask you to take him with you… which is odd if he’s already in your party. Respond how you will and leave the area.
Encounter: Ancient Cemetery
Press on a short distance and you’ll have another not-so-random encounter, where you’ll arrive at some ruins. Make your way northeast and you’ll find an inscription on some pillars you can examine ([Knowledge (World) 17) for some XP, but doing so will provoke two Zombie Cyclops, who will rise up to the southwest and west.
These things are bruisers, with a high Attack Bonus and damage output, and a higher Armor Class than most of the specimens you’ve encountered have possessed. They can also hit multiple targets, and if they pull off a critical hit (which, due to this game’s laughably suspect RNG tables, they probably will) they can deal over 100 damage in a single attack.
Suffice to say, you should spell buff. Use summoned skeletons to occupy one while you cut down the other, then mop up. Once they’re dead, loot them for a Greataxe +1, then grab Harbinger (Earth Breaker +4 with the “Giant Bane” and “Harbinger” properties) off the ground near the pillars, a great weapon for any nasty giants you may encounter in the future and by far the best weapon you’ve found thus far.
Make your way west and cross a bridge, where two more zombie cyclops await. Put them down, then head northeast to find a small structure which has two more inscriptions you can read [Knowledge (World) 16] and [Knowledge (World) 17] for some XP and a container which will yield some gems and an Ancient Cyclops Coin. Leave the area to return to the world map.
After those encounters, you can continue on your way to finally reach Vordakai’s Tomb.