Awakening of the Wolfshaunt

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The Awakening of the Wolfshaunt
Type Dungeon
Status Explored March 903 TA
Location Wolfshaunt
Hex 7916
Campaign The Wolfshaunt Campaign
Adventure # 116
Map-wolfshaunt2.jpg

DM’s Notes

It is October in the year 902 TA of the Third Age. Only six months have passed since the last adventure. It is the end of the campaign season.

The Lair of El Porte

Encounter 1: Cogwizzle’s Report, October 5, 902. 10:00am

Assistant Chief Engineer Cogwizzle of the Nevermind project to see you sir.

In walks a nervous gnome. He is still dressed in his engineer’s overalls and is covered with grime. He holds a small stone box in front of him. From inside the box, you can hear scuttling and scratching like a clawed animal attempting to escape. He glances furtively at you then the box – his eyes are wide with apprehension.

Mr. Hylax, begging your pardon sir. We are having some, er, trouble at the work site.

Well, we found a large metallic drain – about 400 feet across - at the bottom of the large circular swamp where you told us to build the workshops. It is the most amazing thing sir, like a giant oculus. Well, Chief Engineer Haldane told us that it was a relic from the Second Age – used to control the water level in the large circular lake that was once there. We cleaned it off real nice, and it looked brand new. And, sir, it was marked with old Gnomish runes – so we figured it was safe.

Yesterday, the Chief Engineer called for some crowbars to open the oculus – figured we could use it to drain the nearby swamps. It was really heavy, and well, pretty much all the strongest gnome workers were down in the circle to help. The rest of the town was pretty much up on the ledge of the lake watching. Not a lot to do in the swamp, you see.

Well, after thirty minutes of twisting, there was this great rumbling sound. The oculus moved an inch or two. When the small hole at the center got to about a foot in diameter, well, these mechanical spiders started pouring out. Hundreds of ‘em.

They bit the workers near the center – including the Chief Engineer. We tried to kill them, but they’re fast. They were biting the workers – turning them to stone, I think. They just stood there, right statue-like.

Well, the workmen panicked and the crowd panicked – everyone running back to the village to try and get away. I was runnin’ with ‘em until I bumped into Oloster Gladdenstone – the wizard you sent down to help with construction. Well, he teleported me here after instructing me to find you, Mr. Hylax, and tell you my story. Mr. Oloster was headin’ for the oculus to help the workers.

If pressed for additional news, Cogwizzle will tell the story of how the oculus was discovered.

Apparently, a crazy gnome girl named Syra was down at the area poking around for faerie artifacts in the middle of the night – she is convinced that we are building on sacred fey ground. And, she said that she saw an army of demons – pointed horns and the whole bit – appear in the swamp for just a second and then disappear. She ran home and when when she went back during the day, the demons were gone. She did find the metal oculus, however. That was a month ago.

Well, the priest Halloword said she was possessed and took charge of her. She is safely in his keeping now. He told us we shouldn’t dig based on the delusions of an imbecile, but you know how the Chief Engineer is when there is a mystery to be solved.

Halloword is possessed by a demon – charged with keeping the gnomes from discovering the location of the oculus. Oops.

Encounter 2: The Spider

Inside the box is a small mechanical spider. Its legs are articulated brass and move with a whirring of gears and levers. Its thorax is brass and ringed with small glass “eyes”. The thorax is also covered with hundreds of small bristles. An extended abdomen is made of thick glass and half-filled with a bright red liquid.

If allowed to move freely, the spider will shoot out a number of tiny bristles each with a drop of bright red liquid. These puncture in an area of effect within 10 feet of the spider – causing multiple saves vs. 20th level poison. Failure will bring a booming voice into the head of the victim. “Come to me. Sing the song of El Porte.”

Encounter 3: Nevermind

The construction of the gnomish city of Nevermind is well underway. A number of retaining walls have been built include a modest fortification around the city center. In several places, drainage operations are underway. Most of the construction has been underground, leaving the land above gently rolling mire.

A temporary long hall has been built on the high point of the site, a stony outcropping with a commanding view of the works. A porch wrapping around the long hall is the center of activity with architects, masons, and workers meeting at all hours.

You arrive at the long hall in the late morning. It is overcast and cool but dry. The wind is gusty – a portent of a storm. The long hall is oddly quiet. In fact it is empty. You can hear the sounds of singing to the southeast – where the oculus was reported found. Looking down, you see villagers running past the long hall fleeing to the north and west. Periodically, one will just stop running and turn slowly and start to walk slowly back towards the southeast.

Careful look will show that the affected gnomes are being “bitten” by mechanical spiders.

If the party goes to the Halloword home, they will find the gnome priest gone.

The small hobbit-hole styled home of Halloword lies amongst a cluster of small hillocks at the east end of the Nevermind project. Although the modest chapel he proposed has yet to break ground, Halloword’s home is completed. A small round green door looks out on a garden of pipeweed – now somewhat uncharacteristically overgrown.

Opening the door, the smell of death and decays is overpowering. The body of Syra lays broken on the floor her neck at a strange angle – strangled by all accounts. Vegetables and meat are rotting on the counters – as if they haven’t been touched in weeks.

Syra has been dead since she arrived a few days ago. The priest has been possessed longer – and although gone now – left a small clue behind. You find the note in the pipeweed outside his home – apparently blown out of a pocket by the strong wind.

A cryptic note reads, “Gather all stragglers. They are your flock now. Make sure none of them escapes alive. Return when successful. The vault lock is below.”

Puzzle-awakening01.jpg

Encounter 4: Halloword’s Followers

Indeed, Halloword is to the west of town – calling his flock together. He has set up a “sacred circle” of white rocks (just painted). He has loaves of bread, flasks of wine (poisoned), and is leading the townsfolk in prayer. He has a vial of black poison in one pocket. The peasants are freaked by the rumor of the Mad Spider Wizard El Porte.

He will drink the poison – which will kill his body – and transfer his “soul” into another peasant – if threatened.

The Demon is Vladlock.

He will be hard to capture. However, if nabbed, he knows that other than the oculus entrance, there is a hidden cave entrance about 500 feet east of the stone circle. Rumor holds that a catoblepas lives there. That entrance is well guarded by both magic spells and the puzzle lock.

Encounter 5: The Catoblepas Entrance

Several hundred yards from the stone circle, a large cave has been formed by an overhang of rock.

A number of strange trees are growing just inside the cave. Miniature in size, their trunks appear to be made of a number of vines that have twisted together – forming an odd braided appearance. The leaves are white and at first appear to be fuzzy. On closer examination, the leaves have a ghostly ethereal property about them.

There is a foul odor coming from the cave.

The trees are actually Feywild trees – the source of the teleportation extract. When examined, it will be noticed that a number of leaves have been picked systematically from different trees – although there are no dead leaves on the floor.

Several baskets will be discovered hidden in the trees along with several pairs of large man-sized gloves.

Pushing aside the strange white trees, you see two large creatures in the cave. Catobelpaii! One is sleeping while the other is simply watching the cave opening. Between them, set into the back wall of the cave is a stone door – ancient in its crafting – with a strange pattern of numbers painted on its white surface. The painted surface appears to be recent.

The creatures are an illusion. If attacked, they will sound an alarm in the control ring, and demons will be waiting! The puzzle leads to a stone shaft leading down towards the control ring.

Encounter 6: The Oculus

From above, the oculus is a strange sight. Gone are the throngs of watchers from the rim. Hundreds of gnomes now stand on the metal disc itself – swaying back and forth. Each has an iron bar, staff, tree branch, or some other makeshift lever and is moving in time to the chant – attempting to pry open the oculus.

Periodically, another gnome will walk down the path from Nevermind – picking up whatever is at hand – and joining the strange ritual.

While you don’t see any of the small hand-sized spiders in the immediate area around the oculus, you do see a disturbing site near the ever-widening hole at its center. A myriad of bristled mechanical legs are trying to get out of the hole. These are huge – each several feet in width. It looks like they will soon be free.

These are the warrior spiders. Their venom is causes…

An iron grate covers a large square opening in the stonework of the rim of the oculus pond. After clearing away some swamp muck, it is obvious that the passage leads straight down under the disk.

Built into the stonework of the rim of the oculus pond are six large sewer-like tunnels. They are overgrown and in some places completely clogged with dirt and swamp muck. They allow access to the underswamp complex – leading into the chambers that have the teleportation liquid. Usually they pump out liquid which the warriors then stand in to make the “jump”. The liquid is an extract of the sap of the feywild tree.

As you descend down the stone shaft, you can hear the scrabbling of a number of very large creatures – presumably the spiders – from the direction of the oculus. After descending about 100 feet, the shaft opens up into a large tank. The tank is empty – although it smells strongly of cloves. A valve near the top of the tank is several feet wide – although it is closed with no visible means to open it. There are sounds of large spiders moving directly outside.

Encounter 7: The Shaft

This space is 400 feet in diameter and 100 feet deep. The walls and floor of the shaft are made of thick iron – somewhat rusted with time but still serviceable. The ceiling of the shaft is the oculus – overlapping plates of thin steel. Along the walls near the bottom of the tank are six large metal tanks – each about 20 feet high. A valve near the top allow for the tanks to be opened. There is a large level next to each tank. A single iron door is in the wall of the shaft. It is closed.

Inside the shaft are twenty large mechanical spiders – close duplicates to their smaller cousins. Apart from their daunting size, the most notable difference in the spiders is their abdomen liquid is black.

Close examination shows that they have both small darts – poison AND large darts – damage.

The lever causes a plunger to shoot the contents onto the oculus. It can be moved partially. It can also be moved slowly or quickly – allowing for all sorts of possibilities.

The door is locked from the other side. It is solid iron but radiates no magic.

Encounter 8: The Control Ring

You enter a curved hallway. The inner wall of the hallway is made of iron – large bolts attesting to its strength and thickness. The outer wall, floor and ceiling are made of stone. The hallway glows from small bowls of liquid that are placed in large glass tubes mounted to the stone wall with iron brackets. The light casts an eerie green glow but provide little illumination.

The stone door puzzle is the same as above. The iron door leads into the shaft – so it may be noisy if the spiders are still alive. Magic spells light up the liquid.

A stone door sits directly across from an iron door. The stone door has been painted white and has a strange set of numbers painted on it. The iron door has a wheel-like lock that must be spun to open it.

Encounter 9: The Control Room

At the far point of the circular hallway is another stone door on the outside stone wall. It has several brass letters attached via iron spikes to the lintel. Three more letters are sitting broken nearby. It is clear that this hallway has been used recently.

Puzzle-awakening06.jpg

This room is massive – 200 feet long, 100 feet wide with a sixty foot ceiling– cut stone dresses the walls, floor and ceiling. Four squat pillars support the ceiling. The smell of cloves is strong here.

At the near end of the room, a gigantic clockwork engine dominates the area. It is twenty feet high and has ladders and scaffolding around it – affording easy access to it myriad of moving parts. At the center of the strange device is a large purple crystal – about the size of a football. It is connected to the engine by a series of wires and tubes. The engine appears to be turned off at the moment – as it is quiet. Two gnomes here.

In the middle of the room, a series of four large levers are mounted in massive brass boxes sunk into the floor. The boxes are five foot square and foot high, and each lever is about 4 feet tall. Each has a handle that can be squeezed to release the lever and allow it to move. The four levers are: red, blue, green and yellow. On the top of the brass box, there are markings for the level positions. The yellow lever box is currently open – revealing gears, wheels and shafts within. Two gnomes here.

The far end of the room appears to be a laboratory of sorts. Two large copper distilling vats are bubbling away. Beneath their long spout, two copper buckets catch dripping liquid. Near the vats, several large pots and several empty baskets are neatly stacked. On a table in the laboratory are spread a number of documents and books. Two gnomes are here.

Two gnomes will be “guarding” the hallway.

  • Red = power on/off
  • Blue = pumps up/down
  • Green = oculus open/closed
  • Yellow = destination by-pass/1/2/3

Chief Engineer Haldane and Oloster Gladdestone

The pots contain leaves from the feywild trees.

The demons will destroy the papers immediately when the room is attacked – or grab them up and teleport away. This will cause the gnomes to have to spend the next six months figuring out how to reconfigure the devices for gnomes only!

These will be gnome and demon physiology books along with calculation on lever and dial settings for the engine.

There is only one crystal for power. If given enough time, the demons will take it.

If Hylax asks about a similar device in the Land of Bogs and the Little People, then it will be found and the crystal can be used to power one or the other. Only one teleport per month in Witenagemot.

There is a staff of eight demons here – along with the Halloword. They have all taken over gnome bodies, and they all have the ability to change bodies and teleport.

Since the oculus was discovered and enthusiastically explored, the demons decided to use the gnome population to open the oculus – since it is stuck. This would also play into their rumors about finding the Spider God El Porte. And then, they would kill all the gnomes in Nevermind with poison and blame it on the Spider God El Porte.

Forbidden Library Redux

Overview

This adventure is a follow-up from two things that happened at MC31.

First, the party left the dead body of the werewolf Wycliffe in the Forbidden Library with the Wolfshaunt figures. After 30 days (lunar cycle), it reanimated inside the vault. Now, Wycliffe has taken control of the lower portions of the library and is attempting to leave.

It is a month after the last Matcon adventure here, and Fuzzwort has recruited a new class of Librarians and was in the process of cataloging and sealing the dungeon. Failure will mean more werewolves for Witenagemot.

Second, Alan, Tim and Jeff all missed their saving throw vs. Hate – which escaped from the dungeon. Well, Hate has stirred up some trouble in Sandal in the guise of an army of knights, trolls, ogres, harpies, and a dragon. They have come to take over the Forbidden Library from the outside.

The result is a siege on the dungeon – only partially fortified. Failure to solve the problem will cause problems in the big war.

  • He is cut off from the other planes of travel – Oblivion and the Land of the Dead.
  • Time seems to be stopped – or at least out of phase. If the party staggers in, the folks on the outside are moving very, very fast. On the inside, time is moving very slowly.
    • Anyone who goes in will appear to be gone for a long time.
    • Spells that are cast on the inside will last a long, long time – including fireball, ice storms, etc.

NO CHA TO GET DECK OF CARDS!!!

Encounter 1: Minella Arrives

It is late in the afternoon of May 2, 902 – about a month after your last adventure in the Forbidden Library in Sandal. The party is recovering from their wounds in Dragonsford – enjoying an afternoon hunt in the meadows and woods outside the castle. Suddenly, the figure of Captain Langridge of the King’s Guard approaches on horseback at a full gallop.

King Goodfellow, your majesty, a visitor just teleported to the castle seeking an immediate audience with Master Librarian Fuzzwort – but I think might all want to come. The woman is mad – frothing at the mouth – going on about the Forbidden Library. She says her name is Minella – said y’all rescued her last month – she has dire news about the library. And, well, there’s one more thing. She is turning old in front of our eyes – aging by the minute. Hurry, sirs, I fear there is not much time!

Returning to the castle...

You quickly return to the Great Hall at Dragonsford Castle – where in an overstuffed leather chair several servants and a doctor are attending a woman who appears to be having a seizure of some sort.

Minella is a fat woman dressed in the robes of a librarian. She has brown hair and brown eyes. You remember her as young, soft-spoken – almost whispering, mild-mannered and demure. Now, she appears mad – and much older.

Minella is angry – hateful – play it up!

Elinor and Lina are dead – and I will soon be joining them. I was chosen to bring you this message because my time outside the Library is limited and if I failed, I would be dead too quickly to be of much use to our enemies. As you remember, teleportation doesn’t work within the library, so I went out the front door – surveyed the situation – and then teleported here. After I left, Master Librarian Crowquill sealed the library with a protection spell. I am to relate that he will drop that spell in one hours time – for approximately 2 minutes – after which he will assume that I failed and seal the library permanently.

Master Librarian Crowquill keeps me briefed on the project – as I actually author the status reports sent to you. All seemed well even a few days ago – and then everything went mad. Even though I knew that leaving the library would quickly age me, I have sacrificed my life to bring you this information. As you know, this is a many-year project, but we have begun by tackling the basics. Let me list for you the tasks that have been accomplished.

  1. The exterior of the dungeon remains the same – a somewhat dreary swamp amidst dead foliage. The six guardian trees around the entrance remain – although their magic has been altered to allow passage only by yourself, the three kings, Hylax, Silvarious of our Order, and the librarian-priests that you yourself chose for this mission – myself included. No physical key is now needed to gain entrance. Touching the key tree now takes you into a proper anteroom.
  2. We have pumped out the water and swamp debris from the anteroom, upper vaults, and scriptorium. The anteroom and scriptorium are now put to their proper use. The upper vaults are now sealed. As you remember, they contain collections of tomes on subjugate humans to the will of others and a book summoning nightmares to torture and control others against their will.
  3. As you may recall from your visit here, the Hallway of Teeth - now called the Hallway of Words – had three collections of particularly nasty magical tomes dedicated to torture and contraptions of diabolical menace; the plague of creeping doom; and the library of mythical beasts. These have been sealed as well.
  4. The Lower Vaults – which we use to call the Six - have proven more difficult. The four Chambers of Sin are sealed but still call to us to open them (vanity, youth, gluttony and greed), the Chamber of the Dead is sealed, and the Chamber of the Guild Spirit Hate is empty, and the Wolfshaunt Seal – well, that’s where the problems started. Master Crowquill thinks that additional chambers lie within the maze of tunnels under the library – although no exploration has happened.

Master Crowquill used the cube to seal the dungeon – the Guardian is active. He knows you told him not to use it, but his hands were forced by the arrival of troops outside the library. They have encircled the rocky outcropping.

The Madness came over us quickly.

Encounter 2: Outside the Forbidden Library

As the bleak expanse of moors comes into view, you see surrounding the rocky hillock with its small ring of protective trees - an army of sorts – although not the ordered knights that were once so common in Sandal. No, this looks more like an angry mob – albeit the largest angry mob ever collected.

Six hundred armored men – some still wearing the tattered green and black colors of the Baron form an impenetrable circle about the entrance. All are well-armed, and a number are mounted on heavy war horses. They are staring straight ahead, visors down. Missing is the banter and bravado usually found on the battlefield.

A small vanguard of trolls and ogres – maybe a hundred are scattered through their midsts in groups of 5 or 6. Again, they are well armed and seem to focused on the top of the hill.

The scrub trees that surround the hills are filled with harpies – dozens of them – their grotesque forms intently watching the hill.

Finally, sixteen large black dragons circle overhead, high in the sky. Watchful and vigilant, they are the only creatures that are moving.

About the entire army, a strange mist seems to hover – moving between the figures – everywhere at once.

In the distance, you can see the dust of more approaching soldiers – a train of several hundred more mounted figures by best estimates.

Encounter 3: Master Librarian Crowquill

Standing before you is Master Librarian Crowquill. He is tall, thin and dark-headed with the air of an academic about him. Although clearly agitated, he speaks in measured even tones. His black robes are rumpled, and his pockets are stuffed with notes and books.

Behind him, six assistant librarians stand in their brown robes – looking anxiously at Crowquill. Several are bruised and somewhat battered.

I’m afraid the situation has gotten worse since we sent Minella out.

  1. The Lower Vaults have been overrun by a man calling himself the Nephew. He says he knows you and demands an audience.
  2. The anteroom and upper vaults have been taken by several of my assistants – who were overcome with treacherous anger. Before we could react, they sealed the passage to the upper reaches by collapsing the ceiling of the tunnel. We can hear them working on some sort of construction in the anteroom.

He will forget to tell the party that he found a new library collection behind a broken seal when pumping water out of the passageway into the Lower Vaults. Someone will remind him if the party fails to ask.

Encounter 3: Lower Vaults

A very large man dressed in the courtly fashion of the Second Age stands in front of you. He smiles a broad, toothy smile. He appears unarmed – his doublet unmarked and pristine.

You have seen him before – as Booth – the pretend Keeper of the Wolfshaunt Library. Turned back into a statue – but only after beheading Hylax and Ernie and being continuously hacked to bits by U-Gene until his body could be returned to the crypt.

As is common with us immortals, I say to you, “We meet again.” It was very careless of you to throw the real body of Booth back into the vault. You see, he comes back to life every turn of the moon. When he couldn’t break the outer seal you put into place, he returned my brothers and I from statues to help him. As you can see, we have been successful.

Here is my bargain.

In the Wolfshaunt vault below, there are 224 small statues - all immortals from my land. Of those, only 12 are my brothers, and we have all been freed. The others are some fairly nasty types – vampires, spirits and liches. For now, their fate is in your hands. If you refuse my terms, my brothers will release all the evil in this place – my allies and my enemies – and all in the library will perish – followed quickly by your countrymen, wives, and children.

My two demands are simple. I want back the book of children’s verses that you stole from me. And, I want safe passage from this library for myself and 12 brothers. For these demands, I will leave the rest of the Wolfshaunt vault untouched – for you to do with as you see fit.

I know that you are attacked from without. The spirit of Hate has visited me – in hopes of persuading us to join its cause. I have no interest in destroying the world – only feeling the soft spring of grass under my feet and the green canopy of trees over my head.

Do we have a deal?

Encounter 4: The Library of Matter

A section of the plaster covering the hallway leading down to the Lower Vaults has been uncovered revealing a stone door of ancient design. Symbols on the door vaguely translate to ‘Library of Matter’. Four seals around the edge of the door appear – at first glance – to be sealed, although hairline cracks show that they have recently been violated. The skill of breaking the seals in remarkable.

The seal was broken by No Cha. The footprints are from the Creator.

Inside, a long hallway leads down to a small room. The stone steps show a single set of footprints coming up the stairs.

The room at the bottom of the steps is musty – filled with the familiar smell of ancient vellum, leather, and magic. Bookcases line the other three walls of this 40’x40’ room. This would be an ordinary library, if it weren’t for the three large glass tubes mounted in the center of each wall. Otherwise dark, the curved glass shows several vague shapes inside. Each is sealed with a strange symbol.

The books on the east wall are concerned with annihilation and the destruction of matter.

The books on the west wall are concerned with the creation of golems and other animated life forms from lifeless materials.

And the books on the north wall discuss the creation of matter from nothing. Very careful examination will show the north wall glass has some fingerprints on it.

Encounter 5: The Annihilators

There are three small figures dressed in black robes floating in the tube. Each is smaller than a hobbit – although stout. They wear strange shoes with curled toes. They appear to be unconscious. On the tube is etched a box and some numbers.

Fill in each matrix below with distinct positive integers so that each row has the same sum and each column has the same product.

Puzzle-awakening02.jpg

These are the Annihilators. They have no names – although they will introduce themselves as Nil, Null and Nought.

They will recognize Vince’s staff as a “children’s toy”. The come from beyond the Void – a place they call the Nilspace. They are sucking material from the Realm into Nilspace by use of powerful spheres of darkness. The problem is that they have lots of things they want – especially minerals from under the mountains.

They are odd and tend to talk rapidly to each other. While not evil, they are very dangerous because they have no sense of human right or wrong.

Encounter 6: The Indestructable Golem

There is a single man-sized figure floating in the tube. He appears to be naked, although it is difficult to make out his features. He seems to be unconscious. On the tube are etched a number of boxes, lines and letters.

Fill in the boxes with the letters so that two words of equal length are formed which are opposites of each other. Letters in connected boxes are the same, and are only given once below.

Puzzle-awakening03.jpg

A C D E F K N T

ATTACK, DEFEND

The creature that stands in front of you is a clay golem that vaguely resembles a man. It’s eyes glow red.

It moves to attack.

Cutting the golem up just makes it divide into golems that over a few rounds grow back into multiple full-sized golems.

It has two commands: Attack and Defend.

Encounter 7: No Cha

There is a single man-sized figure floating in the tube. He is dressed in robes. He seems to be unconscious, black robes flowing about him. On the tube are etched a number of dots.

Connect the dots in a loop so that each line segment has different length. The loop can cross, but will never retrace its steps, and will never pass through a point twice.

Puzzle-awakening04.jpg

The party may recognize him as No Cha.

I was looking for your potion recipes, my dear Hylax. While purusing your new library, I found references to the “Creator”, a man who could create anything out of nothing. I figured he would be able to help you create any potion out of nothing. When I released him, however, he seemed to go mad. He created a cocoon around me instantly. The next thing I know you were looking at me. Must have put me into the tube and fled.

He was a very thin man – old and gaunt – but very fast. He was naked when I opened the tube – but, now that I think about it, he was wearing clothes identical to mine just before I blacked out.

The Awakening of the Wolfshaunt

Overview

The release of the Nephew – a vampire who was slew Booth and pretended to be him during the last adventure – was able to contact one outsider to let him know of his location before being recaptured and placed back into the vault. This outsider – Loomis – has been searching for the Forbidden Library his entire life – as his father and previous generations have done before. Calling themselves The Cult of the Shattered Moon – so named because their organization lies sundered by the Wolfshaunt Gate – Loomis stole the cyptex, used their remaining tokens to travel back to the Grandfather’s Castle, and are now trying to open the Wolfshaunt Gate permanently.

Unable to open the device directly, but suspecting where all the answers lay, the Grandfather created the Book of Secrets to “guide” extraordinary adventurers to find the clues, come to the castle, and open the cryptex. Then, he sent a pack of wolves through the gate and left the book on the chair in the Chapel of Udolf to be found.

The correct solution for the party is to find the cyptex and take it away without opening it.

The Cryptex and the Book of Secrets

The Book of Secrets is actually a trap by the Grandfather Vampire – to lure the party along – somewhat like a bunch of “true” clues which lead to a “false” trap at the end. None of the lesser vampires or werewolves know the contents of the book – especially since it includes killing them.

Grandfather Josiah wants the party to open the cyptex – for it must be done by one who is “pure of heart and says his prayers by night”. Only then, can they be free. But, the confidence game must be played slowly, with all the traps sprung along the way.

The solution to the cyptex is:

Puzzle-awakening05.jpg

DM’s note: the cross is for a holy man – Fuzzwort. It is also the first letter of the cryptex “T”. Full word is TWIXT.

  • T is a cross for clerics – Chapel of Udolf
  • W is a lightning bolt for wizards – Storm Lords
  • I is a staff for many - Hermit
  • X is crossed tracks for rangers – The Wolf Door
  • T is sword for fighters – Grandfather’s Castle

Opening it will open the valley. Putting it back in the chapel is the right answer.

The book will urge them to open it.

Encounter 1: Mirri

A young girl appears in front of you in peasant dress. She is dark haired with brown eyes and clearly spends more of her time in the woods than in the city. She introduces herself as Mirri and speaks to King Ernest Goodfellow.

I am the sole survivor of my village of Dark Trail – a small place in the Hornwood. We harvest rare mushrooms for sale to the merchants of Irongate – although they no longer come into the forest. We don’t travel out at night, but we have never had problems with wolves before.

It was the dark of moon several weeks ago, when the village was attacked by a band of wolves that came through our village from the east. They slaughtered all the men and women that stood against them. In the end, only the children remained – locked in the Bower’s Hall – the strongest building. It had stone walls, but the wolves burnt off the roof and jumped down. Everybody was killed – my brother, my friends, everybody. Except me. I was surrounded. I must have fainted.

When I woke up, all the bodies were gone. The village was burned to the ground – nothing remained. I was sitting up against a tree. In my lap was this piece of paper. I can’t read, so I started off towards Irongate. I ran into a merchant along the way who told me it was a message for you – King Goodfellow. I memorized it, but the paper got lost – sorry about that.

The message is: “The Wolfshaunt Gate Opens. One Litter is Free. The Pack Follows Unless You Throw Down Your Crown.”

Mirri will remember Loomis – a crazy alchemist saying that he was from the Cult of the Shattered Moon coming through town several months back. He is a middle aged man of average size and looks. He had dark hair and nervous darting eyes. He was carrying a large peddler’s pack. She knows that he carried jars of foul-smelling liquids, brushes, books and other oddities.

She does not know that Loomis is the one who imprisoned Udolf before moving on to the Wolfshaunt. He painted the picture in the chapel.

If They Research Hornwood

Then, the woods began to take on a sinister aspect. Woodsmen complained of nightmares and dream-induced sleep-walking. Often driven to the point of madness, they talked about “the mist” a dark thick smoke that was rumored to move through the trees and of the “white men” – ghostly apparitions that came unbidden at night. Even the elves that lived in the Hornwood became sick – listless and unresponsive. The hornwood trees twisted – their wood no longer prized for bowmaking. Eventually, the Hornwood was abandoned by the woodsmen and elves. Even the merchants of Irongate refused to enter into its overgrown depths. Today, the Hornwood stands in perpetual darkness – its canopy dense and its ground shrouded in twilight.

If They Research Moon Hollow

Deep in the Hornwood, a small village – only a hamlet – rests against the Wolfshaunt Mountains. Moon Hollow is an eerie place, even during the best of times. The men and women of the hamlet shun contact with the outside world – and only the bravest or most foolhardy of merchant attempts to ply his trade in the dark village. A strange stone chapel – referred to by the locals as the Chapel of Udolf – built out of green granite stands in the center of the village. There is no mention of who Udolf is.

Nothing has been heard from the residents of Moon Hollow for almost a decade.

The Village of Moon Hollow

A single trail winds into the darkest, most remote reaches of the Hornwood. Descending into a natural bowl in the forest floor, the village of Moon Hollow is a collection of some dozen stone huts surrounding a small chapel built on a large rock outcropping in the center of the complex. There is a well near the path, and several gardens appear to be mostly untended.

Encounter 1: Tooth

You see a ragged old man – dressed in tatters – he is armed with a short knife – and appears to be a woodland refugee.

A ragged old man – who calls himself Tooth because he has one tooth remaining – can be found if the party searches hard enough. He usually hides near the garden which his only source of food.

His appearance is ordinary except for a beautiful emerald ring that he wears – usually keeping it out-of-sight from others. He has a Ring of Invisibility and Undead Detection which he uses to hide when danger comes – as it did several weeks ago – in a nearby cave. He came back to find the village deserted.

He thinks it was Udolf – come back from a long absence of several months - although it is still several days until the next full moon. He hasn’t gone into the chapel but will encourage the party to do so.

The last “merchant” that they “trapped” in the chapel was Loomis – a self-described alchemist and member of the Cult of the Shattered Moon. He came through several months ago – long before the recent wolf attack.

The Chapel of Udolf

This chapel was built to honor Udolf (Old English for “wolf-wealth”) – a werewolf immortal tasked with keeping the Wolfshaunt Gate sealed. In exchange for his vigilance, he was given a villager (or merchant) to eat every full moon. The villagers strove to detain travelers so they could sacrifice them to Udolf – who lived in the woods and would visit the chapel on the full moon for his sacrifice.

This small hexagonal chapel is made of a green serpentine stone – now blackened by the ravages of time. Five walls of exquisite craftsmanship hold stained glass windows also now blackened from decades of neglect. A stone dome rises above the walls, and above the oak doorway, the figure of a hulking man has been cleverly carved into the roof.

Encounter 1: Chapel

The stained glass windows show the following scenes (if the moon phase is asked for): a pack of six wolves running through the forest (no moon), five wolves watching a sixth wolf atop a stone outcropping in the woods (crescent moon), five wolves surrounding a village while a sixth enters (quarter moon), the sixth wolf entering a chapel (gibbous moon); a large, hairy man sitting atop a throne biting the throat of a young man (full moon).

Opening the door, the chapel is small – only 30 feet across. The air is musty here – filled with fine particles of dust. Little light enters through the glass windows - and the rays that do penetrate are muted and sinister. Five stone benches ring a central altar – a simple hexagonal stone dais with a chair and a book on top.

The book is a thin leather tome with no adornment on the cover. It is ancient and well-used but in excellent repair. The chair seat cushion is embroidered with a simple cross, now long faded with use.

The book has 8 pages. All are blank with the exception of the first page. The first page has a short poem on it:
1

When the light of life comes to lifeless eyes,
And mortal sword slays flesh immortal,
Then will the wolves howl, the key be found,
And the Chapel of Udolf be clean again.

Sitting in the chair you hear a mechanical click. The chair will now rotate clockwise to show a set of stone spiral stairs leading down.

If the party attempts to continue to rotate the chair, an empty stone hole lined with velvet showing the small impression of a scroll case will be found.

If a priest sits and is allowed to dream, the second page will activate and they will gain knowledge of “the key” via the following dream (see 2 below). NOTE: It is unlikely they will do this until after they finish the next encounter with Udolf’s Trap and the second page of the book changes to a cross symbol.

Encounter 2: Udolf’s Trap

The Pursuit (artist unknown)

The stairs wind around a central column and eventually emerges in the center of a large shadowy room. This room appears to be carved from solid stone. The floor is smooth, and the ceiling is very high – lost in the darkness. The room is roughly hexagonal with six large open chambers around the perimeter. The stone walls have been dressed smooth and covered in plaster. Along the back wall of each niche is a large picture painted on the wall itself. The pictures are positioned high on the walls, so they cannot be closely inspected unless approached with a light source held aloft.

The paintings, if examined very closely, are only a few months old and extremely life-like.

One painting depicts a small child dressed in a red cloak being pursued through a dark, tangled forest by a large wolf. Around the wolf’s neck is a silver collar. The wolf in turn is being followed by a number of indistinct shapes – vaguely human – although their intent is not known. The other paintings are of woodland scenes – these without the wolf and girl – but still filled with the indistinct human figures.

When a light is shone on the picture, it animates – the vampire creatures emerging to fight. When defeated, they return to the painting. KEY: The only way to kill an immortal is to trap it.

NOTE: If the party waits until the full moon, the wolf will be a man. He cannot speak, read nor write, but he will use gestures to show the party through the chapel.

ALSO NOTE: More light will re-release the villagers! This includes fireballs, etc.

He will be wearing a collar of 24 silver cross tokens.

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IMPORTANT: When the battle is finished, the wolf will lead the party back to the chair – prompting Fuzzwort to sit in the chair and rotate it again.

The wolf – upon seeing the empty key chamber will go nuts and begin howling - his brethren will answer from the woods. He will dash out the door. He does not know about the book or the secret door. He is going to warn others of the coming invasion.

If allowed to escape in the real world, the wolf will be missing from the pictures.

After releasing Udolf, the second page of the book appears filled in with ancient spidery handwriting that matches that of the first poem. Below the poem is a simple cross.
2

When the dreams of night come to reverent eyes,
And twisted words are plainly seen,
Then will the path be clear, the puzzle solved,
And the Wolfshaunt Gate be sealed forever.

Image-cross.jpg

This page shows how Udolf was trapped. It is critical because it shows the cryptex as the key.

You are an aging priest. You sit in the cross-embroidered chair in the chapel, the dappled sunlight streams through the windows showing arcs of reds and greens and blues. At your feet is a slain boy, bloody and ravaged as if by a wild animal. As you rest, your heart is filled with the joy of having served your flock well. In your large hands is a brass rod with broad red circling stripes. Suddenly, the earth begins to shake and much to your horror, the artifact falls from your grasp – you jump trying to keep it from the cold, hard stone of the floor. As it crashes to the ground, you hear the crack of glass and a blood red liquid seeps out – pouring down into a small crack in the dais stone. You lurch forward and wake up – a dream.

Encounter 3: Burial Chamber

This trap is designed to keep the random adventurer from straying into the dungeon through the secret passage, bypassing the paintings, and then going down the Long Tunnel – which still requires a token. The trap is triggered by living objects moving through the burial chamber.

The stairs wind around a central column and eventually emerge in the center of a large shadowy room. Its shape is similar to the one above, although the ceiling is only 20 feet high. In each wall is an archway leading out into a roughly hewn maze of dozens of rooms and sprawling hallways randomly connected and at different elevations. Several hundred feet below the chapel, these are clearly burial crypts – with low vaulted arches. There is an ancient mustiness to the air here, although the floors are clean.

On the walls and floors of the hallways and vaults, hundreds of plaster seals have been placed – each roughly three feet square. Some are simple and others ornate filled with symbols and epitaphs, but they are all tombstones – bearing the name and date of the occupant of the grave beyond.

Gelatinous cubes and rust monsters clean this area.

In the book the following riddle appears.

Seek the tomb of the four brothers born together,
One who runs and never wearies,
One who eats and is never full,
One who drinks and is always thirsty,
And one who sings a song that is never good.

Only one grave marker has the symbol for: Water, fire, earth, and wind.

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The tombstone reads: Here lies the Family Byborough. Gentle be the Passage Beyond.

Touching the tombstone, your vision darkens as your peripheral vision narrows to a point of light and winks out. Your mind lurches forward as if shoved from behind – swirling unable to focus, you feel a vague nausea overcoming you – sense of lonely foreboding enters your thoughts. Suddenly, you hit the ground – jarring your sense back to earth.

Encounter 4: The First Gateway: The Crypts

You are in a 20x20 foot room – a cube of solid stone. The precision of the construction here is magnificent. Behind you on the wall is the elemental symbol that you just touched on the gravestone.

You are alone.

In front of you is a white marble font, expertly carved with the silver token symbol on it. The font is filled with a clear liquid that has a strong acidic smell to it. Beyond the font, on the wall, is a 5x5-foot wide chute that leads downward at a 45 degree angle. The tunnel is carved perfectly five feet from the floor in the center of the wall.

Placing a token in the font will cause smoke to rise filling the room. Breathing the smoke will retard the Growth Spell that occurs in the Long Tunnel.

Experiments with the tunnel will show that no magic works within its confines. Items are suppressed, but not ruined. Spells are cancelled.

Jumping onto the chute, you slide quickly down the smooth chute. Your speed is ever increasing until you drop through the ceiling of a long hallway. Behind you again, is the elemental symbol from the gravetone.

Touching the symbol puts you back in the 20x20 room.

Encounter 5: The Long Tunnel

The tunnel ahead is of ancient construction – while small, it is solidly cut from stone – without the need for wooden support. The walls are covered every few feet with ancient runes (protection, anti-scrying, containment, etc.) drawn in white on the dark stone. There is an ancient scent of power here, although fresh marks along the floors and walls tell of recent passage. The long tunnel segments are remarkably flat with periodic stone stairs leading down to a new level. The tunnel is only five feet high and five feet wide – making movement cramped and slow.

NOTE: Spells and magic do not seem to work in the Long Tunnel.

The Long Tunnel extends for miles – although it is without twists or turns.

If a character did not breathe the Anti-Growth air, they will start to notice that the tunnel is growing smaller after several miles, then discomfort from their armor being too small, then others will notice their growth. Then, they are stuck until they explode and die…

About this point, they will start to encounter areas covered with blood – large stains on the floor, ceilings and walls.

Encounter 6: The Second Gateway: The Underground River

As you come down a particularly long set of stairs, you hear the sounds of running water ahead. The hallway is the same dull brown polished stone as the previous 30 miles – your estimated progress as you have been walking for about six hours.

The sounds do not appear to be getting louder as you stand and listen.

Soon, you feel the fresh smell of rushing water and feel a cool breeze on your face. The hallway breaks into a large room – still hewn of the same rock – but sixty feet across and about the same height. Across the center of the room is a curtain of water created by a large crevice in the ceiling from which thousands of gallons of water fall in a cascade. A similar crevice in the floor about 5 feet wide allows the water to fall unbroken to the inky depths below.

Glancing around, you see a stone font behind you next to the elemental symbol that is on the wall. The passage where you entered is gone. Another identical font is on the far wall – an identical symbol on it.

In the corner of the room furthest from you, a slight figure is curled up sleeping. The figure is dressed in peasant’s clothes – roughspun trousers and shirt. A long dagger lies on the ground nearby.

The figure is that of a young woman – Mary Raven. She appears to be in her early twenties with dark hair and dark eyes and olive skin.

She is from the village of Sundown – a small community just beyond the gate. They live in fear of the werewolves that prowl the valley and cannot be killed. Her father is a pig farmer. She is in love with Thomas Newton. She has heard of the legend of the Long Tunnel as a way out of the valley. When she found a token, she and Thomas decided to take their chances – although she didn’t know that she needed two. Well, Thomas exploded – sob – and she is stuck here now.

Been here two days. Surprisingly, not hungry. Will not go back – would rather die.

Wolves chased her and Thomas to the door. They might still be there.

Encounter 7: The Third Gateway: The Valley

After another six hours of walking, this time with the stairs slowly moving up in elevation, the tunnel – mercifully – ends in another elemental symbol.

Touching the symbol, you are in a 20x20 foot room – a cube of solid stone – identical to the one you entered through the Chapel of Udolf.

Behind you is a white marble font, expertly carved with the silver token symbol on it. The font is filled with a clear liquid that has a strong acidic smell to it. Beyond the font, on the wall, is a 5x5-foot wide chute that leads downward at a 45 degree angle. The tunnel is carved perfectly five feet from the floor in the center of the wall.

In front of you on the wall is the elemental symbol that you just touched on the gravestone.

You are alone.

Touching the stone takes you into a large cave.

This cavern is natural except for the cut stone doorway on the back wall – from which you entered. There, the elemental symbol has been carved on the smooth surface of a 3 foot square stone mounted about 5 feet above the ground. The cave is large – almost 100 feet in length. Faint light comes from an opening beyond. There is a smell of occupation here, smoke from fires, excrement, and a general mustiness. A number small natural passages line both side of the cavern. You can see the glow of red eyes coming from several.

Again, the party will be shaken when arriving.

Two dire wolves attack. Two more run off to the east to warn their master. Magic works! Huzzah!

Outside the cavern, there are signs that a large boulder once blocked entrance to the cave – although it looks to have been destroyed ages ago as vegetation and small trees have grown up in the rubble.

The Wolfshaunt Valley

Emerging from the long-darkness of the tunnel, the dimness of the Wolfshaunt is striking. Thick fog swirls in uncomfortable eddies about the black trees. A dense canopy of leaves extends overhead, although the sunshine that does penetrate makes it seem like twilight. The ground is soft and wet – black earth with a musty odor of mold and fungus. Vegetation is lush, although the temperature is cool.

Three paths lead through the forest here – one heading north, one further east, and a final path to the south.

To the south a terrible storm is brewing. Distant peels of thunder and vague flashes of light provide a dramatic show of nature’s force.

Hundreds of wolf prints approach the cave from the north.

FIRST = The Hermit
SOUTH = Storm Lords
NORTH = Wolf Door
EAST = Grandfather’s Castle

The Storm Lords

When the storm is first encountered, the third page of the book will illuminate. The vampires know that the Storm Lords have one of the letters needed to open the cryptex. It is the holy symbol of Ithaqua as worn by Sturm.
3

When the flash of light meets the flesh of death,
And symbols of trust decoded,
Then will the storm be calmed, the gate secured,
And another name be revealed forever.

After several miles of trekking through the dense overgrowth, you start up a slight rise. Reaching the crest, you can see before you a massive thunderstorm – blackening the entire southern sky. A wall of dark and ominous the clouds form an almost physical barrier about five miles further down the path. Lightning flashes give you a brief glimpse of what must be impossibly large beasts floating in the air – not sleek and streamlined like dragons – but more like jellyfish floating in the storm.

This is the maelstrom of the Storm Lords – actual honest-to-god humans! Their defenses are such that the lycanthropes seek easier prey in hinter regions. The Storm Lords live by a very strict code of ethics – for banishment from the fold means almost certain death.

Now, the storm is moving north towards the entrance to the Long Tunnel.

The Legend of Ithaqua

Ithaqua is a horrifying giant with a roughly human shape and glowing red eyes. He came to the Storm Lords decades ago and helped them construct a giant metallic needle which was mounted on a temple in the center of their homeland. From this temple, Ithaqua produced storms of terrible fury – fed by sucking the atmosphere of the Realm into deep space – thus creating a low pressure center that is the eye of the storm.

In exchange, he is given sacrifices of young women. He frequently attempts to reproduce with them, hoping to create offspring which can surpass his own limitations, imposed by the Elder Gods, and so help free the rest of the Great Old Ones. It is suggested that Ithaqua has the ulterior motive of desiring offspring to assuage his bitter loneliness, as he is the only one of his kind. None of his surviving offspring to date has accommodated him, all turning against him at some point. Failures are slain – and presumably eaten by his cultists.

The Storm Eaters are those who join his cult. They gain the ability to be completely unaffected by the storms. They can be discerned by their sharply-pointed teeth and affinity for cannibalism. He often uses Shantaks, a jellyfish-like "lesser race", as servitors.

Encounter 1: The Advance Guard

Marching ahead of the storm are several companies of mounted knights. They are dressed in full plate mail and ride large similarly-clad horses. There are roughly 200 knights in the force. There are no banners, heraldry, or any markings on the knights – these are experienced knights who have seen many battles. Their leader appears to be a particularly large knight who rides in front of the forces.

NOTE: This is clearly a strike force as there is no attendant train of food, tents, etc.

The knights are under the command of Edmund Blackwolf who rides at their front. He has been commanded by his lord – Master Whitlock – to take the entrance to the Long Tunnel and hold it against all who wish to pass through its gate – one way or another. Blackwolf has two tokens on a chain about his neck.

He will fight, although he retreats back into the storm if things get really bad. He knows of Sturm and the Storm Eaters and has heard rumor of the Eye of the Storm (Ithaqua) at the Needle. He knows that Sturm is at the Needle as a liaison between the factions.

He will let the party go into the storm. His command is only to take and hold the Long Tunnel – although he has no idea of the large octopus-looking things, he doesn’t think they are friendly!

Edmund’s son is Barton Blackwolf.

Encounter 2: Shantaks

The darkness of the storm is absolute punctuated by blinding flashes of white-yellow lightning - snaking tendrils that move through the sky as if seeking a new victim to strike. The rain and hail alternate between blinding and painful as the downpour intensifies. Communication and movement are almost impossible within the storm.

Floating – unhindered by their surroundings are a number of large blackish purple protean shapes – large jellyfish trailing impossibly long tendrils of crimped pink tentacles. The bodies of the beasts are some sixty feet in diameter – and the tendrils are another several hundred feet in length. With a pulse of the jellyfish head, the beast moves quickly through the air.

Careful inspection will show weapons, armor, staves, etc. floating about inside the head.

Killing a jellyfish will yield 10 useable items – randomly determined. Make it fun!

These are the “flesh of death”. These are alien creatures that devour the abilities of devoured victims. Each victim adds a new tentacle with their knowledge and power. When there are enough tentacles, the beast splits into several – which can also happen if they are done enough fire, electrical, etc. damage. Each tentacle can cast a spell or attempt to grab a victim. They cause both mental and physical paralysis before thrusting the victim into the head of the jellyfish.

They will sense new life within the storm and move quickly to absorb it. They can teleport if outflown – usually to point in front of their victim.

Encounter 3: Outside the Needle: Sturm

Through the thick canopy of the forest, a single man-made structure can be seen. Shooting high into the sky is a thin silver needle – almost four hundred feet high. At the base, the needle is only 10 feet in diameter. The needle is clearly the center of the storm as the winds swirl about cyclonically about it.

The needle is mounted in a large stone ziggurat sixty feet on a side and about the same in height. The structure is made of large 10 foot blocks of stone. A single opening can be seen on the ground-level a path leading from the ziggurat into the forest beyond. Along the path at the edge of the woods, a tent has been erected – tied securely between two large trees. About the tent, ten armored horses have been tied. A single knight is standing guard about the horses.

The entrance is closed – two large stones covering an opening into the ziggurat. A strange pattern is etched into stone.

Inside the tent, ten make-shift cots have been set up. A small mess area has been set up with a large cooking fire also providing warmth for the occupants. Four knights are sitting about a table playing cards, a pile of copper coins in the center.

Four guards are on patrol. They are led by Sir Winstill.

These are Sturm’s escort. They say that the liaison is in the temple. They do not know the puzzle lock solution to get in.

Put a positive number in each ball. Each number in the top row of balls is a single digit. Each number not in the top row is the sum of numbers in the two balls just above it. If two balls contain the same number, they are colored the same color.

Puzzle-awakening07.jpg

Encounter 4: Antechamber

The stone doors slide open to reveal a 10’x20’ room with a low ceiling. The room is made of cut stone. A stone bench is built into one wall. Two short men dressed in red cloaks stand against the other wall. They are both armed with long, wicked knives with stone handles and curved silver blades.

On the bench, an old man with white hair sits – leaning back with his eyes closed. The man is dressed in a blue cloak. Around his neck is a very large silver medallion with a lightning bolt design.

This is Sturm. He is waiting for an audience with the Ithaqua. He is actually a young man. His eyes now flash with lightning strikes of yellow. Originally, he was a young apprentice engineer named Fenneman who was struck by lightning.

He will curiously ask the party questions, but he will not help in an attack. He will explain the nature of the jellyfish and his suspicions about Ithaqua – assuming the party has some information to trade.

If asked about his medallion, he will say that it is “my symbol of trust”.

He will defer all questions about Master Whitlock – it is not proper for me to speak about my employer.

After meeting Sturm, the fourth page of the book will illuminate.
4

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Encounter 5: The Ithaqua

The interior of the temple is a single large room. The ceiling, walls and floor are dressed stone. The ceiling follows the contour of the outside temple – with the apex of the interior room roughly 30 feet high.

In the center of the room a large silver needle juts from the ceiling. While almost eight feet in diameter at the point it exits the ceiling, the needle tapers to fine point just above a table where it sits in a glass jar filled with swirling black smoke. On the table are a variety of alchemical apparatus – beakers, flasks and jars of liquids of a number of different colors.

At the front of the room, several stone benches are pushed up around a long wooden table. The table is cluttered with dishes of dried bread, wilted vegetables and dried meat. Several small plates and goblets are nearby.

At the back of the room, a large bed has a canopy drawn about it. Several forms can be seen in the bed.

Behind the alchemical table, stands a horrifying giant with a roughly human shape and glowing red eyes.

This is the Ithaqua. He speaks with a strange voice that appears to be one of thousands of vocal cords working together – giving the impression of many voices speaking together.

The only way to stop the storm is destroy the needle. The lightning bolt “W” is the symbol of trust.

The Hermit

Regardless of which path the party takes, they will encounter the Hermit.

Encounter 1: The Hermit

You see ahead a small one-room home with stone walls of ancient construction. A thatched roof and a chimney with smoke are both in good repair. The gardens around the house are thick and lush – overgrown by Reaches standards. Beyond the gardens the dark forest forms an impenetrable barrier.

Leaning against a tree near the house is an old man. His long face is most noticeable for its rummy eyes - milk-white, watering, and rimmed with red skin. Dressed in a gray cloak with a long grey beard, the man leans on a wolf-headed staff. His head is tilted as if listening for some far-away sound.

Greetings Outsiders. I am the Hermit. I have been waiting for you for many years. I have seen in my visions a time when our Valley will be opened again to the outside world. And now the Key Chapel has given up her treasure and the first handful of the Baneback pack has left for your world. The Mustering has begun. And you are the Seekers – outsiders trying to keep the Pack at bay. Your challenge is a grave one, and – I fear – you are already late.

My offer is simple. I will provide you answers to two questions. One I will answer here and now. Then, you will give me a token, and I will make my way to the underground river through the Long Tunnel. There I will wait until you come with another query and I earn another token and am free to go – unharmed and unhindered – through your world. I am an old man and I wish to live my final days in the sunshine.

Inside the house, the simple room is sumptuously wood paneled with rugs, tapestries, carved tables and chairs, crystal and silver – all lit by the warm glow of yellow fire which burn merrily in the hearth.

The Hermit has a token already – and only needs one more – his secret. His staff is called the Future. “I can touch the Future even if I can’t see the world.”

Once the Hermit has been met, the fifth page of the book will be revealed.
5
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The Village of Tween

The path through the forest begins to climb – heading into highlands directly against the Wolfshaunt Mountains. The trees here are still thick – a forest of twisted trunks and unwholesome vines trailing from the high branches.

Encounter 1: The Bats of Tween

NOTE: This will appear to be a random encounter, but it is really designed to let the villagers gain a bit of trust in the party.

Climbing along the steep path, you approach the mountain – its face dotted with myriads of small caves – some perched high in the mists that truncate the tops of the granite peaks.

What at first appears to be a cloud of black smoke, resolves itself into a gigantic swarm of birds – no bats. Each bat is the size of a small dog. They move with relative ease quickly dodging about. About half a mile out, the cloud breaks into two – with one approaching from up the path while the other circles about to cut off your escape.

The bats will create a sonic shriek which will stun any who fail a saving throw (constitution modifiers apply). The bats will swarm the party attempting to cover every inch with small biting fangs.

Running down the hill towards you are twelve young men – all dressed in dark green hunter’s cloaks and leather armor – each carrying a composite long bow. Behind them, a middle aged man – also dressed in green – follows. He is carrying a staff.

Nearing the party, they shoot strangely-tipped arrows into the air. These cause a loud shrieking – which also requires a save. However, the effect is that the bats will follow the sound – even leaving the party.

The man will use the staff to cause sonic booms which cause the bats to drop – stunned. The man is Liam Swarmslayer. He wears a necklace with two silver tokens on it. “We saw the bats. Hurry, to the safety of our village.”

Encounter 2: The Village

The creek running from the mountains splits at a large outcropping of rock which forms a mostly-vertical spire of stone about 100 feet high. Running parallel to each other for several hundred yards, the two forks of the creek join back together again. The water is swift and deep – cutting a difficult path to ford its current.

On the island created by the two forks of a river lies a small village. The tops of its roofs can be seen just over a high stone wall that has been built at the water’s edge. At the far end of the island, the spire rises above the village. A stone watchtower has been erected – steep stone steps carved into the stone to provide access from below. Beyond the village, the sheer stone walls of the Wolfshaunt rises into the mist – creating the illusion of a solid barrier of granite.

Liam tells the party:

  1. The village has been here for centuries.
  2. We are the werewolf hunters. LIE: They are actually werewolves. The wolves in the area are just wolves.
  3. We live peacefully with the other villages of the area – Sundown and Bingham Falls being the closest. They provide us with food, cloth and weapons. We provide them with protection.
  4. If fact, our hunters have just captured a werewolf which we are going to burn tonight. It doesn’t kill them – nothing will – but it does take them a full cycle of the moon to reappear. TRUE: Burning takes a month to come back. LIE: The werewolf is one of their own – sacrificed to gain a silver token!
  5. They control the bats – which are their hunting eyes and ears, btw. They will summon them back if the party attacks.

He will NOT tell the party:

  1. They keep the villagers they capture behind the Wolf Door complex.

Encounter 3: The Spire

The stone steps end in a large stone platform. From the top of the spire, there is a good view of the village and the river below. The path snakes south from the village and is quickly lost in the trees.

Besides a number of hidden blinds for archers, the most notable feature is a long wooden bridge that hangs down on the creek/cliff side of the spire. Two winches can be used to “raise the drawbridge”. On the far side of creek, a ledge on the stone leads into a large natural cave entrance leading back into the cliff. A fire can be seen burning in the cave.

Encounter 4: The Human Holding Pen

This party will be told that the bridge leads over to villagers who have been bitten and are therefore in quarantine from spreading lycanthropy to the others. LIE: These are ordinary villagers (i.e., food).

Huddled around the fire in the cave are six villagers – three men, two boys and a young woman. They are dressed in tattered clothes and are scraped and bruised. They hunch over the embers for warmth – with the stoic resolve of people who have lost all hope for life. Beds of tattered wool cloth are piled about. A single set of stairs leads up from the back of the cave.

If the party lets on that they are going across the bridge, the wolves will have the bats come and kill all the villagers.

Otherwise, it might be possible to sneak in undetected (not using the bridge, of course).

These are villagers from Sundown. They will claim:

  1. We have been taken by the werewolves of Tween.
  2. We just want to go home.
  3. The werewolves eat several villagers each week.
  4. There is a strange door at the back of the cave.

Encounter 5: The Wolf Door

A steep set of stairs carved into the rock leads to the Wolf Door.

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An ancient door - circular stone covered with lichen - blocks the passageway into the cliff. Across the front of the door, a wooden sign with a red wolf symbol has been wedged into the stonework - an ominous warning of what lies beyond. The path leading to the door shows that it has not been used in centuries. The musty odor of death hangs heavy here. On the door, you see a number of hexagonal shapes have been carved. A verse on the lintel is written in a Second Age dialect of Common.

My power holds while my secrets stay.
A single path through the hexes lay.
Statements true: divine the math,
Trace your finger to find the path.

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Find a path that passes through each hexagon exactly once, and traces out a true equation. The usual order of operations is used: multiplication and division before addition and subtraction.

This room appears to be carved from solid stone. The floor is smooth, and the ceiling is 20 feet high. The room is roughly hexagonal with six large open chambers around the perimeter. The stone walls have been dressed smooth and covered in plaster. There is an aura of peace and tranquility here.

In the room are: a chair with a wolf’s paw pattern. A small chest with a dagger (glows when vampires are near – multiple gems more glowing, more powerful?), a horn, and 2 silver tokens.
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When the light of truth comes to canine lies,
And the wolf’s path door is opened,
The horn will sound, the beasts come,
And the pack be lost forever.

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Blowing the horn will cause the werewolves to come involuntarily. Now, they will fight, but they will not flee. This should allow the party to trap them and let the “real” villagers go.

Grandfather’s Castle

The eastern path descends slowly into the central valley of the Wolfshaunt. The trees are black and twisted, lichen-covered and choked with vines. The trail is wide but overgrown – suggesting a decline in the use of the road over the years. While the sounds of wildlife can be heard, the overall forest is very quiet – punctuated by periodic sounds of deadly movement.

After a few miles, the decline becomes steeper – overgrown switchbacks leading into a sizeable canyon. At first, you spot a few mounds of earth – burial mounds in the forest? As you descend further, the mounds become more frequent – hundreds or perhaps thousands lining the path.

Suddenly, the path levels out and you get a glimpse of an ancient castle hidden in the trees. It is mostly in ruins – partial towers and crumbling walls. A large hall in the center is mostly intact – although it is partially buried in the rubble. Several towers on either side are mostly collapsed. The entire complex is overrun with a dark greenish-black plant, which covers the area in vines. This is remarkable only because of the bright red flowers which are blooming here – one of the only signs of color in an otherwise monochrome landscape.

The graves are actually graves – sometimes with one or more bodies buried. Clearly some are entire families.

This is the castle of Grandfather Josiah. He is one of the Council of Five. He has formed an uneasy alliance with Lycurgus, leader of the Baneback. After failing to open the cyptex, he created the Book of Secrets and the taunt of King Ernie in order to get them to do the deed for him.

He gave Lycurgus a substantial part of his cache of tokens in order to free the first of the pack. In exchange, they will help each other when the gate is opened. Lycurgus is also to keep the party moving on the plan by intercepting them if they stray too far afield.

Lycurgus rules Liam’s pack in the village of Tween – but generally considers them lower in the pack order. It is doubtful that Liam will mention Lycurgus unless he is completely threatened.

Encounter 1: The Great Hall - Loomis

Although it is mostly buried in rubble, the main doors to the Great Hall have been cleared. A warm inviting yellow light can be seen coming from beneath the doors. Tendrils of smoke come from the fireplace at the far end of the hall – and even the scent of roasting meat can be detected on the cool air.

Inside is Loomis – the crazy alchemist from the Cult of the Shattered Moon. He has been here several months – now fully in the service of Grandfather Josiah. He has given Josiah the cyptex – which nobody here can open – because of the curse (which has been modified for the Book of Secrets).

Right now, he is painting a series of works which he will take back to the Reaches – where he has been promised a position as the Minister of Culture for Grandfather Josiah.

Inside the Great Hall, the opulence of times past is still evident – sumptuous woods panel the walls, tapestries, carved tables and chairs – lit by a fire at the far end of the room. Beside the fires is a middle aged man of average size and looks. He has dark hair and nervous darting eyes. Arrayed on the table beside him are pots of paint, thinner, and various unguents of an artist. A large brush in hand, the man is oblivious to your entry. He is working on a dark background for a painting of a striking man with silver grey hair, chiseled features and straight white teeth. The man in the painting is dressed in ancient garb.

Loomis is a babbling idiot. He will confess to trapping Udolf and coming to the Grandfather. He knows nothing of the Book of Secrets. In his mind, Grandfather Josiah is about to figure out the last of the puzzles to destroy the cryptex and its magic before it can be opened and the spell within used to bind the valley for another 1000 years.

Loomis has written the poem on the bottom of the painting. “Oh, the Master is pure at heart.”

He can even be “tricked” into telling the party that the Grandfather in the tunnels behind the fire in the fireplace - because of the hell hounds that will turn the party to ash if they are not welcome. When Loomis is encountered, the seventh page of the book will illuminate.
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Only a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers by night,
can open the cyptex of the Wolfshaunt Realm and seal the monsters tight.

Encounter 2: The Fireplace

Stepping into the fireplace, a narrow gap in the stone leads to a steel rung ladder just behind the blazing logs. The entirety of the stone is blackened here. The air is hot and smoky.

The ladder extends about 20 feet down ending in a small circular room. The floor here is covered in a thick layer of ash. Two hell hounds are sleeping against one wall – they look up as you come down the stairs.

A set of very narrow stone stairs leads down into the earth from the wall opposite the hellhounds.

If Loomis hears the party pass by unhindered, he will clap his hands together and exclaim that the master must really want to see them.

After a couple dozen steps, the stairs turn into long sloping ramp moving directly away from the Great Hall and down deeper into the earth. After awhile, the stone ceiling gives way to an earthen one. Tree roots push through the ceiling here and there – although the entire passageway seems safe enough.

After travelling several thousand feet, the hallway opens into a very large room beyond. From the hallway, you can hear the sounds of loud hammering. The echoes tell you that the cavern beyond is massive.

A tiny set of airholes in the floor of the fireplace lead down to Grandfather Josiah’s coffin.

Encounter 3: The Cryptex

The echoes of the hammering are deafening in this large natural cavern. The ceiling is quickly lost to sight and the walls are vaguely rounded – making the entire area appear like a giant bubble. The floor is earthen here, as are the walls and ceiling. Large tree roots and vines hang ominously from the ceiling and make the floor uneven and dangerous.

In the center of the cavern, several hundred feet away, a large 50’ circular stone pipe raises almost ten feet from the tangle of roots. Like the rest of the room, the stone pipe is covered in roots.

Upon closer inspection, the top of the pipe is hollow, leading down into a room 60’ below. A pile of discarded roots show that the top has been cleared recently. The sound is coming from within the pipe.

Looking over the edge, you see that a most unusual site – a mountain giant – about 40’ tall stands in the room. He is pounding his fists and stomping a small red and gold cylinder.

Around the edges of the 50’ room are three glass “windows” (like a department store display windows). The first – massive in size – is open. The second is very large in size. Behind it sits a massive maul – about three times the size of a dwarf. It glows brightly and radiates a strong aura of magic. The third – small by comparison – holds an open chest on a small table filled with silver cross tokens – several hundred at least.

Near the giant a dark-haired man is writing in a book – furiously scratching out his work and studying a small, white rectangular panel next to the second window. A similar panel next to the large, open window is dark. The panel next to the smallest window is white.

The dark-haired man is Father Joseph – son of the Grandfather. He has been sent here to be sacrificed in order for the “cryptex” to be found. The cave troll was brought in recently along with the other “props” to make the story sound realistic. He has been told to fight to the death for the cryptex. The troll has been promised the maul when the glass is opened.

Father Joseph looks strikingly like Grandfather – as they are actually father and son (in addition to being of the same bloodline).

If threatened, he will call his children (the undead) which will start clawing their way into the earthen parts of the room – quickly filling it with nasties.

The maul panel

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The token panel

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When the cryptex is taken the eighth and final page fills up.
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Encounter 4: The Coffin of Josiah

Behind the sleeping hell hounds, a carefully hidden door reveals a narrow passageway leading down below the Great Hall. It is paneled in rich oak and the floor is covered with an exquisite Second Age carpet trimmed in gold and red. Hanging from the walls are portraits of ancestors – many so dark from age that the figures are merely specters looking out from the canvas.

The hallway ends in a room – likewise appointed. Gold candelabra, a large oak table with two carved lion’s foot chairs, and overstuff leather chairs are here – along with a traditional curtained bed. Books and papers are scattered about – mostly old histories and handwritten notes. In one corner, an ornate coffin leans up against the wall. It is mahogany and gold. The coffin is closed.

This is a lair of Grandfather Josiah. Samples of his spidery old handwriting can be found throughout.

He will use the airholes in the ceiling to escape to the Great Hall fireplace, if needed.

He will do anything to get the party to open up the cryptex.

He is generally aware of everything that goes on in his domain, and he will intercede as needed to get his way.

Epilog: Opening the Cryptex

Thank you for releasing the Wolfshaunt!

Far away, in the Eastern Reaches, a farmer looks up from his barley field – his attention drawn suddenly to the east. Over the Wolfshaunt Mountains, dark and ominous clouds now crown what moments ago - at least in Tom Bailey’s mind – were snow-capped peaks of a fair October day. Shaking his head, Tom goes back to work with his horse and plow. Again, his attention is drawn east. Could it be the howling of wolves? During the day? Surely his mind was playing tricks on him. Wolves hunting during the day – outrageous!

He never saw what came up behind him.