Awakening of the Wolfshaunt
|Status||Explored March 903 TA|
|Campaign||The Wolfshaunt Campaign|
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
If pressed for additional news, Cogwizzle will tell the story of how the oculus was discovered.
Halloword is possessed by a demon – charged with keeping the gnomes from discovering the location of the oculus. Oops.
Encounter 2: The Spider
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
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.
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.”
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
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.
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
These are the warrior spiders. Their venom is causes…
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.
Encounter 7: The Shaft
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
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.
Encounter 9: The Control Room
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
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
Returning to the castle...
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Encounter 3: Master Librarian Crowquill
I’m afraid the situation has gotten worse since we sent Minella out.
- The Lower Vaults have been overrun by a man calling himself the Nephew. He says he knows you and demands an audience.
- 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
Encounter 4: The Library of Matter
The seal was broken by No Cha. The footprints are from the Creator.
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
Fill in each matrix below with distinct positive integers so that each row has the same sum and each column has the same product.
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
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.
A C D E F K N T
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
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.
The party may recognize him as No Cha.
The Awakening of the Wolfshaunt
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:
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
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
Encounter 1: Tooth
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.
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).
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:
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 paintings, if examined very closely, are only a few months old and extremely life-like.
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.
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.
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
Gelatinous cubes and rust monsters clean this area.
In the book the following riddle appears.
Only one grave marker has the symbol for: Water, fire, earth, and wind.
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
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.
Touching the symbol puts you back in the 20x20 room.
Encounter 5: The Long Tunnel
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
The sounds do not appear to be getting louder as you stand and listen.
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
Touching the stone takes you into a large cave.
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
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.
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
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
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
The entrance is closed – two large stones covering an opening into the ziggurat. A strange pattern is etched into stone.
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.
Encounter 4: Antechamber
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.
Encounter 5: The Ithaqua
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.
Regardless of which path the party takes, they will encounter the Hermit.
Encounter 1: The Hermit
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.”
The Village of Tween
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.
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.
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
Liam tells the party:
- The village has been here for centuries.
- We are the werewolf hunters. LIE: They are actually werewolves. The wolves in the area are just wolves.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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:
- They keep the villagers they capture behind the Wolf Door complex.
Encounter 3: The Spire
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).
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:
- We have been taken by the werewolves of Tween.
- We just want to go home.
- The werewolves eat several villagers each week.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Encounter 2: The Fireplace
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.
A tiny set of airholes in the floor of the fireplace lead down to Grandfather Josiah’s coffin.
Encounter 3: The Cryptex
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.
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
The token panel
When the cryptex is taken the eighth and final page fills up.
Encounter 4: The Coffin of Josiah
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