The Haunting of Ravens Hollow

Written by Gillymaya

CW: This adventure touches on themes of blood, gore, violence, demonic sacrifice and fanatical cults, which some individuals may find upsetting or inappropriate.   Please always consult your players prior to the commencement of an adventure to determine their personal boundaries and triggers.
 
 

Introduction

 
The Haunting of Ravens Hollow is a Dungeons and Dragons 5e compatible, one-shot adventure designed for a group of three to five, 3rd-5th Level characters, though the adventure can be adapted to suit the needs of the party.
 

  The adventure begins in the small town of Springbrook in Eastern Elvara.
  The year is 1321 A.E — 10 years before the Vanguard Revolution. Springbrook at this time was an independent and autonomous jurisdiction, led by an elected Mayor and small council.   Over the last several weeks several citizens have gone missing from the town, the latest of these being Rodrik, the son of Mayor Belamir himself.   Rumours of strange noises, violent thugs and shape-shifting creatures are circulating, reiterated up by anyone journeying into the town from the east of the Elvara Forest.   The party must venture forth toward Ravens Hollow (marked red on the map), an old run down ‘cabin’ to the East of Springbrook town. Some townsfolk claim the Hollow is haunted, others claim a demon resides there! Unbeknownst to the adventures, the Hollow is actually home to Carmen, a powerful Sorceror and worshipper of the Demon Lord Zenykul. She lives underneath the old cabin with her three sons, Dayne, Dub and Dorian performing live sacrifices for their demon ‘gods’ and conducting nefarious experiments.   The adventurers will be paid a handsome sum for the safe return of any citizens to Springbrook, and for any information they may have about the strange goings on in the forest.  
 
Astaeria 1325 A.E
Astaeria Pre-Vanguard Revolution
 
Being a Dungeon Master can be stressful, with that in mind I have tried to make this adventure as user friendly as possible. Rollable dice commands and tables can be found in the relevant places for ease, and extra information such as stat sheets and item blocks can be found in collapsable containers such as this one
:)
  You can find all original maps used in this adventure here and are editable if you wish to alter them for your needs or add filters.

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Springbrook Town


 
The adventure begins in Springbrook Town.
 
 
Springbrook 1321 A.E

  Springbrook is situated 30 miles due east from the City of Revaelor.   Following the well-trodden track from Littleton On-The-Moor, which runs alongside the banks of the river Derwynn for approximately 16 miles, eventually you will come to a small stone bridge next to a water mill.   To the west, vast orchards stretch as far as the eye can see with a large homestead, imaginatively named ‘Orchard Manor’, visible at the top of a small hill to the north-west.  
One of the first things you will notice is the town’s large and imposing clock tower, sitting proudly at the forefront of Market Square as the largest free standing clock tower in all of Astaeria. Next to the tower, traders and market stall owners are attempting to sell a variety of wares, including fine cheeses, wines, and hides for Callenta, to weary passers-by.   The smell of sizzling Moorpig and sweet Embarri spices linger in the leaf kissed air. Rows of shops, rustic houses and huts branch out to the North-East and the South-East. Adjacent to the square: the White Boar Inn offers friendly restbite from a hard days travel or work...
 
  The adventurers are in Springbrook for one reason or another- please see suggestions below (or invent your own reason):   Caravan
The Adventurers are arriving in Springbrook as part of a trade caravan from the small halfling town of Littleton On-The-Moor. The Goodacres, who own The Cloak and Tater Inn, have employed the party to escort a trading caravan full of ale and wine to the White Boar Inn in Springbrook. They will be paid 10 gold pieces each, once the drop off is made.
Tavern
 

 

In traditional DnD fashion, you may wish to start the adventure in a tavern. There was only one tavern in Springbrook in 1321 AE, the White Boar Inn. A cosy inn, run by the Galder Family. The Inn has changed little over the years, as such an article concerning the tavern in the modern day can be found here   The adventures can ask the barmaid (a local half-elven commoner by the name of Kaela) for details concerning rumours they may have overheard, or if asked about appropriate work within the town, she may point them in the direction of the council house in search of the Mayor Belamir who is said to be seeking brave souls, with exceptional fighting skills, for help with a delicate task.  
The White Boar.jpg
Residents
Oneshot Notice Board.jpg

 
 
The Adventurers are long-term residents of the town. They live and work here either in the Orchards, as Town Guards or as Farmhands at Old Spring Farm. They are aware the Mayor needs help, either by word of mouth or the town notice board.   There are two notices of note on the Town Notice board next to the Clock Tower; one from Mayor Belamir and and one from Edith Dane (wife of a missing hunter) to pique the interest of the party.  
 
Whatever their reason for being there, however, the party is alerted to rumours of strange goings on in the forest.   A successful DC 10 Investigation Check will reveal a rumour concerning the unusual goings on in the east forest. Choose or roll on the table below for an appropriate rumour, or invent your own.
 
 

Tea with the Mayor

 
  The party arrives at the council house, which overlooks the River Derwynn.   The two town guards, who stand tall either side of a large, polished oak door at the forefront of a large stone building, let the adventurers pass once determining the party’s intentions. One of the guards, named Olric, will show the adventures to the Mayor’s office in a ‘matter of fact’ kind of way.  
The Mayor’s office is sizeable, to say the least. Two emerald cushioned benches sit adjacent to the large oak door with an engraved silver door knob. A humongous Razorback fur rug cushions the floor beneath your feet, a welcome relief for your tired soles. A large, framed portrait of a man, surrounded by what appears to be his family, hangs behind a dark wooden desk scattered with parchments, quills and ink wells.   At this desk sits the man from the portrait - Mayor Belamir, an aging man with grey hair and laughter lines stemming from friendly eyes. He looks up as you enter the room and smiles an officious smile. “Apologies for the mess, I have been attending to some rather urgent matters this morning. How can I be of assistance for you fine looking folks?”
  The Mayor offers the adventurers a pot of honey and ginger tea, and a seat on the cushioned benches.   During the conversation, the Mayor reveals that after persuasion from his son Rodrik, he sent a group of 5 guardsmen, including Rodrik himself, to investigate the disappearances surrounding Ravens Hollow 4 weeks ago. They have yet to return and the Mayor grows more worried with each passing hour, terrified that the party has been subjected to some magically unleashed horror or unknown creature. He is looking for a band of skilled mercenaries to lead a search party for his son, but so far there have been no suitable volunteers.   The Mayor will pay the adventurers 200gp to investigate the situation and an additional 50 gp for each missing person returned to the town.   To aid them, the Mayor will provide a roughly drawn map of the area to help them find their way to the Hollow, and will also give the adventurers one Liquid Courage Potion
Liquid Courage Potion.PNG
each.
 

Mayor Belamir


Mayor Randal Belamir of Springbook

If the adventurers are residents in the town a successful DC 12 History Check will enable them to recall that Rodrik, the Mayors Son has the reputation for being a bit of a half-wit though very capable with a bow.   A DC 15 History Check allows the player to recall some facts about the infamous ‘Ravens Hollow’. Stories of hauntings are centuries old and it is difficult to know whether any of those stories have any merit, or were merely invented by parents wishing to keep their children away from the Hollow, once believed to be the of home Alexander Goldthistle.   Goldthistle fled from the Town of Springbrook 250 years ago after being accused of several murders, and was also suspected of dabbling with the occult in service of the Demon Lords. As no one likes to venture near the place, if people are going missing then you fear it is not an accident.
 
 

The Journey to Ravens Hollow


  If the adventurers wish to prepare for their journey, now is their chance. There is a smithy in town, run by a grumpy dwarf by the name of Ugran, if they seek weapons or armour, or there are multiple stalls at the market selling other goods such as food, herbal remedies and and useful items they may require.   With the Mayor’s crudely drawn map, the adventurers can make it through the forest to within half a mile of Ravens Hollow fairly easily.   Halfway through the journey the adventurers enter a small clearing in the forest which is lined with Fuddle-Moss. If the adventurers step on it, they must make a DC 12 constitution saving throw or roll on the table below. Any adventurer with poison resistence may have advantage on the saving throw.  
  NB: Anyone who is affected is free to make a DC 10 constitution saving throw after 10 minutes. Any fumbles result in 1d6 points of damage each.  

 
"Up ahead of you, the lush canopy of emerald green leaves thins a little as you make your way down the beaten track towards the infamous Ravens Hollow.   Dense undergrowth interrupts your path with tangles of vines, brambles and rotting foliage. You stumble upon a small clearing, the floor a padded carpet of small, orange and green leaves.   There is a tranquility which seems to permeate your very bones."
A DC 10 Perception check will reveal something feels off about the area, there is a faint orange hue in the air that is just about noticeable to the naked eye.
  A DC 10 Nature/Survival check will identify the plant as Fuddle-Moss and the individual knows that if disturbed the plant will probably cause strange behaviour or unconsciousness. ~
  1 < point of healing magic will return the individual to their normal state
  Once the party makes it through the clearing, they are free to continue through the forest to the next encounter, with no further incidents.  

Forest Encounter


  Following their encounter with the fuddle-moss, it’s time for the party to encounter the first and youngest of Carmen’s son’s - Dub, and his little army of Sluagh. Sluagh are believed to be dead sinners, who come back from the Ebonveil to serve the demon lords as malicious spirits, often choosing to inhabit flocks of birds. They use the creatures’ minds and bodies for their own ends (or indeed their master’s ends).   The adventurers approach from the west of the map below. At this point a DC 12 Perception check will cause the individual to notice that there are scores of ravens nestled in the trees (I would suggest 5 individual swarms but you can choose more or less depending on the size of your party). The ravens are making no noise but watching the adventurers intently with their bright red beady eyes.   Anyone with a +2 nature skill or higher will notice that this is unusual behaviour for ravens as they do not tend to form social groups. Should the Sluagh make a move towards the party, they move in a noticeably strange way, almost like smoke floating on the breeze.   As soon as they notice the adventurers looking back at them, the Sluagh

Swarm of Sluagh

Tiny undead, chaotic evil
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 24 7d8-7
Speed 10ft Fly: 50ft

STR

8 -1

DEX

14 +2

CON

8 -1

INT

12 +1

WIS

13 +1

CHA

4 -3

Saving Throws Perception d20+5
Senses Passive perception 15
Languages Abyssal, Common
Challenge 1 (200xp)
Slaugh.jpg


Devoted servant of Zenykul. Sluagh are spirits of the dead, which often choose to possess the bodies of birds. Having turned their backs on the Eternal Mother during life, they are doomed to search the darkness for pure souls to take in service to the Demon Lord Zenykul. They are immune to being charmed or frightened.   Screech. The Sluagh let out a bloodcurdling shriek which can be heard for a distance of 300 ft. Any creature within range must succeed on a DC 13 constitution saving throw, or become frightened for 1 minute.   Swarm. In their Raven form: The Sluagh can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a small bird. The swarm can't regain Hit Points or gain Temporary Hit Points.


Actions

Multiattack. The Slaugh makes two attacks, one with its beak and one with its talons.   Peck. Melee Weapon Attack: d20+1 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit. 3 1d6-1 piercing damage   Talons. Melee Weapon Attack: d20+1 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit. 3 2d6-1 slashing damage



move to attack and it is time to roll initiative. 1d20+2  
Dub and Sluagh.jpg
 
The fight continues until at least half the Sluagh are dead.   Having been alerted by the Sluagh’s deafening screeches, Dub

Dub

Medium humanoid (human), lawful evil
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 28 7d8
Speed 30ft

STR

11 +0

DEX

12 +1

CON

10 +0

INT

11 +0

WIS

13 +1

CHA

14 +2

Skills Deception 1d20+4 , Persuasion 1d20+4 , Religion 1d20+2
Senses Immune to magical darkness, passive perception 11
Languages Common, abyssal
Challenge 1 (200xp)


Devoted servant of Zenykul. Dub has sworn servitude to the Demon Lord Zenykul. He has advantage against being charmed or frightened.   Prince of Darkness. Once per day Dub can channel the power of the Demon Lords to cast the 'Darkness' spell.   Darkness
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V M (Bat fur and a drop of pitch or piece of coal)
Duration: Up to 10 minutes
Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
  Magical darkness spreads from a point you choose within range to fill a 15-foot-radius sphere for the duration. The darkness spreads around corners. A creature with darkvision can’t see through this darkness, and nonmagical light can’t illuminate it. If the point you choose is on an object you are holding or one that isn’t being worn or carried, the darkness emanates from the object and moves with it. Completely covering the source of the darkness with an opaque object, such as a bowl or a helm, blocks the darkness. If any of this spell’s area overlaps with an area of light created by a spell of 2nd level or lower, the spell that created the light is dispelled. (Basic Rules, pg. 230)


Actions

Multiattack. Dub can make two attacks, one with his shortsword and one with his dagger   Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: d20+4 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit. 3 ( 1d6+1 ) piercing damage   Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: d20+4 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit. 3 ( 1d4+1 ) slashing damage



emerges from amongst the trees on the eastern side of the map.   He calls a halt to the fighting and any remaining Slaugh immediately stop and obey his commands.   Dub urges the adventurers to aid him, for his mother is ‘sick’ and in need of a new ‘soul essence’ to grant her the power she needs to stay alive. He explains the birds are a protection measure to stop intruders from finding his home and claims the birds are not Sluagh but ‘Enchanted Ravens’.   A DC 15 religion/arcana check will reveal that ‘soul essence’ is a term worshippers of the Demon Lords use for the power absorbed during blood rituals, and that the birds have all the hallmarks of Sluagh creatures.   If the adventurers fail this check and believe Dub’s story, he may offer them refreshment at his home, which is ‘little over half a mile away’ (Ravens Hollow).

Dub

 
Dub (Carmen’s youngest son)

  He pretends to know nothing of any disappearances, but offers to aid the adventurers by leading them to Ravens Hollow. He will make an attempt to grapple one of the adventurers once he has back up.   Should the adventures choose to continue the fight, simply add Dub into the turn order 1d20+1 .   Once dub has fallen, the remaining Sluagh flee using their flight ability and the adventurers are free to continue their journey. Loot
Dub has on his person; x2 lengths of quality rope (5gp), a serviceable shortsword (worth 25gp) and a silvered dagger embossed with a Dragon skull on it’s ornate hilt, (worth 50gp).   A DC10 Investigation check will reveal that he also has a key in the interior pocket of his coat. A DC15 Investigation/Medicine Check will reveal this key is made from human bone.
 

Ravens Hollow Exterior


 
The trees thin and become sparser, to reveal the inky waters of a small lake - the one highlighted on the map Mayor Belamir handed to you. Opposite the lake a decrepit shack, a notable blot on the landscape, lays crumbling in a state of disrepair at the bottom of a steep bank. A strange darkness descends around you like a shroud, and your ears pop under the strain of a new atmospheric pressure. You have arrived at Ravens Hollow
 
Ravens Hollow Exterior.jpg
  The adventurers approach the hollow from the west side of the map (area 1), guarding the entrance (area 2) are two Cultist Thugs

Cultist Thug

Medium humanoid (human), any evil
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 32 5d8+10
Speed 30ft

STR

15 +2

DEX

11 +0

CON

11 +0

INT

8 -1

WIS

8 -1

CHA

10 +0

Skills Intimidation +2, Deception +2, Religion +2 d20+2
Senses Passive Perception 10
Languages Common
Challenge 1/2 (100 xp)


Pack Tactics. The Cultist Thug has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the thug's allies is within 5 ft. of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.   Dark Devotion. The as a cultist, the Thug has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.


Actions

Multiattack. The thug makes two melee attacks.   Mace. Melee Weapon Attack: 20+4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d6+2 bludgeoning damage.   Heavy Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: 20+2 to hit, reach 100/400 ft., one target. Hit: 1d10 piercing damage.



  The thugs are suspicious and will seek to determine the adventurers' purpose at the hollow, a DC 20 Deception Check will allow the adventurers to bluff their way inside without any bloodshed.   If a fight ensues, two more thugs will emerge from the Hollow's interior when one of the Thugs guarding the door falls. (Depending on the size of your party, you may wish to have more thugs appear throughout the fight).   A DC 12 perception check will allow the adventurers to hear chanting and wailing from within, and a DC 10 investigation or survival check will alert the adventurers to a trail of blood leading into the hollow.   Once the party has put paid to the thugs, they may enter the hollow. The thick stone door which the Thugs were guarding is unlocked but heavy. It will require a DC 15 strength check to push it open.  

Entering the Hollow

 
In the room immediately behind the door, another Cultist Thug

Cultist Thug

Medium humanoid (human), any evil
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 32 5d8+10
Speed 30ft

STR

15 +2

DEX

11 +0

CON

11 +0

INT

8 -1

WIS

8 -1

CHA

10 +0

Skills Intimidation +2, Deception +2, Religion +2 d20+2
Senses Passive Perception 10
Languages Common
Challenge 1/2 (100 xp)


Pack Tactics. The Cultist Thug has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the thug's allies is within 5 ft. of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.   Dark Devotion. The as a cultist, the Thug has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.


Actions

Multiattack. The thug makes two melee attacks.   Mace. Melee Weapon Attack: 20+4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d6+2 bludgeoning damage.   Heavy Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: 20+2 to hit, reach 100/400 ft., one target. Hit: 1d10 piercing damage.



guards the room. A quick search inside will find a collection plate with 25gp in loose coin, and a collection of small precious gems inside (bloodstones, black sapphire and moonstone) worth around 100gp.   With an investigation check of 15 or higher, an adventurer may find a sealed letter
Carmens Letter.PNG
underneath some rolls of parchment on the desk. This letter is addressed to the Priests of Baelor. A DC 10 religion/history check will allow the adventurer to recall that Baelor is the one eyed, demon cyclops of the underworld, believed to be the father of Zenykul and ruler of the realm of demons known as The Ebonveil.   However, they will never have heard of the Priests of Baelor, (though their purpose is apparent from the organisation’s name) nor know who C.G. (Carmen) is at this stage.   The adventurers are free to continue through the wooden door, following the trail of blood.   Once in the main interior section of the hollow, the chanting and wailing (emanating from Area 3) becomes almost deafening.
Ravens Hollow Exterior Guide.PNG

 
Feel free to add a bonus encounter to area 5, should the adventurers choose to explore that way. I would recommend any undead creature, such as a Zombie, Wight or Spectre (a previous victim of the Cult’s sacrificial practices)

 

Inside the Hollow


 
Inside at Area 3, a ceremony of sorts seems to be taking place. There are a eight Cultists seated before the altar. If you wish some of the cultists may be people the party recognise, some of who have gone ‘missing’ from Springbrook (if of course the adventures origin supports this).   Standing behind the altar, Carmen’s Second Son, Dayne, dressed in robes of black and scarlet, prepares to sacrifice a Aryn (a human male LG Guard) who is bound to the altar itself and struggling against his bonds.  
Dayne: “I offer this sacrifice in the name of the Master of Chaos, the bringer of shadow and slayer of guardians. In the hope that he may shroud us with his darkness and ignite power within the veins of his loyal followers.”
  If Dayne notices the adventurers, he will ask them if they are new members of the ‘Cult of Zenykul’ here to witness the new moon sacrifice. Once he has deemed them to be outsiders, he will order his Cultists

Cultist

Medium humanoid, any evil
Armor Class 11
Hit Points 9 2d8
Speed 30ft

STR

11 +0

DEX

12 +1

CON

10 +0

INT

10 +0

WIS

11 +0

CHA

10 +0

Skills Deception +2, Religion +2 d20+2
Senses Passive Perception 10
Languages Common, Abyssal
Challenge 1/8


Dark Devotion. The cultist has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.


Actions

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: d20+3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d6+1 slashing damage.



to seize the intruders as they will be in ‘need more souls if they are to execute the plans of the Master of Chaos.’   I have suggested eight cultists, though again depending on the size of the party you may wish to adapt the fight accordingly.   Once the party has defeated half the cultists, the remaining cultists will attempt to flee through the front door. It is up to the party whether or not they wish to pursue.   Once his cultists have fled, Dayne

Dayne

Medium humanoid (human), lawful evil
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 33 6d8+6
Speed 30ft

STR

11 +0

DEX

14 +2

CON

12 +1

INT

10 +0

WIS

13 +1

CHA

14 +2

Skills Deception d20+4 Persuasion d20+4 Religion d20+2
Senses Passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Abyssal
Challenge 2 (450 xp)

Spellcasting. Dayne is a 4th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11, d20+3 to hit with spell attacks)   Proficiency Bonus +2   Cantrips (At will) light, sacred flame, thaumaturgy   1st level (4 slots): command, inflict wounds, shield of faith   2nd level (3 slots): hold person, spiritual weapon


Dark Devotion. Dayne is committed to the service of Zenykul and has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.


Actions

Multiattack. Dayne makes two melee attacks.   Ceremonial Dagger.MeleeWeapon Attack: 1d20+4 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one creature. Hit: 4 1d4+2 piercing damage.



will join the fight.   Once defeated, the adventurers are free to examine the room.   Aryn. The party are free to untie Aryn. He is clearly traumatised, exhausted and injured, but thanks the party profusely for saving him.   If questioned, he reveals that he was part of the Guard Patrol sent to investigate the disappearances of several townspeople. The patrol was ambushed in the woods approaching the hollow, and he was knocked out in the process. He has been held prisoner ever since with another of the patrol guards, Oskar. That was until today when he was blindfolded and tied down to the altar.   He does not know what became of the other three guardsmen, including Rodrik, but he fears the worst. He can’t tell much about the layout of the place, but he can tell you that during his time here he was definitely held underground and tortured by the Priest (Dayne) in several demonic rituals. Should the party choose to recruit him, he will fight as a Guard with AC 10 due to his lack of armour.
.  

Dayne


Dayne (Carmen’s Middle Child) and Priest of the Cult of Zenykul

Arynn.jpeg


Aryn (Springbrook Guard)


  Loot
Dayne’s ceremonial dagger is worth around 50 gp, the hilt is like that of Dub’s, embossed with a dragon skull. He also wears a silver pendant, again in the shape of a Dragon's Skull and decorated with rubies.   A DC 14 Religion/History check will allow the adventurer to recall that according to legend, the Demon Lord of Chaos - Zenykul rides a skeletal dragon. Thus the pendant may not be worth much due to its association with the occult, but melted down and repurposed it could be worth 30 gp.   A DC 10 Investigation Check reveals several small valuable items amongst the dead cultists: a couple of gold nexus bands (wedding rings) and some loose coin. Underneath where Aryn was bound, the party also find various mixed coins and gems (100 gp in total) scattered upon the alter, and a collection of small dead animals with their throats slit - clearly offerings made for the ritual. There is also evidence of bloodstains from previous sacrifices.
  Through area 4 (the kitchen area) a DC 12 Perception Check will uncover a trap door made of stone, which is partially obscured by a bloodstained woven rug.   The trap door is locked but will open with the bone key found on Dub’s body in the forest. In the absence of said key, a DC 15 Strength Check will pull the door loose or a DC 15 Thieves Tools roll will pick the lock.   The party are free to continue down the wooden stairs which lead to the Upper Basement, though this may a decent opportunity for the party to take an uninterrupted ‘short rest’, should they wish to do so.  

The Upper Basement


 

Ravens Hollow Upper Basement.PNG

 

Area 1

 
You descend down the rickety wooden stairs into the darkness below. You’re not sure whether it’s the stairs swaying with every step you take, or if it’s the fetid stench of death invading your nostrils making you unsteady. You pause a moment at the top of the last flight. Below you can see a figure, dressed in robes of obsidian black, chanting in the middle of a glowing summoning circle which is adorned with candles of emerald light and chunks of indistinguishable flesh. Three of the most beautiful creatures you have ever seen dance around him in perfect unison, twirling and whirling with a fey-like elegance, so graceful and poised... and utterly hypnotic...
 
The man is Carmen’s oldest son Dorian, who is chanting in Abyssal attempting to call forth a ‘Shadow of Zenykul’.   A DC 12 perception check will allow the adventurer to determine that there is something otherworldly about the creatures.   A DC 15 history check will allow the adventurer to recall that the creatures resemble the fabled Sidhe, dark fey-like creatures with the ability to shape-shift into any form, usually the form the mortal before them desires the most. Victims exposed the Sidhe’s charm are tempted to give in to their darkest desires and before long they are completely at the mercy of the creature, who will exploit the individual for their own twisted purposes.   As the adventurers enter the upper basement, neither the Sidhe nor Dorian appear to notice the individuals as they are too engrossed in the ritual. Therefore, the ritual will continue until the party attempts to interact with the group.   If the adventurers let the ritual continue until its completion a Shadow

Shadow of Zenykul

Medium undead, chaotic evil
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 10 3d8+2
Speed Hover: 40ft

STR

6 -2

DEX

14 +2

CON

11 +0

INT

14 +2

WIS

8 -1

CHA

10 +0

Skills Stealth d20+3 Deception: d20+4 Persuasion: d20+2
Damage Vulnerabilities Radiant
Damage Resistances Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, Thunder; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks
Damage Immunities Necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities Exhaustion, Frightened, Grappled, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned, Prone, Restrained
Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 12
Languages Abyssal
Challenge 1/2


Vaporous form. Zenykuls' Shadow can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.   Shadow Stealth. While in dim light or darkness, the shadow can take the Hide action as a bonus action.   Sunlight Weakness. While in sunlight, the shadow has disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws.   Proficiency Bonus +2


Actions

Malicious Whisper. Melee Weapon Attack: d20+4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 9 2d6+2 necrotic damage   If a non-evil humanoid dies from this attack, a new shadow rises from the corpse 1d4 hours later.



is summoned and will assist with Dorian

Dorian

Medium humanoid (human), lawful evil
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 33 6d8+6
Speed 30ft

STR

11 +0

DEX

14 +2

CON

12 +1

INT

10 +0

WIS

13 +1

CHA

14 +2

Skills Deception d20+4 Persuasion d20+4 Religion d20+2
Senses Passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Abyssal
Challenge 2 (450 xp)


Dark Devotion. Dorian is committed to the service of Zenykul and has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.

Telepathic Bond. Dorian ignores the range restriction on its telepathy when communicating with a creature under the influence of their charm.

Cultist's Charm. Dorian communicates telepathically to one creature within 30 feet. This individual must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by Dorian for 1 day. The charmed target obeys Dorian's verbal/telepathic commands whatever they may be. If the target takes any damage or receives a suicidal command, they may repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on a success. If the target successfully saves against the effect, or if the effect on it ends, the target is immune to all charm spells for the next 24 hours. Dorian can have only one target charmed at a time. If he charms another, the effect on the previous target ends.

Ebon Touch Dorian can use a bonus action to reach out and touch a creature within 5 ft. of him, causing an extra 4 2d4 worth of necrotic damage.


Actions

Scimitar.Melee Attack: 1d20+4 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one creature. Hit: 4 1d6+2 slashing damage.   Shortbow d20+4 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 80/320 ft., one creature. Hit: 4 1d6+2 piercing damage.



and the Sidhe

Sidhe

Medium humanoid, any evil
Armor Class 11
Hit Points 10 3d6+2
Speed 28ft Fly: 60ft

STR

8 -1

DEX

12 +1

CON

10 +0

INT

14 +2

WIS

11 +0

CHA

16 +3

Skills Deception 1d20+5 Insight 1d20+2 Perception 1d20+1 Persuasion 1d20+5 Stealth 1d20+3
Condition Immunities Charmed
Senses Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Abyssal, Telepathy (60ft.)
Challenge 1/2 (200 xp)



Polymorph. The Sidhe can use one full action to change its form into that of any Small or Medium humanoid. Without wings, the fiend loses its flying ability. Other than its size and speed, its abilities are the same in each form. It will change back into its true form if it dies.   Telepathic Bond. The Sidhe ignores the range restriction on its telepathy when communicating with a creature under the influence of their charm.   Sensual Charm. The Sidhe whispers into the ear of a humanoid within 5 feet. This individual must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by the creature for 1 day. The charmed target obeys the Sidhe's verbal/telepathic commands whatever they may be.. If the target takes any damage or receives a suicidal command, they may repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on a success. If the target successfully saves against the effect, or if the effect on it ends, the target is immune the Charm spell for the next 24 hours. The Sidhe can have only one target charmed at a time. If it charms another, the effect on the previous target ends.


Actions

Multiattack The Sidhe makes two melee or two ranged weapon attacks with it's dagger   Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: 1d20+3 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one creature. Hit: 2 1d4+1 piercing damage.   Demonic Kiss. Once a day, the Sidhe kisses a creature charmed by it. The target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw against this magic, or take 2d10 psychic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.



in the next fight. If the ritual is interupted, the fight continues without the Shadow’s presence.   When one of his allies falls, Dorian will use his action to flee to Area 3 where he will take Oskar hostage at knifepoint to bargain with his life.

 

Dub


Dorian
  (Carmen’s oldest son)

 
Ravens Hollow Upper Basement Guide.PNG
 
Once the fight is completed, the adventurers may look around Area 1, which appears to resemble an alchemists lab.   Loot
The adventurers may acquire x3 serviceable daggers (30 gp) from each of the dead Sidhe which have now, in death, reverted to their original form of winged goblinoid creatures.   The lab has some strange unidentifiable concoctions in vials, disembodied body parts in jars, including a still beating heart (benign and clearly the result of necromancy), as well as multiple pages of notes on demonic summoning and the Ebonveil .   With a successful DC 15 Investigation Check, the adventurers may also find x2 Greater Healing Potions, x1 Potion of Heroism and x1 Potion of Necrotic Resistance amongst the stash. If Dorian dies in this fight, see the loot in the Area 3 section.  
 
 

Area 2

  The party can investigate Area 2.   Leaning against a wall next to a wooden chest are 2 wooden spears. Inside the unlocked chest they discover x2 chain shirts and two shields embossed with the ‘Stag’ symbol of Springbrook. This equipment belongs to Oskar and Aryn and will come in handy if either of the Guards fight with the party in the encounters to come.   A DC 15 investigation check will allow them to find a letter
Letter from A.P.PNG
in between the pages of a beaten old tome.   The adventurers can then make their way into area 3.
 

Area 3

 
You hear grunting, the scraping of metal against stone and the jingling of chains. As you push through the door, to you're right stands the black-robed man, eyes glowing red upon a scarred pallid face. His arms are wrapped around the neck of a struggling prisoner, silver dagger point pressed against the jugular. The chained man wears ragged garments and steel binds. He looks exhausted and maltreated, his skin marbled with cuts and yellowing bruises. Around the room there are a plethora of mean looking torture implements, dried bloodstains on the walls, and evidence that other people have been held against their will here. The prisoner stares at you with wide, tearful eyes and mouths the words “Help me”...
 
If Dorian

Dorian

Medium humanoid (human), lawful evil
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 33 6d8+6
Speed 30ft

STR

11 +0

DEX

14 +2

CON

12 +1

INT

10 +0

WIS

13 +1

CHA

14 +2

Skills Deception d20+4 Persuasion d20+4 Religion d20+2
Senses Passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Abyssal
Challenge 2 (450 xp)


Dark Devotion. Dorian is committed to the service of Zenykul and has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.

Telepathic Bond. Dorian ignores the range restriction on its telepathy when communicating with a creature under the influence of their charm.

Cultist's Charm. Dorian communicates telepathically to one creature within 30 feet. This individual must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by Dorian for 1 day. The charmed target obeys Dorian's verbal/telepathic commands whatever they may be. If the target takes any damage or receives a suicidal command, they may repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on a success. If the target successfully saves against the effect, or if the effect on it ends, the target is immune to all charm spells for the next 24 hours. Dorian can have only one target charmed at a time. If he charms another, the effect on the previous target ends.

Ebon Touch Dorian can use a bonus action to reach out and touch a creature within 5 ft. of him, causing an extra 4 2d4 worth of necrotic damage.


Actions

Scimitar.Melee Attack: 1d20+4 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one creature. Hit: 4 1d6+2 slashing damage.   Shortbow d20+4 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 80/320 ft., one creature. Hit: 4 1d6+2 piercing damage.



successfully fled into this area during the fight with the Sidhe, he will try and negotiate with the adventurers, offering them gold and jewels to leave the place peacefully. If that fails, he will threaten to slit Oskar’s throat.   Dorian will not leave his mother to the mercy of the adventurers and will not leave Ravens Hollow peacefully. Oskar’s survival will depend entirely on the adventurers’ actions, but he will fight with them as a Guard if the need arises.   Loot
If the adventurers kill Dorian, he has a familiar looking silvered dagger, again with a hilt embossed with a dragon’s skull (50gp). A DC 15 Investigation Check will allow the adventurer to notice a glint of deep crimson on Dorian’s finger:  
Ring of Apperceptive Mind.PNG
  Oskar. Should Oskar survive the encounter he will corroborate Aryn’s story, except he will state that he believes Rodrik to be both alive and up to something. He states that a few weeks ago Rodrik’s behaviour changed, he kept talking about some woman he had met in a chance encounter who had captured his heart and made him see the ‘truth’. Since then he seemed ‘detached,’ more so than usual, and ‘irritable’ and ‘aggressive’ when questioned about his change in mood.   Following their discussion with Oskar, the adventurers may decend the stone staircase in Area 3 to the final encounter of the adventure.

Oskar


 
Oskar   (Springbrook Guard)

 

The Lower Basement


 
 

Carmen

 
Carmen Goldthistle
  (Daughter of Alexander Goldthistle and ‘Witch of Raven’s Hollow)
 
 

Rodrik.jpeg

 
 
Rodrik Belamir
  (Son of Mayor Belamir of Springbrook)

 
You decend into darkness once more. This time it is not death that stalks your senses but the sweet smell of incence and perfume. The stairs lead down into a large cushy chamber, adorned with soft furnishings dyed in royal purple, silk fabrics and fine dark wooden furniture. Braziers burn with the same unusual glow from the floor above, bathing your surroundings in emerald green. At the center of the room, a couple sit at a large, round table playing what appears to be Revaelor’s Folly. One is an old woman, her wispy grey hair pulled back into a tight bun, her face adorned with centuries’ worth of wrinkles and lines; the other is a strapping young man with the look of a younger Mayor Belamir.   The woman plays her hand, her features forming an expression of utter disinterest. She does not even look up to say ‘{insert list of players’ names here} welcome to Ravens Hollow, my ancestral home. I hope my sons have offered you some restbite from the cold. You seem surprised I know your names, believe me nothing is hidden from the Lord of Chaos, or his children... Rodrik dear, why don’t you offer our guests our appropriate greeting.’
 
Ravens Hollow Lower Basement

 
 
  At this point Rodrik will jump to his feet rapier drawn and attempt to attack the nearest party member. He can only be talked down by Carmen herself.   If the adventurers come within 15 feet of Carmen they must make a DC 12 Wisdom Saving throw or be immediately charmed by her presence, with the exception of those immune to ‘charm’ from the Sidhe encounter.   Those charmed will view Carmen as her younger self.
Young Carmen
and are charmed for 24 hours as stated on her stat block.   Carmen

Carmen

Medium humanoid, lawful evil
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 38 7d8+7
Speed 30ft

STR

10 +0

DEX

14 +2

CON

12 +1

INT

13 +1

WIS

16 +3

CHA

15 +2

Skills Deception d20+4 Persuasion d20+4 Religion d20+3
Senses Passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Abyssal, Elven
Challenge 2 (450 xp)


Servant of Zenykul.Carmen is committed to the service of Zenykul and has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.   Sensual Charm. Carmen communicates telepathically to all creatures within 15 feet. This individual must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by Carmen for 24 hours. The charmed target obeys Carmen's verbal/telepathic commands whatever they may be. If the target takes any damage or receives a suicidal command, they may repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on a success. If the target successfully saves against the effect, or if the effect on it ends, the target is immune to all charm spells for the next 24 hours. Carmen can have multiple targets charmed at any one time, but if she does she must make a DC10 constitution saving throw at the start of each of her turns in addition to regular concentration rules. If she fails her constitution save she will take 2d8 psychic damage.   Baelor's BlessingAs a bonus action, Carmen can expend a spell slot to cause her melee weapon attacks to magically deal an extra 10 (3d6) necrotic damage to a target on a hit. This benefit lasts until the end of the turn. If Carmen expends a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the extra damage increases by 1d6 for each level above 1st.   Spellcasting. Carmen is a 4th-level spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11, d20+3 to hit with spell attacks)   Proficiency Bonus +2   Cantrips (At will) light, sacred flame, thaumaturgy   1st level (4 slots): command, inflict wounds, shield of faith   3rd level (2 slots): animate dead, bestow curse


Actions

Dagger: Melee Weapon Weapon Attack: d20+4 , Range 5 ft, one target Hit: 1d4+2 Piercing damage or, Range Weapon Attack: d20+4 Range 20/60, one target 1d4+2 Piercing damage



will enter the fight after the first round of combat, or when Rodrik falls unconscious (whichever is sooner).   Once Carmen is dead, Rodrik, should he survive, immediately comes round from his ‘charmed state’ and stops the fight.   He claims that he does not recall anything from the last 5 weeks, not since he approached a shadowed figure in the forest, and he does not remember persuading his father to let him lead a patrol, his friends, into danger.   Ultimately, it is up to the adventurers whether they believe him.   Loot
Carmen is carrying this magical staff, which allows the user to summon a Shadow of Zenykul  
Staff of Zenykul.PNG
  The chest near the bottom left corner is locked and requires a DC 14 Thieves tools check or DC 18 Strength check to prise it open. Inside, the players may find two uncommon magical items at the DM’s discretion.
  A DC 15 investigation check will allow the players to find this note
Carmens Letter 2.PNG
underneath a fake drawer bottom in the desk.   Confident that there is nothing else to be found in the Hollow, the adventurers are free to gather any loot, evidence and rescued individuals and return to Springbrook to collect their reward.
 

Concluding the adventure


  The adventurers will receive the promised 200 gp in reward money, plus 50gp for each of the guards saved.   Mayor Belamir will also be grateful for any evidence the players are willing to share with him. He will express grave concern that the goings on at Raven’s Hollow may be a wider issue involving other cities and towns in the region.   If Rodrik died during the last encounter, Mayor Belamir will refuse to see or speak to the party out of sheer grief, and will send Olric (the guard the party met at the beginning of the adventure) in his stead with the reward money.   The party is now free to spend it all of it on ale and food at the White Boar.   This will conclude the party’s adventure to Ravens Hollow.  
 

Message from the Author

 
Hail friend,   I hope you enjoyed my first dive into TTRPG adventure writing; I know I had a blast writing it!   I would love to hear your feedback, I can be found on Twitter and Instagram! sharing all the love for TTRPG content creators, worldbuilders and writers.   This adventure is completely free, including all of its custom maps, however if you wish to show your appreciation for the work I’ve done, a link to my beer fund can be found below!   Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my World Anvil Page for more worldbuilding adventures and articles.   Sending love and positive vibes!
 

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  Gilly Hartill is an aspiring fantasy author, worldbuilder and lover of all things RPG related. She is currently writing her first novel ‘The Wardens of Ethera,’ building her World Anvil profile from scratch and trying to cram in all the TTRPG sessions possible in the space of a week.  

Kofi

     
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Comments

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16 May, 2021 01:48

Gillymaya,   This is an awesome Article. The Adventure is great, but what makes it even more special are the Tables, with the dice roller added and all the stat block drop downs, excellent.   Sorry, almost forgot, All the Maps look awesome too.   Probably the best Adventure layout i've read during/after the challenge.   Come visit my World Kelldoria if you have the time.   Aemon

Grandmaster Gillymaya
Gilly-May Hartill
16 May, 2021 23:07

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my article, it means a lot to me to receive feedback! My motivation was simply to make things a little easier for anyone choosing to run the adventure. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Gilly Hartill   Fantasy world builder, aspiring author & lover of all things RPG.