Castles & Crusades S3 - The Malady of Kings
EDITOR: TIM BURNS
FRONT COVER: PETER BRADLEY
INTERIOR ART: PETER BRADLEY & JASON WALTON
ART DIRECTION//LAYOUT/PRODUCTION: PETER BRADLEY & STEPHEN CHENAULT
CARTOGRAPHY: PETER BRADLEY
DEVELOPED FOR WORLD ANVIL: CHRIS "MOONDOG" MOONEY
But she lingered still, in the world of the living, a haunt barred from The Stone Fields, where the noble dead lie, for a desire so deep death cannot claim her; now, upon the edge of The Wretched Plains her ghost is fearful and restless.
Gods are moved by greater things than mortal man. Lonely upon his gilded chair St. Luther, Lord of Dreams, sits in restless slumber. He dreams of times long forgotten and people long passed from the world. He knows not that he slumbers, nor that he dreams. He sits, dreaming forgotten dreams, stalking the corridors of his memory, reliving the moments of his life. For ever is it the Malady of Kings that they forget.
After his long wars, St. Luther , Lord of Dreams, retired to the The Dreaming Sea where he took up residence in the great Castle Pendegrantz. Here he ruled over the Dreams of mortals, forgetting those thoughts of his own. His one true love, Queen Vivienne had died, this he knew; but unbeknownst to him her spirit did not pass to the The Stone Fields where the good rest forever. Instead it lingered in the world, awaiting his return. She haunts her crypt, looking for him and the ring she gave him, and that he promised to return. Her haunting has left the Lord of Dreams troubled, though he does not know why. His mind is ever wandering, attempting to grasp that troubled thought that lies just beyond his vision.
The crypt, the Friden Anhohe is haunted by her ghost; it is up to the characters to find it, discover who or what she is and to free her from her haunted curse. But they are not alone, for an ancient and vile wizard, who wishes to gain access to the The Dreaming Sea and to St. Luther has learned of her fate and wishes to keep her in her role for it troubles the Lord of Dreams and makes him vulnerable to the wizard's attacks.
The characters, if they dare take up the mantle of adventure, must take the perilous road that crosses the wilds of Eldwood, flings the upon the face of the turbelent The Dreaming Sea and must at last bring them to the shores of the Isle of Blight where evil has taken root. Here they must solve the riddles of the wizard's sorcery, encounter monsters of epic proportion before ever they come into the presence of St. Luther, Lord of Dreams. Even then danger awaits them for the Lord's slumber is a perilous thing to disturb.
Castles & Crusades S3 - The Malady of Kings
A SWORD UPON THE DREAMING
“Has he left, Mother?”
Robert Luther stood watching, but he could not see. Even after removing his iron helm, he could not see anything but the rising surf.
“He has left, though I see him still. He stands upon the till, facing the sea. He is so happy upon the water. The swell is not so great this morning and the tide pulls upon him. I can see, too, the silver-lined sail, filling now with wind, pulling the little craft into the deeper oceans. The silver upon your father’s mail shines, his great sword, Durendale, strapped to his side. His hair is free now, with no crown banding it down. Your father, King no more, is passing away from us.”
“You believe him then, Mother? You believe that he has truly given over his realm and lands to me? I find it hard to tell. I find it hard to believe. It is too much for me to ponder. Will he come back to us?”
“Luther sees things. These visions guide him, these things, we do not know. He came long before we trod these lands, and will come again after, or so the peasants and house mages say. And you know, Aristobulus fell in combat with the demon lord and was lost. This broke your father in some way. He must heal himself. I suspect too that the rumblings in the east have forced him to take the sword away, to hide it for a time when victory may be won.”
“We will not fail, Mother. I will not allow it. Whatever moves in the east cannot overtake us here. I will not abide it.”
“Aye, my son, we must not.” With her own true seeing, the Queen saw the little craft pass over a great swell that rose from the ocean depths as if from nowhere. She could see her husband, her one great love, look back as if he too could see her, and he smiled. The Evening-Swan rose over the wave crest, white foam washing her bow, and slipped into the trough beyond and was gone.
“He has passed into Dreaming.”
“What did you say mother? He has passed into where? “
“He is gone.”
And so the histories tell that Luther, King of Kayomar,(organization:f40fbae8-ccb9-41b6-b132-fbc9e990dde0), Count of Pendegrantz, Paladin and Knight passed from the world of Airhde and out upon the [The Dreaming Sea. He missed the final great clashes between the armies of Unklar and the Lords of Kayomar, as are told of in the histories of the Catalyst Wars. He missed the final battle where his son, Robert Luther, died after hurling @[Unklar from the walls of great Du Guesilon. And he did not return for a thousand years.
But that was many years ago. Queen Vivienne did not linger long after the departure of her beloved friend, husband, and King. She never again actively participated in the realm, and died quietly in her bed in Du Guesilon, with only these words upon her lips, “Look for me, My Lord, in your dreams.”
But she lingered still, in the world of the living, a haunt barred from The Stone Fields , where the noble dead lie, for a desire so deep death cannot claim her; now, upon the edge of the The Wretched Plains , her ghost is fearful and restless.
Stay Thy Hand I Pray
Upon a miserly bench we slave
The script to come, herein lay
The Rest? Sit back and pray
After his long wars, St. Luther , Lord of Dreams, retired to The Dreaming Sea where he took up residence in his great Castle of Pendegrantz. Here, he ruled over the Dreams of mortals, forgetting those thoughts of his own. His one true love, Queen Vivienne, had died long ago; but unbeknownst to him, her spirit did not pass to the The Stone Fields where the good rest forever. Instead, it lingered in the world, awaiting his return. She haunts her crypt, looking for St. Luther and the ring she gave him, and of his promised return. Her haunting has left the Lord of Dreams troubled, though he does not know why. His mind is ever wandering, attempting to grasp that troubled thought that lies just beyond his vision.
The crypt, the Frieden Anhohe, is haunted by her ghost; it is up to the characters to find it, discover who or what she is and to free her from her haunted curse. But they are not alone, for an ancient and vile wizard, who wishes to gain access to the The Dreaming Sea Sea of Dreams and to St. Luther has learned of her fate and wishes to keep her in her role, for it troubles the Lord of Dreams and makes him vulnerable to the wizard’s attack.
The characters, if they dare take up the mantle of adventure, must take the perilous road that crosses the wilds of the Eldwood, flings them upon the face of the turbulent The Dreaming Sea and must at last bring them to the shores of the Isle of Blight where evil has taken root. Here, they must solve the riddles of the wizard’s sorcery, encounter monsters of epic proportion before ever they come into the presence of St. Luther, Lord of Dreams. Even then danger awaits them for the Lord’s slumber is a perilous thing to disturb.
A GHOST ON THE FRIEDEN ANHOHE
In the Age of Heroes, Luther reigned as King in Kayomar,(organization:f40fbae8-ccb9-41b6-b132-fbc9e990dde0) and at his side stood Vivienne, his Queen. For sixteen glorious years they reigned together and forged a realm of peace, prosperity, and power. He bore the holy sword, @[Durendale, and with it won countless battles against the evil of the world; but always over the light of his reign stood the moment that was his Queen. When he left aboard his ship, the Evening-Swan, all thought he would soon return. But Vivienne knew better, and she knew that she would never see her love in life again. The counselor to Kings, Jaren the monk, Master of the Order of the Scintillant Dawn, offered her solace with little success.
When Vivienne died (oy742), Robert Luther, her son and King of [Kayomar,, laid her to rest in the newly constructed family crypt at Frieden Anhohe (in the vulgate, “The Hills of Peace”). This small shrine and tomb, dedicated to the Lords of Law, stood upon the very southern marches of the Kingdom, nestled against the backdrop of the Eldwood. No safer place could be found in the entire wide world. To the north, east and west, the temple was guarded by the Kingdom of [Kayomar, and to the south by the Great Oak, the High Druid, and the Ranger Lord, Daladon. Commanded by Jaren, monks from the order of the Scintillant Dawn took residence there to tend the tomb and gardens. Vivienne was the first to lay at rest in that quiet stone house upon the Frieden Anhohe.
But in truth, she failed to gain the peace the gods promise the dead. Her spirit, sundered from her corporeal form, lived on, seeking the love of her life, Luther. In the dark of night, she would rise from her tomb and seek Luther out. The spirit moaned only a little as it slipped through the doors of the crypt, haunting the gardens and forests around her, forever seeking, forever searching for that which she could never have.
In the years to come, many more members of the House Pendegrantz fell and their bodies set to rest at Frieden Anhohe. All, that is, but Luther, lost in the Dreaming, and the King, Robert Luther, who died upon the walls of his castle and whose body was lost forever to the all consuming Unklar. But before those days overshadowed the world, legends grew about the ghost of Vivienne who haunted the Anhohe. Attendants of the house, the priest, the gardener, and others swore that on moonlit nights the ghost of Queen Vivienne wandered amidst the shadows. She was seen, radiant, and forlorn, cupping her hands about her mouth, calling to someone in a voiceless world. And on occasion, a quiet weeping, or moan of desperate agony came to those who would listen.
The Catalyst Wars saw the overthrow of the Kingdom of Kayomar,(organization:f40fbae8-ccb9-41b6-b132-fbc9e990dde0) and the fall of Robert Luther. The death of his son, Talerein Uther, ended the dynasty and the region fell into decay. The last of the House Pendegrantz to be buried at Frieden Anhohe was a nephew of the King’s, Casaend. After that, the crypt was lost to the world, its occupants forgotten, and the forests of the @[Eldwood allowed to overtake it. In the space of many years, the family tomb of one of the greatest heroes of the world was lost. And the ghost of Vivienne haunted the moonless world of the Oration 6 - Of the Age of Winter Dark, unseen and unknown.
When Luther did return, a thousand years later, he banded together with other gods of his stature; some resurrected, some freed from a thousand years of torment. Aristobulus, Daladon, Jaren, Dolgan and others gathered with Luther and made war on Unklar for twenty years. In the end, Unklar fell down and his reign forever ended.
The most powerful of the dark god’s servants, Nulakkiz Din, also named Mongroul the Troll Lord, remained after his dark master was destroyed. Escaping the wrath of the Council, he hid himself away, biding his time. This archmagi of wondrous power plotted his hatred on a course meant only to destroy those who had destroyed what had been his.
Kayomar,(organization:f40fbae8-ccb9-41b6-b132-fbc9e990dde0) was reborn then, and @[St. Luther reigned as King for some few years before abdicating in favor of his trusted lieutenant, Morgan. As the Council disbanded and his friends disappeared Luther, now Sainted, returned to the The Dreaming Sea. Before he did so he surrendered the holy sword Durendale, for it came into his mind that he had preserved the blade from harm for a thousand years upon the sea but that now the blade had other errands. He left it in the Paladin’s Grove in the Shrine of Unending Flame.
With great sorrow, Luther left the world of men. Upon the The Dreaming Sea, he settled in his old castle of New Pendegrantz and founded the Confessor Knights. These Paladins were made to serve the world in his stead while St. Luther came forth from time to time as a god to aid those in need or those good folk who called upon him. In truth he lingered on The Dreaming Sea, lost in the thoughts of the countless millions. He also wept for Vivienne, the love lost to him forever and anon. It nagged him that he could not return the ring to her, and in those days he held it often, wondering whatever became of his love, knowing only that she had died, for he could no longer find her in her dreams.
OF MADNESS AND UNBROKEN SLUMBER
Nulakkiz Din is a vile wizard of the worst order, ever seeking power over the world. He found the ghost of Vivienne on one of his many journeys and from her, had knowledge of the Isle of Blight and its Paladin, the Lord of Dreams. He turned his dark sorceries to the Paladin upon The Dreaming Sea. Believing that to control the dreams of others must surely allow him to gain control over them. Nulakkiz Din used sorcery and the enslaved back of a nightmare and thus came to the Isle of Blight.
In the guise of a shade of a memory of Vivienne, Nulakkiz Din stole into Castle Pendegrantz and came upon St. Luther as he sat upon his throne. The Paladin was alone, his Knights on errand, and his old blade, Durendale, no longer at his side to warn him of the Wizard’s magic. Unmolested, Nulakkiz Din began etching runes into the air around the throne, from back to front, walling in the unsuspecting Paladin. For Luther, King and Saint, labored in his own mind on the love he left behind, and he mourned, for he felt his good deeds went punished with the great sorrow of so many losses, of which Vivienne was the greatest. Nulakkiz Din bound him with invisible glyphs burnt into the air about the throne. He finished the spell by weaving his poisonous breath into the air and pushing it toward Luther. Shortly thereafter, blinded and bound, the Paladin-God slipped into his own dreams and drooped upon the high backed chair in deep slumber. So it came to be that the Paladin could not awaken until Vivienne’s spirit at last came to rest beside him in dream.
And the Wizard returned to the world, triumphant; there he plots still, confident in the prison he built around the Paladin. He now attempts to understand how he can gain access to the dreams of mortals through Luther, or better still, without him.
A MALADY FOR A KING
Gods are moved by greater things than mortal man. Memories move them and keep them from passing into the ethereal realms of legend. So it is with St. Luther. The memory which binds him in his slumber lives on as the ghost of Vivienne, haunting the lonely glades of Frieden Anhohe. It is to her that his restless mind turns, searching for forgiveness. And it lies in the band of gold he wears still, as a charm, around his neck.
Lonely upon his gilded chair, St. Luther -- god of Aihrde, Lord of Dreams, King Palatine of [Kayomar, , father, and husband -- sits in restless slumber. He dreams of times long forgotten and people long passed from the world. He knows not that he slumbers, or that he dreams. He sits, dreaming forgotten dreams, stalking the corridors of his memory, reliving the moments of his life. For ever is it the Malady of Kings that they forget.
THE CATALYST WAR (761-800)
In which the line of St. Luther was brought to an end and the light in the world extinguished. These wars involved the Kingdoms of the peoples of Ethrum against the dark realm of A general history of the region of Aufstrag and Unklar, the Horned God. In these wars, the Horned God triumphed and the last of the free peoples fell. 763-777 The opening stages of the Catalyst War played out in and around the lands of Anglamay, or Angouleme (organization:df0ddb81-fe92-4368-8813-ba2a4cced977). These were the borders of the free Kingdoms after the first onslaught of [Unklar, the Horned God began in 748. Many battles raged across the plains of Anglamay, or Angouleme , the [Gelderland, Sienna , and [Maine until [Aufstrag threw the last of the Free Peoples back into Kayomar. Many of King Robert Luther’s family fell in these battles: His sister, Vivian @Brightleaf ; his nephews, Robert Oralius (763), and Owen Augustus (783 and the King’s first born and heir, Talerein Uther (777).
775 Nulakkiz Din raises an army of Ungern in the east and overwhelms Anglamay, or Angouleme. He rises in the councils of the dark God, Unklar.
778 Jaren the Wise dreams the dreams of prophecy and predicts a long winter ahead for the world. Robert Luther will not hear such talk and demands that Jaren find a way around the world’s folly. Jaren explores the dimensions through study and contemplation.
789-790 The campaign continues with the last bastion of Law holding [Kayomar], against a pincer attack from north and south. In the south, Prince Erik Aristobolus Euryiance, commanding Kayomar’s fleet, routed and destroyed the bulk of Unklar’s navy (789). The Prince, though, falls in combat, mortally stricken by a great iron bolt thrown by the giant Herigold. The northern Marches are completely overrun (789-790). The mighty fortress of Pendelion holds the enemy at bay. The first siege of Pendelion is broken in 790 by the King and his host of Knights.
Jaren, 85 years old, travels a channel in time. He convinces Aristobulus, Luther and Daladon Lothian to strike one of the temples of Unklar and keep the god from arriving on the plane. The plan fails but this becomes Jaren’s quest. He returns to [Kayomar], , aged and more tired.
791 Unklar’s troops regroup and attack again in 791; this time he leads them in battle. They attack with a massive army along the Great Danau River through the Shelves of the Mist. They hold a large force in reserve north of Pendelion.
The King moves his host to the Shelves to counter the thrust of orc and ungern legions. In the Battle of Merrick Fords (791), the liege men of Maine turn on the King and join Unklar. They fall upon the baggage train and encampments slaughtering all they can find. The King, being outnumbered and surrounded, fights his way into the eastern marshes and there, regroups. The King’s youngest sister, Merilee Lothian, is slain in the encampments. Jaren again breaks into the time stream, this time into the future to lay the seeds for his own survival, for he sees the end is near and no amount of aid may give the King his victory. He begins penning the Books of Jaren.
792 Unklar throws his reserves against Pendelion. For nine months they lay siege to the city/fortress. Though the King tries twice to break the siege, it is to no avail; Unklar’s arrival on the scene inspires his hosts and they storm and conquer the castle (792). Another of the King’s sisters fall in this, the second siege of Pendelion; Gwenowin Lilly, with many of her children. The bodies are stolen away by a magical weird of Jaren’s crafting.
These twin victories open central [Kayomar], to Unklar. Robert Luther fights a fighting withdrawal hoping for supernatural aid as promised to him by Jaren the Wise. For the next 8 years, Unklar’s folk storm castle and fort and root all the folk out of the valley and despoil what they can. The people fight bravely, selling themselves dearly. Unklar’s folk suffer losses so great that even today the mention of [Kayomar], is a horrid thing to the orcs and ungern.
794 The prophecy comes to Jaren and he predicts the return of the White Mage and the sword Durendale. Robert Luther broods on these prophecies and wonders if Jaren’s age has not finally caught up with him.
799 At last Unklar’s host surrounds Du Guesilon and the siege begins. For almost two years Unklar’s legions batter at the doors of the mighty fortress, but to no avail. The King laughs at them from the walls and leads countless sorties into the fray and slays much and more beyond. But at last, Unklar comes and unmakes the walls and assails the King in the Tower of Hope. Some of the last to fall are in the House Pendegrantz. Jariel Galen (third son of Luther) falls on the steps of the tower at his brother’s feet. At last, the King falls on the 28th day of Nochturn, 800, and the light goes out in the world.
At the King’s side fought Jaren the Wise, but in the end, all he could do was pen the Books of Jaren. Myths arose around the books, bidding that they held the hope of the world. And in truth, they did. But Jaren’s future self co-exists with his present, and in the past a schism in time emerges so that a specter of the monk is always in the Tower of Hope. There he broods on the prophecy of the return....800 The Winter Dark.
ORGANIZATION AND PREPARATION
The module is divided into four parts. Each part has terrain and encounters peculiar to it. Descriptions of the terrain, travel, and wandering monsters begin each section.
To help set up the adventure, the characters have discovered either a map or the 2nd volume of the Book of Jaren in the Old Windmill in Part I Tipping Lances. This map/book gives them direction in searching out the ancient Mausoleum which kicks off the adventure. The book is magical and would definitely interest any wizards, clerics, or sages. The party should have this map/book in their possession to begin the adventure.
Finally, in Part II, Miscreant Dreams and Dangerous Desires, the characters are assaulted by the Dreaming Sea. This psychic battle essentially pits each character against him/herself. It is very important that the Castle Keeper find out (if you do not already know) what some of the particular dreams/desires and fears of the characters are. Note this information somewhere before play begins in order to maintain the spontaneity of play when the party reaches the Dreaming Sea.
All material encapsulated in the banners is to be read or paraphrased to the players.
This encounter takes place on the open plains; on the edge of a civilized land. If playing in the world of Aihrde, the adventure is designed to begin in Kayomar, upon the edge of the Eldwood. There should be 4-6 characters of 10th-12th level. The Castle Keeper must take stock of the power of the party and adjust the number of creatures encountered in order to make the game more or less challenging.
This windmill served the local community as a grist mill, grinding up wheat to make bread. Here, Perrin of Halfast lived. Retired from a lifetime’s service with the Lords of Kayomar, he sought to live a simple life. But he kept his weaponry and armor and some minor treasure he found of great value. Recently a Kain’s Henchman, a devil of not uncommon power, visited, and killed Perrin. He came in search of a map (or book) that Perrin possessed. But after slaying the erstwhile Paladin, the Henchman could not find what he sought after. He lingers in the mill now, waiting for some gift of inspiration that might lead him to his desires.
The map/book is actually within a magical rune box; creations of the dwarves these boxes contained sand encrypted with magic that bore the runes of their magical language. Jaren converted his books to such hidden devices to keep them from the enemy. Once the box is found, opened and the proper word uttered, the sand takes the shape of the book/map and is fully readable or viewable by the user. The rune box itself is in the mill, laying on the floor of the Mill Room where the devil, not knowing what it was, tossed it.
The Kain’s Henchman dresses as a knightly courtier, shape changed into the form of a human. He cast the body of Perrin out in the grasses, not more than a hundred feet from the head of the mill.
Read or paraphrase the following:
The rolling hills and grasslands of the Great Plains stretch for miles in all directions. The sun beats down continually; the rolling grasslands offering no shade or respite. But the heat is broken by the wind that seems to continually blow from the west; it carries the hint of moisture on it, breaking over the mountain’s watershed as it does. The merciless wind never gives up and blows continually. Further south, you see the hazy edge of what must be a forest and, upon a hill not but a few miles from your present location, a large structure, a windmill, its giant arms spinning slowly, looping ever and around.
The party approaches the windmill. Before they arrive, they spy a cottage, a well, and some split-rail fencing that seems abandoned as several rails lie upon the ground. No signs of life permeate the dwellings and all seems abandoned. As they approach, the slowly moving turbine of the windmill creaks and groans, greeting the party with a loud thumping sound every time it turns around. Inside one, several teeth have broken free of the wheels, making the whole thump during its constant rotation.
PERRIN OF HALFAST
If they search the area around the mill before going in, they have a good chance of discovering the body of Perrin. To discover the body requires a ranger to make a successful track check (CL 2) or anyone else to make a successful search check (CL 8).
The body lies in the grass, face down. It is somewhat blackened as with fire. There is a stench hanging around the body that calls to mind armory fire pits, very hot ashes and the like. The body has numerous puncture wounds, wide and deep. It is about 2 days old, though to determine this requires another successful attribute check (wisdom or tracking for a ranger).
The road leads directly up to windmill and cottage. The cottage stands upon the road and about 75 feet from the entrance to the windmill. A well worn path leads from the road to the mill from the cottage. The whole area around the entrances is barren of grass, sure signs of long habitation (CL 2).
Read or paraphrase the following:
The door to the cottage is slightly ajar. The sweet scent of burnt sugar comes from inside. Everything is quiet within. Looking within the place, it is obviously a one room building. The fire place is cool but the room is in complete disarray, furniture everywhere and pots and pans are scattered about.
Perrin was in the cottage when the devil arrived at his doorstep. At first, he did not know what it was and invited it into his home for a meal. Once within, the creature attacked the warrior, who fended it off with his pots and pans. He managed to fetch his sword from the wall and drove the Henchman into the yard. A ranger can determine the course of the struggle with a successful track check (CL 9). The ground is dry, leaving imprint easily.
There is little of value in the room. The furniture is a wreck but there is plenty of coal in a rack against the wall.
The windmill is a simple structure of three floors. Its mechanism is simple with the grindstone on the mill floor and the crank assembly on the third floor. Grain is brought in and dumped into the mill pound on the mill floor; the wind turns the assembly and rolls the giant stone over the grain, grinding it to grist. Perrin bags it up by shovel and hand, readying it for market. The devil searched the complex but now has taken up a perch in the third floor, not knowing what to do next. He watches and waits. When the characters enter the area, he is aware of them but makes no overt moves to attack, waiting to see if they know where the map might be.
The giant mill stone, attached to a cross-bar, attached to a giant pole that disappears into the ceiling above, dominates this octagonal room. A pond built around the millstone, serves to hold the grain being ground up by the windmill’s mechanism. Several hundred sacks are stacked along the far wall. Hay covers the floor. Several shovels and other tools are scattered about the room. On the far wall, several hooks hold hundreds of tie topes (for the sacks) and other various and sundries. The rune box lies on the floor under these hooks.
A ladder leads to a trapdoor above. The door is open. The whole room smells of ash, grain, and blood.
The battle from the cottage carried over to the windmill and into the Mill Room. Here, Perrin attempted to flee to the second floor but the devil slew him. There is blood at the foot of the ladder. A cursory check by anyone in the party reveals this fact.
The rune box is easy enough to spot -- though small, no more than 8 inches across and 4 inches wide, -- it is very much out of place upon the floor. The rune box itself is made of wood, sanded and stained it. There is a simple rune on the lid, a “J” in the Lawful Good languages. The command word is “Open,” spoken in Lawful Good.
Any attempt to detect evil reveals something evil up above. If the party finds the box and opens it, the Henchman immediately reacts. If discovered or he reacts due to the box opening, the Henchman calls down the ladder, asking the party for aid. He takes the guise of a courtier from Kayomar, coming down the ladder. He carries a long, heavy pole, ornately decorated. He acts overjoyed to see the party, ignoring anything they say, or commands they may give him until he is in their presence.
When with the party, he immediately demands the rune box, professing he heard them talking about it, whether they were actually talking about it or not. The Henchman changes tone as needed, trying to sweet talk the rune box from the characters if he can, but ordering them otherwise if he must.
If the characters give him the box, he immediately leaves heading up the road. If they do not, he alters his form into its true shape and attacks the party.
Kain’s Henchman (This lawful evil creature’s vital stats are HD 9d8, AC 26, HP 65. His primary attributes are mental. He attacks with the Bilun pole arm for 2d6+2 points of damage. The polearm can drain strength. The Henchman is also able to shape change, has an SR 12, is immune to elements and possesses the following spell like abilities: detect chaos/good (perm fire storm (2/day glyph of warding (2/day hold person (3/day). They cast as a 12th level caster.) For full write up, see New Monsters below.
THE RUNE BOX
In the early days of their wars with the Goblins, the Dwarves sought many ways to use the magical runes. Their most skilled craftsmen used sand as paper. Setting thin layers of sand upon the curtains of glass, they cast the runes upon it. Through their crafts, they bound the grains of sand so that one grain held true to another; when bound, they seemed as thin sheets of paper. In order to protect the sand-sheets, they gathered the loose sand up and placed them in small boxes. When opened, the box seemed filled with sand only, but upon uttering the proper command word, the sand rose in a swirling mist until it took the shape of the original sheet and revealed the rune, message, or map embossed upon it.
The rune boxes are made of stout woods, generally from the ancient Peril Trees. Beautifully crafted and embossed with gold or silver, and set with platinum and gems, the boxes alone were worth small fortunes. The linings consist of softened hide, where the sand of the sand-sheet lies. It is impossible to remove the sand by pouring it out or removing it. If someone attempts to take out a pinch or separate any of the sand from the box, they fail. A magical trail of dust connects the removed sand from the sand in the box so that it is able to trail back.
The sand sheet acts as a magical scroll. Upon uttering the command word the box opens and the sand rises out in a thin, almost misty shape. It coalesces into the shape of a simple map/book. The map leads to a place called the Frieden Anhohe. Marked in clear, distinct letters are the following words: “Here lie the bones of the House Pendegrantz. Beneath the great tree, their uncounted wealth shall be sacrosanct forever. JF, 793.”
Any cleric, paladin, or bard is likely to know who the House Pendegrantz is; nobles born of Kings, wealth and holy. The place would serve them as a shrine where they may ask the blessings of the gods. Any bard, upon a successful legend lore check (CL 6) knows something of the history of the house, and is aware of the wealth and power that must reside therein. Anyone else can make a simple wisdom check (CL 10) to determine whether or what they know of the House Pendegrantz.
This floor possesses a bed, small table with several chairs, a cook stove, a large barrel of ale and several mugs hanging on pegs on the walls. More tools, used for the maintenance of the windmill line the walls. A large barrel of thick oil stands in one corner. The windows are all barred shut. Beneath the bed in a simple locked trunk (pick locks CL 7) are Perrin’s valuables. Here, is the following: a suite of +2 chainmail, a mace of disruption, a heal potion, a neatly folded up cloak of charisma. There is a bag of gold with 220gp in it and a ring with a green diamond on it worth 250gp. His tabard is in the trunk as well and shows a deer on sable over a wreath with the words: Liberty or Death.
There is little on this floor except the giant mechanism that turns and operates the mill. There is only room to move around the walls of the room, and it all must be done at a slouch. There is nothing of value here.
The map/book in the Rune Box leads one to the Eldwood and the Frieden Anhohe described below. The characters now have everything they need to begin the journey.
JOURNEY TO THE FRIEDEN ANHOHE
The party has come into possession of an ancient tome, named The Book of Jaren, or for the CKs that do not wish to use the world of Aihrde, a simple map will suffice. They have the 2nd volume in a series of books which, legends recount, numbers 13. Written by the hand of Jaren, Master of the Order of the Scintillant Dawn, friend of Kings, and servant of the law, the books were a testament to the House Pendegrantz as well as a blueprint for destroying the evil dark lord. A mystic, Jaren foretold much of that which came to pass, but also of how to destroy the dark god. These books were scattered after his death, at King Robert Luther’s side, at the end of the Age of Heroes. This particular book is largely a history of the House Pendegrantz. It relates family names, titles, holdings, and similar information. Some names are noticeably absent, St. Luther’s and King Robert Luther being the most obvious.
Legends hold that the Books of Jaren contain a wealth of knowledge, histories, and ancient geographies, name lists of the denizens of the under-worlds, spells, incantations, and so forth. The second volume contains several maps, mostly of the Kingdom of Kayomar. But one map, small and roughly sketched, has piqued the interest of the party. It is a map of the location of the Frieden Anhohe, revealing the long lost Shrine of the Gallan.
The book/map shows a place located about a 3 day journey into the Eldwood forest. From the point of the windmill, the party is about one day’s travel away from the forest.
WHERE THE DEAD SLEEP
Of all the forests in the world, the Eldwood is the oldest. Natural barriers have protected the forest from most incursions. To the east and south lies the sea, where towering, rocky bluffs divide the forest and ocean. Only small inlets, many of them hidden from the sea, and rocky beaches, dot the coast, leaving little room for any would-be settlers. To the south lies a range of wild mountains, inhabited by strange monsters. No one claims this inhospitable tract of land, and only a few dour faced dwarves have settled there. To the west and south lies the Great Soup Marsh, a lowland collection of fetid, disease ridden bogs.
It is only to the north that the Eldwood is exposed to the ravages of man and dwarf, of orc and giant. But even there the Eldwood is protected, for the Kingdom of Kayomar, the most powerful realm in the west, stands constant guard. Her knights have long held the ravages of the world at bay. And her Kings long ago made peace with the elven lords, so that the Eldwood’s trees are not harvested by the men of Kayomar. All of this served to make the forest the natural home of elf, druid, and ranger.
Before the coming of the dark, the Druids gathered in the Eldwood and planted a sapling there. The little tree was a gift from the Faerie Queen. In time, it grew to become the Great Oak, father of trees, and legend in its own right. The Eldwood survived the degradations of the Winter Dark and the rule of Unklar for over a thousand years, and the elves -- which people its more distant reaches -- never fled nor succumbed to his dark designs. During the Winter Dark Wars, the elves, chided by Daladon half-elven, joined the Lords of Kayomar and fought against the Unklar, driving him from the southern lands. After the wars, the forest came to know a peace it had not known since its earliest days. Daladon, a demi-god by some reckoning, dwells here, as do his flights of griffon riders and marches of rangers, the Watchers in the Wood. King Nigold rules the wood elves here, as he has done for time without count. And the druids meet still, gathering under their master, The High Druid, in their hidden glades, watch over the forest and their charge, the Great Oak.
The Eldwood is an old growth forest, consisting mostly of oak trees, though this is slowly changing. The forest is divided into three parts. In the vulgate tongue, the outer forest is called the Rimwald (the forest rim), the old boundary the Festungwald (the wall), and the heart of the forest, the Eldwald (the old forest).
In the Rimwald, travel is easy. There are many paths wandering through the open trees and a number of small human settlements sprinkled throughout. Along its southern reaches, the forest gives way to pine trees. Where the Soup Marsh lies, small forest oaks give way to wild trees and swamp grass. In the east, the great oaks of the forest’s heart look down from high bluffs. And in the north, the forest has changed, if only in recent years. An ever growing number of silver maple and birch trees are expanding the size and slowly changing the composition of the forest.
Passing deeper into the forest, the traveler encounters a great tangle of underbrush, younger trees, and wild animals, the Festungwald (festung being an old dwarf word, literally translated “fortress”). This marks the border of the old forest and the natural wall that ranger, druid, and elf planted to keep the minions of the dark lord at bay. It also marks the old boundary of the Kingdom of Kayomar, and is now in some dispute between those who dwell within the forest and the King. In the Festungwald, which averages in places 15 miles thick, travel is very difficult. The tangled brush, vines, and thick growing trees all lend to an inhospitable maze. In places, when the Festung was planted, the rangers took advantage of the old fortifications of Kayomar, so that dungeons and old ruins are not uncommon. Only in one place does the Festung lighten, the Freiden Anhohe (see below).
Within the deep woodland lies the old forest. Ancient oaks stand like monumental buildings. The boles of these massive trees line the forest-like pillars of stone, capped by arching branches and leafy canopies. The trees are wide spaced, allowing easy passage across the vaulted forest floor. Beneath lies a land of ancient mystery. Deep pools in hidden places feed cold streams that trickle through lost valleys. Glades of wondrous beauty hide the homes of dryads and faerie. The wood elves of Nigold hunt here in small bands, and eldritch monsters from the world’s dawn stalk the forest deeps. ‘Tis said that the trees themselves come alive, and when the moon waxes, that the eldest of them lift their tired roots from the ground and gather in a great meet to sing lamentations of their lost world, for they alone, of all the world’s denizens, remember the Days before Days when the trees alone ruled.
THE OLD POST ROAD
There is but one road, The Old Post Road, which traverses the length of the Eldwood. It was constructed ages ago and stretches from the eastern borders by the sea, through the Eldwood and on into the Darkenfold forest. From there, it goes into the far west, to the Rodope Mountains. The ranger order, The Watchers in the Wood, led by the Half-Elven Ranger Lord and High Druid, Daladon Orc-bane, guard the road and keep it in good shape. There are no villages on the road, but near the forest center there is a large open meadow called by the folk of that forest, The Open. Here the forest lords, elf, druid, or ranger gather to meet one another or other folk who seek their aid or council.
Travel on the road is at a normal pace, and it offers the only easy access through the forest.
ENCOUNTERS IN THE ELDWOOD
There are many creatures in the Eldwood who make the forest their home. Some come from the mountains and some from the swamps, and others have dwelt in the wood since the dawn of time. The only humans who dwell in the forest are the Rangers of the Watchers in the Wood, and several small wandering groups of coal-burners (people who make their living by finding small beds of coal, mining it, and selling it in Kayomar to the north) and the few hermits and misanthropes. The chart below lists only a few of the encounters one might happen upon in the Eldwood. The letter following each monster lists the region in which it is encountered. R = Rimwald, F = Festungwald and E = Eldwald. An encounter occurs on a 1 in 12 and should be checked for 6 times per day and 4 times at night.
1 Giant (R, F) (see sub-table)
2 Human, (R, F, E) (see sub-table)
3 Elf, wood (very rare R, rare F, E)
4 Sprite or Pixie (F, E)
5 Centaur (E)
6 Satyr (E)
7 Will-o-the-wisp (F, E)
8 Forest Giant (R, E)
9 Chimera (in the southern R, E)
10 Ghost (R, F, E)
11 Treant (E)
12 Dragon (E)
1 Ogre (F, E)
2 Hill Giant (R)
3 Fire Giant (E)
4 Stone Giant (only in southern E & R)
5 Cloud Giant (only in southern R)
6 Storm Giant (only in southern E & R)
1 1-4 Rangers Lvl 4-12 (R, F, E)
2 Druid (Lvl 8) (E)
3 1-4 Knights of Kayomar (Lvl 8-10) (R)
4 Coal-burner (R, rarely E)
Horns Upon the Coast
The map leads the party south to the coast where the words “Old Post Road” delineate the one major artery through the Eldwood. This road is broad and wide, and though once given to heavy traffic, it is now rarely used. Its been raining (or snowing) for days and the characters are rather wet and their gear a bit worn.
Note: The weather in these southern regions is very damp. The trade winds blow from the south, carrying with them a great deal of moisture. These usually break over the western wood and inundate all the southlands. The Eldwood is tremendously affected, gaining more than its share of rainfall.
Travel into the forest is rather easy and after only a few miles, about time to break for camp, the road climbs a broad hill, giving any traveler a bird’s eye view of the land. It is from this vantage that the party sees the coast, the Sea of Charon beyond it, and the ruins of a small keep.
THE KEEP UPON THE SEA
This small keep sits upon a rise that juts out over the Sea of Charon. The forest gives way to a wide, grassy sward that leads up the bottleneck and on to the gate. The walls are high, and stout and in some disrepair. Beyond them lies the Keep itself, several interconnected towers that jut into the sky like a finger.
The Keep itself is named Janu Regus, the Beacon. It is occupied by a single caretaker, an old man named Ghoz. The Janu Regus was once a proud temple, built as a sanctuary for those seeking respite from their nightmares. It was dedicated to the god Utumno, Horse Lord of Nightmares and in it were built an altar for sacrifices made to him. Beneath the Keep, at the bottom of a long stair lies a small wharf, built so that it juts into the sea but that it is hidden from prying eyes from above or around. There, set upon a stone pillar lays a huge horn; when blown it summons the god Utumno, or at least his craft, built to sail upon the Sea of Dreams.
If the characters approach the Keep, read or paraphrase the following:
"The forest gives way to a thick, loamy grass, tumbling up a long, narrow rise to where it ends at the tall, if worn, walls, of some ancient berg. The castle itself sits upon this peninsula overlooking the sea, her walls spanning its narrow length. Beyond the walls juts a tower, two lesser towers abut the larger one; the whole appearing as an uneven hand; a light, candle by the looks of it, shines from one of the windows. A small, iron door is set in the wall. A bell hangs from the wall, a rope dangling to the ground beneath."
Pulling the rope rings the bell above. It’s a singular sound that carries in the forest and through the rain/snow/dark with a very hollow tone.
If the characters attempt to climb the wall they see nothing but the courtyard and stairs to the inner door (see below). If any of them watch the window while the bell is being rung, they notice a human-shaped figured look through some thin curtains. It watches for a few minutes and then turns slowly, walking away.
Several full minutes pass and the audible noise of a door opening and closing comes from the courtyard beyond. Anyone listening may hear the shuffling noise of feet. A moment later, the small, barred window opens in the door and an eye and nose appear. It is definitely a human. “Can I help you,” an old voice crones.
This is the caretaker Ghoz. After the party identifies themselves, he unlocks the door and allows them entry. He welcomes them to the Janu Regus and asks if they would be staying the night. He offers them floor space upon the main keep’s floor. He apologizes for the accommodations, complaining that few come anymore and fewer still leave votives to allow him to keep the temple up. He does offer them what he may, a good place to sleep and a warm fire. He has little in the way of food, only some fish, but there is plenty of fresh water.
He brings the party up the steps and into the main hall of the Keep (see below). Ghoz does what he can to make them comfortable, getting a fire started in the fire place, putting some water in a kettle to boil. He speaks very little but if pressed explains that when he was young, he took up residence here to serve the Priest of Utumno who dwelt here. That priest was very old even then. They gave healing to those afflicted in their nightmares, but when the priest died, people stopped coming. That was over 20 years ago. The occasional traveler who does stop by, he gives welcome to and a warm place to sleep. The characters are welcome to wander about the place if they like, he explains, but be wary for Utumno Horse Lord of Nightmares, one of the twin gods of the Dreaming Sea. He ruled here once and his ways were devious and something haunts the tower of the Priest, for its lonely calls come to him from time to time.
Note: It is important for the future adventure that the characters become aware of the relation of this keep to the Dreaming Sea.
At that point, Ghoz retires, going up a flight of stairs and through a door. That door, he closes behind him and goes up the stairs to his room, which he locks, and bars. He eats a quick meal and goes to bed.
So far as Ghoz knows, there is little of value in the Keep, the priest buried at sea long, long ago, took most of his wealth and magical devices with him. What he does not know is that powerful magic remains in the Janu Regus, hidden for certain, but it lingers in the rooms and halls.
WALL & GATE
The wall is thick at the base, about 8 feet, but only about 5 feet wide at the top; it stands about 18 feet tall. Crenellated battlements allow defenders to fire from the wall at any approaching. Catwalks line the walls, accessed by two stone steps on either side of the gate itself. The wall extends to the cliff faces on either side of the promontory. The cliffs tumble down some 200 feet to the sea and jagged coral rocks below.
The gate is very small, 6 feet high and 4 feet across. The single door is iron and set on interior hinges. It fits flush with the wall. It is locked and barred with two iron bars on the inside. A small window, 10” x 10”, grated, and locked with a key, allows the guard to look out.
Both wall and gate are in relatively good condition.
Etchings in the stone, half covered by grass and dirt, line the bottom of the wall. These magical runes are of dwarven manufacture, imparting power to the walls, giving them added strength against attacks, both magical and mundane. A wizard or perhaps a rogue, or anyone able to translate magical script can decipher these with a successful intelligence check (CL 10). If a wizard successfully deciphers them, they can add them to their spell book as a 5th-level spell, ironwall. The spell imparts a +8 to any stone walls AC and a +4 to any wooden walls AC. Etching the stones isvery time consuming, usually taking 1 hour per square foot.
The courtyard is very small, extending from the wall to the main keep and towers. It wraps around the back of the keep, but only in a narrow space, that ends at the cliff’s edge, overlooking the cliffs and water below. A thick, loamy grass covers it all, lapping up to the stairs almost like water.
In the courtyard is an old handcart filled with several tools. The tools, a hammer, wedge, rock bar, pick axe, and a box of wooden pegs, are all in need of a good cleaning, but otherwise are in good shape.
T1 INNER KEEP
This is the main tower of the complex. It stands 80 feet high, is very wide at the base and accommodates five floors: the cellar, the ground floor, the second floor where the doors to the Ghoz Tower and Priest’s Tower are, the third floor for storage and cooking and the fourth floor, a small exposed landing overlooking the sea and forest.
The interior of the tower consists of stone steps, but the floors are wooden. The rafters are made of thick wooden beams, supporting the floor above. From below, it is difficult to see very far up the tower as the floors and crisscrossing rafters, support beams and the like, obscure the view. It is possible for a skilled rogue or climber to scale up the cross-sectional support beams that extend in a Y pattern from wall to the ceiling, to climb up them and pull themselves up to the next floor, with the exception of the fourth floor.
The cellar has two entry points, a trap door in the ground floor that leads to a set of stone steps and a small secret entrance on the north side of the Keep. The secret entrance is well hidden and is only 3 feet high and 2 feet wide, set at ground level (detect on a CL 12).
The cellar is deep, about 10 feet in places, but very rough cut. It is dusty and very musty due to the wellhead being here. There are boxes and barrels stacked haphazardly about the room. They are mostly empty, once having contained foodstuffs, and other mundane supplies.
The actual well is here, the water about 60 feet down. The well itself is a natural break in the rock. It is supplied with fresh water through a run off from the forest that fills the well and trickles out through small holes in the rock. Occasionally, in nasty rains, the cellar floods.
The courtyard steps rise up several feet to a large wooden, iron-bound door. This door leads to the broad, circular chamber that is the ground floor. It is very spacious within, accommodating benches that line the walls, a wellhead, a huge built-in fireplace where a large black kettle dangles. The floor is stone; grasses cover much of it, serving to dry up the moisture and soften the tread of feet.
A single set of broad steps wind up to a landing above.
The steps intersect a broad landing. There is very little here. A bed set against the wall can accommodate 1 person, but it has no bed clothing on it and appears rather old. There are several barrels here, one filled with water. Two doors lead from this chamber, one each to the other towers. Access to the Ghoz tower shows signs of heavy use, whereas the access to the other tower has seen little use.
The stairs lead up to the third floor, to the kitchen and storage. An oven built into the wall face (above the fireplace below) dominates the room; but several tables and a few chairs are centered in the room. Dishes, cookware, half cleaned or dirty, dominate every space. Much cooking is done here but little cleaning. A long chain holds a water bucket that can be lowered to the well below on the 1st floor, all the way down to the water, to fetch water for the kitchen.
There are signs of fresh rabbit kill and other food laying about the room.
The stairs rise up into the darkness, ending at a ceiling and a closed hatch. The hatch is not locked as Ghoz uses the area often. The hatch itself opens easily and empties out onto a narrow landing that goes all the way around the tower. It overlooks the whole country, forest, and sea. The tower, sitting upon a promontory, offers an amazing view.
"To the east, the sea wrestles in tumult with the sharp winds and rains that the darkened clouds bring. Far off in the cold bleak, miles and miles from shore, a solitary vessel struggles with the waves, its lone sail collapsing beneath the weather’s weight. In the west, north and south, the forest tumbles off into the darkness, lashed by water from the wind driven storm. Somewhere in those dark folds lies the Frieden Anhohe."
T2 GHOZ’S TOWER
Ghoz’s tower consists of a single set of steps that rise up and into the darkness about 50+ feet. They end in a simple landing and door beyond which lies his room. He lives there, using a small bed to sleep upon and with a few trunks with heirlooms and the like within them. There is a little of value here, a few books and some coins worth about 10gp in the open market.
T3 PRIEST’S TOWER
This tower is slightly larger than the Ghoz’s Tower. It comprises a landing for acolytes, a temple area and the High Priest’s sanctuary, off of which are a set of steps that lead down to Utumno’s Landing below. Ghoz never enters this chamber, believing it haunted by the ghost of the priest who died here, for he hears an occasional howl of distracted pain that comes from the tortured rooms of that tower. The tower is made of stone, with no wooden rafters or cross beams showing. The stairs wind around the tower, ending in landings at each floor where a door leads to the room.
Long ago, a pack of vimnel took up refuge in this tower. Entering through a break in the wall that leads to the stairs, they crawled into the temple. These wild man-beasts have no need for food or drink, living on their own hate, swallowing great gouts of it to survive. They inhabit the priestly chambers mostly, but occasionally crawl about the place.
The door opens into the small room where 3 sets of bunk beds line the walls. They look little disturbed but much decayed, mattresses and sheets rotted and in some places dissolved completely away.
There is one vimnel in here.
The room has a small built-in fireplace, next to which stands a large gargoyle, seemingly made of stone. This winged creature is actually one of the vimnel. It does not attack unless the characters attack it, preferring that they turn their backs by entering the chambers above. If the characters push or poke the creature he feels cold to the touch, but it does not move unless harmed in one way or the other.
If poked thus, it leans forward using its howling ability and then attacks the party. As soon as it howls, all the vimnels attack, rushing down the temple stairs as fast as they can. It takes 4 rounds for the others to come down from the temple.
Vimnel x 6 (These chaotic evil creature’s vital stats are HD 4d8, AC 15, HP varies. Their primary attributes are physical. The attack with 2 claws for 1d4 points of damage and a bite for 1d4 points of damage. Some of them carry weapons, clubs mostly. They pick up any fallen weapon and wield those with skill. Vimnel have a howling ability that unnerves their victims, those who fail a wisdom save, suffer -4 to all attribute checks, to-hit rolls, damage, and saving throws. See New Monsters for full write up.)
If the vimnel do not attack below, they do so here. They are all over the room and they fight to the death. They are not very aware of things around them, and pay little heed to any noise coming from below unless it is a howl.
The temple is in shambles, for the vimnel live here. They have long since, simply through their perching on the furniture with their clawed feet, destroyed it all. Whatever votaries there were have long since vanished as well. A fireplace in the wall is mangled by claw marks.
The only thing of value in the room is a small iron box. It is unlocked and not trapped. Within is a pouch of 100gp, a small vial with a cure serious wounds potion within and a petrified twig. The twig is a twig of the banshee. A small scroll with the spell rune of knowledge is in the box as well.
Twig of the Banshee: This small twig is roughly six inches long. It fell from the Great Oak years ago; how it came into the hands of the priest, none can say. When held in hand, the Twig allows the possessor to turn a Banshee or Ghost as if they were a cleric of their highest possessed level. The Twig can also conjure the thoughts of the undead. The wielder has but to concentrate on the lost soul and he sees what the last thoughts of that particular undead were. The holder must possess some familiarity with the undead’s background or situation. It also adds a +1 against any undead’s extraordinary attack such as a ghoul’s touch. Its value is about 5250gp.
The only noticeable thing in the room, aside from the trunk, is a gaping hole in the wall. It opens into a hidden staircase, one inside the walls. The vimnel tore a hole into and through the masonry. If someone enters the stair here, they can look out, through the wall to the ocean below.
The stair leads up to the Sanctuary and down to Utumno’s landing below.
Much as the room below the sanctuary, where the high priest dwelt, is in shambles. There is nothing of value here. The secret door remains hidden, and is hard to locate from inside the room (CL 8).
The stairs are very narrow and steep. Only one person can walk abreast and even then it is tight. They are dark, however, at a level equal to the temple, then lighten up as outside air spills in through the hole the vimnel tore into the wall. Rubble lines the stairs here. It is wet and slippery. The stairs lead down to a cave, opening up on a wide ledge.
Here, the sea spills in with thunderous noise. The cave mouth is narrow, wide enough for a single boat. The whole cavern, maybe 20 feet high, is made of jagged rock and coated in mist and water. A small wharf extends out from the ledge into the water.
"Water thunders into the narrow cave, pounding the rock, raging against the ledge. Everything is soaked, the stone wharf is constantly awash and the ground is very slippery. At the end of the ledge, in the mouth of the cave, there is a pedestal of stone, shaped from the living earth itself. It is thick at the base, narrow at the top where it breaks into shards of stone-like fingers; the fingers grasp as if for some unknown artifact, long lost to the sea."
The pedestal is designed to hold the Horn of Sounding, located in the crypts below. From here, the characters can summon the magical boat that carries them across the Dreaming Sea (see below).
LEAVING THE KEEP
Before the characters leave the keep, Ghoz thanks them for their aid and company. If the company asks about the pedestal below he remarks:
“You have found the Landing of Utumno. There the High Priest set the Horn of Sounding in the clawed hands of the pedestal. He blew upon it three times to summon that dark god, or his black boat so that he might take passage on the Dreaming Sea. The horn? I could not say where the horn is. It has been gone these many years.”
He welcomes them back any time and promises to make sacrifices to Utumno for restful slumber to keep the nightmares upon the Dreaming Sea. The road down to the woods is easy enough and the journey begins again to the Frieden Anhohe.
When Robert Luther ruled in Kayomar, the Rimwald did not exist and the Festungwald was nothing but a rough border of younger trees and brush. In those days, the Kings in Kayomar were much involved with the forest due to the friendship of St. Luther and Daladon half-elven. After Luther’s departure and after Daladon fell fighting the Dragon, Totenog, Robert Luther journeyed into the forest and made a great gift of gold and silver to the elven King, Eongild. He did this in order to gain that monarch’s permission to build a mausoleum for his great family, and a monastery where monks could live and tend to his fallen kindred. There was less suspicion between the people in those days, so Eongild readily agreed and struck the deal with the ranger lord.
The King chose a small area of gently rolling hills and meadows on the northeastern edge of the Eldwood, well within the forest eves. A small brook had its origins here and it tumbled along in a leisurely fashion. The elves called the place Alethorian, the humans the Frieden Anhohe, both meaning, “the Hills of Peace.”
Robert Luther ordered a monastery with accompanying tomb and gardens constructed with specific orders that it be small and simple. The complex consisted of a crypt, a monastery, wooden storage building/workshop, a small villa, and a garden, all enclosed by a short, three-foot high wall. When completed, he named it the Shrine of the Gallant. He laid his mother, Vivienne, to rest shortly thereafter. Many more valiant souls from the House Pendegrantz were laid to rest as well, victims of the Catalyst Wars.
Since those days, men have all but forgotten of Frieden Anhohe. Only the most studious sages and historians know its name, and fewer still its location. Peasants recount stories and legends of the fallen spirits and ghosts of the House Pendegrantz. Many of that family died and virtually the whole line extinguished fighting the Dark. Folk look upon them as blessed people whose names bring luck or fortune, but none could tell you where their tombs lie. Even the elves have lost track of the area, though some remember its name.
The forest consumed the Frieden Anhohe long ago. It is now on the inner edge of the Festungwald, lost in the thick maze of trees and undergrowth. As with much of the world, the melting ice and snows of the Winter Dark have left an abundance of water, and the little brook which once guided folk to the Shrine has swollen to a good sized stream. The stream, like much in the forgotten places of the world, is unnamed.
THE SHRINE OF THE GALLANT
The Shrine is in ruins. Its wall has crumbled and looks like a strip of moss covered rocks. The storage building is gone, and only shadows of ruins remain of the monastery. The villa is no more. Flowers still grow in recognizable geometric shapes. They mark out the old home place, growing where the walls and fences had been so many years ago. The overgrown gardens sport old statues of forgotten heroes, much worn by time, and covered in vines.
The crypt, however, remains much as it did a thousand years ago. Vines cover the stout building and several small trees threaten the integrity of its walls. But the metal doors are still strong, and the walls solid and unyielding. The Shrine of the Gallant still holds the bodies of forgotten heroes.
GARDENS OF ANTIQUITY
The party has traveled south into the Eldwood, following the map as best they can. It is old and the geography has changed, but they have persevered and at last come upon the unnamed brook which traverses the ancient burial ground.
"You have wandered the trackless wastes of the Eldwood for many days. The map has led you into that deep tangled area of the forest known as the Festungwald. The thick growth clings to clothes and armor, pulls at packs, impeding your travel. With tired limbs you push on.
Up ahead a stream gurgles. It is an inviting sound, promising a cool drink of water. If nothing else, it will offer a small break from the ever present forest, a place to rest and soak your sore feet. The tangled brush of the Festungwald at last gives way and you come into an open dip between two heavily forested hills. The stream, 15 feet wide, is deep and has cut a nice cleft between two hills."
Close observation by a druid or ranger reveals that the forest here is slightly different than that through which they have been traveling. The trees are mostly oak from the Eldwood, altogether different from the Festungwald.
Regardless, any player character that pauses to drink or wash in the river discovers some type of ancient stone work. It is entirely submerged and almost completely covered in algae, washed down debris, and rocks. It, at first, appears to be some kind of wall, entirely underwater. Upon closer examination and with a successful intelligence check (CL 2) they realize that it is the remains of a small stone bridge, constructed when the stream was not nearly so large. Tracing the direction of its path, it faces south and north. This should be an indication that they are near some ruins.
The characters should cross the stream here and up the facing hill to the north. The Shrine of the Gallant is at the top of the hill.
Beyond the stream, the forest is thick. The trees grow close together and a heavy dose of underbrush, vines, and briar abounds. The further up the hill they hike, the thicker the undergrowth becomes. The trees continue to block out both sun and wind, making the journey a gloomy one.
After pushing their way up a long slope, the forest opens up.
The forest roof has opened, and a thick yellow beam of light shines down upon a lonely weathered edifice at the top of the hill. A low stone wall, crumbling and covered in grass, encircles the area. Beyond it is a building. Vines cover much of it, and several trees grow close to the stricken walls. Flakes of dirt and dead vines cake the building’s blackened stones where fingerlike roots cling to the weakened mortar. You see several statues too, also covered in clinging plants. Vaguely you discern the outline of what must have been the mausoleum’s garden.
If the party investigates the area, they find the remains of the monastery (see map). It collapsed years ago and the forest has almost swallowed it completely. The foundation remains, along with some rubble of the collapsed roof and walls. It is readily apparent that excavating the area would be pointless and time consuming.
A thorough search of the area by a ranger (CL 8) reveals that only a few animals have passed through recently. Other than that, the Shrine has been left undisturbed for years without count. There are four statues and an old fountain in the garden; all have suffered from the ravages of time.
Statue A has fallen over, broken off at the legs. Statue B, though upright, has sunk into the ground and leans over, face forward. Both are utterly unrecognizable, their faces worn away as is much of their shape. There are inscriptions in the stone at the bottom of each. If the party scrapes off the dirt and vegetation, they can uncover the inscriptions.
Statue A: “Eongild, Elf King, and Forest Friend.”
Statue B: “Robert Luther, The Red Knight, King of Kayomar.”
Statue C: Though much worn by time, it has the vague shape of a human male, clean shaven, with long hair and chainmail. He leans upon a sword, and around his feet are the vague carvings of waves and a small boat and other unrecognizable shapes. With a successful intelligence check, or wisdom in the case of paladin or cleric (CL 4), they recognize it as St. Luther as he appeared in those long forgotten days. In the language of Law and Good the inscription reads: “After the Passing. King and Father, Protector of the Realm, and Bearer of Durendale.”
Statue D: This is a very rotund figure with balding pate. He holds a rod in his right hand and a book under his arm. Constant erosion has carved rifts in the statue’s huge stomach. The inscription reads: “His Holiness, Arch-Bishop Ban Benwick, Keeper of the King’s Seal, Friend.”
The astute character should realize that the identities of all four statues appear in the Book of Jaren or are referenced on the map (wisdom check, CL 8).
The fountain is in decent shape. Like the rest of the ruins, however, clinging vines and grasses cover it. If the players take the time to clean it off they discover that the centerpiece is in remarkably good shape. It is carved from a single piece of Alamite stone (see sidebar), and represents a miniature of castle Du Geusilon, the home of House Pendegrantz. Dagnir II, the Dwarven King of Norgorad-Kam, gave it to King Robert Luther before the Catalyst Wars began. To a collector its value would exceed 25,000 gold pieces. To a Dwarf it is priceless. With a successful check (CL 10) the party can determine its value with a dwarf’s natural skills or a bard’s legend lore or any similar ability.
Alamite Stone: Alamite stone is found in the deepest recesses of the world. The eldritch goblins were the first to use the stone, but that was in the early years of the world as the Dwarves reckon time. The stone is a type of marble, pure white, very dense and exceedingly heavy. It radiates a pale light in the dark. Alamite does not suffer the ravages of time, it does not wear or erode. Only the most skilled stone masons, those who have mastered the magic of stone, are able to shape it. It is very valuable due to its scarcity.
THE RIDDLE AT THE DOOR As the party approaches the doors to the mausoleum, they must move bramble and cut through thick vines and other vegitation. The doors are shut.
Read or paraphrase the following:
"Cutting your way through the tangle of the garden, you come to the steps that lead up to the great iron-bound brass doors of the mausoleum. The doors, tightly shut, stand beneath a great archway upon which a multitude of tiny figures, knights in mail, dragons, maids, and priests, stand out in faded relief."
Directly above the door, shielded from wind and rain, are carved these words:
“Do Not Pity the Dead, Remember Them.”
Stepping upon the landing before the door triggers a magic mouth, and a programmed image placed upon the doors by the wizard Anaxerxes, Robert Luther’s house mage and the one time protégé of Aristobulus. The doors are also under a lock spell (reverse of knock).
The face of the door twists, bending inwards in concentric circles, it shapes itself into the guise of a malevolent spirit. A toothy maw booms forth a horrid shout, the words sounding in the gloom as the creature’s fetid breath washes over the party.
“Dare not come further nor seek entry here! Only those who can unravel the knot of riddles can enter this chamber of the noble born dead!”
The voice remains silent for about a minute. Obviously, it is utterly benign and can offer the party no overt harm. The correct answers to the riddles trigger a knock spell and open the doors. Otherwise, the characters must find other means of entry. The CK should be very generous to the party in their answers to each riddle. Riddle solving can be fun, but it can also be extremely time consuming and detract from the fun and flow of an adventure. The magic mouth continues:
“Sing praises for the dead and answer me this: how may a man, without magic, make the moon dance?”
The answer to this riddle is water. Looking at the moon’s reflection in water makes it “dance.” If the party fails to answer, the magic mouth disappears and a dead silence falls upon the garden. If they answer correctly, it continues:
"Make way for the dead and answer me this: what ever can it be that can outrun a horse and without touching the wet, cross the mighty sea?”
The answer to this riddle is the wind. Again if the party fails to answer, the magic mouth disappears. If they answer correctly, the magic mouth intones:
"what stands green upon the mountain, lies red in the home and is scattered black in the market place.”
The answer to this riddle is wood or tree. An incorrect answer leads to a dead silence.
If they answer correctly, the mouth becomes wild with rage, shouting the final riddle like a curse:
“Only ghosts walk alone! You have answered well and have earned your entry into this most holy shrine. Say only the words after passing and these doors will open for you.”
“Luther” is the answer, the word needs to be spoken singly or in a sentence. The answer to this last riddle lies carved in the pedestal of Luther’s statue (Statue C above), where it reads, “After the Passing. Luther, King and Father, Protector of the Realm, and Bearer of the Durendale.” Allow characters who read the marker on Statue C an intelligence check (CL 15) to see if they remember reading it.
If one or more of the characters solve the final riddle, the magic mouth suddenly disappears and the doors swing noiselessly open.
Should the party fail to open the doors by solving the riddles, there are several other options for entry. A knock spell suppresses the lock for 10 minutes. Though a thief cannot pick any locks (for there are none present), a diligent search of the entry way reveals a secret lever which opens the door (Robert Luther ordered this fail safe put there in case the spells of Anaxerxes should at some point fail). Finding the secret lever requires a successful wisdom check for spot hidden doors (CL 15).
A HOUSE FOR THE DEAD
As the door swings wide, the waning light of day spills acrossvthe threshold. A musty smell, of old stone and dirt, waftsvover the party. The light reveals an antechamber, 15 feetvdeep and 40 feet wide. Directly across from them is another set of double iron-bound brass doors. These doors, however, have heavy latches and torch brackets on either side. There are alcoves to either side of the room.
The double doors have no lock upon them and open to the tomb proper with relative ease. The alcove to the right was a shrine, that to the left, a place of sacrifice (see map).
"In the right hand alcove is a small shrine, built into the wall. About 2 feet off the floor, a flat stone protrudes. The stone is 12 x 12 inches and supports a sword, carved from stone and gilt in silver. The sword stands point down. There is also a small indentation the size of a cup in the flat stone."
This was a shrine to the god Durendale; the holy symbol of that deity being a sword, pointed down. The shrine is built 2 feet off the floor to allow the devoted to kneel upon their knees and pray (intelligence or in the case of cleric or paladin wisdom, check CL 8). A careful examination of the stone sword reveals small metal brackets attached to the pommel and leading to the wall. These support the heavy stone carving.
The cup-sized indentation radiates magic if a detect magicvis cast upon it. It held holy water when the Mausoleum was still active. Any water poured in the cup is immediately blessed, turning into holy water.
In the left hand alcove is a stone shelf about 16 inches wide and 12 inches deep. Carved into the shelf is a small hole. The hole has black stains in and around it. Otherwise, the alcove is empty.
This alcove served as a register and area of sacrifice. The monks kept a book, ink, and quill upon the shelf for dignitaries to sign or leave their mark. There was also a large offering bowl where peasants could leave coins or other sacrifice (such as food for the monks) in order to gain the blessings of the dead. These books are actually kept in the Mausoleum proper (see below).
"The inner doors are not guarded or held, and open with ease. They swing wide and as noiseless as the outer doors. The air beyond is heavy; the musty smell pregnant with images of ancient decay and lost worlds. In the silence, you hear the echoes of a quiet weeping. All about the room are sarcophagi, all closed and ornately carved. A single body lies upon the floor, with dusty robes and travel gear. Its dry skin is stretched over its decayed bones. In its skeletal hand it clutches an ornately carved horn; the horn itself casts a pale glow in the darkness.
The party will have to use some form of artificial light. Though the room is not very large, its construction is such that no light from the outside can penetrate its gloom. The builders believed that only in darkness can the dead sleep.
When the characters bring light to bear on the crypt, a huge sarcophagus greets them; carved in iron and brass, it rests upon a stone pedestal. It dominates the room, dwarfing all the other sarcophagi sitting haphazardly around the chamber. To the right are a cluster of smaller tombs, a wrought iron gate around them. To the left sits a heavy oak cabinet. Beyond the larger one, there are more brass and metal coffins. A movement of light catches the eye in the back of the room, hinting at the possibility of silver and platinum laced into the houses of the dead.
The sound the party heard when they first opened the doors, and the light in the corner, is actually the manifestation of the Ghost of Vivienne. Her spirit is confused and does not fully realize that she is dead. She spends a great deal of time weeping for the love she lost to the sea. But the sudden light and noise of the party’s entry has startled the ghost, causing her to flee to the back corner of the room, hiding behind her own tomb, even though she does not realize it is hers (for details on Vivienne, see below).
The room itself is cold. A shudder passes through the party as they realize that they are truly in a charnel house. Old, and no doubt rotten, corpses lie within the brass coffins. Some of the sarcophagi are simple, plain brass, set upon feet to keep them from the floor. Many of these are smaller, obviously for children. Some of the greater ones are ornately carved, decorative affairs, the most notable of which is the large one which stands toward the center of the room. At the foot of this larger tomb lies the skeleton.
It lies upon a three layered stone pedestal. The tomb itself sits within an iron frame. The frame has feet shaped into the likeness of a Dragon’s paws, the rails covered in molded scales. Weapons adorn the tomb, shields, swords, spears, axes, and more; all cast in brass forming the decor of a warrior’s life.
The sarcophagus is also well marked in detailed reliefs depicting the deeds of the man within. So great was the magic of the craftsman that the story of the occupant’s life seems to come alive. There are images of knights upon horses, and great battles with the fierce demon headed Ungern. But more, the pictures recount a tale of a man single-handedly slaying a dragon, red by the looks of its shape. Upon the lid is carved a shield, which bears the likeness of an inlaid silver dragon upon checkered background, the family coat of arms of Pendegrantz. Under this shield are carved the words: “Talerein Uther, Dragon Slayer. Here lie a father’s most cherished dreams, the Kingdom’s hope. Rest in peace Gallant Soul. 743-777oy.”
This is the tomb of Robert Luther’s first born son who fell in the year 777oy in the early battles of the Catalyst War. The sarcophagus is welded shut and can only be opened with extreme difficulty (CL 15). The Castle Keeper should discourage the immediate looting of the crypt. The party should be encouraged to explore the whole room, investigate the various tombs and the cabinet in the corner.
HORN OF SOUNDING 
The horn of sounding is a silver coated ram horn, eighteen inches in length, wrapped in platinum laced iron bands with a leather strap attached to either end.
The skeleton lying on the floor obviously died here. It was a priest of Utumno, who served the High Priest from the Keep upon the Hill above. He stole the horn and brought here after the High Priest passed away. He died when he saw the ghost, aged. The horn has laid here since.
It is magical and obviously so; this is the horn of sounding and is used to summon Utumno. Any character that views it and has been to Utumno’s Landing has a chance of recognizing it for what it is, as the horn fits the pedestal’s clawed hand perfectly. They must make a successful mental attribute check (using their highest prime in wisdom, intelligence or charisma) (CL 0) in order to recognize the horn.
The priest has a holy symbol of Utumno around his neck. It is silver and worth about 50gp. He also has a belt pouch in which is some old hardened food, a few coins, and a scroll case that contains a map of the region. The map clearly marks the trail from the Crypt to his temple, The Keep Upon the Hill.
There are 17 sarcophagi in the tomb, all members of the same family. The Castle Keeper should refer to the map on page 14 to follow the brief descriptions below. The bold faced script should be read to the players. An intelligence check, or legend lore check (CL 12) reveals the historical notes in normal script regarding each of the entombed.
NOTE: The party should begin encountering the ghost at this point. Clerics or paladins feel uneasy, as if they are disturbing the peace of the dead. Wizards and illusionists notice an electrical charge in the air. Even fighters and rogues realize that something is amiss, the hair on the nape of their necks and arms are standing up and they have goose bumps. They might see Vivienne from the corner of their eyes, or a shadow on the wall cast by a torch. All this encapsulates an ever growing cool breath of fear. The longer they stay in the crypt, the greater this feeling of uneasiness.
(See map of the Crypt)
The oak cabinet in the left hand corner of the room has seven books in it, some crumbling parchment, dried ink bottles and a few quills. One book recounts a brief history of the Monastery and Shrine of the Gallant. The other six are registers, with lists of names, the dates they came to the crypt and what donations they made. The last date in the registrar reads “793, Countess Theresa Humbald.
1: Talerein Uther Dragon Slayer (for description see above). This was Robert Luther’s son.
2: Trieste of Amorall. 760oy-790oy. This smaller coffin sits next to that of the large one; it is a simple brass affair with a name, birth, and death date inscribed. This was Talerein’s wife.
The six sarcophagi behind the wrought iron gate:
3: Gwenowen Lilly. 735oy-792oy. This is another smaller tomb and bears the likeness of a woman with hands folded across her breast. Also the family coat of arms is emblazoned on her skirt. Gwenowen was the youngest of Luther’s children, Robert Luther’s sister.
4-8: These are unnamed, the three closest to the wall are very small and obviously those of children. These three bear the date 792oy upon them. The other two are plain, though slightly larger. These are Gwenowen’s children, three of which died at the Siege of Pendelion.
9: An ornately carved tomb depicting several knightly battles and the siege of a castle. The workmanship appears hurried. The inscription reads: Casaend. Here lie the bones of our last son. He died fighting the dark in the Sudmark. He was the last of our Glory. 774oy-793oy. Casaend was the eldest son of Eric Euryiance, Luther’s second born son. He fell at the battle of Menil’s Drift. He was the last buried here, and the poor quality of the workmanship of his tomb reflects the dwindled power and wealth of Kayomar which fell to the dark only 7 years after laying the boy to rest.
10: Upon this tomb, the craftsman spent a great deal of time and effort. Beautiful carvings rendered in silver, gold, and platinum adorn the lid. The ostentatious designs depict ships at sea and war. The lid bears the relief of a man decked in chain and plate, with a great axe in both hands. A large iron bolt, fit only for a ballista, is held firmly in two brackets at the relief ’s feet. The inscription reads: Here lies Prince Erik Aristobulus Euryiance, son of King Luther, Master of Sail, Lord of Men. In victory he fell when this iron bolt struck him down. 734oy-789oy. The second son of Luther, Erik died at the battle of Auger bank. After defeating Unklar’s fleet (a defeat from which it never recovered) Erik was struck down in the final moments of the battle with a bolt hurled by the giant Herigold. He fought for some time with the bolt in his chest, but died of blood loss.
11-12: Smaller coffins with little decor. They have the likenesses of men in armor with swords. Both have the family coat of arms upon shields at their feet. The sarcophagus nearest the wall reads: Euryiance. Son of Erik. 764oy790oy. The second one reads: Jarel. Son of Erik. 766oy791oy. These are two sons of Erik Aristobulus Euryiance, both died fighting the dark.
13: A simple tomb with the likeness of a woman on the lid. The inscription reads: Our sister, Merilee Lothian. 728oy791oy. Robert Luther’s sister.
14: Another tomb of a Knight. His likeness in chainmail and plate carved on the lid: Owen Augustus. Died fighting the dark at his mother’s side. 736oy-763oy. Vivienne Brigthleaf’s oldest son.
15: A tomb of a Knight. The likeness of the man carved in full plate with a great sword in hand. Robert Oralius. Knight of Renown. Scourge of Evil. 739oy-683oy. Vivienne Brightleaf’s youngest son.
16: The likeness of an armored woman. She wears chain and a great helm and shield are at her feet. She bears a sword in one hand and a book in the other. The tomb is without decor. The inscription reads: Vivienne Brightleaf. First born to Luther and Vivienne. The light of our House and the wonder of the world. She died in arms at Iaden Hill. A Leaf Never so Bright. 720oy-763oy. The first born of Luther’s children, elder sister to Robert Luther. She took up arms after the death of her husband, Duke Owen. She died at the side of her son, Owen Augustus, upon the heights of Iaden hill.
17: Much like the first tomb, this one is elevated on a stone dais. The feet are in the likeness of men, straining to hold the weight upon their shoulders. The sarcophagus itself is of brass and silver, with precious stones crafted into the whole. The sides of the coffin, however, draws attention. It is as if the coffin sits within an illustrious garden of white flowers. The flowers themselves are carved from ivory, their stems of jade and the whole garden of them coils gently about the final resting place of Queen Vivienne of Pendegrantz. The lid, too, is a work of art; it has captured a woman of surpassing beauty in brass and silver. She holds a necklace and holy symbol in one hand, and a book in the other. The inscription at her feet reads: Vivienne, Queen and a Mother most dear. 701oy-742oy.
ENCOUNTERS OF THE SIXTH SENSE
When the party begins inspecting this area, one character hears a woman weeping. The CK should pick this character carefully, choosing the one most likely to not attack at first sight. At first it is indiscernible, but after a moment or two, becomes very distinctive. At that point, the character in question sees the ghostly shape of a weeping woman. The apparition disappears before the party has a chance to react.
As the party scrambles to investigate the incident, Vivienne appears again:
An ethereal figure materializes in front of you. She graces the air, standing, staring at the tomb which houses her corporeal form. The woman possesses a wondrous form, her delicate, soft features giving truth to a tale of legendary beauty. Dressed in a gown of radiant green, with sleeves flowing to the floor, mingling with her hems, she looks the part of a Queen from a world long gone. She is forlorn, her brow knotted with what worries you can only imagine. She turns slowly, taking you in, suffering to look upon you with eyes wide and filled with sorrow. Faintly, the light of her form gives truth to its transparency, for beyond and through her you see the wall of the crypt. Her lips part and in a hollow voice she intones, “Please, you must help me find my love, my husband.”
This time she is composed and seeking answers from the party. Castle Keepers should remember that Vivienne does not know that she is dead and converses with the party as if they had but happened upon her.
Vivienne, Ghost (This chaotic good creature’s vital stats are HD 10, AC 20, HP 72. Her primary attributes are mental. She attacks with a slam that cause no damage but comes with the touch of death. Any creature that is struck by the ghost ages depending upon their race. She is also able to use a frightful moan causing fear in those who fail a wisdom save. She is incorporeal and able to use telekinesis.)
In life, Vivienne served the god Durendale as a priestess, only retiring from the priesthood when she married the young King Luther. She retained much of her power and influence even after many years separated her from her religious brethren. A powerful, forceful woman, Vivienne ruled the kingdom frequently in her husband’s absence. It is this force which has kept her spirit from passing from the world and made her the ghost of the Frieden Anhohe.
The ghost Vivienne has lost her way. She does not realize that she is dead, has no concept of time passing, and can not identify where she is. The Castle Keeper should keep this in mind while playing her. Her speech should be flighty and confused, and her tone altogether distant.
The Castle Keeper should discourage players from attacking Vivienne. Her non-violent demeanor openly discourages attacks and allows the players to realize that she does not pose a threat; a simple wisdom check (CL 2) reveals this. If the players insist on attacking her, the ghost has an almost instinctive defensive reaction. The undead in her reacts violently for a round or two. After the initial attack, she retreats to the back of the room returning to her previous attitude and avoiding further combat unless pressed. She can be turned, but this has only a temporary effect on her. Within a few short hours, her spirit returns.
Any good member in the party knows instinctively that the ghost is not hostile and that communicating with her is possible. This may be done through any number of methods from speak with dead to comprehend languages or with the rune of knowledge found in the temple area of the Keep Upon the Sea above.
Once the party’s mage memorizes and casts the spell, Vivienne changes. She stands regal and proud, as she did a thousand years ago when she ruled all the west as Queen of Kayomar. Vivienne turns to the caster and with wide eyes says, in a strong commanding voice, the following:
“My love, Luther, our King, left me only three winters gone. He embarked upon his ship, the Evening-Swan, and sailed upon the Dreaming Sea and I have not seen him nor had word since. With the clouds of darkness rising in the East it unsettles me and I would know his whereabouts. Bring me a token from him. Bring me the nuptial ring which I gave him and which he bore upon a chain across that dangerous sea.” Her voice calms and the hint of sadness returns. “Luther is my one true love as well as my King and I would know that he rests in some safe harbor, quiet from the storm. I would know that he does not suffer from the spells of some vile sorcerer. I may not rest until this is done. Would you take this charge and find my Lord and bring to me the token. I have no reward to pay you, only peace for me and the gratitude of the King.”
OF QUESTS AND BOLD ADVENTURE
The characters should be encouraged to return -- or in case they did not visit it in the first place --the Keep upon The Sea, the Janu Regus. If they visited it on their way out, the way back is easy enough to follow; if not, the map should suffice to bring them to the Keep.
In any case, the journey should be a normal overland trek with wandering monsters, etc.
If the characters are visiting the Keep for the first time, refer to the Keep description above. Once they have encountered Ghoz and learned the Keep’s inner workings, continue on below.
If they have visited the Keep already, after the journey back to the castle, Ghoz welcomes them once more. Upon learning of their quest and or design. He offers these words of assistance:
Read or paraphrase the following:
Ghoz looks past you, into the fire. “I remember that crypt from my youth. It was built when the world was young. If Vivienne lies in limbo in yonder crypt then it is a tragic thing. Any who take up this quest, whether you succeed or fail, must earn the welcome of the gods, and that is not a thing to be taken lightly. “You have the horn that has long been missing. It is odd that one of my friends stole it as he you say, carrying it into that crypt for what purpose I cannot say. Demtri was his name; he is dead now. But you must place that horn in the pedestal and sound it thrice as the sun comes up over the eastern seas. This will bring a craft to you, one that can carry you upon the Dreaming Seas where St. Luther, the object of your quest, lies. He dwells upon the Isle of Blight, in the great castle Pendegrantz. You must cross the ocean and its many dangers before you come to the island.”
“This last thing. Once upon the Isle, seek out the Inn of Three Tear Drops at the foot of Lonesome Ridge. The proprietor will guide you to the Confessor’s Castle. My friends, heed this, drink only a little of that Inn Keep’s brew, if you must drink at all, for it is a potent draught.”
“Fare thee well, and be wary, for dreams are dangerous things.”
STORM UPON THE DREAMING
The Dreaming Sea (sometimes referred as the Sea of Dreams) is a plane juxtaposing that of the prime, or Aihrde. The sea is a watery plane of chaos, each drop a physical manifestation of a dream. These droplets of the dreams and nightmares of the living creatures of Aihrde -- past, present and future -- have accumulated over the millennia to form this great ocean. They are infinite in number, and the Dreaming Sea has no bottom. Few know of it, fewer still have traveled upon it, and fewer still have returned from the Dreaming with their sanity intact.
When the world of man, elf, and dwarf is calm, so is the sea, and when the world suffers, the Sea becomes more tumultuous. Scholars refer to these accumulated dreams as the Dreamscape. Those with power can travel upon and through it.
In the Age of Heroes, the gods chose Luther the Paladin, the lawful and good King of Kayomar, to rule the sea and to bring order to its madness. This was before the coming of Unklar. Luther set sail in the magical boat, EveningSwan, and sailed the timeless Sea of Dreams, mastering its currents and eddies, learning to seek out one amongst the infinite many and read that mind’s dreams. He learned of the plight of world during the Age of Winter Dark and used the avenues afforded to him upon the Dreamscape to send thoughts of himself into the world, and during the long Winter’s Dark, to maintain the fire of hope.
In time, Luther came to be known as the Dreaming Paladin, or Dreaming Knight. His presence upon the Sea calms it, even when war, famine, or plague engulfs the world. St. Luther shares his domain with the god Utumno, Lord of Nightmares. The two bear no ill will toward one another, the latter but the darker shade of the former. They bear the sobriquet collectively, The Dreaming Lords.
Regular travel upon the Dreaming Sea is rare. Only two magical craft are known to exist which can sail upon the Sea unimpeded. These are the ships Evening-Swan and Dream Horn. Powerful creatures can summon the Dreaming Lords and bid them to port them onto the sea, and the Confessor Knights of St. Luther come and go at their master’s will, but aside from these, travel upon the sea is difficult.
ENTERING THE DREAMING
If one does not have the boats, then some type of sorcery is a must. The Winter Runes are spells crafted that allow one to travel from one plane to the other. There are several, included in the appendix on New Spells, which allow travel to the Dreaming.
However, getting there is only half the problem, as the sea is not real water and the plane reacts to the world and not on its own forces, so travel there is exceedingly difficult. There are magical craft, as in the boats, but these must be specifically made for the Dreaming or they sink into the Sea as if it were quicksand. Some magical creatures, because of their very nature, are able to travel upon the Sea. The dream warriors certainly can, but nightmares are also able to travel here. Though they normally dwell in the outer planes, the dreaming juxtaposes their own planes and their nature, allowing them to ride across the water. Nightmares are, of course, evil creatures and never bear a passenger willingly. Characters or CKs may conjure other methods of travel at their own discretion.
TRAVEL UPON THE SEA
When in either craft, the Dreaming Sea acts as an ocean in all respects. There are ocean currents (frequently driven by the force of collective wills), wind currents, storms (manifesting when gods dream) and all other climate effects one would find on the open sea.
There are no random encounters upon the Dreaming Sea. Only a very few monsters have come to inhabit those dreaming deeps. The Dream Warriors of Unklar’s Fashioning (see below), the nightmarish Genug Dragon, and Utumno’s Knightmares. Other creatures exist, but they are wild and wondrous beasts.
There is no traditional night or day upon the Sea, regular time has no meaning. The plane exists in the collective unconscious of the world’s dreaming. Travelers experience the cyclic daytime/nighttime of their own plane while upon the Sea, though perceptive travelers realize there is no Sun or Moon. Frequently, these daytime/nighttime cycles change as the circumstances dictate. Storms upon the Sea darken the seascape and experience an extreme amount of magical lightning.
NOTE: The Dreaming Sea can be a fun place to adventure and opportunities abound for the Castle Keeper to scramble the brains of his players. The Castle Keeper can use the PC’s own goals and desires against them. A character upon the Dreaming Sea may find himself face to face with his or her own nightmares.
SEAS LIKE MOUNTAINS
Read or paraphrase the following:
"Taking a great breath you sound the horn. The first note is long and deep and carries out across the waters of the Amber Sea. You blow it a second time and a third. The echoes of the horn’s sounding hang above the turbulent surf. Before you, the crashing seas pound the beach with relentless fury. In the distance you spy a single sailed black ship 60 feet in length and 20 feet abeam. The sail is stretched in the wind, full to billows, and the boat skims the ocean surface with amazing speed. Moments later it comes to rest at the edge of the wharf, undisturbed by the rolling breakers of the angry sea.''
THE DREAM HORN
Any character member can blow the horn of sounding. Upon the third blast, Utumno’s ship, the Dream Horn, comes as summoned.
The Dream Horn is a magical ship which is able to travel upon any body of water. Specifically designed to sail the Dreaming Sea, it is perfectly equipped to cross normal bodies of water, whether rivers, lakes, seas or oceans. The magical properties of the craft keep it from rolling, capsizing, or pole pitching (when a ship is tossed bow over stern by large seas). This does not, however, mean that passengers cannot be swept from the boat or that high seas will not swamp the boat. Also, the Dream Horn can be sunk if its hull is breached.
The craft is built like a Viking long ship. It is long and narrow of beam (the width of the ship at its greatest part) with a 40 ft. high single sailed mast. It is larger, however, than it seems because of the deep draft of the ship’s hull. Large amounts of supplies are kept here and in good weather, food is cooked. The deep draft gives the ship greater stability in heavy seas. It has a single rudder (tiller), attached to the starboard stern of the craft. Here the oarsmen sits or stands upon the small poop deck in order to guide the craft. The Dream Horn is amply supplied with 16 pairs of oars (32 total) to allow for passage in calm seas. Spare rigging, hammers, clamps and other equipment is supplied in the ship for general repairs and work on the mast. It can accommodate up to 40 passengers with ease.
A crew of Dark Faerie man the Dream Horn at all times. They are bound to the ship by magical means. They do all the mundane tasks sailors would normally do on a more conventional ship, hoisting the sail, stowing gear, manning the oars, etc. The creatures are visible to the naked eye as shades and shadows moving about the ship. Wizards, illusionists, paladins, and clerics, however, are able to see the creatures in their true form (see below for full description). They do not interact with mortals in any way.
There is not, however, a steersman on the Dream Horn. Utumno normally mans the tiller and guides the ship to its destination. One of the PCs will have to do this. The first character who takes the tiller in hand is magically empowered to sail the Dream Horn. Residual knowledge from Utumno’s own dreams spill over from the wood of the tiller to the character in question and permanently endows him or her with the skills necessary to navigate a ship. Any character that already possesses the requisite skills to sail a ship has those skills enhanced.
When the characters embark and one takes the tiller, the Dark Faerie man the oars and push the ship out into the surf. When the ship is about 100 feet from shore, a wind picks up and drives it out to sea. Shortly, the craft fades from the world and sails onto the Dreaming Sea. The transition is seamless, as if passing through a misty fog.
Immediately upon the Dreaming Sea, the boat enters heavy seas. St. Luther is the Dreaming Sea’s steward, without him the plane has become a wild place of immense storms and gales turning the normally choppy waters of the world’s dreams into a maelstrom of turbulent waters.
Read or paraphrase the following:
"You are cast into a wild world of water and manically wild white-capped seas. Great waves rise to impossible heights, cresting in torrents of spray and mist. The thunderous noise pounds your senses; the horrific sound alone drives you to the deck of the ship. Even the air you breathe is heavy with water; it chokes you into sputtering nonsense. The thundering mountains of water rising to and fro dwarf the small craft, promising to swamp the boat and drown all who travel aboard. The ocean beneath you seems impossible and you and your gear are thrown about the bottom of the Dream Horn like so much flotsam."
The storm very quickly manifests itself in such a way as to assault the psychic senses of the party. Here the information which the Castle Keeper gleaned from the party before the outset of the adventure (as noted in the “Organization and Preparation” in the “Using this module” section above) comes into play. As they guide the Dream Horn into the deeper sea and hunker down against the pounding waves, they are forced to look inward and to combat their inner demons. Dreams will contort into nightmares and nightmares become a reality from which they cannot run. Fears, hopes, and desires simultaneously batter the character’s psyches as the storm raging around the ship batters the Dream Horn.
The Castle Keeper should confront each player with twisted versions of his/her own dreams, seek reactions and follow up by twisting the reactions in exaggerated stories of what could be (fears) and what may never be (hopes). The Castle Keeper may wish to pull each player aside and conduct the psychic battle apart from the rest of the characters. The players should be made to believe that what they see is somehow a prophetic vision of the future. The Castle Keeper should try to convince them that their future has already been written. For instance: Assume that one of the players has gaining a title of nobility as his character’s goal; he sees a vision of himself, an old grizzled veteran of many campaigns, living in poverty, forgotten by all, abandoned and hopeless. It should be made clear to him that the visions he sees are real, and that it is his future and that what he does now, upon the sea, affects what that outcome is.
The character is still aware of the towering seas around the small craft and the predicament the boat is in. If he/she succumbs to the vision without fight then he/she must make a wisdom check (CL equal to half the character’s wisdom score) or suffer some form of insanity. (See below)
If the player is imaginative enough to attempt to counter the vision, to alter it, change it, or see through it in any way, encourage that player to describe how he sees his future, and to expound upon what he will do to achieve it. These responses should be twisted further. For instance: the above character refuses to believe that his fate is to die in poverty and instead he tries to visualize his fate as that of an old but wizened monarch sitting upon a gilded throne; the Castle Keeper should allow this vision to occur but the character is then made to realize that as a monarch he is nothing more than a puppet, unable to produce an heir to the throne; he has become the unwitting front man for powerful figures in the kingdom who he is powerless to control and so on. Though the character in question is still required to make a successful wisdom check (DC equal to half the character’s wisdom score), he gains a bonus of +2 for attempting to overcome the powerful illusion of his own dreams.
Characters who fail to save suffer some form of permanent insanity. These may or may not come into play immediately (depending on the type). The Castle Keeper may want to make a note of the illness and have it manifest itself down the road. Characters who attempt to resist the dream battles will suffer one of the two lesser insanities (Dementia Praecox or Hallucinatory Insanity). The Castle Keeper should feel free to use any other type of insanity not listed here.
Those characters who survive the psychic battle (one way or the other) have come to grips with the Dreaming Sea and are never again susceptible to the madness which the Sea brings to the weak of will. Though this realization strengthens their resolve, it does not weaken the force of the gale which batters the Dream Horn through its voyage. The journey continues into the deeps of the ocean’s dreams.
1: Dementia Praecox. When the condition manifests itself (about once a week), the afflicted becomes uninterested in anything going on around him. This could be something as dramatic as combat or something as commonplace as buying a shirt. When the character is struck, there is a chance of a severe reaction; if they fail a wisdom check (CL 12) then they will not do anything, but rather wander off, sit or lay down.
2: Hallucinatory Insanity. This disease causes the afflicted to see or hear things which do not exist. The condition manifests about once every four days (becoming progressively worse) or when the afflicted enters a stressful situation. In stressful situations, a constitution saving throw is made. If the saving throw fails, the character hallucinates enough to alter his reactions (for example, if the party is entering an unexplored dungeon, the stress triggers his insanity and he immediately sees a host of stirges attacking him and the party). The player should be made to believe that what he sees is real. The hallucinations affect the character’s reactions in all situations. The hallucinations end in 2d6 turns.
3: Hebephrenia. The affliction causes the diseased to lapse into a dream world. He refuses to believe in the world around him and sees things in a wholly different and inaccurate light. The disease is often characterized by wandering aimlessly about, muttering nonsense, shouting without reason, giggling and so on. The Castle Keeper should assume control of the character.
4: Catatonia. The afflicted lapses into a waking coma unable to take care of himself. Utterly distraught, the diseased sits or lies down in a catatonic state and does not react in any way to outside stimuli. The diseased can be cured with one of the following spells; remove curse, cure disease, cure insanity, heal or wish.
WARRIORS UPON THE DREAMING
Read or paraphrase the following:
"The seas calm a little but the wind does not give and your small craft sails with breathtaking speeds across the whitecapped oceans. Time passes without meaning, you consume meals, sleep, and toil but the journey carries on. Tired muscles and fraught nerves add frustration to the search for the Isle of Blight. Suddenly you spy an island in the distance, but you can hardly discern it from the white ocean spray of breaking waves. Faint and far off as it is, it seems to glow a luminescent white. Surely this is the famed Isle of Blight of St. Luther!"
This is not the Isle of Blight but an island of law and evil, constructed by the dark powers. Born of the power of the dreamscape, evil nightmares that stalk the watery wasters of people’s misspent desires. They possess minor powers which mirror those of the dreaming gods. They have built themselves an abode upon a small windswept isle fashioned from madness and dreams. The island mirrors a wintery dark, blasted plain of cold empty spaces. The party spies the isle in the distance and must decide whether or not they shall investigate.
If the party chooses to avoid the island and sail on, skip ahead to the section marked Siren Calls. The party should be encouraged to explore the island as several magic items are on the isle which may come to their aid later. Use sea sickness or general exhaustion to move the party toward the island.
Read or paraphrase the following:
"Approaching the island, you see a wind blasted wasteland. Rolling waves strike the island’s icy blue cliffs in pounding roars. Gaunt bluffs, moribund in frost and ice, rise on high to the wind swept peak which in turn casts a trail of snow into the air. There, at the foot of the peak, a small, squat, grey castle sits. Great snow drifts are piled against its walls and battlements. You discern the makings of an inlet upon the island’s leeward side, and a trail stretching up this unforgiving white shard of land."
The inlet harbors the Dream Horn safely. It is well placed to avoid the surf, tide or any storms that might strike the island. It does not have, however, any natural landing for the party to debark upon. Steep cliffs 20-30 feet high surround the inlet. There is a ladder attached to the inner cliff face leading up to the trail head. It seems to be made of metal, but sheets of ice 1-2 inches thick cover it.
The party must moor the boat as best they can next to the ladder and climb it to the trail above. If the character does not break the ice off the ladder, each party member should make a dexterity check (CL 8) while climbing the ladder or risk falling into the cold waters.
If someone falls, his companions must rescue him immediately. For every 3 minutes the unfortunate character is in the water, he suffers a 25% chance of limb loss (starting with fingers and toes). Long term immersion in the water will cause death through hypothermia (approximately 15 minutes). Any individual who suffers the misfortune of falling into the water must be warmed in some manner, their clothes dried, and equipment cleaned of ice before they can continue. The party can circumvent this danger by hammering the ice off of the ladder or removing it in some other way.
The trail is a narrow affair that winds up the mountain slope (see map, Isle of Wintry Dreams) to the castle at the top. There are no wandering monsters, though there is one encounter area in a rope bridge spanning a chasm about three-quarters of the way up. The whole journey is an arduous one. The trail winds up steep slopes, through several narrow canyons and across two broad windy flats before it ends at the castle above. Characters heavily encumbered or those moving quickly and recklessly risk falling down cliffs, being blown off the mountain side or suffering any other wicked fate the Castle Keeper can concoct. Such characters should roll several dexterity checks, at least 3, with varying CL for their challenges.
ROPE BRIDGES AND IRON CASTLES
Read or paraphrase the following:
"A driving wind strikes your already swollen faces. Frozen skin crinkles beneath its wicked sting. Before you looms a chasm stretching the whole length of the plateau. It’s roughly 40ft. wide and over a thousand feet deep. Jagged rocks line the deep maw like the mangled teeth of an ancient dragon. A rope bridge spans the gulf. It consists of two ropes, one high, one low, spaced about three feet apart. The ropes attach to two large iron poles, one on either side of the gorge."
The lower rope is for the feet, the upper rope for the hands. The characters can only cross one at a time. As before, each character makes a successful dexterity check (CL 6). Falling from the rope bridge means certain death. Of course, an intelligent party will tie off before they begin to cross. This should, at the very least, keep them from plummeting into the depths. Obviously, nothing precludes the characters from finding a magical means to cross the chasm.
Once the characters safely cross the bridge, it is a quarter mile hike to the wooden gates of the castle.
The castle is a small affair, constructed against the peak ofvthe island’s only mountain. It has three squat, crenellatedvwalls about 18 feet high. The rear of the castle is thevmountain itself. There are two square towers, one on eithervside of the large wooden gate, each about 24 feet high. Theviron bound wooden gate is open, exposing the courtyard andvthe Inner Keep beyond (see map this page).
Entering the castle from behind is nearly impossible. A horrific 40-50 mph freezing wind blows continually just above the towers, pounding the cliff face. Much of the cliff face has been worn smooth; what remains has gathered thick sheets of ice. This makes climbing the cliff exceedingly difficult (CL 10).
When the party advances within 100 feet of the castle, they realize that the walls and towers are made of iron, not stone. This peculiar feature is a result of the dream warrior’s rather pathetic attempt to mimic their master’s own fortress of Festung Aufstrag, which is partly made of iron.
The dream warriors are hidden within the Great Hall of the Inner Keep. They have designed a simple trap to entice unsuspecting victims into their lair where they can feed upon them. The dream warriors have laid dream myst upon the walls and gate. These spells are like illusions, except that they originate within the victim’s own psyche. The creature is tricked into believing that what they desire lies within the Inner Keep. For instance: a dwarf would smell gold in the air, an elf may see warmth within the Inner Keep, a cleric may realize that this is an ancient temple of his deity, a mage may recognize the Inner Keep as an old guild hall. Because the spell reacts within the recipients own imagination, it is difficult to realize that there is a spell at all. The intelligence check is made at a CL 9. (For details on the dream warriors and dream myst, see sidebar)
TOWER OF FEAR
The courtyard is covered in undisturbed snow, deep drifts piled against the walls, towers, and inner keep. Beyond the courtyard, a small set of steps leads up to the double doors of the inner keep. It too is ajar.
Read or paraphrase the following:
"A warm, yellowish light spills out from the doors across the steps, reflecting off the snow. Beyond, you see the dim outlines of a great hall, a soft light spilling out from within. There, carved pillars of worked marble stand like giants, holding up the roof. Alternately placed black and white flagons make up the floor, leading across the Hall to a large throne, about which mounds of treasure are stored. Swirling tendrils of mist hang in the still air, where the light of the sunless day cannot reach them."
As least 3-4 dream warriors await to spring upon the party, but the Castle Keeper should increase or decrease the number of dream warriors in the chamber as is necessary to challenge the party. The treasure in the room is real, the dream warriors have accumulated it from forays onto the prime material world and throughout the Dreaming. They fight to the death, refusing to leave the world they have created. All the other rooms are empty, hollow imaginings of the dream warriors.
Dream Warriors (These lawful evil creature’s vital stats are HD 10d10, AC 22, HP varies. Their primary attributes are physical and mental. They attack with any weapon for +4 points of damage. They are able to cast the following spell-like affects: dreaming mist, fear, limited-esp, and mist form. Refer to the Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde or the back of this adventure for the full write up.)
As soon as the last of the dream warriors falls, the castle begins to dissolve, slowly at first, but gaining speed. After it the island itself begins to fade into nothingness.
Treasure: The treasure is heaped around the throne in various trunks, casks, sacks, and loose piles. In all there are 400pp, 12,000gp, 17,000sp. There are two small casks filled with mixed gems, (total value 2,000 gp). A tapestry, 4 ft high and 36 ft long, depicting the rise of Unklar in the Age of Heroes, is valued at 5,000gp. There are several magic items: potion of +1 to charisma, scroll of greater dispelling, nine lives stealer long sword, +1 dagger, rings of friend shield, and an arrow of dragon slaying (this item may be used to some effect in the dragon encounter, see below, Dragons on the March).
When the party returns to the Dream Horn, embarks, and sets sail once more upon the Dreaming Sea, they should soon realize that it is easy to become lost upon the dreaming.
Holding the twig of the banshee aloft and calling upon Luther suffices to summon his spirit which guides the craft to the Isle of Blight.
Prayers to Utumno do much the same.
Whatever approach the characters use to navigate on the trackless waste, as soon as the object of their quest becomes known, the image of Luther comes to them.
Read or paraphrase the following.
"St. Luther sits astride a huge roan warhorse, lance and shield in hand. Before him stands a mountain of flesh and bone in the form of the dreaded mogrlt, those devils of legend. The paladin does not hesitate but plunges forward, thundering hooves, clanking mail, and screams of exultation fill the air as he lances the beast in the breast, bright blood washing the earth and sky. The image fades to that of the paladin sitting atop a gilded throne, his head upon his breast, lost in a deep sleep."
The sail of the Dream Horn fills with wind and the boat is hurled aloft, skimming the waves. With speeds undreamed of, the boat crosses the stormy waters of the Dreaming Sea to the final destination, the Isle of Blight.
A DREAM LORD’S DREAM
The Isle of Blight is the only true physical landmass on the Dreaming Sea. There are other islands, but these, like the Isle of Wintery Dreams, are only manifestations of the dreams of gods or other powerful entities. The Isle of Blight, on the other hand, is the last sliver of the All-Father’s body, lost in the ethereal world of Dream. In the Days before Days, certain fell creatures made the island their home. The place became an abode for evil for a time, many of its inhabitants driven mad by the howls that rose from the Dreaming Sea. The greatest of these creatures was a warrior priestess of Aenoch, driven from her own lands for worshiping eldritch creatures of chaos and evil. Whatever became of her, none can say, but it was she who built the castle and tower wherein Luther calls his home. And it is the stain of these creatures which earned the island the name of Blight. Regardless of the island’s origins, it has become the abode of St. Luther and his Confessor Knights.
The circular island is roughly 150 miles in diameter (see map, inside back cover). Sandy beaches, small bays, and inlets are generously sprinkled along the leeward side of the island, with the windward side consisting of steep cliffs and bluffs. Temperate forests of red oak, silver maple, birch, and blue Vien trees (see sidebar) cover the jagged hills, ridges, and gulches of the island’s interior. There are many freshwater pools, streams, and small ponds throughout the island. The island is perpetually in a state of spring time, warm days and cool evenings are the rule. The environment is pristine, there are no human, demi-human or humanoid settlements here, and only a few species of animals wander the back woods. There are a number of mythic monsters which stalk the quiet recesses of the Isle of Blight, but these mostly keep to themselves (see wandering monster table below). Luther has given the island a normal sunrise and sunset corresponding to high spring in the world beyond.
The island is subject to any storms that occur upon the wide expanse of the Dreaming Sea. These usually develop as terrible typhoons, the magical incarnations of dreaming gods used to traveling the dreamscape unimpeded that become entangled in the immovable Isle of Blight (see The Dreaming Sea above). These typhoons are deadly, creating flash floods, uprooting trees, and loosening soil and rock which tumble into the Sea below.
There are only two settlements on the Isle of Blight: Luther’s fortress, Castle Pendegrantz, and The Inn of Three Tear Drops. In the former dwell St. Luther and the Confessor Knights (see below), and in the latter a minor god of the ancient world, Banawick, Lord of the Corpulent form.
St. Luther’s fortress lies deep within the island’s interior. His Knights do not explore or patrol the island, and are only seen in the woods when they cross from castle Pendegrantz to the Sea. There they embark upon the Evening-Swan, bound for the world of Aihrde or traverse the sea through other magical means. Once in the world of men, they carry out their master’s wishes, confessing the evil, blessing the good, and trying to bring peace through strength to the world.
Banawick lives near the leeward coast. In the Age of Heroes, Banawick was much revered, worshiped by the wealthy, gluttonous, thieves, drunkards, and all those who love life too much. The god’s constant flirtation with people’s desires led him to secret knowledge of the -- then unknown -- Dreaming Sea. This minor god fled to the Isle of Blight as Unklar was slaying the other gods at the outset of the Catalyst Wars. He settled in a large clearing amidst a valley covered in Blue Vien trees, at the foot of a steep rocky ridge near the sea with its own source of water.
There he built a great three story edifice to drinking and eating, the Inn of Three Tear Drops. The huge wooden building stretches for nearly a quarter of a mile, and is lined with tables, bars, stools and has all manner of drink and food. It is perhaps the greatest beer hall in all existence. Sadly, Banawick lives here alone, the only customers is an occasional sphinx from the forest beyond. He named the ridge Lonesome Ridge and the valley he calls Carpet of Sorrow. He frequently refers to his valley as the “Blue side of Lonesome,” an obvious reference to the trees growing in the valley. He too has taken a different name, Brian Tosspot.
Blue Vien Trees (pronounced “Veen”) are hardwood trees indigenous to the Isle of Blight. They have wide blue/green leaves, grow to heights of about 80 feet, and are covered in thick tangles of branches. The leaves are given their peculiar color by their lacy blue veins. The trees grow all across the island, but form a large forest only in the Carpet of Sorrow valley.
Travel on the Isle of Blight is much like travel in any temperate forest on any plane in existence. Adventurers must eat, drink, and rest.
ENCOUNTERS ON THE ISLE OF BLIGHT
As mentioned previously, the Isle of Blight has few inhabitants. The gods and Confessor Knights do not travel its deeps and only a few other monsters and animals dwell here. While the party is traveling through the forest or along the beach they have a 2 in 20 chance of encountering something (roll 3 times daily). If an encounter does occur consult the following table:
|1: Sphinx||5: Sprite|
|2: Harpy||6: Lammasu|
|3: Night Hag||7: Hydra|
|4: Yrthak||8: Pegasus|
ON THE BLUE SIDE OF LONESOME
The Dream Horn sails to the leeward side of the island. Once there, the wind falls from the sail and the ship coasts slowly to the beach. It comes to rest upon a sandbar 20ft, from the shore. The characters will have to debark into the water and make their way up the shore to the forest beyond.
Read or paraphrase the following:
"The Dream Horn comes to rest a few yards from shore. Here the cold water of the Sea laps up upon warm sandy beaches. The waves are gentle, breaking along the coast in washes of foam and bubbles. The beach stretches along the whole coast, going inland a few hundred feet before giving way to the temperate forest beyond. Hills and ridges dominate the island, rolling on and over into the country’s heartland. Not far from where your ship has grounded you spy a trailhead, one that promises entrance into the woods of the fabled Isle of Blight."
It is a two day’s journey through the forest to the Inn of Three Tear Drops. The trail winds through the dense forest for several miles before it widens and the party will have to march single file until then. This should take half a day’s journey, assuming there are no stops. There are many cross trails but these are easy to discern from the main track. There is plenty of water along the route in the form of two fresh springs (see map The Isle of Blight). The trip to the Inn is an easy one, barring a random encounter.
If the characters choose to leave the main trail and explore the island further, they run the risk of becoming hopelessly lost. The many smaller game trails, which criss-cross the island’s interior, are a tangle of endless loops, dead ends and seemingly endless tracks. They frequently disappear into the undergrowth for no apparent reason, only to emerge hundreds of feet away. There are deep gulches flanked by hidden cliffs, pits and other natural hazards which offer the unwary serious injury.
Characters without forestry skills run the risk of becoming lost. A successful wisdom check (CL 16) brings the hapless victim to one of the many beaches or cliff faces of the windward side; otherwise they wander about the looping trails time and again. Any character that possesses forestry skills can use these to his or her advantage. Successful wisdom checks (CL 12) prevent the party from becoming lost.
The intelligent players, who follow the main track, find themselves on the edge of the valley of the Carpet of Sorrow, looking down upon the Inn by evening fall of the second day.
. . . TAVERN SONGS
Read or paraphrase the following:
"You stand upon the precipice of a wide valley, a sea of deep green foliage at your feet. It rolls in a gentle swell to the highlands in the distance and the golden horizon beyond. The forest leaves are a soft blue and glow in the light of the setting sun. The bluish tint has a softening effect on the otherwise darkening forest alleys. In the midst of these unworldly trees sits a huge building, easily three stories high. It is made entirely of wood. There, huge boards of timber have been shaped, cut, and notched into porches, balconies, long halls, rooms, out buildings and shuttered windows. The whole structure could house a small army with ease. In the center of this wooden edifice stands a great hall, its main cross timber easily several meters thick. A massive stone-worked chimney caps the hall. A relatively small column of smoke issues forth, pooling around the sloped roof of the great building and floating lazily off across the valley."
Crossing the valley is an easy affair. The Inn looks very inviting, promising warm food, cool beer, and comfortable beds. If the characters are reluctant to commit themselves to the endeavor, they should be reminded of several things. First, that the trail they have been following ends in the valley. Second, that they have been on the Dream Horn at sea for a very long time, their muscles are still cramped and tired. The only relief they have enjoyed is the arduous forest trek. And lastly, if they embattled the Dream Warriors upon the Isle of Wintery Dreams, they still have the chill of that cold place in their bones.
When the party does enter the complex of buildings, the Castle Keeper should remember to point out the sheer size of the Inn and the fact that it has no visitors. The great hall is completely empty with the sole exception of Banawick.
There is a large sign hanging over the main door. Three falling drops of water carved on its surface.
Banawick (from here on out referred to as Brian Tosspot) is in the Inn making a fresh brew of beer. When the party enters he is caught completely off guard. He has not had a visitor since Luther and his stalwart companion Dolgan came to the Inn many decades ago. He welcomes the characters with open arms, offering them any table in the house. He promises food and drink, a warm bed if desired, and a fresh cut of tobacco if they would like that as well. He is friendly, though not terribly so, talks when they talk to him, but asks few questions. He introduces himself as Brian Tosspot.
The Castle Keeper should remember that Banawick is a minor god, and far beyond the strengths of mortal men. Any attempt to attack him will lead the party down a path of destruction.
Banawick is a corpulent man with a balding pate. What hair he has left is grey and very long. He is clean shaven, with beady blue eyes, full lips, and jowls that shake when he talks and laughs. Banawick is friendly in a quiet way. He has long since given over the notion of celebration and taken up a more sober approach to life. Living in the Dreaming has taken its toll and the god is often confused about his own station.
If asked pertinent questions about his origins, he explains that he was a refugee during the Catalyst wars who was cast out upon the Dreaming Sea when Unklar arrived in Aihrde many years ago. He spent his time here building the Three Tear Drops Inn. He doesn’t inquire about the state of Aihrde because he really doesn’t care anymore. His exile has been too long.
In combat, Banawick fights as a minor god.
Tosspot offers no advice or directions unless pressed for it. Promises of song and dance, as well as compliments on his home brew bring an even more positive response. If the characters are friendly and respectful, and give Tosspot good company, he willingly gives up the following clue as to how the adventurers can find St. Luther and Castle Pendegrantz.
The CK can read or paraphrase the following:
“I have never been there myself,” he says, “but I know that berg is older than he. It was here when I first arrived and had been for many a long thought before even that. ‘Tis no easy trip to arrive there from here. You’ll have to leave my fine Inn and this wonderful ale, but, if go you must then follow these instructions. To come to the gates of Castle Penegranze you must climb the Blue side of Lonesome. From there you will see the Weeping Aisle. Follow it as far as you may. From its end you have but a short climb to the bridge of Broken Mirrors where you will meet she who has no past, no present, no future. Beyond her, as you must see, stands the great Castle of Pendegrantz.”
Tosspot’s directions are actually very simple for any who know the island, namely himself. For others, they prove to be a riddle. The party may remember Ghoz’s directions from earlier. He mentioned the Inn of Three Tear Drops at the foot of Lonesome Ridge (see above). If they do not remember this, Tosspot insists that they drink another round with him before he tells them what the “Blue side of Lonesome” refers to, that being the slopes of Lonesome Ridge where the Blue Vien trees grow.
Once that riddle is solved the party can set off on their journey to the “Weeping Aisle” (refer to the map of the Isle of Blight, and Where Water Falls, Trees Weep).
The party may rent rooms, eat, and drink in the Three Tear Drops Inn safe from any physical harm. They do, however, run the minor risk of aging. Drinking too much of Tosspot’s beer can be dangerous. It is a beer brewed by the god of drink and is filled to overflowing with potent magic. Too much of it causes humans and demi-humans to age. For each beer a character drinks, they must make a constitution check to determine its effects. The first check is made at +4, the second with no modifiers. The third beer check is made at a -4, the fourth at -8 and so on. If a character fails, they age 1-20% of their present age (in this way, each race suffers an aging process comparable to that of his race). The affect is not immediate, but as soon as the party member leaves the Dreaming Sea, they suddenly age. The potion of longevity found in the treasure horde of the Dream Warriors (see above, Tower of Fear) counteracts this effect. St. Luther can also counteract this effect with a cure disease spell, but he must have knowledge of the drinking.
WHERE WATER FALLS, TREES WEEP
It is a half day’s journey up the ridge through the Blue Vien trees. There are no trails and the party must make their way through the forest as best they can. They break out of the forest about 100 yards from the top of the ridge. Here, they must climb through broken and jumbled rock. Even though the last stretch is relatively easy, the characters must make a successful dexterity check (CL 8) or suffer a fall for 2d6 points of damage.
Read or paraphrase the following:
"From the ridge, you spy a broad expanse of virtually impenetrable forest. It is through this you must pass. Gnarled trees, stunted and twisted, tangle with the heavy undergrowth. Briars, wild hedges and all manner of bush make the trek through it quite uninviting. Along the far left hand side of the forest you see the outlines of a dim trail. A bluff ranging 15-20 feet high cuts through the forest like a jagged scar, coming to an end a day’s march inland at the foot of another ridge. The bluff is easy to discern, for along its whole length the light of the fading sun is caught, reflected in what can only be some form of luminescent rock. Visions of gold and gems come to mind."The party can negotiate the top of Lonesome ridge, using it as a trail, climb down the 500 feet of the far side and arrive safely at the mouth of the Weeping Aisle. When they arrive there they immediately realize that there is no hidden wealth in the bluff face. The glistening they saw from the distance was nothing more than the reflection of water tumbling down the bluff face, lending it its name, “The Weeping Aisle.”
The bluff is an entirely natural formation. It ranges 15 to 20 feet in height, and cuts a very effective trail about 10 feet wide through the forest. There are literally hundreds of small waterfalls along its whole length. These spring up where the rock is weakest and tumble down the bluff face to trickle off to the marshy ground of the forest floor, pooling in natural crevices. The whole trail is wet and the rock slippery. The water is very fresh and drinkable.
Upon the far side, the party must negotiate a short climb where they at last come to a broad expanse of prairie. Another day’s travel brings them to the foot of another ridge, atop of which they spy a castle nestled in the rock.
DRAGON ON THE MARCH
There is a clearly marked trail leading up the face of the ridge. It is easy to climb and offers the party no trouble. Once on top of the ridge they see the castle before them, and their last obstacle.
Read or paraphrase the following:
Topping the ridge you come to a wide plateau, trees grow here and there across its broad expanse. In the distance, over the trees, you spy the majestic walls and towers of Castle Pendegrantz. It sits atop a rise, separated from the plateau by a deep chasm. There is a single bridge over the chasm and nestled at the foot of the bridge is a horribly large blue dragon.
The Dragon has lived here since the Days before Days when the world was young. She became lost upon the Dreaming Sea and has been locked in the timeless world for many thousands of years. She has not aged and has therefore remained an adult dragon.
When Luther first came to the island he subdued the Dragon and bid her guard the Bridge of Broken Mirrors against any intruder. This she has done and continues to do. In guarding the bridge, he cautioned her however, “Do not act presumptuously, but make certain that any who approach the Bridge of Broken Mirrors, mean me and you harm. If they do, you may destroy them. But either way, bid me warning of their approach.” For this reason the Dragon does not attack immediately but waits for the party to approach her.
Note: Luther’s compassion for the Dragon led him to give the Dragon an out in combating foes at his gate. She must determine that those approaching mean harm to both him and her. If she is not threatened she does not have to give battle. In truth, he wished only to be warned of anyone’s approach. For her part, the dragon is not keen on combat, and she remains in the hopes that she may at some point destroy Luther. She knows well that he is a powerful god in the pantheon of law and good.
The Dragon’s reaction will depend upon how the party approaches her. If they choose to attack outright, she will defend herself to the death. However, should they choose to talk to her, she attempts to learn the whys and wherefores of the party’s mission. The traditional manner of befriending a dragon will serve the party: flattery, promises of wealth, etc. However, in role-playing the dragon, the Castle Keeper should keep in mind that she is lawful evil. She is not inclined to believe that the party has come to rescue Luther. On the contrary, any simple explanation makes her think that the party has ulterior motives and only serves in raising her suspicions. The more convoluted the explanation, the more likely she is to believe it.
Convincing the dragon requires a successful intelligence check, CL 14. Only one character can attempt to convince her and may do so only once.
If the characters offer the dragon a bribe in the guise of the arrow of dragon slaying that they acquired on the Isle of Wintery Dream, they can convince the dragon to let them pass. For her part the dragon overcomes Luther’s command by convincing herself that the party means her no harm (refer to Castle Keeper’s Note above).
If battle is given, the Dragon fights to the death.
Lauthrine, female Blue Dragon (adult) (This lawful evil creature’s vital stats are HD 18, AC 21,108. Her primary attributes are mental and physical. She attacks with a bite for 4d6+6 points of damage, 2 claws for 1d6 points of damage, wing for 1d8 points of damage, and a tail slap for 1d8 points of damage. She can attack multiple times each round. The blue dragon is able to fly up to 150ft. per round and is able to burrow into the earth at 20 feet per round; from a dead run she can move up to 40 feet per round. She has the ablity to create and destroy water, imitate sounds and has spell-like abilities. Her breath weapon is a jolt of lightning that deals 18d6 points of damage. See Monsters & Treasure for complete details.)
Treasure: The Dragon’s treasure is buried not far frombthe bridge. It consists of the following: 10,000pp, 8,000gp,b15,000sp, gems (total 8,000gp), + 2 bastard sword, 10 +4 arrows, halberd of mighty cleaving, +3 chainmail of cold resistance, +4 shield of fire resistance, rod of wonder, iron band of bilarro, wand of confusion, candle of invocation, potion of tongues, and robe of eyes.
THE BRIDGE OF BROKEN MIRRORS
Having circumvented the Dragon, the party is at last before the bridge that leads to Luther’s castle.
Read or paraphrase the following:
"A chasm 150 feet wide separates you from the far ridge upon which Castle Pendegrantz stands. The chasm is 450 feet deep. A single bridge, like none you have ever seen, spans the gulf. It crosses the chasm without support or tresses, and is made entirely of sand. Upon closer examination, you discover tiny threads of scintillating light moving throughout the chasm, everywhere that is, but for the bridge. Beyond it lies a forest covered ridge and the castle of St. Luther."
The chasm stretches from coast to coast and offers the only reasonable way to arrive at the castle. To attempt to circle around takes 3 days overland through difficult terrain and the party must then take to the water and sail past the cliffs where the chasm lies. At that point, they must to climb the rugged cliffs that jut 400-600 feet above the ocean. All this occurs on the windward side of the Dreaming Sea, a dangerous place due to massive 30 mph winds. Anyone with even mediocre climbing skills or experience immediately recognizes the danger of attempting these cliffs. All climb checks are made at CL 25.
Crossing the chasm is the only reasonable solution. The chasm itself has been enchanted, the crossing protected by an eldritch spell of divine origin. Cast long before Luther came to the Isle of Blight, the magic incantation keeps any and all creatures from crossing the chasm by any means, physical or magical. It works like a magical curtain. The spell manifests as thousands of tiny threads hanging in the air throughout the chasm. Anyone touching the thread with a hand or foot feels a cold, numbing sensation. Their hand fades in and out as they move it. If the individual is familiar with teleport, planar travel, or any other spell or device that transports, they are allowed an intelligence check (CL 9 if successful, they realize the threads are gate ways to other planes, but where they go is anybody’s guess. They also realize that stepping into them may prove deadly.
Stepping into the threads triggers the spell and the victim is instantly transported to another plane (no saving throw). The plane should be rolled randomly. Dispel Magic has no affect. It is not possible to go over it, around it or under it. They must cross the bridge or contrive a manner in which to cross the chasm without touching any threads.
The only way to cross the chasm is over the bridge. It is 180 feet long, 30 feet wide, and arcs over the chasm without any supports or tresses. Walking on the bridge is like walking on sand.
The Bridge is magical and it too is of divine origin. It was fashioned from the tiny shards of a thousand broken mirrors. These shards serve to preserve the bridge and those on it from the spell’s effects by reflecting the spell’s threads. In turn, the force of this magical reflection keeps the bridge suspended over the chasm.
A KNIGHT UPON THE DREAMING
Once the party crosses the bridge, they have a half-day trek up the final ridge upon which Castle Pendegrantz sits. The going is relatively easy as the Confessor Knights follow this trail to a hidden cove from which they embark out upon the Dreaming Sea.
The castle normally sits upon a high rise promontory, overlooking the ridge, chasm, and sea below. But Nulak has gone to great lengths at disguising this. He has cast mirage arcane upon the whole castle. This illusion serves two purposes. First, it gives the castle the appearance of floating in the Void, connected only by a single walkway with the physical world of the Dreaming. The illusion makes the castle seem to hover in a black void over the sea. Secondly, the illusion masks his winter’s dark, the actual spell that has frozen the castle in time.
To overcome this illusion the party must make a successful intelligence save (CL 14). If successful, they see the castle as it regularly appears, four walls built upon a peninsula (see map). Anyone who fails, sees a single pathway leading up to the gate and they cannot step into the void around it without suffering 200d6 points of damage from the fall to the sea below.
Read or paraphrase the following:
"As you break the tree line, the castle comes into plain view. It stands upon a precipice over a great void, as if hanging in the very air. Four great walls, 30 feet high, capped by crenellated battlements, and flanked by half a dozen 40 foot high round towers give proof to the defenses of the fortress. The Inner Keep is plainly visible, standing some 30 feet higher than the wall towers. There, several smaller towers, living quarters no doubt, stand out against the horizon with cone shaped roofs. The iron bound gate is closed and barricaded by a portcullis. The castle appears to be newly constructed; its stonework is still level and smooth. A large red and white checkered banner hangs from one of the conical towers of the Inner Keep. Before the great gate sits a figure in armor, facing the gate, upon his knees, head slumped to his chest."
If the characters overcome the illusion, the treacherous nature of the ice road is uncovered and they are subject to pit falls of crossing ice. It is cold, about 5 degrees fahrenheit. There is obviously nothing living within the castle. Moving bout the castle is treacherous and characters who move too quickly will suffer a bruising fall. They suffer a -2 to all checks, initiatives and to hit rolls; movement is halved. If they enter the castle with the illusion intact, they do not suffer from the effects of the ice.
As the party approaches the gate and the figure in armor, they cannot help but notice a small camp at the base of the front wall. The armored figure is a lesser Confessor Knights, Sir Darion of Arontee. He is dead, having triggered one of the glyph’s of warding that Nulak placed upon the door. He recently returned from Aihrde and finding himself barred from entering the castle attempted to enter the gate. He set off a glyph of shocking grasp, which killed him on the spot. He fell to his knees, where he remains.
Darion’s flesh is long decayed, only wisps of it remain, clinging to the bones of his skeleton. His short cropped blond hair has dried, and blows about like straw. He wears plate and chain, which he took meticulous care of. The suit of magical armor shines like polished metal in the light of day.
Upon his person the knight has: +1 Full Plate, +1 longsword, silver holy symbol necklace, and a dagger.
In his camp can be found a +1 large metal shield, composite longbow, 12 arrows, potion cure light wounds (x2), ring of protection +1, holy water, healer’s kit, bit and bridle, military saddle, saddlebags, and banded mail barding, as well as food, water, and extra clothing. His paladin’s mount has wandered off, down the slope where it grazes.
A successful track check around the camp site reveals the horse’s hoof marks (CL 4) leading down the slopes. A successful check around the gate reveals several boot marks (CL 6), probably human, burnt into the ground in front of the gate. The burnt edges are magical, made when Nulak walked upon the holy ground, etching his spell craft. Any spell caster can determine their magic nature with a successful attribute check (wisdom for cleric/druid and intelligence for wizard/illusionist) (CL 10) as the flames emanate from the ground, not the boots themselves.
The land around the castle is, of course, holy ground and only the worthy can even step foot upon it. Nulak is evil and only his power allowed him such easy access to walking upon the holy ground.
SPELLS WITHIN SPELLS
Nulak has laid powerful sorceries upon the gates, as well as the whole castle.
Nulak-Kiz-Din is a powerful wizard who served as Unklar’s right hand for over a thousand years. He fought the Council of Light at every turn and on more than one occasion met them in personal battle. Many of the Council consider him a far more deadly adversary than even the god Unklar was, for Nulak’s vision is not lost in the world of the divine as Unklar’s was. A deadly hatred has developed between the warring parties.
If not playing in the world of Aihrde, cast Nulak in the guise of a very evil wizard with designs on the powers of the Dreaming.
Nulak learned long ago how to breach the Dreaming Sea. There are more ways than simply using the craft that Luther and Utumno use; but these require eldritch sorceries or magical weirds. He used spells from the Winter Runes, notable the Roan of Uptren, the Juxtaposen, to breach the walls of the plane and open a gate to the Dreaming. He rode onto the turbulent sea upon a nightmare long subdued for this purposes. Disguised, he came to Luther, binding him in a series of spells.
There he laid a number of spells upon the paladin and his fortress. First he came before the paladin while he sat upon his throne and made an entreaty of him. As Luther responded, Nulak cast a mind fog and maze upon him. Before he had time to recover, Nulak sealed the paladin’s ability to be awakened with a temporal stasis spell. Luther slumped into a deep sleep, even preventing him from being contacted through the dreams of others. In order to keep any from rescuing the paladin, Nulak retreated from the castle. Now exposed and in his true form, he cast his dark master’s most powerful spell, world of ice, upon the whole castle. This locked the fortress and all its inhabitants in a frozen, timeless state.
With Luther held he was free to move about the dreaming, taking advantage of his foes as he discovered them upon the dreamscape.
A dispel magic works against the winter’s dark spell, but it is made against Nulak’s level of 24.
Presumably the party either braves the ice walk or enters the castle not knowing of its state. In any case, they must get past Nulak’s sorcery.
There are only two possible entry points into the castle, the front gate and the walls. The castle overlooks high bluffs, almost 200 feet high, overlooking the dreaming sea. It sits upon a narrow jut of land, a peninsula that juts out into the turbulent seas. There is a road that leads down to the sea and a narrow beach. Here the Evening Swan, Luther’s boat, and the Confessor Knights come and go when traveling to and from the island. But the road leads to the green sward of grass before the gates.
The party can only attempt to go over the walls if they can fly across the illusionary gulf or if they have overcome the illusion itself. Such attempts may be met by the castle itself. Castle Pendegrantz, designed by creatures from the deeps of time, was designed to combat foes both natural and supernatural. The walls are broad and thick, tall and slick. The stonework is laced with magic runes, allowing the walls themselves a natural spell resistance of 10. This spell resistance extends into the air around, so flying over them is no easy task either.
The walls here are tall, almost 40 feet high, smooth marble, and almost impossible to climb (CL 15). In icy conditions they are even more so (CL 17).
Climbing them shall be no easy task, but the enterprising characters may be able to master it.
THE GATE In order to further guard his sorcery against Luther, Nulak cast four magical glyphs upon the gates. Each of these detonates whenever someone crosses over them. The first one, shocking grasp, was the one the knight set off. The second one is one a few inches closer to the door, reduce attribute. The third, stinking cloud is nearer the door. And the fourth one is at the step of the door: fireball. The glyphs are very small, about the size of a quarter. Anyone stepping over them sets them off and releases the fury of the spell.
The glyphs are cast as a 17th-level cleric spell and therefore have a CL 17. Once the party is able to set off or overcome the glyphs, they can enter through the gate itself.
The courtyard of Castle Pendegrantz is huge, cobbled in stone, lined with weapon racks, fields of jousting and archery. The whole of it is empty, covered in ice (if the illusion is still intact), and offers little or no cover. At the far end are steps rising up to two large double doors. The place is not unoccupied, however, for Nulak summoned monsters to inhabit the courtyard and dissuade any would be rescue attempts. Here five mongrel devils lay. They are all gathered around the steps and rise at the parties entrance to the courtyard. They do not hesitate to attack anything that comes through the gates. They fight until they are dead or their victims succumb.
Mongrel Devils, Despairing Hounds (These lawful evil creature’s vital stats are HD 5d8, AC 15. Their primary attributes are physical. They attack with a single bite for 2d4 points of damage. The bite is poisonous doing a further 1d8 points of damage with a failed save. They are able to heat metal and possess a magical bay that dismays their victims. For full write up, see New Monsters below or the Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde.)
Overcoming the hounds brings the party to the steps of the great hall and the doors that lead to it. Nulak has set magical traps here as well.
Upon the steps he has laced a series of guards and wards that explode if any trespass over them. These he cast with a magic item and can be overcome with a CL 12).
The gates themselves are magically locked, with a knock spell (CL 12).
WHEN KING’S DREAM
"Pushing the double doors wide, your lantern spills its light across a surprisingly frugal hall. The room is 60 feet long and 40 feet wide. Pillars line the walls, offering support and decor. The walls have little upon them, save for weapons and shields and other things marking the way of a warrior. A heavy carpet lies upon the floor leading up to a stout wooden throne, upon which sits a man of untold beauty. He sits stoically, a blade across his knees, a suit of chain upon his breast and a crown upon his head. He wears a magical cloak, the Mantel of Confession, upon his shoulders. Behind him two huge banners upon polearms mark the House of Pendegrantz in checkered red and white and the Host of Law, a set of silver scales in blue."
The temporal stasis keeps Luther from being affected by any mental communications. It does not, however, keep him from physical ones. The party has but to wake him with a gentle nudge and the spell of Nulak’s making will fall away and the Paladin St. Luther will return.
Luther is quick to anger and will react defensively at first, being unaware that he has been ensorcelled. However, the presence of any good character immediately calms him. The Castle Keeper should keep in mind that Luther, though a lesser god, king and knight, still behaves as a man. He is noble but gracious, quick to anger but forgiving.
He calls for the leader of the party to identify him/herself and all of the companions. He then calls for food and drink, though his servants are still recovering from the winter’s dark spell, so he will take whatever rations and drink the party offers him.
Once he has satisfied his hunger and is sufficiently removed from his stupor, Luther demands explanations from the party. He uses the powers of the Mantel of Confession (see page 39) to see the truth of the tale. As they explain his own predicament, he becomes angry, swearing revenge against the wizard. But he softens when they mention Vivienne and her plight, he weeps for the pain his wife has suffered. He bids the party to bear his nuptial ring to her and bring her peace of sorts.
Read or paraphrase the following:
"Pulling a small silver necklace from beneath his mail he reveals a simple ring of wrought gold. He holds the ring up to the light, staring at it. He weeps only a little. “This ring bound us together, Vivienne and I. That was in the days when our world was yet young. It brought us great happiness, this ring, our love. What have I done to her? Take this ring to her, my Vivienne and grant her soul the peace it deserves. Open her tomb and place the ring upon her finger. Do this thing for me and you will be rewarded. I will send you back on the Evening-Swan and it will take you to the Paladin’s Grove, where you will be given a just reward.”
He settles upon his throne, weeping quietly for his lost love. He rises and says, “Know this, my friends, that this is the way of power, the curse of Kings. It is too easy for us to forget those who cannot forget us. Forgotten allies, forgotten memories. To forget. That, my friends is the true Malady of Kings.”
Travel across the Dreaming Sea is instantaneous and before the party realizes it they have arrived in the wood outside the Crypt. When they open the tomb of Queen Vivienne they find her body in perfect form, unchanged since the day of her death. The image of her haunting beauty remains with them forever more. As they place the ring upon her finger, her breast settles, as if letting out a last gasp of air, a gentle smile touches her lips and a peace comes over the tomb.
The Evening Swan carries the party to Kayomar once more, and the Paladin’s Grove where they are given a day’s sanctuary. In that time they are healed completely and realize that they have grown in both body and soul. Each party member gains a point of constitution and wisdom.
APPENDIX A: NEW MONSTERS
KAIN’S HENCHMAN, DEVIL
NO. APPEARING: 1-12
MOVE: 40 ft.
ATTACKS: 2 claw (1d4), by weapon
SPECIAL: Deepvision, Immune to Elements, Shape Change, SR 12,Twilight Vision
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Evil
TYPE: Extra-Planar (Qual)
Kain’s henchmen stand roughly 5 feet at the shoulder. They are muscular bipedal creatures with the lower torso of a goat and the upper torso of a man. Their faces are twisted with evil and crowned by a set of coiled horns. Their goat legs are covered in thick fur, black or brown with a hint of red in it. Their bodies reflect the color of burnt ash, grayish black, charred or dark stained red. They have no pupils, but see from hollow pools of darkness. They wield all manner of weaponry, but prefer pole arms with multiple points and edges. When shape changing, they prefer to take the shape of a human, dressed nicely in a courtiers garb.
Kain’s henchmen are rather uninspired creatures found throughout the Wretched Plains. Their slight imagination drives them into the service of greater devils where they serve as soldiers, guards, standard bearers and the like. There they serve with distinction, as their thirst for order drives them to obedience. Anything that is not ruled or governed from above is seen as weak; creatures that act irrationally are seen as weak. When they are commanded to do something by their masters, they do not question it, and carry out the command regardless of the outcome.
Though dull witted, they are able to speak any language, good or evil, lawful or chaotic.
COMBAT: Kain’s Henchmen possess a tremendous reluctance to assume another form, instinctively seeing that as a weakness. In battle, they always assume their natural shape, discarding any subterfuge they may have adopted. They prefer the damage inflicted by their pole arms to any other.
Bilun (Pole Arm): These long iron pole arms are fashioned in the forges of the greater devils deep in the Wretched Plains. They are seven feet long from butt to point and are capped by a tri-bladed spear that is lined with notches, spikes, and twisted metal edges. The shaft is black as pitch, casting a reflection in its depths; its blade is a sickly yellow color, like tarnished gold. It acts as a +2 weapon, dealing 2d6 points of damage. A successful strike by the bilun blade causes the victim to weaken. Anyone so struck, that fails a constitution save, suffers a plague of doubts about who they are and what they are doing, and has an accompanying weakness; all ability checks, to-hit rolls, damages, and saves are reduced by -2. The effects last for 4 rounds unless an atonement spell is cast upon the victim. This effect is not a poison, nor is it technically a disease, but rather a magical ability possessed by the blade that plays upon any misdeeds the victim may have perpetuated or even contemplated; therefore neutralize poison or immunity to poison or disease does not cure/reverse the effects. Note: Any Castle Keeper who deems that a character or NPC is pure and good is immune to the effects of the blade.
Spell-like Abilities: They have the following spell-like abilities: detect chaos/good (perm fire storm (2/day glyph of warding (2/day hold person (3/day). They cast as a 12 th level caster.
These creatures earned their name in the latter days of the Winter Dark Wars. Unklar, despairing of victory, called upon Kain the Godless to reap mayhem in the ranks of his enemies. Kain, a Lord of Chaos, took up the task. In his arrogance, he bound a cohort of these devils to him and they served as his standard bearers and guards. They served him loyally, though what sorcery the Chaos Lord used to bind these creatures of pure law and evil to his will, none ever discovered. But these creatures were known as Kain’s Henchmen from that time forward.
They are not uncommon in Aihrde, as many remained after the fall of Aufstrag. They took up service with wizards, knights, and others who seek their power and service. It is reckoned by the wise that King Louis II of Maine took such servants into his household. It is told that he discovered the treasure of the Orc General Aziz, and in that treasure were several of Kain’s Henchmen. Louis II died of a long and slow illness and none could cure it and this was held as a curse of the house brought upon it by the Henchman. His son Louis III is bent upon the same path, or so the tales relate.
MONGREL, DEVIL (DESPAIRING HOUNDS)
NO. APPEARING: 1-8
MOVE: 80 ft.
ATTACKS: Bite (2d4)
SPECIAL: Baying, Poison, Scent, Twilight Vision
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Evil
The mongrel are dog-like devils; mutts of varying breeds. Their skin is pocked and scarred, much of the hair burned from the creature long ago. Their lips are permanently coiled, wrapped up around massive fangs, they dribble a poisonous bile the creature spits out. They have a long tail, barrel chest and huge paws. Their eyes, like the eyes of all their kindred, are hollow pools of nothing. When they desire to be hidden, they take on the guise of stout German Shepherd, Doberman, Pit Bull, Bull Mastiff, or similar guard dog.
These black hounds of hell dwell throughout the Wretched Plains and attack any hapless soul that passes near, whether dead or not. They are consumed with a never ending hunger and must eat constantly. The mongrel consumes that which it kills. It consumes flesh as well as equipment, armor and weapons; devouring everything. Normal equipment dissolves into nothing, but magical equipment rests in the creature’s belly until the end of time, or until extracted.
They serve all manner of devils in and out of the Wretched Plains, being used as guardians, hunters, or in massive packs to hound and molest the enemies of the lords of hell. Their howling and baying are always heard before a great host of devils march to war.
COMBAT: The mongrel attacks in a pack, working in flawless cohesion with the other pack members. They always attempt to trip a victim even as they bite him. As soon as a victim is brought down, they are attacked by the whole pack. Mongrels generally attack the same victim until that one is dead. Then they turn on the next victim.
Baying: The mongrel is able to howl a mournful call which when anyone hears it they are cast into doubt about their purpose. All actions after hearing the howl suffer a -1 penalty, to include initiative, attribute checks, and damage. A successful wisdom save negates the effects of the baying. The effects last 1d8 rounds.
Heat Metal: The mongrel is able to heat metal as the spell 3/day. He casts as a 10th level caster.
Poison: The mongrel’s bite is poisonous. Any successful bite delivers a poison dealing 1d8 points of damage plus a -2 on primary attribute checks for 1d4 days. A successful wisdom save reduces the damage to 1d4 and the attribute penalty to -1 for 1 day.
The hounds of hell took their shape upon the death of the All Father. When his mind splintered they issued forth into the Shadow Realms, wreaking havoc upon the denizens there. Their constant baying drew the attention of the Tvungen Lords who gathered them in packs and kenneled them in their halls. They are used on the hunt where their baying weakens their prey and causes them to lose hope.
Unklar detested these creatures, as their baying drove him mad, holding the echoes of his creator in their voices. Though he used them, they were not permitted near him or ever to enter his Upper Halls. [bf] The stomach of a mongrel can be cut out and cleaned, and if a permanency spell is cast upon it within 24 hours, it serves as a bag of holding.
APPENDIX C: NEW SPELLS
Rune of Bekannt: “The Rune of Knowledge” Level 4 Wizard, Illusionist, Cleric, Druid
D 1 minute per level
The Rune of Bekannt allows the caster to know the true nature of someone or to understand their motivations. If the recipient perceives himself as a great wizard, but in truth is only a parlor mage, then the spell reveals that to the caster. Similarly, if the recipient is motivated by a particular driving force, such as greed, it is revealed.
The spell has several shortcomings, namely those who have a powerful intellect or presence can continue to hide themselves from the effects of the spell. Those with 16 intelligence or greater, or those with a 17 or greater charisma may make a save against Will. A successful check negates the spell’s effects.
Winter’s Dark, Level 9 Wizard, Level 7 Cleric
CT 10 turns
R See below
Comp V, S, M
This spell is designed to recreate the conditions of winter at night, the Winter’s Dark. It has no particular range, but affects an area dependent upon the level of the magic user or cleric casting the spell. For every caster level over the level required to cast the spell, it affects 1 mile diameter, doubling each level after that; so an 18 -level caster can create affect an 18 mile diameter area, a 19th-level caster can affect a 2 mile diameter area, a 20 th-level caster can affect a 4 mile diameter area, and so on. The caster can control the space, making it less than his maximum.
The spells summons a static fog, a shroud that blankets the area affected, reducing sunlight tremendously; it locks the area affected in a wintry world. Temperature drops to about 5 degree Fahrenheit on average; precipitation that moves through does so as snow or ice and continues to accumulate. The area is affected by normal seasons, but never by much, maximum temperature never exceeding 35 degrees. Plant life, unless habituated to living in these conditions, enters a static, non-growth period, neither living nor dying. Over time trees and plants adapt to the new conditions as happened during the Winter Dark when the world was locked in ice.
The spell can only be removed by the caster or by a more powerful dispel magic.
APPENDIX C: NEW MAGIC ITEMS
MANTLE OF CONFESSION
St. Luther came into possession of this great cloak at the conclusion of the Winter Dark Wars when he surrendered Durendale to its next bearer. The greater Lords of Law granted him the Mantle when he became the Lord of Dreams. He uses the Mantle to better see into the hearts of mortals and to understand them, what he calls “Confessing.” But legends relate that the Saint, when he retired to the Dreaming, left the Mantle in the world, or one very much like it.
The cloak itself is a fur lined piece made of heavy wool that hangs to the floor. The mantle allows the wearer to see with keen vision, seeing clearly for many miles. The wearer gains darkvision with a 120 foot range. The wearer can also see invisible, displaced, and out of phase creatures and objects at 240 foot range (or 120 foot if dark vision is needed). This includes seeing those affected by invisibility potions and rings, dust of disappearance, a robe of blending, or a similar magical item. It reveals camouflaged or hidden things as well. It cannot see astral and ethereal objects, nor does the mantle increase the chance to find secret doors. Only lawful creatures may use it.
The wearer of the mantle cannot be surprised, and they gain the following: Spell Resistance 10, Armor Class 18 (cannot be used with any other form of magical defense, other than a Defender sword), and +2 on all saving throws.
The Mantle bears special properties which allow the wearer to see into the hearts of men. When the wearer makes a concentrated effort to hear “Confession”, these spell-like abilities operate simultaneously (cast as 20th level cleric): 0 – detect chaos/evil/law/good, detect magic, detect poison; 1st – cause fear, command, remove fear, sanctuary; 2nd – augury; 3rd – remove curse, remove disease; 4th – discern lie, dismissal, sending, tongues; 5th – dispel chaos/evil/ law/good, atonement, commune (with recipient 6th – banishment, geas/quest; 7th – holy word, repulsion; 8th – holy aura; 9th – Soul Bind.
The adventure takes place in three parts and includes the exploration of a crypt, travel on the mystical realm of the Dreaming Sea, and finally an overland trek to St. Luther’s castle upon the Isle of Blight. Though the adventure is set in the world of Aihrde, it easily ports to any setting. Castle Keepers should simply change the names and times as they see fit, and ignore the references to Aihrde mythology and history. Each part of “The Malady of Kings” lends itself to ready play; however, the Castle Keeper should at least skim the module before play to understand the adventure’s structure.