The Nightmare Before Anamas
Can you save the lost children of Portertown?
Winter has come to the Kirinal Concordance Zone and everyone prepares for the biggest holiday of the year, Anamas, the Feast of Anam, God of Justice and Patron of the Zone and the Sovranty. However, children are getting lost in the bustling crowds and under the twinkling lights.
The great ki-rin Moon Breeze, Protector of Children and leader of the Heavenly Council has assembled you and your friends to find the lost children. You must bring them home in time for Anamas... or avenge them.
By Summons of the Heavenly Council of Ki‑rins
It's Anamas Eve , the day before Anamas, and you stand at the gates of the peaceful Empyrean Ki-rin Monastery on the eastern edge of the Zone.
The doors open and you are greeted by a cheerful baku, the small brightly colored creature has the body of a cat, the head of an elephant, and the shimmering coloration of a hummingbird. "Welcome to the Empyrean! I am Aki! Word of your exploits has reached us and the great Moon Breeze needs your help!"
You enter the immaculately maintained grounds of the Monastery. Every tree, bush, and leaf of grass is expertly manicured and mindfully placed to ensure maximum introspection. Aki ushers you to the central koi pond. Small islands stud the pond, connected by bridges and rock paths.
The majestic ki-rin, Moon Breeze, stands in a pagoda waiting for you. "Welcome, this is the busiest time of year for the Heavenly Council. We're preparing for the feast of our patron Anam and the traditional Gifts Giving to all the children in the Zone & Sovranty!"
"A group of parents in Portertown, near Magister's Enclave has reported that a dozen or more of their children have gone missing in the past few weeks. The authorities there do not care about the non-mages who serve them and the Zone Authority has no jurisdiction in this matter."
" It falls to me, as the Protector of the Children of the Zone, to find and save these children... or avenge them. I cannot step away from my Anamas duties, but I sense that something awful is happening here. Help me with this and I will be in your debt."
Moon Breeze Notes
Moon Breeze genuinely wants to help but has no extra time during the Anamas season. She has carved out a few minutes of her schedule, but she has to get right back to preparing for GiftsGiving. She told the party everything she knows. If they take the job she gifts them the following.
The Gourmet Golems
These tiny cookie and candy creations are the center of everything that is happening. They are animate cookie and candy folk who are bound to the service of the hag Blathering Blanche.
She creates them in her Transmog Oven by perverting the magic of Anamas Eve. On that night, she performs a ritual that transforms people into edible creatures under her command. Gourmet Golems slowly regenerate over time. Blanche breaks pieces off to use as free ingredients in her bakery.
She prefers to use children in the ritual because they become the most delicious ingredients: cookies, candies, and other sweets.
Additionally, Blanche has discovered that her golems can turn invisible to everyone except for certain children. Kids who haven't been fully warded against evil spirits can see her creations. The little cookie and candy golems lure those un-warded kids away from their homes. Blanche's Buttery Bakers paralyze the children with their poison claws and bring them back to the Bakery in their food cart.
Gourmet Golem Clues and Secrets
Throughout the adventure, the characters can discover information by making the correct checks. Here are some examples. Feel free to come up with your own!
DC15 Perception: You feel like you are being watched constantly
DC15 Persuasion: You convince the gourmet golems to become visible to only you. They assist you as much as they can.
DC17 Survival/Perception/ Investigation: Small invisible creatures are following the party around, but not engaging with them.
DC18 Perception/Investigation: You see a flash of a little cookie or candy person following you around. They fade from sight.
DC18 Persuasion: The gourmet golems befriend you. They allow your entire party to see them. They wordlessly lead the party to the children. They try to warn them about the Bakers and Blanche herself. Also, they give each player an inanimate copy of themselves that act as a magic charm or a potion of healing. (Determined by the DM.) They are activated by eating them.
Little invisible gourmet golems are everywhere throughout the adventure. Even though they serve Blanche, the golems yearn to return to their former lives. They can no longer speak, but they can be convinced to help the party. Whenever the party makes certain types of skill checks, check the Gourmet Golem Clue chart.
The golems have limited free will. They must follow the direct orders of Blanche and her Bakers. However, they can act in limited ways when their rulers are not around.
The gourmet golems are skittish they do not know who to trust. They can sense that help may be coming, perhaps Moon Breeze's attention has awoken hope in them. Any attempt at Intimidation scares them off.
The golems suspect that destroying the Transmog Oven will release them. If the party gets the golems to trust them, they communicate this in pantomime.
This one-shot adventure was designed to be played with the 5E D&D ruleset. It's meant for a group of 4-6 3rd-level characters, but can be easily adapted for higher level characters or other RPG systems. It begins in the Ki-Rin Forest and takes you to the dark city of Magister's Enclave and the streets of Goblin Town. It's meant to be an introduction to my world and the Kirinal Concordance Zone.
Primer for the Zone
Primer: Kirinal Concordance Zone
The Instructor of Recruits and Sgt. Kill Flayer teach you the basics of the Kirinal Concordance Zone.
Plot Synopsis for the GM
- The party is summoned before the Great Ki-rin Moon Breeze and told that several children from poor families have gone missing in the past few weeks. She suspects the Aswang or the Hags of Goblin Town. She assigns you the task of finding them and rescuing them.
- Upon interviewing the families, the party discovers that, for various reasons, the children had not yet undergone the Celebration of Children, and were not properly warded against evil spirits.
- Investigating around the homes the party discovers no signs of a struggle. Just the children's footsteps walking away from their homes and towards the Food Cart Festival in front of the gates to Magister's Enclave.
- They encounter a variety of food cart vendors and come across evidence of gourmet golems and clues to the missing children.
- Their questioning notifies an aswang clan, the Buttery Bakers, who have been kidnapping poor un-warded children for the hag Blanche of Goblin Town.
- They attempt to kidnap the party. If they succeed, the party awakes in the clutches of the hags. Otherwise, the aswang flee, bringing the party to Goblin Town.
- In Goblin Town dozens of children are held in the stock room of Blanche's Buttery Bakery. They are held in cages on wheels and guarded by the candy/cookie "gourmet golems" that lured them away.
- The hags sacrifice the children on Anamas Eve in the name of Anam's enemy Azgorth. Their souls become a new crop of gourmet golems under the control of the hags.
- The party can save all the children by attempting to rescue them themselves. If they call for help or leave and come back, the children are taken to a second location and never heard from again.
Players may use their own character or pick a pre-generated character. Their character sheets are at the bottom of their articles.