Posted tagged ‘curse’

#2 Adventure: Thieves in the Barrowdelve

April 26, 2009

Illus. William McAuslandHere is another synopsis based on another of my original ideas, the heirloom in the Barrowdelve. It has been retitled, to focus more on the actual theft and those behind it, than on the heirloom itself. The secret of the heirloom is only revealed later on in the adventure and may indeed lead to an even greater adventure.

 

Thieves in the Barrowdelve (a Mor Aldenn adventure)

Thieves are looting the Barrowdelve! A young thief is found dead outside his home, wearing an old magical pendant from the Delve, but who killed the thief? And like that wasn’t bad enough, the pendant seems to hide a secret far worse, a secret hidden deep within the Barrowdelve, a secret that has now been revealed.

Thieves in the Barrowdelve is a Pathfinder RPG adventure designed for four 1st-level characters. The adventure takes place in Mor Aldenn, the City of Mages. This small city could in reality be located in any setting where two rivers converge inside an ancient forest.

Adventure Synopsis

This adventure starts as an heirloom turns up on the body of a dead thief. The heirloom, a seemingly magical pendant, was buried deep within the Barrowdelve and now the people of Mor Aldenn is wondering; is someone looting the ancient necropolis?

The mayor asks the PCs to investigate the matter, both the looting of the Delve and the strange murder. He is willing, of course, to pay them for their services to the city. They are given access to the Barrowdelve, where they discover that other graves have been robbed, but by whom? Was it the young thief wearing the pendant, or was it perhaps someone else?

The PCs also discover that the pendant hides a secret, a cursed ring hidden within the pendant. This ring is what killed the thief, and it may in fact kill others if the PCs don’t find a way to stop it.

The trail also leads the PCs to the Tower of All-Magic, where they find the thief’s brother, a young ambitious mage. He is the true mastermind behind the plan to loot the Barrowdelve and will not give up without a fight, also, it seems that he has hidden the loot, but where?

 

Designer’s Notes

When I started thinking about writing this synopsis, this adventure truly opened up for me. I didn’t want the thieves to be involved with Yargus Tem and the Thieves Guild, no, those guys are way too likable and shouldn’t become direct antagonists of the PCs, so I wanted thieves a little different. I started thinking…who would have access to the Barrowdelve and how? One of the mages, of course, a really ambitious one, but he wouldn’t be working alone, no…he had a brother, of course! A young and foolish thief.

I imagined how they had done it, how research had led to all these secrets hidden inside the necropolis, but what about the pendant and the cursed ring? You see, the mage knew about its nature (or guessed, at least) and so asked his brother NOT to take it… but that was indeed a mistake, after a few planned raids into the Barrowdelve, the young thief decided to make a little raid of his own, stealing the pendant for himself, but that was a mistake! A mistake he would pay dearly for and that would start this adventure…

Advertisements

The First Adventure…

April 22, 2009

Which of the following ideas would you like to see developed into the very first adventure of Mor Aldenn?

 

The Heirloom from the Delve

One day, an heirloom turns up in Mor Aldenn, seemingly by accident. It was supposed to be buried deep within the Barrowdelve, but is someone looting the necropolis of the city of mages? And like that wasn’t bad enough… this heirloom appears to be cursed!

 

The Spy

An old and weak woman dies one day, a brutal death by the hands of some vicious and unknown creature. The necromancers of the Shadow Tower bring back her soul briefly, to ask her a few questions. It seems that she know the identity of one of the night hag’s many spies… but when she tries to utter the name, the spell is broken! Can the PCs find the murderous creature and possibly…the spy?

 

The Strange Death

A local druid returns to Mor Aldenn, bearing terrible news. He has found several magical beasts in the surrounding forest, dead. It appears that they have been somehow… poisoned! When the PCs investigate the poisonous trail, they find a dying unicorn who knows some of the truth, but before the creature can tell them everything it knows, they are attacked by the cruel minions of the night hag…

 

Luck in the Woods

A wizard from the Tower of All-Magic needs the PCs to catch a blink dog. They are (under no circumstances!) to kill the beast or make it suffer, he wants it (mostly) unharmed and alive. However, while looking for this beast in the forest, the PCs come across a group of half-elves and human rogues who catch (dead or alive) magical beasts! The small group hope to sell the beasts to a nameless buyer in one of the western settlements… but will the PCs allow this?

 

The Theft

Something is stolen from the PCs, an item of value and importance. A little investigation leads to… nothing. However, a few days later, the PCs learn from a shadow in the night, that a caravan is transporting stolen goods south. Will the PCs be able to track down the caravan, find the thieves and perhaps learn the identity of their shadow ally? In fact, if the PCs play their cards right, they may uncover a whole organization of thieves…

 

The Demon’s Cult

An imp, a prophet who has terrible nightmares, a Fallen tower, a young cult and the deomn they worships and who wish to be free of its prison. Will the PCs be able to hunt down the cultists, stop their scheme and perhaps learn secrets of the Fallen Tower’s single inhabitant… or will the cultists unleash a fury upon the city unlike any Mor Aldenn has ever seen? 

 

Remember that these are just ideas, and will definitely change (somewhat) before the adventure is finished!

Adventure!

March 29, 2009
A Wraith in the Barrowdelve

A Wraith in the Barrowdelve

Without adventure, a setting is nothing. Players make adventurers and heroes, and these need places to explore, monsters to fight and mysteries to solve.

So what places, monsters and mysteries does Mor Aldenn offer a group of adventurers?

 

The Curse of the Night Hag 

Low to high-level characters

Something is making the dead walk the streets of Mor Aldenn. Moraldenns have named this new threat the Curse of the Night Hag, but its really not a curse at all, but a powerful artifact that is making the dead restless. It is, however, the night hag who is behind the artifact.

Low-level PCs may find themselves invited to the Mage Guild where they are hired to patrol the streets at night. The Barrowdelve Gate has been magically sealed, but some undead still find their way into the streets at night, a mystery the mages have yet to solve.

Mid-level PCs are hired to enter the Barrowdelve and retrieve certain items. The moraldenns fear that the undead will destroy their memories hidden within the Barrowdelve and seek the PCs to retrieve them before this happens. The mages will open the gate during the day, but from there on the PCs will be on their own.

High-level PCs will be asked to find the source of the curse. They are asked to go to deep into the Barrowdelve, where they will fight very powerful undead. When they find the artifact, they will need to destroy it (quickly) or become undead themselves.

 

The Night Hag

Low to high-level characters

The night hag of the Spindlewood Marshes has risen again. Her coven has regained its strength and she is amassing a great army to the west of Mor Aldenn.

Among her army is lizardfolk, kobolds, giants, human brigands and, of course, other hags (mostly green hags). They are not all found in the marshes, but patrol the surrounding forest, striking out against travellers, merchants and the small villages.

Low-level PCs are hired as guards or even guides. A merchant needs to travel to a small village to the west and fears brigands and kobolds. A rich innkeeper must visit his dying mother and needs guards to keep him safe. Maybe the Mage Guild hires them to kill kobolds and lizardfolk, or perhaps a mage hires them to capture an ettercap.

Mid-level PCs are hired to kill hill giants, especially the infamous tribe that terrorizes the forest east of Mor Aldenn, making the road to Ossindil dangerous. They may also be hired to find the night hag’s spies (see Nolly Ravenheart).

High-level PCs are strong enough to make the journey into the dreadful Spindlewood Marshes where they must fight the night hag herself. Elven mages are also interested in finding an ancient (now lost) elven city within the marsh, and perhaps they hire the PCs to seek it out and retrieve some of its many secrets.

 

The Demon Tower

Mid to high-level characters

 The Fallen Tower has been abandoned for decades and the mages have tried to kill the demon many times, failing each time. Perhaps the PCs will succeed, retrieving ancient secrets of summoning and conjuration. The Mage Guild will pay them greatly if they succeed.

Art by Gary Dupuis (www.gdupuis.com)

Nolly Ravenheart

March 19, 2009

An old hunched woman walks down the dirt road towards Mor Aldenn. She carries a weird staff with a head the shape of a funny-looking raven, yet does not use the staff as such. Her raven black hair hides most of her face, a worn face that have seen more years than most humans in the city of mages.

Nolly Ravenheart (female human, druid13) is a druid and healer known by most moraldenns. She lives a seemingly quiet life in Mor Aldenn, but those who know her even better also knows that she frequently leaves the city. Nolly is a good person, or rather, she was a good person. How she came to be a member of the night hag’s secret coven is a story that only she and her mistress know, but it may be related to the death of her husband, Alwis the Mage.

When Nolly leaves Mor Aldenn, she takes the shape of a raven and flies towards the Spindlewood Marshes, to see her mistress. She is a spy within the city of mages, who frequently makes reports to the night hag.

Another well-kept secret concerns the dark curse in the Barrowdelve. Nolly Ravenheart hid an artifact deep within the ancient vaults, an artifact that awaken the dead to unlife each night.

A small history lesson…

March 13, 2009

The Marsh War began long ago, before there was even fragments of a settlement on the banks of the converging rivers. A group of elven wizards from distant Ossindil (the great elven city of Ossindrillond) travelled west towards the great human empires and on their way back, lost their way in the Spindlewood Marshes. It was here, that they found an ancient enemy. A creature of the night, a creature with a hate unlike anything the elves had previously seen. It was a night hag, one of the vilest creatures imaginable.

The group managed to escape the clutches of the night hag, but not before losing a few of their friends. They left behind them a trail of blood, and henceforth the Spindlewood Marshes was also known as the Crimson Lands. They did, however, manage to wound their adversary and according to legends, blinded the night hag on her left eye. A wound that marks her to this day!

Since that first fatal meeting, the night hag have hated the elves of Ossindrillon. An elven message was sent to Calathia, the human realm of the south, a message begging the humans for help. The respons was quick to arrive in the form of a large band of human wizards. The war continued, forcing the alliance to make a stand on the island where now Mor Aldenn lies. They succeeded at dealing the night hag yet another lethal blow, killing six green hags from her coven. This time the night hag retreated far into the Spindlewood Marshes where she hid for many decades. She now knew the strength of her adversary and would never again underestimate him.

Current events
The night hag has brought down a curse on Mor Aldenn, bringing the city of the dead, also called Barrowdelve, to life, or rather, to unlife. Barrowdelve is hidden deep within the hill (also called Tower Hill) that rises on the main island, a city (or rather a dungeon) where Mor Aldenn have buried their dead for hundreds of years. Now, as the curse spreads, the dead is awoken to life. The wizards have managed to lock the gates with their magic, but not before skeletons, ghouls and zombies created havoc in the streets, killing lots of innocents. However, there are some undead that a magically locked gate will not keep out, like shadows and ghosts. Fortunately for the citizens of Mor Aldenn, the undead only appear at night and the wizards have hired adventurers to patrol the nocturnal streets.

The Barrowdelve

March 10, 2009

Ghouls in the streets

Ghouls in the streets

Yes, the gates into the Barrowdelve used to be open to all, but these days, the ancestral halls may be the least safe place to be, especially at night! They say that the vile night hag of the Spindlewood Marshes has cast a deadly curse upon Mor Aldenn, waking the undead at night… but if you ask me, its those necromancers of the Shadow Tower causing all this nightly chaos!

 

– Caldrim, fisherman on the Tassalin river.

A long time ago, the inhabitants of Mor Aldenn decided that they would use the mound in the middle of the isle as a sort of necropolis. The first chambers were dug almost 300 years ago, but since then it has grown a little each year. The moraldenns are very proud of this dungeon, which they name their ancestral halls, and see it as a monument to their history and especially, to their ancestors. The wealthy have entire sections of the necroplois devoted to them. bought and paid for of course, while most others have their bones or ashes displayed in the impressive Hall of Bones.

The heroes of Mor Aldenn is an entirely different matter, as are the mages vaults. Heroes are often mummified and displayed in sarcophaguses in the Inner Sanctuary, while lesser known adventurers have their bones gilded and displayed in the hallways, along with the recollections of their valorous deeds.

The mages vault is perhaps the most secure part of the Barrowdelve, sealed behind arcane wards and doors, protected by magical guardians. The vault is not only home of the dead, but also a place where the mages store some of their worst secrets. Also, its not all mages that have their remains locked away in the vault, in fact, if you are allowed to sleep your eternal rest in the Vaults is up to the masters of the Mage Guild.

Recently, the dead have risen, causing havoc in the streets, killing innocents and mages. The mages were quick to react, especially the necromancers of the Shadow Tower. The gates were sealed using powerful magic, and now, only the mages can open them. You would think that this removed the threat to Mor Aldenn, but alas, it did not. There are still shadows, ghosts and other undead that care little for stone and magic. The strange thing is, the undead only arrive in the night.

The mages have their studies to tend to, which means that they have hired adventurers to watch the streets at night. The commoners mark their doors with sacred runes, lock their doors and hope for the best, but while the threat has not been removed, it has diminished, at least for now!

Art by Gary Dupuis (www.gdupuis.com)