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It Came from Outer Space
By Jacob Skytte.
Thanks to John Calvin and Matthew Wang for assistance with 3E stats.
Thanks to Geoff Gander for the map of Hendry.
An adventure for a suggested party of characters of level 3-5 (about 18 levels total). You can easily adapt the adventure for lower level characters, as there is little serious combat and several sources of additional allies.
Scene: The depths of space.
A strange vessel travels ever onwards. Its sole occupant: a bloated, yellowish, amorphous, tentacled THING. As the vessel starts to shake, lights begin blinking, and the THING opens its four eyes. Tentacles manipulate strange instruments as the vessel plummets towards the surface of a blue and green world.
Scene: A farm outside the village of Hendry in the Republic of Darokin.
Paolo looks up at the night sky, holding his father's hand.
"Look father, a shooting star!" he exclaims, and points to the sky with youthful enthusiasm. They both watch the fiery trail streak across the sky. Suddenly it seems to blaze into huge flames before their eyes, then disappears into the trees not far from the farm. A loud rumble is heard as a warm breeze washes over them. As the sound dies out, Paolo, his mouth wide open, is nudged by his father.
"Go get my axe. We'll see what it was. And if it's worth anything, it belongs to us."
Scene: The crash site, not far from the village of Hendry in the Republic of Darokin.
Trees are ablaze and smoke rises from the crater where the vessel has ploughed into the earth. The flames illuminate the area with an eerie light. A strange sound like a shrill cry echoes in the glade. Out of the smoking crater, on crab-like legs, crawls the terrible THING. Its mouth opens slowly in a hiss, revealing long razor-sharp fangs. The horror is about to begin.
A NEH-THALGGU, or BRAIN COLLECTOR, a horrible creature from the NIGHTMARE DIMENSION, has found itself stranded on Mystara, after travelling through space for its own inscrutable purposes. Once among human cattle, its vessel destroyed, it strives to obtain the twelve brains it will need to power its artifacts and send it on its way.
The vessel has crashed in the Republic of Darokin, near the village of Hendry. Villagers soon investigate the crash site, but the first ones there are overcome by the BRAIN COLLECTOR and their brains are harvested. Once other villagers reach the crash site they realise that something is loose among them and quickly gather in the village for added protection in numbers.
Meanwhile the government of Darokin sends out its own team to investigate the crash site, a party of soldiers led by two spellcasters. Once they find out that a monster is loose, they will want to find it and destroy it before it claims any more lives.
How to Play the Adventure
The tone of the adventure depends much on the DM and how you choose to introduce the characters to the adventure (see Adventure Hooks). The adventure lends itself well to simple detective work, with the PCs gradually discovering what they're up against as they find the remnants of the BRAIN COLLECTOR'S deeds and victims. But it could just as well be played as a simple encounter, such as an attempt to invade the creature's lair. The adventure has been written vaguely on purpose, as a series of scenes and events, which the DM can then use as he or she sees fit.
If, as we suggest, playing the adventure as a detective horror story, the DM should strive to foreshadow the BRAIN COLLECTOR. Emphasise the strange state of its victims, the tops of their heads removed, and let them wonder about what could make the bite marks they also discover. Have them examine the ruined vessel and worry about what it might have contained. Let them catch a glimpse of the monster as it flees the scene of an attack. Allow them to find its lair while the creature is about so they can examine its strange artifacts. When they finally confront the monster, emphasise its alien nature and let it fight an awesome battle!
There are several ways that the PCs can become involved in the adventure. This also depends on how much of the adventure you plan to play through.
As independent operatives, the PCs can witness the shooting star and observe the crash, then go to investigate by themselves. In this case you will probably want them to arrive in the morning after or while the villagers of Hendry investigate the crash site.
Another option could be to have the PCs be the ones sent by the Darokinian government to initially investigate the crash. If you choose this option the PCs should replace the Darokinian expedition NPCs or you could play the adventure using the members of that expedition as pre-rolled characters. In this case you will have to come up with additional victims for the BRAIN COLLECTOR, to make up for the five brains it will presumably not get from the members of the expedition.
The PCs can also be drawn into the adventure by responding to the call for adventurers posted by the government on Day 5 (see the Timeline). In this scenario they will mostly be investigating what has already happened, and this is probably the most suspenseful option.
A final suggestion sees the PCs as caravan guards for Gospodin Nikolaievich (see The Merchant under Scenes). In this case the adventure will probably become a short encounter rather than a proper adventure, but the PCs can still examine the crash site and search the area.
Timeline of Events
This timeline assumes that the PCs do not interfere with any events. It is what would have happened if the PCs didn't participate in the adventure. Naturally the DM will want the PCs to participate in some of these events and to confront the BRAIN COLLECTOR before it completes its plans.
Keep in mind that this is only a suggested timeline. If you wish encounters to happen in a different order or at different times, you shouldn't hesitate. Tailor the events to occur at the pace of your PCs.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR arrives at night, crash-landing its vessel into the forest outside of Hendry. A local farmer, Mercurio Vespan, and his son Paolo are the first to investigate and they are killed by the BRAIN COLLECTOR, who harvests their brains afterwards. It salvages what it can from the remnants of its vessel, then sets out to look for a proper place to build a lair.
In the morning several armed villagers arrive at the crash site. They find the bodies of the farmer and his son, which they bring back to Hendry. They send out people to warn other farmers of the danger. Several farm families take shelter in the village.
In Darokin City an expedition to examine the crash is quickly organised. It sets out for the village of Hendry that same day.
The expeditionary force from Darokin City reaches Hendry, where the leaders interview the villagers and examine the bodies. Next they set out for the crash site to learn what they can.
Meanwhile the BRAIN COLLECTOR has found a suitable place to build its lair and spends the day busily setting it up.
The Darokinian expedition examines the crash site, but finds little to help them figure out what has happened. They return to Hendry to stay the night over.
The Darokinian expedition travels into the forest looking for clues leading to the monster.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR spends the day scouting its surroundings, learning of the nearby merchant's trail to Hendry and looking for isolated settlements.
The Darokinian expedition comes upon the BRAIN COLLECTOR close to its lair. It ambushes them and manages to overcome all but one soldier, who flees back towards Darokin City. The BRAIN COLLECTOR returns to its lair with the five brains it has managed to extract (one was damaged and thus useless to it) and feasts.
The lone survivor of the Darokinian expedition returns to Darokin City. She relates her tales of the horrible BRAIN COLLECTOR to her superiors and is excused from further duty.
The government of Darokin realises that it needs what help it can get and posts notices calling for experienced adventurers to volunteer for a monster hunt.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR runs across a lone shadowelf scout, spying in the area. It overcomes her and harvests her brain.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR attacks the isolated Pendleton farm and harvests another 3 brains, bringing it to 11. It needs one more brain to complete its plans.
The last two days should be placed to suit the adventure, so the PCs can interfere with these events. They could be postponed if the PCs have been taking their time or rushed if they have been efficient in tracking down the antagonist.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR attacks a wagon on its way to Hendry and captures the merchant driving it. It brings him back to its lair to complete its ritual there.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR consumes the merchant's brain and activates its devices, leaving Mystara.
This is an overview of the various places where the adventure takes place, what people and items are found there, and what clues can be obtained from them.
The Village of Hendry
This village of 550 people lies at the edge of the Canolbarth Forest, about 40 miles southeast of Darokin City. It is mostly a village of loggers and contains a large sawmill by the banks of the Helleck River. The sawmill provides work for most of the inhabitants, cutting logs into lumber and collecting sawdust used to produce paper. Those villagers not employed by the sawmill run shops or small farms scattered about the countryside.
The businesses in Hendry include:
Julius Centares is the busy village barber. His shop doubles as a tailor, which is overseen by his wife, Hypatia. This is the definite place to go for all the local gossip. Hypatia always has a pot of tea steaming and a few ladies over. Julius also adds his share to the conversation while tending to customers.
Theodore Scrapples runs the local bakery. He is a large round man, who enjoys the finer things in life. His 27-year-old daughter, Cecilia, lives with him and is a well-versed herbalist, who has a large garden with all manner of strange herbs. Theodore's famous spice cakes are only baked on very special occasions. The general consensus is that Cecilia should have married years ago, but Theodore won't give up "daddy's little girl."
Reynard "Fox-step" is the local tanner, as well as a hunter, and a bit of a local celebrity after chasing a rogue monster that came out of Aengmor, away from the village. Reynard himself is quick to point out that it was pure luck; he is not a skilled warrior. There are other hunters, but none as good as Reynard, and he makes a comfortable living from selling animal skins. He is considered an attractive bachelor.
Map of the Village of Hendry
The Sawdust Tavern
Madame Phoebe runs the local drinking establishment, where the rugged lumberjacks spend their pay. It can be a rough place, but they all respect Phoebe, who once threw a 200-pound lumberjack through a window when he refused to leave. Upstairs there are two large rooms with 10 beds each; a bed costs 1 half-daro a night and patrons will have to put up with the noise from the common room below, which often continues till late in the night.
Francesca di Malapietra (no relation to the Glantrian di Malapietras... really!) is a mysterious lady, who favours Belcadizan veils and ornate black dresses. Her shop is a two-story building with all available space (including the basement) filled with all manner of exotic goods and equipment. What Francesca doesn't have, she can probably obtain within a month through her contacts. Francesca is rumoured to be a wizardess, who flunked at the Great School of Magic. There are many men who find her greatly attractive, while their wives find her elegant and sophisticated.
Bill Morgan, a farmer who lives close to the village, is also the local butcher. He is a giant of a man, who is generally in a foul mood. Some people believe that he enjoys his work a little too much, though none would dare say that to his face. Bill is often found drinking at the Sawdust, where people tend to avoid him or suck up to him. Nobody wants to be on bad terms with Bill Morgan.
The Hendry Sawmill
The foreman of the sawmill, Silvester Hoff, is also what comes closest to mayor of the village. His brother Jon is the local priest of Koryis, and his words also carry great weight in Hendry. Both are level-headed men, who believe in keeping Hendry the peaceful place it is and fulfilling their roles in society.
There is no military presence in Hendry, but many of the villagers know how to handle a weapon and they are quick to band together against trouble. Since the village lies in an extremely peaceful part of Darokin, trouble is a rare occurrence. In the face of this unknown horrible threat (nobody has ever seen anything like this before!), the villagers realise that they are unequipped to deal with it, so, for now, they have chosen to stick close together and let the government handle it.
Investigations in Hendry
PCs making inquiries in Hendry will be met by Silvester and Jon, who tell them about the crash and the bodies recovered from the crash site. They will be happy to lead them to Jon's residence, where the bodies are kept. The bodies of the widower Mercurio Vespan and his 11-year-old son Paolo are laid out on tables in Jon's cool basement. Their faces are twisted in horror and half of Mercurio's right arm is missing. The most dreadful thing, though, is that the tops of their heads are missing, their brains seemingly removed from their skulls.
Examination of Mercurio's arm reveals that it has been severed by sharp blades (or teeth). The head wounds are clean, clinical cuts. Attempts to speak with the dead will reveal few details, they were overcome too quickly to be sure what attacked them. They believe it to have been a monstrous creature. They cannot be brought back to life with their brains missing.
The village hunter, Reynard "Fox-step," will be happy to lead the PCs to the crash site, but will be reluctant to accompany them further, fearing the unnatural creature, and believing that he is needed to help protect the village should it be attacked. If they are in sore need of a tracker, Reynard may be persuaded to help them, but, as he will be quick to point out, he is a hunter of animals, not a skilled warrior.
Depending on when the PCs arrive in Hendry, Silvester and Jon can also tell them that an official expedition of soldiers from Darokin City investigated the crash site, then left to search for the murderous creature. They haven't been heard from since (consult the Timeline to see how long they've been missing).
If they are in Hendry on Day 8 or later (see the Timeline) Jon will also ask them to check on the Pendleton family since their daughter Violet was supposed to collect supplies on Day 7, but hasn't shown up. This could simply be because the Pendletons are afraid to leave the farm, but it could also mean something more sinister.
Before leaving Hendry, the PCs may also be approached by a distraught farmer, Myles Stockton, who has lost his bull and will offer to pay up to 5 daros for its safe return (see An Escaped Bull in the Random Encounter section).
The Crash Site
This small glade lies some 21/2 miles from Hendry. Nearing the glade the PCs will see trees toppled and burned. Clearing the trees they find a deep groove ploughed through the ground, reaching about 50 feet before ending in a pile of pushed-up earth and toppled trees. Beneath the pile lies a strange spherical rock 20 feet in diameter.
The glade is filled with footprints from the villagers (and the Darokinian expedition if they have already been here), so it's impossible to find any prints from whatever may have crawled out of the sphere.
Examining the sphere, the PCs find that it looks like a hollow rock that's cracked open. Inside the rock they see weird buttons, indentations and levers (that do nothing if operated though a few lights might blink on and off) spread across one half of the sphere. Opposite these controls, what seems to be a bowl-shaped pedestal with six grooves spread evenly around it (the seat) takes up part of one wall.
The vessel itself will never be able to fly again and the means of its propulsion will remain a complete mystery to the inhabitants of Mystara. Still, the vessel is a curious artifact and the Darokinian government will want to seize it for its own research. Crafty PCs might lay claim to it and obtain up to 500 daros from government officials, but this will not endear them to the government. If they are greedy and press for more money than that, the officials will become frustrated and order the army to simply confiscate the vessel, though this is not a tactic that they would usually employ since it runs the risk of making them look like oppressive tyrants.
Closely examining the glade the PCs may find blood-spattered ground, where Mercurio Vespan got his arm bitten off. There is no sign of the arm (or the axe it held), the BRAIN COLLECTOR ate both. The location of their scalps also remains a mystery.
The Vespan Farm
This is the farm of Mercurio Vespan and his son Paolo, the first two victims of the BRAIN COLLECTOR. The farm is abandoned, villagers having brought their animals into Hendry. Unscrupulous PCs may find Mercurio's savings: 14 daros, 18 half-daros, 73 tentrids, and his late wife's turquoise necklace (worth 20 daros) and onyx earrings (worth 70 daros as a pair) hidden in a locked box under a floorboard in his bedroom. In Paolo's toy box are also scattered some 15 passems along with a lot of junk that only an 11-year-old boy could love. There is little else of use or value at the farm.
There is nothing sinister at the farm, though the PCs may think so, if they haven't inquired about it at the village, when they see the barn door standing open and no animals about. If the DM wishes, he or she can stage an encounter from the Random Encounters here.
The Shadowelf Corpse
This scene can only be run on or after Day 6, when the shadow elf is killed. The PCs come across the body of a female shadow elf (perhaps after following the trail of the BRAIN COLLECTOR). She has been sent to scout out the area and spy on the Darokinians. The shadow elves have other such spies around Darokin.
If the PCs come upon her within a few hours of her death, they will see the light spell that the BRAIN COLLECTOR used to blind her, still in effect. If not, then all they see is the grievous bite wound in her left side that took out her heart and, of course, that she is missing the top of her head. She managed to draw her weapon, a sword of exceptional quality (does +1 damage, worth 100 daros, perfect for enchantments), which lies beside her. She wears ruined chain mail (the BRAIN COLLECTOR took a good bite out of it) and a light crossbow is strapped to her back. Her remaining possessions include 25 quarrels, a mirror, 25' of silk rope, chalk, and an engraved brooch (worth 10 daros).
Using speak with the dead on the shadow elf (whose name was Acastra) will do little good unless one of them is a shadowelf shaman. She will not give straight answers to foreigners. She cannot be raised since she has no brain.
Note that Acastra is not alone in the area. Her superior, Marcafarel, is also around (see A Lone Shadow Elf in the Random Encounter section).
The Pendleton Farm
This scene should only be run on or after Day 7, when the BRAIN COLLECTOR attacks the farm. The Pendletons are a family of three, Arthur Pendleton, his wife Gwynneth, and their 16-year-old daughter Violet. They run a quiet farm with two grain fields, a draft horse, three cows, some chickens and a pigsty.
The Pendletons received warning from Hendry that there was a monster in the area, but Arthur did not believe that there was much danger (the area is so peaceful, he couldn't really imagine anything attacking him), and besides he couldn't just abandon the farm. He was saving up for a nice gift for his wife on their 15th anniversary in a few months and needed to put in more work.
On Day 7 the BRAIN COLLECTOR will be lurking about the house looking for a good opportunity to ambush the family. That opportunity comes when Violet is sent on her regular trip into town to collect some supplies. She rides the family's small cart (pulled by the draft horse) along the trail leading to Hendry, when the BRAIN COLLECTOR falls upon her. It first attacks the horse, biting it to death. Violet screams and tries to flee, but the BRAIN COLLECTOR incapacitates her with a spell. It then proceeds to harvest her brain, an operation that will be complete in 10 rounds (it is quite skilled at this).
Arthur will come running, his woodsman's axe in his hands, but will be torn by grief upon seeing his daughter's mutilated body and is no match for the BRAIN COLLECTOR. It bites him to death, then harvests his brain. Finally it scuttles to the farm, where the terrified Gwynneth attempts to barricade the door. It crashes through a window, chases her around the house and traps her in the bedroom, where it kills her (biting off a leg, then harvesting her brain after she falls unconscious from the shock).
After finishing the slaughter, the BRAIN COLLECTOR crashes through another window and returns to its lair, eager to make some adjustments to its equipment there, before seeking the final brain it needs.
The PCs can interrupt this sequence of events if you wish, saving one or more family members before driving the BRAIN COLLECTOR off. It shouldn't fight to the death here, not being prepared for or anticipating capable opponents. As soon as it takes notable (10 or more) damage, it retreats to seek easier prey. It should use a spell or two to harm or incapacitate some PCs, so they won't be too eager to pursue it. And they should also remember to care for any injured members of the Pendleton family.
One of the Pendletons could be used as the final victim the BRAIN COLLECTOR needs in which case that person should be kidnapped and taken to the BRAIN COLLECTOR'S lair to be used in its ritual instead of the merchant assumed to be its victim. Any Pendletons who survive may also take the role of the merchant in The Invasion of the BRAIN COLLECTORS entry in Further Adventures.
Should the PCs arrive after the carnage, they can explore the area and look for clues/loot. This would be a good place for an encounter with A Pack of Scavengers (see Random Encounters). Inside the house greedy PCs can find Arthur's savings: 38 daros, 7 half-daros and 42 tentrids. They are hidden away in a box on top of a support beam.
Using speak with the dead on any of the Pendletons will yield a fair description of the BRAIN COLLECTOR. They cannot be raised since their brains are missing.
Remains of the Darokinian Expedition
For details of the expedition members see the NPCs section.
Once the PCs manage to find the remains of the Darokinian expedition, they are close to the BRAIN COLLECTOR'S lair. Finding their remains is a good precursor to finding the creature's lair.
The soldiers of the Darokinian expedition were ambushed by the BRAIN COLLECTOR. It surprised Captain Faysal while he was taking care of some "delicate business." It overcame him easily then proceeded to creep up on the soldiers. Quinton discovered it, and the soldiers scrambled to get their guard up.
When the BRAIN COLLECTOR saw Maggie starting to cast a spell it concentrated its attacks on her, incapacitating her quickly. It then proceeded to use spells and bite attacks on Sergeant Barton and the two foot soldiers. As the archers saw their comrades fall they withdrew, and Quinton convinced Elyse that she should return for help, while he stalked the monster.
Elyse fled the area for Darokin City and Quinton attempted to fight the monster on his own terms, using cover and trees to strike and hide. The BRAIN COLLECTOR managed to injure him while he stood on a tree branch and he fell to his death, crushing his head.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR then proceeded to harvest the brains from the five expedition members whose brains were intact, with its usual surgical precision.
PCs searching the bodies find few valuables besides the soldiers' weapons and armours. They carry a total of 14 daros, 24 half-daros and 43 tentrids (expenses are billed to the army). They also carry various personal effects of no significant value.
Clues to the BRAIN COLLECTOR'S spell repertoire may be found by inspecting the area and the bodies. For example, if you have decided that the BRAIN COLLECTOR has a flaming sphere spell, the PCs may find burn marks on the bodies and a trail of burned vegetation, where the sphere passed. But keep in mind the number of spells that the BRAIN COLLECTOR had access to at this time. If you are following the timeline it should only have two spells at the time of this event.
Gospodin Nikolaievich is a small-time merchant, who believes that he will soon make it big. He is on his way to Hendry with a cargo of supplies and oddities, mostly for the curiosity shop. These wares are worth about 500 daros if a buyer can be found. In Hendry he will pick up lumber and take further orders from Francesca before continuing his travels.
Gospodin rides a small roofed wagon, pulled by two draft horses. His valuable possessions are hidden in a secret compartment beneath the wagon. These include 115 daros for emergencies and opportunity deals, a magical dagger +1 with cheap jewels imbedded in the hilt (worth 75 daros if not detected as magical), a bundle of love letters from his fiancée Rosalinda, and a locket with a small painting of Rosalinda.
As Gospodin merrily rides along the trail to Hendry, dreaming of resting his head on Rosalinda's ample bosom, the BRAIN COLLECTOR suddenly attacks while under an invisibility spell, severing the cart from the horses that pull it. The horses panic and ride off; they will wander into Hendry later that day, and thus may let the PCs know that something has happened.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR quickly seizes the flustered merchant, but does not kill him outright. His is the last brain that the BRAIN COLLECTOR needs and it wishes to return him to its lair, where it will consume his brain during a ritual that will allow it to leave Mystara.
If the PCs are present for this encounter, they can fight the BRAIN COLLECTOR. It is intent on seizing a person for its ritual and Gospodin likely appears the weakest, so it will want to grab him. If met by a group it will use its spells intelligently to create an opportunity to grab Gospodin. Should the PCs manage to seriously harm it (more than 25 damage) before it can get to Gospodin, it will flee. In this case you should select a proper replacement for the merchant to be used in the ritual. Good choices are one of the Pendletons if you haven't run their scene or an NPC from Hendry that the PCs have grown attached to, who, for whatever reason, was in the area.
Unscrupulous PCs who show up in Hendry with Gospodin's wares and try to hawk them to Francesca of the curiosity shop (the only person who will be likely to buy them), will be well marked by her as thieves. She was expecting this exact shipment from Gospodin and will know that the PCs must have stolen it from him. She will buy part of the shipment to appease them, leave them with the rest to be caught red-handed, then close shop for the day and contact the authorities in Darokin with their descriptions (and names if she can get them). They will soon find government officials looking for them, suspecting them of theft and possibly murder as well.
If you wish to run encounters with government officials you can use the stats provided for the Darokinian expedition in the NPCs section.
Of course, if they show up with the wares just to put them in a safe place, explaining how they found them, nobody will suspect them of being thieves, since the monster is obviously responsible. Trying to sell goods belonging to another is theft though, regardless of how they found them.
Lair of the BRAIN COLLECTOR
The BRAIN COLLECTOR has set up its lair inside a house built on an upper branch of an oak tree. This tree is the largest oak tree in the area, a small remnant of the giant trees of the Canolbarth Forest, and was chosen by a small group of refugees from the former nation of Alfheim as their home after the trees of Alfheim were twisted during the shadowelf invasion. The elves tried, but never managed to emulate their former life style and soon moved on to follow their brethren to more distant destinations.
The humans of Darokin never discovered that there were elves living briefly in the area, and nobody knows of this tree-house. A person standing by the tree and looking up can easily see the building sitting on a large branch, but nobody had discovered it before the BRAIN COLLECTOR did.
Reaching the tree-house means having to climb the tree, which is not impossible, but there's a good 100' to the tree-house, so a check of some sort is justified. The BRAIN COLLECTOR uses its levitation crystal to enter its lair.
The tree-house itself is a wooden building sitting precariously on a large tree branch. It is about 15' wide and 30' long with several windows in the walls and a door at each end of the building. It consists of a common room, placed closest to the tree trunk, and a cramped corridor with four small rooms off to the sides. There is also an attic beneath the sloped roof that is accessible from the common room.
Most of the rooms are empty, the elves having taken their belongings with them when they left. The BRAIN COLLECTOR uses the common room as its main lair. Since the room is cramped, it uses one of the smaller rooms to store a few of its artifacts.
In the main lair the BRAIN COLLECTOR has placed several strange objects, various crystals and orbs as well as some metal rods and disks. These all radiate magic, but their effect and use is mostly impossible to discern for creatures not native to the NIGHTMARE DIMENSION. They may be of great value to DIABOLI if the PCs know of them. The BRAIN COLLECTOR will use them to assist it in returning home, and also wishes to bring its equipment with it.
The items that could possibly be identified and used include: A crystal ball, a single eye of the eagle, a gem of brightness, and an iridescent ioun stone. These items are indiscernible from the many other similar items that have no apparent purpose, since they all radiate magic. Using these items might also render the user sensitive to the NIGHTMARE DIMENSION (see Nightmares Persist in Further Adventures).
The BRAIN COLLECTOR will only occasionally be found in the lair, as it is mostly searching for the brains it needs to move on. Sometimes it will be here adjusting the equipment to make sure that all is as it should be. The PCs could enter the lair when the BRAIN COLLECTOR is about and steal or smash its equipment. This will not prevent it from completing its plans, but will mean that it needs a little longer to complete its ritual and will upset it (which can be good or bad).
Unless the PCs have clearly compromised its lair, the BRAIN COLLECTOR will return to the lair with its final victim. Otherwise it will look for a quiet place in the area. The PCs should ideally be present or nearby to interrupt the ritual. You could have them track the BRAIN COLLECTOR down, already be waiting for it near the lair, or just have them hear the screams of the victim.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR will slowly make the incision to remove the top of the skull from its still living victim, while activating its various devices. If the PCs do not act, it will devour the victim's brain, activate the final devices and disappear from Mystara along with all of its equipment, presumably returning to the NIGHTMARE DIMENSION. What consequences this has will not become apparent right away, but the Invasion of the BRAIN COLLECTORS (see Further Adventures) might not be far off.
If the PCs attempt to stop the ritual, that is easily accomplished. All they have to do is engage the BRAIN COLLECTOR in combat and kill it. The BRAIN COLLECTOR, so close to completing its plans, will fight to the death, eager to move on. This is the final showdown!
These encounters could be used whenever the PCs travel between the different scenes. At certain scenes some encounters have also been suggested. The area is very peaceful, so they are generally not terribly dangerous encounters. Most of them need not even be hostile in nature.
Roll 1d10 if you wish or choose an encounter to your liking.
1-5 An Encounter with Nature
6 A Lone Shadow Elf
7 A Pack of Scavengers
8 A Hungry Bear
9 An Escaped Bull
10 An Enterprising Mage
An Encounter with Nature
This represents any number of simple natural encounters. The PCs may come across regular forest animals, such as deer, rabbits, skunks, or birds (some might be valuable as food, others if caught and sold).
They may also come across interesting settings such as an uprooted tree, a small and pleasant lake (time for a bath or some good fishing!) or a dark grove with mushrooms growing in patterns that almost seem artificial (some may be edible, others poisonous).
Finally this encounter can mean a sudden change in the weather such as a thunderstorm, a brief shower, the sun/moon suddenly bursting through cloud cover, or a strong wind rising or waning.
A Lone Shadow Elf
This shadow elf, who goes by the name of Marcafarel, is a former Snake of the Eyes of the Serpent, a secret organisation of spies that used to work for Xatapechtli, the spymaster of the shadow elves. Following the civil war in Aengmor the Eyes of the Serpent were dissolved. Marcafarel is now part of a slightly less elite group of scouts/spies in Darokin. He is training Acastra (see the Shadowelf Corpse), with whom he is secretly falling in love.
Marcafarel has some remnants of the equipment he was given as a Snake, most notably his ring of disguise, which allows him to appear as most humanoids, even changing sex. He is well trained in disguise and acting, being able to alter his manner completely. His spells are mostly used for disguise and escape, though he has a few combat spells memorised for emergencies. For escape purposes he carries a scroll with teleport inscribed.
When prepared for battle Marcafarel wears chain mail, carries a short sword +1 and a light crossbow with 20 quarrels and 10 poisoned quarrels, which slow for 2-5 rounds.
Encounters with Marcafarel are only likely to result in confrontation under certain circumstances. Unless the PCs have extraordinary means of detection they are probably not able to detect this master of stealth. For his part Marcafarel will want to avoid trifling with a party of adventurers.
However, should the PCs have looted Acastra's corpse and Marcafarel discover that they are carrying some of her belongings, he will assume that they have killed her and mark them for death. He will stalk them and attempt to ambush sole PCs if given the opportunity. He will particularly want to kill any PC who carries Acastra's things and retrieve them.
If Marcafarel is seriously injured he will attempt to use his magic to escape and report back to his commander. Marcafarel and Acastra are part of a larger group that operates in southern Darokin, a group that it is not wise to make enemies of (see Vengeance of the Shadow Elves in Further Adventures).
On the other hand you could use Marcafarel as a wild card to help the PCs out if they are having trouble with the BRAIN COLLECTOR. If they have not made an enemy of him, he might discover what has truly happened to Acastra and take out his revenge on the BRAIN COLLECTOR.
Marcafarel, elf Ftr3/Wiz4 (Illusionist)
CR 7; Medium Humanoid; HD 3d10 + 4d4; hp 34; Init +6 (Dex +2); Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (+5 armour, +2 Dex); Atks +6 melee (short sword 1d6+2), +7 ranged (light crossbow 1d8); AL LN; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +5; Str 13, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 11, Cha 10.
Skills: Climb +8, Concentrate +10, Handle Animal +4, Ride (skinwing) +6, Scry +2.
Feats: Alertness, Dodge, Leadership, Mobility, Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus: Illusion.
Possessions: Chain mail armour, short sword +1, light crossbow (20 quarrels, 10 quarrels which cause slow).
3 Languages: Elvish (Shadowelf dialect), Thyatian (Darokinian and Thyatian dialects).
Spells in spellbook (Evocation = prohibited):
1st: Cause fear, change self, charm person, expeditious retreat, hypnotism, obscuring mist.
2nd: Blur, invisibility, mirror image, misdirection.
A Pack of Scavengers
A pack of scavenging animals, such as jackals, wolves or giant rats, is found dining on an animal carcass (or better yet, a victim of the BRAIN COLLECTOR). They will be reluctant to leave their meal and may even be hostile (if hungry enough), but shouldn't pose too big of a challenge for the PCs (i.e. easily driven off if met with firm resistance).
Wolf Pack (3)
CR 1/2; Medium-Size Animal; HD 2d8+4; hp 12, 10, 8; Init +2 (Dex); Spd 50 ft.; AC 14 (+2 Dex, +2 natural); Atks +3 melee (bite 1d6+1); SA Trip; SQ scent; AL N; SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +1; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6.
Skills: Hide +3, Listen +6, Move Silently +4, Spot +4, Wilderness Lore +1.
Feats: Weapon Finesse (bite).
A Hungry Bear
This adventuresome bear (which is likely a brown bear, but can be of another type if you prefer) has come down from the Cruth Mountains and wandered into the area. It is hungry, but is not particularly likely to attack the PCs unless provoked. It can be easily fended off by throwing it food, and, if you're so inclined, might make an animal companion for a PC who cares for it.
CR 4; Large Animal; HD 6d8+24; hp 51; Init +1 (Dex); Spd 40 ft.; AC 15 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +5 natural); Atks 2 claws +11 melee, bite +6 melee (claws 1d8+8, bite 2d8+4); SA Improved Grab; SQ scent; AL N; SV Fort +9, Ref +5, Will +3; Str 27, Dex 13, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6.
Skills: Listen +4, Spot +7, Swim +14.
An Escaped Bull
This large bull belongs to one of the farmers in the area, Myles Stockton. When Myles heard of the monster that was loose, he quickly gathered his family and his belongings and left for the village of Hendry. On the way, the bull got loose and escaped. Myles didn't dare go look for it. The bull has just been wandering around the area, grazing. It is not hostile unless provoked (do any of the PCs wear red?), but scrupulous PCs will want to bring it back to Hendry since it does represent a farmer's livelihood.
Escaped Bull (Bison)
CR 2; Large Animal; HD 5d8+15; hp 37; Init +0; Spd 40 ft.; AC 13 (-1 size, +4 natural); Atks +6 melee (butt 1d8+6); SA Stampede; SQ scent; AL N; SV Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +1; Str 18, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 4.
Skills: Listen +8, Spot +5.
An Enterprising Mage
Zargon the Mighty (who is really a guy named Seymour) is a haughty mage who has entered the area searching for "the meteoric wonder that fell from the heavens." When first meeting the PCs he will be wary, but if they greet him in peace, he will quickly turn into his usual arrogant self. He will attempt to learn the location of the crash site from them if possible and may offer them to guard him while he examines it. For this he will pay them the "truly magnificent sum" of 5 daros per day (for the entire party that is).
If he finds the crash site, he will stake out the area, using spikes and rope that he has brought with him on his riding horse, and claim it the property of "Zargon the Mighty, Warmage of Quanfax." Quanfax was a town on the sunken Alphatian continent that Zargon once saw on a map. He liked the name and has since gone about claiming that he is from that town. If asked about it, he will make up some tale of a great and wonderful city with "an entire academy of mages that rival and even surpass the knowledge of the Glantrian Great School of Magic!"
If the PCs have also laid claim to the crash site, Zargon will be infuriated and challenge any of their wizards to "a duel of mighty magicks and supreme sorceries" over "the ownership of the mysterious meteorite and the lands around it." Zargon may be an eccentric coot, but he is also an able wizard and may prove to be a serious challenge in a duel. Should the PCs kill him, they may well end up charged with murder if they do not hide their tracks well. For his part Zargon will try to avoid doing serious injury in a duel, instead trying to incapacitate his opponent. But if his life is in serious danger, he will not hold anything back.
If Zargon gains possession of the crash site, he will quickly become frustrated with the whole enterprise and when the Darokinian government shows up to claim the vessel, he will sell it to them for "an appropriate compensation for my help in keeping it safe from greedy adventurers."
Zargon the Mighty travels light. He holds a "staff of otherworldly wizardry" (an ordinary staff), wears "robes of runic recuperation" (ordinary robes) and a "ring of eternal incandescence" (an ordinary ring worth 20 daros, enchanted with a continual flame spell). His robes contain pouches with various spell components, many of which actually have no use. His spellbook and other valuables are in a saddle bag on his riding horse, Vergorathrax (or Virgil). These include 44 daros, 9 half-daros, a deck of cards, a quill, a bottle of ink, and a treasure map. Unfortunately his ink bottle wasn't properly secured when last he threw it in his bags, so there's ink all over his possessions, making the treasure map very hard to read and staining his cards and spellbook. Any thief rummaging through his belongings will also end up with very black hands.
Zargon, human Wiz5
CR 5; Medium Humanoid; HD 5d4+5; hp 21; Init +2 (Dex+2); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atks +1 melee (staff 1d4+1), +4 ranged; AL CN; SV Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +4; Str 9, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 11, Cha 8.
Skills: Alchemy +8, Concentration +8, Craft (Calligraphy) +4, Forgery +4.0, Knowledge (Arcane) +8, Profession (Scribe) +4, Scry +8, Spellcraft +8.
Feats: Ambidexterity, Craft Wondrous Item, Lightning Reflexes, Scribe Scroll, Still Spell.
Possessions: Staff, robes, ring (enchanted with continual flame).
5 Languages: Thyatian (Darokinian, Thyatian and Glantrian dialects), Elvish (Alfheim dialect), Alasiyan.
Spells in Spellbook:
1st: Alarm, animate rope, comprehend languages, expeditious retreat, grease, mount, reduce, spider climb, summon monster I.
2nd: Blindness/deafness, continual flame, rope trick, tasha's hideous laughter.
3rd: Explosive runes, hold person.
This section details the various important personages found in the adventure.
The Darokinian Expedition
This small group of soldiers is chosen from the legions based in Darokin City. Captain Faysal was chosen to lead the investigation and he has let his trusted sergeant choose the men for the detail. The investigation is expected to be fairly routine, which is why so small a group has been sent.
Foot soldiers and the sergeant are armed with 12' pikes and rapiers. Archers carry a short bow and also a rapier. All soldiers wear padded leather armour with a metal breastplate. Foot soldiers also have a light buckler strapped to one arm.
Captain Faysal ibn-Majdi
Faysal is a young (25) military mage originally of Ylari ancestry. His intelligence and good grasp of tactics have earned him promotion to captain, and his superiors predict that he will have a long and prosperous career. Being a mage, Faysal does not carry regular army equipment. Instead he wields a dagger +1 in combat and wears a leather uniform. He is also trained in combat spell use.
Faysal, human Wiz4 (Evoker)
CR 4; Medium Humanoid; HD 4d4+8; hp 21; Init +6 (Dex+2); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+2 armour, +2 Dex); Atks +2 melee (dagger 1d4+1), +4 ranged; AL LG; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +6; Str 11, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 11.
Skills: Concentration +7, Knowledge (Arcana) +7, Knowledge (Engineering) +7, Spellcraft +7, Spot +3.5, Tumble +3.5.
Feats: Armour Proficiency: Light, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Scribe Scroll.
Possessions: Leather armour, dagger +1.
4 Languages: Thyatian (Darokinian, Thyatian and Glantrian dialects), Alasiyan.
Spells in Spellbook (Enchantment, Illusion = prohibited):
1st: Endure elements, magic missile, mage armour, magic weapon, message, ray of enfeeblement, shield, true strike.
2nd: Cat's grace, endurance, fog cloud, whispering wind.
Sergeant Jack Barton
Jack is a grizzled old (47) veteran, who has spent most of his adult years in the army. He is a large, stocky man, who is good at two things: following orders from his superiors and shouting orders at grunts. He also packs a mean punch.
Barton, human Ftr3
CR 3; Medium Humanoid; HD 3d10+6; hp 31; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+3 armour, +1 shield); Atks +6 melee (halberd 1d10+4, rapier 1d6+3), +3 ranged; AL LN; SV Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 16, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 11, Wis 11, Cha 10.
Skills: Climb +6, Jump +6, Swim +6.
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Endurance, Focus: Unarmed, Improved Unarmed Strike, Toughness.
Possessions: Padded armour with a breastplate, buckler, rapier, halberd.
Foot Soldier Martino Vinti
Martino is a young (19) freckled lad, who grew up on a farm and is seeing the world for the first time, serving his country. He will feel at home in Hendry, but is otherwise wide-eyed and cowed.
Martino, human Ftr2
CR 2; Medium Humanoid; HD 2d10; hp 16; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+3 armour, +1 shield); Atks +3 melee (halberd 1d10+1, rapier 1d6+1), +2 ranged; AL NG; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +0; Str 13, Dex 10, Con 10, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 12.
Skills: Handle Animal +5, Profession (Farmer) +2.5.
Feats: Blind Fight, Focus: Rapier, Lightning Reflexes, Run.
Possessions: Padded armour with a breastplate, buckler, rapier, halberd.
Foot Soldier Gracchi Septimus
Gracchi is a middle-aged (34) grim soldier. He lost his family during the war with the Master of the Desert Nomads and has fought in the army ever since. His anger often puts him at odds with his superiors. He dislikes Faysal immensely due to his ancestry.
Gracchi, human Ftr3
CR 3; Medium Humanoid; HD 3d10+9; hp 31; Init +1 (Dex +1); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 armour, +1 shield, +1 Dex); Atks +5 melee (halberd 1d10+3, rapier 1d6+2), +4 ranged; AL CG; SV Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +3; Str 15, Dex 12, Con 17, Int 11, Wis 14, Cha 11.
Skills: Craft (Carpentry) +6, Jump +6, Ride +6.
Feats: Cleave, Focus: Halberd, Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Sunder.
Possessions: Padded armour with a breastplate, buckler, rapier, halberd.
Archer Elyse Kingsley
The Darokinian army is an equal opportunity employer. Elyse is a young (22) woman, who is the daughter of a legionate (commander of the IV Legion of Darokin). She wishes to make a career in the military and is impeccable in every way.
Elyse, human Ftr2
CR 2; Medium Humanoid; HD 2d10-2; hp 14; Init +6 (Dex +2); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 armour, +2 Dex); Atks +3 melee (rapier 1d6+1), +4 ranged (short bow 1d6); AL LN; SV Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +0; Str 12, Dex 14, Con 8, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 14.
Skills: Climb +5, Craft (Bowmaking) +5, Diplomacy +2.5, Swim +5.
Feats: Focus: Short Bow, Improved Initiative, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot.
Possessions: Padded armour with a breastplate, rapier, short bow.
2 Languages: Thyatian (Darokinian and Thyatian dialects).
Archer Quinton Winter
Quinton is a promising young (21) soldier, whose aim is unfailing. He is being trained as a sniper, well-versed in camouflage and guerrilla warfare. He is also an excellent tracker. His superiors feel that he needs some practical experience, so he has been sent on this mission.
Quinton, human Rgr2
CR 2; Medium Humanoid; HD 2d10+2; hp 18; Init +3 (Dex +3); Spd 30 ft.; AC 16 (+3 armour, +3 Dex); Atks +2 melee (rapier 1d6), +5 ranged (short bow 1d6); SA favoured enemy (goblinoids), two weapon fighting; AL NG; SV Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +1; Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 5.
Skills: Hide +5, Intuit Direction +5, Move Silently +5, Search +5, Spot +5.
Feats: Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Track.
Possessions: Padded armour with a breastplate, rapier, short bow.
A priestess of Freyja, patroness of intelligent warfare, Maggie is a 28-year-old adventurer. She is one of several specialists that the army of Darokin employs on certain occasions. Being an independent operative, she is allowed to use her own gear, a chain mail, a shield +1 and a long sword (priests of Freyja are allowed to use swords and daggers in combat), but she wears a coat with the army insignia over her armour. She is considered just below Captain Faysal in rank.
Maggie, human Clr3
CR 3; Medium Humanoid; HD 3d10+6; hp 24; Init -1 (Dex -1); Spd 30 ft.; AC 16 (+5 armour, +2 shield, -1 Dex); Atks +5 melee (long sword 1d8+2), +1 ranged; SA turn undead; AL LG; SV Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +6; Str 15, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 11, Wis 17, Cha 12.
Skills: Diplomacy +6, Knowledge (Religion) +6, Scry +6.
Feats: Cleave, Martial: Long Sword, Power Attack, Sunder, Weapon Focus: Long Sword.
Possessions: Chain mail, long sword, shield +1.
Domains: War (Free Martial Weapon Proficiency-Deity Favoured Weapon, Weapon Focus-Deity Favoured Weapon) and Law (+1 caster level when casting Law spells).
Commonly Prayed For:
0-Level: Guidance, light, resistance, virtue.
1st: Magic weapon, shield of faith, bless, entropic shield.
2nd: Calm emotion, bull's strength, endurance.
Generally considered the best hunter in the village of Hendry, Reynard was the only child of an aging farm couple. Reynard spent much time in the forest, taking care of most of the work at their small farm. He began feeling at home in the forest. When his parents died, he moved into the village, where he took up the vocation of tanner. Barely finding enough work, he also became a hunter himself and turned out to excel at this.
Reynard is skilled with a bow and is a competent trapper and tracker. He is famous locally for chasing off a foul monster from Aengmor, but he is not a skilled warrior.
Reynard, Human Rgr1
CR 1; Medium Humanoid; HD 1d10+4; hp 14; Init: +2 (Dex +2); Spd 30 ft; AC 14 (+2 armour, +2 Dex); Atks +3 melee (long sword 1D8+2), +3 ranged (longbow 1D8); SA favoured enemy (animals) +1; AL NG; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 14, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Skills: Hide +6, Move Silently +6, Profession: Tanner +5, Spot +5, Wilderness Lore +5
Feats: Point Black Shot, Toughness, Track.
Possessions: Leather armour, long sword, composite longbow, quiver, 20 arrows.
Francesca di Malapietra
The villagers of Hendry spend a fair amount of time discussing Francesca's origins. She showed up in Hendry 7 years ago and set up her strange curiosity shop. She is charming if a bit eccentric and has been generally accepted in the village. She sometimes has strangers coming in to collect an object or two from the shop, adventurer types.
Francesca, human Wiz5
CR 5; Medium Humanoid; HD 5d4+5; hp 22; Init +2 (Dex +2); Spd 30 ft; AC 13 (+2 Dex, +1 Amulet); Atks +2 melee (dagger 1D4); AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 16.
Skills: Alchemy +8, Appraisal +5, Concentration +7, Knowledge (Arcana) +8, Profession (Herbalist) +7, Spellcraft +8.
Feats: Brew Potion, Combat Casting, Craft Wand, Craft Wondrous Items, Scribe Scroll.
Possessions: Amulet of natural armour (+1), cloak of resistance (+1), wand of shocking grasp (50 charges), wand of hold person (50 charges).
4 Languages: Thyatian (Glantrian and Darokinian dialects), Elvish (Belcadizan dialect), Lalor.
Commonly Memorised Spells:
0-Level: Arcane mark, detect magic, prestidigitation, read magic.
1st: Charm person, mage armour, shield, summon monster I.
2nd: Flaming sphere, invisibility, mirror image.
3rd: Dispel magic, hold person.
As foreman of Hendry Sawmill, Silvester is generally regarded as the most important man in the village. This has not exactly gotten to his head, but he does expect people to listen when he talks. He is a responsible man, who believes in keeping Hendry a peaceful place.
While he is untrained in combat, Silvester can swing an axe along with the best of them. He used to be a competent lumberjack after all.
Sylvester, human Exp5
CR 5; Medium Humanoid; HD 5d6+10; hp 25; Init +1 (Dex +1); Spd 30 ft; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atks +3 melee (hand axe 1D6+2), +1 ranged; AL: LN; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +4; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 12.
Skills: Diplomacy +8, Handle Animal +5, Hide +6, Intuit Direction +8, Miller +8, Profession: Lumberjack +8, Ride +8, Search +8, Spot +8, Wilderness Lore +8.
Feats: Martial Weapon Proficiency (Hand Axe), Skill Focus (Profession: Lumberjack), Weapon Focus (Hand Axe).
Possessions: Hand axe.
Silvester's brother, Jon felt the calling to serve Koryis at a young age. He preaches peace and understanding and his calm and wisdom means that the villagers often turn to him to mediate disputes. Being a modest, concerned individual, Jon would never strike another living being.
Jon, human Clr3
CR 3; Medium Humanoid; HD 3d8; hp 11; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atks None; AL LG; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +6; Str 10, Dex 11, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 14.
Skills: Concentration +5, Diplomacy +5, Healing +6, Knowledge (Religion) +5, Spellcraft +2.
Feats: Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Healing).
Domains: Healing (+1 Casting Level with any healing spell), Protection (Protective Ward / Once per day).
Commonly Prayed For:
0 Level: Create water, guidance, light, purify food and water.
1st: Command, divine favour, sanctuary, shield of faith.
2nd: Augury, calm emotions, shield other.
Possessions: Holy symbol and 2 vials of holy water.
A small-time merchant believing he will soon make it big, Gospodin has landed a profitable deal, transporting goods for Francesca di Malapietra of the curiosity shop in the village of Hendry. He is intent on making enough money to settle down with his fiancée Rosalinda and provide for the family. He does not possess any combat skills, but carries a weapon and wears armour out of necessity.
Gospodin, human Exp3
CR 3; Medium Humanoid; HD 3d6; hp 12; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft; AC 13 (+2 armour, +1 Dex); Atks +3 melee (light mace 1D6), +1 ranged; AL NG; SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +2; Str 10, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 15.
Skills: Bluff +6, Diplomacy +8, Gather Information +6, Handle Animal +6, Innuendo +6, Profession: Appraisal +8, Ride +6, Search +6, Spot +6, Wilderness Lore +2.
Feats: Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Appraisal, Diplomacy).
Possessions: Leather armour, light mace.
3 Languages: Thyatian (Darokinian dialect), Traladaran, Alasiyan.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR
More of a monster than an NPC, the BRAIN COLLECTOR is a powerful creature from the NIGHTMARE DIMENSION, which is not native to Mystara at all. Its intentions are completely unknown, but while on Mystara it merely wants to collect enough brains to move on.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR does not have a proper name, but it thinks of itself as NEH-THALGGU, which is actually the name of its race. It does not consider the inhabitants of Mystara intelligent and though it will quickly learn to speak with them (it can speak the language of any victim whose brain it has consumed), it will have no desire to converse with mere cattle.
Entirely alien to inhabitants of Mystara, the BRAIN COLLECTOR is bloated, oily and amorphous. It has four eyes set above its huge mouth, which is lined with long sharp fangs. It has short tentacles set about its body that never stop writhing about. These can be used to manipulate objects. It scuttles about on six legs that seem crab-like. The top of its head contains twelve "housings" for brains. Once filled such a housing becomes an obvious lump, but otherwise it is not discernible.
In battle the BRAIN COLLECTOR has a powerful bite attack that can easily sever a limb, and this is the attack that will be often used on relatively defenceless opponents. But the BRAIN COLLECTOR also obtains spell use by collecting the brains of thinking creatures. Each brain it has obtained allows it to cast an arcane spell of level 1-3. The BRAIN COLLECTOR casts spells as a sorcerer, not needing to memorise spells, and there is no limit to the number of times it may cast each spell.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR is an intelligent opponent able to use complex tactics and will make great use of its spells. Specific spells are left for the individual DM to choose, tailoring them to your PCs, but if in doubt some suggestions are (note that some of these spells are assumed possessed by the BRAIN COLLECTOR in the different Scenes of the adventure):
Burning hands, dispel magic, enlarge, flaming sphere, hold person, invisibility, light, protection from arrows, stinking cloud, suggestion, vampiric touch.
The BRAIN COLLECTOR carries one of the artifacts from its vessel, a levitation crystal that allows it to levitate as the spell. It uses this to enter and leave its lair. Use of the levitation crystal makes the user sensitive to the NIGHTMARE DIMENSION (see Nightmares Persist under Further Adventures).
CR 7; Large Outsider; HD 10d8+30; hp 75; Init +4; Spd 50 ft; AC 18 (-1 size, +9 natural); Atks 2 bites +10 melee (1d8+5); AL CN; SV Fort +10, Ref +10, Will +10; Str 20, Dex 11, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 11.
Skills: Concentration +13, Knowledge (Arcana, Dimensions, Planes) +11, Intimidate +10, Listen +10, Move Silently +9, Spot +10.
Feats: Combat Casting, Enlarge Spell, Improved Initiative.
If you do not feel that there is enough going on in the adventure, here are a few suggestions that could spice up the adventure a bit.
One of the citizens of Hendry is actually quite psychotic. Inspired by the BRAIN COLLECTOR, this person decides to weed out the weak of Hendry. The PCs are faced with the added complication of seeking out a human murderer as well as the monster. Who is the murderer? You decide. The obvious suspect is Bill Morgan, the butcher, but perhaps he is a little too obvious...
Like the Enterprising Mage (see Random Encounters) the entire village of Hendry figures that the crashed vessel must be worth something. The villagers are at each other's throats to decide who has the rights to it. Violence and sabotage are obvious possibilities as old tensions erupt and the PCs are forced to protect the greedy villagers from each other.
So you had a good time playing the adventure? Well, it doesn't have to end here. There are plenty of details in the adventure that may lead the PCs to more adventures, but here are some specific ideas that may be used as the basis of further adventures.
Invasion of the BRAIN COLLECTORS?
While the PCs may have defeated the dreaded BRAIN COLLECTOR and saved the poor merchant, Gospodin Nikolaievich, from death, they likely did not act in time to prevent grievous head injuries inflicted on the merchant. Gospodin is not entirely coherent, but he doggedly claims that the BRAIN COLLECTOR spoke to him, explaining that it was just a scout and that more would soon be coming-an entire colony. Gospodin is regarded as mad and is incarcerated in an insane asylum. But one night the people of Darokin see a shooting star. Then another. And another...
The artifacts of the BRAIN COLLECTOR are not safe to use by creatures not of the NIGHTMARE DIMENSION. Any Mystaran creature using, carrying or spending a lot of time around these objects will slowly become sensitive to the NIGHTMARE DIMENSION. This will initially manifest itself in terrible dreams, but in time these dreams will occasionally occur while the victim is awake, and eventually the victim will be pulled into the NIGHTMARE DIMENSION itself. Freeing such a victim will be a grand adventure.
Vengeance of the Shadow Elves
As noted in the adventure the shadow elves in the area are part of a larger organisation of spies operating in southern Darokin. If the PCs run afoul of the shadow elf Marcafarel, either killing him or chasing him off, that organisation will seek revenge for the deaths of its operatives. They will doggedly pursue the PCs, though they may also take their time, looking for good opportunities to discredit or otherwise hurt the PCs. Shadow elves live a long time after all.
The PCs on the other hand might have an interest in flushing out and exposing this organisation. This will be hard work; the shadow elves are equipped with powerful magic and are crafty spellcasters. This could become the basis of an entire campaign.
Some other details and objects may lead to more adventures:
Francesca di Malapietra, proprietor of the curiosity shop, has lost her regular supplier of various goods. Perhaps the PCs can be persuaded to pick up some objects for her? Maybe they will even become regular suppliers or customers? But what about Francesca's obscure past?
Gospodin Nikolaievich, the merchant, has a fiancée, Rosalinda. Who is she and what will she ask of the PCs if they bring her news of Gospodin's death or insanity?
Zargon, the Enterprising Mage, has a treasure map among his possessions. While it is stained by ink, it might still lead the PCs to interesting treasure and more dangers.
And of course Hendry itself can serve as a base of operations and a setting for further adventures.