End of the Dream. At this point the PCs awaken. They have all died in the dream, and they all awaken at the same time, even those who might have died during earlier parts of the dream... Have all the PCs roll a Will saving throw against DC 15. Those who fail scream in horror as they awaken, which will have Nicos come running to the room in 1d4 rounds in his night-clothes with a club and looking rather bewildered, since he was awakened by the scream. At the DM’s discretion other patrons may follow shortly after to find out what is going on.
Suddenly you all awaken abruptly. You’re still in your room in Nicos’ inn, and it is still night. However, as you compose yourselves and try to grasp that it was all merely a dream, you find that your sheets are soaked in sweat, and it slowly dawns on you that you all participated in the same dream! You check your equipment, but find that nothing is missing. The things you found during your dream are also not present, obviously. When you check for wounds, you find that while you have healed none, neither have you taken any new wounds during your dream, at least physically...
The dream may be over, but its implications horrify you, and you wish you could stop thinking about it. Obviously you find that you cannot, and you soon realize that you will find no rest in the next couple of hours, as no matter how tired you are, you simply dare not fall asleep in the darkness again soon...
There is no conclusion to the dream beyond what the DM wishes to make of it. It is a premonition of things to come and as such is probably best left unresolved. The PCs will not be able to go to rest for a few hours, but talking about it will help. After each hour of talking to and reassuring each other that it was merely a dream, each character is allowed to make a Wisdom check against DC 20. Those who make it are sufficiently calmed to go back to sleep, but during the first hour, none of the PCs will find rest or be able to bear being in the dark...
Although there was no danger to the PCs in the dream, they should still get some experience for it. The DM is encouraged to work out the experience points of the monsters the PCs defeated in their dream and then grant them some percentage of that depending on how well they handled the situation (at least 20% seems reasonable). No experience or Challenge Rating is available for the Outer Being, of course, but the Sword Wraith should give enough experience to make up for it. Otherwise the DM is, of course, free to add experience as he sees fit.
The Tower in the Forest:
If the PCs ask about the tower, the villagers say:
"Who lives in that tower? Well, "Doc" Eirus Fhalu lives there. They say that he is a wizard who is doing all sorts of research, you know! Actually, most people here are quite proud to have a man like this amidst us... He is a nice person, who is conducting research in order to help people with all sorts of diseases and make cures for them; he is definitely a good person to have as a friend if you get into trouble one day!”
When the PCs hear that he is a person who deals with arcane knowledge (particularly if it becomes apparent that he works in the field of Necromancy) and they get a bit worried (which they should) they are told:
"Don't worry. He is a good fellow. He isn't doing any harm, he is just going about his research and doing more than his fair share for the village. Once there was this group of people traveling, well I might say rushing, into the village. They were looking for a cleric. They ran into some trouble on the road and one of their friends was seriously wounded. As you can see, there are no clerics around here who can help us or other people who are in need of immediate help. They said that it was a matter of life and death, and indeed the poor fellow was in a serious condition. Eirus walked past and asked whether something was wrong. They said that their comrade needed help quickly or he would die. Eirus told them to bring their friend to his tower. Don't ask me what happened and what he did, but he had the guy up and running in no time. We knew he could do some things to heal people, because we had seen it before when Ichale fell down from a tree and broke his leg, but this was amazing. I think they later came back and gave him some treasure they found when they came back from their business".
By this time the PCs should hopefully be intrigued enough to investigate this person and his dwelling. If they go to the tower, read the the section below headed The Tower and "Doc" Eirus Fhalu.
Balri: This old patron in the inn is full of tall tales. If the DM desires, he can pester the PCs a bit with him, though not everything he says is utter nonsense. This encounter can be used whenever the PCs are drinking or eating, or just sitting around in the inn’s common room:
A little old man sits in the inn, drinking beer. He wears the clothes of a peasant; he is small, but that is probably because he is quite old. He has got a bit of hunced back and is a little unstable, but has a friendly face. He also has with some scars on both his face and hands which attest to the stories of his adventures.
He apparently concludes that you are a group of adventurers, because he slowly stumbles over to your table and asks, “Would you valiant adventurers mind if I join you?” Before you can answer, he helps himself to chair and sits down, then continues before you can interrupt him, “...For you remind me of the time when I, too, was traveling and looking for adventure."
At this point Nicos returns to your table, and says, "Oh no, not again Balri…Leave those people alone". When he says it, he does so with a big smile on his face, though. In fact, the atmosphere in the inn, and in the village in general, is very friendly.
The old man then begins to tell you the tales of his adventures, “Have you heard about the Lost Mines? No? Well, let me tell you. This story was told to me on one of my own travels. I was with quite a group, you know, I think there were 6 of us ... no, 5 ... no, it was 6 ...”
He pauses for some time, as he tries to remember just how many people this group really consisted of. Eventually he gives up and makes a dismissing gesture as he continues, “Aahhhh well, it doesn't matter that much, how many we were. I have seen people come and go. Some of them I lost contact with; others died, unfortunately enough, during our travels. Huh, were does time go.. I envy you, you know! You've got your whole lives in front of you, while the only thing that I have left are my memories. Talking about memories, ...". He pauses for a moment, "I remember this tale about a sword, powerful enough to ... what was it again? I can't remember. You have to forgive me, my memory isn't what it used to be. Do you know that I was known for my memory when I was your age? Yeeees, it was quite little trickster, you know. But that is a whole other story. What was I telling you?”
The PCs will have remind him at this point, but he tells about the mage in the tower instead.
Should the PCs not have heard anything about the Eirus Fhalu, Balri tells them the things that are printed above about him under the heading The Tower in the Forest, before he continues...
According to Balri, Eirus is one of the nicest people alive (go over the top here in order to make sure that the PCs know Balri is exaggerating, but no so much that they won't believe him or, particularly, the other villagers). This should be the first encounter with the village, its villagers and the wizard who is living in the tower. Maybe they will have a chance to meet this guy, maybe not (up to the DM).
know, Eirus is certainly one of the nicest guys to have ever roamed the
earth. Have you heard of all the things he has done for people around here...
If not, just ask me. I’d be more than happy to tell you all about
During the old man’s stories the bar fills up with people who come to have drink after a working all day on the field. Stories are being told, jokes are being made and you’re offered a couple of beers by the workers.
DM Note: It should be absolutle clear that these a very friendly people, who always welcome a traveler in the nicest way possible.
If the PCs doubt Balri, his stories about Eirus will later be confirmed by other people in tavern and by Nicos. When he has finished his story about Eirus Fhalu his story jumps back to mines. This seems to come out of nowhere.
Balri talks of the Mines:
“Ah yes, the Mines and the sword. You will have to help me, because my memory isn't what it used to be… Well the story of the mines was told to me when I was traveling with a group of other people who wanted to look for adventure. I can't remember what was told now.. Let me think."
He waits for a few minutes... “I can't honestly remember what was being said about these mines... Oh , my memory ... It is not what it used to be, once I was known for my memory, you know... I remember another story about a sword called “Rock...”. Well, “Rock” something... Hmm, or may it was “Stone” something… Anyway, we heard stories about this sword and we decided to try and find it, but never succeeded. This is the legend which I heard was this...”
At this point, it seems as if Balri doesn’t have any problems with his memory... at first...
“Hundreds of years ago, the sword was used by a paladin called Oliver Attleson. He fought to defend the city of Corunglain against the hordes of invading goblinoids. Eventually, the city was overrun by the orcs despite his efforts, though, and the sword was lost...”
“Actually, during my travels I’ve heard stories about other swords, similar to that ‘Rock’ or ‘Stone’-sword Attleson was supposed to have wielded, I ... I forgot what was said about them. I think that it was said that these swords belonged together, or something. Unfortunately I never held one of these swords, although I spend a life time looking for them, ... a life time, ... such a long time and I never even saw one of these swords. Make sure you don't waste your lives chasing legends and tales. Won't do you any good. What was I saying again? Oh yes, the swords. I think there were eight of them, no ... I am sorry there were five ... No. Oohh I can't remember. My memory! I used to be known for my memory, you know.. People say that this is all just a legend now. I think I have to agree with that one. I never really heard anything about it. I mean ... I heard stories of course, but I never saw this sword myself. There are things that we have found, however, but I will tell you that another time...I am off to bed now. It is rather late for me, you know. Sometimes I envy you young people. You still have your entire lives before you, while I have just my memories to comfort me. That is the way things go in life, I guess. I just thank Tyche that I have reached this age and the she has smiled a little upon me. I just wish that my memory would be better."
After this he stumbles out the tavern. Nicos comes up to you and says:
" I am sorry that this happened. I promised you a nice room and a quite night. I didn't know Balri was going to be around. He is got a nose for these things. He is always there when travelers, the few we get, come here. He always tells them these stories. That is probably because we don't listen anymore, because we have heard them all hundreds of times. Don't pay attention to him, because I think he may just have made up most of these stories. Or maybe he heard them somewhere and tells them as if he had been through them himself. He always had quite a lively imagination and I don't know whether what he tells is true. Here have another drink, on the house. What would you like?"
Balri talks of the Wounded Man
The DM should try to represent this as just another tall tale Balri tells the PCs, preferably so that they dismiss the story to some degree... In fact, it contains some essential clues, though!
“You want to hear more stories from old Balri? Ah, you’re too kind, my young friends... Let me think... Hmmm, I remember a story my father once told me. It was very long ago, and since I didn’t experience it myself, I’m not at all sure about any of this, but it’s an good story anyway, though a bit sad...
Long ago on a bright day when the villagers were working in the field as always, a warrior came stumbling out of the forest... his armor, so they say, was tattered and in ruin, and blood streamed down the side of his face. One of the villagers went to him. He had apparently lost his shield and his armor was ruined, but even though he was mortally wounded, he held himself with pride and rejected all offers of help...
You know, I guess I remember that story because I grew up hearing it and always wanted to be like that man, even if he never existed and it’s all just a tall tale, he still sounds very noble and heroic, eh? Just the very image of the man helped me on my own travels and times of trouble on many occasions, you know. And I have known a few... hmmm, now I’m just a little old man. Never mind. Still, you might get as much from the story as I have... Well, maybe I should finish it.
The villagers brought the wounded warrior inside and placed him in a bed, hoping that he would recover. For days he was confused and talked all sorts of nonsense which none understood, since it was barely more than a whisper. Everybody feared he was dying, so several of the young men tried to back-track his trail in order to find out what had happened to him, but they never discovered anything... and some of them never returned! Or so the story goes… I don’t remember it all, but they say some of the young men disappeared in the forest back then and were never found, and it hung over the village like a heavy fog for a time. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the warrior died from his wounds a few days later. I guess they were just too severe. Well, at least they managed to give the warrior a proper burial...”
DM Note: The ‘wounded man’ Balri is talking of here is actually Oliver Attleson. He didn’t actually die when ambushed by the orcs (see his biography in Appendix 1), but was mortally wounded and stumbled into the village of Gorania where he finally died of his wounds a few days later. The villagers never discovered who he really was and had him buried in a unmarked grave in their graveyard. In fact, he is still buried there to this day!
The PCs should be intrigued enough to pay this person a visit sometime. Should they for whatever reason decide not to go and see him, they will run into him on the streets and he invites them to his tower, with the message that he would like to ask them about something.
Once the PCs decide to visit Fhalu’s tower, read or paraphrase this:
The path to the tower leads off the road that leads into the village. It is quite a narrow, winding path and not well maintained. After about 35 minutes you arrive at the tower which appears as you pass a sharp bend in the path.
The tower itself isn’t that impressive, actually. It is round and three stories high. Moss covers the bottom of the tower.
If Fhalu is with the PCs, he will open the door and invite them inside. Otherwise he will answer the door when the PCs knock or, if they appear to lose interest, he will have noticed their arrival and open the door to welcome them once they are about to leave. Once they go inside, read the following.
Entering the tower, you see a large hall with stairs leading to the first floor and doors to the right and left. Eirus Fhalu leads you to the room to the right. "Welcome to my tower. This is my home and my labarotory. If you would come with me, we can sit down and have a drink or something."
You enter a fairly large room, lavishly furnished. There are also a bookcases full of books. In the corner of the room stands a big table with all sorts of weird looking instruments on it. "This is my study", Eirus explains. "Here I keep books that I find invaluable to my researches. I also meet with the people who have appointments with me here. You know, I sometimes help people when they have ailments. Most of the time it’s nothing serious, but sometimes I come across things that I need to write down, so they can help me with my research. This also brings me to the reason why I asked you to come here. Sorry to be so blunt, but I don't have much time ... Oh, where are my manners...? What would you like to drink?" After asking each of you what you would like to drink, he excuses himself for a moment and fetches the drinks for you.
While he is gone, you take a moment to look around the room and at his books. The bookcases are filled with books on anatomy, herbs, healing with herbs, and all sorts of books on medicines. Funnily enough, no books on magic are found. Also, the skulls of some animals lie in the bookcases. As you’re looking around, Eirus returns with all your drinks.
"Sorry, for the interruption.” He passes around the drinks and then sits down with his own. “Now, the reason why I asked you to come here, is that I would like to ask you to find some special berries for me. You are probably thinking ‘can’t he do that himself’ and you are right of course, but as I said I don't have much time because I am virtually on the verge of a breakthrough on a very important project. I don't want to ask any of the villagers, because it involves a little traveling in the forest. That doesn’t sound very dangerous, obviously, and it probably isn’t, but if one of the villagers went in there, they could become the prey of some wild animal – I don’t want that on my conscience. Another thing is that these berries are best found during night-time when they shine strangely in the dark, so the best time to look for them is at dawn or dusk when it’s not too light to find them and not too dark to get lost in the woods – finding them during daytime is almost impossible, as I have learned from bitter experience...”
“I thought that I could ask you, because you seem to have the potential for that sort of thing, especially after I heard about how you helped Nicos. I don't want you to go anywhere specific, but I would like to ask you to go into the forest and look for some green-yellow berries. They will probably be not so easy to find, but when you know what you are looking for, it will be hard to miss”. He smiles and graps a jar filled with little green and yellow berries. "They only grow in the forest. If you could do that for me, it would be most helpful. I use them for a special potion that the villagers buy from me. It can be used for when you are ill or wounded… Could be handy for you," he says with a smile. "If you could bring those berries to me, I would be most grateful, and I will give you a jar of the potion. It is quite strong, so I think that unless you run into major trouble, the jar could last you for a while. What do you say?"
Hopefully the PCs will accept Eirus’ offer. If they are reluctant, let him point out that while he’ll share the results with the PCs, he needs it to help wounded people in the village or anyone passing through. If they do not help him, he will be unable to help villagers or travelers in need for some time... If the PCs demand gold or if Eirus is forced to offer them any, it should be obvious that he is slightly disappointed with the PCs – that they’re not the selfless heroes he hoped they would be. He will offer money, though he has very little, 20 gp at first, 50 gp at most. At the DM’s discretion, the potion Eirus will make could also be more potent than most. For example, it could contain ten doses, each able to cure 1d6+1 points of damage, but also be able to cure poison if three doses are swallowed... The PCs need to accept this offer for the adventure to continue.
After the PCs accept the offer, Eirus tells them a little about what he is working on and he invites them to his lab.
“So you accept? Good! This will be a great benefit to the villagers of Gorania and anyone traveling through the village. Thank you! Now, I thought you might like to see my tower. I’m afraid I don’t get many visitors here, so I’m only too pleased to show you my humble abode. For the same reason, it may be a bit of mess, I fear... Please follow me. First I’ll show you my lab.”
Eirus leads you out of his study and takes you up the stairs you noted when he first invited you inside his tower. As he does, he continues talking, “You see, I cannot search for the berries myself because I’m currently doing some research on a serious illness. Not just any old illness, mind you, but the sort that can kill entire populations, much like a plague. I think I’m close to discovering something, so I dare not leave my research for now, as I might otherwise be too distracted to pick it up again later...”
You reach the top of the stairs and Eirus leads you into what is quite evidently his laboratory. It is also, as he had already warned, a bit of a mess. A large table is filled with all sorts of beakers and odd instruments. Plants are lying about and several books lie open on the table as well. On the shelves there are yet more books as well as both skeletons and skulls of animals and several stuffed animals as well. Clearly, Eirus is a bit of a taxidermist. However, there are also a few live animals in cages around the laboratory. Several jars seem to contain the more grisly preserved internal organs of various creatures. Eirus apparently notes your discomfort with these, as he says, “Yes, I know those can be a bit unnerving, but I fear that close examination is the only way I’ll ever learn more about the complex nature of the body... Never fear, though – none of those remains are from humans, as naturally I would never perform my studies on humans. After all, that would be unethical, wouldn’t it?” Slightly surprised by that comment you look around again, yet it seems as if none of the various remains in his lab are those of humans or indeed any other humanoid.
“You see, research into such matters are extremly important to me, because during the Great War, when plague spread through the lands, particularly Glantri, I realized that priests could not combat the disease - they had only their spells, which were rather limited at times, and they just couldn't cast enough of them to help the ordinary people. So the spells available always went to the most 'important' people first, such as kings and nobles, and, yes, adventurers, which meant that the poor common people often died from the plague, simply because the priests' powers of healing were usually exhausted before it was their turn to receive them.” As Eirus turns to this subject, you note that some of his compassion has been replaced by bitterness and anger... It is obvious to you that this subject is something he feels strongly about, and he seems angry on behalf of the common man and his problems during the Great War – he truly seems to care for the common people... even though he isn’t one of them himself!
“You see, I became aware of this problem during the Great War and started studying it intensely, and I realized that by using non-magical means, many diseases can actually be fought and even stopped! So to prevent another plague from killing many innocent, common folk, I’m trying to find out how the body works and what can be done to save it from all sorts of ailments. Because of this, I’ve worked hard to acquire much knowledge of the mortal body, particularly on animals as I ‘experiment’ on them because experimenting on humans would clearly be an evil thing to do. Even though I could probably gain better knowledge that way, I’m not willing to pay for it with my conscience... or my soul!”
In fact, Eirus has great knowledge of the anatomy, etc., of animals, gained through his 'experiments' on them because his ethics prevent him from experimenting on humans – he is quite serious about that!
To study these things, however, he has needed to study the influence of magic on the body, and the best way to do that and gain knowledge was quite simply to become a necromancer - he has all the skills, but uses them very differently than most necromancers.
DM note: The fact that Eirus is a necromancer should either be left out by him, so the PCs have to find this out by looking at the various books on magic in his lab, or he will tell them in such away that it looks like he is a little embarrased or even ashamed of it. He will explain that since he has experienced quite a number of unpleasent reactions to this, he became rather careful with telling this to people. The descriptions of this is left to the DM, however, because the PCs might not find out. For example, Eirus might have studied necromancy at the Great School of Magic in Glantri, but either been thrown out because he refused to use necromancy ‘the way he was supposed to’ or because he left in anger over the way the common people is treated there.
The PCs may wish to talk to Eirus for a while, but once they’re done it’ll be late in the afternoon and he’ll remind them that looking for the berries will be easiest at dawn or dusk, so if they started right away, they might get lucky and find them in a few hours...
The Forest in the dark. As chance would have it, the PCs will not find the berries in the forest quite as easily as Eirus (and the PCs too, probably) had hoped... To find the berries they will definitely have to search the forest at night. If they are reluctant to do so, try to persuade them by having their anxiety of darkness after the nightmarish dream they had at the inn resurface and tell them that they won’t be able to rest anyway. Eventually they’ll have to search the forest at night if they are to find the berries Eirus needs. If they continue to search during dusk, they’ll eventually run into a black bear, just to show them that roaming the forest during the day is not exactly without its dangers either...
You’ve been searching the forest for the berries Eirus needs for a while now. It’s dusk, but sunset is still about an hour away, so you won’t need to stop your search yet to get out before darkness falls...
Suddenly you hear a strange sound in the bushes to the right of you... You look carefully, as suddenly a massive beast rushes towards you. It is a dark bear with some wicked-looking claws... It screams as it charges towards you!
Let the PCs roll for surprise. A bear can be a ruthlessly efficient predator, and can probably surprise most of its prey...
Black Bear (1): CR 2; Medium-sized Animal (about 5 ft.); HD 3d8+6, hp 19; Init +1 (Dex); Spd 40 ft.; AC 13 (+1 Dex, +2 natural); Attacks 2 claws +6 melee, bite +1 melee (each Claw 1d4+4, Bite 1d6+2); SQ Scent; AL N; SV Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +2; Str 19, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6.
Skills: Climb +6, Listen +4, Spot +7, Swim +8
The black bear is primarily hungry. If the PCs are having a hard time, they can throw food on the ground and run, and the bear won’t pursue them. If the PCs are taking serious damage, the DM should also hint at this.
This is just one random encounter, but the DM can add more if he feels like it. Goblins like those at the beginning of the adventure could be met in the forest, and the DM should definitely roll for random encounters in a Temperate Forest setting if the PCs spend large amounts of time here. Also remember that it is certainly possible to become lost in a forest! This one isn’t so large, so the PCs will find out in time, but it could be used to scare them a little.
Another encounter is with an owl...
Walking through the woods, you’re suddenly startled when you notice an owl in the tree next to you. You’re not sure why, but while you’ve seen a number of birds in the forest - squirrels, and a single deer - you have a feeling that you’ve seen this particular owl before and you get the sensation that it is watching you! Well, obviously it is, but you’re starting to think it might be spying on you...
This owl is quite harmless. It is here only to stress the fact that encounters are not always deadly or need result in combat of any sort. The owl is completely at the DM’s discretion. The PCs might wonder about it, though. For example, they might suspect that it is the familiar of Eirus Fhalu spying on them. If the DM so desires that might be the case, but there is no reason for the PCs to suspect so, as they never learned if he even had a familiar. Their reactions might be amusing to the DM, however.
If searching at night, the PCs will find the berries Eirus sent them to find. Ironically they will find some near the old graveyard, which they can see from the area where they find the berries. Roll secret rolls for each player. It doesn’t matter what you roll, really, just decide on one PC who finds the berries they’re after. If one of the PCs has a particularly good Spot skill score, then he’s probably the most likely candidate to note the berries and point them out to his companions. However, that is not all, they’ll find at the time...
Still wandering the forest looking for the berries for Eirus Fhalu, you’ve almost given up when you note that your search has taken you near some old ruins up ahead. As you examine it for a little while, you realize that this must be the old graveyard Balri mentioned at one point...
Suddenly something catches your eye. Right there in the bushes are some berries that seem to gleam in the night. There is no doubt in your mind – those are the berries Eirus sent you to find! From his descriptions, there can be no question about it. There are only eight of them, but according to Eirus, that should suffice, so you hurry and pick them up, roll them into a piece of cloth, then put them in your backpack...
Just as you are about to leave having found the object of your search, you hear a strange sound up ahead, though... Someone is walking around in the graveyard!
If the PCs know Eirus is a necromancer, they might suspect him of doing some foul business here. If that will lead them to investigate, the DM should try to support that belief. If the PCs are a little reluctant to go closer, try to appeal to their curiosity or to their ethics (especially effective if there are paladins or clerics in the group). The PCs need to go to the graveyard for the adventure to unfold.
Assuming the PCs do investigate, read the following...
As you move closer, you can make out humanoid figures up ahead. You can’t see what they’re doing at this distance and you lose sight of them as they disappear behind another wall. You move ahead to follow, but apparently they are both sneaky and know this area better than you, because as you follow them, you suddenly find that they are all around you, and you know only too well what they are – the same sort of horrible, corpse-eating ghouls you met in your dreams! Horrified you prepare for battle as they attack you, screaming with glee, “Living Flesh – Living Meat!!!”
There are four ghouls around the PCs, but they should be able to handle them. All in all, there are nine ghouls in the graveyard, but the other five are currently hiding in their graves, feeding on other corpses buried here, so the PCs won’t find them at the moment. Their stats are still given below, though. The first four ghouls encountered are the 16, 12, 11, and 9 hp ghouls. [See The Graveyard map for more details]
Ghouls (9): CR 1; Medium Undead (about 6 ft.); HD 2d12; hp 21, 18, 16, 15, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9; Init +2 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+2 Dex, +2 natural); Attacks Bite +3 melee, 2 claws +0 melee (Bite 1d6+1 and paralysis, each claw 1d3 and paralysis); SQ Undead, +2 turn resistance; AL CE; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +5; Str 13, Dex 15, Con -, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 16. Skills: Climb +6, Escape Artist +7, Hide +7, Intuit Direction +3, Jump +6, Listen +7, Move Silently +7, Search +6, Spot +7. Feats: Multiattack, Weapon Finesse (bite)
Once the PCs have killed the first four ghouls, and probably looked a bit around the graveyard without finding anything else unusual, they should return to the inn or Eirus Fhalu. They might suspect that Fhalu has something to do with these undead, but he’ll actually be most anxious to help them combat this undead threat with the significant knowledge of undead he possesses as a necromancer.
If the PCs get Fhalu’s advice on the ghouls and then return here, they finish the adventure by finding the rest of the ghouls and destroying them.
Returning to Eirus with the berries. Eirus is very pleased and thanks the PCs...
“The berries? You found them! Oh, and there are eight of them! Well done, my friends. If you give them to me, I’ll get to work on that jar of the potion I promised you right away. It’ll take me at least a week to make it, but you’re welcome to wait around the village if you want to. If not, you can collect it whenever you come by Gorania again. Rest assured that apart from getting a jar of the potion for yourselves, you’ve also done a great service to this community. I’ll remember to mention your efforts to the villagers...”
Eirus is anxious to begin brewing the potion and will forget all about the PCs immediately unless they have something else to ask him.
Asking Eirus about the Ghouls. If the PCs mention the ghouls they found at the graveyard to Eirus, he will be quite disturbed, and then ask the PCs to describe the undead to him.
“What?? Undead at the old graveyard? Oh dear, that is not good! In fact, it is rather terrible news, to tell you the truth. Say, could you describe them to me... in as much detail as possible, please.”
You describe the undead to Eirus. When you mention their long tongues, their vicious claws, and their sharp fangs, he seems concerned. When you further mention their paralyzing touch and the fact that they spoke, he looks positively troubled...
“Oh my... You know, those are Ghouls you’re talking about. They hunger for carrion and eat the flesh of the dead... though they do prefer to eat living flesh, as you say. They may not have seemed terribly powerful to you, but make no mistake – they’re horrible abominations of nature! It is said that people who used to eat other people while alive or who were unspeakbly evil may become ghouls upon their deaths. It is a rare thing, but it seems to be the case here, since you saw nobody else at the graveyard. Besides, I know of no magical formulae with which to create these vile creatures, so I’m fairly certain they must have come about spontaneously... or at least one of them! You see, while ghouls typically eat the flesh of the dead, they can spread their horrible, undead curse to corpses they do not eat, so if left alone, the number of ghouls could grow quite large, particularly in a graveyard with lots of potential victims. Something must be done about this! Say, I know I’ve already put you through one assignment, but would you be willing to help us with these ghouls, too? As before, I’d still prefer to remain here to continue my research, but stopping the undead threat is more important. If you won’t help, I’ll have to do it myself, and my research might be lost, then... Please help us!”
If the PCs really are heroes, they shouldn’t be able to turn down a request like that. If they do and then return to the village for a few days, the rumors will spread and several villagers, including Nicos, will ask them to stop the undead threat before it spreads. The villagers have no knowledge of the undead, of course, but the fact that Eirus is concerned is more than enough to scare them all out of their wits... They don’t have much to offer the PCs, but they’ll sacrifice quite a lot to persuade them to help!
Assuming the PCs accept and continue their conversation with Eirus, read the following...
Eirus looks very happy, “You accept? Excellent! Now, apart from actually destroying the ghouls, the main problem will be to make certain you find them all. You see, once they come above ground, doing so is no problem, but ghouls like to lie buried in the ground feasting on dead flesh, and when they do, finding them can be all but impossible to those who don’t know what to look for. First, try poking a spear or pike deep into the graves. Yes, I realize that may sound like sacrilege and disrespect for the dead, but bear in mind what we’re up against – if we allow the bodies to become undead ghouls, what respect would we be showing those dead people?”
“Now, the clerics and wizards in your groups – do you know the magical formula of the first degree of magical lore that allows you to intuitively realize the presence of the undead? I believe some clerics also know of this spell, yes? Those of you who know it, use it! It will reveal the presence of ghouls and so will greatly aid your cause. Just a moment...” Eirus leaves the room for a moment, then returns a moment later with a scroll case, “In case you need to use the spell, I have it on a scroll here. I already know the spell myself, so I’ve been saving this one for an emergency, and I guess this qualifies… here! I hope it’s useful. You may want to scribe it into your personal grimoire in case you don’t know it already. I have no problem with that as such, but bear in mind that doing so will take you two days of study, and the ghoul threat might spread in that time... If you do so, make sure your companions patrol the graveyard at night, okay?”
The spell Eirus is talking about is Detect Undead, obviously. He strongly urges the PCs to use the spell repeatedly in the graveyard, as it is just about the only way to be sure that the undead threat is completely eliminated. He’ll repeatedly suggest that they check over the graveyard again and again to make sure they finished off every single, last ghoul!
Returning to the graveyard. Going back to the graveyard and following Eirus’ suggestions should pretty much end the adventure. PCs poking spears or pikes into the graves where ghouls are (as determined by Detect Undead or pure chance through trial and error) would make attacks against AC 12 because the ghouls cannot benefit from their Dexterity while underground. If the PCs hit, roll for damage normally. Eventually the PCs should be able to finish off all of the ghouls in this fashion. It might not be a big challenge, but they should be granted full experience anyway – there is no penalty for being smart and listening to Eirus’ good advice! In one of the graves, the PCs might come across a buried short sword. The PC examining the grave (by either sticking a spear or pike into it or using Detect Undead) should make a Spot check at DC 16. If successful, the PC somehow notices the short sword (glint of metal, pike glancing it, etc.). The blade is a short sword +1 named “Thranial”, and was forged long ago by elves. It ended up here because the person buried in the grave used to be an adventurer and discovered it during those days.
Once the PCs have finished off all the ghouls, the adventure is over. The villagers will cheer their efforts, and Eirus will applaud them as well. If the PCs seek him out, he will tell them that he owes them a favor and promise to repay it some day. Meanwhile, he’ll be finishing the potion for them, or simply give it to them if they’ve spent enough time in the village.
If this adventure was played first (as suggested), the next adventure would be either ‘The Starving Forest’ or ‘What Lurks in the Shadows’. If the PCs remain in the village, the caravan of Ceril Bertun from ‘The Starving Forest’ could pass through on their way north (or south, doesn’t matter much...) and hire the PCs as additional guards. If the PCs simply leave the village of Gorania, they could stumble onto both options 1 and 3 of ‘How to Involve the PCs’ in the adventure. If the DM wishes to play the ‘What Lurks in the Shadows’ adventure next, the PCs, having heard of Oliver Attleson and his sword “Roc” from Balri, could hear from someone traveling throught the village that a portrait of Attleson is being auctioned away in Corunglain, and might wish to go there to check it out. Once there they could be involved under all the three options described for ‘How to Involve PCs’ in that adventure, the first one being particularly likely if they also known Ceril Bertun from ‘The Starving Forest’ adventure already.
If the PCs explore the village of Gorania further, they will eventually learn all the information Balri has to offer. They’ll still have to sort out which of it is useful themselves, though. Further investigations into the origin of the ghouls will be inconclusive... There is nothing to suggest it did not happen exactly as Eirus described, so there is no evidence against him.
The PCs could decide to find out where the goblins who attacked Nicos and themselves came from. If they do, they’ll discover that there have been an increase of goblinoid attacks on the northern trade routes off late, which will lead them to the adventures ‘The Starving Forest’ and then ‘What Lurks in the Shadows’.
They might also conclude that Oliver Attleson is buried in the old graveyard, especially if they’ve already played the ‘Starving Forest’ adventure and paid attention to the clues there. If they explore the matter it won’t reveal much, though. Attleson was not one of the bodies that became a ghoul, and since his armor was ruined, his shield brought back to Corunglain, and his sword “Roc” lost, there won’t be any treasure or indentifying articles in his grave and the PCs won’t be able to tell it apart from the other graves... Besides, digging around the graves will not exactly endear them with Eirus or the villagers...
Copyright © 2001, John Calvin, Max Monas, and Jens Schnabel. Used by permission. All rights reserved.