If you wanted to add a twist, you could have the nymphs want the spirit dead for different reasons. Perhaps the nymphs are actually some kind of succubi or shapeshifter and the spirit guards against their being released into the rest of the world. That way, the portal might lead to a prison plane or plane of evil (e.g. Carceri or Baator for you D&D folks out there) and is just a handy way of getting rid of the heros so the "nymphs" can escape into the world unhindered. Also, that makes the girl Echo a plant for the "nymphs". Maybe she's some kind of sorceress who cast that dream on the heros. She "happens" to overhear them talking about it and "happens" to find a chapter about the place they saw in a book somewhere.
I think the adventure is fine as is, but it's not so much my style. So for those of us who prefer a few more twists, there's one idea. Otherwise, it's better than some of the stuff I've seen here, so keep it up, Skyblue. Go to Comment
This is an interesting character, I love the background on all the stuff he's done. Reading the comments about him looking/sounding like a barbarian, I'm struck by the idea that if *we* think he's a barbarian, maybe other people would too. Like if he's asked by some king to save the kingdom and the nobles who haven't heard of him or don't believe his stories look down on him for his common clothing and appearance.
BTW, I just have to correct a few things hopfrog said about barbarians: the romans considered anyone who wasn't roman to be barbarian. Our word "barbarian" stems from the Latin "barbam", which means beard, and you can tell why they gave them that name. Go to Comment
The Jiangsi was the name of an undead being in Chinese folklore and mythology. Usually translated as zombie or vampire for Western palates, the Jiangsi was really neither. They appeared as simply risen, fresh corpses. They moved (peculiarly!) by hopping rather than walking, and sought out the living to suck the Qilife force from their victims.
Perhaps significantly more interesting than the Jiangsi itself, was the lore surrounding them. "Zombie wranglers", or "Corpse Herders", usually Daoist priests, were men tasked with delivering these undead beings back to their respective home towns. Tradition in China placed great importance and emphasis on the return of the dead to their homes and families, and thus the corpse herders came to be. By using magick words and talismans they would animate the dead, and by placing specially inscribed parchments of paper over the Jiangsi heads and faces, the corpse herders would be able to control the hopping corpses. Then like pied pipers, they would lead processions of subdued undead, across many miles, rhythmically chanting and ringing tiny bells.
Special inns were built across China to house these undead caravans, as the zombies could only travel by evening and night, the sun anathema to them. Rows of doors opening to barely a closet-space, lined the walls of these special establishments. Behind these doors, the corpses would be stored upright while the corpse herders rested in rooms.
The Jiangsi under the control of a corpse herder were quite harmless, merely hopping after him, silently and without complaint, for weeks and months. If however, the magicked parchment would somehow be removed from their faces, the creatures would immediately seek living humans to kill. Their thirst for Qi was unquenchable.
The job of a corpse herder was an interesting one to say the least.