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March 24, 2013, 10:36 pm


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Silverfox Mill - Part II

By:

The town of Silverfox Mill was a quiet place for many years, but this peaceful town has begun to unravel. The arrival of the Usury Guild drained the populace of their livelihood, forcing many into poverty, alcoholism, and prostitution. Complicating this trying time the town has recently lost its most beloved citizen, the wizard Osric Skanderbag. With his absence it seems the long-dead witch Anna has been raised to murder and poison, but this may be a front for more contemporary threats.

A city is not home to one adventure, but many. Silverfox Mill is a small community, but there are two plot threads weaving through the events of the town. Events from multiple plot threads may be pursued simultaneously, entwining, misleading, or being completely unrelated.


The Sins of Osric Skanderbag

Linked Events:

  • A Funeral Welcome
  • Retrieving the Parcel 
  • Cleansing Osric's House
  • A Brutal Murder 
  • Finding a Killer 
  • Valandarius' House

Relevant Characters:

  • Mrs. Bovery (Valandarius' Doctor)
  • Craig (Town Guard) 
  • Eliza (Valandarius' Servant)
  • Kara (Valandarius' Servant)
  • Nilla (Prostitute) 
  • Osric Skanderbag (Deceased) 
  • Respa (Dead Prostitute) 
  • Taylor (Tailor) 
  • Lord Valandarius (Gentleman) 
  • Winny (Dead Prostitute)

Synopsis:

The kindhearted local mage Osric Skanderbag has fallen into necromancy. Realizing his error on his deathbed he sought to make amends by posthumously enlisting the services of any mercenaries who travel through. Unfortunately things have not gone as planned for Osric. Disregarding his instructions his assistant Respa has claimed the fox-fur shawl used as his necromantic focus. Free of a mage’s clutches the undead silver fox begins a killing spree, leading to the Valandarius estate. Having purchased the stole for his concealed lunatic wife the fox’s third murder sets ablaze the paranoia nurtured by the lord’s insular habits and ‘poltergeist’ spouse. In addition to the murderous fur the necromantic tome Codex Cypher 7 has been reclaimed by some unknown entity. The final piece to the fiasco is the escape of several silver foxes into the wild.

Sidebar: The Goat Rodeo
Pacing is very important for a DM, it controls the feel of a world and keeps player interest. The setup of Silverfox Mill is different than most players are accustomed to, and providing them with too many avenues too quickly can lead to confusion. If the players seem lost suggest they pause to make a list of all the facts the characters have gathered.

A Funeral Welcome

The first introduction the players have to Silverfox Mill is a group of mourners who have been circling around the town with Osric Skanderbag and are now heading for the center street. They will remain silent and hush any talk until after the ceremony is complete. 

The weather has held, but there is a bite in the air signaling the coming winter. Moving through this area you see empty fields, a grove of unpicked apple trees, and feel an oppressive silence as you continue down the road. You hear the shuffle of feet behind you, and turning, are greeted by the hollow and weeping eyes of over a hundred silent mourners. 

As you walk down the main street it is clear this town was beautiful once not too long ago. In recent times it seems the paint has begun to peel from the windowsills and dirt has accumulated on the baseboards of a half-dozen empty houses. 

Finally reaching the town center the body is laid before the local clergy. A large flask is blessed, and emptied over the shrouded figure. The eldest cleric, a gray-haired and dour-looking man, holds his hand aloft in signal and there is an audible intake of breath. As the hand falls every voice is raised in a terrible scream that sets the shroud aflame. The body is rendered to ashes long before the piercing screech stops.  

As the echo fades the younger cleric begins to gather the ashes into an urn. Many of the mourners leave, but a few remain to talk.

Gathering Information: 

  • The funeral is for Osric Skanderbag, a mage who stayed in his hometown of Silverfox Mill rather than Azura. 
  • He focused on magics to help the town and was generally beloved and respected by all of the inhabitants. 
  • He lived a long life, but this past winter began to fall prey to a crippling illness coupled with dementia. Not wanting to waste away slowly and leave memories of sorrow Osric made arrangements with the two local clerics and the local alchemist. 
  • Osric has left a parcel with instructions that it be given to whatever adventures may pass through. It is currently in the care of Cleric Basil at the Erastil temple.

Retrieving the Parcel

This event occurs at the temple to Erastil.

Father Basil stares you down while you ask about the parcel left by Osric Skanderbag. His withered fingers drum on the desk with incredulous boredom. When he decides he has heard enough he turns his back and heads to his quarters with a series of grumbles and scoffing noises. Father Basil is still muttering when he returns with the parcel, unceremoniously dropping it onto the desk. “You look like a bunch of hooligans. Show me something to prove me wrong.”

Basil is not looking for anything fantastic, just something to demonstrate the group is not intent on leaving the moment they get what is in the box. A performance, attack, obscure bit of history, demonstration with a martial weapon, feat of acrobatics, riddle, or showing of a holy symbol from each party member is sufficient.

“Very well. Sign here under Osric that I have fulfilled my duties as curator of his will.” As the quill glides along the parchment Father Basil whispers a few words and clips the twine around the wooden box. Looking up at you, his curiosity and your preoccupation allow him to slide the lid off and peer inside. “All that for a letter.” His curiosity sated, Father Basil resumes shuffling records about.

The box is indeed empty, and there is no indication that anything other than the letter was ever placed inside it. The letter is written by Osric Skanderbag in his last days.

You do not know me, but you must believe my last words. I do not know you, but I must have faith you will have the strength to do what is right. Some in the town believe I have fallen into dementia, and while they are not incorrect I am no fool; you will be well rewarded for expunging my sins.

These townsfolk revered me as much as Father Basil or Adoran, but I was a mage of modest ability - until I discovered the book. I resisted its lure until I watched Mrs. Patterson starve herself to death to feed her daughter. I held the skill to end the suffering, but not the power. Using the book I decided Mrs. Patterson would make a second sacrifice, that of her deceased body, for the lives of many in the town.

I cannot describe the feeling of casting that spell, it was exhilarating and I was consumed with my own righteousness. How that action has haunted me, but not enough for me to resist saving the town from the Usurers.

The thing before you must be destroyed, along with the unholy creatures I have brought to life in my basement. I have secured the journal in my fireplace, ensure it burns. The furs should prove an ample reward. If you require alchemical assistance simply inform Kentor that you will be paying in gold until you have silver.

Gods have mercy,
Osric


Cleansing Osric’s House 

OsricDM.pngOsricplayer.png

DM Version | Player VersionGround Floor

You find yourself standing before one of the more humble structures in Silverfox Mill, its white walls freshly plastered and windows still clean.
Opening the door this one-room house is quite cozy. Wooden pillars speckle the room and support the roof. A few curtains hang on the walls, a fireplace stands on the far wall, and a simple bed sits in the corner. A spiral staircase leads downwards.

Perception: DC 20 – Hidden inside the chimney is a metal compartment which would heat enough to combust documents should a winter-worthy fire be started. It is empty.

Cellar

Stepping into the cellar the temperature drops significantly. A dozen or so crates and barrels lie in piles, some open. The dirt floor shows significant foot traffic winding around the obstacles.

Perception: DC 20 – At the end of the cellar is a concealed door. The door is locked, but can be unlocked with a DC 25 Disable Device check.

The foxes in the subsequent areas can hear the approach of noisy adventurers and will turn invisible. They are terrible fighters and will use their abilities to mire the group in the traps they have created. It may not initially be obvious that the traps are the work of the foxes. The traps are crude and would be impractical for anyone living and working in the area.

A - Osric's Study

The walls of this room contain bookshelves and several crates. A pillar supports the earthen ceiling. Curled at the top of the bookshelf a foot from the ladder is a silver-gray ball of fur.

Illusion Pit Trap CR 2 (mechanical)

  • Perception DC 22; Disable Device DC 20
  • Trigger location; Reset manual
  • Effect: 2-ft.-deep pit (no falling damage) 1d4 slashing from broken glass, plus Bloodroot poison; DC 20 Reflex avoids

Bloodroot Poison

  • Type poison (injury) Save: Fortitude DC 12
  • Onset 1 round; Frequency 1/round for 4 rounds
  • Effect 1 Con damage and 1 Wis damage; Cure 1 save

Sabotaged Ladder CR 1 (mechanical)

  • Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
  • Trigger location; Reset manual
  • Effect: 10-ft fall (1d6 damage); DC 20 Reflex halves

A breeding pair of silver foxes hides invisible behind the crates and will make a dash for the door once the path is clear. The silver fox atop the bookshelf is an illusion intended to draw victims over the pit trap and up the trapped ladder. The books on the shelf are general reference guides for alchemical mixtures.

B - Storage Area

The door cracks open and there is an audible hiss, as though something hermetically sealed has been unleashed.

Noxious Vapors

  • Type poison (inhaled); Save Fortitude DC 27
  • Frequency 1/round for 4 rounds
  • Effect 1 Wis damage and confused for 1 round; Cure 1 save

As the vapors dissipate you can see the floor is littered with glass from broken vials. More bookshelves and a curtain adorn the walls.

Potion Drop CR 2 (mechanical)

  • Perception DC 22; Disable Device DC 20
  • Trigger touch (tripwire); Reset manual
  • Effect: Atk +12 (1d4 bludgeoning from bottles, 1d4 slashing from falling glass, 1d4 acid); multiple targets (all targets in a 5 ft. by 10 ft. area)

Bookcase Groin Ram CR 1 (mechanical)

  • Perception DC 22; Disable Device DC 19
  • Trigger location; Reset manual
  • Effect: Atk +11 (1d6 bludgeoning); unavoidable bull rush attempt by small creature with 18 Strength

C - Osric's Workspace

Every wall save the west is lined with shelves, the top level of which has been swept clean. Powders, broken glassware, arcane equipment, and several necromantic pieces lie scattered on the floor.

Illusion Pit Trap CR 2 (mechanical)

  • Perception DC 22; Disable Device DC 20
  • Trigger location; Reset manual
  • Effect: 2-ft.-deep pit (no falling damage) 1d4 slashing from broken glass, plus 1d4 acid; DC 20 Reflex avoids

Combat:

  • 4 Silver Foxes

The battle begins by each fox casting Darkness in the area, which does not impede their attacks due to Superior Darkvision, but grants total concealment against them. The first attack made by each fox renders them visible, but the foe is denied their dexterity for that attack. They use the shelves in the room (everywhere but the western wall) to maintain the high ground (+1 attack) and flank (+2 attack) with the fox on the floor who maintains his invisibility. The foxes do not fight to the death. Smart groups will stand against the western wall by the door and out of reach of the foxes. Truly clever groups will bottleneck at the door and watch the powder on the floor for footprints.

The variant of armor as damage reduction can drain this encounter of all tension. The foxes do not do significant damage, their tactics compensate for their physical weakness. To restore balance a DM might add the tactical bonuses the foxes receive to damage as well as attack, or simply play the foxes intelligently and target the unarmored members. 

D - The Cages

The walls of this room are lined with filthy metal cages, the doors ajar on rusty hinges. The smell of ripe pelts is strong, as failed fox skins decorate the opposite wall. You hear a whining towards the back of the room, a pitiful pleading sound punctuated with yips.

The seven pelts on the wall show a gradual improvement in the coat, but are much lower quality and poorly skinned as to be only worth 5 gold apiece.

Locked in a cage you see two miniature silver foxes, just weaned from their mother. They fall over each other in a bid for your attention, gumming at each other's ears and paws.

The young foxes are endearing, with wide eyes and playful manners, but this begs the question: what is to be done with them? They are young, too young to understand evil in the manner of their parents. Will they grow to be evil because it is their nature, or can they be brought up as loving companions? Should they be killed now, or given a chance at rehabilitation? Perhaps a truly wicked mind would raise them until their fur would be worth something.


A Brutal Murder

This event occurs during the evening, whenever the group is heading back to the Alabaster Cage to turn in for the night. 

In the dusk you walk the streets of Silverfox Mill, brusquely heading to your destination. Your stride is broken by a scream so intense as to set Osric’s ashes aflame. Instead it is your lungs that burn, breathless, as you run to the alley near the brothel. Rushing at you from the darkness a bloodied woman collapses at your feet. Looking into the alley you see her pursuer is one she cannot outrun; the image of her mutilated friend.

The girl is Nilla, who has passed out and has superficial injuries to her hand. In a few minutes Guard Craig will arrive.

Searching the Scene

The arterial blood splatters spiral like the petals of a flower from the body at the center of the alley, barely reaching the walls. Vacant eye sockets weep, and a mouth lolls open in a scream that was never heard.

Perception:

  • DC 20 – A portion of a footprint made in blood leads deeper into the alleyways, away from the street.
  • DC 25 – It is a cold night, but the body of Respa has no cloak or cover.

Heal:

  • DC 15 – The victim died of severe damage to the throat, most likely after being incapacitated by injuries to the ears and eyes.
  • DC 20 – The edges of the wounds are very rough, and indicate a tearing motion such as a weasel or other animal would make after biting.

Talking to Nilla

Nilla is understandably distraught and must be removed a distance from the body and consoled before she is capable of providing useful information.

  • The victim is Respa, a close friend to Nilla and a fellow brothel girl.
  • The pair meets like this at least once a week.
  • Respa had no real enemies, but she did owe a debt to Urslav and her work at the brothel did not endear her to Claudia.
  • Nilla believes Respa either found a wealthy patron or came into a large sum of money, she had just come into possession of a very nice shawl.

Nilla will not intentionally lie, but will leave out information regarding why she and Respa were in the alley at such an hour. Inspecting her injured hand reveals small shards of broken glass, the sort used in alchemy vials. Nilla herself is trembling uncontrollably from both shock and drug withdrawal.

  • Being a drug addict she had purchased some Harlot Sweets and Opium.
  • Nilla reflexively crushed the vials in her hand upon seeing the body of Respa.
  • Respa was also a drug user.

Talking to Guard Craig

You hear the sound of running feet on the cobblestone and heavy breathing. Coming to a stop at the alley a local guard quickly tries to assess the situation. “Gods take my soul…” With the last of his breath he whistles for backup.

It will be several minutes before the remainder of the meager town guard arrives. Until then Guard Craig will detain the group for questioning, and examine the scene himself. He is well aware that as a young guardsman of a small town the group’s experience most likely exceeds his own, and will ask their opinions and assessments. Guard Craig will also offer up his perspective on the relationship between Nilla and Respa.

  • Nilla is the bad influence in the pairing, Respa was a good girl with the desire to turn her life around when taken under Osric’s wing.
  • Respa had taken Osric’s decline poorly, and must have relapsed into drug abuse during that time.
  • With his Jixden ties and alchemical knowledge it is obvious Kentor is the drug dealer, however the guard has no proof.
  • Even with proof the guard would not arrest Kentor as he is the only man in town that can brew potions and supply the clerics with spell components. 


Finding a Killer

This event begins at the brothel, while the group is investigating the death of Respa.

Entering the brothel you are treated to quite a sight;the withered old cleric Basil sitting in an opulent brothel chair and reading aloud to a group of eager prostitutes. “… and the remainder of her wardrobe to Whinny. Where is Whinny?” A voice pipes up from the group “She’s always at market in the morn, but she’s usually back by now.” Father Basil nods, folding away the parchment. The girls help him to his feet and escort him out the door.

The brothel girls will answer any questions the characters have about Respa, but are preoccupied with distributing Respa’s things and request the group fetch Whinny from the market.

  • ·  Respa thought herself too good for the brothel once she was hired as Osric’s housekeeper.
  • ·  Respa returned to Harlot Sweets after losing her job with Osric in order to compete with Claudia.
  • ·  Nilla is a shell of a person, and typically avoided. Respa identified with her and wanted to help.
  • ·  Whinny is an outgoing and likable girl, and very fashion conscious.

The Market

Residents of Silverfox Mill hurry about, purchasing their daily supplies and selling their wares. Closing your eyes you inhale the metal tang of blood, and start as you realize the butcher is on the other end of the market. The shadowed alley behind the tailor beckons.

Before your eyes can even adjust you know you are looking at the corpse of Whinny. Slumped under a window her golden hair sticks to the trail of blood smeared up the wall like a painter’s halo.

Perception:

  • DC 20 – The window above the body is cracked open. The window looks into the tailor’s storage room.
  • DC 25 – The footprints of Whinny’s shoes match those found at Respa’s murder.
  • Heal:
  • DC 15 – The victim died of severe damage to the throat, most likely after being incapacitated by injuries to the ears and eyes.
  • DC 20 – The edges of the wounds are very rough, and indicate a tearing motion such as a weasel or other animal would make after biting.

The Tailor

Stepping into this shop you feel uneasy, the bolts of fabric lean in disarray giving the impression that the whole building is tilting in surreal ways. The proprietor sits at the feet of a mannequin hemming a dress. 

Taylor is the tailor and outfitter for all of Silverfox Mill. While a nice man and a good craftsman his business skills are lacking and his memory is short. As such his log, storage, and records are ill-kept. He speaks freely of whatever he can remember.

  • Taylor is unaware of Whinny’s murder; he was busy with Urslav and an unexpected customer.
  • Whinny was a good customer when she had money. The remainder of the time she window-shopped.
  • One of the nobles who lives just outside the town made a major purchase of a fur. The money paid off Urslav and prevented him from repossessing the shop.
  • Taylor does not remember the name of the noble.

While Taylor does not remember the name of the noble Urslav does: Lord Valandarius and his bodyguard Zak. Urslav has no comment on the death of Whinny or his attempt to take control of Taylor’s shop.


Valandarius’ House

Vandalariusis a reclusive but kindly older gentleman who harbors a dark secret: a mentally ill wife Evlyn who he keeps hidden in his estate. He has a small staff of servants to tend to the house, and trained bounty hunters should his wife escape. Only the physician, Mrs. Bovery, was ever told of Evlyn’s existence. The discovery of Mrs. Bovery's body sparked the paranoia that has been building in the servants over the years from Evlyn’s noises and the presence of battle-trained men in confined quarters.

valDM.pngValPlay.png

DM Version | Player Version

House Exterior

The exterior of this small manor house is of crumbling stone. Curtains are drawn over almost every window and the oaken double doors stand imposingly before you.

The front double doors are locked, DC 25 to open. The back of the house contains a door, but it is barred. It has a hardness of 5, 10 hp and a break DC of 25. Of more interest is the window beside the door, the only one on the ground floor that is not curtained. It is slightly open. Clever players with poles can unbolt the door through the window.

A – Entryway

This large and spacious entryway is sparsely but finely decorated. A simple elegant rug dominates the clean flagstone floor. A set of handsome chestnut double doors lead to the east. An open archway reveals a parlor to the west. In the southeast corner of the room a grand spiral staircase leads to the second floor, the railing of which can be seen overhead.

The stairs upwards have been trapped by the silver foxes, though the trap has already been triggered by Vandalarius.

B – Parlor

Your footsteps fall silent on the carpeted floor of the parlor. Thick, musty curtains cover the tall windows, glowing faintly blue with the stifled light. Plush navy chairs cluster around a metal-inlaid table from under which a dark stain creeps across the carpet.

This room contains the body of Mrs. Bovery, killed in a manner similar to the prostitutes.

C – Kitchen

Sunlight trickles in through the propped-open kitchen window, glinting off an array of knives. A bowl of fresh greens has been upended on the table and bread burns on the coals. The cellar door rests open against the wall.

Perception:

  • DC 15 - There is a concealed door behind some shelves which leads to the servant's passage.

Combat:

  • 2 Silver Foxes

A group of silver foxes have slunk in from the forest through the window and are decimating the pantry while the manor is preoccupied. They remain quiet, hoping the intruders will pass without conflict. Once conflict begins they will attempt to retreat out the window.

D – Servant’s Passage

This narrow dark corridor contains a spindly set of spiral stairs leading upwards. The passage continues to a door at the other end.

Trapped Stairs CR 1 (mechanical)

  • Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
  • Trigger location; Reset manual
  • Effect: 10-ft fall (1d6 damage); DC 20 Reflex halves

E – Dining Room

This room is too dark to see, hints of light peer from behind drawn curtains. Uneasy breathing gives you the sense that you are not alone in this room.
Now illuminated the room seems no less bleak. Heavy wood chairs bookend the long, dark table whichspans the length of the room. Atop the table lies the gutted body of a man - but it is not his shuddering, ragged breath you hear.

Perception:

  • DC 15 - There is a concealed door behind some shelves which leads to the servant's passage.

Combat

  • 1 Hunting Hound (Similar to Acheron Hound)

Hidden under the table is the young serving girl Kara and her dog Quintas. If discovered Kara screams, and Quintas rushes from under the table to defend Kara. He will not stop unless commanded otherwise.

Talking to Kara

Kara has worked at the Valandarius house for several years now, but does not reside at the estate. She is distraught but can recount the basic situation unless Quintas is mortally injured. She will insist on hiding under the table, but will allow herself to be escorted outside.

  • The servants gathered in the dining room after the discovery of Mrs. Bovery and began accusing each other of murder.
  • One of the guards was stabbed by Peter (the man on the table) and retaliated with lethal force.
  • One of the maids rushed Lord Valandarius upstairs when the fighting broke out.

F – Balcony

Skylights flood this area with the brightness of the sun, creating striking shadows from the dried flowers and suits of armor that adorn the wall. A trail of blood stains the rug running along the balcony, leading to a pair of double doors at the west. A second trail of blood leads to the door in the east.

Disable Device:  The double doors to the west are locked with an average lock (DC 25)

 G – Valandarius’ Quarters

This fine bedroom is dim, with the curtains drawn. A large bed with bloodstained sheets cradles an unconscious older gentleman. At his side a maid tends to his leg, tinting the washbasin pink.

Lord Valandarius

With proper treatment unavailable Vlandarius has fallen unconscious due to pain and blood loss. If magically healed he will not rouse, but mumble apologies to Mrs. Bovery and his wife.

Heal

  • DC 15 – Gashes running along the length of the leg make it difficult to assess the damage. The wound has been cleaned, but the dressing is by an inexperienced hand. You are able to re-bind the dressings to prevent blood loss and stave off infection.
  • DC 20 – Beyond the tattered flesh is a broken leg. The impact would not have so grievously injured a younger man. Your experience allows you to set the bone, and with long-term care the leg may be salvageable.

Talking to Eliza

Eliza is a follower of the dead gods, and believes something unholy lives in the estate. This belief has kept her calm, as she is able to rationalize the actions of the other servants as not of their own accord. She is able to provide a much clearer picture of the situation, having worked for the lord all her life.

  • Lord Valandarius is kind, but reclusive. His tendency to keep the curtains drawn coupled with the strange noises that pervade the house wear on the nerves.
  • Mrs. Bovery was the lord’s most trusted servant and personal physician. She was the only one who dismissed the poltergeist.
  • The lord kept Jixden-trained bounty hunters on staff as guards. Men‘on edge’ as a profession act quickly at the threat of a murderer in their midst.

H – Evlyn’s Room

The only feature of this small, windowless room is the crooked metal bars running from floor and ceiling. The sound of a hushed conversation brings your attention to the animal in the cage corner. White of hair and pale of complexion she rocks back and forth, “…nibbled on his earlobe. Then, I bit into it, letting the red, red blood roll down his neck...” As her head turns to meet your eyes, you know the cage is unlocked.

Evlyn will rush at the group, screaming. Have them roll for initiative, with Evlyn going last. Evlyn has no intention of fighting, and as an old woman will fall in a single hit.

The adrenaline which courses through you heightens your perception to the movement on the floor. Forepaws without substance claw their way towards where youstand, captured in the polished glass eyes of a fox fur shawl.

Combat

  • 1 Cloak of the Silver Fox

The Cloak has no sense of self-preservation, and will choose to inflict damage at whatever cost to itself.

I – Valandarius’ Study

This simple study opens just off the master bedroom. Like most of the other rooms in the manor the drawn curtains stifle light and the spirit.

Perception

  • DC 15 – There is a simple concealed doorway that leads to the servants quarters which allow the servants to attend to Valandarius’ needs at all hours.
  • DC 20 – There is a second secret door which leads to a hidden room where Valandarius’ wife is kept.

J – Servant Quarters

Opening the door to this room you feel as though time has slowed. You watch a pair of bloodied men wheel on you with trained precision, and attack with all the fear a man can feel.

Combat

·  2 Lvl 2 Fighters

The pair of bounty hunters chose this room due to the numerous exits, and will flee if seriously injured. They can be talked out of their paranoid frenzy, or calmed magically. More than physical attention the pair need psychological aid, and should be escorted from the house. 


The Return of Anna

Linked Events:

  • A Figure in the Dark
  • Sticks and Stones
  • Mind your History
  • Uneasy Allies
  • The Briar Patch
  • No Good Deed

Relevant Characters:

  • Claudia (Prostitute)
  • Fetz (Merchant)
  • Kentor (Alchemist)
  • Puck (Barkeep)
  • Seriph (Town Miscreant)
  • Titian (Guard)
  • Urslav (Usurer)

Synopsis:

The midnight liaisons of Claudia and Titian spooked the local gravedigger Fetz into retirement. When questioned by the pair as to his change in career Fetz revealed to them the legend of “Anna’s Keeper” and the recent empty graves. The lovers have since developed a plan to capitalize on the fear evoked by Claudia’s ancestor and garner a cushy life of tribute. Using her familial magic Claudia has developed a spell to separate soul from body and transform the most troublesome townsfolk into her obedient twigjack. Seriph is the first victim, having become suspicious of the pair’s activities, with other ‘disagreeable’ townsfolk following in short order. In order to save Silverfox Mill the alchemist Kentor and the mage Urslav must set aside their past to recapture the enslaved souls while the party takes on Claudia, Titian, and an army of twigjacks aided by escaped silver foxes.


A Figure in the Dark

This event occurs during the first or second night spent in the “Rum Room” of the Alabaster Cage.

It is late at night as you stare at the rafters, unable to sleep. The bed is too warm, the pillow too high, the mattress too soft. No matter how hard you stare at the darkness out your window the eyes you feel do not materialize. The longer you stare the more your imagination runs. You envision a withered claw reaching up towards the glass, but it is when you hear the nails scratch the surface you realize this is no figment.

Chasing Anna

Running down the stairs your feet resound on the hollow wooden steps as though they were drums. Jumping onto the landing, rushing to the door and flinging it wide reveals the street to be empty. The creak of a door leads you to turn and face a groggy-eyed Puck. Like a ghost the nightgown-clad figure shakes his head and shuffles off to his sleeping quarters.

Searching for Clues

The clues found may vary depending on the version of this plot used. See the alternative plots section below. Most of this evidence is fleeting, and if the area is not searched immediately will dissipate in a matter of rounds.

One culprit is father Basil, interested in reforming those wayward enough to end up in the Rum Room by frightening them into attending church. He leaves a waft of myrrh in his wake and a dim magical aura detectable by those who can detect magic.

If Claudia is the culprit her motivation is fear to bolster her reputation as ‘Anna’ and frighten away any who might interfere with her plans. Like Basil she would leave a dim magical aura due to the glamours she cast upon herself.

If Anna has returned from the dead there may be the smell of decay, and a tuft of silver fox fur. 


Sticks and Stones

There are three locations where Sticks and Stones occurs. The first is with Seriph at the temple to Erastil, the second is Fetz’s house, and the third is the brothel.

Seriph’s Death

As you walk the streets you hear a strange clattering noise above you. Looking upwards you see nothing but loosened shingles sliding down a decaying roof. The wind, once still, picks up.

As you pass the Erastil temple you feel the unease of prey. Wheeling to accost the observer you find the street empty. Instinctually you look up, and find yourself under the faceless gaze of a human-shaped amalgamation of twigs and brambles. Leisurely and with practiced grace the lounging creature slides from the roof into an open temple window.

The temple interior is dark, Father Basil having left some time ago on his rounds. Tentatively moving forward the squeal of metal against metal draws you to the prison. There, leaning nonchalantly against the bars, the spindly construct cannot obscure the sight of Seriph. Struck through the heart with an arrow she stares vacantly towards the window. As the creature shifts its weight from one leg to another your blood runs cold. It is an uncanny imitation.

Perception

  • DC 15 – The lock to the cell door has been undone.
  • DC 17 – There are numerous scratches on the lock of varying age.

Just before father Basil returns the construct will relock the cell door. Seriph would often escape her cell while the cleric was absent.

Fetz’s Death

As an introduction to what has happened to Fetz father Adoran might express concern over the fresh graves that Fetz’s twigjack has been digging.

You open the door to the general store to find it empty. As you scan the shelves movement catches your eye. Sitting atop a barrel a child-sized construct of twigs and brambles holds a duster doll, fussing over its appearance.

Moving towards the storeroom in back you hear a soft shuffling. Another wooden imposter stands over the body of Fetz’s wife, moving stock from one shelf to another.

Neither the body of the girl nor Fetz is found in the store. Fetz was lured to the briar patch with the kidnapping of his daughter, and both bodies remain there. Fetz’s twigjack can be found in the graveyard, tending the garden and having dug several new graves.

The Brothel

The presence of twigjacks at the brothel might serve to help condemn Claudia, exonerate her, or be used by her to throw the investigators off her trail. Her twigjack may or may not be present depending on the scenario, or a twigjack of another girl could be disguised to look like her. A careful count of the bodies and Jacks would reveal the ruse.

The brothel is strangely dark, the candles in the window having snuffed themselves long ago. As your eyes adjust you can make out spindly figures, some lounging seductively on the couches, others posing about the room. Some notice your entry and approach, trying to caress you with sharp, wooden fingertips.
As you walk up the brothel stairs and down the hall the rooms on either side contain shadows of what were once women. They try on jewelry and paint their blank faces with makeup.

Observing the Twigjacks

Knowledge (arcane)

  • DC 15 – A number of methods have been developed to trap a person’s soul for use in magic or constructs.
  • DC 17 – Without refinement a soul retains its memories, and will exhibit habits of its previous life.

Knowledge (nature)

  • DC 15 – The materials of which this creature is comprised originate from the local area.
  • DC 17 – This creature is referred to as a twigjack. It is a creation used by the druids and fey to guard woodland areas and perform simple tasks.
  • DC 19 – Twigjacks can be quite dangerous. They have the ability to spray thorns like a porcupine and traverse wooded areas instantly.

Magic and Spells

  • Detect Magic –There is a necromantic enchantment on the crossbow bolts.
  • Detect Evil – There is no evil present.

As the crossbow bolts on the bodies are the conduit from which the soul was taken if it is removed there will be no hope of restoring the soul. The twigjacks are largely unresponsive to external stimulus and do not respond to violence in kind.

Consulting Others

  • Kentor knows little about the magic. He does know that souls can be contained in alchemical jars, and is familiar with the process. Such contraband sells well on the Jixden black market. If asked about suspicious buyers Kentor will have to consult his records.
  • Adoran and Basil are familiar with the relationship between soul and body. While they are separated the body deteriorates and will become uninhabitable within three days. Without a body or magical stabilization the soul dissipates in seconds. They would be capable of reuniting the soul and body once the soul was extracted and contained.
  • Puck knows nothing of the magic, but can relay that Anna’s preferred method of dealing with townsfolk she found disagreeable was to transform them into her twiggy servants. When Anna was killed all the twigjacks were destroyed.

What this information amounts to is the following situation: Once killed a twigjack will release its soul, which must be captured by a trained mage and placed in one of Kentor’s magic jars. The jar is taken to the body where Basil and Adoran can replace the soul. If the person controlling the Jacks is killed all of the jacks will release their souls simultaneously, leaving no hope of capturing them all before they dissipate. The man missing from this picture is the appropriately trained mage.


Mind your History

This event takes place in the alchemist shop. Puck may direct the group there out of concern for Kentor. For added detail he may be seen earlier hauling a good deal of liquor away from the tavern.

Stepping into the shop you find a set of empty liquor bottles sitting at the counter in place of the alchemist. There is a rush of air and the center flask explodes in a shower of glass. Slumped on the floor beside you is Kentor, downing alcohol with one hand while loading a crossbow with the other. “Mind your history, children. No matter how far you roam or how the years pass you will never stop paying. Sometimes it’s the little things, like perfect aim at thirty paces.” Kentor looses another bolt, and shards rain from the countertop. “Then there are the not so little things.”

How this conversation proceeds is largely dependent on the players. Kentor is reluctant to reveal his past not only for his own privacy, but for the consequences that might result from Urslav’s secret being revealed. He has, however, drunk a fair quantity of ale and will be susceptible to coercion and those insisting they are genuinely concerned.

The History of Kentor and Urslav

“I grew up in Jixden. I became a member of the Red Left to help those who stood against the Great Family. I did good work, so when the word came that Giovanni had misstepped the honor of ending the Savanarola line was mine. I started with the oldest bastards and their mothers. All seventeen of them.” Kentor snaps his fingers. “Like that. When the word came that lady Savanarola had died giving birth, and the last mistress was called back from Celtimark to tend to the girl, I saw my opportunity.”

Kentor pauses, his clouded eyes searching through his memory. “I came in through the nursery window when her back was turned.I didn’t know she was holding the sleeping child. When I took the garrote to her she let the babe fall.” Kentor pauses to breathe deeply. ”I will never be a father for fear of hearing again the sound the girl made when she hit the tile. The boy came running from the next room. As much as I wish to blame what happened next on my superiors they couldn’t have known. I’m sure Giovanni himself didn’t know his mistress was a witch, much less that she had trained their son in black arts.”

Kentor’s head rolls to the side to look at you. “There is one man in town who knows soul magic. I killed his mother and left his half-sister little better. He destroyed my name, everything I stood for, everything I had worked for. The people of this town are going to pay with their lives for our past, because we cannot stand side by side.”


Uneasy Allies

This event occurs after the adventurers have spoken with Kentor and attempt to talk to Urslav.

Urslav sits at his desk, his fine features intense as he scrutinizes a parchment scroll. “Someone cannot hold their tongue. Men have lost their lives for less.” He turns his head to observe you over the rim of his spectacles. “Please, don’t try to appeal to my conscience or morals. I find it terribly embarrassing when people discover I have neither.” Furling the parchment he smiles.

Convincing Urslav to help is not going to be easy. The more days the conversation is drawn out the greater the twigjack army and the less viable the bodies of those enslaved. If the group does not provide compelling enough arguments he will tell them to come back when he is less busy. If successfully convinced he will still require a night to “think it over”.

Reasons Against Helping

  • Urslav has no emotional attachment to these people.
  • Facing the source of the twigjacks and fighting on the front lines will put him in mortal danger.
  • It would entail working with and helping Kentor, the man who killed his mother.
  • Okada law prohibits practitioners of magic from running or participating in business to prevent enchantments and illusions from tainting transactions. If proven a mage Urslav would lose his entire business.

Because the group has discovered his secret and knows of his unfortunate past Urslav is considered unfriendly for all attempts at diplomacy, and the request is for aid that is both dangerous and could result in punishment. This means the base DC is exceptionally high for low level characters (DC 45). Providing sufficient reasons for helping, however, can significantly lower the challenge.

Possible Reasons for Helping

  • (DC -10) Urslav’s system relies on people remaining alive to continually incur interest on their debts. Once dead most estates declare bankruptcy.
  • (DC -5) Urslav has a broad roguish streak that has not been fed since leaving the wild free-for-all of Jixden for the monotony of Okada.
  • (DC -5) Heroism and notoriety are not something Urslav desires, but he does understand that ‘saving the town’ will garner him some much needed good publicity both in and out of Silverfox Mill.
  • (DC -10) Having spent a good deal of time in Jixden Urslav considers favors as good as if not more valuable than currency. His father is calling him to Jixden to deal with some matter, and he would rather send someone in his place. 
  • (DC -5) Other arguments may be available at the DM’s discretion.

Dealing with Urslav is going to be very difficult. Characters and players alike must swallow their pride and become vulnerable if they wish to save the townsfolk. But there is the alternative – an assault that accepts the casualties. Immediate punishment will let them off the hook, opt instead for playing the voice of doubt and regret. Why should players sacrifice now when they have let others die for less?The twisting of a hero into a monster is in the spirit of Etzem. Less scrupulous parties might pursue even more reprehensible paths, such as killing Urslav in the middle battle. Dishonor, and the wrath of the Savanarola family will come in good time. 


The Briar Patch

The encounters of the Briar Patch will vary with the party size, power level, and whether Kentor and Urslav are present. Kentor and Urslav do not need statistics other than hitpoints and AC, but their builds would be Rogue 3/Alchemist 2 with advancement in age for Kentor and Magus 4 for Urslav.

The Advance Guard

These woods are lovely, dark and deep, lulling you with quiet rustles. You watch the tangled brush for movement, but none appears. The silhouettes of stumps and branches cast the shadows of still men.

Combat

  • ·  4 Twigjacks

‘Anna’, whoever she may be, has a scouting guard to warn her of approaching threats. This preliminary encounter serves several important functions; it allows the DM to gauge the difficulty of the party, it establishes what the twigjacks are capable of if the party is unaware, and it helps establish a rhythm for catching souls. Additional battles may be added as needed to drain resources and increase difficulty.

From behind you in a hushed tone you hear the voice of Kentor. “It’s none of my business, but… how is she?” The pair walk on in silence, but after a few moments you hear Urslav whisper “She’s well, better than we could have ever hoped. I tell father it’s time to marry her off; she’s cogent enough to hold discourse at the level of any noble.” The pair chuckle quietly.

The Circle of Thorns

You find the trees and growth becoming thicker, funneling you into a narrow corridor. Ahead the path opens into a clearing surrounded by thorns. A great brazier billows smoke into the canopy above and scenting the air.

Combat

  • 1 Titian
  • 1 Anna
  • 3 Twigjacks

Titian is a fighter who favors the crossbow, and will hang back until the group fights their way to ‘Anna’ at which point he will switch to a sword. Anna is a form of Gravewalker Witch and delivers blinding afflictions through her poppet. The twigjacks are the melee component, adept at teleporting, flanking, and attacking the blind. Their orders are to keep the group in a middle range, close enough to be afflicted but too far to harm their master.


No Good Deed

The following event occurs once the group has returned to town, but only if Urslav is with them.

Anxious townsfolk await your arrival at the town center, holding torches to keep back the gloom. Father Basil stands at the forefront with father Adoran. “Everyone let us welcome the savior of our town, the mage UrslavSavanarola.” There is much hissing from the assembly. Urslav breaks into a tight-lipped smile. “I am standing beside others equally deserving of fame for the contribution of their undefined abilities.” Father Basil looks at you pointedly. “What others?”

Urslav is insinuating that a member of the party could have provided the need expertise, while Basil is asking they deny involvment. If the players claim their rightful fame they jeopardize the accusations of the townsfolk against their oppressor. Alternatively they could humbly remain quiet, and watch as the mob destroys the life of the man who helped save them. Revenge, Pride, and Reputation are all at stake, can the players divorce their own desires from the situation?

You hear Urslav mutter under his breath. “No good deed…” “Regardless, we have evidence which can be matched to a magic signature.” Casually father Basil approaches and raises a jar aloft. “You want me to terminate your contracts?” Father Basil gently places the jar back on the cart. “Why bother? They will be nullified when you lose your guild charter.”Basil takes up the cart and the crowd disperses, leaving Urslav alone on the street with the creeping darkness.It is just a moment before he shakes his head and turns heel, brusquely taking off into the night.

For some parties this may be the end of Urslav, for others this is only the beginning of a powerful ally or adversary. True to form he will turn this situation to his advantage. When the souls have been replaced what proof will there be then? Only the assertions of townsfolk (poisoned by Kentor against him) that witnessed nothing. Once proven innocent people could borrow with new confidence, and business will boom from the publicity. 

Etzem Campaign Events

Linked Events

  • The Sadness of Mrs. Swann
  • Wrath of a Mob
  • Source of the Sickness
  • The Verdict of Reman

Relevant Characters

  • Benny (Apple-Thieving Boy)
  • Fetz's Daughter 
  • Reman (Farmer)
  • Basil (Cleric)
  • Kentor (Alchemist)
  • Puck (Barkeep)
  • Urslav (Usurer)

Synopsis

These events integrate with the overarching plot of Etzem. A scenario without the Revenants is provided under Alternative Plots.

Sidebar: RP and XP
The town of Silverfox Mill is very role-play heavy, yet as written no experience is given for RP. This is to control the low-power curve of the Etzem campaign. For most other games it is recommended that additional XP be given. An alternative method is to link combat to RP by applying a modifier to the experience a player earns. A good roleplayer might have their experience multiplied by 1.2, while the problem player will have theirs multiplied by 0.8

Many of the town’s children have fallen deathly ill, and are wasting away due to a mysterious poison. The anguish of the people has led to them accusing one of their own, farmer Reman, of this heinous crime. For inscrutable reasons Urslav insists his name be cleared. The tragedy of the children of Silverfox Mill introduces the Revenants, humans twisted by evil into powerful monsters. Each Revenant has a territory and the fact that the Revenant responsible, the White Rabbit, has left Okada means that earth-shattering events are brewing.


The Sadness of Mrs. Swann

As you enter the alchemy shop you see Kentor is occupied with another customer. “I am sorry Mrs. Swann, but I am out; it will be days before any brews are ready.” The woman’s voice erupts in a wailing screech, “Days!? I came to you - ”Kentor slams his hand on the counter. “I know why you came, and do you think you’re the only one? We are all doing our best Mrs. Swann, now go home.” Softly sobbing the woman turns and leaves. The door slams and Kentor exhales, slumping onto his stool to listlessly mix ingredients.

Talking to Kentor

Kentor does not have much to say on the subject of Mrs. Swann as he is busy preparing healing potions and not in the mood to talk.

  • Several children have fallen ill.
  • Clerics Basil and Adoran are in high demand so some families have turned to Kentor for medicinal aid.
  • Kentor has run out of healing potions, and had to turn away Mrs. Swann as it will be days before more are finished.

Talking to Mrs. Swann

If someone immediately leaves to talk to Mrs. Swann she may be found on the street, otherwise she will be gone. She is not inclined to talk, and wishes to return to her youngest daughter. If a party member offers assistance she will accept, but wishes to wait until one of the town clerics has first had the chance to examine her. 


Wrath of a Mob

This event occurs in the center of town after the introduction of Mrs. Swann's plight.

A large crowd of people has gathered, livid and with spoiled produce in hand. A haggard and stained old man stands upon a platform, hands tied and being roughly handled by some of the local men. There are calls for rope.

A hand on your shoulder takes your attention from the sight of the impending lynching. Turning you see a large and muscular man who moves aside for a view of a ledger's spine. Like a curtain unveiling an actor the book falls away to reveal a young man in scholars garb with his blonde hair pulled back.
"Mister Reman is going to die if you do not do something."

Gathering Information

Members of the mob are hardly inclined to talk about the situation. The observant may see that Mrs. Swann is at the front of the group, and it appears as though her husband is one of the leaders. Urslav is willing to part with a few words if the group insists.

  • Several of the town children have fallen deathly ill, and two have died already.
  • The children all were part of a group who recently raided one of farmer Reman's apple trees.
  • Farmer Reman makes threats against the children every year for poaching his harvest.
  • The townsfolk believe he has snapped and made good on his threats by poisoning the apples.

Talking Down a Lynch Mob

There are several methods to avert a crisis. Each argument should be accompanied by a diplomacy check to determine its effectiveness. Under no circumstances will the mob allow Reman to go free, but they will agree to release him into the custody of the town guard if it means they will get definite answers.

  • As the townsfolk have no cure for their children it could be argued that killing Reman will eliminate knowledge of the sickness and how to cure it. This could easily be turned against the group as it presumes guilt, and the information could be tortured out of him.
  • Comparing this lynching to the hanging of Black Anna and recent events will serve to dissuade the superstitious who do not want a second vengeful ghost. This comparison could also work against Reman, associating him with the legendary figure of evil in the town.
  • One of the safest routes it to seek out an authority figure in the town or convince the mob to consult the authority. Fathers Basil and Adoran are both unconscious in their respective temples, exhausted and defeated after spending all their effort on the children.
  • The final method is to simply stall until the town guard arrives to break up the mob and take Reman into custody.

Source of the Sickness

As father Basil is weak from attempting to save the children it will be some time before he is strong enough to cast the appropriate truth-spells, or in a low magic game use the appropriate relic. While a player may offer to perform the ceremony they lack the trust and respect evoked by father Basil. This down time may be used to further investigate the sickness, or the investigations may be postponed until Reman is judged.

Talking to Reman

Reman sits in his cell, haggard and harassed but otherwise in decent health. He speaks freely about the events leading up to his capture, and blames himself for his current situation. Seriph, if present, may chime in whenever she feels it appropriate.

  • While he never meant any harm to the children he should not have yelled threats at them.
  • Mr. Swann came to him with the news of his daughter’s illness, saying he believed Reman was responsible. Reman took to the woods in case Mr. Swann was not the only one.
  • When the mob of grieving townsfolk materialized and began to search the forest Reman was frightened and ran.
  • He is growing older, and took out a loan from Urslav to get back on his feet. With a lien against his farm he has to face the fact he can no longer care for his ancestral land.
  • Reman’s family has been apple farmers for generations. They purchased the hill with the lone apple tree from Claudia’s grandparents when Reman was a young boy.

Examining the Children

The symptoms of the children may vary with the source of the illness. The affliction caused by the Revenant the White Rabbit destroys the mind, then the body.

The body before you looks nothing like a child. Gaunt and pale it appears to be a corpse in animation. The limbs twist and contort at odd angles, moving slowly to new inhuman positions. You hear the faint sound of moving air, a scream turned into little more than a wheeze.

Perception:

  • DC 15 – Searching the body reveals a small candy wrapper, and perhaps a handful of copper coins.

Heal:

  • DC 15 – It is readily apparent that the affliction is not contagious.
  • DC 17 – There is no elevated fever, ruling out a disease or sickness.
  • DC 20 – The body, aside from deterioration, is perfectly healthy. The affliction appears to be psychosomatic.

Knowledge (Local, Okada)

  • DC 15 - This affliction looks strikingly similar to one found in Okada, which is believed to be the work of one of the Revenants.

Spells:

  • Healing magic brings color to the cheeks and weight to the bones, but causes the subject to writhe at an accelerated rate. The color quickly fades.
  • Magic which cures disease has no effect.
  • Magic which neutralizes poison causes the victim’s body to momentarily relax into a normal position before the movement resumes.
  • Detecting Evil reveals the child is saturated with an evil presence. All afflicted children emanate the same powerful aura.
  • Dispelling magic has no effect.

From the Mouths of Babes

There are a number of sources which hold information on the events leading up to the current tragedy.

  • Seriph and Reman can say they saw the children selling apples, but noticed nothing unusual.
  • Fetz’s Daughter participates in the picking of the apples, but as her father disapproves she does not partake in the selling. She is hale and hearty. Her friend Benny, however, did and is still alive.
  • Benny has a deceased older brother who takes his share of the apple profits. Benny recalls a strange looking man who paid in sweets from Okada. The man was very pale, with pink eyes and a split upper lip.
  • Puck will instantly recognize Benny’s description of the White Rabbit. As a bard he is quite familiar with the legends.
  • Kentor will confirm the existence of the Revenants, and can provide more information on the Jixden
  • Urslav will admit to the reality of the Revenants, but will not provide much information. 


The Verdict of Reman

The small temple to Erastil is hot and still with the breath of the crowd. Reman stands before the populace in chains, flanked by Basil and the Guard Captain. As Basil begins the incantation the air grows thick with anticipation, the soft crackle of magic resounding in the hallowed halls.

Basil’s rasping voice begins. “Are you Reman, a farmer of Silverfox Mill?” Reman shifts his weight from foot to foot. “That I am.” Basil nods sagely in agreement of the statement. “Have you ever intended to act upon your threats towards the children of this town?” “No, sir.” Basil once more nods. “Are you, intentionally or otherwise, responsible for the deaths of the town’s children?”“No, sir!” Father Basil visibly relaxes before turning to the crowd. “I pronounce Reman innocent, let it be known that he has told no lie under my watch.” There is a collective exhale as the Captain removes Reman’s shackles and escorts him towards the temple door. Murmured apologies and gentle pats on the shoulder follow him.

If father Basil is an antagonist the second paragraph is changed as follows:

Basil’s rasping voice begins. “Are you Reman, a farmer of Silverfox Mill?” Reman shifts his weight from foot to foot. “That I am.” Basil nods sagely in agreement of the statement. “Have you ever intended to act upon your threats towards the children of this town?” “No, sir.” A slight frown crosses Basil’s face. “Are you, intentionally or otherwise, responsible for the deaths of the town’s children?” “No, sir!” Father Basil slams his fist against the desk. “Liar! This man must be executed on the marrow!” The crowd breaks into a roar of anger and sorrow, reaching for the stage to tear Reman apart. The Guard Captain swiftly escorts the condemned off the stage and to his cell.

A magically inclined player might observe Basil’s casting with a DC 18 spellcraft check. In the innocent verdict Basil does in fact cast the appropriate spell, In the second instance he casts some minor magical special effects.

In either event the people of the town still need an explanation as to the deaths of their sons and daughters. Convincing the populace of whatever the true events are requires the testimony of several authority figures, and a rousing speech. (Diplomacy DC 10 for the apologetic crowd and DC 25 for the enraged mob)

Alternative Plots

This section details alternative twists to the main plots provided, and may be more suitable for a particular game. 

The Witch Did It

If you are running a higher magic game, undead-heavy game, non-Etzem campaign, or one simply more ‘traditional’ in its views on good and evil it may be more expedient to have Anna return from the dead. The primary advantage to this plot variation is that there is little to no mystery, leaving the clear-cut objective which can be resolved much more quickly. 

How Anna came to be revived can be hand-waved, players often need no explanation to accept that there is evil in the world. If some explanation is needed Osric’s dabbling or Claudia’s lust for power and control could have led either to resurrect the witch. Another possibility for the ambitious DM is the machinations of a more powerful villain.

Whatever her origin, Anna has a singular motive: revenge.  Terrifying the villagers who catch sight of her, poisoning the children, and ultimately binding souls in an effort to make the townsfolk her slaves are all simply explained by this motive.

The final confrontation can easily have Anna substituted for Claudia. What becomes of Claudia depends on her role in Anna’s rebirth. Claudia could be sacrificed and bound into a twigjack, held hostage, or stand alongside her ancestor for added difficulty. Titian’s role need not change, he stands with Claudia if she fights, or with Anna under magical compulsion or threat to Claudia.

Corruption of the Church

Father Basil is crucial to many events in the town. As Silverfox Mill is designed the general populace consists of good-hearted people led by their faith. Such trusting people can easily be manipulated by a figure of authority. Having recently gone through great trials the number of parishioners is dwindling and Father Basil will do anything necessary to stop it.

Father Basil becomes a character sliding from holy to demonic, frightening the townsfolk by masquerading as Anna. If the Revenants do not exist he poisons the children to create a problem for the church to solve, but overestimates his abilities and ends up creating tragedy. In either event when the scapegoat of farmer Reman presents itself Basil seizes the opportunity and manufactures a guilty verdict and play champion of justice.

Convincing the town of Basil’s guilt will require powerful allies and other respected townsfolk; Kentor, Adoran, and Urslav at the least must be brought against Basil as the poison expert, the authority on Anna, and the new town authority. 



Additional Ideas (1)

This is the second part of Silverfox Mill, the portion regarding characters and setting is detailed in part I and can be found under the Locations section of the citadel.

Silverfox Mill is part of the Etzem Campaign and as such is unfinished, lacking links and context for a number of things. Statistics are given with the pathfinder system in mind. 

Some ideas have been taken from Tales of Terror and others have been taken from Strolen submissions. If you wish to link or receive credit simply comment below and I will create a link compilation at the end of this submission. 

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2013-03-24 10:38 PM » Link: [7261#85645|text]
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Comments ( 4 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted valadaar
May 28, 2013, 18:42
0xp
This is so well done, that even with some of my reservations, I must award top marks.
Reservations?

Linkage. If you use other submissions on this site, consider this a blanket request that you actively link them. Let me know if you need a hand with this, but linkage is how this site works.

Game specific stats

Thats about it, its a really awesome submission.
PoisonAlchemist
May 28, 2013, 22:42
0xp
Those are very valid reservations.

I began this before I thought of joining the citadel (two years ago?), and I really have no idea what I even looked at anymore. It's all the things like Fetz's language barrier and the name "Black Anna" that I know aren't mine and are buried somewhere. If there is anything that strikes you as "Hey, that belongs to so-and-so" please tell me; that notice is a plea not a statement.

My opinion on stats is that they are an addition to and not a replacement for an idea. If I were to edit them out whomever was playing a d20 system (Pathfinder, 3.5, 3.0 etc.) and wanted to use this as a grab-and-go module would have lost something, and you as a more casual reader would have gained nothing but 100 characters of unread text. It is my personal opinion that when I am reading submissions if I can ignore the stats and have it be the same article, than they are irrelevant to the scoring. If not, then there is a problem.

I'm glad you appreciate my work, and am tickled pink you think so highly of it despite its flaws.
Voted Elbin
May 31, 2013, 3:50
0xp
Again, a lot of work is put in all this, but I have reservations of my own and will explain the lower mark. I like reading (and writing) stories. This is an excerpt from a RP adventure book, a perfect DM complement, but leaving nothing for the DMs imagination. Descriptions and scenes are preset, and though nothing is mandatory (the Golden Rule of RP), it leaves me with a feeling for a manual that tells me how to tell a story. To be honest, I liked the first part more, as it contained more detailed descriptions of people and the place where everything takes place.

Again, the feeling of detachment is here, letting me know that there are also huge other things happening elsewhere in the world, to which I have no access at the moment. Which, mostly as a result of my own mindset, bugs me. I cannot get a feel for the completeness of the adventure, it's just a drop in the ocean, inseparable form the rest.
Voted Kassy
June 1, 2013, 5:17
0xp
5.0/5

Brilliant. The amount of time that went into this, and the detail here is incredible!

Well done PA. More!!

Link Backs



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       By: CaptainPenguin

There is a land far to the east that is a great, desolate, near-empty wasteland home only to barbarians, ghosts and monsters. Many nations launche expeditions to this land, seeking to find the rumored-at treasures and riches beyond it's outer fringe.

Ideas  ( Locations ) | May 9, 2003 | View | UpVote 0xp


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