The Noble Rot is a location-based adventure for characters of 5th to 8th level. This adventure can be played in one or two sessions of reasonable length. It is a straightforward, haunted house-style adventure.
The story revolves around Le Chateau Gluant, a vineyard and winery of repute. Vintages of its famous white (chardonnay) and red blend (cabernet sauvignon) are sought throughout the land. Some vintages can bring up to 200 gp per bottle from the right buyer. A case (twelve bottles) of the wine in pristine condition can fetch up to 1,500 gp. Unfortunately, the winery fell upon dark days and the prized wine has not flowed from its cellars for a few years.
Approximately five years ago, the head winemaker, Malcolm Roth, hired Tobias Suey as an apprentice. Unfortunately for Roth, Suey was a member of the Cultus Limus (Cult of the Ooze). The Cultus Limus makes sacrifices to its demonic master Lumaszu in her faceless form. Lumaszu or “she who erases” is an ancient demoness who preys upon travelers by drinking their blood. She is the cause of nightmares, pestilence, infestation of pure water, and a bringer of disease, sickness, and death. Her worshipped form in Cultus Limus is that of a gigantic ooze. Suey turned the field hands who tended the vines against the winemaker.
Then the new cult turned its attention to the Gluant family. Eventually the cult members started preying on each other. With each sacrifice to the ooze, Suey’s power grew—until there was no one left but Suey. The whim of demons is fickle. Suey was blighted and corrupted for his work. Now he deep in the cellars under the chateau as a minor ooze demon. His handiwork, however, remains. The chateau is now the abode of its former residents and workers, in undead form. Also slimes, molds, fungi, and other foulness fester in the fields, buildings, and cellars. The riches of the Gluant family remain undisturbed; would-be thieves and robbers quickly fall prey to the current residents. Besides normal valuables, cases of wine remain undisturbed and waiting to be plundered.
The title The Noble Rot refers to a few factors in this adventure. The first is the rot that befell the Gluant family in the form of the Cultus Limus. Another is actual noble rot disease that may aid the PCs in overcoming the challenges posed. The phrase also refers to a real-world gray fungus, Botrytis cinerea, which in the right conditions creates world-class dessert wines such as French sauternes. In the wrong conditions, it destroys grapes and is known as gray rot.
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Siege has played this adventure and would recommend it.
Fun, short, and a great intro to giving the party a base of operations. Also tons of plot hooks; what happened to original owners? Why was the ooze cult interested in this land? Just how deep does the ooze infestation really go?