When you read the posting for this job, you knew what you were getting yourself into. "Lady of means requires the assistance of a stalwart group of adventurers willing to undertake a mission of the utmost importance. Discretion is required." Words like that never mean that the woman in question is looking for someone to weed her Garden - unless, of course, it's full of man-eating plants. Those are the kinds of words you only post if you are really in a bind. If it's a matter of life and death. If you're desperate for help and willing to pay for it through the nose. It just so happens that you've made yourself quite a reputation lending just that kind of aid to people in just that kind of need. And the money hasn't hurt you any either. So when Lady Elena Zadrian tells you that her father - the near legendary alchemist Sir Timoth Zadrian - has gone missing, well, you're not all that surprised. Lady Elena looks upon you once again, brushing the long blonde hair from her bright blue, tears soaked eyes. "My father lives outside of a village only four days ride from here, a sleepy, little place called Cuthder," she says. "He comes to see me every 4 months. He's a forgetful, old man, but I could set my clock by his visits." She chokes back a sob. "It's been eight months since I last saw him. I fear something has gone horribly awry. Either brigands have robbed his tiny castle, or one of his experiments may have left him dead - or worse." The lady stares you straight in the eye, and you can almost taste her desperation." My father is a good man, wise and Noble, but if word of this disappearance were to get out, it would hurl my household into a shambles. I need you to travel to his castle and learn for me what has happened to him, quickly and quietly." "Please," she begs of you, her Ruby painted lower lip beginning to quiver. "I need your help. And I'm willing to pay - handsomely." She has your attention.
Welcome to the youngest and most turbulent of the Realms, a mountainous expanse known as Tirna'Cel. This place was once well known for its power mongering warlords, magic wielding Sorcerers, and archfiends from the deepest pits of the Abyss. But in the last six hundred years, this has changed. Tirna'Cel is a peaceful and welcoming land now, doing no small part to the efforts of the warlord Tirna'Gael, a member of the lands founding nobility. Tirna'Gael turned against the other rulers without warning, attacking and overwhelming them without remorse. He is said to have suddenly grown stronger and more powerful. The reasons for his remarkable gain in power unknown, so they are routinely connected to items believed to have been entombed with him by the then newly-formed paladin's Order of Garadon. After his death, Tirna'Gael body was interred in his central citadel, a large stone fortress suspended over an immense lava pit. There he is rested for nearly six hundred years, protected by the surrounding hostile environment and a small cadre of supernatural guardians summoned and permanently bound by the Order of Garadon. But recently, rumors have reached the corridors of Tirna'Cel's capital city that invaders have struck the fallen heroes burial place, in search of one or more of his legendary magic items. So far, all that is known of these foul creatures is that they are native to the environment, being resistant to the fiery dangers of the area. Your party has been summoned by the Lord of the realm, who has charged you with ending the threat to Tirna'Gael's tomb and the potential destruction of the lands long enduring peace. If the sources of Tirna'Gael's power were to fall into the wrong hands, it could mean the end of the nation as you know it.
A wealthy sea-trader hires the PCs to solve a pirate problem and recover stolen supplies. Almost 100 pirates have made base in a treacherous cove. When the PCs arrive, most of the pirates are at sea on a mission. A large host of pirates remain in the base and force PCs to be creative with their approach, as a direct attack would be met with an overwhelming swarm of pirates. Unknown to the player's as they scheme is that the ship will soon return with its massive crew. The treasure cave is guarded by the dead sailors foolish enough to try and steal from the captain, who is the only one who can enter the cave safely. Players must be creative to deal with the pirates in the base and the approaching ship while still securing the plundered supplies in the treasure cave.
For centuries, the Three Kingdoms have warred endlessly. The river flowing through it holds so many dead on its banks that the locals call it the River of Blood. But now, a new peril rises. With all three armies tucked into their winter camps, patrols and outposts on all sides report ambushes with alarming frequency - those who survive to make their reports, that is. None can say just who attacked them, however, for the assailants appear from the fog or in the middle of a snowstorm, hit hard and fast, then disappear. Arden, Duke Regent of Tyndall, fears that the dead have risen to haunt the living. Is he right?
Deep in the elven forests of Myereth, ancient rowan trees spread white boughs above a sacred site. Pillars of stone twist like some strange form of vine, curling among the branches and reflecting the light of a silvery moon. The forest is silent, and beautiful, protected since the dawn of time by a powerful Unicorn. The elven forest of Myereth is well known throughout the world as a safe haven of good and peace, a place where evil cannot stand to enter and where the trees weep healing tears upon those injured within its boundaries. Any player character elves know of the forest, its healing properties, and its legendary beauty. They may have heard of it as a legend, or they may have visited its mystic shrine when they were children, brought along on a pilgrimage by other elves. But something has gone terribly wrong. Refugees from Myereth, terrified and confused, are flooding into other elven cities. They speak of a great evil that has conquered the forest, one that has killed the body of the immortal Unicorn and tainted its spirit. Myereth runs with blood, they say, and the once-powerful rowan trees have begun to wither and die. In the center of the Rowan Grove, the bloodied bodies of the last elven warriors of Myereth lie scattered and broken. Those responsible call themselves the Servants of the Blood Moon, and they are led by a dark-robed sorcerer. The surviving elves do not know this evil man — all but one of those who fought against the Servants died — but they know that the sorcerer calls himself Tamarat. He has butchered the Unicorn, the spirit of the forest. The Myereth, and the elves, are dying.
Through acrid mists and bitter waters they march. They are quiet, making no sound as they leave the marshland. Spears held high, the warriors scan the fog for signs of the attacker. Every step took them further from their old lands. Every step brings them closer to the lands of their 'allies,' who had abandoned them when teh marsh turned black and foul. Every step churns up more of the poisoned water as it seeps between their scales and below the skin. So many had already died on this march, and after the attack, they had so few left... The mists part in the night. The village's light bathes them in a false welcome. The human guards are unsteady, either from poison or drink. The town celebrates the end of the trade season, but not a man raises a toast to the creatures that died for it. So many had died from the first attack of the beast and from the aftermath, but the humans would suffer for such treachery...
The ancestral swords of a powerful lord have been stolen! In the dark of night, on the eve of battle, a shadowy figure crept into Lord Kunemura's chamber and made off with the most potent symbols of his power and lineage. Worse, Lord Kunemura had declared war on his old enemy, Lord Shotokami. The imminent battle will be decisive, and the future of Lord Kunemura's lands and family hang in the balance.
The night air is chilly, but the crackling fire you've started warms your bones comfortably. Crickets chirp, and you smile up at the stars, glad for the quiet evening. There is a loud roar, and you are blinded momentarily as the campfire suddenly surges up into the air. The flames split down the middle, revealing an abyss that leeches the warmth from your soul. Out of this hellish place stumbles a black-cloaked figure clutching a scythe. Quickly, you reach for your weapons. The strange apparition staggers for a moment. Then, gathering its strength, it pulls back the hood on its cloak. Beneath is a bleached skull with stars for eyes. "I am Azrael, Lord of the Undead," it hisses. "Or rather, I will be Azrael, after time itself has died." Even as Azrael speaks, decay begins to eat away at its body, and the god shudders. Holding one arm up to watch as tiny fissures form in its bones, the deity sighs, "Ah, sweet Entropy, come to claim me at last." It's gaze sweeps back to you. "But no, not just yet. First, I must set events in motion." Weakness begins to overcome Azrael, and it sinks to one knee. "Long ago, I became the most powerful of all the gods, in spite of my enemies' efforts to stop me. Delirious with power, I destroyed the other gods and eventually fell to feasting upon the souls of their worshipers. After devouring every living creature, I consume the planets and, eventually, the stars themselves, until I was left alone, in darkness." The god struggles to finish its message as its bones turn to dust and blow away, "Unexpectedly, I felt remorse for what I had done. I grieved for the universe I had destroyed, but I lack the power to recreate it. So, I have come to you, to beg you to do what I cannot." Azrael reaches into its cloak and produces a leather sack. "Take these items and use them." As Azrael dissolves, it gasps out, "Kill me tonight, or tomorrow will never dawn." All that remains is a pile of dust and a leather bag.
"The first raid on our village happened a little over 3 months ago. We awoke in the morning to discover that the Cooper family's house at the edge of town had been sacked in the entire family was missing," croaks Obed, the village elder. "We mounted a search party, but found no trace of them." The old man lifts his gaze to the west woods. "After the third such attack, we sent a messenger to seek aid from one of the larger towns nearby. He never returned." He turns back to face your party and continues, "We had no idea who or what was attacking our village... Until last week. Creatures in black robes drifted out of the woods to the west and began setting houses on fire. Then, they seized four of our bravest men and carried them, screaming, into the mists." Obed throws his mug of ale into the fire, suddenly angry, "The only creature capable of this evil is the Barrow King, who lives in the burial mounds to the west. But I swear, we have done nothing to focus his anger upon us, nothing!" Warily, the elder stands, leaning heavily on his walking stick. Slowly, he lifts it, pointing at each one of you in turn. "If it is the Barrow King, God help us!"
Note: This is a sequel to Out of Body, Out of Mind. The legend of the realm of Tirna'cel is well known. Once remembered for its power-mongering warlords, homunculi-wielding sorcerers, and archfiends from the deepest pits of the Abyss, Tirna'cel has become a powerful and welcoming land over the last 600 years, due in no small part to the efforts of the warlord Tirna'gael, a member of the land's founding nobility. But your party knows the truth. You ventured into the tomb of Tirna'gael some six months ago, and therein discovered that the fallen warlord was actually little more than his brethren: a petty, avaricious power-monger. Possessed by a rival force which also desired the kingdom - a rare incorporeal demon called a nescent, which inhabited his body and augmented his already incredible power to unforeseen levels - Tirna'gael sought to overthrow the ancient warlords only to replace them. Through Tirna'gael's augmented body, the nescent overwhelmed and eliminated the other warlords, eventually dominating the realm along. But before it could consolidate its rule and throw Tirna'cel into an even darker age, the secret of its power was discovered by the paladins of Garadon, a virtuous cell of justice and light. The paladins lured Tirna'gael into the center of his own fortress and trapped him there within a powerful anti magic field. His body withered and died but the nescent remained dormant, waiting for its chance for revenge. During your visit to Tirna'gael's fortress-tomb six months ago, you accidentally released the nescent from its prison. That enemy has since been vanquished - at least for the time being - but the memory of your pitched battle against it still lingers as you approach the original chapter house of the Order of Garadon. You have been summoned.
Ten days ride north of the great city, there is a small town named Treefall. Up until recently, this town was well known for its rich harvests, happy villagers, and prosperous weather. These days, however, the once-proud details from Treefall have turned darker. Instead of tales of unending prosperity, you hear hushed whispers of a great curse that has struck the once-happy village. Word has it that, where once roamed contented cattle, now strange beasts hunt by the moon's cold light and terrorize the hapless region. You have scoffed with the others at these stories. Despite the things you've seen in you adventures with your friends, the thought that such ill might befall such a sleepy town strikes you as terribly unlikely. There is plenty of evil in the world, true, but there are also much bigger and better targets. But, tonight despite the firmness of your disbelief, the stories come to find you. You have been traveling north along the roads on your own business, enjoying the rich fall colors and warm afternoons. Your camp os small and secure, with a roaring fire and meat cooking over the flame. It's one of those crisp autumn days that makes you long for a warm hearth after a long ride in the cool air. Still, the fire is good enough for now and you and your friends have a wonderful meal, talking and singing and laughing, anticipating a restful sleep beneath the blanket of stars. Until the beast attacks.
The ravings of a mad prophet claim that a great evil has returned to Alik'bar and that this time, there shall be no salvation. Even those who previously vanquished the evil will be unable to stop it. Terror now grips the lower class populace while the guards and merchant class go about their days, ignoring the "Stories" of an unseen menace. "There is nothing wrong here," come the stern replies of the city guard. All the while the Mayor and his people retort, "the Evil in Alik'bar was banished long ago. This is nothing but vagrants and charlatans, begging for attention." The Church of Salvation has another opinion, but their words die down in a city griped with tension , apathy, and a demoralized poor class. The question remains: Why is there fear running in a city's slums? What does it have anything to do with the missing vagrants who disappeared so many years ago? Is there really a great threat, or is there a simpler answer? This is a sandboxy, mystery adventure in a city. There are secretly a green and a blue dragon leading factions in the city. In Cold Blood was updated to D&D 3.5 for the AEG adventure compilation 'Adventure II'
FOR PUBLIC POSTING: Last week, several laborers who were working to clean up the damage to our sewer caused by the recent earthquake had been found brutally murdered. Until further notice, citizens should stay clear of any sewer gratings, openings, or tunnels for their own safety. Do not allow children to play unattended in areas where such openings are known to exist. The governor is assembling a group of interested persons to investigate these murders. Each member of the investigation team will receive 500gp up front, with an additional 2000 GP to follow upon a thorough and satisfactory completion of the investigation, provided evidence that the matter has been dealt with is presented to the governor. If you desire to join this investigation, please apply at City Hall.
Nearly 100 years ago, Lord Eriador wrested the lands from the hands of evil and began a reign of unsurpassed courage, wisdom, and might that lasted over three centuries. One day this great man of valor was called onward to continue his battle for freedom and goodness on a higher plane of existence. Leaving the responsibilities of rulership to his faithful overseer, he donned his magical shield, helm, and sword and traveled to the Holy Maountain of Anduin to meet his destiny. Eriador left the overseer with this solemn promise: if there ever arose a time of great need, he would answer a summons from the Mountain of Anduin to come back to vanquish any evil that dared to oppress his people. It is now the reign of the third overseer. For years now, an evil mage has been plaguing the land by sending forth hordes of evil humanoid minions to oppress the people. The overseer has been forced to pay tribute to the mage to protect his people. Life has become nearly unbearable for his subjects. It has been over five years since the mage desecrated the holy mountain by placing foul creatures in its depths to guard against the possibility of the people seeking help from their nearly forgotten champion. A fortnight ago, your party was gathered in a secret council chamber to meet with the overseer himself. You felt a spark of hope for the people of this land as the overseer told the legendary tale of Eriador. He gave you the equipment you need and charged your party with the task of venturing into the heart of the now monster-infested Mountain of Anduin to call back the people's great hero, Eriador the Paladin. Although the three parties sent before you had not returned, ridding the of the land of the mage seemed worth any risk, and you eagerly set out on your quest. Now, standing before the defiled mountain, you wonder if perhaps you were too hasty.
The village of Darbin has fallen under the control of Kurishan, a mad wizard who recently died and was reincarnated as a shambling mound. He has created a new kind of plant, the brainvine, and is using it to possess the villagers. When contact with the town is lost, the PCs are sent to investigate.