As per my wife's request, I am revisiting the idea of taking classic horror tales and other horror genera and creating adventures based on them. Our first adventure, technically a prelude, visited the Call of Cthulhu genera by H.P. Lovecraft. A cult of aberration worshipers lured indigent peasants into a vile ritual that would open a portal that allowed an elder brain to form in their world. Mindflayers work very naturally into the Cthulhu mythos.

The first adventure of the campaign visits the prelude characters and the results/consequences of the previous adventure.

After this adventure is concluded, the group will start a new, longer term, set of characters.

They have been warned, Character Death may be preferable to the consequences of their sustained contact/encounters with the horrors of evil.

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Hags, Ogres, & Giants! O...
Hags, Ogres, & Giants! OH $#!+ !!!

Hansel & Gretel
Today's summary is told from two points of view.


Ibin & Netané
The conversation heard by the Ibin and Natané early the morning after the ambush.
Light woman’s voice: “Did you kill them all?”
Large deep voice: “No, we only get two.”
Woman: “Which two?”
Giant: “Me get human with puny spear, throw fire at me, me kill him. Durgut get little one who cut legs. She help orc woman kill Hecu and Pootop, Durdut splat it.”
Woman: <frustrated sigh> “I told you not to ‘splat’ any you stupid oaf!”
Giant: “Durdut mad that two die! Me man that two die! We only two and two now!”
There is a brief silence. Even though you can’t see them, you can tell there is a silent battle of wills. Giant: “You get good one with hammer?
There is a brief pause. Woman: “Yes. Rutock and Anloo did it right. Maybe I should make Anloo in charge since he seems to understand me better. Hmmm?”
There is another brief silence as the battle of wills continues: Giant: “NO! Me sorry! Me not want be stew!” In a sheepish (for a giant) voice. “Can me have hammer?”
Woman: “Then you had better find the half orc and the other human! … Tell me, what did the tall human do in the fight?”
Giant: “Him throw sharp needles from hands. Some hot. Him that tear up Hecu and Pootop so orc and halfling kill easy, make Durdut and me mad.”
Woman: “Keep search for the other two. I have the other humans curing. If you find the other two I’ll give you some man-flesh.”
There is a lip smacking sound. Giant: “Mmm, thank you hag! Stupoaf go look for dem now.”

The woman sighs in frustration again. You can hear the giant stomp off and there is a short period of silence. Just as you think both have left you hear her voice again. “That moron… he probably won’t find them if they are hiding in the woods. I’ll have to move them to the cauldron to protect it. Uhg. Those idiots won’t get away. They can’t leave no matter where they go. I’ll have time to drain the paladin and let it hang a while. I’ll have to give them Claus. The paladin is far too sweet to waste on those oafs. There is enough blood between the two of them to keep the spell working for half a year. They’ll give up and try something stupid. Hopefully it won’t be too soon; the taste of desperation is worth the wait.”

“I can still feel the power they have. I thought surely it would be between the cleric and the paladin. It must be with the wizard or whatever he is.” You hear her mutter something arcane, a pause, and then a different spell. She walks off toward the house. You wait a while to make sure she is gone and then carefully go out to make sure. You can see the giant’s tracks heading off toward the ambush site, but you can’t see any signs of the old woman’s.


Carsol Ven'Telgera:
Lost! I am lost to the vile behemoths of this land! The psion and barbarian were forced to flee when my Black Spear courier was slain by giants along with the Invisible Blade.

I thought I had chosen well when this group tracked the Necromancer of Cancis back to his lair and survived his vicious assault. The group was discovered when they attacked the zombies in the first room as the bard sang an inspiring song. They had little choice as they set off a ghoul glyph that paralyzed Natané. They were more cautious as they proceeded, but Lark was not trained as a dungeon delver or thief. They survived symbols of pain placed at the crossways and avoided the other ghoul glyphs they came across. As the group dispatched undead the black wizard cast several long lasting spells to protect himself. When they began down the main hall the necromancer was ready and unleashed a lightning bolt that injured Natané and nearly killed Talthos. They advanced down the log narrow hall to find it blocked by summoned zombies. The wizard was both powerful clever. He unleashed a cloud kill into the narrow hallway. Even as the poisonous cloud crawled slowed toward the adventurers more summoned zombies came through, unaffected by the fatal vapors. The party wisely retreated and let the cloud pass. The cunning wizard bought himself even more time to prepare his defenses. Natané barreled down the hall the moment the noxious cloud passed, but the hall was long and the necromancer was waiting. He unleashed another lightning bolt that caught a support beam on fire and a barrage of magic missiles upon barbarian. The half-orc would not be felled. As she took her first swings at the man he attempted to poison her with a contagion and a loosed another barrage of magic missiles. Ibin and Lark made into the room and joined the battle, but Natané’s aim was true and she drove her great axe through the perverted man’s arcane protections and cut him down!

Amongst the despicable wizard’s possessions was a Star of Corllelon! It was one of the mystic diamonds my mother used to enchant Nelpha’s Light. It was set as a pommel stone to bind a blade to the pommel. Mother must have disassembled the sword. Why it is not in the Frozen Glade was not important to me, only that it was a receptacle of magic made by my mother to be used as weapon against evil. Fortunately for me, and the mortals I had entrusted my material remains, the cleric of Telered held the stone. His immunity to the taint of evil allowed me to possess the Black Spear shaman without staining his soul with the evil of my presence as I forced my will upon him. I used his mortal shell to write out the Ritual of Entrapment. The ritual would allow them to transfer my incorporeal form into the Star of Corlellon. It is not as fast as having a powerful wizard, but it would serve the same purpose. The five hour ritual could be performed by anyone who would read the elven script and they had all of the necessary supplies in the immediate area. They resisted at first, wanting to return to Earop before investigating this further, but I could not wait that long. I possessed Toren again and started back to Fork. When they fought the plague of undead in Fork I saw that some of the buildings there used ash. As the ritual required a grove of ash trees I knew they could not waste several days returning to Earop only to find out they would have to return to Fork and then wander around the forest looking for a druid or ranger that could lead them to a grove. I know enough to guide them if they allowed it. They realized that I had taken over Toren during the night. They gathered the mundane supplies they needed and let me guide them. Soon we were deep in the mountains where I located the grove we needed. They performed the ritual and I was safe or so I thought.

It seems a hag lives in the area and felt the power of the ritual. The greedy filth found a way to trap us in the area. We wandered for miles, trying every conceivable method of escape. Each time we found ourselves back where we started. They attempted to study the obviously magical nature of the trap, but it seems the disgusting little hag planned for that eventuality and blocked all forms of magic detection. Even worse was her alliance with a band of hill giants and ogres in the region. She must have trapped them here too, but I doubt the dim-witted brutes even noticed. Finally, after few frustrating days, we came upon a path and eventually found a neat little cottage in a small clearing off the path. It looked harmless enough, but they were suitably cautious. An older human female named Diana lives there and claimed that her husband, Claus, had gone missing “some time ago”. The husband was a wood cutter by trade and had left for Fork to sell his lumber and he has yet to come back. Supposedly Fork is only two days if they stayed on the path to south. That seemed to lower their suspicions of the old lady. She was pleasant and seemed harmless and hospitable enough anyway. They set off again the next day attempting to use the path to reach Fork.

They followed that accursed path for three days! That night as they camped Claus must have seen the fire light and came to the party. He confirmed that he was in fact Claus and confirmed the old lady’s story. The group was surprised by how long Diana meant by “some time ago” turned out to mean three months! They set out again the next morning with Claus and for days we wandered around the forest. First we followed the endless path, but when they came upon their own trail marks in a random order they abandoned the path. Claus spoke of a river, but that had the same result. Frustrated and despairing, they set to wandering aimlessly. To my extreme irritation we came back to the cottage in a day’s time.

The giants came the next day. Ogres set upon the warriors while a hill giant threw boulders at the house then the Natané. When the party easily slew the stupid ogres the hill giant fled. Or at least it seemed to flee. The group followed the behemoth, but Arthas stayed behind in case the danger at the house was not at an end. The giants had set a trap for us. Three other hill giants waited behind stone walls with plenty of heavy rocks to throw. Fortunately Lark understood giant and heard the runner tell his friends to attack. They held up just at the edge of the wood. That gave them some measure of protection from the rocks hurled at them as the giants hit trees more often than not. Undeterred by entrenched hill giants the party put a well coordinated attack together. Ibin has quickly grown in power since the massacre at the monastery and nearly felled two of them. The invisible blade and barbarian crept boulder to boulder and then attacked the badly wounded giants while Toren and Ibin continued their assault on the remaining two. Having exhausted nearly all of their power Toren and Ibin were forced to advance if they were to get at the well protected giants. When they reached the rock wall Natané and Lark had finished off the two giants on their side and were ready to advance on the other two. It happened too fast. The first giant came around the wall and set upon the cleric and psion. The other spotted the half-orc barbarian and the halfling. Natané was quick enough to get over the wall, but Lark was trapped. It was over quickly. Toren fell next. Ibin survived only because he held just enough power to steal some life from the giant. Natané and Ibin barely escaped into the wood where they could maneuver much better than giants. The foul giants collected the bodies and gear not, understanding the two powerful stones they now possessed.

I will make them pay! I will not be held in the possession of Odulran’s progeny! There are only four now of the original seven hill giants. I will make them feel my wrath! I will use all my power and manifest from my home. I will bring my woe for my life and friends down upon them! Soon the blood seep from their ears and they will rise to the Stone of Cancis! They will be my slaves! I will set them upon the hag who was their master! She may avoid them, even defeat them, but she will come looking for me! I will be waiting! I will take my revenge even if it means that I be lost for a thousand years!

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Night of the Living Dead: Part 1
Night of the Living Dead: Part 1

Adventure 8: Night of the Living Dead Part 1

Judge Fenrose received a distress call from his counterpart in the town of Forks. A necromancer has unleashed a massive hoard of undead upon them. The judge sent a team out to track this evil person down, but the brave heroes only wound up becoming part of the undead hoard. Calling upon a cleric of Belzalan Fenrose hired a powerful Traveler to take them to the beleaguered Fork. Once there Judge Whittaker updated them with the particulars of the past two nights. Sure enough, all the details pointed to a necromancer, but it would have to be a rather powerful one. It seems more likely that there are several given the numbers of zombies. The Fork Militia has been able to hold the mindless undead hoard off as the town has a sturdy palisade. After the loss of two paladins, a couple of fighters, and a cleric they have no one else to spare. Judge Whittaker wants the party to track the source of the undead scourge and put a stop to it.

That night proved that there was definitely a motive to the pointless attacks on the palisade. More zombies had been directed to dig tunnels under the palisade. The attacks on the gate were a distraction to keep everyone’s focus in the wrong place. Hearing screams of the innocent citizens of Fork, the party came to their rescue. Large groups of zombies came through at three different points in the town. In true heroic fashion the party put down each wave. During the battle a few curious events (besides the half orc critically throwing the halfling into the hoard) made the hack and slash a little more interesting. 1) As the first wave of zombies abated, the next approached behind a few fleeing townspeople who had been injured. As the party stepped forward to protect the innocent people, a few toppled over dead as a result of their injuries. As the third wave got into full swing, those poor citizens rose as zombies. 2) Towards the end of the last wave the party caught a ghoul trying to escape back down one of the tunnels. It had a strange piece of obsidian that radiated pure evil. 3) Lark and Ibin’s health quickly deteriorated. It seems that at some point during the first wave of zombies they had either been poisoned or contracted some fast acting disease. A quick run to the temple revealed that it was in fact a magical ailment, but not one known to any of the clerics. Its cure was simple, its source was not. 4) As the party searched through their memories of the battle for clues they realized that the zombies bypassed houses that had people in them. Normally zombies will attack the first living thing they come across. Those houses skipped had the strange squares and circle symbol hastily drawn on their doors. To the party’s knowledge that symbol is only used as one of several arcane symbols used for protection from summoned beings and as the platform to the Ritual of Ascension. Only the poorest citizens of Forks seemed to be using it. Everyone else had disregarded it as a worthless superstition.

In the morning they followed the wide trail of the zombie hoard back to its origin hoping to find the hideout of the necromancer. It brought them to an unearthed mass grave where the zombies seem to have been buried to avoid detection. Searching the area proved fruitless. The dense forest of these hills makes tracking extremely difficult. That left them only one avenue, the tunnels that ran under the town.

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Werewolf? There Wolf!
Werewolves & squiggledy-spooge

The party was kept on patrol in a more visible section of town as a show of security to the Earop citizens. Not two nights later, during the first night of the full moon, all hell broke loose across the city. Over the past month several people had encounters with the werewolves and were left alive for this very night. A large number of werewolf attacks popped up all over the city. The party was able to contain a few, but there were simply too many to handle and several citizens and guardsmen died. The next night was similar, but the city guard was better prepared and managed to save more people.

During the second night the party came across a horrific tentacled creature covered with eyes and mouths as it seemed pulled itself into the world. It was. Tentacles writhed about under its amorphous body as it floated in the air. The horrible floating amorphous monster was to behold. The party dispatched it quickly but could only watch in confusion as the abhorrent thing dissolved into an oily black liquid.

Later that same night the party intercepted another werewolf, but this one was not on a mindless rampage. This one was very much in control of his abilities and was experienced enough to have a way to carry his cloths and to stay away from his normal living area of the city. The evil shapechanger attempted to flee, but the party put him down quickly. The following day, fearing a lycanthropic epidemic, the party learned who this man was and jumped right into tracking down his family. They were quick to assume his wife and family were aware of the man’s condition and interrogated the woman. Going overboard, they finally decided to leave after the poor widow became hysterical and the neighbors came out to investigate.

On the last night of the full moon it was determined that they should track down another werewolf obviously in control of its curse and follow it back to its lair to see if it was a part of a larger pack. For some odd reason they decided to capture it instead and nearly lost their opportunity to discover the source of the problem. Lark’s quick thinking and clever planning saved the city from another large scale attack in another month. Her plan involved convincing the prisoner that she would get him out if he promised to let her join the pack. She told Toren her plan and to get away from the party in order to follow the trail she would leave for him. The unfortunate but inevitable confrontation with a couple of guards went as she planned. Lark tricked one guard into leaving and knocked out the other. Her fast talking saved the poor guard’s life and got her and the werewolf out of the city. Toren tracked the two several miles north of the city to a cave in the foot hills of the mountains. He went back for the party and then took the party to the cave. The battle was fierce, but the party stood victorious in the end.

A couple of disturbing items came to their attention during the end of the night. The leader of this pack of werewolves had a statue of an eyeball with tentacles coming from the bottom of it. The pentagram shaped statue is covered with the same alien language from Kelthain’s Arch and is identical to the one Sa’Resh recovered from Baron Sutton’s study. The writing is too small to read, but there is little room for a mere coincidence. The leader of the pack showed Lark the remains of a creature, later identified as a flesh golem, made up of different people’s body parts. The different skin tones of the mismatched body parts confirmed it had been made of the bodies stolen from the graveyard.

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The Ripper of Earop
The Ripper of Earop

They had a little talk with Al-Helzra Sa’Resh and learned a little more about his relationship to Dulfor, his part in creating the Codex, aiding Dulfor in creating the Cult of the Second Coming. Unfortunately they learned very little that would directly help them in their quest to recover Carson Ven’Telgera’s sword. Dulfor sought out Sa’Resh in Qdalz. Dulfor already possessed the knowledge that Sa’Resh was a blood relative of Kelthain. Together they unearthed a small portion of Kelthain’s research that had been hidden away in the Al-Helzra family burial vaults. As Dulfor and Sa’Resh searched for other items Sa’Resh’es main role was to translate the alien language that Kelthain had discovered with the knowledge of the “Old Ones”. Over the next 25 years Sa’Resh came to fear Dulfor and slowly distanced himself from the growing cult. His last service to Dulfor was to translate a set of rituals, but Sa’Resh went out of his way to obscure and generalize the rituals in order to make them useless in the end. This attempt to block Dulfor failed. Dulfor employed scribes to make many copies of the book titled the Sa’Resh Codex. Evidently everyone who made copies of the book went insane and the survivors are all at the Starshield Sanctuary. Pidgeon, Kay, and Fenmerin were convicted and imprisoned for killing a couple of these scribes. Sa’Resh feels obligated to find out what really happened and the party is his best hope of success and will help them as much as he can.

The second night on patrol the party encountered a suspicious nobleman. Sure enough with minimal stalking they found the Ripper of Earop. To the party’s horror, his latest victim was Arthas’s wife! Evidently she wanted something from their house. She went to her home with an armed escort and was attacked by the Ripper. Both she and her escort were murdered. The guard’s body had his kidneys removed and was left in the house. The Ripper took Arthas’s wife to a back alley in the nearby merchant district and cut out her heart.

The Ripper was Lord Phineas Hrothgar. Supposedly, he died of natural causes about two years ago. Of course the nobleman “lawyered” up, asking for Garrett Pilot. In the end Lord Hrothgar confessed to murdering Arthas’s wife, but claims extenuating circumstances. He claims that he that he had no choice, that he must consume human organs to sustain/replace his own so that he will not die. Judge Fenrose officiated the confession and guided the party to the trial that would come next and the potential complications. It was decided that Judge Fenrose would recues himself from judging the trial and act as Artha’s legal counsel.

Ironically, the only person in the city (to anyone’s knowledge) who could possibly determin the validity of Lord Hrothgar’s claims of being a living ghoul is his nephew, Baron Regulus Alexander Winshard III. Evidently his military service included researching and battling undead. The narcissistic and uncaring man did give them his aid. He confirmed that his uncle must be some form of living ghoul. The party’s investigation soon led them to the guest “house” at Water’s Edge. (The Hrothgar estate now under Baron Winshard III’s care) They found Hrothgar was storing extra organs in a concealed cellar underground near the guesthouse. From his knowledge of his uncle and others of his economic station Winshard deduced that Hrothgar was not living on the estate, but was merely using the cold temperatures to maintain an extra store of food. The Baron suggested that they look for an upscale apartment in the northern district near the river.

It’s no wonder the party’s frustrated at having to untangle the web of lies and navigate the complex and hidden motivations of all involved.

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Rumors
Rumors

1st Day of Tresh, Year 206

3 more murders: 1 heart, 1 brain, 1 pair of lungs

All 3 bodies exhumed without the city guard noticing and somehow bypassing magic wards

The Earop Counsel has given Judge/Counselman Fenrose’s permission to institute heavier safety measures within the city. Patrols have been stepped up, new wards placed on every grave, gate, and fence along the graveyard. There is a new rotating guard patrols with new a more varied schedule within the city. Each guard unit has been assigned a cleric to maintain a Status on each of the captains. There are now irregular guard patrols in higher crime & incident areas. The Judge created of a more varied rotating schedule of clerics to give last rites and blessings of the dead. He has his paladins organizing neighborhood watches. Fenrose now has a discretionary fund to employ “independent contractors” to help these neighborhood watches stay organized and safe. The judges are responsible for interviewing these potential neighborhood captains. All prospective captains must submit to magic divinations during the interview process to assure the safety of Earop’s citizens. Judge Fenrose spoke out strongly against instituting marshal law, but conceded the possible necessity if the matters got bad enough.

The citizens of Earop are scared. No one seems to be able to stop this gruesome pattern of murders, organ removal, and defilement of the fresh graves.

Large shipments have been coming in from the northern most port city Telshepalk in Yanicilli. No one seems to know what is in these crates. They are taken to those properties that where restoration has been completed.

Special shipments of timber have been coming to the lumber mills from northern Shumar. All of the wood is exclusively used in the restoration of the properties bought by this mysterious owner.

The Spice merchant, Selek Farishmot, only managed to procure 3 blocks of the blue salt. He says that most of the salt was bought up (at a higher price no doubt) by merchants in Cenc.
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Homebrew (3.5)
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