Dark Fantasy Role Play

mroczne mięcho ku czci Melpomeny złożone w ofierze

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    - Witaj! Poniżej znajdziesz pomysły na przygody, scenariusze rpg, generatory i opowiadania w klimatach fantasy - wszystko (poza poezją i scenariuszami do Gemini rpg) autorstwa Maestro, choć często inspirowane różnymi źródłami. Fani systemów Warhammer, Monastyr, Gemini, Midnight, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Gra o tron (Pieśń Lodu i Ognia), Deadlands, Bestie i barbarzyńcy i innych światów RPG powinni znaleźć tu coś dla siebie. Szczególnie chciałbym pomóc początkującym Mistrzom Gry. Nie szukajcie tu rzeczy, które szybko się dezaktualizują. To ma być źródło konkretnych inspiracji do sesji gier fabularnych z niewielkim dodatkiem teorii rpg. Krwiste mięcho role playing.

AUTOR Magnus Sjöström
TŁUMACZENIE NA ANGIELSKI (ze szwedzkiego) J.A. „Heretic“ Hagen

This adventure for Gemini is designed for three or more players. There are situations in the adventure which can be difficult to solve for inexperienced role-players, but the Narrator can easily reduce the „threat factor“ if he wishes it by diminishing the number of opponents or by reducing the difficulty levels for attribute rolls.
It may seem that there are unnecessarily many possibilities for fights in this episode, but there are always methods to get around the difficulties without using force. If the characters prefer to use persuasion and argumentation then they will never have to fight.
In certain cases they may even get support from Non-Player-Characters (NPCs) to vanquish the Darkness. The NPCs which are most likely to appear are described in the relevant section, and not in a section before. In that adventure they are detailed in a somehow different way than normal, only with their most remarkable qualities and with a more general description of their qualities and capacities. That does not mean to infringe the average values. Feel free to write us and tell us what you think about that way to describe Narrator characters. As Narrator you should always give the characters the possibility to get out of problems without the use of force.
Geographical setting
Anywhere in the province Sein lies the inconspicuous village Grayham surrounded by a dense pine forest. The village consists of fifty smaller wooden cottages and three bigger cottage made of bricks. Directly in the north of the village lies on a height the small fortress which gave the name to the village, Grayburgh . Grayburgh was for along time the half-year-castle for the nobility and so it remained even after the church started to rule the province, but after the uprising of the nobles it took the domain of the noble family which owned the castle.
If one goes westwards from the village, through the rampant forest, one reaches after a few kilometres a hill on which a number of big flat rocks lie like a sacrifice altar. The people call that place Spearslope and it served for a long time as a place for executions.
Now it is more or less forgotten and few people have visited it in the current decade. East of Grayham is a lake with musty and oozy water. This lake has its own myth dealing with its past. ore about that lateron.
One comes to and for the village on the way that extends southward from the village, through the forest and over the hills. (You as Narrator can place that adventure a in the selected churchly province, if you want, or place it in the province you desire.)
In the beautiful fortification lives since almost a decade a group of monks. They have withdrawn to this remote place to contemplate the One’s teachings. The abbot of the monastery, Berius, considered it his foremost duty to find a means for the fight against the Darkness, which now stands at the world’s doorstep on the way to enslave mankind. He sought in all the scriptures which were accessible, but the only result was an increasing paranoia, a total feeling that the Darkness was impossible to stop and that there was nothing to be done except to find a sacred place to escape to.
A place like that was however not to find and Berius began to see all over indications of the Darkness in the monastery’s vicinity, presumably in Grayham. The nice and just villagers had surely begun to fall for the Darkness and it did not seem to be more than a question of time before the first heretics would appear even eventually in his own flock! Soon Berius saw the Darkness even everywhere and his behaviour began slowly to change.
He ordered the monks of the monastery to minimize their contact with the villagers. His morning sermon began in a higher degree to deal with the curses that would hit those who did not follow the godfearing way. Slowly but surely the whole monastery shifted towards a suspicious attitude and suspicion began to spread among the brethren. Was that the motive to believe that if the Darkness was already amidst them, how should they know whom to trust in that case?
The abbot was overjoyed the day he saw an escort of churchmen approaching the portal of the fortification. In front of the men who were on their way to the monastery walked an inquisitor! In the heart of the abbot was born a desire if the inquisitor would maybe able to bring some security and purification to that godforsaken place.
The inquisitor presented himself as Grevorius and explained that he had been hunting an extremely zealous heretic for a long time. His traces had lead them to Grayham and Grayburgh, but the long journey had been tiresome and they needed a place to rest, to fill their food supplies and for spiritual serenity. The abbot did not hesitate to present his theory about the heretics in the village to the inquisitor, who at first did not pay attention in particular.
Shortly after the inquisitor and his entourage came to Grayburgh weird things started to happen, and now it is only a question of time before the whole village will be in danger...
Evil in the forest lake
The lake in the West of Grayham is a way to the Darkness, a door between the human realm and the eternal evil. That was not always so, but in that times becomes the human superstition about the Darkness exactly what teases the evil to manifest itself. Most people of the district know the tale about the little forest lake, even if the history is going lost, and perhaps it was exactly that what has given the lake its power. In Gemini’s world the believe indeed can displace mountains!
The tale of the drowned girl
There is a local tale that the lake was fresh and clear for a long time. If one was sick and went into the water and swam to the other side he could come out as a healthy and well person. The illness sinks into the deep and never befell the person again.
The tale tells that once a nobleman lived together with his wife in the castle but he had a secret relation with the daughter of one of the woodcutters in the forest. The girl told the nobleman one day that she was pregnant, so he asked her for a rendezvous at the lake in the same night. He assured her that he wanted nothing else than to hold her and her baby, but when she came to the lake that night he knocked her unconscious and drowned her in the water.
After that the surface of the previously clear spring blackened and it remained muddy and stinking. It is said that all illnesses who had sunk into the depth of the lake now came up to the surface.
From that point on the tale differs; some assert that the nobleman was found floating in the lake with an expression of horror on his face, others affirm that he never was seen again, but that the only thing that was found were wet traces of female feet in his bedroom.
It may have been as one wishes. Somehow the people avoid to go near the lake unnecessarily, and the hunters who pass the water avoid to look into that water because of fear to see the dead girl looking back to them form the deep.
Evil awakes
The lake’s evil influence has remained in its closest vicinity till now. Till now. Recently arrived a group of the churchmen at the monastery in the hills. One of them was the inquisitor Grevorius, entirely unaware of the fact that he was a direct descendant of the pregnant peasant girl in the musty water of the lake and that within him he bears a seed of the Darkness which the lake may wake to life. Below the surface of the water cry the girl and her unborn child for vengeance, and unpleasant affairs begin to happen in the vicinity of the village. Grevorius has awoken the sword which comes to raise against him and finally cause his death.
The lake’s power
The lake in the forest is actually a whole dark relic, the water of which corrupts and enslaves they who drink of it and turns her minds to dark images of what they once were. The dirty and evil-smelling water-surface is a portal a human mind can fall through to find itself eye in eye with the Darkness...
Those who already fell for the Darkness, or those who raised higher above that level, can fell the lake’s power like a musty chill in its vicinity.
A person with a Nature under -25 or over +25 can discover that the lake works as a dark relic if he or she come closer than 15 meters. Persons with a Nature of higher than +30 or lower than -30 feel the lake’s presence in the whole forest and can detect the rough direction with a difficult MEN-roll.
Presently next to the lake the rest from a couple of bony spruces forms a natural cave which is inhabited by a wolverine. The wolverine is a really frightening beast which is surely blood-thirsty and evil. The wolverine who lives at the lake has been corrupted by the Darkness during a long time and is precisely so horrifying as the myths claim.
In this adventure the wolverine becomes a horrible instrument in the hands of the Darkness’ herald Arkain Baal.
What happened till now
Three weeks ago inquisitor Grevorius sent six of his men to comb the monastery’s surroundings. They never returned. When they did not return after a couple of days he himself with the remaining twelve soldiers went to see what could have happened to them. The only trace that he found was what got to have been their camp for the night, close to the little lake. There was no sign of a fight, which led him to the erroneous deduction that if they had not disappeared there if they had not been probably assaulted in another place while coming back to their night camp.
After further investigations Grevorius found the Spearslope and on the big stone blocks traces of dried blood were found. Now he was sure that his men had been assaulted by a group of heretics which must conceal themselves either in the village or near the village.
Probably they held their dark masses in places there and he saw it as his task to find them and to disable them. He sent instantly one of his knights with a message to the nearest town, to report that to his superior. Afterwards he began to plan his play.
Behind the scenes
The soldiers did not disappear on the Spearslope but at the lake. They laid down to sleep at the lake and while they slept the lake’s influence, increased by the black herald Arkain crept into their minds, so that they at daybreak were not able to resist to drink of it. After that they were in the hands of Darkness. The ground around the beautiful execution place is full of cavities and bearcaves, many of them big enough for a group to hide in. The heretics plan to use the power of Darkness they found in the lake, found through the tale of the drowned girl, to vanquish their pursuers.
The blood at the Spearslope however comes from a dark ritual executed by Arkain who was firstly hunted by the inquisitor and then came to that region. Arkain’s first aim is now to defeat Grevorius and he plans to do that with the help of those of his men which he has enslaved just before.
The characters
If the player characters have any affiliation to the Church then this is reason enough to send them to Greyham to investigate if it is true what the inquisitor reported. If they do not have any relation with the Church they may be hired to escort a trader and his goods to that district which is sufficiently remote to be haunted by bandits. Disregarding of that they come to the little village exactly in time to become either heroes or villains.
The course of action of the adventure depends to a great degree on the characters and the role they choose to take in the notable and terrible story which takes place in the little village of Grayham.
Course of action and overview
The actions are given here in chronological order.
Each action is described then to greater detail in the section which you find in the overview. That should make it easier to get a look at all the possibilities which may appear during the play. The actions are closely ted to the places which the characters can investigate and which can be found in the section Places at the end of the adventure. This here is the only complete overview of the adventure’s action. Although the course of action is directed quite strictly you must be quite flexible because the action is often independent of the fact that the characters are present. On the other hand, the characters will presumably investigate many places on their own and what will happen then is detailed in the description of the places. But this is far from covering all the thinkable possibilities.

Night 1
The characters arrive at Greyham in the evening. Disregarding if they work for the Church or if they are there for another reason they must take accommodation in the inn. If they are employed by the Church and wonder why they cannot reside in the monastery, the explanation may be that there is not enough room for them in the monastery at the moment (an obvious lie if one thinks of the fact that it is a former fortification which enough space. The real reason is of course that the abbot does not believe that they really are what they claim to be; instead he believes them to be in the service of the Darkness. At night the village idiot Helmut sees figures which seem to rise from the water of the lake. Confer A Fool talks.

Day 2
In the morning the characters can see Helmut standing in the middle of the market-place and tell anyone that „the watermen“ appeared in the forest during the night. The villagers do not care about that but treat him as if he were a child with a vivid imagination. If the characters question him about the whole thing they can hear what he has seen. Later that day they meet mater Brytner who is taking his pregnant woman to the healer of the village. The time has come and she experiences pains. Brytner cannot conceal his happiness and if the characters offer their help to carry his wife to the healer’s cottage, he is very thankful towards them while he tells them that this is his third child.
If the characters want to visit the monastery during the day, go to the section The monastery. If they want to investigate what Helmut told, proceed with the section The lake.
In the afternoon one can hear a cry from the healer’s cabin, and when the day is going to end, the birth still has not ended.

Night 2
In the night persons with a good hearing wake up by a terrible cry coming from the healer’s cabin. F the players wake up and rush to the place, they see how Mrs. Brytner in death’s spasms gives birth to her third child, a grotesquely misshapen boy. More about that in the section The third son.

Day 3
Rumour of the distasteful happening reaches the monastery during the night, and it does not take the abbot and the inquisitor a long time to come to the conclusion that this obviously has to do with heretics in the family Brytner. Immediately they send six men to fetch them to the monastery, where they burn them if no-one intervenes. More about that in the paragraph Burn, heretic, burn.

Night 3
During the night the enslaved soldiers come to Atar Bevin’s cottage. The dogs bark frenetically while they drag the man away to the lake where they force him to drink of the muddy water. If the characters for any reason have the possibility to interfere to stop that go the paragraph The enslaved ones wander.

Day 4
In the morning arrives the message of what has happened during the night at the characters if they have not witnessed them personally. They may then know that the dog-breeder has disappeared during the night and that there are conspicuous signs of a fight in his house.
Additionally a hunter of the district has not returned from his hunting tour and many people in the village talk and whisper about what can have happened to the man. If they go to Bevin’s cottage proceed with the paragraph Bevin’s cottage. The hunter became victim of the heretics as went to the Spearslope where he accidentally stumbled in their camp. There is nothing if the characters decide to search there, but if they for whatever motive choose to investigate the old execution place, then go to Spearslope.

Night 4
The dark power which lures in the lake has for a long time influenced the wolverine which lives there under its influence. Arkain sees a chance to shatter this way the men of the Church and sends the wolverine to the monastery where it attacks the abbot in the night who takes his evening bath. The abbot is torn to pieces before he even understands what is going on and found by the inquisitor directly after midnight. This one draws the conclusion that the heretics are now also in the monastery and that the sole right thing is to tear the monks out of her beds to count them and to find out who has committed the heinous deed. The result of his harsh „interrogation“ is that three totally innocent monks confess the crime and will burn together in the evening.

Day 5
The inquisitor’s look fixes on the village, where he finds a number of suspect heretics. He decides to interrogate the village idiot Helmut who acts as a notable villain. If the characters have a good relation with the inquisitor they can be allowed to see the abbot’s body and the scene of the murder, if they ask. The paragraph’s title is The bathing pod –horror’s abode.
If the inquisitor does not encounter any problem to take Helmut with him for an interrogation, he will do so during the day but all which he says is that he has seen the watermen at the lake. Nevertheless he will be imprisoned in the monastery to be interrogated again.
In the afternoon the heretics are detected by two hunters detected when they are near the lake. Scared by their appearance the hunters run to the village and tell what they have seen. If the characters are fast enough to go to the lake they face the heretics in a bloody confrontation. If they wait for the inquisitor’s men they will arrive after the heretics have already withdrawn to the Spearslope. If they have the ability of tracking they can follow the heretics to their camp and attack them together with the inquisitor and his soldiers. If the heretics are defeated here, the inquisitor believes that the whole affair is solved and he declares that his escort leaves already the next day. He offers the characters to join his escort if they want. But Arkain and the inquisitor’s soldiers will not be there.

Night 5
In the night the heretics attack the loneliest cottage of the village and attempt to take as many inhabitants as possible with them to the water, and simultaneously the wolverine is sent again to the monastery. There it kills three of the inquisitor’s sleeping soldiers. If the characters sleep in the village then read the passage Fight against the fallen ones. If they contrarily decided to make company with the inquisitor in the monastery then go to Wolverine, wolverine!

Day 6
The inquisitor becomes mad when he finds the dead soldiers and as he hears of the nightly happening in the village he decides to take his remaining soldiers and to examine the lake closer. He decides to take with him all the men capable of fighting which he can find and the characters are on the top of his list. He makes it clear that he expects their full co-operation before they go to the lake. Right at the lake the fallen ones are waiting for them for the final confrontation. Cf. Confrontation.
As the inquisitor goes back to the monastery after the fight, a last surprise awaits him, and the characters who are probably following him up there may have the chance to prove themselves in a final combat. Go to Revenge at last.
Thereafter the only thing left to do is to give an account to solve the threads in What happens then.
The story begins
Through the tight spruce forest shines a light coming from a cottage window. It is late and you are tired to walk against the whipping wind and the cold rain. A sign at the side of the road announces that you are now coming to Grayham – 143 inhabitants. The first impression tells you that Grayham lives up to its name. The village consists of mainly of timber cottages but with a few exceptions. The only buildings which differ from the majority are three stone houses which are situated side by side at the village square.
The biggest one of them has a wooden sign hanging from the front. It says “The third man – inn and tavern” in colourful letters.
In the cold autumn night that is a coveted thing with warm food and a dry bed. Then you become aware of the dark shadow which lies over Grayham. When the glances wander upward you see the fortress Grayburgh. Formerly a castle for the nobility’s hunting voyages, it is now a monastery for ascetic monks who have withdrawn to this bleak place to study the teachings of the One. There is something heavy and dejected over the One’s abode in this night.

The characters arrive at Grayham in the evening. The main street, if it can be labelled as such, is abandoned with exception of a pregnant woman and her husband (master Brytner) who are closing the window hatches of their house. It rains and a cold wind blows and the simple inn looks as an inviting foundation. Grayham appears against the sky as a prickly shape of stone, high in the mountains which raise beyond the village. As the Narrator, you should make the characters comprehend at first that it is not advisable to go to the monastery under this circumstances if they should want to rest there for the night. Their horses are tired, the wind and the rain make the way through the rocks treacherously. The little light which the eclipsed sun emits is shut out by massive rain clouds. Moreover, it is not even sure that they make it to the monastery because they have never been here. If they nevertheless go to the monastery at that hour, then proceed with the paragraph The monastery.

The Third Man
The first thing you notice when you make the first step into the inn’s dining-room is the warmth, directly followed by the smell of food which enters your nostrils. The room you come in is big and square-shaped, with an open fireplace at the opposite wall.
A lone man is sitting at a desk close to the counter. The man is dressed in rags of indefinite colours and seems to be drunk. Above the mantelpiece hangs a portrait of a stern man dressed in fine, although old-fashioned clothes. He looks like one of the nobles which in former times ruled the province – probably one of them who participated in the sovereign’s uprising. What amazes you is that his portrait is still hanging there. During the time in which you were approximately sitting there, a man has sneaked behind the counter without making a sound. He is tall and incredibly thin. He has a hooked nose and a high hairline. He says with a rasping voice: “Welcome in the Third Man.”

In the tavern there is only another man besides “Bone” and that is the village idiot Helmut. He sits and totters as if he is quite drunk, and it fits that he even drools as if he was paid for it.
If the characters appears to be well-off, or if the seem to be churchmen they will be served with utmost kindness and speed. They will be also have to pay more expensive prices for everything they buy. On the contrary, if the look like common travellers without much money they will be treated somehow less kindly. On the other hand, they will not be exposed to “Bone’s” creative pricesetting.
The tavern has four single rooms, two double-rooms and two swabs for the really poor. The rooms all have plain furniture but they are warm and tidy and on an evening like that even the plainest room feels like a piece of heaven.
There is a warm bath if someone wants to take one but that costs extra. For horses there are places in the stable and if one is fanatically careful with one’s coins, one can sleep in the attic almost for free.

Conversation with Helmut
If one goes to Helmut and begins a conversation with him, one realizes soon that he is not the brightest. Even in his brightest moment Helmut is half crazy and
moreover he is absolutely drunk now and half in the realm of dreams, so that it is almost impossible to make him understand the most basic questions one could think of asking him.

Conversation with “Bone”
Bone is tired and a little petulant, but he answers the questions he is asked. He can tell that Helmut has been mad for all of his life and after his father died three years ago he has been drunk most of the time.
He can also tell that the village does have had little contact with the monastery in the last time and that they have been short of hunting bag ultimately (he is unaware of the fact that the heretics at the Spearslope plunder the hunter’s traps in the nights). After the characters have ordered their rooms or their food he throws out Helmut and closes the door of the tavern. Then he wishes a good night and disappears.

The picture
The picture shows the inquisitor’s forefather and an attentive character can recognize the inquisitor (if they have already met him). If they have additionally heard the tale of the drowned girl they may make up the link to the inquisitor. If they understand that this is the key to the action, then there is a good chance that they try to meet him, maybe also to kill him. That will solve some problems, however that may cause considerable conflicts with the church in the future.
A fool talks
In the morning after the character’s arrival they are awoken by Helmut standing on the market-place in front of the tavern and yelling inconceivable stuff. The villagers don not pay him attention and no-one seems to care what he prattles.
If the characters are of the inquisitive kind and if they listen accurately they can hear him shout that he has indeed “seen the watermen in the forest”. A interrogation of Helmut results in the following information:
I have seen them! They were all watery, watery like the water. Just that, and I do not want to have the water! I cannot remember but I have seem them before, indeed before they wore uniforms! Churchly ale indeed, can one really drink that there what they drink?... I believe that there is no beast there... One can hope that there is no more left to drink... ale can be expensive... and with a sword! They must have been on the hunt for heretics!
In the previous night Helmut wandered drunken through the forest and arrived finally at the lake. He fell asleep in an bush, but was awoken by the sound of a metallic chink. As he looked up, he saw the six soldiers who had fallen for the lake’s influence when they came to drink of the dark water. He recognized their uniforms and understood that they had something to do with the monastery. The he saw them walking into the darkness of the forest while he himself began to sway backwards to the village. He can tell the characters where the lake is if they ask him that.
The third son
In the second night the third son of the family Brytner is born and the mother deceases in the cot. As if that was not tragical enough by itself , the child is additionally badly misshapen. Its skeleton seems to be hooked and the head is misshapen. Master Brytner becomes desperate about the loss of his wife and collapses on the floor of the healer’s hut. The child lies in a cradle close to a window looking to the forest. While master Brytner is covering the body of his wife with a blanket to bury her the next day, the baby disappears from the cradle.
That is the deed of the wolverine living at the lake which during its nightly hunt prowls in the vicinity of the village. In a split second it leaps into the room, kills the child and jumps through the window with its prey in the fangs. When the healer then comes in to look after the little one, he discovers only the empty cradle with blood-stained blankets below the open window. This happening will have the consequence that the inquisitor will accuse master Brytner and his son of heresy; more about that in Burn, heretic, burn.

If the characters come rushing to the healer’s cabin when they hear the dying mother’s scream they will enter the healer’s cabin at the time the wolverine makes its visit.
The characters then can hear what happens in the adjacent room (very difficult) and can run in to see the beast leaping through the window with the child in the jaws. To pursue it in the dark of the night turns out to be impossible but if the characters witness the disappearance of the child then they have a possibility to convince the inquisitor of the innocence of the family Brytner.
Burn, heretic, burn!
N the morning of the third day one of the inquisitor’s men who visits the village to buy food hears tales about the tragic happening of the previous night.
He reports that to the inquisitor who at once draws over-hasty deductions. The inquisitor deducts that the deformed child is the result of worshipping the Darkness in the family Brytner and the One’s punishment for the sins. He believes also that the disappearance means a sacrifice to the Darkness.
He also concludes that the healer in the village can be concerned and that it is best to call even him for an interrogation. The inquisitor himself rides down to the village, accompanied by ten soldiers; there with drags out of their house master Brytner and his two sons (thirteen and fifteen years old) with force. He does the same with the healer and his wife; after that he talks with a loud voice on the market place in front of the tavern to the inhabitants of the village.

Villagers! I come to you with a sinister message this morning, a message which I have hoped for the longest time to avoid. Heretics will soon walk among you. Heretics, friends of the Darkness, reprobated ones, there are many names for those who have chosen to differ form the One’s teachings! They hide their track well but nothing escapes the sharp eyes of the inquisition. I have found convincing proofs that this family (he points with his hand in the direction of the captives) worships the Darkness and that they have not hesitated to commit the most loathsome of all crimes: a child sacrifice! It is my intention to take those sinners to the interrogation so that they will recognize their crimes and I will not permit to let the case rest until they reveal who else in this village belongs to the Darkness’ errands. May the One be with you on this day of grief!

After this speech the inquisitor and the soldiers ride to the monastery with their prisoners taken in a tow. In the village remain the shocked people but it does not last very long until a debate is in full swing. Most of them are convinced that the Brytner family and the healer are innocent of this accusation but they are scared of the inquisitor’s speech to adopt a contrary posture; for the smith they are presumably guilty and those who do not want to believe that have maybe have something to hide by themselves.
Insinuations and accusations fly through the air and some fights break out. The whole affair causes that the atmosphere in the village becomes conspicuously more silent and suspicious than before.
If the characters are in the village at that fateful occasion they have a glorious opportunity to direct the course of action in a less destructive direction. There are several possibilities:
• They may wish to defend the accused before the whole village, something which can prove to be fatal; the inquisitor does not like to have his authority questioned, and a fiery exchange of opinions with him in front of the surrounding witnesses can result in the fact that he accuses the characters themselves of being heretics and takes them as prisoners (or they break free form such an intent, which in consequence can convert them in fugitives from the Church).
• A better method to defend the accused is to go to the monastery together, where they can talk with the inquisitor in private. Then his authority is not challenged in public and he will be more willing to listen to alternative explanations. If the characters have witnessed the child’s disappearing or if they were together with Brytner and the healer while the child disappeared they can give the accused an alibi. The inquisitor is willing to listen to what they have to say and if the characters do not behave biased or strangely, then he has no reason to suppose that they lie to save an outlander. In that case he will leave the prisoners free but it will require a lot of persuasion before he approves that. (The entire sequence offers a lot of possibilities for good role-playing. An argumentative duel between the inquisitor and the characters could be one of the climaxes of the evening. Keep in mind that the characters should get the impression that it could be dangerous for them if they should fail to convince the inquisitor that the smith is innocent, since it is not impossible that the can be misjudged for being heretics.)
• If the characters stay in the village after the prisoners have been carried away to the monastery, a charismatic personality has the chance to influence the people’s mass to fight against the soldiers. By delivering an impressive speech about the false accusation the inquisitor came up with and by insinuating that anybody in the village can be the next victim of the insane churchman one can really call the villagers to arms. What will happen then is hard to predict but to attack the monastery with the enraged mob is not the easiest thing. Even if the villagers outnumber the soldiers, the soldiers are better equipped for the fight and they have additionally a fortress for their defence. Of course there is a large number of possibilities for clever plans to free the prisoners but I will not dwell on this here. It is entirely up to the Narrator to direct such a development of action.
• It exists, of course, also a possibility for the characters believe in the inquisitor’s accusations and that they themselves join the search for signs of heretics in the village. If they offer to help the inquisitor by spying on the village they will win his confidence. (This development of action is also thrilling, and you as the Narrator have the possibility to place false traces which the suspicious players can follow.)
• If the characters do not intervene the family Brytner, the healer and his wife are found guilty of heresy and they will be burned at the stake in the castleyard the next morning.
The march of the enslaved
In the night the slaves of the lake under the leadership of Arkain Baal – who witnesses the incident from a safe distance – attack the remote lying hut of the dog-breeder Atar Bevins. The surround the cabins and break in through the window openings on two sides of the hut. If the characters are in the village when that happens they may wake up by the barking of the dogs but that demands that anyone of them succeeds with a fairly difficult Listen roll. If anyone of the characters is awake he hears the unusual barking of the dogs. It takes about five minutes to get to the kennel on foot, plus the time the characters need to put on armour or else. The attack against the kennel takes five minutes after the dogs started to bark; if the characters hurry directly from where they hear the barking, they should arrive approximately when the soldiers carry the unconscious Mr. Bevin with them to the lake.
Now there are two alternatives:
• The characters attack the six soldiers. This is perhaps the instinctive reaction but it is definitively the best solution. If they rush to fight them they may save Mr. Bevin but a fight with the six soldiers is risky. If the characters are no trained fighters they may fall victim to the lake before the night is over. If the succeed defeating the reprobated soldiers they will not now what the wanted to do with him (Bevin) and they must try track them back through the forest to find out from where they come.

• The characters follow the soldiers to the lake. This is a less evident plan but it is preferable. If the characters follow the soldiers and do not reveal their presence they will see how the soldiers take Mr. Bevin to the lake and force him to drink from it. It is hard to predict what the characters will do after that but hopefully they begin to get an impression of what is going on. Perhaps they attack the soldiers, perhaps they draw the incorrect conclusion that all soldiers in the monastery are also allied with this six, perhaps they withdraw to the village without doing anything. You as Narrator must prepared to improvise strongly in that situation.
If the characters vanquish all who have fallen under the control of the lake they have principally overcome the Darkness, at least for a time, but the lake will remain as a constant menace for the surrounding and Arkain Baal has not given up yet.
The bath-tub – abode of horror
In the fourth night the abbot of the monastery is killed by the wolverine which lives at the lake under Arkain’s influence. It gets into the monastery through the waste gutter which runs from the castleyard out to the mountainside. Thereafter it goes to the door to the ablution-room which, unluckily for the abbot, does not close correctly. At that time the abbot is about to take his evening bath lying asleep in one of the bathing-tubs. When he hears something it is already to late; the wolverine throws itself upon him and kills him within a few seconds. The body is lying there for the rest of the night while the wolverine sneaks out of the monastery and hides in the forest.
When the body is found, the characters can perhaps prevent that three innocent monks burn for this but that requires that they have a good relation with the inquisitor, so that they get his permission to see the crime scene. The body of the abbot is resting in the cellar of the monastery awaiting its burial and it is terribly mutilated. The torso is ripped to pieces and one of the arms is almost torn off the body. The face is
mostly untouched and shows an expression of terror. It does not take a genius to see that it was hardly a sword nor an axe which caused that damage but the inquisitor considers that it is „impossible“ to get in the monastery from the outside without being detected. (The inquisitor is not a stupid person but he is to a lesser degree suspicious towards his fellow citizens and that causes him now to jump to conclusions.)
The crime scene is bloody and the bath-tube in which the abbot lies is filled with dark-red water. Blood has been sprayed allover the room and has formed pools, now coagulated with the colour changing to dark-brown.
A successful Search roll (fairly heavy) reveals dark and gruff hair in the bath-tube. It does obviously not belong to the abbot and if a person with hunting experience (Wilderness) or someone who is familiar with wild animals for another reason can estimate with a PER-roll that the hair comes from an animal’s fur. A really good roll can disclose that it is likely from a marten-like animal.
If the characters investigate the corridors in the monastery they will find the garbage chute. The hole in the wall is too small for a grown-up man to go in through it and to climb up to the opening is obviously very risky even for an experienced climber. Some hairs are sticking here but it requires a PER-roll with critical difficulty to discover it.

To prove to the inquisitor that the monks are innocent the characters need to realize how the murderer came in and what a kind of animal is involved. The inquisitor may be suspicious but he realizes quickly what is the most plausible explanation and sets the monks free, however without excusing for his error. Moreover, he is still convinced that improprieties are going on in the monastery.
Fighting the fallen
In the fifth night the village is attacked by those who have fallen under the lake’s influence. The farest house which is situated closest to the forest receives a visit and if no-one discovers the whole affair six more persons will join the evil of the Darkness. The soldiers run to the paths the same way they did at Atar Bevin’s hut and force their way in through the window openings. They drive the four children and the adults to the lake. If the characters sleep in the tavern they awake if the succeed with a fairly difficult Listen roll. Should they for whatever reason be awake, the roll gets normal difficulty instead. The attack lasts approximately ten minutes after the soldiers have entered through the windows of the house. If the characters chose to fight the reprobated, the noise of the combat will attract the villagers which will come to help immediately under the condition that the characters have not made themselves very unpopular.
Wolverine, wolverine!
At the same time the village is under attack, the wolverine goes back to the monastery and if the entrance which it used the last time is still open, it takes the same way in as before. If the way in is closed now, it will lie in wait in the bushes which flank the way to the monastery and waits for a possibility to get in the monastery where it will attack the inquisitor.
If the wolverine manages to enter the monastery it sneaks the same way as the last time in the ablutions-chamber crosses sleeping monastery up to the fifth floor where five soldiers lie asleep but without having closed the door properly. It attacks one of the soldiers who, however, does not die soundless, and his two room-mates wake up in time to defend themselves. The wolverine inflicts a mortal wound to one of them biting his throat and throws itself over the remaining one who has taken up his weapon just in time. In spite of that the sleepy and horrified men does not succeed in wounding the wolverine before it kills him too. The fight and the screaming wake up all persons on the same floor and soon the nightly hunt for the wolverine keeps going. If the characters do not sleep in the monastery they miss this hunt and the wolverine escapes hiding in the lavatory. Nevertheless, the rumour reaches the village and is spread...
In the morning after the village has suffered the attack the inquisitor decides to have a look at the lake. He enrols all men fit to bear arms he can get (the characters) and turns against what he believes to be the last fight in this dirty drama. If the characters have defeated all the fallen soldiers then heretics are waiting for them at the lake and if all heretics are vanquished too, it becomes very lonely at the dirty water-place. Then there is not much left to do. Please consider that if as well the heretics as well as the fallen soldiers and perhaps some villagers wait at the lake the characters will suffer a raw deal. If the slaves of the lake are more than eight it is preferable that the heretics are not there for not making the lives of the heroes of the story too difficult.
Please reflect that Arkain is above all out to kill the inquisitor, a descendant of the one who a long time ago drowned the innocent girl in the muddy water. If the inquisitor dies, the lake will fall to rest for a while and all his slaves will begin to throw up the muddy water before falling unconsciously on the ground. When this persons gradually regain consciousness it turns out that they do not remember what they did in the time they were under the lake’s influence, and only nightmares remain to remind them of what really happened. Arkain has done what he wanted to, but alas has lost the control over his new slaves as the Darkness in the lake dies when the evil ‘s source is broken.
Revenge at last
If all the lake’s slaves fall without killing the inquisitor, then there is only little left to play: the wolverine (given the fact that it has not been killed to). It waits in the monastery and tries to sneak into the inquisitor’s room on the fifth floor. When the inquisitor enters the room, tired after the actions of the day, he notices a strong stench coming from the vicious wolverine which has spent the day in the lavatory but which now is above him with the jaws hanging from the roof. If no-one of the characters is there to interfere, inquisitor Grevorius’ life ends here.
And the lake falls back to sleep.
A short description of the most important places in the adventure.

The village Grayham consist, as previously said, , of fifty wooden cottages and of three bigger houses of stone. The cottages made of wood have a thatched roof and are inhabited by hunters, peasants and artisans. The total population of the village is about onehundered-fifty persons, about a third of them are children. There is no church in the village but previously the town-hall was used to hold mass. That custom was introduced by one of the monks who came down from the monastery and performed the mass, but in the last time no monk has shown up in the village – something which made the villagers wonder. In spite of that there is virtually no-one who complains about that. The men work hard each day in the week, so there is no-one who considers it as a catastrophe if instead of attending the mass on the day of leisure one can sleep a few hours longer.

The smithy
In the centre of the village lies the first of the three brick-houses which belongs to the smith of the village, Grimnus Brytner. It is said that the family Brytner has dwarven blood in the veins since they are very able artisans and by all means the members of the family Brytner are all shorter than average. Master Brytner, as he is called, is a skilful, if not brilliant, smith who feels strong pride about a well-done work.

The inn „The Third Man“
Brytner’s closest neighbour is the tavern of the village, also the inn, the Third Man. The inn has two floors, four single rooms and two double-rooms. Wine and food are of approved quality but there is not „the little extra“ one can find in the taverns of bigger towns. The inn is run by an unhealthy lean man who is known by the nickname „Bone“. He is an honest man who nevertheless does not hesitate to put up higher prices for the well-to-do guests. He is also known for his fiery temper and his shrill voice.

City hall
The third house of stone is the house of the village council. Once every half a year the people meet there to deal with possible problems or discuss how the year’s harvest will be. These days even a bailiff is here who has come to collect the taxes or to deal with violations of the law which may have occurred. Nevertheless, the city hall is not used most of the time.

The fools’s hut
In the village’s outskirts, near the rim of the forest, lies a ramshackle hut which is inhabited by the idiot Helmut. He is rarely seen in the village but strolls around in the forest in the night and sleeps during the day. Few know what he really does for a living but most assume that he plunders other people’s traps in the night. More than one angry hunter has found his snares empty at morning and then it Helmut is often blamed. In spite of that he is mostly left in peace and there is virtually no-one who thinks he does more serious things than poaching and stealing potatoes.

The dog’s kennel
Five-hundred meters south of the village is the house in which Atar Bevin lives. Esquire Bevin breeds hounds and has for that purpose a kennel with ten dogs directly behind the house. Because of the dogs he lives outside of the village. The people do not like to hear the dogs bark in the mid of the night. Mr. Bevin also really hunts dangerous beasts of prey which ravage the region, for example bears and wolves.

The monastery
Located lonely on the verge of the mountain stands the dreary stone-building which once served as a place for the nobility’s fickle pleasures but now it is a retreat for those who want to dedicate their lives to study the teachings of the One. The heavy door which leads into the castleyard is closed and there are no guards visible through the loop-holes which formerly would have served to keep bandits and enemies away. The large tower of the core building appears above the walls like an ominous figure. No flag or banner decorates the grey walls, no sound of life or business is heard through the howling of the wind. This is truly a desolate place, a home for lonely souls.
If the characters arrive here at night, they will not get in if they do not climb over the castle walls. There are no guards on the top of the wall; the only guards who are awake at that time of the day are two who patrol in the central building.
During the day one can ring a bell and one will be let in through a minor lateral door (To open the large front door takes too much time).
The monastery consists of a five floors high central building which is shaped like a four-sided tower adjacent to a smaller pavilion. The wall around the core building is four meters high and has a tower at each corner. These towers are all ramshackle and unmanned since a long time ago. A stable for up to thirty horses can be found at the northern side of the wall. The castleyard itself is deserted, with a small belltower in the midth, close to the well. The bell is used by the monks to call to the meeting every morning and evening. Thirty monks and fifteen soldiers live in the monastery when the adventure begins.

1st floor
Formerly the banqueting-hall and the kitchen were here; now the hall serves as dining-room for the monks, and even a bath-room with three big pods has been installed here. The bath-room has a small door leading to the castleyard, a door which does not close properly because of wry hinges. This will mean bad luck for certain persons.
Side to side with the bath-room is the lavatory with space for five persons.

2nd floor
This is the floor where the monks live. It was originally the floor for the servants and their small rooms now serve as the friar’s cells.
Every chamber has a hard bed, a small closet and also a washing basin.

3rd floor
This floor contains the chapel, that room in which the monks hold their masses. A small altar in an almost empty hall (apart from the spartanic wooden benches) give the room an austere and meditative mood.

4th floor
Formerly for the nobles, the floor contains the private chambers of the abbot. The abbot is a shining example of the fact that what valid for the lower ranks of the Church’s servants regarding comfort and accommodation is not necessarily valid for the higher ranks too. The abbot’s room is a flamboyantly equipped room with a broad of massive oak with a large writing-table of carved wood. On the bedside-table lies a big, leather-covered copy of Nomen.

5th floor
At the moment lives here the inquisitor with his soldiers; here is also the monastery’s library. The soldiers sleep in the diverse rooms in groups of three.

What can the characters accomplish in the monastery?
That depends wholly on when they choose to visit it. If they go there during the first days, the abbot will meet them with suspicion and will not share his suspicions about heretics in the region with them, but he will try to convince them to do good in the village. If they ask difficult questions, he will wind and answers as evasive as possible.
The inquisitor will neither welcome them with open arms; will firstly try to find out what kind of characters they are. If they pressure him with questions, he will give them only short answers.

The inhabitants of the monastery
Abbot Berius – paranoid head of the monastery
The abbot is a stout man in his Sixties; he is bald and his face is furrowed by the hands of time. He has a pair of piercing eyes and he has never a light expression on his face; instead he is always of bad humour. He also wears a golden ornament in the shape of the One’s symbol around his neck.
He is by his nature a fearful and nervous person, and this nervosity has progressed over the years to a full-fledged. He believes constantly that the agents of the Darkness are around and has the tendency to distrust all strangers who do not wear the Church’s symbol on their clothing.
Most of all he distrusts women with whom he has never made good experiences.
Most conspicuous basic attributes: MEN 16 • AGL 4
Nature: 4
Lacks all fighting abilities, is clumsy.

Inquisitor Grevorius – grim interrogation leader
Grevorius is a man in his early Forties. He has short raven-black hair combed backwards and he lacks the left ear-lobe after a confrontation with heretics some years ago. His nose is hooked and he has a pointed chin. No-one would ever call him good-looking but he is conspicuous in a striking way. He constantly wears the white robe of an inquisitor and leaves rarely his room without his sword at his side. He is easy to irritate and is exaggeratedly suspicious but he is not the worst inquisitor in the Church’s service and he can be quite reasonable if his mood permits it.
Most conspicuous basic attributes: MEN 13 • AGL 13 • PER 15
Nature: 14
Very good in combat and awareness abilities

Brother Balus – the abbot’s right hand
Balus is the monk who – apart from the abbot – has the highest authority in the monastery. He is fifty years old and has a white ring of hair around his bald head. He has a snub-nose and a too large mouth; he cannot be called attractive by anyone’s estimation. The only thing that speaks well for him is that he is diligent and loyal, something that gained him the abbot’s confidence. Baldus is a real bore who likely never has laughed in his whole life.
Most conspicuous basic attribute: CHAR 5
Nature: 12
Expert in learning, useless in combat.

The lake
If you step out of the underwood you stand on a glade surrounded by pines and spruces. In the centre of the calm glade is a small lake, the water of which is stagnant and musty. Mud and parts of plants float on the surface of the foul smelling water and the bottom of the lake cannot be spotted. Neither the sounds of birds nor the clank o frodents can be heard and even the wind seems to be unnaturally silent...

When the characters come to the lake they can find the tracks of boots which show that there have been activities in this place lately. If the characters come here during the first days they find only the tracks of the first six soldiers but as the action overview explains there will be a feverish activity at the lake in the following days. As the Narrator you have to adapt the trails which the characters can find here to give them the opportunity to discover the meanwhile fallen soldiers if they are clever enough to follow the tracks; and later in the adventure they can find the heretic’s traces leading back to their hiding-place at the Spearslope. Those which drank from the lake and fell for the Darkness have gathered in a distance of three kilometres in the forest where they rest at day and wait for the night and for Arkain to come and fetch them. They are accurate in hiding their tracks and to find them should be very difficult.

The lake’s henchmen
Indifferent and quiet are those who have fallen for the water’s power. They operate indifferently but act as fast as usual in combat. They ignore pain and feel neither fear nor terror. The enslaved soldiers use broadswords and round shields and wear chainmail and helmet.
The villagers fallen for the Darkness use the weapons the have at hand: hay-forks, scythes and similar things. All villagers have 10 in all basic attributes and have no fighting abilities.
The soldiers have AGL 12 and are experience fighters.

The wolverine
The wolverine is a large marten animal which weighs about forty kilograms. It has a dark-brown fur and sharp claws. It is an excellent climber and this peculiar wolverine is totally mad.
Most conspicuous basic attribute: STR 20 • AGL 19 • PHY 16 • PER 15
Absolutely life-threatening in combat.
Because of the ferocious nature of the wolverine it goes berserk in combat, which gives it the capacity to take an accumulated deadly wound without falling to the ground; besides it has an extra attack at the end of each round.
Claws and bite do the same damage, namely 4. The fur has RV 2.
Bevin’s cabin
If the characters arrive to late to save Mr. Bevin as am arriving they may nevertheless take the time to have a closer look at his house.
The cottage is simple and consists of only two rooms. easy and consist exclusively two chamber. A dead dog lies inside under on of the smashed windows and there are obvious signs of a fight in the bed-room. The furniture is in disorder and there are dirty bootprints allover the floor. It is obvious that those who attacked the cabin have not killed Mr. Bevin instantly since there is no trace of blood except around the dead dog. The characters can conclude that the attackers have taken him elsewhere...
The Spearslope
In dark majesty rises the place called Spearslope. The Spearslope, actually not more than a steep hill with stoneblocks dispersed everywhere, gives an uncanny impression in the now so quiet forest. Light fog rises from the moss and covers the feet like a veil. On the top of the hill there are three rectangular stoneblocks which in former times where used for executions, a testimonial of the original purpose of that place.
The region around the Spearslope is full of stoneblocks and hollows. The execution place itself is situated on the top of the hill and consists of three rectangular rocks, two by three meters large and one meter high. The rocks are dark and scary; around them is a dark aura after so many people’s lives ended here.
The heretics
In one of the many caves around the Spearslope is a group of heretics which inquisitor Grevorius hunts since he has come to this place. They are five in number and lead by a very dangerous man, Arkain Baal, who realizes that he can use the lake to take his revenge with the inquisitor. After several weeks of escape from the Church the heretics need to rest. And they have chosen this place because it seems to be avoided by normal people. Besides, it is good that the game in this district guaranteed food supply. In the third night the heretics kill a hunter from the village who by mistake stumble into their hideaway. The wife of the hunter can tell that her husband has said to place some snares around the Spearslope in spite of that this place is regarded as haunted. At the Spearslope there are tracks of several persons, even if the heretics tried to sweep them behind them. The heretic’s den is in a quite big cavern which has two entrances, each one has a diameter of not more than one meter. Additionally, they have camouflaged the openings with sticks to make a discovery even more difficult.

Arkain Baal – Dark herald
Arkain is a titanic man, about two meters tall, but not particularly broad-shouldered. He wears his red hair in a long braid over his back and is very pale. His eyes are gray and seem to burn with a cold fire. Arkain wears a dark-gray coak with hood and has armoured gloves of dark iron. In the left ear hang five silver rings and he has a scroll in a leather-case chained to his belt. At first sight Arkain looks like he is in his Thirties but his look is considerably older. His tunic and pants are black and at the moment quite dirty. His only weapon is a war club of steel with the club’s head shaped like a raven.
Arkain Baal is runnning from the Church since many years. His fall to the Darkness was fast and irrevocable. In his youth he was a novice in one of the many monasteries of the Church, but somewhen on his way he found writings about a stronger and finer power than the One offered. The dark seed within him grew till the day when he heard of the Iron Gate’s opening. Below the darkened sun he swore loyalty to the Darkness and in the same night he sealed his vow he wandered from room to room and killed the sleeping monks in their cells. Then he went out to find the task the Darkness had for him.
Arkain is extremely charismatic and emanates self-confidence as well as determination. He is a master in manipulating those around him and can make doubt all except the most pure-hearted Knights Templar. He is totally unscrupulous and cares for no-one but himself and his own goals. He will gladly sacrifice all his henchmen if that helps him to escape.
Most conspicuous basic attribute: CHAR 18 • AGL 13 • STR 8 • PER 14 • MEN 14
Nature: -15
Outstanding in all forms of Communication, very good in combat with the war club and unarmed combat. Special object: Arkain wears a war club of a dwarven smith with peculiar appearance (cf. description above). That shape makes the weapon also to be used as a missile weapon (throwing weapon) and the ravenhead’s bill is excellent for piercing armour. It is quite heavy and is to be used as a two-handed weapon. Along the grip are dwarven runes engraved with the weapons name: Bloodbird.
STR 8 • DAM 10* • AV 15
*all armour values are halved

The scroll chained to the belt is Arkain’s own diary and it is veritable treasury for heretics. He uses it as his own “holy scripture”, as he tells his companions.
If Arkain sees the situation becoming dangerous at any time during the adventure he will flee and use his disciples for a distraction manoeuvre if he must. If he escapes he can become an excellent nemesis in future episodes.

Nomus – dwarven heretic
Nomus is a young dwarf with coal-black hair and broad shoulders. He is always well-shaved and wears a brown tunic and gray trousers. He has a heavy crossbow and a shortsword. He has a broad nose and eyes sitting placed closely together; around his neck is a large scar as if caused by a snare.
Nomus is a feeble-minded and unsure dwarf who does not own any leading ability. That makes him an excellent instrument for Arkain Baal’s plans because he follows all orders blindly.
Most conspicuous basic attributes: MEN 4 • CHAR 6 • STR 15 • PER 15
Nature: -13
Good in combat, incompetent at most other things.

Remaining heretics
Willing to sacrifice themselves and dirty are the adjectives which are describing best these bunch of shaggy and dirty men. They all have followed Baal for such a long time that there is no hope for them and they are hardly especially mentally sharp anymore.
Most conspicuous basic attribute: AGL 12
Nature: -10
Good in combat and wilderness.
What happens then?
If the heretics escape, they may become a recurrent danger, especially Arkain Baal can appear again and again in further adventures. If the inquisitor survives he may employ the characters for the hunt for the fleeing heretic and perhaps he might wish to extinguish the Darkness’ influence in the lake. And is the Spearslope really haunted? At least the villagers believe it anyway. Is the monastery’s problem over now that the abbot is dead or does the incident feed rebellious thoughts about the Darkness’ power?
Wait and see.
And is the war club Bloodbird really cursed, as some dwarfs claim? There are many possibilities to continue the tale but that’s up to the Narrator.


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