New Map... Now with Adventure!

Posted by Labyrinthian in , , ,

Continuing with the style I've been working on I present this map, the third it the series.  This map began with no purpose other than creating another map and working on things I didn't like about the previous map.  However, as I was making it I found myself creating an adventure as I went along.  It's an odd way to create an adventure, and certainly a first for me.

Part One:
Essentially the set up is this; the party are garrisoning a small broken down tower at the top of a lonely hill on the western border of a small Barony.  This is understood to be a very dishonorable assignment, as the Barony is currently under attack and the tower (called Highwatch) is about as far from the action as it gets.

Who is attacking the Barony?  Well hold on I was about to get to that.  Last year during a tournament and festival a mysterious Knight clad all in Black showed up and challenged the Baron, Viktor Teague, to a duel to the death, clamming grievance against the Baron's family for some wrong done the mysterious Knight's house.  Unwilling to battle a man he did not know the Baron ordered his Knights to capture the rogue and clap him in irons.  Unfortunately the Black Knight's prowess in battle was beyond anything the Baron or his Knights had ever seen.  He slew five of the Baron's best before riding away and vowing that the whole Barony would pay.

That fall the Black Knight seemed poised to make good his promise.  From far off he rallied an army to his banner and launched an assualt against the Barony.  He attacked from the east, taking the tower of Eastguard and slaying all who were stationed there.  Just as it seemed nothing could stop him from marching on the rest of the Barony an early winter froze the Black Knights campaign.  His army set up camp around the tower he had taken and waited patiently for the spring thaw.

As the game open spring has finally begun to chase away the snow.  The roads and trails are still muddy and the fords impassable, but that will soon change.  The Baron has summoned all his men to him and prepares to make a stand at the town of Calton, one of the Barony's three largest towns.  As he will need all his best and most experienced soldier to defeat the Knight in the field he has summoned all veterans to his banner and replaced guard posts with green inexperienced youths.  Thus the PCs have been sent far from the conflict to guard a tower so small and inconsequential that the greatest danger seems of dying of boredom.

But not too long after settling into their new home at Highwatch tower they find their new role in the coming conflict will be anything but small.  If the PCs do not succumb to melancholy at their assignment and remain vigilant in their duties (keeping watch, going on patrol, etc) they notice a group of strange men who have set up camp in the area.  If the PCs are not vigilant then a messenger from the nearby hamlet of West Haven is sent to let the garrison of the tower know.  Either way the PCs have a chance of spying on the men as they lay encamped at the base of the foothills.

It quickly becomes apparent to any PCs who eavesdrops on the campers that they are part of a second army that the Black Knight summoned and is approaching from the West.  These men are the advanced scouts, sent ahead of the main army to find out what kind of opposition they can expect.  The men are laughing and joking about how easy it will be to sneak in behind the Baron and take his castle when he moves his forces east to challenge the other force.  The PCs have two main option here, let the men go, or try and take them out.  Now these men are professional soldiers so they are no pushover, but at the same time if the PCs employ stealth they can take them unarmored and unawares.  Patient players find that the men have at least one guard on duty at all times.

Boy this is getting long... More after the jump!

If more than half the company are slain the Black Knight's men flee, or if cornered, surrender.  Though the PCs may not be under any obligation to accept their surrender, they main find them useful as evidence when approaching they Baron.  At this point the PCs should seek to warn him as fast as they can.  Good aligned PCs will likely want to warn the village of West Haven that a hostile army is fast approaching, though this will delay their journey. It could become a catastrophic delay as the Town will want the PCs to protect them on the road.  This will slow they down their journey to the point that they may not make it to warn the Baron in time!  Make it clear the PCs what they would be agreeing to if they decide to aid the villagers.  They would have to wait for them to gather their women, children, worldly possessions, livestock, etc before they could even move out and even then they would move painfully slow.  It's a good moral dilemma and one that has consequences later.

Assuming the PCs move quickly they will catch the Baron as he is leaving his castle with his army.  He will not be happy to hear the PCs news, and he will even be skeptical.  However, since the PCs have evidence (either in the form of prisoners or evidence taken from their bodies) the Baron will eventually relent and prepare for a siege.  A quick word on Baron Teague.   He is a good man, but he is very proud.  He also puts the needs of the many over the needs of the few, which means he will not be all that sympathetic to the plight of the villagers.  He will not spare soldiers to go and protect them, nor will he allow them in the castle should they arrive it prior to the hostile army.

Part Two:
As the PCs have proven themselves as men who can get things done they will draw the attention of the Baron's Uncle, Heinrich Teague, who is one of his closest advisers.  What?  No he isn't evil.  The Uncle was one of the Knights who battled the Black Knight at the tournament.  He claimed to have smote the Black Knight a clean blow that would have felled any man or beast.  If pushed he will confess that he does not believe the mysterious Knight to be human at all.  He bids the PCs depart the castle before it comes under siege and journey north to the Wandering Wood.  There legends speak of an old Wise woman who has lived many lives alone in the wilderness.

At that point the PCs must choose between fighting a hopeless battle against the Black Knight's two armies and going north to try and find this mysterious woman and hopefully get some answers.  Any thought that the PCs may be abandoning their Lord in his time of greatest need should be dismissed by the Uncle.  You as the GM must use the Uncle character to impress upon the PCs that all will be for not unless the Black Knight can be defeated.  If the PCs stubbornly remain at the castle then they will almost certainly be trampled under the boot of the Black Knight, as will everyone else.

The Uncle doesn't know where to find the old hermit, but he recommends that the PCs begin their search by speaking with an old friend of his who is garrisoned at the tower at the center of Edgarton, a town on the banks of Deepwallow lake. 

The road north to Edgarton is not necessarily safe.  A number of random encounters could waylay the PCs, including running into more advanced scouts.  When they arrive at Edgarton and meet with their contact, a grisled (very) old soldier named Howard Moore.  He will direct the party northward to the small village of North Haven where the people have been said to see the enigmatic old woman from time to time.  Howard is so eager to help that he will offer to accompany the PCs.  However, as he is nearly seventy years old the group will quickly find that he is more of a hindrance than a help.  As for the rest of Edgarton it is, as stated above, one of the three largest towns in the Barony.  There are merchants to buy from and to sell to.  Something the PCs should take advantage of if they recovered anything from their previous battles.

North Haven is much less large, being more of a hamlet than a village.  The people there do indeed claim to have seen the old woman, who they claim is a witch.   They claim she appears at the edge of the wood every full moon, and as luck would have it the full moon is coming up!  If the PCs choose not to wait, but instead search the Wander Wood for the Witch's home they may quickly become lost, finding out the hard way how the forest got its name.

If they approach the Witch during the full moon she does not flee or in any other way attempt to evade the group.  She knew they would be coming to talk to her, though she won't reveal how.  The Witch speaks in riddles and rhymes and offers more questions than answers.  When the PCs get to the topic of the Black Knight the Witch says in a sing song voice,

He who has gone, 
has come again.  
The one who did slay, 
he much disdain.  
Though he is gone,
two remain.
At lest for now,
they fight in vain.

The Witch smiles a great deal and delights in being evasive and unclear.  Eventually can be brought to admit, in fairly plain terms, that the one who has gone but come again is the Black Knight who has risen from his grave to avenge his death at the hands of the Teague family.  The two who remain are the Baron and his Uncle who fight in vain to defeat that which they cannot.  If the PCs are smart they know now that they face a supernatural enemy that no normal weapon can harm.  They need look no further than Heinrich's story about his battle with the Black Knight for evidence.  If they press the Witch for answers on how to defeat the dark warrior she says, again in a sing song voice:

There is a weapon,
that lies in shadow.
Search the darkness,
far below.
Remain wary,
or feed the crow.

More than that the Witch will not give without a sacrifice.  She requires one of the party's blood in trade for her information.  If they refuse she tells them that this is their one chance and that she will not return until the full moon rises again.  If they accept she greedily takes out her knife and a jar with which to collect the blood.  This sacrifice leaves the party member weekend for one week.  Apply whatever penalties you feel appropriate; Strength, Con, increased fatigue factor, HP penalty, etc.  The Witch's trade comes in her normal riddling form:

Seek the place where the Dark Knight Fell
Seek the weapon that was bid Farewell
Seek the blade both good and True
Then seek the Knight of Blackest Hue

No more will the Witch tell, and she dissolves into the Wandering Wood, her terrible cackle echoing in the darkness.

Truth be told the Witch knows little else surrounding the Black Knight's death, but if the group put up with Howard to this point they are rewarded with hearing the rest of the tale.  It seems that two hundred years ago the Lord of the Lands was named Dane Harlow, and he ruled from his seat at Harthmoore castle.  Unlike the current Baron he was cruel and unjust to his people who eventually rose up under a young Knight named Kyle Teague.  Teage led the assault on Harthmoore Castle personally and slew the evil Baron with his own hands.  Many local people know the story, as it has passed into the realm of legend, a proper knowledge or gather information check  in a local settlement will yield the story as well.  According to legend Kyle Teague left behind his sword at ruins of the old Lord's castle in a symbolic gesture of putting the past hurts of the Barony behind and ruling with a fair and gentle hand.

At this point the PCs should realize what the Witch was going on about.  They need Kyle Teague's sword and to get it they must return to the place where this whole affair started, the ruins of Harthmoore Castle deep in the Blackspire forest.  Legends of the evils dwelling in the forest are rampant in the Barony, and anyone with a  decent amount of local knowledge has heard of the place, though perhaps by a different name.  By now what is left of the Castle is often just called the Blackspire Ruins, its true name beginning to be forgotten.  The forest surrounding the ruins is a dangerous place filled with nasty creatures who are drawn to the evil radiated by the remnants of the castle.   
The castle itself should make the forest around it look like a walk in the park.  Vile creatures of evil and undeath dwell there making it a hostil environment for even the most battle hardened adventurer.  If the party follows the clues given by the Witch they will seek the basement of the Keep where the Former Baron made his last Stand.  There they will find (guarded by a potent enemy) the Sword of Kyle Teague.  Getting out is no longer a problem.  The evils of the keep and the forest part for anyone who holds the sword before them.

Part Three:
The Party should make great haste back getting back to the Baron's Castle.  When they arrive it is under Siege by the Black Knight who commands his armies from atop a black steed.  As the party approaches he feels a strong prescience and rides to meet them with some of his closest lieutenants.  When he meets the PCs he is confident of their demise, until he sees the sword.  It is obvious from the first that he greatly fears the blade, and his horse rears and nearly throws him from the saddle at the first sight of it.

This is the final battle with the Black Knight for good or ill.  The character wielding the Sword of Kyle Teague would do well to engage the Black Knight as it does a ton of extra damage against him and he is easily the most formidable opponent in this battle.  If the party is defeated you can describe in vivid detail the deaths of all the major NPCs at the hands of the merciless Specter Knight.  If the PC are victorious though the Black Knight's army sees his banner fall and begin to break ranks fleeing into the countryside.  The PCs are heralded as heroes by the Baron and his Uncle.  Rich rewards accompany their success, not the least of which is the magical sword of Kyle Teague which the Baron bids the party keep in honor of their victory.  Non standard rewards such as Knighthood and Lands would also certainly be applicable.  Oh, and if the PCs helped save the people of West Haven from the Black Knights approaching army they should receive an extra reward from the townsfolk who banded together to reward their heroes.

So that's it, in a nutshell.  No mechanics yet, just an adventure and a map.  Speaking of which... here's the whole thing.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 04, 2010 at Thursday, February 04, 2010 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



This is great! I'd love to run this adventure for my group. Do you plan on fleshing it out with full stats??? Will it be for hack master???

I hope so!

February 4, 2010 at 9:08 AM

O.. and I love the map. Maybe your best one!!

February 4, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Thanks, SmakOrk. I hadn't planned on doing a full version with stats, but I suppose it isn't beyond the realm of possibility. I definitely need to catch up with my, "Diary of a Gamer" section first!

February 4, 2010 at 3:25 PM

I just found this site and wanted to compliment you. This site is great and this adventure is excellent. Good job!

February 6, 2010 at 2:56 PM

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