Neverglades Manor

Apart from Wikkid’s excellent Sword of Burigar, there don’t seem to be a lot of full adventures to help me with learning the system… so I thought I’d try to flesh out one of my own.

I’m new to the system, having only played one session so far (second session coming soon), so please feel free to offer constructive critiques. I’ll be posting individual sections of my experimental adventure as I create it in additional posts on this thread.

PS – As written, I’m intending this as a relatively challenging adventure, likely one for a party with at least 1-2 prior adventures under their belt, perhaps even Level 2. However, all Obs are set to be accomplishable by a well-prepared Level 1 party, 'though they may require multiple journeys.


At the dawn of humanity some of the Elven people believed the young race would help to usher in a new golden age – with the proper mentoring and leadership, of course. Alisanriel was one of those elves. She left the elven lands to live among the humans, her wisdom and magic revered by the young primitives. Yet outside the elven lands, the world proved to be sadly… perishable. Humans aged and died. Flowers and even trees withered in the passing age. Alisandriel mourned their passing, each in turn, until finally the strain of years become too much.

Yet, in her pride, Alisandriel did not retreat to the eternal lands. Instead, she sought to set aside the fate that the gods had wrought for the world of mortals. No more would her precious buds wither on the vine. No longer would men forget the lessons she had so long and arduously taught, to wither away in their dotage.

Alisandriel was among the greatest of her peers. She had learned much from the rapid pace of life among the humans. Even now, her name is whispered with reverence, for much of the healing knowledge of men still harks back to those early days. Eventually, she would ascend to ranks of the immortal lords, or so many believe. For short-lived humanity, her memory has faded, somewhat, for new immortals have ascended. Perhaps she was destroyed in her eternal war with Entropy. Whatever the case, some vestige of her power may still be found in the mortal realm.

It is into this tableau that our heroes enter, for they have discovered documents which lead them to believe that a trove of alchemical formulae – the key to creating magical elixirs which can succor the sick and the wounded, perhaps even stave off death itself – may remain in the ruins of an ancient manor, abandoned in a dark woodland by an elf named Alisandriel.

Digging for leads (asking around):

It is assumed that most parties will not have the funds or the patience to conduct extensive advance research on to the site. Remember that each topic gives +1 to Lifestyle Cost, and the PCs are run out of town if their combined Lifestyle Ob ever exceeds their Resources + Treasure. All of these assume this activity takes place in the nearby village. Add +1 Ob for every step removed on the travel map.

Circles Ob1: The Neverglades woods are a dark and forbidden place. Even brigands and cuthroats (pointed look) do not venture lightly within.

  • MoS 2: A powerful sage named Alisandriel once lived there; people came from leagues around to ask her for healings, or wisdom. I guess they stopped coming when folks stopped coming back out again.
  • MoS 3: Alisandriel was a powerful elf who wielded great influence over the powers of life and death. Some say she ascended among the Immortal Lords, 'though few now remember her name. (Unlocks Theologian test at Temple, Ob3, to gain +2 bonus on the shrine events. This may stack with the +1 donation bonus. All recovery rolls are considered Alisandriel’s idiom.)

What lives there: (Evil GM factor: avoided by the locals, +1 Ob)
Circles Ob2: Wolves and other woodland predators, yet larger and more daring than normal

  • MoS 1: The restless dead prowl the woods, longing for days gone by. They wish you to join them… and you will never leave.
  • MoS 2: The trees… I swear, they watch you. They wait until you sleep, and then they kill you. Whatever you do, don’t sleep! Never sleep…

What treasure can be found:
Circles Ob3: Someone’s relative was once lost there. She stumbled out again a decade later, starving but aged by not a day! Clearly faerie magic.

What traps are there:
Circles Ob2: I saw a skeleton once… the roots of a tree had reached up to wrap them, like it had drained the life right out of him!

Conditions: Afraid
Example Twists:

  • MoF 1: Dangerous information: Carry extra torches. Them woods get awful dark and awful cold; you’ll want a torch to keep ya warm and help ya see.
  • MoF 2: Misinformation: Werewolves haunt the wood. Best stock up on wolfsbane (Ob2) and silver daggers (Ob4).
  • MoF 3: Another adventuring party (possibly including PC enemies) gets word of the inquiry about treasure, and organizes a rival expedition.


Nearest towns:
Remote Village: closest town, adventure start location
Busy Crossroads: from Village, pay Resources Ob1 bridge tax -OR- rig rope bridge Dungeoeer Ob5 -OR- build raft Carpenter Ob3 (or less if multiple turns / trips)
Metropolis: from Crossroads, hire horses (Resources Ob1, Rider Ob1) -OR- wagon (Resources Ob2) -OR- walk (Health Ob2 or Exhausted)
Religious Bastion: from Crossroads, hire horses (Resources Ob1, Rider Ob1) -OR- wagon (Resources Ob2) -OR- walk (Health Ob2 or Exhausted), on arrival must visit Temple (min Lifestyle Cost +1)
All Others: from Metropolis, hire transport (Resources Ob2) or walk (always Exhausted)

Entering the Neverglades:
Pathfinder Ob6: reach the bridge
* MoF 1-3: reach the inner woods, roll encounter
* MoF 4-5: reach the outer woods, roll encounter
* MoF 6: attacked near town! Conflict + start again from town

Traveling within the Outer Woods:
Inward: Pathfinder Ob4: reach the bridge
* MoF 1-2: reach inner woods, roll encounter
* MoF 3-4: still in outer woods, roll encounter
Outward: Pathfinder Ob2
* MoF 1-2: still in outer woods, roll encounter

Traveling within the Inner Woods:
Inward: Pathfinder Ob3: reach the bridge
* MoF 1-3: still in inner woods, roll encounter
Outward: Pathfinder Ob4
* MoF 1: reach the outer woods, roll encounter
* MoF 2-3: still in inner woods, roll encounter
* MoF 4: still in inner woods, roll encounter on 1d6+4

Traveling from the Manor:
Pathfinder Ob5: reach the village
* MoF 1: reach outer woods
* MoF 2-3: reach inner woods, roll encounter
* MoF 4-5: reach inner woods, roll encounter on 1d6+3

Notes on the Cartographer skill:
Cartographer works normally if travelling within a region (Manor / Inner Woods / Outer Woods). It does not function between towns. It adds +2D when travelling between regions where both the departure and arrival locations are mapped.

More than anything, I would love to know what mentality you have when approaching your adventure construction.

Region 1: The Outer Woods:

Travelling within the outer woods operates as normal for wilderness travel, but the atmosphere is already gloomy. Daytime is dim light, night is total darkness. All campsites are considered Typical Wilderness Camps.

Although the encounters in the outer woods are relatively safe (comparatively), the GM should emphasize the gloomy and foreboding nature of the region through description.

Encounters (2d6 or as specified):
2 – Site: Trapdoor Spider Den
3 – Site: Graveyard
4 – Obstacle: Strange Tracks (Hunter Ob3: choose whether to encounter creature(s) with +1D in first turn or Twist: wandering monster)
5 – Obstacle: Shrooms Field (Scavenger Ob3 or Alchemist Ob4: gain forage for party, else Afraid) - ignorable
6 – Obstacle: Soaked and Cold (Survivalist Ob2 or Hungry/Angry/Exhausted/Sick, Cloak gives +1D, Tinderbox gives +1D)
7 – Wandering Monster: 1D3 Dire Wolves
8 – Obstacle: Tripping Hazard (Scout Ob2 or Angry/Injured)
9 – Obstacle: Scalable ravine (Dungeoneer Ob3 or Hungry)
10 – Site: Waterfall
11 – Site: Abandoned Cottage
12 – Site: Destroyed Caravan

Possible Wandering Monsters: Dire Wolves, Giant Bats, Owlbear, Ogre, other beasts

Region 2: The Inner Woods:

The leaves of the trees, at least near the PCs, interweave to form an impenetrable canopy, rendering the entire area dark. All campsites are Unsafe Wilderness Campsites.

The inner wood is where things start to get really strange. Nothing dies in the inner woods – literally nothing. Even creatures eaten and digested or burned to ash return as restless spirits. All other conditions are applied as normal, but the Dead condition cannot be applied due to injury or sickness. Creatures killed in a kill contest are returned to life within hours… at least until they leave the inner woods, at which time they drop permanently dead.

In addition, the characters are being watched almost constantly by Treants while within the inner woods, although these creatures engage in no movements or conflicts which would reveal themselves. They prefer to act more indirectly, as noted in the “Meddling Trees” entry. Give the characters the constant feeling of being watched. Trees move subtly to obscure paths or confound landmarks, and bugs pester the characters by the thousands. Characters climbing tree to spot landmarks are likely to take a very nasty fall as branches slip or give way (Health Ob3 or injured).

Encounters (2d6 or as specified):
2 – Site: Statuary Garden
3 – Site: Flowerbed
4 – Trap: Root Trap
5 – Trap: Deadfall (Scout Ob4 or injured, +1D if PCs realize something is up with the trees)
6 – Wandering Monster: Restless Dead
7 – Obstacle: Meddling Trees
8 – Wandering Monster: 2D3 Dire Wolves
9 – Trap: Deluge / Flash Flood (Survivalist Ob4 or Scout Ob6 or Exhausted/Sick, +1D per free hand among all helpers, may drop objects), followed by Soaked and Cold above, note: “climb a tree” may be a bad idea, here!
10 – Site: Lake
11 – Site: Dire Wolf Den
12 – Site: Supplicants Camp

Possible Wandering Monsters: Dire Wolves, Ghouls, Giant Bats, Treant

Outer Woods Encounters:

Site: Trapdoor Spider Den

A giant trapdoor spider has made a lair here, among the debris of a group of fallen trees. A Scout test at Ob4 can detect the spider’s lair before it springs its ambush, allowing the spider to be confronted or avoided.

On a failure, the rearmost PC is grabbed and pulled within the creature’s lair, where a conflict begins. The following modifiers are provided to the conflict:
Use stats as stone spider, with the following dispositions: Kill 12, Drive off 8, Flee 5
Weapon (Kill, Drive Off): Trapdoor: +2D to Defend during any action not assigned to the hostage PC, weapon may be disarmed. Hostage may not benefit from light sources carried by other characters.
Weapon (Flee): Hostage: if Disp reaches 0 before weapon is disarmed, any compromise must leave the hostage PC behind, weapon may be disarmed

Be sure to note the effects of chitin armor and poisonous fangs, as these require additional book-keeping during the conflict.

Within the spider’s lair are the remains of its past victims, which include a salvageable helmet, an empty jug, and a scroll case containing a rudimentary map and a half-dozen pieces of amber, each with a tiny insect set inside (gems, 3D). The map leads to another adventure site, where an insane wizard magically captures and mutates various vermin into supernatural monsters.

If the spider is killed (not just driven off), camping within the spider’s lair grants a +1 on the camp roll; the lair no longer has this safety bonus after the next time the PCs return to town.

Site: Graveyard

This is an old, ruined graveyard, long overgrown by the forest. Stone markers, in various states of disarray, litter the area.

Contrary to the PCs expectations, the restless dead do not rise up to the attack, here. However, if the PCs attempt to search the area for treasure, they may make a Stonemason test, Ob2, to discover a hidden cache within one of the biers. Within, the party find a mix of copper and silver coins worth 4D (total: copper x2 and silver x2).

However, stealing these coins makes an enemy of the band of four Wererats which uses this stash. Unless the party explicitly conceals their tracks (Hunter vs Wererats 6D), the wererats engage in a campaign of harassment, periodically tracking down the PCs and attempting to Trick them into various dangerous situations.

Site: Waterfall

This waterfall provides a peaceful, restful landmark within an otherwise frightening environment. In addition to providing a landmark for cartography, all checks to recover from Angry or Afraid are at +1D at this scenic location. The water here is fresh and potable.

Unfortunately, the water source also attracts other creatures. For any wandering monster encounter following camping at this site, increase the number of creatures by 1.

Site: Abandoned Cottage

This abandoned cottage still retains some integrity against the weather. Moreover, a large supply of pitch and firewood laid aside allows a Scavenger Ob1 test to create replacement torches equal to the MoS+1. After the third such test, these supplies are exhausted.

Site: Destroyed Caravan

Some horrible fate has befallen this expedition, which appears to have been surprisingly well-equipped. Although no valuables can be found, a variety of gear can be found here.

Loot: various Large and Small Sacks (contents spoiled or destroyed, but containers usable), ample skill supplies for Peasant, Carpenter or Weaver skills, two flasks of oil, and a pair of usable ropes.

The ogre which wanders these woods makes the ruined caravan site his new home, prowling the outer woods during the day, but returning here at night. Making camp on this site requires a Scout Ob2 to spot the creature approaching in the dark before it spots their campfire (with MoS 2 the party may retreat without alerting the creature). A similar test may be made for parties foolish enough to travel at night. GM Note: the ogre interrupts camp, but not the camp phase unless a disaster is rolled. Otherwise, allow the PCs to finish their camp activities before the encounter.

The Ogre’s stats are: M5, N7 (Smashing, Devouring, Intimidating), Disp (K14, DO11, F7, R/T3). In K/DO conflicts it uses a huge club which eliminates the unarmed penalty but provides no bonuses.

Note quite sure I follow the question. What do you mean by my “mentality”?

To take a shot at answering, I’m using the guidelines in the TB book, with the intent of providing a fair but challenging expedition, and occasionally tweaking the rules in new and possibly interesting ways.

This looks very cool! I love the setup!

It also looks huge. By the scope you’ve laid out so far, I imagine it will take many sessions to play through!

The Entering the Neverglades stuff is neat. However, once they fail that initial Pathfinder test (which is likely, of course), how about some options for navigating that don’t necessarily rely on additional Pathfinder tests? Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have the Pathfinder option, but think about things like Scout to seek out landmarks or maybe even blazes, Laborer to hack through dense growth, Hunter to find game trails, etc. Even the Lore Master factors for recalling lore might come into play.

Thanks! Appreciate the feedback!

It’s a good catch to allow some other tests to allow them to “make progress” in advancing among regions; I’ll give that some thought. I’d be very hesitant to make that a Scout test, as that seems to be the most heavily used skill in the game thus far, but I like the idea of something like Loremaster or Hunter, which are less used.

That said, with a cartographer and trial and error, even a group with only Beginners Luck should eventually be able to find their way in or out (4D, with Ob3 the highest difficulty to shift between regions.)

I’ll try to finish up the next set of encounters tonight if I can, but I have a couple work commitments and some PbP games I need to make sure are up to date, first.

PS – Once I finish building it, I’m planning to run through it once with my playtest party, so I’ll post how many sessions it winds up taking them. :mrgreen:

Inner Woods Encounters:

Monster: Dire Wolves

The dire wolves of the inner wood are starving, for lack of food in the region, though they cannot perish from their hunger. This makes them extremely aggressive. They are actually overgrown and truly ancient wolves… some of them have even learned to speak the local dialect.

GM Note: Large groups of dire wolves may be exceptionally dangerous to PCs, due to their high nature and exceptional Flee disposition. However, because of their extreme hunger, dropped food provides a strong distraction: +2D per fresh ration, and +1D per preserved ration to any action in a Flee contest.

Loot: after killing dire wolves, a skilled Hunter will automatically realize the value of their pelts. Removing the pelts without damaging them is an Ob1 Hunter test; additional pelts increase the Ob by one per pelt. Pelts are stackable: three per pack/2 slot. The pelts are worth 1D per two pelts, but the local market is easily saturated. Selling more than 1D at the local village or 2D at any other town halves the value of the additional sold items. Sales at a Metropolis are unlimited. Given that animals killed in the inner woods may return in a few hours, be sure not to miss the chance to have some of the creatures in later encounters be “pre-flayed”.

Monster: Restless Dead

The inner woods are positively crowded with the restless dead, but unless the expectation of an adventuring part, there are not ghouls or barrow wights, but merely the shades of small creatures of the forest, who have neither the temperament nor the desire to do harm to the party.

However, there are some few, more human and more malevolent spirits, corrupted by the ages of boredom, who intend harm to the PCs. Although these spirits are bodiless ghosts, they are not entirely helpless to do the PCs harm. They may move small objects through force of will, enough to harass and potentially even injure the PCs, through equipment failure, hurled object or a misplaced step. Further, while the cold and draining touch of these creatures is nothing compared to a true wraith or spectre, prolonged exposure may drain away the party’s energy, leaving them hungry, exhausted, or even sick. With nothing to fear from the party’s weapons, and unmolested spirit may slowly drag a wayward adventurer to the brink of doom.

The initial encounter will be 1D2 spirits, but each additional encounter includes an additional 1D2 spirits (minus any destroyed), as more and more of the restless dead gather to pursue the party. These numbers continue to increase until the party leaves the inner woods.

The two primary ways to confront these spirits are the Fury of the Lords of Death (each spirit has a Might determined on 1D3), or a Banish/Abjure contest. The party may also attempt to reason with the spirits, ‘though they are difficult to sway from their vengeful nature. Finally, the spirits might be driven off, but any Attack or Feint actions must use flame (at -1s) or holy items (water / symbols) or are reduced by -4s. The spirits are M(1D3), N5 (Haunting, Avenging, Harassing), Disp (B/A 8, F 5, C10, DO3)

Loot: The focused will of these creatures causes flashes of memory to appear in the minds of the adventurers as they battle. These flashes should mostly be descriptive: on no value to adventurers hundreds or thousands of years later. However, the GM should roll on the Wandering Monster Loot tables as appropriate for the might of the opponents. For each roll other than “Stuff”, the GM should provide one hint or image of the challenges to come, and their solutions.

(more to come… but probably not tonight…)

Monster / Obstacle: Meddling Trees

The Treants in this module are not intended as a direct threat to the PCs, although some circumstances might cause them to take direct action. For the most part they are the looming threat in the background, indirectly attacking and harassing the PCs as they move through the area in their quest to reach the manor.

When selecting targets for their interference, the Treants are influenced by their particular hatreds: they have a strong fear of fire, and a lingering resentment toward elves (thanks to Alisandriel). When selecting targets, the Treants prefer torchbearers, elves, lantern-bearers, and candle-holders, in that order.

The treants have a variety of ways of meddling with the PCs without directly exposing themselves.

  • When the PCs pause for rest or provisions, creeping roots slowly move to hide small items, spiriting them away. A Scavenger Ob2 can re-discover the “misplaced” items.

  • Subtle shifts in the position of various plants may lead PCs into contact with various stinging nettles and ivies. Lore Master, Hunter, or Survivalist Ob2 allow the PCs to notice and avoid the dangerous patch, while failure causes Angry / Exhausted / Sick.

  • Usable resources become more difficult to find when facing active opposition. The Ob of any standard Hunting, Survivalist, or Scavenging test in increased by +2 while opposed by the Treants.

  • Cooking attempts may be fouled by unpleasant items dropped into stewpots and campfires. Cook tests suffer +1 Ob. Do not inform players of this penalty in advance. MoF 2 or more may cause sickness among those consuming the food.

  • The creeping sense of doom and constant sense of being watched causes PCs to be at +1 Ob to recover from the Afraid condition.

  • Campfires become scattered by wind, smothered by an accumulation of wet leaves, or covered in dust and debris. The ground proves surprisingly hard and uncomfortable. Well-covered resting spots are exposed to the elements by morning. All campsites are at -1 on the Camp table.

  • Items suspended among the branches of trees to keep them from predators are stolen, never to be seen again.

  • Characters climbing trees for any reason discover “weak spots” or difficult climbs which result in nasty falls. (+3 Ob to relevant check, Health Ob3 or injured)

Once the PCs have attracted the attention of the Treants, they are likely to lose these conditions and annoyances only by retreating to the Outer Woods or while within the Manor.

PCs who are foolish enough to set the forest they are standing in on fire deserve exactly what they get; kind GMs may choose to convey this caution to the players. The Treants will attempt to corral the PCs using the flaming trees, while creating a firebreak from the rest of the woods. Treat this as a Flee conflict (Disp 14), and forewarn players that death is on the line. The Treats and trees are treated a N7 with 1D3 helpers (Weapon: flaming trees +1D Attack and Maneuver, -1D Defend) for purposes of the conflict. Compromises should generally be applied toward injured and exhausted. GM Note: Being incinerated is one of the few ways to truly die in this region. Although PCs will return as restless spirits, they will be out of play unless the GM feels they can make a meaningful contribution to the party in that state.

There are approximately 20 Treants scattered through the woods, 'though they slowly move to intercept those bearing fire. Treants avoid direct conflict, and appear in nearly all respects to be normal trees when immobile, but can be identified by those who know specifically what to look for. A Lore Master Ob5 can identify such traits, as can a Scholar Ob3 test with the appropriate research facilities. Should one be forced into a physical confrontation, they are N7 (Lurking, Judging, Punishing), M5, Disp (Kill 14, Drive Off 11, Convince 7, Riddle 4) and generally do not pursue those who flee. In a K/DO conflict, they use the following weapons: Nearby Branch - Feint +1s, Nobby Branch - Attack +1D, Maneuver -1D, Tough Bark - Defend +2D, Maneuver -1D.

Site: Statuary Garden

The PCs stumble upon an attractive area dotted with statues… statues mysteriously clothed in the remnants of badly weathered clothing, even including some ruined finery. Each bears expressions of horror or surprise; most are sunken deep into the ground as a result of their weight and long tenure here. Some of the statues are missing fingers; a dwarf or those skilled in Dungeoneer or Carpenter will automatically recognize chisel marks. No valuables remain on these statues, ‘though other signs of looting persist, and are easily recognizable by those with Criminal skill (purses cut open, belts or straps severed, etc).

Wise PCs will have run away by now. We continue on the assumption that the PCs prove foolhardy.

Near the center of the “garden”, a statue reaches under the remains of a wagon, wrecked cages scattered from it. On the statue’s finger is a beautiful gold and ruby ring (worth 4D), outstretched on its hand as it reaches into a burrow-like hole.

PCs attempting to interact with the statue without going near the burrow will face an uphill battle. The heavy statue has sunk to the knees in mud over the intervening years. Most checks to attempt to move it without disturbing the burrow should come in around Ob4 to Ob5.

The hole contains a half-dozen baby cockatrice, recently hatched. The mother observes from nearby, where she rests in a shallow depression, shaded by some small trees (she can be spotted on a Scout Ob4 by anyone specifically looking away from the burrow; failure on this roll put the PC in the creature’s path when it attacks). Meddling with the burrow (peering inside, poking, flushing out, etc) draws the creature’s wrath, sending her charging to the attack.

Fortunately, even an angry lizard-chicken does not pose sufficient threat to armed and trained warriors to provoke a conflict. It can be easily fled, slain using ranged weapons, or even in melee.

Unfortunately, rage and surprise present the potential of a PC being pecked before an effective defense can be mustered. PCs near the one who provoked the cockatrice’s rage must roll Health Ob3 to avoid being pecked; the targeted PC must roll Health Ob4. PCs equipped with shields are at +1D for this roll.

Pecked PCs receive a special Sick condition, to reflect the petrification process slowly spreading through their body. Each failed recovery roll is treated similarly to “sucking up” an injury, save that all penalties may be removed when the Sick condition is eventually recovered. PCs actually choosing to “sweat out” the sickness face the normal, permanent penalties, as well as loss of the use of one limb (usually a hand) until the spell is broken (generally via an appropriate quest or adventure). Any PC for whom Health, Will, or Nature is reduced to 0 may be considered fully petrified.

The baby cockatrice panic and scatter when the mother attacks, potentially pecking any PCs who come after them. An immediate Hunter Ob5 test would allow a PC to safely capture one of the creatures without being pecked before it escapes; their peck has the full effect of an adult cockatrice, except that PCs gain +1D to recovery rolls from the special Sick condition.

Safely transporting and selling a baby cockatrice are left as an exercise for the GM. They should be quite fragile and dangerous, but potentially worth a small fortune to the right buyer. Overall it should eventually prove to have value only slightly smaller than the amount of trouble it caused for the PCs.

Site: Flowerbed

This area is scattered with strange flowers which produce a soporific musk. Characters may make a Lore Master Ob2, Survivalist Ob3, or Hunter Ob4 test to identify this effect before they are affected; with MoS 1, the GM may also note the potential beneficial effects. PCs who enter this area with the Afraid or Angry condition immediately recover those conditions. However, characters without these conditions must make a Will Ob3 test or become Exhausted.

Characters who make camp in this area suffer a -1 on the camp roll. In the event of a disaster, all exhausted characters enter a deep coma from which they never awaken (without some sort of quest-based curative). All characters awaken from this camp with the Exhausted condition.

Trap: Root Trap

Throughout the woods, the Treants have scattered manufactured sinkholes, covered over with a network of roots. Through their ability to control trees, this area becomes usable as a clever and deadly trap. Should be PCs encounter this are before coming to the notice of the Treants, it proves to be completely uneventful, ‘though the GM should feel free to play to the PCs paranoia for as long as it remains interesting.

PCs travelling through the area may use Scout or Lore Master Ob4 to recognize that the roots in the area seem to lie particularly shallowly in this area. PCs who wish to skirt cautiously around the area should be offered the opportunity to do so with a Pathfinder Ob2 test.

PCs who wander directly into the area of the trap while under the observation of the Treants will find the ground suddenly giving way beneath them, while entangling roots grab and wrench at them to prevent their escape from the area.

All PCs in the danger zone must make a Health Ob2 test, to leap clear of the sinkhole itself, and oto the clinging roots. Those with MoS 2 manage to clamber fully clear, into the “safe” zone outside the roots, where they may render help to others attempting to escape. Those in the root zone must make a further Criminal Ob2 test to win free of the grasping roots. (GM Note: Remember that help dice are applied before halving for Beginner’s Luck.) Failures in the root zone may move the PC back into the sinkhole, or may impose Exhausted / Angry / Afraid conditions. Failures in the sinkhole result in PCs becoming progressively buried: each failed test increases the Ob of the test to escape by 1, until it reaches a level of (Health – 1). At that point, the PC is considered totally submerged in the sinkhole, and begins to accumulate conditions as it tries to break free: Angry / Afraid / Exhausted / Injured / Dead. They should be informed that death is on the line upon first becoming submerged.

Note that because of the strange nature of the region, the Dead condition will not actually a applied to the PC, ‘though this should be communicated privately. Instead, they will be considered entombed and immobile until their companions recover their body with a Laborer Ob3 test, or until they work themselves free on their own (GM’s discretion, they likely rejoin the party at the beginning of the next session).

Site: Lake

The local lake is, compared to the woodland around it, a safe and serene environment. It provides abundant fishing (via Hunter at normal difficulties), and the small island at the center has a source of fresh, potable water. If the PCs can swim or build a raft (bearing in mind that cutting trees may lead to challenges of their own) to the small island in its center, it provides a potential safe campsite (Typical Wilderness Camp at +1 on the camp table).

The only significant danger at this site is that the water source on the island is easily fouled. After the third use, drinking from the water source requires a Health Ob2 or become Sick. A Survivalist Ob1 can prevent a given use of the campsite from accumulating, while Survivalist Ob4 is required to cleanse the source once it has been fouled.

Site: Dire Wolf Den

This simple dug out burrow is large enough to be entered by PCs, but it is unlikely that the dire wolves will wait for them to invade their home before confronting the party.

At any given time, there are likely to be 3d3 wolves present. Should the PCs flee immediately, only 1D3 will pursue. In the wake of a victorious DO conflict against the PCs, the wolves will initiate a pursue conflict, with 2d2 chasing in pursuit (GMs may allow PCs to apply compromises on the drive off conflict toward reducing the initial disposition of the wolves for the Flee conflict).

If the PCs are successful at initiating a kill conflict against the wolf den, any further encounters will be reduced in number by -2 wolves (in both the inner and outer woods). In addition, the wolf den itself contains the gnawed remains of some former prey, including one well accoutered warrior who wandered to close to the lair itself. Said corpse is still wearing a mildly rusted suit of chainmail, helmet, shield, and a torn Satchel (Weaver Ob2 to repair) containing a bundle of preserved Wolfsbane. (It seems likely that he heard the Werewolf rumors in town.)

Site: Supplicants Camp

This overgrown campsite was once the size of a small hamlet, a tent city of dozens of petitioners come to beg succor from Alisandriel. As the woods become more dangerous, the site was gradually abandoned, but desperately ill pilgrims continued to come for many years, and not all left before succumbing to their illnesses.

‘Though time and other passers-by have long since removed all items of value to be found in the open, it is still possible to find a variety of intact supplies here, if the PCs are willing to spend a significant amount of time sorting through the dross and chaff. PCs may make up the four Scavenger tests here (starting at Ob1 and increasing by one per test). Failures cause Hungry / Angry / Sick, as well as advancing the turn counter by a number of turns equal to the MoF. On success, the PCs may locate Healer supplies (MoS 0), Rotgut (as Wine, MoS 1), Ancient holy symbols (MoS 2), or even soothing elixirs or poultices (MoS equal to creation Ob-1).

The restless dead, both hostile and non-hostile, are particularly active at this site. Twists at this site should nearly always involve the restless dead in some manner, and the GM should emphasize sightings of various spirits as the PCs pass through. PCs making camp here are treated as being at a Dangerous Wilderness Camp, with disaster indicating that one of the PCs has been possessed in their sleep. PCs can be exorcized with a Banish conflict as described in the Restless Dead entry, but the spirit is likely to use the leverage of the party’s concern for their fellow adventurer against them.

Great work.

Thanks, David. I’m still working on getting the manor grounds up, but work was challenging last week, which has slowed me down a bit. Glad to see that someone is interested, at least; that makes the work a bit more rewarding.

The Manor Grounds

The manor grounds are haunted by spirits of all sorts, far more densely than the outer woods, ‘though fewer of these spirits are hostile. Be sure to describe spectral apparitions glimpsed from the corner of the eye in the flickering firelight, etc. During the day, this area is exposed to daylight, ‘though it is recommended that the PCs usually arrive at night or during overcast skies.

The Bridge

As the PCs approach the manor, they find a narrow gully, the remains of a small stream that is now mostly dry. Looking along the stream, they can see a battered stone bridge in the distance, apparently on the verge of collapse. The gully itself seems eminently fordable, but there is a black substance of some sort covering its bottom. Thousands of mosquitos buzz above the stream, the high-pitched shrieking of their wings a constant annoyance.

Should the PCs attempt to ford the stream directly, or molest the substance at the bottom, the black “substance” actually proves to be millions upon millions of starving mosquitos. They rise up as a huge swarm, blotting out torches and clinging to the PCs bodies. PCs in the mosquito swarm are considered to be in total darkness (there’s that many of them!), and are forced to flee in one direction or the other before being eaten alive. For purposes of the flee contest, the swarm is N5 (feeding, breeding, swarming), M3, Weapon: clinging swarm (+1s Feint). Fortunately, the swarm’s Flee disposition is only 5 for retreat, or 7 for advancing. Attempts to drive off the swarm are generally fruitless, but if the PCs come up with a clever plan (using large quantities of flaming oil, for example), allow the conflict at Disp 10.

Leaping the gully or crossing the bridge is likely to prove more fruitful. Leaping requires Health Ob4, with +1D if vaulting using a 10’ pole, and failure resulting in encountering the swarm. Crossing at the bridge is far safer, it can be crossed using a Stonemason Ob1 or Dungeoneer Ob3 test. Failure disturbs the swarm, forcing the PCs to sprint the rest of the way across before the swarm gets organized (Exhausted / Afraid), while failure with MoF 2 causes an encounter with the full swarm or a twisted ankle (Injured) at the GM’s discretion.

Once the PCs have crossed the bridge (below), the constant drone of insects from the outer woods drops off, and silence reigns. The transition should be somewhat eerie – spring it on the PCs, along the lines of “suddenly, everything goes silent, ‘though you still have the sensation of being watched.” This is actually caused by the Manor’s Vermin Ward a short distance past the bridge, but this information should only be provided to PCs using Supernal Vision.

From the foot of the bridge, the remains of a footpath lead toward the front door of the manor. Also visible from here are the stable, toolshed, and the outhouse just behind the rear corner of the manor proper.


The toolshed contains a variety of gardening supplies, but little of use to would-be plunderers. An armorer could conceivably turn some of the gardening tools into serviceable weapons (Spear or Dagger Ob2). A character with the Peasant skill could assemble one unit of skill supplies; in addition, a Peasant Ob1 check will allow the player to take note of the complete absence of any tree-pruning equipment, and the presence of a ladder which might prove long enough to reach the second story windows.


Contrary to tradition, there is nothing to be found in the outhouse, ‘though PCs attempts to find something might conceivably make them Sick.


The stables are rank with the smell of mildew, but otherwise unthreatening. Two sets of tack and harness (Rider supplies) can be found here, in rough but usable shape with a little TLC. PCs searching the stable can find a small trap door tucked away in one corner, containing a passage which leads to the kitchen within the manor. The passage is sized more for a large dog than a person; halflings navigate it as an Ob2 Criminal check (or Angry), while larger folk find it much like trying to put on a chainmail shirt one arm at a time – theoretically possible, but darned uncomfortable (Ob3 or stuck or Injured). Navigating this tunnel puts PCs into the Cellar.

Entryway & Trellis

The front door to the manor is an elaborately carved, solid wooden door, flanked on both sides by a heavily overgrown trellis which reaches up to the second floor. The door itself is magically sealed with a variant of the Word of Binding spell, which may only be release by those who know the appropriate pass phrase. Hanging above the door, well out of reach, is a Vermin Ward mask. A Lore Master Ob2 reveals that it has been used in the enchantment which keeps the wooden manor safe from the depredations of insects and small animals of all varieties; removing the mask will dramatically accelerate the destruction of the manor (rendering it unsafe after the next trip to town – the GM should add appropriate hazards).

Careful examination of the inscriptions on the door using Wisdom of the Sages allows a Lore Master Ob2 (Angry) to identify protective wards on the door; with MoS1 the passphrase is also revealed. Otherwise, the passphrase might have been revealed through encounters with the Restless Dead in the inner woods. Scaling the trellis is a relatively easy Dungeoneer Ob1 check (Angry), but opening the latched upstairs window shutters requires a Criminal Ob3 check due to the additional difficulty of perching on the trellis or ladder. Failing the Criminal check for the windows, or smashing windows (no test) or door (Health Ob4 or Exhausted) triggers the magical wards (Will Ob3 or Afraid).

Rear Entrance / Ground Floor Windows

The manor also has a rear entryway, and a variety of shuttered ground floor windows, all of which are sealed and protected in a manner similar to that described for the main entryway, save that the window latches are even more robust (still Ob3, offsetting the ladder penalty). The rear door is less sturdy than the front, should PCs attempt to smash their way in (Health Ob3 / Exhausted). The rear door leads into the Trophy Toom, while the windows may also be used to access the Library, Dining Room, Servant’s Quarters, or Observatory (see map for locations).

The mosquito swarm is a wonderful idea.

I’ve been reading with attention too. I love the way you present things and the overall structure of the text; it will prove pretty easy to handle for your GM/readers. And I’m fond also of the background thematic = recover what a “good” Elf left behind"
It makes a change for the classic "the Cursed Tomb of bla-bla-bla or “Dark Caverns of the Doomed bla-bla-bla
keep up the good work !

Hmm. Longer between updates than I had realized. Suppose I should post my work in progress. I take it attachments here are external links only? I have a map to post of the manor itself…

Inside the Manor

GMs should be sure to read the section on the Cellar (the Wight may pursue players throughout the manor), Distillery (hallucinations may affect the PCs), and the Balcony (the Hound may begin to hunt the PCs).

Foyer / Entry Hall & Cloakroom [FYR]

The entryway looks up a grand staircase onto a sweeping balcony; to the right, a pair of double doors stands sealed (Library); to the left, the open archway of the Dining Room. Farther into the room, doors branch off to each side (Kitchen & Observatory), as well as an open archway leading into a darkened room (Council). A small door to the left, halfway through the room may also indicate a wardrobe.

Incautious adventurers may not take note (Scout Ob3) of the hundreds of cracks running through the otherwise solid-looking flagstones in the area near the entryway. Any significant weight on these ruined flagstones will send them shattering and crashing into the Cellar below, awakening the Wight. The lead character may make a Health Ob2 to avoid plunging to the cellar; anyone helping risks falling as well (failure: immediate conflict with the Wight).

Navigating around the ruined floor requires some caution, but no test is required if moving slowly and cautiously. When running, a Sailor Ob2 (for balance) or Health Ob3 avoids the hazardous area.

The cloakroom contains just that: the moldering remains of a half-dozen cloaks, once made of fine material, but now ruined. It also contains a now-dry basin for washing.

Dining Room [DIN]

The dining room would still be impeccably set, save that it appears that some tremendous force has lifted every scrap of adornment in the room and slammed it hard against the back (southern) wall. The table is askew, utensils embedded in the wall or fallen across the floor. A cabinet leans against the wall, its front cracked, some aging but intact dishes still remaining inside (worthless/pack 2).

A door in the south wall is partially ajar; it leads onto a staircase down to the Cellar, and also onto the Kitchen.

Kitchen [KIT]

In comparison the rest of the house, the kitchen seems to have been spared much of the destruction. Various items are strewn across the floor, including some shards of glass and a few dozen glass marbles which once filled a decorative vase, but otherwise the room is mostly intact. Cookware still rests in cabinets, and long-spoiled food sits in various storage containers, some upended. A fire even blazes merrily on the hearth.

From the kitchen there are open views into the trophy room and servant’s quarters, as well as an open doorway leading into the laundry room.

Closer inspection of the hearth reveals that the fire burns despite a lack of fuel, ‘though some ashes remain. In fact, the bonds containing the trapped fire elemental within have waned in strength even more quickly than the creature itself, ‘though the elemental is nearly starving. The wards are weak enough to be broken now by any object which breaks the plane of the fireplace, freeing the elemental to feed as quickly as it can. Characters who understand its language (such as via Wisdom of the Sages) will hear its fountains of praise and gratitude, as it proceeds to consume as much of the house and kitchen as possible. It does not directly attack the PCs unless they attack first, but in a conflict it is M3, N5 (burning, growing, consuming), Disp (K10, DO 8, B/A 5, Flee 3), Weapons(Flickering: +1D Maneuver, Spreading: +1D Defend, can grow to twice original Disp). PC weapons are ineffective against it, and they are considered unarmed unless using a cloak (+1D Attack), stream of water (no bonus), or smashed waterskin (+2D Attack/Feint, expended) or similar objects to smother it. This creature is Hungry (-1 Disp).

Technically, the PCs could loot the kitchen, assuming they don’t burn down the house first. There is enough copper, tin and brass here to make 2D of treasure… for two pack/3 slots of gear. Enterprising characters who want to melt this into a more portable form can turn this into ingots worth 1D, pack/2 with a successful Armorer Ob2.

Laundry Room [LNDRY]

Giant wooden vats (note: vats not bats) perch upon struts; a large crank rests above each of them, while the moldering remains of a rope rests in the bottom of the fetid water. A pile of nearly folded laundry still sits next to the vats; now reduced to an unwearable state by the ravages of time and unkillable mildew.