Thursday, July 13, 2017

Adventure Seeds: The Mid-Land Keep of Lord Horach

As the Player Characters' fame and fortunes have grown, so too have their reputations for dealing with troublesome matters. A recruiter, from out of the Mid-Lands, has heard of their exploits and approaches the characters about a job. It seems that a growing danger has reared its ugly head, the dead have returned from their graves to plague the lands of the living, and the players are needed to help end this menace.

Lord Benedikt Horach, a man known for his faith to the gods and a most hospitable host to tradesmen and travelers alike, has been dealing with the outbreak of minor undead for several months now. At first it was a few isolated incidents, but soon grew into a more serious problem of small clusters of undead wandering in packs across the countryside. His human troops have proven themselves in combating the outbreaks, but the threat still grows, with no relief in sight. To this end, Lord Horach has sent out recruiters to find men and women, possessing special skills and abilities, in order to seek out the source of this unholy scourge and put a stop to it.

The layout of Lord Benedikt Horach's keep has been provided to give the PCs a base from which to operate. The Mid-Land Keep is the nearest major stronghold for days in any direction, making it a center for trade and services. A small village, with a recently erected wooden palisade, lays at the foot of the hill upon which the keep sits. Details of the village and its NPCs are left up to the DM.

Suggested NPCs

Lord Benedikt Horach - Veteran of the Border Wars, he is a trained and experienced knight. Though not as physically powerful as he once was, he is as good once as he ever was. Lorded for his service to the Crown, Lord Horach has long been a benefactor and protector of the Mid-Lands.

Sir Ector, Captain of the Guard - The son of Lord Horach's squire, Justanine, from the wars, he has risen through the ranks to himself be knighted by his lord. It is his constant drive and vigilance that has seen his men survive in the struggle against the undead. He does not welcome the PCs, but sees them as rivals. Loyal to Lord Horach, and in love with Quin Anne, he hopes to prove himself to Benedikt and win her hand in marriage.

Quin Anne - Daughter of Benedikt Horach, and lady of the castle. Quin Anne, is of average beauty, but her quick wits, vivacious personality, and fair treatment of others, has won the hearts and loyalties of her father's people. Though not a trained warrior, Quin Anne is an accomplished rider, master of the bow, and very skilled huntsman. She loves Sir Ector, who frustrates her constantly with his need to "prove himself worthy and win her hand". If she didn't have the responsibilities of the castle, she'd have kidnapped him and eloped already.

Scrödd - Though seemingly the least of the defenders of the castle, he is small and misshapen from a childhood incident. Scrödd is both clever and resourceful. Sir Ector will place Scrödd in charge of the "guests" (the PCs) as a gesture meant to insult, but the players will soon realize that they have been given a valuable resource and font of information. Quin Anne is very kind to Scrödd, and sees him for the bright young man he is, she suspects his injuries were sustained while saving her life from falling off the castle walls as a child.

Adventure Suggestions:

The recent undead consist of skeletons and zombies. They are animated by a powerful necromantic force that makes them a bit tougher than normal. All of them appear to have been partially feasted upon before their reanimation.

Skeletons - Arrows and other small projectiles are of no use against the skeletons, as are small hand weapons.

The zombies can be taken down, but do not stay down unless their heads are removed or damaged severely. Any player taking the precaution of using a half-action to crushing their skulls while they are temporarily down will succeed automatically, otherwise they regenerate health (not body parts) slowly (1 hit point per round) and rise again in the same combat.

Necrobites - Once a monastic order of monks (not the martial arts kind), living in a monestary several days ride from Horach's keep, they have been overtaken by the Necrophage. They now live in a system of caverns and mines, serving the will of their unholy master. They still retain their spell-casting abilities, but have since turned evil. Any spell using characters that are killed by the Necrobites, will quickly return as a Necrobite NPC themselves.

The Necrophage - An unholy plague, spread by creature calling itself Ordo. This plague has taken hold of most of the monks, turning them into Necrobites. Those that are not transformed are then consumed for food, or reanimated as skeletons and zombies.

Ordo - A creature from beyond the world of men, it came to earth as a comet, burying itself deep upon arrival. It has slept for millennia, until recently uncovered by dwarven miners, who all perished to the creature's ravenous appetite. Ordo can not walk under the sun, and remains in the caverns. The details of this horror are left to the DM. It is suggested that Ordo be played in the background for awhile, to provide a long reaching antagonist to the PCs. The Necrobites will draw the PCs away from Ordo, and appear to be the culprits.

Special Thanks:

I wish to give a special thanks to Hussein Horack, for allowing me to use his original drawing. I had to do a slight photo re-edit because the chapel was accidentally drawn backwards.. Something I hadn't noticed until the artist himself pointed it out.

You can view more of his work HERE, on his DeviantArt page.

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