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The Wizard’s Amulet
Author: Clark Peterson and Bill Webb
System: d20 Dungeons and Dragons
A short introductory 3rd Edition adventure for four to six newly-created, good-aligned 1st level characters, designed to be used "right out of the box" for your first night of 3rd Edition gaming, providing that much-needed campaign kick-start.
Graphic: PDF Version
"The following adventure is (c)2000 Clark Peterson,
Necromancer Games, and is reproduced here with
permission. No permission for further distribution is
The Wizard’s Amulet is a short, introductory
adventure for six newly created good-aligned
1 st -level characters. The adventure revolves around
Corian, a fledgling Sorcerer. While an apprentice, Co-rian
discovered a letter written by a wizard named
Eralion, who it is said some years ago attempted to
become a lich—and failed. Accompanying the letter
was a mysterious amulet with strange markings.
Joined by newfound companions, Corian set off in
search of Eralion’s keep and his supposedly unguarded
treasure. But Corian is not alone in desiring to unlock
the mystery of Eralion’s fate. Darker, more evil forces
have designs on the secrets reputedly hidden with Er-alion—
forces willing to stop at nothing to obtain...The
This adventure is designed to be used “out of the box,”
meaning you can download it and run it right away
with little preparation time. The Wizard’s Amulet is
the perfect adventure for new GMs who want to try
their hand at running their first adventure. Just follow
the steps outlined in the section entitled “Using this
Adventure” and you should be playing your first Third
Edition game within fifteen minutes!
The adventure itself covers several programmed en-counters
that Corian and his comrades face on the road
from Reme to Fairhill, the purported location of Er-alion’s
keep. The adventure culminates in an ambush
by Corian’s nemesis Vortigern who tries to capture
Eralion’s amulet by force. The adventure uses a rigid
Act and Scene format to facilitate ease of use with
little preparation. Veteran GMs should feel free to
flesh out the adventure and include events on the road
not covered in this module.
Using this Adventure
We presume you have the new Dungeons and Drag-ons®
Player’s Handbook, Third Edition, and that
you as the GM have spent some time familiarizing
yourself with the new rules. We presume you have
called over a bunch of your friends and ordered some
pizza. We also presume you have secured a good table
as well as paper, pencils and all those funny dice we
gamers love so much. You should also have a dry
erase board or some other way to draw up the “battle
map” for any encounters your character will face. A
big pad of paper will do in a pinch. If you have lead
figures or some other way to represent the characters
we suggest you use them. We recommend that you
print a hard copy of this adventure for your reference
and copies of the pre-generated characters for your
players’ use. Now sit back, relax, break out the chips
and dip (since the pizza is probably gone) and follow
these steps. You should be playing within 15 minutes!
First, read the sections entitled “Notes for the Game
Master” and “Adventure Background” to yourself,
spending a few minutes becoming familiar with the
plot line and the main non-player characters. Also,
read Corian’s Supplemental Information found at the
very end of this module.
Second, pass out the pre-generated characters that you
can download from the Necromancer Games web
site. (See the section entitled “Pre-generated Charac-ters”
at the end of this adventure.) You can do this one
of two ways: you can either pick which six characters
you want your players to play and let the players di-vide
those six as they wish. Or you can show them all
of the pre-generated characters and let them choose
which six to play.
You must include Corian, the Sorcerer, in the party.
You also should include Galdar, the Cleric, in the
party, though he is not essential.
If you decide to choose the six characters yourself, we
recommend that in addition to Corian and Galdar you
include at least two of the primary fighters as well as
either Helman, Dai or Flarian the Bard because of the
importance of having a character with stealth skills.
Playtesting demonstrates that this party composition
gives the best chance of success. You should use no
more than seven or eight total characters—with six
being the optimal number. If you add more characters
you may have to increase the number of monsters en-countered
to keep the combat challenging. If you have
fewer than six characters or if your players choose
primarily non-combat characters, then you will have to
reduce the difficulty of the encounters. Notes are pro-vided
to cover these situations.
Once the players have selected which characters they
will play, you should give the player who is playing
Corian a copy of Corian’s Supplemental Information,
found at the very end of this module. Make sure to
keep the information private, since the contents are to
be revealed at Corian’s discretion.
Third, have the characters familiarize themselves with
their characters. The person playing Corian should pay
particular attention to his or her back-story and to the
letter from Eralion.
Fourth, read the section entitled “Player’s Introduc-tion”
to yourself so you understand it and then read it
aloud to your players.
There you have it—fifteen minutes and you should
already be adventuring!
Fifth, once you have read the Player’s Introduction
aloud, turn to the section titled “Running the Adven-ture”
and play out the acts and scenes of the adventure
in the order provided. You are officially under way.
Sixth, at the end of the night use the section entitled
“Concluding the Adventure” to wrap things up.
If you want more information about continuing the
story started by this adventure, about the d20 system
or about Necromancer Games and our products, sec-tions
addressing these topics can be found at the very
end of the module.
As a final matter, remember the Necromancer Games
“golden rule”: use what you want, discard or change
the rest. We have presented this adventure in a strict
step-by-step format to make it easy to get that first
game going without any hassle. But if you want to
change some things around, go right ahead. In fact, we
hope ambitious Game Masters will use this adventure
as a campaign seed. Feel free to flesh out the city of
Reme and to roleplay Corian’s discharge from his ap-prenticeship
and his investigation into Eralion and the
amulet. Go ahead and play out the meeting between
the various characters. Draw up an overland map and
handle all the travel rather than just the programmed
encounters provided by this adventure. Maybe even
throw in a few non-player characters of your own. It’s
your world. Your players are just playing in it.
Notes for the Game Master
This section is primarily aimed at newer Game Mas-ters,
though reading the tips in this section may re-mind
veteran GMs of how they learned these same
lessons through much experience. Your players will be
mighty wizards, devout clerics, stout fighters and cun-ning
rogues. But you are in a sense above even the
greatest of these, for you are the shaper of the world in
which your players adventure. It is your job to breathe
life into these written words and make for your players
a fictional reality into which they can immerse them-selves.
Though players cannot function without a GM, it is
also true that a GM cannot function without players.
Thus, the best advice for a new GM is this: always
remember that your adventures should be like coopera-tive
stories written by both you and your players. You
must work together for everyone to have fun. That
doesn’t mean you should break rules to make your
players happy. What it does mean is that, like an en-lightened
ruler, you should adjudicate your games with
fairness and graciousness. Your power should be un-questioned
not because it is frequently exercised but
rather because it is not. You should never be “out to
get” your players. If your adventures are challenging
and you run them fairly you will be heralded as a great
You have many hats to wear as the Game Master. First
and foremost, as already mentioned, you are the fair
arbiter of the rules. But you are also the person who
plays all the monsters and non-player characters
(NPCs) that the players encounter. Where the players
play one (or at most two) characters, you will play
many: the person met at the inn or on the road, the vile
orc, the mischievous leprechaun, the evil cleric, the
friendly wizard, the power-mad king and all the gods.
You are, in short, everything except the player charac-ters.
When you are the thief, be cunning and dishon-est,
when the orc, cruel and chaotic, when the paladin,
noble and chivalrous, when the town guard, loyal and
stern. Inject as much of your own personality into your
roles as possible. Always remember, however, to be
fair both to the characters and to yourself. As one of
the best GMs to ever run a game once said: “When
playing a monster or an NPC, temper your actions with
disinterest in the final outcome and play only from the
viewpoint of that particular monster or NPC.” Being a
GM is challenging—requiring more skill than that of
the best player—but it is equally rewarding. Learn to
wear all of your hats well, and to be fair while doing
so, and your players will enjoy themselves immensely.
To assist you, we have provided “Side Boxes”—
material in the margins which are specific GM notes
deserving of special attention. Here you will find im-portant
things to remember, monster tactics, trap sum-maries,
highlights of rule changes in the new edition
and other material of specific use to you as the GM.
We hope these notes make running this adventure as
easy as possible.
We have also provided “Boxed Text”—pieces of nar-rative
to be read directly to your players to describe
key encounter areas and events. Normally, we believe
that GMs should describe encounters in their own
words. However, since this adventure is designed to be
used “out of the box” with little preparation time by
novice GMs, we decided to include the boxed text.
You should, of course, use your own words if you de-sire.
Also, because this adventure module is designed for
people using the new edition of the game rules for the
first time (both novice and veteran GMs) we have pro-vided
a large amount of step-by-step material to help
you make sure you are using the new rules properly.
One final note: Do not let disputes swallow the gam-ing
session. Since this adventure is designed to be one
of your first adventures under the 3 rd edition rules,
there is a greater chance that you or your players will
not be entirely familiar with all the new rule changes.
If a dispute arises, listen briefly to the party’s com-plaint.
If you can remedy their problem without unnec-essarily
bending the rules then do so. The point of the
game is for everyone to have fun. If you intend to rule
against the party, explain to them that after the session
you can all discuss the matter at length but that you
need to make a decision now and continue play. Then
make the decision. Remember that your decision for
that session is final. Continue with play. If, after dis-cussion
following the session, you determine that your
decision was incorrect then you should do your best to
remedy the faulty ruling. Either let the players replay
the particular encounter or, if a character was killed,
allow that character to return to life. Rules exist for a
reason. They must be enforced. But not at the cost of
damaging friendships and ruining everyone’s fun. A
good GM needs to be firm in his or her rulings but at
the same time not afraid to admit he or she was wrong
and correct that wrong. Remember, as GM you are a
fair judge, not an opponent.
But most of all have fun.
Long ago, Eralion was a good and kind wizard. He
was devoted to his patron deity, a god of law and
righteousness. As the shadow of his death grew long
and he began to sense his own mortality, Eralion’s
heart darkened and his desire for power and fear of
death became greater than his devotion to his god. He
turned his attention to ways to lengthen his fading life.
He learned the rumor of the fabled Mushroom of
Youth in the dungeon of Rappan Athuk, the legendary
Dungeon of Graves, but he lacked the courage to enter
those deadly halls. He researched wish spells, but he
did not have the power to master such mighty magics,
being himself a mage of only meager power.
Finally, in his darkest moment, Eralion turned to Or-cus,
the Demon-lord of the Undead, imploring the
dread demon for the secret of unlife—the secret of
becoming a lich. Orcus knew that Eralion lacked the
power to complete the necessary rituals to become a
lich, as Eralion had barely managed the use of a scroll
to contact him in the depths of the Abyss in his Palace
of Bones. Orcus smiled a cruel smile as he promised
the secret of lichdom to Eralion. But there was a price.
Orcus required Eralion to give to him his shadow. “A
trifling thing,” Orcus whispered to Eralion from the
Abyss. “Something you will not need after the ritual
which I shall give to you. For the darkness will be your
home as you live for untold ages.”
In his pride, Eralion believed the demon-lord. He
learned the ritual Orcus provided to him. He made one
final trip to the city of Reme to purchase several items
necessary for the phylactery required by the ritual.
While there, he delivered a letter to his friend Feri-blan
the Mad, with whom he had discussed the pros-pect
of lichdom—though only as a scholarly matter.
Feriblan, known for his absent-mindedness, never read
the letter, but instead promptly misplaced it and its
companion silk-wrapped item.
Eralion returned to his keep and locked himself in his
workroom. He began his ritual, guarded by zombies
given to him by Orcus—sent more to make sure Er-
alion went through with the ritual than to offer him
aid. As he uttered false words of power and consumed
the transforming potion he realized the demon’s
treachery. He felt his life essence slip away—
transferring in part to his own shadow, which he had
sold to the Demon Prince. Eralion found himself Or-cus’
unwitting servant, trapped in his own keep. And
there he would have stayed, forgotten to the world,
had it not been for the actions of a lowly apprentice.
Some twenty years later, a young wizard’s apprentice
named Corian learned of Eralion accidentally. During
his final days under his uncle’s tutelage, Corian and
his master had traveled to the library of Feriblan the
Mad in the city of Reme. Corian was never pleased to
visit Feriblan, for while there he was always forced to
have contact with Vortigern, Feriblan’s apprentice,
and his loathsome raven familiar—Talon. Luckily for
Corian, this day he managed to avoid Vortigern. While
perusing mundane documents in an outer sitting room
as his master and Feriblan studied ancient scrolls, Co-rian
nervously fiddled with a clasp on the back of a
small reading stand. Quite to his surprise, a secret
compartment opened which contained a small, bound
piece of parchment and an item wrapped in silk cloth.
Checking to see that his actions were unobserved, Co-rian
slipped both items into the folds of his robe. The
parchment proved to be the letter Eralion had left for
Feriblan on his last visit before his ritual, and the item
wrapped in the silk cloth an amulet of some unknown
Corian’s actions, however, did not go unnoticed. Vor-tigern
was fast becoming a wizard of some power. It
was whispered that had the old wizard Feriblan not
been mad, he would have discharged Vortigern from
his apprenticeship long ago. It was believed—
correctly—that Vortigern had learned all the skills of
an apprentice and was remaining with Feriblan under
the guise of an apprentice in order to have continued
access to Feriblan’s legendary library. Among the
many musty volumes and forbidden tomes, Vortigern
discovered a tract describing how to call forth an imp
from the lower planes. Sacrificing the familiar that
Feriblan had called for him, Vortigern summoned the
small, devilish creature in secret to act as his familiar.
The imp took the form of Vortigern’s prior familiar—a
raven—to prevent suspicion. It was this imp familiar
who, while in raven form, saw Corian take the amulet
and parchment. Talon reported what he saw to his
master, though neither knew the significance of the
letter and the amulet at that time.
Freed from his apprenticeship, Corian returned to
Feriblan. Taking the risk of asking a direct question of
the addled wizard, Corian learned that Eralion was
nowhere near powerful enough to become a lich.
“Eralion! A lich?!” the old wizard exclaimed. “He was
no apprentice, my son, but neither was he a mage with
the mastery of the eldritch powers necessary for such a
dangerous undertaking! If you have heard such rumors,
boy, I shall put them to rest. The magics required for
such a transition were far beyond his grasp.” Once on
the topic of his old friend, Feriblan spoke at length,
though in a disjointed fashion. He told Corian of Er-alion’s
keep near the village of Fairhill. Feriblan made
reference to a staff that Eralion possessed which ap-parently
had magical powers. He also mentioned that
Eralion had never returned several valuable magical
tracts and spell books. Corian left the old wizard de-termined
to find this tower and the items it con-tained—
for if Eralion was not a lich, the items should
be there for the taking!
Once again, Corian’s actions did not go unobserved.
Vortigern commanded his imp familiar Talon to watch
the old mage and Corian as they met together. And so
it was that Talon overheard their conversation. Once
informed by Talon, Vortigern guessed the connection
between Corian’s visit and the purloined letter and
item. To solidify his suspicion, Vortigern commanded
Talon to consult his devilish patron—Dispater—who
confirmed that the amulet Corian possessed was some-how
a link to Eralion’s sanctuary within his keep.
Readying himself with the necessary equipment for
travel to Fairhill, Corian visited a local tavern—the
Starving Stirge. There he posted a notice seeking the
aid of able-bodied adventurers willing to join him in
an expedition to a wizard’s tower. Promising an equal
division of all gold recovered, he soon gathered a
group of comrades-at-arms eager for adventure and
glory. Corian was also joined by Galdar, a priest of St.
Cuthbert, who was instructed in a vision from his god
to seek out Corian and to follow where the amulet led
him. Someone or something, it appeared, had angered
the god of Retribution. Corian was glad for his com-pany.
But Corian was reluctant to give the full story to his
new friends, having on more than one occasion seen
Talon, the familiar of Vortigern, peering into his
chamber window in raven form. Corian, worried that
his theft of the amulet and letter had been seen by the
wicked bird, did not wish to risk further discovery
while still in Reme. The party set out from Reme some
four days prior to the start of this adventure, with light
hearts and heavy packs—only Corian nursing the nag-ging
fear that Vortigern and his loathsome bird some-how
knew of his goal.
Their hearts would not have been so light had they
known of Vortigern’s plotting, for Vortigern had not
been idle. While Corian gathered his allies, Vortigern
assembled several magical items and two unsavory
companions. Delayed with his magical preparations,
Vortigern and his henchmen set out from Reme two
days behind Corian and his band, intent on recovering
the amulet at any cost. And that is where our story
If you choose not to locate this adventure in your own
world, the following description of the area will help
you describe the setting to your players. Reme is a
large port city on the eastern coast of an Inland Sea.
The tradeway—a merchant road—runs directly east
from Reme to the city of Bard’s Gate and on towards
the forest kingdoms of the east. North of the tradeway,
and running parallel to it, lie the Stoneheart Moun-tains.
South of the tradeway, and also parallel to it, is
the river Greywash. The vale between the river and
the mountains through which the tradeway runs is ver-dant
green and dotted with pine forests, though the
forests have mostly been cleared back from the road.
Fairhill lies just north of the tradeway about 8 days
march from Reme, approximately half way from Reme
to Bard’s Gate. Hawks and falcons are a common
sight, as are larger eagles. The vale is plentiful with
You have traveled four days from Reme with your
newfound companions. Rain and cloudy weather have
marred your travels since you left, slowing your pace
and forcing you to keep off the main road and travel
under the eaves of the light woods to the north of the
tradeway. It seems odd at this time of year to have
such strange weather. Sunshine can be seen on the far
horizon, and you all have a feeling that something is
amiss, as if a dark cloud is following you from Reme.
Each of you thinks back to the Starving Stirge—the
Inn where you formed your fellowship. You shift your
packs, which seem even heavier in the rain, and recall
Corian’s notice: “Seeking Fellow Adventurers,” it
read. “Companions to share in glory and gold and ad-ventures
unnumbered.” As you look down at your
muddy boots, you think to yourself that you would
gladly trade Corian’s promises of gold for dry clothes
and a warm fire.
Read the following text to your players:
Running the Adventure
Now that you have read the Player’s Introduction, pro-ceed
through the adventure presented below in Act
and Scene format. Each Scene begins with a section of
boxed text to be read to your players. It then contains
information for you to use to run the particular Scene.
Act I—A Safe Haven
The First Watch
Weary from the long walk, you finally find a nice shel-tered
area and build your campfire. One of your scouts
makes a quick catch of a small brace of conies and
soon the smell of roasting rabbit wafts through the air.
Each of you feels as if you can finally relax, rest your
sore feet and change into dry clothing. It appears your
luck may be changing.
The party makes their camp to get out of the rain.
Draw up a map of a small clearing against the base of
a hill, amidst a grove of trees. The small clearing is
about 20’ in diameter. The hillside is steep and gives
protection from the wind and rain, and the light trees
give some protection from the rain as well. Stress that
the characters should take off their armor and stow
their weapons to keep them dry. Make a point of men-tioning
rust and the problems of sleeping in armor.
Ask the players what they do with their other equip-ment.
Figure out where they build their fire—if they
build it in the open of the clearing, they will have trou-ble
keeping it lit. The better location would be either
against the hillside or by one of the trees under cover
from the rain. Regardless of what your players decide
to do, draw a map of the camp they set up. Ask the
party if they set a watch and if so in what order the
characters stand watch. Make them arrange their char-acters
on the map—where they will sleep, etc. Once
this is determined, darkness begins to fall, leading to
the next scene.
A Voice in the Darkness
|Darkness falls, and the fire begins to die down. As the
characters not standing watch drift off to sleep, a
child’s voice can be heard, crying in the darkness.
Taking a brand from the fire, [the person on watch]
leaves the fireside to investigate, when suddenly he is
attacked from the rear by a hideous stag-like creature
with the head of a badger, large, yellowish-gray fangs
and demonic red glowing eyes. The beast smells of
rotting corpses. Twenty feet away is another, much
larger than the first, crying in the voice that you
thought was the child’s. You are stunned that such a
beautiful and innocent sound could come from so de-monic
looking a beast.|
Read the subsection entitled “Encounter Modifica-tion,”
below, and determine what monster your players
will encounter. Then determine who has the first
watch. If you decide not to use the leucrotta, read the
boxed text provided under “Encounter Modification.”
If you choose to use the leucrotta, then the person on
watch has the following encounter:
Here it is. The first encounter. If you are a new GM,
this is probably your first time refereeing a combat. So
you might be a little concerned about running the en-counter
properly. Even if you aren’t a new GM, the
recent edition of the rules is probably new to you. For
these reasons, we have provided a substantial amount
of detail on how to run this encounter step-by-step, so
that novices and experts alike will feel comfortable
running the encounter under the new rules.
The person lured away from the camp has been drawn
ten feet into the woods surrounding the clearing in
which the party has made camp and there has been
attacked by a young leucrotta. The mother leucrotta is
making the noise of the crying child, drawing the char-acter
on watch right by where the baby leucrotta is
hiding, ready to spring. As the character passes by its
hiding place the young leucrotta jumps out of the dark-ness
to strike. Though the boxed text makes it seem as
if the character has been surprised by the leucrotta,
that has yet to be determined.
Starting Combat: The first thing you need to do is
determine if the character lured into the woods is
aware of the leucrotta prior to the attack. If he is not
aware of the leucrotta then it gets a free round to act,
known as the Surprise Round. Have the character roll
to see if he has spotted the leucrotta as he passed by it.
To see if he spotted the monster, the character has to
roll against his Spot skill. His Spot check is an op-posed
roll (see Table 4-3). To know if he makes the
Spot check, you first have to know how well the
leucrotta is hiding. Roll 1d20 for the leucrotta and add
his bonus for his Hide skill, plus a modifier of +2 (+4
for his small size, -2 for his hideous stench) for a total
of +4 to the 1d20 check. If the character rolls a higher
modified number on his Spot check than the leucrotta
did on his Hide check then the character sees the
leucrotta before it attacks and he is not surprised. If he
fails his roll then he is surprised and the leucrotta gets
a free Surprise Round. You do not have to roll for the
other leucrotta (the mother) because she does not enter
Surprise round: If the character is surprised then the
young leucrotta gets a free Surprise Round. In that
round, the young leucrotta will make a 5’ move out of
hiding and attack the character from the rear with its
bite. This is a partial action, since the leucrotta has
been readying, waiting for the character to walk by.
The leucrotta, since it is attacking from behind, gets a
+2 bonus on its attack with its bite. Remember, that
during the Surprise Round, all surprised characters are
“flat footed” and do not receive their Dex bonus to
their AC. In addition, persons (and monsters) acting
during the surprise round can only make partial ac-tions.
And don’t forget that the leucrotta’s bite is ar-mor
piercing—see its listed Special Quality. Because
the attack in the surprise round is from behind, the
armor piercing bite effects the target’s armor, not his
Initiative: After the Surprise round or if the character
is aware of the leucrotta you need to roll initiative. All
combatants aware of each other must roll 1d20, adding
their initiative bonus if any. The higher roll moves and
attacks first. If there is a tie, the combatant with the
higher Dex moves first. Record the order of initiative.
Persons who subsequently enter combat roll initiative
and are added to this ranking. Remember, a person
remains “flat footed” (without their Dex bonus to AC)
until they have actually acted. So if the character lured
into the woods loses initiative he remains flat footed
until he acts.
What the Young Leucrotta Will Do: If the character
is not surprised, the leucrotta will still take the action
described above—do a 5’ move and attack. The
leucrotta will then, next round, turn around and retreat
at full movement, using its special attack “Retreat
Double Kick.” It still hasn’t mastered this attack tech-nique,
so its rear kick is at a minus (already reflected
in the monster stat block for the young leucrotta). If
the young leucrotta won initiative, then this kick at-tack
happens before the character can turn around and
so is at +2 to attack. After this initial attack and re-treat,
the young leucrotta will make a full movement to
move around behind the character to try to attack him
again. However, since it is still young, the baby
leucrotta has not yet learned the importance of focus-ing
its attack on one victim. If it encounters another
person it will forget about the initial victim and launch
an attack against the new target. If there are other per-sons
nearby then they are just as likely to be attacked.
You should randomize the victims of the young
What the Mother Leucrotta Will Do: The other,
larger leucrotta is the young beast’s mother, who
stands and watches the fight, while the baby moves in,
bites and leaps out kicking. The mother is interested
in seeing whether or not the youngster is properly us-ing
the hunting techniques she has taught him. She
will remain some 20 feet away watching his actions.
The mother only joins in if the baby is killed outright
or if she is attacked. The party would be foolish to
attack her. If the mother does attack, she differs from
the young leucrotta in one important aspect—she has
the ability to do a Spring Attack, as the Feat of the
same name. This means she can move before her at-tack
and then move again, retreating and using her
kick attack, as long as she moves in total no more than
her full movement. A nasty attack combination. If
someone attacks her she does just that. Then she calls
for her and the baby to flee. If the baby has been killed
she will not cease her attacks until she is killed or un-til
every member of the party is dead.
Ending the Combat: If the baby takes a cumulative
total of 6 hit points of damage or more, the pair will
retreat into the night. Also, if more than three persons
show up to fight against the young leucrotta, the
mother will call out in their foul language and the two
will retreat. Finally, if the fight is going poorly for the
party, the GM in his or her discretion can decide that
the beasts have had enough practice and have them
retreat (mercifully). If any of these occur, the GM
should have the mother “tease” the party for the next
two nights, but not really attack them. They will con-tinually
hear a baby crying off in the distance or a wounded animal in pain.
Leucrotta, Young: CR 1; SZ Small beast (4 ft. tall
at shoulder); HD 2d10; hp 15; Init +1 (Dex); Spd 40
ft.; AC 13 (+2 natural, Dex); Atk +1 melee (1d6+1,
bite, slashing, armor piercing), -2 melee (2d6, double
retreat kick, bludgeoning); SA armor piercing bite,
double retreat kick; SQ mimic voice; SV Fort +1, Ref
+3, Will +0; AL CE; Str 9/-1, Dex 12/+1, Con 10/+0,
Int 6/-2, Wis 5/-3, Cha 3/-4.
Skills: Hide +2, Listen +2, Move Silently +1. Feats:
SA—Armor Piercing Bite (Ex): The bony ridges that
a leucrotta has for teeth can chew through metal or
wood. In addition to inflicting damage on the character
attacked, compare the damage rolled against the hard-ness
rating of the character’s shield or armor (see Ta-bles
8-12 and 8-13). Subtract the hardness from the
damage done. Then subtract the remainder from the
hit points of the item (see Tables 8-12 and 8-13). If the
damaged caused by cumulative leucrotta bites exceeds
the hit points of the shield or armor it is utterly de-stroyed.
Sustaining more than half its hit points ren-ders
a shield useless. Initial attacks are against a
shield. Subsequent attacks, or attacks from the rear,
are against the victim’s armor, which is handled in the
same fashion (again, see Tables 8-12 and 8-13).
SA—Retreat Double Kick (Ex): When a leucrotta
turns to flee it instinctively kicks with both of its rear
legs. Only one attack and damage roll is made for both
legs. This is a free action. This attack also counts as a
“Trip” attack in that the person kicked can be knocked
SQ—Mimic Voice (Ex): A leucrotta can mimic the
voice of a man, woman, child, or a domestic animal in
pain. This is often used to lure a victim into attack
range. The young leucrotta has not yet mastered this
Leucrotta, Mother: CR 3; SZ Large beast (6 ft. tall
at shoulder); HD 6d10+6; hp 38; Init +6 (Improved
Initiative, Dex); Spd 40 ft.; AC 14 (+3 natural, Dex, -1
size); Atk +5 melee (3d6, bite, slashing, armor pierc-ing),
+7 melee (2d6, double retreat kick, crit 19-20,
bludgeoning); Face 5 ft. x 10 ft.; SA armor piercing
bite, double retreat kick; SQ mimic voice; SV Fort+3
Refl+6 Will+2; AL CE; Str 14/+2, Dex 14/+2, Con 12/
+1, Int 8/-1, Wis 9/-1, Cha 2/-4.
Skills: Hide +2, Listen +6, Move Silently +5. Feats:
Improved Initiative, Sure-footed, Weapon Finesse
(rear kick), Spring Attack.
Special Attacks and Qualities: As above, though
this full-grown beast does 3d6 damage and is thus
much more likely to ruin armor and shields then is the
Description: A leucrotta is a horrible, unbearably
ugly beast. It has the body of a stag, the head of a
badger and a lionine tail. It has bony, yellow-gray
ridges for teeth and burning, feral red eyes. Their bod-ies
are tan, darkening to black at the head. The stench
of rotting corpses surrounds the beast and its breath
reeks of the grave. A full-sized male can reach seven
feet tall at the shoulder, though they average six feet.
Other animals shun this foul creature. Leucrotta are
very intelligent for beasts and speak their own evil
language. They are wicked and malicious. Because of
their mountain goat-like surefootedness, leucrotta nor-mally
make their lair in treacherous, rocky crags ac-cessible
only to them.
Encounter Modification: If you are a new GM and
running the leucrotta encounter seems too compli-cated,
then replace the leucrotta with 3 stirges. Note,
however, that 3 stirges are more dangerous than one
young leucrotta. Obviously, since the leucrotta are no
longer involved, the player on watch is not lured away
from the fire. Instead, the three stirges come flying in
with a horrible buzzing, concentrating their attacks on
the character on watch. If the players encounter stirges
they do not encounter the leucrotta and if they encoun-tered
the leucrotta they don’t encounter the stirges.
One encounter is enough for first-level characters! If
you decide to use the stirges, read the following to
|With a horrible buzzing, three strange flying insects
the size of large rats with bat wings, grasping claws
and hideous mosquito-like snouts swarm all around
you. You shout to wake your comrades as the gro-tesque
monstrosities are upon you—seeking your
warm flesh with their evil beaks.|
The stirges are not particularly quiet. The character on
watch can make a Listen check (DC 12). If successful,
he is aware of the stirges’ approach and is not sur-prised.
In addition, he can make a Spot check (DC of
14) to see them coming. The stirges concentrate on
one victim until they drain enough blood to sate their
thirst, at which time they will detach themselves and
fly away at one-half their speed—bloated from their
recent feast. If an attached stirge sustains a hit and
takes damage—even if not enough to kill it—that
stirge will detach itself and fly away seeking less re-sistant
Stirges (3): CR 2; SZ Tiny beast (2 ft. wingspan, 1
ft. body length); HD 1d10; hp 6,5,5; Init +4 (Dex); Spd
10 ft., fly 40 ft. (poor); AC 16 (+2 size, +4 Dex; AC 12
if attached); Atk +6 melee (1d3, touch, piercing, plus
special attack blood drain on subsequent rounds); Face
2 ½ ft. x 2 ½ ft.; Reach 0 ft.; SA attach, blood drain;
SV Fort+2 Refl+6 Will+1; AL N; Str 3/-4, Dex 19/+4,
Con 10/+0, Int 1/-5, Wis 12/+1, Cha 6/-2.
Skills: Spot +8 (acute sense of smell), Hide +14.
Feats: Weapon Finesse (touch), Darkvision (200 ft.).
SD—Attach (Ex): If a stirge hits with a touch at-tack
(target’s armor bonuses ignored), it uses its eight
pincers to latch onto its target’s body. A stirge attaches
itself with incredible strength and cannot be pulled
off. You must kill a stirge to remove it. If an attack is
made against an attached stirge, that attack is at –4
because the other person must be careful not to hit the
victim. The victim does not suffer this penalty. An
attached stirge has AC 12.
SA—Blood Drain (Ex): An attached stirge drains
blood, dealing 1d4 temporary Constitution damage
each round it remains attached. Once it has drained 4
points of Constitution, it detaches and flies off to di-gest
its meal. Temporary Constitution damage is re-gained
at a rate of 1 point per day.
Description: Stirges are an obscene cross between
a bird, a bat and an insect. They feed off the blood of
living creatures and are universally feared. They have
a long beak-like proboscis that they use to drain blood.
They have four or six insect like legs that end in in-credibly
strong pincers they use to attach to their vic-tims
while at their vile feast. They normally feed on
animals or children, though they are known to attack
humans when hungry. Because of their enhanced sense
of smell and the range of their darkvision, it is diffi-cult
to surprise a stirge unless they are sleeping and
digesting after drinking their fill of blood. When they
sleep they hang upside down like a bat.
The Smiling Skull
|You have driven off the beasts, though some of you
are wounded. You know that you must get out of this
wilderness soon. You travel for two more days, and
finally you believe the beast’s haunting childlike cry is
behind you. At last, the weather starts to clear, and as
you stop for a water break along a stream, you see a
strange rock formation atop a hill to the west. You
can’t be sure, but from your current angle it looks as if
the rocks have been placed purposefully. You venture
closer and discover that someone has arranged large
rocks on the top of the hill in the shape of a grinning
This is a red herring, and has nothing to do with this
adventure. In fact, it is an homage to a classic old ad-venture,
which had just such an arrangement of stones
on the hill in which a certain tomb was located. The
party may wish to waste a lot of time and energy here,
but there is nothing to find. One of the rocks, however,
has been enchanted with a Nystul’s magic aura, de-tecting
as abjuration magic (DC 18) if the party casts
a detect magic spell.
Act II—A Bird in the Hand
A Pleasant Camp
Today’s travels were a pleasant change from the previ-ous
four days. You even found some fresh blueberries
and two of your group downed a small deer. You make
camp in the open, near a copse of trees, and bask in
the warmth of the late afternoon sun with full bellies
and dry clothes. You figure your party is still four days
travel from Fairhill.
At this point, draw up a camp on the battle map. Talk
about a proposed watch order, as if you are going to
proceed to spending the night. Once those matters are
all settled, continue on to the next scene.
|As the sun drops below the horizon and the fire dims,
Corian asks you all to gather. You have been waiting
for Corian to explain more of his purpose behind the
formation of your group, wondering at his true mo-tives.
Before tonight, he has always rebuffed your
questions, saying that he will speak further when you
are far from prying eyes and ears in Reme. It appears
that time has come.|
This Scene is entirely for the players, and you should
stay out of it as much as possible. Let the player who
is playing Corian tell as much or as little of Corian’s
back-story as he or she wishes. Encourage the player
to speak to the group contemporaneously rather than
simply reading from the provided background sheet.
But remember that this is probably the first major
block of role playing in this adventure and that it is
being done with pre-generated characters, not charac-ters
the players made themselves, so the Corian player
will have less of a connection than usual with his or
her character. Let the other players ask questions of
Corian. The length of this Scene should be dictated
entirely by the interaction of the players. Just sit back
and watch. You should only intervene if the Corian
character makes an obvious mistake. But even in that
situation, don’t correct it immediately—the player may
be having Corian lie on purpose. Let them bring the
Scene to a conclusion—not you. Just as they seem to
be coming to a comfortable conclusion, shift immedi-ately
to the next scene.
|Just before Corian finishes speaking, one of you no-tices
that you are not the only listeners. About fifteen
feet away is the largest raven you have ever seen, and
it’s eyes glow with red fire. You jump up, frightened,
as the raven flies off into the night with a shriek. This
must be Talon, the familiar of Corian’s nemesis, Vor-tigern.
You fear that your enemies are near at hand.|
There is no way the PCs can kill Talon now, and he
automatically gets away in the round it takes the char-acters
to grab their weapons. Let them take several
shots at Talon if they want (DC of 35). Play up the
fear of the impending attack which never comes and
make them hear plenty of “things that go bump in the
night” for the rest of the night (2-3 noises disturb the
watch). Vortigern, however, remains a day behind the
group and will not appear until Act III. He sent Talon
ahead to scout…successfully, it seems.
The characters may be frightened into traveling at
night—which is unwise. If they do, halfway through
the night they are attacked by 3 stirges. The stirges
are completely unrelated to Vortigern and Talon and
are a random encounter. The party will not have this
encounter if they remain in their camp through the
night. Use the stirge statistics from the alternate en-counter
described in the “Encounter Modification”
section of the “Voice in the Darkness” scene, above.
Stirges (3): CR 2; hp 6,5,5. See the stirge descrip-tion
Act III—Vortigern’s Trap
You have traveled two days and nights since the de-monic
bird disturbed your camp, drawing within two
days travel of Fairhill. Finally, you feel as though your
enemies have lost your trail. You see a farmhouse off
in the fields, near the woods, and you decide to see if
the farmer will let you rest in his barn for the night.
As you approach the small dwelling, you notice that
something is terribly wrong. The farmer—or what is
left of him—lies in the front yard of the home, half
eaten and missing one arm. His wife, and three small
children lie in various contorted positions, the smallest
boy completely disemboweled. Blood covers the hay in
the yard, and a chicken pecks at the corpse of a young
girl lying in front of the barn.
You need to draw this map. Depict a simple farm
dwelling with one door and several windows, as well
as a barn, with an open front and small three-foot high
wooden-fenced pen enclosing the front area. The gate
in the wooden fence is open allowing the animals out
of the barn and pen. The farmer’s body lies in front of
his home. His wife’s body and two of their children lie
just inside the door to the farmhouse. Their young
daughter’s body is inside the animal pen in front of the
Examination of the bodies by a healer or any fighter
familiar with combat wounds easily determines that
they were all killed with swords or axes and that the
murderers were enthusiastic in their work. If a healer
or cleric with healing powers makes a successful Heal
check (DC 15) that character discovers that two of the
children have dagger-like wounds that drip a strange
poison. Allow any character with the Heal skill to
make a check (DC 28) or any person with Knowledge
(Poisons) skill to make a check (DC 24) to evaluate
the poison. If, somehow, they make the roll, tell them
it appears to be poison from some magical creature. If
the roll is failed (which it should be), tell them they
have never seen such poison before.
Searching the House: The house and barn have sev-eral
animals running around: 4 pigs, 30 chickens, and
a draft horse. In the trees a few hundred feet away—in
the opposite direction of Vortigern—are 3 cows. There
is little of value in the house, but an old short sword
hanging above the fireplace is in fact a +1 short
sword, though it has no outward appearance of being
magical. A hidden compartment in the bed (DC 20
Search check unless they specifically search the bed,
then DC 15) contains 22 silver and 45 copper pieces.
Two lanterns and numerous other dry goods are about
as well. If the party buries or consecrates the bodies,
they will not have to fight zombies when Vortigern
springs his trap (see “Ambush!,” below). If they wish
to search or bury bodies, let them do so. As soon as
they either make camp at the farm or leave the farm to
make camp somewhere else, proceed to the next scene
immediately. Don’t let the party get set up inside the
house. The encounter with Vortigern is at hand…
All right, here it is—the grand finale. But before we
begin the fight itself, a little background is in order.
Vortigern’s Plan: Vortigern orchestrated this encoun-ter
to get the amulet from Corian. He has underesti-mated
the party and believes he can simply take the
amulet by force. Vortigern and his thugs have been
following behind the characters for some time. Using
Talon as a scout, Vortigern learned the party’s direc-tion
of travel. Projecting the party’s path, Talon
scouted and found this farmhouse. Vortigern and his
thugs came here and slaughtered the farmers, figuring
that would draw Corian and his comrades to investi-gate—
setting the perfect trap. So far it has worked
exactly as Vortigern envisioned. Vortigern plans to
summon undead to surround the characters while he
and his thugs hide in the nearby trees and fire missiles
and spells at them. He then intends to send Talon to
retrieve the amulet from Corian. In preparation for this
encounter Vortigern cast a number of spells on him-self.
He is protected by the following spells: resis-tance,
shield, mage armor, and protection from ar-rows.
See his description for more details.
Encounter Difficulty: Now that you know the basics
of Vortigern’s plan, you will have to decide how diffi-cult
you want the combat to be.
Difficult: This level of difficulty should be used only
if your players are veterans and if they are relatively
uninjured going into the combat. Now is a good time
to remember the GM advice we gave you at the begin-ning
of the adventure—don’t be out to get you players.
Only use this level of difficulty if your players can
handle it. If you decide on using this level of difficulty:
Vortigern springs the trap at the most strategically
advantageous time—just as the characters are
burying the farmers’ bodies (which veterans will
Vortigern will lean towards attacking after dark if
the players are still outside, since he and all his
allies have Darkvision.
Vortigern will know the whereabouts of every
character because Talon, who has been flying
around invisible, is telling him this information
telepathically. This will let Vortigern summon a
ring of skeletons around the characters and will
allow the zombies to rise up within the circle.
The thugs will fire right into the circle of skele-tons,
since they are immune to piercing weapons.
The party will have to deal with zombies inside
their group, skeletons circling them, thugs firing
arrows at them and Vortigern casting offensive
spells at Corian, trying to kill him.
Vortigern will use all his offensive spells against
Corian, starting with magic missiles and leading
up to melf’s acid arrow. Vortigern will save his
flare spells for use on any characters that charge
Vortigern will also command Talon to use his
stinger on Corian and to pry the amulet from him
once he is dead.
This is probably the most true to what Vortigern would
do in this situation. It is also probably going to result
in one or two dead characters. Don’t worry. If you con-tinue
on to The Crucible of Freya, Shandril the
priestess can raise them from the dead. Though there
might be a small price…
Average: This is the default level of difficulty and the
one that you should use unless your players are veter-ans.
You may even use this level of difficulty if your
players are veterans but several of the characters are
injured. The general set up is the same as above, with
the same number of foes, except:
Don’t send Talon out to use his stinger on Corian.
Send Talon out invisibly to retrieve the amulet.
Have Vortigern use his magic missiles on Corian,
but have him reserve his acid arrow for his own
protection if someone charges him. He will use
flare on other fighters.
At this difficulty, Vortigern has not been using
Talon as an invisible spy, so he might not know
the location of all the characters. He, therefore,
might not spring the trap at the best strategic
time—meaning that all the characters may not be
inside the circle of summoned skeletons.
Easy: If your players are all new or if they have some
experience but several of the characters are injured,
you should use this level of difficulty. At this level of
Vortigern only has one thug with him.
Vortigern doesn’t cast any offensive spells at Vortigern sends Talon out to steal the amulet, but
Talon will be visible.
Vortigern will not have gotten all the characters
within the ring of summoned skeletons
There will only be 4 skeletons, not 5.
The farmers, also, will not rise as zombies.
If someone charges Vortigern’s location, the thug
with Vortigern will flee rather then defend him.
Starting the Encounter:
Watch what your players do around the farmhouse.
When it seems like a good time to spring the trap, read
the following text:
|As you move about the farm, Corian suddenly hears a
familiar voice. He looks over and sees Vortigern and
two large men with bows drawn, just inside the cover
of the surrounding woods some 60 feet away. Vorti-gern
has his familiar—the devil-eyed raven—perched
on his shoulder and he is reading a scroll. As Vorti-gern
finishes reading the scroll, the raven transforms
into a small, devilish, winged creature and with a
hideous shriek flies off Vortigern’s shoulder and im-mediately
goes invisible. Instantly, the ground comes
alive. [Select the names of two PCs other than Corian]
scream in terror as skeletal hands claw through the
ground and begin to encircle the party. (Read the fol-lowing
only if the farmer’s bodies were not buried and
if you are not using the “Easy” difficulty setting) The
corpses of the dead farmers also rise and move slowly
Summary of Tactics:
Before we spell out the combat step-by-step, here is a
summary of what the various combatants will do.
Vortigern: Vortigern will use his spells from a dis-tance,
focusing first on taking out Corian, as detailed
in the difficulty level you selected. He uses the trees
on the fringe of the farm as cover, which gives him +4
to his AC. See his description for more details. As
mentioned above, Vortigern has prepared himself with
several spells prior to the encounter—see his stat
block for details. He should be nearly impossible to hit
from distance. If the battle goes against him, he will
use his dust of disappearance to escape. In addition, if
Talon recovers the amulet, Vortigern and Talon will
flee, using his dust of disappearance. See the section
entitled “Escape?” below.
Vortigern’s Thug(s): Vortigern’s thugs are an NPC
class known as Warriors, which are essentially lesser
fighters. Neither of Vortigern’s thugs will engage the
party in hand to hand combat unless directly attacked.
They prefer to fire their missile weapons into combat,
letting the summoned undead handle melee. Vortigern
and his thugs take advantage of the natural cover pro-vided
by the grove of trees. If any members of the
party break through the ring of undead and charge
Vortigern’s location, the two thugs will drop their
bows and engage any such characters to prevent them
from reaching Vortigern. They will foolishly protect
Vortigern with their lives. He, of course, would not
hesitate to leave them behind to save his own skin.
The Undead: The summoned skeletons emerge from
the earth in a ring around the player characters, encir-cling
them. If the party is in the process of burying the
farmers when Vortigern animates them, they will rise
as zombies and the party attack inside of the ring of
skeletons (unless you are running the encounter as
“Easy,” in which case there are no zombies. The skele-tons
and zombies (if present) attack the characters
mindlessly and do not check morale. Remember that
the zombies will not be present if the characters buried
and consecrated the bodies of the farmers prior to Vor-tigern
launching his trap. Of course, Vortigern would
most likely have sprung his trap before letting that
Talon: Vortigern will telepathically command Talon
to attempt to steal the amulet from Corian—or who-ever
else obviously possesses it. If you are running the
encounter as “Easy” then Talon is visible, otherwise
he uses his invisibility. Talon must roll against a DC
of 16 to steal the amulet if it is exposed. Once he has
successfully grasped an exposed amulet he will fly
away with it. If the amulet is tossed to the ground or to
another character Talon will chase after the amulet
since retrieval of the amulet is his primary goal. If you
are running the encounter as “Difficult,” Talon will try
to kill Corian with his stinger if he can’t find the amu-let.
But even at “Difficult,” if Talon sees the amulet go
somewhere else, he will chase after it. Aside from
stinging (if you are running the encounter as
“Difficult”) or trying to snatch the amulet, Talon will
not fight directly unless wounded or cornered because
Vortigern has commanded him not to. If frustrated in
his attempt to obtain the amulet and injured in combat,
Talon will flee to Vortigern. He does not want to risk
being killed—that would damage Vortigern and would
result in his imprisonment in Hell for 66 years before
he would be allowed to serve as a familiar again, and
he likes his current job here on the material plane. If
Talon does get the amulet, he will go invisible and
return to Vortigern. The two will flee. See the section
entitled “Escape?” below.
Running the Combat:
You got a taste of running combat with the leucrotta/
stirge encounter. But now things get tricky—multiple
opponents, missile fire and NPC spell casters. If you
can run this encounter then you have definitely gradu-ated
from the novice GM ranks. It’s our job to help
you do it. So here are step-by-step instructions on run-ning
this encounter. Even experienced GMs should
appreciate having this encounter spelled out.
Determining Surprise: At this point, the characters
can make a Spot roll and a Listen roll both at DC 20
(includes distance, cover and other relevant modifi-ers).
If any character makes either skill check, then
they may act during the Surprise Round. If this hap-pens,
roll initiative for all combatants that are aware
of each other.
Surprise Round: Vortigern more than likely surprises
the party. He and his thugs are hiding in the trees
some 60 feet away from the farmhouse. They are out
of sight until Vortigern springs the trap. Talon is ei-ther
flying around invisible (“Difficult” level) or is
outside of the trees watching the characters. Once the
characters are outside the farmhouse in a group, Talon
telepathically tells Vortigern. He motions to the thugs
to get into position. Vortigern then reads his scroll of
animate dead. This scroll, which Vortigern purloined
from Feriblan’s library, contains an unusual version of
the spell and brings 1d6 skeletons (in this case it has
been predetermined to be 5 skeletons) in addition to
animating the zombies. Vortigern and the thugs stay
inside the cover provided by the fringe of trees.
During the surprise round, Vortigern finishes reading
his scroll, and the skeletons and zombies (if appropri-ate)
rise from the ground. The skeletons appear on
Vortigern’s initiative. The skeletons and zombies can-not
attack this round as they form, nor can they make
attacks of opportunity at characters who try to run by
them this round (if any of the characters can move,
that is). The skeletons are flat footed until they act
next round. The thug(s) take one bow shot each into
the melee. Talon shrieks, goes invisible and flies to-wards
Corian at double his movement. If (by some
miracle) a member of the party is able to act in the
surprise round then he or she can move out of the
forming ring of skeletons without provoking an attack
First Round of Combat: All persons now should be
aware of their opponents (unless there is some charac-ter
inside the farmhouse). Make sure everyone who
hasn’t done so yet rolls initiative, including the mon-sters.
Make the initiative list in order of initiative from
top to bottom. This round, Vortigern casts a magic
missile at Corian (unless you are using the “Easy”
level of difficulty, in which case he just watches). The
thugs reload, stay behind the trees and fire another
round into melee. The skeletons and zombies attack. If
any characters try to run past the skeletons or zombies
they open themselves up to attacks of opportunity,
even if the skeletons or zombies have already attacked!
Subsequent Rounds of Combat: Here is what the
combatants will do:
The Undead: The skeletons will continue to stay in a
circle around the characters, attacking them. They will
take attacks of opportunity on any that pass by them—
always taking the first attack of opportunity. They are
too mindless to delay their attacks of opportunity. The
zombies also will continue to attack.
The Thugs: The thugs will continue to reload and fire
bow shots at the characters. If any character has bro-ken
free from the circle of skeletons, they will focus
their shots on those characters. If a character moves
within 30 feet of their location, they will drop their
bows and draw their weapons. They will remain in
front of Vortigern and protect him.
Vortigern: Vortigern will fire another magic missile
at Corian, unless he is being charged then he will cast
a flash at the person charging him. If a person gets
close enough to engage in melee with his two thugs,
Vortigern will step back into the woods, out of view of
the ring of skeletons. If things get tough, he will use
his dust of disappearance. He will not flee until Talon
recovers the amulet, Talon is injured and forced to
retreat or his thugs are killed. Then he will flee. See
the section entitled “Escape?” below.
Talon: Talon will finish his movement to Corian and
will try to obtain the amulet. If Corian isn’t wearing it
openly, Talon will use his innate ability to detect
magic on Corian to see if he has it. If he doesn’t find
the amulet on Corian he will sting him if you are play-ing
the “Difficult” level. Otherwise, he will use his
detect magic ability to locate who has the magical
item. Of course, if another member of the party has a
magical item, Talon will not be able to differentiate
which one has the amulet in particular. He will check
all of the persons who are carrying magical items.
Talon will try to take the amulet from them if he can
see it. Regardless of difficulty level, if someone other
than Corian has the amulet and they have the amulet
hidden on their person so that Talon can’t get it, Talon
will sting that person. This means if he detects that
two people have magical items hidden on their person,
he will sting both of them. He will then search their
corpse(s) to retrieve the amulet. Talon will always
immediately go invisible after attacking unless you are
playing the encounter at the “Easy” level of difficulty.
If he is injured, Talon will flee back to Vortigern. Vor-tigern
is more concerned with keeping Talon alive
than finding the amulet at the price of Talon.
Killing Talon: Since Talon is Vortigern’s familiar, if
Talon is killed, Vortigern will lose 4 levels (becoming
0 level), and fall into a coma. Note that this is differ-ent
from the standard Familiar rules because Talon is
not your normal familiar. Vortigern will also lose the
power of regeneration and his Spell Resistance.
Vortigern and his Allies
Vortigern, Ex-Apprentice to Feriblan the Mad,
Male Human, Wiz3 (Wiz4 with Imp familiar): CR
5; SZ Medium humanoid (5 ft. 7 in. tall); HD 4d4+4;
hp 17; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 23 (robes, +1 ring of
deflection, Dex, +4 from mage armor, +4 from one-half
cover from trees, +4 cover from shield); Atk +2
melee (1d4, dagger, crit x3, piercing); SQ telepathic
link with Talon, regeneration (1 hp/round), darkvision
(120 ft.); DR 10/+1 vs. arrows from protection from
arrows; SR 10; SV Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +5 (includes
+1 each from resistance, -1 each after 1 minute; also
includes +3 Refl from shield); AL LE; Str 10/+0, Dex
13/+1, Con 12/+1, Int 16/+3, Wis 10/+0, Cha 12/+1.
Skills: Alchemy +9, Concentration +8, Gather Infor-mation
+3, Intimidate +3, Knowledge (Arcana) +10,
Listen +1, Scry +7, Search +5, Spellcraft +10, Spot
Feats: Brew Potion, Empower Spell, Scribe Scroll,
Wizard Spells (4/4/3): 0—resistance, daze, flare
(x2), 1 st —mage armor, shield, magic missile (x2),
2 nd —protection from arrows, darkness, melf’s acid
arrow. Vortigern cast the spells in bold on himself just
prior to encountering the party.
SQ—Telepathic Link (Su): Telepathic link to Talon
if he is within 1 mile.
SQ—Regeneration (Ex): 1 hit point/round (from
SQ—Darkvision (Ex): 120 feet (from Talon).
Possessions: Robes, 2 daggers, potion of healing,
scroll of animate dead, a map to Rappan Athuk (a ne-farious
dungeon set somewhere in your game world),
dust of disappearance (2 uses—each use renders one
man-sized object invisible for 30 minutes), ring of
deflection +1, imp familiar (disguised as a raven), 102
gp, 58 sp, 3-20 gp gems.
Talon, Vortigern’s Imp Familiar: CR 2; Tiny out-sider
(devil, evil) (2 ft. tall); HD 3d8; hp 18; Init +3
(Dex); Spd 20 ft./fly 50 ft. (good); AC 18 (+2 size, +6
natural); Atk +6 melee (1d4, sting, piercing, plus poi-son);
Face 2 ½ ft. x 2 ½ ft.; Reach 0 ft.; SA spell-like
abilities, poison; SQ damage reduction (5/silver or
+1), poison immunity, fire resistance (20), regenera-tion,
darkvision (120 ft.), polymorph; SR 10; SV Fort
+3 Ref +6 Will +4; AL LE; Str 10/+0, Dex 17/+3, Con
10/+0, Int 10/+0, Wis 12/+1, Cha 10/+0.
Skills: Hide +15, Listen +5, Move Silently +5,
Search +4, Spellcraft +4, Spot +5.
Spell-like Abilities: An imp can use the following
powers at will, as 6th-level sorcerers (save DCs,
where applicable, are 10 plus the spell level): detect
aura, detect magic, and invisibility. Once a day, an
imp can use a suggestion effect, also as a 6th-level
sorcerer. Once each week, an imp can cast a commune
effect. The imp can ask 6 questions of its patron devil.
Otherwise, the power works like a commune spell cast
by a 12th-level cleric.
SA—Poison (Ex): Hits from an imp’s stinger cause
the opponent to make a Fortitude save (DC 13) or suf-fer
1d4 points of temporary Dexterity damage. One
minute later, the opponent must make another Forti-tude
save (DC 13) or suffer an additional 2d4 points of
temporary Dexterity damage. As a person’s Dex is
reduced, they suffer the effects of the lower Dexter-ity—
minus to AC, minus to Dex based skills, minus to
ranged attacks, minus to initiative. A person reduced
to 0 Dexterity or lower falls into a paralytic coma.
SQ—Poison Immunity (Ex): Imps are never harmed
SQ—Fire Resistance (Ex): Imps are resistant to fire.
They are immune to non-magical fire. Each round that
they suffer damage from these attacks, they ignore the
first 20 points of damage inflicted upon them.
SQ—Regenerate (Ex): Imps regenerate one point of
damage each round. They suffer lethal damage from
acid, holy water, and blessed weapons (provided they
are also made of silver or enchanted).
SQ—Polymorph (Ex): An imp can polymorph itself
at will. This works like a polymorph self spell cast by
a 12-level sorcerer except that the imp can only as-sume
the form of a raven or a giant rat.
Description: Imps are small, lawful evil denizens
of the planes of Hell. They are, on occasion, sent by
their arch-devil masters to the material plane to serve
as familiars for lawful evil wizards and priests. Imps
average 2 ft. in height. They have leathery, bat-like
wings, a barbed tail, and sharp, twisted horns. Nor-mally
an imp’s skin is a dark red and its horns and
jagged teeth a gleaming white. Talon is slightly differ-ent.
Talon was sent by Dispater, an arch-devil that
rules the second plane of Hell from his Iron Fortress of
Dis. Talon, thus, is steely-gray and his horns and teeth
are the color of cold iron. Talon can assume the forms
of a raven or a giant rat at will. The imp confers some
of its powers upon its master. A telepathic link con-nects
the two whenever they are within one mile of
each other. This enables the master to receive all of
the imp’s sensory impressions, including its darkvi-sion.
The master also gains the imp's inherent spell
resistance and is able to regenerate just as the imp
does. If the imp is within telepathic range, the master
acts as if he were one level higher than he actually is.
Grenag and Slaaroc, Male Half Orc Thugs,
War2: CR 2; SZ Medium humanoid (5 ft. 7 in. tall);
HD 2d8+2; hp 14, 12; Init +1 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC
18/15 (+3 armor, Dex, +4 due to cover/with +1 shields
out of cover); Atk +3 ranged (1d6, short bow, crit x3,
range 60 ft., piercing), +5 melee (1d8+3, longsword,
crit 19-20, slashing) +5 melee (1d8+3 battle axe, crit
x3, slashing); SQ darkvision (60 ft.); SV Fort +4, Ref
+1, Will –1; AL CE; Str 16/+3, Dex 12/+1, Con 11/+1,
Int 9/-1, Wis 9/-1, Cha 8/-1.
Skills: Ride +3, Intimidate +2, Listen +1, Spot +1.
Feats: Weapon Focus (sword and axe respectively).
Possessions: Studded leather armor, small shields,
long sword/battle axe, short bows, 20 arrows, 23 gp,
16 sp each.
Skeletons (5): SZ Medium undead (6 ft. tall); HD
1d12; hp 8; Init +5 (Dex, Improved Initiative); Spd 30
ft.; AC 13 (+2 natural, Dex); Atk +0 melee (1d6, short
swords or hand axes, slashing) or +0 melee (1d4/1d4,
claws, slashing); SQ undead immunities; AL NE; SV
Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +2; Str 10/+0, Int -, Wis 10/+0,
Dex 12/+1, Con -, Cha 10/+0.
Skills: none. Feats: Improved Initiative.
SQ—Undead Immunities (Ex): Immune to mind-influencing
effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning,
disease, and necromantic effects; not subject to critical
hits, sneak attacks, ability damage, ability drain, or
energy drain; immune to anything requiring a Forti-tude
SQ—Reduced Damage (Ex): Skeletons are not dam-aged
by piercing weapons (like arrows) and take only
half damage from slashing weapons (like swords).
They take full damage from bludgeoning weapons
Possessions: Small shields, short swords or hand
Zombies, Common (2): SZ Medium undead (6 ft.
tall); HD 2d12+3; hp 17, 16; Init -3 (Dex, -2 poor re-flexes);
Spd 20 ft.; AC 11 (+2 natural, Dex); Atk +2
melee (1d6+1, claw, slashing); SQ undead immuni-ties;
SQ poor reflexes; AL NE; SV Fort +0, Ref -1,
Will +3; Str 13/+1, Int -, Wis 10/+0, Dex 8/-1, Con -,
Skills: none. Feats: Toughness.
SQ—Undead Immunities (Ex): Immune to mind-influencing
effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning,
disease, and necromantic effects; not subject to critical
hits, sneak attacks, ability damage, ability drain, or
energy drain; immune to anything requiring a Forti-tude
SQ—Poor Reflexes (Ex): Zombies have very poor
reflexes and thus have reduced initiative. Unlike most
creatures, they can move or attack during their action,
but cannot do both. In game terms, they can only take
Zombies, Children (3): SZ Small undead (3 to 4 ft.
tall); HD 1d12+3; hp 10, 8, 7; Init –3 (Dex, poor re-flexes);
Spd 20 ft.; AC 12 (+2 size); Atk –1 melee
(1d6-2, claw, slashing); SQ undead immunities; SW
poor reflexes; SV Fort-1 Refl-3 Will+0; AL NE; Str
6/-2, Dex 8/-1, Con -, Int -, Wis 8/-1, Cha -.
Skills: none. Feats: Toughness.
SQ—Undead Immunities (Ex): As above.
SQ—Poor Reflexes (Ex): As above.
Ending the Combat:
Basically, you just have to play this out until one of
four things happens: everyone in the party dies, all of
the bad guys are killed (which would be quite an ac-complishment),
Vortigern and Talon get away with the
amulet or Vortigern and Talon get away without the
amulet. Once any of these conditions occur, go to the
next section entitled “Escape?” Everyone will agree
that the first ending (the party dies) is not very fun. So
how do we avoid that result without using some
cheesy “bolt from the blue” to save the party? Easy—
use an “escape hatch.”
Escape Hatch: OK, so what if things are really going
poorly for the party? Here are a few suggestions:
If it has been several rounds of combat, you could
have Vortigern’s animate dead spell expire (the
party doesn’t know this isn’t the normal spell dura-tion)
and have the undead fall to the ground in
pieces—leaving just Vortigern, Talon and his thugs.
You could have Vortigern’s thugs flee because they
are cowards at heart. After all, the hardest thing
about being a bad guy is that “good help is hard to
Or you could have the skeletons and zombies start
to attack each other or turn to go after Vortigern and
the thugs. Make a die roll behind your GM screen
and look disappointed, as if the fact that the undead
might fight each other is actually some legitimate
part of the spell effect.
We don’t mean for you to use these escape hatches
just because it looks like Vortigern and Talon are
about to escape with the amulet—that’s OK. That just
leads to more adventure. Escape hatches are for situa-tions
where it looks like the party is about to get
wiped out. Here is a good rule of thumb: if two or
more characters are dead use an escape hatch. Or, in
this particular adventure, if Corian dies use an escape
If you do decide to use an escape hatch, whatever you
do—and this is a key GM skill—don’t let on that you
are saving the party. That’s just between us. Don’t
worry, everyone has done it. But remember these two
important rules: first, give them a full and fair oppor-tunity
to win on their own—meaning, don’t use the
escape hatch too early. And second, don’t do this of-ten.
Your players need to understand that death is a
consequence of adventure. You can’t let your players
come to expect that you will always save their bacon.
A dead character isn’t the end of the world. In fact, in
this case, a dead character is incentive for the party to
get to Fairhill as soon as possible…which leads right
to The Crucible of Freya.
If Talon manages to snatch the amulet, read the fol-lowing:
|Vortigern’s devilish familiar seizes the amulet and
with a shriek flies off, becoming invisible. Vortigern,
too, ducks back into the surrounding woods escaping
from your sight. You search everywhere, but you can-not
seem to locate the evil apprentice. Yet his laughter
is all around you.|
If the tide of battle turns against Vortigern and Talon
and they have the opportunity to escape without the
amulet, read the following:
|Sensing defeat, Vortigern yells a command to Talon,
his devilish familiar. Leaving his henchmen to finish
the battle, Talon and Vortigern disappear into thin air.
You search everywhere, but you cannot seem to locate
the evil apprentice. For the time being you have pre-vented
Vortigern from obtaining the amulet.|
In either case, Talon will use his innate invisibility
and Vortigern will use his dust of disappearance to
render himself invisible. Neither will stay to harass
the party. They will immediately flee the area. If they
have the amulet, they will proceed towards Fairhill,
though they will not enter the village. They have aban-doned
their henchmen, but should the thugs manage to
survive, Vortigern and Talon will link up with them.
Vortigern will have Talon use his ability to contact
Dispater to learn the location of Eralion’s keep. With
this information, they head towards the keep. If Vorti-gern
and Talon are forced to flee without the amulet
they will head towards Fairhill. These events are de-tailed
further in the Necromancer Games adventure
module The Crucible of Freya. Proceed to the section
entitled “Concluding the Night’s Adventure,” below.
If the party vanquishes Vortigern and Talon, which
should be a tale well worth retelling, read the follow-ing:
|Your foes are defeated. Talon, Vortigern’s devilish
familiar, writhes and smokes as he dissolves into a
stinking mass of slime. The hired thugs, routed or
slain, shall trouble you no more. And the foul undead
conjured by Vortigern have found their final rest at the
end of your blade. This farmhouse, previously a scene
of slaughter, is now a scene of vengeance.|
Obviously, your players will want to search the bodies.
They find all the items listed under the Equipment
sections of the various foes. Once they do so, proceed
to “Concluding the Adventure.”
Concluding the Adventure
Following the final encounter with Vortigern, regard-less
of the ending, read the following text to your play-ers:
|Corian’s worst fear has come to pass. But now your
encounter with Vortigern and his minions is over. It
has become too dark to look for other lodging, so you
light the fire in the fireplace of the farmhouse and bar
the door. You clean the blood from your blade and
tend to your wounds as well as those of your
comrades. You set watch, and each of you says a silent
prayer to your respective gods that the spirits of your
foes find their rest and trouble you no further this
night. You eventually drift off to sleep, but your sleep
is fitful—filled with Talon’s devilish screams. You
wake to the sound of rain and gray skies. The sun,
even hidden behind the clouds, is a welcome sight.
If any of the party was slain in the encounter with Vor-tigern,
remind them that Fairhill is two days away.
Suggest that perhaps there is someone there who can
aid them and that possibly the party could trade some-thing
or pledge their service in return for having their
friend restored to life.
Finally, after you handle any healing and any other
record keeping, you can determine experience for the
night’s session. The new edition of the rules handles
the computation of experience differently. It uses a
“Challenge Rating” system for each monster. Here is a
scene-by-scene breakdown of experience:
First Watch: If the party made a good camp and were
smart about their preparations, let them split 50 XP.
A Voice in the Darkness: If the party encountered the
young leucrotta and drove him off without having to
fight the mother, award 300 XP plus 200 XP for
avoiding the mother for a total of 500 XP. If the party
had to fight the young leucrotta and the mother, then
award 1200 XP (the monsters’ CRs are 1 and 3, worth
300 XP and 900 XP respectively) to be divided
equally between the party. If you had to use an escape
hatch, subtract 200 XP. If the party only encountered
the stirges, their value is 900 XP (3 stirges at 300 XP
The Smiling Skull: Award 50 XP to be split between
the party for searching around the hill and finding the
rock with the Nystul’s magic aura.
Corian’s Tale: This award is for good roleplaying.
Give anyone who did a good job 25 XP. If Corian did
well, give him or her 50 XP.
Farmhouse: Making a roll to identify the poison is
worth 25 XP. Evaluating the cuts on the farmers gets
10 XP. Deciding to bury and sanctify the bodies gets
25 XP per person involved in doing so; 50 XP for a
Ambush!: Actually making your Spot roll or Listen
roll to avoid being ambushed is worth 25 XP to any
character who made the roll. Calculating experience
for the main combat is tricky. The thugs are a total CR
2. The CRs for Vortigern and Talon depend on the
difficulty level of the encounter. If you used the
“Difficult” level, then Vortigern is CR 6 and Talon is
CR 2. If you used the “Average” difficulty level, then
Vortigern is CR 5 and Talon is CR 2. If you used the
“Easy” difficulty level, then Vortigern is CR 4 and
Talon is CR 1. Note that no extra experience is given
for the skeletons and zombies because Vortigern sum-moned
them and thus they are calculated in his CR
value. Thus, the final XP value is as follows for the
final encounter: Difficult—3900 XP, Average—3000
XP, Easy—2250 XP.
Escape? If Vortigern and Talon escape with the amu-let,
subtract 400 total XP. If they escape without the
amulet, subtract 200 total XP. If you had to use an
escape hatch to save the party, subtract 200 XP. If the
party manages to kill both Vortigern and Talon, award
an additional 300 total XP.
A party of six characters who roleplay well (using the
final encounter at “Average” difficulty) should earn
about 3600 XP, or about 600 XP each.
With the dawn, Fairhill awaits two days march ahead.
What will your characters find there? What will be-come
of the Wizard’s Amulet? What secrets lie buried
Continuing the Story
The story line started in this adventure can be com-pleted
in The Crucible of Freya, available from Nec-romancer
Games. In The Crucible of Freya the char-acters
finally arrive in Fairhill and learn rumors of
Eralion’s nearby ruined keep. The village of Fairhill is
fully described and mapped, including details of all its
important NPCs. The characters quickly become in-volved
in assisting Shandril, a local priestess of Freya,
in recovering a stolen holy item which eventually leads
them to Eralion’s keep. Of course, Corian’s amulet
unlocks the secret to the keep. The ruined keep is
mapped as are the levels beneath it where Eralion re-
sides—tricked by Orcus into his horrid fate. If Vorti-gern
escaped the final encounter in this adventure,
The Crucible of Freya provides ideas on using Vorti-gern
as a continuing antagonist for the party—as he
will travel to Fairhill himself to seek Eralion’s keep,
possibly running afoul of the party a second time. Un-like
this adventure, which was tightly scripted and
linear to accomplish the goal of playing without much
preparation, The Crucible of Freya can be run either
as a tight story continuing this adventure or it can be
used as a sourcebook for GMs to run their own adven-tures
Of course, you are free to develop the story started
here without following up with The Crucible of
Freya. Eralion’s lair can be placed in any keep or
tower near some small out of the way village in your
own campaign world. Eralion would not have set up
shop in a highly visible area—he sought privacy. Place
a secret door somewhere in the tower or keep that is
enchanted so that only Eralion or a person who pos-sesses
the amulet can open it. You should detail a
small wizard’s lair, which is now haunted by Eralion.
Perhaps the rumors are wrong. Perhaps Eralion did
succeed in becoming a lich but is somehow trapped in
his lair—the limiting enchantment on the secret door
no longer allowing him to pass since he is no longer
truly Eralion, nor is he a lich. Perhaps he has some
task for the party. Or perhaps he wishes to undo what
he has done. A party of first-level characters encoun-tering
a lich and being asked by him for aid would
certainly make an interesting adventure. Or maybe he
is some other twisted form of undead. You are free to
draw this up on your own. Or you can check out The
Crucible of Freya, where we have already done it all
for you (and more). And remember—this adventure
was FREE. Imagine what you’ll get from a product
you actually have to pay for. It boggles the mind.
Pre-generated characters can be downloaded from the
Necromancer Games web site. They are provided for
your players’ use. All the characters are male by de-fault,
but any one can easily be changed to female, as
there is no statistical difference. You may notice there
are no Halfling Paladins or Dwarf Monks. Sure, the
Third Edition rules allow them, but we at Necroman-cer
Games won’t have any of that nonsense. Remem-ber:
“3 rd Edition Rules, 1 st Edition Feel.”
Initial Concept: Clark Peterson
Written By: Clark Peterson and Bill Webb
Art: John Massé
Play Testing: Bill Webb, Clark Peterson, C. J. Land,
David Peterson, Christopher Laurent, Karl Harden,
Nicolas Laurent, Ken Hommel, John Ackerman, Mike
Weber, Chip Schweiger, Louis Roberts, Karl Johnson,
Jesse Briggs, Sean Jones, Jennifer Chalfan and Betty.
Special Thanks to: Ryan Dancey at Wizards of the
Coast, Eric Rowe and Dustin Wright at the Wizard’s
Attic, Eric Noah for the 3E board, Susan Webb, Rolfe
Bergstrom at Wargames West for doing us right, Jason
Klank of MAG, Kyle Charon of Fiend Games, Hyrum
Savage of Otherworld Creations, Brad Thompson,
John Bacon, Alec Burkhardt, Tim Duggar and all the
people on the d20/OGL mailing lists.
Information About Necromancer Games
If you enjoyed this adventure, please visit our web site:
www.necromancergames.com. Tell us what your play-ers
accomplished. Tell us what you plan on doing to
continue the story. And let us know how we can make
our products more useful for you as either a GM or
In addition, check the Necromancer Games site for
Product Support information. We will frequently up-date
our site with user and player comments, new en-counter
areas, more pre-generated characters, alternate
endings and various other materials for you to use with
our products. We will also in the future provide prod-uct-
specific chat areas. Some of these add-ons will be
available to everyone. Most products, though, will
have their own “product update password” that you
can use to access the chat sessions and bonus materials
related to those specific products.
Product Update Password for The Wizard’s Amu-let:
All contents ©2000 Clark Peterson and Bill Webb,
Necromancer Games. All rights reserved.
You are given permission to make copies of this ad-venture
and the character sheets as needed for your
home game use only.
Adobe®, Acrobat® and the Acrobat logo are regis-tered
trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated.
Dungeons and Dragons® and Wizards of the
Coast® are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, and
are used in accordance with the Open Game and d20
Links to the full text of both the Open Game and d20
licenses, when available, can be found on the Necro-mancer
Games web site, and are hereby incorporated
by this reference as if fully set forth herein. Future
versions of this adventure will contain the entire text
of those licenses, once finalized.
Corian’s Supplemental Information
You have chosen to play the character of Corian, the Sorcerer. You are
the motivating force behind the formation of the party. For that reason,
you have additional background information. Read the following infor-mation
so that you will be better able to play your character. It is up to
you whether or not to reveal this information, and if so whether you
reveal all or only some of the information contained here.
Initially, if the other characters press you for information, rebuff them
by saying “We are not yet far enough from Reme,” or “There are still
too many ears that may hear us.” Be cryptic. At a specific time later in
the adventure, you will be prompted by the GM to reveal your story.
Again, even when that time comes, it is up to you how much to reveal
and whether or not to tell the truth. You should begin to think now
about what you will tell the group later so that you will be prepared.
Your Background: During the final days under your uncle’s tutelage,
you and your master traveled to the library of Feriblan the Mad in the
city of Reme. You were not pleased to visit Feriblan, for while there
you are always forced to have contact with Vortigern, Feriblan’s ap-prentice,
and his loathsome raven familiar—Talon. Luckily for you, this
particular visit you managed to avoid Vortigern. While perusing mun-dane
documents in an outer sitting room as your uncle and Feriblan
studied ancient scrolls, you nervously fiddled with a clasp on the back
of a small reading stand.
To your surprise, a secret compartment opened which contained a
small, bound piece of parchment and an item wrapped in a silk cloth.
Checking to see that your actions were unobserved, You managed to
slip the amulet and parchment into the folds of your robe. The parch-ment
proved to be a letter from a person—apparently a wizard—named
Eralion. It appears that Eralion left this letter for Feriblan on his last to
visit to Reme before some “ritual” that he spoke of in the letter. The
letter apparently also refers to the amulet you found with the letter. A
copy of the letter from Eralion can be found at the end of this section.
You should read that letter now.
Intrigued by the letter, you returned to visit Feriblan some months later,
once you were freed from servitude to your uncle. Figuring the old
mage was addle-brained you took the risk of asking him direct ques-tions
about Eralion. You learned that Eralion was nowhere near power-ful
enough to make the transition into a lich. “Eralion! A lich?!” the old
wizard exclaimed. “He was no apprentice, my son, but neither was he a
mage with the mastery of the eldritch powers necessary for such a dan-gerous
undertaking! If you have heard such rumors, boy, I shall put
them to rest. The magics required for such a transition were far beyond
his grasp.” Once on the topic of his old friend, Feriblan spoke at
length—though in a disjointed fashion. He told you about Eralion’s
keep, which was located to the east of Reme some six days travel, near
the village of Fairhill. Feriblan made reference to a staff that Eralion
possessed which apparently had magical powers. He also mentioned
that Eralion had never returned several valuable magical tracts and
spell books. You left the old wizard determined to find this tower and
the items it contained—for if Eralion was not a lich, the items should
be there for the taking!
Readying yourself with the necessary equipment for travel to Fairhill,
you visited a local tavern—the Starving Stirge. There you posted a no-tice
seeking the aid of able-bodied adventurers willing to join with you
in seeking out a wizard’s tower. Promising an equal division of all gold
recovered, you soon gathered a group of comrades-at-arms eager for
adventure and glory. Quite unlooked for, you were also joined by Gal-dar,
a Cleric of St. Cuthbert, who was told in a vision from his deity to
seek you out and to follow wherever the amulet led. The god of retribu-tion
and justice, it seems, has business with Eralion.
You have been reluctant to give the full story to your new friends, not
for lack of trust in them but rather because you have on more than one
occasion seen Talon, the raven familiar of Vortigern, peering into your
chamber door. Nevermore will you believe your theft of the amulet and
letter went unseen by the wicked bird, and you don’t wish to risk fur-ther
discovery while still in Reme. Who knows what spells Feriblan or
Vortigern might have at their disposal to read your thoughts or hear
your words? You promised your new friends that you would reveal
more to them once you had left Reme. So you and your companions set
out from Reme some four days ago, with light hearts and heavy packs—
only you harboring the nagging fear that Vortigern and his loathsome
bird would somehow know of your goal: Eralion’s keep and its un-guarded
My Dear Feriblan—
I must confess to you—my closest friend—that I was not entirely truth-ful
with you at our last meeting. I feel compelled now to tell you of it,
as this may be the last time I write with mortal hands. Do you recall
our discussion some months past regarding liches and how users of the
arcane arts might achieve that particular state? I must admit to you
that the topic for me was not entirely scholarly, as I led you to believe.
And for that I am sorry.
I know that you, my friend, have gazed into darkness in the name of
knowledge. That is why I sought your learned counsel. For I too have
gazed into darkness. And like you, I found knowledge—knowledge be-yond
imagining. From the demon-lord Orcus himself I have wrested the
secret to lichdom, and I plan to move beyond scholarly talk and bring
myself immortality. Imagine it, my friend! An eternity to study the arts,
to master arcane power!
As I pen these words I have arrayed before me unguents and phials,
instruments and tomes, all necessary for my transformation, save only
one—an arcane phylactery of elaborate design. The ingredients for that
item will bring me once again to your city. By the time you read this
letter, I shall have retrieved the necessary items and shall be on my way
back to my keep.
Yet, as I begin to prepare my mind for my wondrous fate, my thoughts
turn to you, my oldest friend. Accompanying this missive there is a
small silk pouch. In that pouch is an amulet—an amulet I have created
for you. I know of your thirst for knowledge. With this amulet, you will
have access to my keep where I shall reside in immortality. If you wish
to learn that which I have learned, you may visit me.
Long have others of our kind called you “mad.” Perhaps it is I whom
they will now call mad. But I do not care for their appellations. Let
them say what they will. I have won something far greater than words—
I have won immortality, and with it, power. I shall share that knowl-edge
with you, my friend. Visit me soon. Gaze into the darkness again.