Through the Brier Crown
An adventure for all editions of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder
Written by M. A. Packer
The first stirrings of trouble came when crows in every part of the land spread their wings and took flight, traveling away from a disturbance only detected by beasts and druids. They were soon followed by concourses of every other animal, which fled in a mad panic from the neighboring realm of Ubliet. Very few people made their way out as the more part of Ubliet’s citizens allowed themselves to be seduced by whatever evil enticements were being propagated in the grim kingdom. None know of the fate of the king or his court, but all communication ceased well before the Brier Crown erupted from the earth. Now none may enter Ubliet, save through the main road, which is hedged in on both sides by the blighted mounds of brambles and thorns.
At first people simply kept a distance from the heinous realm, but now with the spreading of disease and the appearance of undead outside the brambles, your king has called every able-bodied adventurer and sell-sword in the area. Each day, the sky grows darker as Ubliet gains in strength, though what drives the change is unknown. The only certainty is that should nothing be done, the evil festering within Ubliet will spread until every man, woman and child in the country is possessed by the powers thriving beyond the Brier Crown.
The following material has been prepared for game referees who wish to run a lengthy fantasy horror campaign. In this adventure the players will explore a tainted land while pressing through uncertainty as they seek out the source of terror. While north is the inevitable direction the heroes must travel, this campaign provides an open realm to explore with secrets scattered all about. I have also taken the liberty of creating more than a dozen new monsters. Recommended for players leveled 3 or higher.
What is Needed
This campaign has been written to accommodate any edition of Dungeons and Dragons as well as the Pathfinder role-playing system. You may use any other fantasy role-playing system, but doing so will require quite a lot more effort. Unique enemies are provided, which will be accompanied by the closest equivalents you may use from your respective system. Player Characters, for the purpose of Dungeons and Dragons, as well as Pathfinder, begin play at level 1. This campaign is meant to bring characters from a truly lowly status to grand stature as they explore and battle the foulest monsters in your arsenal!
Running the Campaign
Whoever is chosen to run the game will need to be familiar with the rules of whatever system they are using. GMs should also familiarize themselves with this campaign before dropping players in. The outline of the campaign has been rendered in a linear fashion for simplicity, but this should in no way create a situation in which the players are being led by the arm. Allow them to explore each area they arrive at and introduce new locations as they search and ask questions about their surroundings. While in a particular location, like a town, they should see the immediate next location that appears in the outline. The following locations should be immediately known to the PCs as they are the most prominent features in the area:
The Brier Crown: a vastly dense enclosure of vicious brambles that bar all escape from the region.
Camp at the Gap: not to be confused with a clothing store, the first location the PCs reach is a camp by the road not far from where the brambles sealed off their escape. This camp serves as a base of operations where the PCs may purchase new gear, hire soldiers and other stranded NPCs to aid them, or simply rest between adventures.
Lackluster Fields: open expanse of fields in the area surrounding the camp. These are also encircled by the Brier Crown, but is open enough that it serves as a good place to harvest experience points and some gold during the earliest stages of the campaign.
Forest Maze: similar to the Brier Crown in that it prevents passage further north, save through a narrow opening, which is guarded by a castle keep. Only after the PCs pass through the Forest Maze will they see the outer walls of Ubliet and the Obsidian Tower, which rises up from the middle of the city.
As explained earlier, the GM should allow the PCs to explore the area as far as they are able. If they reach a dead end they should go back to previously visited areas where they may have missed clues or special locations. They should also be allowed to “level grind,” meaning they may trigger encounters with monsters and fight them for XP and treasure. PCs should also feel free to return to the Camp at the Gap often to buy new supplies and spells, but this will be explained later.
Once characters are created and their starting equipment purchased, each player should listen to the GM as he or she reads the following scenario:
“Upon arriving at the king’s court, your ears fill with the whispers of strange goings on; all of them regarding the neighboring kingdom of Ubliet. Though little is known about the state of the small region, you are certain it bodes ill, for the waxen countenances of lord and layman alike speak of something dreadful just beyond the veil of understanding. Now you sit, waiting for the arrival of the king himself with many questions in need of answering.”
At this time the PCs’ names are called out by one of the court officials. As their names are read, each player will take a turn in the spotlight, introducing their character as they see fit. Ideally the PCs should be well acquainted with each other and on friendly terms for the purpose of the story. Divisions in the party will undoubtedly prove fatal from this point on. When the last character has been introduced, proceed with the following script:
“The king emerges, grim-faced and weather worn from the long road back to his homeland. He explains to the court that their attempts at reestablishing contact with Ubliet never occurred, for passage into their realm is now blocked off by a great wall of thorns so vast and dangerous that all efforts to pass through ended in failure. All living things that attempt to move through the briers are attacked forthwith, save for anything approaching by the road where the briers part and allow access. Everything beyond this, however, appears grim and dangerous. Many have already gone through, but none have returned. Messages sent through carrier pigeons have indicated that most have survived on the other side and have established a camp, but dare not explore further without aid from stout heroes. For this reason have you been called; to venture forth into Ubliet, through the mouth of thorns, and see what has become of the land beyond the Brier Crown.”
Beyond this text, the party makes way to Ubliet and the wall of thorns surrounding it. Now all that is left is to simply move through the following locations!
The Place of Forgetting Locations and Example Encounters
A comprehensive blow by blow list of every locale for The Place of Forgetting and what kinds of enemies one should expect to be attacked by. It is always cloudy in the region, so even the daylight hours are dark, and rainfall is semi frequent, meaning torches and cloaks will be much needed. When players first enter the area, they arrive on the southernmost point of the map, which will be detailed shortly. When the PCs approach the Brier Crown from the south, recite the following to them:
“Before you lay the land of Ubliet: a dark and forlorn place, even worse than previous tellings as the sky above you is a constant tempest of black clouds, broken by flashes of light and distant rumblings. Your guards flee from the wall of thorns, returning to their homeland and never looking back. Alone, you enter the gap in the road, which plunges straight through the Brier Crown. The vines quiver all about you like beasts anticipating a meal. As you set foot into Ubliet’s blighted soil you hear a sudden rush as the vines stitch together behind you, blocking the way and sealing you to whatever fate the gods have in store.”
“Behind you and extending to the east and to the west, you see a mountain of barbed vines, intertwining and writhing like serpents. Individual strands lashing out, imposing and threatening anything that draws near as though cognizant of everything around them.”
The starting point for the adventure: an immense growth of dense vines, known as Barrier Brambles, which attack anything that attempts to cut through or fly over. This fringe grows all around The Place of Forgetting as a means of keeping people from escaping. The vines grow too densely together for anything to crawl through, and anyone attempting to do so must make an appropriate saving throw or else die instantly from being crushed to death.
Areas of Interest
1- Dense Cluster: a portion of the Brier Crown that has overrun the southern road. Having entered through here, the way is now shut and as stated above, any attempts to press through is subject to attacks from Barrier Brambles.
2- Eastern Flow: expanse of the Brier Crown that runs east and eventually converges with the mountains, which encircle the north-eastern quarter of the region. Very little lives out here, but if the PCs conduct a lengthy search they will encounter a dead soldier carrying 13 gold pieces, chainmail armor, a large shield and a long sword.
3- Western Flow: expanse of the Brier Crown that runs west and eventually curves north until it converges with the Forest Maze, which encircles Ubliet and connects with the mountains. As with the Eastern Flow, the PCs encounter little, but if the party opts to search carefully they will find a tiny house. The residents of the house are nowhere to be found and apart from rotting food and cankered tools, little else seems noteworthy. If a character succeeds in finding a hidden door, they will discover a secret slot in the wall that hides a tiny wooden box. Opening the box will provide a random gem.
4- Southern Road: remainder of the road, which leads up to the Camp at the Gap. Along the way to the camp, the PCs will meet Priestess Mortima who has been waiting for aid to arrive. She will lead the party to the Camp at the Gap and introduce the services it can offer. She will also provide them with Return Alms. When placed on the ground, these enchanted coins may be stomped, causing the user and the coin to be transported back to Mortima’s tent. What is more, Mortima may also send the user of a Return Alm back to where they teleported from, but at a cost of 100 gold coins per level of the character.
1- Normal Zombies
2- Skeletal Undead
4- Wild Dogs
5- Giant Toads
Camp at the Gap
“A sore sight in a blighted land, the camp before you is the most welcome sight you will likely ever see as you commence your journey. A ring of tents and pavilions circle the road with many other tents belonging to conscripted personnel flanking it on either side.”
A large camp is established here and is run by a True Neutral priestess of Death who goes by the name of Mortima. She will suggest that the PCs train themselves on weaker enemies, which fester the fields beyond the camp. The camp itself is protected by a powerful spell that drives wicked and undead things away. Should the PCs wish to attract followers, these individuals will emerge from the camp’s residents, which replenish as new people wander through the Brier Crown on a weekly basis.
Areas of Interest
1- Priestess Mortima’s Tent: the priestess of Death will cast cleric spells on PCs at the cost of 25 gold per level. She will also sell potions with curative properties and protection scrolls.
2- Merchant Ravenhurst’s Caravan: a simple caravan run by a short, bald, pale man who eagerly rubs his hands together in anticipation of his payment. He sells regular gear, such as food, tools and so forth.
3- Blacksmith Brom’s Shanty: a crude smith shop run by a wiry, but strong man who sells basic weapons and armor.
4- Mage Pellinor’s Pavilion: a magician’s shop run by a short old mage who sells spell scrolls up to 9th level and any potion that Mortima doesn’t offer. He may also identify magical artifacts at the cost of 50 gold pieces per item.
4- Knight Captain Balbaroy’s Fort: within the upright walls of a shabby little fort is the tent of Balbaroy. He will accept payment for the PCs should they wish to hire men at arms or horses, but they are limited to a maximum of 10 horses and 20 men.
“Once productive farm lands now stretch on dismally and all that can be seen under the cloak of darkness is deathly and desecrated.”
These dead fields, which had at one time been worked by farmhands and grazed by cattle, are now infested with human and animal zombies, as well as packs of maddened creatures. Lackluster Fields comprise the wilderness contained within the Brier Crown and end at the Forest Maze to the north.
Areas of Interest
1- Farm Houses: scattered, shambled farm houses are overrun with skeletons and equipped with normal provisions and rotten food. There are about 200 of these scattered about and may be explored. Each one that the party searches has a random monster encounter as well as a 15% chance of containing 2d10 of each kind of coin.
2- Well in the Dell: a clearing surrounded by rows of dead pines with an old well at its center. Should the PCs explore the well they will find a corpse leaning up against it, clutching a diary. The diary will have a treasure map detailing the location of hidden treasure in the Western Forest Maze.
3- Piled Stones: in a bald patch of earth stands a pile of stones as high as a man. When disturbed, the stones will fall, revealing a corpse that has been frozen in enchanted ice. The corpse will ask a riddle: “I’m thrice again what you can see, but my weight be less than the sea.” If the players answer “Icebergs” the frozen corpse will tell them how he became stranded at sea on an iceberg and found a weapon before his surviving relatives summoned his dead and frozen corpse back to this very spot where they buried him. He will melt away and leave behind a +1 longsword of frost behind (+1 to hit and + 1d6 frost damage). If answered wrong, the corpse will turn black and crumble, leaving nothing.
4- Weeping Trail: the PCs encounter the phantom of a crying woman. She floats around the countryside and moves as follows: drifting twenty paces north, forty paces east, forty paces south, forty paces west and twenty paces north again. If the PCs follow her on this course she smiles at them and thanks them for “dancing a merry jig” with her. She vanishes and leaves a random magical item behind.
5- Mirror Pond: a pond of clear water. Should the PCs glance into the limpid liquid they will see the forms of many men with their arms extended, as though reaching for the surface. If anyone is brave enough to enter the pond, the murky shapes of the men will be replaced with spectral images of grand, armed soldiers. Their captain will explain that they opposed the new master of the realm and he in turn had them hanged and thrown into this very pond. They only ask that their valor never be forgotten. Once out of the pond, the character who entered will have a random jewel around his or her neck.
6- Widow Tree: a hill capped by a large willow tree, which laughs incessantly. If approached it will ask the PCs to stand on the top of the hill. Should the PCs walk upon the hill, a giant coffin will tear its way up to the surface and catch fire as it opens. Out of this will rise a giant skeleton wielding a +1 war hammer.
2- Skeletal Undead
3- Imps and Quasits
4- Zombified Animals
5- Rats (Dire and Normal)
Hamlet by the Road
“Some time ago this had been a quaint little community, but now it resembles much of the land: dead and twisted with a reek to rival any putrid smell that has ever met your nostrils.”
Small village surrounded by a stone wall. The entire community is deathly quiet and filled with the stench of rotting flesh. Rain greets the PCs as they approach this place and continues to fall, turning the roads and paths in town muddy and sludgy.
Areas of Interest
1- Entrance: the gate into the town hangs off its hinges, leaving the way open into the muddy streets within. As they enter, the party sees the faces of other people looking up at them from great puddles on the ground. The entrance leads straight away into the market place, which seems especially bleak compared to the rest of the town. If the dead things in the puddles are disturbed they will rise up and attack the party.
2- Market Place: a small market with shops dedicated to basic trades, only these have all been vandalized and marked with bloody runes. The PCs may find many things in these shops by way of provisions and tools, but all food items have either rotted away or been consumed. As they enter the town, a thin, spry man will appear on the rooftops and heckle the PCs while speaking to his hand: “Look here, Sir Grievers, more mulch for the muck! I dare say, these dandies had best watch their step while carousing the locals in this burg! Oh yes, indeed!” He will then drop down behind the building he stands on, vanishing altogether.
3- Town Square: a stage has been erected in the middle of town, which has been covered with corpses. Should this stage be disturbed, the corpses will arise, forming a mob of 20 zombies. The mob will double in size as unseen corpses, concealed by the muddy puddles in the town square, rise up from the muck and attack. As the party is attacked, the thin, spry man will reappear atop one of the roofs and further taunt them, after which he will again vanish over the rooftop: “You see! You see, Sir Grievers, they neglected my warning and now the locals have requested their immediate dismemberment! I pray they avoid the church, Sir Grievers, for only despair awaits them there! Death and failure most fowl, as the mourning has no crown to shine its countenance on such goodly companions!”
4- Church: if the PCs enter this place they will see the Headless Priestess, Ardruana, playing a harp in the corner. Attacks against her will be in vain as she is protected by her deity, but she will calmly point to a Sanctuary Circle drawn on the wall beside her in glowing letters. When approached, a doorway will open to a safe refuge permeated with an aura of protection against evil. (If the priestess’s head is retrieved from the Obsidian Tower Courtyard and returned to her, the party will receive 10,000 xp each and will be gifted with 3 random magical items. In addition to this, something pleasant will be done for the party during the final battle: see the notes on Dorchadas Mor near the end of the module for additional details).
5- Stables: a place tucked away in the back of the town where the PCs discover dead horses being eaten by five zombies. Careful searching will reveal a trap door down to an old cellar where the PCs will find 1d8 magical potions lining some shelves. Should the PCs find this, they will encounter the thin, spry man one last time: “No, not down there! Sir Greivers, they have raided our pantry and for this they must die! Remove thy cowl and embrace the poor wretches as a fond friend!” The thin, gaunt man will raise his hand, which the PCs can see has a tattoo etched into its palm. A red light will engulf the thin, spry man, turning him into a Wight and summoning 4 zombies. Together they will attack the party
6- Butchery: if the PCs enter this place they will be attacked by Sven the Butcher (consult the bestiary). When he is defeated, the PCs will find the key to the Westward Community Gates.
3- Wild Dogs
“Surrounded by a stout wall topped with a pointed iron fence, this town was once a prosperous resort for travelers and locals alike, but now only the dead mill about its streets and boarded up homes hide the atrocities committed by its denizens in recent months.”
Zombie-infested town, much larger than the Hamlet by the Road. Here the PCs will find what remains of a once bustling community with many more horrors to halt their progress. Entrance into the town is barred by strong magic and a gate with an unpickable lock.
Areas of Interest
1- Westward Community Gates: an entry way held shut by a thick iron gate. The walls are high and capped with a barbed railing designed to turn away intruders. Though a character may attempt to climb over this rail, doing so will cause him or her to immediately suffer 2d6 points of damage as the enchanted railing attacks with its pointed barbs. (Note: the PCs must have the key dropped by Sven the Butcher in order to access the main entrance). Once in the town, the party is free to wander about.
2- Cellar Below the Mill: a locked cellar door at the base of an old windmill will open into a dark hole, choked with webs and infested with large spiders. Should the PCs clear out the mill cellar and search it carefully they will find the mummified corpse of a merchant whose hands clutch a jeweled box (the value of which is 2d6x100 gold pieces). The box contains 4d12 of each category of coin and 1d6 gems.
3- Taylor’s Shop: a clothier’s shop has corpses in the front parlor, modeling clothing. The interior is inhabited by six skeletal tailors armed with large shears, which deal damage as a short sword).
4- Dead Alley: walled off on all sides, a path in town comes to a dead end where the PCs will be cornered by 4 winter wolves should they linger there while conducting a search.
5- Public House: phantasmal patrons remain at the partially burnt ruin that once was the local PUB. If approached amicably, the phantoms will reward the PCs with gossip about the area:
A- one phantom will speak of the old PUB owner’s crossbow, which he kept hidden in one of the upstairs bedrooms (this will require a successful search of the room). The weapon is a +2 light crossbow with a quiver of +1 quarrels.
B- another phantom will mention having heard rumor of a ring that a wealthy countess once lost in the PUB’s corner parlor. Close inspection of this parlor will reveal a mouse hole, which is infested with Rot Grubs. Clearing and searching the hole will turn up a Ring of Protection +2.
C- the phantom of the PUB’s proprietor will tell of a strange wanderer who came and carved some strange gibberish on one of his chairs. If a PC is able to translate the words carved on the seat, (which are written in a Lawfully aligned tongue), the runes will organize themselves into a luminescent ring which, when sat upon, will restore all lost health, remove any disease or ill effect to any single creature once per day. If removed from the PUB, the chair will lose its powers forever and fall to pieces.
6- Homely Haven: at the highest point of the town stands a very large house with boarded windows. The owners have all vanished, but the original staff remain; Kallie, the head of the maid staff, Cindil, the cook, and Monique, the head gardener. All three women each accuse the other of killing the original master and his family. If the PCs investigate they will discover a corpse in the garden, another in a great pot in the kitchen and a third stuffed into a putrid, bleeding mattress. When confronted about this, the three women will shed their disguises and become hags, which will attack the party.
1- Skeletal Undead
2- Zombified Undead
3- Rat Swarms
4- Maddened Dire Animals
5- Ghosts (rare)
6- Ghasts or Ghouls
“A stone castle once built to protect the peoples of Ubliet is now overrun with unearthly noises of howling beasts, and haunted by the appearance of grotesque figures.”
Fortified community built around a crumbling castle in the middle of the countryside. The very air that permeates the community gives the sensation that eyes are watching everything that moves within. Nothing special is needed to enter this place, but once inside the castle, the party will have difficulty getting out.
Areas of Interest
1- Community Entrance: ruined gates smattered with bloody handprints open into the small housing district. On either side are guard houses containing some basic weapons and armor, such as scale mail, spears and short swords.
2- Community Square: bloody skeletons lay strewn about the community square. When the PCs approach they will hear a chorus of jeering and booing as though standing in the midst of a crowd. Next, they will see spectral images of a mob of people. The spectral crowd is in the act of throwing stones at a woman in clerical vestments who is warning them against the wickedness of their masters. The specters vanish soon after one of the men in the crowd fires a crossbow at the priestess. (Note: if the players think on this they may come to the conclusion that the priestess’ garb in the vision matches the vestments of the headless elf in the Hamlet by the Road).
3- Quaintly Cottages: rows of housing for the guardsmen that once patrolled the region. Further exploration will uncover a house with a corpse laying near a partially overturned carpet. If this carpet is pulled aside, the party will discover a trap door. When opened, the trap door reveals a hidden cellar filled with books containing every spell from first to third level. Further exploration into the Quaintly Cottages will bring the PCs to an alleyway that dead ends at the community walls. Laying in this alley is an overturned supply wagon containing 2d10x10 of each type of coinage and one magic item.
4- Castle Entrance & Courtyard: as soon as the PCs enter the castle courtyard, a mad level 4 fighter will emerge along the battlements and seal the PCs in by dropping the portcullis. They will then be attacked by 10 similar fighters. Once these are dealt with, the castle will lay open for the party to explore. There is little on the main floor of interest, save the Banquet Hall. The upper halls are in ruin, but a stairwell runs down to the dungeons.
5- Castle Dungeons: the basement level of the castle has two hallways that intersect into a large, open torture chamber. Upon entering this chamber, several locked prison cells lining the hallways open and 20 level 2 mad fighters set upon them. Once they are defeated the PCs may explore the torture chamber where they will discover an iron maiden that has been closed and locked with a mysterious silver key. (The silver key still rests within the lock and is needed to enter the Central Keep).
6- Banquet Hall: the castle’s main dining room has been flooded with wasted food items, which lay strewn about the place in heaping mounds. Four Otyoughs gorge themselves on the refuse when the PCs arrive and will immediately attack if the room is disturbed. Further exploration of the rubbish will turn up a +2 spear, which has been skewered through a rotting pig.
1- Level 2 Mad Fighters
2- Zombified Undead
3- Skeletal Undead
5- Wyverns (in the ruined upper level of the castle)
“High and imposing, a stretch of fortified wall encapsulates the only notable gap into The Forest Maze, which bars all passage to the north. Spreading from the Brier Crown along the West, to the sheer cliffs of the mountains to the East. The trees are packed together so densely that entry into the woods is impossible.”
Wandering about the edge of the forest will yield no entry into the woods, and the gates to the Central Keep are locked, requiring the silver key that the PCs should have found in the torture chamber below the Castle Community.
Areas of Interest
1- Northward Trail: the road leading to the Central Keep is fraught with creatures that roam about in packs. 6 farm houses line the way, each one containing random goods and creatures.
2- Forest Wall West: along the westernmost edge of the Forest Maze the PCs will find no entrance, but a desolate lumber camp where one of the trees had been chopped into. The wound at the trunk of the tree bleeds with black goo. Should the party approach this tree, three Black Oozes will drop out and attack. Once these are defeated, the trunk of the tree may be inspected to reveal a cache of 4d12 of each type of coin and 1 gem.
3- Forest Wall East: when journeying along the eastern perimeter, the PCs will come across an ancient water wheel built over a dry river bed. When approached the PCs will hear heavy breathing from the wheel house. If the door is approached it will burst into splinters as a pair of flesh golems emerge and attack the party. In the mill itself the PCs will discover 2d8x10 gold pieces and 1d3 gems scattered across the floor.
4- Central Keep Entrance: upon unlocking the gates to the Central Keep with the silver key, the PCs will find a black dragon waiting within. Before attacking it will introduce itself as Madgruama (consult the end of this module for more details) and mock their efforts to press forward. Regardless of what the PCs say, the dragon will attack, stating that it must adhere to its covenant, which it made with the master at the Obsidian Tower. If the dragon is reduced to around half its HP, he will take flight and head into the woods. Before leaving, however, he will tell the PCs the following: “that strumming elf and her stinging arrows have all but done me in. I didn’t fall then and I will grant no victory to the likes of you this day.”
1- Mad Fighters (4th level)
2- Skeletal Warriors
3- Helmed Horrors
4- Clay Golems
Forest Maze East
“The forest maze seems to close in on all sides with tall, densely crowded and imposing monoliths of wood. Paths divide into uncertainty and every step is plagued by peculiar noises and shifting shadows.”
Only accessible through the Central Keep, the forest maze is so dense that entry from the outside is impossible and any attempt to fly in through the canopy will cause trespassers to be thrust away with irresistible force. Navigating is a relatively simple affair, though the way offers a number of outlets to explore, each one more deadly than the last.
Areas of Interest
1- Mouth in the Divide: an opening between two enormous trees reveals a tunnel comprised of spiraling brambles. This will come to a dead end where the PCs will find the skeletal remains of a servant bearing an old sack full of 1d10 random art objects.
2- Clearing by the Way: a clearing bathed in moonlight turns dark and smells foul as the PCs enter. They are immediately attacked by 5 evil Treants. Upon defeating these, the PCs discover an old caravan containing 4d12 of each kind of coin and 1d2 magical items.
3- Sanctuary Circle: an exceptionally large tree bears a ring of glowing words, which leads to the same sanctuary found in the Hamlet by the Road. When entering the sanctuary through this entrance, apart from curative food, the party will find 1d2 magic items. When leaving the sanctuary, they will return to the forest maze.
4- Hangman’s Tree: down a narrow passage in the dense woods hangs an upside-down skeleton. If approached, the skeleton will speak, saying it is thirsty and will ask for something to drink. If given something plain to drink, such as water, it will thank and give the party 10xp each and 1d6x10 gold. If given something pleasant to drink, such as milk, beer or wine, it will greatly thank and give the party 100xp each and 1d6x100 gold. If given something expensive to drink, such as elven wine or a healing potion, it will greatly thank and give the party 1,000xp each,1d6x1,000 gold and a random magic item.
5- Deepest Dark: a winding trail will lead to a place so dark that un-enchanted light is swallowed up in the shadow. Magical light will reveal a great hole at the end of the trail that drops down into a gaping maw from which spring ten evil Treants. Upon defeating them, the hole will contain a suit of +2 elfin chainmail.
6- Way Around: a path that bends all the way around to the Forest Maze West. While traveling this way, the CPs will run into an ambush set by 4 evil Treants and 10 maddened Wolves.
1- Zombified Undead
2- Evil Treants
3- Giant Spiders
4- Giant Frogs
5- Maddened Bugbears
6- Maddened Hill Giants
Forest Maze West
“The woods continue on with dread and despair hanging heavily in the air. A familiar presence from before seems to stir beyond the trees, menacing its way closer”.
Only accessible from the Forest Maze East, this place is filled with powerful monsters who stand guard against anyone attempting to reach the city capital of Ubliet.
Areas of Interest
1- Hidden Treasure: if the PCs acquired the journal in Lackluster fields they will come to a large rock that has peculiar runes drawn upon it. When pried loose in a manner detailed to the PCs in the journal, the stone will reveal a hole containing 1d6x1,000 copper pieces, 1d6x500 silver pieces, 1d6x10 gold pieces, 1d4 gems and 1d2 magic item.
2- Lantern Way: a path of hanging lanterns leads to the house of a neutral Baba Yaga who will buy magic items and sell any kind of potion, any kind of mage scroll and any wondrous magical item whose value is less than 10,001 gold pieces. If the party can bring her the corpses of ten evil Treants, she will use their wood to light her cauldron, which will allow her to sell them anything whose value is below 20,001 gold pieces!
3- Battered Path: the PCs encounter a path of badly marred trees, which appear as though something large and powerful had recently savaged its way past them. If followed all the way through, they will encounter the black dragon, Madgruama, which will attack them and fight to the death. At this point, Madgruama has recovered full HP, has a following of 20 lizard folk, and is unwilling to listen to anything the PCs may have to say. If slain and if a lengthy search is done, his lair will be found, which contains all of his treasure.
4- Way Out: a path reunites with the main road and exits the forest, bringing the PCs to the outer walls of Ubliet’s capital city and the narrow stretch of wilderness that encircles it.
4- Dire Animals
5- Evil Treants
6- Giant Spiders
Ubliet Main Gates
“At long last the way is clear, though what lies ahead bears more sorrow and terror than anything seen before. Before of you stands the capital of Ubliet: the source of darkness and spreading abominations, with one great obsidian tower stabbing from its heart and four smaller encircling it. Immense chains span the air between these ominous spires and filthy flying creatures hang from their cold links”.
Only accessible from the Forest Maze, the main gates serve as the absolute only entrance into the city. The walls surrounding it are enchanted to repel physical harm and have been hardened through eldritch magics to resist siege weaponry of any kind. Cracks have formed in places around the walls and blasts of evil magic erupt from these, producing a cacophony of noise that unsettles an already disturbed place.
Areas of Interest
1- Road to the Gates: strewn alongside the ruined road is a corpse of a city councilor who had attempted to escape before meeting his doom. On his person is a journal detailing a lost signet ring, which is needed to bypass the protections over the main gates. He believed the ring was taken by his servant whom he had heard was also killed and thrown over the wall, which surrounds the city.
2- Ubliet Main Gates: the doors leading directly into the city are under an enchantment that causes anyone who touches to door to make a save vs. death or else fall down to -1 HP. Because of special preparations made by the enemy, the doors cannot be opened except by one bearing a signet ring belonging to a member of the great tower’s hierarchy. Should the PCs find the signet ring, the enchantments over the door will diminish enough to allow them passage.
3- Outer Fortifications: two small, wooden forts stand outside the city and once served as the outer defenses to the main gates. Inside the western fort the PCs find a group of large, strong Hezrou demons with caged zombies. The demons are having a contest in which they bind the zombies with chains and hammer-throw them with the intent of getting them to land in the opposite fort. There are three Hezrou in all, accompanied by 10d10 zombies. If the PCs can somehow communicate with the Hezrou, the repulsive demonoids will challenge the strongest member of the party, providing a Belt of Frost Giant’s Strength to help in the contest. If the PC manages to successfully throw a chained zombie into the opposite fort, he or she will be allowed to keep the belt as a token of victory. Failure will bring the Hezrou and zombies against them. In order to win the contest, both must make an attack roll against an Armor Class equivalent to full plate mail: the one who succeeds their roll by the most is the victor. A tie will restart the contest.
4- Ghouls and Ghasts
5- Vampires (rare)
Ubliet Outer Walls
“Long and bending eternally around the city, Ubliet’s defensive walls are high and oppressive, even from without. The air above burns with evil powers and all the land between the stone of the wall and the forest stretches onward, cracked and dead.”
Only accessible from the Forest Maze West and Ubliet’s main gates, the outer walls to Ubliet are surrounded by the forest, which borders it on the southern and northern sides with the mountains around the northeast. The terrain around the outer walls can be traversed full circle, but only the main entrance leads inside the city. As stated with the Main Gates, much of the ground is cracked open immediately around the base of the wall and flashes with arcane energy. Anyone standing in the vicinity of these cracks are subject to a saving throw to resist 5d6 energy damage.
Areas of Interest
1- Last Stretch of Road: the main road leads straight to the main gates of Ubliet, but along this road the PCs will find hundreds of crows’ nests lining the way on either side. The crows’ nests consist of hanging iron cages with the corpses of skeletal prisoners. A Merchant Guildsmen named Hershil has set up a pavilion here form which he sells many goods that include up to +3 magical weapons and armour as well as magical potions and scrolls. Hershil would very much like to get his hands on a Beholder’s eye and says there is one that floats around the city from time to time. Should this eye be brought to him, fully intact, he will gift the party with a Wand of Resurrection.
2- Path to the West: the way that winds around the western walls of the Ubliet brings the PCs to a collapsed guard tower that had once stood at the top of the wall. The top of the tower is mostly intact, though sagging quite a bit. When the PCs approach this they will be attacked by a two-headed troll wielding an armored corpse like a club. When defeated the armour on the corpse turns out to be a set of +2 plate mail.
3- Path to the East: the path winding about the eastern edge of Ubliet’s wall brings the PCs to an abandoned circus caravan. One of the wagons is filled with treasure boxes, half of which turn out to be Mimics, but the rest combined contain the following treasure: 1d10x100 of each type of coinage, 1d10 gems, 1d4 art objects and 1d2 magic items.
4- Behind Ubliet: directly north of Ubliet capital city is an immense pile of corpses, which come together to form The Host (consult the end of the module), which when defeated holds the signet ring needed to bypass the energy protecting Ubliet’s main gates.
2- Giant Spiders
3- Evil Lycanthropes
4- Zombified Undead
Ubliet Outer Ring
“Just past the main entrance, the streets of the Outer Ring are teaming with the zombified victims of the city’s new master. High above, the skies are plagued with fell, flying things whose shrieks break the quiet of Ubliet’s cobbled streets”.
Should the PCs acquire the signet ring and open the gates they will gain access to the outer ring of streets and houses that comprise Ubliet. The houses and markets are badly burnt and swarming with zombified humans. From time to time the ground will rumble as something immense stomps through the narrow rows of wooden structures.
Areas of Interest
1- Market District: the first few roads within the Outer Ring hold the city’s once prosperous market district, which is now teaming with zombies and skeletons. These undead beings move about, wandering aimlessly and will not attack unless the PCs draw within a few paces of them. In total there are around 200 of these sickly things. As the PCs search the market district they will find 1d4 magic items hidden in the ruins of the shops. Before they may leave the Market District, the Scourge Horseman will arrive (consult the end of the module) and challenge them to a battle. Once defeated, this horseman will drop the Key of Scourges.
2- Temple District: further around the Outer Ring, the PCs will find the religious district where churches and temples to various dark deities stand. One such building will radiate sinister laughter and should the party cross into or near this place, they will encounter the Despair Horseman (consult the end of the module). When defeated, this horseman will drop the Key of Despair.
3- Trades District: a bit close to the back of the Outer Ring, the party will enter a district where many craftsmen and laborers once constructed tools and other implements for the city. The streets of this district are crowded with another mob of 200 zombies and skeletons, which the PCs may eradicate. Before leaving this place, the Carnal Horseman will appear and attack them (consult the end of the module). Once defeated, this horseman will drop the Key of Carnality.
4- Guard’s Quarter: built near the entrance to the Inner Ring, the Guard’s Quarter is a keep, which is flanked by hoardings on either side of the battlements. Now it sports some 100 zombies and skeletons, which mill about an immense heap of rubble. The crumbling wreckage stems from a collapsed tower that now blocks off all access to the Inner Ring of Ubliet’s capital. If the PCs attempt to dig through the rubble or leave the district, they will be attacked by the Fury Horseman (consult the end of the module). When defeated, this Horseman will drop the fourth and final key, the Key of Fury.
5- Squalors: a shambled neighborhood of tall, crowded houses at the furthest reach of the Outer Ring. Originally built for the city’s poor, it is now the location of the densest congregations of zombies and skeletons, totaling some 500 in all. Down an alley in the Squalors district is a statue of an angelic woman with bleeding eyes. If disturbed, it will burst open, revealing a disguised Marilith.
6- Broken Streets: down one of the long avenues, the road has been torn open with a passage leading down into the city’s sub-aqueducts. Should the PCs attempt to descend into the sub-aqueduct, or if they should attempt to leave the area in general, they will be attacked by Mortevom (consult the end of the module).
1- Giant Skeletons
4- Zombified Undead
5- Skeletal Undead
“Below the streets of the capital, all is still and dark with faint echoes of water dripping from arched ceilings. Grime and death cling to the mottled stone, and unseen forces watch your every step through tepid water.”
Maze-like sewers that run through Ubliet’s lower reaches. Filled with grime and gore left by the horrid creatures that dwell here, the GM will have to decide whether or not to apply the rules of disease in this location.
Areas of Interest
1- Main Branch: leaving the broken street access behind, the PCs follow a straight section of aqueduct tunnels that run low, bringing water up to their ankles and slowing their progress. The water turns muddy and foul as they reach branching networks of tunnels. At the first major intersection they find a bloated corpse leaning against the passage wall, clutching a random magical weapon.
2- Watery Passages: the water in these tunnels turn almost gelatinous as it increasingly becomes choked with the secretions of strange insects. Soon it becomes apparent that the PCs have entered into the lair of a colony of some 40 Ettercaps who hold a treasure trove containing the following: 1d10x10 of each type of coin, 1d6 gems, 1d4 art objects and 1d2 magical items.
3- Murky Cesspool: putrid black slime coats the walls in this high, round chamber. At the center of the chamber is an immense pool, which if approached will produce a tentacled creature (an Aboleth, Froghemoth or something similar). When defeated, the PCs may wish to explore the pool. Doing so will lead them to discover two skeletons of slain adventurers. The first skeleton wears a Robe of the Arch Magi and has a Wand of Lightning. The second possesses +4 banded mail, a +3 bastard sword and a +1 shield. Between the two corpses there is also 1d12x5 of each type of coinage and 1d4 gems.
4- Passage to the Inner Ring: the party reaches a dead end with an alcove. Carefully searching the alcove will reveal a switch, which causes a hidden door to open. Beyond the hidden doorway is a stairwell, which leads into the basement level of a lesser obsidian tower.
6- Hellhounds and Death Dogs
Ubliet Inner Ring
“So close to your goal, you feel as though the air itself were about to rend asunder and rain all the hatred of the land upon your heads. Before you are the innermost streets of the capital city. Blanketed in darkness and writhing with deranged energies, the powers that tainted the lands are spilling out from the foundations of the Obsidian Tower.”
With the only access to and from this section of the city being the basement of the first lesser tower, the party is rather trapped in this place. Now the only direction left to go is up and around.
Areas of Interest
1- First Lesser Tower: the only entrance into the Inner Ring, this tower is hollow on the inside with a stairwell that runs clear to the top, which is guarded by a group of 5 gargoyles. At the center of the topmost platform the party discovers a great shard of crystal encircled about with the same chain, which connects all the way to the main Obsidian Tower. The crystal may be destroyed by attacking it, though it has the properties of stone and will require considerable effort. When this crystal is destroyed, it will cause a blaze of energy to briefly erupt into the sky and the enchantments around the main Obsidian Tower will lessen noticeably.
2- Agony Quarter: streets writhing in seemingly perpetual flame that neither mars nor consumes the buildings. Wandering this section of the Inner Circle, the party will encounter a large fire elemental, which when defeated will extinguish the flames, allowing the PCs to explore some of the buildings where they will find a burnt corps wearing 1 random magical ring.
3- Second Lesser Tower: same as the firs lesser towert, but guarded by two minotaurs who each wield +2 halberds. When this crystal is destroyed it will similarly erupt with a blaze of energy as did the first.
4- Flesh Quarter: the streets in this quarter are overrun by strange, growing flesh that pulsates and reaches out for the party with misshapen appendages, but actual contact will cause it to retreat away, as though shocked. The PCs will discover a cyclops sitting upon the ground, devouring the flesh. If approached, the cyclops will view the party and then rise up, taking into its hands a long club that deals 2d6+5 damage and has a reach of 20 feet. The cyclops’ death will cause the fleshy growths to retreat into the ground.
5- Third Lesser Tower: same as the first, but guarded by a Vrock. When this crystal is destroyed it will similarly erupt with a blaze of energy as did the first.
6- Stillness Quarter: the streets of this part of the Inner Ring are unnaturally quiet, so much that their footsteps and very voices are snuffed out so that nothing can be heard. Any spells cast in this place that have a verbal component will automatically fail. One source of light stems from an alleyway where the party will discover the last Sanctuary Circle. Entering the sanctuary from here will provide the typical food and lodgings, but an additional 1d4 magic items. Once the party returns to the Stillness Quarter they will encounter a duo of Iron Golems. If the PCs defeat the golems, their parts will land with a loud clatter, ending the unnatural silence.
7- Fourth Lesser Tower: same as the first, but guarded by an Adult Red Dragon. When this crystal is destroyed it will similarly erupt with a blaze of energy as did the first.
8- Shadow Quarter: darknesws has fallen over this quarter so densely that the PCs feel as though they are pressing through water, halving their movement rate. Around the bend they see a large, glowing orb encircled about by ten smaller. The orbs attack them (use Beholder stats) and when defeated the shadow melts away and the party indeed sees a dead Beholder on the ground with all of its appropriate treasures.
9- Final Gate: the way into the courtyard to the obsidian tower now lays before the party. If they destroyed the crystals in all four of the lesser towers, each will receive 2,000xp. Otherwise they may simply proceed to the Obsidian Tower.
2- Hell Hounds and Death Dogs
4- Fire Giants
5- Young Red Dragons
“The tower is in view: the great spire that has only haunted your vision from afar now looms above you, like the body of an oppressive being. You almost worry that it may very well rise up and stamp down upon you as you draw closer to its outer doors.”
A grand courtyard leads to the entrance of the tower, but standing in front of the tower’s main portal is an iron statue of considerable size (consult the end of the module for The Gatekeeper). On the inside, the party will learn that the tower’s interior is quite hollow, akin to the lesser towers, but its basement goes deep underground where they will need to go in order to access the top.
Areas of Interest
1- Courtyard and Gates: the tower’s courtyard is spacious and lined with rows of dead trees. The grounds are overrun with 20 skeletal warriors and The Gatekeeper stands guard at the doors, ready to attack any who draw near. Once The Gatekeeper is defeated the doors will be unobstructed, provided the party acquired the four keys of the horsemen, which must be inserted into the locks at the middle of the gate.
2- Courtyard Trellis: a long, stone trellis lined with heads on spikes stands just a stone’s throw from the tower courtyard. One particular head appears to belong to an elvish woman and is not decomposing. Further inspection will reveal to the PCs that this is the head of the headless priestess (see entry for the headless priestess earlier in the module).
3- Lower Halls: the tower’s interior is hollow, but upon entering through the gate, the party will see that the first floor consists of one large, round room with balconies and platforms rising up towards a steeply domed ceiling. The stairs leading higher into the tower converge to a single door, which has been barred by an immobile adamantium rod. This requires a key to unlock, which may only be acquired deeper in the Obsidian Tower. Stairs leading down to the basement level are not locked, but the interior of the tower is fraught with many monsters.
4- Basement Level: Catacombs full of skeletal enemies divide into passages, which trickle down into one exceedingly deep and immense chamber. The floor of this chamber is densely paved with human skulls and its walls lined with many bones. If the PCs come down here they will encounter King Famish (consult the end of the module). If they manage to defeat this enemy, he will drop a key, which is needed to unbar the immobile adamantium rod, allowing access to the Central Shaft.
5- Central Shaft/Pendulum: the tallest and most open chamber in the whole tower, the central shaft has a mechanized platform that may rise up to the top, but the controls to this platform are guarded by the Turn Away Demon (consult the end of the module). Once defeated, the controls will allow the party to raise the platform almost to the top of the Obsidian Tower, stopping at an upper ring of walkways that connect to stairwells leading into the Higher Halls.
6- Higher Halls: similar to the lower halls, these consist of a large, terraced chamber with stairs and balconies climbing up a steeply domed ceiling. Many monsters and demonic creatures infest this portion of the Obsidian Tower, but the doors leading up to the mirror gallery are unlocked. Detailed searches of this floor will find a few small rooms lining the perimeter, some of which are empty, but one contains treasure as though taken from a Balor demon.
7- Mirror Gallery: this spiral hallway winds up to the Emperor’s Chambers. The Mirror Gallery has mirrors hung over every available surface on the walls. As the party members pass the mirrors and climb higher through the halls they will notice their reflections changing and becoming sicklier until they reach a point near the end where their reflections begin to melt and burn. Soon every mirror erupts into illusionary flames as the Mirror Watcher attacks them (consult the end of the module). The door to the Emperor’s Chambers will be unlocked upon defeating the Mirror Watcher and the party will find a fierce storm raging outside.
8- Emperor’s Chambers: As stated before, the black clouds circling above the Obsidian Tower will turn wildly with fierce winds, howling amid heavy rainfall. Lightning will dance across the sky, creating a 5% chance each turn that a stray bolt will strike a random individual, including Dorchadas Mor (this is an optional inclusion). The great demon prince himself will descend upon the party from above, where an immense black crystal hovers in the air. If the PCs disabled the other crystals atop the four lesser towers, this one will appear lifeless and dead. If even one of the crystals on the lesser towers are active, their chains, which connect to the larger crystal will produce a well spring of power that Dorchadas Mor will feed upon and replenish his health, granting him regeneration 5 each round. If the PCs have retrieved and returned the priestess Ardruana her head, she will appear, armed with a celestial bow, and will fire on Dorchadas Mor (consult the end of the module). The final battle will commence. Victory will cause the party to teleport back to the Camp at the gap where the Brier Crown will erupt in flames and burn until it is fully removed from this plane of existence.
1- Barbed Devils
2- Bearded Devils
3- Horned Devils
Sven the Butcher
Large, fat butcher in the outer village who wields a massive meat cleaver (functions as a +1 great sword). He will glut himself on nearby corpses to regain 2d8 health. Along with this, each time he consumes a corpse he gains +2 to hit and damage rolls on his next turn. PCs also find a key on his person to the Westward Community Gates. Use the stats of a 4th level fighter NPC.
An adult black dragon with the ability to cast cleric spells. Regardless of how the party is able to deal with him in their first encounter at the gates, he will escape at his earliest convenience, requiring the party to face off against him a second time near the end of the Forest Maze. As stated in the area where he is found the second time, he has a hoard of treasure concealed near the trees.
Like a tidal wave of death, The Host is a great mass of flowing, slimy, dead bodies, which attempt to roll over anything in their path. For the host’s stats, simply use those of a giant ooze creature. When defeated it will drop the signet ring needed to enter the capital city.
The horseman of despair who spreads misery and woe wherever his horse’s hooves tread. He appears as an armoured knight with a severed head, though a mask floats freely where his head should be. He wields a +2 scythe while astride a Nightmare horse. Use the stats of a Death Knight, he holds one of the keys needed to access the Obsidian Tower.
A thin figure with a mask floating freely where his head should be. He wields a scourge made from the skins and bones of previous victims and it serves as a +2 whip that requires anyone stricken to make a saving throw to prevent being wracked with pain and suffering penalties to their actions for 2d4 rounds. Use the stats of a Death Knight, he holds one of the keys needed to access the Obsidian Tower.
A massive knight riding on a giant, armored ox. He wields a long +2 morning star that has a 15% chance to create an icy explosion, dealing an extra 2d4 cold damage. Rather than a head, he is topped with a floating mask, which turns about in every direction, making it so his opponents do not gain any flanking bonuses. Use the stats of a Death Knight, he holds one of the keys needed to access the Obsidian Tower.
Horseman of jealousy and lust who appears as a beautiful woman riding upon a giant six-winged swan with six heads. Use the stats of a Hydra for her mount. Her head is nothing more than a decapitated neck with a mask floating freely where her head should be. She carries a large mirror and uses powerful mage spells against her foes. Any spell directed at her front is absorbed by the mirror and returned to the caster. Use the stats of a Death Knight, he holds one of the keys needed to access the Obsidian Tower.
Gargantuan zombie with no legs that uses its arms to drag itself about slowly. Every 1d4 turns the Mortevom will vomit forth 2d6 zombies. Use the stats of a giant zombie and adjust its experience point value accordingly.
Guardian to the main entrance into the obsidian tower. He stands some 30 feet tall, wields an immense shield and length of chain that allows him to attack creatures as far as 50 feet away while dealing damage equivalent to a +2 maul. Use the stats of an iron golem whose armor class is improved through the use of a +2 tower shield.
Colossal skeleton resting atop a veritable lake of bones in the basement level of the Obsidian Tower. Has a long, jagged key needed to open the door to the central shaft and wields a +2 giant’s great sword. Use the stats of a giant skeleton with improved intelligence and four levels of a spell caster class.
Turn Away Demon
Half clockwork demon mounted on a wall rung that spans the interior of the Obsidian Tower. Affixed to its back are gears and a crude power source that allow it to rapidly ascend or descend to various floors, and rather than legs it has another set of clockwork arms, making four in total with each wielding deadly scimitars. Use the stats of a Glabrezu, but instead of legs it has two extra arms that grant it two extra attacks. In total it may attack four times with +2 scimitars each.
Black demon resembling a swarm of tentacles, which reach out of a hall of mirrors. For stats, use those of a Kraken, which may only be attacked when its body extends out of the mirrors.
Final Boss: Dorchadas Mor
Dark prince of immense power with bare skin that disturbs the air with intense heat. Use the stats of a Balor for Dorchadas Mor, except that he wields a +3 battleaxe in one hand and a +3 longsword in the other. During his first move he will summon allies to help fight against the party in accordance with the Balor’s ability.
During the final battle, if the PCs retrieved the head to the priestess and returned it to her, she will appear and fire arrows into Dorchadas Mor, eliminating half of his spell resistance and making it possible for normal weapons to damage him. If defeated, the party will be transported back to the Camp at the Gap and see, from afar, as the Obsidian Tower is destroyed and the dark storms disperse. The land will become less grey and the Brier Crown will burn away, granting free access to the territory once more. Lastly, should the PCs return to the king that sent them on this quest, they will be rewarded with 10,000 gold coins as well as 10,000xp each.
Thank you for selecting my campaign; The Place of Forgetting. The following list contains literary and cinematic works that inspired me in the creation of this setting and may hopefully be viewed by potential GMs who need inspiration on how to set the mood!
Movies and Television
Bram Stoker’s Dracula Pumpkinhead
First Knight 13th Warrior
Vampire Hunter D Berzerk anime
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust Van Helsing
Return to Oz
The Man in the Iron Mask The Count of Monte Cristo
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Castlevania franchise Dark Souls franchise
Resident Evil franchise Onimusha Warlords franchise
Devil May Cry franchise Neverwinter Nights franchise
Vacations in Europe where I saw many castles and torture chambers with narrow hallways and cold, confining cells.
Working long evenings at Walmart where many lost souls milled about, searching for treasures of which they had no need.
A childhood memory in which my father, sister and I were lost in a forest in Germany for several hours, surrounded by nature’s mysterious and sinister noises.
Exploring caves and camping up in the mountains with howling winds and raging storms buffeting our cheap, hand-me-down tents.