Nov 242011

This is one of the entries I have submitted to Margaret Weis Productions when she called for ideas and submissions for NPCs for their forthcoming game Dragon Raiders.

Hope you like it!

Brother Ramiro was born blind and quickly abandoned at birth by unknown parents. Ramiro was left at the door of the St. Geronimo’s monastery when he was but 3 days old. The only possessions, a letter that says “I am sorry, Son” and a locket with the photograph of a woman that has never been identified. However since Ramiro was rescued by the monks, various anonymous donations over the years have saved the order in more than one occasion.

Ramiro can’t see a physical thing. However he can indeed see the lines that form Magick. Where we see buildings, he can see the sheer power that holds it together. Where we see an enchanted weapon, he can see the sigils that empower it. Furthermore he can easily change them and alter Magic almost instinctively. He has been approached by the Arcanum numerous times, but he has always refused to join any other organisation, religious or otherwise. When someone has tried to force him to follow, his impressive, yet harmless, demonstration of power has sufficed to deter anyone.

Things have changed now, though. Ramiro has packed his meagre possessions and left the monastery. The only explanation he’s given so far: “Things are about to change, and I can help”.

Ramiro is travelling now, making a living as a skilled magician and looking for whatever it is that’s going to change. Even though he doesn’t know, his faith in God is motivating enough to continue his journey until he’s found a resolution.

Jul 012011

imagination[1]By Mark Rivera from Boardgames in Blighty

Does the future of Board Games rests with families – An Interview – Nigel Scarfe of Imagination Gaming

I’ve known about Imagination Gaming for a while now as one of my gaming buddies works with them. I also have seen the impressive beehive of activity in the Children’s Zone at UK Expo that is run by the very committed team led by Nigel Scarfe. All indications and comments that I have come across indicate that Nigel and his team are absolutely convinced that families are key to the future of our board gaming hobby.

Imagination Gaming specializes in using modern board and card games to engage and educate both children and adults in a fun and entertaining environment. From one off events to continuing projects, they have an extensive portfolio of education and community based organisations that they have worked with.

In a nutshell they work to stimulate and motivate both individuals and communities, of all ages and abilities, to experience the social and educational benefits of traditional style gaming. Working with schools and other organisations they create a willingness to learn matched with an eagerness to engage and show how everyone has something to offer.

I really like what these guys are doing and I thought that it would be great to find out more about what they have to offer.

Hi Nigel,

Tell us the story of Imagination Gaming. How long have you been established? Who are the principals and what are their backgrounds? What sets you apart as a unique service? How is your service beneficial to our hobby?

Where did Imagination Gaming begin? I guess you would have to go back to when I was at High school. I didn’t have a great time whilst there and struggled in many of the lessons. During my early years in High School I was introduced to the Dungeons & Dragons game by my cousin along with a WW2 war game. It blew me away. I had suddenly discovered the pastime that was to dominate most of my spare time for many years to come. It not only excited me but, due to the number of books I started reading on the game, the characters I created etc, I suddenly found myself improving in both my maths and English.

ig1[2]I left education after a year at sixth form and spent the next decade in retail, working my way up in various management roles. I then spent a few years working at a company that worked in schools producing and installing playground equipment. This got me thinking about the feasibility of bringing games directly into schools. We piloted a scheme whilst there and it proved to be relatively successful, although the company at that time had other priorities and it never amounted to anything. I left them shortly after and spent a couple of months working out what I wanted to do next and it was at that time that I decided to give the idea a go.

I spent the next twelve months earning absolutely nothing and giving demonstrations and networking myself into a position where I could seriously launch the ideas into schools. This was all about four years ago now and the business has grown and changed tremendously since then. We always had a general idea of what we wanted to do with the games but kept an open mind as to what the school would have in mind and this has proved to be an important consideration. No two schools we have done have ever been the same but this flexibility has been a key factor in showing the schools that we can use the games in a variety of ways to solve different problems that they might have.

I now have a business partner, Christopher Standley, who works with me full time and another colleague, Kevin O’Sullivan, who works with us on more of a part time basis. Both of them believe as I do that games can and do make a huge difference in the learning outcomes of children and adults alike. Both of them have made a huge difference in how we approach, the way we deliver and the way we get the message of what we do out there.

ig2[1]As a service provider within education there is no-one doing anything similar to what we do but much of that is down to how we now deliver our service. It is much more focused around the curriculum and is tied in with government initiatives and aims. At the core of what we do are a range of great games but how we use them, who we use them with and most importantly how we engage and interact with everyone involved is something that makes it difficult for anyone else to follow in our steps.

How are we beneficial to the hobby? I truly believe that if we don’t start showing the younger generation what our hobby is all about, what it has to offer and why it can still be cool, we may no longer have one in the UK in the next ten years. We go out of our way to show the children not only what we do but to give them a glimpse of what is out there in the way of gaming shops and the games they stock. Hobby stores have a key role to play in the survival of the hobby and their survival is an important if we are to get the message across about this new generation of games that are out there.

Why do you do it? What do you guys get out of it?

I do it because I love it. I am good with kids, young people, disaffected youths, families, parents, teachers and so on. People skills is essential in what we do. Simply liking games is no good. Knowing the rules is irrelevant if no-one wants to listen to you. You have to like people and believe you can make a difference to them. That sounds very grand but I am very passionate about it and know firsthand what playing games like this can do for someone’s confidence and self esteem, not to mention making new friends. What do I get out of it? I have the best job in the world. I have never enjoyed myself as much as I do now and I try to make others feel the same way, although I’m sure my colleagues would disagree from time to time!

Your services cover working with schools, libraries, clubs & community groups, and events & festivals. Can you give us a few case study examples what the work you have been doing? Perhaps beginning with your recent work at the UK Games Expo.

ig3[1]Games Expo came about after being a regular visitor there and seeing a similar audience as could be found at other conventions but I saw it had the potential to be much more. They were about interaction and participation. They had a schools tournament going on but at the time it was more focused around the games designed by the organiser and was a winner takes all approach. The first year I took over I wanted to make everyone attending feel like they had won. Expo were able to put together lots of prizes including hats and dice and we had a selection of games that we knew would work well with all of the kids. I took a more light hearted approach to the day and during the presentations at the end made sure everyone had a chance to get up and take home a prize. It proved very popular with both the kids, the teachers and the parents. It has just grown since then. We have now changed the format to make it more of an open activity in which people can come and go as they please. We have a terrific Expo this year and I am confident that next year will be even better and bigger!

Rather than go into too much detail on any of our work  in particular I will put up a link so that people can go to our website and see the info for themselves, should they wish to, but in summary here are just a few examples of some of work we have done recently in a variety of areas.

Children’s University – School Cluster Games Tournament

ig4[1]We were asked by the Children’s University to come up with a format of activities that would encourage children to join in after school activities that were challenging and that could help with cohesion between schools. We came up with a friendly games tournament that ran over the course of several weeks. The kids loved it and although they thought we would struggle with numbers we quickly became oversubscribed for the activity. Friendly competition at it best.

Learning Year – Maths Challenge

This project ran across 15 schools in Sheffield and focused on improving attainment and perception of the usefulness of mathematics in schools. We ran a full day of activities within each of the schools and took data on the effect the work was having. The organization was over the moon with the results and the schools were delighted with the improvements that were made there. In addition each of the schools received a pack of games, where using maths was an essential part of playing the game, so that they were able to sustain the work we had done and they still do to this day.

Primary & High Schools – Zombie Diaries

ig5[2]We use a variety of themed games for this work in order to emphasise the importance of using the imagination and inspiring new ideas. It is based around encouraging the children into creative writing and the activity is another run over several weeks. Developing their imaginations and creative juices is what this is all about and we not only play the games but make our own cards and locations for them, write short stories and finally design comics based upon them. To finish things off we work with local libraries to display the work done and encourage the young people to visit these important resources and get themselves reading.

Friday night Project Leeds – Kids D&D

We were given the go ahead to run a series of one off D&D games at youth clubs across Leeds to see if the kids became as excited about D&D as I did when I was younger and to help them play together more cooperatively. The aim was to have the children mix with kids they didn’t know and to encourage the team ethic through the game. Although we found it hard to bring the kids across the city to non-local venues, those that played loved it and the feedback we got from them was fantastic. Unexpectedly we had a large number of young girls play and like all of the others had never done anything like it before. Running a game for these groups was great fun and it was fascinating to see how the girls behaved quite differently from the boys. It was a great success and I am only sad that this has now finished.

We have lots of other projects we have done and would be happy to hear from anyone that would like to know more about the different groups that we have worked with.

ig6[1]Can you give us a flavor of the kind of feedback you have received from the attendees and also your clients?

To date we have been delighted to find that all of the feedback we have had is extremely positive. Whether it is a head teacher, a teaching assistant, a parent or most importantly the child. All of them have really enjoyed our activities and have felt they benefitted from it.

Here is a VERY small selection of the feedback we have had: –

“The impact of Imagination Gaming on the children has been quite amazing “

Margaret Delee, Higher Learning Teacher

“Many thanks for a fantastic day. I’m not sure who enjoyed themselves more, me or the children! Chris was very enthusiastic and clear in his instructions and had great control of the group. The games were simple to play but cleverly designed with great learning potential, development of social skills and above all fun!”

Emma Danby, Mill Lane Primary

“We had Imagination Gaming in as part of our Math’s week within school. They were professional, helpful and provided us with a fantastic day. The children all loved the games and didn’t feel as if they were actually working, although they did recognise the learning that took place! We recently set up a Math’s club at dinner times due to the popular demand of the games, and are looking forward to having them back to our school in the future.”

ig7[1]Amanda Crowder, Math’s Coordinator

“Nigel has worked with some of the most challenging students in year 10/11, we teach the students ourselves for the whole day and his sessions with them are helpful in order to break up the day. The students enjoy the games sessions immensely with Nigel, they always come back to class talking about the different games that they have played and how they can’t wait till the next session. They interact well with each other and are always learning new skills in a fun and unusual way.”

Glenys Hallas, Learning Mentor

This is only a very small sample and we intend to publish most if not all of it on to our website over the next few months. There is already quite a bit on there, listed next to the games where appropriate or on our testimonials page. Much of it is focused on individual games that someone may have played and we do intend to make sure that each of the manufacturers of these games get to read the positive feedback on their games and what the end users thought. It’s surprising just what a six year old will say about a game sometimes!

What are the most popular games that children really enjoyed and families as well?

Difficult question to answer really. We have around 140 games in the portfolio now and I think we have pulled together a terrific range that caters for a wide age range, covers a number of areas of learning and that’s fits in with what we do. Depending upon who we are working with the range will vary immensely, imagine for example the difference in the range between those games we would take in to a Special Needs school to that of a Primary school or to a High school. The needs of all of them and their abilities vary greatly and the games need to mirror that.

However, all our games try to fit within three golden rules: –

  1. We can explain it in 30 seconds.
  2. It can be played in 5-10 minutes, a school break time.
  3. It must have lots of replay value.

Some of those that have had great feedback include: –

  1. Straw – Card game from AEG.
  2. Take It Easy – Board games from Burley Games
  3. Apples to Apples – Word association from Out of the Box.
  4. Katamino – Puzzle with two player variant from Gigamic.
  5. Zeus on the Loose – Card game from Gamewright.
  6. Catch the Match – Card game from Playroom Entertainment.
  7. Incan Gold – Risk management game from Eagle Games.

ig8[1]There are lots more I could and perhaps should name that we use but these are amongst the favourites from our range with the people we work with.

What is your view of the UK board games market? What are some of the challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome to strengthen the hobby in the UK?

I think the UK market at the moment is in a difficult place and I speak as an owner of an independent game store. There has never been a better time to discover new games, the range out there is simply huge but there are some real difficulties out there that game stores face.

Pricing is becoming a BIG issue and has been problematic for a while now. It is difficult for me to balance what I need to sell a game at to make a decent mark up, to cover all of my overheads, when I have online retailers selling games for what is sometimes my cost price. How do I persuade a customer that spending those extra pounds with me is worth it. I put on game nights for them, run events and tournaments but the gap between what I need to sell it at and what they can get it for seems to be widening and so I rely more and more on my loyal customers that understand what I am trying to do for them. Many customers will only worry about the price and we have to accept that but I feel it is our duty to remind our customers that I cannot imagine Amazon running a role-play night at a local store, free of charge in to the early hours of the morning. We do and we want to because we love our hobby and we want people to be part of it.

I often hear from people that it is market forces at work. This is correct. Unfortunately the market forces, the distributors and the customers, seem to be ok whereas in the middle, the hobby stores and stuck in a situation that is becoming more and more difficult. Would it help if there were more distributors within the UK? I believe it would but wonder whether the market is big enough. It is worrying that I can only buy certain products from one company, who have exclusivity on an item and that item is one of my biggest selling lines that I then make very little profit off.

The hobby is still a fractured one and is one that desperately needs a makeover. I would marry a Hollywood leading lady if I thought it would help make the hobby cool to the mainstream and we could begin selling games in larger quantities! Why are games looked upon so negatively in this country? I don’t find that when I go to Europe. Why do some of the families I work with recoil in fear when I ask them if I want to play a board game. We have let it go on unchanged for such a long time that it has become the norm. We need to change these perceptions and show the public why we like our hobby so much. We need to look at ourselves first and make sure that as store owners we are presentable, our store is clean and that we are extremely polite and helpful but we also need to get out there from behind our desks and hand out flyers, attend local fairs, work with youth groups and speak to the libraries about how we can help them increase the numbers they get through their doors. We have to start treating the hobby in which we work as a business and start making things happen. I think we have become a little complacent and find it very easy to point the finger and blame others when times are slow. I do think the industry missed a trick many years ago when computer games first emerged. They took the marketing of games to a different level and we have not followed suit. It is not easy to do any of this and to change the way we work but if we don’t try then it will fall down around us.

In the light of all this negativity I can see aspects of the hobby coming together and I think this article is just one example of this. There are a number of people within the industry networking, discussing how we can change this situation. I can tell everyone that if people are put in a position where they can see and play the games they will like them and they will buy them. I know, I see it every day. It’s just a case of getting the message out there..

Have you been involved in the Play in Public campaign? If so, how?

We are aware of it but have been so only recently. We are not currently involved in any way which is something we hope to put right very soon. We will get in touch and see what we can do to help out with this as its goals and aims mirror ours and we always try to work alongside campaigns such as this or other organizations whose aims can integrate with ours.

How can we gamers get involved if we would like to?

I guess there are a number of ways in which people can help us out and get involved.

If you know of any schools, libraries or youth clubs, in fact any organizations for that matter, that you think would appreciate our involvement at their venue then tell them to get in touch or direct them to our website. Our reputation is a strong one and we are very highly thought of across all of our customers so we can confidently put them in touch with similar organizations so they may discuss with them what we have done first hand.

If you are or know of a games store that would be interested in linking in with us then do the same. Where possible we try to make our customers aware of local games stores when we go in to an area so that there is somewhere that can sustain their interest in gaming after we have done our work there. Get in touch. Tell us what’s happening in your area.

What are your plans for the future development of Imagination Gaming?

To become more established nationwide is the first priority. To establish a network of school game clubs across the country and to host events between them is another burning ambition and one that we have already done albeit in limited areas so far. A big aim of the company is to change the perception of gaming across the country. Gaming in the UK has a bad rep but one that it has not tried very hard to get rid of. The stereotype of gamers and gaming stores does not help. The label of geek that we get given when we mention board games in schools comes from somewhere, we just need to find out where that comes from and make it cool again. We have never had one single person not enjoy the games we have take into a venue, not one. Maybe not every game was their cup of tea but every person we have worked with has always enjoyed at least some of the games and usually says that it was much better than they expected. Just how do we get this message out to everyone else?

I would like us to get involved at more shows and events, both gaming and non-gaming, and to be the face and destination of gaming for the younger generation and families. We would then act as the window to the incredible world of hobby gaming that we all know is out there.

How and when did you get into gaming?

Age 12 when my cousin showed me the original red box D&D and a WW2 tank battle. Hooked from that moment on. Since then I have played a huge number of games and had a fascination with the hobby.

What type of games do you like to play? Any particular favourites? Any games or game types that you dislike?

I love most types of games and really enjoy understanding the mechanics behind the game rules. I play for sitting around the table with my friends and laughing about the situations that arise.

My current favourites and on-going games include: –

The Arkham horror board game from Fantasy Flight

Legend of the Five Rings CCG from AEG, just played War of Honor for the first time last night and loved it!!

Mijnlieff from Hopwood games.

Great Dalmuti from Wizards of the Coast.

Saboteur from Z-Man games.

Gobblet from Gigamic games.

World of Warcraft TCG from Cryptozoic games

I am also just about to finish running a 4th Edition D&D campaign that I have run for over three years now with 8 difficult players. It feels like a jail sentence some weeks! The final battle is looming so we are planning something special with fancy dress etc and so videos and photos will no doubt follow soon.

Generally, I like any game in which total strangers can meet up and have a great time together in a very short space of time. Most recent memory of this was running a game of the Great Dalmuti at the Games Expo 2011, 7 players all wearing stupid hats that had never met before and they loved every minute of it, as did I. Several of them are now following us on Twitter so I hope they will see where we are next or come along next year and give it another go.

Likes and dislikes in regards to mechanics, theme?

I really don’t mind any game mechanics or themes I just tend to fall out with any player that takes a game a little too seriously. It one of those things that puts new gamers, young people and families off and there is just no need for it. It is after all a game.

I remember several years ago, when I played Magic competitively for a while, that I entered one tournament and got matched up against an older guy with a unusual head of hair. I said hi, told him my name and asked him what sort of a day he had so far. His reply was to ignore what I had said, told me to remove all sleeves from my cards, in case I had marked them, and then told me he wanted to see me shuffle my cards afterwards. My reaction, which was very unprofessional at the time, was to pick up my deck, drop it on top of him and tell him to do it himself, as he had nothing better to do with his life, while I went to the toilet. Upon my return I picked up my cards, declared him one of the saddest people I had ever met and went home. I have stopped playing Magic competitively since. I just hate the fact that people like that spoil what should be a fantastic, competitive but still socially enjoyable occasion. This game did not seem to have improved his social skills. Perhaps he should have stuck to a cooperative board game instead?

Tell us where we can meet you this year.

We don’t generally do a huge amount of public events and the recent funding cuts from the government will no doubt affected this further. Many councils are still not sure if and when the funding will appear with which to organise and run their yearly fairs and carnivals. As and when we do begin scheduling them in we will post them on our website, blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Alternatively just drop us an email or give us a ring. It would be nice to hear from people who are organizing events who feel we could bring our games along and show people something different.

I will however be at Essen this year again, looking for the next selection of games we can introduce to the UK public if anyone wants to meet up there?

What would you like to see done which could help board gaming become more mainstream amongst the public?

I think I have covered some of this off in what I have said previously but think that the time may be right to organise a meeting of like minded people within the industry to see if we can find a way forward that will help all of us. There are enough of us out there that want to make a difference that I’m sure we can come up with a strategy that, over the course of a couple of years, can begin changing the way people look at our hobby. I know I would want to be part of that and will do everything I can to effect that change.

Thanks for your time and giving me the chance to air my views. I know they won’t be shared by everyone but if it gets us talking that’s a start.

Thanks very much Nigel!

For more information about Imagination Gaming, go to –

Folks, please add your comments to Nigel’s interview. There is a lot of food for thought here and a great opportunity to discuss how to take our hobby forward.

Jan 192011

walmart-dungeons-amp-dragons-castle-ravenloft-board-game[1]By Superfly Pete

Well, as promised, I am releasing my Castle Ravenloft Campaign, “Hunt for the Fiend”, which is the proof-of-concept design that will show you, by example, how to build compelling adventures to extend the lifespan of the Dungons and Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game.

Within is an indication of the level of complexity, scalability, and narrative feel that you can very easily add into the game without changing the “core game” rules.  Others have opted to rewrite the rules to the game, effectively obsoleting the included rulebook and reference cards. I believe this to be a barrier to entry for new players as well as causing paradoxes with existing players who already know Ravenloft and how to play it.

While it’s fun to design and play your own version of a game, this 3-adventure narrative campaign seems the best way to increase the complexity of the game without breaking it by changing the core rules. The fact is that the game was designed to fill a certain gap in the market, the light dungeon crawl, and by changing the order of actions, the allowable actions per turn, and any other factor, the game slowly inches away from the core concept of being an easily accessible light dungeon crawl. I consciously chose to leave the core alone and just work within the confines of the adventure rules themselves.

I do not wish to hear about “balance” in this campaign, because the fact is that what separates a good game from a great game is the ability for the game to throw you curveballs and “Kobiyashi Maru” moments that are exciting, engaging, and most importantly, memorable. I’ve done my level best to make this very difficult, although winnable, and virtually the entire campaign is scalable based on the number of players.

Without further delay, I am quite proud to offer you this campaign for your enjoyment:

Jan 072011

0925-Bodiam-Castle-Sussex-q75-500x407[1]The author of this adventure is unknown. If you know him/her (or if indeed you are he/she), please do contact us.

A campaign for 1-3 4th-8th level characters, 1 a wizard (an NPC mage will do)

This is a two-quest campaign. The first quest involves rescuing a princess from a tower controlled by an evil wizard, the second quest involves reaching a certain temple before the wizard’s brother can free the Demon locked inside of it.


4 days ago, Princess Lyss was kidnapped from Castle Grahnin. King Grahnin received a note telling him to, in 5 days time, send a messenger with 50,000 gp to the huge Oak Tree near the Castle. A worried Grahnin posts notices everywhere that he urgently requires several adventurers to investigate some ruins.


Grahnin is actually posting the notice to attract adventurers, so that he can ask them to rescue his daughter. The “ruins” are a cover-up to fool the kidnappers, who certainly have their spies.

The wizard Sorlak has captured Lyss, but not for the money. That, too, was a cover up. He actually took her off in an attempt to conjure information from her mind. King Grahnin and Princess Lyss are the Keepers of the Knowledge of the Temple of the Chained Demon, a temple far to the north, hidden. Sorlak wishes to learn where this temple is so that he and his brother Rannon can open the Sealed Temple and free the Demon, than force it to do their bidding. The 5,000 gp is to make everyone think that Sorlak wants only money, and is ignorant of the fact that the Sealed Temple even exists.

Unknown to Sorlak, however, Princess Lyss has a magic charm, a braided necklace, that he cannot remove. The charm prevents all spells relating to the mind–such as ‘charm’, ‘hypnosis’, etc. Sorlak must first break the enchantment of the charm before he can force Lyss to tell him of the temple. He does this in 4 days, then casts a _New memory_ spell (new magic–see NEWMAGIC file) to make Lyss forget she has told the location of the temple, and to make her remember only that she was kept in a locked room the entire time. However, Sorlak does not know of the second function of Lyss’s charm–it prevents all such forgetfulness spells. Lyss pretends that the spell has worked, and Sorlak sends a letter by carrier pigeon to Rannon that all has gone well.

Now Lyss knows that she has told the location of the temple. As soon as she is rescued, she will ask the PCs to help her get into the Sealed Temple and stop Rannon.


3 days after the capture of Lyss, the PCs find the following notice on a town building wall:


The PCs journey to Grahnin Castle, are received, and are told that they must rescue Princess Lyss. The reward is 15,000 gp. They are told that the wizard’s camp has been found– a small tower surrounded by at least 100 orcs, goblins, and men.

It is up to the PCs how they will go about rescuing Princess Lyss.


TCDCamp1. These are the Quarters of Sorlak’s mini-army of orcs, goblins, and evil men. Each houses 35 men (or whatever). For Orc and Goblin Stats, see MM Orc, MM Goblin. Human Fighters– (55) 0F, THAC0 20, AC 9, HP 6, #ATTACKS: 1, DMG: 1d6 (by weapon), EQUIPMENT 5sp (2.5gp)-25gp, short sword, buckler.

2. The Guards are placed here, each pair is within sight of the two next to them, but not the others. Two guards stand in the open, while one sits in the trees watching for foolish PCs, anbd ready to drop down behind the PCs and aid the other 2 guards. The race of the guards depends on the time of day– MID-6am: orcs, 6am-6pm: humans, 6pm-MID: Goblins.

3. This is the camp. Read the following to the PCs when they see the camp: “You see a large number of bustling humanoids. They are mostly idle–you see a pair of orcs polishing their spears, two goblins are sparring, and a few burly human men are placing bets on a dogfight. Dogfights seem to be the main entertainment for these bandits, who are right now enjoying some idle camp-life in between battles. All of them have small buckler shields and a weapon–the orcs and goblins carry either spears or hand-axes, the human men seem to prefer short-swords. All in all, it’s just a big clearing filled with rowdy scum. Small wooden buildings you take to be quarters sit in random order about the clearing–you see (2? 3? 4?) from where you stand. Dead centre of the camp is a 5-story tower, with few windows and a single door.” If the PC’s wizard does not know _levitate_, have him/her find a levitation scroll on the ground, dropped by Sorlak.

4. The Tower.

TCDTowerA. Meeting Room. Sorlak meets with his three captains (an orc, a goblin, and the human Serdrik–F1 THAC0 19 AC 8 DMG: 1d8 + 1 (long-sword+1) #ATT: 1 EQ: 2 daggers, long-sword+1, medium shield, leather armor, iron bracers) to discuss “Big Stuff” as the other bandits refer to it. A large portrait of Sorlak hangs next to another of his brother Rannon. Stairs lead up to FL 2.

B. Mess Hall. This is where the bandits gather to eat each day. It may/may not be empty, depending on when PCs arrive. SCHEDULE: 5am-6am Goblins + Humans, NOON-1pm Goblins + Orcs, 6pm-7pm Humans + Orcs. The stairs end here.

C. Kitchen. The Cook, a fat orc, resides here.

D. Sorlak doesn’t want his men to get into his private rooms, so the stairs end here and a levitation shaft (a hole cut in the ceiling 20 feet up) allows mages to cast levitate and go up.

E. Sorlak’s Library. On the shelves can be found many valuable research books, including four on illusion, two on necromancy, one on alteration, and two on invocation. In addition, there are two book covers filled with Sorlak’s personal notes on all four of those subjects, as well as a spellbook containing all first-level spells. Lying open on the circular table is a research book entitled “Demons, Summoning and Controlling of”. Sorlak has notes scrawled all over the margins. All of the books in here require a _read magic_ spell to read, and Sorlak’s books full of notes require another casting of the spell. The ZIG-ZAGGING LINE represents a door with _Fire Trap_ cast on it as a 7th level wizard. (see the PH, under 4th levels spells, Fire Trap.) A simple detect magic spell will reveal the door is trapped, a thief can undo it at 50% his normal chance, and a dispel magic has a 75% chance of working and may only be tried once.

F. Sorlak’s Laboratory. The ZIG-ZAGGING LINE represents a _Fire Trapped_ Door (SEE PH, WIZARD SPELLS 4TH LEVEL, FIRE TRAP) Here Sorlak mixes various potions and makes a few scrolls (NOTE: I realize that most wizards cannot make potions or scrolls until 9th level, and that Sorlak is only 7th. Make an exception in Sorlak’s case. The DM can make up a reason. Maybe Sorlak owns a magic item that allowed him to make them, or something.) A pentagon is drawn with silver dust in the centre of the room. Three Potions of Gaseous Form, two Potions of Polymorphing, and one Potion of Fire-breathing rest on the table to the west. The east table holds two scrolls (The DM can decide on the spells) and a Ring of Jumping. (SEE DMG FOR ALL MAGIC ITEM DESCRIPTIONS) Also on the table is a Wand of Misplaced Items (SEE TM, IF DM DOES NOT HAVE TM, USE ANOTHER WAND THAT IS VERY, VERY LIMITED IN POWER.). Command word: Misplace, not written anywhere on wand, but Sorlak knows it.

G. Sorlak’s bedroom. The wizard will be here. Beside his bed are a table with his spellbook, and a locked treasure chest with 3,000 gp in it, as well as two gems worth 650gp each. The circle on the map represents Sorlak’s Wizard’s Lamp (SEE NEWMAGIC file) Sorlak: M7, HP 17 THAC0 18, AC 10, #ATT 1, DMG: 1d6 (by weapon–staff). EQUIPMENT: Staff of Swarming Insects, Ring of Free Action, Ring of Fire Resistance, Ring of Speed, Cloak of Spell-Killing (SEE NEWMAGIC). Scrolls: Fireball, Spectral Force, Monster Summoning 2. Spells memorised: Magic Missile, Grease, Phantasmal Force, light, Levitation, Acid Arrow x 2, Blink, Monster Summoning I, Wall of Fire. The Stairs stop here but the Levitation Shaft leads up to Princess Lyss’ Room. The Shaft ends abruptly with a trap-door, made of steel, with a strong, magic-enhanced lock that can only be opened by the key in Sorlak’s belt (Which, by the way, is a Master Key and will also open the doors to the Library and Laboratory without the traps going off.) A thief of over 5th level may open the lock with a 2% chance after a dispel magic spell is cast. (Might as well just get that key.) Sorlak’s spellbook contains: find familiar, feather fall, Tenser’s Floating Disc, Grease, Magic Missile, Burning Hands, phantasmal force, light, continual light, levitation, acid arrow, lightning bolt, blink, fly, Monster Summoning I, fireball, wall of fog, wall of fire, wall of ice, fire trap, and new memory. ALL SPELL DESCRIPTIONS IN THE PH.

H. Princess Lyss’ Prison Room. A dull, windowless room. Princess Lyss expresses her gratitude, then immediately requests the PCs to help her reach the Temple and stop Rannon from releasing the Demon Xathrok, chained there 1,000 years ago by a powerful priestess who opposed the sorcerer who summoned Xathrok. She will offer a reward of another 15,000gp if the PCs show disinterest. NPC: Princess Lyss, P3, THAC0 19, AC 10, DMG: by weapon, #ATT: 1, EQUIPMENT: white robes. Princess Lyss’s Equipment is hovering near the roof by way of a spell Sorlak cast on it as a joke. She cannot reach it (It’s 30 feet up, duh!), but she can see it. A dispel magic spell will bring it crashing to the floor. If the command word “down”, spoken in the elven tongue, is spoken, it floats gently to the ground. There is a morning star+1, Lyss’s holy symbol, and a pair of Gauntlets of Climbing and Swimming. (IDEA FOR THE DM: WOULDN’T IT BE INTERESTING IF LYSS, WHO IS VERY BEUATIFUL, AND A PC FELL IN LOVE…?)

The Journey to the Temple of the Chained Demon

To reach the Temple, the PCs have to go through Fenrayth Swamp, a huge marsh that will take 4 days to travel. However, halfway through the marsh, the PCs are ambushed by either A) Lizardmen or B) Bullywugs. (SEE the MM, Lizardmen, Bullywugs). These are two swamp creatures that inhabit the marsh who are fighting a war. Whoever captures the PCs will think that they are spies of the “other side”. (i.e. the Bullywugs imprison the PCs because they think they are Lizardman spies.) The ambush is thirty Bullywugs or thirty Lizardmen. If the PCs defeat them with ease, the DM may want to have them be ambushed soon after by sixty or seventy creatures. The creatures that ambush them are determined by the direction the characters go. The Temple is to the Northeast. The path divides into a north-north-east path and an east-north-east past. The Lizardmen live to the Northwest, the Bullywugs live to the Southeast. There is a 50/50 chance of running into either if the PCs leave th path to go straight northeast.

Lizardmen Temple (50/50 chance of BULLYWUGS)

Whoever captures the PCs will keep them in a big wooden cage with 3d6 guards. The cage is in the middle of the village of the creatures. Many Bullywugs/Lizardmen will come by to stick oiut an ugly toungue, mock the PCs, etc., so there is constant attention on them. After about 3 days, if they have not yet escaped, the DM should give them a small opening and maybe make it a little easier to escape. But the PCs will have lost 3 days’ time.

What happens in the swamp is completely up to the DM. But he should try to arrange it so that they will reach the Temple the same day as Rannon, 7 days after Princess Lyss is rescued. The swamp takes 4 days to travel, so they can be captured by swamp-creatures for no longer than 3 days. But if they’re there longer and Xathrok gets released to terrorize the world, it’s the fault of the PCs.


  1. 1 1d4 Lizardmen
  2. 2 1d4 Lizardmen
  3. 3 1d4 Bullywugs
  4. 4 1d6 Lizardmen
  5. 5 1d6 Bullywugs
  6. 6 1d8 Lizardmen
  7. 7 1d8 Bullywugs
  8. 8 1d10 Lizardmen
  9. 9 1d10 Bullywugs
  10. 10 1d12 Lizardmen
  11. 11 1d12 Bullywugs
  12. 12 2d6 Lizardmen/Bullywugs.

If the PCs are in the area of either the Lizardmen, replace all “Bullywugs” with “Lizardmen”, and the reverse if they’re in the Bullywug area.


1. Entrance Room. This is a small, white room with four doors. Three of the doors are sealed shut, and cannot be opened NO MATTER WHAT THE PCs TRY! The first door may be opened, and leads to TEST 1 rm. Here Lyss will explain to the PCs that too reach the SEALED ROOM where the Demon is kept (behind the 4th door), one must pass three tests. There is a riddle fro every test. The riddles are:

TEST 1–“He who his humble and walketh not upright in pride shall pass.”

TEST 2–“He loves knows where the exit is.”

TEST 3–“Only the bravest will find the way to go.”

Lyss will say that she doesn’t know where Rannon is. He might be taking any of the Tests, or he might already be inside the SEALED ROOM. She does not know the answer to the riddles–no one does. At the PCs decision (and Lyss’s suggestion), one of the party should stay behind and watch to see if Rannon comes out any of the doors. Lyss, being the weakest, would be the best choice. If this is what is done, Lyss (or whoever) will not pass the Tests, and, therefore, cannot enter the SEALED ROOM to battle with Rannon.

If at any time the PCs try to tell the answers to someone who wasn’t with them during the Tests, they will find themselves unable to talk. Should a PC tell another PC anyway, the DM should change the answers to all the Tests and have the bad PC punished by being sent to the Land Of Eternal Death, from which there is NO POSSIBLE RETURN! (It’s times like these that make DMing really fun!)


TEST ONE: The PCs find themselves in a mist-filled room. They hear the sound of what appears to be a god’s voice, “PROSTRATE YOURSELVES!!”. If they use humility (and bow), they will not be hit by the blade that sweeps past them a few seconds later. The god’s hand reaches down, picks up anyone who bowed, and tosses him back into the ENTRANCE ROOM, ready to open Door #2. ANy PCs who are hit by the blade die instantly and their bodies vanish.

TEST TWO: The door opens up onto a little ledge. The room is shaped like a human body, with lines outlining all the main parts–head, heart, eyes, mouth, nose, chest, stomach, etc. A small machine is attached to the ceiling and can be guided around by turning the crank on it. A sign by the machine says, “Pull lever to drop”. If the PC in the machine pulls the lever on it, he will be dropped onto the ground. The answer is to drop over the Heart (Love, heart, get it? Sorry.) The heart opens and drops the PC back onto the ENTRANCE ROOM. Dropping anywhere else dumps the PC into a huge pot of boiling acid (unless the DM can think of a worse way to die–be my guest!!)

TEST 3: The door opens out onto a huge pit. Down in the pit is a monster–a huge, tooth-filled mouth with two small, beady eyes and a three little legs underneath. The mouth fills almost the entire pit and is open and snapping. Of course, “the bravest” will jump directly into the monster’s mouth–only too discover that it is an illusion. He will appear in the ENTRANCE ROOM, and be admitted into the SEALED ROOM.

NOTE: Rannon has been in the SEALED ROOM the entire time, and whoever stays behind at the ENTRANCE ROOM will not see him come out. He’s in the middle of casting the complicated spell that will break the gate.


The sealed chamber is a small white room identical to the entrance room–except for one thing. There is a door-shaped design on one side of the wall, made up of hundreds of little spiderweb-like strands. Beyond the thing, glowing gate, the PCs can see one huge claw gripping the earth. Beyond the big red claw is a red desert land (some other plane, DM’s choice which one). Standing in front of the SEALED DOORWAY is Rannon, the powerful brother of Sorlak. He turns as the PCs enter, interrupting his concentration. In fury, he will attack them, hoping to finish the spell afterwards. Rannon-M9, THAC0 18, AC 6, #AT: 1, DMG: 1d6 (by weapon:staff), HP 24, Spells mem. magic missile x 4, flaming sphere x2, acid arrow, fireball, continual light, cone of cold, wall of ice, monster summoning II, monster summoning I, spectral force, monster summoning III, EQUIPMENT: spellbook, 3 scrolls–web, grease, empty, Ring of Spell Turning, Staff of Swarming Insects, Potion of Speed, Potion of Gaseous Form, silver dagger +2 Rannon has ARMOR cast on him, which is why his AC is 6. His spellbook contains all the spells of Sorlak as well as: cone of cold, flaming sphere, continual light, monster summoning II, monster summoning III, spectral force, improved phantasmal force, blind, web, armour, and shield. ALL SPELL DESCRIPTIONS IN THE PH.


1. IF THE PCS DIE. The PCs souls will be honoured by Princess Lyss, who escapes, but not for long, because soon Xathrok will take over all of Grahnin Castle’s surrounding areas, and Rannon will become the new ruler, his rein will last another 1000 years because he eventually will turn himself into a liche.

2. IF THE PCS ARRIVE TOO LATE. Xathrok is released, who destroys the TEMPLE, and is successfully controlled by Rannon. The PCs will have to embark on another adventure, this one to stop Xathrok’s terrorism and find a priest capable of chaining him into another TEMPLE when he’s defeated. Xathrok can be whatever type of Demon the DM wants, as long as it’s a very powerful one that the PCs stand almost no chance of winning against. They will have to A) Find others to help them in their quest B) Find a priest to seal Xathrok back up once he’s beaten, and C) Actually kill Xathrok in battle. NOTE ABOUT XATHROK: regardless of what the DM makes him, Xathrok will be resurrected 10 days later in a different location if not sealed into another Temple.

3. IF THE PCS DEFEAT RANNON. They arrive back at the Castle Grahnin, where King Grahnin uses magic to wipe the memory of the Temple’s Location from their minds (If PCs don’t role-play the fact that they’ve forgotten, just say that the Temple isn’t in the same place. The place they remember–at the edge of Fenrayth Swamp–was a replaced memory, a result of the NEW MEMORY spell that Sorlak had, and the Grahnin, a 1st-level mage, finds a scroll of and cast on the PCs.) They are given their 30,000 gp (15,000 for rescuing the Princess and another 15,000 for stopping Rannon’s foul plans.) They are honoured in the lands around Grahnin Castle as heroes for the rest of their lives, and can stay free at the home of King Grahnin whenever they wish. Also, they will be allowed to keep all of the treasure they found along the way.


4th Level Wizard spell–NEW MEMORY
Duration: Permanent
Range: 1 person
Casting Time: 3 rounds
Saving Throw: Special
Components: V,S,M

This spell was researched and created by SOrlak’s brother, Rannon, and is a better version of the _forget_ spell.  The NEW MEMORY spell replaces a memory in the vistim’s mind with another memory that the wizard creates.  It takes two rounds to cast the spell and 1 round to get a good image of the new memory.  The caster could replace the forgotten memory with a black void and reduce the casting time to 2.  The memory to be replaced can span from 1 round to 1 day per level of the wizard.  If successful, the victim does not even know that one memory has been replaced with another.  The victim gets a +3 to the saving throw.  If the save is successful, the victim forgets but the new memory does not come into play.  The victim knows he has just forgotten something important, and remembers the casting, but cannot remember the image he has forgotten, instead he remembers only darkness.

In the case of the campaign “The Temple of the Chained Demon”, Princess Lyss automatically fails her save.  However, the charm she is wearing allows her to know the memory that she is supposed to remember, although it stops the spell from working.  Therefore Princess Lyss can easily pretend she remembers what the caster wants her to remember.

XP: 3,500
A very common item among wizards.  The Lamp automatically hovers above the ground at the height of the caster’s head.  If the caster is more than 120 feet away, the Lamp hovers at 5 feet.

The Lamp is a sphere of glass resembling a crystal ball, about the size of a human head.  It responds to the following word commands:

Light: Light equal to a large candle
Lighter: Grows several degrees lighter.  Maximum is the light of broad daylight on a cloudless day.
Dimmer: Grows dimmer.  Minimum is a faint sliver of light barely noticed.
Dark: Light goes out.
Go: Lamp moves in the direction the wizard points until told ‘Stop’.  Maximum 120 feet.  Movement rate 3.
Stop: The Lamp stops where it is.
Back: The Lamp returns to the wizard.
The Lamp is especially convenient for reading, memorizing, and researching (all the things mages need to do0.

XP: 10,000
It’s not as good as it sounds!  The Cloak can only be used by a mage.  When the command word, “Mute” is spoken, all spells cast within a 60-foot radius are cast, but instead of a spell, the magical energy resolves itself in a quick flash of light from the caster’s hands, harmless.  THE CLOAK KILLS ALL SPELLS, INCLUDING THE WEARER’S!!  Since it can only be worn by a wizard, the wizard had better have some good magic items to attack with because he’s not doing anything else! The cloak operates until it takes 10 points of damage, a piece of it is completely separated from the rest, the wearer dies, or the command word, “Un-Mute” is spoken.

Whew! My hands are tired! Think I’ll stop typing now that I’m done with the campaign!

Dec 092010

CHA23106a[1]Based on the story of Algernon Blackwood, “The Wendigo”

This is an introductory adventure that can be used to introduce a few new characters to the Cthulhu setting. It was written a long time ago, so it might need some changes to be adapted to newer systems.

This adventure takes place in the primordial forests of Canada. Players will have the opportunity to cross with the evil spirits that inhabit these remote places of wilderness, the Wendigo.

The climax of the adventure should be based at any time in the suspense and horror of loneliness and insignificance in the vastness of nature.

At least one player should be an expert hunter or ranger, so the adventure can develop normally. The rest should be teachers of Miskatonic University.

One of the characters will be good friend of Professor Henry Crawford, an anthropologist of some renown in the academic circle.

The professor departed by mid August to Canada with a small shipment comprised of himself, Professor Joseph Ropes, also anthropologist, and his nephew Michael, a student of the same subjects.

Although in principle the excuse for the trip was leisure, and they said they were going to hunt elk, their real motives were different. Crawford, big fan of supernatural mysteries and esoteric topics, was very interested in a spirit of forests, which people of Rat Portage spoke. His intention was to find out where the legend came from and what truth there was in it.

The player character who is acquainted with Professor Crawford, interested in his research, asked him to write regularly to discuss their progress. However Crawford only sent him two letters, one to get to Rat Portage, and other to where he mentioned that they had hired a guide and went to deep in the forest with the excuse to go hunting.

This was the last news of the expedition of Professor Crawford.

A month later, Miskatonic University received a notification from Rat Portage, where they reported that they had found the body of Michael Crawford, a student at the University, and requested that someone come to identify it and take over the matter.

The characters can go to Rat Portage, as commissioned by the university or on their own, bearing in mind that in the latter case, they’re unlikely to have access to the body of Michael, and there will be others sent from Miskatonic to investigate the area.

The trip to Canada will be by train, and down to Rat Portage, it will take three to four days. If the characters are particularly wealthy, they could take a plane, though the nearest airport is a long way away and will save little time.

The only authority present in Rat Portage is an outpost of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and a small town controlled by the mayor. The RCMP has taken over the body of the young Michael, since he was found by some loggers a few miles from town. The corpse is in a little morgue, in the basement of the police barracks.

There has been no autopsy, and if the characters insist in one, the police sergeant will not put any objection, except, of course, there is only one authorized doctor in an enormous area of territory, and can take several months to be made. Furthermore, according to the Sergeant, the young man got lost in the woods and died of hunger and cold, having been attacked by animals afterwards, such as muskrats, common in the area.
The body of Michael
If one of the players is a doctor, and want to make a preliminary autopsy on the body, the sergeant will not object. Of course there will be the most basic material to perform it.
The body has something that shows at first glance. The lower limbs are completely and horribly frozen. If asked, the sergeant confirms that when the corpse was picked up, it was already in that state.

A more thorough examination reveals small traces of dried blood around his eyes.

Even after death, the grin on his face shows that before his death he had lost all sanity.

If you could do an autopsy on conditions, the cause of death is not clear, although it seems clear that died from cold and fatigue. However, your stomach will be a worrying fact, since it appeared shortly before his death had ingested large quantities of moss.

By both asking local people, or searching for books about myths and legends of these woods, players can find out about local forest rumour that an evil spirit comes out at night in the vast forested landscapes. The exact area where it is claimed often appears is the Lake of the Fifty Islands, north of Rat Portage, a couple of days travel away.
Indian legends also mention the evil spirit, and have become the main source of superstition in the region. When an Indian goes becomes crazed, it is said to have seen the Wendigo, who calls his name in a voice that is said recalls the tiny noises of the forest: the wind, a waterfall, the cries of animals and stuff. Once the victim hears it, all is lost. It is also said that it captures his victim and makes him travel at high speed through the forest until the feet burn and eyes bleed. Also, it doesn’t just go on the ground, but climbs so high that the victim thinks the stars have set him on fire. Sometimes gives massive jumps and runs over the treetops, dragging his victim with him to drop them as does the albatross with his, before devouring them. But, of all things in the forest, the only thing the Wendigo eat is moss.

The old Hank Davis
In the course of their investigations, it is possible that some local will report that an old hunter guide, called Hank, often warn about the Wendigo wandering along the shore of Lake of the Fifty Isles.
If the players talk to him, he could tell what happened to a colleague who saw the Wendigo. It was years ago, when he was relatively young, he and his colleague Defago, were hired each year by a Scotsman named Carthcart, to serve as guides in the thick woods. Last year when they went hunting, Carthcart was accompanied by his nephew, a young theology student named Simpson. They were also accompanied an Indian cook named Punk, and on other occasions, although his work was only to stay in camp, fishing and preparing the venison and coffee.

villageAfter three days travelling north, they set up base camp where Punk would work, and decided to split the next day. He and Carthcart continue westward, following the path of Garden Lake, while Defago and Master Simpson would go to Lake of the Fifty Isles.

A couple of days later, Mr Simpson appeared at the base camp, with signs of exhaustion and delirium. The only thing he made sense of what that Carthcart and Defago disappeared in a mysterious way.

A sweep across the area searching they could find no trace of him. But returning to base camp they found him exhausted in the extreme, sifting through the ashes trying to light a fire. His body was there, crouched, his thing fingers barely able to light a fire with the help of a match. There was no intelligence to lead this simple operation. The mind had fled further and, with it, also the memory. He didn’t have not just lost the memory of recent events, but every vestige of their former life.

His face had no expression of any kind: no fear, no recognition, nothing. Simpson showed no sign of knowing anyone, not even Hank. Lost and broken beyond where human aid can reach, the man gently did what was told. That “something” that constituted the “individual self” was gone forever.

All he said, with a plaintive child’s voice, was that his feet hurt. Upon exhamination, they found out they were terribly icy.

Simpson only lived only a few weeks after this event.

Punk left base camp when he saw the shaky cartoon Simpson had turned into. When later asked why he fled, he said the terror of all his race had seized him, and knew what it all meant: Simpson had “seen the Wendigo.”

If players want to go into the forest in search of the late Professor Crawford, the guardian should be instructed that without a guide who knows the area their chances of survival are minimal. They may hire an expert guide named Charles Tilton. He is famous in the area and currently free. However, the idea of going to Lake of the Fifty Isles will not appeal in the slightest, though he will not admit he is afraid.
STR 16 INT 12
CON 17 POW 10
SIZE 13 DEX 15
15 Hit points
1d4 damage bonus
Skills: Forest 85%, Discretion 70%, Listen 70%, Smell 70%, Dodge 40%, boat handling 85%, Swim 50%, Hide 80%, First Aid 50%, Track 90%, Climb 80%.
Attacks: 70% hunting rifle
Cutlass 85%

To reach the Lake of the Fifty Isles, the players will first have to reach a stream that connects with it, just three days away from Rat Portage. Then they need to follow the river for another half day in a canoe to reach an area of rapids, and from there continue on foot to the lake.
“The magnificence of this cold, lonely and remote forest overwhelms you and makes you feel insignificant. From the bluish treetops, waving gently in the horizon, a terrible and ruthless atmosphere that can only emanate from severely matted vegetation reveals itself to you. You understand the silent warning. You realize your utter helplessness in this wild and desolate territory “.
The canoe trip
After three days of walking through the forest, the characters will reach the river, only to find what remains of a fire not too far from the shore. Navigating the river will require a navigation or skill by whoever is controlling the vessel.

After half a day, a successful roll to search will reveal the players a boat or canoe hidden in the bank, shortly before the rapids. Is the boat in which the Crawford’s expedition got here, though this is just a guess. Another successful roll will reveal several notches rudely carved in nearby trees. On a third successful roll, the players can track the route followed by Crawford and Company.
“With the expedition equipment and a rifle on your shoulder, you begin to follow a faint trail through rocks, logs and half frozen ponds, skirting the numerous lakes that festoons the forest along its foggy banks. Around five o’clock, you suddenly find yourself at the edge of the forest. Before you open a vast expanse of water, dotted with countless islands covered with pines: Lake of the Fifty Isles”.

Bluemor2submitted copyLake of the Fifty Isles
“You can’t see many weeds in the vicinity of the lake. The trees rise somewhat further from the shore, widely spaced, and in the opened areas, thin and slender birch and maple grow side by side with huge trunks of fir trees. Were it not for felled tree trunks, of monstrous proportions, and the gray rock fragments half buried into the land, the site could have been the corner of an old park.

Twilight is becoming denser and the marshes are covered in shadows. The waves crashing along the rocky shore of the lake is the only sound. The wind has died down at sunset, and nothing is stirring in this vast world of branches.

Further ahead, lays the Lake of the Fifty Isles, which is like a crescent moon, fifteen miles long or so, and about five miles wide, from where you are. A pink and saffron sky, clearer than any you have seen in your life, sheds torrents of fire on the waves, and the islands appear to float as magical ships, covered with pine trees pointing to the sky!.
If the players follow the track on the trunks successfully, they reach an abandoned camp that belonged to the group that Crawford was leading. They will not be able to find anything of interest other than a note pinned to a stake beside the remains of a bonfire. The note is addressed to his nephew, and it has been left there in the event someone came looking for them and they had disappeared.

The note reads:
“Michael, we have gone looking for you. If you get back, wait here until we come back. There are provisions and matches, hidden at the foot of a fir tree, marked with an M, away from the lake.”

Tilton’s call
The first night by the Lake, during dinner, Tilton begin to grow restless, and sniff the air. Finally asks others if they notice a peculiar odour, considerably nervous, but if the players ask what’s wrong, he will claim that nothing happens, and will try to show he’s feeling calm and in control.

Another rare event during the dinner will be an unexpected gust of wind that curiously lifted only a dry leaf from the ground, where a lot lie, to fall gently back on the ground.
At night, during their sleep, Tilton begins to whine and cry, but drown his tears with his blanket. Either the character sharing the tent with him, or, if the players organize guards, whoever is on duty, can hear him.

You can also see that his feet are out of the tent as if someone or something had dragging him out slightly. Either way, he seems in a very deep sleep, ignoring possible warnings from the players.
Hours after the incident, and shortly before dawn, something much more sinister happen. Tilton will wake up and stand up trembling with fear, huddled against his tent companion. The sleepy player will see Tilton scared of something at the entrance of the tent.

Immediately, in the deep silence of dawn, you hear a strange and unspeakably awful noise. A barely human voice, deep, although plaintive, soft and booming at the same time, that seems to come from far above the ground and, at the same time, sounds very close to the entrance of the tent. An awesome and deep roar; however has some sweet and seductive quality. It cries two separate, barely recognizable syllables that make up the name of the guide: “Til-ton.” Sanity check: 1/1D6.

Then the guide will jump up and say something unintelligible to the voice that calls him. For a second remains rigid at the entrance of the tent. Then he will be thrown through it with amazing speed. Being able to hear his voice disappearing in the distance shouting in a tone of anguish and terror:

“Oh, my feet of fire! My burning feet of fire! Oh, burning height!”

As the sound of his voice disappears, the sun breaks through the horizon bringing a tremulous light to the landscape.

The smell
During the whole scene, players may notice a pungent odour, not unlike the exhaled by caged animals, but softer, and not entirely unpleasant. Slightly sweet, it reminds them of the scent of autumn leaves in a garden, the fragrance of the earth, and the thousand scents that rise from a vast forest. The smell will fade gradually disappears after Tilton.

The footprints in the snow
wendigo[1]With a track roll, players will find the footprints in the snow that Tilton left in its wild race, less than a mile from the camp. These footprints appear next to those of some other large animal. At first glance may seem moose. However, a more thorough examination of the footprints, show that they are not elk;, by any means. These prints are large, round, wide, not shaped like a sharp pointed claw. Looking more closely in the footsteps, they will notice a whiff of sweet and penetrating odour, which will produce nausea.

The snow does not form a continuous carpet, but only slight layers in the clearer areas, so following the trail will require another roll to follow tracks.

Later, the footsteps in the snow suddenly begin to move away, until, finally, their separation is such that it seems absolutely impossible for any animal give such huge strides (6 meters), but more disturbing is that the traces of Tilton also increase in length gradually to cover exactly the same distance. It seems as if the huge beast had dragged him in these amazing jumps. Sanity roll: 1D2/1D8

Later, the animal footprints begin to acquire a coloured tint, a reddish and mysterious tinge, apparently due to a lighting effect to a substance that permeates the snow rather than a pigment. As progress is made the hue becomes more intense.

Tilton’s footprints will have experienced an infinitely worse change. During the last hundred yards or so, they have begun to resemble the tracks of an animal. The change is not extreme, but unmistakable. The players cannot see where it begins, but the result, however, is beyond doubt; smaller, sharper, shaped with greater clarity, the traces of Tilton, are at this point an almost exact duplicate of the others. Sanity roll: 1D3/1D10

A little further, suddenly, all tracks terminate. The two set of prints suddenly disappear, without leaving any sign they were ever there. There will be no more regardless how hard the players search. At this point you will hear the voice of Tilton very far away, high up, weakened by the height and distance. Extremely sorrowful, it says:
“Ah! What a burning height! Ah, my feet of fire! My feet are burning!”. Sanity check: 0/1D4

Tilton’s return
The night after the disappearance of the guide, the new Tilton, transformed into a Wendigo, comes back. Something will cross the dark sky above the players at a prodigious speed. Something very large, because it will produce a large gust of wind. At the same time, through the trees, a weak human voice will cry in a tone of indescribable anguish:
“Ah! What burning height! Ah! My feet of fire! My burning feet of fire!” . Sanity check: 0/1D6

The_Wendigo_by_Jade28[1]Before anyone has time to make a decision, you hear a noise of something falling through the trees, breaking branches, and lands with a tremendous blow on the frozen ground, with a truly terrible and thunderous impact. Soon steps crunching the snow that seem will never arrive. A few steps slow, heavy, endless like a nightmare. Finally, a figure emerges from the darkness, though not entirely, walking with unsteady steps, hesitant, jerky like a puppet. Meanwhile, a whiff of that pungent, unusual, malignant and intoxicating at once will hit the players.

Then, the sound of Tilton’s voice springs from his lips. It’s a dry voice, faint, cavernous:
“Here I am, boss. Someone called me. I’ve been away. I’ve been through the fires of Hell … It’s not bad …”

If players try to attack him Tilton disappears again into the shadows at a unusual speed, only to come back with more aggressive intentions from now on.

If, however, they tell him to come near the fire, the light will show that Tilton has become a parody of his own image; a ghostly caricature that still retains some dreadful and remote vestiges of his aspect. His face contorted in proportions more animal than human. The skin, flaccid and hanging, as if he had been subjected to physical stresses and strains, vaguely reminiscent of an empty water skin. In his face two eyes like two black coals closely scrutinize all things, while, just like a beast, sniffs the air around him. But most frightening of all are his feet, which have been transformed into a blackish hairy mass, not at all human. Sanity check: 1D4/1D12.

He then continues talking with his strange voice: “I’ve seen the great Wendigo – Now, you have seen, too. You have seen my burning feet of fire!” And now .. well, unless you can save me and avoid … little time for … ”

At that same moment, his sad voice is interrupted by a noise like the roar of a storm coming across the lake. The trees shake their tangled branches. The flames of the fire shake, battered by a violent blast, and something will fly over the camp with thunderous fury.

Tilton then will turn back into the forest and go away at a speed so astonishing that by the time players start to try and follow him, he will be swallowed by the darkness. Shortly afterwards, above the whipped trees and the roar of the wind, players hear with a heavy heart, a cry that seems to come from a great height.

From this moment on, every night the players will be hunted by the Wendigo that Tilton has become, until they return to Rat Portage. If they succeed, they will never again hear of Tilton, but in his worst nightmares remember that terrible cry, the wretched figure of the guide and, above all, his shocking and burning feet of fire.

The Wendigo
STR 24 INT 12
CON 25 POW 10
SIZE 13 DEX 20
Hit points 19
Armour 6
Skills: Move silently 70%, Listen 90%, Smell 90%, Dodge 80%, Hide 80%, Track 90%, Climb 80%, Jump 99%.
Attacks: Bite 40%
Claw 85%
Grapple 70%
Note: It is extremely fast.

Dec 082010

mummyBy Henrik Ertzeid

Setting: Any AD&D setting

Location: Any mountainous area with a small town

Players: 2-8 players, levels 4-10

DM`s information

A 500 years old mummy has been discovered in an old crypt in the mountains near the town. The mummy is the body of a 18 year old princess, once sacrificed to the gods in an attempt to save the civilization from destruction. The princess was sacrificed against her will, and had to be forced to death.

In the floor of her crypt was also 8 priests buried. These priests were members of a now long forgotten wolf-church, and they sacrificed their lives voluntarily to guard the spirit of the princess. Together with these people was also treasures worth over 50.000 gp.

One of the adventurers owns a mansion outside the town, and the treasures are stored here.

The Adventurers:

Garl Glittersean: Human, Male,9th level Ranger, 17, 17, 14, 11, 14, 13, master at tracking, profession: Bounty Hunter. Weapons: Bastard Sword +2, dagger, Shortbow, 12 +1 flight arrows. Age: 51 yrs.

Sindarin Frotfield: Elf, Female, 7th level Mage, 13, 12, 12, 18, 15, 15, profession: Adventurer. Age: 235 yrs.

Therok Frind: Dwarf, Male, 9th level Fighter, 18(71), 9, 16, 13, 13, 8, profession: Adventurer, Weapons: Battleaxe, dagger, heavy crossbow, 12 heavy quarrels.

Age: 140 yrs.

Sirk Sleek: Halfling, Female, 10th level Thief, 11, 19, 12, 13, 13, 15, profession: Whichever she likes at the moment, Weapons: 2 knives, PP: 50%, HS: 80%, MS: 85%, HN: 50%, F/RT: 67%, CW: 63%, OD: 60%, RL: 15% Age: 43 yrs.

Tenkor Trutle: Human, Male, 7th level Cleric, 16, 13, 13, 10, 17, 10, profession: Priest/Adventurer, Weapons: Morningstar. Age: 47 yrs.

This group of adventurer had originally retired four years ago. But then, one day when Garl Glittersean was on his way to a nearby town, his wagon went of the road and got broken. In an attempt to walk back to his town through the mountains, he discovered an old trail. And by this trail he found a sealed of cave, thoroughly camouflaged to look like a normal mountain wall. Without the right equipment he could do nothing further. So he walked on back to his town. Upon arrival, he sent for Tenkor, whom lives in the town church. He told Tenkor about the discovery and asked if a last adventure would be possible. Tenkor agreed. Church funds were low and perhaps he would find a few trinkets worth something in that cave. Anyway it would be a great opportunity to meet with the others again. Tenkor summoned the last three members of the former group, which all lives in a larger city 16 miles away (or nearest large city).

After getting the right equipment, the group rode into the mountains.

After entering the cave, they found the golden coffin (7000 gp worth) containing the mummy, and 6 clay containers, containing gems, jewellery and other objects of art. (approx. 43.000 gp worth). They did not find the bodies of the priests, buried in the floor.

When the players arrive, the treasure is stacked at Garl’s mansion. Tenkor is living in the church as usual. And the other members of the NPC party are living at an inn in the town.

But when carrying the coffin into the mansion, it was accidentally dropped, and the clay tablet sealing the coffin closed got broken. The pieces of the tablet are now lying on a silver plate on a shelf besides the coffin. The tablet has an ancient inscription, explaining who the princess is, why she was buried and the story of the wolf-priests, who was supposed to guard her from waking up, as well as guarding her from tomb raiders. But reading this inscription requires several week of study by a skilled person (or magic). When the tablet was broken, the mummy woke up. When she woke up, her first intention was to prey upon some life form, so that she could drain the life force of the victim, and return to life herself. She needs one young human person every second day to remain in human form. In human for, she is extremely beautiful (Cha 17), has long brown wavy hair, brown eyes and slender. But she has still got her undead strength of 18(00). She sucks out life force by kissing (2 levels per rd.). Either she can use her strength to force someone to kiss her (attack roll needed) or by seducing someone into doing so (not too difficult). The victim does not feel the life force being drained and will therefore not resist the if kissing her voluntarily. Victims who has their life force sucked out, turn into a dry-frozen corpse immediately.

Unlike most mummies, she is not evil. Her only wish is to be allowed to live, and get a normal life. Unfortunately this involved killing others.

This is where the wolf-priests come in. Their job is to get the princess back to the coffin and seal it with the clay tablet. Therefore is vital that they get the tablet fixed and used, and they will kill if needed to find the tablet. The only person they will not kill is Tenkor, who’s religion is the same as that of the wolf-priests.

The mummy, calling herself Tasha, killed Garl’s daughter, Anita,(16 yrs old) as her first victim. She then put Anita in the coffin instead. Due to the freeze-drying of the corpse, Anita is not recognizable to her father anymore.

As the players arrive they get approached by Garl and his wife, wondering if the players have seen their daughter (they will describe her to the players). If the players are willing to go help looking, they will probably learn about the mummy and the cave by talking to locals and the NPC adventurers. If the players do not want to help searching, they will learn about the treasure and the mummy, through local rumours.

This is what the players should get to know:

1. The cave in the mountains belonged to the princess of an ancient civilization.

2. The treasures found are now stored at Garl’s place.

If they help Garl and his wife:

3. The broken tablet

4. That the mummy of a 18 year old princess was buried in the cave.

At dusk the same day, the players witness the first encounter between Garl and the wolf-priests (see end of text for more information on these spirits). The wolf-priests approach Garl in human shape, dressed in white robes, demanding the clay tablet. Garl is unarmed, and can not fight these spirits by him self. It’s up to the players to scare them of. The priests will withdraw when meeting heavy opposition. The DM MUST see to that the priests survive the encounter with the player, as they are needed later in the game.

As if troubles weren’t big enough, a party of thieves has broken into the mansion, stealing lots of arts and gems and also three of the seven parts of the clay tablet.

The Thieves:

Abrin Fingermaster: Half-Elf Male,5th level Thief, the leader of the gang.

Stats: 11, 17, 9, 12,12, 10. Abrin is a skinny, tall man, with the facial features of a rat. Weapons: Dagger, Short Sword and Hand Crossbow (12 poisoned hand quarrels, save vs. poison or die within 2-8 rds.)

Special profession: Poison making. PP: 70%, HS: 40%, MS: 45%, CW: 60%, OD: 35%, F/RT: 30%, RL: 5%

Frondor The Fine: Elf Male, 3rd level Thief/Mage. Stats: 10, 14, 10, 15, 12, 16. Frondor is the brain of the group. He planned the whole theft, down to the last detail.

Weapons: Dagger +1. PP: 30%, HS: 40%, MS: 40%, CW: 60%, OD: 20%, RL: 20%, Bribe: 45%.

Dinkel The Dagger: Dwarf Male, 4th level Fighter. Stats: 18(32), 10, 15, 9, 8, 9. The group’s main man at arms. Specialized in the war hammer. Other weapons: Light Crossbow, Shortsword. His 15 light quarrels are loaded with the same poison as Abrin`s.

Brim The Brave: Halfling Male Thief, 2nd level. Stats: 8, 18, 12, 12, 12, 13. Brim’s name is actually a joke, that he made up himself, and most people who hear him say his name, would laugh loudly, as he’s just a small cowardly halfling. Weapon: Knife.

PP: 50%, HS: 50%, MS: 50%, CW: 55%, OD: 35%, F/RT: 30%, RL: 0%

After committing the crime the, the thieves fled into the mountains. But Garl hasn’t forgotten his art of tracking, and should have no problems tracking down the thieves within 2 days.

If the players join Garl and his friends in the hunt, this will happen:

The players (and the NPCs) will find the remaining parts of three of the thieves lying shattered around in the bottom of a valley, near a small lake. Abrin can be found in about 20-30 different parts, lying behind some large rocks. His short sword is lying broken close by. Frondor is the easiest one to spot. He’s pierced on a 10′ high, sharp pole of rock. Dinkel can be found at the edge of the lake, his war hammer still in his hands. His throat has been ripped out by what seems to be a large predator. He has also got big wounds at the abdomen and torso.

Around the valley there can also be found the tracks of what seems to be a heavy humanoid (approx 210lbs), tracks of wolves and also the tracks of a small humanoid (Brim), which leads over to the other side of the lake, where he can be found in a small cave, hiding, wounded. Garl has only a 50% chance of finding the tracks of the halfling. The halfling has been infected by the magical bite of the wolf-demon, and has therefore changed into a lesser wolf demon (see end of text for more info). He still looks as a halfling though. He will pretend to remember nothing as if he were in shock. He will agree to be taken prisoner if the players or NPCs wishes to take him.

DMs info: The thieves were attacked be the wolf-priest spirits, looking for the tablet. The joined forces and formed two wolf-demons (see end of text for more info on these creatures), easily killing the puny cutthroats. After retrieving the three pieces of the clay tablet, the priests parted into wolf shapes and started to move back to the city.

If the player didn’t join Garl, this is what will happen. In the four days that the NPC adventurers are gone two strange corpses will be found. (Tasha`s victims.) One is a 19 year old male, the other is a 16 year old girl, both locals. If the player wishes to try to find the killer, they will find no evidence of any sort.

As the NPC adventurers return, players will see Brim (chained), and the treasures being carried. If the players ask if anything is missing, they will hear about the three pieces of the clay tablet. If not, they will at least hear rumours about a strange predator in the mountains.

The sixth night, the players will meet Tasha. She will approach the players, preferably on the street, explaining that she’s new in town, and needs a place to live, for example an inn.

Special: If any of the male characters in the group has a charisma of 15 or more, and is willing to help her, she will fall in love with him. If this happens, the DM should try to make the player love her. She will NOT suck his life energy out when kissing him (but she’s probably going to kiss him). She will actually try to protect him, as her loved one. Remember that she only wants a normal life.

If none of the male characters does have a charisma of 15 or more, but helps her, she will look upon the person as a potential victim, trying to seduce him into kissing her. She will only kiss a person in private when draining the life force of the person.

If ANY of the players should behave rudely of bad to her, she will hunt him down later and force him/her to kiss her.

What happens now, depends of the last four pieces of the clay tablet:

If the players have it in their possession, they rule the game. If they show it to Tasha, she will say that she understands the inscriptions on the clay tablet, and that there is a curse on it. She will recommend that the player destroy it. If the players do so, they have made a fatal mistake.

If Tasha doesn’t see the tablet pieces or they don’t destroy it, the two wolf-demons will come at night to claim it. They will come in human shape, but will not hesitate to show their real shape, and will kill to get the pieces if the players as much as hesitate in giving it to them.

If the four pieces of the tablet is in the possession of any of the NPC adventurers except Tenko, the wolf-demons will kill the person and retrieve the pieces.

If it was in Tenkor`s possession, they will explain him the truth and ask for the clay tablet pieces. In that case, Tenkor will give them to the wolf-priests (since they are of the same religion).


If any of the pieces of the clay tablet was destroyed, some heavy magic will be needed to trap the mummy again. Otherwise, she must be killed.

If she fell in love with one of the players, this player should catch her as she drains the life force from another person, changing the person into a mummy. If she sees him, she will try to persuade him into accepting that she have to kill others in order to survive, explaining how her life was taken against her will, before she was given a chance to experience what life was. The player must then decide what to do. To kill her, to trap her, to continue loving her (not likely), to forget her or to pretend to be loving her and then betray her.

If the players should be suspicious of her for some reason, and check her room at the inn (or where she is staying) the seventh day or later, they will find the mummified corpse of one of the wolf-priests, hidden in the closet. He came to her to ask her to return to the life of the dead. She refused and forced him into kissing her.

If the players kill the wolf-priests the sixth night when they come to get the tablets (if the players had them), and they still have the four pieces intact, they must find the other three pieces. The wolf-priests hid these pieces in the inside the mummies coffin, at the foot-end.

If the wolf-priests gets all the pieces of the clay-tablet, they will put it together. When placing all the pieces together there will be a bright flash of light, and Tasha will be returned to the coffin. If Garl’s daughter was still in the coffin, she will be returned to her bed. The wolf-priests will then return back into eternity.


Tasha, Royal-Mummy:

Alignment: Neutral

Activity Cycle: Any

Intelligence: 14

Treasure: See above

Armor Class: 7

HD: 9 + 5

HP: 43

Thac0: 9

Number of Attacks: 1

Damage: by weapon +6 (Str 18(00))

Special Attack: Energy Drain, priest spells

Special Defense: +1 or better weapons needed to hit

Morale: 16

Size: M(5′)

Xp: 6000


In her true (mummy) form, she looks like a horrible, freeze-dried corpse with long dark hair (no bandages). When she has drained life, she looks like a beautiful woman (Cha 17), with brown wavy hair, brown eyes and a good looking body. She will always try to be friendly, even when draining the life of an innocent victim.


Tasha has a raw strenght of 18(00), which gives her +3 to hit and +6 to damage. She will use this strenght to force people into kissing her if they try to avoid it. It can also come in handy if she would have to wield a weapon. She drains two levels per round, but a person kissing her voluntarily will not feel anything until he/she drops dead. The energy drain is so strong that it will even kill undead, although she does not gain any life force from it.

She has also got the spell abilities of a 5th level priest. She needs to drain one person every second day to stay in human shape. If she doesn’t she will turn back to a mummy. And if she then doesn’t get to drain any life within 24 hours, she will return to the dead.

Wolf-priest Spirit:

Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Activity Cycle: Any

Intelligence: 12-16

Treasure: Nil

Number Appearing: 8

Armor Class: 6

HD: 6

Thac0: 14

Number of Attacks: 1 (4)

Damage: by weapon (in human form), 2-5 (in wolf form)

Special Attack: Priest Spells, Join Shape

Special Defense: Priest Spells, Shape Change, Only hit by +1 or silver weapons

Morale: 15

Size: M

Xp: 2000


In human form, the wolf-priests wear long white robes. They are all males between 40 and 50 years old of age, usually with short beard. They are usually armed with a dagger and sometimes a staff.

In wolf shape, they look like white-gray wolves, usually quite large for a wolf to be.

They can in both shapes choose between being ethereal and semi-transparent or in normal solid shape. In the first one they can walk through walls and other solid objects.

But no matter which shape they are in, a faint red glow can always be seen in the eyes. They can change between these four shapes as often as they will, but never more then once per round.


All Wolf-priest Spirits have a strenght of 17. They cast spells as 10th level clerics, from the same spheres as a druid.

And each of them can change shape between wolf and human.

Silver or magical weapons are needed to hit them, and silver weapons inflict only half damage.

The main defense/attack of the wolf-priests, is that four wolfpriests can go together and create a wolf-demon.

A wolf-demon has 10HD, maximum hitpoints, an armor class of 2, a magic resistance of 50%, Thac0: 8, an effective strenght of 20, four attacks per round, each inflicting 1-10 in damage, the spell abilities of a 14th level cleric. It is also only hit by +2 or better magical weapons. Otherwise, its abilities are like those of the normal Wolf-Priest Spirit Xp: 8000

A wolf-demon looks like a male human, a bit taller than 6 feet, with a weight above 200lbs. It has a human head when not in combat, and the eyes are flaring red. But when in combat, the human head gets ripped to pieces by a large wolf’s head which takes the place of the human head. In addition it grows three more heads, which can appear on any part of the body, but usually from the abdomen, torso and shoulders.

If a person gets bitten but not killed, it will in 6 hours turn into a lesser wolf-demon.

The lesser wolf-demon is under direct control of the wolf-demon that bit it.

Lesser Wolf-Demon:

Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Activity Cycle: Any

Intelligence: 10

Treasure: Random

Number Appearing: 1-4

Armor Class: 8

HD: As in life

Thac0: As in life

Number of Attacks: 1

Damage: By weapon

Special Attacks: Shape Change, Spell abilities

Special Defense: Spell abilities

Morale: 13

Xp: Varies


As in life when in humanoid shape. In wolf shape they look like a normal white-grey wolf. They can not choose a ethereal shape.


Lesser Wolf-Demons usually fights with weapons like humans, but they have also got the spell abilities of a 5th level cleric. In wolfshape, the bite inflicts 1-4 in damage.


A Lesser Wolf-Demon does not age. After 100 years, it changes into a wolf-priest spirit. It is always under control of the Wolf Demon who bit it.

Henrik Ertzeid wrote this adventure over 10 years ago, at the height of his gaming career. Despite leading a very busy life, he still plays and enjoys a good game of AD&D and the first World of Darkness edition.