Midnight

Midnight

By Jenny Jarzabski

This mini-adventure for characters of 10th level delves into the lair of a coven of night hags. Synothra, the coven’s mistress, commands the respect of four night hags and a changeling witch. She won this lofty position after covertly slaying the coven’s former leader.

Before Synothra’s reign the coven harvested the souls of helpless dreamers for trade in the hellish markets of Dis but kept a relatively low profile on the Material Plane. Synothra is bolder than her predecessor, however, and forays into the surrounding cities and towns more frequently of late. The other hags resent this fact, and plan to unseat Synothra in the future.

When PCs arrive, most of the coven members are away from their lair. Vargora, a particularly powerful but unambitious night hag, stands guard outside the caves. Synothra and her changeling daughter Vivica wait in the ritual chamber to entertain their guests.

Adventure Hooks

PCs might infiltrate the coven for several reasons. Perhaps they wish to destroy the threat the hags present to local villages. Maybe they are trying to recover the stolen soul of a loved one, or save a victim of a dream haunting. Evil PCs may see the hags as rivals that need to be destroyed, or may visit the coven to steal a hag’s heartstone.

MAP

This adventure uses GameMastery Flip-Mat: Haunted Dungeon. The rooms are numbered starting from the bottom right corner (area 1), and then go clockwise with the final area (area 9) being the central room on the flip mat.

Summary

PCs who plan to invade the coven must first deal with Vargora, Knight of the Coven, who guards the cave’s entrance. The PCs then navigate a network of rooms and tangle with the hags’ wards and guardians, including a haunt left by the death of the coven’s previous leader and a pack of shadow mastiffs.

If the PCs manage to pierce the cave’s deepest reaches, they find coven’s current leader Synothra and her changeling daughter at work in the ritual chamber.

A. Coven Entrance

The mouth of a cave yawns open between boulders slick with moss. Stalactites and stalagmites jut like green fangs just inside the cavern.

Unless otherwise noted, the ceilings inside the covern’s headquarters are 15 feet high. There are no torches or other light sources here, as the hags prefer darkness.

Creatures: Synothra recently divined that her coven would play host to unwelcome visitors, and ordered an increase in security for the next three nights. Vargora, a mounted night hag cavalier, patrols near the cave’s entrance.

VARGORA, KNIGHT OF THE COVEN

CAVALIER NIGHT HAG CR 12

XP 19,200

NE Medium outsider (evil, extraplanar)

Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +16

DEFENSE

AC 25, touch 14, flat-footed 21 (+4 Dex, +11 natural)

hp 92 (8d10+48)

Fort +14, Ref +8, Will +11

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft. (40 ft. mounted)

Melee longsword +15 (1d8+7) or 2 claws +15 (1d4+7), bite +15 (2d6+7 plus disease)

Special Attacks cavalier’s charge, dream haunting, staggering assault

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th)

Constant—detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, detect magic

At will—deep slumber (DC 16), invisibility, magic missile, ray of enfeeblement (DC 14)

At will (with heartstone)—etherealness, soul bind

TACTICS

Before Combat Vargora uses her change shape ability to appear as a beautiful maiden on a white horse, or some other image she thinks will appeal to her audience, and tries to bluff her way out of a fight. She tries to avoid direct combat with mortals, preferring to visit their dreams and trap their sleeping souls in gems for trade in extraplanar markets. If the enemies in question directly threaten her coven, however, she wastes no time in charging into battle.

During Combat Vargora challenges the foe she perceives as physically strongest and uses cavalier’s charge.

Negotations Vargora is loyal to her coven but hates Synothra, who she believes murdered the coven’s previous mistress. Vargora may grant PCs entry to the coven if they agree to dispose of Synothra.

STATISTICS

Str 25, Dex 19, Con 22, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 17

Base Atk +8; CMB +13; CMD 29

Feats Alertness, Combat Casting, Deceitful, Mounted Combat

Skills Bluff +16, Diplomacy +11, Disguise +16, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (Arcana) +12, Knowledge (planes) +15, Perception +16, Ride +15, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +15

Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal

SQ change shape (any humanoid, alter self), heartstone, mount

Treasure heartstone, longsword

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Challenge (Ex) As a swift action, a cavalier creature chooses one target within sight to challenge. The cavalier creature’s melee attacks deal extra damage whenever the attacks are made against the target of its challenge. The extra damage is equivalent to the cavalier creature’s Hit Dice. An order of the seal cavalier creature can make a free bull rush or trip combat maneuver anytime it takes the full-round attack action against the target of its challenge. This free combat maneuver does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The cavalier creature can use this ability 2 times per day. The cavalier creature takes a –2 penalty to its AC, except against the target of her challenge. The challenge remains in effect until the target is dead or unconscious or until the combat ends.

Disease (Su) Demon Fever: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 20; onset immediate; frequency 1/day; effect 1d6 Con damage (target must save a 2nd time or 1 point of the damage is drain instead); cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Dream Haunting (Su) A night hag can visit the dreams of chaotic or evil targets by using a special periapt known as a heartstone to become ethereal, then hovering over the creature. Once it does so, it rides on the victim’s back until dawn. The sleeper suffers tormenting dreams and takes 1 point of Constitution drain upon awakening. Only another ethereal being can stop these nocturnal intrusions by confronting and defeating the night hag.

Heartstone (Su) All night hags carry a heartstone—a special gemstone worth at least 1,800 gp that is worn as a periapt. A heartstone’s magic is fueled by the hag’s spirit and proximity—once separated from its owner (or upon the hag’s death), a heartstone retains its magic for only 24 hours before becoming a nonmagical gem again. The heartstone instantly cures any disease contracted by the holder. In addition, a heartstone provides a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws (this bonus is included in the statistic blocks above). A night hag that loses this charm can no longer use etherealness or soul bind until it finds a replacement gemstone.

I Shall Not Be Moved (Ex) A cavalier creature can draw on its dedication to overcome physical weakness. Whenever it does not move more than a 5-foot step, it receives a +2 dodge bonus to her CMD to resist bull rush, overrun, reposition, and trip combat maneuvers until its next turn.

Keeper (Ex) The knight of the coven gains a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls when directly defending her coven.

Staggering Assault (Ex) A cavalier creature can drive opponents back without giving ground. As a full-round action, a cavalier creature can make a single attack at its highest attack bonus. If the attack hits, the attack does damage as normal, and the cavalier creature may attempt a bull rush combat maneuver against the target. The creature gains a bonus on the bull rush combat maneuver equal to half the amount of damage dealt on the original attack.

NOCTURNE, BONDED MOUNT

NIGHTMARE CR 5

XP 1,600

NE Large outsider (evil, extraplanar)

Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +12

DEFENSE

AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 17(+2 Dex, +8 natural, –1 size)

hp 51 (6d10+18)

Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +3

OFFENSE

Speed 40 ft., fly 90 ft. (good)

Melee bite +9 (1d4+4), 2 hooves +4 (1d6+2 plus 1d4 fire)

Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

TACTICS

Before Combat When given the order by Vargora, Nocturne uses its smoke ability to cloud the field of battle.

During Combat Nocturne obeys its master’s orders and attacks when it has the opportunity.

STATISTICS

Str 18, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 12

Base Atk +6; CMB +11; CMD 23 (27 vs. trip)

Feats Alertness, Improved Initiative, Run

Skills Fly +13, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (planes) +10, Perception +12, Sense Motive +12, Stealth +7, Survival +10

Languages Abyssal, Infernal

Treasure none

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Smoke (Su) In battle, a nightmare exhales smoke that chokes and blinds foes, filling a 15-foot cone each round as a free action. Anyone in the cone must succeed on a DC 16 Fortitude save or become sickened until 1d6 minutes after leaving the area. This smoke acts as obscuring mist for the purposes of concealment. The smoke persists for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.

A1. Anteroom (CR 5)

A cloying twilight fills this natural cave. A carpet of green moss and pale toadstools covers the floor and walls, and stalactites hang from the ceiling. Scattered bones crunch underfoot. A narrow tunnel off the western wall of the cave leads into blackness.

The hags magically excavated the adjoining rooms (areas 2-9) years ago after discovering this naturally occurring cavern. The coven encourages their shadow mastiff pets to leave the remains of kills in the anteroom to discourage unwanted guests from venturing deeper into the complex.

Traps: Any creature that steps through the tunnel to area 2 risks triggering a particularly nasty trap.

Death Trap CR 5
XP 1,600
Type spell (phantasm [fear, mind-affecting]); Perception DC 29; Disable Device DC 29
EFFECTS
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect spell effect (phantasmal killer, DC 21, CL 7th)

A2. The Kennels (CR 9)

No natural light penetrates this square chamber. The scrape of claws against stone echoes in the darkness.

The hallway to the southwest of this room houses four small chambers that serve as kennels for the coven’s shadow mastiffs. The mastiffs typically sleep and eat in this area, but are free to roam about the dungeon, and pursue any PCs who try to flee. This room is completely dark. The ceiling is 10 feet high and the walls and floors are sturdy stone.

Creatures: A pack of shadow mastiffs lairs here, loyally guarding the hag’s secrets from intruders.

Shadow Mastiffs (4) CR 9
XP 1,600 each
hp 51 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 3)
TACTICS
During Combat The shadow mastiffs bay as soon as they detect the presence of PCs.

A3. Haunted Chamber (CR 9)

Only silence occupies this bare stone room. A grim rust-colored stain mars the central tiles of the room. Hallways branch off to the north, south, and northwest.

A dark stain in the middle of this room marks the death of a past coven leader. The hags typically avoid this room whenever possible, since it is haunted. Even in death the murdered hag is a victim of her coven’s machinations; Synothra refuses to destroy the haunt as she believes it makes a useful ward.

Hallways lead to the north (area 9) and the northwest (area 4). A third hallway, little more than a narrow tunnel less than 5 feet wide, leads to a dead end to the south.

Creatures: The coven’s previous leader died here several months ago, betrayed by Synothra. The remnants of the magical ambush still remain as a haunt.

Hag’s End CR 8
XP  4,800
CE persistent haunt (dark stain of a 10-foot radius where the coven leader was murdered); Caster Level 8th; Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear the words of a spell followed by a scream); hp 36; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 hour
EFFECT
When this haunt is triggered, a cone of cold (DC 18) shoots out of thin air, aimed in a way that affects the greatest amount of living creatures possible.
DESTRUCTION
Using a counterspell on cone of cold eliminates its power.
Treasure: The murdered hag’s heartstone (a single ruby worth 2,500 gp) is hidden within a cache in the northern wall, noticeable with a DC 25 Perception check.

A4. Stables (CR 8)

A layer of rotting hay fills three empty stalls. The room stinks of smoke, and a work bench lined with obsidian horseshoes occupies the eastern corner of the room.

The night hags stable their nightmare mounts in this room. The “stable boys”, two wayangs bound to the hags’ service, reside here and tend the nightmares.

Creatures: Two nightmares currently occupy the stables and attack any strangers who enter. Lyv and Kirri, twin wayang brothers, keep watch over the stables.

Nightmares (2) CR 7
XP 1,600 each
hp 51 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary)
During Combat The nightmares use their smoke ability to disable PCs before attacking.

Wayangs (2) CR 1
XP 200 each
hp 8 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 4)
During Combat The wayangs are no match for PCs, but fear what will happen to them if they fail to protect Synothra’s stable. They attempt to trick PCs with spells such as hypnotism and silent image. If the nightmares are destroyed, the pair cast vanish and try to flee.

Treasure: Four of the horseshoes on the workbench are horseshoes of speed (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Equipment).

Development: If the PCs take the wayangs prisoner, the twin brothers admit that long ago they traded a lifetime of service to Synothra to free their father from a dream haunting. The hag double-crossed them and trapped their father’s soul in a gem. The brothers are now enslaved to the coven. The wayangs lack the power and courage to attempt rebellion or escape, and expect to perish in the Synothra’s service. They may share information about the layout of the dungeon and the creatures found there, but refuse to help PCs fight.

A5. The Backdoor (CR varies)

What appears to be a well in the west wing of this oblong chamber houses a swirling vortex of red light and ink black shadows. Four heavy chains bolted to a metal dais near the well link to oversized, empty manacles.

The well is actually a portal to Abaddon. Synothra refers to this location as the “backdoor,” which she uses to freely travel to and from Abaddon and other evil-aligned planes. Creatures who touch the well are instantly transported to Abaddon.

The metal dais and chains are constructed of adamantine, and used to imprison outsiders summoned to do Synothra’s bidding. Currently the dais is devoid of prisoners. There is a 40% chance that a leukodaemon (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2) emerges from the portal while PCs are in the room.

A6. The Waiting Room

Synothra “entertains” expected visitors in this featureless chamber. Suspicious brown and black stains splash across the floor and walls.

A7. Ritual Chamber (CR 10)

Arcane designs drawn in blood, chalk, and tar criss-cross the stone floor of this room. A cauldron boils in the center of the chamber. Grisly fetishes of bone, feather, and bits of sinew dangle from the ceiling. Flies buzz around the stinking trinkets. A shelf well-stocked with jars of organs, vials of murky liquid, and books bound in human skin stands along the western wall.

Synothra conducts most of her rituals in this room. Vivica, Synothra’s fledgeling night hag daughter, assists her mother with various spells and incantations here.

Creatures: Synothra and her changeling daughter are in the middle of casting bones when the PCs arrive. Though they are expecting company, they may be surprised by stealthy PCs.

Synothra
Night Hag CR 9
XP 6,400
hp 92 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary)
During Combat Synothra casts invisibility on herself if she hears the party approaching. She casts deep slumber before entering melee while Vivica blasts the PCs with spells.

Vivica
Cabalist CR 8
XP 4,800
hp 92 (Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea NPC Codex)
During Combat Vivica slings hexes and spells at PCs while her mother engages the party in melee combat.

Treasure: 17,000 gp worth of black sapphires, all containing the trapped souls of mortals, reside in a locked chest (Disable Device DC 30) on the shelf. The shelf also houses 1,700 gp worth of spell reagents and rare herbs.

Development: If PCs defeat Synothra, any creatures afflicted by her dream haunting are freed from their condition. Synothra’s collection of black sapphires can be destroyed or dispelled to exonerate the souls trapped there. Conversely, an evil party could sell the gems to the appropriate buyer for a tidy sum.

A8. Hallway

This long, unfurnished hallway leads from the ritual room to the coven’s living chambers.

A9. Living Quarters

The coven relaxes and sleeps in this suite of rooms furnished with three beds, a chest of drawers, and cracked mirrors. Worthless personal effects litter the messy chambers.

15. COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Genius Guide to Simple Class Templates for Monsters © 2015, Rogue Genius Games
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea NPC Codex © 2013, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game NPC Codex. © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Magic. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Equipment. © 2012 Paizo Publishing, LLC

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The Apples of Ludheim

The Apples of Ludheim is a short adventure for 4 PCs of 6th level. Though this adventure is setting neutral, it would fit especially well with Kobold Press’s Midgard Campaign Setting. This adventure is primarily social, but provides options for the more combat-minded players. A warning from the designer, however: sometimes words are mightier than swords. If you enjoy this adventure, please consider donating to me on patreon. These adventures are free and will stay that way, but I appreciate the support!

Ludheim

THE APPLES OF LUDHEIM
BY JENNY JARZABSKI
CARTOGRAPHY BY JON CARY
The village of Ludheim is nestled on the edge of a deep forest far to the north. The hundred or so souls who eke out a life there do so in harmony with nature and the seasons: planting and harvesting in a few small fields, gathering and hunting sparsely in the forest, and picking the exquisite apples that only grow near Ludheim.

Five decades ago a small group of enterprising families built huts, a church, and a town mead-hall on the edge of the forest. Among them was a young woodsman named Remek, a druid with knowledge of the forest flora and fauna. The druid Remek spent much of his time walking the woods around the budding village and discovered a natural orchard of apple trees that seemed to bear fruit year round. Upon tasting an apple, he came face to face with the unseelie dryad Epli. Epli charmed Remek and learned that he lived in the burgeoning village nearby but meant her no harm. Epli struck a deal with Remek: each member of the town could harvest one basket of apples each season so long as her part of the forest was never cleared for lumber or expansion. Every spring, the town would plant seeds for the trees taken from the other parts of the forest. Remek agreed and returned to town to share news of the orchard.

Remek quickly rose in the village to become a member of the thing. A decade later he was elected as lawspeaker, a position he retains to this day. The various chieftains of the village deferred to Remek’s wisdom in matters of the forest, and his vow to Epli remained unbroken. Numbers swelled and the village gained a name, Ludheim. The apples of Ludheim, named by the initiated “the best apples in Midgard” and “second only to Idunn’s fruit,” brought local renown and trade to the place. Visitors were always disappointed at the set number of apples available, but readily bought all they could.

Six months ago, everything changed. Sigvalda, a young cleric of Sif, became chieftain of Ludheim. Sigvalda’s vision for the people of Ludheim was a shining future of expansion and trade. She hoped to achieve this end by mass marketing the famous apples. For the first time in nearly half a century the thing did not heed Remek’s words. Sigvalda encouraged hearty harvest of the plentiful apples, and regarded the spring planting as an unnecessary nod to tradition.

The first child disappeared four months ago. A hunter found her in the forest, her tiny body broken and bloodied. A basket filled with rotten apples lay near her corpse. A month later, a young man was found dead on the outskirts of the orchard in a similar tableau. Sigvalda ordered anyone picking apples to go in pairs, but the deaths continued.

When the PCs arrive in Ludheim, six people have been killed in this way. The thing is in an uproar. Ludheim’s townsfolk are frightened and shut themselves in their houses after nightfall. Armed men and women accompany any foray into the orchard. Remek still begs to be heard, but Sigvalda is more determined than ever to move forward with her plans, starting with a hunt to cull the surrounding forest of dangerous beasts. She plans to clear the woods around the orchard to eliminate hiding places for bloodthirsty creatures.

It is up to the PCs to uncover the truth and restore order and prosperity to Ludheim.

SUMMARY
The PCs arrive in Ludheim to investigate the strange deaths of six villagers. The PCs speak to the lawspeaker of the village, a wizened druid named Remek, who guides their investigation toward the chieftain of the village thing, the priestess Sigvalda. The PCs confront Sigvalda and discover that she’s guilty only of disagreeing with Remek’s outdated and superstitious ideas.

Sigvalda wants the PCs to hunt down the creatures or persons responsible for the killing, and points them toward the surrounding forest. Remek reveals the truth behind the grisly events: decades ago as a young man he made a deal with an evil dryad to harvest her apples. When Sigvalda was elected chieftain six months ago, the bargain ended, and the dryad Epli is collecting what is due to her in blood. Remek asks the PCs to take a gift to the orchard and forge a new deal with Epli.

In the orchard, PCs successfully negotiate with Epli or face the wrath of the forest.

ADVENTURE HOOKS
PCs hear a rumor about the trouble in Ludheim and travel there to investigate. Perhaps the party didn’t intend to help the people of Ludheim at all, but are simply passing through and stop for the night in the idyllic little town.

GETTING STARTED
Read the following to get the adventure underway:

A rolling meadow gives way to fields dotted with bales of hay and stacked sheaves of wheat, signaling a recent harvest. The plots end in a huddle of turf houses nestled on the edge of deep forest. Smoke curls from chimneys and hangs in the chill air. The grassy dwellings surround an area of packed dirt where a larger building, a longhouse constructed of timber, stands apart at the center of the village.

A few cattle graze in the meadow and chickens peck and squabble in the small yards. A plump, aproned woman sweeping her porch with a wicker broom pauses to squint toward you. Laughter bounces between the crowded eaves as children race around the dwellings in a game of tag. The girl leading the chase stops abruptly as she catches sight of strangers, and turns on her heel to run the other way.


A squat wooden sign at the edge of the village proclaims, “Ludheim—best apples in Midgard! Always in season!”

A tall, burly man with rosy cheeks and straw-colored hair trudges toward you, a bundle of firewood slung over one shoulder.


“Well met, travelers,” he says, wiping one hand on his trousers before extending it in greeting. “You here for the apples? Sorry, friend, season’s over.”

The man who greets the PCs is Erling Grundrsson (N human male commoner 2), a local farmer. Erling starts as indifferent to the PCs, gruff but not unkind, tired from a long day in the fields and intent to get home for dinner with his family. He’s turned away several travelers hoping to buy the famous apples in the last few days, and assumes the PCs are here for that reason. Some possible questions for Erling and his responses:

Aren’t your apples always in season? Erling turns to regard the sign and shakes his head. ”Hard times this year. Try Radham. Apples aren’t as good, but they still got ‘em.”

What kind of hard times? “Our troubles don’t concern strangers. Come back next season.”

Who’s in charge here? “The thing make the laws. They meet at the mead hall yonder.” He gestures toward the longhouse in the middle of the village.

We hear there’s trouble in Ludheim. How can we help? “Best thing to do is find you some horses and ride hard back the way you came, friend. If you insist on it, a thingmoot’s goin’ on right now. Head on over and talk to them.”

ERLING GRUNDRSSON       CR 1/2
XP 200
hp 9 (Pathfinder RPG NPC Codex 256)

Knowledge (Local) or Diplomacy
PCs may gather information or recall rumors about recent events and important personages in Ludheim.
10+ Ludheim is governed by a thing, an elected council who make decisions about commerce, law, and other important issues. The chieftain is Sigvalda, a cleric of Sif who lives in a small parsonage connected to the town’s church. The lawspeaker is Remek, an old druid who lives on the edge of town and has been a member of the thing for as long as most can remember.

15+ Ludheim, normally a safe and idyllic village, is reeling from a string of grisly deaths. In the last four months, six townsfolk have been found dead in the forest just outside of town. The victims appeared to be savaged by wild animals and each clutched a basket of rotten apples.

20+ The deaths began only two months after Sigvalda became chieftain. She is worried about her people and wants to move on with her grand plans for Ludheim, so is offering a reward to any who can slay the creature responsible for the killings.

25+ Remek blames the deaths on Sigvalda but won’t say why. He has already petitioned the thing to elect a new chieftain, but they refused. Ever since then thing moots have been notoriously long and usually devolve into heated arguments between Remek and Sigvalda.

A. THE VILLAGE OF LUDHEIM
Ludheim is considered a village for the purposes of determining wealth and items available. The majority of the dwellings in Ludheim are small turf huts, constructed by first laying a stone foundation followed by a timber frame, and finally by layering blocks of sod to cover the walls and roof. All buildings save for the mead hall, which is completely wooden, were built in this way. The walls of the huts are sod layered over a wooden frame (hardness 3, 30 hp, break DC 15) and the doors are wooden (hardness 5, 10 hp, break DC 15).

All huts contain at least one fire pit and benches for sitting and sleeping. Most houses have at least a central living area, though some of the larger dwellings have additional rooms that serve as pantries, bedrooms, workshops, or even stables.

Citizens of this sleepy village have little cause to fear members of their own community or the forest around them, at least not until recently, and all doors remain unlocked until sundown. At night, doors are barred with a simple locking mechanism (Disable Device DC 20).

Notable NPCs in Ludheim include Chieftain Sigvalda (NG human female cleric 3/warrior 4), Lawspeaker Remek (N human male druid 5), Ingmar Bearslayer (LN human male warrior 6), Gunnar the blacksmith (LN human male expert 5), and Marsa the tanner (LN human female expert 4).

A1. Mead Hall
Four mighty logs carved into pillars support the high ceiling of this grand hall. A fire pit dominates the single room, flanked by carved wooden benches and low tables on either side. High windows of crudely stained glass depict an orchard, branches laden with apples, and a beautiful woman offering an apple to a man standing alongside a group of small huts.

The mead hall’s ceiling is 20 feet high. The windows are 15 feet from the ground. The walls are hardwood (harness 5, 60 hp, break DC 20) and the doors are reinforced wood (hardness 5, 20 hp, break DC 25). The doors are open when PCs arrive.

Ingmar Bearslayer (LN human male warrior 6) sits drowning his disgust at the recent moot’s proceedings. He is deep in his cups and begins as friendly to the PCs. As PCs approach, Ingmar bellows at them: “A disgrace it was, that moot. The two of ‘em yelling at one another, flinging blame like arrows, an’ all the while innocents are still dyin’ in the woods. Give me a true battle and the clash of steel, it gets more done than all these useless words!”

Who was arguing? “The chieftain and the lawspeaker, of course. They’re at each others’ throats now. Fat lot of good it does for Ludheim.”

What were they arguing about? “Sigvalda wants to keep pickin’ the apples. Says we need to send armed parties to the orchards. Remek says it’s her fault our people are dead and she needs to step down as chieftain. She won’t, though, Sigvalda. Too headstrong. Fiery. Aye, I like that in a woman.”

Why won’t she listen to Remek? “Sigvalda wants to build up our town. Says trade will boom if we get more o’ them apples. There’s plenty of ‘em on them trees. But the old law is only one basket a person every season.”

Why is that a law? Ingmar gulps from the horn and swallows, thinking a moment. “It’s always been that way. Remek knows the forest, he’s a wise man, see. He says more’n a basket each is too hard on the forest.”

Is that why he’s angry with Sigvalda? “Aye. But the way he keeps accusin’ her, it’s like he thinks she killed them herself. But that can’t be.”

Tell me more about Sigvalda. “Sigvalda Johannsdottir grew up in Ludheim. She was a pious child, always prayin’, and she took over for the good Father when he died. Now she runs the church, heals the sick, delivers babies. She’s a good woman, but stubborn.”

Tell me more about Remek. “Remek has a hut on the edge of the village. Keeps to himself mostly, save for moots. He’s older than most folks alive now, and he knows everything about the forest. Remembers when Ludheim was just a farm, he does.”

Who should we talk to about helping the town? Well, Sigvalda keeps talkin’ about a reward for the man who slays the beast doin’ the killing. I think Remek might know somethin’ about what’s really going on, though, and he doesn’t trust Sigvalda. Either one you talk to’s like to give you an earful.”

Creatures: A young human woman kneels by the fire pit tending the flames. A grizzled human man sits alone on a bench, drinking deep from a hollowed ram’s horn.

INGMAR BEARSLAYER     CR 4
XP
1,200
Male human warrior 6
LN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +4
DEFENSE
AC
18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +2 Dex) hp 51 (6d10+18)
Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +6
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
Melee mwk greataxe +11/+7 (1d12+6)
Ranged composite longbow +7/+3 (1d8+3)
TACTICS
Before Combat
Ingmar drinks his potion of bull’s strength.
During Combat Ingmar power attacks with his greataxe, cleaving enemies whenever possible. If Ingmar is grievously wounded, he tries to withdraw and drink acolyte ale before rejoining combat.
Morale Ingmar’s single-minded bravery in battle means he will fight to the death.
Base Statistics Without the potion of bull’s strength, Ingmar’s statistics are as follows: Melee mwk greataxe +10/+4 (1d12+4); Str 17; CMB +8; CMD 20; Skills +2 Climb, +3 Swim Str 21, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10
STATISTICS
Base Atk +6; CMB +9; CMD 21
Feats Cleave, Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness
Skills +4 Climb, +5 Handle Animal, +5 Intimidate, +4 Perception, +1 Sense Motive, +1 Survival, +5 Swim
Languages Common
Combat Gear acolyte ale, potion of bull’s strength; Other Gear mwk greataxe, composite longbow (Str +3), chainmail, cloak of resistance +1, wholesome draught horn
Treasure: Ingmar Bearslayer’s drinking horn is a wholesome draught horn. Thing members typically pass the horn around and drink from it before a moot begins, and alternate keeping the horn after meetings. It’s Ingmar’s turn to carry the horn, and he’s currently putting it to good use in the mead hall.

WHOLESOME DRAUGHT HORN
Slot none; Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd; Weight 3 lbs.; Price 2,700 gp.
DESCRIPTION
Scrimshaw etchings on this polished ram’s horn depict a great mead hall crowded with laughing men and women. Whenever the command word is spoken, any liquid placed in this drinking horn becomes safe for consumption, as the spell purify food and drink.
CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Craft Wondrous Item, purify food and drink; Cost 1,350

A2. Sif’s Hearth (CR 6)
A cheerful fire crackles in the pit at the center of the room. Thick furs provide cushioning on the rough wooden benches facing the fire from every wall. A narrow alcove on the room’s north side leads to a small living area. A few skins placed on the packed dirt floor surround the fire, providing a comfortable kneeling place for visitors. A few unpolished wooden cupboards stand in the corners of the large central chamber.

Sif’s Hearth is Ludheim’s only church. The small building serves as an apothecary, infirmary, and place of worship for the village. Sigvalda spends most of her time at Sif’s Hearth tending the wounded or sick and conducting ceremonies for the faithful. She lives in the small chamber attached to the church.

Creatures: Sigvalda leans over the still form of a woman, supine and partially nude on a bench, a silver dagger clutched in her hand. The woman twists away from the knife, moaning incoherently, and Sigvalda presses one hand to the woman’s chest to steady her.

SIGVALDA CR 6
XP 2,400
Female human cleric 3/warrior 4
NG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +1; Senses Perception +6
DEFENSE
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+7 armor, +1 Dex, +1 shield)
hp 39 (4d10+3d8+4)
Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +10
OFFENSE
Speed
20 ft.
Melee mwk heavy mace +9/+4 (1d8+2) or light shield bash +8/+3 (1d3+2)
Special Attacks channel positive energy 4/day (DC 12, 2d6)
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 3rd; concentration +7)
2nd—calm emotions (DC 16), cure moderate wounds
1st—command (DC 15), divine favor, sanctuary
0—create water, detect poison, mending, stabilize
TACTICS
Before Combat
Sigvalda drops her dagger and equips her heavy mace and shield.
During Combat Sigvalda casts sanctuary on her patient and calm emotions on the PCs. She tries to reason with them, saying that she does not wish anymore harm or destruction on her village, and that if they have a problem with her, they should take it outside the temple. If forced to fight, she attacks with her heavy mace, using spells such as divine favor and command to buff herself and disable her enemies.
Morale Sigvalda does not wish to fight, especially in her place of worship. If the PCs are intent on killing her, she fights to the death to defend herself and Ludheim.
STATISTICS
Str
15, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 8, Wis 19, Cha 12
Base Atk +6; CMB +8; CMD 19
Feats Combat Casting, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Leadership, Skill Focus (Heal)
Skills +5 Diplomacy, +13 Heal, +6 Intimidate, +4 Knowledge (Religion), +6 Perception, +9 Sense Motive, +6 Survival, +2 Swim
Languages Common
SQ aura, calming touch 1d6+3 nonlethal damage 7/day, spontaneous casting, touch of good +1 7/day
Combat Gear potion of cure moderate wounds; Other Gear mwk heavy mace, silver dagger, +1 breastplate, light steel shield, headband of inspired wisdom +2, wooden holy symbol of Sif
Development: If the PCs speak with Sigvalda, she reveals that she is trying to clean an infected wound for an ailing farmer’s wife. She curses Remek, and explains that though she admires the old man he has grown rigid and addled with age. She tells the PCs that he insisted on continuing the outdated tradition of planting a seed for every apple taken each spring, and that even though there are plenty of fruit-bearing trees in the orchard, he wants the harvest limited to one basket of apples per person in the village. Word about the year-round apples in Ludheim spread over the years and now the town has an opportunity for trade and expansion, which she wants to see. Remek continues to be resistant, and even blames her for the recent deaths. Sigvalda just wants her people to be safe. She offers a reward to the PCs if they are willing to venture into the forest and hunt the mysterious beast killing Ludheim’s citizens (see Conclusion for details of the reward).

If the PCs fight and kill or disable Sigvalda, the truth of her innocence is revealed when the husband of the “victim” returns to check on his wife. The farmer curses the PCs as outlaws and demon-spawn, and shouts for help. Ingmar Bearslayer and 1d8 armed villagers (see guard, Pathfinder RPG NPC Codex 267) arrive in 10 rounds to fight the PCs.

Treasure: If PCs agree to hunt the beast killing the villagers, Sigvalda offers them free reign of her medical cabinet. The cabinet contains a healer’s kit, potion of cure moderate wounds (4), potion of shield of faith (2), potion of lesser restoration, and surgeon’s tools.

A2. Remek’s Hut
What appears at first to be a verdant knoll sports a carved wooden door and small chimney. A carpet of lush grass and wildflowers covers the roof and walls of this windowless turf hut. Inside, benches strewn with furs and rows of wooden shelves line the walls, leaving only a narrow space to walk around a central fire pit. The shelves are stocked with sprigs of leaves, jars, animal skulls, preserved insect nests, and other detritus from the forest.

Remek sits on a bench examining some acorns and writing in a journal when the PCs arrive. The door is unlocked and he calls for his visitors to come in if they knock. He holds up a hand as the PCs approach and scribbles a final line before snapping the book shut and saying, “How may I help you?”

Remek tells the PCs about the killings. He says that they are suspicious, and that no animal in these woods would normally stray so close to the village. The basket of rotten fruit found next to each victim is especially strange. He levies thinly veiled accusations at Sigvalda, taking care not to lie outright, simply blaming her for the problem. He might say something like, “she works against the land,” or “her policies do not have our best interest at heart.” He urges PCs to investigate and find some way to discredit her. If Sigvalda steps down as chieftain, he explains, the killings will stop. He can truthfully say he had nothing to do with the killings if asked.

If hard-pressed about the killings, or if confronted after the PCs visit Sigvalda, Remek will confess that long ago he made a deal with the dryad Epli in the woods and that Sigvalda’s new policies broke that vow. Now, Epli is doing all in her power to protect her forest from the havoc Sigvalda’s plans would wreak there. He expresses sadness about the loss of innocent life, but believes a truce can be reached. He begs the PCs to take a gift into the forest and make a new deal with Epli. He fears that she may slay him on sight for allowing the vow to be broken.

If PCs agree, he draws a map of the surrounding forest, including the nearby orchard, and gives a gift to the PCs to take to Epli. The gift is a gold necklace with a green leaf charm. He urges them to return and speak to the thing about what they witness there, fearing the others will think him crazy if no one can support his story.

Creatures: Remek (statblock located in Area B) is reading in his hut when PCs come to talk to him. Bursti, his boar animal companion, is a few yards away in the forest rooting for food. Remek has no intention of fighting the PCs unless he sees them attack Epli, and Bursti does not attack unless commanded to.

Development: Remek wild shapes into an owl and secretly follows the PCs when they enter the forest.

Treasure: The necklace Remek gives the PCs to take to Epli is an amulet of natural armor +1. If the PCs return to search the shelves of Remek’s hut, they find 200 gp worth of crafting materials and 4 goodberries.

B. EPLI’S ORCHARD (CR 7)
Use the GameMastery Flip-Mat: Deep Forest for this area.

The lush growth of oak and pine gives way to a natural orchard of apple trees. One especially large, ancient tree stands alone in a small clearing, its roots and branches twisting in elegant knot work, branches laden with green, red, and yellow apples.

This area is located 3/4 of a mile north of Ludheim. PCs must travel through dense forest to reach this area, and must succeed a DC 20 Survival check to locate this area in an hour. Remek’s map provides a +4 bonus to this check. In contrast to the surrounding forest of oak and pine, this area is thick with apple trees. Beautiful red apples hang heavy on the branches of several hundred apple trees. A particularly large tree in the middle of the orchard bears apples of multiple colors. This is Epli’s tree.

Epli is nowhere to be seen. If PCs call her by her name and mention that they have a gift for her, Epli appears before them. Epli is angry at the village of Ludheim for breaking their vow, and she assumes the PCs are here on Remek’s behalf. She is not so enraged, however, that she refuses to speak with them. She would prefer to forge a truce between her and the village; she knows that she could not stand against the combined might of villagers armed with fire and blades. A successful DC 25 Diplomacy check convinces Epli to consider Ludheim’s plight. In addition, the PCs must agree to bring the current chieftain to speak with Epli, and the chieftain must swear to renew the replanting efforts next spring. She promises that she will not hurt the chieftain except in self-defense. Epli admits that she called the wolves of the forest to attack the slain villagers, and she personally placed the basket of rotten apples next to each corpse. She is not remorseful about the deaths, feeling that they were necessary to make her point.

If the PCs return with Sigvalda, Epli immediately tries to charm her, and agrees to allow a larger harvest with a successful DC 30 Diplomacy check. If Epli senses that any of the PCs are lying to her, the deal is off.

Creatures: Epli, an unseelie dryad, emerges from her tree to speak with PCs if they mention having a gift for her. Remek follows the PCs in owl form and lands several yards away. He shifts back to human form and listens to the exchange.
EPLI CR 4

XP 1,200
Unseelie dryad
NE Medium fey (unseelie)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +11
DEFENSE
AC
17, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+4 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 27 (6d6+6)
Fort +5, Ref +9, Will +7
DR 5/cold iron
Weaknesses tree dependent
OFFENSE
Speed
30 ft.
Melee dagger +7 (1d4)
Ranged masterwork longbow +8 (1d8)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)
Constant—speak with plants
At will—entangle (DC 15), tree shape, wood shape (1 lb. only)
3/day—charm person (DC 15), deep slumber (DC 17), darkness, tree stride
1/day—dust of twilight, heat metal, suggestion (DC 17)
TACTICS
Before Combat Epli casts charm person on the toughest-looking PC, favoring one who carries an axe or other bladed weapon.
During Combat Epli calls to Remek for aid. Remek, who trailed PCs into the forest, arrives in 1 round. Epli casts darkness and dust of twilight to gain an advantage over PCs who cannot see in the dark. She attacks with her longbow from a distance for as long as possible, using entangle, deep slumber, and suggestion to try to remove opponents from melee.
Morale Epli fights to the death to protect her orchard.
STATISTICS
Str
10, Dex 19, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 18
Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 17
Feats Great Fortitude, Stealthy, Weapon Finesse
Skills Climb +9, Craft (sculpture) +11, Escape Artist +15, Handle Animal +10, Knowledge (nature) +11, Perception +11, Stealth +15, Survival +8; Racial Modifiers +6 Craft (wood) Languages Common, Elven, Sylvan; speak with plants
SQ tree meld, wild empathy, woodcraft
Gear dagger, masterwork longbow, 20 arrows

REMEK CR 4
XP
1,200
Male human druid 5
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +1; Senses Perception +12
DEFENSE
AC
20, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+7 armor, +1 Dex, +2 natural armor)
hp 36 (5d8+10)
Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +9 (+13 vs. fey)
OFFENSE
Speed
20 ft.
Melee mwk spear +2 (1d8–1/x3) or dagger +2 (1d4–1)
Ranged mwk spear +2 (1d8–1/x3)
Druid Spells Prepared (CL 5th; concentration +9)
3rd—call lightning (DC 17), spike growth (DC 17)
2nd—aggressive thundercloud (DC 16), barkskin, stone call
1st—cure light wounds, entangle (DC 15), magic fang, thunderstomp
0—detect magic, detect poison, guidance, know direction
TACTICS
Before Combat
If Remek thinks the PC’s negotiations with Epli are going south, he feeds his potions of bear’s endurance and bull’s strength to Bursti. He also casts magic fang on Bursti if he has time. He casts barkskin on himself.
During Combat Remek commands Bursti to attack PCs if Epli calls for his aid. He first casts spike growth to prevent the PCs from easily attacking Epli at melee range. Then he casts offensive spells, such as call lightning, aggressive thundercloud, and stone call. He uses entangle and thunderstomp to try to keep the PCs at range.
Morale If Epli is slain, he falls to his knees in grief and surrenders. Otherwise, he fights to the death to protect Epli.
Base Statistics Without barkskin, Remek’s statistics are as follows: AC 18STATISTICS
Str 8, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 10
Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD 13
Feats Boon Companion, Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, Lightning Reflexes
Skills +2 Climb, +4 Diplomacy, +6 Handle Animal, +10 Heal, +12 Perception, +8 Sense Motive, +8 Spellcraft, +3 Stealth, +13 Survival, +0 Swim
Languages Common, Druidic, Sylvan
SQ Animal Companion, Share Spells with Companion, Spontaneous Casting, Trackless Step, Wild Empathy +5, Wild Shape (5 hours, 1/day), Woodland Stride
Combat Gear acolyte ale, potion of bear’s endurance, potion of bull’s strength, potion of invisibilityOther Gear mwk spear, dagger, +1 dragonhide breastplate, cloak of resistance +1

BURSTI CR 4
XP 1,200
Effective druid level 5
N Medium animal (boar)
Init +0; Senses Low-light vision, scent; Perception +6 DEFENSE
AC 19, touch 10, flat-footed 19 (+9 natural armor)
hp 47 (5d8+20)
Fort +9, Ref +4, Will +2
OFFENSE
Speed
40 ft.
Melee gore +10 (1d8+9)
Base Statistics Without bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, and magic fang, Bursti’s statistics are as follows: hp 37; Fort +7; Melee gore +7 (1d8+6); Str 19; Con 17; CMB +7; CMD 17; Skills +4 Climb, +4 Swim
STATISTICS
Str
23, Dex 11, Con 21, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 4
Base Atk +3; CMB +9; CMD 19
Feats Improved Natural Armor, Power Attack, Stable Gallop
Skills +4 Acrobatics, +6 Climb, +0 Escape Artist, +1 Heal, +6 Perception, +1 Sense Motive, +5 Stealth, +1 Survival, +6 Swim
SQ Tricks (aid, attack, come, defend, flank, guard, heel, track)

Development: If PCs successfully negotiate with Epli, she agrees to remain peaceful toward Ludheim and allow villagers to resume harvesting her apples. She warns that the forest does not forget, and any future vow-breaking will be punished.

If the PCs defeat Epli and Remek, they receive a reward upon returning to Ludheim (see conclusion).

CONCLUSION

If the PCs manage to defeat Epli or convince her to make a new deal with the inhabitants of Ludheim, the killings immediately stop and the residents may continue harvesting apples. The moot rewards the PCs with the wholesome draught horn and 1,000 gp. Award the PCs 3,600 xp if they negotiate without killing Epli and Remek. If Epli survives, Remek gives a pair of boots of elvenkind to the PCs. Ludheim grows into a small town within 1 year, and inhabitants of Ludheim are considered friendly to PCs. Unfortunately, if PCs kill Epli, her tree withers and dies.

If the PCs kill Sigvalda and do not kill Ingmar Bearslayer, he is elected chieftain of Ludheim and all residents of Ludheim are considered hostile to PCs in the future. If Ingmar Bearslayer dies, the moot elects another chieftain in three days, and the PCs are hated in Ludheim.

If the PCs defeat Epli and report to Sigvalda that the dryad was responsible for the villagers’ deaths, Sigvalda rewards the PCs with the moot’s wholesome draught horn and 1,000 gp. The moot removes Remek as lawspeaker if he still lives and moves forward with the plan to harvest more apples for sale. Ludheim grows into a small town within 2 years.

If the PCs successfully complete the adventure without killing Epli or any of Ludheim’s residents, reward them with an additional 3,600 xp.

15. COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Graeme Davis, Crystal Frasier, Joshua J. Frost, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, James Jacobs, Steve Kenson, Hal MacLean, Martin Mason, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, and Greg A. Vaughan, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, James Jacobs, Michael Kenway, Rob McCreary, Patrick Renie, Chris Sims, F. Wesley Schneider, James L. Sutter, and Russ Taylor, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GameMastery Guide. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Cam Banks, Wolfgang Buar, Jason Bulmahn, Jim Butler, Eric Cagle, Graeme Davis, Adam Daigle, Joshua J. Frost, James Jacobs, Kenneth Hite, Steven Kenson, Robin Laws, Tito Leati, Rob McCreary, Hal Maclean, Colin McComb, Jason Nelson, David Noonan, Richard Pett, Rich Redman, Sean K reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Amber Scorr, Doug Seacat, Mike Selinker, Lisa Stevens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, Penny Williams, Skip Williams, Teeuwynn Woodruff.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game NPC Codex. © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Alex Greenshields, Rob McCreary, Mark Moreland, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, and Russ Taylor.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Magic. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jason Bulmahn, Tim Hitchcock, Colin McComb, Rob McCreary, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Sean K Reynolds, Owen K.C. Stephens, and Russ Taylor.

Unseelie Fey

As a prequel to my September adventure, here is a little something I cooked up for Pathfinder RPG, my take on the unseelie fey as a creature subtype and how to apply the unseelie template to a creature. Now you have a hint about what to expect in a couple of weeks. 

Le Belle Dame Sans Merci by John William Waterhouse.
Le Belle Dame Sans Merci by John William Waterhouse.
‘And see not ye that braid braid road,
	That lies across yon lillie leven?
	That is the path of wickedness,
	Tho some call it the road to heaven.'
-The Child Ballads: 37, Thomas Rymer

The Unseelie Court
Most of the fey presented in Pathfinder RPG seem to fall within the seelie court; fey who are often passive or even helpful toward humans. Less well-mannered than their seelie cousins, fey of the unseelie court are in general more mischievous and dark-natured. Many unseelie fey are downright malevolent.

The wealth of myths and legends surrounding the fey could inspire creatures with a variety of abilities and personalities. The fey creature type is wonderfully representative of fairy lore in general, but there are darker tales. These stories of nocturnal fey that snare unwary travelers, malicious sprites that lead humans to their doom, and cruelly sensual fairy queens who toy with other creatures’ lives and spirits on a capricious whim are the inspiration for the unseelie subtype.

Unseelie Subtype
Unseelie fey represent the darker side of nature. Some believe these fey have been perverted by a corruption of the place they are tied to, while others know that unseelie fey have always existed as a foil to their seelie kin. Unseelie fey typically possess darker, stronger magic than other fey. An unseelie fey has the following traits.

  • Darkvision 60 feet.
  • Additional spell-like abilities (see chart below).

Creating an Unseelie Fey
“Unseelie” is an inherited or acquired template than can be added to any living, corporeal creature. An unseelie fey retains the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here. If the base creature is a fey, abilities and traits that are granted by both templates do not stack.

CR: 9 HD or less, as base creature +1; 10 HD or more, as base creature +2.

Alignment: Non-lawful evil.

Type: The creature’s type changes to fey (unseelie). Do not recalculate HD, BAB, or saves.

Senses: An unseelie fey creature gains darkvision 60 feet and low-light vision.

Armor Class: Reduce the creature’s natural armor, if any, by 1 (minimum of 0).

Defensive Abilities: A fey creature gains a +4 bonus on saves against mind-affecting effects, resist cold and electricity 10, and DR 5/cold iron (if 11 HD or less) or DR 10/cold iron (if 12 HD or more).

Speed: Unless the base creature flies better, the unseelie fey creature flies at 1-1/2 times the base creature’s land speed (good maneuverability), rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5 feet. If the creature already has flight with a maneuverability of good, it increases to perfect (unless being applied to a creature that is already of the fey type).

Special Abilities: An unseelie fey gains one of the following abilities for every 4 HD or fraction thereof: Camouflage (Ex), Change Shape (Su), Energy Resistance (Ex), Evasion (Ex), Long Step (Su), Spell Resistance (Ex), Trackless Step (Ex), Vanish (Su), Woodland Stride (Ex)

Spell-Like Abilities: An unseelie fey creature with an Intelligence or Wisdom score of 8 or more has a cumulative number of spell-like abilities depending on its Hit Dice. Unless otherwise noted, an ability is usable once per day. Caster level equals the creature’s HD (or the caster level of the base creature’s spell-like abilities, whichever is higher). These spell-like abilities replace those granted by the fey creature template.

HD Spell-Like Abilities
1–2 charm person 3/day, darkness
3–4 dust of twilight, heat metal
5–6 deep slumber
7–8 suggestion
9–10 greater invisibility
11–12 nightmare
13–14 envious urge
15–16  project image
17–18 maze
19–20  binding

Abilities: An unseelie fey gains a +4 bonus to Dexterity and a +2 bonus to Intelligence and Charisma. An unseelie fey receives a –2 penalty to Strength. Unseelie fey derived from creatures without an Intelligence score gain an Intelligence of 3.

Skills: An unseelie fey with racial Hit Dice has skill points per racial Hit Die equal to 6 + its Intelligence modifier. It gains Acrobatics, Bluff, Fly, and Stealth as class skills.

Languages: Unseelie fey speak Sylvan as well as any languages spoken by the base creature.

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15. COPYRIGHT NOTICE
Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, James Jacobs, Michael Kenway, Rob McCreary, Patrick Renie, Chris Sims, F. Wesley Schneider, James L. Sutter, and Russ Taylor, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

The Deepmarket

Psst! Before you read, you should check out my new Patreon account.

The Deepmarket is an adventure for four PCs of 3rd level. The Deepmarket is written for Pathfinder RPG but could be transplanted into another campaign setting. This short adventure provides a flavorful segue for any Pathfinder campaign.

The Deepmarket

By Jenny Jarzabski
Playtested by Evan Willis and Jon Cary

Zyrinix was always considered different by dark folk standards. While most dark stalkers are content to dwell in their underground cities, employing the lesser dark creepers and slaves of other races to do their bidding, Zyrinix had dreams of travel, trade, and collecting riches for himself. He would take anyone’s gold, whether they were a drow priestess shopping for poisons or a lost surface-dweller trying to survive in the Darklands.

Two decades ago, Zyrinix “adopted” a vegepygmy chieftain who possessed a level of intelligence unusual for her race. In reality, he captured the creature and forced her to confine her russet mold infestation to a jar worn on a cord around her neck. He taught her the ways of trade and crafting poisons, and she taught him the strange language of her kind.

Together, the two founded the Deepmarket, a traveling hub for potions, poisons, and curiosities. The duo found that setting up shop in Nar’Voth’s surface-connected caves and tunnels brought the best business. Curious surface-dwellers heard of the Deepmarket through whispered rumors, and were willing to part with copious amounts of coin for reagents and items rarely seen above ground.

Today the Deepmarket travels around Golarion, setting up shop in caves, mines, and even sewers. The market typically stays in a locale for a few days before moving on. Those in the know need only speak the passphrase to gain entry past the dark creeper guards and into the strange trading post.

SUMMARY
PCs who visit the Deepmarket must speak the passphrase (“The golden light of dawn”) or deal with ghast guards and a trapped gate. PCs are greeted by an array of goods for sale, including potions, poisons, slaves, and reagents. PCs who seek a specific item or service must negotiate with Zyrinix and Clicker. When PCs try to leave the market, they are ambushed by a derro slave trader hoping to sell these fine specimens deeper in the Darklands.

Adventure Hooks
PCs might visit the Deepmarket for a variety of reasons. Perhaps a local merchant asked for a rare ingredient, such as brain mold spores, that can only be bought in the Deepmarket. PCs may have information about an explorer who delved too far into the Darklands and left behind a journal complete with detailed maps that found its way to the Deepmarket stalls.

Alternatively, a devious GM could use this adventure to transition into a Darklands campaign, pitting low-level characters against challenging combats they are sure to lose. If the GM chooses to use the Deepmarket for this purpose, enemy combatants should deal nonlethal damage and/or heal PCs as they fall, planning to revive them once safely caged.

Whatever the case, the PC’s current city is unknowingly playing host to the Deepmarket. A Knowledge (Local) or Diplomacy check (DC 20) reveals the market’s current location to be in a nearby cave or sewer.

GETTING STARTED
PCs may discover the following information about the Deepmarket.
Diplomacy or Knowledge (Local)
10+ The Deepmarket is a traveling cadre of merchants, mostly native to the Darklands, who sell rare and sometimes illicit goods and services to surface folk.
15+ To gain entry to the Deepmarket, one must speak the words, “The golden light of dawn.”
20+ Some surface-dwellers who seek the Deepmarket never return. Survivors claim the dark stalker who runs the Deepmarket occasionally captures his would-be patrons to sell as slaves in the Darklands.
25+ Zyrinix, the dark stalker who founded the Deepmarket, has a pet vegepygmy chieftain who is a skilled alchemist in addition to being infected with russet mold.

A. To Market, to Market
Wherever their starting point, a successful DC 15 Knowledge (Geography) or Survival check leads PCs through the sewers or cave system to a cavernous tunnel (20 feet high and 10 feet wide) that leads farther into the earth. In 300 feet the tunnel narrows to an area only 10 feet wide. Further ingress is blocked by two wooden poles bearing a cloth divider. The area beyond the gate is a shallow cave that measures 40 feet wide and 80 feet long. The cave is completely dry. The cave is largely packed with carts and stalls (A2). Toward the back of the cave a small tunnel (Perception DC 20) leads deeper into the Darklands.  The ceiling throughout this cave is 30 feet high. The area is in complete darkness. Any attempt to shed light on the cave through magical or mundane means will draw the hostile stares and hisses of both merchants and customers.

Though in reality the Deepmarket is a merchant caravan, losing and gaining members as the seasons change, treat the Deepmarket as a large town (Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide 207) for the purpose of buying and selling gear and magic items.

The Deepmarket’s “population” of sellers and patrons fluctuates, but is generally 30% dark folk, 20% duergar, 20% svirfneblin, 15% ghoul, 5% drow, and 10% other.

A1. The Gate (CR 5)
Two sharpened stakes twice as tall as a human plunge into the soil ten feet apart. A tattered black cloth hangs from the poles, shielding whatever lies beyond from view. Two pale, gaunt humanoids bar access to the makeshift gateway.

Zyrinix has gained the loyalty of many creatures over the years. The ghasts that guard the entry to the Deepmarket are some of his favorites. Their intelligence coupled with their ability to paralyze and sicken hostile parties makes them excellent gatekeepers.

The ghasts who stand guard here have already supped on a meal of fresh entrails, provided as payment for their talents by Zyrinix. They begin as indifferent to the PCs, and as long as the correct passphrase is spoken they will not attack. Regardless of the ghasts’ intent, PCs must still deal with the roiling stench of these creatures.

As PCs approach, one of the ghasts croaks, “What is the most terrible sight to behold?”

Creatures: Three ghasts employed by Zyrinix guard the entrance to the Deepmarket.

Traps: If PCs fight the ghasts, they must deal with the trap placed on the makeshift gate.

Ghast (2) CR 2
XP 600 each
hp 17 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 146)

Poisoned Dart Trap CR 1
XP 400
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
Effects
Trigger touch; Reset none
Effect Atk +10 ranged (poison dart; 1d3 plus black smear)

Development: When PCs bypass the guards, they may enter the Deepmarket stalls.

A2. The Stalls (CR 5 or CR 8)
Use GameMastery Map Pack: Market Place for this area.

Hooded figures mill about a wide alley surrounded by carts and stalls. A cacophony of voices fills the air, promoting wares and bartering in myriad languages. The carts are laden with rows of grotesque specimens in jars, vials of murky liquids, and bundles of unrecognizable plant life. Beyond the crowd of merchants, tents shelter cages and pens inhabited by a variety of humanoids and animals. Several small wagons circle the tents. Horse-sized beetles tethered there graze on heaps of fungus.

PCs who succeed a Diplomacy check (DC 15) are pointed to Zyrinix’s stall. Zyrinix greets the PCs as follows: “Welcome, surface-dwellers. How may I serve you?” Clicker remains silent, eyeing PCs with interest. If they speak to her in Undercommon, she responds in a language of clicks, whistles, and guttural syllables, which Zyrinix quickly translates.

Zyrinix is willing to sell any items or services desired by the PCs, but at twice the usual price. A successful DC 20 Diplomacy check convinces Zyrix to sell the items for only 150% regular price.

If the PCs seek information about the Darklands, other customers, or the city in which the Deepmarket currently resides, a DC 30 Diplomacy check is needed to garner this information (a bribe worth at least 200 gold reduces the DC to 25).

The following are questions PCs might ask Zyrinix.
Who are you? “Zyrinix, at your service. My moldy associate here is Clicker. I would tell you her true name, but I doubt you could pronounce it. We are purveyors of the finest goods and services from beneath the earth.”
Do you have (a specific item)? “Ah, of course, my sunburnt friends. I have whatever you need if you’re willing to pay the price.”
Do you sell slaves here? “I prefer to call them unpaid laborers. You see, there’s quite a demand for workers down here, and my supply reflects that need.”

Creatures: The dark stalker Zyrinix and his vegepygmy associate, Clicker, are conducting business as usual in the main stall.

Clicker CR 5
XP 1,600
Advanced vegepygmy warrior 4
N Small plant
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +12
Defense
AC 21, touch 13, flat-footed 19 (+3 armor, +2 Dex, +5 natural, +1 size)
hp 39 (1d8+4d10+13)
Fort +9, Ref +5, Will +3
DR 5/slashing or bludgeoning; Immune electricity, plant traits
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +5 (1d4+3) or mwk syringe spear +6 (1d6+4/x3 plus russet mold extract)
Ranged mwk composite longbow +6 (1d6+3/x3)
Special Attacks infestation
Tactics
Before Combat Clicker only fights if ordered to by Zyrinix. If commanded into combat, Clicker dips her claws into the jar of russet mold, preparing to use her infestation ability.
During Combat Clicker first attacks with her claws to deliver the russet mold spores. She then uses her syringe spear to infect enemies unaffected by the spores. Morale If Zyrinix dies, Clicker attempts to flee.
Statistics
Str 15, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 15
Base Atk +4; CMB +6; CMD 20
Feats Power Attack, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Climb +8, Craft (alchemy) +8, Perception +12, Profession (merchant) +9, Stealth +12 (+20 in vegetation); Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth (+12 in vegetation)
Languages Undercommon, Vegepygmy
SQ poison use
Combat Gear alchemist’s fire (5), arrows (20), masterwork composite longbow, masterwork syringe spear, oil of bless weapon, potion of cure light wounds (4), potion of magic fang (2), russet mold extract (5 doses); Other Gear leaf armor
Special Abilities
Infestation (Ex) As a move action, it can dip its claws into the jar of russet mold worn on a cord around its neck. Its next natural attack produces a cloud of russet mold spores in a 5-foot radius burst. Everyone in the area must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or take 2 points of Constitution damage per round. A new save can be attempted each round to stop the growth of the spores. The growth can be halted by remove disease and similar effects. Exposure to sunlight also halts the growth of russet mold spores. After 24 hours, a fully grown vegepygmy bursts from the body of any creature slain by russet mold. (Include page number)
Poison Use (Ex) It has developed a formula to distill russet mold into a poisonous extract. It carried a dose of russet mold extract in its syringe spear and 5 more doses in a pouch.
Russet Mold Extract—injury; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Con; cure 1 save. The poison DC is Constitution-based.

Dark Creeper (3) CR 2
XP 600 each
hp 19 each (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 53)

Zyrinix CR 5
XP 1,600
Advanced dark stalker
CN Medium humanoid (dark folk)
Init +6; Senses see in darkness, Perception +10
Defense
AC 22, touch 16, flat-footed 16 (+2 armor, +6 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 57 (6d8+30)
Fort +6, Ref +11, Will +5
Weaknesses light blindness
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 shortswords +6/+6 (1d6+2 plus poison/19–20)
Special Attacks death throes, sneak attack (+3d6)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)
At willdeeper darkness, detect magic, fog cloud
Tactics
Before Combat If PCs appear to be hostile, Zyrinix calls for his enforcers to deal with them.
During Combat Zyrinix casts deeper darkness and flees. He only fights PCs if cornered.
Morale Zyrinix wishes to live to trade another day, and casts deeper darkness and tries to escape if reduced to 15 or fewer hp.
Statistics
Str 18, Dex 22, Con 20, Int 16, Wis 18, Cha 19
Base Atk +4; CMB +8; CMD 24
Feats Double Slice, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse
Skills Climb +12, Perception +10, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +10; Racial Modifiers +4 Climb, +4 Perception, +4 Stealth
Languages Dark Folk, Undercommon, Vegepgymy
SQ poison use
Combat Gear short swords (2), black smear (6); Other Gear leather armor
Special Abilities
Death Throes (Su) When a dark stalker is slain, its body combusts in a flash of white-hot flame. This acts like a fireball that deal 3d6 points of fire damage to all creatures within a 20-foot-radius burst. A DC 15 Reflex save halves this damage. A dark stalker’s gear and treasure are unaffected by this explosion. This save is Constitution-based.
Poison Use (Ex) Dark stalkers are skilled in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves. Like their diminutive kin, the dark creepers, dark stalkers use black poison on their weapons and generally carry six doses on them.
Black Smear—injury; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Str; cure 1 save. The poison DC is Constitution-based.
See in Darkness (Su) A dark stalker can see perfectly in darkness of any kind, including that created by deeper darkness.

Development: If PCs fight and defeat the dark creepers, Zyrinix returns and offers the desired item(s) at a 50% discount as a truce. If PCs fight and defeat Zyrinix, chaos envelops the market as slaves attempt to break free, patrons run for the nearest exit, and more guards descend upon the group. PCs have 1d4 minutes to flee before the derro slavemaster and his minions from area B attack.

A3. No Exit (CR 4)
Use GameMastery Map Pack: Market Place for this area.

A successful Perception check (DC 25) reveals the mouth of a narrow tunnel (5 feet wide by 6 feet high), but this tunnel only leads further underground. PCs must exit the way they came, through the ghast-guarded gateway.

Unbeknownst to PCs, Zyrinix calculated that selling his clients into slavery would be most beneficial. Right after they left his stall, Zyrinix ordered his derro colleague to subdue the PCs and take back any goods they acquired.

Creatures: A derro slavemaster and his pet giant black widow spider stalk the PCs.

Derro CR 3
XP 800
hp 25 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 70)
Before Combat The derro casts darkness and tries to snipe PCs with its poisoned crossbow bolts.
During Combat The derro orders its spider pet into melee and attacks with its crossbow. If cornered, the derro fights with its aklys.
Morale The crazed derro fights to the death.

Young Giant Black Widow Spider CR 2
XP 600
hp 37 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 256)
Before Combat The giant black widow waits for its master’s command to web PCs.
During Combat The giant black widow first uses its web to trap PCs, then charges into melee.

CONCLUSION
If the PCs manage to escape the Deepmarket, they return with rare items and a newfound respect for the denizens of the Darklands. If Zyrinix lives, the PCs may have acquired a new enemy.

If the PCs are defeated by the deep merchants, however, they wake up a few hours later in cages. Will the captives manage to escape Zyrinix’s clutches, or will they be traded to drow or duergar and begin a new life of enslavement in a sunless land? The possibilities are endless.

15. COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Graeme Davis, Crystal Frasier, Joshua J. Frost, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, James Jacobs, Steve Kenson, Hal MacLean, Martin Mason, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, and Greg A. Vaughan, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GameMastery Guide. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Cam Banks, Wolfgang Buar, Jason Bulmahn, Jim Butler, Eric Cagle, Graeme Davis, Adam Daigle, Joshua J. Frost, James Jacobs, Kenneth Hite, Steven Kenson, Robin Laws, Tito Leati, Rob McCreary, Hal Maclean, Colin McComb, Jason Nelson, David Noonan, Richard Pett, Rich Redman, Sean K reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Amber Scorr, Doug Seacat, Mike Selinker, Lisa Stevens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, Penny Williams, Skip Williams, Teeuwynn Woodruff.

The Mother’s Call

This short story was inspired by the gnoll, a hyena-like humanoid creature that hunts in packs. I originally submitted this story to Wayfinder as one of two tales that captured the essence of what it means to be a monster. The other story will be appearing in Wayfinder 14, December 2015.

“Come to me, Auroo.” The priestess beckoned. The tribe’s laughter followed me into the crimson circle drawn around the fire pit. A sea of eyes glittered in the darkness around me.

The attack came two nights ago. Armed humans found our place while my pack hunted. When I returned, our huts and tents were rubble, and the fires ashes. Only smells remained. The smells were memories of births and deaths, feasts and fires, and were all that was left to us. My pack waited until dawn stained the sky for the survivors to creep back. If we had been there the pups might still live. I blamed myself for that. Tonight, I would find out if she blamed me.

I knelt at the priestess’ paws. Her thick dappled fur glistened in the firelight. The black vestment she wore was ripped in half to reveal her proud, swollen belly, the new life of our tribe riding high above me in her womb. A third eye was painted on her forehead.  In one paw she gripped a jagged blade already stained red. She touched my brow with her other paw, smearing something greasy over my fur.

“Our Mother calls you to defend our lands. Go forth and break their bones. Drink their hearts’ blood that it may nourish us. Return with bones for the elders to gnaw. For every pup they slaughtered, slay a dozen of their young.” Her voice rumbled over the howls and yips around the circle. Silence fell. Tonight we would hunt.

Her blade kissed me on the cheek. I felt my blood rush out to mingle with the paint.

“Rise!” She growled, arms raised triumphant toward the black face of the new moon.

I obeyed, crying a wordless howl into the night. The tribe answered and the air trembled with our voices.

Everyone swift or strong of paw ran with me. We made no sound save the whisper of grass against our fur. We ducked low to the ground as we approached the humans’ place. Rickety wooden gates were all that stood between us and our meat. Firesticks fluttered in the black air, dripping puddles of yellow light where two metal-clad humans stood watch. One was old, his head-fur grizzled and grey, and the other wore a sword that was too big for him.

“Watch the old one,” I whispered to Girra, who crouched beside me. Her powerful haunches rippled as she moved closer to me. Her proud ears stood at attention, her black eyes were like coals, and her fur glinted silver in the dim starlight. If the Mother would have this be our last hunt together, I would remember every detail of her muscled body, her silver fur, her snarling mouth.

“I will rend him,” she growled. I grinned and nipped at her shoulder.

“After me,” I said, and leaped out of the grass. I heard the pounding of her pawsteps behind me as I bounded into the torchlight. The old one rushed me while the pup fumbled with his sword. I lowered my head and swung my hammer for a killing blow, but Girra was upon him. A shower of blood arced through the air as her knives found the weak spot in his armor. She laughed and turned to face the pup.

“He’s yours,” she spat, and with a rustle of fur she was gone. I shuffled toward the pup. He stumbled back against the gate. He swung his sword wide, both hands on the hilt, and I stepped in to meet him as he jerked forward with the weight of his swing. My hammer found his skull and he lurched to the side with a sickening crunch.

My pack swarmed around me, advancing on the gate. Swords, flails, and hammers fell on the wooden gate like rain. A sharp crack rent the night as boards shattered in a spray of splinters.

We rushed through in a mass of steel and fur. Candles flickered in the windows of the huts as we approached, and screams pierced the night. Humans armed with blades long and short surged forward.

Girra tore the throat of one man, her gored knife pointed straight toward the sky in a deadly strike. Krell stumbled, grasping at the spear piercing his belly, but for every gnoll that fell more humans crumpled, my pack feasting in twos and threes on their twitching bodies.

I saw pack members breaking down doors and flooding into the huts. Girra fell in beside me as I approached a hut, bigger than the rest, nestled near the center of the village. Her silver fur was slick with blood.

“Chief’s house,” she grunted, punching a hole in the door with one of her curved knives. She reached through with one paw and the lock clicked. A human woman with a metal pot in hand cowered as Girra’s knives slashed her. We padded down a long tunnel of wood and stone and came to a room empty save for a wooden crate. Flowers and animals were painted on the walls, and wooden objects littered the floor.

Girra stood at the door as I peered into the crate. An ugly pink thing lay swaddled in a mass of blankets. Two blue eyes opened and stared into mine. A downy patch of black fur curled at the top of its naked head.

“Is it a pup?” Girra hissed from the doorway.

“Yes,” I said, reaching out a paw to grab it. A tiny pink hand grasped my claw. I lifted the bundle and reared back to throw it against the wall. I remembered the pups with their wet noses and soft speckled fur, the way they giggled when they chased and tumbled around the huts.

“Crack its skull!” Girra shouted.

The pup didn’t cry or shriek in my arms. It made a soft noise like a whine.

“Hurry,” Girra warned. She grunted and I spun around to see Gralnak push past her. His hulking body shook with each ragged breath. Two arrows protruded from his shoulder and a gash across his chest wept blood.

“Give it to me,” he barked. “I have slain a dozen. I have the right to take my share of the tender meat.”

“No,” the word escaped my muzzle before I even thought it. Gralnak snarled at me. “It is a gift,” I said, “for the priestess.”

He circled me, flexing his wicked claws. Gralnak never carried a weapon. He didn’t need to.

Girra growled. I glared at her, and those proud ears flattened against her skull.

“You cannot have it,” I snarled, and Gralnak lunged at me. His claws sank into my flesh. I couldn’t use my hammer without dropping the pup. Instead I punched Gralnak in the jaw and opened my first to dig claws into his face. He yelped and wrapped his powerful arms around me, squeezing, and I felt a rib pop. I thrust my head forward into his nose. He loosened his grip enough for me to draw my knife. I shoved it into his stomach to the hilt. He twitched against the blade, and his arms went slack.

I let go of the knife and pushed, one-handed, freeing myself. I set the pup down and freed my hammer while he staggered, eyes rolling, blood bubbling from his lips. A single blow crushed his skull.

I turned to Girra.

“We’re done here,” I barked. I could feel her eyes burning into me as I strode past her, the human pup still clutched to my chest.

The pack stood outside in a semicircle. Howls erupted from their jaws as I stepped into the night.

“Auroo! Auroo!” They chanted.

“What do you hold, Auroo?” Nyill crooned, licking her lips. “A tasty morsel to share?”

“A gift for the priestess,” Girra said from behind me.

“No,” I yelled. “No more pups will die.”

The glittering eyes of the pack watched me in silence.

I stiffened as Girra’s knives pierced my back. I rolled my head around to meet her eyes. She stood, muzzle set in a grim line, arms rigid as she pressed her blades deep into my body.

“You are weak,” she spat. My pack, the brothers and sisters who had run with me a hundred times, crept toward me, their bared teeth gleaming with saliva.

“We are hungry,” Nyill yipped. Her teeth pierced my thigh like needles.

“Feed us,” another said, and I felt a dagger bite into my side.

They were on me now. A hundred paws pinned me to the ground. Girra let go of her knives and wrenched the pup from my arms. She held it out to the pack.  Their frothing muzzles ripped at the tiny bundle.

Through the searing pain of their teeth and claws, I felt the words of the priestess wash over me. “Our Mother calls you.” I felt the wounds on my body open up into the abyss, to the arms of the Mother of Monsters, as she called me to her.

The Face of the Gods

This adventure was originally written to take place in Bourgund, a city in Kobold Press’s Midgard Campaign Setting. The scenario could be easily transplanted to any major city in Midgard. For use in a different setting, names of places and deities can be changed.

The Face of the Gods
Written by Jenny Jarzabski
Cartography by Jon Cary

“The Face of the Gods” is a dungeon crawl for four 3rd level PCs. In this adventure, high priests and priestesses of various temples compete for the PCs’ help in retrieving a powerful artifact from underground ruins teeming with monsters, hazards, and traps.

Adventure Background
Decades ago a powerful magical artifact known as Face of the Gods was the subject of an interfaith struggle. As the item changed hands Melora, a cleric of Lada, realized the potential for evil inherent in such a relic. Although she was unable to destroy the item, Melora spirited it away to a secret location. Melora continued her work as a healer and opened her underground temple to the sick, wounded, and misfortunate. Melora’s temple and the artifact were lost with her death 20 years ago.

A few months earlier, Ithrak found Face of the Gods after making Melora’s old temple into his lair. With the aid of the relic, he grew in power and garnered a following of undead, oozes, and other foul creatures. Melora’s once sacred hideaway is now a shrine to the dark god Mordiggian.

A few days ago, a poor farmer discovered a secret door in an oak he was trying to fell. Spurred by curiosity, he descended into the ruined temple and glimpsed the Face of the Gods and its new owner, Ithrak. He managed to escape and spread the fantastic tale. Several local clerics heard the truth in his ramblings and now seek to claim the relic for their own church.

Adventure Hook
If the PCs are looking for healing, information, or magic items from any temple in Bourgund, one of the clerics suggests they bring back Face of the Gods in exchange for what they need. If the PCs are unlikely to visit a temple, they receive missives from the three temples of Bastest, Mavros, and Rava requesting an audience.

Adventure Summary
The PCs are summoned to speak with three different clerics who wish them to look into the sighting of an artifact near the city. The PCs locate the abandoned temple’s entrance, which is carved into the middle of an enormous oak tree. The stairway in the hollow tree leads hundreds of feet underground to a subterranean complex. PCs navigate traps, hazards, and creatures living in the dungeon. When they reach the Feasting Hall, a huge cave-turned-unholy temple, they come face to face with the masks’s current owner, a ghast cleric of Mordiggian.

Now all that’s left is for the party to decide whose face the mask will grace—not a difficult decision, right?

Part One: A Favor or Three
Past the warren of silk-draped rooms and narrow hallways lies a room carved from black marble and lined with golden statues depicting human women with a feline head. A marble dais crowns the room, nearly six feet high, a waterfall of smooth steps spilling out to your feet.

A woman in robes of midnight blue crouches gracefully on the dais, flanked by two muscular men adorned in little more than scraps of the same blue cloth. The woman balances a large, bronze headpiece fashioned in the likeness of a cat upon her elegant shoulders.

“Welcome to the temple of Bastet,” she purrs, rising slowly from her haunches. “I am Nephthys.” With a clap of her hands the men stride out of the room and return with cushioned wicker chairs. They arrange the chairs before Nephthys and she motions for you to sit.

“I would invite you to look upon the Face of the Gods,” she whispers.

This invitation is not strange to you. Just this morning you stood before an altar wrought of swords and shields, listening to the request of a burly, one-legged man leaning on a spear instead of a cane. Burne Bronson, Bourgund’s high priest of Mavros, also asked you to serve his temple.

“By now you’ve heard the rumors,” Nephthys continues. “A relic that could help our church has been unearthed. My sources tell me that it can be found just outside the city in an abandoned temple.” One of the men bends to lift a heavy box of ebon wood. He opens it to reveal a collection of gems surrounding a wickedly curved scimitar with an emerald-studded hilt.

“These trinkets are yours if you will help us restore Bastet’s glory in this land.” Nephthys says.

Nephthys tells the PCs that only one person has seen the relic, which looks like a golden mask. She is unwilling to provide more detailed information about the item, but assures the PCs that it is safe to transport and will only benefit a true servant of the gods (i.e., a cleric or warpriest).

Though Nephthys speaks of an abandoned temple outside the city, she has no idea where it is. She directs the PCs to Lada’s church, which also serves as a hospital and orphanage, located just a few blocks away in the temple district. The man who claims to have seen the relic is there being healed.

The dagger is a +1 glamered scimitar (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Equipment 142). The jewels are worth 2,000 gp.

PCs can recall that Burne Bronson offered to forge a weapon worth up to 2,000 gp for each PC that aids in returning the relic to the shrine of Mavros.

A similar offer is detailed in a letter from the temple of Rava, which is little more than a tinkerer’s workshop, but the high priestess there is a renowned craftswoman of mechanical and magical items.

2. Hospital
Men and women dressed in simple muslin shifts bustle through rooms cramped with identical cots wrapped tight in freshly starched sheets. Humanoids lie still or sit perched on the cots, some covered in wounds or boils and others heavy with child. The sounds of muffled talk and coughs fill the air.

A plump, grey-haired human woman beams at you from across the room. She waves for you to join her at a cot near the window.

A man cocooned in fresh bandages lies stiff in the bed. Blood and pus ooze from the wrappings. Only his red-rimmed eyes are visible.

Ella Brightblossom, cleric of Lada, tends many sick and injured citizens of Bourgund in service to her goddess. She informs the PCs that this man is a farmer named Ludo who lives on the outskirts of the city. Last night a guard found him trying to drag himself toward the city gates, mortally wounded by the tooth and claw of an unknown creature.

Ella did her best to make Ludo comfortable, but his condition is worsening and she knows he is dying. She allows the PCs a few minutes to ply him with questions before begging them to let him rest.

Ludo’s ordeal began while he cleared his fields for planting when he stumbled upon a door inside an ancient oak tree. What he found there was the entrance to a massive underground complex inhabited by ghouls and other foul creatures. He was attacked by a ghast wearing a golden mask at the foot of the second staircase, and barely escaped with his life. He is now dying of ghoul fever and, due to blood loss and shock, cannot answer questions other than to say “the door is in my field, between root and sky.”

PCs can locate Ludo’s farm with either a Knowledge Local or Diplomacy check (DC 15).

Part Two: Seeking the Face of the Gods

LaddaTempleLevel1

2A. Between Root and Sky
In spite of the wasted lands just to the west of Bourgund, several miles of fertile farmland surround the city. Less than a mile north of the city gates is Ludo’s farm. PCs can make a Knowledge Geography or Survival check (DC 20) to quickly locate a towering oak tree on the edge of Ludo’s field. If PCs fail the check, they spend three hours searching the acres of fields and woodland until they find it.

Read the following when PCs approach the tree:

An honor guard of saplings surround an ancient oak, its trunk wide enough that five men could join hands and not encircle it. Gnarled branches and exposed roots twist like a mass of writhing wooden serpents. Fresh axe wounds mar its trunk a few feet above the ground. Amber sap oozes from the deep cuts.

Yesterday, Ludo attempted to fell the tree to make room for new crops. When his axe struck something that didn’t feel like wood, he discovered a metal door. The door opens to reveal a hollow portion of the tree trunk and a spiral staircase leading down into darkness.

A sap demon stirred by the axe’s assault remains and attacks the PCs.

Sap Demon                                        CR 3
XP 800
hp 27 (Midgard Bestiary 84)
During Combat The sap demon attacks furiously before trying to grab and pin any PC wielding a blade. Once its victim is pinned, the sap demon uses its soul sap ability to control that PC.

2B. Down the Stairs
The spiral staircase descends into darkness. The ceiling of packed dirt gives way to stone on all sides, cold to the touch. The slow drip of water whispers to you from far away. Shadows hold sway in this chamber, gathering thick in a long hall stretching out before you.

Unless otherwise stated, the floors, walls, and ceilings are made of stone (hardness 8, 40 hp/inch) and the ceiling is 20 ft. high. The area is in complete darkness, but a DC 20 Perception check reveals a pile of unused torches near the foot of the stairs.

PCs with darkvision can make a Perception check (DC 15) to notice the bats overhead. PCs can attempt to sneak past without waking the swarm, but any light source will disturb the bats. Triggering the trap in the hallway will draw the swarm’s attention.

Bat Swarm                                        CR 2
XP 60
hp 13 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 30)
Before Combat The bats may be surprised by the PCs.
During Combat The woken bats swarm the PCs.

Bloodroot Arrow Trap                      CR 1
XP 400
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
EFFECTS
Trigger touch; Reset none
Effect Atk +15 ranged (arrow; 1d8+1/×3 plus bloodroot)
Bloodroot
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 12
Onset 1 round; Frequency 1/round for 4 rounds
Effect 1 Con damage and 1 Wis damage; Cure 1 save

2C – 2F. Quarantine
A single bed occupies this small room. A stack of dusty books sit on a small table pushed close to the bed. Dead flowers wilt in a porcelain vase next to the books.

2C through 2G are identical rooms that Melora used to quarantine patients. The simple rooms have few adornments or comforts. Searching the rooms (DC 25) the PCs find mementos of former occupants: a silver locket (worth 20 gp), cloth doll, prayer book (Lada), and a wicker broom.

2H. Study
Stone shelves carved into the walls of this room house a collection of leather-bound tomes, bottles, and tools. A mahogany writing desk stands against one wall, equipped with sheaves of thick paper, pens, and bottles of colored ink. A heavy book lies open, turned to a page half full of names, dates, and illegible notes in a spidery hand. A thick layer of dust clings to every object in this room.

Melora used this room as her study. Ithrak never found the hidden door and thus the contents of the room remain untouched. The open book lists names of patients and the dates Melora treated them for illness or injury.

Among the various items on the stone shelves are: antiplague (3), antitoxin (3), healer’s kit, midwife’s kit, potion of cure light wounds (4), potion of cure moderate wounds (2), scroll of lesser restoration, smelling salts, and surgeon’s tools.

.

2I. Downward
The hallway opens into a spacious hexagonal chamber. Murals depicting flowers with eyes growing towards a radiant sun cover the walls. Though the paint is chipped, the colors remain vibrant. A second spiral staircase winds deeper into the earth.

A Knowledge (Religion) check (DC 10) identifies the eyes, flowers, and sun as common symbols of Lada. A DC 25 Perception check reveals that one of the eyes detaches from the mural and is actually an aegis of recovery.

LaddaTempleLevel2

3A. Ithrak’s Doorstep
Four heavy wooden doors face the center of this room. It is colder here, and you sense with a heaviness in your bones that you have traveled far underground.

At this point, the PCs are on Ithrak’s doorstep. There is a 15% chance that a patrol (1 ghoul and 1 festrog) will cross paths with the PCs anywhere in area 4.
    
3B. No Exit
A narrow dirt tunnel lies beyond this door. Pale roots poke through the ceiling, and chunks of dirt and rock litter the floor. The tunnel ends abruptly in a heap of fallen rocks. The rocks, ranging from boulders to little more than clods, are slick with moss and mildew.

The tunnel is only 5 feet wide and 6 feet high. Most medium and large creatures must stoop to pass through here. A slime mold squeezed its way through the rockfall but was unable to pass the heavy wooden door. For the last few days it has lain in wait for prey.

Slime Mold                                        CR 2
XP 600
hp 28 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 249)
Before Combat The slime mold waits for a PC to disturb the rocks. If PCs do not travel to the end of the tunnel, the slime mold is unaware of their presence.
During Combat The slime mold tries to engulf any PC within reach.

3C. The Pantry
A powerful stench assaults you as you enter a room crowded with rusty metal cages. The stench of feces, blood, and decay hangs heavy in the air. Of the dozen or so cages lining the walls, only three are currently occupied.

Ithrak uses the cages in this area to house his prisoners, unwary humanoids his ghouls capture on their nightly hunts. Ithrak likes to keep a well-stocked pantry for feasts and rituals to Mordiggian. All of the prisoners here are destined to be dinner.

Two humans huddle together in one cage. They have shallow claw marks on their bodies and are already affected by ghoul fever. If they are not healed, they will succumb in two days. A young male halfling occupies a second cage. As the newest addition to the larder, he is in good health and immediately yells and waves for the PCs’ attention when he hears them enter. A third cage holds a deathcap mycolid who was captured when he wandered in from the deeper cave system a few days ago.

One of Ithrak’s ghouls stands near the mycolid’s cage.

Deathcap Mycolid                                        CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 52 (Midgard Bestiary 75)
Before Combat The deathcap mycolid is hostile to the PCs. If PCs move within a foot of its cage it uses its poison spores to defend itself.
During Combat If PCs free the deathcap mycolid, it first uses its ranged spores to put PCs to sleep before attacking with its poison touch.

Marcus and Andrea                                     CR 1/2
Human Commoners 2
XP 200
hp 9 (Pathfinder NPC Codex 256)
Marcus and Andrea are both peasants from the outskirts of Bourgund. A nocturnal lover’s tryst in the woods turned into a terrifying pursuit by ghouls. When Andrea stumbled, Marcus stopped to try to save his lover and the two were taken to the pantry. Both are afflicted with ghoul fever. Marcus is unconscious when the PCs enter. Marcus will need to be carried if they are freed.

Meritus Flynn                                              CR 1
Halfling Expert 3
XP 400
hp 13 (Pathfinder NPC Codex 261)
Meritus, an experienced woodsman, was kidnapped a few nights ago while checking his traps in the nearby woods. Meritus is not affected by ghoul fever. Though Meritus wants to be helpful to his rescuers, he has only seen the upper parts of the dungeon and this particular room. He may offer PCs a small reward if they help him escape.

3D. The Long Way Down
Another stone hallway leads to a seemingly endless set of stairs. As you approach the stairway, you hear a whimper. A little girl curls in the corner near the stairs, arms wrapped around her knees, tears streaming down her rosy cheeks. Her brown eyes dart toward the sound of your footsteps and she sniffles as you approach.

Hungry creatures are favorites of Mordiggian, and Ithrak keeps a menagerie of bats, oozes, and other creatures in his lair. He allows them to roam freely, feeding them scraps from his table and leaving them to hunt intruders. One such creature is the treacle, a strange shapeshifting ooze with a subtle but deadly form of feeding.

There is also a pit trap on the stairs.

Treacle                                                         CR 3
XP 600
hp 34 (Midgard Bestiary 92)
Before Combat The treacle appears to be a lost, traumatized child. It tells the PCs, through choking sobs, that it escaped the “bad things” and doesn’t want to be eaten like its mommy. If a PC helps the treacle, it clings to the PC’s arm and feeds through its blood drain ability. The treacle will feed in this way for 1d4 hours if the PCs do not realize its true nature before detaching and wandering off to digest.
During Combat The treacle flees if threatened.

Pit Trap                                                          CR 1
XP 400
Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20
EFFECTS
Trigger location; Reset manual
Effect 20-ft. deep pit (2d6 falling damage); DC 20 Reflex avoids; multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-square area)

3E. Dining Room
An ornately carved table of rich mahogany adorns this room. The table is set for six with silver service, creamy porcelain dishes, and blue silk napkins folded into expert triangles. Lumps of decaying food fill the plates and bowls. In the six high-backed chairs around the table sit the dinner guests, desiccated skeletons clad in shreds of what must have once been fine clothing. Jaws hang open at the putrid feast, the droning of flies a mockery of some long ago dinner conversation.

Six skeletons sit frozen in a parody of life around the table. The skeletons attack when PCs enter the room.

Years ago Melora treated recovering patients and fellow clergy to simple but elegant meals in the dining room. The flower, eyes, and sun motif continues on the walls of this room. When Ithrak moved in he and his followers defaced the decor with feces, blood, and crude pigments. Ithrak created this gruesome tableau to amuse himself and horrify any unwelcome guests.

A DC 20 Perception check reveals that one of the skeletons is wearing a ring of protection +1. The silver service is worth 150 gp.

Human Skeletons (6)                                       CR 1/3
XP 135
hp 4 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 250)
Before Combat The skeletons sit frozen in place, as instructed by their master, and do not attack until at least one PC enters the room.
During Combat The skeletons attack with their claws.
Gear Ring of Protection +1

3F. Feasting Hall
Stalactites and stalagmites jut from the ceiling and floor like jagged teeth. Moss carpets the slick stone underfoot and the maddening sound of dripping water echoes through the chamber. An altar at the center of the room is flanked by tables carved out of natural rock formations. Heaps of bones, some still wet with gore, gather around the altar.

The surrounding walls are smeared with pigment, forming pictures of animals feasting on humanoids, ghouls huddled together using bones as utensils, and most frighteningly a gargantuan worm erupting from the earth in a shower of rock and bone.

This room is actually a natural cave discovered during the original temple’s construction. The ceiling soars to 100 feet high, and a deep, black lake seethes at the far end of the cave. The cave stretches 200 feet from the entrance and its irregular walls expand to about 80 feet wide.

A DC 20 Knowledge (Religion) check identifies the scenes and animals depicted on the walls as sacred to Mordiggian.

The altar to Mordiggian is 100 feet from the entrance. Ithrak and his two ghouls wait near the altar, hoping to surprise the PCs. Ithrak wears Face of the Gods proudly.

Ghouls (2)                                        CR 1
XP 400
hp 13 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 146)
Before Combat The ghouls wait for instructions from Ithrak.
During Combat The two ghouls flank PCs whenever they can and will coup de grace creatures they have paralyzed if able.

Ithrak                                                 CR 3
Ghast Cleric of Mordiggian
XP 800
CE Medium undead
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 17 (2d8+8)
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +9
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +5 (1d6+3 plus disease and paralysis) and 2 claws +5 (1d6+3 plus paralysis)
Special Attacks channel energy 7/day (1d6, DC 15) paralysis (1d4+1 rounds, DC 13, affects elves normally), stench, transform
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 2nd; Concentration +8)
1st—bless, murderous command (DC 17)
0—bleed, guidance, resistance, virtue
TACTICS
Before Combat Ithrak uses his scroll to cast shield of faith on himself and casts bless on his two ghoul allies.
During Combat Ithrak casts murderous command on the strongest-looking PC. He joins his allies to attack with tooth and claw and channels to heal himself and allies or hurt the PCs. When he is reduced to 10 hp or fewer, he activates Face of the Gods to transform into a larval purple worm. If Ithrak transforms into a larval purple worm, he gains hit points but does not heal any damage already dealt by the PCs.
STATISTICS
Str 17, Dex 19, Con —, Int 17, Wis 22, Cha 18
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 18
Feats Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +6, Climb +8, Perception +9, Stealth +9, Swim +4
Languages Darakhul, Trade Tongue
Combat Gear scroll of shield of faith; Other Gear carved bone utensils, Face of the Gods, wooden unholy symbol (Mordiggian), 75 gp
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Disease (Su) Ghoul Fever: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 15; onset 1 day; frequency 1 day; effect 1d3 Con and 1d3 Dex damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Paralysis (Su) Creatures damaged by a ghast’s natural attacks must make a successful DC 15 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. Paralyzed creatures cannot move, speak, or take any physical actions. The creature is rooted to the spot, frozen and helpless. Unlike ghouls, A ghast’s paralysis even affects elves.
Stench (Ex) Ghasts exude an overwhelming stink of death and corruption in a 10-foot radius.  Those within the stench must succeed at a DC 15 Fortitude save, or be sickened for 1d6+4 minutes.
Transform (Su) While he wears Face of the Gods he can use its transform ability once per week. As a standard action, Ithrak can transform into a sacred creature of Mordiggian, a larval purple worm.

Larval Purple Worm                                        CR 5
XP 1,600
N Large magical beast
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +10
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 4, flat-footed 17 (–1 Dex, +19 natural, –1 size)
hp 60 (8d10+24)
Fort +12, Ref +8, Will +4
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft., burrow 20 ft., swim 10 ft.
Melee bite +13 (1d8+4/19–20 plus grab), sting +13 (1d6+4 plus poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks swallow whole (2d8+4 bludgeoning damage, AC 10, 15 hp)
STATISTICS
Str 19, Dex 8, Con 17, Int 1, Wis 8, Cha 8
Base Atk +8; CMB +13 (+17 grapple); CMD 22 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite, sting)
Skills Perception +10, Swim +15
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Poison (Ex) Sting—injury; save Fortitude DC 16; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d4 Strength damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Face of the Gods (Minor Artifact)
Aura strong divination and transfiguration; CL 20th; Slot head; Weight 2 lbs
DESCRIPTION
Legend identifies Face of the Gods as a gift given directly from a deity to his favorite follower. The true origins and which deities were involved in its construction are unknown. This golden mask acts as a phylactery of faithfulness, but also allows a cleric to transform into an avatar of her deity once per week. Activating this ability requires a standard action and does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The avatar is a creature that is either held sacred by the deity (GM’s discretion) or an outsider that shares that deity’s alignment. The selected avatar’s Hit Dice must be no greater than the cleric’s level +2. For example, a good-aligned 12th level cleric could transform into a monadic deva, or an evil cleric of 6th level could transform into an erinyes. The transformation lasts for a number of minutes equal to the cleric’s level.
DESTRUCTION
If a cleric wearing Face of the Gods uses its transform ability to commit an act in direct opposition to her deity, the mask crumbles into golden dust.

3G. Underground Lake
The rocky floor melts into dark, still water of indeterminate depth. A ripple creeps across the black, glassy surface of the lake.

Foolhardy PCs who enter or otherwise disturb the lake come face to face with the aboleth who dwells there. The aboleth does not pursue PCs who flee from the lake, but will happily devour any swimmers. If PCs approach the lake too closely, they are rewarded with a glimpse of tentacles wriggling just below the surface.

Higher level PCs may return to find a system of caves leading into a second dungeon past the aboleth.

Aboleth                                       CR 7
XP 3,200
hp 84 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 8)
Before Combat If the PCs approach within a foot of the lake or enter the water, the abolish lashes out with a tentacle.
During Combat The aboleth does not pursue or further attack PCs who wisely leave the area. If the PCs wish to fight the aboleth, it casts hypnotic pattern and attacks the PCs that are unaffected.

Part 3: Returning the Favor
When PCs return to Bourgund, they must decide which temple will be the proud owners of Face of the Gods. If PCs keep the item for themselves, every 1d2 days collectors from one of the temples will pay them a visit. The table below provides an example of what type of creatures may come looking for the artifact, but the actual number of power level of these collectors is up to GM discretion.

Use Appendix A for reference if the PCs wish to learn more about the clerics and their temples or refresh the memories about available rewards.

d% Encounter Average CR
1–10 2 gearforged fighters CR varies
11–20 3 catfolk rogues CR varies
21–25 Axe Dancer (Pathfinder NPC Codex 99) CR 7
26–30 Nephthys or other powerful cleric CR varies
31–45 Steam Golem (Midgard Bestiary 60) CR 14
46–55 Contract Killer (Pathfinder NPC Codex 150) CR 8
56–70 4 Traitorous Brigands (Pathfinder NPC Codex 81) CR 8
71–85 2 Grizzled Mercenaries (Pathfinder NPC Codex 268) CR 8
85–100 Wrath Priest (Pathfinder NPC Codex 49) CR 8

Appendix A: Major Temples in Bourgund
Bourgund (Midgard Campaign Setting 166) is a city on the edge of the wasted west and a wide variety of faiths can be found among its population.

The following describes some of the major temples in Bourgund, the high or priest or priestess in residence, and their motivations involving Face of the Gods.

Ailuros (Bastet)
Colorful silks and beads drape the entryway into this squat, sprawling complex of buildings. Inside more silks and fabrics adorn the windows and walls. Many candles light the richly appointed rooms full of cushioned wicker chairs and couches. Cats wearing jeweled collars slink underfoot. A system of narrow, winding hallways lead to a room lined with golden statues depicting, mostly, a woman with a cat’s head.
High Priestess: Nephthys (CN female catfolk Cleric 2/Rogue 4/Shadow Dancer 3)
Motivation and Reward: Bastet is the patron goddess of Bourgund, and as such very few residents would speak ill of her resident high priestess. PCs who gather information about Nephthys may find out that while she appears human she is more than what she seems, and that she is known to be flighty and dangerous if crossed. PCs can also make a DC 30 Perception check to realize that Nephthys is a catfolk disguised as a human. Nephthys offers the PCs a +1 glamered scimitar and jewels worth 2,000 gp.

Lada
Bourgund’s temple of Lada is a complex of tidy rooms that serve as a hospital, nursery, and childcare center. Women with heavy wombs lounge and talk in sunny rooms and young children scamper and play in the halls. Bunches of fresh flowers and potted plants flourish on every shelf, windowsill, and table.
High Priestess: Ella Brightblossom (NG female human cleric 6/paladin 2)
Motivation and Reward: Ella was once a crusader, but refused to study war after witnessing a particularly bloody battle. She founded a temple to Lada nearly 20 years ago, and now cares for the sick, pregnant, and orphaned of the city. PCs who gather information about Ella Brightblossom hear that she is respected and loved by residents of the city, most of whom recount a personal story of her kindness and healing skills. If PCs insist on giving Ella Brightblossom the artifact, she apologizes for not having a suitable reward. Thinking on her feet, she offers the PCs her medical bag, which is actually a bag of holding (type III). In addition, she grants the PCs up to 500 gp worth of healing gratis, either immediately or at a later time. If PCs wish to bargain with Ella, she may instead offer all future healing at a 20% discount (not including reagents for spells like restoration).

Mavros
Stone pillars surround an open shrine. Swords, spears, and scraps of armor lie in a pile at the foot of the shrine, a towering statue of a man in a horned helmet.
High Priest: Burne Bronson (N male human warpriest 8)
Motivation and Reward: In his youth Burne Bronson was a renowned warrior in the West. After he was crippled in battle he retired to tend the shrine of Mavros. Burne is transparent about his motivation; he wants to use the Face of the Gods to rejoin his brothers in battle and defend the city of Bourgund if ever a threat arises. If given the artifact Burne Bronson will craft a magic weapon worth up to 2,000 gp for each PC.

Rava
This small, cramped building houses a single shrine to Rava. The temple doubles as a workshop, and tables full of mechanical parts and metal scraps litter the small room. A dog-like creature crafted of metal, gears, and springs greets you with a wag of its mechanical tail.
High Priestess: Shora Gearheart (NG female dwarf cleric 10)
Motivations and Reward: Shora built this tiny temple when she moved to Bourgund from Zobeck 6 years ago. Many of Bourgund’s residents are unfamiliar with the temple but some will recognize Shora’s name and praise her as an accomplished craftswoman. If PCs give the artifact to Shora, she will craft a loyal clockwork hound (Midgard Bestiary 25) for the party.