Origins: Grasslands of Merakai – Adventure Seeds IV

Apr 23, 2011
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Continuation of my Origins series, as detailed previously. -Mark

Dadta: Night Wagon

The adventure takes place on what used to be a major road between Arfeld and Dadta; this is now just an overgrown trail.


About 125 years ago, a wandering mage came across a group of young human clerics camped along the road midway to Dadta from Arfeld. Here joined them at there campsite and entertained them with minor magical acts. The next morning, the mage left. Then a young girl stepped forward and claimed the mage had forced himself on her. This was not true but rather the mage refused the young girls advances. Well to make it short, the clerics brought this news to the knights of the area who immediately searched the mage out and hung him.

After his death, the mage became a ghost and all of the women who caused his untimely downfall have also become constrained to him in death. Now each night, the ghost comes along in his cart with the banshees (Groaning Spirits) singing their deadly song.

The Details

This encounter can take place along any road (preferably an old one). This is a very strong encounter and can easily decimate lower level groups. Thoroughly read the description of ghosts and banshees before attempting this scenario. The song of the women can/will cause death at a distance and the creatures will viciously attack all living creatures.

Since the banshees are singing, the PC’s will not be totally surprised at the approach of the cart but they may be surprised at the sight of the occupants. Once the PC’s can clearly hear they may all make their saves vs. the song of the banshees.

The Great Cliff: The Cave

Along with the ideas for wyvern and the minotaurs, here is another Great Cliff lair.

Almost clear to the top of the cliff is a very small cave entrance. It is about 4′ tall and has small footprints leading into it. The occupant of the cave is a halfling who has a slightly insane streak in his personality. The halfling is a Mu/Th of medium levels but has retired to this cave due to his dislike of most people. He is relatively wealthy but almost everything of value is some heavy art object. Bigley (the halfling) got these objects into his cave using a winch with 600′ of silk rope attached to it. This rope is cached under a pile of rock debris near the entrance to the cave.

Bigley uses the winch for other purposes also. If PC’s drop ropes from the top of the cliff, Bigley attaches the rope to the winch and begins to tighten it. Due to the leverage the winch adds, Bigley can break almost any rope this way. Roll percent dice to determine where the rope breaks. His next action will be to determine where the PC’s are coming from. If there is more than one rope descending from the cliff top, He will cast a Grease spell to cover as many ropes as possible. If the PC’s are climbing up the cliff, he will grease the ledges and cliff face thereby making it difficult to climb. After that, he will retrieve several flasks of oil from the cave and attempt to drop them on the PC’s as they climb up. Treat PC’s as unarmoured for this because he is just trying to coat them. Also, any Dexterity bonus is negated due to the circumstances. If oiled PC’s are still climbing, Bigley will cast burning hands on one of them in order to light them on fire.

The cave has three rooms: a bedroom with a locked and trapped chest which has coinage in it, a study with a desk that has spellbooks and several scrolls in it, and a cooking/living area. The art objects are scattered throughout all three rooms. If Bigley did not use the winch to break ropes, it will still be hidden in the alcove behind the debris. Most of the Art Objects are to heavy or to bulky for the PC’s to even think about carrying down. The bedroom has the chest with some coinage (not much, Bigley spends all his wealth on Art).

Remember the insane streak: Bigley used a Fireball spell when the PC’s reached the cave mouth. It expanded within the cave, frying two PC’s, himself and 2/3 of the art.

The Great Cliff: Gnomes

To the far eastern edge of the Great Cliff there was once a clan of gnomes who lived mid-way in the cliff in a large number of inter- connected caves. Here is their tale of woe and the scenario.

The PC’s should be traveling along the top of the cliff looking at the edge for some excitement. Well, they see what appears to be some kind of wooden structure which hangs over the side of the cliff. As they get closer, they discover a wooden platform which supports a huge iron pot. A rope (very thick) is attached to the handle of this great pot and then it goes through a pulley and is finally tied off on a handle attached to the pots side. This is actually a lift and the only access to the gnome’s lair. Each gnome has a personal mini-winch which attaches to the pots handle and is used to lower or raise the pot.
Unfortunately, the PC’s don’t have a winch. A PC can successfully use the pot for transportation if his strength is high enough for him to be able to lift his weight, his equipment’s weight, and the 400 pound pot. The rope attached to pot is long enough for the PC to lower it to the gnomes platform 150′ below just by moving hand over hand on the rope. If a PC who is not strong enough to do this unties the rope from the handle, the pot will plummet downward. There is a 50% chance that the gnomes “safety mechanism” will catch the PC & pot. This is a net which has not been perfected yet.

Anyway, there is a similar platform 150′ down the cliff which sits at the opening of a cave. Upon landing here, the PC’s will immediately smell sickness, decay and death. Inside the cave are 23 gnome’s in various chambers all of them appear very sick. All of them have been stricken by the plague. There is a 10% chance the PC’s will contract the disease per round cumulative up to 80%. The gnomes are wealthy as they have a mine which is deep in the cliff (electrum mine). If the PC’s have a cleric who can heal the disease, the gnomes will give each party member two -10 pound bars of electrum. If the party cannot heal the gnomes, they just ask the PC’s to stay long enough to bury the dead. If the PC’s agree, the last gnome alive will reveal the hidden cache of 56–10 pound electrum bars. If the PC’s kill any gnomes or do not agree the gnomes will not tell anything even under torture. The disease causes a delirious state which gets worse if pain is inflicted.

The electrum is actually deep in the gnome’s lair. It is hidden behind a series of 3 secret shifting walls. It is not in chests but just rests in stacks in a large room behind the consecutive hidden walls.

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