Free Original Adventures
Solve the Ettin's Riddle!

"An ettin has begun terrorizing the hamlet of Newkeep, stealing cattle and smashing homes -- and flattening anyone who tries to stop him. Meanwhile, a mysterious riddle has appeared on the walls of the local shrine -- a riddle which may hold the key to vanquishing the ettin."

Next in our series of monthly free adventures, JD Wiker gives us The Ettin's Riddle, an original Dungeons & Dragons adventure suitable for a party of 2nd-level or 3rd-level player characters.

Adventure Preview

Background

Just over two years ago, a group of adventurers learned that the inhabitants of a small hamlet had been forced to flee their home when an evil wizard took control of the local keep. The adventurers confronted the wizard in his lair and defeated him, but not without suffering heavy casualties. Only two of them survived the battle.

One of the two who survived was a young cleric named Kyrnyn. During the battle, the evil wizard, Stondylus, polymorphed Kyrnyn into an ettin. Already under the effect of a charm spell, Kyrnyn aided the wizard in pounding his former friends into paste.

After Stondylus was finally vanquished, Kyrnyn's surviving partner, a young rogue named Hartmund, promised to go find some help. Hartmund advised Kyrnyn to stay out of sight -- to avoid being taken for a real ettin -- until he returned. Kyrnyn never saw Hartmund again.

When Kyrnyn ran out of food, he began hunting the local wildlife. Soon he had cleared the area around the wizard's keep, forcing him to range farther afield. He encountered the occasional hunter, but swiftly learned that if they didn't immediately run from him, he was better off running from them. The old keep became his hiding place.

It was not long before Kyrnyn began attracting monstrous attention. He was approached by a band of orcs seeking some "muscle" for their planned raids -- including one on the very villagers whose former keep he now occupied. He turned them down -- violently -- and learned just how easy it was to take advantage of his new body's brutal strength.

When the survivors of the orc group persuaded several ogres to try to take him down, Kyrnyn discovered that his savagery was greater than he?d dreamed. His second head -- which he?d always thought of as merely an extra set of eyes and ears -- took on a life of its own, directing his powerful limbs in ways he wouldn't have chosen himself.

At first Kyrnyn believed that he had been imagining things. But the next time he encountered a hunter in the forest, his other head again took charge, and before he could will his limbs to stop, he had beaten the poor man to death. Kyrnyn could only watch in horror as, day after day, his second head took control of their mutual body.

In time, the second head -- calling itself "Muck" -- gained almost complete control of Kyrnyn's body. Kyrnyn became an unwilling passenger, and worse, a witness to Muck's atrocities. When Kyrnyn objected, Muck pummeled him unconscious. The only times Kyrnyn could operate his body were when Muck was asleep.

Kyrnyn had given up on Hartmund ever returning, and resigned himself to life as an ettin -- until this development. Now he renewed his efforts at restoring himself to his true form. Through prayer, he came to realize that he could one day cast a dispel magic divine spell, suitably powerful to undo the polymorph spell that had so drastically altered his life.

But Kyrnyn found that his deity, Heironeous, would not grant him the dispel magic spell. Instead, Kyrnyn was granted a vision of a kind of riddle:

"Two heads have we, but born with one.
We avenged, healed, and protected.
Our master was Invincible,
But punished we all who objected.
Heeded we the six-armed king,
And so by our god were rejected.
Thus, this is our fate:
One head, twice bisected."


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