Episode Two: Havenfast
By Owen K.C. Stephens
is a short adventure for four 15th-level characters that takes place in
a lightly inhabited, mountainous region. The adventure has connections
to the drow and an underground network of caves, making it particularly
appropriate for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, but is easily
placed on almost any D&D world.
Background: The Sorcerer's Call
In the first episode,
the characters witnessed an attack by two purple worms on a small caravan,
and were told by Aielle Dell, the caravan's leader, that the local area
is rife with dire beasts and other monsters. As they spoke with Aielle,
one of the characters was contacted by the sorcerer Zareph by a sending
spell, and told to come to his tower.
Zareph spends most
of his time these days watching the lands around Havenfast with a spyglass,
trying to spot threats to the town before they arrive and, hopefully,
discover the source of the recent problems. He spotted the characters
fighting the purple worms through the spyglass, and decided to enlist
their aid. Since he could see the characters, he was able to use a sending
to contact them. Zareph conforms to the 9th-level human sorcerer in
Chapter 2: Characters of the Dungeon Master's Guide.
When the characters
approach Havenfast the locals seem agitated. A Sense Motive check (DC
15) made against any commoner tells the characters that most of the
locals are scared, and their fear is beginning to blend with anger.
The townsfolk don't seem to trust the PCs. Since the last band of adventurers
to come through town only made matters worse by angering the ghost beholder,
the townsfolk are afraid the characters will only make further trouble.
Similarly, they're not happy that Zareph seems to want to send another
group into the mountains, rather than deal with the problem himself
-- the town pays the sorcerer a reasonable stipend to protect them,
and he doesn't seem to be holding up his end of things. The locals are
not talkative, on this subject, but PCs that make a Gather Information
or Intimidate check (either at DC 35) can learn the reasons for the
Zareph's tower is
the largest building in Havenfast, located in the center of the town
square. None of the townsfolk come within twenty feet of it as the characters
approach, but a small crowd gathers at the edges of the town square,
watching as the characters enter the tower.
Within the tower
Zareph awaits the characters. He is an elderly man, and has become quite
rotund over the years. Once an adventurer in his own right, Zareph reached
9th level before settling in Havenfast to retire. Although he is most
interested in divination and communication magic and lacks many offensive
spells, Zareph has acted as a guardian of the town many times over the
years. Recently, however, he has felt it wiser to reserve his resources
to defend the town against direct threats and contract others for more
the recent problems to the characters, beginning with the death of the
miners some months ago. He doesn't realize that the horror that killed
the prospectors and was later "destroyed" by his hired band
of adventurers is the same one that is driving beasts and monsters away
from the mountain, but he's sure that something is causing trouble up
on the mountainside. He tells the PCs that the previous adventurers
claimed to have killed a mage beholder -- but that some woodsmen have
claimed to have seen a glowing "Evil Eye" floating on the
mountainside at night.
If at all possible,
he hires the characters to go find whatever is driving away the other
creatures and destroy it. If the characters aren't willing to undertake
that, he asks them to at least try to find out what is on the mountain,
so he can arrange for other adventurers to deal with it.
After Zareph has
explained the situation to the characters, a loud commotion is heard
from outside. Townsfolk are yelling and shouting and a Listen check
(DC 20) allows characters to hear cries of "Zareph, send them home!"
and "Adventure somewhere else!" mixed in with far fewer cries
of "Stay calm!" and "Don't start trouble!"
As it happens, several
of the town folk have decided that what Havenfast needs Zareph to take
care of this problem himself -- the PCs had better keep out of it, in
their opinion. The mob of around 40 individuals begins to throw clods
of dirt and rotten food at a smaller group of 15 townsfolk who trust
Zareph's judgment and have surrounded his tower to protect it. Zareph
insists on going out to speak to the mob, but is greeted with catcalls
and more rotten fruit by the angry mob.
If the player characters
attempt to calm the crowd, it can be considered unfriendly to them.
A Diplomacy or Charisma check might allow the PCs to convince the mob
to let them investigate (see NPC Attitudes in Chapter 5: Campaigns of
the Dungeon Master's Guide), or a bard might be able to
calm the fearful crowd.
Of course the characters
could easily attack and defeat the mob -- most of them are just commoners
-- but doing so in a violent way earns the distrust of Zareph and all
the people of Havenfast. If the characters use sleep or similar nonviolent
means to disperse the crowd, the townsfolk can eventually forgive them
and Zareph will be grateful.
After the commotion,
one of the characters discovers a small note slipped into one of his
pockets. It reads: "I know where to find the "Evil Eye."
Come to the North gate, after midnight, and I shall meet you."
It is unsigned.