By Owen K.C. Stephens
Complete Cliffhanger (216k PDF)
Episode 4: The "Evil Eye"
Episode 3: Pack Attack
Episode 2: Havenfast
Episode 1: The Worms Turn
Cliffhangers Archive
The Approaching Swarm
Kingdom of the Blind
Into the Forsaken Temple's Crypt
The Trouble in Town
The Light of Despair
Training Grounds
Lorin's Chasm
Bridge Work
Nest of Corruption
A Giant Ransom
Black Water
The Horror of Lannock Hill
Over the Edge
The Proper Count
The Tower of Lore
The Candlemaker's Fire
The Hallowed Hills
The Village of Camiram
Unearthing the Past
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Cliffhangers Adventures

Episode Two: Havenfast
By Owen K.C. Stephens

"Hindsight" 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.

Adventure 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.

The Sorcerer

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 locals' disdain.

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 dangerous problems.

Zareph explains 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.

The Mob

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.

The Cliffhanger

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.


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