The year is 579cy, 3 years after the events described in module T1-4 and the adventure begins in the city of Verbobonc at the Wayside Inn. The players are young and lacking in experience but trained journeymen if not yet masters of their professions and callings.
The Wayside Inn (See Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc part 5 & 6 for maps) is a large and comfortable inn recommended by the Mercenaries Guild as a place to meet prospective employers or socialize with other adventurers. When first entering the city the guardsmen at the gate directed the players to the Mercenaries Guild to register and pay the fee to the guild and the city. (See Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc Part 3). The fee can be waved temporarily if the players take one of the pending jobs listed at the guild hall. Currently that involves taking on the work of couriers for the mage Gordrenn (Night Below Book 1 pg#10). The mage needs his items delivered to the town of Nulb(Thurmaster in NB) a town of bad repute but improving outwardly since the latest strike against the Temple of Elemental Evil in 576cy.
The road to Nulb isn't without its perils and the chances of unpleasant encounters are real. Goblin raiders are reported along the foothills of the Kron Hills (See NPC - The Goblins of the Broken Jaw) and the longer road to Hommlet (Milborne in NB) is recommended. Hommlet is a growing town with the first stages of a walled keep constructed beside it.
Once past Hommlet or the shorter route through the Kron Hills the players will encounter the scenario 'Capture Them Alive!' (NB pg#10-11). Should the players have a tough time with the encounter the Scout-Lancer Sedeq can appear for a timely intervention (See NPC Scout-Lancer Sedeq).
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 2 Random Encounters Part 1
1. Verbobonc Lancers fighting Goblin Wolf-Riders
This encounter can take place anywhere no closer than 10 leagues to the city of Verbobonc.
The players come upon a pitched battle between a 10 man patrol of Verbobonc Lancers and some 27 wolf-riding goblins of the Broken Jaw tribe. An overturned merchants wagon is near to a path or roadway and the lancers are making a stand there.
At the wagon are 2 dead merchants and one living merchant, Ciara. She has is a red-haired woman in her thirties with some training as a fighter (padded armor, light crossbow, quarter staff).
There are 7 dead goblins around or near the wagon and 3 dead wolves.
2 of the lancers are dismounted and lightly wounded. They are using the wagon for cover and firing short bows. The other 8 lancers are still mounted and preparing for a charge as the 27 wolf-riders and 4 riderless.
Each lancer is an experienced warrior (1eAD&D 1st and 2nd level Fighters or Rangers). Led by Serjeant Daukyn (3rd Level Ranger) so the fight isn't one sided but any help by the players would be appreciated.
At the end of the battle if the lancers win they will skin the wolves, loot the dead goblins and remove their heads for the viscounts bounty (1gp for the head of every goblin, orc or similar monstrous creature), loot the wagon and merchants if Ciara doesn't survive, or help Ciara remove any valuables from the wagon if she does. Most of the lancers are Old Faith so they will leave the dead, including there own, laid out for wild animals and nature to take its course on the bodies though the merchants and their own dead will be laid out respectfully while goblins and wolves will be left to rot where they have fallen or at most dragged off the road.
The wagon was carrying varied goods. The most valuable are some coin and gems. A large trunk contains components for spells. There was a metal chest with magical potions but most are smashed. Otherwise whatever general goods the DM wishes the players to find. Ciara won't mind terribly the wagon being looted if she secures the valuable items first. The wagon is completely destroyed but the two horses still in harness will be found further down the road.
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 3 Random Encounters Part 2
2. The players come upon a dying goblin. He has had one arm bitten off and only a short distance away is the wolf he was riding, dead and showing bite marks at its throat and body. A pouch with a few coins, a dagger and sheath at his belt and a quiver with 20 arrows for a short bow are the most salvageable items.
100 yards further on they find 4 more dead goblins and wolves and the body of one of the largest dogs anyone can remember having seen. The dog has an iron collar labeled 'Rock' (which is the dogs name).
Rock is twice the size of a normal War Dog (4+4 hd in 1eAD&D terms). He is grievously wounded and will die from his wounds if not healed. His master, a wealthy merchant, has been slain by goblins of the Broken Jaw tribe, and Rock pursued a small pack of them.
If Rock is healed he will become bonded with the person who healed him. Rock would benefit from a suit of leather armor often crafted for wardogs, but it will cost more because of his size.
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 4 Random Encounters Part 3
This encounter will take place within the Kron Hills but on the outskirts of a small town or village.
3. The Charcoal Burners
Charcoal burners create charcoal for use in smithies by burning logs in conical pile, mostly airtight, to keep the wood from going up in flames and being reduced to ash instead of charcoal. In Verbobonc, among members of the Old Faith, it is looked upon as an almost holy profession. Trees need to be marked by a druid for collection and certain rites and rituals are carried out to balance the destruction.
Those carrying out the work are either apprentice rangers or druids normally working under a more experienced teacher. There is lots of time for contemplation and a communion with nature.
There are 3 young druids, Nickells, Madgett, and Harriman; a ranger of more experience but learning druidic abilties named Garrett and an older druid named Sibbett.
They are cautious with strangers but generally friendly. If told about the goblin incursion or of the attack by kidnappers they will be concerned and immediatly break camp and set out to warn the nearby town or village suggesting that the players come with them but not insisting that they do so.
The players will first notice the smell of burning wood or see the smoke rising from a place with woods or forest. A dirt trail, recently used, will lead from any path or roadway off in the direction of the camp if approached from such a direction.
The druids and the town will be appreciative of any warning the players might give and the ranger, Garrett, would even accompany them if they are setting out soon as he plans to scout for any goblin-sign.
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 5 Random Encounters Part 4
4. The Farmhouse
This encounter is best had at the end of the day when the players are considering camping for the night.
During the day the farmhouse appears to bw in good repair. It is a single open room, mostly bare except for a bench, chair and table. Inside is dry and clean. There is a well just outside and a back door. Both doors and windows seem stout enough for a farmhouse but the roof is just thatch and the walls wattle and daub (interwoven branches covered in clay). Better than tents at least with a firepit and covered smokehole at the back.
The place is desrted and the fields untended and a bit wild. If the nearby fields are searched the bones of animals can be found scattered about and if a greater search is made human and humanoid bones can be found.
If the players stay the night the house transforms into a half roofless ruin at the rise of the moon. From outside the house screams and moaning can be heard as if animals are being slaughtered. Then calls for help and more screams. Surrounding the house the bodies of dead animals, mostly cows and pigs, wander about. If any step outside the house they will attack and only stop if they players retreat back into the house. As the moon reaches its height the animals well lose all their flesh and become bones. The skeletons will stagger around and the skeletons of humanoids will approach from the fields.
At the moons height the skeletons will attack the house in groups of six or twelve. As they are slain the bones will nit together into monstrous combinations of man and beast and continue to assault the house. This attack will go on till moonset.
If the hut is burned down the skeletons will draw off and wait till the hut collapses. If the players leave the area of the fields the skeletons will not follow.
Beneath the packed earth floor are the skeletons of a dozen men and women. Digging them up and destroying the bones will cause the skeletons in the field to collapse. An iron chest is buried with the bodies containing an icon of Elemental Evil and 12 amulets. If these are taken the players will be haunted by the memories of these Elemental Evil cultists and they will receive no benefit of rest till they are buried or brought to a cleric or druid to be destroyed. Anyone in Verbobonc will immediately recognize them as belonging to the cult of Elemental Evil.
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 6 Random Encounters Part 5
5. The Packmule
Off the side of the road the players see a loaded packmule quietly nibbling on some scrub. The mule, Bert, appears docile, but mainly because it is exhausted. The players should notice that the mule is lathered and if they approach it in a friendly or cautious manner it will allow them to lead it and hopefully, from Bert's perspective, unload it.
Bert is carrying a load of Tinker's gear. A small portable anvil, charcoal, a small shovel. wood-axe and pick. Bars of lead for solder. There are also several pots and pans. A bag of steel sewing needles and colored thread. A small one man tent, a ground cover, two weeks rations, a lantern and several bottles of oil. There is a bag of metal fish hooks, a pole and thin line. There is a fancy folding live animal trap and half-a-dozen small spring traps.
There is a guide rope attached to a light harness but it has been cut with about 6 feet left. Underneath the packs and bags is a old worn riding saddle.
Anyone in the area will recognize Bert as belonging to Ducote the Tinker, originally from Furyondy but now making a living plying the villages and town throughout Verbobonc. He is missing, kidnapped by the minions of Ranchefus (See NB Book1 pg#11)
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 7 Random Encounters Part 6
6. Dead Farmers
The players come upon a field with the bodies of dead farmers, a dead horse and wagon with all its good broken and scattered. Among the dead are the bodies of 3 goblins with broken arrow ends sticking from them. The farmers have been terribly hacked at whether before or after they were killed is not apparent.
As the players near the scene of the massacre one them catches the sight of movement in the distance. The player with the best eyesight can just make them out as wolves with riders. Within a few moments the disappear into a dip in the fields and seem to ride off.
If the players examine the dead they will notice an odd thing. There are 7 dead farmers among the scattered and looted goods but 2 more are within the wagonbed. They too are dead but they have bound and gagged and tied to the wagon.
These 2 are local farmers but the 7 dead are minions of the kidnapper Ranchefus (See NB Book1 Pg#11). A search of the dead bodies reveals that they are wearing leather armor beneath their clothes and one has coins sewn into the lining. 25 Platinum pieces and a note saying "Live prisoners, any spell casters will earn a bounty. Remember!"
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 8 Random Encounters Part 7
The PCs may notice small amounts of spiderwebbing near them off the side of the path, trail or road they are travelling. If they have animals with them they will become skittish and nervous. But by the time the PCs realize something is wrong it will be too late.
From all around them around a two dozen large spiders will make a fast scuttling approach. The players will have one melee round advantage before the spiders close.
The spiders are under the sway of the Aboleth's domination and are seeking to capture rather than kill. They will poison PCs hoping to weaken them and knock them unconscious. They will cast webs at them seeking to bind the PCs. If the PCs are defeated they will be webbed and poisoned awakening later in an abandoned barn. The barn is home to a giant spider and a number of large and huge spiders.
The PCs will awake to the sight of a beautiful but very unkempt and grimy woman. She is the druid Oleanne (See NB Book1 Pg#20). She will quickly cut the PCs free and urge them to run for it indicating a place in the barn wall where the boards have been snapped aside. If the players flee they will have no gear except what they carried on their person and any animals will be gone.
The PCs gear is in one of lofts but so are two huge spiders and half-a-dozen large spiders. Any animal mounts or companions are in broken down stable next to the barn. The giant spider and four huge spiders dragged them there for a future repast but they are still alive. The giant spider and the four huge spiders are away bringing back a number of riding wolves they captured.
Inside the barn are a dozen goblins and half a dozen wolves. They are webbed and caught. They will beg for their freedom but if released will escape as soon as possible and inform the other raiders of the weakened PCs in the area.
A large force of goblins will besiege the barn and spiders witin two days if these goblins escape and within six days even if they do not.
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 9 Random Encounters Part 8
Part 8. Jawbreaker Goblin riding party
A frequent random encounter will be raiding parties of Jawbreaker Goblins. They are overpopulated and moving up throw wild coast and into Verbobonc. This has proved troublesome for the kidnappers and at the moment they are as taken by surprise as the citizens of Verbobonc,
Goblin raiding parties all number several dozen sometimes as many as 60 or 70 in the main band, but these split into smaller groups that retreat at the sign of trouble and collect more raiders. So far several hundred goblin wolf-riders have entered Verbobonc with no telling how many more are to follow.
Goblin wolf-riders are normally leathered armored bearing a short bow, falchion or scimitar or dagger. They loot other gear and raid leaders and warchiefs always have better armor and gear including enchanted blades. Goblin leaders should b of increased HD or leveled NPCs. These Goblin have shamans (about 1 per 100) who are low level druid/magic-users.
A typical raiding party will have split down to about a dozen riders with one boss of stronger or more wily disposition. Raid leaders are normally encountered with groups of 40 or more while warchiefs and shamans are normally encountered in groups of 100 or 200 goblins. Even a small raid boss will normally have 1 or 2 buddies who help him keep order, while a Raid Leader will have a lieutenant and a few body guards and several small raid boss types around. A full war chief will have a shaman or three, sub-chiefs, henchmen, bodyguards and a wolf that is of larger size and intelligence as a pack leader.
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 10 Random Encounters Part 9
9. Verbobonc Lancer Patrol
The party encounters a patrol of Verbobonc Lancers. Typically these patrols are of 20 or 30 riders with a serjeant and a corporal or two in the group. With the incursion of the Brokenjaw Wolfriders the Lancers are spread thin and are in bands of 10 or 12 with a single corporal or serjeant leading them.
The Lancers are an experienced group of fighters and rangers with an occasional druid amongst them. They average a little higher (levels 1-2 in 1e AD&D terms) than normal guardsmen and their corporals and serjeants run even higher (3-5) so they even 10 or 12 Lancers are formidable.
3 of the Lancers are wounded in this patrol of 12 and they have recently encountered a band of wolf-riders whose bodies are scattered in a field about half-a-mile distant.
Corporal Bewes who leads this patrol will stop and inform the PCs that more wolf-riders are massing. If the players are mounted he suggests they accompany the patrol (which is headed in the opposite direction of where the Players are going). If the PCs have known to have aided Lancers or Verbobonc citizenry in the past and have no mounts Bewes will suggest they ride double with some of the Lancers. If the players wont turn back Bewes wishes then luck but says 'On your own head be it." before the patrol rides away.
Night Below - The Evils of Verbobonc - Part 11 Random Encounters Part 10
10. Ale Wagon
The PCs come upon a recently abandoned ale wagon. The horses are gone as well as any sign of the driver. Two massive barrels of ale are on the back. It would take 4 strong people to shift one of the barrels and they arent meant to be lowered to the ground just shifted onto a loading platform or ramp.
The wagon has a broken axle and is quite useless. The driver took the horses and road back to town or village to fetch more men and another wagon. The driver is a dwarf named Uiathne and this is powerful dwarven ale. Originally from the Lortmils these mountain dwarves settled in the viscounty. The Kevigan brewery is becoming a well known name.
If the players manage to return the ale barrels they will be rewarded and given free drinks whenever they return.
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