Land of Vampires: Adventure One
Welcome to part two of our first adventure in the Land of Vampires series! In what follows, we’ll cover the second portion of “Out of the Witchwood,” adventure one in this campaign, designed for one GM and one player, around level 3.
We’ll be releasing this campaign in serial this summer and fall in part thanks to the incredible support of our patrons—thank you all! If you’re enjoying this campaign and would like to support us, we’d love for you to join us on Patreon!
If you missed Out of the Witchwood: Part One, you can find it here!
The Stench of Corruption
In the distance lies Willowhold. Characters with a passive Perception greater than 12 hear coughs and choked crying piercing the evening’s relative quiet. As they near, the party sees a wagon with spears sticking out of it acting as a gate. A paranoid and excited middle-aged man pokes his head (and a heavy crossbow) over the spiked wall at the party and challenges them.
The party may gain admittance to Willowhold by assuring the guard they are not a threat and succeeding on a DC 13 Charisma (Persuasion or Intimidation) check. As they converse with the guard, the party may note his terrible cough.
Willowhold consists of a dozen small houses, a meeting hall, a manor, and sundry buildings such as a winery and a large barn. All of these are enclosed by a 10-foot-tall palisade clearly showing signs of disrepair and weakness. The perimeter fence is sparsely patrolled by the few able-bodied citizens of Willowhold.
As the party walks through, a successful DC 14 Wisdom (Medicine or Insight) check reveals that the settlers are slowly starving to death. A DC 15 Wisdom (Nature) check shows that the settlement’s enclosed fields, while sparse, yield enough food to support the population, yet the harvest has been left to rot. A DC 17 Wisdom (Perception) check additionally draws the character’s attention to the overturned earth of several shallow graves behind a woodshed.
The guard leads the party past a meeting hall with the doors hanging open. Inside, a dozen skeletal humans listen grimly to a young woman leaning on a podium. A DC 16 Wisdom (Perception) check allows the player to overhear the passionate woman imploring her audience to keep their spirits up and to, “give your all, give everything in you to overcome the corruption!”
At the manor house a tall, gaunt man greets the party and dismisses the guard. He introduces himself as Alfwold Tam.
Important Willowhold NPCs
Tam inherited the manor from his father before him and has worked his entire life to build Willowhold up as a sanctuary in the midst of the deadly and dark Witchwood. Over the years he has seen the population slowly dwindle and the buildings fall into disrepair. In the face of this slow death, the one bright spot has been his beautiful daughter, Wellyn.
Motivation: Willowhold must prosper. The only thing dearer than this place are its inhabitants, and most importantly my perfect daughter.
Flaw: I refuse to recognize the problem when things get to be too much for me to deal with. Everything is… fine. Nothing we can’t overcome.
The most important information that he can offer the party is:
- The party is welcome and safe here, though a terrible disease has gripped the town of late. Nothing they haven’t faced before…
- The nature of the disease is unusual. First there is a crushing exhaustion, then sleep walking, paranoia, and finally a wracking cough.
Alfwold is a gracious host, even as he chokes back his own coughs and wipes a bit of blood from his lips. He welcomes the party to his abode and offers them some questionable food in a courtly manner. He politely inquires about the party, but remains stalwartly incredulous about anything outside of Steymhorod, assuming that they are a bit mad.
After some conversation, the front door swings open just as lightning cracks, silhouetting a figure in the door—Wellyn Tam. She rushes in out of the rain and toward her father who is wracked by a coughing fit. It is the same young woman from the meeting house. She tends to her father, sending him to his room. Before leaving, Alfwold tells the party they are welcome to stay the evening in his house or down in the meetinghouse below. Wellyn Tam pours herself a hearty drink and addresses the party. As she speaks, she twines a copper tree necklace about her fingers.
The shining light in her father’s bleak existence, Wellyn has a natural gift with the arcane. She has watched her father toil fruitlessly for his entire life in opposition of the Witchwood. She is adept at using others to her own ends and uses her apparent innocence to further her own designs.
Motivation: I will not only survive… I will grow mighty.
Flaws: Emotions and feelings are for manipulating.
Wellyn claims that the source of the sickness is not natural. At that point she excuses herself for a moment before returning with a horrifying hollow totem of bone, feather, and sinew. It emanates a dark energy.
Wellyn’s Story vs Reality
A Wisdom (Insight) check contested by Wellyn’s Charisma (Deception) reveals that her motivations are far more complicated than she claims. Her claims and the truth follow:
Wellyn tells the party that she found this item in the well yesterday when she was drawing water. (This is a lie—Wellyn cursed the well as part of her induction into the Swollen Tree Coven.)
The sickness fell upon Willowhold one month ago and has grown progressively worse. (True to a point).
This foul totem obviously came from the witches of the wood. She didn’t want to tell any of the settlers about it because she didn’t want them to go into the Witchwood in their weakened state to certain death. (It’s true she didn’t want the settlers to go into the Witchwood, but that desire wasn’t for their safety.)
Recognizing that the party is strong, she asks the party to help her get to the bottom of this. Somewhere in the Witchwood, there is an antidote or charm that can save Willowhold. (Wellyn aims to set up the party for her disappearance and anticipates that the Witchwood will dispose of them in short order.)
Before the night ends, Wellyn asks the party to venture into the Witchwood, confront those that have cursed Willowhold, and save the day.
The Creeping Corruption
Those afflicted with the Creeping Corruption endure a progressively worsening illness before finally expiring.
Day 1: A character with Creeping Corruption makes saving throws involving Strength or Dexterity with disadvantage.
Day 2: The character takes one level of exhaustion.
Day 5: The character suffers the poisoned condition.
Day 6: The character gains the following flaw: I take everything that someone says in the worst possible way. I don’t trust anyone.
Day 7: The character takes an additional level of exhaustion and cannot benefit from a full rest as they begin sleepwalking.
Day 8+: For each subsequent day, the character loses a percentage die worth of their total remaining max hp.
The Creeping Corruption cannot be healed except by a greater restoration spell or similarly higher order restorative magic.
Characters staying up to keep watch are greeted by the unsettling sight of several settlers wandering around town like the walking dead. They are sleepwalking.
At the GM’s discretion, a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check allows a party member to see a group of 3x zombies at first battering at and then falling in between and through a gap in the palisade 200ft away. 2x guards move to the breech in 1d20 rounds. For every 3 rounds left unchecked, the zombies attack and kill a sleepwalking settler.
In the Morning
As the sun rises weakly on the party’s first full day in Steymhorod, the air is thick with grief and the oily smoke from the burning zombies of the night before. The party is summoned out from their sleeping place and into the commons by a clearly agitated Alfwold.
Alfwold addresses the settlement, crying out that Wellyn has disappeared! But he knows something is amiss. His beloved daughter was last seen as she helped him to bed and went back to speak with the party. Responsibility for explaining her whereabouts falls to the party as they were the last people to see her. As the conversation plays out, angry and paranoid villagers circle ever closer to the party, their suspicious mounting. Alfwold orders a search of the party’s belongings and sleeping area. They will turn up Wellyn’s totem unless the party has been creative in hiding or destroying the item.
On the discovery of the totem, the party stands accused not only of the disappearance of the precious Wellyn but also of being allied with the witches and making everyone sick. A successful DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion or Intimidation) check paired with a character pointing out the many holes in the settlers’ reasoning spare the party increasing hostility.
Nevertheless, the party is charged with finding out what happened to Wellyn.
The party last encountered Wellyn in the manor, so it makes sense to start there. Wellyn’s room is unsettlingly perfect and clean except for the covers of the bed which appear to have been thrown back. A character succeeding on a DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) check uncovers the following items of interest. It is up to the GM if the character must declare the area they are searching or if they discover all of them.
- Under the bed there is a loose floorboard covering an opening showing a dried feather, some strands of sinew, and a bit of tack.
- An examination of Wellyn’s closet reveals an unusual lack of cold weather clothes.
- Along the inside of her door jam and along her windowsill there are strange markings. They look like runes. A DC 17 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals that they are rudimentary wards of protection.
- Outside of her window, a DC 13 Wisdom (Survival) check allows a character to detect some boot prints that would match Wellyn’s heading for the outer wall. Interestingly, they go in the opposite direction from the zombies’ break from the night before.
Should the party being to speak to the settlers, most of them shy away in anger and suspicion, but some can be encouraged to talk on a successful DC 12 Charisma (Persuasion or Intimidation) check.
- While popular and well-loved, at times it seemed that Wellyn was keeping some kind of secret from folk. Maybe she had a beau?
- Alfwold is running this place into the ground. Something really needs to be done.
- The witches of the wood were once allies of the people of Willowhold. They are also rumored to have the ability to perform great acts of healing!
- No one has seen a witch of the wood in town since Wellyn’s thirteenth birthday, the same tragic day that Alfwold lost his wife.
If the party is floundering on the investigation and cannot seem to catch a break, then one of the folks guarding watching them may notice something seemingly innocuous putting them on the right track.
It becomes clear that in order to have any hope of finding Wellyn or of curing the Creeping Corruption, they must delve into the Witchwood.
The party needs their strength to brave the unknown horrors of the Witchwood and to track down Wellyn. The settlement of Willowhold offers supplies, but the price of those supplies depends on whether or not the party has managed to ingratiate themselves with the settlers. At the GM’s discretion, prices for adventuring supplies may range from a discount of over half, to a cost of twice the list price.
This adventure continues next week with part three of “Out of the Witchwood”—happy rolling!
Land of Vampires is a serial adventure created under the OGL with 5e SRD resources. The support of our patrons makes this campaign possible. If you’d like to receive a new adventure PDF each month and support our creation of a full duet campaign, join us on Patreon! Alternatively, you can now purchase the first five adventures in this campaign in the DnD Duet shop! (Patrons receive the compiled adventures as part of their patron rewards.)
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