Land of Vampires: Adventure One
In part three of our first adventure in the Land of Vampires series, we travel deep into the Witchwood to pursue Wellyn and find out what happened to her. This post covers the third portion of “Out of the Witchwood,” adventure one in this duet campaign for one GM and one PC of 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!
Beneath the Boughs
The dark forest of the Witchwood looms ominously, ready to gobble up any and all who dare to pass beneath its light-choking boughs. The sharp cry of an unseen creature or sudden snap of a nearby twig occasionally disturbs the eerie quiet.
Tracking Wellyn’s progress through the Witchwood takes a successful DC 13 Wisdom (Survival) check. On a fail, the party becomes lost, wastes time, and becomes increasingly likely to run across something nasty like the awakened pines* interspersed throughout the Witchwood.
*You might wish to substitute with awakened trees as this is a special creature found in the adventure’s appendix, which we don’t have a good way to include as part of a blog post.
At the GM’s discretion, the party may have one or more of the following encounters while travelling in the Witchwood:
Witchwood Random Encounters Table
|1||The Witchwood reaches out to grab the party. In a 50×50-foot square, they encounter difficult terrain as vines and tendrils attempt to pull the party toward a desiccated shambling mound with the following changes: it has 100 hit points. It is unaffected by the difficult terrain created by the vines.|
|2||Beneath the boughs there is a sudden snap of a branch and a swarm of poisonous snakes falls on the party member at the rear. A successful DC 15 Dexterity saving throw allows them to spring out of the way.|
|3||A small horde of 1d6 zombies shambles toward the party.|
|4||A gust of wind chills the party and sets in motion the dozens of bone chimes in the area. The party must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or suffer short-term madness.|
|5||The party runs across a skeleton covered in moss with a sword sticking out of its chest. This is a dancing sword. When the sword is removed, the skeleton attacks.|
|6||Amid the dark and twisted trees, a small clearing appears that contains a beautiful, verdant tree. It stands in defiance of the malevolence of the forest around it. A successful DC 13 Intelligence (Arcana) or Wisdom (Nature) check reveals a strong fount of natural magic welling up from the tree’s roots. This magic is restorative and wards against evil. Characters who rest underneath the tree find their hit points restored and they have advantage on ability checks for the next 6 hours.|
Along the way, the party might search for a small tuft of blonde hair stuck to a bramble, a piece of simple tack, or Wellyn’s tree necklace.
As night descends, the party detects the play of firelight across the highest branches. The light is emanating from a large fire in the middle of a clearing just ahead!
Lighting the Dark
A bright green and orange bonfire blazes through the trees in the clearing ahead. Three figures pace around the fire, tossing herbs into the flames and casting frightening shadows into the forest. On the north side of the clearing, a grotesque altar rests atop the stump of a massive tree. Levitating two feet over it is the supine form of an unconscious Wellyn.
What’s Going on Here?
The witches of the wood see settlements such as Willowhold as a blight on the Witchwood. Settlers are constantly cutting back and burning the forest and must be stopped. For the witches, it is a matter of survival. These witches are part of the Swollen Tree Coven and are excited to welcome Wellyn into their sisterhood.
Ira Crane is the eldest. She visited Willowhold when she felt Wellyn come into her own magical powers. She uses the priest stat block with the following changes: She does not have the divine eminence ability, and she has the following witch spells prepared:
- Cantrips (at will): acid splash, chill touch, shocking grasp
- 1st level (4 slots): find familiar, fog cloud, sleep
- 2nd level (3 slots): continual flame, scorching ray
- 3rd level (2 slots): dispel magic, vampiric touch
Kalliope Stone is the youngest. She is the firebrand of the three. She uses the druid stat block with the following witch spells prepared:
- Cantrips (at will): acid splash, fire bolt, poison spray
- 1st level (4 slots): burning hands, charm person, magic missile, thunderwave
- 2nd level (3 slots): acid arrow, flaming sphere
Antha Shade has a special affinity for the necromantic arts and is primarily responsible for the groups’ zombie guards. She uses the priest stat block with the following witch spells prepared:
- Cantrips (at will): chill touch, ray of frost, true strike
- 1st level (4 slots): disguise self, false life, hideous laughter
- 2nd level (3 slots): detect thoughts, suggestion
- 3rd level (2 slots): animate dead, fear
Wellyn Tam has been promised great magical power under the direction of the witches of the wood. The party is witnessing the last bit of Wellyn’s induction. The process began with the surreptitious murder of her mother. It continued with her laying down the Creeping Corruption in Willowhold. Finally, she lies under a magical trance on the other side of which she will be a full Sister of the Swollen Tree Coven.
Disrupting the Ritual
Two zombies flank the altar and attempt to stop anyone except the witches from approaching. Unless the party managed to save Brother Danuk, he is one of the two zombies. The immediate area around the altar is difficult terrain. The figures around the fire are deeply focused on their enchantments and do not immediately notice intruders.
The witches defend themselves or their zombies if they are attacked. If Wellyn is disturbed, the witches protest that the party doesn’t understand what they are doing and attempt to stop them. First, they try bargaining and flattery, offering rewards and boons in the form of three potions of healing and a wand of fear. They stop shy of exposing Wellyn’s secrets, simply insisting that she “belongs here” and “deserves to be here.”
Should the party persist in their attack, the sisters try to stop them by any available means short of hurting Wellyn. The sisters do not have a death wish and flee if necessary, helping each other if they fall below half of their hit points. Besides, they figure, it wouldn’t be bad to have a sister embedded in Willowhold.
In the clearing, a successful DC 13 Intelligence (Investigation) check unveils the items mentioned above as well as a staff of swarming insects in the roots of the tree altar.
Depending on the outcome of the fight, the party now faces the prospect of returning an unconscious Wellyn to Willowhold which doubles the time for their trip. At the GM’s discretion, roll twice on the random encounters table above. If the party spends the night in the Witchwood, they feel as though someone is watching them. Characters must succeed a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or else they are denied the benefit of a long rest while in the Witchwood.
If the characters successfully bring Wellyn out of the Witchwood, Alfwold is overjoyed, even as he continues to battle the Creeping Corruption. His happiness is quickly tempered with the realization that she is not responsive.
Alfwold begs the party to rest for the night and then seek help from the town to the north, Saint Sebastian. He does anything in his power to entice them. Perhaps the Ring of Light will send holy healers to save Willowhold?
You can read about Saint Sebastian and the Ring of Light in the People and Places of Steymhorod post.
Should the party fail to bring Wellyn out of the Witchwood, the people of Willowhold turn on the party, heaping their own fears and frustrations on the characters. The party is no longer welcome in Willowhold and must seek safety from the nighttime horrors of Steymhorod elsewhere. The nearest place of shelter is the Ring of Light.
If the adventurers successfully return Wellyn and/or somehow save the settlement from the Creeping Corruption, they share the following reward:
- Tanglefoot Bags (3 bags, worth 50 gp each)
- Good Lock (worth 80 gp)
- Leather Belt set with Malachite (worth 130 gp)
- Red-brown Spinel (90 gp) Large Garnet (500 gp)
We hope that you enjoyed this first adventure in our Land of Vampires series! The adventure continues with Basking in the Light!
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.)
You can find the history of Steymhorod here. We’d love to hear how your campaign is going! Let us know in the comments below!
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