Land of Vampires: Adventure Three
The Land of Vampires series continues with “The Seed of Corruption,” a four-part level 4 adventure for one GM and one player! In what follows, we’ll cover part one of this duet adventure where the party ventures forth from the relative safety of St. Sebastian and the Ring of Light back into the Witchwood.
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!
This is the third in a series of duet adventures set in Steymhorod that point to an ultimate confrontation with a sinister vampire that has been targeting children. The party has pursued him from the world of Azuria to this strange land. In adventure one, the party arrived in Steymhorod, got their bearings, and attempted to aid the small settlement of Willowhold with their strange illness. In adventure two, they chose between two competing settlements and forged an alliance, granting them allies in this difficult landscape.
Considering the dangerous enemies the party has made, it is likely that they need friends and support at this time in their adventures through Steymhorod. Regardless of their alliance with the Ring or St. Sebastian, the priest Lazarus swoops in to satisfy any of the party’s healing needs, but nothing comes for free in these dark lands.
Lazarus has found mention of a powerful artifact housed in a long-abandoned manor. If the party braves the Witchwood to retrieve this item, they can have access to Lazarus and his restoration magic.
The manor rests to the south of St. Sebastian and requires the party to once again face the horrors of the Witchwood. Along the way, they encounter monstrosities and have their first interaction with the Wildlings.
Once they finally arrive at the manor, the party discovers that it is far less abandoned than they expected. After a harrowing encounter with the corrupted beings guarding the artifact, the party learns about the Fanes of Steymhorod and must embark on the next phase of their journey.
The adventure opens in the wake of the climactic events of the previous adventure “Basking in the Light.” The first two hooks listed below address the end of that adventure, while the last offers a suggestion for if your party is coming into the adventure cold. You also have the option of Lazarus beginning to offer this quest when the party first meets him in “Basking in the Light” and then having him follow up after they find a resolution and choose between St. Sebastian and the Ring of Light.
- The Party Sided with the Blessed Father and the Ring of Light. Although he is a longtime ally and friend of Sebastian, and instrumental in keeping his dark secret, Lazarus recognizes the opportunity that the party’s arrival in Steymhorod represents. It’s clear that they can get things done, so he approaches them in secret with a request.
- The Party Sided with St. Sebastian. In the afterglow of reveling in the fall of the Blessed Father, Lazarus commends the party on their handling of a difficult task and makes his request.
- Wandering in the Wood. Travelling along the twisting Spindlewood Road, the party arrives at a crossroads. As they approach, a hooded figure steps out from behind the signpost and approaches with a proposition.
Before the fall into the Shadowlands, Lord Drogo’s wife developed a blood sickness while pregnant with their firstborn child. When he could find no help or healing closer to home, Drogo waged his wars abroad in order to fuel his arcane study of blood. While the lord of the land was away, his Master of the Treasury, a man named Nehemiah Renwick, set to work defrauding Drogo and enriching himself.
With his ill-gotten spoils, Renwick determined to build an estate for himself. He imagined a sprawling and magnificent house with beautiful grounds. He set out to build a home that would rival even Drogo’s castle [now Castle Cadogan], the finest in the land. Renwick selected a portion of the Witchwood deemed uninhabitable for generations, a swampy morass in the southern reaches, and drastically reshaped the land to his purpose.
With the home’s construction nearly complete, Renwick stumbled upon a green jewel sticking out of ground that, until recently, was swampland. Something about that jewel called to him, and he became obsessed. His fascination with the item proved to be his downfall. After his apparent death, the swamplands reclaimed his great accomplishment.
Renwick couldn’t have known at the time, but a section of his estate abutted the Green Vale and awakened the ire of the fae. Before they too were lost to time, the legends suggested that perhaps the fae had played a part in Renwick’s fall.
Part One: A Chance Encounter
As the adventure begins, the party has recently concluded the events of “Basking in the Light,” where they may have met Lazarus and learned of his reputation as a healer. Allow a day or two of downtime before having Lazarus approach them as detailed in the Adventure Hooks section.
An Intriguing Offer
Lazarus respects the party and their ability to spark change in Steymhorod. He approaches them with a deal: His research indicates the location of a certain item of great import to his work. If the party can help him acquire it, he can provide them with regular healing and even a resurrection, should they need it in these deadly lands.
Motivation: I do whatever it takes to prove my genius to the world and to redeem myself from my failure to revive one of the Rhumtalles of Barasov.
Flaw: I am always the smartest person in the room, and I have no time for anyone that can’t see this obvious fact.
The most important information that Lazarus can offer the party is:
- He believes that the artifact he needs rests in the Fetid Fields to the south of St. Sebastian and west of Willowhold.
- The item is said to have powerful magical properties that wouldn’t interest adventurers but mean the difference between life and death for his work.
- The Sunken Manor surely has a secure vault, a likely resting place for Lazarus’s prize.
- Renwick was obsessed with the thing, so it may well be buried with his remains.
Lazarus is eager to entice the party into his scheme and offers them the hook that they seem most receptive to. If the party appears to be driven by wealth or the acquisition of power, he assures them that the manor belonged to Lord Drogo’s own Master of the Treasury and that they can find plenty of treasure and magical weapons to plunder in the house. If the party is altruistic, he assures them that this artifact is leeching ill intent and corruption into the very water of this land, corrupting anyone and anything nearby.
Return to the Witchwood
After they’ve had a few days to rest in St. Sebastian or the Ring of Light, the party returns to the road, traveling south toward the Sunken Manor estate in the Fetid Fields.
In order to reach the Fetid Fields, the party must retrace part of their path toward St. Sebastian before venturing off the road and into the Witchwood. This traveling sequence gives GMs the opportunity to bring in any missed encounters from the previous two adventures that seem compelling.
It takes two days of travel to reach the Fetid Fields. The PC should make DC 15 Wisdom (Survival) checks as they travel, two on the road, two in the Witchwood, and one at night after they make camp. At GM’s discretion, measures like casting pass without trace grant advantage on the roll. On a success, they avoid an encounter. On a failure, roll on one of the two tables below.
[GM’s note: Keep your own and the player’s preferences in mind as they roll these checks as you may not want to have four or five encounters in a row if they keep failing the checks. Feel free to grant the PC the opportunity to flee. Alternatively, you can narrate some of the encounters and situations instead of running the combat. (e.g., “You see four zombies and dispatch them.”) These steps add flavor and the sense of time passing to the journey without bogging down the story. Again, let the preferences at your table guide you.]
Steymhorod Travel Encounters Table: On the Road
|1||A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check allows the player to spot a flash of movement moving toward the road. A wight scout riding atop a worg appears 100 ft ahead and begins to turn. If the party fails to evade its attention, then it attacks for sport, but flees to report if seriously wounded.|
|2||A werewolf stalks the party and attempts to pick off any straggler but does not hang around for a full fight.|
|3||2x will-o’-wisps glow faintly on a shaded path lined with luscious, dark red roses. Everyone in the party must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the intoxicating scent of the blossoms draws the character off the road and toward the wisps.|
|4||A pair of enticing pumpkins rest on the side of the road. These are actually bumpkins (Appendix) and attack if touched.|
|5||The party runs across a disheveled man seeking help but struggling with memory. In actuality he is a ghost who has forgotten his terrible death at the hands of the Brotherhood of Light. He was burned in one of their pyres. If allowed to travel with the party to within sight of the Ring, he goes mad and lashes out.|
|6||The party hears a terrible cry in the woods. Investigating, they find a tangled young deer struggling in a trap. If the party helps it, the Witchwood blesses them with the aid spell.|
Steymhorod Travel Encounters Table: In the Witchwood
|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.|
Where the Wildlings Are
After the PC’s Survival rolls in the Witchwood, read or paraphrase the following:
Heavy squelching through the moist earth greets your ears as a magnificent white elk stalks into view ahead, its young charge close behind. Suddenly, barbed ropes fly up and around the elk! Armed humanoid figures burst from the undergrowth and rush toward their prey. The calf cries in panic, attempting in vain to free her mother from the ropes.
The white elk and her calf are 100 ft. from the party. For 30 ft. around the animals, a thick black morass creates difficult terrain. 1d6+1 wildlings and 1 wildling chief appear from behind cover. Their goal is to capture the animals. (As it’s difficult to post special stats in a blog post, we suggest the following adjustments for the encounter: use the tribal warrior stats for the wildlings, the berserker stats for the wildling chief, and the elk stats for the white elk.)
At the beginning of the encounter, a successful DC14 Wisdom (History) check allows the PC to recall that white elk are considered to be a sign of favor from the nature deities. Many druids, rangers, barbarians, and friends of the forest believe that slaughtering a white elk places a mark of doom upon one’s fate.
Depending on the PC’s actions and how the combat unfolds, they may be able to approach the white elk and her calf, or she may find all humanoid creatures too dangerous following the attack.
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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