Parent Pages: Adventures

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The Mercenaries

The PCs are called to a village where locals have been disappearing one and two at a time. Along the way, they encounter a trashed tavern, with a bewildered owner that can't remember what happened.

After some investigation, the PCs stumble upon a group of mercenaries that are “recruiting” the locals via a mind control hypnotism trick. The PCs end up hypnotized themselves and go back to the village to confess that they were the ones behind the trashed tavern. Following his own post-hypnotic suggestion, the owner believes them and makes them help clean up and/or pay for damages.

After a while, the trick fades and the PCs realize it wasn't their fault, but the last thing they remember before everything went fuzzy was just being in a particular area…

Back Story

Just recently, a group of Mercenaries took up residence on Shadow Reef. Their current employer, a local land baron named Winston Rotburg III, has hired them to raise an army for him. He wants to expand his territory and take the island from the “uncivilized savages,” but the locals refused to be a part of his army.

These are the members of the mercenary company:

  • Gerach the Defiler, a dangerous goblin wizard.
  • Dewayne Spagnolia, the Magnificent, a psionic hypnotist.
  • Michel Brent, a knife and shortsword master with a checkered past. He's their leader.
  • Hyacinth “The Mime” Bodrey, a specialist with mime magic. Wife of the Torture Master.
  • Timothy “The Torture Master” Bodrey, an expert at information extraction. Husband of the Mime.

Their scheme works as follows:

  • Spagnolia goes out to find “recruits.”
  • He hypnotizes them into thinking they're mercenaries that are very loyal and well paid.
  • Brent trains them to fight using gear supplied by their employer.
  • Spagnolia takes them out to help capture other locals and go tavern hopping (keeps them happy).
  • He also brainwashes them daily, so they continue to think they're well-paid mercenaries. When he gets a critical success, they stay brainwashed and are ready to be permanently handed off to their employer.
  • The difficult ones spend some time “talking” with the Torture Master. They're never much trouble after that, as he uses a combination of bardic-style story-telling and his own brainwashing techniques to keep them in line.
  • Eventually, when they get a group of 50 or more, they'll begin running missions for their employer.

Incidentally, this was mostly Spagnolia's idea.

Gerach and the Mime serve in a defensive and/or support capacity. If attacked, these two will use their magic to defend the cave. If the group is out on a military operation, then they use their magic to assist.

Gerach is the group's healer, but the others are slightly afraid of him and will often ask the Torture Master to patch them up, unless they need to be healed quickly.

The Mime is the one that guards the outer reaches of their cave, along with a score of “recruits.”

The Torture Master is pretty useless in combat, so the others protect his “office” as best they can. He's the one that devised all the traps in the cave and serves as the group's doctor, patching up any injuries that he can when Gerach runs out of energy.

Adventure Synopsis

  • The PCs are hired by the Sheriff of the village of Shadowgate on Shadow Reef to investigate the disappearance of several villagers. At first, they vanished one and two at a time.
  • They're directed to the local tavern to investigate further; an entire room full of patrons vanished the night before. The owner doesn't remember anything and is very bewildered.
  • The PCs follow the leads, possibly following tracks from the tavern into the mountains.
  • They encounter the mercenaries then and return to the tavern to pay for the damages, now believing that they're the ones that did it.
  • They probably notice huge inconsistencies in their own stories, or have them pointed out by the locals (they weren't around to trash the tavern when it happened).
  • They head back into the mountains to the last place they remember being when everything went strange on them.
  • They find a cave where all the tracks lead to.
  • They encounter the Mime, who likely captures them using a collapsing tunnel and one of her spells.
  • She hands them over to her husband for interrogation.
  • The PCs escape from (or hire) the Torture Master and defeat the mercenaries.
  • For most of the “recruits” the effects of Spagnolia's brainwashing wear off after at most a few weeks. For two or three, it's permanent and they start careers as mercenaries.
  • The mercenaries are “persuaded” into telling the PCs who hired them.
  • The prisoners are shipped off to jail (Isle of Sandwich), with the help of the Sheriff.
  • The PCs get a free ride back to where they started from by helping the Courier crew to guard the prisoners.

Major Variations

  • If the PCs aren't hired by the Sheriff, a rival group of adventurers can be introduced who will follow all the obvious leads, but none of the subtle ones. Adventuring Party might be perfect, as they'll bumble their way through things and screw up everything, requiring the PCs to pick up the pieces.
  • Alternatively, this second group might get snared by Spagnolia and used against the PCs. This would involve a fight with some friends (or friendly rivals).
  • The PCs are delayed by bad weather, such as an unseasonable hurricane, and Shadowgate has almost become a ghost town.
    • Most of the town was brainwashed by Spagnolia.
    • The first few groups have already been handed over to their employer.
    • The city has been taken over by goblins and orcs.
      • They've trashed quite a bit of the town.
      • Goblins party all night long and Orcs patrol during the day.
    • The few remaining townies (including Delmar Butterworth, the saloon owner) have been hiding in the Saloon.
      • The owner of the Shadowgate Hotel (Matthew “Skullcrusher” Mansbridge) is protecting everyone.
      • Delmar has taken to serving drinks to the Orcs, who aren't stupid enough to screw with Matthew.
        • He crushed a few of their skulls for doing so.
        • Now they refuse to cause trouble inside the Saloon.
      • Any lone townie that leaves the Saloon is quickly assaulted.
        • When they have to leave, they travel in groups of three or more.
    • The Modrons are still around (immune to mind control), but when the sheriff and other law-enforcement folks went missing, they officially considered the town abandoned and withdrew to Port Long Shadow.
      • They're waiting for a ship to take them back to the Modron Cube.
      • With a sufficiently logical argument, the Modrons could be convinced to assist the PCs in getting them out.

Starting the Adventure

One or more of the following hooks might be useful:

  • The League of Adventurers has been requested to investigate the disappearances of multiple villagers in Shadowgate. The village is valuable to the League, because it's a common jumping-off point for missions to the islands south of Shadow Reef. Solving this mystery is therefore a high priority. The Sheriff, who made the request, specifically asked for a group with Law Keepers in it, but is willing to accept any help.
    • This will not be apparent, but the request for a group of adventurers was passed along through the King of Theris. He has a financial stake in Shadowgate and therefore wishes to see the village thrive.
  • Gierria Morninglory of the Magnificent Five has received word that her mother, the proprietor of Anna's Graceful Goodies in Shadowgate, has disappeared along with many other villagers. Shadowgate is Gierria's home town and she wants help to find her mother. The rest of her group are busy on an important mission of their own, but were able to do without her for the time being, this being a family emergency, after all. An interesting note is that Gierria heard about her mother's disappearance before it actually happened! She learned of this through the Blessed Advantage. If the PCs go with her, they'll begin their journey just hours before her mother went missing! Gierria is offering $2000 to find her mother. It isn't much, but it's all she's got right now.
  • Any PC member of the Shadowed Eyes might be contacted by the guild to investigate the disappearance of another member who lives in Shadowgate. This would be Angel McCade of The Second-Hand Angel. If desired, this can involve a personal visit from Guild Master Rayna, as Angel is her sister.

Getting There

Passage to Shadow Reef will be paid for by one of the interested parties listed above. The ship may have any name desired. If you like, you can turn the Surly Sailor (from previous adventures), into a running gag.

Read this as they arrive:

As you approach the island of Shadow Reef, you notice that the ship's navigator and helmsman are working together quite closely. The helmsman seems to be making very careful turns as the navigator keeps an eye on a pocket watch and map.

As you watch, one of the sailors near you remarks, “There's dangerous reefs all around this island. We've done this trip a hundred times before, but it always gets those two bent out of shape.”

As you get even closer to the island, the air grows pleasantly warm. Within minutes, this becomes rather unpleasant and then barely tolerable as the ship docks at Port Long Shadow.

As you disembark, you're greeted by a sudden gust of wind carrying dust from the sand dunes outside town into your eyes. You begin sweating heavily as you clear your eyes.

If Gierria is with the party, it should be noted that she isn't sweating, as this is her home island and she's used to the heat.

Once they look around a bit, read this:

You quickly discover that this small port city is little more than warehouses for shipping and receiving. There's a small gift shop near the docks and residences mixed in, but that's about it.

As you begin wondering how to get to Shadowgate from here, you notice a sign posted near a pair of coaches that reads as follows, “Visitors are encouraged to take one of the many available coaches to Shadowgate, where more services are available.”

The ride to Shadowgate costs $5 a head for everyone except Gierria. Being a local, she isn't charged. If the PCs are the group that was sent for, then they won't be charged either, as the Sheriff is expecting them.

Walking is discouraged, as there are lots of wild goblins, orcs and ogres in the area who would love to take out some visitors.

Investigation in Shadowgate

The ride may be described as follows:

The ride is bumpy and the cushions you're sitting on are well worn, so the trip is uncomfortable to say the least. Fortunately, it's only ten minutes long.

The man running the coach bellows, “Shadowgate ahead!” as he begins leading the horses through what appears to be a mixture of barbed-wire fencing, carefully dug pits, traps and finally a stone wall with guard towers at regular intervals.

At least you know you'll be relatively safe inside the village walls.

The coach driver drops you off in the center of town, a dusty street with lots of store fronts.

As you exit the coach, you see a middle-aged man in a long leather coat and wide-brimmed hat fighting a much younger man. Both are wielding rapiers. The first is obviously more skilled. After a brief interplay of attack and parry, the older man disarms his opponent, sending the sword spinning into the air! He immediately puts the tip of his sword to the young man's neck and demands, “Do you yield or do I have to kill you?”

The young fellow looks down at the dirt and mutters, “I yield.”

The older man produces a set of shackles from somewhere inside his coat and binds the young man's hands behind his back.

Finally noticing your presence, the man in the coat nods and says, “Be with you in a moment.”

He drags his prisoner inside a building clearly marked, “Sheriff's Office.” and returns a few minutes later.

He holds out his hand and says, “Name's Brant Dalton. I'm the Sheriff 'round these parts. Are you folk the adventurers I sent for?”

If the PCs say yes or ask why he needed adventurers, read the following boxed text. If they say no, he'll ignore them and take a seat on a chair just outside his office. If they lie to him and he discovers this, he'll jail them for a day. If they're not the goup sent for, but offer to help he'll treat them just the same as the group he sent for.

“We've got a bit of a problem here. People are vanishing in the night. It's been happening for at least five months. I've investigated as much as I can, but there's never any sign of trouble.

“At first it was just a few folks that live in town. Then a few shop owners. The armorer, the candy shop owner, the dress shop owner, the second-hand shop owner and even the couple that run the general store are all missing.

“Last night everyone in the tavern disappeared, except the owner. He doesn't remember a thing. I'd suspect him, except for the fact that the entire place was trashed and his ogre bouncer is gone. We found him with a nasty crack on the back of his head and the whole place was busted up like someone had a party that got out of hand.

“I've found tracks leading outside town to the east, but I don't dare leave to follow them; I've got to protect everyone here, at least as much as I can. I tried asking the Modrons to investigate, since they like law and order even more than I do, but they refused. They said they have duties to attend to here. I'd deputize someone, but those few with the right skills that are still around all have important things to do here.

“I'm offering a fair sized reward to find the missing folk and bring them back.”

The Sheriff is offering $20,000 on behalf of the village to investigate and bring the missing villagers back. If asked where they should begin, he'll suggest a visit to the tavern, followed by a visit to each of the closed shops; he'll go with them and point out a few clues along the way. Gierria will wish to speak with her brother first.

Once they investigate the various clues in town, the Sheriff will lead them to the edge of town and point out the various trails for them. He'll do the same for anyone that comes along, offering to help. In this manner you can set a rival group of adventurers on the trail either before or after the PCs head out.

The Sheriff will go with the PCs to serve as a tracker and an extra fighter if they can find him a deputy.


The Charming Sorceress's Saloon isn't quite so charming anymore. There are bits of broken chair and table everywhere, along with glass fragments from mugs and a shattered mirror behind the bar. Playing cards are scattered all over the floor as well. The only thing that seems untouched in the whole place is a bowl of salted nuts with a sign that reads, “Free! Have some!”

[The Sheriff nods at the damage, “The tavern once looked this way after a wild party involving a group of very successful adventurers celebrating their success.”]

The owner introduces himself as he surveys the damage, “I'm Delmar Butterworth. This is my saloon, or at least what's left of it. I'd clean up, but the Sheriff said this is a crime scene and I shouldn't disturb it.”

He rubs the back of his head and adds, “I don't remember last night at all. The last thing I remember is having a slow night, due to lots of my regulars being missing.

“If there was a party here last night, they skipped out without paying their tab, but there's definitely enough of my stock missing to account for a party.”

If Delmar can get a chance to talk to the PCs without the Sheriff present and they look like the type who don't mind extra-legal activities, he'll ask them to search for “his girls.” They were hired for a party, but they never returned. When he checked out the local residence that was hosting the party, he found the place empty. He hasn't seen any of them since. He's actually referring to his illegal (by local law) prostitution business. All twenty of his “employees” have been missing for 2 months.

If the PCs agree and return “the girls” to him, he'll give them $5,000. They were kidnapped by Spagnolia using his hypnotism trick, to bolster the troops.

If the Sheriff gets wind of this, Delmar will be arrested on short order. However, the Sheriff will require proof.

Delmar will also offer the PCs $2,000 if they find and return Squisher, his bouncer. He'll make this offer to any group.

Candy Shop

The Sheriff or Gierria will unlock the door: If neither is present, read only the first line.

Anna's Graceful Goodies seems like just the place to get a treat. Unfortunately, it's closed.

Inside, you find a variety of candy and at one end of the counter a bowl of salted nuts with a sign that reads, “Free! Enjoy!”

Nothing seems disturbed or out of place at first glance.

Gierria will suggest finding her mother's journal. This can be found in one of the back rooms, tucked under a pillow on a bed.

She'll also pass on some information she got from her brother:

“The last time my brother saw our mother, she was making an extra large large batch of peppermint hard candy; it's quite popular with the children here. The odd thing is, a batch that large would take half a year to sell; there just aren't enough kids around here to buy that much.

“My brother might know more if you want to ask him directly; he's the local doctor.”

The journal will indicate that Anna was trying to make friends with a goblin tribe that she's seen watching the village from outside the west wall.

Anna has been missing for a few days.

Armor Shop

Irontear's Armor is a large, converted stables with all the equipment for making armor. The doorway stands open, with no door to speak of. The walls of the front area reach up to about four feet and the roof hangs low to cover the rest. This seems to be sufficient to keep wind and dust out. You see a smallish shack that forms the back wall.

Lying about on work benches are an assortment of tools and partially finished works of chain-mail armor.

[The Sheriff nods at the tools and armor lying about, “When Irontear closes the shop he usually puts everything important in his shack. He must have left in a hurry. I'd have put everything away for him, but I thought this might be a crime scene.”

He offhandedly remarks while looking at a chain mail shirt hanging up, “Elves always make the best chain mail.”]

The owner of the shop isn't around and his shack is unlocked. There is no sign of struggle. The Sheriff has been keeping an eye on the place so no one will rob it. The owner has been missing for 4 months.

Dress Shop

Cristy's Women's Wear is closed and locked. Through the window you can see many wooden mannequins wearing dresses that range from the elegant to the functional.

The sheriff will unlock the door if he's present:

From the inside, you can see that Cristy has a small selection of men's clothing at the back of the store, near the counter. At the end of the counter you see a small bowl of salted nuts with a sign that reads, “Free snack for customers!”

Behind the counter you see several display cases containing what looks like high-quality silk armor. One of them is empty and standing open, the key still in the lock. The key has a silver chain threaded through it's end. It looks long enough to be worn like a necklace.

[The Sheriff remarks, “That's the oddest part. Cristy would never leave that key behind, no matter what happened. You see, it unlocks these display cases with the spider silk armor she makes for adventurers. They're her most expensive items: she wears that key around her neck and never takes it off, except to open the cases.”]

The cases are magically as strong as heavy vault-style doors (DR 24, HP 46 on both the glass and hinges) and the locks are of such high quality as to impose a -10 penalty to lock picking! The cases themselves are bolted into the walls and floor with equally heavy supports.

Anyone with breaking and entering experience will notice these facts immediately.

The owner has been missing for 3 months.

General Store

If the Sheriff isn't with the PCs, only read the first paragraph:

This shop obviously has all the usual supplies you might need for an adventuring expedition, including a few items you might be surprised to find in a general store. Unfortunately, it's closed.

As you enter, you see a fine selection of ropes of various sizes to your right. Hanging on the wall above that is a grappling hook.

At the end of the store counter you see a bowl of salted nuts with a small sign, “Free sample!” Underneath this is a display of small sacks full of them.

Again, no signs of struggle or the like. If the PCs investigate they'll find a shipping/receiving log book that indicates a couple of special orders for customers are due to arrive in the next few days; obviously, the owners weren't planning to leave anytime soon.

The owners have been missing for 1 month.

Second-hand Store/Pawn Shop

Unless the Sheriff is with the PCs, read just the first paragraph.

The Second-Hand Angel is closed, but through the window you can see multiple display cases with a variety of items, both mundane and unusual. Toward the back you can see a multitude of antique furniture.

As you enter, your eyes are drawn to a bowl of nuts on the counter with a sign that reads, “Free salted nuts!”

Now that you're closer, you can see that the items in the cases are mostly junk, but there is some eye-catching gold jewelry available.

High on a shelf behind the counter, you see a doll house. It's very high quality and marked with a sign that reads, “Not for sale!”

Any member of the Shadowed Eyes (or someone that knows their methods) will notice a mark on the door frame that indicates this shop is run by one of their fences. Anyone else gets a Perception-based Streetwise-6 roll to notice it and know what it means. To anyone else, it just appears to be a natural whorl in the wood.

If the PCs hang around for more than a few minutes, read this:

As you're looking around, you see a pixie become visible as it lands on one of the display cases.

He timidly speaks, “Um. Uh. You look like adventurers. Could you, um, maybe help us?”

The pixies are shy, but they're worried about Angel, the owner of the shop. She geared up and left two days before to look for the missing villagers herself. This information (and the pixie) will come as quite a surprise to the Sheriff. As long as he's around, however, the pixie will be vague and evasive. He'll keep staring at the Sheriff uncomfortably until he leaves the shop.

Once the Sheriff is gone, the pixie will be much more open about things: Guild Master Rayna herself showed up and asked Angel to investigate the disappearances, as she is concerned that the current situation may impact some of her future plans. Angel geared up immediately and did some investigation of her own. After that, she followed some tracks into the desert. She hasn't been seen since and the pixies didn't follow her.

If the PCs break in, do anything hostile or try to do anything to the doll house behind the counter, they'll be immediately attacked by the four pixies that live inside the doll house. They're armed with pixie-sized bows and arrows laced Pixie Sleep Poison. The pixies will aim for un-armored portions of their targets, as they can't do much damage, but they can get their poisons through. At the same time, the pixies will try to make a huge ruckus, to attract the Sheriff's attention to the would-be burglars.

Beggar Pete

He'll not volunteer this, but there was a pan-handler outside the tavern last night. Aside from that, he's also seen a few other odd things in town. He doesn't volunteer anything, but will answer questions if given $100 or a good reason to talk.

Anyone investigating and asking around for witnesses will be directed to find him, as he may have been around during any of the disappearances. The Sheriff won't suggest this, as he doesn't trust anything Pete say; Pete owns a house in town, but pretends to be destitute as the means of earning money. He has a license to do this, so the Sheriff can't arrest him.

Pete will say this in relation to the tavern:

“I recall a large group, say ten or fifteen people. They came sometime around half past midnight, just about closing time. I think Delmar stayed open late to milk some coin out of them.

“I didn't get a good look at any of them in the dark, but they got loud and trashed the place. Squisher, the bouncer, tried to stop them.

“Right at that point everything suddenly got real quiet. I heard Delmar yelp in pain and then something hit the floor. I guess that was him.

“I decided to get going while the getting was good: if they can quietly stop a brawny ogre like Squisher, I don't want want anything to do with them.”

If asked about the candy shop, he'll offer this:

I saw Anna leave the village and head west, alone. She was carrying a bag that looked pretty heavy.

If asked about the dress shop or it's owner, he'll say this:

I saw Cristy run into her shop in a big hurry. It was the middle of the night. After rummaging around under the counter in a hurry, she unlocked the case and put on the armor. Then she left carrying a sword she presumably found under the counter. She left the door standing wide open, which the Sheriff closed in the morning when he found the shop abandoned.

I think she headed east.


The following rumors might be overheard anywhere around town, as well as any related to current campaign events:

  • ”…hypnotist was great, wasn't he?” “From six months back, right? I can't believe the way he had you quacking like a duck!” This comes from a pair of men that saw Spagnolia perform on the street for traveling money, before the mercenaries were hired by their current employer. They can describe the whole group to the PCs, including “that cute girl that didn't say much…” and “that short fellow with the hood that hid his face.”
  • “Say, have you seen that group of goblins that hangs around the dunes to the west lately?” “No.” “Hrm. They must have moved on.”
  • “Most of the shops are closed.” “Where have the owners gone?” “I wish the Sheriff would do something about it.”
  • “Heh. Lindwick wound up in jail again.” “I heard the Judge really threw the book at him this time.” “The silly Gnome even insisted he didn't do it; like the Judge would ever believe that…” If asked, these two will tell the PCs about the Gnome and his pranking nature. If asked specifically what he did, they'll say, “Oh, he set a bucket of water on top of the Sheriff's door. He came out in the morning and got drenched.”

Finding Anna

This section details the perils and difficulties in searching for Anna Morninglory. It isn't related to the main story and is mostly here to serve as a red-herring. If Gierria is with the party, this will be very important to her, but she'll consider it important to find her missing friends and neighbors, as well.

There are clues in town that will lead the PCs to her:

  • Anna was making a huge batch of candy. Too big to sell. -Gierria and Doc Jerris
  • There was a group of goblins watching the village from the west. -Anna's Journal and the Rumormill
  • Anna wanted to make friends with the goblin tribe. -Anna's Journal
  • She was asking questions about goblins the day before she vanished. -Owner of the Shadowgate Hotel
  • Anna left town heading west, carrying a heavy bag. -Beggar Pete

Finding the Trail

The clues listed above should lead the PCs to check out the dunes to the west of Shadowgate. There, a Tracking roll (+6 for the large size of the group, as there were about a dozen goblins, -2 for the terrain and -5 for the age of the trail; if the PCs wait too long, that last penalty can become -10), allows picking up the trail of the goblins that kidnapped her. Anna's footprints are definitely among the goblin tracks, as she was the only one wearing shoes.

If the PCs haven't found the clues in town, they can try to follow her trail from the candy shop. This would be +3 for following a human, -5 or -10 for the age of the trail, and -6 for the number of confusing trails in town. Eventually, her trail will lead them to the trail of the goblins on the west dune.

If the PCs don't have anyone with the Tracking skill, they can default or convince the Sheriff to come with them by finding him a deputy (the owner of the Shadowgate Hotel is willing, but the Sheriff never asked him).

The Oasis

Folllowing the trail will take about an hour (require tracking rolls along the way every fifteen minutes), during which the PCs might be attacked by orcs or goblins with primitive weapons made from scrub-brush wood and the like.

As you reach the top of a dune, you see a small oasis up ahead. There are small tents made from animal skins all around it. Among the tents you see at least a dozen Goblins, standing guard. There are surely more inside the tents. Even from this distance, you can see that the Goblins are sucking on peppermint sticks. The guards are armed with spears that have very shiny, metal heads.

The tracks you've been following definitely lead toward the oasis.

There are fifteen males, one chief and twenty females. Each female is taking care of two or three children. The females and children will run away if attacked.

If Gierria is present, she will urge the PCs to try a peaceful approach.

If the PCs approach without making any kind of threatening movements, the Goblins will hold their ground and point nickel-headed spears at them. They will not attack, but will shout toward the largest tent. Within a moment or two, their chief will appear. He speaks Common at the broken level. Read this if they allow him to speak:

Moments after the guards point their spears at you, a somewhat taller and fatter one comes out of a tent. He's wearing some kind of headdress made of feathers and leather.

He passes by the guards and faces you without fear, pointing directly at your face, “You! Go! This our water! You no take! You take, you die!”

The chief is well aware that adventurers took the oasis at the center of Shadowgate from a goblin tribe. He thinks the PCs are here to take it by force.

If they mention Anna's name (presumably while talking about why they're here), read this:

As you say her name, a middle-aged woman pokes her head out of the same tent the goblin that's been speaking with you came from.

The goblin, finally grasping what you've been saying, immediately responds, “You no take candy slave! We keep!”

As it turns out, they love her candy and they want more. The chief has been trying to force her at spear-point to make more. Unfortunately, she doesn't have the ingredients she needs. She needs refined sugar at the very least to make some simple rock candy.

Anna wants to teach the Goblins to make candy themselves. She wants to make peace, so there won't be as much trouble with the various Goblin tribes trying to attack people as they travel outside the village.

If the PCs attack the Goblins, Anna will get in the middle and try to stop the fighting. Bloodshed is the last thing she wants. The Goblins will not hurt her, because they don't have what they want yet.

It's possible for the PCs to rescue Anna by bringing the Goblins sugar, so she can teach them how to make rock candy. Once they can make it themselves, they'll let the PCs take her away. Within a week, the tribe will strike up a trade agreement with the village. This will result in a sales boom for Anna's shop, as she'll begin supplying them with sugar and candy and they'll sell nickel ore in the village (the Goblins have a nickel mine near their oasis).

Finding the Villagers

This is the main story arc, despite whatever quest originally brought the PCs here.

The kidnapped villagers have been brainwashed to think they're well-paid mercenaries. They will fight along side the real mercenaries. They'll even use deadly force, but if they actually kill anyone that doesn't look like a monster, make a fright check for them at -10. The next time it happens roll at -5. The third time is at no penalty and after that they won't have to make fright checks. The exceptions to this will be noted. For most of them, seeing non-monster dead bodies and/or killing people is simply beyond their experience.

Any local (except Gierria, since she's blind) can pick out the brainwashed townies by sight. If the Sheriff is with them, he'll insist that they not be harmed, as something strange must be going on. If Gierria hears one of them speak, she'll say their name and ask, “Is that you?” They will say yes, but will also obey the mercenaries, who will immediately tell them to be quiet if they're around.

If the PCs kill any of the villagers, the Sheriff will not pay them and he'll seriously consider arresting them for murder. If he's been given any reason to react badly to them up to this point, he will.

Following the Trail

This is fairly easy to start with, as the Sheriff can lead them right to the start of the trail. Treat this as a free successful Tracking roll. For further rolls, apply the following modifiers: +6 for the large size of the group, as there were many people in the group the night before and -2 for the terrain. If the PCs wait too long, add the -5 penalty for the trail being a day old.

The trail is long. It will take three hours to follow to the first planned encounter and requires a Tracking Roll every fifteen minutes. During this time, the PCs might be attacked by wandering orcs or goblins.

Foothills (Normal)

Roll dice a whole lot behind your GM's screen and smile. The results don't matter, but you're supposed to make it look like they do. If you don't like fudging, then make the rolls and proceed as per the modified version, below, should someone resists.

Then read this if the whole party is controlled:

Just as you reach the foothills of some mountainous plateaus, you realize that you've forgotten something. You remember clearly now that you're the ones that trashed the tavern the other night.

You're overcome with a sense of guilt; you've got to go back to Shadowgate and pay for the damages!

The players should be informed that they've forgotten all about the missing villagers, as well. They should be asked to role-play this!

They just encountered Spagnolia. At first he thought about brainwashing them to use as more troops, but since they're adventurers, he's suspecting that things are about to go south for him and his group. Instead, he sends them off to pay for the tavern damages, as he thinks it might be difficult to keep them under his control. This will give the mercenaries time to prepare their defenses and get ready to leave, while the PCs are busy confessing to a crime they didn't commit.


Following their brain-washing, the PCs will go confess to trashing the tavern. Delmar will believe them, as he was given a post-hypnotic suggestion to believe anyone that confesses to the crime. He'll immediately put them to work cleaning the place up. After two or three hours, read this:

As you're finishing up cleaning the tavern, the Sheriff walks in to talk with Delmar. After a few words, he stalls mid-sentence.

Turning to you, he demands, “What are you doing here? Why are you cleaning up? Shouldn't you be out looking for the missing folk?”

The Sheriff will provide them with lots of evidence that they aren't the ones that trashed the tavern (the PCs were on a boat at the time) and he'll show them all the evidence related to the missing villagers all over again. When he does this, point out to the players that they do remember being on a boat at that time, but they also remember trashing the tavern, too. This should get them all fired up to get back up in the foothills again, perhaps this time more carefully.

Foothills (Modified)

If there's any characters in the party that are immune to mind control (this shouldn't be likely without including golems, undead, or the like in the party), this will play out differently. Make real contests of Will vs. Spagnolia's Mind Control. Anyone that he controls will be ordered to defend him.

The uncontrolled PCs will have to fight their friends, ten brainwashed townies (the reserve group), Spagnolia and Michel Brent. Spagnolia will shout, “Defend me!” at the controlled PCs. If the battle goes badly for the mercenaries, they'll flee to their cave, leaving the townies to hold off the PCs. The cave isn't very far away. Once inside, play out this scenario as if an alert has been sounded (Brent and Spagnolia warned everyone). Make sure you note the fact that the reserve group was left behind, unless they're able to regroup with the others somehow.

Angel's Predicament

Two more Tracking rolls are required to follow the trail to this point.

As you're making your way along a trail that leads higher into the foothills, you hear a low moan of pain off to the left.

Angel was making her way along the trail, hiding in the scrub brush as she followed the trail. She encountered a large sink hole and fell in. She's got three broken ribs (lasting incapacitating effect of a survived mortal wound) and a broken left leg (crippled). She survived the past few days because she had food and water in her pack, which was fortunately within reach. She isn't in any immediate danger, but she's in no condition to climb out on her own.

Angel wants out of the hole, but she doesn't want anyone getting hurt rescuing her. She calls out if she hears anyone nearby, but she also occasionally moans from the pain.

If the PCs call out or do anything of the like, she'll yell, “Be careful! Don't fall in this cursed hole!” She'll then keep calling out until they find the hole.

If they investigate quietly, they'll need to make dodge rolls to avoid falling in as the edges collapse under them. The hole isn't visible, since it's surrounded by brush. Allow perception-based skill rolls to notice the signs of a sink hole for anyone with appropriate skills.

If they can get Angel out and heal her injuries (25 HP of damage + crippled limb + mortal wound to the torso), she'll volunteer to help them rescue the villagers. Unfortunately, she doesn't know anything they don't. If they can't heal her on the spot, they'll need a stretcher or the like to get her back to Shadowgate without making her injuries worse.

The Cave

One more Tracking roll is required to follow the trail to it's conclusion:

The trail ends at a small natural cave entrance, just wide enough to let you in one at a time. Further in you can see stalagmites and stalactites. There is a dim, flickering light coming from somewhere inside.

For further detail on the cave layout past the entrance, consult the section titled Mercenary Cave under Locations, below.

Mercenary Tactics

Depending on the time of day and how much time has passed since Spagnolia encountered the PCs, the mercenaries may employ wildly varying tactics. Each location will have multiple sub-headings: Day, Night and Alert.

If they somehow defeated Spagnolia at their first encounter, without tipping off those inside the cave, then Spagnolia, Brent and ten of the brainwashed townies will be missing (this will be the reserve group). The mercenaries will be very low-key, as they believe everything is going swimmingly. Spagnolia's groups wasn't due back for a full day. After that, everyone will be on edge.

If Spagnolia got the better of the PCs in that first encounter, then the reserve group will be busy moving gear into the Escape Tunnel.

The basic plan is to use the brainwashed townies to slow the PCs down while they escape. They consider the fact that the PCs found their secret hideout to be an unnacceptable risk and will end the job, leaving through the escape tunnel as quick as they can.

If the PCs stop them from escaping, then they'll stand and fight. Michel Brent will first challenge the toughest-looking PC to a fight to the death for the sake of his friends, “If I win, you let us go. If you win, my companions will surrender.” The others will not honor this. Remember to follow what his character sheet says if he loses.

After this, the others will fight until it looks like they're going to lose. Then they'll surrender.

Captured PCs

If any of the PCs are captured, they'll end up in The Torture Master's “Office.” He'll proceed to torture them for the fun of it during the day and then chat with them socially during his off hours, as he usually does with prisoners. Brent, if he's still around, will want to know why the PCs came, who sent them, etc. Tim doesn't really care. He's a sadist and simply enjoys causing others pain. But he's very friendly as he does it. For more information, more detailed notes are available under the section for his “Office.”

Concluding the Adventure

Once the mercenaries are brought to justice (the Sheriff will want to arrest them) and the brainwashed townies captured (they won't go with the PCs willingly), the PCs will have to somehow break their brainwashing (Gierria can help with this somewhat) or simply wait until it fades naturally. For most of them, this will take no more than a few weeks. For somee (noted in the locations where the characters are introduced), the brainwashing is permanent; Spagnolia got some critical successes.

For those permanently brainwashed, they'll begin new careers as mercenaries. If the PCs have been kind to them, they might just join the League of Adventurers, instead. The PCs may sponsor them, or hand them off to their own sponsor (if they're league adventurers, this is).

If desired, the PCs may interrogate the prisoners. Successful interrogation will result in clues about who hired them (the local land baron with the private fortress). This information would be helpful to the Sheriff, who will begin organizing a posse to assault the fortress and take him down. However, this is beyond the scope of this adventure. If the PCs are on good terms with the Sheriff, he may hire them to help, when the time comes (and when I've written that adventure).

The Sheriff will give the PCs the promised reward ($20,000) and a hardy slap on the back. If the Mercenaries got away, then the Sheriff will leave out the slap on the back.

Then the judge and local lawyers will get down to the business of trials for the surviving mercenaries. After this is complete (they're totally, obviously, freaking guilty), they'll be shipped off to the Isle of Sandwich, if the prisoner rebellion and the Followers of Sandwich haven't become public knowledge yet. The PCs can get free passage to any island along the way if they help the Couriers guard the prisoners.

The mercenaries from this adventure can easily be used again in the adventure, Prison Break!, if they end up on the Isle of Sandwich. If this is the case, they'll have an axe to grind with the PCs. The only exception to this is the Mime, who'll simply take it all in stride. She will, however, help the others in trying to escape, as they're her friends. The only exception to this is if the PCs hurt her children in any way. If they did, she'll want vengence.

Delmar will give the PCs $2,000 if they brought back Squisher. If they agreed to bring back “the girls” and they did, he'll give them another $5,000.



Aside from the closed shops mentioned earlier, there are a few businesses that are still open. These are listed in more detail on the GM's page for Shadow Reef. Here you'll find note that pertain specifically to this adventure.

It should be noted that every business in town has a bowl of free salted nuts available somewhere they'll be easily seen. This is intended to drum up sales of drinks. The tavern owner cut a deal with everyone for this; they provide free salted nuts, direct customers to his tavern and he shares 5% of the profits with them. So far it's worked out beautifully for all parties involved.


The clinic is run by Jerris Morninglory, Gierria's brother. If the PCs ask him about their mother's disappearance, read this:

“The last time I saw my mother she was making an extra-large batch of peppermint candy. I asked her why she was making a batch so large she couldn't possibly sell it all and she just winked and said she wasn't planning to.

The next morning when I showed up for breakfast, she was no where to be found and her shop was locked-up tight.”

Shadowgate Hotel

The owner of this hotel wants to help out somehow (“Help fight the good fight.”), but he's got to stay in town to attend to his hotel. If the PCs tell him that the Sheriff was looking for someone to deputize, he'll volunteer. This will allow the Sheriff to go with the PCs as they search for the villagers.

If asked about Anna's disappearance, he'll say this:

“Huh. The day before she vanished, she asked me all kinds of questions about goblins. I just thought she wanted to know more so she'd be able to protect herself or something. You think it has something to do with her vanishing?”

Magic Shop

The middle of this adventure is an excellent point to insert the first encounter of the adventure The Syndicate Wants You, Dead, since it begins in Shadowgate. The PCs can just happen by as the Syndicate Enforcer breaks Baiden's fingers.

Weapon Shop

The shop is closed, but it's quite obvious that someone is working at a furious pace inside. If anyone hollers or otherwise gets his attention, the owner will come out and inform them that he'd be happy to help them, in two weeks. He's got far too much work to do, as his assistant is currently in jail for some kind of prank. If the PCs can get his assistant out of jail, he'll be very grateful and will offer to forge fine quality weapons for them.

Lindwick Hodgezig, the weapon smith's Gnomish assistant, was recently blamed for a prank the the pixies from the second-hand store played on the Sheriff. They perched a bucket of water above the Sheriff's door. The Sheriff, having become entirely fed-up with pranks, grabbed the Gnome and the Judge jailed him for a full week, hoping he'd finally get the picture. Lindwick insisted the whole time that he's innocent this time, but all evidence points to him anyway (the pixies made sure of this). Anyone that asks the pixies about it will get a load of belly-laughing followed by a, “We don't know what you're talking about.” If the PCs tell the Sheriff about this, he'll release Lindwick and then start trying to arrest the pixies. This will result in him becoming their favorite scape goat for pranks until Angel returns and talks them into turning themselves in, for which they'll get a stern talking-to and a day in a bird-cage on the Sheriff's desk.

The weapon smith is working on a big order for a private citizen that lives in a small, walled fortress about five miles away. He won't talk about the details, but this is the same land baron that hired the mercenaries.

He's making weapons for the new troops the mercenaries are rounding up. He does not know this.

Street Encounters

An option for a concurrently-run adventure is Foresight. In this case, the psychic will bump into the PCs in Shadowgate. She'll be a local villager that's been avoided by the mercenaries thus far. Spagnolia has heard of her and intentionally avoided her, because he knows she's nothing but trouble, due to her nightmare visions of the future.

Mercenary Cave

Anyone entering this cave gets a Per-6 roll to notice a small box tucked away in the shadows overhead. There is a well-concealed rope leading to it. Yanking the rope in any way (as the guard in the next section will likely do) will set off the Goblin-made bomb for 3d damage. This will collapse the entrance tunnel. Anyone in the tunnel at the time will be buried and crushed by a mountain of rock (10d damage).

Here is a complete table of all the brainwashed townies and important information about them:

Brainwashed Townie(s) Location Who Are They Duties, Notes
Reserve Supply Room,
The Spider's Lair,
Escape Tunnel,
10 missing tavern patrons
Missing 1 day
Construction, reinforcements, heavy lifters, being trained, etc.
Defense Group A Entry Hall, Barracks 20 former prostitutes
Delmar's “employees”
Missing 2 months
Attacking intruders
5 are permanently brainwashed
Defense Group B Entry Hall, Barracks 10 men from Shadowgate
Missing 5 months
Attacking intruders
Half are permanently brainwashed
Cristy Medeiras and her Giant Spider, “Betsy” The Spider's Lair Owner of the dress shop
Missing 3 months
Last line of defense for escape
Spider silk armor weaving
Nasael Irontear The Forge Owner of the armor shop
Missing 4 months
Armor smith
Permanently brainwashed
Rudolf and Alta Heiermann Supply Room Owners of the general store
Missing 1 month
Squisher Main Hall,
Mess Hall,
Private Quarters
Ogre bouncer from the tavern
Missing 1 day
Attacking Intruders (not killing them)

Cristy Medeiras and Squisher are written up as they would be encountered in town. Just add the same delusion that the brainwashed townies have.

Those characters with no character sheet will not attack the PCs. The Heiermanns are ordinary humans with a few skills related to running a shop and organizing supplies.

On a side note, this cave was suggested to the Mercenaries by Cristy, just after they captured her. This is where she's been keeping her spider for the past five years.

Entry Hall

The tunnel widens ahead into a very large cavern as it turns a corner. There is another small tunnel at the other end.

The room is lit by torches.

[You hear an explosion and the tunnel collapses behind you.]

If the PCs are both invisible and quiet (successful contests of stealth vs. the guard's hearing), do not read the bracketed text. If the PCs make any noise at all, the guard will set off the bomb, sealing the entrance.

The room is 30 yards by 30 yards.

In any of the below cases, the mercenaries have been expecting trouble for quite some time. They've been watching Shadowgate surreptitiously and determined before the PCs even arrived that the Sheriff is getting close to figuring out what's going on. Thus, the PCs will not be able to catch the mercenaries off-guard without a very creative plan (total surprise isn't likely). However, the PCs being partially surprised or even totally surprised is quite likely (see p. B393). The bracketed text below assumes the PCs have been caught somewhat unaware, for one reason or another.

If an initiative roll is required, note that the Mime should get a +2 for behaving in such a friendly manner toward her enemies, even though she has every intention of fighting. This is in addition to other modifiers.

The tunnel at the back leads to the Main Hall.

Standing in the middle of the room, you see an attractive young woman with white make-up covering her whole face. She's wearing a plain black outfit and an odd black hat. At her feet is a group of about twenty armed and armored women, lounging about.

[She is smiling and waving in a very friendly fashion, while poking one of the women with her foot.

After that she begins acting like there's an invisible wall between you and her.

Meanwhile, the woman she just poked runs off down the tunnel with a quick shout, “I'll be right back!”. The others seem to be preparing for a fight.]

This is the Mime, her invisible dog and Defense Group A. She has just cast Mime's Wall, blocking the way. She'll keep it up while the women prepare for battle. Within the 30 second duration of the spell, they'll have their weapons very much at the ready, and an alert will be sounded throughout the rest of the cave.

Gierria will recognize the townie's voice and call out, “Mindy? Is that you?”

She'll quickly call back “Yep!” as she runs off.

About ten seconds before the spell ends, Michel Brent and Spagnolia will show up with the townie that just ran down the tunnel. Brent will shout loudly, so as to be heard, “Throw down your weapons and surrender! If you do, we'll let you live. Fight and I'll have this room collapsed on you. You have five seconds to decide.”

Brent is bluffing. If anyone wishes to determine the truth of his statement, roll the usual quick contest of Detect Lies vs. his IQ.

If they surrender, they'll be turned over to Timothy Bodrey for interrogation.

If they choose to fight, they'll have to fight the townies. The mercenaries will use them as human shields, putting them on the front line, while they retreat into the next room.

Standing toward the back of the room is a group of ten men wearing armor.

[Most of them begin laughing as black tentacles sprout from the floor, walls, and ceiling to attack you!]

Gerach just cast Black Tentacle Attack from the back of the room using his largest Gizmo (Spell). The spell is centered on the party as they enter the room. If he runs out of energy, he'll likely try to drain the PCs using his Leech ability, so he can cast more spells. If things get dire, he'll run off down the tunnel.

While the PCs are being attacked by the tentacles, one of the men will run off down the tunnel to raise the alarm. The rest will try to attack any PC they can without getting attacked by the tentacles.

Within twenty seconds, the man that ran off will return with Spagnolia and Brent. Brent will offer, “Throw down your weapons and surrender. If you do, I'll ask Gerach to call off that beast from beyond. If you choose to fight, I'll have this room collapsed on you. You have five seconds to decide.”

Brent is bluffing. See the day version for more information on how to handle this, as it's exactly the same.


This will come up if the PCs are extra noisy outside the cave, or Brent and Spagnolia fled here after a fight with the PCs outside.

Both the day and night groups will be at the ready. The mime will cast Mime's Wall, while Gerach uses Black Tentacle Attack.

Brent will make the same offer he makes for the night encounter.

Main Hall

The tunnel widens once more into a long passage with two exits each on the left and right. The tunnel stretching into darkness ahead. The ceiling here is high, disappearing into shadow.

From one of the passages on the left, you hear metal ringing. It sounds like a hammer hitting an anvil.

This room is 4 yards wide and fifty long and completely unlit, so the PCs will need a light source.

The two side passages on the left lead to the Supply Room and The Forge. Those on the right lead to the Barracks and Kitchen. The tunnel continues into The Spider's Lair.

This area will be empty except during an alert.


If there has been a battle in the Entry Hall, then this area will be guarded.

If available, Squisher and Defense Group A or B will be here, having woken and readied themselves as a second line of defense. During the day, this will be Defense Group B. At night, this will be Defense Group A.

Squisher will serve as the group's leader, directing the troops as required.

Gierria or the Sheriff will try to talk Squisher out of fighting, but this will be difficult, as he views the PCs and their allies as enemies now. He's also enjoying himself quite a bit more than he did as a bouncer. Spagnolia has been quite successful at convincing him that their enemies aren't innocents. This has allowed him to get around his curse to a small degree.

Supply Room

This room is a stock pile of supplies of all kinds, ranging from food to weapons. Whoever is running this place seems very well supplied, and very organized.

All of the supplies are clearly labeled in detail, allowing the rapid distribution of supplies.

There is a counter-top toward the back that makes this look somewhat like a store. Sitting on the counter is what appears to be a heavy book.

There is no light source in the room unless it's day-time.

Four to five extras of all the kinds of gear used by the brainwashed townies can be found here (shields, short swords, broadswords, etc). Squisher's gear is unique to him. There are ten sturdy ropes about twenty yards long, as well as five grapneling hooks. There's quite a lot of food here; enough to feed the entire company for at least two months. Finally, there's quite a few odds and ends: a Scrounging roll can turn up almost any small item of mundane adventuring gear, weighing two pounds or less.

The book on the counter is a log book for the supplies. It's written in a kind of shorthand that only Rudolf and Alta Heiermann would understand (any rolls to use it are at -8 to skill).


The following boxed text should only be read if the PCs haven't caused any kind of alert.

At the other end of the counter is a candle serving as the only light source in the room.

There is an elderly couple behind the counter with their backs turned to you. They seem to be discussing some kind of logistical matter related to supplies.

This couple is Rudolf and Alta Heiermann. They've been brainwashed the same as everyone else, but the mercenaries aren't using them for anything more than organizing supplies.

If Gierria hears either of them speak speak, she'll say, ”(Alta/Rudolf)? Is that you?” Alta will turn, surprised, and begin speaking with her about how she and her husband found this “wonderful mercenary company to work for.” Rudolf will ignore Gierria and continue with his work. It will become easily obvious that the woman is very delusional.


Rudolf and Alta Heiermann will be here, at their post. However, they'll be hiding behind the counter. They were told to man the supply room in an emergency, so they can quickly hand out extra weapons and other needed supplies. They're obeying, but also quite afraid.

If the PCs come near them, they'll beg for their lives. If Gierria hears either of them speak, proceed as in the Day section.

The Forge

This passage is overly warm compared to the rest of the cave. As you round a corner, you see why; there's a complete forge setup here, with a very sweaty, dirty-looking elf working it. He hasn't noticed your presence, as his back to to you and he is working quite hard.

This is Nasael Irontear. He's been making chain mail armor for his “new employer.” He is just as delusional as the other brainwashed townies, but will assume that the PCs are just “the most recent recruits and he'll have armor for them shortly.”

If they come back two hours later, he'll give them an Elven Mail Shirt.

Even if an alert is happening, Nasael didn't hear it over his work. Also, he hasn't rested in nearly 24 hours, as the mercenaries have been pushing him to produce more armor. The only breaks he's taken in that time were to eat.

If he speaks at all, Gierria will recognize him and ask the usual questions.

Nasael sleeps in this room; there's a bedroll in one corner.


This passage opens up into a simple barracks filled with bedding materials suitable for an army that's regularly on the move. Each bedroll also has what looks like a rolled-up tent tied to a pack set on the floor near it, probably for when the troops are camping outside.
There are a number of men sleeping on the bedrolls.

This is Defense Group B.

There are a number of men and women sleeping here in separate sections, as well as an elderly couple in a somewhat more private corner.

This is Defense Group A, the Reserve group, plus Rudolf and Alta Heiermann.


During an alert this room will be empty.


This is obviously the kitchen for this cave, as there are many cooking utensils about. A simple hearth has been built into one wall with a hole in the ceiling that allows the smoke to escape.

Three meals are served daily, one at 7:00 am, one at 1:00 pm and the last at 7:00 pm. If the PC come within a half hour of these times, Spagnolia will be here, cooking a meal, serving it or cleaning up afterward. Spagnolia has so far failed to snag a good cook on any of his capture missions, so it's his responsibility to cook for the time being. If a given group is on duty somewhere at one of these times of day, then food will be taken to them by the Reserve group or Spagnolia himself.

Otherwise, this room is unnoccupied, but someone from the Reserve group will be in and out all day to keep the fire going, as everyone .

The Spider's Lair

Ahead of you sprawls an underground chasm that's been bridged with a huge network of spider webs. There is a small, uncovered path leading downward. It looks well traveled.

To the right you see a side passage.

The side passage leads to the Private Quarters. The well-traveled path leads under the webbing to a small sleeping area for Cristy Medeiras and the Escape Tunnel.

There is a woman here with a chicken in her arms. She tosses it into the webs. Out of nowhere, a giant spider runs up, bites the chicken and then wraps it in webbing. It then hurries back out of view.

If the PCs show themselves, she'll call out, “Betsy!” and then defend herself. Her spider will arrive on the next turn and she'll mount it, acrobatically. After that, the two will back out into the web and Cristy will begin firing arrows. Cristy is being cautious, since she wasn't expecting an attack.

Modify the above scene if the PCs interrupt.

As you enter this area, you're confronted by a woman sitting on the neck of a giant spider, holding a broadsword and shield!

She screams out a battle cry and the spider charges to attack you!

They'll attack directly, since Cristy was expecting trouble. Cristy's job is to delay the PCs so the mercenaries can escape.

Private Quarters

This looks like some kind of shared recreation area for a group of side chambers that are likely bedrooms of a sort. There's a set of weights that look suitable for strength training, as well as a table with several games on it.

There is a torch on a pole in the middle of the room to provide light.

The side passages lead to bedrooms for the following: Brent, Spagnolia, Gerach, a room shared by the Mime and Timothy Bodrey (they're married), a room for the Bodrey children (next to their parents room) and Squisher.

The only rooms of any importance are the Bodrey's bedroom and Gerach's room.

The Bodrey's bedroom has a passage leading to the Torture Master's “Office.”

Gerach's room is actually his laboratory.


Brent and Spagnolia will be in the main chamber, playing poker. Squisher will be busy weight lifting. The Mime will be sleeping, with her dog curled up at her feet. The children will be playing in their room or studying from a set of books their father gave them and told them to read. Timothy Bodrey will be in his “Office,” working on new torture devices, unless he has someone to torture. Gerach will be in his room, performing experiments (screaming!) during the morning. During the afternoon, he'll be sleeping.


Brent, Spagnolia, Squisher, Timothy Bodrey and the children will all be sleeping. Brent sleeps into late morning and Spagnolia goes to bed shortly after serving dinner. Between the two of them, someone is awake here 24/7.


Anyone still here will be attempting to herd the children to the Escape Tunnel. Timothy Bodrey will leave his office to do what little he can to help (usually involves keeping the children calm and quiet by telling stories).

The Torture Master's "Office"

If the PCs come here on their own, read this:

This room is full of terrible torture implements of all kinds, most of which are too horrible to mention.

There are several doors at the back of the room that lead to small cells with human-shaped tables. Each table has a series of belts for strapping down limbs and immobilizing the head.

You also see an odd item here, as well: a very comfortable-looking chair bolted to the floor.

The chair is an infamous magic “torture” device. It afflicts anyone that sits on it (resist with Will-10) with Ecstasy and an Obsession with sitting on it that lasts until they get up. This is the most comfortable chair in all the multiverse. So comfortable that anyone that sits in it will never get up of their own accord. The chair is bolted to the floor so that people can't just scoot around while still sitting. That's what makes it torture.

If the PCs end up here by being captured, read this:

You're now stripped to the barest underclothes, strapped to a table. You can't see anything other than the ceiling, since even your head has been carefully bound. The only part of you that's free to move is your mouth.

You hear a soft, semi-comforting male voice, “Ah. Welcome to my office. We're going to have such fun together…”

After a few hours of torture involving someone shoving things under your fingernails, your captor finally begins asking questions. Despite the fact that this guy is causing you serious pain, something in his voice and demeanor is so very likeable.

Attempts to Escape are at a -6 for very secure bonds. The tables are magically enchanted to keep spell-casting and psionics from working while the subject is strapped in. The PCs equipment and clothing are stored in the main room of the “Office” in a set of cabinets.

Tim “The Torture Master” Bodrey will use torture, manipulation, his bardic story telling skills, voice mimicry, etc. to extract information from the PCs. He wants to know who they are and why they're here. He delights in curelty of all kinds, both physical and mental, so he'll torture their bodies and mess with their heads, possibly even tricking them by mimicing the voices of the other PCs to give them false hope of rescue.

Skill-wise, he'll start with Interrogation, with a +6 bonus for using torture. If this fails, he'll switch to using his story-telling skills. If both of these fail, he'll use Mimicry (Speech) to make them think they're talking to one of the other PCs. Failing all of this, he'll switch to Brainwashing, to make them obedient to him.

Each PCs is in a small, sound-proofed room, alone. The PCs cannot talk to each other.

If they don't escape before night comes, the Torture Master will return and chat with them for a few hours before he turns in for the night. He's a very friendly guy in his off hours (his Sadism is only active on the job). He'll even try to help them with problems that he didn't cause them. During this time, his daughter will wander into the room and he'll introduce her to each of the PCs.

Being a member of the Cult of Profit, the PCs can hire him to let them loose and help them capture the other mercenaries (his wife, the Mime, will go along with with whatever job he takes). This will take proof that they can pay him at least $60,000 + $10,000 a month thereafter. He wants a full-time job, not a one-time payment; he's got a family to support, after all. If they pay him, he'll gladly hold the other mercenaries in his “office” until they've captured them all.

Regardless of what happens, the PCs will unconsciously like him, especially if he talks to them during the evening, since he's got a +9 reaction bonus and he's very friendly. They can still do what they want; just inform them that for one reason or another, they like him on some level.

Gerach's Room
This room is outfitted like a necromancer's laboratory. There are tables with corpses in various states of decay everywhere. Dirty surgical implements are scattered on a tray lying on one of the tables with a more recent corpse.

Another table has a very recently deceased corpse on it.

The “very recently deceased” corpse is actually still alive. It only looks dead due to the many cuts and scars covering it's body. If the PCs get close to it, read this:

You suddenly realize that recently deceased corpse isn't quite dead, as he grabs your arm and screams, “Kill me!!!!!!!”

He babbles incoherently for a few seconds and then begins screaming in a rather insane manner!

Despite the noise, no one will come to investigate. The other mercenaries are used to this aspect of Gerach's work.

All of the bodies in the room are actually clones of a poor fellow that Gerach murdered years ago. He's hopelessly insane and simply wants to die and stay dead. The Clone spell brings the subject back with memories. Any offer of help will produce a scream of, “Kill me!!!!!!!” This particular clone is a 34th generation clone of the original, so he remembers being tortured to death 34 times before.

The PCs should feel absolutely no compunction about killing Gerach after seeing this. They likely didn't before, since Goblins are usually killed on sight.

Escape Tunnel

Near the entrance to the tunnel are a few remnants of old meals from the spider. Among these are several corpses wrapped in webbing. If cut open, there's a Winged Elf, a Gnome and several humans, as well as dozens of chickens. The elf, gnome and humans are a group of adventurers that investigated on their own and met their fate at the hands of the spider. They came through about a month ago. They were stripped of any useful gear before they were thrown in the web.

There's also a small chicken coop down here and a big bag of feed for them.

This tunnel leads to the other side of the foothills. This is where the Mercenaries will head to if the PCs get past the guards in the Entry Hall and begin a fight with Squisher in the Main Hall. They'll have Reserve Group load their personal possessions into the tunnel and then they'll climb in themselves. After they're through, they'll tell the Reserve Group to kill the PCs and then set off a Goblin-designed bomb to collapse the tunnel entrance as they escape through it. If they escape this way, they'll expect the PCs to be permanently trapped and will immediately leave the island after briefly checking in with their employer. At this point, they'll consider the job a failure and will be seeking to book passage and get away as fast as possible, since they did some dang illegal things.

Character Sheets


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