A Pathfinder-compatible adventure for three to four 3rd-4th level PCs by Mike Myler
This page includes Product Identity of Rogue Genius Games and is used by permission.
DESIGNATION OF PRODUCT IDENTITY: The Rogue Genius Games (RGG) company name and logo; the “Spring of Disorder” name and logo; all artwork, backgrounds, and logos; all trade dress, and graphic design elements.
DECLARATION OF OPEN CONTENT: All game mechanics, proper names of classes, prestige classes, archetypes, feats, skills, spells, magic items, monsters, rituals, artifacts AND OR the names of abilities presented within this book are Open Game Content as described in Section 1(d) of the License.
- Adventure Background
- Starting the Adventure
- Act I: Odd Occurrences
- Act II: Tepid Treedwellers
- Act III: Anxious Elves
- Act IV: The Dungeon of Smaparmar
- Act V: Animal Allies
- Act VI: Kreller’s Spring
- Epilogue: What Now?
Wildlife surrounding the isolated village of Feiknstafir has become extremely aggressive of late, and rumors warn of foul druids or fey-folk haunting the wooded region. The Hacking Leefs goblin tribe to the north is slowly being turned insane by the phenomenon, the local clan of wild elves has become even more aloof than usual, and no person from the forest gnome settlement of Smaparmar has been heard from for weeks. The party travels to Feiknstafir to investigate the strange happenings in the town and must face off against a strange assortment of enemies, brave the underground ghost town of the gnomes, and finally lay to rest the malevolent spirit behind it all!
The wild springs near the village of Feiknstafir have hidden a terrible secret for centuries; a band of adventurers felled a wayward adherer in the spring, their dwarven fighter dragging the monster down into the waters where it drowned before its grappling opponent lost his breath. Kreller has lurked below as a ghost for hundreds of years and is slowly breaking free, corrupting the local fauna.
While the spirit below has waned in power over time, its essence has seeped into the waterway; the first animal to drink from the infused water suffered the greatest dose of the odd magic at work. A simple horse named Fljotr was left out to graze and while its master hunted. The beast drank from the enchanted pond and experienced a dramatic infusion of intellect and understanding, accompanied by malevolence in equal measure.
Fljotr took its master by surprise, easily crushing his skull under its hooves and dragging the body near the cave of a bear before returning to the village (making sure to brush against trees on the way back), power, and is inching ever closer to beckoning its kin to this material plane. Should Kreller succeed, the isolated village will be overrun by the planestruck hunters, who will then aim to incite a plague of their kind across the realm. Meanwhile, the ghost’s malevolent undercover agent moves about the town normally without anyone being the wiser.
Fljotr is also seeing to it that other settlements are being harassed; to the southeast, near the mountains, the Hacking Leefs goblin tribe has become convinced that they are cursed. Treetop hunters that have adapted well to brachiation, they are masters of traveling in the canopy of the forest.
Lately, however, many of their members have been falling inexplicably to their deaths, and they fear that a curse has come upon their village.
Meanwhile, the wild elves that normally patrol the territory have become a rarity, their numbers reduced by cunningly laid ambushes led by the malevolent equine druid. They have no sensible explanation for their plight, and have become xenophobic to the extreme.
The gnome village of Smaparmar has been eradicated—Háski, Argr, Andlaut and Skada saw to that. The corpses are inexplicably gone, but swarms of insects and other carrion-eaters occupy the underground settlement, which has become a veritable dungeon. Within, the PCs find the songbook of the town’s deceased bard; among dozens of unrelated tales they find a ballad devoted to the dwarf Bargstead, who eradicated a monstrous hunter of men by drowning it in a spring not far away.
Starting the Adventure
The PCs may have family from Feiknstafir, or even hail from the isolated town themselves. If one of the PCs is an elf, half-elf, gnome or goblin, they may have relatives that travel through the region, or their homes may have ties to the various settlements near the human village. Mayor Kordsson may have also dispatched outriders to collect adventurers to get to the bottom of things. Druid or ranger PCs may be notified by unaffected wildlife or sought out by a grove to rectify the abnormal situation, while characters with Knowledge (arcana) might notice the subtle signs of Kreller’s spirit growing from afar.
Corruption -1; Crime -6; Economy -1; Law +2; Lore -1; Society +1
Qualities insular, superstitious
Base Value 500 gp; Purchase Limit 2,500 gp; Spellcasting 1st; Minor Items 2d4; Medium Items 1d4; Major Items —
The Hacking Leefs Treehouses
The goblin tribe’s settlement is certainly not organized well enough to be considered a proper town. Each family has their own treehouse and when a son or daughter matures they build a new one to accommodate themselves; these are 15 ft x 15 ft dwellings of branches and wood located hundreds of feet from one another, suspended between thirty and fifty feet in the canopy (the higher the house, the more respected the warrior).
Elven scouts use these dwellings when traveling through the region, relaying messages to one another in code carved into the inner walls of the half-dozen naturally hollowed out trees scattered around Feiknstafir. Deciphering the meanings of their intricate calligraphy might shed light on what plagues the Leidr Forest.
Once a contained but thriving settlement of gnomes, this hamlet built into the rooted hills of Feiknstafir’s forests has become a ghost town; the corpses of the residents have been taken (rather carefully) to Kreller’s Spring and various creatures of ill intent have been trapped within (along with any of the villager’s belongings which the animals had no need for).
The Spring of Disorder and Kreller’s Well
Kreller’s Spring is in a difficult to reach grove near the steep cliffs of the mountains northeast of Feiknstafir. Hidden between the boulders nearby is a pit of dead bodies (mostly gnomes, but some goblins and elves as well) the spirit plans to use in some demented effort to summon more adherers. Háski the bear is protecting this area at all times, killing any sentient creature that comes nearby and adding it to the pile of corpses near the corrupted waters.
The Leidr Forest
Rumors of the strange goings-on in the woods surrounding Feiknstafir have begun to spread across the realm; several adventurers have already fallen prey to whatever curses the Leidr Forest and more are sure to follow if Kreller and his animal minions are not stopped.
Act I: Odd Occurrences
Read the following as the party approaches the village of Feiknstafir:
As the dense expanse of the Leidr Forest finally gives way and the foliage begins to become sparser, a small settlement comes into view. The tiny village is filled with perhaps fifty thatched houses, simple buildings that leave little to the imagination. Livestock amble outside the homes, kept within fenced areas better fortified than the dwellings they are attached to. The assembled peasantry meandering through the rough streets look as though they’ve not had a good night’s rest in weeks.
Dances With Wolves
The village guard is busy dealing with an increasingly aggressive wolf population (10 of the well-trained creatures led by Andlaut, Fljotr’s lupine lieutenant) that harrass Feiknstafir at dusk, the middle of the night, and dawn. During each attack, Fljotr makes sure to appear to defend himself, further cementing his normalcy to the populace.
While the party refreshes themselves or makes arrangements for a night’s stay in the Radolker Tavern (which is also Mayor Kordsson’s business and home) the wolf pack makes a surprise attack, attempting to kill what livestock farmers have brought with them to town (specifically horses, of which there are 12 in total). Four village guards are on duty during the event and two are drinking off-duty, but come to the aid of the on-duty troops when notified of the danger, though they are unarmored.
Sidebar: Save the Steeds!
PCs can earn additional rewards and platitudes from the townspeople if they manage to save more than half of the remaining horses. To simplify the process and save the GM some extraneous dice rolls that will distract from the combat itself, each round a wolf deals 3 points of damage to any horse it is attacking, and after five hits from wolves, a horse dies.
Read the following before combat begins:
The cry of a distraught villager pierces the air as the howl of wolves rings out. A pack of the four-legged beasts flits in and out of view, weaving around Feiknstafir’s simple homes. Peasants flee from the animals, but the wolves seem to be interested in attacking horses more than villagers; two steeds lay dying already and the deft predators quickly move to attack the ten remaining mounts tied off near the settlement’s houses. The horses stamp and kick at the tenacious beasts—a yelp splits the air as one with a striped-gray mane kicks a wolf past the doorway of the Radolker Tavern— but it’s clear that without some aid, the steeds are sure to die.
Wolves (10) CR 1
See “Wolf” for complete statistics.
Andlaut the Wolf: see Appendix for details.
Feiknstafir Guards (6*) CR 1/3
See “Foot Soldier” for complete statistics.
Afterward, Mayor Skati Kordsson (NG male human expert 4/warrior 1; see “Barkeep”) offers the PCs all they can eat and a free night’s stay as thanks for their assistance, using the impromptu banquet as an opportunity to explain Feiknstafir’s woes and convince the PCs to uncover whatever curses the wildlife nearby. He willingly reveals the following information to the party as the night lingers on and the townsfolk filter in for their nightly drinks:
The farmers have experienced more attacks from wild beasts than normal this year, and the livestock count has suffered considerably for it. If this continues another few weeks, the village may not survive the winter.
Elven scouts from settlements that watch over the natural order in the Leidr Forest normally come through Feiknstafir once every other week, but none have been seen for over a month now.
The Hacking Leefs goblin tribe lives in the canopy of the northern Leidr Forest, their homes built in the tops of the trees. They have become increasingly aggressive as of late. The delirious ramblings of several goblins wounded in recent attacks spoke of a curse afflicting the tribe, causing them to fall out of the trees they call their home. Smaparmar is a gnome village tucked away in the woods to the north. The leader of the settlement, Maurr Vinstarfa, was supposed to stop and share some ale with Skati, but is several days overdue. There are virtually no mages or spellcasters to speak of this far in the frontier aside from Ofsi Prestr (an unimpressive NG male human adept 3; see “Doomsayer” for complete statistics). What hunters remain in Feiknstafir are unwilling to travel into the Leidr Forest, which they claim to be filled with mischievous spirits and animals far more dangerous than normal.
Mayor Kordsson knows more than he lets on; a successful DC 14 Sense Motive check followed by a successful DC 13 Diplomacy check yields the following information as well: The farmers claim to have seen raccoons and birds slip into their buildings, unlocking them from the inside and allowing larger predators to sneak in. They are mostly drunkards, however, and Skati does not take these claims seriously. The elven scouts have four outposts that he knows of, and the best way to contact them is to leave a message there. They’ve been especially aloof as of late, seeming to appraise the townsfolk with far less polite a demeanor than before and completely unwilling to interact with them directly.
Mayor Kordsson’s concern for his friend Maurr’s well-being is not unfounded; Vinstarfa’s pet cat came screeching into the Radolker Tavern a few days ago, matted blood covering its fur.
Merchant travel into Feiknstafir has been reduced significantly by the aggressive wildlife that has consumed the Leidr Forest; at this time, few traders are in the village at all. Some of these merchants claim that unnatural gatherings and packs of animals have been seen in the woods, and one mercenary (Varnan Vitja, NG half-orc barbarian 2/fighter 2) believes that animals were responsible for no less than two caravan attacks; he was laughed out of his job long before the town’s paranoia took hold, though, and has been wandering the forest drunk since then.
Sidebar: Inebriated Navigation
Varnan got too drunk one night a few weeks ago and was rustled out of the Radolker Tavern (tricked by a clever barmaid, really), from whence he wandered off into the Leidr Forest.
The animals have been reticent to attack him directly, as many of their hunters witnessed several of their number fall to the barbarian’s blade. They wait for an opportunity to ambush him, and he wanders through the woods, paranoid and wary of all animals he encounters. If a PC falls in combat against the animals (particularly the wolf pack) while in the woods, the animals will drag them away to provide a suitable host for Kreller to perform the final rites required to summon his adherer brethren. If this happens, GMs should introduce the party to Varnan and hand over his sheet to the player left without a character until the final encounter in The Spring of Disorder.
Mayor Kordsson is in charge of the few taxes collected in Feiknstafir and offers the party 1,200 gold pieces should they be willing to bring an end to this phenomenon and get the settlement back on track. A successful DC 18 Diplomacy check brings the reward up to 1,500 gold pieces, and while he genuinely wishes he could offer more, there simply isn’t any to be had (paying the salaries of the village guards will be entirely up to the Radolker Tavern for months before the treasury recovers.) If the party managed to save half or more of the horses being attacked by Andlaut and his pack, Kordsson offers them an 400 gold pieces as an advance in good faith.
Thieves of Feiknstafir! (EL4)
Fà likes to steal from the few travelers to happen upon Feiknstafir, and the PCs are no exception. As the party sleeps in the night, the raccoon and his cohorts inspect the rooms of the tavern or encampments as best they can; should the party have an alarm spell active, Flotjr casts reduce animal on Fà to bypass the size clause in the spell and sends him to steal an item from a PC (preferably a rogue, or in lieu of that, the greediest of the lot). The raccoons do no harm otherwise, and attempt to flee as soon as they’re attacked or as soon as Fà manages to sneakily remove an item from the PCs with his Sleight of Hand check.
Fà the Racoon CR 2
See Appendix for complete stats.
Racoon (4) CR 1/2
See “Racoon” for complete stats.
If the party clearly becomes wise to the animal’s antics, Fà gets an invisibility spell cast on him as well before going back to pilfer more of the PCs’ goods another night, and likely at another location.
If the adventurers are sleeping in one of the Elven Outposts, however, the raccoon and his companions keep their distance—the elves have fooled them before, and they are not keen on losing any more of their number.
Additional Investigation and Leaving Feiknstafir
While the party may question the townsfolk (20% of which believe animals are directly to blame for the irregularities and growing number of missing people), the creatures have been very careful in keeping their presence a secret, and little concrete information can be gained in Feiknstafir. The longer the PCs search the village, the more suspicious Fljotr becomes of their intentions. At some point the PCs will reach an impasse; there is little more to learn in Feiknstafir beyond whispered rumors and the tales of old housewives. They will eventually leave to pursue other leads— at this point, turn to the appropriate chapter for the next area the party investigates.
Sidebar: Fljotr’s Betrayal
If the PCs ask around, the head scout, Varsk, hasn’t been seen for weeks. His steed, a horse with a grey-striped mane, returned unharmed but without its master. After being given to Varsk’s next of kin, the steed continues to escape and return to the village. The ranger was somewhere east of Feiknstafir—if the party insists on investigating his remains, they can find tracks in the region that would suit the warden and his mount near a small pond. A DC 16 Survival check finds the horse’s tracks leading back up to the pond from the general direction of Feiknstafir, and a separate DC 20 Survival check uncovers the hoofprints left by his steed. Following them avails little—they lead to an area of shale where the trail quickly grows cold—but a successful DC 22 Perception check along the way reveals small bits of dried blood on the underside of some of the leaves on growth in the underbrush. A DC 16 Heal check confirms that the blood belonged to a human; a result of 22 or more on this check ascertains that it has been there for several weeks, in time with Varsk’s disappearance.
There be Danger in those Woods (EL Varies)
While traveling there is a 30% chance each day that the party is attacked by animals trained and banded together by Kreller’s minions; the probability of this happening increases by 5% for each check made to gather information in Feiknstafir and 5% for each locale visited in their investigations (elven outposts, the Hacking Leefs tribe, Smaparmar). In the event the party is subject to one of these encounters, roll a percentile to determine which variety of animal soldiers descend upon the PCs (on a result ending in 1, their leader is also present.)
Table 1: Random Encounters d% Type Time Tactics 1-33 12 Raccoons Night Steal from the sleeping party, entering combat briefly only to flee. 34-66 10 Foxes Night Sneak into the camp and steal potions, scrolls and spellbooks 66-100 7 Wolves Dawn/Dusk Attempt to split up and kidnap an unconscious> PC, going for the weakest
Racoons (12) CR 1/2
See “Racoon” for complete stats.
Foxes (10) CR 1/4
See “Fox” for complete stats.
Wolves (7) CR 1
See “Wolf” for complete statistics.
For complete stats for Fà the Raccoon, Argr the Fox, and Andlaut the Wolf, see Appendix.
Act II: Tepid Treedwellers
The canopy homes of the Hacking Leefs goblins are southeast of Feiknstafir. Not unlike a pack of animals, the goblins follow the edicts of their leader, Foss, the alpha of the group. He lives in the highest treehouse, suspended 60 feet in the air in the top of a sturdy oak.
A Test of Mettle
Given the unnatural accidents that keep costing them their lives, the goblins are keeping to groups of four and carry ropes with them. When the party initially enters their territory they encounter one such group, which tries to lasso the PCs from above before engaging them on the ground (although the group does subdual damage and attempts to capture the party).
Read the following:
The trees grow taller the deeper into the woods you wander—forty, sixty, even eighty feet high. Wind blowing through the millions of rustling leaves whistles a natural tune. The melodious gale pleases the ear until a strange, hooting note barks out. Another answers its call from the branches above as a lasso of crude rope slaps the ground ten feet away from you. Your eyes quickly pick out the wielder—goblins as green as the leaves (and painted in more green paint) cling to the boughs of the trees above you, brandishing wicked scimitars and ropes, each bearing wide, menacing grins.
Hacking Leefs Tribesmen (4) CR 1
See Appendix for complete stats.
After a brief combat the goblins deign not to retreat, instead dropping their weapons when it appears that failure is inevitable. With the numbers of the Hacking Leefs tribe dwindling, Foss has declared that any enemy capable of defeating a tribesman is one he wishes to speak to.
Read the following after the party has won this minor skirmish:
The goblins drop their weapons dejectedly, throwing their hands in the air in appeasement while the words, “surrender!” erupt from their tiny green throats. The largest of the four takes a few steps forward and bows in a deeply dramatic fashion.
“You have bested us. Foss wants to speak with you, strong ones. We need strong to stop bad fall curse. Come to village and see Foss —maybe get enchanted stick!”
A successful DC 11 Sense Motive check determines that the goblins are being entirely honest and do not mean any additional harm to the PCs—their travel to the to the Hacking Leefs’ village is unmolested.
This is Fà’s territory and his design to harass this settlement has worked flawlessly; Fljotr has given the raccoon a free hand to do as he likes in this area and has forbidden the remainder of the Leidr Forest’s wildlife from further interfering here. After a few hours of surprisingly pleasant travel (save for the smell of the goblins) the party reaches the trees that house the goblin tribe.
Sidebar: Smash the Greenskins!
While combat isn’t supposed to occur in the village of the Hacking Leefs tribe, should it happen the PCs are likely to make use of the vines hanging throughout the canopy. They might use one to travel from one platform to another with an DC 14 Acrobatics check, or in the event that they find themselves falling, they receive a DC 16 Reflex save each 20 feet they travel downward to grab a vine and halt their descent.
Read the following:
A horrendous smell grips the forest floor here; the reason quickly becomes apparent, as a noxious cesspool of liquid and filth has formed on the forest floor, fed by goblins relieving themselves from crudely built treehouses forty feet in the canopy.
Goblins climb up and down thick branches nailed to massive oak trees throughout the grove, or swing from hut to hut along vines that hang from the canopy. Simple rope pulleys on the sides of the tree-anchored platforms (each fifteen feet across) carry their goods and plunder up to their homes.
High above the others, seventy feet above the forest floor, is a dwelling of far greater craftsmanship than the others.
Emerging onto its twenty-foot wide platform is a goblin bristling with muscle and vitality, its arms so large that its head appears freakishly small in comparison.
The goblin inhabiting the highest treehouse is Foss, the leader of the Hacking Leefs tribe. Clearly a prime physical and mental specimen of a goblin, he knows that something is wrong with their territory but cannot be sure what. His charges believe it to be a curse, but Foss suspects that foul play is afoot (mostly because of the lack of corpses); he blames the elves and insists that should but one more of his people die to this ‘Bad Fall Curse’ that he’ll lead a raiding party to the three elven outposts he’s aware of. If the adventurers are willing to remedy the situation he gladly encourages them and will reward anyone capable of ending the plight of his people with an exhausting switch.
Aura weak transmutation; CL 3rd; Slot none; Price 6,480 gp; Weight 1 lb.
This unassuming branch is slightly bent and looks pliable, but is in fact a +1 club. Three times per day on a successful hit, the wielder may immediately force the target of their attack to make a Fortitude save (DC 12) or find their carrying capacity reduced to one third its normal value for the next six hours.
Sidebar: Bad Fall Curse
Foss and the Hacking Leefs tribe believe that their settlement is cursed. The truth of the matter is both more mundane and more bizarre than anyone could reasonably expect. Fà sets traps for goblins that leave the safety of their abode, teasing and leading them towards branches the raccoon has sabotaged. In the event that these fail he calls for the nearby Einvig, who swoops down and knocks one of the climbing savages off their perch. Afterward, the hawk flies straight away to Andlaut, who has his wolves collect the body and add it to the pile near Kreller’s Spring. The best way to catch these devious animals is to lure them out into the open, perhaps by disguising one of the party members as a goblin or convincing the Hacking Leefs to allow one of their own to venture out seemingly alone (although should this volunteer die, Foss may lose his patience with those he feels are responsible—the elves).
Any PCs traveling through the canopy away from the treetop village chance stepping onto one of Fà’s sabotaged branches and may fall to the floor of the forest far below.
Bad Branch CR 1
Reflex save (DC 16) or fall 1d4+10 feet.
Act III: Anxious Elves
There are a total of six elven outposts near Feiknstafir; Mayor Skati Kordsson knows the location of four of them (Askja, Bryndis, Lieve, Eydis) and Foss of the Hacking Leefs has found three (Bryndis, Eydis, Siofra). If the PCs have acquired the songbook from Smaparmar, the bard mapped out the locations of three as well (Bryndis, Siofra, Vena). Each is abandoned when visited, and unless the PCs are extremely stealthy in their approach (and while within) any scouts traveling nearby do not head inside until after the party has left.
Read the following when they approach one of these outposts:
As you enter deeper into the thickening woods, an oddly shaped tree trunk catches the eye. Its roots extend up from the dirt, making a perfectly sized staircase that leads into a supernaturally hollowed-out interior.
The area within the huge tree is perhaps little more than ten feet long and five across, with several areas of collected vines and simple pillows made of bound leaves. Carvings in elven are scrawled along the wall, climbing up from a point near a vine-bed’s base up to four feet above the floor to cover most of the interior. They don’t seem to follow any logical order, but several letters seem to be used as an informal cypher of sorts.
Ultimately, these encoded messages reveal that the elven scouts are wary of both the Hacking Leefs and the villagers of Feiknstafir. Two of the scouts have gone missing, their bodies mysteriously gone (taken by Fljotr, using his druidic abilities to pass without trace); one fell to his death at the hands of Fà and Einvig whereas his counterpart bled out in Háski and Argr’s jaws.
The embarrassment, confusion and paranoia that overwhelm the elves prevent them from approaching the PCs, but it is possible that after a correspondence (the elves check each outpost regularly so responses are carved within a day if the elves’ secrecy is respected) the party might make indirect contact with them. If an encounter with one of these rangers is forced, use the “trapper” statistics (but remember to drop the Mobility feat and apply elven racial traits). While they may be willing to lend a helping hand to a wounded adventurer, none of the surviving scouts have much information to offer aside from translating the messages in the outposts (of which they already know all six). Convincing one to do so requires a DC 25 Diplomacy check.
Table 2: Elven Messages Outpost Lingustics Check DC Message Askja 12 “Something is wrong in Leidr Forest. Bring extra resources when traveling.” Bryndis 14 “Be wary of the animals; malevolence influences their actions, packs more coordinated.” Eydis 16 “Hacking Leefs are enemies again, blaming our people for curse. Investigating.” Lieve 18 “Disturbance in Smaparmar. Investigating.” Siofra 20 “Very small arrows recovered from one of the suspected ambush sites; tiny sized.” Vena 22 “The signs of diminutive traps are everywhere in the woods to the northeast; gather reinforcements before approach.”
Act IV: The Dungeon of Smaparmar
Gnomes are quite clever, and the town of Smaparmar has become a dark lesson in innovation; the underground village is dug in the shape of a horseshoe, with the homes of individual families on the outside of the central chamber and the chambers of commerce and tavern occupying the inside of the belt, all encased under the protection of the earth. This design proved defensible time and time again, the only two entrances easily barricaded to provide safety for the simple folk within.
Sidebar: An Alternative Puzzle
If your PCs aren’t keen on a simple series of die rolls, there is an alternate solution: anagrams.
In lieu of a Linguistics check, provide one of these at each of the outposts, describing them as recently carved messages. Do not reveal they are anagrams. Should someone figure this out, reward him with the relevant information to break the code at that location. Play these off as cryptic messages and nothing more.
Unfortunately for the gnomes, Fà (with the help of items gathered and identified by Argr) easily wriggled his way inside, unlocking both entrances for Háski to cover one side while Andlaut and his wolves came through the other. The villagers of Smaparmar did not stand a chance and died to a man; their corpses have all been collected and gathered at Kreller’s Spring. The spirit’s minions were careful to cover their tracks, and from the outside there doesn’t seem anything to be wrong with the village.
Read the following when the party approaches Smaparmar:
The walls in this tunnel are soaked with blood. Bits of savagely killed gnomes hang in the roots, grisly reminders of the happy kin that once lived here. The doors to the small folks’ homes are shattered, long since destroyed by whatever rampaged through the subterranean village.
The village of Smaparmar was once filled with joy and charity. Clans of tightly-knit gnomes treated each other as family. Some of their remains still lie in grisly piles around the settlement, some caught between the tree roots that cut through the tunnels.
Western Tunnel (EL 2)
Upon rounding the bend of a trail that follows around a large mound in the earth, a quaint wooden door leads down into the earthwork. The wide-set, hinged entrance is covered in straggly vines that drape down in abundance from the tree above it, partially covering a battered sign that proudly reads, “Smaparmar.”
The pathway does not seem to have had any recent use, however, and no footprints can be found in the dirt nearby.
A number of stirges equal to the number of PCs sleeps in this hallway, hidden near the roof within the thickets. They attack the party as soon as the adventurers make their presence known.
Stirges (3-4) CR 1/2
See “Stirge” for complete stats.
Eastern Tunnel (EL 4)
Long trails of blood are caked into the earthwork of this hallway, sparsely interwoven with thickets of roots that extend from the ceiling to the floor. Within one you can see a dismembered gnomish hand clutching at a root, but it is smouldered black as though scorched by flames.
This hallway is patrolled by a pair of shocker lizards that sleeps in the second home on this side. They attack the PCs once the party makes their presence known, although there is a 50% chance they are asleep do not respond at first.
Shocker Lizards (2) CR 2
See “Shocker Lizard” for complete stats.
Gnome Homes (EL Varies)
Despite the bloodshed within and the disarray accompanying it, this was clearly once a happy home. Diminutive children’s toys lay scattered about behind beds that have been positioned to serve as makeshift cover in the corner. Torn pieces of cloth on the floor have been fashioned into makeshift slings.
There’s a 50% chance that a swarm of rats or spiders occupy any gnome dwelling the PCs explore.
Rat Swarm CR 2
See “Rat Swarm” for complete stats.
Spider Swarm CR 1
See “Spider Swarm” for complete stats.
Central Chamber (EL 5)
The western and eastern tunnels connect like a horseshoe, meeting in an audience chamber of a size one would not expect inside of a knoll. A proscenium stage made from worn wooden planks leads into a back room. Oddly, the curtains that once hid the passage have fallen to the floor but otherwise pristine. There are dozens of small anchor points where metal had once been fit.
A young death worm lairs here in the town bard’s room where his songbook is kept. Within the songbook is pertinent information regarding the history of Smaparmar, including the town’s events, and has a song about the dwarf Bargstead and Kreller the adherer within its final pages, evident with a successful DC 12 Intelligence check. If asked about the song, Skati Kordsson will remember the town’s ballad and that the bard said the spring in question is far to the northeast, up against the mountains.
Sidebar: Wait, what?
After the young death worm has come to its end at the hands of the party, they will probably wonder why on earth there isn’t acid damage everywhere. A successful DC 10 Intelligence check reveals that whom- or whatever cleared this small settlement had access to magic, and must have cleaned this area after luring the creature to it. There are no traces of humanoids in the entire dungeon aside from the dead gnomes, and this moment should solidify for the PCs that something very unnatural—and uncanny—is plaguing the region.
The Ignominious Inebriate Tavern (EL 2)
A fat, lethargic cockatrice dwells in the remains of the village’s drinking establishment, plump from the ample food available and perpetually drunk (suffering a -2 penalty to AC and most rolls, this is factored into the short-form stat block below) from the kegs of ale. The poor animals made to drag it within are stuck here, and should the party find an unlikely means to cure their affliction, the wolf and fox will accompany the PCs wherever they go afterward. During all of the ruckus, the small sized tables and chairs have been broken apart and thrown into disarray, turning the entire area within the tavern into difficult terrain.
Clearly, this room was once a place of revelry. Small wooden tables and short stools are still scattered about the beerstained floor of this drinking hall, but no gnomes are to be found. Instead there sits a snarling stone wolf carved with incredible detail and an exquisite granite sculpture of a panicked fox. Something behind the bar in the back snores lightly, making it clear that you and the statues are not alone in this tavern.
See “Cockatrice” for complete stats.
Six Feet Deep Market (EL 4)
By and far the largest chamber in the underground village, this area is surprisingly pristine compared to the other rooms. Small wooden stalls and tables are set up along the walls, many with wooden chests behind them—some have been broken open and plundered, but a few seem to have survived whatever destroyed Smaparmar.
In a freak accident, a mimic came to be among the pile of dead by Kreller’s spring. Fljotr bargained with it, and promised that countless opportunities for it to ply its morbid trade would be ripe here. It hides behind one of the stalls as an untrapped chest filled with the most valuable items in the marketplace (about 600 gp worth of jewelry) and is one of three such chests. The other two require DC 19 Disable Device checks to pry open and have nothing of interest or worth within.
Mimic CR 4
See “Mimic” for complete stats.
Act V: Animal Allies
Fljotr has been keeping tabs on the party’s progress through the Leidr Forest and is prepared for when the PCs begin to make for Kreller’s Spring. The clever equine has had time to carefully consider how to defend the area and (with the raccoon’s help) decoded the messages of the Elven Outpost weeks ago. Fà has removed all the traps previously set, trusting approachers to be either wary or reckless— both ideal for the purposes of detection.
When Animals Attack (EL Varies)
Those NPC animals that have been killed already clearly do not participate in this part of the adventure, but all that remain do (save Fljotr and Háski). Skada and Einvig patrol the territory from the skies and fly back to notify their comrades once they have spotted the party. Argr, Andlaut, Skada and Einvig (see Appendix) attack the party, accompanied by 5 hawks and 5 Wolves. Ten hawks and wolves are present if either Einvig or Andlaut (respectively) is already dead. Fà (see Appendix) assaults the adventurers as well, but sticks to the canopies of trees and uses sneak attack until a PC falls unconscious (he then takes everything from them he can reasonably carry).
A DC 12 Knowledge (nature), Perception or Sense Motive check can be taken each turn as a swift action to discern which of the available animals is intelligent. They fight to the death (because they know Flotjr will get them otherwise), but when their leader is killed they disperse into the forest (for example, when Einvig dies, all the hawks flee).
There are a few opportunities for the PCs to avoid being ambushed; a DC 22 Perception check notices Skada or Einvig flying above, and opposed Stealth checks (use the leader animal’s bonuses: Andlaut +9, Fà +16) are made by the NPCs as the party nears Kreller’s Spring in the northeastern Leidr Forest. The animals know the strengths and weaknesses of the PCs at this point and use this to their advantage. They target spellcasters first, try to trip and harry any warriors, and work to draw the party members away from one another, hoping to kidnap one.
Read the following before combat begins:
The constant murmur of the forest fades as you pass a grove of cedars. The calm is sublime, almost unnaturally so. Suddenly, the winds pick up, carrying the faintest sound of garbled spellcasting before being drowned out by feral cries as animals burst from the underbrush and charge!
Hawks (5 or 10) CR 1/3
See “Hawk” for complete statistics.
Wolves (5 or 10) CR 1
See “Wolf” for complete statistics.
Sidebar: Those Merciless Animals!
If the PCs failed to down either Andlaut the alpha wolf or Einvig the alpha hawk earlier in the adventure, this is going to be a tough fight for them—and the GM should not pull punches. Isolate a member of the party with the wolf pack, knock adventurers out of the trees with the hawks, turn adventurers blind with Skada’s blindness/deafness, and make the most out of Argr and her wand of magic missile. The sorcerer fox is the only essential enemy in the encounter and when one of the PCs finally goes unconscious, she is quick to cast summon monster II under them, conjuring a horse that carries the adventurer off the battlefield (Argr saves her additional castings to get the abductee back to Flotjr).
Once a member of the party has been kidnapped in combat and removed from the battlefield, Varnan Vitja rushes out of the treeline to aid the beleaguered adventurers.
Act VI: Kreller’s Spring
It Was The Horse All Along? (EL7)
Fljotr and Háski (see Appendix) patrol near the watering hole making sure the bodies remain undiscovered. This putrid pile is hidden between three massive boulders (each 20 ft. in diameter) set above the spring. The other minions will either have exhausted their abilities or lost their zeal (or they fear the party more than they do Flotjr) and don’t participate in this encounter. At the GM’s discretion, the surviving intelligent animals continue to cause trouble in or around Feiknstafir, or may appear later much more powerful (and probably still unexpected) enemies.
When the PCs approach the spring on top of a gradual hill, Háski uses his prodigious strength to roll one of the smaller boulders arrayed around the water down the slope at the party (4d6 bludgeoning damage; Reflex DC 15 for half). Fljotr harries the party, staying at full strength while carrying Kreller’s magic jar focus. When the ghost adherer has successfully possessed one of the PCs, the horse uses its wild shape ability to change into an aquatic creature and dives into the spring, hiding the crystal in the chamber below. Afterward, he rejoins the fray, but will fetch the magic jar focus as soon as Kreller requires it again. None of the enemies are willing to surrender.
Read the following before combat begins:
The smell of death somehow manages to overpower the odor of animal waste that coats this area of the Leidr Forest. As the unseemly scents make you cringe, the crashing of branches from above draws your gaze to a massive boulder hurtling down the path toward you! The huge stone slams against a tree and slows slightly, giving you a moment’s notice to dodge out of the way as the chant of a spellcaster echoes from the top of the hill!
Flotjr hides behind the rocks on the far side of the spring from the PCs, but Háski is in plain sight and charges the adventurers after rolling the boulder. The equine druid keeps its distance and enigmatic identity a secret, using obscuring mist and summon swarm to harry the party before Kreller makes his first check to possess a PC.
The ringing of steel and words of mystical power crackle in echo around the spring’s boulders as a keening shriek pierces the woods and briefly draws everyone’s attention to the top of the hill. A spectral figure rises into the air, ghostly tendrils undulating unnaturally, dropping ephemeral bits of gore and flesh that splatter against the wet stone. It screams once more as the spirit’s jaw gapes open and it disappears in a burst of cyan light.
At this point the horse wild shapes into an alligator, attempting to grapple and drag any nearby spellcaster down into the spring before hiding the focus (which is now glowing bright blue; noticed by any PC that succeeds on a DC 16 Perception check) down in the waters. The adherer starts by possessing any animal companions first, then the most dangerous melee combatant. The pendant Flotjr wears is the only way to permanently destroy the ghost adherer (and a surefire way to put an end to his possessions); it has a hardness of 2 and 34 hp.
Destroying Kreller’s spirit is not an easy task if Fljotr has hidden the ghost’s magic jar focus. Reaching the bottom of the spring is a difficult task; four consecutive Swim checks (DC 20, DC 22, DC 24 and DC 26) are required to reach the bottom of the underwater chamber where the crystal is lodged inside an alcove.
The horse checked each item taken from the corpses near the spring before handing them off to Argr (he thought, rightly, that it would make the fox feel useful and cement her loyalty). He left items that would be of no use to the animals. There are 1d3 magic weapons with a +1 enhancement bonus, a set of +1 studded leather armor (sized for a small humanoid), and one random minor magic item along with an elixir of swimming.
Epilogue: What Now?
The PCs have ended the plight of the Leidr Forest and laid to rest the ghost of Kreller, sending the spirits of his animal minions to the great beyond. There is more yet to do here. Feiknstafir is weakened after this bizarre trial. Smaparmar needs to be repopulated. The Hacking Leefs tribe’s battle lust for the elven scouts in the region must be abated. If the adventurers didn’t kill all of the enchanted animals, there’s no telling what sort of havoc the rogue raccoon, sorcerer fox or songbird bard might bring down upon the isolated settlement. It’s possible that simply capturing the creatures could prove to be a profitable venture.
Sidebar: A Really Primal Play Experience
Let the PCs play through an adventure with another creature that drank from The Spring of Disorder, or create the next step of the game by running your group through what actions the surviving animals take. If the adventurers aren’t 5th level by the end of this module they soon will be. Seventh level isn’t too far away; capturing one of the enchanted animals and reforming them will give players a truly unique cohort if they choose to pursue the Leadership feat down the line. The GM may decide that when the adherer’s spirit is destroyed, the malignant effect of it is stripped from the animals, returning them to their neutral alignment, or whatever alignment players most desire for their bestial character.
Andlaut the Wolf CR 3
Andlaut waits for his pack to attack first, then moves in for the kill. If reduced to 10 hit points or less, he flees if his opponent doesn’t appear to also be on their last legs.
Str 13, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +3; CMB +4 (+6 trip); CMD 16 (22 vs trip)
Feats Combat Expertise, Dodge, Improved Natural Weapon (bite), Improved Trip, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Acrobatics +8, Escape Artist +8, Perception +9, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +9, Survival +7; Racial Modifiers +4 Survival (scent tracking only)
Languages Common, Elven (both understood only); Aklo
SQ bravery +1, trapfinding; wolf empathy
Varnan Vitja CR 3
Str 17, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 19
Feats Cleave, Great Cleave, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (greatsword)
Skills Acrobatics +8, Knowledge (nature) +6, Perception +7, Survival +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate
Languages Common, Orc
SQ bravery +1, fast movement, intimidating, orc blood, orc ferocity, rage (7 rounds a day), rage power (no escape), weapon familiarity (orc weapons)
Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork greatsword, ten flagons of ale
No Escape (Ex)
Varnan can move up to 80 feet as an immediate action but only when an adjacent foe uses a withdraw action to move away from him. He must end his movement adjacent to the enemy that used the withdraw action; Varnan provokes attacks of opportunity as normal during this movement (this power can only be used once per rage.)
Hacking Leefs Tribesman CR 1
Str 11, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 6
Base Atk +2; CMB +1; CMD 14
Feats Sure Grasp (roll twice when climbing or making a Reflex save to avoid falling, take higher result)
Skills Acrobatics +12, Climb +9, Perception +4, Survival +4; Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics, +4 Climb; +2 Climb when raging (Foss also has Bluff +2 and Sense Motive +3)
Languages Common, Goblin
Gear leather armor
SQ fast movement, rage (8 rounds/day), raging climber; tree runner
Fà the Racoon CR 2
Fà lures the party into climbing a tall tree (with a few traps along the way) and Einvig knocks them out of the branches (the raccoon readies actions to shoot falling targets to capitalize on sneak attack). Fà is a coward however, and will flee with the most expensive and useful items he can find if it seems like Flotjr isn’t going to be a problem for much longer. Stil, Fà waits a solid 2d12 days before resuming his thieving ways in Feiknstafir.
Str 8, Dex 15, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 5
Base Atk +2; CMB -1; CMD 11 (15 vs. trip)
Feats Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +8, Bluff +4, Climb +7, Craft (armor) +6, Craft (trap) +8, Craft (weapons) +7, Disable Device +10, Disguise +3, Escape Artist +8, Perception +9, Sense Motive +9, Sleight of Hand +6, Stealth +16, Use Magic Device +4
Languages Common, Gnome, Goblin (all understood only); Aklo
SQ Evasion, rogue talent (Fast Stealth), trapfinding, trap sense +1, uncanny dodge; Raccoon empathy
Gear masterwork disguise kit, masterwork tiny shortbow (12 arrows), masterwork tiny shortsword, masterwork thieves’ tools, masterwork leather
Einvig the Hawk (advanced) CR 4
Speed 20 ft., fly 60 ft. (average)
Melee 2 talons +11 (1d4)
Space 2.5 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks Knockback (1/round, bull rush instead of melee attack; success deals strength in damage and the target is moved back as normal, does not provoke attack of opportunity)
Einvig is a ferocious combatant; while he always attempts to knock a target from their perch first, afterword he gets into their personal space and fullattacks relentlessly until forced to retreat or knocking his opponent unconscious. If accompanied by other hawks, they harry anyone that attempts to interfere with Einvig’s assault.
Str 10, Dex 21, Con 15, Int 7, Wis 18, Cha 11
Base Atk +4; CMB +2; CMD 17
Feats Flyby Attack, Power Attack (only while raging), Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +12, Fly +9, Perception +16, Survival +11; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
Languages Common (understood only); Aklo
SQ fast movement, rage (+4 Str/Con, -2 AC, 14 rounds/day), rage powers (guarded stance – move action, +1 dodge for 4 rounds, knockback), trap sense +1, uncanny dodge; bird empathy
Young Death Worm CR 5
Speed 20 ft., burrow 20 ft.
Melee bite +10 (1d10+3 plus poison)
Ranged electrical jolt +11 ranged touch (3d6 electricity)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon (30-ft. line, 6d6 acid damage, Reflex DC 15 for half, usable every 1d4 rounds)
The young death worm tries to stay at range, popping out to use its breath weapon on groupings and if the PCs disperse across the dungeon, targeting them separately with its electrical jolts in between burrowing into the earthwork to avoid taking damage.
Str 14, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 3, Wis 11, Cha 5
Base Atk +8; CMB +10; CMD 23
Feats Cleave, Improved Overrun, Iron Will, Power Attack
Skills Perception +11, Stealth +3 (+19 in deserts); Racial Modifiers +16 Stealth in deserts or rocky areas
Environment Environment warm deserts, plains, or hills
Corrosive Blood (Ex)
A young death worm’s blood can corrode metal on contact. If a creature damages a young death worm with a piercing or slashing weapon made of metal, the creature’s blood deals 2d6 points of acid damage to the metal weapon (unlike most forms of energy damage, this damage is not halved when applied to a metal object, although it does still have to penetrate the metal’s hardness).
The weapon’s wielder can halve the damage the weapon takes by making a successful DC 17 Reflex save. Creatures made of metal that deal slashing or piercing damage to a young death worm with a natural attack take 2d6 points of acid damage (a DC 17 Reflex save halves this damage). The corrosive elements of the blood fade 1 round after it leaves the worm’s body or the worm dies. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Electrical Jolt (Su)
Venomous Skin (Ex)
A death worm’s skin secretes a noxious, waxy substance. This venomous sheen poisons any creature that touches a death worm, either by making a successful attack with an unarmed strike or natural weapon or with a touch attack. A creature that grapples a death worm is also exposed to the creature’s venomous skin.
Argr the Fox CR 3
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +3 (1d3–1)
Space 2.5 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks laughing touch 4/day (melee touch attack, force a creature to laugh for one round, being limited to only a move action but still able to defend itself; targets may only be affected 1/day)
Spells Known (concentration +5; +9 defensive, CL 4th)
As one might expect, Argr is a canny opponent; she stays to the shadows, hides in the gnolls of trees, and uses her magic at a distance, never closing to melee range. If engaged aggressively, she will flee before returning and waiting for her moment to act (be that offensively or to accomplish a task, such as kidnapping an unconscious PC with a horse conjured with summon monster II). She will flee for 1d4 weeks if brought below 6 hit points.
Str 9, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 13
Base Atk +2; CMB -1; CMD 11 (15 vs. trip)
Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Eschew Materials, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Acrobatics +2 (+10 when jumping), Knowledge (arcana) +7, Perception +8, Spellcraft +6, Stealth +10, Survival +1 (+5 scent tracking); Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics when jumping, +4 Survival when tracking by scent
Languages Common (understood only); Aklo
SQ bloodline arcana (fey; +2 DC to compulsion spells), cantrips, woodland stride; fox empathy
Gear wand of magic missile (24 charges), wand of invisibility (6 charges)
Hàski the Bear CR 4
Speed 40 ft.
Melee 2 claws +8 (1d8+5 plus grab), bite +8 (1d6+5)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Of all the animals enchanted by the spring, Háski is by and far the most physically dangerous. The bear uses terrain to his advantage and attempts to grapple and disable the deadliest martial opponents first, establishing his dominance before grappling and mauling any spellcasters or ranged combatants to death.
Str 21, Dex 13, Con 19, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +4; CMB +10 (+14 grapple); CMD 21 (25 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Natural Attack (claws), Endurance, Run, Skill Focus (Survival)
Skills Acrobatics +2, Intimidate +2, Perception +7, Survival +5, Swim +14; Racial Modifiers +4 Swim
Languages Common, Goblin (understood only); Aklo
SQ bear empathy
Gear masterwork leather armor
Skada the Songbird CR 3
Speed 10 ft., fly 60 ft. (average)
Melee bite +8 (1d3-2)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Spells Known (concentration +6; CL 4th)
Skada uses the summon instrument cantrip to cause an instrument to suddenly appear and fall from the sky (unplayable and disappearing 4 minutes later), dealing 1 point of bludgeoning damage upon landing should she succeed on a ranged touch attack to hit a creature. When it seems like things are getting serious, the bard uses blindness/deafness on the most dangerous melee combatants before attempting to make them flee with cause fear. If reduced below 5 hit points, Skada flees and the PCs won’t be seeing her again for 1d10 days.
Str 4, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 12
Feats Fly-By Attack, Spellsong, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +10, Escape Artist +10, Fly +13, Perception +5, Perform (song) +11, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +7, Stealth +11; Racial Modifiers +2 Fly, +2 Perform
Languages Common (understood only); Aklo
SQ bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire competence +2, inspire courage +1, versatile performance, well-versed; bird empathy
Fljotr the Horse CR 5
Str 16, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 11
Base Atk +4; CMB +8; CMD 20 (24 vs. trip)
Feats Combat Casting, Endurance, Natural Spell, Run
Skills Acrobatics +6, Bluff +4, Perception +10, Sense Motive +6, Spellcraft +9, Survival +9
Languages Aklo, Common, Draconic, Elven
SQ nature bond (air domain), nature sense, orisons, resist nature’s lure, trackless step, wild empathy, wild shape 1/day, woodland stride; horse empathy
Gear Kreller’s Crystal (magic jar focus; hardness 2, 34 hp)
Str –, Dex 20, Con –, Int 8, Wis 17, Cha 19
Base Atk +4; CMB +9 (+17 grapple); CMD 23
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Combat Reflexes
Skills Climb +6, Perception +15, Stealth +21; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception, +12 Stealth
If destroyed in simple combat: the “destroyed” spirit of Kreller restores itself in 2d4 days. The only way to permanently destroy the spirit of the adherer is to shatter his magic jar focus.
Corrupting Touch (Su)
By passing part of its incorporeal body through a foe’s body as a standard action, Kreller inflicts 6d6 damage. This damage is not negative energy—it manifests in the form of physical wounds and aches from supernatural aging.
*If the focus is destroyed while he possesses a creature’s body, Kreller is completely destroyed.