Tag Archives: adventures

Whisper on a Black Wind

Back in 2001 or 2002, I honestly can’t remember which, we were in the thick of our 7th Sea (1st edition) campaign.  It was October and I proposed a Halloween themed “one-shot” for the group.  Unfortunately, this “one-shot” took all of about 4 or 5 sessions to actually complete, something I’ve become a bit notorious for since then.

This year, over on the Facebook Explorer’s of Théah group, I proposed everyone submit a scenario for Halloween as a community project.  While this wasn’t the first of my old adventures that came to mind — that one involved a murderous redcap stalking the students of a Castillain university (“Remember the tooth!”) — I settled on this one because of the 2015 film, the Witch.

After having seen that movie, I think I would run this one completely differently than I did before.  In fact, I think this would have made a great adventure for Witch Hunter: the Invisible World, All for One: Regime Diabolique, or the Savage World of Solomon Kane with only a bit of tweaking.

So if you and your group are getting together to roll some dice for Halloween fun, I offer this short adventure scenario for your consideration: Whisper on a Black Wind.  See if you can make it the horrific one night affair it was intended to be.

Addendum

A quick shout out and thank you to Dyson Logos for his amazing work and making some of it available to use.  If anyone wants a copy of the unaltered version of the map used in the adventure, you can find it here.

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Tripping over History (or Salt Mummies Must Die!)

One of the things about running a game set in the real world, even a slightly alternate version as with Witch Hunter, sometimes you have to trip over something to realize it’s there.

Last week, in the run up to the kickstarter for The Thin Blue Line: A Detroit Police Story, Jason Marker, the writer/publisher, posted a scenario/encounter based around the haunting of the salt mines beneath Detroit.

Now first, holy crap Detroit used to be a salt mine?  Who knew?!

Ok, put your hands down, jackasses.  Doesn’t matter, salt mines beneath a city that won’t exist for a couple centuries doesn’t really help me with my Witch Hunter game.  But hey!  Salt people!  Creepy dehydrating mummies!  I can work with that.  I just need a different location.

So, one google search later and PRESTO!  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…the Wiedliczka Salt Mines of Southern Poland.

You want some details?  Of course you do!

  • Built in the 13th century, these mines produced table salt until 2007!
  • It was one of the primary sources of income for the Polish crown until 1772.
  • One of the Royal Salt Mines maintained by the Zupy Krokowskie Salt Mining Company, whose headquarters is a CASTLE in…Wiedliczka!
  • The mines are 1,073 feet deep and 178 (!!!) miles long.
  • The mines contain dozens of statues and chapels carved out of the rock salt by the miners.
  • The mines include a freakin’ underground lake.  How much more can this place scream dungeoncrawl?!?!

But there’s MORE.  A legend and lost treasure built in:

[Princess Kinga] was about to be married to Boleslaw V the Chaste, the Prince of Krakow. As part of her dowry, she asked her father for a lump of salt, since salt was prizeworthy in Poland. Her father, King Bela, took her to a salt mine in Máramaros. She threw her engagement ring from Bolesław in one of the shafts before leaving for Poland. On arriving in Kraków, she asked the miners to dig a deep pit until they come upon a rock. The people found a lump of salt in there and when they split it in two, discovered the princess’s ring. Kinga had thus become the patron saint of salt miners in and around the Polish capital.

Now if this were your bog standard fantasy world, sure you’d probably cook this up in an afternoon.  But this is the real deal!  You can still visit the place!  You can buy souvenirs at the gift shop!  No comment if it is still the bulwark of the Polish economy, though that answer may lie in a joke book from the 70’s.  So yeah, this is a prime example of tripping over something you never knew existed, and would never have even imagined existing if you hadn’t gone looking for it.

As it is, you can find a handy list of world salt mines on wikipedia. But few of these have the same gamer allure of Wiedliczka.

Now.  For those of you who have yawned through this history lesson, here are salt people for Witch Hunter!

Salt People (Lieutenant)

Fear Rating: 3
Hell’s Favor: 2
Pace: 2
Initiative: Reflexes 4d
Melee: 6d Claws (+6 damage)
Ranged: None
Defenses: Avoidance: 3; Discipline: 3; Fortitude: 4
Armor: 2 (flesh infused and hardened by salt)
Health Track: 6/6/6
Talents: Burst of Speed, Disorienting Strike, Night Vision, Slam
Fundamental Power/Price: Burrow/Lair
Additional Powers/Prices:
• Iron Body / Obvious Appearance
• Sap Ability (Toughness) / Weakness (Water)
Suggested Skills:
9d: Command (Intimidation), Endurance
8d: Stealth
6d: Notice
4d: Reflexes

Salt People (Minion)

Threat Rating: 2
Fear Rating: 3
Pace: 2
Special Attacks: Claws (+4/+4) (Dehydrating Touch)
Talents: Burst of Speed, Disorienting Strike, Night Vision
Powers/Prices:
• Burrow / Lair
• Sap Ability (Toughness: Dehydrating Touch) / Weakness (Water)
Skills: Command (Intimidate) +6, Endurance +7, Stealth +5

Description: Salt People stand roughly as tall as a grown man, but have a crouched, hunchbacked posture that makes them appear much shorter. They have thin, twisted limbs, emaciated faces with sunken cheeks, a withered slit for a mouth, and sparkling silver eyes. Their bodies are covered in powdered salt, which they shed with every step, and their thick white skin is completely hairless. Whether salt people are actually the restless spirits of dead miners or some creature native to the mines is unknown.

Dramatics: These creatures move with a slow, shuffling gait most of the time, but are capable of intense bursts of speed over short distances. They can also burrow through the walls of the salt mine, and even through soil, allowing some of them to surface throughout the surrounding community.  When attacking, a Salt Person uses wild punches and powerful body blows to pummel its opponent. In addition to the damage caused by the physical assault, the creature’s touch absorbs the water in a target’s body, causing immediate, debilitating dehydration. Salt People rarely fight to the death, and on those rare occasions where one has been captured or killed, their bodies melt quickly into the Earth, leaving only a salty residue behind. They hate light and loud noises, and usually flee into the darkness or burrow into the sand rather than fight. When cornered, spooked, or if flight is otherwise not an option, a Salt Person attacks quickly and viciously, attempting to overwhelm or kill its target quickly so that it may flee.

Once again, thanks to Jason Marker for the original concept.

From Dumas With Love

Last week while my wife is away at a conference, I spent my evenings catching up on the BBC’s The Musketeers.  My wife isn’t really a fan so when we got sidetracked halfway through the season, I figured it would be awhile before I got back to it.

Watching episode 5, the Return, I thought this would make a fantastic adventure for Witch Hunter, something in the mold of Countrycide (Torchwood season 1), where the mundane becomes a real threat.  Here’s an official synopsis of the episode:

When Athos is kidnapped and taken back to his estate of Pinon, The Musketeers go in search of him and find themselves in the middle of a battle against a nobleman, the Baron Renard, who is shocked by Athos’ decision to reject his nobility and is determined to seize the land for himself. As The Musketeers train the people of Pinon in combat and defend them against multiple attacks, Athos is forced to confront his past when he encounters an old friend whose life was ruined by his actions years ago.

Witch Hunter lends itself to the set up perfectly.  The characters have often renounced their former lives to embraced their new role as monster hunter.  All you need is a player with the Noble background and you are good to go.  Or perhaps an NPC witch hunter, with the cadre dispatched to find him.

The scenario offers several complications that would make it challenging for any group:

  • The main villain is a landed noble, with all the protection and privileges that go along with that station.
  • The villain also possesses a considerable fighting force.  They may be minions, but 100 threat 2 minions are going to hurt.
  • The heroes are at a real disadvantage here.  If they pull rank as witch hunters, the villain can just call in the church and have them branded as heretics.
  • Abandoning the peasants to their fate would certainly be worth a point or two of damnation.
  • The social complications and logistics of training and commanding a ragtag force of peasant soldiers will likely test several skills the PCs have been neglecting.

This scenario plays straight at the swashbuckling or even the colonial aspects of Witch Hunter.  So lets consider a few twists we might apply to really enhance the Witch Hunter flavor of the scenario.

  • Play It Straight: We don’t really change anything here.  The Baron and his son are both normal men (lieutenants), though arrogant, privileged and terrible examples of humanity.  The role of Catherine could easily be assumed by a childhood friend, an old lover, or even a former mentor of one of the witch hunters (not necessarily the noble) who has an axe to grind.  The Baron could be driven by an old grudge or rivalry.  That the witch hunter has walked away from his family obligations matters not; the matter must be settled in blood!
  • The Demonic Instigator: After a tragic accident befell his son, the Baron beseeched dark forces for the young man’s life.  He revived, but was forever changed.  Now he forces his father’s hand, consumed with avarice and greed.  There is something about the Noble’s land he covets, and no reason will deter him from his prize. (Sort of a toned down version of the Solomon Kane movie.) Alternatively, the Baron or his son (or both) have fallen under the spell of a witch or warlock who seeks vengeance on the witch hunter(s).
  • Sanctuary: The NPC standing in for the role of Catherine has a dark secret.  The Noble’s family granted her refuge as a child.  Now dark forces have sought her out and recruited the Baron to their cause.  How will the witch hunters respond?  Will they surrender her to her fate?  Will they shelter and protect her?  Perhaps the nature of the secret is such they must deal with her (or not) themselves.
  • The Beast: Something has been preying on the villages of both manors.  The Baron believes these criminals have found refuge within the Noble’s lands, while the villager’s place the blame squarely on the Baron.  The beast hides amongst them, eager to shift the blame away from itself.
  • The Dark Secret: The Noble’s manor holds a dark secret that, if discovered, could ruin the witch hunter and his family.  Perhaps the Baron is aware of it and uses it as leverage against the cadre, or perhaps his fate is tied to the secret as well.  Perhaps the secret is so terrible, the Noble needs to keep it from his or her Order, perhaps even the rest of the cadre.  This could be tied to the character’s Catalyst, or a startling revelation made early in the scenario.
  • The New World Order: The action is moved to the New World, to a colony on the fringes of civilization.  Replace the Baron and his men with agents of a competing country (French, Spanish, British, or Dutch).  The villagers could be colonists or natives.  The witch hunters could have ties to the colony (base of operations) or answer the summons of an old ally, a contact, or another Witch Hunter.
  • The Invisible World: The meddling of a heretic scholar or occultist has inadvertently opened a sustained gateway to the Invisible World.  What emerges is not the lone entity the occultist sought, but a warlord and his demonic army, intent on cementing a foothold in God’s creation!  These could be fae (unseelie), or something even more horrific.  Either way, the numbers are too overwhelming for a small cadre of witch hunters, and by the time others might be brought to bare against them, these invaders could have slaughtered hundreds (not to mention called in support from a few Forbidden Societies, making the job even more difficult).  The cadre’s best chance for success here is to rally the locals against this threat, but the risk is high.  (The last two recent Mummy movies would be good inspiration for this…if you can stand to watch them.)

Three Coffee-Infused Scenario Ideas

7-Foot Tall Hellhound Skeleton Found Buried Near Ancient Monastery

On the Paradigm Forums, Henry Lopez (the Big Cheese) posted an article to thrill and inspire Witch Hunter players and GMs alike.  I’ve seen this article turn up before.  Very cool and creepy.  So in keeping with that spirit, here are three potential adventure seeds based on this old yarn:

WELCOME TO THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA
The cadre arrives at the remains of an abandoned village surrounding a ruined monastery.  Looking about, they find evidence that the people of the village came to a bloody and horrifying end.  Anyone not dead left long ago.  At night, a strange transformation comes over the ruins as the place is cursed to relive that fateful night over and over again (Groundhog Day style).  And now the cadre finds themselves trapped in this accursed place.  Their only hope in leaving is to break the curse and discover the secret of the hellhound that haunts the place.

M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN PRESENTS
Rumors of a terrifying black dog draw the witch hunters to a village where a monstrous hellhound haunts the place by night.  The beast is focus-bound and returns ever night.  Not even death can stop it.  What is it searching for?  Twist: the beast isn’t a hellhound at all, but a fae creature in a terrifying glamour seeking a vile creature that hides amongst the villagers.

GRIMM’S FAERIE TALES
The cadre is dispatched to an old ruined monastery to retrieve an item from its reliquary.  They discover the monks of the place came to a grisly end.  After leaving, they learn they are being trailed by a fierce beast whose evil seems to twist and corrupt the very forest around them.  The beast could be following the relic, or perhaps there is darker magic at work here.