FORGOTTEN PLACES CYCLE
Sometimes adventures take on an epic scale – in almost every game the heroes go to new places, meet new people, fight new monsters, and get more unique treasures. But it’s good not to overuse it. Over time you realize that more does not mean better. Quick fights and fast-paced events should give a chance to something small, but eventful and dense.
In this cycle, you will find unique detailed locations and stories around it. All you need to do is to come up with your own story for your heroes, using ideas from the cycle adventures and hit the road.
CURSED VILLAGE ADVENTURE
Shadows lengthen over the local villages, far from civilization. Strange signs and happenings herald the coming of evil. The elders say that the powers of these lands are slowly fading and when their time comes, something terrible will happen. Whether the heroes believe the tales of the wise ones or not, one thing is certain – something is really going on. And now they have an opportunity to find out what it is because the strangeness of the local land begins to repeat itself and form a pattern. And while the locals’ minds become increasingly clouded, the heroes pack their backpacks, sharpen their swords, and set out to find the source of all the troubles.
The heroes may come to these places accidentally, fulfilling a more important mission. They may also have good reasons for being here, and then the GM can be sure that none of them will run away, being afraid of the strangeness of these lands, but will want to finish the quest. Who knows, maybe destiny will reward the heroes for their services in the end?
|1||An old friend of the heroes went to these lands and never returned.|
|2||A wise man from the local village promises the heroes a lot of gold for solving the mystery of these lands.|
|3||The baron, who wants to get rid of the heroes, gives them a task beyond their strength – to solve the mysteries on the outskirts of its territory.|
|4||The seers describe this place as one of many vaults of the evil that is about to break out.|
|5||The king’s heir has been kidnapped and hidden in these lands.|
|6||The local druid community is in panic – the ancient spirits are leaving these lands. Who knows what this could turn into and what’s behind it?|
HARBINGERS OF THE STORM
Finding themselves among the local villages, forests, and lakes, the heroes will feel a strange force surrounding not only all life around them but themselves as well.
Misty minds. Residents of the local villages behave extremely strangely – some of them do not understand where they are, wandering around, performing the same actions over and over again, while others suffer from an unknown disease. All of them can answer questions and talk to the heroes as if nothing happened, without seeing any weirdness around them.
Strange forces. Not only people but also the nature around them behave strangely. A flock of birds may attack the strangers who have not yet surrendered to the mistiness of the mind, or rain down dead from the sky. The fallen trees will form a bizarre pattern and the forest monsters will roam the streets, as if they were blind, sniffing out disobedient heroes. The dead will rise from their graves and events of the past days will repeat over and over again in a circle.
There is no way out. Strange and disturbing feelings may affect the heroes. Their fears will intensify and their emotions will take over common sense. They will feel the approach of the madness, increasingly striking their minds, and they cannot ignore its first sign. No matter how hard the heroes try, they cannot find their way back out of these lands.
ALL ROADS LEAD EAST
Playing along with the local oddities and looking for their source, the heroes will discover certain patterns.
- A found map of the area will reveal existence of the village of Blinkwood on the edge of the forest, about which none of the locals remember at all.
- The patterns appearing in the fields and formed from the vegetation will tell the heroes about direction of the strange magical forces, coming from the same place (Blinkwood village).
- The local peasants can tell about relatives who once went east (towards the lost village of Blinkwood), but never came back (each of them will have their own reason for this confusion).
- All forest creatures will always come from the east side.
- At night, the heroes may notice strange flickers in the sky, the brightest and most frequent of which will be on the eastern side.
- After performing a ritual to the local spirits, the heroes will hear a strange whisper. If the heroes try to delve into it, they will be horrified – dozens of people beg for help and ask to find them.
There seems to be no reason for the heroes to stay here. If they want to help the locals and do what they have in mind, they need to head east, through the Forest of Elders, to the village of Blinkwood.
Need some maps for such encounters? Check these featured items and find some more in WILDERNESS category.
THE ROOT OF ALL PROBLEMS
A couple of months ago, residents of the surrounding lands observed an unusual phenomenon – a starfall of unusual beauty, as if the gods decided to amuse the local peasants for their hard work. One of the stars lit up especially bright and fell directly on the territory of these lands, more precisely – in the mines of the Blinkwood village. A small asteroid has a strange magical power – it clouds the minds of living beings. And the longer these creatures roam within its range, the more they lose control over their thoughts. Gradually, their only goal becomes to protect this Sky Stone from the external influence at any cost, even at the cost of their own lives. Initially, the heroes do not know what exactly caused the madness and where it is located, but the scraps of information here and there may hint to them what is really happening.
CAUSES OF THE FALL OF THE SKY STONE
|1||The inhabitants disturbed the tomb of an ancient god trying to invade this world. The Sky Stone is a piece of its power, which will give it loyal servants until the Stone’s influence spreads deeper.|
|2||The Sky Stone is a part of an ancient ritual performed by powerful sorcerers that cursed these lands. Now the world is in danger.|
|3||The Sky Stone was called by a mysterious order that intends to use its power for its own purposes. The order’s watchers do not know the exact location of the Stone, but their connections will allow them to learn the necessary information within a short time.|
|4||The Sky Stone has an unknown, extraterrestrial origin. Its powers are growing, but it needs protection for years to come, which is provided by subduing the minds of creatures.|
Walking along the narrow forest road to the east, the heroes will see a village from afar, widely scattered on a river fork. Houses and farms on the banks surround a central island, from which bridges and roads stretch to every corner of Blinkwood. A large wooden temple stands on the island.
Strange village. As they approach and look around, the heroes may notice some oddities in the village itself.
- One part of the village looks noticeably shabbier and older than the other. The farther you go north in Blinkwood, the worse the houses, streets, and roads. On the northernmost edge the farms have fallen apart and many of them have collapsed.
- The village still lives its life – people still walk the streets, but, for some reason, many walk with sickles, shovels, pitchforks, and even spears in their heads, as if preparing for an unexpected enemy that is about to appear. Some peasants gather in groups and patrol the streets, while others seem to be preparing to defend the village – collecting the wood for barricades, gathering supplies and carrying them somewhere, stocking up on hand made weapons and shields.
- The temple on the island in the center of the village looks like a defensive unit – the windows are boarded up, the area is fenced off, and the bridges are either collapsed or blocked with furniture. The locals don’t try to walk through the barricades, but walk around them in a circle, looking suspiciously at the temple island.
Cursed residents. The villagers, who are mostly peasants, behave strangely. It is as if they do not understand what they are doing and why.
- The peasants on the northern side of the settlement (where the Sky Stone fell) have changed the most – they are the most dedicated to protecting the site of the fall and will do anything for it. They command the others, organizing the distribution of equipment and weapons, leading the works on raising the fences, and fortifying the houses and streets to meet the outsiders. What sets them apart from the rest is their lack of the need to sleep, their aggressiveness, and their excessive strength and stamina, allowing them to feel little or no pain and fight longer.
- The minds of the peasants from the west of Blinkwood are clouded. They either wander around as if they had no idea where they are, or obey the residents from the north side. They are passive and do not intend to attack the strangers for no particular reason as long as they do not touch their property or enter forbidden territories.
- There are also those who retained the ability to think among the inhabitants. The cursed peasants call them «rats» who hide in the corners. They hide in the temple building on the island, not letting anyone get too close.
- Not only the villagers can be dangerous to the heroes – dangerous animals, creatures that have fallen under the influence of the Sky Stone also come out into the streets. The residents do not see them as danger and do not notice them. The monsters will not be too soft on the strangers like villagers, attacking the heroes on sight.
- The inhabitants of Blinkwood can generally tolerate strangers on their lands as if trying not to arouse much suspicion among them. As long as the wanderers do not go where they are not allowed to, do not try to learn anything about the curse or the strangeness of these places, their presence is tolerated even by the residents from the north. But even their patience may come to an end. If they realize that the heroes have stayed in the village for too long, going where they shouldn’t go and doing whatever they want, their patience will break and they will start the hunt.
1. THE WEST ENTRY
The main road that leads to the village is nestled between the hills and forests. The path to the village is blocked by logs and stacked furniture. Beside it, there are the watchmen, who do not allow the wanderers go further without a reason. Behind them, there is an unfinished, half-broken palisade..
West post. The post of the watchmen is located to the south of the entry. They sleep, watch the road and surroundings, store essential equipment there. Particular attention is paid to the «rats» from the central island.
Abandoned farms. Several houses are located to the north of the entry. Though people still live there, the farm animals have died long ago and the fields have withered away without care. Now, in the awful stench of decaying cattle bodies, lumberjacks stay there, stacking firewood, tools, and simple weapons for the village’s needs.
Empty stalls and small warehouses suggest that this used to be a marketplace where goods from neighboring farms were brought. Now the locals bring some of the tools and supplies needed for daily use here.
Below the destroyed bridge, there are fishing shacks – the locals still catch fish from the river to feed themselves and create the necessary stock.
3. THE ISLAND WITH THE TEMPLE
It is a small island with a large wooden temple to the local gods. The bridges to the island are either destroyed or barricaded with furniture.
Rats. A small group of people, called «rats» by the «cursed ones,» are hiding in the local temple. Surrounded by hostile neighbors, friends, and relatives, they try to find a way to save the villagers from the curse before it is too late.
They will tell everything they know about Blinkwood, about a strange bright flash during the starfall, and how it strangely affected the villagers. They don’t remember exactly what happened, and their time and resources are running out – they are exhausted, they have almost no energy to help the heroes in their quest.
Means of protection. With prayers, rituals, and potions, the people here keep their minds sober, but even this doesn’t save them from strange voices in their heads, hallucinations, and malaise. Sometimes they have to fight off particularly annoying and aggressive cursed villagers, who try to sneak into the temple territory and burn it down at night. The quantity of such people among the locals grows every day.
EVENTS ON THE ISLAND OF TEMPLE
|1||The cursed ones organize a night raid, trying to get across the river to get rid of the «rats» from the island forever.|
|2||The cursed are going to fire at the temple from the shore with flaming arrows, wanting to burn it down.|
|3||The peasants are going to break through the barriers and destroy the gate of the temple where the «rats» are hiding.|
|4||A large group of peasants gather on the bridge and march to the temple to talk to the «rats.» They declare an ultimatum – either everyone in the temple goes with them to the Sky Stone and accepts its power, or they will come to them at night with iron and fire.|
4. VILLAGE STREETS
Dilapidated houses of the peasants stand close to each other, almost along one road skirting the village. The closer the heroes get to the northern part of the settlement, the uglier and more ruined scene around them and the more aggressive and suspicious the residents. Some of them openly provoke, confront the heroes, and the longer the heroes stay in the village, the more the villagers suspect that they are looking for something.
EVENTS ON THE STREETS
|1||A group of cursed ones gathered near one of the houses, armed with pitchforks and spears. One of the «rats» which should be killed hides in the house.|
|2||Several of the same cursed men constantly meet the heroes in different parts of the village. They watch the heroes, trying to find out their plans and intentions.|
|3||An aggressive cursed man does not let the heroes go further, provoking them to fight.|
|4||A pack of predators goes towards the heroes from the far end of the street, ignoring the peasants.|
|5||A guard of cursed peasants from the north is going to patrol the streets throughout the day. Even ordinary citizens fear them, hiding in their homes.|
|6||A group of wealthy merchants, who know nothing about the village, arrives in Blinkwood. The cursed are going to lure them deep into the village and rob them.|
5. THE OLD OBSERVATORY
On a hill in the northeast corner of the village, there is an old building that served ancient civilizations as an observatory. Its walls had withstood not only the years with harsh winters and endless rains but also the fall of the Sky Stone.
Old sage. A scientist who, back in the old days, studied strange places and phenomena, for which he has declared a madman, lives in the observatory. At the end of his life, he decided to prove, above all to himself, that at least one of his main guesses could be true. And it turned to be so. Now the wise man has to hide in the observatory, surrounded by prepared supplies. He will give the heroes the help they need in solving the mystery of what has happened and will even tell the heroes how to break the curse and destroy the Sky Stone.
Main warehouse. The search for the sage is complicated by the fact that the observatory premises now serve as a warehouse for the cursed ones, where they bring everything they need for long-term survival. It is also where the main fighters of the villagers are stationed.
6. THE OLD MINES
These are the old, ramshackle mines into which the daredevils used to go down for jewels, but seldom got out of them.
Dangerous labyrinth. The walls that are about to collapse form long corridors with abandoned premises, still hiding ancient secrets and treasures of fallen civilizations. As the one gets deeper and deeper, strange energy, like heat and cold at the same time, piercing the body can be felt.
Place of the fall. This is where the Sky Stone fell, and the place of its fall has been turned into an altar for worship. As if not knowing how to appease the extraterrestrial artifact, the locals worship it as an unknown god, bringing forest food, performing sacrifices, and praying all day long. All for the sake of the stone, giving them the strength to protect themselves.
At any cost. The mine and the dungeon with the Stone are well guarded not only by humans but also by forest creatures and monsters who have fallen under the Stone’s influence. They see no danger in each other because they have a common task: to prevent the strangers from gaining access to the Sky Stone.
At any cost.