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.
GHOST TOWN ADVENTURE
When traveling in foreign lands, always listen to the advice of the locals and follow it. If it is necessary to throw a coin under your feet before entering the forest, not to look back at night, and to appease the local spirits with cheerful songs – do it. Even if it seems like a big silly thing to do and the locals invented it to make fun of travelers, you shouldn’t bet your life on it. You never know the way of the supreme forces.
During their adventure, the heroes will encounter another tale. There is a cursed place on a wide stone road that should be bypassed by a forest path. This place is an old town whose inhabitants disappeared from the face of the earth in just one morning. Any traveler who is about to pass near the town will be given a hundred tips from the locals about not stopping on the bypass road, not responding to cries and pleas for help, and not even believing their eyes. Because the disappeared inhabitants of the cursed town will do anything to lure in another victim.
But what really happened in the cursed town?
The heroes might just be passing through and hear a story about the Ghost Town in some tavern, or find the mysterious place on their way. But to keep them from running out of town at first trouble, it’s better to find a stronger motivation.
GOAL OF THE HEROES IN GHOST TOWN
|1||An influential merchant of the local guild will do the heroes absolutely any favor if they help him find her only son. He went on business to the Ghost Town on the very day its inhabitants disappeared.|
|2||A local baron is ready to pay a large amount of gold to those who will rid the empty town of ghosts. Otherwise, the merchants will continue bypassing his lands.|
|3||Extremely strong magical forces accumulate around the town as if someone or something was gathering them together.|
|4||A loyal ally of the heroes went on an important mission by this road and disappeared in these lands.|
|5||A fugitive criminal sought for interrogation by the heroes lay low in the mysterious town with the remnants of his gang.|
|6||Strange energy radiating from the town has attracted monsters, which have set up a huge lair in the Tower.|
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The disappearance of people in the town has escalated a lot of conflicts and old grudges. The heroes are unlikely to get away with just one mission – in the course of the adventure, they will have to take someone else’s side to move forward. The locals are not used to doing nothing – they will certainly act within their interests, getting in the way of the heroes and complicating their lives.
Do not let the heroes relax – friendship with some residents will certainly lead to conflicts with others.
PROBLEMS AROUND THE GHOST TOWN
|1||The tavern owner spreads rumors about a witch who lives on the edge of the town. He heard her cursing the elder of the Town, and the next day the elder and the other residents disappeared. Now it’s difficult for the accused woman to go out on the street, as disgruntled relatives of the missing people are waiting for her.|
|2||The elder of one of the neighboring villages believes he knows how to solve the problem and put everything back in its place. He gathers people to be sent to the Ghost Town for performing a bloody ritual. The journey is dangerous. In addition, some of the villagers oppose it, believing that it will anger their gods.|
|3||After the disappearance of the town inhabitants, the status of the baron of the local lands has seriously faltered – his ambitions are running down and dissatisfaction of his surrounding is growing. He learns of a plot being prepared against him if he fails to act, so he plans to send a group of his warriors to the Ghost Town as soon as possible. And he knows for sure – there will be at least one of the plotters in this group. The baron needs the name.|
|4||After the famous sheriff disappeared from town, the number of robberies in the area increased dramatically. The bandits have felt the taste of freedom and will not tolerate a chance for the sheriff’s return from the Ghost Town.|
|5||The day before the disappearance, a druid from the Ghost Town finally created a potion that cures a strange disease of the locals. Rumors of the cure have reached both the locals, eager to get it and cure their sick relatives, and the cunning merchant. He will pay generously to those who bring the cure to him for further study. The merchant wants to learn the recipe, which would allow him to start his own production of medicine and sell it to the locals at inflated prices.|
|6||An agent of the king arrived to the local lands with a secret purpose. He asks the locals about one of the old inhabitants of the vanished town, a craftsman widely known for his kindness and generosity. The king wants to take him to the capital for execution. When he was very young he robbed the king’s family estate. After half a century, the lord of these lands, having finally learned the criminal’s name, wants to do justice, even if the thief has since been engaged only in good deeds.|
After walking through wild forests and fields, the heroes find themselves in the Town, a small settlement built on the ruins of a strange place of a forgotten civilization. From afar, it is hard to tell what exactly is wrong here. And only as the heroes get closer, they gradually notice the silence that is not inherent in such places. Not only the town is silent, but also everything that surrounds it.
AROUND THE TOWN
Ghost Town is built right around a big ancient tower, the walls of which are at least a thousand years old. Now the tower divides the Town into several areas.
Buried tower. This is a magnificent building of unknown purpose. Who knows what it was intended for: maybe it used to show the way for the lost travelers, or maybe it served as a place for prayers and rituals. The old stone roads lead in all four directions from the tower, and this is what made this area interesting for the first settlers.
Market square and temple. Close to the tower, at the crossroads, there is a market square where the locals distribute their wealth among each other. A temple, a valuable structure for the locals, is located right on the square. Here they pay homage to their gods in the form of gold – for the sake of a rich harvest, fertile land, and wealthy travelers.
Farm fields. Wide meadows have bestowed fertile soil upon the locals, causing more and more farmers and merchants to flock here. Were it not for the disappearance, the town would have had every chance of being the capital of these lands in a dozen years.
Tall houses. The elder and his large family nestled on the hill, away from the tower and especially from the stench of cattle. Behind a fence, the head of the settlement welcomes dear guests, holds a court, and gives commands.
Artisan’s bank. Near the bank of the local river, a dynasty of artisans has settled down. Anticipating the rapid growth of the town and its advantageous location on the trade routes, they moved their entire household here. The influx of workers created more and more demand, meaning that the artisans became richer and were able to displace the local nobility and take over the control of the town. Unless they cut each other’s throats in the process. Provided, of course, someone brings them back from the darkness in which they found themselves one ill-fated morning.
No one knows what really happened on the day of the disappearance. Merchants and settlers from faraway lands who came to the town simply did not find a single living being in the entire town – as if everyone was doing their own business and vanished a second later.
Hallucinations. As soon as the locals learned of what had happened, a wave of rumors about strange voices and shadows that had spread through the local forests swept through the lands. Calls for help, terrifying screams, and unknown silhouettes haunting travelers – this all made the residents of the neighboring villages think of the curse.
Exploration. Trying to solve the mystery of the disappearance, expeditions of grief-stricken relatives of the disappeared people, dubious heroes who fancied themselves rescuers, and even groups of druids and sorcerers who saw a terrible omen in what had happened began to set out to the Ghost Town. No group ever returned from the cursed town.
Culprit. Who is to blame for the disappearance of the entire town? Whoever it was, he had to work up the courage to descend into the dungeon of the Tower to activate the magical ritual that sent the inhabitants to another reality. To a world where all the people had disappeared and only they remained.
CULPRITS OF THE DISAPPEARANCE
|1||An ordinary little boy, resented by his family and, it seems, by the whole town. One day, escaping from mockery, he wanders into the depths of the Tower that seems to let him in. After reaching the darkest corner of the dungeon, finding himself in a tomb of the Old God, he prays for one thing only: for the entire town to disappear.|
|2||An old sorcerer searching for places of magical power. Recognizing a magical structure in the Tower, he immediately went inside to investigate it. The sorcerer disturbed the forces lurking in the tower abysses, thereby initiating the disappearance of the town around it.|
|3||A group of explorers resting in the town could not resist exploring the tower from within. Once trapped, they had no choice but to advance deeper and deeper into the hands of an ancient deity. It enslaved the survived explorers, feeding on their life forces and making plans to further capture these lands and then the whole world.|
|4||Worshippers of the ancient gods turned their attention to the half-buried structure. Once they got inside the tower, they spent months performing rituals and praying to their fallen patrons. In the end, the gods took pity on them, giving them great power, but depriving them of humanity in return. And the town’s disappearance was only the first step in their terrible plan.|
Stalking shadows. An empty town is not a place only for looters and wild animals. Some of the stories are true – shadows of the vanished inhabitants do roam the streets of the settlement. Their intentions are unknown, they strike terror into the hearts of the travelers, and they may even hinder their progress – blocking their way, pushing them, throwing things. They protect what once belonged to them – their homes, their household, their belongings. But if the heroes try to make friends with the shadows, showing their good intentions – they can become their allies.
Let the heroes know exactly what happened here – scatter the records of the locals about what was happening, make the voices of some shadows hearable, create characters who, for some reason, have not disappeared and are still hiding in the Town. And be sure to reward the heroes for their curiosity.
The Town is not quite what are you looking for? Check these featured items or the SETTLEMENTS category.
While searching for clues, the heroes will certainly find themselves in front of the ancient tower, fenced in by the local elder for the safety of the inhabitants. Whatever has happened to the town, whoever was to blame for the disappearances – all the answers are inside the tower.
Blocked entrance. Entering the tower can be quite a challenge. If the heroes refuse to explore the town around and want to go straight inside the tower, the GM can magically lock its gates, forcing the group to search for the key, or even put it together.
Uninvited guests. While stories of terrible screams and shadows have frightened the locals, the Tower and the empty town have attracted the attention of other inhabitants of these lands. Who hides in the tower? Bandits? Plunderers? Monsters? It is up to the GM to decide.
Crypt. The key to the mystery of the disappearances lies deep inside the tower, in the old dungeon. Depending on the stories you choose, the heroes can face anything – a battle with a strong magician who mastered the secrets of the ancient sanctuary; solving the puzzle, offering to build a chain of events that took place in the town, and name the one who wished the disappearance of the whole settlement; or an ancient artifact that has already fulfilled someone’s wish and wiped out the residents from the world, now waiting to grant the new wish to the heroes.
Choose what you like, arm yourself with the right map versions, and create your unique adventure!
Want to extend the journey and continue at some Dungeon? Check these featured items or the DUNGEONS category.