After defeating Damron, the priest of Vecna, your party decided to follow up on the news that Captain Auliver had brought about a sudden and dramatic increase in wolf attacks in and around the village of Scarring Green. After nearly a day’s trek back to the village, your party was invited to spend the night at the Gerard manor house—a great honor, since none of your party are members of the aristocarcy (more on that later . . .). Upon waking and being served breakfast (!) by servants (!) (except Arb, of course), you were offered another boon: Lady Gerard’s steward—Jonadab Markul— averring that Lady Gerard did not possess much wealth to dispense to you, offered access instead to the estate stores: as such, each of you can choose 30 gp worth of goods from the “Adventuring Items,” “Weapons,” and/or table from the PHB. After spending some time in the morning with Jonadab, you soon realized that he was most comfortable speaking to Bng and Lo Blo—he looked with disdainful glances at Drake, and seemed unsure weather or not even to address Arb. Eventually, you were given audience with Lady Gerard herself, who was gracious to all party members, but seemed to prefer speaking to Bng. She made it clear that, while no one had yet been killed by the wolf attacks, these added to the burdens of the goblin war to the north and the recent zombie attacks could hardly be borne by the people of her land. She wanted the party members to know that while she could not promise much immediate remuneration for the time being, she might be able to offer a “living” (that is, a permanent position) within the Gerard household—or a good recommendation to another noble house. Moreover, she had this advice for your to start: consult Arvana, a mysterious druidess who makes her home in a grotto a half-day’s journey into the wilderness north of Scarring Green. Arvana usually stays aloof from the village, although she wanders into it at planting time without fail to bless the sowing of the crops. She could not be counted on to “deal with” the wolf problem head on, but would no doubt have some useful advice on the subject. Taking the baroness’s advice, the party followed the directions to the druidess’ grotto, and discovered that “mysterious” really meant “eccentric.” The party first had to contend with a talking tree who served as “guardian” over the grotto. This actually turned out to be a neat trick of ventriloquism performed by Xub (that’s pronounced “Chub”), Arvana’s brownie companion. Arvana herself was a middle-aged woman with graying blond hair who was wearing a bright blue robe and a very (very) wide-brimmed straw hat. After a series of odd questions (including one directed at Arb asking him if he enjoyed strawberries), she revealed the following facts: the wolves would not be attacking the villagers themselves unless they were scared, or lost, or both. She suspects that the wolves were forced out of their home territory by . . . something; her magic does not reveal to her what it was. She says she would not be surprised if it was some sort of humanoid interference, though. She suggests that the party needs to find out where the wolves came from and lure them back to their home; but before that, you may have to eliminate whatever problem drove the wolves from their lairs in the first place . . . .
The party set out to try to track back the wolf pack to their original lair, but were thrown off initially by Roger’s insistence that wolves liked to den in the boles of tree trunks. Fortunately, while Arb and Roger had a confusing, consonant-filled argument about lupine-arborial relations, Drake picked up the wolves old tracks and just followed them backwards. This led the party to a cave set atop a hill that overlook the Old Mountain Road which leads from Helmsdale to the city of Nicopolis, seat of the powerful Count Varnjas. Here, once again, Drake saved the party’s skin by successfully sneaking up to mouth of the cave to reveal its secrets: it was closely guarded by a pair of human bandits. Indeed, after fighting their way, the party quickly discovered that the wolves had been using the outside cave as a den, but that it in fact communicated with a relatively large underground warren that had been commandeered by a whole troop of bandits who were plaguing the Old Mountain Road. The ensuing combat with the bandits was fierce, as success was touch-and-go: Drake and Roger were able to connect with a number of attacks, but Arb’s mighty swings had a hard time striking true against the agile bandits. Moreover, Arb was hindered by the presence of two priests of some secretive sect, who seemed to focus all of their magic, as well as a squadron of skeletal minions, on him. It was only after a lengthy battle that you party won the day; you managed to take two of the bandits prisoner, and upon questioning it was revealed that their band was just one of many that was flourishing in the area. The chivalry of Count Varnjas and other nobles of the region, who would normally be patrolling these roads, had been long occupied in the Goblin Wars to the north. As news of the increasing lawlessness of the region spread, it attracted all manner of undesirable folk, including the priests who fought with the bandits. These belonged to a sect that worshipped the demi-god Pelagion, a long-forgotten deity who, in life, devoted his existence to establishing the supremacy of humanity over all other races. The bandits were simply happy to have the magical assistance of the priests, but as they understand it, the sect of Pelagion seeks to eradicate all non-human races from civilization in the land of Herodis.
The Wrap Up Drake, Arb, and Roger each get 500 XP for successfully completing the challenge. Drake has lost two more healing surges (for a total deficit of 4); Roger has lost one more (for a total of 2); and Arb has lost two more (for a total of two). Your party also receives the following treasure: 90 gp, 100sp, gravespawn potion, cloak of resistance+1, dagger+1. Information on magic items is as follows:
Gravespawn PotionLevel 5 This deep purple, putrescent liquid fends off diseases and poisons. Potion 50 gp Power (Consumable): Minor Action. Drink this potion and spend a healing surge. You do not regain hit points as normal. Instead, gain resist 5 necrotic and resist 5 poison until the end of the encounter. You also gain a +5 power bonus to your next Endurance check against any disease of level 5 or lower.
Cloak of Resistance +1 (520 GP) Item Slot: Neck Enhancement: Fortitude, Reflex, and Will Power (Daily): Minor Action. Gain resist 5 to all damage until the start of your next turn.
Dagger +1 (360 GP) Just a simple dagger +1, but note: “Any magic light thrown or heavy thrown weapon automatically returns to its wielder’s hand after a ranged attack with the weapon is resolved.”