Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adventure 17 - The Silent Brothers

Continuing the series of September short (horror themed) adventures...

PLACEMENT
A small monastery near a remote mountain village.

SETTING THE SCENE
This is a "hookless" location that could be dropped into any hex crawl type map; a squalid little mountain village, less than a dozen small wooden cabins, huddles near the pass.  Higher up the mountain, a small stone monastery overlooks the village.  The poor villagers have no lodgings for travelers, and indicate the monks of the Silent Brotherhood, in the overlooking monastery, welcome all weary travelers.  They just need to go speak to the abbot.

If the characters visit the monastery, the doors are open and the place is well kept; a couple of monks are seen in their brown cassocks performing menial chores; they gesture towards the refectory (and also indicate their vows of silence).

The monastery has a simple layout; a walled compound, a small chapel, and a refectory for meals, sleeping quarters, and some offices.  A monk in the dimly lit refectory will nod in a welcoming manner and point the way towards the abbot's office.

WHAT'S GOING ON
The order is fallen into corruption and none of the monks are alive; they are all Huecuvas.  The Huecuva is a minor undead creature from the Fiend Folio, which can polymorph self; the monks appear as they did in life during the day, and at night walk the grounds as hungry dead, teeth clacking in their jaws.

The villagers have learned that if they direct travelers to the monastery, not only do the Huecuvas leave them alone, but a bundle of belongings, gear, and minor treasures is delivered to theclearing in the center of the village that night.  If too many months pass without the Huecuvas receiving an "offering", villagers go missing.  For this reason, they'll be very eager for any travelers to visit the monastery.

RESOLUTIONS
If the characters proceed to visit the Abbot, monks silently stream into the refectory from the grounds as well as from the living quarters adjacent to the refectory.; the characters will feel the presence of the monks behind them, waiting, while the hooded abbot finishes writing something on a scroll.  A suitably creepy image might be for the abbot to drop his hood, revealing the bared teeth and skeletal head of an undead monster, and then the gathered monks reveal their true forms as well.  There should be 10 or so Huecuvas.

There are tons of ways clever and paranoid players can avoid the monk trap; detecting the lies of the villagers (perhaps through ESP); detect evil at the monastery; noticing strange discolored stains on the refectory floor (which might be blood, or explained away as mud).  Perhaps the chapel has some flies buzzing outside; no longer used for it's original worship, the desecrated space is an ossuary for the bones of the Huecuva's  many victims.

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Locale:  a remote mountain village and monastery
NPCs:  deceitful villagers
Monsters:  Huecuvas
Artifacts:  na