Friday, September 23, 2011

Adventure 16 - The Hole

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

A peculiar book shows up in the city, with hints referring to amazing eldritch secrets beneath a crumbling estate outside of the city.

An NPC patron is looking for some retainers to accompany him to a nearby ruined mansion.  The NPC, a book collector and chaser of rare knowledge, has recently come to own a most peculiar journal after trolling the market.  The book describes an underground shaft that provides ingress into the fairy realm, beyond which the author experienced myriad delights and learned many arcane secrets after passing through to the Fairy Otherworld.  The journal alludes to him passing into an immortality.

After reading the book, the patron is ready to see this for himself, and only wishes for adventurers to help with gear and guard his way (Hah!  The party gets to be retainers!).

Outside the city is an overgrown estate, fallen into disrepair; in the cellar is a raised circular slab, covering a hole in the floor - a deep vertical shaft.  The instructions indicated the possessor of the book needed to descend down the shaft (in the dark) in order to cross over into the Fey realm.

A fragrant smell of spring flowers wafts up from below.

The journal is a cursed artifact; the text's ancient secrets, rumors of immortality, and descriptions of the Fairy Otherworld are intriguing, but anyone reading the book must furthermore make a Save vs Spells or become obsessed with entering the Otherworld (treat like a Geas).

The shaft isn't a passage into the Otherworld, but it is the entrance to a lair of horrible Meenlocks*.  They generate the fragrant odors, and use their telepathy to convince the victim he's crossing over.  Of course, the horrible cries coming from the shaft might belie that perception.  Perhaps the journal didn't completely lie; those that are forced to join the Meenlocks live together with them in the dark, forever.

The cursed journal always seems to find it's way back into the world, ensuring another victim arrives to join the Meenlocks in their underground realm.

Although the shaft emanates evil, the patron is convinced he'll be okay.  This is a good chance for him to describe the descent, his excitement, his sensations, the welcoming telepathic thoughts, and then the horror when he gets yanked into a side shaft by the Meenlocks and borne off into the darkness.  Then it all goes silent.

Did he leave the book behind?  Does anyone else dare to read it?  Do they venture down the narrow shaft to try and find the entrance to the lair?

Good times.

Locale:  A dilapidated mansion and cellar
NPCs:  the too curious Patron
Monsters:  Meenlocks!
Artifacts:  The cursed journal

*Meenlocks:  Meenlocks appeared in the Fiend Folio, and I made a post on them previously:  Mythic Monday, The Meenlock.  They appeared in the original Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, and also in the recent remake (where it's intimated they might be dark faries).  That gave me the idea for this short adventure.


  1. Very cool adventure! I like this one a lot, especially having the PCs being the retainers.

  2. meenlocks were among my favorite critters from the Fiend Folio. Funny, I never made the connection between them and the original "Don't be afraid of the dark" before, yet I loved that movie. I can sure see it now, though. Good adventure seed!

  3. Hey Beedo,

    I've put an "I Survived the osr Challenge" image on my blog for you to put up at the end of the Challenge.

  4. Nice job blending The Lurking Fear with fairy lore and getting Meenlocks into things at the same time. That book-plus-monster combo is wonderful, and extremely well-done from a DM/GM's perspective.