A community forgotten:
Gressfall is a forsaken village in Oakmist woods, abandoned some hundred and twenty years ago; party members might learn of its existence from the forest sprites at the water harvester, or discussions with locals. There are rumours that an outbreak of plague spelled the end for the inhabitants, and even woodsmen tend to give it a wide birth.
The village was founded only forty years before it was lost; North Oakmist has since spread up around the area, so what little remains will be heavily overgrown.
Oakmist woods are half a day east of Black Mesa, and live up to their name – thick rolling fog permeates the mass of oak trees. The ground is heavy with ferns and humus, and the woodland is deathly silent; one hears no birds, nor sees any tracks.
Depending on the mood and flow, the party could be ambushed by bears defending their young.
Arrival at the ruins:
After travelling a while, the party make their way into an area with a small group of dilapidated wooden buildings. Rusty, rotten tools and furniture form the majority of what little remains. Upon investigating the area, Perception check (DC 12) for PCs hearing twigs snapping, and a dragging noise.
Four adult and one child-sized skeleton move in around the party; the former with scythes, the latter dragging a hoe. Perception-check (DC15) to notice gemstones cut into the skeletons’ larger bones (Tibia, Pelvis, etc); casting Detect Magic will cause the gemstones to glow. Skeleton statistics card at the bottom of this entry.
The gems are of little monetary value, and are a means of magically controlling the skeletons. Whether or not that means the creatures won’t have the usual undead vulnerabilities (channel good, et cetera) is up to the GM…
Looking around the periphery, a small stone church is surrounded by a low iron fence, the gates of which hang loosely from their posts. Several of the graves surrounding the building appear disturbed, with earth pushed aside and some headstones sunken; examination might indicate that the holes were dug from beneath, rather than above. A more in depth investigation would reveal small tunnels leading from the base of the grave, barely large enough for a prone person to traverse.
Should the party do the unforeseen and insane, such as crawl head-first down said tunnel (mine did), consider using the Elemental’s Grotto from the Sinkhole Investigation quest.
The church itself seems undisturbed and intact; large wooden double doors creak open with a bit of encouragement. Red light streams through the large stained glass window, illuminating a single column of pews, and a prominent lectern. Amongst various religious texts and sheets, the only artefacts of note are a silver candelabrum and a child’s doll. The doll is heavier than expected, and tearing it open reveals a small pouch of gold (63 pieces). A steep spiral staircase leads to the bell tower, containing nothing beyond the suspended bronze mass. From this vantage point, a tunnel or mine entrance can be spotted at the village outskirts.
The mine opening slopes gently down into the surrounding earth, spanning about 30 metres before stopping at a large stone disc. Creeping out from around the stonework for several metres are thin tendrils, emitting a faint green glow. The disc is heavily inscribed with sigils, but a thin band around the circumference contains elven script; if translated, the text reads:
‘Strike the earth, sunder the stone, shatter the sky. The seal of the watcher wards our transgressions.’
The cover-stone will react to Detect Magic; to breach the disc, consider a Disable Device/Arcane Knowledge skill roll of DC15. If successful, it could be determined that scratching away aspects of the central runes would render them inert. If unsuccessful, the runes will glow, and the stone will crack before exploding inward. DC10 Agility or Acrobatics roll to avoid 1d6 damage.
The stone disc marks the entrance to Amoenthas, a sealed elven complex.