Love Forlorn

The relentlessly self-promoting  troubadour Blackhawk has penned dozen of ballads immortalizing his romantic adventures. While the music and names change, the plot is almost always the same: poet meets lady, poet charms lady, poet is tragically pulled away by wanderlust leaving the lady to fondly dream of him. It’s as much fiction as hubris and the bard sometimes leaves collateral damage behind.

Several years ago, Blackhawk charmed the daughter of a prominent merchant in Thistlehold. The timing was terrible (a mere month before an arranged wedding to the first son of a business rival) and when rumors of his their tryst got out, the potential alliance was shattered. As always, Blackhawk was long gone before things hit the fan. Held responsible for the fallout and no longer considered a viable bride, the daughter was ostracized and put out to make her own way. Unfortunately for Blackhawk, she is no longer the naïve maiden he charmed. She is smart, utterly ruthless, and has bartered with darkness to gain the power to right the wrongs done to her.  Blackhawk’s ego could mean the end of him and the PCs.


While in Thistlehold, Blackhawk approaches the PCs either because he’s previously met them or has heard of them by reputation. He is looking for a discreet escort into Davokar where a noble woman of means he met years ago seeks to reunite with him at her lodge. Having suffered a downward turn of fate lately, the woman’s letter couldn’t have come at a better time. He’s anxious for any opportunity to get back on his feet and is visibly excited. The next ballad is ready to be written.

Blackhawk promises a modest sum for each PC and describes the trip as a mere two days journey into Bright Davokar along a well-traveled road to an Inn called “The Lonely Raven.” He will pay for their protection to the location, during his visit, and back. A hand-drawn map (on perfumed paper, no less) is shared. Once terms are agreed upon, Blackhawk asks the PCs meet him in Toad’s Square the next morning.

A Confrontation in Toad’s Square

Blackhawk meets the PCs as promised and seems nervous unlike the previous evening. He attempts to mask it with humor and encourages the PCs to hurry up. A few moments later, a test of Vigilance -2 reveals a group of men (numbering PC +2) entering the square looking for someone.

Blackhawk had been paid to perform at a private gathering the night before but he suspected it was a trap and decided not to show.  The thugs have orders to bring Blackhawk unharmed (or lightly harmed) to their employer but have no restrictions on what is to be done with any of his allies. They will back off immediately if authorities take notice.

When asked why the men are looking for him, Blackhawk explains he failed to allow someone who “fails to appreciate the intricacies of satire” to murder him for a imagined slight. After all, it’s not his fault some people are stupid and uneducated boors.

Entering Davokar

As the PCs follow the well-trodden path into Davokar, the slim trees flanking them flutter with small slips of paper. Initially, the notes are prayers for missing friends and family who didn’t return from Davokar but the notes soon give way to bounties on missing employees and later to hardened criminals or beasts. The notes stop after the canopy of the trees begins to shade the pathway and the PCs are left with the sounds of the forest.

The map Blackhawk produced is sub-par. Navigation using it is imparts a penalty (Vigilance -1).

Attack in the Night

During the first night, a group of Thugs from Thistlehold (PCs+2) stealthily approach the PC’s camp. Their intention is to kill the PCs and take Blackhawk.  They flee if half their number is killed or incapacitated.

Other Encounters

If the GM desires, a list of suggested encounters can be found in the Core Book p 184 and Monster Codex p181.

The Lonely Raven

The Lonely Raven Lodge is a two-story log construction designed along the lines of a barbarian longhouse. It is located several hundred yards from the road in a small valley near a slow moving stream. The compound includes a small stable, an external kitchen, a smokehouse, a workshop, and is ringed with a low mud and stone wall. The scent of roasting meat and charcoal is faint in the air. The structure appears somewhat rundown but Blackhawk is unperturbed – he describes the locale as “discreet” and believes it’s the perfect place to reunite with his former paramour.

The Lodge is run by a small family consisting of two adults, four children, and two helpers. The three guards are sellswords hired by the Lady.

A man in leather armor armed with a crossbow sits on the wall near the front gate and rings a bell loudly when the PCs are spotted.  Two additional men quickly join him. He hails the PCs, asking for their reason for being there. Once answered, he identifies himself as Ranel, an attendant of Lady Galens, and says they are expected.

Ranel directs the PCs to the longhouse and says the lady is indisposed but he will inform her that “her” troubadour has arrived.

Once the PCs move on to the longhouse or stable, he releases a raven with a message telling his employer the guests have arrived.

The Lady, the Sorceress

Milena Galens has spent years thinking about how all of Blackhawk’s honeyed words were lies and how he callously destroyed her life and all prospects of a comfortable future. Forced to leave Thistlehold, she survived amongst the lowborn in any way she could – common laborer, charcoal collector, even a camp follower. Eventually, she found work as a cook and pack bearer for an expedition into Davokar where her fate changed. When the party was destroyed by a necromage, the creature sensed her darkness and saw opportunity. It offered to help her get the vengeance she desired in return for service and she eagerly accepted.


The family running the lodge gives the PCs quarters in the common room of the longhouse while Blackhawk is shown to a private suite on the upper floor.

If the family is asked about the Lady, they speak highly of her generosity and great beauty. If pressed, they admit to having never met her.

The sellswords rotate (one at the gate at all times) and are open to conversation if not sleeping. If asked, they were hired in Thistlehold two weeks ago to act as guards. The PCs are the first people they’ve seen in a week.

Night Falls

As dusk falls, the Lady has still not arrived and Blackhawk takes to nervous pacing. He wonders aloud if something foul may have befallen her.

Last Meal

A hearty meal with ample drink is served, compliments of the Lady and this somewhat diminishes Blackhawk’s muttering.  

Note: The drink is strong and the meal is hearty. It is reasonable to impose action penalties for any PCs that over indulge. At least one of the off duty sellswords drinks himself into a snoring slumber.

The Lady’s Vengeance

A few hours before midnight, the sellsword at the gate rings the bell announcing an arrival. The bell then begins to ring frantically and the sound is cut off by a loud scream and a roar. Something (the bell or maybe the sellsword) hits the side of the lodge.

As part of her pact, the Lady can direct a Primal Blight Beast and has drawn one to the inn. The beast easily breaches the low wall and attacks the longhouse with the intent to kill everyone inside. Unless stopped, it will batter its way through the structure inside five minutes and tear Blackhawk limb from limb. It will pursue the bard over all other targets.

The Lady Arrives

As the creature attacks the longhouse, the Lady can be seen just outside the breached wall. Her face (permanently scarred with blight marks) is concealed behind a painted mask and she’s clad in a formal silk gown. She will act to defend herself but doesn’t engage directly unless it looks like the beast is about to be defeated; if this occurs, she prioritizes Blackhawk over other targets.


Several options

1.The Thistlehold thugs might not have given up. A reinforced group (use thugs plus sellswords) could arrive before the blight beast attacks to try to kidnap Blackhawk and/or lay siege to the compound.

2. If the Primal Blight Beast isn’t a challenge for the PCs, add additional blighted creatures.

3. If needed, the sellswords could be ordered to attack the PCs.

4. If the Lady is about to be defeated, the Necromage might intervene to save her.

5. If the Lady and Blackhawk survive, the PCs have made a dangerous enemy.

NPC Stats

Thugs from Thistlehold (PCs +2)

Manner: Bold in a group, cowardly alone

Race: Human (Ambrian)

Resistance: Ordinary

Traits: Contacts (criminal)

Accurate 7 (+3), Cunning 13 (-3), Discreet 11 (-1), Persuasive 9 (+1), Quick 15 (-5), Resolute 5 (+5), Strong 10 (0), Vigilant 10 (0)

Abilities: Cheap Shot (adept), Knife Play (adept)

Boons/ Burdens: None

Weapons: Sword 5, Dagger 3 (short, 2 attacks at same target), crossbow 5

Armor: Leather 2

Defense: -3

Toughness: 10, Pain Threshold: 5

Equiipment: 1D4 shillings

Shadow: Red-striped like scratched brass (Corruption: 0)

The Lady’s Sellswords (3)

The mercenaries are professional and skilled. Each is a veteran fighter with no scruples.

Manner: Stoic, bored

Race: Human (Ambrian)

Resistance: Ordinary

Traits: Bushcraft

Accurate 13 (-3), Cunning 10 (0), Discreet 7 (+3), Persuasive 9 (+1), Quick 11 (-1), Resolute 10 (0), Strong 15 (-5), Vigilant 5 (+5)

Abilities: Iron Fist (novice), Man-at-arms (novice), Shield Fighter (adept)

Boons/ Burdens: Enduring March

Weapons: Sword 5, crossbow 5

Armor: Chain Mail 4

Defense: 0 (shield)

Toughness: 15, Pain Threshold: 8

Equiipment: 1D4 shillings

Shadow: Dull grey with specs of black or green (corruption: 1)

The Family

Stats are likely unneeded. They’ll die quickly if the Blight Beast targets them

Milena Galens, Sorceress

Driven entirely by a desire to see the bard dead, Milena is a relentless enemy

Manner: Vengeful, patient

Race: Human (Ambrian)

Resistance: Strong

Traits: Bushcraft

Accurate 10 (0), Cunning 15 (-5), Discreet 5 (+5), Persuasive 10 (0), Quick 7 (+3), Resolute 15 (-5), Strong 9 (+1), Vigilant 11 (-1)

Abilities: Alchemy (master), Curse (master), Entangling vines (master), Exceptionally cunning (adept), Natural Warrior (adept), Nature’s embrace (master), ritualist (master familiar, nature’s lullaby, quick growth, turn weather, witch circle), Witchcraft (master)

Boons/ Burdens: None


Armor: Witch gown (2)

Defense:  +3

Toughness: 9, Pain Threshold: 4

Equipment: trophies, various potions

Shadow: Dark bronze with streaks of black (corruption 5)

Blight Beast

The creature exists to kill and loosely follows commands from the sorceress

Manner: Hungry, raging

Race: Abomination

Resistance: Strong

Traits: Acidic Blood (II), Armored (III), Natural Weapon (III), Robust (III)

Accurate 7 (+3), Cunning 10 (0), Discreet 7 (+3), Persuasive 5 (+5), Quick 13 (-3), Resolute 11 (-1), Strong 15 (-5), Vigilant 9 (+1)

Abilities: Iron Fist (adept)

Boons/ Burdens: N/A

Weapons; Claws (11, long), +1D6 in temporary corruption

Armor: Blight hardened flesh 8  

Defense:  +1

Toughness: 15, Pain Threshold: 8

Equipment: N/A

Shadow: Deepest black (thoroughly corrupt)


The necromage will only intervenes to save the sorceress. She has no value if she’s dead.

Manner: Aloof, efficient

Race: Spirit

Resistance: Challenging

Traits: Alternative Damage (III), Spirt Form (III), Terrify (II)

Accurate 10 (+0), Cunning 9 (-1), Discreet 11 (-1), Persuasive 5 (+5), Quick 13 (-3), Resolute 15 (-5), Strong 7 (+3), Vigilant 10 (01)

Abilities: Mystical power (Bend will, adept)

Boons/ Burdens: N/A

Weapons: Wraith Claws (5, ignores armor, damages Resolute)

Armor: None. Only mystical powers and magical weapons can harm (1/2 damage)

Defense:  +3

Toughness: 10 Pain Threshold: N/A

Equipment: None

Shadow: Dark Gray (thoroughly corrupt)