The adventure takes place in Molso in summer, a solitary village at a sweltering moor (for example the marshes in New Beretor).
Molso is a little Ambrian settlement (14 families, farmers, fishermen, basket weaver, peat-cutter, one priest). The village located short way into the marsh is accessible on timber track ways. After an exhausting journey the players and the troubadour Blackhawk are staying at the settlement as guests of the friendly inhabitants.
Next morning a child reports breathless, that at one point in the bog an old planked footway appeard on the surface out of the mud. Nobody knows where this path is leading. The villagers asking the players, to explore the way, because they are busy organising a summer festival for the evening (musical part by Blackhawk).
The weather is humid and hot, putrid smell and sound of annoying insects fill the air. The child is guiding the adventures to the beginning of the way. The planks are slippery, partially rotten and sometimes floating on the surface. Players should prove their dexterity on the way [Quick]. They follow the path for over an hour to the northeast through muggy and sticky moorland.
Finally the way ends. There the wooden way transforms into a landing stage leading to the middle of a circular pond. Two timeworn wooden poles tower upright the sky next to the planks at the shore. As soon as the players are coming near this place a plant creature assembled from all parts of the bog is attacking.
After victory over the enemy the players can have a look around [Vigilant].
Characters with Bushcraft can detect by the weathering, that the wooden installations are quite old (surely many centuries), but the overgrowing vegetation is only about a dozen years old. The place is so quiet you can’t hear any animals at all. Words spoken echoing over the calm face of the pond. Looking at the surface, you can see only your own reflection in front of the mossy dark green of the pond (the game-master should remember, who’s looking into the pond, if possible everyone should).
Both wooden poles are decorated all over with carvings and remains of flaking red paint. They can spot barbarian runes and abstract illustrations of spiders and axes. Also the rotten planks of the landing stage leading over the water are covered with carvings.
[Loremaster / barbarian Cunning] The signs refer to Oroke, the spider queen, worshiped by many barbarians as Lady of punishment, law and death. Both poles once carried a beam together are noted as Gate of Justice and the landing stage as Path of Justice.
I should become obvious, that this is a barbarian place of execution, where the bound condemned were drowned in the bog.
Apart from an oppressive feeling there’s nothing else to find and they can go back to the village.
The villagers are thankfull for the informations, prohibit children playing there and invite you to the feast. It becomes a joyfull evening. While watching the dancers the player with the best result [Vigilant] can see himself in the crowd but with dark empty eye sockets. After some moments he loses sight. Nobody apart from him can see this appearance. While the feast is proceeding, everyone who looked into the pond, sees himself the same way.
After a while one of the players [lowest dice roll] can see himself speaking with one of his comrades. It seems that he is physically there and the comrad isn’t noticing the weird eyes. The observer has to make a [Resolut]-check minus 4. If he fails, he runs away driven by nameless fear. If his comrad hasn’t seen the observer, he doesn’t notice anything. Every in-the-pond-looker spots his lookalike during the evening, which can’t be identified without previous suspicion [Vigilant -2]. Everybody spotting himself has to make a [Resolut]-check minus 4 and run away if failing.
The doubles behave like normal humans taking part in the feast. Confronted or revealed as fake, they will insist being the original. The doubles are especially upset, furious and aggressive against their originals. It’s the job of the players to convince the villagers that they are the originals [Persuasive] and the others are the phonies.
This can lead to a fight or the players are arresting the doubles, which are vehemently resisting. Are the doubles defeated by force, they crumble to bits of swampy dirt.
History of the village
For a long time members of the Jezora-Clan were living at this place. Some people were sentenced to death and drowned in the bog many centuries ago. As it turned out later they were innocent. To calm down their restless souls and give them a kind of live back, the clansmen and the witches were performing periodic rituals. They went to the pond, bringing food, drinks and stories about the events in the village for the ghosts, who were manifesting for the ritual in an available shape and then return to the pond. So they made the deceased pleased by being part of their life and community again.
After the Ambrian conquest most Jezora-villagers were killed or went away. This way the rituals weren’t performed anymore and the ghosts became restless again.
Ghosts – Lifecatcher
Every ghosts has the feeling being cheated out of its life. Therefore they are on the search for a new life constantly. Through the rituals of the witches was no need of this, because they were integrated in the social life, but now they are free and willing to find themselves a life. They take the shape of any person looking into the pond (abstract masks protect). They claim his life and feel a deep anger against the original, who from their point of view is withholding them a life again.
At the beginning the ghost is only visible to the original. Later it is manifesting and trying to take part in the social life of the village. Social interaction is more important to it than actions against its original. But if the original endangers its new life, it has no hesitation attacking the original. While every other person is seeing the ghost as normal person, the original is seeing his double with hollow eye sockets, giving him the thrill.
When a manifestation is killed, it crumbles to swampy dirt. The ghost goes back to the pond and with the rise of the sun he’s rising again (morning greetings).
Skills and abilities are corresponding with the original, but they have a Toughness of 5 (weapons and equipment are copied, too).
Lifecatcher have this monstrous traits: Terrify (I, special: the original gets a minus 4), Manifestation (II, special: using an alien shape corresponding to the persons reflection on the water; with that a mystical bond is established between the original and the copy; a ghost can have just one bond). Shadow: like the pond; Corruption: 0.
Oroke’s Eye is the old ritual place and place of execution of the barbarian settlement. The place is protected with a variation of a witch circle, that keeps ghost within (old, not fully functioning any more). Through the echo of old rituals like Blood Bond or Familiar the pond can create bonds between people’s reflecting faces and the ghosts.
The witches also protected this place with a guardian. It is a monstrous being assembling itself from the swamp, attacking and driving away intruders. Use for that Living Thorns, wild (Monster Codex p65).
Information about the history of the village can be found
- by decifering the poles at Oroke’s Eye.
- in the tithe barn of the village – formally the gathering place of the clansmen. On the wooden beams and poles of the house are runes and drawings of the villages history and rituals. The carvings giving the Ambrian villagers the creeps wherefore no one is living in this house. It is just used as common barn. If the players are failing to understand [Cunning] Blackhawk can help them.
The game-master should prefer creative solutions of the players. Here are some proposals for solving the problem:
- destroying the double or casting Anathema. Warning: the bond is staying; next morning there will be the same problem.
- using a ritual: Break Link or Exorcism on the pond.
- reestablish the periodical rituals at the pond; convince the villagers [Persuasive].
- erecting wooden statues next to the ponds. You are tricking and occupy the ghosts making bonds with wooden faces.
- find and destroy the original body of a ghost.
- give them a Prios-pleasing burial.
- reflect the face of the original body in the pond. The sight of the corpse and this established bond end the struggle after death.
The local priest can help with Anathema, Exorcism with participation of the bound players at the pond, Heretic’s Trail (using the leftovers of a double or a mystical bond as material component). Just use this, when players are asking for.