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Trouble at the Monastery
SummaryAfter being foully murdered and tossed out into the blizzard to die, the Abbot's vengeful shade returned as an Ice Spectre and took his revenge on his brethren. The former abbot has taken his fill of the 10 monks who betrayed him and is a formidable foe.
The local landholder, Sir Cuthhull ( a name often somewhat intentionally mispronounced by the servants of the grumpy old bastard), asks the PCs to investigate an isolated mountain monastery as there has been no word from them for over six months. The monks are certainly not overly social but, and one suspects this may be his main concern, they have not even made their thrice yearly brandy delivery to his holdings.
He asks them to go have a look as ' It's terrible cold in them mountains, and I'm afeared for them......and, uh, see about that delivery too, while you're there.'
Key to the MonasteryThe path to the monastery leads through rich farmland and light woods. These are patrolled roads and it is unlikely that the PCs will be attacked on them.
Ascending, the air grows slowly colder and the wind stronger until they are battling a blizzard and finding it hard to see where they are going, eventually just when they are feeling frost-bite setting in they see the stone walls of the monastery before them.
1. The courtyard
Past the outer gate the crevasse widens, forming a small courtyard sheltered from the wind. For ears deadened by the roar of the storm the sudden quiet is eerie. In the centre of the yard sits a small stone ringed well and next to it, half covered by snow, is a little bench. Across the yard from the gate a flight of stairs leads up to a stout wooden gate in the mountainside.
Anyone wiping the snow off the pond will find it filled with frozen water. A dark shape is trapped beneath the ice, but unless the water is somehow thawed out it will not be possible to make out any details. The shape is the frozen corpse of a young man dressed in a monk's habit, with an expression of intense horror on his frozen face.
The gate to the monastery is unlocked but jammed with ice. A combined Strength of 20 opens it without damaging it.
Ground floorAll the rooms on this floor are unlit and have no windows. Most of the rooms have steel sconces with torches that can be lit to provide light.
2. Bottom of the Stairwell (EL 1)
This is the room forms the bottom floor of a high-ceilinged room. A set of spiral stairs leads to the second floor of the monastery. The floor of the hall of made of rough tiled stones that have been worn smooth by time and wear.
Two low archways lead north and west, and a stout wooden gate leads outside to the south. Hidden in a shadowy recess on the eastern wall, a small door leads east. If the characters have left one of the doors to the outside open there should be just enough light to glimpse the features mentioned in the description.
3. Hall of the SaintsDark alcoves line the walls, five in all. Each alcove holds an image of a saint, and small clay bowls have been left at their feet for offerings.
Pious characters may recognise them as Saint Thomas, Saint Othus, Saint Lucius, Saint Brendan and Saint Rathmus.
Pagan characters may be somewhat bemused to hear that the heavily bearded, one-eyed Saint Othus hails from northern lands and is regarded as Patron Saint of the Battlefield.
This was where the monks received pilgrims, and several straw mats are stacked in a corner of the room. The idols are made of wood and cracked by moisture and frost.
4. KitchenTwo large ovens are nested in the walls. Tables covered with pots and eating utensils line the walls and a large through fills the centre of the room. The trough is filled with frozen water and a few clay plates are visible through the ice. Two narrow flights of stairs lead up and down from this room.
This used to be the monastery's kitchen. Hidden in a cupboard beneath the stairs leading up are several pots of oil. The oil will not burn on its own except in extreme heat, but if poured on an existing fire it burns quite well. It can also be used as improvised lanterns if a wick of cloth is dipped in the jars. There are 8 sealed jars each containing a quart of oil.
5. Refectory (EL 1)A large wooden table fills most of this room. Several chairs once lined the table, but it seems there has been some sort of struggle here, for now all the chairs are scattered on the floor. The table is still set for dinner with ten clay plates but there is no food on the table and a thin layer of white frost covers everything.
Two skeletons dressed in ragged robes are sprawled on the floor beneath the debris.
6. PatioOn the eastern side of the monastery is a wide patio. To the south a sharp drop leads to the courtyard in front of the monastery.
The patio is covered in drifts of snow. The full force of the storm can be felt here and anyone standing to close to the edge of the patio risk being swept of by the wind.
BasementLike the ground floor the rooms here are unlit. The walls are rough and hewn from the rock of the mountain. The ceiling is low (5'5"), and characters that have to duck to stand up or wield large weapons that need headspace (most large weapons except pole arms) suffer a -2 situational modifier to their attack rolls in the these rooms.
7. The Furnace (EL 1)A great stone forge dominates this room. Bronze pipes lead from the forge and disappear into the ceiling. The doors of the forge are open but no fire burns within. Piles of coal fill the corners of this room.
If lit, the furnace will heat the monastery to approximately 15C, over a period of one hour. To keep the fire lit someone must spend fifteen minutes every four hours shovelling coal into the furnace. The heat is very uncomfortable for the former abbot and he will try to douse the fires when he materializes before going after the characters. He will attack anyone standing in his way and a break down doors on the way from the study to the furnace. While the heat is on, the Ice Spectre suffers a -2 penalty to its AF and to hit rolls. The heat will also thaw frozen objects in the monastery and cause long frozen organic materials to begin decomposing. The GM should modify descriptive texts to reflect this.
Half submerged beneath a pile of coal lays the corpse of one of the monks. When the haunt started killing the monks he hid here thinking he would be safe. Obviously he was mistaken.
8. Store roomLarge barrels and sacks of supplies are stacked to the ceiling in this room dividing it into narrow corridors between the aisles. The musty smell is very prevalent in here ...
This room contained the monastery's supplies of foodstuffs and clothes. A cursory search will reveal extra robes, sacks of grain, barrels of salted meats and fish, torches, sheets of canvas and robes. There are also bags of flour and salt, but the moisture has turned the contents into solid blocks.
Searching will reveal: Three steel meat hooks big enough to carry an entire ox carcass, 50 sheets of fine paper or 100 sheets of parchment and a large supply of writing ink and pens.
9. DistilleryPiles of barrels and a large still dominate this room along with frozen sacks of grain and other less identifiable ingredients.
Three of the barrels are full of brandy and it will burn extremely fiercely, especially if paired with the oil from the kitchen.......of course these three barrels are worth a great deal to Sir Cuthhull.
A blaze involving the contents of the barrels and one or more containers of oil will be equivalent to a Firestorm spell.
First floorLike the ground floor the rooms here are unlit but many of the rooms have shuttered windows that can be opened to let in light (... and snow).
10. The libraryPiles of snow cover the floor of what must once have been a library the shutters of the windows in this room must have been blown open by the wind. Several tables are visible above the snow and pieces of parchment poke out in some places. In the northeast corner of the room near a door, a crumbled shape is leaning against the wall. Clutched in its hand his an unlit torch held out almost like one would hold out a holy symbol to ward of evil. The well-preserved face of the corpse is fixed in a hideous rictus of fear and hatred.
The corpse is the earthly remains of the abbot's second in command, Xavier, who was the last to die at the hands of the vengeful spirit. On that night he covered the floor of the library with oil soaked sheets of parchment and waited for the vengeful spirit. The abbot came for him at the stroke of midnight and would probably have perished in the flames if fate had not chosen that exact moment for a gust of wind to throw open the shutters and extinguish the monk's torch.
The pieces sticking out of the snow in places are blank and slightly greasy to the touch. The shelves along the walls contain thousands of scrolls but all have been rendered illegible by water damage.
11. The librarian's room (EL ½)Shelves line the walls of this room and a small table sits in the western end of the room. A robed figure is slouched across the table. Dried garlic is strewn around the table in a semicircle.
The figure is that of the brother librarian who mistakenly took the vengeful spirit of the abbot to be a vampire. On the table before lays a bottle of fried dried ink, a pen and a half finished prayer. The parchment is damaged by moisture and written in a shaky hand
Treasure. This room contains several ledgers and rare books all illegible because of moisture. One thing is to be gained from studying them however. A successful Intelligence roll will reveal one of several logs that a book or scroll was taken from or returned to the library by "Abbot Alastair". Of the books borrowed by the former abbot, many seem to be of an occult nature.
12. Xavier's roomThis was once the room of someone important in the monastery. Although Spartan, the furniture of the room is obviously of a good quality, and the cold floor is covered with carpets to keep out the cold. Beside the bed alcove a small table holds a few pieces of parchment and an oil lamp.
The parchments seem to be pages of a diary written in a forceful hand. Only the last page has survived in a legible state (see Appendix 2).
Treasure. A small locked drawer in the table (hardness 5, hit points 10) holds a 20 florins and a ring of keys. The keys fit various unlocked doors in the building. One, a small silver key, unlocks the doors to room 18.
13. The meditation room (EL 1)The door to this room has been barricaded from the inside, but to no avail. The remnants of the door hang off twisted hinges and the contents of the room have been torn to shreds. Two corpses lie in twisted position indicating multiple bone fractures. Shredded straw mats cover the floor of the room.
This was the last stand of the monks mentioned in the librarian's prayer. All the meditation in the world couldn't prepare for this death.
Treasure. A small brass bell worth 6 florins lies in the wreckage on the floor and can be found either by searching or by a successful Perception check.
14. Cloak roomThis is a small room with two doors. Pegs on the walls hold several robes in both brown and black, and several pairs of slippers have been left on the floor.
This room is fully unremarkable. Cruel DM's will therefore put the players on edge by having the door opposite the one they enter slowly creak shut.
Treasure. One of the black robes has a small key in its pocket that fits the locked drawer in room 12.
15. Top of the Stairwell (EL [el])
This room is dominated by a flight of spiral stairs leading down to the hall below. The stair has a carved banister depicting some sort of snake winding its way down.
16. Workroom (EL 1)This room looks like it was a workshop of sorts. A large loom stands in one corner while a workbench and several wood working tools fill the other part of the room. Four bony figures are sprawled on the floor. Three of them would seem to have gone down fighting while the last skeleton is crumbled in a corner grinning merrily at it's dead friends.
There is nothing of value in the room. The evidence suggests that the monks here were surprised and killed after a short but brutal fight. There are tools and wood supplies enough here for characters with a lust for carpentry.
Second floorThis is the top floor. The roofs of these rooms are sloped. Near the east and west walls the roof is so low that a grown man must crouch, and in the centre two men, one standing on the others shoulders could not reach the ceiling. There are no windows on this floor so characters must have their own means of seeing.
17. Antechamber (EL 4)This is a large mostly barren room with a staircase emerging in the middle. Two doors on either side of the stairs are plain and unadorned.
18. The abbot's study (EL 4)This is a large room with a sloped roof like the antechamber. The southern wall of the room is occupied with an uncomfortable looking bed in carved mahogany. Several tables stacked high with papers adorn the various corners of the room. The fireplace has been filled with snow and a deathly cold fills the room. Outside the full fury of the storm have turned its attention on the puny walls of the monastery.
This was the abbot's study and this is where he materializes . As soon as he materializes he instinctively knows if someone has entered his abode.
The Abbot. In his undead form he appears as a tall, emaciated man dressed in the rags of a monk's habit. His withered flesh is the colour of snow and black veins are visible through the translucent skin. His fingers end in ragged nails and sparse chipped teeth fill his mouth. His eyes are empty sockets with two blue pinpricks of malevolent light at their bottom.
The abbot is very strong from feasting and most parties are going to be slaughtered wholesale unless they wise up and use fire. Clues to this can be found with a little research (room 12) or trial and error (lighting the forge).
If anyone calls him by his name (Alastair) he freezes up. This makes him act only at the end of that round when he must roll initiative again. This only works once no matter what the characters say.
Ice Spectre ( for stats see DW Bestiary)
The Abbot has ( 65 hp).
Tactics. The abbot fights with silent fury. If at all possible he sneaks up on lone victims and dispatch them. His only fear is fire, which he avoids at all costs. Death has not been kind to the abbot's once impressive powers of intellect and he is quite likely to walk into traps except if they involve going near large fires.
Treasure. A stout ironbound chest holds the monastery's combined funds of gold. All told the chest contains 400 florins in mixed coinage.
The greatest treasure in the room is quite anonymous. There are two chests containing clothes. One contains a fine black monk's habit with carved slippers.
The other contains ordinary clothes at first glance, but has at its bottom a neatly folded hooded grey cloak. This is an Elven Cloak and woven on the soft inside of the cape are words in the elvish language identifying the cloak as a gift from "The Horned Prince". The cloak is quite distinctive and should the wearer ever meet "The Horned Prince" or any of his people, he will learn how the elves treat those who murder and rob their devoted friends .....the story of how an esteemed and god-fearing abbot came to acquire such a fae item may take some investigating but that is for another time....
Development. If the characters manage to defeat the spectre in ordinary battle it simply returns the next year at mid-winter, fully healed, and they should only get half the amount of experience. To end the undead abbot's unlife he must be killed or finished off with fire.
19. The Parapet (EL 5)You can see your house from here!
There are no windows or doors lead out here and no sane person would want to climb unto the roof in a blizzard.
This room is only keyed because it's listed on the map.
Concluding the adventureThe best way to survive the scenario is to make a trap for the abbot that exposes him to fire. Tough characters can also simply pummel the Ice Spectre to a pulp but this doesn't put the dead to rest permanently.
If the characters defeat the abbot with fire and put his cursed soul to rest the abbey suddenly fills with a strange sense of quiet. Sir Cuthhull will pay handsomely ( 80 florins) if his brandy is delivered safely as well.
Appendix 1 - The librarian's prayerLord God, thou who watches over the hearts of men. Look in mercy upon our accursed monastery in this our hour of need! For we are beset by a nameless evil against which there seems no defence. It comes in the night and kills without discrimination. Only four of us remain now. Brother Cook and Brother Apothecary have retreated to the meditation room and seem resigned to death. Only brother [brother is scratched out] abbot Xavier still works feverishly on a solution. I, Lord God, put my fate in your hands and repent my sins in the name of St. Cuthbert who once walked like us in the lands of men. I ren -
- He comes!
Appendix 2 - The diary[The date is about the same time as the players live in, but one year ago.]
I know him for who he is ... God have mercy on my soul, for it is I who have brought this curse upon our house. Thus it is up to me to save us ... those who are still alive ... whether it is the light or the heat of it he fears I know not, but my trap shall give him plenty of both tonight.
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