While browsing the lively marketplace, the crowd’s attention seems to be drawn to the well in the center of the square. The dwarf there is quite stout, even for a dwarf, and seems to be pleading with the people around him in the square. He is obviously distraught, but does not seem to be begging – he is wearing the clothes of a craftsman and they seem in fine repair. If you did not know better, you might think the barrel chested dwarf was on the verge of tears. The simple patrons of the market do their best to carry on with their business, but you find yourselves drawn to the dwarf inexplicably. As the crowd disperses towards the vendors of the market, the dwarf falls to his knees, his chin and thick forked beard rest on his chest. Your curiosity gets the better of you and you approach him, asking after him.
“It… it’s my daughter,” he lets out in a rush. “She’s been missing since yesterday afternoon. I… I was so focused on working my forge I did not notice she wasn’t about until it was time to prepare dinner. Her favorite place to play was always at the Bogblurn farm, but now it’s forbidden.”
“A few months ago, missus Bogblurn went missing, and old man Bogblurn went a little… crazy. Then, a few weeks ago, he up and disappeared too, and neither of them have been seen since. The townsfolk say the old Bogblurn place is haunted, and I’m worried my daughter has gone back to her old playground. My name is Hendel, Hendel Ironforge – is there any way you can help me? I would be greatly indebted to you if you could return my daughter to me. Her name is Kesta, she is but 11 years old. She has brown hair like mine, and she doesn’t go anywhere without her little dog dolly Boldis – her mother – gave her before she died of the fever. I would go with you, but my old war injury to my leg makes me no good in a pinch.”
“Thank you! When you return with news, I will be in the forge just over yonder.”
As you gather yourselves for the journey, the stout dwarf heads back to his forge, noticeably lighter in step. A wizened old man you had not noticed before rises from his seat on the edge of the well and approaches the group. He wears simple robes and carries a long wooden staff; he has the look of someone who has traveled far and seen much. “The farm isn’t haunted, you know. But there are other dangers to be found there.” The robed figure mumbles to himself and returns to his seat near the well. When asked what he meant about the other dangers, he simply says that he has heard of a small group of men coming and going from that area. When asked about Bogblurn, he tells of him fighting in the border wars with his son, and that he lost his son in that war.
The abandoned farm
You follow the road north out of town, and before long encounter the remains of the farm. From the road, you can see a large barn immediately in front of you with a shed on its right side. To the left of the barn separated by 30 feet is the burned out shell of a home. Between the two buildings is a low fence and an overgrown garden of some kind. The whole area seems unkempt, and feels uninhabited for some time.
- Farmhouse: Obviously burned out some time ago, the house shows no sign of life. Searching shows footprints and signs of looting. When searching the wreckage, they also found a book of local history.
- Entry to the Barn: The entry to the barn is 20’ wide and in the middle of the 30’ wall. The left door hangs haphazardly, from one strained hinge. The right hand door has given up and fallen away from the building. Outside light partially penetrates into the barn, but all you can see from here is dust and old hay. It smells of decay and misuse.
- Shed: As you explore the outside of the barn, you come across a small shed attached to the outside. It stands 10’ out from the barn, and is only 15’ wide. In the center of the 15’ wall is a closed wooden door, if checked, the door is locked. Inside the shed is lined with shelves with various well-used farm implements. Searching locates two locked chests in the corner. Inside one is MW Leather Armor, the other MW Scale Mail.
- Cellar: Further exploration of outside of the barn reveals cellar doors leading down into the barn, barred from the inside. Searching reveals tracks leading away from the cellar that lead to a back road.
- Barn 1st floor, main room: As your eyes adjust to the lighting from the bright sunlight to the dim room, you make out the dusty floor and old straw strewn about and squeaking coming from the darkness. Immediately on your right is a set of stairs leading down. You can see three stalls on the backside of the barn, but it is too dark to make out what is in them. Immediately on your left is a ladder leading up, followed by shelves with various farm implements and supplies, with various sacks and refuse underneath the shelves. The ceiling is 15’ above, with cobwebs draped between the rafters. As the party begins to explore the room, 8 rats attack out of the shadows. They found some bags of heavy ore under the shelves, obivously valuable, but difficult to carry.
*Barn 1st floor, left stall: Opening the stall doors, you find nothing but old straw. The cracks in the planks of the barn walls show the dust motes floating through the air.
- Barn 1st floor, center stall: The center stall doors are missing. Inside has been swept bare some time ago, only dust remains.
- Barn 1st floor, right stall: Listening reveals soft rustling and grunting coming from this stall. Opening the doors reveals a pack mule eating contentedly in a clean stall. There is fresh hay on the ground, a trough of clean water and the stall is free from dust. Successfully handling this animal allows the party to rummage about in the mule’s saddlebags containing various gems. They then recruited the mule to carry their heavy ore.
- Barn 2nd floor: When you reach the top of the ladder you can see the large front doors space and a 15’ drop to the ground. On the backside of the barn, is a smaller door 10’ wide that is closed, but when opened, reveals 15’ drop and the cellar entry down and to the left. Looking up, the party can see rafters filled with cobwebs. The floor of the room is filled with lumps of old hay. Sacks line the walls, apparently feed. When exploring the room, weasels came from the shadows to attack the party. More heavy ore was located along the wall, the party added it to the mule’s load.
- Barn basement, main room: Descending the stairs causes you to make contacts with cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. At the base of the stairs, you find many shelves stocked with dusty food stuffs. A spider attacks from the ceiling but was not spotted (spider got one free attack). Continuing around this space reveals more shelves and barrels all of which contain food items, although a good chunk of it is spoiled. Listening reveals groaning coming from small storage room straight ahead. Spot check reveals faint light coming from under the door to the large storage room to your left.
- Barn basement, storage room small: (Listening hears groaning through door) As you push open the door, you hear grunting and groaning. The door is blocked, and will only open partway. Along the side of the room are shelves lined with various goods. Ahead (15’ into the room), you see a female being of decayed flesh trying to reach you, but something is holding it in place. A good spot check (failed by party!) reveals a loose board, if stepped on, the other end pops up and strikes the shelves causing their heavy contents to fall. Some of the contents are coming towards the person who stepped on the board, who if fails to dodge takes 1d6 damage. Other heavy items also fall and break the restraining chain on zombie, which attacks. Afterwards, the door is found to be blocked by the body of a man, his wrists slit open, a dagger still glints in his hand. The body is in good shape – apparently the presence of the zombie kept scavengers away. Searching finds gold and a MW Dagger – with crusted blood upon it.
- Barn basement, storage room large: Opening the door you see a clean room with wooden walls, with stairs leading to some cellar doors in the back left. You see a small wooden table, various chairs and supplies. But more important, by the light of the four torches in this room, you see (3?) four men dressed in identical, but ill-fitting, blue and yellow tabards who immediately attack the party (If breaking through the cellar from outside, don’t forget extra attacks the party incurs). If the trap was triggered in the adjacent small storage room, they are alerted to your presence:
- The small table in the room has been flipped over, which the crossbowman fires from behind getting partial cover.
- One of the short sword users hides near the doorway. Once one of the warriors dies, one drops the crossbow and flees up and out the cellar doors, barring the door behind him. In the post-battle carnage, you locate a MW Light Crossbow and a child’s dog doll. Additionally, searching locates some monies.
A father in waiting This sad farmstead seems to have lost its mistress to the bite of a zombie and old man Bogblurn apparently chained her in the store room in hopes of her recovery. When it was obvious that was not possible, he could not bear the loss of both his son and his wife and took his own life. But more pressing, Kesta was obviously kept here for a time – but why this place and where she is now remain a mystery yet to be solved.
If all monsters have been slain, and the mule recruited, all treasure can easily be left with. If the mule is slain, perform load checks with the party to make sure they can carry their loot away.
The party arrives back in Ryndanhaven, tired and worse for the wear. While they have physical rewards from their excursion, they did not accomplish what they set out to do. Approaching the town square, they find the same old man sitting at the well, watching them before they even notice his presence. He nods to the party, and gestures towards Hendel’s forge. Your steps become heavy, the weight of your failure hard to bear. When you enter the forge, your demeanor is readily apparent to Hendel, despite the absence of Kesta. His hopeful face falls, and he limps towards the party. “Tell me what happened” he says, as he eyes your damaged armor and wounds. You relate your story and he sits heavily on a stool. “So that’s what happened to old Bogblurn –it’s a shame, he was a good man. Kesta really loved his wife, was like a grandmother to her,” he says, staring at her doll in his hands and idly running his thumb over it. “Clearly, all is not lost – there was no body to be found and those men had to come from somewhere. I wonder if anyone around would know that uniform?” he wonders out loud. He slowly rises from his stool and makes his way to a private room off the shop, obviously wanting to be alone.
“Now what?” you ask each other as you file out of the shop, closing the door behind you. Your question is immediately answered by the robed old man, “The blue and yellow tabards are from the House of Rillash, a minor noble. I’m Niac Drakced, come and take rooms at the Wayfarer’s Rest – Batrim will take good care of you. We will talk more in the morning after you resupply and rest.”