Midnight-Howls in the Night

January 16, 2017 | Author: Barghus | Category: N/A
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Midnight D20 Adventure...


Secrets of Shadow

Howls in the Night

Product Tie-In: Honor and Shadow Author: Eric Olson (Kane) Illustrator: Fred Lipari (Dain) Editing: Tony Manero (Alwyn)

Adventure Background Almost forgotten in the desolate moors northwest of Bastion is a partially ruined keep that was home to Clan Garna before the fall of the Kingdom of Erenland. Clan Garna had a proud history defending the Fortress Wall, standing with House Dale during the harshest battles of the Second and Third Age. The once proud clan suffered greatly during the decline of the kingdom. In the closing years of the Third Age, the clan’s Mhors did whatever was necessary to survive. Rot took hold in the very heart of the clan as patrols turned a blind eye to orc movements through Garna territory in return for immunity from raids. The Mhors traded in flesh with goblin slavers and listened to the whispered promises of emissaries from the north. When Izrador finally unleashed his hordes, Clan Garna retreated to their keep and allowed their allies in House Dale to be slaughtered. Clan Garna did not escape the destruction of House Dale unscathed. The spirits of the dead cursed the clan’s lands, withering crops and sickening herds. Clansmen were driven mad, often striking out in murderous frenzy. The worst fate fell on the family of the Mhor. Few of his children survived childbirth, and those few who did were either physically deformed or mentally addled. In desperation, the Mhor turned to an ancient, dark Dorn ritual, brought from the frozen lands of lost Pelluria. To strengthen his children he merged the spirits of the great winter

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wolves into their deformed bodies. The ritual, cast at a great cost of innocent blood, strengthened the bodies of his children and instilled an animal’s cunning. However, the ritual was not a complete success, as some deformities remained. Furthermore, under nights of the full moon the spirits of the winter wolves would take control, turning his children into feral killers who lusted for blood and warm flesh. In 99 Last Age, little remains of Clan Garna. The late Mhor’s children have driven off or killed most of the clansmen. Only the most loyal or those too weak of limb or will to survive outside the keep remain. The Mhor’s children eagerly await the arrival of each full moon, hunting any and all who enter their lands. As the season turns with the Arc of Hamud, Clan Garna’s greatest hunt will begin.

Adventure Overview Howls in the Night is designed for 5th level characters of Dorn or Erenlander descent, but can be scaled to higher level or mixed-race parties. The adventure places the party in a position where cooperation with the Shadow will improve their chances of survival and help in removing the curse that lingers in Garna Keep. The adventure should last approximately four hours depending on how long you want to build the suspense. Combat should be limited until the final showdown with the Mhor and his sister.


Adventure Hooks Garna Keep is an area thought long pacified by the Shadow, and is well off the normal routes from the frozen North south to Bastion. The area is very lightly populated, as those members of House Dale who did not die fighting were taken as slaves or sacrificed to feed the Dark God’s corith. The party should not be native to the region or have much knowledge of its history. The following are potential reasons why the party could be traveling through this wasteland: -An important resistance courier has gone missing in the wilds northwest of Bastion. The courier was carrying vital information on the movement of orc war bands and an impending offensive against the Cendaran and other resistance groups near Steel Hill. The resistance needs to learn the fate of the courier and the information he was carrying. The courier was traveling just south of the Fortress Wall, and was last seen heading northwest from Bastion. -There are whispered rumors of Shadow patrols disappearing in the former House Dale territory near the Fortress Wall. Finding the reason for their disappearance (e.g., a new resistance group or rival Shadow faction) could be crucial to the survival of the remaining free Dorn in House Dale lands. -The players have been forced east by Shadow patrols hunting the party. Hoping to lose the patrols, the party heads east into the wastes and ends up facing an evil not of the Shadow’s making. -A symbol of great significance to House Dale, possibly a covenant weapon, was located near the Fortress Wall. The item was on its way southwest to the Redgards when its bearer disappeared. The item must be recovered to help rally the remaining House Dale clansmen and to prevent the item from being corrupted or destroyed by the Shadow.

Adventure Setup The party is aware that the Shadow is active in the region, as they come across fresh tracks of a large Shadow force of orc infantry accompanied by a dozen horses, probably a legate and his personal guard. The party is not familiar with the area, and even if they were Clan Garna is all but forgotten. The region has a few abandoned or destroyed


villages, and nature has completely reclaimed the former farmlands. The only permanent population in the region is the small cluster of hovels around Garna Keep.

Opening Scene “The year is turning and the first century of the Shadow’s dominion is coming to a close. It is late in Hamud to be so far north. Early winter’s frost hangs on the trees and turns the fields of sword grass brittle to the touch. With each breath, the chill air sears your lungs. To the north, dark storm clouds are gathering, promising heavy snowfall. The need to find shelter is becoming critical, and a fire, though a risk with Shadow patrols near, may be necessary to survive the upcoming storm. In the distance you hear the howls of wolves echo across the barren landscape. At first their howls appear to come only from the north, but as you struggle further on the howls grow louder and now also come from the south and west. The pack is starving; its normal prey, the mighty herds of elk and boro, having long since migrated south. You are now likely their quarry. As the first flakes of the coming storm start to fall, a dark shape forms on the horizon, a ruined keep with flickers of light barely visible shining through shuttered windows.”

By this point the party may/should believe that the wolves are herding the party toward the keep. Their suspicion is correct. The children of the late Mhor control an unusually large pack of wolves and use them like hunting dogs to drive prey into their waiting claws. The party has few options to survive both the storm and the pack of wolves. If the party hesitates and tries to avoid the keep the pack will close, and snarling wolves will block their path. Trying to fight a large pack of wolves in the approaching storm would likely be fatal to the party. While the party should rightfully believe that something evil awaits them inside the keep, at least it provides the promise of warmth and temporary shelter. At worst it provides a measure of defense against the wolves.

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Arrival at the Keep “The gate is closed when you arrive, but after frantic minutes of pounding and yelling for assistance a small postern opens. An aged Dorn clad in heavy furs looks over the party as if examining your worth and then motions for you to enter. Once inside the still-sturdy gate the worst effects of the wind are lessened, and you can almost feel the heat coming from the windows of the keep. As you walk across the courtyard you can see outbuildings in various states of disrepair, and a large stable that appears relatively intact, but empty.” Maintaining the keep is too much for the remaining members of Clan Garna. Buildings that see little use, like the smokehouse, are slowly falling into

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ruin. The stable sees occasional use from travelers and the very rare mounted Shadow patrol. The aged Dorn is Aelud (War4), the keep’s gatekeeper and sole guardsman. Aelud is the only member of the clan outside of the keep. He has been sent to escort visitors that his master has assured him will shortly be arriving. Aelud will remain near the gate as the party enters the keep. The old Dorn warrior is waiting for the Shadow patrol that should arrive in the next 2-3 hours. “The doors to the keep open, spilling bright light into the courtyard. Two elderly women greet the new arrivals with bowls of hot broth and show them to chairs near a roaring fire. The two women rarely speak, but the few words you hear are in a stilted form of old norther. As warmth slowly returns to your bones, a booming voice sounds a welcome


from the keep’s staircase. Turning toward the voice you see a tall and broad Dorn male, proudly wearing clan colors. As he visibly limps toward the party you notice a willowy girl hidden in the giant’s shadow. The girl seems to be a pale reflection of the giant, but a closer look shows a clear family resemblance. While the clansman appears animated and visibly happy to see his new guests, the girl looks frightened and withdrawn, as if she would spook at the slightest sound.” The two Dorn are the master and mistress of the keep, Loren and Larisa Garna, the two remaining children of the last Mhor of Clan Garna. The brother and sister easily fall into their well-rehearsed roles of congenial host and frail waif. They enjoy playing with their prey, spreading terror and false hope, before ripping out their victims’ hearts. Both brother and sister have embraced the spirit of the winter wolf, and believe that everyone else is either servant or prey. The two Garna siblings have little fear of the Shadow, having killed hundreds of the Dark God’s servants over the past twenty years, but they are not fools. They never leave a witness, and carefully dispose of the grisly remains of their victims. Loren Garna will extend the traditional courtesy of a clan lord, offering food and shelter until the storm has passed and the travelers can continue their journey. Larisa will try to remain out of her brother’s sight, quietly sizing up the party for potential “protectors” or dangerous foes. She will appear completely cowed by her brother. If the party is especially observant they will notice that Larisa seems to be afraid of her brother. If a party member


can get close to her, they may see bruising near her throat, almost as if someone had been choking her. The bruises are self inflicted and designed to make her appear a victim in need of protection. If Larisa notices that someone has seen her bruising, she will cover it with her hands and flee the room. Loren will question the party about where they are traveling and what clan they are from. His questions will seem innocent enough, and he will be careful not to pry enough to make the party suspicious. Loren wants to know if the party will be quickly missed or if they are part of a powerful clan. His smile will broaden if he hears they are travelers from a far distance who were driven off course due to the storm. He will exclaim that in these dark days, news and visitors from outside his clan hold are a rare pleasure. The party will be shown to simple but warm quarters by more of the keep’s elderly servants. Allow the players a Spot check (DC 15). If they succeed they will notice that with the exception of Loren and Larisa, all of the keep’s occupants are elderly. It’s late in the evening, so any children may already be asleep, but if so, where are their parents? If the servants are questioned they will respond that the younger clansmen are moving the herds south to better pasture for the winter and won’t return for at least an arc. The servants speak an archaic version of old norther, and while they can understand norther, they will pretend not to understand if the party’s questions become too probing.

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The Keep Garna Keep reflects the strength of House Dale in the Third Age. The walls are thick, dark stone that were able to withstand a siege, but not time and neglect. These once-strong walls are decaying, large cracks have formed, and ivy and weeds grow along and upon the crumbling stone. Only the gatehouse is more or less intact, with a well-weathered but sturdy gate. The outer walls, while in obvious disrepair, are still a barrier to beasts, but would not stand against an assault by men or orcs. In the yard of the keep, the decay is even more evident. It’s clear that the keep has not been well maintained in decades. Wooden stairs and fighting platforms are either long gone or riddled with rot. Buildings that once housed guardsmen, smiths, and fletchers are almost completely in ruins, with sagging or collapsed roofs and boarded-over windows and doors. Only the stable, with room for almost three dozen horses, is still fully functional. Aelud, the aging gatekeeper, lives in the loft and maintains a few stalls with fresh hay and water. The stable’s door is still sound and can be barred from the inside to provide some protection. Dominating the yard is the looming clan hold of House Garna, an ancient block keep built on the foundations of an even earlier Second Age stronghold. The original keep is almost perfectly square and anchors the southern wall of the fortress. The keep was expanded in the later part of the Third Age with two squat wings extending to the east and west of the original building. As with most House Dale fortifications, the keep is more a fortress than residence, with three-foot thick outer walls and only narrow arrow slits to provide interior light. A single door of iron-reinforced oak is the only entry. The interior of the main keep is less stark, with broad hearths in most rooms and intricately carved wood and stonework. Walls are of lighter stone and are adorned with clan crests, murals honoring the clan’s history, or tattered tapestries. Crude rugs or rush mats cover the floors to stave off the chill emanating from the stone, and prevent the sound of footsteps from echoing through the keep. The newer

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wings are far less elaborate, and were clearly built in an era where resources were scarce and function was more important than form. The two wings have rough stone walls and were designed to house servants (west wing) and clan guests or guardsmen (east wing). Most of the rooms in the east wing have been blocked off or simply abandoned. Now, with less than 30 clansmen in residence, the keep feels more like a tomb or a moldering monument to a past age. Like many of the strongholds near the Fortress Wall, Garna Keep was constructed to allow for sorties outside the walls and into the yard without compromising the security of the main gate or the door into the keep. Well hidden in the basement of the keep is a tunnel that leads to the ruined smithy, and from there outside the wall. The keep also holds another secret: there is a hidden passageway along the southern wall of the keep that allows the Garnas to observe and move unseen between rooms at the rear of the keep.

The Gathering Storm As the party warms themselves by the fire they can hear the wind whistling through the courtyard and sleet hitting the shuttered windows. The storm is in full force, and it’s as bad as the party had feared. When the wind finally relents, the only sound that breaks the silence is the howl of wolves. The pack is very close, and the party should be thankful for the protection of the walls. From the howls the party can tell that the pack is unusually large. If the party asks Loren or one of the servants about the wolves, they will claim that they have become a major problem over the past few years as the great herds of boro have been slaughtered to feed the orc armies. The clan has had to mount heavy guard on their remaining herds and move them much further south. The answers support the story that the younger members of the clan are escorting the herds south, leaving only the aged or infirm to maintain the keep. The howling wolves should make it clear to the party that trying to leave the keep in the middle of a storm would be fatal. The party will have to face the evil in the keep if they want to survive the night.


The Shadow’s Arrival Shortly after the party is settled into their rooms, they will hear a commotion in the entry hall: another group has arrived. As the party heads toward the hall, they will hear a guttural language easily identified as black tongue. Peering into the hall, the party will see a fist of heavily armed orcs, a handful of armored Dorn and two legates talking to Loren Garna. Loren is once again playing the congenial host, assuring the legates that their horses will be properly stabled, and room and food will be found for his guards. It appears that the legates have never been to Garna Keep, and like the party were driven here by the unnaturally fierce storm and a savage pack of wolves that killed two of their pack horses. At this point the party has a critical decision to make. Short of attacking a large, well-armed Shadow patrol, the players have three options: hide, pretend to be members of Clan Garna , or pose as warriors from another clan allied to the Shadow that took shelter from the storm in Garna Keep. To help the party decide, and to preserve the players for their hunt, Larisa will approach the party and assure them that her brother has no love for the Shadow and will do whatever is necessary to protect them. She will provide assistance and advice in whatever choice of action the party takes. Larisa is being truthful when she says she and her brother will protect the party. The game has just begun, and it wouldn’t be much fun if she and her brother didn’t have time to play with the characters. -If the party attempts to hide, Larisa will spirit them away to a disused portion of the keep. She will provide warm blankets, and advise the party to ensure that the hearth be shielded to prevent a fire’s light from being visible in either the courtyard or the hallway. She assures the party that she will have the servants bring them food and water once the legate and his guards are asleep. -If the party pretends to be part of Clan Garna, Loren will introduce them to the legate as visiting clansmen from a southern clan hold who were also trapped by the storm. If time allows and the party asks, Larisa can provide clan colors for at least a


few of the characters. The legates will note if the party is armed and wearing colors that do not match those worn by Loren. No mention will be made by the legates until they have had time to determine who the party is, and what else Loren may be hiding from them. -If the party attempts to pose as members of a clan allied to the Shadow, they will need to have local knowledge and the appropriate clan colors. A party traveling in the region could prepare beforehand, or have taken clan clothing/colors from a previous encounter with the Shadow-aligned clan.

The Legates in Control Regardless of the party’s actions, the legates will take control of the keep and have it searched for contraband. Two guards will be posted by the gate and two more by the door entering the keep. The main hall will be given over to the fist of orcs and the Dorn soldiers, and rooms will be confiscated for the two legates and their personal guard. The legates will demand food for the patrol and wood for fires to warm their rooms and dry their clothing. By the time the guard is set it is late, nearing 10 PM, and the legates are tired and frustrated from their travels through the storm. With only a few aged Dorn and possibly the party to control, the legates will leave the fist commander in charge of maintaining order and retire for the night. Each Legate will have a personal room with one Dorn guard posted outside, and another sleeping in the room. The location of the members of the Shadow patrol and the party is very important for the coming carnage.

Locations as of 10 PM Senior Legate (Arald, Male Dorn, Ftr 4, Leg 3, SwBro 1): In his room with one guard inside (sleeping) and one guard outside his door (armed and awake). Junior Legate (Serwin, Male Erenlander, Ftr 3, Leg 2): In his room with one guard inside (sleeping) and one guard outside his door (armed and awake). Dorn Soldiers: (total of 10): -2 outside the legates’ rooms

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-2 inside the legates’ rooms -6 trying to sleep in the main hall Fist Commander (Male Orc Ftr 3): In command of the orcs in the great hall. Orcs (total of 18): -2 in the courtyard watching the gate -2 on the inside of the door to the keep -4 patrolling the inside of the keep and the courtyard -10 preparing to sleep in the great hall Servants/Clansmen (total of 11): -Aelud, relieved of gate duty by the orcs, retires to his quarters above the stable -2 cooks/scullery asleep in a small room off the kitchen -8 remaining clansmen are in heavily barred rooms in the west wing of the keep. Unless forcibly removed, the clansmen will remain in their rooms until dawn. Party: -Scattered in 2-3 rooms in the eastern wing of the keep (if hiding) or 2-3 rooms in the third floor of the keep if they are acting like guests/members of Clan Garna.

Screams in the Night Shortly before midnight the keep echoes with the sounds of screams in the main keep. Larisa Garna has claimed her first victims, slaughtering the two guards outside the legates’ rooms. If the party has revealed itself to the legates, the party, the orc/Dorn guards, and Lorne and Larisa will arrive within minutes of each other outside the legates’ rooms. The two guards will be lying in a pool of their own blood, horribly mutilated. The doors to the legates’ rooms will be splashed in blood, as if the killer was purposefully marking the two rooms and declaring that not even those with the power of the Dark God can stop him. If the party is allowed to closely examine the wounds, it’s clear they were made by the claws of a beast. The party may make a Spot check at DC 20 (wildlanders get +5 bonus to check) to reveal a partial paw print in the blood. The print is clearly from a beast and not a man. Whatever

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killed the guardsmen, it was quick, and overwhelmed the two warriors before they could draw steel. Arald will have the bodies decapitated and stored in an unused room until they can be burned. Once the bodies are gone, the legate will turn first on the Garnas, questioning them on how a beast could enter the keep. Loren Garna will claim that the only way into the keep is through the door guarded by the orcs, and that the orcs must have let the beast in. He will claim that there has never been a murder in the keep, and he will try to cast suspicions back on the legate’s war band. The leader of Clan Garna will carefully tread the line between subservience to the legate and outrage that the legate may have brought death to his keep. During the questioning Larisa will hide in the shadow of her brother, and reacts as if struck with each question. Once the legate is through questioning Loren Garna he will turn to the party. Arald will want to know where they were during the murders and why they are actually here at the keep. It will quickly become clear that the legate does not believe they are members of Clan Garna or a clan allied to the Shadow. The questioning will become heated, and the orc guards will appear to be readying to seize the players. Before blows can be struck the legate will tell the orcs to stand down. While the legate believes the party is not an ally of the Shadow, he does not believe they are responsible for the murder. Whatever killed the guards did so to spread terror and to provide a warning that these murders were just the beginning. If the party is supporting the resistance they would either not stop at killing just the two guards, or they would not do anything to delay the legate’s war band from departing the keep. If the party has not revealed itself to the legates they will need to be careful if they try to investigate the screams, as the orcs will attack strangers on sight. Without investigating on their own, the party will not know who has been murdered, and may believe that the orcs are slaughtering the members of Clan Garna. The party will remain safe if they stay in the east wing and if they are careful to avoid the main hall. If the party remains in hiding, Larisa will


eventually arrive with news that two of the legate’s guards have been killed by a beast. Larisa will answer the party’s questions about the state of the bodies and the reactions of the legate. The party may notice (Spot or Sense Motive DC 15) that Larisa does not appear to be scared or startled by the murders. If pressed, Larisa will state that this is not the first time that a beast has stalked Garna Keep.

The Games Begin Loren and Larisa Garna are cunning and experienced killers. They have spent the better part of the past two decades killing travelers and clansmen for the thrill of the hunt. The siblings could have easily killed the party while it slept or overwhelmed the legates before reinforcements could arrive, but that would spoil their game. Depending on the reactions of the legates and the party, the two siblings will choose sides to manipulate, and eventually betray. As a figure of authority Loren will naturally try to ally with the legates, while Larisa will seek the protection of the player characters. Regardless of how it plays out, the siblings should each ally with a different group. The key to the game is to slowly reveal, once they have ingratiated themselves with their potential allies, their belief that the other sibling is possessed, and forced to kill. Loren Garna will appeal shaken by the recent murders and, as if a burden has been lifted from him, he will reveal that he has spent his life trying to protect his sister, who is not what she seems. He will tell his temporary allies that after the nights of a full moon Larisa will bear strange bruises, and will be even weaker and more withdrawn then normal. He has also found some of Larisa’s clothing ripped, as if it burst apart. As the number of clan deaths mounted, he sent his people south to isolate his sister and confirm his fears. With the murder of the legates’ guards his doubts are gone. He has done all he can, but now the evil that possesses her must be purged before more innocents die. “My sister is not what she appears. On the nights of the full moon, her bed is empty, and in the morning she is weak, even more withdrawn, and hides


bruises that were not there the day before. More disturbing, I found clothes she has tried to hide that are torn apart as if they burst under great pressure. I see her look at travelers and even other members of our clan with calculating, almost hungry eyes. I tried to isolate her to see if my fears were true that she is possessed by some great evil. With the murders tonight I have no doubts. I could not speak the truth in front of her, but these were not the first murders on Garna lands. Every victim bore similar wounds. I can no longer protect her. Please help me end this evil.” Larisa will be reluctant to talk about her fears, and will never look the players in the eye as she whispers her theory about the murders. She will state that Loren was once like her, frail and indecisive. Three years ago Loren was separated from a hunting party for two nights before returning to the keep. The next few years saw a remarkable change in his appearance and demeanor. During that time the clan suffered attacks every arc, losing boros and experienced warriors to a beast that could not be tracked. At her urging the majority of the clan has moved south and will not return with the spring. Even with her suspicions, she can not leave her brother. If the party noticed her bruising when they first entered the keep, Larisa will reveal through tears that Loren beat her when she confronted him with her suspicions. “My brother is not the man he once was. You see me as a pale shadow of my brother, but once we were more alike than you would believe. Since an illomened hunt three years ago, he has grown amazingly in size and strength. The murders started shortly after that hunt. Yes, Loren lied to all of you; the two guards were not the first to be killed on Garna lands by a beast that does not feed on its kills. Many travelers and even clansmen have died, always during the light of the full moon. My brother’s anger now knows no bounds; he has even struck me when I’ve opposed his decisions. To protect my people and my brother, I advised the clan to move south and never return. I can no longer ignore what Loren is, what evil he commits. Alone I can do nothing to destroy what possesses him. I need your help.”

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Both Loren and Larisa Garna are very skilled in their roles as protector and victim. They have assumed the roles so frequently over the past two decades that they are like a second skin. Sense Motive checks should have a very high DC, and even if they are successful the result should reveal that Lorena and Larisa are hiding something, but that their stories are essentially true. When they reveal that their sibling is possessed and a killer, it is a true statement. The siblings will tell partial truths to gain their allies’ trust. Once they gain that trust, they will try to manipulate their pawns into fighting amongst themselves before finally revealing their deception and slaughtering both the players and the legates.

Wolves in the Yard As the legate completes his questions, the next act begins. “Even with the legate’s order to stand down, the air is still thick with suspicion and fear. Before the legate can issue new orders, the howls of dozens of wolves echo from inside the keep’s yard. Peering through the keep’s narrow windows the scene is chaotic, with wolves charging the door to the keep and fighting over the remains of orc guards and the few horses in the stables. The main gate is open, as if someone or something invited the wolves to enter.” The legates’ guards were not the first to die. While Larisa was preparing to kill the guards, Loren slipped out into the yard, surprised and quietly killed the two orc guards, then opened the gate to allow the pack to enter. Allowing the wolves into the yard was a move calculated to increase the sense of impending doom and prevent the legates or the players from attempting to escape before the game could be completed. The open gate will add to the suspicion that the beast has an ally inside the keep.

The Hunt for the Killer With escape cut off by the wolves, and clear evidence that there is a killer in their midst, Arald knows he must take the initiative or the killer will

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isolate and kill everybody one by one. His first action is to divide his forces to conduct an armed search of the keep, clearing areas and sealing them off. Maintaining control of the entry into the keep is crucial, so he will detail half of his remaining orcs (8) and the fist commander to hold the entry. The other half of the orcs (8), two of the remaining Dorn guards, and the junior legate (Serwin) will start with searching and sealing the west wing. Arald will task the players and six Dorn guards to search and seal the east wing. As part of the search the Clan Garna servants will be taken from their rooms and brought to the main hall. Arald will remain in the main hall during the search. Once the search begins, Loren Garna will ask, and be granted permission to take his sister to her room. “Someone or something is inside this keep and it intends to hunt us down one by one. I will not wait and let this beast choose the time and place for the next murder. We will hunt it down and force it to fight on our terms.” Turning to the players he says, “Take what weapons you need and search the east wing. As you clear rooms, seal them off. We will drive the killer back into the main keep. Find the servants and have them brought here. I want to account for every person in this keep. If any resist, kill them. We must flush our killer out into the open.” Conducting the hunt is crucial to the success of the adventure. The players will be allowed to take any of the clan weapons displayed in the main hall (GM’s choice but should include Dorn favored weapons—bastard and great sword). As the players have done little to earn the trust of the legates, Arald will send six of his Dorn guards with the party to ensure the players are properly searching the keep. Cooperation with the legate and his warband is essential if the players are to survive. The players will either assist the legate, or be disarmed and held in the main hall. At this point in the adventure, fighting between the players and the legate’s warband will only make the Garnas’ hunt easier. The key to the hunt is to build tension. Loren and Larisa will toy with their prey, using the secret passage along the south wall to bypass attempts to


seal off the various wings of the keep. As the players are walking through the dark corridors, they will hear the sound of claws purposefully dragged across the stone walls, and low growls seeming to come from all directions. Lorena and Larisa will never attack together: one will always remain in their rooms to deflect questions and provide a form of alibi as the hunt continues. When attacks occur they will be hit-and-run: kill one target, and then flee. The Garna siblings will not allow themselves to be drawn into a prolonged fight. “As you walk through deserted corridors, searching rooms thick with dust, you can feel the cloying presence of someone or something just out of sight. The air is still, the only sound coming from your slow, careful footsteps. As you fight back the impulse to flee, a slow rasp echoes out of the darkness, as if some sharp object was being dragged against stone. As you seek the source of that sound, it ends, replaced by low, guttural growls that seem to come from all sides, mocking you. It’s clear that you are not the hunters, but the prey.”

Both the players and the orc search team should suffer a series of short attacks over the next two hours. The Garnas have only one target they feel they must eliminate: Serwin, the junior legate. The Garnas have experience with legates, and believe they are the greatest threat to the hunt. If any party members show the ability to channel they will also be targeted. Warriors and defenders are seen as little threat. “Without warning a figure bursts into the light, claws flashing at incredible speed, seeking to rend flesh. In the flickering light, as you struggle to strike back you glimpse a figure draped in silver fur. Blood splatters the walls as the beast howls in rage before racing back into the shadows.”

Responses to Party Tactics The players’ actions will determine the pace and results of the search. If the party conducts a standard search and seal off rooms and hallways after ensuring they are cleared, the Garnas will try to


confuse and spread out the party. Just after a door has been sealed, the players will hear clawing on the opposite side as the Garnas taunt them. The goal is to make the players uncertain and realize they are being hunted. If the party tries to hunker down in an area of the keep, the Garnas will try to keep them penned in while they methodically slaughter the legates and the orcs. Able to choose their own time and place of attack, the Garnas will be able to slowly whittle down the warband’s superior numbers. The players will also lose any support from Arald, and if the legate survives he will hunt down the party with every resource at his command. If the players attempt to escape the keep, they either have to force their way through the orcs guarding the main door or find the secret passage to the old smithy in the yard. The Garnas will know that the players have fled, and will have their wolves attack the party until one of the siblings can join in the fight. The Garnas will not let their chosen prey escape the game.

Confronting the Mhor Arald, after several attacks on the hunting parties, will call back the searchers to the main hall. The legate is not a fool, and he will realize that with the servants and players all accounted for, and no intruders found in the search, that the killer must be one of the Garnas. Arald will assume that the sibling that had not “allied” him or herself to the legate is the possessed killer. For example, if Loren has allied himself with the legates, Arald will attempt to seize Larisa. The game will have reached its conclusion. Loren will play the role of the remorseful brother who reluctantly agrees that his sister is the killer. Larisa will scream to her allies that her brother is the actual killer and she is innocent. This will be the break point for the players. Do they side with their “ally,” or will they stand aside and let the legate take Larisa? Once either of the siblings begins their transformation their subject wolves will attack the

Howls in the night

outer doors to the keep as a both a distraction and potential adversary for the party. “Before you can react, Larisa lets out a savage howl as her body begins a horrific transformation, her face distorting and her hands becoming savage claws. Her brother recoils in disbelief, moving quickly away from the beast that has caused so many deaths. Just outside the keep, the howls of the pack reach a thunderous crescendo as the wolves pound their bodies against the doors, seeking to join their mistress in the coming slaughter.”

Howls in the night

Garna Tactics Whichever Garna is confronted by Brother Arald will transform into their bestial shape and attempt to claw their way through the orcs to attack the legate. The remaining Garna will attempt to use the confusion to position for a flanking or surprise attack on the most dangerous player character. The Garnas fear spellcasters, and will target a channeler before a fighter, wildlander, or defender. Loren and Larisa are canny fighters, and will try to leave open a route to retreat and prevent being flanked for as long as possible. If cut off, they will fight to the death. Once one sibling is killed, the other will enter a berserk rage (+4 Str, +4 Con, +2 Will save, -2 AC, +2 hp/level, +2 damage/attack). Note both Garnas have the wildlander trait Master Hunter (Humans and Orcs) giving them a +2 to damage to any successful attack against an orc or a human. The Garnas can also use Hunter’s Strike (double damage on a successful attack) twice per day. The siblings will try to reserve their Hunter’s Strikes for the legate or most dangerous party member. If the battle is going poorly for the Garnas, up to a dozen wolves could break through the doors of the keep and attempt to save their masters.


Shadow Tactics Arald is prepared to fight a potentially possessed, and certainly lethal Garna, but is not expecting to have to fight two extremely dangerous killers. Before confronting the Garnas, Arald will cast Shield of Faith (+3 deflection bonus to his AC) and have his Black Sword ready. Not fully trusting the player characters, Arald will position his remaining troops to shield him from treachery. Once the battle starts, the legate will hold back from the initial combat to ensure the players will not aid the Garnas, or attempt to use the fight to attack the Shadow patrol. If the players engage the Garnas, Arald will wade into battle, seeking to use his skill to hold at least one of the siblings at bay for his troops to eventually surround and bring down. If the party does not engage the Garnas, Arald will use his spells (Hold Person, Shatter, Doom) to hinder the party and either force them to flee or make them easier targets for the Garnas.

GM Advice The Garnas’ damage reduction may be a problem for the party. Along the walls of the great hall are heirloom weapons from the Garnas’ long history. Several of the weapons could be silvered designed to fight the demons and shadowspawn that have come across the frontier over the past two ages. In addition, if the party came to the keep looking for the House Dale covenant item, it could be used against the Garnas. For the purpose of bypassing the Garna’s damage reduction, covenant items (even if they have not achieved their +1 ability) are considered a magical weapon. The goal of the final combat is to have the Garnas defeated after killing a large number of orcs, Dorn, and potentially one or more player characters. The remaining players, Arald, and the remnants of his warband should be heavily injured and more concerned about binding wounds and burying their dead than continuing combat against each other. There should be enough members of the warband remaining to make the party think twice about trying to kill the legate.


Honor Shadow



Once Loren and Larisa are dead, Arald will ensure that the siblings’ bodies are burned and their ashes spread to the winds. With their masters dead, the wolf pack will leave the yard and disperse, seeking easier game further south. If the party played an active part in the defeat of the Garna siblings, the legate will show surprising honor, reverting to Dorn tradition. Arald will let the party leave with anything they can carry, and will not ask them any questions. The party has been honorable allies, and without their help the legate would have died. Additionally, a great evil not under the Shadow’s control would still lurk in the north. No report will be made about the party. They will be listed as Garna clansmen who assisted in killing the possessed leaders of their clan. The Sword Brother will show that there is still honor in the ranks of the Shadow, and may prove to be a valuable NPC in the future. “I care not who you are or what you had planned when you arrived at this forsaken keep. All I know is that you fought well, and an evil that spilled our blood has been destroyed. Take what you can carry and go. You need not look over your shoulder; I will not follow. Know that any debt I have to you ends here; I will not stay my hand if our paths cross again.” If the party acted dishonorably or attempts to attack the legate after the Garnas are dead, Arald will show no remorse. If forced to, he will fight a retreating action, and attempt to barricade himself and his guards in one of the wings until the party escapes, or he can regain his strength. Once the party has fled, the legate will be a relentless hunter, drawing on warbands throughout the region to hunt down the party.

Howls in the night

The Future Once Arald has reported on the events at the keep, it will be visited by legates seeking the secrets of Clan Garna. A ritual room and ancient norther texts will be found in a hidden room under the main hall. The Shadow will attempt to duplicate the process of bonding an animal’s spirit with men and orcs, creating abominations that will plague the northlands. The keep will be garrisoned to protect the legates, and this wild region will have far heavier Shadow patrols. Arald will distance himself from the keep, disgusted by the actions of his fellow legates. While a devoted servant of Izrador, Arald does not support the creations of abominations that will indiscriminately kill his people. The legate believes that the Dark God brings order and eventual salvation of the Dorns, and only through loyal service will the Dorn survive in the Last Age.

-Cooperating with Brother Arald in the hunt for the Garnas: +1,000 xp -Fighting with the legate’s patrol against the Garnas in the Main Hall: +2,000 xp -Not attacking the legate’s patrol after the Garnas are dead: +4,000 xp

Potential Awards Besides the experience from killing Loren and Larisa, the party will have access to a number of masterwork weapons, and possibly armor. If the party came in search of a symbol of House Dale, it will be found in the main hall among the Clan Garna trophies. Possibly the most valuable reward is the respect of Arald. The legate could prove to be a valuable contact or potential ally against other elements in the Order of Shadow.

Scaling the Adventure Loren and Larisa are designed to be a challenge for a party of player characters, two legates, and an orc warband. For each level the party is above 5th, increase Loren Garna one level in Mhor and Larisa one level in Rogue. The senior legate, Arald, should also remain 3 levels above the party average to remain a threat. Scaling the adventure below 5th level is more difficult, but should follow the same general guidelines, with Loren and Larisa Garna and Arald 3-4 levels above the party average. At lower levels, you can have a number of orcs killed by the wolves prior to their arrival at the keep.

Awarding Experience Howls in the Night is not a combat-heavy adventure, so experience point awards will be limited. If the party kills the Garna siblings without the aid of the legate’s patrol, they gain full experience for eliminating a CR 12 and a CR 11 creature. If the party kills the Garnas with the aid of the legate’s patrol, the party gains experience for killing one CR 12 creature. Possible additional awards: -Donning Clan Garna colors and posing as Garna clansmen: +500 xp

Howls in the night


Appendix A:


Legates Brother Arald, Male Dorn Wld 4/Lgt 3/Sbr 1: CR 8; Medium Humanoid; HD 8D8+16; hp 64; Init +8; Spd 30 ft; AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15; Base Atk +7; Grp +10; Atk +12 melee (1d8+5/19-20, +1 longsword); Full Atk +12/+7 (1d8+5/19-20, +1 longsword); Space/Reach 5 ft/5ft; SA spells; SQ black blade, Dorn traits, fluid style, rebuke undead, danger sense, hunters strike (1/day), master hunter (fell), spells; AL LE; SV Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7; Str 16, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 15. Skills: Balance 12, Climb 6, Diplomacy 9, Handle Animals 4, Hide 6, Intimidate 10, Knowledge (Northern Marches) 6, Knowledge (Nature) 6, Knowledge (Shadow) 9, Move Silently 6, Ride 7, Search 4, Spot 4, Survival 8, Swim 5, Tumble 8. Feats: Combat Expertise, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Track, Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Specialization (longsword).

Possessions: Cloth shirt, high-quality black woolen cassock with cowl, leather belt, leather boots, +1 chain shirt, black blade (+1 longsword), dagger, belt pouch with two days of rations and a writ of authorization (allows Brother Arald to requisition troops and supplies), holy symbol of Izrador (iron). Appearance and Personality: Tall, dark, with hair carefully coiled into a warrior’s queue, Brother Arald would be the image of a Dorn champion except for the cassock and iron symbol of Izrador worn proudly around his neck. The sword brother moves with grace and an easy motion, ready to strike at a moments notice. At his waist is the dreaded black sword, its malevolence almost palpable. The legate, even with his devotion to the Dark God, is honorable and seeks to spare lives whenever possible. He sees unquestioned service to Izrador as the only salvation left to his people. He respects those who fight honorably and keep their word even when most others would betray them.

Spells Prepared (4/3+1/1+1; base DC = 12 + spell level): 0 - cure minor wounds, guidance, light, resistance; 1st - cause fear, doom, inflict light wounds,* shield of faith; 2nd - hold person, shatter.*

Serwin, Male Dorn Ftr 3/Lgt 2: CR 5; Medium Humanoid; HD 3D10+2D8+10; hp 39; Init +5; Spd 30 ft; AC 16, touch 11, flat footed 15; Base Atk +4; Grp +7; Atk +8 melee (1d8+3/19-20, masterwork longsword); Full Atk +8 (1d8+3/19-20, masterwork longsword); Space/Reach 5 ft/5ft; SA spells; SQ Dorn traits, rebuke undead, spells; AL NE; SV Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +5; Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 10.

*Domain spell. Domains: Destruction (smite 1/day, +4 bonus to attack and +3 bonus to damage) and War (Weapon Focus [longsword]).

Skills: Balance 2, Climb 3, Concentration 3, Handle Animals 4, Intimidate 6, Knowledge (Shadow) 4, Ride 6, Swim 2, Tumble 2.

Languages: Norther.





Howls in the night

Feats: Cleave, Combat Expertise, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (longsword). Languages: Norther.




Spells Prepared: (4/3+1; base DC 12 + spell level): 0 - cure minor wounds, guidance, light, resistance; 1st - cause fear, doom, inflict light wounds,* shield of faith. *Domain spell. Domains: Destruction (smite 1/day, +4 bonus to attack and +3 bonus to damage) and War (Weapon Focus [longsword]). Possessions: Cloth shirt, high-quality black woolen cassock with cowl, leather belt, leather boots, chain shirt, light steel shield, masterwork longsword, dagger, belt pouch with two days of rations, holy symbol of Izrador (iron). Appearance and Personality: Tall, with long blond hair tied off and tucked beneath his cowl, Serwin is unremarkable except for the look of determination in his eyes. Despite wearing the trapping of a priest, the legate carries himself with the assurance of an experienced warrior. His right hand rarely strays from the longsword at his hip. The young warrior legate seeks to impress Brother Arald with his devotion and efficiency, seeking eventual inclusion in the order of the sword brothers. Serwin is overconfident, and believes he is the equal of any threat posed by Garna Keep. That overconfidence will contribute to his death in the dark hallways of the keep.

Garnas Loren Garna, Male Dorn Wld 6/Mhor 3: CR 12; Medium Humanoid; HD 12d8+3d10+46; hp 138; Init +9; Spd 20 ft; AC 14, touch 12, flat footed 12; Base Atk +9; Grp +12; Atk +12 melee (1d10 +3, bastard sword); Full Atk +12/+7 (1d10 +3, bastard sword); Space/Reach 5 ft/5ft; SA none SQ Alternate Form, Danger Sense, Dornish Pride, Hunter’s Strike (1/day), Low Light Vision, Master Hunter (Humans, Orcs), Scent, Wolf Empathy; AL NE; SV Fort +10,

Howls in the night

Ref +5, Will +3; Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 15. Loren Garna, Spirit of the Winter Wolf form: CR 12; Large Humanoid; HD 12d8+3d10+46; hp 138; Init +9; Spd 40; AC 16, touch 11, flat footed 14; Base Atk +9; Grp +12; +12 bite (1d8 +3); Full Atk +12 Bite (1d8 +3), +7 claws (1d6 +3 x2); Space/Reach 5 ft/5ft; SA Trip (+8); SQ Alternate Form, Damage Reduction 10/silver or magic, Danger Sense, Dornish Pride, Hared Foe (Orcs), Hunter’s Strike (1/day), Low Light Vision, Master Hunter (Humans, Orcs), Scent, Wolf Empathy; AL NE; SV Fort +10, Ref +5, Will +3; Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 15. Skills: Balance 6, Bluff (CC) 13, Climb 7, Hide 9(11*), Intimidate (CC) 13, Jump 7, Listen 7(9*), Move Silently 9(11*), Ride 6, Search 5, Spot 6, Survival 8(10*), Swim 7. *Spirit of the Winter Wolf form. Feats: Endurance, Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword), Power Attack, Leadership, Track, Improved Initiative, Persuasive, Dodge, Mobility. Languages: Tongue.




Possessions: Masterwork kilt in Clan Garna colors, fine shirt, leather vest, fur cloak (with the leather vest acts as the equivalent of leather armor), leather boots, masterwork dagger. Appearance and Personality: Loren is the image of a great clan lord, heavily built, with hair just going grey and a commanding presence. He acts with the grace of a noble from an earlier age, following and expecting the courtesies due his rank. The Mhor is charming, and has a warmth that in ages past would have drawn warriors to him. Even as he approaches middle age, he is an imposing figure. The only thing to mar his image is a deformed left foot. The Mhor moves slowly to hide his affliction. In his spirit-possessed form Loren transforms into a massive beast that is half man and half wolf. His jaws extend and fill with razor-sharp


teeth, and his hands grow claws that can rend armor. Loren merges the strength and cunning of a winter wolf with the skills and intelligence of a man, creating a silver-white beast that has killed hundreds over the past twenty years. Tactics: Loren disdains combat in his human form, preferring to rend his opponents’ flesh with his teeth and claws. He relies on his speed and his damage resistance to survive encounters. If seriously injured he will utilizes his Mobility feat to escape and wait until he can recover from his wounds. In combat with his sister, Loren will attempt to draw attention to himself to allow his sister to flank or gain a sneak attack. Larisa Garna, Female Dorn Wld 5/Rog 3: CR 11; Medium Humanoid; HD 11d8+3d6+46; hp 120; Init +8; Spd 30; AC 14, touch 13, flat footed 11; Base Atk +7; Grp +9; Atk +9 melee (1d4 +2, masterwork dagger); Full Atk +9/+4 (1d4 +2, masterwork dagger); Space/Reach 5 ft/5 ft; SA none; SQ Alternate Form, Danger Sense, Evasion, Hated Foe (Orcs), Hunter’s Strike 1/day, Low Light Vision, master Hunter (Humans, orcs), Mobility, Scent, Sneak Attack (+2d6), Track, Trapfinding, Wolf Empathy; AL NE; SV Fort +7, Ref +8, Will +2; Str 14, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 15. Larisa Garna, Spirit of the Winter Wolf form, CR 11; Medium Humanoid; HD 11d8+3d6+46; hp 120; Init +8; Spd 50; AC 18, touch 13, flat footed 15; Base Atk +7; Grp +9; Atk +9 bite (1d8 +2 bite); Full Atk +9 (1d8 +2),+4 claws (1d6 +2 x2); Space/Reach 5 ft/5 ft; SA Trip (+8); Alternate Form, Damage Reduction 10/silver or magic, Danger Sense, Evasion, Hated Foe (Orcs), Hunter’s Strike 1/day, Low Light Vision, master Hunter (Humans, Orcs), Mobility, Scent, Sneak Attack (+2d6), Track, Trapfinding, Wolf Empathy; AL NE; SV Fort +7, Ref +8, Will +2; Str 14, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 15. Skills: Balance 8, Bluff 14, Climb 7, Diplomacy 12, Gather Information 12, Hide 14(16*), Jump 7, Listen 6(8*), Move Silently 12(14*), Open Lock 8, Search 8, Sense Motive 7, Spot 6, Tumble 8.


* Spirit of the Winter Wolf form. Feats: Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Power Attack. Languages: Tongue.




Possessions: Masterwork heavy winter dress in Clan Garna colors (acts as padded armor), amber brooch, shawl, masterwork dagger. Appearance and Personality: Larisa Garna is a tall, painfully thin woman with almost unnaturally pale skin and dark, sad eyes. She appears fragile and very nervous, starting at loud noises. Her eyes are almost always downcast, looking directly at you only when she is assured you are looking elsewhere. Like her brother, her hair is slowly going silver, but her face does not show her age. In every way she appears to be the meek, subservient sister in need of protection. In her spirit-possessed form she is much smaller then her brother. Where Loren is huge and heavily muscled, Larisa is sleek and subtle, but no less dangerous. Her claws are equally sharp, and her bloodlust easily matches her brother’s. Tactics: In human form, Larisa will fade into the shadows, using her knowledge of the keep to choose a time and place where she can use her sneak attack. In spirit-possessed form Larisa prefers to strike and retreat, relying on her Mobility feat and her knowledge of the keep to allow her to escape. When fighting with her brother, she will let Loren attack directly while supporting him with flanking or sneak attacks.

Orc/Dorn Soldiers Fist Commander, Male Orc, Ftr 3: CR 3; Medium Humanoid; HD 3d10+9; hp 26; Init +1; Spd 20 ft; AC 18, touch 11, flat footed 17; Base Atk +3; Grp +7; Atk +8 melee (1d10+4, crafted vardatch) or +4 ranged (1d6+4, javelin); Space/Reach 5 ft/5 ft; SA none; SQ orc traits; AL NE; SV Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 18, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8.

Howls in the night

Skills: Climb -2, Intimidate +4, Jump +2, Knowledge (Northern Marches) +1, Survival +2. Feats: Cleave, Improved Sunder, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (vardatch). Languages: Black Tongue, High Elvin Pidgin, Old Dwarven Pidgin, Orcish. Possessions: Sturdy breastplate, heavy steel shield, crafted vardatch, large fighting knife, and 4 javelins. Appearance and Personality: The fist commander bears the scars of many kills in the wilds of the Northern Marches and the Kaladrun foothills. His armor and weapons are well tended. While he serves Brother Arald without question, he clearly dislikes the Dorn soldiers that ride with the legate. The orc will not panic in a fight, but will rally his warriors to fight as a unit to protect the legates. Orc Soldier, Male Orc, Ftr 1 (18): CR 1, Medium Humanoid; HD 1d10+3; hp 10; Init +1; Spd 20 ft; AC 17, touch 11, flat footed 16; Base Atk +1; Grp +5; Atk +5 melee (1d12+4, vardatch) or +2 ranged (1d6+4, javelin); Space/Reach 5 ft/5 ft; SA none; SQ orc traits; AL NE; SV Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 18, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8. Skills: Climb +0, Jump +0. Feats: (vardatch).




a unit and follow instructions quickly. The orcs will sacrifice their lives for the legate, but will not go to their erstwhile allies, the Dorn soldiers. Dorn Soldier, Male Human Ftr 2 (10): CR 2; Medium Humanoid; HD 2d10+4; hp 16; Init +1; Spd 20 ft; AC 16, touch 11, flat footed 15; Base Atk +2; Grp +5; Atks +6 melee (1d10+3, bastard sword) or +5 melee (1d6+3, short spear) or +2 ranged (1d6+3, short spear); Space/Reach 5 ft/5 ft; SA none; SQ Dornish traits; AL LE; SV Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 17, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 8. Skills: Climb -2, Intimidate +2, Jump -2 Feats: Cleave, Power Attack, Self Sufficient, Weapon Focus (bastard sword) Languages: Erenlander, Norther, Orcish Pidgin Possessions: Well-worn scale mail, light steel shield, armored greaves, knee-high leather boots, bastard sword, shortspear, and large fighting knife. Appearance and Personality: Dour warriors wearing armor that is just barely serviceable and has been repaired many times. They follow Brother Arald, and clearly have no desire to work with the orcs that accompany him. These soldiers fight to survive, and will seek to obey their orders with the least amount of risk.


Languages: Black Tongue, High Elvin Pidgin, Old Dwarven Pidgin, Orcish. Possessions: Serviceable chain shirt, heavy steel shield, vardatch, and 4 javelins.

Wolf; CR 1; Medium Animal; 2d8+4; hp 13; Init +2; Spd 50 ft; AC 14, touch 12, flat footed 12; Base Atk +1; Grp +2; Atk +3 Melee (1d6+1, bite); Space/Reach 5ft/5ft; SA Trip; SQ Low light vision, scent; AL N; SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +1; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6.

Appearance and Personality: These orcs are more disciplined than the warbands normally found in the Northern Marches, and it shows in the quality of their equipment. All have at least one kill scar, proving they are blooded warriors. They operate as

Howls in the night


Appendix B:

True Ritual - Spirit of the Beast

In the Time of Years, the ancestors of the Dorns learned how to bind the spirits of the great Winter Wolves and Cave Bears into the bodies of specially chosen warriors. These half-man, half-beasts were used to spread terror and shatter enemy armies. Cults dedicated to the creation and worship of these spirit-bound warriors spread across northern Pelluria. Savage and almost uncontrollable, the ancient Dorn beast men carved a bloody path through the continent of Pelluria. With the rise of the Sarcosan Empire, the cults were hunted down and killed, and all knowledge of the ritual was believed destroyed. However, a handful of cultists escaped the Sarcosan purge, successfully hiding the ritual until it could be carried to a new home in Eredane. The ritual, Spirit of the Beast, has its origins in the bloody rites of the earliest Dorn when prisoners, the malformed, and the maimed were sacrificed to appease tribal totem spirits. These blood sacrifices allowed Dorn shamans to channel the strength and rage of the most feared hunters in the frozen wastes of northern Pelluria. Over time the ritual was refined to take the spirit of a recently slain Winter Wolf or Cave Bear and permanently merge it into the body of a specially prepared Dorn warrior. The ritual was an anathema to the early Dorn kings, so the cult remained hidden, and the Dorn beast men faded into legend until they were rediscovered by Clan Garna.

spiritual death of the chosen warrior. The warrior, naked, bearing only a razor-sharp bone knife, enters the pit, while the humanoid sacrifices are forced to kneel around him. A bound Winter Wolf or Cave Bear is suspended over the pit. The chosen warrior then cuts open the beast, carving out its heart while bathing in its blood. With the heart still warm in his hands, the humanoid sacrifices are killed to appease the spirit of the beast and prove the worth of the warrior. If the sacrifice is accepted, the animal’s spirit is merged with the warrior, creating a being that is neither man nor beast.

GM Note The ritual uses the Werewolf Lord as a template which adds 6d8+30 to HP and adds damage reduction 10. The Garna curse can not be transmitted through bite (damage).

Casting the ritual requires a live Winter Wolf or Cave Bear, a shallow man-sized pit, and humanoid sacrifices at least equal in hit dice to the creature whose spirit is to be bound. The ritual begins with the construction of a rune-covered pit, designed in the shape of a shallow grave, symbolizing the


Howls in the night

Appendix C:


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