The coastal town of Cacheto-on-sea is a generally peaceful place with a long history of solid industry. The town’s salt mines have brought prosperity to the area, and many of the townspeople are quite well-off. Lately there have been strange happenings, however. A series of unusually aggressive diseases has struck randomly throughout the population — never the same disease twice, and never anything previously known to medicine. In the past few days there have also been one or two accounts of people going suddenly missing, all of them quite young and all of them completely healthy.
The diseases progress quickly and often fatally, so the town’s elderly priest is struggling to keep up with demand for his healing powers. He doesn’t know the source of the problems, but is starting to suspect that something has been stirred up by the work in the mines. The missing young people are a new mystery which he is baffled by.
|Stats: Father Martin
Father Martin, town priest
STR 4, DEX 8, WIL 18, 7 HP
Driven to teach the virtues of faith.
A pacifist: he does not raise any weapon against others.
Arcanum: A phial of water drawn from this silver font deals d8 Damage to undead and demonic beings. The water could instead be applied to a weapon, like a poison: the weapon’s attacks are now Enhanced for a few minutes against the aforementioned beings. The water loses its efficacy after a day has passed.
Arcanum: A full day’s exposure to the smoke of this golden censer purges one disease, or restores one ability score.
Arcanum: A sip from this flask of foaming royal-blue liquid bestows Armour 2 on the drinker, lasting until the next dawn. Seven mouthfuls’ worth remain.
A malevolent earth-spirit, disturbed by the mines, is abroad in the town. When it was first awoken, it intended to bring about the town’s complete destruction, tearing the earth and sending the whole place tumbling into the shadowy depths. However, a high-class woman who secretly practices dark magics has bound the spirit and prevents it from doing so. The spirit is compelled to serve the witch’s goals by helping her pull magical power from the roots of the world. Her seal on its mind is not perfect however, and the earth-spirit exacts what revenge it can by calling up terrible diseases throughout the populace.
The town’s missing young people have in common that they had recently spoken to the witch (in her public upper-class persona). They have been kidnapped and are chained up in her secret underground chambers, where she uses them to experiment with her new powers. One in particular, a shy young lady named Genevieve, has the dubious honour of being clamped to a wooden chair and forced to wear a magical armlet that protects the witch from physical harm.
The underground chambers are accessible from the mansion’s library by pulling a switch inside a hollow marble bust (a sculpture of the witch herself). The house servants have sometimes seen their mistress go into the library and then “disappear” without coming out again.
Ulthogg, spiteful earth-spirit
STR 17, DEX 5, WIL 12, 15 HP
Driven to get back to its long sleep.
Create disease: Target must make a STR save to resist the onset of a deadly illness. If the save fails, the victim starts experiencing shakes and chills straight away. At the end of each hour, make another STR save to try and throw off the sickness: if this fails, lose d4 points from whichever ability score(s) this particular disease affects. Repeat at the end of each hour until either the illness passes (successful save) or the victim dies (an ability score reaches zero).
Control rock: Cause up to a 10ft square patch of ground to move as directed: flowing aside to create a chasm; rising up sharply to smash a foe against a ceiling; quivering violently to knock things over; and so on. The ground stops moving under its own power once you finish concentrating.
Move through stone: At will, the earth-spirit can move through stone and dirt as if they were insubstantial. This is its natural environment.
Constance, vain witch
STR 6, DEX 11, WIL 18, 12 HP
Driven to build influence in high society.
Arcanum: By concentrating on this ivory wall mirror, you can secretly observe any being you know, and attempt to implant subtle suggestions in their mind (WIL save resists).
Arcanum: A gesture from this granite rod creates a violently strong force (STR 16) that can break walls or knock foes flying. The force deals d12 Damage if used to knock someone around.
Arcanum: Whoever wears the first of these chalcedony armlets takes no physical injury from attacks, nor suffers disease, nor grows physically older. All the physical changes associated with these things are instead visited upon the body of the person wearing the second armlet; the armlets sparkle while this transference is taking place. Shattering either armlet damages the mind of the other one’s wearer, whereupon they lose d6 WIL. Both armlets cease to function if either wearer dies or removes their armlet.
Arcanum: Rubbing this salmon-pink unguent on lead will transform it into gold, but the effect only lasts for five minutes. There is enough unguent to “create” 50G worth of temporary gold.
Smashing the great wall mirror in the witch’s hilltop mansion will break her hold over the earth-spirit. If it has not already been placated or otherwise controlled, it will immediately start rending open a huge chasm to sink the entire town, although this will take several minutes to accomplish. If it succeeds in doing this, it will collapse the hill under the witch’s mansion in a final gesture of contempt. It will then return to the deep earth to sleep.
The earth-spirit is not very deceitful and will make no secret of its loathing for mortals (especially the witch), if the players should speak to it. It is quite open about its desire to demolish the entire town, the better to ensure that its sleep is never disturbed ever again. If offered suitable guarantees about the mines staying away from its home, it might be talked into leaving the town intact. It is unlikely to stretch to sparing the life of the witch, whom it especially hates, but it will mention the existence of the kidnapped young people if the characters have failed to locate them.
The witch made a few unusual visits to the mine works shortly before the disease outbreaks began. Neither she nor any of her servants have been affected by any of the diseases, nor does she seem afraid of falling victim to any. Ever since the start of the outbreaks, occasional minor earth tremors have been noticed by people passing near her mansion.
Among the magical texts and enciphered notes in the witch’s hidden chambers is the fifth page of the Cadian text. Many other riches and luxuries can be found in the mansion.
|Cadian Document: Page 5
The fifth Angel, by my count, is the Angel of Healing named Medellon. When it takes form, it becomes an upward hand, borne aloft by four great wings of crimson feathers, and about which the air is heavy with incense.
Beware any who is a murderer, for the Angel shall surely seek that one’s destruction! When any is touched by the hand of Medellon, they fall into a deep sleep, and their life’s blood pours in streams from their eyes. But if ye have the favour of the Angel, its touch shall purge you of all disease and ailment. Truly, even the very veil of death shall be lifted if a mortal body receives the touch of the Angel.
If ye fear the Angel and its wrath (and ye may do so rightly), then anoint your forehead with your own lifeblood: then shall the Angel be unable to perceive your place. But its aura shall ye not so easily escape, and if in its presence ye do harm any of mortal flesh, ye shall be struck both deaf and blind.
Let he who studies omens watch for the approach of Medellon: the dead shall rise to full life, and their wounds shall be closed and their sicknesses healed.
Medellon, Angel of Healing
STR 20, DEX 20, WIL 20, 30 HP
Driven to destroy murderers.
Touch of restoration: All of the touched creature’s ailments and ability score loss are cured.
Touch of life: The touched corpse returns to full life, entirely cured of whatever condition killed it. A creature which died naturally of old age remains dead, however.
Touch of death: The target creature must succeed on a DEX save to avoid the touch of Medellon, or else fall unconscious. After each minute, the victim can attempt a WIL save to awaken; otherwise, it remains unconscious and loses d12 STR from severe blood loss. Repeat after every minute.
Limit: Cannot see any creature whose forehead has been carefully anointed with its own blood.
Aura: If any creature within 100ft of the Angel harms a living mortal, the attacker is struck deaf and blind unless they pass a WIL save. This aura persists for a week after the Angel departs the mortal plane.