Bracken Hollow

Part 2 – Bracken Hollow – 206rHo2

Upon reaching the town after investigating the woods for the cause in the bad weather, and encountering a half-ogre and his pet bear amongst other beasties, the party are greeted by a worried Carline.

She explains that she had just come from the Broken Tankard, Colin had come back from the north after a failed attempt to find his brother who became lost in the storm. Carline explains that he had been attacked by some wild animal, silent in the storm as it had hit him from luck it had latched onto his fur cloak and taken off with it instead of him. If the party notice that Colin in the tankard and see the wound it looks remarkably similar to the giant owl talons that they had encountered to the east.

Colin goes to get out of bed and almost passes out. He mumbles that he must find his brother, that he cant be trusted alone with the family on the hill, no one can. He begs the party to find his brother and bring him back. If they are too late and he is indeed dead he asks them a grisly favour, to bring back his body so it’s not left near the house.

The storm appears to be quieting down again but it’s still looks like it will begin to build once more. The snow and winds are extreme but manageable. On the way they may get lost (see below table) but regardless if they do as they pass the first check they run into troubles on their way to find Paul.

Paul was working on the fence between the McFasters and the family on-top of the hills property, the promise of more gold than he could make in a few seasons of farming outshining the risk of working alone in bad weather near the manor. Exhaustion and fatigue causes him to miss with hid hammer, shattering his left hand. As the weather worsened he blacked out from blood loss and the cold awakening to find himself miraculously healed but sealed in a crypt somewhere. As he tried to escape large powerful wolves attacked driving him back to the safety of the cold stone.

Areas and places of note

The Broken Tavern – The three dwarven owners, Milly, Billy and Ned offer hot food and drink before they leave for free as a favour for helping Colin, they also offer warm cloaks and supplies just in case.

The Road – A long thin road that snakes its way up north towards the manor on the hill. It passes along a fence line that separates the McFasters from the manors land. Scattered tools, blood and a tangled mess of footprints and drag marks litter the snow where the party find the site where the accident happened

The Graveyard – following the drag marks and many sets footprints the party find the graveyard to the east of the manor. A stream cuts the road in half and the trail seems to cut through the frozen stream instead of the bridge. Several tombstones can be seen when it’s not snowing with two buildings that look to be in decent repair.

Environment and running the adventure

As the party leave colin, the dwarves offer them assistance. Warm food and drink with thick fur coats. If they take up this offer they will be protected from the extreme cold until the following morning, as long as they don’t get lost in the blizzard.

The weather will be lightly snowing but not a full blown blizzard until they find the site where Paul injured himself. Once there and the wind picks up roll on the random “lost” table and resolve effects.

Keep rolling decreasing the lower end of the success variable by 1 each time they fail until they succeed. Success wil trigger a wild wolf encounter (encounter 1) and the party will see a trail or blood amongst the drag marks towards a shadowy set of buildings on top of a short hill, the graveyard.

The party will notice a old wooden bridge over a frozen river, the drag marks (DC14 survival check or DC16 perception) will go over the river, not the bridge. If the party go over the bridge the first person will have a DC 12 dex saving throw or the wood will break and the character will suffer 2d6 damage from falling through the bridge, no damage on a success.

If they cross the frozen river its 10ft wide and is a thin ice and frigid water hazard. Play it as such.

Once the party are at the grave yard the drag marks are harder to see as the snow is thicker and there is a bunch of wolf paw prints around (DC12 survival to notice wolf paw prints, DC14 to follow drag marks). The drag marks go to a smaller building to the south west of the graveyard while a more frantic set of human footprints run towards the larger building to the north. The door is wedged closed, if they call out then Paul will open promptly and let them in before a grave wolf and three wolves appear suddenly as of waiting for the party to open the door. If they dont call out and try to break down the door its DC14 strength check however as they attempt or once the Wolves will rush to engage.

On the way out of the woods they are ambushed by giant snow owls (see stat blocks below) as the wind begins to pickup (blizzard begins). After the fight they travel for a few hours – the blizzard making it rough to move through and as the wind dies down (still extremely cold but no snow) they see a half-ogre and brown bear (If they didn’t encounter them in the cave that is) has followed them and then they are in combat.

Once the Wolves are dealt with the party will head towards the larger building finding it closed but not barred or locked. Upon entering two dead wolves are on the ground, vines having strangled them and bound them to the floor. Inside a large portrait of three raven haired people, two are standing proudly behind a young woman. A moment later a voice speaks from the corner of the room “I don’t know what this is…who are those people and why do I look like her”. Katya appears and she is the splitting image of the young woman in the portrait. There are three caskets in the room, two with lid on, one empty. The words underneath say “Kristoff Poleski” ,”Jessica Poleski”, and (you guessed it) “Katya Poleski”.

Notable NPC interactions.

Carline Winters – Once the party have spoken to Colin (part 2) about going to save Paul she will approach the party to also ask them to help. She will offer them a tidy sum of coins and gems if they agree to help (50gp and a bag of gems worth 300gp).

Random table

Lost in the blizzard.

1Party end up going in a loop for half an hour – roll for an exposure check (as per extreme cold) and roll for random encounter.
2Party go a little off track, roll for an random encounter (d20)
3-4The party find tracks which leads them further north (+1 to next roll, roll on random encounter table)
5+Party follow the trail of bloodspots and through the snow and wind they can see a few buildings on top of the hill. As they take a few more steps forward so do the beasts that have find their prey amongst the storm (Wolf encounter)

Random Encounter table

Result (d20)Encounter
1-9Nothing of significance is encountered – to build tension perhaps a deer or the like stumbles onto the track at the same time the party does
10-14One Giant snowy owl appears just as it swoops down to attack the smallest party member in the group – attempting to fly off with them.
15-17A giant lynx (Crag Cat) appears, it is currently feasting on a stag but looks up at the party daring them to approach it and its meal.
18-19Two wolves appear, one is nursing a hurt leg that upon closer inspection has thorny vines wrapped around it, the wound looks recent and painful.
20Three wolves appear