Hexcrawl Series No. 15 – The Dark Blood Cult

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This adventure is part of the Brukesian Duchy Hexcrawl. Find more about it here!

Humans are prone to temptation. Their short lifespan only emphasizes their craving for luxuries and commodities. The dangers and threats of the Brukesian Duchy have led the weak-willed into a life of crime and corruption. A considerable number of Brukesians have formed a cult to avoid the effects of the itinerant parade’s affliction. The cost of their ritual has taken away their humanity. Brukesian authorities only have but clues that point to the Merfolk Grounds.


Like most human societies, Crimsonwall is divided by classes. The nobles and the bourgeoisie benefit from their status and stipends. The lower classes must settle with what little life provides. And more often than not, nobles see to that.

The number of people killed by Dewborn hunters, those dying due to the itinerant parade’s affliction, and the victims lost to the indigenous dangers of the duchy are mostly poor peasants. The common folk are divided. A fraction of them would go as far as to seek retaliation.

A Way Out

Old Alfie once lived in Crimsonwall. He was a farmer. His son Charles joined the Brukesian army but died two years later, eaten by myconids. Alfie’s wife joined the itinerant parade and never returned. The broken man blamed the nobles. They enjoyed luxuries while the poor died. He decided he would seek his destiny.

Traveling, he stumbled upon an abandoned elven church. Alfie found Ilvara’s soul there. The life essence of a corrupted elf, stored in a small crystal bottle. Ilvara was once kind and good-willed, but her long imprisonment has turned the elvish spirit evil. The elf’s soul changed Alfie too. He acquired obscure knowledge, and with it, he created a ritual to counter the parade’s affliction. The components of this ritual are human lives. “The survival of the fittest”, Alfie would say. The cure gained him followers. His followers, obsessed with immunity, would rather lose their humanity than go back to their farmer life. Thus, the Dark Blood Cult was born. Corruption and depravity have erased what little humanity still lived in old Alfie and his deranged followers. Someone has to stop the bloodshed the cult has brought upon the land.

General Features

The ancient elven structure remains in good condition despite its age, but some areas have suffered damages due to cave-ins. These tunnels are the only ways to enter the church; boulders and debris block the main entrance..

Unless otherwise noted, the Dark Blood Cult church has the following features:

Granite flooring (cracked and eroded). Elven architecture (patterns and runes). Constant humming (cultists meditate in the church nave).Bright light (magical sconces). Evil aura (feelings of uneasiness and fear).

D8 Random Encounters


1 predatory myconid roams the place trying to find easy food


1d4 ghosts, their vague features are elven-like. They are friendly to other elven kin. They are happy to share information about the place


1 black pudding filters through a crack and attacks


1 swarm of venomous centipedes


2 spider swarms, 3-in-6 chance rallied by 2 giant spiders


1d10 cultists (2-in-6 chance they are unarmed and not ready to fight)


1 cultist mage (4-in-6 chance they summon a demon to its aid)


2d4 Dewborn rangers find the complex and claim it is Dewborn property

D8 Random Events


A gust of wind blows suddenly and extinguishes exposed light sources


Dense mist covers the church for 1d4 hours, the floor is not visible


A ghost flies through the body of a creature, leaving a chilling sensation


A mad cultist screams in the distance. The screams stop after 2 full minutes.


A loud growl comes from the dark tunnels in area 14


A loud shutting of a door breaks the silence present for the last minute


Acidic brine falls from the ceiling. It spoils rations in a random bag pack


The constant humming of the cultists causes a sensation of drowsiness

1. Caverns Network

Hidden entrance (accessed from the woods). No sunlight (the tunnels are dark and humid). Bones and remains (scattered all around the tunnels).

  • Network’s Roots. The four tunnels lead to different points in the forest above. All of them, however, lead here.
  • South Alcove. The cult makes use of this small natural cavern to keep prisoners. A group of men stands guard by the narrow exit and frightens them to death while they await their sacrifice.
Dark Blood Cult Welcome

Hooded men (dark cloaks with red stains). Rusty weapons (poor quality daggers and knives).

  • Fresh Meat. Five cultists stand guard at the south alcove. Three frightened farmers are held against their will. They shall be used as fuel for the ritual.

2. Elven Columbarium

Funerary Niches (on all walls and columns). Engraved surfaces (intricate elven inscriptions and runes).

  • Elven treasure. Some elves were buried with small personal belongings. For creatures that take the time to search, the niches on the walls contain a total of 234 gp in assorted coins, and 112 gp worth in small silverware and other small mundane objects.

Elven warriors (skeletons and shadows). Mad undead (cannot be reasoned with).

  • Disrespecting History. Any attempt to disrespect or disturb the elven columbarium is met with violence. The elven remains animate magically. Six skeletons and four elven shadows protect their resting place.

3. Secret Chamber

Cave-in (collapsed east wall).

  • Secret Passage. This chamber is connected to the church nave. It was originally a secret storage room but the cave-in makes it useless.

4. Death Trap

Fake magic circle (pressure-sensitive plate). Sarcophagi (home to wraiths).

  • Elf wraiths. What looks like a runic circle with some sort of magical purpose is in fact the trigger plate to release the deadly wraiths from their sarcophagi.
Elf Wraiths

Wailing spirits (faceless shadows of hate). Hatred (bound to kill and murder).

  • Guardians. Alfie developed a way to bind the wraiths to the sarcophagi. They won’t chase creatures farther than 30 feet from their enclosures.

5. Church Nave

Blocked entrance (rocks and debris). Stone benches (arranged in two rows). Elven rug (embroidered silk and long).

  • Cultist Ceremony. Cultists kneel and make a disturbing three-toned hum. Their leader isn’t present though.
Zealots Attack

Insane (mad and aggressive). Mob mentality (they try to swarm their victims).

  • Reaction. The cultists attack any intruders they see. There are a dozen armed cultists and one mage cultist. They retreat to area 11 if outnumbered.

6. Dais and Altar

Stone altar (holds an elvish magic book). Elven texts (stored on the bookshelves). Bloodstains (defiling all objects).

  • Altar. Alfie’s annotations and modifications are visible on the elven texts. A sacrificial dagger and a sick description of the ritual procedure are evidence enough to cast him as the culprit and mastermind of all this. As per his notes, he has performed more than thirty ritual sacrifices to make his followers immune to the itinerant parade’s affliction.
  • Secret Chambers. There are two secret chambers north and south of the nave. The levers to open them are hidden behind each of the easternmost columns. Alfie utilizes the one in the south to store treasure and valuable goods.
  • Secret Elven Chamber. Alfie and his followers have never moved the large bookshelf behind the altar. It hides an elven treasure chamber. Still unspoiled.

7. Elven Treasure Room

Locked alcoves (shut by magic). Stone chest (magically locked). Ancient treasure (foreign coins and jewelry).

  • Locked alcoves. The doors of these alcoves still hold an elven locking spell. Dispelling their abjuring magic opens the door. Each alcove stores 500 gold pieces worth of paintings, ivory sculptures, and an assortment of fancy wooden decorative pieces of elven craftsmanship.
  • Locked chests. A locking spell prevents the chests from being opened. Dispelling the abjuring magic opens them. There are 1,324 gold pieces in assorted, outdated, elven coinage. A collection of rubies and other precious stones stored in handcrafted oak boxes (760 gp), lots of silverware and silvered fancy tools like letter openers (343 gp), and a fine set of soft, expensive, cotton and silk elven cloaks with handcrafted clasps (728 gp).
  • Elven curse. The treasure turns to dust if the creatures that find it defiled the niches in area 2, destroyed an elven ghost or spirit, or disrespected the memory of the elves in any way.

8. Secret Chamber

Treasure chests (granite and stone). Human treasure (recently stolen goods).

  • Treasure. Alfie stores the cult’s treasure here. The stone chests contain valuable effects removed from travelers they capture. The hoard contains 250 gp, 1230 sp, a jade bracelet with delicate engravings (100 gp), a cloak with embedded jade stones (50 gp), a silk hat (35 sp), and a ceremonial dagger with a bone hilt and silver blade (170 gp).

9. Death Trap

Fake magic circle (pressure-sensitive plate). Sarcophagi (home to wraiths).

  • Elf wraiths. This device works the same way as the one in area 4. The wraith guardians of this area won’t chase creatures farther than 30 feet from their enclosures either.
  • Locked Door. The Dark Blood Cult keeps the south door locked to avoid encountering merfolk. The tunnel in area 10 eventually leads to an underground stream. Alfie has considered using the merfolk as fuel for his rituals but he doesn’t know what could result from it. Yet he ponders the idea.

10. River Tunnel

Cave-ins (three damaged walls and wrecked furniture). South (fish smell).

  • Underground water. Merfolk that live in the Dew River have found underground bodies of water with several tunnels. One of them leads here.
Amphibian Intruders

Fish people (fins and scales). Territorial nature (prone to violence).

  • Reaction. A squad of six merfolk explores the area. They attack any other creatures they see. They retreat to their underground stream if outnumbered.

11. Antechamber

Engraved walls (images of elvish ceremonies and elf priests).

  • Alfie’s Bodyguards. Three tough men with longswords are stationed here.

Corpulent (strong, tall men). Mercenaries (work for the highest bidder).

  • Reaction. They protect Alfie but won’t die for him. They respond well to gold if offered more than 100 gp each.

12. Alfie’s Office

Messy (cluttered and dirty). Shelves (brimmed with texts and scrolls).

  • Alfie’s Office Door. This door is locked. Alfie has the only key.
  • Elven Scripts. Alfie has ruined most of the elven texts and lore in this room. His insane mind wrote and drew incomprehensible words combining the Common and Elvish tongues. However, a thorough search might reveal books and scrolls that are still worth something. Brukesian libraries and historians might appreciate these items.
  • Ilvara’s Soul. A blue light shines on the table. The moment Alfie touched the small, delicately cut, glowing crystal bottle, part of the corrupted elf’s soul filled his heart. Whoever touches this bottle might be prone to become possessed by evil. A wise wizard would know better than to mess with this object. Despite its welcoming light, it is a cursed item. There is a 2-in-6 chance the spirit in the bottle attempts to possesses a creature that touches the small crystal bottle.

13. Forbidden Chamber

Reinforced door (wooden planks nailed to it). Royal sarcophagi (royal elf sigil). Deadly aura (atmosphere of despair).

  • Elven sarcophagus. The remains of an elven royal rest here. Alfie has corrupted the church so much that the bygone elf king has come back from the dead and desires vengeance. The cult blocked the door and makes a great effort to never approach the gate.
The Elven King

Mummified (preserved corpse). Royalty (jewelry and kingly ragged attire).

  • Reaction. The mummy steps out of its sarcophagi if the door to its chamber is opened. Three wraiths with ghostly elven clothes accompany the king. They attack all living creatures until slain.
  • Treasure. The mommy and its sarcophagus contain the following items: an old gold crown, inlaid with ivory (550gp), a rough limestone jewelry box, inlaid with bone (70gp), an engraved crystal amulet set with a black pearl (600gp).

14. Uncharted Caves

Deadly aura (atmosphere of despair). Dangerous (dark and unknown).

  • Tunnel Network. This tunnel traverses several miles underground and eventually reaches the forest. The engulfing darkness from these caves looks like an entrance to the abyss itself.

15. Abandoned Chamber

Cave-in (collapsed east wall). Furniture (wrecked and rotten).

  • Meditation. This was a former meditation chamber for the elves. Alfie and his men never come here; they would have to open the forbidden chamber. The cult ignores that a flock of hook horrors lives there at the moment.
Underground Horror

Bird-like features (talons and beak). Underground delver (blind).

  • Reaction. A flock of six hook horrors protects their three nests here. The parents don’t chase enemies outside this area, their priority is to protect the eggs.

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