Hexcrawl Series No. 4 – Abandoned Tower

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

Deep in the forest of the Pigmen Territories, a solitary tower rests lifeless and abandoned. After dealing with the soldiers, the Dewborn destroyed all Brukesian objects inside and left the place to rot and be consumed by nature.

“The Brukesian Squad”: Such was the name of the Brukesian soldiers stationed at this tower. The people from Barrowstream have only bad memories of this former military outpost.

Tower’s History

Seven years ago, the people from Barrowstream lost the battle against the Dewborn and the watchtower near the Pigmen Territories fell into enemy hands.

Brukesians still suffer from the loss of this strategic outpost. From here, they could spy on the Dewborn and plan accordingly. Now, it is impossible to know when their skirmishers might attack.

Harrisen and Barrowstream benefited the most from this, but even Crimsonwall depended at some point on the intelligence obtained from the forest outpost.

The Brukesian Squad consisted of a score of soldiers charged with the watchtower’s welfare and safety. Of course, their tasks also involved spying on Dewborn agents and making reports of the forest.

Many catastrophes were prevented and great treasures were discovered thanks to the tower. For about three decades, the Brukesian Squad maintained the Dewborn at bay in the immediate forest region, controlled and observed.

However, the Dewborn realized they were losing the tactical advantage of the land. They planned their revenge for years.

They faked some skirmishes and lost on purpose to make the humans grow overconfident. Once they were ready, Brukesians couldn’t do anything to stop them. The tower was lost seven years ago.

General Features

Unless otherwise noted, areas share the following features:

Terrain. The stone tiles of the tower remain in good condition. The Dewborn destroyed everything inside but the tower itself remains.

Light. All torches are useless now. They can be replaced though. The top of the tower bathes in moonlight at night.

Doors. Unless noted with a padlock (see map), all doors are unlocked.

Bones. Most rooms feature human bones. This wasn’t the Dewborn’s doing though. An evil hag has been living in the tower for the last couple of years. The remains and bones of the people it eats are mostly in the basement level.

Smells and Sounds. The whole tower has a strong stench of decay. The hag’s presence has made the stench even stronger.

D8 Random Encounters

1

1d4 wolves (areas 1 and 2 only)

2

2d4 myconids (2-in-6 chance they are sentient)

3

1d2 hook horrors (3-in-6 chance they protect an egg)

4

2d6 pigmen skeletons (3-in-6 chance they are armed)

5

1 Brukesian ghost, it is friendly as long as the heroes accept to interrupt the itinerant parade.

6

1d6 goblins

7

1 hag (It becomes invisible after attacking once and flees laughing maniacally)

8

1d3 wraiths, they wear Brukesian Squad uniforms.

D8 Random Events

1

A gust of cold wind blows suddenly and extinguishes any light sources

2

Dense mist covers the ground for 10 minutes, the floor is not visible

3

Edible mushrooms have grown from a crack on the wall (Pick for one ration)

4

Unnatural cold fills the area for 30 minutes. The heroes’ breathing makes mist in front of them

5

A ghost of a Brukesian Squad soldier flies while wailing and moves through  an adventurer, freezing them inside

6

A horrible growl can be heard in the distance

7

Pigmen oinks echo in the darkness

8

2d20 bats fly above the heroes and leave

1. Road

Green fields (long grass moving with the wind). Empty Road (no footprints or tracks).

  • Road: The open road leads to the abandoned tower and the west privies.

2. Privies

Identical rooms (two individual privies). Eaten by nature (abandoned for years).

  • Moss: The restrooms are covered in moss, roots, and twigs.

3. Tower Entrance

Painted Door (Dewborn symbol on the main door of the tower). Stairs (lead downstairs to the basement). Scattered objects (evidence of leaving in a hurry)

  • Brukesian Soldier: There’s a 3-in-6 chance a ghost of the Brukesian Squad welcomes the adventurers. It wears scraps of armor with the Brukesian military sigil. The ghost becomes hostile if there is an elf or a creature of fey ancestry with the heroes. Otherwise, it vanishes after telling them where they are.

4. Tower Base

Broken table (dining table for eight people). Curved stone stairs (to the second level of the tower).

  • Last Supper: When a creature enters this area, a vision appears for a few seconds. The Brukesian Squad shares supper at the table for the last time. The vision ends with a Dewborn war horn sound. The soldiers abandon their meals and get ready for battle. Then, the vision stops, and the moth-eaten table replaces it before it shows the outcome.

5. Tower Mid-Level

Broken furniture (all wooden, none of it serviceable).

  • The Key: When a creature comes up the stairs, the ghostly figure of a member of the Brukesian Squad approaches the east door. The ghostly figure feels its pockets and releases a small grunt of frustration after failing to find something. It then approaches the small alcove to the south. The ghost pulls a small silver key from a crack on a brick. The vision ends when the ghost opens the door.

6.Locked Office

Neat and organized (The Dewborn didn’t care for this place). Books and scrolls (academic and military studies).

  • Valuable Papers: The paperwork here is dated 7 years ago but a good part of it is of high importance to the Brukesian army. It is good news to know they didn’t fall into enemy hands.
  • Fancy Rug: This rug is made with silk and gold threads. An art collector in Barrowstream would appreciate having such a piece or decoration. It is worth 150 gold pieces.
Military Log

Sturdy book (leather binding and iron clasps).

  • Sir Golmund’s Notes: The large book on the table shows the Crimson’s Watch last report. As per the signature on the last report, Sir Golmund wrote on it for the last time. “The Dewborn attack! They surprised us. May the sun god have mercy or our souls…” These are the last words he wrote.

7. Tower Top

Dirty and eroded (years of lack of maintenance and constant rains).

  • Goblin Picnic: Six goblins sit in a circle and share the remains of some rats and rabbits they hunted. They throw them as weapons if surprised. They attempt to climb down the tower if they are outnumbered or if their lives are in danger.

8. Soldier’s Quarters

Broken beds (seven individual beds destroyed by the Dewborn). Dusty and moldy (the lack of ventilation in the room make it warmer).

  • Witch Activity: The floor is littered with bones and guts. The wrecked furniture is covered with crimson stains. Blood runes on the wall erase any doubts about the presence of a witch. Rare herbs and plant leaves lay scattered under the broken beds. Closer inspection reveals that the bed frames, although not serviceable, have recently held dead bodies; the drapes feature days-old bloodstains.

9.Locked Room

Useless stuff (broken chests and chairs). Secret Passage (hidden on the south wall).

  • Storage Room: The soldiers used to store broken furniture and useless stuff here for future repair. They never got to work on this stuff because of the Dewborn attack.
  • Secret Passage: The south wall of this room hides a secret passageway. Pushing a brick activates the wall’s mechanism and moves it aside. The wall returns to its original position afterward and can’t be operated from the other side.

10. Weaponry

Old weapons (rusty and dented). Tufts of fur (thick and gray, they feel greasy).

  • Brothers in Arms: A vision of two Brukesian Squad soldiers honing their swords and laughing at some joke appears when a creature enters this room. The growl of a beast interrupts the harmless vision.
  • Secret Passage: Pushing a brick under the wooden table with rusty swords opens a hidden passage to the treasure room (area 11).
  • Hag’s Pets

Two medium-sized hounds (tough mastiffs). Two-headed monstrosities (evil creatures of death). Foul saliva (carries a nasty disease).

  • Relentless: The death dogs always attempt to bite two different targets. This way, the disease spreads further.
  • Blood Frenzy: The hounds pounce over a person who’s already injured to finish the job.
  • Reaction: There is a 3-in-6 chance the death dogs surprise enemies who are distracted by the vision. The dogs do not retreat under any circumstances. They chase their prey if provoked.

11. Treasure Room

Perfect conditions (this room remains intact after seven years). Unlocked chests (none of the chests has a lock or security measures).

  • Fancy Rug: This rug is made of rare cotton and delicate fabrics. It can be sold to a good buyer for 200 gold pieces.
  • Treasure: One of the chests contains expensive sea salts, spices, and honey. The Brukesian Squad was pampered a lot more than the simple Brukesian army. All this can be sold for 300 gold pieces. The second chest contains 400 gold pieces worth in coins and other valuable gems. The third chest contains personal belongings of the Brukesian Squad such as letters from their wives, tokens or items of good luck, drawings from their children, and the like.

12. A Witch’s Lair

Horrible Stench (the smell of death and putrefaction pierces eyes and nostrils). Bones and remains (the hag’s victims’ corpses litter the room).

  • Fresh Corpse: A poor Brukesian traveler got lost in the forest and ended up being the witch’s next meal. His flayed corpse lays on the table by the south wall.
The Hag

Ugly and old (frail body with green skin, full of pustules). Menacing (long nails and a piercing look).

  • Illusory Appearance: The hag uses its magic to look like a young lady in distress. She hides in the alcove in the south in fetal position and cries. She claims the demon hounds will come soon. She also says that an evil witch monster will smell their presence and come through the door if they don’t leave. She finishes by saying the corpse on the table is the witch’s next meal, and she is supposed to be next.
  • Sneak Attack: If the heroes fall for its ruse, the hag asks them to rescue her and take her out of there. The clever witch proceeds to make sounds with its illusions and magic tricks. The hag looks for the perfect moment to attack its savior from the back after this.
  • Reaction: Once the witch attacks, it unleashes her wrath on the weakest or most injured foe. The hag flees if its life is in danger. It becomes invisible to escape through the underground caverns and get lost in the dark.

13. Tower’s Basement

Cave tunnel (a cave-in in the southwest corner of the room). Gruesome view (the remains of many of the hag’s victims are here).

  • Underground Caverns: The cave-in on the wall leads to a tunnel which in turn opens up to a network of underground tunnels and caverns. Humid and dark tunnels that go in all directions. Only a fool would roam the uncharted lands of darkness underneath the Misty Forests.

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