Population: Permanent population of approximately 8000, with a range of 2-3 thousand Transient depending on season.
Products: The main products of the town are specialty items (High end crafting of all sorts) and unique plants/ food. The area holds rich soil and a multitude of unique natural resources. Normally this may have resulted in the city trading raw resources but given that the original population was from 4 different worlds they have a multitude of different technologies and crafts that make use of nearly everything they come across.
Military/defenses: The city’s ability to bear arms is pitiful compared to the population. 100 ill trained militia serve under the Mayor for the purpose of warding off the savage Kaithllen and monitoring the entire city streets, they are woefully under equipped/trained/funded for the task. In truth the city’s military might is the armsmen of the wealthy, who only march where their employers tell them to.
Merowey (Translated as “Way of the many”) was the result of sections of 4 different cities with their inhabitants being transported from different worlds into the same 5 mile radius on Orlec. Unbeknownst to most there were no living people from the cities themselves brought to the world of orlec, but instead the inhabitants from the outlying farmsteads and small holdings. As a result the city formed easily and there is a massive emphasis on production and trade (Farmers and craftsmen founded the core priorities of the society). Once the 4 city sections grew into one large city the Council was formed. The Council initially consisted of 8 land holders (2 from each quadrant) elected by all existing landholders. The power of an individual’s vote was based on the number of paid laborers on their land. Eventually this system changed to a core council of absolute power, whos voting power was based on the amount of land they owned. (Very few ever knew that the council was actually formed to safeguard a large Runic circle created by Orlec himself. Each Council Member built there home at a pivotal point of the circle and was entrusted with a part of the key to accessing the Rune)
The 8 members of council, each serving his own goals. They constantly work against each other and are nearly always working some scheme to undermine the others. Only large sums of money, war and anything involving the Runic Circle of Orlec ever bring them together, and then only reluctantly.
The other factions consist of the Mayors office lead by Nether Abels (which is merely a figurehead that the Council uses as a lightning rod for the people’s anger), The representatives of Montvin (Trade envoy), The representatives of Hiddzwaur (Those trying to broker for peace between the Kaithllen and Merowey), The Cult (Explained below), The church of the Lord of the Blacksmiths, the church of the the Conqueror, A small druidic circle, The Savage Kaithllen (Raiders in the countryside), and lastly a few working guilds consisting of the Teamsters, the Miners, and the ‘harvesters’ (Agricultural experts).
Official name: Queens Brethren.
Other names: The Raven Brethren, The cult of the Raven Queen, The Harpies Brethren (Very rarely used, few have even heard this name)
Forming: The cult was formed about 80 years ago In AC 483 (After Creation of Orlec), when a small family of woodcrafters was struggling and the father began to hear whispers in his sleep. It was not long after that he and his family were thriving and took the symbol of the Raven as their family crest.
Purpose of the Cult: to slowly gather essence for the queen. Sometimes this is through the cost of joining the cult, other times it is done through sacrifice. The morality of the cult is certainly on the evil side. The Raven Queen (In truth an ancient entity that more accurately manifests as a harpy) was locked in the realms of Orlec by another powerful entity of her own realm. By gathering enough power she could free herself, but it must be done slowly so as to avoid detection from the other powers that be in these realms, else they could take advantage of her imprisonment and lock her away more securely.
Why has it arisen here?: The comparatively large amount of population makes the gathering of followers as ideal as possible in this world. This coupled with the latent power of Orlecs’ Runic Circle made it easier for the Raven Queen to reach through the gaps in her prison. Now that she has been able to weaken her prison steadily over nearly a century she can reach out anywhere she has followers.
Other Leaders and sects: Few followers exist outside of Merowey, and none of them primary leaders. There are approximately 9 “Missionaries” sent out to surrounding small villages to slowly build up the following and ensure that if Merowey falls the Cult will live on. Should the Cult have to leave they will hide in these villages until they can gather in another large town, likely posing as a family of middle class crafters.
The Estate and Altar: The Carpenter estate consists of 4 areas: The Primary house for the immediate family, the stable/ material storage, the Bunk house for extended family and hired workers, and the work yard filled with projects and tarped materials. Underneath the primary house is a larder that doubles as a safe room (scrying into it magically is difficult but not impossible). Beneath the storage building is a hidden tunnel that leads towards the center of town (it also follows one of the leylines of the Runic Circle). Hidden expertly beneath the Bunk house is an altar to the Raven Queen.
At the altars center is a small statue of a harpy atop 2 ravens. Blood Sacrifices are quite frequent and the smell is strong. None but the most powerful of scrying or magical detection will find the power hidden here. There is a rotating guard/ ceremonial crew of 4 cult members in the Altar room at all times. Quite frequently one of the 4 (or in addition to the 4) will be one of the primary Carpenter family. Mystical effects used by non cult members in this room will be treated as half effective (in damage, duration and number of targets), cult members will also be considered to have resistance to such effects (either advantage on saves or half damage). All spells and powers used by cult members are considered to be 1 level higher than the spell slot used.
Areth Mills: The true Leader of the cult, typically portrays herself as an underling. Married to Crayet Mills. She follows the Raven Queen for power and little else. While not filled with conviction as Abraham Carpenter is, she is aware that her power only exists through her bond to the Raven Queen, and she will do nothing to compromise that. Unlike the Carpenters she was not born into the Cult, and rose to power through her ambition to be more than some peasant housewife.
Crayet Mills: A local teamster Foreman, respected in the community. Known for being down to earth and never asking much from others. In truth he has been under charms from Areth ever since he was 16. He has undergone many rituals he has no recollection of, which have changed him into a potential weapon and protector of the Cult (An altered Flesh Golem).
Abraham Carpenter: The head of the Carpenter household and one of the center council of the Cult. Unlike most of the Cult he has developed a clerical tie to the Raven Queen of the Cult. He despises Areth and most of the council, as well as much of his own sons due to them not being devoted enough to the Patron. He hates the fact that most of the cult is only committed out of fear or greed, and that they perform their duties not because they want to, but because they HAVE to. To him the Raven Queen is a way of life, not a path to power, as her patronage has brought the family to what they are today. He is the only one of the family to have seen the Patrons Harpy form.
Josephat Carpenter: Abraham’s sister, and a learned mage posing as a widow, She killed her husband as tribute to the patron to help form the Coven. This sacrifice is what allowed them to empower the grounds and create a Lair.
Joseph Carpenter: Abraham’s Second son, a brutal man who has joined the coven but lacks the focus or patience necessary to collect on the magical learnings and powers. He serves as the covens most loyal enforcer and assassin. He seeks prestige, recognition and a position of power in the family.
OTHER: Griffons, Kaithllen barbarians, Harpys, Hook Horror, Manticore, Owlbear, Axe Beak, Blood Hawks, Ravens, Swarm of Ravens
Reminder: longer day cycle and different sleep cycle. The planet rotates on a 36 hour cycle, with 30 hours of daylight during the summer (2 suns), and about 24 hours during the winter. The average humanoid maintains a cycle of 24-26 hours awake and 10-12 hours of sleep. It is not uncommon for people to nap during the hottest part of the day during their ‘lunch’ period.
Had did the party get here? The party comes to Merowey either through traveling and searching for a place of civilization, or by having been sent by an outside agent (Such as Hiddzwaur, Merowey, or a Divine source seeking stability in the region.) This adventure only takes place if they make enemies of the Carpenters or somehow discover the existence of the Cult.
What are they here for? The adventure is set up for the party to enter Merowey as representitives of Hiddzwaur to work with the Mayor in an attempt to broker an alliance and help convince the people to begin working with the Kaithllen. This could also be set as a way for the party to set up a home of sorts in an otherwise under developed savage world.
The party is called before the mayor where he informs them that they have been accused of murder. Several witnesses claim to have seen the group involved, having recognized them from the type of equipment and various personnel affects (Symbols, clothing and the like). The murders took place just off of green street, in an alley not far from the inn the group stays in, the “Aged Willow”. The accusation takes place in front of some of the local city council. (The witnesses are plants from the cult and bystanders who were encouraged to step forward. No one got a very clear view as they were trying to avoid the conflict)
The mayor can ill afford to have the group with a murder charge over their heads, and introduces the party to Mayet Haversom, an Impari Truth seeker. His guild specializes in magics that read the history of objects and peoples memories. With the parties permission he will use his magics on their weaponry and gear to establish that they took no part in the crime. Unfortunately his magics require the consent of the memories or objects owner to get a clear picture. The council will accept this evidence as long as the group does not resist the magics.
The party is awoken in the early morning to screams and crashing in the street outside the inn. Looking out the window from the 3rd story reveals a large creature wreaking havoc.
From the perspective of the party The owl bear is scared and mostly defending itself. It will shy away from the group and make threatening noises, only attacking if they draw too close. Once the group is mostly outside, Kaithllen will attack from rooftops. Sabor using poisoned spears and crossbows from the rooftops, Numa throwing spears then rushing the party with 2 handed axs
AC: 16, 1 Resilience (natural), Hit points: 27, Speed: 40
STR: 18 +4 DEX: 14 +2 CON: 14 +2 INT: 8 (-1) WSD: 12 (+1) CHR: 6 (-2) SAN 8 (-1)
Senses: Lowlight vision, Passive perception 14, Enhanced hearing
Languages: Haushren, Feyloise (minor),
Rage: normal damage resistance, +2 damage per hit, Immune to fear
Blood Reserve: 1 extra resilience. When reduced to 25% HP a temporary pool of HP equal to CON mod x lvl (6) is gained for 10 rounds.
Bite: +6, 7/9/13 Con save DC 14 or aggravated wound.
Spears: +6, 7/10/16 Con save DC 12 or poisoned
2 handed Ax: +6, 10/16/28
AC: 17, 1 Resilience (natural), Hit points: 30, Speed: 40
STR: 14 +2 DEX: 16 +3 CON: 16 +3 INT: 8 (-1) WSD: 14 (+2) CHR: 6 (-2) SAN 8 (-1)
Senses: Lowlight vision, Passive perception 15, Enhanced hearing and sight
Languages: Haushren, Feyloise (minor),
Rage: normal damage resistance, +2 damage per hit, Immune to fear
Sneak attack: 3/6/12
Bite: +4, 6/8/12
Spears: +4, 5/8/14 Con save DC 12 or poisoned
Weak light Crossbow: +5, 7/12/19 (No AP quality, -1 damage, -2 on crits)
A wounded militia man stumbles into the party (likely at the Inn), wishing to speak with the group. He has a stab wound in his side and a lump on the back of his head. His story is as such: “Yesterday I was on duty during the murders. I managed to stay out of sight when I realized there was nothing I could do, but I followed them to a crappy tavern, ‘The Dusty Dip’, on the other end of town. I couldn’t see their faces and I didnt want to go in after them, so I watched, hoping that they’d come back out after a while. I was there for a while when I got hit from behind, then everything went dark. I came to like this, dumped in an refuse alley. I managed my way here, I wanted to make sure someone knew before I pass out again. It couldn’t have been you guys, not a single freak among them.”
The informant is a blatant agent of the Cult. They are pushing the party to attack the true Murderers, an envoy from Montvin. The envoy is under heavy amounts of enchantment, and they are being used to try and distract and discredit the party.
Clerics, Rangers and Druids upon a successful Insight check can feel a ‘Darkness’ coming into the city, like an oncoming storm. A natural 20 or adjusted 25 will reveal that there has been a rip in reality (DC 15 religion or arcana to determine a summoning)
This is related to the Cults summoning of an Erinyes to battle the party. This summoning started late on day 1, but has just now pierced the veil of reality. The ‘tension’ from this will increase as it grows closer to completion.
Successful perception checks (DC 16 – related skills) will notice that there are an uncommon number of ravens in the area. Further investigation will reveal that they are concentrated primarily in 3 areas: The Aged willow, The Carpenters residence, and the warehouse district.
What if they catch one? Will they attack? Wil they mislead the party? Many of the ravens are normal creatures being commanded through magic, should they be captured they will respond just as a normal Raven would. A select few are familiars or bribed creatures, which would ultimately be loyal to either their master or the Raven Queen. Attacks are unlikely, but could be prompted if they could serve as an ideal distraction or if they were able to severely handicap the party as they investigate.
A poor woman, is screaming that a monster stole her baby. She is hysterical but if the party calms her (DC 12 persuade to give her a SAN check) then she will explain that its a flying demon, and that it ripped her baby from her hands as she was going to market.
This is a Manticore in the poorer part of town. When assaulted it will scream, and 4 ax beaks and 2 blood hawks will swarm to it’s aid.
The night is filled with the cries and squawks of crows, vultures and ravens. Much of the city does not sleep, and the tension grows even greater as the people worry over what’s to come.
DC 12 Con save or 1 measure of exhaustion. DC 11 SAN or -1 to all saves for 24 hours.
The party received word from the mayor (From a secret messenger if the party is disgraced), there have been more murders in the night on a couple of nearby streets.
Investigation of the sites reveals wounds that would indicate Kaithllen. In depth investigation will discover that there is a unique black feather at each murder site. (The feather is from the spirit raven of Areth Mills)
A well dressed man with the symbol of the Carpenter household on his coat arrives. He introduces himself as Jason Carpenter, a distant cousin of the carpenter household. He offers an invitation to the Carpenter residence under a white flag. Abraham wishes to discuss terms of peaceful resolution. As a show of faith he encourages the group to bring any weapons or gear they need to feel comfortable. Direct words from Abraham are “Quite a bit has occurred, and I do not have the patience or noble-like words to put you at ease through a message. Please meet me for an early dinner at my abode, so I can inform you of exactly what you have stumbled upon and how my family’s name was tarnished by it.”.
Abraham is trying to stall the group for as long as possible so that the summoning of the Erinyes may take place. As long as the group is civil and seemingly uninterested in pursuing the cult he will continue to treat them cordially and try to pretend that this has all been a misunderstanding. He will lie as much as he has to. If things seem quite off to him, or if they seem to be able to stop the summoning he will have an ambush for the party after they leave.
Overly Insulting Abraham, or leading him to believe that the party is too much of a threat could result in him sending a group to kill them, triggering the Carpenter Ambush
The clouds darken, (those who could sense the summoning fall unconscious unless they achieve a DC 25 SAN save. THey will be awake before the enemy appears, but they will suffer -5 to initiative if their save was 10 or less.) the city quiets and the varying winged beasts flee. The tension over the city has broke….. That which was called has arrived.
The erinyes will be sent to kill the party, starting with the weaker allies who have aided them. It is likely that the party will encounter the beast at night unless their actions or lack of allies causes them to encounter it early. The creature is summoned for 3 days before it is pulled back to the demonic realms.
The cult will try to leave the Erinyes on it’s own to kill the party, unless it seems that a pivotal attack might change the scales. Regardless, if the party kills the Erinyes the Carpenters will have their ambush ready to assault them (Unless the Ambush has already taken place)
If the party is truly weak after this (just a couple left), it could trigger the Carpenter Ambush.
This only takes place if the group attempts to go to the Dusty Dip to confront the true murderers involved in the crime that they were falsely accused of. The True murderers are the Envoy from Montvin sent to establish trade agreements. THey have been enchanted by the cult and are not in their right minds, making them incredibly defensive, aggressive and susceptible to the suggestions of the cult. THey will not respond well to the group without dispel magic or an adjusted 22 or natural 20 intimidate. Persuasion or reason does not work.
AC: 16 (Fitted studded leather: greater resilience) , Hit points: 31, Speed: 30
STR: 16 +3 DEX: 16 +3 CON: 16 +3 INT: 10 (0) WSD: 14 (+2) CHR: 14 (+2) SAN 12 (+1)
Senses: Passive perception 15, Advantage taste and smell
Skills: Perception, Insight, Persuasion, Deception
Languages: Dundarum, Impari, Primordial, Haushren, Feyloise (minor),
Duelist fighting style: +2 damage per hit with sing handed weapon
Uncanny dodge: Reaction for half damage
Montvin training: +1 (per result) to damage for each champion bonus. Bonus action to give an ally +2 to hit and damage on an attack (WSD mod per short rest, this changes crit chance from 20 to 18-20)
Long sword: +6 10/15/24
(Other weapons by GM discretion)
Optional: one member of the Envoy could be an agent with +10 HP, +1 to AC, hit, and damage and the parry ability (Battlemaster) to an ally 2 times per short rest (D8= 4+3=7)
If the group kills the Envoy then they will have to deal with the Disgraced agents encounter.
(These men are normally calm, confident, and respectful. Investigation will link them back to Councilman Rines, who invited them to stay with him as his guests. There he set them up to be influenced by the cult, though of course he would deny any of this.)
(Only if montvin crew is disturbed)
The mayor is furious! “What in the hell were you thinking? Murdering the envoys of the strongest point of trade in the known world? Is there no level of respect you wont destroy? YOur patrons send you as agents of good will and THIS is what you do to represent their good faith? You’re lucky I don’t ban the entire Hiddzwaur Envoy- (OR Insert groups sponsor) from our city. What in the demons realms do you plan to do to fix this?”
Unless the group performs in a miraculous manner they are disgraced, losing their patronage and authority until they can prove better. This is only in the public eye, while they may lose the material benefits the Mayor will continue to try and support them (TIthe still required, but no guarantee of any provision)
The presence of the Impari Truth seeker will only hurt the party in this situation. THis is the primary reason that they are disgraced so publicly, 2 nobles call for the to be called before the truth seeker. (“Did you kill these men?”) The nobles are Javier Wouder , Carl Joiner (Cousin of Abraham Carpenter and Aware of the Cult, trying to help his cousin where he can)
This event could possibly be split into 2 events as it could be either before or after the summoning of the Erinyes. The Gm must decide whether this event is just another encounter, a nasty encounter, or a method of killing the dipshits that happened to survive.
Typically this takes event as the party leaves the carpenter residence (Because they scared abraham or pissed him off), If they approach the summoning circle of the erinyes near its completion, or if they defeat the erinyes without scaring the cult on a large level.
Joseph Carpenter: Kill everyone
Areth Mills: Warlock, raven queen, 8th level. (Ruin the party and keep her alive at all costs She will use feign death at any moment of weakness.)
Swarms of ravens
2-4 Carpenter fanatics (lvl2 fighters with +5 damage, +4 hit, and 1 resilience with d8 weapons)
Warehouse: little to bring the group here without the ravens or a traitor of the cult (massive bribes required, 1000 SC or higher), but this is the surface of the summoning circle, require knowledge and rogue skills to see the secret into the summoning circle. This can also be found by inspecting the Carpenters business record (Hours of searching through tedious paperwork). The Location is in the cities warehouse district, the exact warehouse being a building that is owned by a subcontractor the Carpenters use occasionally.
Summoning circle: As protection Abraham carpenter and his sister will fight the group with 2-4 carpenter barbarians and 2 swarms of crows. If they are already dead then only a small group of hired thugs will be protecting those performing the ritual. The circle itself consists of 5 cultists chanting over 4 human sacrifices (already deceased). They will continue chanting even if the party swarms them. Upon death they will attempt to call upon Divine intervention, potentially causing their portion of the ritual to be complete. If all 5 Successfully do this then the summoning will take place immediately and the party will encounter the Erinyes.
What are the possible outcomes and rewards with each?
Also, where are the magical items, who has them, and is there any treasure to be had or rewards from the town and under what circumstances?