Today, we visit the first keyed location in the Runewild Campaign Setting, Wexmore Abbey. Most locations detailed in the Runewild Gazetteer are short encounters, designed to fill an hour or two of gameplay at most. Keyed locations, however, are more akin to full adventures. Characters may spend an entire session – or even several sessions – exploring a keyed location.
Even if you’re not running a Runewild campaign, these keyed locations work great as adventures to drop into your own game. If you want to use Wexmore Abbey in your home campaign, here are both the 5E and a PF2 versions:
10. Wexmore Abbey (Level 4)
Built during the Aruandan Conquest to house the Church’s high prophets, Wexmore Abbey remains the heart of the Adsonian religion in the Runewild. A terrible fate, however, has befallen the abbey. Two years ago, the abbey’s leader, Abbot Dorian, suffered a crisis of faith and fell under the sway of a beguiling fey creature named Cassandrae (Runewild Bestiary). Cassandrae’s influence has caused Abbot Dorian to engage in the gravest sin a priest of St. Adso can commit: false prophecy.
Approaching the Abbey
As the PCs approach Wexmore Abbey, they find the surrounding fields overgrown with vines flowering with bright red blooms. PCs who succeed at a DC 16 Nature check to Recall Knowledge recognize the flowers as red cassandrae. Folklore holds that travelers who stray from their path to pick the alluring blooms invariably lose their way.
Creatures walking through the fields must attempt a DC 19 Will saving throw as indistinct whispers fill their ears. On a failure, the target is subjected to a false prophecy (see the False Prophecies table). Creatures must repeat the saving throw each time they pass through the fields, though deafened creatures or those who take logical precautions (such as plugging their ears) are immune to the effect.
Unless an area of the abbey describes a specific prophecy, roll on the following table whenever a creature is subjected to a false prophecy. Roll a d12 twice and combine the results.
A creature subjected to a false prophecy becomes helpful toward Cassandrae, as if it had critically failed a Will saving throw against a charm spell. Until the effect ends, the creature believes its false prophecy is undeniably true and acts accordingly. If in doubt, affected creatures take whatever actions the GM deem appropriate.
Whenever Cassandrae deals damage to a creature under the effect of a false prophecy, that creature can repeat the saving throw to end the effect. Otherwise, false prophecies last until Cassandrae dies or until a dispel magic spell successfully counteracts the effect (4th level; counteract DC 23).
|Roll||“You will…”||“If you…/unless you…”|
|1||Be devoured by worms…||Speak another word.|
|2||Find a priceless treasure…||Drop whatever you’re holding and refuse to pick it up.|
|3||Bring about the end of the world…||Crawl on the ground like an animal.|
|4||Become the greatest hero of your age…||Gouge out your eyes.|
|5||Be struck blind…||Reveal your darkest secret.|
|6||Find your true love…||Leave this place immediately.|
|7||Be struck dead by lightning…||Stand completely still for the next 24 hours.|
|8||Become invulnerable to harm…||Abandon your current career (i.e. class) forever.|
|9||Shrink to the size of a mouse…||Throw yourself from the highest point you can see.|
|10||Grow in strength ten-fold…||Harm another creature.|
|11||Fall asleep and never wake up…||Tell a lie.|
|12||Learn the truth…||Speak the truth.|
Area 1 – Walls and Gate (Low)
- False creepers (Runewild Bestiary) cover the walls
- Vines hold shut a barred gate (Hardness 15, 60 HP, BT 30)
The walls surrounding the abbey are 15 feet high and covered with red cassandrae vines. PCs can scale the walls easily enough, but assume one false creeper grows among the vines every 10 feet or so.
The vines covering the abbey’s main gate must be hacked through or otherwise cleared before the gate can be reached. Hacking through the vines draws the attention of two of the false creepers. Even if cleared of vines, the gate is barred from the inside, forcing the PCs to either batter down the gate (Hardness 15, 60 HP, BT 30) or find another way into the abbey.
Area 2 – Courtyard (Low)
- Two false creepers
Tidy vegetable gardens once ringed this welcoming cobblestone courtyard. Now, the paving is cracked and the gardens weed-choked. Two false creepers lurk beneath an overturned handcart in front of the stables (Area 3). The creepers ambush PCs who move within 5 feet of them. Combat in this area alerts Brother Mason and Sister Teva in Area 8.
Area 3 – Stables (Trivial)
- False prophecy: DC 19
The horses once kept in these stables died several months ago; only their bones remain. A rusty pitchfork leans against the north wall. The first PC to see the pitchfork must make a successful DC 19 Will saving throw or succumb to a false prophecy that the pitchfork is a powerful relic to be wielded in preference to all other weapons. Treat the pitchfork as a trident (1d8 piercing damage).
Area 4 – Library (Trivial)
- A priest named Brother Hammond (as a cultist) guards the library
Though the rest of the grounds are in shambles, the abbey’s library remains tidy. This is due to Brother Hammond, who protects the books here with his life. Sane in all other respects, Brother Hammond is under the effects of a false prophecy that reading any of the books will bring about the end of the world.
Hammond has already killed several other priests who have tried to read the books (their bodies are hidden behind a bookshelf). Hammond attacks the PCs if they show interest in the library. Otherwise, he’s helpful and answers questions about the abbey as best he can.
If asked why he doesn’t simply destroy the books, Brother Hammond’s eyes widen, as if the thought had never occurred to him. He then promptly goes about setting fire to library. Unless stopped, the library burns to the ground with Brother Hammond inside.
The library contains hundreds of volumes, most of them past editions of St. Adso’s Almanac. The books are worth 1d4 x 5 sp each.
Area 5 – Barracks (Trivial)
- Sir Levantus (a watch officer) argues with a Runewild satyr (Runewild Bestiary) named Cacklebray
- Longsword and breastplate beneath bed
These spartan cells once housed the abbey’s high prophets and their assistants. Some of the rooms remain untouched by the madness that has gripped the abbey, while others are thoroughly ransacked. Poorly played music and a pair of voices are heard from a cell at the end of the hall.
The Knight and the Satyr
The voices are those of Sir Levantus, a wandering knight who arrived at Wexmore not long after Cassandrae, and Cacklebray, a satyr who serves Cassandrae. Sir Levantus is stricken with a false prophecy that caused him to forswear his knighthood and pursue music, which he now believes is his “true calling.” Sadly, Levantus is a terrible musician. He’s spent the last two years in this room, fruitlessly plucking away on his battered lute.
A wicked creature, Cacklebray delights in the madness his mistress causes. The satyr routinely brings food to both Levantus and Brother Hammond (Area 4) in the hopes of prolonging their miserable lives. Cacklebray particularly enjoys mocking Levantus for his lack of musical talent.
Dealing with Levantus and Cacklebray
The party’s arrival upsets Cacklebray, as he believes the PCs are here to end Cassandrae’s reign over the abbey. He rushes off to warn his mistress about the PCs at the first opportunity. If the party intervenes, Cacklebray begs Levantus to come to his aid. Unless the PCs succeed at a DC 15 Diplomacy or Intimidation check, Levantus attacks the party.
If brought to his senses, Levantus retrieves the longsword and breastplate stored beneath his bed. If the party intends to confront Cassandrae, Levantus pledges to fight alongside them until she is defeated.
Area 6 – Dining Hall and Kitchen (Moderate)
- Three false creepers in kitchen
This dining hall is the site of a great massacre. When the priests who resisted Cassandrae’s influence confronted those who had fallen sway to her false prophecies, Cassandra’s followers slaughtered the unbelievers. The moldering bodies of these priests are draped across the table, sprawled on the floor, or remain sitting upright in their chairs.
A kitchen adjoins the dining hall. Red cassandrae vines have broken through a window and spread throughout the room. Among the mundane vines are three false creepers, which attack any creature that enters the room (Initiative Stealth +11).
Area 7 – Back Door and Well (Moderate)
- False creepers cover the walls
- Hidden door: DC 15
- Vines seal the door
- False prophecy: DC 19
PCs who Search this section of the abbey’s walls notice a servants’ door beneath the vines with a successful DC 15 Perception check. The door is unlocked, but the vines that cover it must be cleared before the door can be opened. Like in Area 1, false creepers grow among the vines at 10-foot intervals. Hacking through the vines draws the attention of two of the creepers.
Inside the walls, a stone well sits a short distance from the servant’s door. The first PC to spot the well must succeed at a DC 19 Will saving throw or be compelled to throw themselves down it. The compulsion is brief and fades if the afflicted PC is held back for even a single round. Brackish water fills the bottom 10 feet of the 60-foot-deep well. Creatures who fall into the well take 30 bludgeoning damage.
Area 8 – Chapel Entrance (Trivial)
- Two priests (as cultists) stand guard
- False prophecy: DC 19
Two priests, Brother Mason and Sister Teva, guard the entrance to the abbey’s chapel. Like Abbot Dorian, Mason and Teva believe Cassandrae is a messenger of St. Adso. The priests attack intruders with knives taken from the dining hall (Area 6), but a friendly PC can Request the priests escort the party to Cassandrae peaceably with a successful DC 14 Diplomacy check. On a failure, the priests attack, fighting to the death.
If the PCs kill either Mason or Teva, the character who struck the final blow must succeed at a DC 19 Will saving throw or become convinced of a false prophecy that the bodies of the priests must be burned immediately, lest they rise as undead.
Area 9 – Scriptorium (Trivial)
- Padlocked doors: DC 15
- A scribe named Tomas (an unarmed prophet) resists Cassandrae’s magic
- False prophecy: DC 19
High windows on the east wall and rows of candelabra keep this area well-lit. While the room’s interior doors are unlocked, the eastern door is padlocked from the outside. Abbot Dorian carries the key to the lock in Area 11. A character can Pick the Lock with a successful DC 15 Theivery check.
Tomas, a young scribe, is the only person in the abbey not dead or under the effects of a false prophecy. He’s spent the last two years as Abbot Dorian’s prisoner, forced to transcribe Cassandrae’s insane prophecies. The satyr Cacklebray (Area 5) brings Tomas the occasional meal, but otherwise the acolyte is treated as little better than a slave.
Upon first seeing Tomas, each PC must attempt a DC 19 Will saving throw. On a failure, the PC is subjected to a false prophecy that compels them to protect Tomas at all costs. PCs who resist this prophecy must immediately attempt another DC 19 Will save. Characters who fail this second save are stricken with a conflicting prophecy that Tomas is the source of the abbey’s troubles and must be destroyed.
Tomas is exhausted and terrified, but if rescued he can provide the PCs with information about the abbey, as well as healing magic.
Area 10 – Abbot’s Quarters
- Coffer contains treasure and three lesser healing potions
- False prophecy: DC 19
With its private hearth and fine furnishings, the abbot’s quarters are noticeably more luxurious than those found in Area 5. An unlocked coffer inside Dorian’s wardrobe contains the abbey’s wealth: 10 pp, 105 gp, 100 sp, 25 cp, five silver icons of St. Adso worth 25 sp each, and three lesser healing potions.
The first PC to spot the potions must succeed at a DC 19 Will saving throw or become convinced of a false prophecy that the vials contain deadly poison.
Area 11 – Chapel (Severe)
- Abbot Dorian (a false priest) consults with Cassandrae (Runewild Bestiary)
Sunlight filtering through the chapel’s majestic stained-glass windows fills this space with dreamlike color. Every sound is quieter here, softened by the curtains of red cassandrae that drape the walls. This is the sanctum of the fey lord Cassandrae and her loyal but deluded servant, Abbot Dorian.
Dorian and Cassandrae
Two years ago, when Abbot Dorian lost his faith (and with it his ability to receive prophecies from St. Adso), he began taking long retreats into the Runewild. On one of these sojourns, he encountered Cassandrae. Since then, Dorian has become obsessed with writing a new edition of St. Adso’s Almanac, one filled with the prophecies Cassandrae has given him. Fully mad now, Dorian can’t be reasoned with by any means. He attacks anyone who threatens Cassandrae or endangers his work on the new almanac.
Cassandrae isn’t overtly cruel, but once she has a mortal under her sway, she refuses to release them. Only if Cassandrae’s hold over everyone at the abbey is broken (such that no one in the abbey remains charmed by her) does she agree to abandon Wexmore Abbey peaceably. Otherwise, she fights to the death.
If Cassandrae is killed or driven away, Wexmore Abbey eventually recovers. Over the next few months, new priests arrive to take the places of those who died during Cassandrae’s reign. These grateful priests reward the PCs with free lodging at the abbey in perpetuity. If you’re using the optional resting rules found in Running the Runewild, this benefit allows the party to take rests at the Abbey. In addition, while the priests are keen to resume work on the upcoming edition of St. Adso’s Almanac, they agree to pause their divinations long enough to provide the party with one prophecy regarding a subject of their choosing (as the commune ritual).