I’ve described the Runewild as a dark fairy tale setting, but the “dark” part of that description sometimes makes me hesitate. With talking animals, goofy witches, and ogres that literally shed their heads, there’s much about the Runewild that’s light-hearted.
And then the PCs run into something like this…
115. See the Satyr (CR 4)
- Kergan Dartell, a curiosities dealer (as a commoner)
- A ghost haunts Kergan’s stuffed satyr
The first time the PCs pass through this hex, they encounter a curiosities dealer named Kergan Dartell on the trail between Wexmore Abbey and Ill Hollow. A gregarious Aruandan man in his 50s, Kergan makes the trip from Caerfell to Ill Hollow and back several times each year to gather Runish artifacts and other trinkets. He transports his treasures in a garishly painted wagon drawn by his loyal draft horse Juniper.
Kergan’s wagon makes a terrible racket as it bounces along the trail. Parties that prefer to let Kergan pass have ample time to withdraw into the forest before he comes into view. Otherwise, Kergan cheerfully hails the PCs once he spots them.
Treat Kergan as a commoner with Intelligence and Charisma scores of 14 (+2) and a +4 bonus to Charisma (Persuasion) checks.
Wagon of Wonders
With the bravado of a ringmaster, Kergan promises to sell the PCs anything their hearts desire. He invites the party inside his wagon to peruse his wares. Within Kergan’s wagon is a cramped sleeping area at the front and a curtained alcove towards the rear. The rest of the space is given over to an array of shelves and cabinets, all crammed with odd baubles and trinkets.
Assume Kergan has at least one of any mundane item the PCs wish to purchase. Kergan’s wares aren’t high quality, but a story accompanies each item. What appears to be an ordinary dagger, for example, might once have been used to murder a Runish prince, while a length of fraying rope might be woven from witch’s hair. Kergan believes his own stories, but how much truth there is to them is left for the GM to decide.
A handful of Kergan’s goods are magical. Each time the PCs encounter Kergan, he also has for sale 1d4 + 1 minor magical items either chosen by the GM or rolled randomly on the Goblin Trinkets table (see Magic of the Runewild).
PCs who search Kergan’s wagon can make a DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) or Wisdom (Perception) check. On a success, they discover a compartment hidden beneath the front seat of the wagon. The compartment contains a hand crossbow with 10 bolts, a vial of antitoxin, and a pouch with 200 cp, 130 sp, 70 gp, and 3 gems worth 50 gp each.
Dealing with Kergan
Kergan sells his goods at five times their normal listed value, although a successful Charisma (Deception or Persuasion) check opposed by Kergan’s Wisdom convinces him to part with any item for only half as much. Similarly, Kergan may purchase items from the party at half their normal value, but an interesting story and a successful Charisma check convinces him to double what he’d normally pay. Kergan is always open to trades, as well.
Kergan doesn’t need an excuse to swap stories with the party. Kergan’s only reliable information relates to the settlements along his route, but if the PCs sort through his tall tales, he shares the following:
- Kergan recently sold his entire supply of fey wards to followers of the Church of the Black Horn in Ill Hollow. If Kergan is heading to Ill Hollow, he’s instead stocked up on such items and expects to make a killing once he reaches the village.
- Kergan isn’t aware the Thistlewhip children of Kidwelly have gone missing, but he says that if they wandered into Wobbly-Odd Wood, he’s not surprised. Kergan gets the feeling he’s “being watched” whenever he travels through the Wood.
- When the PCs inquire about the history of some trinket, Kergan claims he got the item at the Goblin Market, a fey marketplace where magical items are bought and sold (see Magic of the Runewild).
The Stuffed Satyr
The most interesting thing in Kergan’s wagon isn’t for sale, but he’s willing to let the PCs peek at it for a silver piece each. Once he’s collected payment, Kergan parts the curtained-off section of the wagon to reveal his rarest treasure: a stuffed satyr. The satyr’s skin is leathery and its hair patchy, but otherwise the satyr seems well-preserved. A silver pendant marked with arcane runes dangles from the creature’s neck.
If asked about the satyr’s history, Kergan explains that an Aruandan lord once kept the creature as a slave. When the satyr died, the lord had the satyr stuffed to honor its years of service. The Throne War eventually forced the lord to abandon his Runewild estate, and the satyr passed through several hands until Kergan finally acquired it.
As distasteful as Kergan’s tale is, the satyr’s true history is even more unsettling. PCs who examine the satyr can make a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check. On a success, the PCs discover subtle stitching hidden beneath the satyr’s fur, as if a goat’s head was simply sewn onto the body of a man. Though an excellent counterfeit, PCs who’ve encountered an actual satyr don’t need to make the Investigation check—they see through the deception immediately.
The “satyr” did once belong to a noble, but that’s where the truth of Kergan’s story ends. Over a century ago, an Aruandan lord decapitated the lover of his unfaithful wife. He then replaced the man’s head with that of a goat and had the resulting hybrid stuffed as a gruesome trophy. The satyr decorated the lord’s front hall until his wife pushed her vengeful husband from a tower window.
PCs who make a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check recognize the satyr’s pendant as some sort of protective talisman. A detect magic spell cast on the pendant reveals an aura of abjuration magic. Kergan believes the pendant ensures the satyr’s soul rests peacefully, and he’s not entirely wrong. In fact, the lord of Kergan’s story had the pendant made to prevent the ghost of his wife’s lover from returning to haunt his corpse.
While the satyr wears it, the pendant functions as a protection from evil and good spell that affects only the satyr. Once removed, the pendant loses its magic, allowing the lover’s ghost to return and possess his body. Treat the ghost as a satyr with the Construct type until his body is destroyed, at which point he continues attacking as a ghost.
The ghostly lover manifests as a naked human man holding aloft his own decapitated head. Driven mad by his death, the ghost ignores anyone who tries to communicate with him. He attacks all living creatures until he is destroyed.