Wexmore Abbey (Runewild PF2)

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.

False Prophecies

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…”
1Be devoured by worms…Speak another word.
2Find a priceless treasure…Drop whatever you’re holding and refuse to pick it up.
3Bring about the end of the world…Crawl on the ground like an animal.
4Become the greatest hero of your age…Gouge out your eyes.
5Be struck blind…Reveal your darkest secret.
6Find your true love…Leave this place immediately.
7Be struck dead by lightning…Stand completely still for the next 24 hours.
8Become invulnerable to harm…Abandon your current career (i.e. class) forever.
9Shrink to the size of a mouse…Throw yourself from the highest point you can see.
10Grow in strength ten-fold…Harm another creature.
11Fall asleep and never wake up…Tell a lie.
12Learn the truth…Speak the truth.

Keyed Areas

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.

Aftermath

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).

Ghazrek’s Rock and Badberry Patch (Runewild PF2)

We finish off the week by converting another two locations from the 5E version of the Runewild Campaign Setting to Pathfinder 2E. Next week, we’ll tackle the first keyed location presented in the Runewild Gazetteer, as well as the first location in the Runewild proper: Wexmore Abbey!

8.  Ghazrek’s Rock (MODERATE 5)

  • Ghazrek, a ghast, leads eight ghouls
  • Ghazrek uses the mirror of eight directions (Magic of the Runewild)

An outcropping of jagged black rock towers above the treetops. A treacherous footpath snakes around the rock, ending at the mouth of a dark cave. The cave is home to a pack of eight ghouls and their leader, a ghast named Ghazrek.

Griselda’s Spies

Ghazrek and the ghouls are servants of the ogre hag Griselda (86). To ensure the Ruasidhe (34) remain too weak to oppose her, Griselda has ordered the ghouls to spy on the elves and harass them whenever possible. To this end, she’s cast a powerful spell on the ghouls that allows their paralytic touch to affect elves as well as other creatures. Furthermore, Griselda has given Ghazrek her mirror of eight directions. Ghazrek uses the mirror to spot would-be intruders before they reach his cave.

Approaching the Cave

It’s a 200-foot climb up the footpath to the mouth of the ghouls’ cave. The footpath is considered uneven ground. Creatures are flat-footed on uneven ground. Each time a creature is hit by an attack or fail a save on the footpath, it must succeed at a DC 20 Reflex save or take 1d6 slashing damage as they stumble and cut themselves on the knife-like crags. On a critical failure, the creature takes an additional 1d6 slashing damage and falls prone. The ghouls are familiar enough with the path that they ignore this hazard.

Each day, Ghazrek uses the mirror of eight directions to survey the surrounding territory. Unless the PCs have taken steps to conceal themselves, the ghouls are aware of the party’s approach and ambush them once they come within 30 feet of the cave’s entrance (Initiative Stealth +7). Otherwise, the ghouls are inside the cave when the PCs arrive, squabbling over bones.

Inside the Cave

The ghouls’ cave is 35 feet deep and shaped roughly like a figure-eight. A narrow ledge runs along the back of the cavern, 10 feet above the floor. The ledge is inconspicuous, requiring a Seek action and a successful DC 20 Perception check to notice from the cave floor. When the PCs first arrive, Ghazrek retreats to this ledge and hides, waiting for an opportunity to leap down upon a paralyzed or otherwise vulnerable PC. Once engaged in combat, Ghazrek fights to the death, although he surrenders if the PCs threaten the mirror of eight directions. (He’s terrified of what Griselda will do to him if the mirror breaks while in his care.)

Among the gnawed bones atop Ghazrek’s ledge is a sack containing 6 pp, 85 gp, 100 sp, 350 cp, ten gemstones worth 5 gp each, and the mirror of eight directions.

9. Badberry Patch (MODERATE 3)

  • A patch of magical berries are badberries in disguise: DC 18

A stretch of bushes spotted with crimson berries grows along the trail. The berries appear bright and succulent, regardless of the season.

The PCs can attempt a DC 18 Nature check to Recall Knowledge about the berries. Characters who fail don’t recognize the berries, while those who succeed believe them to be goodberries (as the druid spell). Only a character who critically succeeds recognizes the berries’ true nature. Badberries, a toxic variety of goodberries, are nearly identical to goodberries in appearance but have very different effects on those who eat them. Druids automatically recognize the badberries.

Creatures who eat even a single badberry is exposed to the berry’s poison.

Saving Throw DC 17 Fortitude; Onset 1 round; Stage 1 1d10 poison damage (1 round); Stage 2 1d12 poison damage (1 round); Stage 3 2d6 poison damage (1 round)

Until a creature recovers from the poison, it is magically compelled to spend all its actions each round eating more badberries. This compulsion makes it difficult for a creature to recover from the poison unless another creature physically prevents them from eating more berries.

The fey lord Cassandrae’s presence in Wexmore Abbey (10) encourages the badberries to grow here. If Cassandrae is driven from the abbey or destroyed, the badberry bushes wither and die after a few hours. One minute after they are picked, the badberries turn black and lose their magic.

Price Farm and The Wyvern Stones (Runewild PF2)

Our conversion of the Runewild Campaign Setting from 5E to PF2 continues wtih two locations on the southern edge of the Runewild: Price Farm and The Wyvern Stones.

6.  Price Farm (MODERATE 4)

  • Three bandits led by Mord (elite bandit) and his pet wolf
  • Stolen loot hidden in the barn

A well-beaten wagon path leads to a farmstead at the base of these low hills. The farm was once the home of Gramson and Emma Price and their three sons, Markus, Luka, and Eri. Two weeks ago, a group of Ianto the Red’s bandits (89) slaughtered the Price family and took over the farm. Only Eri, the Prices’ youngest son, survived the massacre. Eri is now the bandits’ captive and unwilling servant.

As they approach the farm, each PC can attempt a DC 15 Farming Lore check. Characters who succeed notice the farm has gone untended for some time. PCs who Search the area around the farm stumble across a hastily dug grave with a successful DC 19 Perception check. The grave contains the remains of the Price family.

The Bandits

The bandits (named Clem, Tolli, and Zekel) are incompetent goons, but they’re led by a nasty brute named Mord (use stats for an elite bandit) and his pet wolf, Blood. The bandits spend most of their time inside the farmhouse, playing cards and bullying Eri. If confronted, the bandits pass themselves off as farmers but attack as soon as their ruse is discovered. If the PCs capture and interrogate the bandits, they admit they’ve never met Ianto in person. Instead, they direct the party to their compatriots hiding out in the ruins of Widderspire Keep (38).

The bandits have hidden a stash of coins beneath a pile of straw in the Price barn: 14 gp, 65 sp, and 255 cp. The coins go unnoticed unless a PC specifically searches the straw, but the bandits may offer up the coins in exchange for their lives. Eri knows about the stash, as well. Any bandit forced to flee the farm returns the following night to retrieve their treasure.

Helping Eri

His family’s murder traumatized Eri to the point that he refuses to speak even if rescued from his captors. The PCs must succeed at a DC 19 Diplomacy check to convince Eri to relate his tale. PCs who befriend Eri can place him into the care of his cousin in Widderspire (1), Hettie Price, who is eternally grateful for the boy’s rescue.

If the PCs fail to win Eri’s trust, he flees into the Runewild at the first opportunity. Eri has heard rumors of the Whitebone Sisters (18) and believes the witches can help him exact revenge against the bandits. (He isn’t wrong.)

7.  The Wyvern Stones (MODERATE 4)

  • Enchanted standing stones break curses
  • The stones are part of a wyvern’s hunting grounds
  • The wyvern’s nest contains treasure

A circle of standing stones crowns a hilltop southeast of Wobbly-Odd Wood (20). A flat-topped altar sits in the center of the stones. Iron rings, like those used to secure rope or chain, are driven into the altar’s sides. A mix of animal and humanoid bones litters the ground around the altar.

Inspecting the Standing Stones

If inspected with a detect magic spell or similar effect, the standing stones radiate an aura of abjuration magic. During nights of a full moon, a remove curse spell cast on a creature inside the circle automatically counteracts all curses affecting it, regardless of the length of time the creature has been cursed (see the optional rules for curses in Running the Runewild). After the remove curse spell is cast, the target becomes confused and is unable to regain its senses by any means for the next 1d12 hours. (This is the purpose of the central altar; in ancient times, Runish priests would secure cursed victims to the altar before casting the ritual.)

PCs who study the standing stones can make a DC 19 Arcana check to Identify Magic. On a success, the character senses that the magic of the stones is fading. Each time the circle is used, roll a d6. On a 1, the stones lose their enchantment. A successful legend lore ritual cast on the stones also reveals the information.

The Wyvern

The standing stones are within the radius of a wyvern’s hunting grounds. The bones that litter the hilltop are the remains of the wyvern’s prey. The first time the PCs visit this location at night, the wyvern appears shortly after they arrive and attacks. Reducing the wyvern to less than half its maximum Hit Points drives it off, but the beast returns to the stones nightly after it rests.

The wyvern nests atop a crag a few miles south of the standing stones. Assuming the PCs have means of keeping up with the wyvern, the party can follow the beast back to its nest. Otherwise, locating the nest requires one shift (6 hours) of searching and a successful DC 19 Survival check. Scattered among the bones that line the wyvern’s nest are 8 pp, 75 gp, 400 sp, 50 cp, jewelry and other trinkets worth a total of 30 gp, and a potion of lesser potion of fire resistance.

Hori’s Pool (Runewild PF2)

Many of the locations presented in the Runewild Campaign Setting aren’t intended as combat encounters. But that doesn’t mean they pose no danger! This is particularly the case whenever the characters encounter a pooka. In the Runewild, pooka are mischievous children with the ability to transform into small, harmless animals. Pooka love causing trouble for mortals, but they pose no threat to a group of even fledgling adventurers. Pooka must be handled with care, however. Characters who upset a pooka may soon find themselves at odds with Seven-Tail, the grandfatherly fey lord who looks after these wayward children.

5.  Hori’s Pool (TRIVIAL 1)

  • Hori, a tortoise pooka, gives an enchanted stone to those who help him

Southeast of Shadownest (5), a bubbling brook feeds a pool lined with stones worn smooth by the water’s flow. What appears to be a human boy wearing a tortoise shell hunches beside the pool, painstakingly counting the stones.

Hori the Pooka

The boy at the water’s edge is Hori, a tortoise-pooka (Runewild Bestiary). For reasons only he understands, Hori is compelled to count the stones in the pool day and night, starting over each time he finishes the tally. As might be imagined, Hori’s count is infuriatingly slow. When the PCs arrive, he’s up to 628; not until several moments later does he finally reach 629. If the PCs interrupt him, Hori sighs deeply and restarts his count at 1.

Persistant characters can convince Hori to pause long enough to talk with them. If asked why he counts the stones, Hori gives no clear answer. “Why wouldn’t I count them?” is his only reply. If the party befriends Hori, the pooka can share the following information:

  • Hunters from the thrushkin village of Shadownest (15) sometimes gather water from Hori’s pool. The bird-folk frighten Hori, and he’s grateful to anyone who chases them off.
  • The thrushkin haven’t always lived in this part of the Runewild. They once served the Feathered Serpent, a fey lord who lives on Feather Lake (57).
  • Hori warns the PCs to stay clear of the Whitebone Sisters (18), a pair of hags who live east of his pool.

Counting Hori’s Stones

If the PCs offer to help Hori count the stones, he gladly accepts their assistance. Counting the stones requires one shift (6 hours) work, although multiple creatures working together reduce this time accordingly. At the end of this time, the PCs may make a DC 15 Perception check to produce the correct tally (7,952 stones, to be exact). You may grant a +2 bonus to the check if the players propose a clever plan for counting the stones (sorting them into equal piles, for example).

If the Perception check fails, Hori scowls. “That doesn’t match my last count,” he grumbles before beginning his count again. If the party offers to help him again, Hori grows angry and wanders off. PCs who upset Hori earn the displeasure of the pooka-king, Seven-Tail (Runewild Bestiary).

If the PCs count Hori’s stones successfully, he offers to enchant one of the stones for the party as a reward.

Hori’s Stone

Hori’s Pooka Trick allows him to imbue a stone from the pool with divination magic similar to a locate spell. To enchant the stone, Hori must speak the name of a person, place, or object while touching the stone. Once this is done, any creature who holds the stone always knows the distance and direction to the person, place, or object to which the stone is keyed.

The stone doesn’t function while it and its target are on different planes of existence. Every 24 hours, there’s a 1 in 20 chance the stone permanently loses its enchantment. Hori can have only one such stone enchanted at a time.

Pooka

You would have mistaken the pooka for a human child, were it not for its animal-like features and just-a-bit-too-large eyes. Colorful flowers and vines adorn its ragged clothes.

Lost Children. Some say that when a child becomes lost in the Runewild, the fey transform the child into a pooka. Others claim parents of unwanted children sometimes abandon their offspring at the forest’s edge so that Seven-Tail, the Pooka King (Runewild Bestiary), can raise the child as his own. Perhaps both these tales are true. When it comes to pooka, only one thing is certain: you never know where you stand with the mischievous creatures.

Pooka Traits. The origins of the pooka may be shrouded in mystery, but all pooka share a few common traits. First, every pooka can magically transform into a small animal, such as a mouse or a songbird. Even in its child form, a pooka retains some characteristic of this animal. A cat-pooka might keep its whiskers, for example, while a monkey-pooka might sport a long, prehensile tail. Pooka in their animal forms are always cute and lovable: even a bear- or wolf-pooka appears a harmless cub while transformed.

Second, every pooka has a magical ability unique to it. One pooka might always sense when its name is spoken, while another turns invisible when it walks backwards. Like a pooka’s animal form, these tricks are usually harmless, although some pooka have learned to put their tricks to good use when playing pranks on hapless mortals.

Finally, all pooka names begin with the letter H. Why this must be is a mystery that has eluded scholars for centuries. (If the pooka know the answer, they’re certainly not telling.)

The Time-Lost Knight (Runewild PF2)

Our PF2 conversion of The Runewild Campaign Setting continues! Today we meet Sir Rolf, the time-lost knight featured on the cover of the book.

  • Sir Rolf, a time-lost knight (as a watch officer), carries a sprite lamp (Magic of the Runewild)
  • Three sprites—Dandydew, Oaksong, and Lemontwig—accompany Sir Rolf

A rutted cartpath winds through the hills before ending at the gate of this modest peasant farmstead. A pen crammed with bleating sheep abuts a simple stone and turf cottage. Behind the cottage, the forest hugs a graveyard decorated with a dazzling assortment of flowers.

The farmstead is home to Tom and Maggie Mulrand and their twin children, George and Winifred. The Mulrands are peasants who, like hundreds of Runish families, make their living along the edges of the Runewild. As ordinary as the Mulrands seem, the graveyard behind their cottage suggests there’s more to the Mulrands’ story than meets the eye. Enclosing the dozen or so graves is a garden of breath-taking beauty. Islands of violets and goldenrod, neat borders of lavender, well-trimmed hedges, flawless white pebble paths, and soaring, rose-draped bowers come together in a tableau fitting for a royal palace.

The Mulrands

With Widderspire (1), the nearest village, two days travel to the west, the Mulrands welcome any traveler in need of a hot meal or a place to rest their feet. Only when asked about their fabulous garden do Tom and Maggie grow quiet. Tom counters questions about the garden by claiming his wife has a green thumb, but George and Winifred reveal the true story. “The knight tends the garden!” the children innocently proclaim. “The knight and his fairy friends!”

Once exposed, Maggie relates their tale. For as long as she can remember, a man bearing the sword of an Aruandan knight has emerged from the forest each night to tend the garden. The knight also carries a glowing lantern, inside of which live fairies who help him in his work. The knight has visited the farm since her grandmother’s time, Maggie explains, and it’s become a family tradition to leave food and other gifts for the man to thank him for the garden.

At this point in Maggie’s story, Tom breaks in to remind his children never to bother the knight. Tom explains he once waited up for the knight and was met with a barrage of arrows from the knight’s “fairy friends.” The attack, he grumbles, left him blind for nearly a week. Neither Tom nor Maggie believe the knight means any harm, but to be safe they keep his existence quiet. They request the PCs do the same.

If the PCs ask to tour the garden, Tom and Maggie cautiously agree. The garden’s beauty is even more remarkable up close, and PCs who succeed at a DC 16 Arcana or Nature check realize some sort of magic must be involved. PCs who study the graves automatically notice one of them seems particularly well-tended. According to the marker, the grave belongs to “Briallen Parks,” Maggie’s great-aunt. Maggie explains she never met Briallen, who died many years before she was born. She doesn’t know why the knight shows Briallen’s grave more attention than the others.

Sir Rolf

A half-elf raised by the Aosidhe, Sir Rolf left his elven family to fight alongside his human kin during the Witch Wars. After a particularly brutal campaign left him lost in the Runewild, Sir Rolf returned to his adopted home to discover a lifetime had passed. Worse, the human woman with whom he’d fallen in love, Briallen Parks, had died in his absence. Since then, Rolf has tended Briallen’s grave, returning each night to prove—to her memory, at least—that he never forgot about their love.

With a successful DC 16 Diplomacy check to Request, the Mulrands allow the party meet to wait in the garden for the mysterious knight. Unless the PCs conceal their presence, Rolf spots the party in advance and declines to visit the garden that night. The PCs can hide by making Stealth checks against Rolf’s Perception DC 18. On a success, the party remains hidden as Rolf emerges from the forest to tend the Mulrands’ garden.

A middle-aged half-elf whose features favor his human side, Sir Rolf has close-cropped hair and a reddish beard tinged with gray. A chain shirt of elven make hides beneath his flowing, green cloak. A longsword hangs at his side, and he carries a lantern that shines with ethereal light.

After decades spent wandering the Runewild, Rolf understands he’s more a creature of the forest than the mortal world. He doesn’t want to cause trouble for the Mulrands, only to visit Briallen’s grave in peace. If he spots the PCs, Rolf hurriedly departs. Only a successful DC 17 Diplomacy check convinces him to speak with the party.

If befriended, Sir Rolf tells the PCs his sad tale. Though his heart remains noble, Rolf tired of bloodshed long ago. Only exceptional circumstances (such a direct threat from Griselda or her minions) convinces the knight to take up his sword again. However, if he determines the PCs have noble aims, Sir Rolf proves a useful source of information about the Runewild:

  • Rolf has heard tales of other knights who became lost in the Runewild. He once fought alongside Sir Reinhold, a human knight cursed with immortality, who is said to still wander the Cronemarsh (see location 74).
  • Sir Rolf’s elven mother gave him his armor (an elven chain shirt) and sword (a +1 longsword). Rolf cherishes the gifts but admits they pale in comparison to true Aosidhe relics, such as the Highvale Blades (Magic of the Runewild).
  • Rolf’s mother retreated from the Runewild at the end of the Witch Wars, along with the rest of the Aosidhe. If any of Rolf’s elven kin remain in the forest, they live with the Ruasidhe in their territory to the east (34).

The Sprite Lamp

Three sprites named Dandydew, Oaksong, and Lemontwig accompany Sir Rolf. Drawn to Rolf by his courage and his connection to the forest, the sprites help the knight tend the Mulrands’ garden by night and protect him when he retreats to the forest during the day. Sir Rolf transports the sprites inside his enchanted lantern, a magic item called a sprite lamp (Magic of the Runewild).

The sprites are fiercely protective of Sir Rolf, serving him as (literal) fairy godparents. If the PCs threaten Sir Rolf, the sprites attack the party in response. Regaining the sprites’ trust once they become hostile requires a successful DC 16 Diplomacy check to Make an Impression.

Refer to the following details as you roleplay the sprites:

  • Lemontwig is Rolf’s longest companion, born from his lantern-light when he first became lost in the Runewild (see the Runewild Bestiary for more information about how sprites are born). Playful and kind-hearted, Lemontwig concocted the plan to tend the Mulrand’s garden in order to raise Sir Rolf’s spirits.
  • A wise, old sprite, Oaksong joined Sir Rolf after the knight saved a sprite nursery (16) from a rampaging troll. Oaksong wears an acorn cap, carries a pussywillow staff, and can cast the tanglefoot cantrip as a primal innate spell.
  • Dandydew insists he’s as much a knight as Sir Rolf, despite his diminutive size. If the PCs recruit Sir Rolf for an adventure, Dandydew encourages the knight to accept the offer and is dejected when he refuses.

The sprites’ arrows, like those of all sprites in the Runewild, are invisible and curse targets until removed. Dandydew proudly proclaims his shot was the one that blinded Tom Mulrand (until Rolf convinced him to remove the arrow). Replace the sprites’ luminous spark Strike with the following:

Ranged [one-action] invisible arrow +8 (range increment 20 feet, reload 0), Damage 1d4 piercing. The target must make a successful DC 12 Will save or become cursed. While cursed, the target is also blinded. The curse lasts until the target or another creature uses a Seek action and makes a successful DC 12 Perception check to find the invisible arrow and another action to remove it. A successful remove curse spell also ends the curse.

Like Sir Rolf, the sprites are well-versed in the history of the Runewild and can serve to introduce the party to further adventures. Oaksong, for example, might mention a druid named Rufus Ambercomb lives north of the Mulrands’ farm (27), while Dandydew moans he’ll never have a chance to fight a real dragon, like the one that lives on Feather Lake (58).