This is the last part of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone series. It will present a small adventure that will utilize the first two parts to be a complete package. This will probably be the longest post, as I want it to be as complete an adventure as possible. I thank you in advance for reading this series, as I’ve had a lot of fun writing it. So, without further ado, part 3…
The Three Wise Women of Haethorn Wood I
An adventure for 4 level 1 characters.
Before You Play
This adventure is meant to be used with the first two parts of the three part series “Maiden, Mother, and Crone”. The NPCs and locations of the first two parts are mentioned here, but you’ll need to use the other two parts to make this “complete”.
This adventure assumes the following: the party has around four Level 1 characters, and that you are playing Dungeons and Dragons of some kind. The rules used to make this adventure are DnD Next, but I will try my best to make it easily used by switching out things.
This will be a simple, straightforward adventure. The encounters will be linear. This adventure shouldn’t take much time. If you dislike the shallowness of it, consider adding in some other stuff to pad it out.
Most of all, feel free to change whatever you wish. My whole point in making this blog is to feed people’s creativity rather than seeing my things used unchanged. I would also love to hear about experiences playing with this adventure!
The Haethorn Wood is an old forest, far from major cities but bordering a few different farming communities and logging villages. One such village is Mayward, a small community with basic necessities.
It is recommended that you start the adventure either in Mayward or on the way to it. Their purpose before they are set to explore the locales should be to find and meet the three wise women of the forest for some purpose. You could make a purpose that fits into the campaign you are running, or use one of the hooks presented here.
- Cursed – You could have one of the characters, or someone they know, be cursed. They may have heard that the wise women might be able to shed some light on curing the curse. If one of the characters is cursed, make it unobtrusive but also apparent, like disadvantage on a certain ability (wisdom or charisma), or only being able to have a short rest but never gaining the benefits of a long rest. Or you could simply role play something.
- Boon – You could simply tell them that they have heard that the wise women will grant a boon or a gift to worthy heroes, and as new adventurers they see this as a good opportunity to get their feet wet.
- Character Class specific – Paladins seek beings of noble purpose to swear fealty too. Warlocks seek agents of power to make a pact with. This could play into it.
- Mayward – You could make something be wrong in Mayward, the village at the beginning of this adventure. Someone could ask the adventurers to seek the women in the wood for help, knowing that the wise women will request something in return for their aid.
However you decide to start the adventure, just make sure the players have some motivation to seek out the wise women. The next part will detail Mayward for a short bit, though it’s not necessary to even go there first if you have a short amount of time. Simpy skip it and move on to the forest afterward.
Part 1 – Mayward and the Wise Women of the Haethorn Forest
If the characters are going to Mayward first, read the following:
The road to Mayward is a pleasant one. The summer sun shines down from a bright blue sky as you pass fields and fenced pastures, sometimes spying a farmer fussing with a plow or perhaps a cow chewing thoughtfully. The day feels almost lazy as the clouds pass above.
You turn a bend in the worn dirt road, past a fenced area of high growing wheat, to see a small wooden arch bridge over a creek, and Mayward beyond. It sits on the edge of the Haethorn Forest, which hugs it almost lovingly. Ash trees are even growing here and there inside the village. It’s a small place, but looks peaceful and comfortable. From here you can spy a smithy, a windmill on the edge of town, a tavern, and some scattered houses as well as a logging field just outside.
There are a couple of locations of interest in Mayward. If the players are not already hooked with the task of finding the three you can utilize one of the NPCs briefly mentioned here to point them that way. You can have the NPC be in need of help, or simply let the players know that the Three are known to gift a boon to heroes who help them. Any NPC can tell them that they need only follow the path from the village into the forest to find their cottage.
Locations in Mayward
- Tavern – The first stop in any village is usually the tavern. This one is a small one floor tavern with a couple of rooms in the back for rent on a night to night basis for a cheap price (refer to the rules for standard rates). They serve ale, dandelion tea, and simple foodstuffs like stew and bread. The proprietor is an older woman named Pelle, she is kindly but also a bit rough mannered. She also tends to speak honestly.
- Smithy – The smithy is near the entrance to the village, and is just a simple shack with a forge and an anvil. The smith is a young man named Rondle, and he recently inherited the forge from his father who died of fever this season past. He has the skill to make simple items but not weapons or armor, though he could repair such if a bit roughly. He’s friendly but also simple, not liking to have to think about much beyond work and drink.
- The Mill – The windmill is what power the sawmill, and they use it to power two long saws to cut through logs. The owner of the mill is an older man named Gentry. He is a man of few words, and seems both shrewd and suspicious. He is not ill mannered, but it seems that in his old age he has become less and less social.
- Other NPCs – There are a number of loggers that live here, cutting down trees and selling them to the mill. There are also some farmers who live in the village and work out in the fields rather than having a farmhouse.
- The Mayor – The mayor of Mayward, named Bellworth of Mayward, lives in a small house. He is an old man, around 75, and is rather short and eccentric. He is overly friendly and likes to shake hands. He might be becoming senile. The villagers love their mayor, however, and all are fiercely loyal of the happy old man.
Information Gathering in Mayward
The players may try to roll a gather information check, using Charisma to try to learn about the Three from the residents.
0-10: They learn that the three are friendly, and accept all visitors, though they never seem to come to the town themselves.
11-15: They learn that some in the town suspect that they are magicians, sorcerers, or even warlocks. They are said to be enchanting simply in conversation.
16-20: One of the residents, the town drunk, insists that he saw the three dancing around a rock, and begin to glow. Under the moonlight they all three became young women and danced for hours before he fell asleep. No one in the town believes him.
Into the Forest and to the Cottage
If the party decides to enter the forest, read the following:
The forest is by all accounts an old one, there is a lot of undergrowth and the trees have grown tall and gnarled. The vegetation here is very vibrant, and you see a lot of bees and birds flitting around in the leaves.
If you wish you can put in an encounter here to extend game-time, a trivial combat or a meeting with a traveler. If not, then read on.
The journey to the cottage takes half the day to walk, but soon the small path gives way to a clearing. In the clearing sits a cottage of stacked stone, with a large chimney on one side. From where you stand you can see a garden to it’s other side, an old well out front, and a fenced area behind it. The clearing seems alive with sound of birds and the occasional buzz of a bee.
It’s up to you whether or not the three are home or not. Refer to Part 2 for details on the location and things that the players can do while the three are not home. At some point, however, have them meet the three wise women.
Maiden, Mother, and Crone
Refer to part 1 for details on these NPCs as well as descriptions and behaviors. Role play them as friendly, a bit mysterious, and playful (except for the Crone). Eventually the conversation should turn to the errand of the PCs. If the PC’s require their aid, or ask them for a boon, they will talk amongst themselves before saying the following to the players:
They are all silent for a moment, before the Crone speaks up.
“Aye, child,” she says, almost in a whisper, “we can provide you with what you request. But we require something in return.”
The Mother turns to smile warmly at the party. “We have a small problem, you see. Nothing that we normally couldn’t handle, but, well…”
The Maiden cuts in here. “We’re not allowed to interfere. But you are.” The Crone grumbles at this outburst.
“The long and short of it is, we’ve lost something, and we can’t retrieve it. Don’t ask why,” she says this emphatically, eyeing the Maiden, annoyed. “We work in ways we cannot impart to you. Just yet.”
“We had a visitor awhile ago,” says the Mother. “A poor unfortunate thing, injured in both body and mind. We took a pity on the poor dear and took him in to rest and heal.”
“He was very handsome,” says the Maiden.
“He was a mad vagrant,” sniffs the Crone. “I warned them, but they didn’t listen to me. As usual.”
“Anyway,” says the Mother, continuing. “The young man was a lore seeker, you see, and, well, we offered to impart to him some of our… knowledge. As part of an exchange.”
“An ancient pact,” says the Crone. “We give him a little power, and he does service to us in small ways for the rest of his life.”
“Not anything bad!” says the Maiden. “Just to seek knowledge of the natural world, help provide balance, little things like that.”
“He took the oath,” says the Mother. “We imparted our power, but there was a mistake.”
“He stoled it,” says the Crone. “He took our Book of Power, and ran away. And what’s more, he broke his oath. Which won’t turn out well for him mind you. That’s magic that runs deep, it is.”
They will go further to tell the party that the “young man” is a half-elf, named Mallord. He had stolen the Book of Power and gone to a source of power within the forest, an old ruin that was a worship site for ancient peoples to forgotten gods. They believe he is going to try and draw power from the site, using the book to free himself from the oath and keeping the power he has taken and possibly stealing more.
In return for retrieving the book for them, they will offer to aid them in their request, and/or gift them a boon from their supply of wondrous items. They can also offer to become patrons of theirs, offering information to them from time to time to help them with other tasks. This is all up to you, of course. Hopefully the PCs agree to help find Mallord.
Part 2: The Caern of the Forgotten Gods, and Mallord the Warlock
The Path to the Ancient Ruin
The three will direct them onto the path to the ruin, which will seem to be like an old deer path in the wood. It will wind this way and that. Eventually read the following:
The deer path turns this way and that, and soon you realize that if not for the path you would be hopelessly lost. In this part of the forest the creatures are quieter, and you even notice some dead leaves on the ground despite it being midsummer.
Encounter 1 – 8 x Goblins, 80 experience for defeating the goblins +10 for successfully pulling off a surprise round
The Goblins have been sent by Mallord, with either a promise of wealth or a threat of harm, to patrol the paths to the temple. They follow the normal stats within the rules. The ecounter goes as follows:
You can have the Goblins roll to perceive the adventurers, and if failing have the party perceive them automatically, sitting around a small campfire and grumbling about Mallord.
One speaks up in common, in a rough accent. “He keeps getting uglier, he does.”
Some nod in agreement. Another says, “Last I saw he had big horns sticking out his head. Real scary like.”
“Shuddup,” says one, maybe the leader though he doesn’t seem stronger or more skilled than the others. “That ‘un might have ways o’ hearing the likes of you. Five more minutes and we start walking again.”
All of them grumble at this.
The party can attack with a surprise round without stealth.
If the goblins succeed, however, have the players roll to perceive them. If the players do, the goblins rush them from the trees and a pitched battle takes place. If the players fail, the goblins flank them from either side and get a surprise round. This encounter should be of average difficulty; adjust if necessary.
After killing or routing the goblins, or possibly capturing some, they can find if they care to look around 25 gold pieces and a large iron key.
The players may choose to sneak around them. Allow them if you wish.
The Temple of the Forgotten Gods
The ruin sits in a low valley, lost among the trees to any who aren’t following the path. When the players come upon it, say:
Night falls as you follow the path. Through the tangle of brush and trees you can finally see it in the moonlight, the ancient ruin. It looks like a stone burrow of sorts, standing stones in a circle enclosed with smaller stacked stones. It sprawls among the old forest, the door at the front opening to the night air. Moss grows up and over it, and you can see how well hidden it would be to those who aren’t looking for it.
From within the stone door strange purplish lights seem to sparkle, light little fairy lights. You also spy, standing guard on either side of the doorway, two large monstrous humanoids with flat noses and small tusks. Bugbears.
Encounter 2 – 2x Bugbears, 100 experience +10 for successful surprise round
The bugbears are on alert, though in the darkness there is possibility for stealth; though remember they have darkvision.
This encounter should be moderately difficult, though the players outnumbering the bugbears should help. If the players in the course of the combat come close to the doorway, around 5 feet, read this:
In the midst of battle, you can hear strange sounds come from the dark doorway. Voices, discordant music, even a small scream.
Have whoever moved close roll a wisdom check at DC 10, if they fail they gain disadvantage on their next roll.
After defeating the bugbears, if they move close to the door the noises stop, and the lights go out. They’ll need torches to see. In this adventure as written, the door enters to single chamber. However, if you want the adventure to be longer, consider finding a dungeon in a resource online or in an old module, and inserting that room near the end of it. I have written this adventure to be a quick, easy short one. This room should easily be transplanted however. Either way…
When they enter the doorway to the chamber, read:
You enter the doorway and the air gets immediately colder. Your torchlight flickers off of the stones of a short hallway, that gives way to a large circular chamber. The chamber seems empty, besides a circle of stones in the middle that seem to have the embers of a burnt out fire. You see no other doorways here, though you do see a small satchel beside the embers of the fire.
The satchel contain an herbal mixture. A DC 20 check on herbal lore or nature (wisdom or intelligence) will show that the herbal mixture is highly psychoactive and magical.
There is nothing else in the room. To move on, they must throw some of the herbs on the fire to create smoke. If they do not figure this out quickly, have them roll an easy search check and tell them they see burnt herbs in the embers. When they burn the herbs, read:
A thick smoke, purplish in color, begins to fill the room, covering your vision. As you breathe it in you begin to hear noises, strange and fantastical, but also unnerving. You hear a shout, some gibbering. The noises get louder and more active, as if whatever is making them is distressed, until with a pop they disappear. You find yourself again in the large circular stone chamber, but you are not alone.
In front of you, with a look of both anger and fear, you see a strange humanoid. He could have once been a half-elf, but now his features are distorted and misshapen. From his head you see large antlers, weighing down on him heavily. From under the robes you see he has cloven hooves attached to shaggy legs. One of his arms seems to have become a curled and gnarled branch, while the other grasps a large book.
“Who are you?” He demands. “Where are my guards? Answer!”
The party is actually in the feywild at the moment, however the door no longer exists so they can’t leave this area.
The party can speak with him now. He will be very wary of them, and the slightest bit of hostility will cause him to attack. He will not give away any information unless there is a successful Charisma check of 20, and then grudgingly. If someone passes that check and the party offers to help him, he will be more inclined to listen to what they have to say. Even then, if he sees any reason that they might harm him or try to take the book, he will attack them.
He is neutral evil, and is suffering from the effects of breaking a pact to the fey-beings the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. There is no chance that he can cure the effects without giving up the power he gained from the beings. More than likely this encounter will lead to combat, but negotiation is possible. With good rolls and good role play he may agree to return to the cottage with the players. He may also reveal more about the nature of the Three, for he knows that they are fey creatures of a sort. He also suspects that they are a powerful being who has split itself in three.
If combat ensues, as is likely, however….
Encounter 3 – Mallord the half-elf cursed Fey Pact Warlord
His stats are as follows:
Mallord – Warlock Half-Elf, 100 experience
Medium Humanoid (monstrous half-elf)
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 18
Speed 25 ft.
Str 12 (+1) Dex 11 (+0) Con 13 (+1)
Int 10 (+0) Wis 14 (+2) Cha 16 (+3)
Alignment neutral evil
Languages Common, Elven, Abyssal
Spellcasting: Mallord a 2nd-level spellcaster that uses
Charisma as his magic ability (spell save DC 13). He has the
following spells prepared:
1st Level (2/day)—burning hands, sleep
Melee Attack—Branch Arm: +4 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature).
Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage.
He will attack relentlessly, and casts his spells as soon as is tactically feasible. If he is defeated, his mutations will become too unstable, and he will eventually die a misshapen mass.
After he dies, or after an hour, the effect of the herbs will end and they will return to the chamber as it is in the physical plane. The book, if the players look inside of it, seems completely blank. If they have the ability to sense, it is highly magical.
If they return it to the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone they will actually show sadness that Mallord had to die. They will also honor their part of the bargain. In Part 2, I have detailed some items they might have. You can also gift the players level equivalent gold.
If they return with Mallord, however, the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone will be surprised and a bit delighted. They will speak with him privately, and Mallord will leave the cottage as a normal Half-Elf with no class. Reward the players 100 experience points if this takes place.
Either way, the Three are very happy with the party and consider them friends, though they will not reveal their secrets to them right away. Consider, as I’ve mentioned earlier, having them be a contact or advisors for the party in their adventure. If Mallord lives he could also prove as a helpful ally, though his alignment may still be NE. That’s up to you.
You should award the players another 100 experience points for completing the adventure, give or take based on good role play.
As you can tell the adventure isn’t as involved as many published adventures. I meant for it to be an easy introduction for the three, as well as perhaps an easy introduction to D&D itself. I feel like it could probably be ran in a couple of hours. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, as simple as it might be. My next post, in a couple of days, will actually be a discussion on the Paladin class rather than an NPC or Adventure. Hopefully it’ll be a nice change of pace.
Thank you again for reading, and I hope you use my three part series in your game!