A lonely, fog-shrouded isle on a foreign coast holds a dark and ancient secret in its hidden depths. Forgotten for centuries, save for foreboding legends whispered by local fisherman, it waits with solemn patience for its next victim. When a party of northbound fortune-seekers are shipwrecked on its rocky shores, it sees in them its new forsaken keepers. To escape this fate, the only way out is in, and the only way up is down…
The Broken Light (A01) is the first adventure and opening salvo of the Adventures in the Greenrun campaign, though the adventure begins long before these pages – it is recommended that after character creation, game masters work with their players to establish their characters’ relationships and motives. What draws the party to the distant northern land of Glacia is up to you, the game master: promises of fame and fortune; the possibility of a new life, and perhaps even new identity, on an untamed frontier; or the answering of an unknown call they have heard their lives over. It is very likely each character’s motives will differ – they may even be strangers prior to the event that throws their lots together. These details should be developed in collaboration with their respective players, allowing them each time to introduce themselves and interact with others.
The party disembarks from a warm, southern clime, sailing for Glacia – a frontier land of ice, snow, and unbridled potential. They journey aboard the Mirthless Mother, a simple, two-masted vessel with salt-yellowed sails and a nasty proclivity for pitching and rolling in even the fairest seas. Along the way, the ship’s second mate, a hulking mass of man by the name of Rath Halden, is more than happy to regale the party with tales of Glacia (for inspiration, refer to The Land of Glacia).
In the final leg of their passage, a fearsome gale masses with almost supernatural suddenness, swiftly washing the captain overboard and sending the Mother heaving and yawing helplessly in the mounting seas. Rath leaps to the helm, struggling to halt the spinning wheel, and waves crash with astonishing violence against the deck. The water is cold and hard as ice, and threatens to sweep the party into the dark and waiting sea (power check 10 to prevent). In the event that the party manage to stay aboard, the ship will founder, and they will eventually fall unconscious in the lethally cold water.
If the party encounters wandering monsters while exploring the island, roll 1d10 and use the following table to determine their encounter.
|Table 1 – Wandering Monsters: The Island|
|1-2||1d5 goliath crabs|
|3-5||1d10 + 10 ravenous birds|
|6-8||1d10 + 5 giant rats|
|9||Lightning bolt (inflicts 2 damage to one random target; save to cancel)|
When the party wakes, they find themselves washed ashore a small, rocky isle shrouded in impenetrably dense fog. Scattered about them are various wooden barrels and boxes: cargo from the Mother that will never reach its destination. If the party searches through the debris, they will find provisions enough for several days, 1d10 unstable healing elixirs, 1d10 torches, and 1d5 explosives.
The island is approximately 150 feet long and 75 feet wide, and sits roughly nine miles off the southern coast of Glacia, though this is impossible to tell due to the fog. From the rocky shoreline, steep cliffs rise to meet the shadowy spire of the lighthouse perched atop them, its height disappearing into the gray mist.
Thunder rumbles like a muttered threat in the distance, and furtive scuttling over the nearby rocks can be heard.
Area A: The Lighthouse
The lighthouse reaches high into the gray sky, disappearing in the low-hanging clouds that stream indifferently past. Its white stone exterior is faded and worn, and deep gouges crisscross its surface. The heavy wooden door is open, hanging loosely from one hinge.
Built 400 years prior as an aid to navigation, the lighthouse fell into disuse over a century ago as new trade routes were discovered. Roughly 15 feet in diameter and 50 feet high, it is timeworn yet sturdy, being hewn from a single, massive hunk of calcite. Small, camber-style windows sporadically stud its flat-white length. From its base, the intricate dome of glass-and-iron lattice that crowns its top is visible, though no light shines forth.
A1. The Ground Floor
The interior is sparse, its walls bare and windowless. In the center of the room, the stone floor has collapsed, leaving a roughly 5-foot wide hole. To the right of the door, an aged iron staircase spirals to the second floor. On the far side, an old wooden desk sits against the wall.
The hole leads 10 feet down into a natural stone passage, the collapsed portions of the floor providing easy access. The desk is covered in the dried multicolored wax of old candles. An aged piece of paper partially obscured by the wax reads: In becomes out. Inside the desk are 1d10 candles which will burn for 1d5 hours each.
A2. The Second Floor (Storage Room)
The room is dark and damp, and empty chests, their lids ajar, line the windowless walls. Several simple fishing poles lean against a chest on the far wall, and a long-disused wood stove sits gathering dust. Innumerable small bones litter the floor, and the moldering corpses of rats are scattered here and there.
Upon the party’s entry, 1d10 + 5 giant rats will emerge, attacking until roughly half are killed, at which point they will flee.
A3. The Third Floor (Library)
Grey light leaks in from two small windows, dimly illuminating the several bookshelves that lie on the floor, and the books and quills strewn about the room. The smell of decaying paper fills the air.
The oldest books, their pages permanently soggy and mold-stained, are treatises on nautical subjects. Others, these of varying age, are keepers’ logs, detailing vessel activity from the earliest days of the lighthouse. Newer-looking logs become increasingly incoherent, containing nearly illegible ramblings. One recent logbook, however, is perfectly readable, describing in detail its author’s experience: A sudden storm overtook his vessel, foundering it completely, and thrusting him onto the island. Several days he spent in hope of rescue, though none came. He eventually entered the caverns below, his sanity shaken irrevocably by what he witnessed (see The Logbook in the “Additional Content – Addendum” section).
A4. The Fourth Floor (Keeper’s Room)
One window lights the room darkly. A small bed and nightstand, both covered in dust and long disused, sit against the far wall. Beside the stairs, an armoire, its doors swung wide, stands empty.
In the top drawer of the nightstand are 1d5 small black opals. In the bottom drawer, 20 candles are stored. An iron-rung ladder leads to the fifth and final floor.
A5. The Fifth Floor (Light)
The small room’s walls are a fine lattice of iron and glass, and in its center, a stone pit holds thousands of copper red shards. Fog presses against the glass as it hastens past on the rushing wind, making observation of the island, or the surround sea, impossible.
The shards are cold to the touch, though if a flame is held within a foot of them, they will burst to life, temporarily blinding anyone in the room.
Area B: The Caverns Below
If the party encounters wandering monsters while exploring the caverns below, roll 1d10 and use the following table to determine their encounter.
|Table 2 – Wandering Monsters: The Caverns Below|
|1-3||1d10 giant rats|
|5||1d5 cave bats|
|6-7||1-2 black-robed cultists|
|8-9||1d10 blackscale leeches|
Descending into the caverns, the air is noticeably different – cooler, more damp, smelling of earth and stinking of rot. The jagged stone walls are wet to the touch, and slimy with reddish-purple algae. The narrow passage plunges ahead and down into the darkness over stairs hewn from the rock itself.
For nearly a century, the caverns have been used by the Wounding Hand, an secretive death cult slowly and furtively growing their power in the icy shadows of southern Glacia. After discovering the caverns, which have long served as a nest for the semiaquatic black-ice serpent – a fearsome and legendary creature possessing powerful telepathic abilities – the cult established it as another hidden temple, countless numbers of which are concealed across the Glacian coast.
Today, they largely use the caverns for two purposes: Worshiping the black-ice serpent, which they regard as a demigod, and to which they perform human sacrifices; and communing with the serpents through telepathy to attain assumption – the unification of their minds into one.
B1. Entrance to the Caverns
The room is wide and tall, its ceiling some 15 feet high, its walls rough but flat – clearly hewn by hand and with purpose. Natural spires have been shaped into intricate columns, the bases of which bear fearsome carven images of snarling serpents. There are two passages here: North and east.
This cavern differs greatly from the area the party has just quitted. The jagged stone walls are now clean and even, evincing great care and craftsmanship. On the western wall is a hidden door (T8 perception check), carved in and of the rock itself. It swings open freely on a silent hinge upon the slightest pressure. The door leads to area B2.
B2. Temple of the Serpent (Hidden Room)
The dark, jagged stone of the huge cavern has been hewn level and plumb, and the now-smooth surfaces polished to a glossy black sheen. Strange blue light shimmers effervescently off the sleek walls and floor, emanating from translucent orbs hung at regular intervals from the natural ceiling. Massive black pillars carved into the shape of writhing serpents stare down over a glittering black altar appointed on a dais in the room’s center. Life-like in countenance, their reptilian eyes flicker wickedly in the weird light. Though illumined throughout, the darkness is heavy and difficult to penetrate. There is an archway on the northern wall.
In this temple, the Wounding Hand performs their arcane rituals, including communing with the black-ice serpent and sacrificing the shipwrecked sailors that they abduct from the island above. There is a 1-in-2 chance that 1d5 black-robed cultists will be here, surrounding the altar and in a state of deep meditation (T5 reflex check to prevent waking).
The altar is oblong and irregularly shaped, black and opaque as night but flecked with deep red, green, blue, and purple plays-of-color that shimmer like a mystical fire. A palpable energy radiates from it. Encircling the altar, carved into the stone floor, is the phrase, “OURS IS THE HAND THAT WOUNDS”.
The altar is composed of a singular and stunning black opal, a gemstone capable of significantly magnifying the power of magical rituals.
B3. Flooded Antechamber
The passage leads downward on narrow, steep steps carved into the rock, terminating in a small, partially flooded room. The walls bear engravings of snake-like creatures, twisted in a helical band that encircles the room. There is a door on the northern wall, on a landing above the water.
The ice-cold water is roughly three feet deep, and conceals 1d10 + 5 blackscale leeches beneath its black surface. The leeches will not attack any characters that are in possession of at least one black opal, the latent power of which repels them naturally.
On the west wall is a hidden passage, its entrance almost entirely submerged (T6 perception check). The passage leads to area B6.
B4. The Cell
An iron staircase spirals down into the dimly lit cavern below. The room is completely unrefined: The walls raw and jagged, the floor uneven and dotted with stagnant pools of water. Iron bars, stretching from floor to ceiling, enclose the back of the cavern. A lone torch just outside them casts eerie shadows around the room. A wide archway opens on the southern wall, its clean curves and intricate border clashing with the rugged room.
Inside the cell, the bruised and withered form of Jon Morrow (T5; HP3; +2 intellect) – the author of the logbook – lies on the rocky floor. He is despondent, having been the victim of weeks of psychological experimentation by the Wounding Hand. As a result, he will not ask rescue, though he may insist that the party end his suffering. He can, however, be talked into helping the party escape. If they have not already obtained the key for the cell from the cultist in area B5, he will advise them to do so. Otherwise, the difficulty to break the cell door down is T12, and to pick the lock is T10.
B5. The Study
The room is well-lit by a simple iron chandelier arrayed with a number of thick red candles. Bookshelves cover the walls ceiling to floor, and an ornate, semi-reclined wooden chair sits in the center. Huddled into the northwestern corner is a wooden desk. There is one door here, closed: South.
There is one red-robed cultist seated at the desk, busily engaged in writing. Though his face is mostly obscured by his hood, his mouth twists into a wicked smile as the party enters the room. He will inform them that they are early, his statement revealing that the Wounding Hand was already aware of their presence on the island.
He will then draw a dagger and promptly attack, supplementing his melee prowess with combat spells as often as possible. After five rounds, he will telepathically summon 1d5 dark-mind mutants from area B6; they will arrive in two rounds. Upon their arrival, they will attack even characters carrying a black opal, but will suffer a -2 attack penalty in doing so.
B6. Chamber of Mutants
The room is illumined by a strange light: black as a shadow, but bright as a flickering flame. It emanates from a massive chandelier hanging in the center of the room from which black gems dangle, banded around a large black opal finial, glittering darkly in its own weird radiance. The walls are hewn smooth and unadorned. There is one door here, closed: South.
The light that is cast from the chandelier causes the room – and everything in it – to appear black and white.
1d10 dark-mind mutants are here, standing upright and staring at the opaline chandelier. The power of the gemstone has been harnessed by the Wounding Hand to control the mutants, keeping them in a trance-like state until called upon. They will wake from this state only when commanded by the cultists or summoned by the black-ice serpent, or if a character fails a T5 reflex check. In the event of a failed reflex check, the mutants will snap their attention to the source of the sound, staring for 1d5 rounds before attacking. However, like the blackscale leeches, they will not attack any characters carrying at least one black opal, nor will they pursue the party if they flee the room.
B7. The Nest
A winding passage plunges steeply downward, opening into a cavern lit dimly by phosphorescent blue algae. Arranged neatly on the raw stone floor are ten large, perfectly spherical marbles. Their surface has an opalescent sheen, and glimmers bluely under the twinkling light. A wide natural archway on the southern wall leads out of the room.
The marbles are a clutch of eggs belonging to the black-ice serpent that has made this cavern its home. As caretakers for the serpent’s brood, the dark-mind mutants are highly protective of the eggs, and touching the eggs will summon any remaining mutants from B6 to attack the party. Additionally, there is a 1-in-10 chance that any egg touched will hatch upon contact, yielding a fresh – and vicious – black-ice serpent hatchling.
B8. The Black Lake
The raw stone passage descends further, quitting onto a black sand shore that stretches into the darkness both east and west. A vast underground lake swells ahead, disappearing in the deep shadows while its black water laps sullenly at the earth. The only sound is that of dripping water in the great and invisible distance. Somewhere out on the lake, a faint blue glow shimmers in the gloom.
A small wooden boat is moored to a piling by the shore – the sole remnant of a long-collapsed dock. A close inspection will reveal that the boat is sound and seaworthy, and can be used to seek out the blue glow, which emanates from an island in the center of the lake.
In a cavern hidden away on the far eastern shore, the black-ice serpent has made its den. The moment the party sets the boat underway, the serpent is telepathically aware of their presence and begins its pursuit.
It takes approximately ten minutes to reach the island, and the serpent will reach the party within 1d5 minutes. Once upon them, it will attempt to capsize the boat (at least one member of the party must succeed a power challenge to prevent). Once it suffers 5 points of damage, it will retreat, watching them at a distance for 1d2 minutes, before attacking again. When it suffers an additional 2 points of damage, it will retreat again, waiting until the party gains the shore before launching its final attack. When only 2 HP remain, it will retreat permanently.
B8-1. The Island on the Lake
The small island is covered entirely in a glowing blue ooze, making its rocky surface slick and treacherous to navigate. At its center, a wide, circular opening descends into the earth, and a spiral staircase of stone leads down into its depths. Torches are mounted to the smooth stone wall, though the flames flicker bluely, casting a ghostly shimmer on the black stone surface. Some 50 feet down, a wooden hatch is embedded in the floor, and white light leaks faintly through its cracks.
Hundreds of holes, roughly the size of a human head, stud the wall at regular intervals, becoming visible as the party descends the staircase. If any character investigates a hole closely – by holding a torch up to or into one, or sticking something inside – they wake the nymph cave-crawler nesting inside. It will emit a high-pitched screech, waking 1d10 + 10 additional nymphs, which will then swarm the party.
From the top of the pit, it takes five rounds to reach the bottom. If the party flees the swarming insects, each characters must succeed a T5 reflex check each combat round to prevent falling as they fend off attacks while racing down the stairs. If they fail, they must save 6 or fall to the bottom of the pit (1 damage for every 10 feet fallen).
When the party reach the bottom, they will find the hatch unlocked. Upon opening it, the pit is flooded with a brilliant white light, causing the nymphs to flee. If they enter the hatch, they will experience a strange sensation – a momentary freedom from gravity – before they find themselves climbing up and into the light of day.
The hatch leads to a rocky and deserted beach, its surface disguised by a wide, flat stone. The waves crash ceaselessly on the rugged shore, and steep cliffs mass against the stony beach, rising some 100 feet into the cold grey sky. The icy sea stretches into the distance, a solid, amaranthine mass of stormy silver. To the west, the shore sweeps on into the bleak distance. To the east, roughly ten miles away and perched atop a sheer ridge abutting the sea, a cluster of buildings huddle together, as if for warmth.
This seaside hamlet – the Blackmill Township – was the intended destination of the Mirthless Mother before it met its watery fate, and is among the few entry points to the continent of Glacia whose sheer, high cliffs make landings difficult – if not impossible – across the majority of the southern coast.
A Prelude to Adventure
Upon the successful completion of this adventure, the party – or what remains of it – will find themselves a short distance from the Blackmill Township, in which the second adventure of the Adventures in the Greenrun campaign takes place. In the event that the party perishes during the course of this adventure, it is recommended that one (or both) of the following suggestions be employed by the game master, as necessary:
- Have your players create new characters that were also passengers aboard the Mirthless Mother and washed up shortly after the original party, thus enabling your players to “restart” the adventure;
- Have your players create new characters who, instead of washing ashore the island of the broken light, are rescued by a passing ship and transported the rest of the way to the Blackmill Township, effectively “skipping” the adventure.
However, this adventure can also be used as a standalone adventure, or a hook leading to another adventure of the game master’s choosing.
This adventure includes a wide range of additional content that can be used to change the pace of the experience – background information, monsters, items, random tables, and more.
Running the Adventure
It is recommended that game masters read through this adventure thoroughly prior to running it – this will help to build a comprehensive understanding of the layout, inhabitants of the caverns, and the dynamics of the environment, all of which will simplify running the adventure.
Each area is described by a short, italicized paragraph. These descriptions are written to be read aloud, at the game master’s discretion, and provide flavor to the location as well as important details often not included on the map.
About the Wounding Handing
The Wounding Hand is an esoteric death cult and the primary antagonist of this adventure. The island – and its inhabitants – have long predated them, and are even older than the civilization that now rules the icy land of Glacia.
After discovering the portal leading from the coast to the caverns – and the dark temple within – they quickly took it as confirmation of their belief in an ancient and powerful race of serpent-men that ruled the world in eons long passed. Worshipping this race as gods, they endeavor to obtain their powers and restore their rule, subjugating the world once again to the Hand That Wounds.
Blackscale leech (T4; 5 HP)
Blind, aquatic parasites that can grow up to three feet in length, blackscale leeches feed on blood, and are capable of drawing eight ounces from a victim in under a minute. Additionally, they can survive out of water indefinitely, but suffer -1 to attack rolls when on land.
Cave bat (T5; 2-4 HP)
Large, vicious, and thirsty for blood, the cave bat will use darkness to its advantage, lurking in the shadows or high in the night sky and attacking its target with a ferocious swoop. The cave bat is often encountered in groups of 5-10.
Cultist, black-robed (T5-T6; 5-6 HP, 3-4 MP; +1 intellect)
Cloaked in black robes, wielding a serpent-shaped dagger in one hand and dark magic in the other, the black-robed cultist is a formidable combatant.
Black-robed Cultist Spells
Dark armor – gain +1 toughness for 1d10 rounds. Cost: 1 magic point.
Wounding hands – gain 1d5 spectral hands and make as many melee attacks as hands per combat round; lasts 1d5 rounds. Cost: 2 magic points.
Cultist, red-robed (T7; 8 HP, 5 MP; +1 intellect; level 2 caster)
Cloaked in red robes, wielding a large serpent-shaped dagger in one hand and lethal dark magic in the other, the red-robed cultist is a deadly combatant.
Red-robed Cultist Spells
Dark armor – gain +1 toughness for 1d10 rounds. Cost: 1 magic point.
Dark mirror – create 1d5 + your level illusory copies of yourself. Targets must overcome your spell save to see through the illusion. Cost: 1 magic point (2 if cast on another entity).
Phantom dagger – declare a target; doing so immediately inflicts 1 damage. On both the target’s turn and yours, it must succeed an intellect challenge versus you; it suffers 1 damage each time it fails, and cancels the spell when it succeeds. Cost: 3 magic points.
Dark-mind mutant (T7; 7-9 HP; +2 aspect)
Deformed – but vaguely humanoid – creatures, dark-mind mutants are part of the black-ice serpent’s ecosystem. They care for and defend the frigid hatchlings, and share a telepathic connection to the black-ice serpent.
Dark-mind Mutant Abilities
Dark thoughts – on an attack roll of 10, you invade your target’s mind; the target must succeed an aspect challenge or lose its next turn.
Giant Rat (T4; 2-3 HP; +1 damage)
Diseased, mangy, and vicious, giant rats are roughly the size of a large cat and typically attack in groups of 7-15.
Goliath Crab (T6; 4 HP; +1 power)
Massive crustaceans with iron-hard carapaces and vice-like claws; usually found in groups of 4-20, clinging to rocky ocean shores. Goliath crabs average six feet wide by four feet tall.
Goliath Crab Abilities
Vice – on an attack roll of 10, you pin your target; they are unable to take a move action for 1d5 rounds, or until succeeding a power challenge. Note: Only 1-in-5 goliath crabs possess this ability.
Ravenous bird (T3; 1 HP; +1 reflex)
Starved and desperate, ravenous birds will attack ferociously until at least half of their flock – usually numbered 10-20 – is slain; when the flock numbers 15 or more, the ravenous birds gain a +1 toughness bonus.
Serpent, black-ice (adult) (T9; 12 HP, 3 PP; +2 damage)
A giant, snake-like beast of fearsome proportions. Roughly 60 feet long and black as the ocean depths, the black-ice serpent’s flesh is phosphorescent and becomes illuminated when agitated. Its gaping maw is studded with thousands of needle-like teeth, and its cold eyes glow bluely. It is completely blind, but can detect the body heat of its prey through solid stone walls and possesses limited telepathic powers. Found only within the submarine caves of deepest icy seas, it spends much of its time in a state of semi-hibernation, thereby extending its longevity almost indefinitely.
Adult Black-ice Serpent Abilities
Bite – inflicts an additional +2 damage. Cost: 1 power point.
Combat telepathy – all attacks against you must first succeed an aspect challenge; failed challenges result in a -2 penalty to the attack roll.
Toxic bite – each successful bite attack, the target must save 6 or suffer -1 to attack for 1d5 rounds.
Serpent, black-ice (hatchling) (T5; 5 HP, 2 PP; +1 damage)
Also called frigid hatchlings, these offspring of the black-ice serpent can be even more dangerous than adults. They are considerably more toxic while young, and inflict a nasty bite.
Hatchling Black-ice Serpent Abilities
Bite – inflicts an additional +1 damage. Cost: 1 power point.
Toxic bite – each successful bite attack, the target must save 8 or suffer -1 to attack for 1d5 rounds.
Slime, acrid (T3; 1-3 HP)
An unthinking, unfeeling ooze, the acrid slime is the most numerous of slimes in existence.
Acrid Slime Abilities
Acidic – on an attack roll of 10, completely destroy one non-enchanted metallic weapon.
Slime, glowing (T2; 6 HP)
The glowing slime is a vivid, luminous slime that comes in a variety of colors – blue, green, purple, and more. It “feeds” on warmth, and as such, is attracted to living creatures, aggressively seeking physical contact, though it is harmless to touch. Any entity with which it comes in contact is left glowing for 1d10 hours.
Running the Monsters
Every entity in this adventure has its own motives: The Wounding Hand exists for the purpose of bringing death and suffering to all living beings; the dark-mind mutants serve the black-ice serpent, particularly when it comes to defending and rearing their hatchlings; the black-ice serpent, in a brooding state, is for the time wary of combat, preferring to live and raise its hatchlings, which occurs only once every 300 years. When portraying these monsters, ensure they are acting within their motivations: This will produce monsters that are interesting and easy to run.
Additionally, to increase the difficulty of this adventure, consider reducing the power of the black opal by simply weakening monsters that attack characters possessing it, rather than their avoiding attacking them all together. In this scenario, it is recommended that monsters suffer a -2 attack penalty.
1d100 Random Treasures
After combat is complete, and if there are any corpses as a result, there is a 1-in-2 chance that a deceased opponent will possess random loot. Roll 1d100 (roll a d10 twice: the first roll is the tens place, second is the ones place) and use the table below to determine what.
|Table 3 – Random Treasures|
|1-5||Polished blackstone miniature (of a serpent)|
|11-15||Blackscale dagger scabbard (10gp)|
|16-20||Spell scroll (dark lights – creates an effect of dancing lights of dark, mysterious colors)|
|26-30||Leather belt with fine steel buckle|
|31-35||Black opal (50gp)|
|36-40||1d10 thunder agates (5gp per gem)|
|41-45||Blood-stained ceramic idol (of the goddess of sailors)|
|46-50||Elixir of strength (+2 PP; +1 P for 1d10 combat rounds)|
|51-55||Spell scroll (deep sleep – affects 1d10 creatures; save 5)|
|56-60||Small bag of incense (+1 HP when healing)|
|66-70||1d10 lapis lazuli (7gp per gem)|
|76-80||Blackwood wand (reduces spell cost by 1 MP)|
|81-85||Polished blackstone miniature (of a serpent-man)|
|86-90||Blood-stained gold locket (portrait of a woman within)|
|96-100||Wicked dagger (+1 attack bonus)|
1d10 Spooky Events
Sounds, sights, and other things to create a tense and unnerving atmosphere. Use intermittently and as necessary.
- The party finds a message scrawled in long-dried blood on the rough wall: Down becomes up.
- A gust of wind, hot and stale, whips down the corridor, blowing past the party.
- Scraping sounds echo down the corridor, but their source can never be located.
- A deep, almost subsonic humming can barely be detected; it seems to be coming from below.
- The party finds a message scrawled in long-dried blood on the rough wall: In becomes out.
- A volley of small rocks strike the party, causing no damage, but originating from no obvious source.
- The sound of footsteps echo down the corridor.
- A shadow was seen, lurking around the corner just ahead, but when investigated, there is no trace of anything having been there.
- Carved into the wall and glowing a phosphorescent blue are two hands, clasped in prayer, that look eerily reptilian.
- The sound of violent splashing echoes from somewhere ahead.
These gems possess a magical potency that naturally repels, and in some cases even weakens, creatures of the dark. This quality was discovered by the Wounding Hand shortly after their reemergence roughly 150 years ago, and has factored heavily into their success in repossessing the many caves and subterranean temples that dot the Glacian coast, enabling them near-effortless mastery over these areas’ native inhabitants.
While these gems are highly valuable, anyone wishing to sell them must be discreet in finding the right buyer – there are a number of myths in existence about these gems, and the seller may be regarded with extreme distrust should they attempt to sell them to the wrong buyer.
79.1344 – My name is Jon Morrow. I was a sailor aboard the Grand Wind. I am shipwrecked, having washed ashore a small islet whereupon I have been stranded for three days. I write this so that, in the event that I do not survive – which I must confess, appears likely – my experience may be preserved for the next lost soul to wash ashore. Now, such a statement may confuse my reader: allow my explanation.
I am not the first man to have been thrust by fate unto this strange island. I have spent the day poring over log after log, and though sometimes difficult to discern, I can be certain of this much. What was once a lighthouse has become a graveyard, though a question most morbid now dominates my mind: Where are the bodies?
I suspect I know.
81.1344 – It did not take long to abandon hope of rescue. I attribute my despair to this damnable fog; it lingers like a specter, and the wind that ever drives it chills me to the bone. It is inescapable. Sequestered in this bare building on this desolate island, I hear it howling past, night and day, and the sound maddens me in a way that the endless months upon the endless sea never has.
There is a hole in the ground floor. I know now this is where the men who came before me have gone. I know, too, that I must follow them, soon. But not yet… not yet.
83.1344 – I entered the caverns below. I was unprepared for that which mine eyes hath seen. Horror upon horrors, blasphemy of blasphemies, curses to the face of God. There are creatures residing in that accursed hole – creatures unfit for the light of day. I fear that they have followed me.
No. I am certain of it… I hear their shambling gait echoing down the tunnel, their clumsy hands clawing at the crumbled stones. I will make my stand here, in the library. I will die here. I will not be dragged, like the others, into that infernal hall of madness below.
I understand it all now.
God spare my soul.
This concludes Tiny d10: The Broken Light. This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.