Baroness and black hound
Updated: Sep 30
Where and for whom?
Adventure is set in a fantasy world. The goal is to introduce the nemesis to the heroes. A character who transforms into a long-term enemy. Someone whose defeat can become a motivation for your whole party. To play the adventure, all you need is a big city. In our case, we assume that the action takes place in the town named Orkridge.
Who is Baroness?
Our heroine, Elisabeth Forevale, comes from a powerful noble family. She has a lot of wealth, and her family is very influential in Orkridge. When her father died of old age two years ago, the baroness became the head of the family. Her older brother, a bit inept and distracted, died soon after her father. His death, due to a mysterious disease, did not seem accidental.
In addition to running a family business, the baroness has a hidden life. She is a powerful wizard, an expert in black magic. She created her own organization that discreetly took power in Orkridge. Its members include city guard commanders, merchants, and other landowners. What is the weak point of Elisabeth Forevale? Everyone has one. In her case, beautiful men. She is not a romantic person. However, in addition to being a powerful magician, she is also an ordinary woman. Like all people, she needs to be loved. From time to time, she finds a lover and tries to forget about the problems of the world in his presence. The situation can get complicated if the lover starts cheating on her. Jealousy is another baroness weakness.
Everything will start at the inn in Orkridge called Peacock Feather. The place is run by a dwarf named Brodi. His wife Derva and three city girls, Terresa, Valvin, and Hibbi, help him with his work. Life in the tavern completely changes when one evening Terresa's face and hands turn black, and she dies, vomiting her lungs to the floor. He goes away in great pain. No doubt, some curse or other black magic was used.
The situation shocked Brodi. He went straight to the city guard, asking for help. After a preliminary investigation by Sergeant Renfort, the dwarf learned that all operations would be suspended. His supervisor told him to stop sniffing... Brodie didn't like it. He felt something vile going on here, and somehow, one of his girls was involved. He felt very sorry for Terresa and her fate. It was then that he decided to hire someone to lead his investigation.
How will Brodi's job reach the players? We have several options. Player characters know Brodi from the past. The dwarf knows they are reliable people and will be able to solve the mystery. A mutual friend will recommend the heroes to the dwarf. Maybe the old client? Heroes can witness events at the inn. The sight of a young girl dying in such a mysterious way can arouse their curiosity and encourage them to act.
The black hound
After seeing the body and interrogating Brodi and the girls, they will receive the following information. Any poison did not cause Terresa's death. It was probably a powerful curse. However, no one will be able to recognize the spell. Teresa was seen with two men. One is a butcher, Mordell. He is an older person and tried unsuccessfully to convince Teresa to marry. She wasn't the first. The other man is a nobleman, Tigory Belmwell. His family belongs to a somewhat declining nobility. They were seen several times together, but no one knew they were lovers. Sergeant Renfort, from a nearby facility, conducted the investigation. It won't be a problem finding him and having a short conversation.
Teresa lived in a rented room in a guest house by the river. Players will receive the exact address. Finding a place will not be a problem. When the characters talk to Hibbi, they notice that she is terrified and slightly shaky. If they give her a little sense of security, she will tell them what she knows. Teresa said to her that a black hound was following her. He looked at her from behind the bushes or from among the trees. It started a few days before her death. Hibbi is terrified because she saw him last night. He was waiting for her near the river.
Players have several options where to start their search. The easiest option will be to talk to the butcher, but it's a false lead. Mordell is not guilty of anything. It's just an older person looking for a young wife. The heroes will be able to go to the city guard and talk to Renfort. The sergeant will be ready to provide some information, but he will prefer to speak at the inn in the evening than at the station. In this way, fewer people will find out. If the heroes decide to visit Belmwell's house, they will be treated rather unpleasant. Tigory's mother will explain that she knows nothing about this matter, and Tigory himself is now in their estate outside the city. He left the same night when Teresa died. After short negotiations, the owner of the guesthouse will allow players to enter and search Teresa's old room. An in-depth search of the place will result in finding several letters that will be crucial for further history.
The tale of Renfort.
After talking to witnesses, Renfort had about the same level of knowledge as players. The next day he was about to go to Teresa's house, but his superior summoned him. He said he was to end the investigation and never go back to him. He didn't learn anything more. Only that if he doesn't stop, it can end very badly for him. New information for players may be the fact that Teresa was not the only person who died this way. The first was Edmund Forevale, the Baroness's brother. The case was previously closed as a natural disease. His body now lies in the Forevale family tomb. If players trick the night guards, they will be able to find his body and see that he died similarly. His face and hands will be all black.
Inside her bed will be hidden in a small box with several love letters. Here is the content of the messages. I can't stop thinking about you, sweetheart. Your beloved T. We can see each other tomorrow. Your beloved T. I'm counting down the days until our next meeting. Your beloved T. Don't worry. I will defend you against her. Just give me some time. Your T. We'll run away tonight. Wait for my carriage at midnight. Forever yours, T. T is the initial from Tigora's name. After returning from Teresa's residence, somewhere near the river, the characters will see a black, large hound. He will sit between the trees and stare at their figures. He is an ordinary dog, but there will be something disturbing in his eyes. If anyone approaches him, he will run away immediately.
The property is located next to a small village a few hours from Orkridge. A low wall surrounds the house and stable. At the main gate, the heroes will find two servants. Their wounds are very fresh. They were killed no more than yesterday. After searching the house, the characters find Tigory bound in the basement. He'll be sitting in a chair gagged. When the characters approach him, the hidden pentagram will be activated, and a group of undead will be summoned. Their first act would be killing Tigory.
It's a trap.
The fight will not be very long, and at some point, the heroes will have to leave the house. A guard unit and a prison cart will be waiting for them outside. A second cart will stand nearby, from which the baroness herself will get out. A black hound will accompany her. Yes, the same one who spied on players earlier. Everyone will end up in prison. A few days later, they will be summoned for questioning by the captain. Renfort will also be there. The guards will tell them what they know about the whole situation. Tigory was probably the lover of Baroness Forevale. When he started cheating on her, she murdered Teresa in some magical way and then used the players to frame them in the murder of Tigory. The captain will present an ultimatum to the players. They could die in the gallows in two days, or take all their belongings, get into the carriage that Brodi paid for, and leave this place forever. If they ever return, they will most likely be captured and killed. The captain can do nothing more. He is already seriously endangering. What will players do?