Note: While I’ve done my best to make the generated adventure somewhat usable and consistent, there are still many rough edges. For example, the ritual to lift the curse is not spelled out in detail. You’ll need to plan on improvising at the table, or doing some prep ahead of time. Also note that the adventure seems rather difficult for level 1 characters…
Boxed text, intended to be read aloud to the players or paraphrased, is indicated like this.
A mysterious totem has appeared in the swamp overnight, causing strange happenings in the village of Reedsmouth. The villagers are experiencing restless sleep, plagued by nightmares, and whispers in their minds. The local wildlife has become increasingly aggressive, and a thick fog has settled over the region. The village leader, Elder Marlow, believes the totem to be the source of the disturbances and seeks the help of the player characters to investigate and remove the curse.
The village of Reedsmouth has long been a quiet, peaceful settlement, nestled in a swampy region near the edge of a dense forest. The inhabitants have learned to coexist with the dangers of the swamp, relying on the abundant resources it provides. Recently, however, a mysterious totem appeared overnight in the swamp, and the village has been plagued by strange happenings ever since.
The villagers' sleep is now restless, filled with vivid nightmares and whispers in their minds. The local wildlife has grown increasingly aggressive, and a thick fog has settled over the region, making travel and daily life difficult. The village leader, Elder Marlow, believes the totem is the source of the disturbances and seeks help to investigate and remove the curse.
“The Whispering Totem” is a level 1 DCC adventure. It features a mix of combat, roleplay, traps, and puzzles, offering a variety of challenges for both new and experienced players. This module is intended to provide an engaging, memorable experience for both the players and the Judge.
A few weeks ago, during a particularly powerful storm, the ground in the swamp shifted, revealing an ancient ruin buried beneath the murky water. From the depths of the ruin, a malevolent spirit bound to a mysterious totem was unleashed. The spirit’s power has disturbed the delicate balance of the swamp, causing the fog, nightmares, and aggressive wildlife that now plague the village of Reedsmouth.
Unknown to the villagers, the ruin once belonged to a long-forgotten civilization that practiced powerful magic. The totem is the key to the spirit’s power and the source of the curse. To save Reedsmouth, the adventurers must delve into the swamp, locate the Whispering Totem, and uncover the truth behind the ancient civilization and the malevolent spirit.
Starting the Adventure
There are several ways to involve the player characters in the adventure:
Passing Through: The adventurers may be passing through Reedsmouth on their way to another destination when they learn of the village’s plight. Intrigued by the mysterious circumstances or feeling compassion for the villagers, they may choose to help.
Hired Help: Elder Marlow, desperate to save his village, sends word to nearby towns and cities seeking adventurers willing to take on the challenge. The player characters could be among those who respond to his call.
Personal Connection: One or more of the player characters could have a personal connection to Reedsmouth, such as family members or friends who live in the village. They might have received a message from a loved one asking for help, prompting them to set out on the adventure.
Dreams and Visions: The player characters may have experienced strange dreams or visions hinting at the events unfolding in Reedsmouth. These dreams could contain cryptic clues about the totem and the ancient ruins, leading the adventurers to the village.
Regardless of how the characters become involved, their journey begins in the troubled village of Reedsmouth, where they will meet Elder Marlow and learn more about the mysterious totem and the dangers it poses.
The villagers are more than happy to share various rumors and superstitions. For every day spent at the village, roll a d12 for each PC. Note that rumors can be either true or false, as indicated.
- The swamp was once a beautiful and thriving place before the ancient civilization cursed it. (True)
- The spirits of the long-lost civilization still haunt the ruins, seeking to protect their secrets. (True)
- A powerful artifact lies hidden within the Sinking Temple, waiting to be discovered. (False)
- The Swamp Witch is actually a benevolent force, trying to protect the village from the malevolent spirit. (True)
- The Cursed Glade is home to a dangerous group of creatures, twisted by dark energies. (True)
- The ancient tome in the Chamber of Secrets contains a way to banish the malevolent spirit. (False)
- There is a hidden chamber in the Sinking Temple that can only be accessed by solving a complex puzzle. (True)
- The malevolent spirit can be appeased by offering it valuable treasures. (False)
- The malevolent spirit is actually a vengeful spirit of a betrayed leader from the ancient civilization. (True)
- The Swamp Witch’s hut is surrounded by a magical barrier that repels evil creatures. (False)
- The totem is said to grant its possessor the power to control the minds of others, but at the cost of their sanity. (False)
- A rival village placed the totem in the swamp, seeking to weaken Reedsmouth and conquer its people. (False)
The Village of Reedsmouth
Reedsmouth is a small, close-knit village located in a swampy region near the edge of a dense forest. Despite the challenges posed by the swamp, the villagers have managed to build a thriving community by adapting to their environment. The village consists of wooden stilt houses built above the water, with raised walkways connecting the various structures. The villagers are skilled in fishing, trapping, and foraging, making use of the abundant resources provided by the swamp.
Elder Marlow’s House: The residence of the village leader, Elder Marlow, is the largest building in Reedsmouth. It serves as a meeting place for the villagers and a location where the player characters can gather information about the Whispering Totem.
The Soggy Boot Inn: The village’s only inn, run by the friendly and gregarious innkeeper, Hilda Goodbarrel. The Soggy Boot offers lodging and hearty meals to travelers and is a good place for the player characters to rest, gather rumors, and meet the locals.
Reedsmouth Market: A small open-air market where the villagers trade goods, such as fish, game, and swamp plants. Some traveling merchants may also have a few useful items for the adventurers to purchase.
Swamp’s Edge Shrine: A small shrine dedicated to the nature spirits of the swamp, maintained by the village healer, Mirna Greenwater. Mirna can provide basic healing services and herbal remedies to the player characters.
Elder Marlow (Human): The wise and respected village leader, Elder Marlow seeks help to save his village from the curse of the Whispering Totem. He can provide the player characters with information about the swamp, the totem, and the ancient ruins.
Hilda Goodbarrel (Halfling): The owner and innkeeper of the Soggy Boot Inn, Hilda is known for her warm hospitality and her delicious swamp stew. She is well-versed in local gossip and can provide the player characters with rumors about the totem and the swamp.
Mirna Greenwater (Elf): The village healer and caretaker of the Swamp’s Edge Shrine, Mirna is skilled in the use of herbs and natural remedies. She can offer basic healing services to the player characters and may have knowledge of the ancient civilization that created the totem.
Gavric Deepmarsh (Half-Orc): A skilled trapper and hunter, Gavric is an expert in navigating the dangers of the swamp. Suspicious of outsiders, he may initially be reluctant to help the player characters but could become a valuable guide and ally if they gain his trust.
Lila Swiftwillow (Gnome): An eccentric swamp witch living on the outskirts of the village, Lila is rumored to have knowledge of the Whispering Totem and the ancient ruins. While she may be difficult to locate and approach, her insights could prove invaluable to the player characters.
The Swamp and Ruins
The swamp surrounding Reedsmouth is a treacherous and mysterious place, filled with dense vegetation, murky waters, and hidden dangers. The air is thick with the smell of decay and the constant buzzing of insects. Pockets of fog swirl through the swamp, making navigation difficult, and the shadows seem to hide unknown creatures lurking just beyond sight. The local wildlife has become increasingly aggressive, posing a threat to any who dare to venture into the depths of the swamp.
Hidden within the heart of the swamp lies the ancient ruins of a long-forgotten civilization. Overgrown with moss and vines, the crumbling stone structures have been swallowed by the swamp over the centuries. The ruins contain the remnants of temples, living quarters, and other structures that hint at the once-mighty civilization that thrived here. Carvings and murals on the remaining walls provide clues to the origin of the Whispering Totem and the malevolent spirit that now plagues the village of Reedsmouth.
As you venture deeper into the swamp, the air grows heavier and the sounds of the village fade behind you. The twisted trees and gnarled roots seem to close in around you, as if the swamp itself is trying to keep you from your destination. A thick fog blankets the ground, swirling around your feet and obscuring your path. The eerie silence is broken only by the distant cries of unseen creatures and the occasional splash of something large moving through the water._
Suddenly, the vegetation parts to reveal a set of ancient, moss-covered stone steps leading up to a crumbling archway. Beyond the archway, you can see the remnants of a once-great city, its ruins half-submerged in the murky swamp waters. The air here feels charged with an ancient power, and you can’t help but feel a sense of dread as you look upon the forgotten ruins that hold the key to the mystery of the Whispering Totem.
List of Adventure Locations
|1. The Cursed Glade||A fog-shrouded grove in the swamp, exuding malevolence. Warped, cursed swamp creatures guard the path to the Sinking Temple.|
|2. The Sinking Temple||A partially submerged temple within the ancient ruins, containing valuable information about the totem’s origins and puzzles that must be solved to unlock its secrets.|
|3. The Bridge of Whispers||A narrow, ancient stone bridge crossing a treacherous part of the swamp, where the spirits of the long-lost civilization are said to whisper their secrets to those who dare to cross.|
|4. The Hall of the Ancients||A grand hall within the ruins, containing ancient murals and carvings that reveal the history of the lost civilization and the creation of the Whispering Totem.|
|5. The Shifting Maze||A labyrinthine network of tunnels beneath the ruins, filled with traps, puzzles, and restless spirits guarding the key to breaking the totem’s curse.|
|6. The Totem’s Sanctum||The final location within the ruins where the adventurers confront the malevolent spirit bound to the Whispering Totem, either in battle or through diplomacy and clever thinking.|
|7. The Swamp Witch’s Hut||The hidden home of Lila Swiftwillow, the eccentric swamp witch who may possess valuable knowledge about the totem and the ancient civilization.|
Location 1: The Cursed Glade
As you make your way through the fog and tangled vegetation, the oppressive atmosphere of the swamp seems to intensify. A dense grove of twisted trees emerges from the mist, their gnarled branches stretching out like skeletal fingers. In the center of the glade, an ancient stone pedestal lies covered in moss and vines, a faint magical aura emanating from it. The air is heavy with a palpable sense of malevolence, and the whispers in your mind grow louder, urging you to turn back.
The Cursed Glade is a sinister clearing within the swamp marked by the presence of an ancient stone pedestal. The trees and vegetation in this area are twisted and unnaturally contorted, as if warped by dark energies. The stone pedestal appears to be of the same origin as the ruins, covered in moss and etched with faded symbols. The area is permeated with a sense of dread, and the whispers that have haunted the villagers grow louder and more insistent here.
The Cursed Glade is guarded by a group of cursed swamp creatures, transformed by a malevolent influence. These creatures have been warped by dark power, making them more aggressive and dangerous than their normal counterparts.
Cursed Swamp Creatures (3): Init +1; Atk bite +2 melee (1d6) or claw +2 melee (1d4); AC 12; HD 2d8; MV 30'; Act 1d20; SP cursed aura, regeneration (1 hp/round); SV Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +0; AL C.
Cursed Aura: Any non-evil creature that comes within 10 feet of a cursed swamp creature must make a DC 12 Will save or be filled with a sense of dread and despair, suffering a -1 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks for the next hour.
As the players approach the ancient stone pedestal, they will need to contend with these cursed swamp creatures. Defeating the creatures may provide an opportunity for the players to examine the pedestal and discover a hidden treasure: a magical Rune-Etched Dagger that can aid them in their adventure.
Magical Weapon: Rune-Etched Dagger
This ornate dagger has a silver blade etched with glowing runes that seem to change and shift as one looks at them. The hilt is wrapped in dark leather and adorned with a single, polished opal. The dagger grants its wielder a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls, and can deal an additional 1d4 force damage on a successful critical hit.
Alternatively, the players may attempt to bypass the guardians using stealth, diplomacy, or creative tactics. Examining the pedestal and the magical weapon may reveal further clues about the ancient ruins and the malevolent force that haunts the swamp.
Location 2: The Sinking Temple
Before you lies the partially submerged remains of an ancient temple. Its stone walls, once intricately carved, are now worn and covered in moss and vines. The entrance, a gaping maw flanked by two crumbling statues, leads into a dimly lit chamber, half-filled with stagnant swamp water. As you step inside, the air grows colder, and an eerie stillness descends. You can’t help but feel that the temple holds secrets waiting to be uncovered, but also the weight of a long-forgotten past that may not welcome intruders.
The Sinking Temple is an ancient structure within the ruins, its once-majestic architecture now crumbling and overtaken by the swamp. The temple contains several interconnected chambers, some of which have become partially submerged due to the encroaching swamp waters. Within the temple, players will find murals and carvings that provide valuable information about the totem’s origins, as well as a series of puzzles and traps that must be overcome to unlock the temple’s secrets.
As the players explore the Sinking Temple, they will face both physical and mental challenges. The temple’s chambers contain a variety of puzzles and traps designed to test the characters' wits, as well as hidden secrets that can only be discovered through careful investigation.
In one of the chambers, the players will encounter a group of animated stone guardians, brought to life by the lingering magic of the ancient civilization. These guardians are tasked with protecting the temple from intruders and will attack any who enter without the proper sigil or passphrase.
Animated Stone Guardians (4): Init -1; Atk slam +3 melee (1d8); AC 16; HD 3d8; MV 20'; Act 1d20; SP immune to nonmagical attacks, vulnerable to blunt weapons; SV Fort +3, Ref -1, Will +0; AL N.
Immune to Nonmagical Attacks: Animated stone guardians are immune to nonmagical attacks, taking no damage from them. They can be damaged by magical attacks, spells, or magic weapons.
Vulnerable to Blunt Weapons: (Magical) Blunt weapons deal double damage to animated stone guardians.
Puzzle: The Rune Combination Lock
As the players explore the Sinking Temple, they will come across a heavy stone door with a circular dial set in its center. The dial is divided into four concentric rings, each featuring a series of ancient runes. To unlock the door, the players must align the correct runes in each ring, forming the passphrase that controls the lock.
Clues to the correct passphrase can be found throughout the temple, hidden within the murals, carvings, and inscriptions that adorn its walls. The players will need to carefully examine their surroundings, decipher the ancient script, and solve riddles to determine the correct combination.
A mural depicting the ancient civilization shows four prominent figures, each associated with a different element (earth, air, fire, and water). The runes on the innermost ring correspond to these elements and must be arranged in the order they appear in the mural.
A riddle inscribed on a nearby wall states: “The key to progress lies in the cycle of life, from birth to growth, to decay and rebirth.” The players must arrange the runes on the second ring to reflect this cycle (e.g., a seed, a tree, a wilted leaf, and a sprouting seedling).
A series of carvings shows the phases of the moon, accompanied by a cryptic message: “The passage of time is marked by the dance of the celestial bodies.” The players must align the runes on the third ring to represent the moon’s phases (new moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter).
The outermost ring’s runes represent various symbols of protection and warding. A faded inscription above the door reads: “Only those who honor the four sacred guardians may pass.” The players must find and arrange the runes representing the four sacred guardians mentioned in the temple’s lore.
To solve the puzzle, the players must align the runes in the correct sequence and then turn the dial to set the combination. If they succeed, the stone door will slowly grind open, revealing the Chamber of Secrets beyond. If they fail, the door remains locked, and the players may need to search for additional clues or attempt a different approach to bypass the lock.
Location 2b: The Chamber of Secrets
The heavy stone door grinds open, revealing a dimly lit chamber shrouded in an ancient silence. Dust and cobwebs fill the air, disturbed for the first time in centuries. As you step inside, your torchlight flickers, casting eerie shadows on the walls. The chamber is adorned with intricate murals and carvings, depicting scenes from the long-lost civilization and the dark rituals they performed. At the far end of the room, an ornate pedestal holds an ancient tome, its pages filled with cryptic symbols and runes. It seems that within these walls, the secrets of the Whispering Totem await discovery.
The Chamber of Secrets is a hidden room within the Sinking Temple, its entrance concealed by the rune combination lock. The chamber has been untouched for centuries, and its walls are adorned with intricate murals and carvings that reveal the dark rituals performed by the ancient civilization to create the Whispering Totem. The atmosphere in the chamber is heavy with the weight of long-forgotten knowledge, and the air is thick with the lingering energies of the rituals that once took place here.
Upon entering the Chamber of Secrets, the players will encounter a bound guardian, trapped within the chamber for centuries as a defender of the ancient tome. This guardian, once a powerful warrior of the lost civilization, has been twisted by the dark energies of the totem and now serves as a protector of its secrets.
Bound Stone Guardian: Init +1; Atk slam +5 melee (1d8+3); AC 16; HD 4d8+4; MV 20'; Act 1d20; SP bound to chamber, damage resistance; SV Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +3; AL C.
Bound to Chamber: The stone guardian is bound to the Chamber of Secrets and cannot leave its confines. If the players attempt to flee, the guardian will not pursue them beyond the chamber’s entrance.
Damage Resistance: The bound stone guardian has damage resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing attacks, taking half damage from such attacks. It takes full damage from magical attacks, spells, or magic weapons.
The players must either defeat the bound stone guardian or find a way to release it from its eternal servitude. If they can free the guardian or gain its trust, the guardian may share valuable knowledge about the Whispering Totem and the rituals.
Reward: Upon defeating or freeing the stone guardian, the players can examine the ancient tome on the pedestal. This tome contains the history of the lost civilization and detailed information on the creation of the Whispering Totem. While most of the information is difficult to decipher, a skilled reader (DC 15 Intelligence check, or use of an appropriate skill or spell) can extract valuable insights that can aid the party in their quest to deal with the malevolent force behind the totem. Additionally, the players will find a magical amulet among the guardian’s possessions.
Amulet of Spell Warding: This silver amulet is adorned with a sapphire centerpiece and etched with intricate runes. When worn, it grants the wearer a +2 bonus to saving throws against spells and magical effects.
Location 3: The Bridge of Whispers
The swamp gives way to a narrow, ancient stone bridge that stretches across a treacherous part of the swamp. Moss and vines cling to the weathered stones, and the murky waters below swirl with an unsettling intensity. As you step onto the bridge, you hear faint whispers echoing through the air, as if the spirits of the long-lost civilization are trying to communicate their secrets. The whispers grow louder with each step, filling your mind with a cacophony of voices that threaten to overwhelm you.
The Bridge of Whispers is a narrow, ancient stone bridge that crosses a particularly treacherous section of the swamp. The bridge is believed to be haunted by the spirits of the lost civilization, who are said to whisper their secrets to those who dare to cross. The bridge is structurally sound but slippery and treacherous due to the moss and vines that cover its surface. The whispers that emanate from the bridge can be both a blessing and a curse, providing valuable information but also posing a threat to the characters' sanity.
As the players cross the Bridge of Whispers, they will need to contend with the ever-increasing volume of whispers in their minds. Each player must make a DC 12 Will save at the halfway point of the bridge. On a failure, the character suffers a temporary bout of confusion, causing them to act erratically for 1d4 rounds. This might include moving in a random direction, dropping held items, or attacking the nearest creature (friend or foe). On a success, they may get a sudden flash of insight, revealing the location of the Swamp Witch’s Hut, the Hall of the Ancients, or the Shifting Maze.
In addition to the psychic challenge, the players may also encounter a group of swamp ghouls lurking beneath the bridge. These creatures, drawn to the bridge by the spirits' whispers, will attempt to ambush the characters as they cross.
Swamp Ghouls (4): Init +1; Atk claw +3 melee (1d4+1) and bite +1 melee (1d6+1, chance of paralysis); AC 12; HD 2d8; MV 30'; Act 1d20; SP paralysis, swamp camouflage; SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +3; AL C.
Paralysis: Any creature hit by a swamp ghoul’s bite attack must make a DC 12 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds.
Swamp Camouflage: Swamp ghouls are adept at blending in with their surroundings. They gain a +4 bonus to Stealth checks while in swamp terrain.
Location 4: The Hall of the Ancients
As you step through the crumbling archway, the humid swamp air is replaced by the cool stillness of an ancient hall. Massive stone columns rise from the floor, their surfaces adorned with intricate carvings of long-forgotten rituals and ceremonies. The walls are lined with rows of stone sarcophagi, each bearing the likeness of a long-dead ruler or high priest. In the center of the hall, a raised dais supports an ornate altar, its surface marred by the passage of time and the remnants of dark rites. The sense of history here is almost palpable, as if the spirits of the ancients still linger among these ancient relics.
The Hall of the Ancients is a vast burial chamber within the ancient ruins, containing the sarcophagi of the long-dead rulers and high priests of the lost civilization. The hall is filled with intricate carvings and artwork that reveal the history and customs of the ancient people, as well as clues about the nature of the Whispering Totem and the rituals used to create it. The altar in the center of the hall may once have been used for performing the rituals depicted on the walls, and it may still hold the power to help break the totem’s curse.
As the players explore the Hall of the Ancients, they may inadvertently awaken the restless spirits of the long-dead rulers and high priests. These spirits, trapped within their sarcophagi for centuries, have been corrupted by the dark energies of the Whispering Totem and will attack the players in a desperate attempt to find release from their eternal torment.
Restless Spirits (4): Init +3; Atk spectral touch +4 melee (1d6, touch attack); AC 13; HD 2d8; MV 30', fly 30'; Act 1d20; SP incorporeal, chilling presence; SV Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +2; AL C.
Incorporeal: Restless spirits are immune to nonmagical attacks and take half damage from magical attacks, spells, or magic weapons.
Chilling Presence: Any creature that comes within 10 feet of a restless spirit must make a DC 12 Fortitude save or be affected by a chilling presence, suffering a -1 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks for the next hour.
If the players can defeat the restless spirits and explore the Hall of the Ancients, they may discover valuable information about the rituals used to create the Whispering Totem and the means to break its curse. The altar in the center of the hall may still possess some lingering power, which could be harnessed by the players to perform a counter-ritual or to weaken the malevolent spirit that controls the totem.
Location 5: The Shifting Maze
You stand before the entrance to a labyrinthine network of tunnels, the walls constructed from ancient stone and overgrown with thick vines and moss. The air within is stagnant and heavy, and a sense of unease permeates the atmosphere. As you take your first steps into the maze, you feel the ground shift beneath your feet, and the walls seem to close in around you. A low rumble echoes through the tunnels, and the very fabric of the maze appears to change, as if some malevolent force is trying to confound your every move.
The Shifting Maze is a magical, ever-changing labyrinth hidden deep within the ancient ruins. The maze serves as both a test and a trap for those who seek the Whispering Totem’s secrets. The walls of the maze constantly shift and rearrange themselves, making navigation difficult and unpredictable. The air within the maze is heavy with an oppressive energy that seems to emanate from the very stones themselves.
In the center of the maze stands a stone pedestal with a set of intricately carved runes and symbols. These symbols represent different sections of the maze and can be manipulated with a successful DC 15 Intelligence check to temporarily freeze it from shifting.
As the players navigate the Shifting Maze, they may encounter a pack of Maze Crawlers. These twisted, spider-like creatures have adapted to life within the maze and use its shifting nature to their advantage when hunting their prey.
Maze Crawlers (6): Init +2; Atk bite +4 melee (1d6+2 plus poison); AC 14; HD 2d8; MV 40', climb 30'; Act 1d20; SP poison, web sense, maze navigation; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +0; AL N.
Poison: A creature bitten by a Maze Crawler must make a DC 14 Fortitude save or suffer 1d6 points of Dexterity damage. A second failed save causes paralysis for 1d4 hours.
Web Sense: Maze Crawlers can detect the vibrations of creatures moving within 60 feet while in the Shifting Maze.
Maze Navigation: Maze Crawlers have an innate understanding of the Shifting Maze and are immune to its disorienting effects. They can always find their way through the maze without getting lost.
Location 6: The Totem’s Sanctum
The final passage of the Shifting Maze opens into a vast, circular chamber, its walls adorned with the same intricate carvings and artwork you’ve seen throughout the ruins. At the center of the chamber stands the Whispering Totem, a towering, black obelisk made from an unnaturally smooth stone. Dark energy radiates from the totem, its whispers now an unsettling cacophony that fills the chamber and threatens to overwhelm your senses. As you approach the totem, a shadowy figure emerges from behind it, the spirit of an ancient sorcerer bound to protect the totem for all eternity.
The Totem’s Sanctum is the heart of the ancient ruins and the final resting place of the Whispering Totem. The chamber is filled with the dark energy that emanates from the totem, and the whispers that have plagued the players throughout their journey reach a fever pitch here. The walls of the sanctum are adorned with carvings that detail the creation of the totem and the rituals used to bind the malevolent spirit within it.
As the players approach the Whispering Totem, they must face the spirit of the ancient sorcerer who was bound to protect the totem for all eternity. This powerful spirit has been twisted by the totem’s dark energy and will stop at nothing to prevent the players from breaking the curse.
Ancient Sorcerer’s Spirit: Init +4; Atk spectral touch +5 melee (1d8, touch attack) or eldritch bolt +4 ranged (2d6, 60'); AC 15; HD 4d8; MV 30', fly 40'; Act 1d20; SP incorporeal, spellcasting, bound to totem; SV Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +6; AL C.
Incorporeal: The ancient sorcerer’s spirit is immune to nonmagical attacks and takes half damage from magical attacks, spells, or magic weapons.
Spellcasting: The ancient sorcerer’s spirit can cast the following spells (+10 spell check): Magic Missile, Chill Touch, Monster Summoning.
Bound to Totem: The sorcerer’s spirit is bound to the Whispering Totem and cannot move more than 60 feet from it. If the players attempt to flee, the spirit will not pursue them beyond this range.
To break the curse of the Whispering Totem, the players must defeat the ancient sorcerer’s spirit and perform a counter-ritual using the information they have gathered throughout the adventure. This may involve using the altar in the Hall of the Ancients, harnessing the power of the spirits from the Bridge of Whispers, or employing the knowledge gained from the Chamber of Secrets.
If the players can successfully break the curse of the Whispering Totem, they will free the spirits of the lost civilization and bring peace to the village of Reedsmouth, while also gaining a powerful artifact to aid them in their future adventures.
Location 7: The Swamp Witch’s Hut
Following a narrow, winding path through the swamp, you come upon a small clearing where a rickety hut stands on stilts above the murky water. The air is heavy with the scent of herbs and strange concoctions, and the sound of bubbling cauldrons echoes through the trees. As you approach, the door creaks open, revealing a dimly lit interior filled with shelves of odd trinkets and jars of mysterious ingredients. An old, hunched woman with piercing eyes and wild hair steps forward, her gaze sizing you up as she introduces herself as the Swamp Witch.
The Swamp Witch’s Hut is a small, hidden refuge deep within the swamp, where the mysterious witch known as Lila Swiftwillow resides. The hut is filled with the tools and ingredients she uses to practice her craft, as well as various magical trinkets she has collected over the years. Lila Swiftwillow is a neutral figure, neither friend nor foe to the players, but she may provide valuable information, potions, or magical assistance for a price.
Lila Swiftwillow, the Swamp Witch: Init +2; Atk staff +2 melee (1d6) or spell +4 (varies); AC 12; HD 3d8; MV 30'; Act 1d20; SP spellcasting, potion brewing, limited precognition; SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +4; AL N.
Spellcasting: Lila Swiftwillow is a capable spellcaster, able to cast the following spells (+8 spell check): Charm Person, Sleep, Enlarge, and Spider Climb.
Potion Brewing: Lila Swiftwillow can brew various potions for the players, such as healing potions, potions of invisibility, or potions of water breathing. She may require payment in the form of gold, rare ingredients, or a favor to be completed by the players.
Limited Precognition: Lila Swiftwillow has a limited ability to foresee future events, and she may provide cryptic hints or warnings to the players about the challenges they will face in the ancient ruins.
If the players treat Lila Swiftwillow with respect and are willing to bargain with her, she can prove to be a valuable ally in their quest to break the curse of the Whispering Totem. However, should they anger her or refuse to uphold their end of a bargain, Lila Swiftwillow will not hesitate to use her magical powers against them or send them on a dangerous and treacherous path through the swamp.
The area surrounding the hut is protected by several hidden magical wards, which will alert Lila Swiftwillow to any hostile presence. Additionally, the swamp itself is home to a number of creatures that may come to her aid if she is threatened.
Giant Swamp Frogs (3): Init +1; Atk bite +3 melee (1d6) or tongue +2 ranged (grapple); AC 13; HD 2d8; MV 20', swim 30'; Act 1d20; SP swallow whole; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will -1; AL N.
Swallow Whole: A Giant Swamp Frog can attempt to swallow a grappled opponent of medium size or smaller by making a successful bite attack. The swallowed creature takes 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage and 1d4 points of acid damage per round while inside the frog’s stomach. The swallowed creature can attempt to cut its way out by dealing 10 points of damage to the frog’s interior with a light or one-handed slashing weapon.
Conclusion: The Totem’s Curse Broken
As the dark energy of the Whispering Totem dissipates, the oppressive atmosphere of the ancient ruins lifts. The spirits of the long-lost civilization, finally freed from their torment, manifest before you to express their gratitude for breaking the curse that has plagued them for centuries. The village of Reedsmouth, once plagued by the totem’s sinister whispers, can now begin to rebuild and thrive without fear. Having braved the treacherous swamp and conquered the secrets of the ruins, you leave this haunted place with the knowledge that you have set right an ancient wrong and restored balance to the land.
Concluding the Adventure
With the curse of the Whispering Totem broken and the spirits of the ancient civilization freed, the players can return to the village of Reedsmouth as heroes. The villagers will be eternally grateful for the heroes' actions and may reward them with gifts, a celebratory feast, or even a plot of land to call their own.
Lila Swiftwillow, the Swamp Witch, may become a recurring character in future adventures, providing valuable assistance or information to the players when they require it. The Whispering Totem itself, now cleansed of its dark energy, may serve as a powerful artifact that the players can use in their future exploits.
Additional Adventure Hooks
While exploring the ancient ruins, the players may have uncovered clues pointing to other lost civilizations or hidden treasures within the region, setting the stage for new adventures.
The ancient sorcerer’s spirit may not have been entirely vanquished, and its residual power could manifest in new and dangerous ways, threatening the village of Reedsmouth once again.
A powerful entity or organization may take an interest in the players' success and attempt to recruit them for a more dangerous and far-reaching quest.
By completing the adventure and breaking the curse of the Whispering Totem, the players have achieved a significant milestone in their adventuring careers, setting the stage for countless new challenges and exploits in the world of DCC.