A Woodland Tale
Author(s): James King
Setting: English Civil War (July 1643)
Appears in: Strange Tales of Dread & Wonder.
In this scenario the players take on the roles of cavalrymen of the Cornish Royalist army in the midst of the English Civil War. Returning from a successful mission they spot four enemy (Parliamentarian) horsemen take cover in a small forest. They give chase ... only to find that the wood is not what they expected.
Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
Players should not read any further.
The Wood is not actually a normal forest at all but a strange Mythos entity, a Great Old One who has resided here on Earth for aeons. In the past it was worshipped as a god and fed by pagan rites, but when Christianity came the old beliefs were wiped out along with the worshippers. Lacking in sustenance, The Wood fell into a torpor for a long time. But late in the 16th Century a powerful wizard divined the truth about the place and came to live within The Wood, feeding it in return for secret knowledge. The wizard was ultimately killed (although his spirit still lingers) and The Wood reverted to its state of merely feeding occasionally on people who pass through. The Parliamentarians (and the Investigators) have the ill fortune to be such victims.
The Wood's means of feeding is by first creating bizarre but entirely solid illusions, modelled on its previous victims. Initially these are just disconcerting, but ultimately the phantasms attack and kill the victims. While feeding, the boundaries of The Wood are closed -- paths which formerly led out inexplicably bring the victims back to where they began. Strangely, however, the extent of The Wood seems much greater when seen from within.
Entering The Wood, the Investigators happen upon a Village which is a weird sort of amalgam of the memories and ideas of several of its prior victims (and which changes over time as The Wood refines its grasp on what its victims would consider 'real'). The village is populated by several initally friendly folk (all phantasms), who become increasingly hostile as they days pass. The Investigators witness some odd phenomena, and are eventually 'summoned' to meet with an elusive stranger (actually a manifestation of the spirit of the dead wizard, Corrie) and his daughter. Corrie has an evil plan to drain life energy from the Investigators to restore himself and his daughter to actual living form. This involves Corrie's daughter seducing one or more Investigators and 'draining' their energy during lovemaking.
If they escape Corrie's clutches, the Investigators still must contend with the increasingly deadly assaults of The Wood (via the villagers). Fortunately there are some specific hints available describing how such a threat has previously been defeated.
Player Handouts: There are no player handouts (although the quoted sections of several books would be useful as handouts)
Locations: Somerset in the west of England.
Tomes and Artifacts: Ye Mystery of Ye Woode (1507), An Accounte of Ye Strange Case of Te Vyllage of Wodehale (1457).
Campaigns / Scenarios:
The Scenario includes six pre-generated Royalist cavalryment characters which can optionally be used. There is also a short note on weapons and armour of the era.
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.