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Monday, February 2, 2009

A Brother's Revenge - Kalia's Farm

This is part six of a series of encounters and events featuring the Bandits of Lope as the primary antagonists. The previous articles in this series are:
At the end of the last article, the party had encountered Sandra, a lost child who relayed a story about her family becoming sick and scary. This article presents the encounter that greets the party at Kalia's farm.

Kalia's Farm

The farm is a small, family run operation featuring fields of wheat, hay, and corn, a small orchard, pastures and a stream fed pond. A two-story stone house flanked by a barn, a large shed, a privy, and a root cellar complete the layout. The farm has clearly been worked and well tended, though there are recent signs of neglect. The barn doors are open, as is the front door of the house. The back door to the house is closed, as is the cellar door.

The House, 1st Floor

The two-story farmhouse is well built and snug. The lower floor consists of a parlor, a large open kitchen with a deep pantry, and a less formal sitting room. The central hall also has a staircase leading up.
  • Parlor - A fine sofa and two chairs are the main features of this room. The room is dusty and it is clear the area is not for everyday use. A low table features a very nice silver tray and candle set (Fair value), a wedding gift.
  • Kitchen - The large kitchen is obviously well used, though the stove fire is out and cold. A pan of congealed sausages is still on the stove top, and several dirty plates are stacked in the sink. A large table serves as an eating area and two of the 6 well-used chairs around the table have various coats and gloves piled atop them.
  • Pantry - A well stocked larder complete with canned fruits and vegetables, grain, coffee, dried beef, hanging herbs, and so on.
  • Sitting room - This comfortable looking room has a sofa and three chairs scattered around a large fireplace. A draughts board is set up with a game half played, and several decks of cards are on the mantle. A pile of sewing lies next to one of the chairs, and a pair of half-polished boots sits on the fireplace fender.
The House - 2nd Floor

Upstairs there are three bedrooms and a smaller sitting room. There is a stair in the center of the floor that leads downstairs, and a pull-down stair leads up to the attic above.
  • Master bedroom - The master bedroom is neatly made up and there is still water in the washbasin. A plate with a crust of bread and a rind of cheese indicates the place was recently used. Several sets of practical, durable men's and women's clothes are hanging in the closet, along with a Mediocre quality short sword and an Average quality hunting bow and quiver of arrows. There is also a small box on the shelf containing a small cache of coins representing the Kalia family's life savings.
  • Boy's room - This room is used by the family's two sons. The two beds in this room are unmade with the covers thrown on the floor. A Poor quality short sword hangs on a peg behind the door, and pair of really old boots is tucked under the bed. The small closet contains several sets of practical clothes and a small bag with a pitiful collection of copper pieces.
  • Sandra's room - The room is neatly maintained though the bed is unmade. Practical girl's clothes hang in the closet, and a handmade wooden doll sits on a bench near the window.
  • The Sitting Room - Two chairs, a bench, a thin rug, and a small fireplace are this room's primary features. A small table holds a draughts board, and several lamps provide illumination. A faint sour smell permeates the air (a spilled glass of milk that is mildewing the thin rug).
The House - Attic

The entire attic is a single low space, dusty and dry. Some old furniture a box of old clothes, and a broken spinning wheel are the sole contents of the attic.

The House - Cellar

The hand of Yullic is marked in chalk on the exterior door leading to the cellar. The low ceiling down here makes it difficult to maneuver. Two large worktables fill the center of the room, each covered with the detritus of farm life, a broken hitch, harnesses, mallets and a broken pitchfork, and other such junk. There is a faint sickening odor here, mostly just dampness and age (and a few dead rats that Kalia didn't remove from a trap earlier this week).

The cellar is home to a Fungal Brain, formerly Sandra's mother, and a Fungal Zombie, an unfortunate friend of Sandra's mother who visited the farm a few days ago. The Zombie will attack the first person to enter the cellar. The Brain will attack a few rounds later.

The Privy

A typical outhouse featuring a pair of seats and a basket of corn husks. It smells, but that's to be expected. A half-dozen bats afflicted with the Plague of Yullic are roosting here. They will bit and claw at anyone that opens the door as they try to escape, potentially infecting the target with Fair potency Plague.

Root Cellar

This dry but chill hole in the ground is packed with potatoes, turnips and other farm produce. There is nothing unusual here.

The Shed

Next to the barn stands a three-walled shed that houses a large wagon and a smaller cart. At one end there is a bench with a large vise and a rack of tools suitable for wagon repair. The other end of the shed contains a small smokehouse arrangement, hung with a half dozen hams.

The Barn - Upper

The upper area of the barn is two large haylofts to either side of the main ramp up into the barn. The mounds are currently almost full, and there are open hatches leading into the lower barn. The barn itself is dark and gloomy, and there is no sign of lighting present.

Lying at the back of the barn is the corpse of a cow, half-eaten by Zombies. A Fungal Zombie is burrowed into the hay (Sandra's father). It will attack anyone that enters the barn. Combat or activity in this area will draw the Fungal Zombie dogs from the lower barn (see below).

The Barn - Lower

Chalked onto the smaller door leading into the lower barn is a hand sign of Yullic. There are two doors leading into the lower barn, one wagon sized, one small at the far end. The area is one large room, though the low ceiling and the stalls and dividers make it a bit maze-like. There are no signs of light sources down here, and scattered hay and manure make footing a bit treacherous.

A Fungal Brain (one of Sandra's brothers) is hidden in the corner of one of the dank stalls in the barn. It controls four Fungal Zombies, a horse and a cow (attacking with charge and bite) and two farm dogs (attacking with bite). These creatures will attempt to drive the group towards the Fungal Brain so it can use its spores and tentacles to attack and disable the party. The creature's spore cloud fills a large portion of the lower barn.

The Pond

Nothing unusual about the pond other than a profusion of horse tracks near the feeding stream's southern edge. An Average tracking skill test will reveal that several horsemen have traversed the area several times over the last few weeks. Following the tracks will require a Great test of tracking. They lead off cross-country to the north-west. Eventually they will lead back to the lair of the Bandits of Lope.

Orchards and Fields

The fields and orchards around the farm are empty of life. Wandering through either might produce an encounter with two or three Fungal Zombie creatures (cows, horses, pigs).

Encounter Summary

Here's a list of all the foes in this encounter:

  • House cellar - 1 Fungal Brain, 1 Fungal Zombie
  • Upper barn - 1 Fungal Zombie
  • Lower barn - 1 Fungal Brain, 4 Fungal Zombies
  • Privy - Infected Bats
  • Fields - 2-3 Fungal Zombie creatures

The Missing Brain

One of Sandra's brothers left the immediate area of the farm to find a safe place to cocoon himself and form a Fungal Brain. A Great tracking skill check might reveal a stray set of footprints heading off into the woods near the farm. The GM should feel free to set up an additional encounter based on this Brain and its minion Zombies. Note that the party may not realize there is a missing Zombie/Brain, since the extra Zombie in the cellar of the house was not a family member.

Additional Encounters

Using this encounter as a model, it's fairly easy to come up with a few more in a similar vein. Some suggested victims:
  • The three mercenaries mentioned in A Brother's Revenge: Infection! have become Fungal Brains in the swampy area near the Dale.
  • Travelers along the road have been infected and are now carrying the infection out of the region.
  • Visitors to Kalia's farm have infected another group of locals.

After this encounter the party should be well motivated to seek out the source of the Plague. If they need additional hints as to a source, here are some additional clues or minor events that might help:
  • Anyone with skill in religious lore should be able to identify the hand of Yullic symbol.
  • Queries in town might turn up a former bandit that could hint at Renis's religious beliefs.
  • One of the bandit's camp followers could escape after having witnessed the sacrifice ritual carried out by Renis.
The party might also have to deal with the newly orphaned Sandra. She is the sole survivor of her family and stands to inherit the valuable family farm. Unscrupulous locals might seek to take advantage of the girl and the party might feel some responsibility in the matter. Locals might also resent the party's interference in the matter.

Next article: The final confrontation with the Bandits.
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