Welcome to Marchion

This short adventure can be run in a single session, and assumes that the player characters are all first level, know each other, and have just arrived in Marchion on a river boat. They have come to Marchion because they have heard that it is a good place to find adventure. They probably did not anticipate finding it quite so quickly.


The boat is sailing through the mountains. It passes through the river gate, then under the Upper Bridge (page XX). The Market Bridge (page XX) opens to let the boat pass, and it moors on the south side of the river, in the Docklands (page XX). As the river is not completely safe, the player characters are all armed and armoured, ready for battle. As they get off the boat, they probably think that the risks are over.

This is a good point to have each player introduce her character. Keep it brief, but make sure that everyone knows who all the characters are.

A large warehouse stands at the end of the dock; the characters must pass it as they walk into the city.

Surprise Attack

As the characters pass the door to the warehouse, two medium-size zombies lurch out and attack them.

Zombies: 17hp, 24hp. EL 1

By the time the combat is over, the people who were standing in the area have done their running and screaming, and the characters are alone on the street, with two now-motionless corpses. Each corpse has a small copper disk bound to its neck with a light chain.

Waiting Amulet: If you put this amulet on an undead creature which is under your control, the creature goes into stasis for a period of time. You specify the period when you put the amulet on the creature. At the end of the period, the creature awakens and carries out your last instruction. The amulet works on any type of corporeal undead, but it must already be under the control of the user.

Caster level: 4th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, animate dead; Market Price: 100gp (NB: The player characters cannot sell these amulets because no-one they know will buy them. The market price is merely an indication of how difficult they are to make.)

More Monsters

After the combat, the characters hear things breaking inside the warehouse, and the sounds of childrens' screams from above. If they look up, they will see children at windows high about the street. The warehouse has cheap accommodation above it, and some of the children are at home.

Most heroes will rush inside to rescue the children. You may want to drop hints to this effect. If the characters do not go inside, the children decide to jump a few minutes later. The characters may be able to catch them. However, at least three children are killed by the skeletons. Jurd Shipman is not grateful to the characters, since they only defended themselves, and Liv Greataxe is much less impressed.

Property Destruction

Inside the warehouse the characters find a Large zombie, which looks like it used to be an ogre. It is simply smashing as many things as it can find. The warehouse is a single large room, and the large zombie has broken a hole in the wall at one end. This hole leads to a flight of stairs going up to the rooms above.

The characters may either attack the zombie, or leave it and climb the stairs. If they leave it, it does further damage, and destroys the stairs while the characters are fighting the skeletons (see below). This makes it rather harder to get the children out.

Large zombie: 33hp. El 1.

If the characters fight it, the zombie knocks a brazier over during the fight, and a fire starts. Unless the characters are very quick and clever, the fire takes hold before they can extinguish it. If the characters ignore the large zombie, it knocks the brazier over while they are upstairs, so they might not know about the fire.

The large zombie is also wearing a Waiting Amulet.

Skeleton Staff

The stairs lead to a small corridor with several doors leading off it. One of the doors is being attacked by three medium-sized skeletons, and the screams of children can be heard from behind that door. The corridor is too narrow for two medium-size characters to stand next to one another, and the whole building is made of wood.

Skeletons: 7hp, 12hp, 1hp. EL 1

Each skeleton is wearing a Waiting Amulet.

Getting Out

Once the skeletons are despatched, the characters must talk to the children and convince them to open the door. The children are very frightened; Diplomacy rolls may be appropriate, but role-playing is even better. There are six children, both human and half-orc. The eldest, Simon, is twelve, and has been holding the door shut against the skeletons. He is human. Serma and Tanda are twin half-orc girls, both ten years old. They are the most willing to believe that they have been rescued. Becky is Simon's little sister, and six years old. She will do whatever Simon says. Paul is three, and does not stop screaming until he gets his mummy. Rachel, another human, is also three, and is surprisingly calm. Her father is a caravan guard, and has fought skeletons, so she does not believe that they are very dangerous. She is holding a stick to use as a weapon if the get through.

Take note of how long it takes the characters to convince the children to come out, or to go in and get the little brats if they won't cooperate. The fire downstairs is growing all the time.

If the characters did not kill the large zombie, there are no stairs down, and they must work out some way to get the children down. The zombie has smashed just about everything, and attacks anyone who comes down to the ground floor.

If the characters did kill the large zombie, the stairs are there, but the props for the central section have largely burned away, so that it is effectively a pit trap, with a 20 foot drop. The fire is not very intense in that area at the moment, so characters take no additional damage.

Getting the children out is Encounter Level 1. If the characters killed the zombie and put out the fire, these are easy experience points, but they still get them for forward thinking.

Heroes' Welcome

The characters emerge from the building with the children to see that the March has arrived and is already starting to organise fire-fighting. A group of guards are clearly about to go into the building, and they look relieved to see the characters coming out, with the children. Parents run from the crowd to gather up their youngsters, and the characters are thanked by many people.

The most important grateful people are Liv Greataxe (page XX) and Jurd Shipman (page XX). Shipman owned the warehouse, and is very grateful that the characters have rescued the children. He offers 200gp worth of goods from Shipman's Contruction and Supplies to each character, as a reward. He is also Friendly towards the characters. Liv Greataxe is also Friendly towards the characters, and introduces herself as the captain of the March. Savvy adventurers should realise that having the head of the local law-enforcement agency think well of you is a very good thing.

If any of the characters are wounded, and cannot heal themselves, Liv points them towards Delnaruc the Healer on Mage Hill (page XX). Shipman recommends an inn, if asked. He sends them to a cheap but nice place in New Mages called The Warrior's Rest.

Further Investigation

The characters may want to find out more about what just happened. Unfortunately, the available evidence is not very good. A lot of evidence has been destroyed by the large zombie and the fire, and what is left is not very clear. The best guess is that someone put the undead into crates while they were held in stasis by the amulets, and then put the crates in the warehouse. A short time ago, the undead awoke. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how long the crates were there, or whether they arrived at the same time. Shipman rents storage space in this warehouse to many people, and there is now no way at all to determine who might have introduced the undead.

For the moment, this line of investigation is a dead end.

This file (welcometomarchion.html) is Open Game Content, and is released under the terms of the Open Game License.