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Old Ogden Abbey

"Old Ogden Abbey" is an AD&D adventure for 3-5 good-aligned characters of levels 3-5. The adventure takes place in a remote rural area that suffers from an infestation of several demons from the Abyss. This could be an island domain in the Mists of Ravenloft, a region of the Outlands near the Abyssal gate-town of Plague-Mort, or simply in a remote region of a more "generic" world such as the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. The adventure is not especially appropriate for regent characters in a Birthright campaign, but could be run (with substantial modifications) for non-regent characters in a remote domain or isolated province, perhaps in the far north of Cerilia.

Dungeon Master's Adventure Background: Ogden Abbey

Ogden Abbey was founded centuries ago, when the Knights of the Chalice were strong and peace prevailed throughout the region. It was never large or wealthy, but served the god Javen as a center of learning, a place of worship—and a renowned bakery. The nearby village of Wendell Fields benefited greatly from the presence of the brothers on the hill, and sustained their labors by providing a market for the abbey bread.

Twenty-five years ago, everything changed. Somehow, a chasm opened up in the earth that seemed to connect to the deepest pits of the Abyss, and from that chasm foul demons came streaming forth, polluting the land with their presence. The fiends scattered and took control of the region, individual creatures taking possession of various human settlements, replacing the knights and lords who had ruled there before. Churches and monasteries were destroyed as the demons spread their own form of worship, their devotion to chaos and evil, and outlawed the worship of Javen. Ogden Abbey was gutted by fire, the brothers tortured and killed, and the scorched stones of the chapel abandoned on the hilltop for 25 years.

Or perhaps they were not quite abandoned. Five years ago, a pair of brave adventurers, remnants of the outlawed Knights of the Chalice, ventured from Wendell Fields up to the ruins of Old Ogden Abbey, hoping to rebuild the monastery and reconsecrate the chapel to the service of Javen. But their faith and devotion were sharply tested as they labored. A succubus, the most beguiling and treacherous of demons, led their plans and their hearts astray. One, Sir Oakley, escaped with his life, though his paladinhood was lost forever. The other, Sir Brendan, was blinded by his pride and ambition and fell under the temptations of the succubus.

When Sir Oakley fled the abbey, he took with him an amulet of priceless worth, though he had no inkling of its value. To him it was a mere trinket, and he gave it to Sir Brendan's widow, Ardith, to remember her husband by. But it was no trinket—it contained the life force of the succubus, and on the reverse was inscribed her True Name, Shi'ara, by which any mortal could gain complete power over the fiend. Shi'ara never learned what happened to the amulet, though she later hunted down and killed Sir Oakley, for its magic shielded Ardith from the succubus' power. The loss of her amulet kindled a small fire of insane rage in Shi'ara's heart, and it is this—not the amulet itself—which is her greatest weakness.

Besides the valiant knights Brendan and Oakley, many other travelers have found themselves within the walls of the ancient monastery—some, like the knights, seeking to rebuild the abbey for Javen's glory, others simply looking for shelter. All of them have been seduced into evil and heartlessly slaughtered by the fiend that resides there. The adventure begins as the Player Characters's path takes them near Old Ogden Abbey.

Dungeon Master's Adventure Background: The Succubus

The central villain in this adventure, and an ever-present NPC, is the succubus, Shi'ara. It is essential that you play this fiend not as an ordinary monster that is defined by its Hit Dice, Armor Class, and spell abilities, but as a supernatural creature of mystery and terror. Succubi are demons, "chaotic evil personified" (as the Planescape Monstrous Compendium puts it)—they are fiends of guile and seduction, and their powers cannot be reduced to simple spells such as charm person and suggestion. The most obvious reason for this is that players become suspicious when they are forced to roll saving throws, while player characters are not suspicious at all if those saving throws are failed.

A succubus has the power to insinuate herself into mortal minds. She uses her powers of charm and suggestion and ESP in concert, and she uses them constantly. Every word she says—more, every facial expression and bodily gesture—is a suggestion and a charm, and she reads minds as easily as she hears spoken words. Her communication is an intricate, subtle blend of speech, body language, and telepathy which slides her influence beneath and around every defense of her potential victim. She even infiltrates their dreams!

This has several concrete repercussions in the playing of this adventure. First, it means that you can play the succubus as if she knew everything you know about the player characters' actions and intentions. Anything she can't read from their minds directly or learn through her innate clairaudience or a cast clairvoyance, she can guess. Her plans are always one step ahead of the PCs', and they will be lucky to escape her web of trickery and manipulation.

Second, it means that you must allow yourself some freedom and creativity in dealing with PC saving throws against the succubus' charms. As mentioned above, if you constantly ask the players to roll saving throws as the succubus speaks, they will quickly become aware of something their characters are not. You must therefore roll most if not all saving throws against the succubus' charm and suggestion abilities secretly for the characters. Finding a way to do this without the obvious rolling of dice will help keep the players from figuring out what's going on. You might use a pad of stick-on notes, prepared before the game by writing random d20 rolls on each note, as an alternative random-number generator, so you can simply peel off a note instead of rolling a noisy plastic die.

Finally, the nature of the succubus' powers means that you will sometimes be forced to mislead the players. Characters who fail their saving throws see things as the succubus wants them to see, so you must describe things from that perspective. If the succubus has planted suspicions in the minds of the PCs regarding Lady Ardith after her arrival at the abbey (see pages 24-25), then you must give the players reason to be suspicious: tell them they see Lady Ardith acting suspiciously, because that is how the succubus wants them to see Lady Ardith. An objective description would allow the players the freedom to decide their characters' impressions, but the characters do not have that freedom.

This is not to say that you should lead the PCs blindly through the adventure with no say in how they react and no chance to resist the succubus' influence. If that were true, this would be a short story (and a gruesome one) and not an AD&D adventure. It is simply important to stress that Shi'ara has powers beyond what the AD&D rules can conveniently describe, and the PCs must rely on their wits and their virtue to escape her snares.

For all her powers of seduction and guile, Shi'ara is interested in much more than seduction in the traditional sense. Luring men into acts of passion is but little triumph, and hardly the sort of victory that adds mortal souls to the hordes of the Abyss. Shi'ara's sights are set much higher, and her seduction is of a much subtler sort.

The people of Wendell Fields and the surrounding region are religious folk, devoted to their god Javen and terrified by the demons they see as the forces of the evil god, Zovel. Shi'ara's greatest delight is to prey on the faithful, turning their religious devotion towards a new object—herself, and the evil power she serves. By seducing the good with visions of power tainted with corruption, with dreams of glory and wealth achieved through force and trickery, Shi'ara pollutes the highest ideals of good, spiritual folk with baser motives and desires. In a world where the forces of good have so little power, she finds many easy victims by offering them the chance to exert power in Javen's name—even though that name be defiled on their lips.

This is why Shi'ara has taken up residence in Old Ogden Abbey. Posing as the ancient abbot of the monastery, struggling alone to rebuild and reconsecrate the place for Javen, she lures those who also dream of rebuilding the abbey. When the PCs arrive, she enlists their help in rebuilding the chapel, preparing for a ritual of consecration to be held in a few days' time. In this portion of the adventure, her ultimate goal is to manipulate the PCs into believing that they can rebuild the monastery into a fortress of glory, the home for a new, more powerful order of knights. She attempts to strip away from them any concept of honor, humility, or beneficence, turning them into her war-mongering, fanatical, pride-filled minions. For some PCs, this may not be far to fall, but it is a dangerous fall nonetheless.

Shi'ara's motivations shift in the later portion of the adventure, when Lady Ardith arrives at the abbey wearing the amulet that contains the succubus' life force. At this point, Shi'ara's first priority is getting the amulet back into her possession. She dares not confront Lady Ardith directly, because of the control that the amulet bestows over her, so she tries to seduce the PCs into killing Lady Ardith and bringing the amulet to her. Naturally, this is consistent with her earlier desire to lure the PCs towards evil, but her priorities have shifted, and the presence of the amulet makes her more desperate, more hasty, and more likely to make a fatal mistake.

Shi'ara (succubus sorceress):

AL LE; AC 0; MV 12, Fl 18 (C); HD 6; hp 34; THAC0 15; #AT 1; Dmg 1-10 (2-handed sword); SA Energy drain, see below; SD Silver or +2 magic weapon to hit, immune to fire, electricity, and poison, half damage from cold and gas, never surprised, regenerate 1 hp/round; MR 30%; ML 14; S 12, D 15, C 13, I 19, W 16, Ch 17; XP 14,000; Planescape Monstrous Compendium/109 (Tanar'ri, Lesser). The innate spell-like abilities of a succubus include: etherealness, charm person, clairaudience, ESP, plane shift, shapechange, suggestion, darkness 15' radius, infravision, teleport without error. In addition, Shi'ara has the spellcasting ability of a 6th-level mage: (1) audible glamer , phantasmal force, sleep, ventriloquism; (2) fog cloud, improved phantasmal force; (3) clairvoyance, dispel magic. She also wears an amulet of proof against detection and location. She has a quasit familiar, Skembit, who acts as a spy and grants her the ability to regenerate. Note that if Skembit is killed, Shi'ara becomes a 2nd-level wizard, but does not lose any hit points. As a 2nd-level wizard, her spells are: (1) audible glamer , phantasmal force.

Dungeon Master's Adventure Background: Adventure Structure

Because the action of the adventure is centered on one small area (the abbey) and revolves primarily around one NPC (the succubus, Shi'ara), the adventure is driven far more by events and plot than by map keys and encounters. For this reason, the adventure is divided into three acts, and the most likely course of events is carefully described for each act. There will always be minor variations to this course, naturally, and some of the more likely options are sketched out as well. In a few places, the PCs have two or more clear and equally-likely choices, which necessitate a "fork" in the path of the adventure. In these cases, both courses are equally detailed.

Each act is divided into scenes for easier reference. Not every scene will be played, depending on the choices made by the players. Scenes are introduced with a title in bold italics so you can find the right scene easily.

Act One: The Invitation

Murphy's Law.

The adventure begins with the characters journeying toward Wendell Fields (or an equivalent, out-of-the-way small town in your campaign). The reason for their journey is not important, so long as their business in Wendell Fields is not so pressing that they will not want to linger at the abbey for a few days.

Read the following text to the players to begin the adventure:

The sun has disappeared behind the distant mountains, and the sky is starting to darken. As the afternoon air cools, tendrils of mist start to form around you. A low, eerie howl floats through the air from far away, reminding you that the open badlands are no place to spend the night. Fortunately, the path you're on should get you to Wendell Fields before nightfall.

In fairly rapid succession, the PCs suffer a variety of mishaps:

• If any of the PCs are mounted, a horse (or mule or pony) steps in a hole and breaks a leg.

• As the mist thickens and the sky darkens, the PCs realize they are no longer following what they thought was a path. Simultaneously, one PC seems to see shadows skulking around in the distance.

• The PC with the lowest Dexterity score must make a Dexterity (or Dexterity/Balance) check or twist an ankle, moving at half speed until the PCs reach Old Ogden Abbey.

• The strap on a (randomly-chosen) PC's backpack, waterskin, or other container snaps suddenly, spilling the container's contents on the ground.

• Other mishaps appropriate to the PCs and the campaign, at the DM's discretion. The mishaps should not cause actual damage (or at least not too much), as the PCs will need their strength for the forthcoming battle with the vorr.

Claws in the Shadows.

Keeping this series of "accidents" up too long will simply frustrate the players. Just as you sense they are reaching that point of frustration, a pack of vorr attack. The PCs should roll for surprise, and any surprised PCs are attacked from behind, as if by a thief's backstab.

Vorr (12):

INT Low (5-7); AL CE; AC 6; MV 15; HD 3+4; hp 11, 13, 13, 14, 15, 18, 18, 18, 18, 19, 19, 25; THAC0 17; #AT 3; Dmg 1d3/1d3/2d4; SA Knockdown, thief abilities; SD Shadow form; MR None; SZ M (5' long); ML Average (8-10); XP 420; Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II/120. Knockdown: If a vorr's bite attack succeeds by a margin of 4 or more, the character must make a Strength check or be dragged prone, where he can be attacked at +4 and his own attacks are at -4. Prone characters can regain their feet by forfeiting any attacks or other actions for a round. Thief abilities: Move silently 60%, hide in shadows 50%, backstab (+4 to hit, double bite damage). Shadow form: Once per night, a vorr can assume shadow form for up to 10 minutes. The creature can't attack or be attacked physically and is 90% invisible (75% if moving). Casting light or continual light on a vorr in shadow form makes it solid again and blinds it for 1-3 rounds (no saving throw).

Not all of the vorr attack at once. Two creatures per PC are the first to leap into the fray, while the rest move into a circle out of harm's way. The first half-dozen should be plenty for the party to deal with at once, especially with the vorr's multiple attacks. The battle should continue, however, until at least some of the PCs are significantly wounded but not in immediate danger of death.


At this point, read the following description to the players:

Several of the hideous hyena-like creatures lie dead at your feet, but the rest of the pack still circles around you, perhaps catching their breath... or simply toying with you. The last light of the sun has died from the sky, and the monsters are little more than shadows in the night around you. Suddenly, a booming sound that could only be thunder erupts near the edge of the circle of beasts, and a high-pitched yelp comes from the same direction. A tired voice cries out, "Spawn of Zovel! Get away! Get away!" and in a flash of white light you see the hunched figure of an old man leaning on a staff, hobbling slowly toward you. The circle breaks, and the creatures run in fear.

The old man introduces himself as Abbot Michael and invites the PCs to find rest in his home. Gesturing toward a light on the nearby hillside which, in the heat of combat, the PCs had not previously noticed, he offers to lead the way to Old Ogden Abbey.

Of course, the abbot is actually the succubus, Shi'ara. If the PCs try any kind of detection or divination spell on the abbot, it fails, thanks to the amulet of proof against detection and location the succubus wears.

If the PCs refuse the abbot's help, deciding instead to remain in the open, they are continually harrassed by vorr—this time, with no abbot to rescue them. If they eventually find their way to the abbey, continue with the adventure as described—the abbot will still welcome them in.

The abbot is winded already from his long walk and the encounter with the vorr, and only gets more out of breath as he climbs the hill with the PCs. Panting, he waves off any questions until he's had a chance to rest. As the PCs approach the abbey, read the following description:

Following the wheezing old man, you soon reach the top of the hill. You are in a cemetery, surrounded by grave markers. The light you saw from below shines in the window of a building not far ahead of you and to your left. Ahead and to the right, you can see the hulking shadow of an ancient church, its single tower reaching high toward the heavens. "Welcome to Ogden Abbey in the name of Javen the merciful," abbot Michael announces between panting gasps for breath.

See the map of the abbey grounds. The PCs are approaching from the west, moving towards the light that shines in the guesthouse window. If the PCs examine any of the grave markers, they find no grave dating later than 25 years ago (when the demons arrived in this place). All the gravestones mark the burial places of monks associated with the abbey.

To Sleep . . . .

Still breathing laboriously, the abbot shows the PCs quickly to some rooms in the guesthouse. "I desire to know all about you, of course," he explains when he catches his breath, "and I know you have questions of your own. But all that can wait until morning; now we all must rest—oh, I am not so old that I cannot see the weariness on your faces. Sleep now, and rest well. There is nothing to fear while you are here. Javen will ward your sleep and your dreams." With those words, the abbot departs.

If the PCs refuse to rest immediately, the players should be reminded that their characters are wounded and exhausted. If that doesn't work, the PCs will experience further mishaps before they even leave the guesthouse—a splinter from the door, breaking a window when they try to open one, and so on.

When the PCs do settle in to bed, they fall asleep quickly and deeply. Even if a PC is standing guard, he too is soon overcome by sleep.

Act Two: Dreams and Visions

(* MAP: OLD OGDEN ABBEY goes near here *)

(* SIDEBAR: OLD OGDEN ABBEY goes near here *)

. . . Perchance to Dream.

While the PCs sleep, they have vivid dreams. Give each player a note describing one of the dreams below, chosen to match as nearly as possible the desires of each character:

You are walking up a hillside through a peaceful cemetery. Birds are singing in the nearby trees while the sun shines brightly in the crystal-blue sky. Ahead of you stands an old stone church, majestic in its simplicity, and around it the buildings of a small monastery. The sound of monastic chant from inside the church reaches your ears and stirs your heart. Never have you felt so at peace, so rested, so serene. A beautiful, golden-haired woman greets you at the entrance to the church, ushering you in to what feels like the presence of the divine.

Brightly-colored banners flutter in the wind above a proud and majestic city. Splendid towers of white marble rise up gracefully toward the sky. The hum of busy city life reaches even up to your ears, where you stand on a hill overlooking it all. You smile inwardly, and turn to your companion. She rides beside you, her golden hair blowing gently in the breeze, her face and eyes smiling as she returns your gaze. Your retainers are erecting a pavilion and laying out a fine meal. You dismount easily, unencumbered by the armor of battle, and go to stand before her. As you take her hand, she whispers three words that cause your heart to soar: "I love you."

A flash of light in the darkness draws your attention, and you hear the fearsome growls of the creatures that hunted you last night. This time they are not after you, however—you hear the sounds of combat from nearby. Weapon in hand, you run to the scene of battle, where a lone woman in shining armor stands alone against a small pack of the hyena-like creatures. Several of them lie dead at her feet, but she is wounded and obviously afraid. Rushing fearlessly into combat, you reach the woman and fight side-by-side with her until all the creatures are routed. Turning to you, she wipes a strand of golden hair back from her sweat-drenched face and smiles. "Thank you," she breathes. "You saved my life."

An innocent woman stands before the judge, about to be condemned. Her golden hair hangs down over her face as she bows her head to receive judgment, but you know she is too proud to weep. No one has spoken in her defence, thus allowing her enemies to carry off this mockery of justice. The righteous rage swells in your heart, though you know that to speak would mean making her enemies yours. You leap to your feet and cry out to the judge, eloquently defending this woman you don't even know. Her head rises, her eyes meet yours, and you can see her smile.

It seems your spirit detaches itself from your body and flies through a world totally unlike the one you know, a shifting realm of shimmering silver, billowing and swirling with your spirit's passage. Then there is an island of solid matter looming up before you, and you fly toward it with mind-boggling speed. Like a castle drifting on a chunk of steely granite, the island seems to beckon to you. At the gate, a beautiful golden-haired woman smiles and welcomes you to the School of All Worlds. Though it is completely silent, the air around seems to vibrate, almost hum with the energy of thought . . . and magic.

When the PCs have read about their dreams, read them the following description:

You wake from the most restful sleep you've had in years, and your stomach is stirred by the smell of a hot breakfast. Trays laden with bowls of hot cereal and fresh fruit are set out for you in your rooms.

The food is excellent, and the PCs are well-rested. The abbot is not in the building.

Strange Happenings.

At this point, the PCs are free to explore the monastery grounds for a while. Refer again to the map of the abbey, and the map key sidebar. All the buildings in the abbey, with the exception of the guest house and the stables, are in serious disrepair, if not utterly destroyed. The place was sacked and the church burned when the demons arrived in this region 25 years ago, and despite the presence of an "abbot" here now it has not been used since.

The one building the PCs may not visit at this time is the library, which is the lair of Shi'ara. The doorway to this square building is completely blocked by rubble, making it very difficult to enter (without the ability to fly or teleport). If the PCs start looking like they're going to try, they should immediately encounter the abbot, as described below.

At least once in each building (more often if the PCs are moving slowly or linger in the church), they experience a "strange happening." These are minor illusions and misleading appearances staged by the succubus to plant the idea in the PCs' minds that evil power is at work in the abbey. Over the course of their stay, she plays on this idea, nurturing it into a full-blown notion of a holy war against the power of evil in the world.

Choose happenings as you see fit from the list below:

• The PC who dreamed of a romantic outing with the golden-haired woman thinks he catches a glimpse of her at some distance. She cannot be found.

• A random PC notices a small pair of glowing red eyes in the shadows. They disappear instantly. (This is Shi'ara's quasit familiar, Skembit.)

• The sound of many voices chanting is heard from inside the church, but the church seems quite empty.

• A statue within the church, with an arm broken off, seems to be weeping tears of stone. The tears do not move while the PCs are looking, but they may be gradually tracking their way down the statue's face.

• A gust of wind makes torches and lanterns flicker.

• The sound of footsteps seems to shadow the movements of the PCs, stopping when they stop and resuming when they move again.

• A PC hears a soft moaning sound of indeterminate nature. No other PC can hear it.

Answers and Questions.

If the PCs go looking for the abbot, or are running out of places to explore, they find Michael hobbling slowly through the monastery grounds. Read them the following description:

Just as you have begun to wonder whether you ever awoke from sleep or have instead wandered into the realms of nightmare, the hunched form of the abbot comes into view, hobbling slowly but deliberately towards you. "Good morning," he says. "I trust you slept well."

Abbot Michael walks with them back to the guest house and catches his breath before listening to their questions and telling his story. At an appropriate point early in the conversation, the abbot delivers this monologue (historical details should be altered to suit your campaign):

"Ogden Abbey was erected on this spot on the Feast of Saint Marcella in the year 997, three hundred years ago this week. In those days, the Knights of the Chalice were strong and peace prevailed throughout the region. The abbey was never large or wealthy, but the brothers here served the god Javen faithfully and we prospered.

"Then the spawn of Zovel arrived, sweeping over the land as punishment for the High King's sins of pride. Only Javen's power protected me as the monastery chapel went up in flames, and I wept as my brothers were tortured and killed. When the fiends departed, I alone was left, and for twenty-five years I have remained here alone, tending the sacred ground, and struggling to contest the lingering evil power of Zovel in this place. I swore that I would rebuild and reconsecrate the chapel, but the task is too great for an old man like myself. The tempter's evil power never leaves me alone, and every day, every night is a struggle to retain my virtue and my sanity. I fear that my task will go unfinished, for I can feel the weight of my age more and more as the days go on. But perhaps . . . perhaps Javen has sent you here to help me! Four days from now is the Feast of Saint Marcella, the anniversary of the abbey's founding. If you will help me, then perhaps on that day the chapel can be rededicated to Javen!"

If the PCs ask the abbot about the "strange happenings" they experienced in the abbey, the abbot attributes them to the "lingering evil power" he mentioned earlier. If the PCs agree to help the abbot, proceed to the scene titled "Stranger Happenings," below.


It is possible that a stone-hearted group of PCs will refuse to help the abbot. If they start to leave the abbey without agreeing to help, Shi'ara assumes another disguise (different from the woman in the PCs' dreams) and confronts the PCs again. Read the following description to the players:

As you round the corner, with the abbot's last shouted pleas still echoing among the buildings of the abbey, another robed figure steps out from between two darkened ruins. The figure wears the same monastic garb as the abbot, but the hood is thrown back to reveal the face of a young brown-haired woman, perhaps nineteen. Putting her finger to her lips for silence, she beckons you over to a doorway.

The young woman speaks to the PCs in a hushed whisper. "Please don't tell my... the abbot that I spoke with you. He would die of shame if he knew that you knew about me. But I must beg you to stay and help him... help us as he has asked you to. Surely noble folk like yourselves cannot turn your backs on the pleas of the faithful." If pressed, the woman admits to the PCs that she is the daughter of the abbot, conceived in a liaison which gives the abbot constant cause for guilt and shame. She continues to plead with the PCs to help her father until they either agree to help or force her away from them. If the PCs do finally agree to help, she urges them to return to the abbot, reminding them not to tell him they spoke with her.

If the PCs simply show no interest in rebuilding the chapel, then Shi'ara has already won a small victory—the PCs have no concern for a sanctuary of good, which makes them that much closer to evil, that much closer to a point where she can carry their souls off to the Abyss. At this point, she will rely on more traditional methods to lure them to her, remaining primarily in the guise of the abbot's daughter—first planting seeds of chaos and dissension within the party, allowing each PC to feel that he is the object of her special affection, and ultimately luring them one by one to their doom in her arms. Such a course lies outside of the scope of this adventure, however, since it is assumed that the PCs are noble and virtuous enough to answer a plea for help of this sort.

Stranger Happenings.

If the PCs do agree to help abbot Michael in rebuilding and reconsecrating the chapel, he puts them to work over the next four days. Any character with the engineering nonweapon proficiency will be put in charge of the rebuilding. Characters with any craft-related proficiencies will have plenty to do. Stonemasons can work on rebuilding the wall and ceiling, carpenters can provide scaffolding and repair the woodwork inside the chapel, sculptors could do some repair of the statuary around the altar and clean the surface of the stone altar itself, tailors and weavers could create new paraments and tapestries for the chapel, blacksmiths could provide candelabra and other decorative ironwork. Players should have freedom to determine their own pet projects, and should roll daily proficiency checks to determine the quality of their efforts, encouraging them to take an active part in the work being done. Characters that do not have any of these proficiencies can find more basic tasks, such as cooking for the group, restoring the abbey's old kitchen, clearing rubble away, or working under the supervision of a more expert character.

The four days of work should go by quickly in real time, defined primarily by proficiency checks, interrupted only by a series of increasingly serious incidents. On the first day, a blacksmith or cook among the PCs suddenly finds the fire of the forge or stove blazing out of control. The PC must make a saving throw vs. breath weapon or be caught in a billowing cloud of flames which inflicts 2d6 points of damage. If there is no PC directly involved in blacksmithing or cooking, the fire could be a campfire or even a lantern, with the same effects.

On the second day of work, a stonemason or carpenter character has an "accident" on a scaffold. While a PC is on scaffolding near the ceiling of the chapel, that character hears a strange whimpering sound in the shadows near the edge of the scaffold. If the character so much as leans closer to examine the area, a clawed, scaled arm reaches out of the shadows, accompanied by an unearthly growl, and strikes at the PC with a THAC0 of 11. If the fiend hits, the PC must make a saving throw vs. paralyzation or be hurled from the scaffold, taking 3d6 points of damage from the fall. If the PC does not investigate the source of the whimpering, the scaffolding suddenly collapses, causing any PC on it to fall for 3d6 points of damage.

On the third day, a sculptor or any other PC who happens to be near the altar in the chapel is suddenly attacked by one of the statues that ring the chancel. The player of the PC victim should roll for surprise at -3. The statue attacks twice with a THAC0 of 15, inflicting 1d8+1 hit points of damage on a successful blow. It attacks for a single round, then reverts to its inanimate state. The statue represents Saint Jochan, patron of sculptors. It is no more or less difficult to destroy than any ordinary statue.

On the final day of work on the chapel, one PC (preferably one who has not yet fallen victim to these assaults) is attacked from behind. Again, the player should roll for surprise, this time at -4, with failure indicating that the attacking fiend gains a +4 to hit (as a thief performing a backstab). The attacker is a misshapen, shadowy creature with long, curled horns, two whip-like tails, and eyes that blaze like fire. It pounces on the PC (from the rear, if it gains surprise), attacking with all four of its razor-sharp claws, and promptly disappears into the shadows. Its THAC0 is 15, and each successful attack does 1d6 points of damage.

Abbot Michael claims to interpret these events as signs that Zovel is trying to prevent their work on rebuilding the monastery. Shi'ara is in fact toying with the PCs, hoping to instill a sense of desperate urgency in them, while feeding the notion that they are on a holy mission. The abbot speaks constantly in terms of warfare against the forces of evil, exterminating the evil spirits, and rebuilding the monastery for the glory of Javen. In fact, Shi'ara is preparing them for the ultimate seduction that is to come.

As mentioned in the introduction, Shi'ara seeks to seduce the faithful followers of Javen into sacrificing their ideals in order to restore the church of Javen to power in this region. She offers a vision of power and glory corrupted with violence and warfare. So she speaks, in her guise as the unassuming Abbot Michael, of a holy order of pure knights riding forth from the rebuilt monastery, crushing not just the demons but those humans who have succumbed to their evil. There is no room for mercy or forgiveness in the picture she paints, and she subtly plants visions of personal glory in the minds of each PC as well. These visions bear their full fruit at the end of this act (see the next scene).

The PCs may also have more chances to explore the abbey grounds during these four days. Refer to the abbey map and key should they set out to explore. On several occasion during this exploration, PCs may catch a glimpse of a tiny, fiendish-looking creature. The first time this happens (at your discretion), read the PCs the following description:

With a start you realize that something is watching you. A twisted humanoid figure, no more than two feet tall, sits perched in the shadows, looking down at you with glowing red eyes. Curved horns protrude from its leering skull, and a long tail flicks about its body with sharp, jerking movements. In an instant, it has vanished.

This is Skembit, Shi'ara's quasit familiar. It spies on the PCs constantly, though if they have means of detecting invisible creatures it must be more cautious. It uses its invisibility and shape-changing powers to avoid any confrontation, but the PCs may notice it several times, always in hints and glimpses, over these few days.


Finally the Feast of Saint Marcella arrives. With great ceremony, swinging a censer and chanting melodically, the abbot leads the PCs into the chapel for the ritual to "reconsecrate" the place. As the PCs file into the chapel, he hands them scrolls which contain the prayers and lections that make up the holy ritual. Any PC with the religion or ceremony proficiency covering the faith of Javen will recognize these as the right and appropriate readings. The abbot directs the PCs to spread out in a large semi-circle facing the altar, and positions himself at one end of that formation. Then he begins to read from his scroll.

For a few minutes, everything seems perfectly normal. The ritual proceeds as the scrolls direct, and a feeling of calm seems to fill the chapel. Soon all of that changes, however. Read the following description to the PCs:

The first thing you notice is the abbot's voice. It had been strong and clear despite his age; now he sounds strained, almost strangled. And no wonder! The words pouring from his mouth are no longer the sacred texts of Javen, but some foul abomination! Then you notice that the words on the scroll before you seem to be writhing, melting and reforming into incantations of vile darkness, yet you still feel compelled to read. In the corners of your eyes, you see that light is pouring through the broken stained-glass windows of the chapel, illuminating the sanctuary in lurid reds and yellows. The strange words that the abbot chokes out seem to be echoed with hisses and whispers. Smoke and mist start to gather in the air above the altar, and tiny flashes of lightning spark in the billows.

Each PC is allowed a saving throw against spells (Wisdom or Wisdom/Willpower modifiers apply) to regain self-control and stop reading the scrolls. PCs who make their saving throws can help those who fail by tearing the scrolls out of their hands. As the PCs start to break free, however, continue the description as follows:

A crack of thunder resounds from the cloud gathered over the altar, and a searing bolt of violet flame leaps through the air towards the abbot. Coursing over his body like lightning, it swallows him up as his mouth opens in a silent scream, then hurls him backwards through a window, accompanied by a deafening roar and the shattering of glass.

Allow the PCs but a moment to react to this event before continuing. Their actions can do little to alter the course of events, though you may allow the PCs to feel they have made a slight dent in the evil power that now fills the place.

The billowing cloud expands, threatening to fill the entire chapel with its malevolent presence. It seems to reach out tendrils toward you, seeming almost to sniff hungrily at you—not at your bodies, but at your very souls. Suddenly, a powerful voice rings out, "Be gone, Zovel!"

A bright glow is now gathered before the altar, and the billowing smoke recoils before its pure light. Bathed in its white radiance, a beautiful woman in plate mail—the golden-haired woman from your dream—stands proudly, a broadsword sheathed at her side. As if from the sheer strength of her will, the evil presence recedes and soon vanishes from the chapel, and your earlier sense of peace begins to return.

The woman does not identify herself, though of course she is Shi'ara again, this time in a guise that strongly resembles the smoke-blackened stained-glass representation of Saint Marcella so prominently displayed in the chapel. In measured tones, she explains to the PCs that the conditions are not yet right for the completion of the ritual. If the PCs allow her to speak, read the following monologue; otherwise, use it as a foundation for answering their questions:

"Faithful heroes, your brave effort has not gone unnoticed. In devotion to the cause of good you have labored hard to restore this house to Javen. Would that Zovel's power had been weaker! But all is not yet ready for this place to be dedicated. Soon, my heroes, soon—soon the rebuilding will be complete and Ogden Abbey shall be great once more. Soon we together will build a new order of knights, and this will be your fortress." And as she speaks, it seems you can see the day, not far off, when her words will be fulfilled. In your mind you see visions of knights, clad in shining armor, riding in and out of a rebuilt monastery, now surrounded by sturdy walls, the banners of this new order fluttering from its parapets. These knights ride forth to smite the wicked and the fallen, and they return carrying treasures and trophies to adorn the house of Javen. Before them the fiends of the Abyss scatter like shadows before dawn, and under their feet all who served the fiends are trampled. You sit as lords within the monastery-castle, surrounded by wealth and luxury, revered and worshiped as heroes and leaders. Under your guidance, peace is established and crime abolished, all the chaos of these dark years banished forever. You are the rulers, not the fiends, and your law replaces their tyrrany.

"Yes, my champions, soon this will come to pass. I ask you now, will you pledge yourselves to this task? Will you be the heroes called for in these desperate times? Will you take up the banner of good and drive evil forever from this land? Will you bow before me and receive my blessing, become my champions and serve me?"


If any of the PCs do kneel before Shi'ara at the altar, she draws her sword then stands before each in turn. Solemnly, she intones over each one (inserting the character's name where appropriate), "Name, in recognition of thy service to the church of Javen, and of thy commitment to serve him through the path of knighthood and glory, I bestow upon thee the title of knight, and dub thee Sir/Lady Name." She touches the PC on each shoulder with the flat of her blade, then lays her gauntleted hand on his forehead, bends down, and kisses him (or her) hungrily on the lips, draining one life energy level. The affected PC must make a successful Wisdom (or Wisdom/Intuition) check to notice the energy drain. Even if a character makes the Wisdom check, he must make a saving throw vs. spell at -4 to break the succubus' enchantments and prevent her from kissing another PC. From this point on, any saving throw the PC must make against the succubus' charm and suggestion powers is made at -4, due to the character's willing (if unwitting) submission to her in this ritual.

If all of the PCs kneel before her and receive this "knighting," Shi'ara teleports from the chapel immediately, leaving the dust to settle and the PCs to wonder exactly what just happened. Proceed to Act Three, below.


If any of the PCs refuse to offer their allegiance, the reluctant PCs see a spasm of rage pass over Shi'ara's face. Her course of action depends on whether any PCs do volunteer their allegiance to her. If some PCs have knelt before her, she proceeds to "knight" them as described above, keeping a wary eye on those characters hanging back. Then, saying simply, "Those who are not with us stand against us," she commands her charmed PC minions to attack their defiant comrades. As mentioned above, any PCs who knelt to her must make saving throws at -4 to resist this suggestion. Shi'ara remains to watch the outcome of the battle, but teleports away if she is threatened.

If none of the PCs offer their allegiance to Shi'ara with her twisted vision of knightly glory, her rage is impossible to contain. She draws her two-handed sword and whirls it over her head, transforming it into a blade of pure midnight-blue flame, and leaps forward to do battle with the PCs. The battle is probably quite brief, however, as Shi'ara teleports away before she is too badly hurt.

As the dust settles around the PCs, proceed on to Act Three.

Act Three: The Horns of a Dilemma


Read the following description to the players:

Sunlight streams through the shattered windows of the chapel, lending a soft golden glow to the wreckage around you. Motes of dust dance in the sunbeams, swirling and finally settling in the aftermath of these strange events. The peaceful silence is broken by a harsh cough outside one of the shattered windows, and the sound of glass shards tinkling together.

Any PCs who were kissed by the succubus feel quite weak and tired, and those who failed their Wisdom checks will not have a clear idea why. When the PC party leaves the chapel, abbot Michael hobbles from around a corner of the chapel to join them. Note that, if the PCs wounded the succubus in battle, Michael too might appear quite weak, although as long as her quasit familiar is alive Shi'ara does regenerate 1 hp per round, so she will regain any lost strength quickly. The abbot appears dazed and completely hairless, thanks to the lightning-fire that engulfed him in the chapel. There is just enough time for the PCs to fill the abbot in on what happened before their conversation is interrupted. Read the following description to the players:

The abbot stops in mid-sentence, staring distractedly toward the cemetery. A group of roguish-looking characters is making its way through the weathered headstones toward the monastery. Leading the way is a woman, her brownish hair plastered to her face and neck with sweat and dust. Her brigandine armor is worn and filthy, though she carries an impressive broadsword in her hand. The rest of her company, a rag-tag bunch of four men, look no better. They are clad in leather and studded leather armor, and all carry drawn swords. They seem to have spotted you some time ago, and are striding with purpose toward you.

The woman at the head of this "rag-tag bunch" is Lady Ardith, the widow of the paladin, Sir Brendan, who lost his life here five years ago. Over the last five years, Ardith has become an adventurer herself, and is now a fighter of no mean ability. Now she has come to the site of her husband's death, hoping to finish the job that he started. Ardith is very surprised to see a so-called abbot and a bunch of adventurers already working on this, and will take some time to trust any of them.

Lady Ardith (Human female):

AL LG; AC 6 (brigandine); MV 12; Fighter 4; hp 28; THAC0 14; #AT 3/2; Dmg 2d4+5 (broadsword +2, specialization); S 16, D 12, C 13, I 13, W 17, Ch 15.

Shi'ara, for her part, is initially a little perturbed by the arrival of Lady Ardith and her gang, unsure how it will affect her plans for the PCs. Some of this uneasiness should be apparent to the PCs, but the abbot offers the newcomers the same hospitality he offered the PCs. But as Shi'ara begins attempting to insinuate herself into Ardith's mind, she finds herself barred—by the amulet Lady Ardith wears, the "trinket" Sir Oakley gave her to remember her husband by. Spying it around Ardith's neck confirms what she suspects, and she thinks fast in an attempt to win it back:

Suddenly the abbot gasps, staring at the newcomer with a look of awe. "The holy relic!" he cries out, his eyes fixed on a strange medallion around Ardith's neck. "You carry the Blessed Medallion of Saint Marcella, the cornerstone of the chapel's altar!" Turning to you, he explains, "That's why we failed, why the saint said that conditions weren't right to complete the ritual of consecration. That medallion used to lie buried under the altar in the chapel, don't you see? We need to return it there before we can finish." He turns back to the woman. "Please, lady, will you return the Blessed Medallion to its rightful place?"

Ardith hesitates, fingering the Blessed Medallion absently, as if from long habit. "Not yet, old man," she replies, still deep in thought. "Not until I've figured out what's going on around here."

Fortunately, the amulet grants Ardith immunity to the succubus' powers of charm and suggestion. Shi'ara is furious but hides it reasonably well—you might wish to roll Wisdom (or Wisdom/Intution) checks for each PC to see if anyone notices the spasm of rage passing briefly over the abbot's face, his eyes smoldering for an instant like hot embers.

Shortly after this exchange, pleading exhaustion, Ardith retires to the abbey guest house, where abbot Michael assigns her and her men to individual rooms.

Sowing Seeds.

As Ardith walks away from the abbot and the PCs, Michael shakes his head and mutters, under his breath but loud enough for the PCs to hear, "I have a bad feeling about her." This apparently off-hand remark is actually a subtle suggestion, likely to create the same sort of "bad feeling" in the PCs. If the players asks you whether their characters have any sort of "bad feeling" about Ardith, roll secret saving throws vs. spell (remembering to add a -4 penalty for any PC who swore allegiance to Shi'ara at the end of Act Two) for their characters, telling those who fail that they definitely share the abbot's negative impression of Lady Ardith.

Over the next hour or so, while Ardith is resting, the abbot makes a few more comments about Lady Ardith, along the same lines. Whatever the PCs decide to do with this time, the abbot accompanies them, and—always in the course of normal conversation, apparently without any thought—wonders aloud such things as, "How did she come into possession of the relic?" "Interesting how she turned up just now, as the ritual went wrong." "I fear her mistrust may ruin our plans." "Did you see the anger in her face when we told her of our efforts in the chapel?" "I would almost say she was fighting a smile when you described how I was blasted out of there!"

Each of these comments, like the first, is a subtle suggestion, and must be handled with extreme caution. Outright telling a player that her PC feels compelled to agree with the abbot's idle speculation will only arouse serious suspicion of the abbot, and obvious rolling of dice after each comment will have the same effect. As in the first case, if the players ask you whether their characters noticed the things the abbot mentions, it is fair to respond by saying, "Now that you think about it, yes, she did look quite angry," or something along those lines—if the PCs fail their secret saving throws against Shi'ara's suggestions.

If the players don't ask such leading questions, then the seeds of suspicion won't begin to sprout until later, when the PCs see Lady Ardith again. At this point, pass notes to players whose characters failed their saves, saying things like, "Ardith seems to flinch when you mention the name of Javen," for example. Shi'ara's suggestions plant an attitude of suspicion in the minds of the characters, rather than forcing them to a course of action. The only way to accomplish this in the course of the game is to plant misleading suspicions in the minds of the players, even if you have to lie to them to do it.

That evening, the abbot spreads a simple but tasty dinner for all the abbey's guests, then retires to his quarters for private meditation, hoping, he says, to purge himself of the lingering evil presence he feels around him after the ritual. In this context, Ardith asks the PCs some blunt questions about the abbot. "You know there hasn't been an abbot here in 25 years? Where did this guy come from, did he tell you? Why did you come here? Where was the abbot when all this was going on in the chapel? Why isn't he more upset about not seeing the saint? My husband was seduced and killed by a succubus here five years ago—where was your abbot then?" She is not subtle, and she should come across as overly suspicious, even while she raises some valid and very important questions. She lacks the succubus' natural charisma as well as her magical powers of charm and suggestion, but she does have truth on her side, and ideally the PCs will begin to weigh the case on their own.


After dinner, Ardith and her men begin to settle in their rooms for the night, and the abbot seems to have done the same. If the PCs are not ready for sleep, they are free to do as they please, but nothing else of interest occurs until the PCs are in their rooms and at least some of them are sleeping.

At that point, the succubus selects one of the PCs—preferably one who swore allegiance to her in her saintly guise at the end of Act Two, and also preferably one of noble character and high ideals. At whatever point that PC is asleep, she teleports into the room, right next to him, and instantly teleports away with him, bringing the PC to the chapel.

If a PC is on watch in the room where this PC is sleeping, that player should roll for surprise with a -3 penalty. If the PC is surprised, he doesn't even notice the abduction. If he is not surprised, he does see a mysterious shadowy form appear next to the sleeping PC and, just as quickly, vanish along with the PC. There is no time for the character to act before the abduction is complete, but at least in this case he can alert the other PCs.

If the PC on watch decides to raise a general alarm, he should be discouraged from waking Ardith's men. Ardith and the abbot (of course) are not in their rooms—Ardith got up to check on the abbot's activities and, not finding him in his room, is looking around the monastery grounds for him. If the PCs enter Ardith's room, they spot a light out the window, and should be encouraged to pursue it rather than waking Ardith's men.

Meanwhile, you should take the player of the abducted character into another room, then read the following text to him:

Something disturbs your light sleep, and you groggily open your eyes. The room is dark around you, but you can sense that you are no longer in the room where you fell asleep. The floor beneath you is hard and cold. Then a white luminescence begins to gather in the air near you, and soon you can make out features of the monastery chapel: the altar, supporting pillars on either side, the mosaic tile of the floor. Then in the center of the light, the woman appears, the same one you saw there earlier, the one from your dream. Her golden hair spills softly about her shoulders, and she looks down on you with a gentle smile. Then, as she speaks, her smile hardens into a concerned frown.

"Abbot Michael has extended his hospitality to a fiend," she begins. "This Ardith is a creature from the pits of the Abyss who seeks to destroy my sacred relic and transform this place into a stinking mire of foul abomination. If the relic is not claimed soon, the fiend will lose her patience and destroy you all. You will stop her, won't you? You will defend my chapel from this desecration? You will fight for our dream of a renewed knighthood? Give me a sign of your dedication. Show me that you will follow me." She extends her hand to you.

If the PC takes the lady's hand, she draws him to his feet and offers him a gentle kiss. If the PC does not resist, she kisses him once, draining a life energy level, then disappears. The PC must succeed in a Wisdom (or Wisdom/Intuition) check to notice the loss of energy; failing, he simply feels weak and tired.

If the PC resists the lady's kiss, she scowls angrily. "I knew it!" she hisses. "Your devotion is already being eroded by Ardith's fiendish wiles. Beware, Sir [Name], for if she entangles you in her web of lust and deceit, she will carry your soul with her back to the Abyss!" With that, she vanishes and the PC is left alone in the pitch-black chapel.

And Then There Was One.

When the succubus leaves the chapel, she moves quickly among the rooms where Lady Ardith's would-be knights are sleeping and slaughters them all in the space of a few rounds. Ardith returns from her searching just as the last knight is killed. If the PCs were out looking for her, they should see her enter the guesthouse building. They should then reach the door to the building themselves just as the knight's scream echoes through the grounds. In any case, read the following description to the players, modifying it if necessary to reflect the PCs' location:

A blood-curdling scream pierces the night air, a man's last desperate clinging to life as it is torn from him. The sound comes from just down the hall, and ends with a loud crash.

The scream comes from the last of Ardith's would-be knights, who has been brutally murdered by Shi'ara. Ardith was walking toward her room and was almost immediately outside of the man's door, which she broke down (hence the crash) just in time to witness her companion's death rattle. When the PCs arrive on the scene, Ardith is already crouched over the remains of the man on the floor, blood coating her hands and smeared on her cheek. Seeing them, she starts, stands hastily and steps to the window, looking in vain for a fleeing killer. The man on the floor has had his chest torn open and his heart ripped out. The only footprints in the blood are Ardith's.

The next few minutes erupt in gruesome horror. Ardith's remaining three men never join their commander and the PCs in the dead man's room. The PCs can quickly find the missing men. The corpse of one knight-to-be lies in his bed (in the neighboring room), apparently sleeping soundly on his side. However, his body is an empty husk, drained of life by the succubus' kiss, his eyes sunken into his skull like deep black pits. Another is gurgling out his last breath on Lady Ardith's bed. Seeing her (assuming she enters the room with the PCs), he points weakly in her direction, fixes her with a fearful gaze, and whimpers something unintelligible before his head rolls back, tiny flecks of blood appearing around his mouth as he collapses in death. At that moment, the bell of the chapel rings weakly, then in a few seconds again, louder. The abbot appears at this point, hurrying out of his room (if the PCs have not looked for him there—if they have, he comes in from outside), apparently bewildered at what could make the bell ring and horrified by the scene of carnage around him.

If the PCs do investigate the tolling of the bell, they find the fourth of Ardith's followers hanging from a bell-rope (the one attached to the sturdier of the two bells). At this point, abbot Michael, after whispering a fearful prayer, turns to the PCs and Lady Ardith, pleading with them.

"We are out of time!" the abbot gasps. "Whatever fiend prevented us from consecrating the chapel seeks to prevent us forever! We must restore the relic to its place under the altar immediately, lest we all die as these poor unfortunates did!" Turning to you and gesturing toward Lady Ardith, he nearly shouts in his fear, "She must give us the amulet!"

Ardith shouts back in outrage, "You dare to blame these deaths on me, the slaughter of my own men? You speak the truth, there is a fiend at work here, but that fiend is not me, old man. If there is a fiend among us, it lurks behind the veil of your flesh!" She pulls her broadsword from its sheath and advances toward the abbot menacingly.

"Help me!" the old man cries. "The fiend is upon me!"

Here, then, the PCs have two fundamental options: side with the abbot against Lady Ardith, or join Lady Ardith in attacking the abbot. The decision, naturally, is weighted by Shi'ara's magic. The PCs should at this point be allowed to make their own saving throws against Shi'ara's suggestion to fight in her defense (applying a -4 penalty for any character who swore allegiance to Shi'ara at the end of Act Two), and those who fail may be plainly told that they feel compelled to fight on the abbot's behalf, even against their friends and companions. Whatever the PCs do, a melee erupts.


It is possible that PCs may be fighting on both sides of this battle, with charmed (or foolish) PCs defending the abbot and others joining Ardith in her attack on the succubus. The succubus, for her part, maintains her disguise as a weak old man as long as possible, relying on PCs to defend her, though she will fight, weakly swinging a staff (THAC0 17, Dmg 1-6), if pressed. The course of the adventure from this point depends on the outcome of this battle. If Ardith's side of the battle wins (the PCs defending the abbot either incapacitated or freed of their enchantment), skip down to the scene entitled "The Vanishing Abbot," below. Otherwise, proceed to the next scene, "The Fall of Lady Ardith."

The Fall of Lady Ardith.

If all the PCs fighting for Lady Ardith are incapacitated, Ardith herself is quickly killed. Read the following description to the players:

The fiend in the guise of Lady Ardith dies a very ordinary death. A pool of deep red blood starts to form around her, and her eyes stare blankly up at the ceiling. Breathing heavily and slumping against the wall in exhaustion, abbot Michael gasps, "The relic . . . bring the relic to me."

If the PCs hesitate to hand the amulet to the abbot, he tries to persuade them: "Be warned. Ardith was not the only fiend seeking to prevent us in our work. The longer we delay, the more dangerous it becomes. Give me the relic now!" Naturally, this is a magical suggestion directed at the PC who is closest to the amulet without actually touching it. A character holding or wearing the amulet is immune to the succubus' magic, while a PC who succumbed to her charms at the end of Act Two saves with a -4 penalty.

The abbot will not leave the PCs alone until he has the amulet. They can put him off for a while, though they will never be free of his company and his pestering. He tries to appear genuinely concerned for the safety of their mission—as well as the souls of the PCs—if they persist in refusing him. If the PCs give the amulet to the abbot/succubus, proceed to the next scene, "Desecration (Reprise)." If the PCs threaten the abbot with physical harm, he will back off, but continue in his badgering. If they attack him, he teleports away—see the scene called "The Vanishing Abbot," below.

If a PC takes the opportunity to examine the amulet more carefully, consult the scene entitled "The Amulet," below.

Desecration (Reprise).

Read the following description to the players:

The abbot snatches the holy relic from your hand and eagerly hurries down the stairs to the chapel, showing no signs of fatigue and no concern about whether you accompany him.

If the PCs try to prevent the abbot from reaching the chapel, he teleports to the altar and begins his unholy chant. If they simply follow, he takes his place behind the altar and begins the ritual:

This time the abbot does not invite your participation. No sooner does he begin speaking than the monstrous happenings of the earlier ritual seem to be repeated: sinister whispers and echoes hiss from the darkened corners of the chapel, and lurid light from the windows casts macabre shadows on the old stone walls. A cloud of smoke and mist starts to swirl around the hunched form of the abbot, shrouding him from your view.

If the PCs try to move toward the abbot to stop the ritual, read the following:

Stepping toward the altar, your way is suddenly blocked by a squat, shadowy figure, reeking of filth. The creature reaches its claws toward you, and another set of claws grasps at you from behind. The stench of the things makes you gag and cough.

These are dretches, a form of least tanar'ri summoned to prevent the PCs from interfering. Their first action is to fill the chapel with a stinking cloud—the unbearable stench the PCs notice immediately. Then they attack the PCs and do all they can to prevent them from reaching Shi'ara—including using gate to summon more of their loathsome fellows. Each dretch can gate in 1-4 dretch with a 50% chance of success, once per day.

Dretch (2):

INT Low (5-7); AL CE; AC 4; MV 9; HD 2; hp 9, 13; THAC0 19; #AT 3; Dmg 1d4/1d4/1d4+1; SA scare, stinking cloud, telekinesis at will; SD immune to electricity, nonmagical fire, and poison, half damage from cold, magical fire, and gas; MR 10%; SZ S (3'-4' tall); ML Steady (11-12); XP 1,400; Planescape Monstrous Compendium/100.

As the PCs fight the dretch, read them the following description:

Above the heads of the drooling, clawing fiends around you, you catch sight of the spectacle still going on at the altar. The swirling cloud of smoke has thinned and parted, and you can see the shape of the abbot, the shocking words of his chant still pouring from his mouth. But as you watch, the hunched old man straightens, seeming to grow taller. A dark shadow starts to gather behind him, expanding and soon clearly resolving into a pair of huge bat-like wings. The abbot's form has thinned, and a full head of lustrous black hair has replaced the severe monastic tonsure. Indeed, the form that now stands behind the once-sacred altar is no abbot, but a voluptuous woman with porcelain-white skin and glowing red eyes! A smile twists her full, red lips, and seeing you staring, she laughs. The maniacal sound reverberates through the chapel, echoed on every side by hissing whispers in the shadows.

If the PCs manage to slash their way through the dretch and present a challenge to Shi'ara, now in her true form, she teleports away if seriously threatened. As long as she possesses the amulet, the PCs present no serious danger to her.

By the time the PCs have vanquished the dretch, in all likelihood they have already failed. With Shi'ara's incantation complete, the chapel of Old Ogden Abbey has become a place of darkness. Even if the PCs manage to threaten her before she has finished her dark ritual, the place is so corrupted that a lingering aura of evil pervades the place. Without the amulet, the PCs cannot force Shi'ara into a confrontation, so the adventure ends in a stalemate.

It is strongly suggested that you develop additional adventures to allow the PCs to redeem their failure. A lengthy quest could yield another means of binding the succubus, preventing her from teleporting so she can be destroyed and the chapel reconsecrated. A successful search for a true holy relic might bring Javen's favor back into the chapel and drive out the forces of evil. There are many possibilities; the important thing is that evil's victory must be a temporary one.

Read the following description to the players to close the adventure:

The air in the chapel hangs around you like choking fog, dark and thick. Blood and fiendish ichor defile the once-holy ground, staining the walls and floor you worked so hard to repair. Shattered glass litters the chancel area, and a long crack runs through the heavy stone of the altar. No light penetrates the windows any more, and a brooding evil presence seems to impress itself upon your senses. Fear and disgust well up in you, frustrated by the absence of a tangible opponent. The chapel has become a sinkhole of evil, but there must be some way to restore it to purity, some way that you can redeem your tragic error. It is up to you.

The Vanishing Abbot.

Following the confrontation between Ardith and Shi'ara, it is possible that Ardith's side emerges victorious. In this case, Shi'ara makes use of one of her most powerful magical abilities and teleports to safety. This is an important warning: unless Shi'ara can be prevented from teleporting, she can never be defeated. The key to binding her lies in the amulet that Lady Ardith wears.

The PCs may take any actions they wish at this time. Shi'ara will do everything in her power to reclaim the amulet, using stealth and trickery whenever she can catch a PC alone. If the PCs decide to carefully examine the amulet, however, consult the next scene, "The Amulet."

The Amulet.

Read the PCs the following description of the amulet:

The medallion is shaped like a weird sunburst, rays of light snaking out like tentacles from a golden circle. In the middle of the circle is a ruby that seems to flicker with its own light, as if a tiny candle burned in its heart. Surrounding the ruby are strange, spidery letters that twist together in a chaotic jumble.

On the back of the amulet is a single line of strange characters, carved in a different style, larger and more square. None of the writing looks like a script you know.

A comprehend languages spell will allow the deciphering of the text on the front of the amulet, surrounding the ruby. It reads as follows:

Ill-tamed will and wanton vice,

unrestrained bad appetites—

tempt, seduce, draw the noose,

hot as fire and hard as ice.

The reverse of the amulet can be read only with a read magic spell. Casting that spell reveals a single word: Shi'ara, the True Name of the succubus. If Ardith is still alive, she can explain where she got the amulet and hazard a guess that it belonged to the succubus that killed her husband. She can also speculate that perhaps knowing the creature's name will confer some power over it.

If any of the PCs (or Lady Ardith) speaks the succubus' True Name aloud, the fiend returns—in her true form at last, swinging a flaming two-handed sword over her head. Proceed directly to the next scene.

Hell Hath No Fury.

Read the following description to the players:

Choking black smoke suddenly billows from nowhere, and a huge sword shimmering with midnight-blue flame shines through the cloud. Holding the sword is a voluptuous woman with porcelain skin and lustrous black hair. Her eyes seem to shine with malice, and her ruby lips are twisted into a furious grimace. Shadowy black wings like those of a bat hover behind her, flapping menacingly, sending the smoke into whirls and eddies. She swings the sword over her head in a deadly circle, and it cuts through the air with a low hum.

Now driven to desperation, Shi'ara fights at last—and fights like a demon, not a helpless barmaid. She wields her sword with lethal skill. The holder of the amulet is immune to Shi'ara's charms, but the other PCs are once again subjected to a barrage of suggestions, possibly forced to fight for the succubus.

Shi'ara's game statistics are presented at the beginning of this adventure.

Shi'ara is not yet held by the power of the amulet, however. The PCs must brandish the amulet, call out Shi'ara's True Name, and command her to remain in order to prevent her from teleporting when her hit points get low.

If the PCs are defeated, they are forced to watch as the chapel is desecrated (see "Desecration (Reprise)," above), and then they are drained of their life energy and left as vacant husks on the floor of the chapel of abomination. If they are victorious, however, they at last have the chance to reconsecrate the chapel, as described in the next (and final) scene.

Consecration (Reprise).

Having defeated the succubus, some players may be more inclined to think about finding her treasure than about the battered chapel in which the final conflict took place. However, by whatever means you feel are appropriate—from suggestive notes passed to the party priest to direct omens appearing in the sky—you should encourage the party to bring closure to the adventure by completing the ritual they set out to perform, reconsecrating the abbey chapel as they had planned. This does not require any extensive role-playing or research. As they dig through the succubus' nest in the library, looking for treasure, they could come upon an old worship-book from the monastery, and let it guide them in reconsecrating the place. However it happens, with the PCs gathered in the chapel, read the players the following text:

Some of the windows are still broken, some parts of the walls still in disrepair. No one would try to claim that the building is perfect, for it bears the marks and scars of its trials—as do you. But somehow you feel as if the building has found its peace, for all that has happened here.


In addition to experience points earned for defeating Shi'ara, Skembit, and some or all of the vorr, the PCs may earn story awards from the successful completion of the adventure's parts. If none of the PCs receive Shi'ara's kiss at the end of Act Two, the PC party should receive a story award of 3,000 XP. Determining the abbot's true identity and defeating Shi'ara in combat provides the major award of 7,000 XP. Reconsecrating the chapel at the end of the adventure is worth a bonus of 4,000 XP for the party.

Depending on the players' willingness to follow through on their actions in this adventure, you can use the reconsecration of the abbey as a springboard for many further adventures. The event will not go unnoticed by either the followers or the opponents of Javen. Other fiends may come to the abbey to attempt its re-corruption, while faithful, oppressed townspeople may start to gather in the old monastery, finding a source of refuge there. Perhaps a more holy version of Shi'ara's twisted vision of knighthood may come to pass in this place, allowing Old Ogden Abbey once again to be a center of piety and hope in a very dark world.

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