Murder in Arrats Field : The Rise of the Sickle Moon

Arrats Field was once the site of a great battle, the last stand of the Pagans against the Risians. Now it seems that the village may become a battleground once more. A ghostly ancestor forewarns an army of the restless dead arising from Arrats Field.

Can this fate be stopped before the moon reaches it's sickle phase or will the army rise and wreak its vengeance on the living?


READ NO FURTHER unless you intend to run the scenario... you will only spoil

it for yourself.

Arrats Field: something afoot?


The village of Arrats Field is situated in Morritias, in the county of Winsneer, midway between the town of Hempton Cross and the Etherin Forest. The village has around 70 inhabitants, mainly peasants and woodsmen. A stream running through the centre of the village supplies water. The landowner, Harnfold Guernika, owns the field itself and a little of the surrounding land. Some months ago he was approached by a group claiming to be priests of the earth mother. They offered him a gift: a Scarecrow. They claimed that it would aid the health of the crops, and that for each of the village people who offered a blood sacrifice, a portion of the straw within the scarecrow would turn to gold. Each night, more villagers offered their blood to the scarecrow and receive a gift of gold.


In fact the group were necromantic priests of Kurudas, a nihilistic death god. They have enchanted the scarecrow such that it controls the minds of all those who offer it a willing blood sacrifice. Rather than aiding the fertility of the land, the sacrifices are stirring the souls of those who died in the ancient battle. On the night of the sickle moon, the scarecrow will rise from the field and perform a ritual, with the aid of the possessed villagers, to call forth an army of the dead.


The scarecrow was created with a ritual involving a number of priests, and also with the help of some Black Oak Beastmen. It took place in the Whistling Tombs, a site of great evil and necromantic power. The culmination of the ritual involved the suicide of one of the priests, whose spirit is now bound within the scarecrows form.


By the time the players arrive in Arrats Field, most of the population of the village, men, women and children, have been possessed by the scarecrow. They are carrying on with their everyday tasks and roles within the village, but in an automaton-like manner. They retain all of their memories, but have difficulty making significant decisions without consulting the scarecrow or Harnfold. Because of this, Harnfold holds a village meeting in the underground cave complex beneath his house every night, where orders are given out by the scarecrow.


Harnfold Guernika, Landowner

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI
16  11  10  18  13  12  11  10  13
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC  CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 37   39   -1   -1   7  14  -1   1   2   1  13   6   2
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    7     7     9     9    19    19    12    12    12
SHK    8     8    10    10    20    20    13    13    13

Harnfold owns a Heavy mace, but he is not very skilled in using it (40% base). To this end he has also purchased a wooden Round Shield, in the hope it will defend him (30% base)

Enter the Players

The player characters enter the fray when they go to visit an Evoker, Julian Strachan, who lives in a tower on the outskirts of Arrats Field. While they are there, he receives a visit from Jethro, an old hermit who lives in a hut on the edge of the field itself. He describes to Julian, and the PCs, that last night he received a visitation from the ghost of his father. Jethro recites the warning that the spirit gave:

"An army of forgotten souls are waking from an uneasy rest. Under the sickle moon will they reap their harvest of blood. Heed this warning good, my son, for the dead bring hell and damnation with them."

Julian is much concerned by this, and asks that the characters assist him in discovering whether the threat is real. At this point there are three days until the sickle moon.

Julian Strachan  Evoker 2nd level.  Human Male.
 PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI
 15  14  14  16  16  18  18  16  10
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC  SPP  CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 33   38   -1   -1  172    5  10  -4   4   5   4  15   5   1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    7     7     8     8    17    17    11    11    11
SHK    8     8    10    10    19    19    13    13    13

Julian is proficient with a longbow (60% base) but less skilled with his battle axe (45% base).

Spells: Animal Empathy I (11s), Clot Mastery, Conjure Water (4s), Eternal Light II (4s), Fire Brand (4s), Flame Bolt (7s), Hand of healing (4s), Healing Drink, Healing Trigger II (12s), Levitate (4s), Wolf transformations I, II and III. (Short magic casting times in parenthesis.)

Julian has a firm facial features and weathered skin under a mop of black hair. He wears tanned leather trews and jacket, over a loose white linen shirt. One might (correctly) guess that he spends much of his time outdoors. He is particularly fond of the woodland, and while exploring the Etherin forest he has had some contact with the Whitemist tribe of Beastmen.

Julian knows a little of the history of Arrats field. He was told that when the Rissians came to Morritias, many Pagans took up arms to defend their way of life. Though many battles were fought, Arrats Field saw one of the final and bloodiest conflicts, when the Rissians ultimately overcame the pagan forces. Julian does not know of the scarecrow or the plot which surrounds it.

Jethro the Old Hermit

 PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI
  8   9   7  11  13  14   7   9   9
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC   CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 21   23    1    1    8  14  -2  -1   1  -2   8  -2  -1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    4     4     5     5    11    11     7     7     7
SHK    5     5     6     6    12    12     8     8     8

Earlier in years Jethro was a hunter, strong and fit. Now his back is hunched, his eyes dim and hearing poor. He wears old and tattered clothing, and neither his wiry, white hair nor his old and weathered skin have the appearance of being washed within recent history.

Jethro's father died in his arms after being attacked by wolves several years ago. He has lived in the hut by the field, his father's final resting place, ever since. His only friend during that period has been Julian, who has rather a soft spot for the old hermit.

Time has weakened Jethro's body, but he resents strongly any implication that he is deranged. While he can become confused, he is firmly convinced of what he saw that night and is adamant that something should be done about it.

On the night of the sickle moon, a group of priests (with an escort of warriors) will arrive in order to oversee the ritual. They approach from the north, and will head straight for Harnfold's house. There they will begin the preparations, while the escorts guard the house. The villagers will gather as normal for the meeting. The scarecrow will demand that they kill themselves, while the priests pray to Kurudas within a Magic Circle. With each death the ritual grows stronger, until, as the moon reaches it's highest point, a skeletal army rises from Arrats Field, under the control of the scarecrow.

Haleron, High Elven Male.  Necromantic priest
PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI
 9  12  12  10  20  19  19   6   9
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC  SPP  WFC  SFC  LFC   CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 23   32    1    0  291    0    0    0    6   8  -5   2   4   2  11  -1   0
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    5     5     6     6    12    12     8     8     8
SHK    6     6     8     8    16    16    11    11    11

A Third level Theomancer, Haleron will use Orb of the Void if caught low on SPP (throw skill 55%), but something much nastier (Bolt of the Void III, Fatal Blow or Paralysis) if he has the time and the power.

Necromancers (Priests 2 2nd and 1 1st level)
 PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI
 13  14  12  14  17  17  18  11   9
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC  SPP  WFC  SFC  LFC  CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 29   35    0   -1   86    0    0    0   6  10  -4   4   4   3  13   3   1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    6     6     7     7    15    15    10    10    10
SHK    7     7     9     9    18    18    12    12    12

The theomancers have spells such as Severe Pain, Palm of Pounding, Voidal Bolts and perhaps even Fatal Blow in memory.

Note that a magic circle is required for the ritual, and a wizard of at least third level will have to prepare it. Thus Haleron will be busy at first and low on SPP thereafter.

Necromancers Guard  Race: Human   Sex: Male
 PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI
 17  14  15  14  14  11  11   8  12
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC  ENF CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 38   41   -1   -1   2   5  14  -1   4   5   5  16   7   2
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    8     8    10    10    19    19    13    13    13
SHK    8     8    10    10    21    21    14    14    14

The Guard wear full sets of chain mail with plate helms, and wield Great Broad Axes (50% base). There should be at least two warriors accompanying the theomancers (adjust to suit the balance of the party).

Possible Events

When the Scarecrow becomes aware that the players are investigating, he will order that some of the villagers seek out and attempt to kill or capture them. There are several villagers who are proficient with bows and a few who own swords or axes.

Villagers: Woodsmen
 PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI
 15  14  14  15  12  12  12  12  12
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC  CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 35   36   -1   -1   5  14  -1   4   4   4  15   5   1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    7     7     9     9    18    18    12    12    12
SHK    7     7     9     9    18    18    12    12    12

Hunting bows  (50% base)
Battle Axes (45% base)

Villagers: Peasants
 PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI
 12  12  12  13  10   9  11  11  11
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC  CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 29   28    0    0   6  15   0   2   3   2  12   2   0
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    6     6     7     7    15    15    10    10    10
SHK    6     6     7     7    14    14     9     9     9

Hand Axes (35%) or Long Swords (40%)

The villagers will probably attempt to use heavy numbers to outweigh the disadvantage in their lack of skill and armaments. The preferred mode of attack would be to surround the building which the PCs are in and trap them there.

Note that there are about 25 combat-able men within the village and that the scarecrow will not send them all, as he will want some to defend him in the final ritual.

If the villagers fail, or if the PCs are taking too close an interest in the scarecrow, it may take direct action against them itself.

"With Frosty Jack on fingernail Thru' shoe-black smile he'll tell a tale Come whisper through your lips of straw A moment torn forevermore" - Siouxsie & the Banshees, 'Scarecrow'

Scarecrow:  Unholy construct
PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI
15  16  17   9  19  17  18  -3  11
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC  SPP  CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 34   42   -1   -1   90   4   9  -4   6   6   7  16   5   1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    7     7     9     9    17    17    11    11    11
SHK    8     8    11    11    21    21    14    14    14

Claws (55%) d6 dam +1 shk

Powers: Bolt of the Void I (5spp / 2sec), Bolt of the Void II (10spp / 4sec), Severe pain (5spp / 4sec), Nightmare I (10spp / 10sec), Glibbering Figures (5spp / 1sec), Multiple Image (4spp / 1sec), Shrivel (5spp/2sec), Change Appearance (3spp/1sec)

The scarecrow may disappear into the earth of the field (this takes 15 timings) and will appear in the cave below Harnfold's house. He takes only half effect from non-enchanted weapons but double damage from fire and flaming weapons. He can regenerate his wounds by bathing them in warm blood.

The scarecrow looks perfectly ordinary to the casual viewer. His head is a pumpkin (of course), with a large grin cut into the face, and his body is formed from clothes stuffed with straw. However, this is merely what he looks like with the spell Change Appearance cast upon him. In fact, his body is of taut, black, sinewy skin, with long, claw like fingers, and a gaping maw revealing razor sharp teeth. His eyes pulse with a dark green light, and his lithe figure moves with quick and sinister elegance. His voice sounds like the grinding and snapping of bones, and his laughter is that of a deranged killer.

The scarecrow is a perfect icon of horror, and the GM should not find it difficult to use the scarecrow to create tension and suspense for the players. Be careful to use it's illusionary powers as best as possible. For instance, the scarecrow might send a player a Nightmare, with images of the scarecrow laughing and torturing the player. Upon waking, the player sees the scarecrow standing over him, laughing maniacly. However, this is merely a Glibbering Figure. When the player realises it is an illusion, s/he might turn to see the real scarecrow standing at the window, readying to launch a Voidal Bolt, before it disappears into the darkness.

Running the Scenario: A few suggestions

This scenario has the potential for a great sense of suspense and impending doom. All the time that the players spend investigating, the sickle moon is getting closer. Here are a few things which can help this scenario run smoothly.

Firstly, don't give away too much too soon. The PC's only allies within the town at first are Julian and Jethro, neither of whom have much contact with the villagers, and cannot offer much information. When the players first meet the villagers, they should seem vacant and stupid rather than hostile. If the PC's ask about something they have seen, such as a blood sacrifice in the field or a town meeting, the villagers should have an excuse ready, such as 'the blood is for the earth mother, for the crops to bloom' and that the meetings are sessions of prayer. The villagers might say that the crops have failed in the past two years, but this is not actually true, and Julian would know this.

The GM should also be careful not to lead the PC's into realising that the scarecrow is at the centre of it all too soon. It would be best not to point it out specifically when describing the village and the field. When it is noticed, try to make it appear innocuous, perhaps by having (illusionary) crows sitting upon it's arms. If the players attempt to infiltrate a village meeting, make it hard to recognise the identity of the scarecrow as the speaker.

As the night of the sickle moon grows closer, clues may be necessary, especially if the players are being unobservant. The PC's might meet a young boy who has avoided giving a sacrifice because he is squeamish about the sight of blood. He might be able to give the players some information about the scarecrow and the meetings that have been going on.

The final conflict may be quite hard, especially if the characters are inexperienced. If this is the case, and they realise beforehand, it might be wise for Julian to get some assistance from his Beastmen contacts. The help they send will depend on the information they are given. If they are told that necromancy and an army of the dead are involved, they will likely send hardened warriors. If they are merely told that there is a strange scarecrow in the field, then they will be lucky to get more than a few young warriors, out to make their names. Note that the GM should attempt to structure the final battle so that any assistance merely keeps the weight off the inexperienced characters, rather than stealing their glory. It would be best if the players fought the scarecrow alone, while the Beastmen fought off the necromancers and the controlled villagers. In the final battle, the scarecrow will use Multiple Image and some of it's other magical abilities, as well as it's claws.

Aftermath

There may be repercussions from this adventure. Once the scarecrow is dead, any surviving villagers will become dazed, with little more memory of the events that have passed than if it had all been a bad dream. However, they are unlikely to forget about any fellow villagers who have died. There might be no heroes welcome for those who have in fact averted a terrible fate. Indeed, a sharp exit may be required. If many villagers were killed, their deaths might even be brought to the attention of the local lord, Earl Lanthis, which is perhaps undesirable for the PCs involved.

The players will also have earned the emnity of the necromancers of the Whistling Tombs. These theomancers of Kurudas have long bitter memories, and do not think kindly of those who interfere with their schemes.

On the other hand, the characters may have made a friend of Julian Strachan, and perhaps earned the respect of the Beastmen of the Etherin Forest. Both of these are useful allies. In terms of material gain, there is an amount of golden straw left over from the blood sacrifices.

Hope you enjoy "Murder in Arrats Field: Rise of the Sickle Moon" An official WYTCHLIGHT scenario for Dandanon.