The blog has been rather silent as of late. This is in part to the release of Dungeons and Dragons 5e, and also to my own personal issues. Frankly, I’m terrible at personal projects. It’s a big problem. But! If I’m dedicating this much time to writing adventures for my players, why can’t I share that with all two of my readers?
I introduce to you a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition adventure for 4th to 5th level characters: The Ancient Ruins of the West Wood. It takes place in my custom campaign world, but I plan to add in tips for assisting you to translate it to your own campaign setting. Once it is complete, it will be provided for you as a complete free pdf. Read the Introduction after the cut.
The Ancient Ruins of the West Wood is a Dungeons & Dragons adventure for four to five characters of 4th level. During the course of the adventure, the characters may advance to 5th level.
Bold Words. Within the adventure are words typed in bold. These words are monsters, NPCs, or items that can be found in further detail in the appendixes.
Rules Access. If you do not have access to the official Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide, the basic rules of Dungeons & Dragons are free and available for download at DungeonsandDragons.com. Any original monsters, items, or elements within the adventure are provided. All others are provided a source.
Custom Alternatives. If you wish to use this adventure in your own world, or in a published campaign world, alternatives and inspirational options will be provided to replace in universe material under the title Custom Alternatives.
The world of Arthenil is a massive world, but the focus of the adventure is on the small nation of Areli. Areli is nestled between two mountain ranges to the North and South, and bordered on the West by an impossibly large and impassible river called the Ysir-Byr. The city of Byr guards the only bridge spanning the river to the every dangerous Wyld, and is prosperous in trade due to its proximity to Dwarven and Elven lands.
Most of Areli and Lucia were home to an ancient, advanced race, now simply known as the Ancients, all of which mysteriously vanished over 800 years prior to the events of this adventure. What remains is a plethora of impossible architecture built mostly of near-seamless white marble, and world altering magical items.
Anything of Ancient design and make is sought after for a high price. Black markets sell dangerous technologies, and nobles threaten to spark feuds and wars over land with Ancient ruins.
Distant, Diverse Deities
The three major religions of the land are split across various racial lines. The Lightbringers faith started as the religion of the elves, but humans were adopted into it. The Hammers of Tyran is the religion of the dwarfs, and the Readers is the organization of worshipers of the Author.
The Lightseekers believe in the Lightbringers: the sun god Solm, the moon goddess Nocterra, and their saint-like children, the Star Born. A sect of the religion, called the Blind by others, believe in the apocrypha that says that the world is a dead god by the name of Arthen whom sacrificed himself to save his siblings from the demons of Below.
The Hammers of Tyran are a monotheistic order that believe that Tyran forged the world, and molded the First Dwarfs by hand. They teach the morals of holding the clan above all else, and protecting their neighbors and loved ones from harm. There are some that neglect to extend this love and protection to other races as the religious texts were somewhat vague as to their existence.
The Readers are primarily halfling, a natural extension of their story loving nature. Their leaders, the Quills, teach of the Author who continues to write the Story of Everything within the World Tome.
A fourth religion is the Cult of Arthen, all of whom believe that the god was betrayed by his sky-bound siblings. Calling themselves the Chosen, the members of the cult act out against the nations of Lightseekers and their traditions of burying their dead. They practice necromancy and use earth magic to accomplish their goals.
No one faith answers all the questions of the universe. Either they all hold a piece of the puzzle, or the truth of the universe is grander than they can comprehend.
A little over a decade ago, Areli and Lucia were at war. A prince of Areli was accused of stealing away the virginity of Lucia’s princess, and Areli’s refusal to turn over their prince began a three year long war. Lucia’s forces came from all angles, taking the border between their nations, storming Areli’s beaches, and scaling the mountains to the South.
After the assassination of the King, and the disappearance of the first prince, Areli fell when one of its nobles turned the lady loving prince, and final heir to the throne, over to Lucia. Areli was then annexed into the Lucian Empire. The empire lasted almost a decade before it fell into turmoil.
The Emperor was assassinated, and within the year, the newly crowned Empress was revealed to be a demonically powered warlock at her wedding to the traitorous noble. The controversy surrounding the truth behind the revelation led to a total collapse and rebellions across the Lucian Empire.
Two years later, the former Arelin kingdom is now split into the larger Arelin kingdom, and three minor nations. Lucia is now a collection of seven small kingdoms, and the old elven d’Lathian Dominion has returned.