The first part of the Ancient Ruins of the West Wood begins with the characters receiving their quest to the Ancient ruins in the forgotten village of Verdinan, now overgrown and mostly destroyed. Once there, they discover the entrance to the “Twisted Caverns” and the magically talented dwarfs of clan Arcanaxe. They learn that the Ancient ruins further into the complex are active and the leader of the Arcanaxes, Kildrak, wishes to acquire whatever is powering them. The characters then proceed through the caverns, facing zombies and goblinoids, eventually facing off against a goblin that calls himself the Goblin King.
Depending on how the characters proceed, they can find themselves quickly in part two, the “Ancient Complex”. They explore the ruins of the complex via teleportation circles and are given a glimpse into the complexity of Ancient research and experimentation. They see a plethora of creatures frozen in time within the Menagerie, and may find themselves trapped within an endless illusory pocket dimension. They are also faced with a difficult choice when they find the source of the complex’s energy.
If the players leave the dungeon area to explore the tunnels of the Deep, then the characters can find themselves in the “Crystal Caverns” which can lead to one of two Interludes. Interlude One takes place in the deep gnome village of Geosyn. They have been enslaved by a clan of duergar and the characters are offered the chance to decide the fate of the gnomes. In Interlude Two, the characters accidentally come face to face with the ancient black dragon Versimidor. The choice they are offered here is a little less forgiving: free Versimidor from his long held prison, or be destroyed.
Do the characters retrieve the source of the Ancient energy? How will the dwarfs of Clan Arcanaxe respond to their choices? Did they free the black dragon Versimidor, or is the mighty beast committing their names and faces to memory for the day when someone else manages to free him?
The adventure can be accessed in multiple ways. Choose which one feels more appropriate for your group.
Hook: Missing Adventurers
The characters are hired by the Byr Bridge Brigade adventuring guild leader, a gruff hill dwarf named Orsik Balderk, to find five guild members that have not been seen since they were asked to explore the forgotten village of Verdinan in the West Wood a week ago.
Alternative. The player characters are members of the Byr Bridge Brigade and their next mission is to save their fellow guild members.
Quest Rewards. Orsik promises 100 gp to each character. If they are members of the guild, he also promises that the characters do not need to pay guild dues next month if their fellow adventurers are brought back safely.
Hook: Ancient Relic Hunting
The player characters are hired by Drist, a resident of Byr that runs a questionably legal business at the docks along the Ysir-Byr. He wants you to explore the Ancient ruins in the lost village Verdinan and bring him whatever relics you can find for a percentage of the profit.
Alternative. A man named Orson, a representative of Lord Cypher Scrywyld, ruler of the Northwest territories of Areli, comes to the characters and asks them to bring the relics to Lord Scrywyld in Ridgeview instead of to Drist.
Quest Rewards. Drist offers you 2/3 the market price for any magic item returned, though insists that whatever the characters bring is no more than a common magic item, no matter the item’s description. The representative from Lord Scrywyld offers 200 gp per relic, and the promise of future noble backed quests.
Hook: Death’s Whisper
Veris, a priest of Solm from Byr, received a vision of Arthen’s influence within the West Wood and wants to hire the player characters to find search the area and stop the problem.
Alternative. The characters are minding their own business, walking along the Trader’s Road either toward or away from Byr. And then, they are attacked by undead, a quick and easy fight that leads them to investigate the forgotten village of Verdinan.
Quest Rewards. Veris offers the characters 150 gp each.
The following are the options for builds on the NPCs mentioned above based on time available to you as well as what you have access to.
Orsik is a either a level 7 Fighter with the Champion build, or a Veteren NPC, or a Knight NPC based on whatever materials you have available.
Drist is simply a Thug NPC running a scam with his business.
Orson is a Spy or Thug NPC working for the local lord,
Veris is a Priest NPC from the Lightseekers cathedral in Byr. His dedication to the sun god Solm has led to him experiencing visions.