Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unexplored Worlds: Ruined Shrine In The Wood

  • On a small hill in the midst of the woods sits the ruins of an ancient shrine. Flat, weather-beaten stones form an irregular base upon which crumbled walls and columns rest. At the center of this circular foundation stands a pedestal topped by a basin filled with clear, clean water. Two statues stand at opposite sides of the shrine. One depicts a shapely woman clad in a long toga clasped over her left shoulder, bearing her right shoulder and breast. The second statue is of a long, granite fish stood vertically on its tail.

  • A player passing a difficult skill check in the knowledge of stonework will discover that the stones are of differing compositions, some of which are not native to the area. Passing a moderate skill check in the knowledge of art or sculpture will determine that two statues and the basin a carved in three separate styles. Players with religious training will be unable to determine any significance to the shrine.

  • While investigating the nearby settlement, player will learn any number of rumors (1d8 for random rumors):

    1. A woman and her lover were murdered in the shrine by her jealous husband. The spirits of the couple still haunt the hillside.

    2. No one in the village knows who built that shrine or knows how long it has been there. No one even remembers what god the shrine is sacred to.

    3. The shrine is not falling apart. It's actually growing from the earth one stone at a time!

    4. Children are warned to stay away from the hill or risk disappearing. One girl playing in the shrine vanished during a game of hide-and-seek and has not been seen since.

    5. Anyone who drinks from the basin in the shrine can breath like a fish for seven days.

    6. A priestess of the unknown religion still stand vigil in the shrine even after death. Her song calling people to worship will entrance any man who hears it.

    7. Even while the shrine is watched so that no one may enter unseen, any offering of food or precious metals will disappear.

    8. Rubbing the scales of the stone fish is good luck. Touching the stone maiden with cause blindness.

  • The truth of the shrine is that it is an elaborate prank by two fairy spirits. The pair have scavenged all the piece of the shrine over the course of several years. Whenever they find something to add to their construction, they steal it and put it up at the shrine. This is the reason everything is so mismatched.

  • Beyond just building it, the fairies attempt to lure the unwary into their shrine so as to scare them senseless. One or both of the them will moan or wail to attract the attention of anyone nearby. The fairies can also glow in the darkness, so they will dance and caper around the shrine after dusk if they think anyone is watching. One recent addition to their repertoire is to carry on a conversation as if between two ghosts. (This is actually in response to rumor one, above. Not the cause of it.) Finally, the fairies like to flit around anyone who enters the shrine, allowing themselves to be seen just out of the corner of one's eye.

  • They have no malevolent intent. They just want to laugh at all the scared people.

  • Unexplored Worlds is my attempt to design an RPG campaign in the open. Since I have not rolled a d20 in anger in many years, this is my way to keep playing without actually playing. All posts are written to be system-agnostic, so please use whatever keeps your interest in your own games. Just let me know how it goes!

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

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