The ultimate goal of the adventure series I’m writing is to equip a group of 5 players with the tools they need to sit down and play Let Thrones Beware – play without having to first page through several hundred dense pages of reference material. Each adventure begins with a thematic overview of a pertinent part of the Let Thrones Beware world. In Rogue in the Woods: A Let Thrones Beware Adventure, players were introduced to the world of Ceyenus for the first time, read about the incursion of Man, and learned about the cataclysm that destroyed Man’s kingdom. In the second adventure, Knight to Remember, we learn more about the Deep Wood, the refuge villages that have been established by those who managed to escape the end of Man, and catch a first glimpse of the horrors that lurk within the forest.
For your enjoyment, here’s the opening of our next adventure.
Given the paucity of Man’s presence in the Deep Wood, it was only natural that cataclysm which was his undoing sent the races of Ceyenus hurrying for shelter under its foreboding canopy. Though it was the Fey who Man first ripped from forests centuries ago, the flood of refugees encompassed all those who were close enough to reach the massive trunks of the Wood before the lands of Man were completely consumed by the conflagration that brought low his kingdom. Insectoid, Formian, Ipotane, and Fey, all released from the domineering hand of Man, found themselves alone in an isolated and primeval land. While freed, their civilizations and cultures had been lain to waste, and all found themselves facing the daunting prospect of forging a new destiny in a strange and unfamiliar place.
Spirits buoyed by their freedom, the refugees set about claiming the Deep Wood. Sprawling settlements were established, open to all those that desired to make a home for themselves. It was not an easy life; food, tools, and comfort were in short supply, but compared to the atrocities that came before, it was good living. Sadly, hope of a tranquil existence was short-lived. While there was little internecine violence between the refugees, they soon discovered that Man had avoided the Wood with good reason. The Deep Wood, remote and isolated, had never been cultivated by the Fey, and in their absence, darker, more insidious forces had taken hold. The presence which lurked behind the trees fed off the Cataclysm, and its hunger was to be insatiable.
Absent the threat of Man, the refugees had given scant thought to protection, and the communities which they had founded were largely indefensible. When the Deep Wood first was inundated by fog, they thought little of it, even when the concealing vapour lingered, refusing to dissipate for weeks at a time. Wild animals were blamed for the first disappearances, as was getting lost in the mist, but as the vanishings increased in both number and frequency, it became clear that something more insidious was at work.
The first walls were erected shortly after the fifteenth year, a too-late response to the realization of the true threat. In what is known as the First Reaping, Watcher’s Redoubt, a 300-person farming community saw its population cut by a third in a single night. Thatched roofs staved in and doors shattered, the town saw its populace reduced by a third in a single night of carnage and bloodshed. It was only then that the true nature of the Deep Wood was realized. With haste, the survivors constructed rudimentary defences; wooden palisades, shallow trenches, and rickety towers went up across the hamlets and villages of the Deep Wood.
In time, a connection was made between the attacks and the thick, rolling fog that blanketed the forest; when the fog receded, so too did the savage slaughter of anyone who dared venture into the trees abate. When the fog poured back from between the trees, it meant certain doom for anyone unlucky enough to remain outside the relative safety of the refuge villages. The times without fog, the longest of which occurred like clockwork at the end of each season, came to be known as the Passage. During these respites, merchants and peddlers took to plying their trade between the refuge villages, performing a vital service at tremendous personal risk. As years churned by, trade between the villages increased, and the Passage gradually took on shades of ritual. The scourge of bandits has grown in recent years, and merchants have begun to band together in caravans for safety.
One such Passage has just begun, and the death of Summer is heralded at your guard post by the creak of wooden carts and the grunts of oxen.