Grave Doubts

An adventure for the Savage Worlds of Solomon Kane

 

Grave doubts is an adventure scenario set in the world of Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane.  To play this scenario as written requires the Savage Worlds of Solomon Kane, by Pinnacle Entertainment.  However, it shouldn’t be too difficult to substitute your favorite system.  If you wish to run this adventure using another system, you will only need to translate the NPC stats found in the NPC sidebar.  Grave Doubts is recommended for 4-6 Novice characters.

 

 

Background

Eldred Boothe is a little man, with big ambitions.  The latest in a long line of necromancers, Eldred has concocted a plan to build an army of undead, using the freshly interred bodies in the cemeteries of nearby Oxford.  Boothe has been successfully using the locals’ fear of medical science to cover his work.  The townsfolk, believing the students are robbing graves to study the cadavers, vent their anger at the college, while Boothe, with the help of several Ghouls, has taken nearly a dozen corpses for his experiments.  By the time the heroes arrive in Oxford, the college is under siege, and Boothe has eight to twelve ghouls at his command.

 

Getting to Oxford

While in London, the heroes are contacted either directly, or through an intermediary, by Bishop Herrigan.  The forward thinking Bishop has donated a book on medicine to his friend, Dean Leake, head of the newly formed Medical College at Oxford, and needs trusted people to deliver it.  If anyone in the group is a man of the cloth, the Bishop makes it an order.  Otherwise, he impresses upon the heroes how grateful he would be, should they accept this mission.  Upon acceptance, they are told to go to the Bridge Inn for lodging in Oxford.

 

 

 

Oxford Under Siege

When the heroes arrive in Oxford, they find that the college is surrounded by a picket of angry townsfolk.  No one is allowed on or off the college grounds, and a few of the picketers can back this up with their Blunderbusses if the heroes get pushy.  If asked about the siege, the townsfolk will tell the heroes about the grave robberies.  Some details they could get out of the locals are:

  • The robberies always happen on nights when there’s no moon (like tonight).
  • So far, three of the four large cemeteries in town have been robbed.
  • Dean Leake had requested permission to exhume the bodies of condemned men for research.  Surely that means the students are to blame.

The Bridge (Map Location 1)

When the heroes arrive at The Bridge, they find it buzzing with activity.  The Innkeeper, William Hale, is tense when the heroes first meet him, but warms to them once he learns of their purpose in Oxford.  Hale is friends with Dean Leake, and warns the heroes to keep their mission secret.  If asked about the situation, he offers the following bits of information:

  • The rumors of students robbing graves is ridiculous.  Hale knows many of the students and is certain they have nothing to do with it.  Additionally, some of the stolen corpses were too old and decayed for anatomical study.
  • St. Magdalen’s cemetery has two newly buried corpses, and believing it the next target, ten well-armed townsfolk are guarding it.
  • There are many holes in the picket surrounding the college.  Hale has sneaked across the line several times, delivering food and ale to the besieged.
  • Hale can help the heroes get to Dean Leake.

 

GM NOTE

At this point, the players have been doing little except talking, so they might start getting a little antsy.  If so, a good tavern brawl should liven things up.  Stats for an average local are given below.
Hale has two loaded Blunderbusses behind the bar, but will wait to see how the heroes fair, before pulling one out.  He should stop the brawl before the heroes get too bloodied up to face the Ghouls.

Locals
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d4, Notice d6, Shooting d4
Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 6
Gear:

  • Club (Str+d4)
  • Pike (Reach 1; Str+d8; 2 Hands) or
  • Blunderbuss (10/20/40; 1-3d6; ROF 1; 2 actions to reload)

 

The Dean’s House (Map Location 2)

If the heroes have gained the confidence of Mr. Hale, he escorts them to one of the holes in the picket line, and directs them to Leake’s house.  If not, they will have to sneak in.  Use the stats for Average Local in the NPC sidebar to see if they succeed.  If they aren’t stealthy enough, they will have to make a run for it.  The townsfolk won’t leave the picket line, so either way, they should make it to the Dean’s house.  Once there, the Dean cautiously welcomes them.  When they present the book, he embraces them warmly. 

Leake can provide the following information:

  • The robberies have all taken place in graveyards around the northeast section of town, near St. John’s College.  As such, he thinks the robbers are escaping in to the woods in that direction.
  • He doesn’t think St. Magdalen’s will be robbed.  He believes the small cemetery near the workhouse will be violated instead, as there are three newly interred bodies there, and that cemetery isn’t being guarded.
  • The woods northeast of Oxford have long been rumored to be haunted.  Most of the townsfolk avoid the place.
  • If asked why the workhouse cemetery isn’t being guarded, he explains that deaths there often go unreported.
  • Assuming the heroes choose to help, Leake leads the heroes to another hole in the picket line.  Once there, he directs them to the workhouse, wishes them luck, and hurries away.  The heroes are now on their own.

 

The Workhouse (Map Location 3)

Night has fallen by the time the heroes arrive at the cemetery.  With no moon, they have only the starlight to pick their way amongst the headstones.  The fresh graves can be found with a successful Notice roll at -2.  The heroes can then hide themselves and wait.
The heroes (with another Notice roll at -2) see several figures entering the graveyard.  Though they don’t know it yet, these are four of Boothe’s Ghouls.  Read the description in the box below (or substitute with your own):

"You see four stooped figures enter the graveyard.  They run toward the fresh graves with a strange loping gait, reminiscent of a large primate.  Despite the darkness and lack of any light source, the intruders seem to have no difficulty in navigating around the head stones.  When they reach the graves, they begin tearing at the freshly turned soil with their bare hands.  They speak to each other in low grunts and squeals."


Ghouls
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d4, Spirit d4, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d4, Notice d6, Stealth d6
Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 8
Special Abilities:

  • Claw(2): Str+d4
  • Low Light Vision: Ignore darkness penalties.
  • Paralysis: Victim of Ghoul’s Claw attack must make a Vigor roll at -2 or be paralyzed for 1d6 rounds.
  • Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from Shaken.

 

If the heroes reveal themselves or are detected, the Ghouls flee toward the forest, abandoning their prizes.  If the heroes remain hidden, they can follow them into the forest.  
Should the heroes instead choose stealth, they will notice that the Ghouls move swiftly, despite the darkness and the added burden of three corpses.  Movement through the dark forest is not so easy for the heroes.  Have them make several Notice rolls (all at -2) to avoid hitting low branches or tripping over roots.  If they fail, the Ghouls notice them, drop the corpses, and flee faster.  The heroes will need a light source to keep up with the fleeing Ghouls.

 

Showdown at the Cottage

The heroes finally catch up to the Ghouls at a small cottage in the woods.  The last they see is one Ghoul vanishing behind the cottage.  If they haven’t already done so, you should impress upon the heroes that now would be a good time to light a torch.

The Ghouls are now waiting in ambush on the far side of the cottage.  Four are on the roof, and the rest are on the ground, hidden behind an ox cart.

As the heroes approach the cottage, the front door opens, and Eldred Boothe appears in the doorway.  He brandishes a pistol and demands to know what the heroes are doing there.  In fact, he is stalling while his Ghouls position themselves for attack.  Boothe has already cast Deflection on himself, and when the Ghouls are in position (see Cottage Fight map) he fires at the closest hero and retreats into the cottage.  From this point on, he will remain inside, casting spells at the heroes.  The Ghouls attack as soon as he fires.  There should be two Ghouls per hero.

Boothe will make sorcerous attacks from the safety of the cottage.  If the heroes prevail against the Ghouls, he will attempt to flee out the back door.

 

Eldred Boothe
Attributes:
Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Edges: Arcane Background (Sorcery)
Hindrances: Vengeful

Skills: Fighting d4, Guts d6, Notice d6, Shooting d6, Persuasion d6, Sorcery d10
Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 6
Gear: Dagger Str+d4; Pistol (Range: 5/10/20; 2d6+1; ROF 1; 2 actions to reload)
Powers:
Armor, Deflection, Fear, Withering Curse, Zombie

Boothe is a coward, and will flee rather than face the heroes in combat.  If captured, he will attempt to negotiate with the heroes.  Boothe has a great deal of knowledge about the hidden world.  At the GMs discretion, Boothe could offer some tidbit of information in exchange for his release.  However, he will never forgive the heroes for ruining his plan, and will seek revenge at a later time.  Boothe could become an ongoing nemesis for the heroes.  
If they choose this route, the heroes will have to tread lightly, as the locals would take a dim view of them for releasing a known necromancer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This game references the Savage Worlds game system, available from Pinnacle Entertainment Group at www.peginc.comSavage Worlds and all associated logos and trademarks are copyrights of Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Used with permission. Pinnacle makes no representation or warranty as to the quality, viability, or suitability for purpose of this product.