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The Returned Corpse

by Hayley Hummerston

An encounter for low-level Basic D&D parties. This is set in Threshold, Karameikos, as it is based on a seed idea in the Basic Player's Guide, but should fit into any town which has a logging industry nearby. In my adventure the logging venture was being used as a source of cash by an evil cult, but you are free to make of it what you will. Any feedback would be appreciated!

The characters are in the northern area of Threshold when they hear that a body has been washed up near the fishing village, among the logs from up-river. But the body is that of Joh - a local who died some months before and was buried - and his body looks relatively fresh! The original grave is examined and found empty. The graveyard keeper is questioned and explains that there have been no unexplained happenings - and that he would know if there was. As he is obviously deaf the characters put no value on his assurance. At the new funeral, the party meets and talks to Joh's family.

The town temple is concerned about the returned corpse, although there is no problem that they can actually report to the Patriarch. Recognising that the characters are already curious about it, they ask them to investigate the situation in return for healing potions and horses (but no actual money).

The party should travel north, following the river down which logs are sent, through heavily forested hills. They will see the logging camp after 2 days (50 miles), on the other side of the river near a ford. There is nothing unusual at first sight, although the Logging Master, Black Bill, is gruff and unwelcoming. He has fighters in chain mail who come and go in pairs all day & night as well as workers in leather around the camp itself.

Black Bill - F4, 20 HP, S16, I11, W9, D12, Con13, Ch10, Al C, AC 2, Thac0 15, Dam D6+3, Longsword +1, Plate Mail, Shield. An unpleasant bully of a man with a huge black beard who is the undisputed master of the camp. He does not like to admit that the camp actually belongs to others, who take a large cut of the profits, and neither knows or cares anything about his employers. His clothes are rough and ill-kempt.

Haz - C3, 15 HP, S14, I12, W17, D12, Con10, Ch14, Al C, AC 2, Thac0 18, Dam D6 +2, Mace +1, Plate Mail, Shield. Spells - Cause Fear x 2. A tall, thin man who wears a tabard with a blood-red eye upon it. He dresses well but simply, keeps the camp records and reports to his masters about the running of the camp. He has told Bill almost nothing about their employers.

Guards (8) - F1, 4/4/4/2/8/6/5/2 HP, Al C, AC 4, Thac0 19, Dam D6 (Crossbow) or D8 (Longsword), Crossbow, Longsword, Chain Mail, Shield. Tough, hard men who have had some military training and use standard military weapons. They oversee the zombie logging party some miles up the track to the east, which goes all day and night.

Loggers (10) - F1, 2/1/3/1/7/4/3/4/2/3 HP, Al C, AC 6, Thac0 19, Dam D6, Crossbow, Axe, Leather Armour, Shield. Woodsmen who have had some rudimentary training in arms but are not really going to stay and fight if there's an alternative. They do all the routine tasks of the camp and the more complicated logging tasks which are beyond the understanding of the zombies.

Zombies (12) - 9/9/12/6/7/4/14/12/3/12/12/14 HP, Al C, AC 8, Thac0 18, Dam D8 (claw). These are always out of camp chopping down trees, but will be moved back to the camp if it is attacked.

Skeletons (7) - 3/2/4/4/5/8/3 HP, Al C, AC 7, Thac0 19, Dam D6 (spear). These are kept as night guards for the camp.

(1) Dormitory Anteroom. These are used as lounge room and equipment storage by the guards & workers and contain benches on the inner walls and hooks for hanging bags on the outer walls.

(2) Dormitory Bunkroom. 18 untidy double bunks line the walls, with chests at the foot of each. There is a fire pit in the middle with some stools scattered around it.

(A) Dormitory Upper Room. An outside ladder leads to this dusty room which has broken furniture scattered around. This is where the skeletons are kept when not on guard.

(3) Dining Room. Rough tables and benches fill the room. There are 3 kegs of beer against the west wall, one of which has been tapped. On the north wall are shelves of wooden platters and spoons and flagons of wine. There is a fireplace in the south-west corner.

(4) Kitchen. There is a large fire-plate in the north-west corner, with a cauldron hanging in it. The north wall is covered with shelves of basic foodstuffs. In the centre of the wall is a large wooden table covered with bowls, knives, spoons, etc, and surrounded by high stools.

(5) Office. This is where Haz spends most of his time, keeping records and writing letters at his cluttered desk on the southern wall. Most of the papers on his desk are receipts and orders for the business, but there are also 3 with a red eye symbol (a scroll with 2 Cure Light Wounds spells on it, a Cause Fear scroll and a coded letter from Catharadamus). There is also a bare desk on the north wall, nominally for Black Bill although he hardly uses it. The east wall has shelves of account books, paper, pens and a narrow staircase leading to the upper rooms.

(B) Haz's Room. This has a simple but well-made bed with good quality coverings and a similar wardrobe filled with clerical robes and other items of clothing. There is a secret compartment in the bottom, trapped with a sac which sprays indelible ink over any intruder, which contains Haz's personal treasure.

(C) Spare Room. This contains a simple bed and a chest of basic medical supplies.

(D) Black Bill's Room. A huge but poorly-finished bed dominates the room. There is a large chest at the foot which is carved with crude pictures of naked women and contains spare clothes.

(6) Stables. Four donkeys are kept here when not being used to drag logs.

(7) Tack Room. This room contains the reins and harness for the donkeys as well as (empty) saddle bags and sacks.

(8) Equipment Shed. This contains logging equipment (axes, straps, knives, pulleys, saws) as well as boating equipment (oars, ropes, tools).