Ghoul Plague

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Summary: The Ghoul Plague adventure takes place in the elven refugee camp in the Chaos Scar. The PCs begin by returning to the refugee community to inform them that they can all go to Restwell Keep, where they will be safe and secure from the monstrous denizens of the Chaos Scar. Unfortunately, a zombie-like infection has spread amongst the refugees. It began when a powerful ghast (Citrian from Restwell Keep) arrived at the camp. Smarter than the average undead, he chose a few stragglers to infect with his ghoul fever. Those few then began the rapid spread of the disease throughout the community. Within days, the population was reduced to a handful of elves who have hidden in a nearby old laboratory (see Bullywug adventure in 8-20-2010 Update). The PCs must track down the survivors, rescue them, and run with them back to Restwell Keep; all while fighting a mass of ghouls and the powerful ghast.

Encounter 1: An Eerie Return

The PCs arrive at the refugee camp to find the entire area littered with dead bodies, equipment strewn everywhere, and most of the makeshift buildings on fire. After a round of exploration, a group of ghouls attack the PCs. After the battle, the PCs either follow a fleeing ghoul to the shack where the survivors are or follow the sounds of fighting east of the camp.

- 1 stench ghoul (tribe elder Sorrenson)

- 2 sodden ghouls

- 6 lvl 3 horde ghouls

Encounter 2: Little Elf, Little Elf, Let Us In!!!

The PCs run from the refugee encampment to the old sorcerer’s laboratory (really a dilapidated shack) to find the place surrounded by a horde of ghouls. These ghouls were the members of the refugee camp; elves, dwarves, humans….all dead, all hungry for flesh. The are currently trying to assail the shack. The PCs are obviously overwhelmed but must decide whether or not to attempt to rescue the still healthy elves inside or attempt to flee with their lives. If the PCs venture towards the shack, they can gain a few suprise rounds based on their Stealth checks. The ghouls then target any living creature. The ghast appears three rounds after combat begins, targeting specifically Carric Greanleaf, attempting to either kill or infect him. If the PCs turn and leave, the ghouls eventually claim the other elves’ lives and set their sights on the nearest source of living flesh…Restwell Keep. Note: the following monsters come in waves…

- elite ghast

- 10 ghoul flesh seekers (human refugees)

- 10 ghouls (dwarf refugees)

- 100 horde ghouls (elf refugees; many of these are children led by Anastrianna)

- 1 lvl 5 abyssal ghoul pack leader (Anastrianna)

- Carric Greanleaf, Baldric Smithson, and 10 other surviving elves (Mad Elf Jouneymen) inside shack. The elves have found bottles of Alchemist’s Acid and Alchemit’s Fire (10 of each), which they are using to keep the ghoul horde at bay.

Skill Challenge: Run, run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me…we’re the Seven Orc Pileup Band!

The PCs (whether or not they have rescued elves in tow) must flee as fast as they can back to Restwell Keep. Alternately, Carric informs them of an old temple of Erathis (site of Dead by Dawn Adventure) that they could run and hide in, which is closer than Restwell Keep. This skill challenge involves chasing, random encounters, and a crap-ton of ghouls!

Complexity 4: 5 successes before 2 failures

Evasion Strategies: During the challenge, the group can employ up to two of the following strategies.

“Let’s Split-up!”

The players decide to split up into one or more groups. Each group nominates a leader. The leader of each group rolls Bluff (other group members can Aid another). If Carric Greanleaf is in a leader’s group, that group takes a -2 penalty to Bluff for this roll. The horde will chase after the group with the highest Bluff score. Members of the other groups can automatically escape the ghouls and succeed at the skill challenge, but get no XP unless the group still in the skill challenge succeeds. The group the horde of ghouls chase adds a +4 to all DCs for the rest of the challenge, but all successful rolls are worth an extra success.

“Go on without me!”

One PC holds back and grab’s the horde’s attention. That PC will take up to three attacks from the ghouls (normal ghoul claw attack bonus, but default 25 damage). Roll to hit three times against the PC and resolve the damage from attacks as normal. For each attack that the PC is still standing (above 0 HP), the party gains two successes. If the PC is still up after the three attacks, he must make a successful Stealth (hard DC) or Athletics (hard DC) check or suffer three more attacks. If successful, the PC is able to get away from the monster and join the group. Keep attempting this check (it does not count towards success or failure) until the PC drops or gets away.

Ways to earn a success/fail:

- Endurance DC 13 (increases by 2/minute): Every minute of travel, the PCs must collectively make an endurance check, averaging the result. If the result is below the DC, the ghoul horde gains ground on the PCs, triggering a short encounter with 12 horde ghoul minions. If this combat takes more than 6 rounds, the PCs must make another Endurance check. If failed again, see failure below.

- AOE attack (DC 17) 1/minute: A character with an AOE attack can take out a cluster of ghouls, slowing the horde down and buying the PCs time.

- Athletics/Arcana/Nature/Religion/Thievery (DC based on action): A character can create an obstacle or trap to hinder the progress of the ghoul horde, buying the PCs more time.

- Hide (DC 21) 1/minute: The PCs take cover and wait for the horde of ghouls to run by, enabling the PCs to run a in a different direction or path

- Secondary Skills: Insight, Perception, Dungeoneering, Heal

Success! The PCs put enough distance between themselves and the ghoul horde, enabling them to take a short rest. The skill challenge then resets and the PCs have to start running again! The PCs reach Restwell Keep after three Skill Challenges

Failure :( The ghoul horde catches up with the PCs, causing each PC to lose one healing surge, and triggering an encounter (see below). The skill challenge then resets and the PCs have to start running again! The PCs reach Restwell Keep after three Skill Challenges (the one’s who are still alive!)

- elite ghast (if still alive). ghast always begins combat at his bloodied HP value or greater (if he hasn’t been bloodied yet)

- 2 ghouls or ghoul flesh seekers

- 12 lvl 3 horde ghouls

Rewards!

- 500 Reputation

- If Baldric and Carric both are rescued and survive – Verdant Bowstaff +2 and 200 Karma

- 10 bottles of both Alchemist Acid and Alchemist Fire (less if some were used during battle)

- 2 pp and 250 gp inside the abandoned camp (mundane items are also available)

The adventure continues with Ghoul Plague, part 2

Ghoul Plague

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