The Tunder-House

This is rough, at the moment, but it’s the beginning of my first adventure. The next post will be the body, but I thought it might be a good idea to split it up. No visuals, this time; I’m barely getting this one up on time, as it is.

The Tunder-House

Summerlands Adventure for 12-14th level characters.

Background

Hundreds of years ago, a powerful tunder became frustrated with her inability to save more mortals from the depredations of the fey. No matter how often she reminded herself that she could only be in one place at a time, her conscience remained unsettled. No matter how many lives she saved, the only faces she could remember were those she failed to reach in time, those who had no tunder to defend them, and those faces haunted her dreams.

The tunder, whose true name is, of course, lost to history, gathered all of her magical knowledge and began collecting powerful rituals and magical items. These she secreted away in a cabin she had built for this purpose, and cabin powerfully warded against the fey. After many more years, and many magical rituals, her cabin become something far more: it became a traveling safe-house, and she was bound inside it.

For centuries, The Tunder-House appeared where it was most needed, where mortals were threatened by fey beyond their abilities to combat. It took them in and gave them an opportunity to heal, to rest, and even to relocate. Recently, however, something has gone wrong. Instead of saving mortals, the house has been taking them in and never releasing them. In some cases, mortals are dying. Though the tunder who build the house is long dead, her spirit still lives within, and its mission has changed: rather than seeking mortals to save, she seeks mortals who can continue the house’s mission, and let the Tunder-House rest.

Running the Adventure

The Tunder-House begins as a hunt, but the characters are the hunted. The fey do not take kindly to mortals trespassing on their lands, and in this case the characters should be overpowered. The weakest of fey, a sprite or a brownie, is more powerful than the average mortal, but by the time they reach level 12, characters have little to fear from most fey, at least individually. There are exceptions, however, and one has taken notice of the party: a tunche has decided to hunt the characters. Making the characters feel a sense of fear is important in the first part of the adventures. Player characters are not apt to run from a fight, but the tunche (at first, at least) is not interested in killing them: it wants to feed on their emotions. For it to feed, it needs to create powerful emotions, and terror is its favorite.

Once the house appears, the tone of the adventure changes. The house is small, a mere four rooms, but it is suffused with magic, and that magic has gone wrong. The adventurers will need to survive the challenges of the house, and the choices they make will impact how the house reacts to them. A blood-thirsty party may simply be equipped and sent on their way, while a more thoughtful group might be taken into the tunder’s confidence and tasked with collecting the components to fix the house (this is beyond the scope of this adventure, however). In any event, the house should give the characters the tools they need to combat the tunche and its allies, despite the difference in level. These boons may only be effective during the final battle, or only occasionally useful thereafter, but once the characters have slain a tunche, they will be known to all fey, and their names will become feared throughout the fey creatures of the Summerlands.

The order in which the character explore the room of the Tunder-House does not matter. There is no right way to approach the three areas: all three are tests, and all three must be completed before the house will do more than protect the characters from their attackers.

Setting

The Tunder-House is set in the northern woodlands of the Summerlands, although any deeply wooded area would be an appropriate setting. The Summerlands make an ideal location for the house, however, as the tunder and the fey have been fighting an ongoing, but often invisible, war for many thousands of years. The Summerlands fey are universally evil and predatory, embodying the more violent and malicious aspects of nature. From sprites to redcaps to tunche, these fey have one thing in common: they view mortals as prey.

The house itself in a magical location, unrooted in place (and possibly time). It goes where it is needed, and saves as many mortals as it can, but no magical ritual lasts forever, and the rituals that created the house are breaking down. It must either pass on its mantle or find caretakers who can repair its potent magics.

A tunder character will likely have heard stories of the house, although few tunder have ever seen it. After all, if a mortal or a town has a tunder to defend it, the house is unneeded. Aside from tunder legends, however, even the most ardent student of the fey is unlikely to have heard of it (DC 25 Intelligence (History) check), and then only rumors about a house that appears and disappears when it is needed, a house that fey despise.

Next time: The Adventure!

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