“If they need more seasoning before continuing to the greater challenges, you may – and should – design and develop other adventures in the area” (Gygax et al. The Temple of Elemental Evil. 6).
I've been trying to get back into blogging on a regular basis. One of the projects that I started a while back was writing up stuff for use in a Temple of Elemental Evil campaign. I've long wanted to run this venerable module. Once I was able to free myself from the shackles of canon and accept that this would be my own version of ToEE I finally felt free to go crazy. I've already blogged about a number of locations in the town in the past and plan to write about a variety of other stuff that would be great in the campaign.
One of the observations I've made about the T1-4 is that the town of Hommlet has way too many locations in it. Way more than any campaign could probably even use. Worst of all some offer absolutely no hint of what to do with them. While this is great empty space for a DM to fill in, it's also a lot of work to do. So I decided to try and brainstorm up little side quests, some of which are independent of the main plot that I thought would be fun to run. I've also in some cases changed things up from the original text in order to keep things fresh and interesting. Even if you're not using Hommlet, these seeds could be used with modification for a village in your own campaigns. For more info see the Ultimate Greyhawk sidebar to the top right of my blog.
12. The Barinov Farm
Lurgo, a giant of a farmer lives here with family. His son Bogdan (age 20) is just a large as his father, and both tower over Lurgo’s wife Misha and their six daughters: Nadya (age 19), Karina (age 21), Roksanna (age 17), Sabina (age 15), Agatha (age 14) and Daria (age 13). The eldest daughter Karina has a 5-month old baby boy named Yuri from an unknown father which may come up in town gossip from time to time. These folk are quite friendly and have been members of the town for as long as anyone can remember. They practice the Old Faith and Lurgo and his eldest three children are part of the militia, though now with Karina a mother she is less likely to leave on ant sort of mission beyond the town.
Adventure Seed: Horror in Hommlet
The smiling and friendliness of the Barinov family is a façade, but it wasn’t always this way. In fact, it was the very open and hospitable nature of the family that lead to this present state of forced happiness and attempting to mask the melancholy that envelops the family.
Little less that a year and a half ago (more precisely 14 months ago), the family took in a stranger. At the time it was hard to believe that the pitiful and malnourished man named Varek could be a danger. But a danger he was. Taking pity the this wretch lying in the road they took him in. Varek claimed that he was a down on his luck traveller. He left out the part about how he was a thief and a murder originally from Dyvers.
One day having recovered much of his strength, Varek found Karina in the family barn alone. Overcome with lust he raped the young woman. her youngest sister, Daria discovering Varek attacking her, rushed to get her father. Lurgo and his son rushed in and in the heat of the moment killed Varek. That night the family fearful of the repercussions buried Varek’s body in the copse of woods between their farm and the Weavers House (Area 10). Later it was discovered that Karina had fallen pregnant. Ashamed of the blood on their hands, it almost seemed as if the family's faith in the Oerth Mother was speaking to them saying "a life for a life". Thus nine months later Yuri was born.
But that was not the end of Varek. By some unknown circumstance his vile soul of Varek found itself bound into a Scarecrow (5e MM p.268) in the Barinov’s corn field. In the next few days he will begin to murder the family members one by one and anyone who gets in his way. When the family is dead who will be the Varek’s next victim(s)? Will the heros get involved and help solve the mystery of the Horror in Hommlet?