Ventner's Crag is a high, isolated rock tower on the southern borders of the Eochail Kingdoms, near the area known as the Mist Marches. In the last days of the Atalantean successor Kingdoms, this rock was fortified by Sialic tribesmen who had been part of one of the client tribes of the Principality of Mohomora. They had absorbed sufficient Atalantean culture to have become estranged from their old beliefs. With the collapse of the Principality of Mohomora, the lords of the castle became local rulers and eventually merged their religion with that of the barbaric Sialic tribes who migrated into the area. Eventually, the castle became home to a warrior cult to the God/Demon Ventanach Cruach (Lord of the Sky). Throughout all this time, the castle was gradually enlarged, and the tunnels under it extended. A substantial town grew up at the foot of the crag. Eventually, the town and castle were absorbed into the kingdom of Enneasis, and when the Medarian religion swept the Middle kingdoms, Enneasis was the last to submit. The castle atop the rock known then as Tarach Ventanach was destroyed by the fearful sorcerors of the Medarians - leaving the top of the crag a puddle of molten rock. The cult of Ventanach perished, as did the majority of the population of the surrounding area. For generations afterward, the crag and surrounding area was regarded as a place of ill-omen and avoided. That distaste passed on to the Eochail who eventually occupied the area, until finally even that was forgotten. The crag is now just a local landmark, but its tunnels survive, untouched for over 2000 years............
Although no-one lives nearby, the local people (from the village of Sourmon) do occasionally venture to the top of the crag. The environs of Sourmon are shown here. There is a narrow and dangerous path that winds around the side of the crag - and halfway up is a small cave. The back wall has been smoothed out and there is a small bowl carved in it, which is filled by a spring in the rock. Careful examination will reveal other carvings on the wall, but they are too worn to make anything of. There is a small bowl, with black sludge in it and some old food - remains of offerings left at the fountain by local travellers. Beyond the cave the path becomes even narrower and less signs of travel are visible on it. There is a secret door located in the cave, by the fountain, but age and dirt has all but obscured it (-5 to Concealment rolls for those trying to find it).
The melted top of the crag forms a shallow crater, which over the centuries has filled with dirt. It now forms a shallow, grassy bowl. There are a few small shrubs, but not trees - the soil is only a few centimetres deep over most of the bowl -too shallow to support them. Anyone digging in the soil would soon uncover the glassy, smooth slag left by long-ago sorcery. Any character posessing the skill - or something similar - can make a KS: magic roll to realise that this is magically melted stone.
This scenario is a good old-fashioned dungeon-bash, although it rewards thinking players as much as fighters. It's good introduction to Hero system for players bought up on more traditional fantasy gaming, and also introduces some important historical background to the Gothick Empires game (read the time line to see what I mean, plus the section on Medarian and related religions). Of course, you can also plonk it down in your own game in any suitably desolate spot.
There are a number of ways that GMs can get their players involved in this adventure. The crag should seem like a safe refuge or a place to make a stand if they are travelling through the area and have problems with monsters or bandits. Once there they could notice the unnatural nature of the crag top and find the entrance by poking around (see level one) or the secret entrance in the cave halfway up (see level 3). An alert player will also notice the regular mounds among the trees that surround the crag - all that remains of the city that used to lie at the foot of the crag. Perhaps a few shaped stones are still visible. Normally, any sign of buried mysteries is enough to get players digging like rabbits . If that does not happen, don't force them - let them move on. It is fun to let them find the old map in a later adventure and realise that they have been to the site it depicts. If some legends of hidden wealth are associated with the map, that should motivate them.
Alternatively, they could find the old map first and later stumble across the crag.
Finally, they could be hired by a sage or a mage and sent to the crag directly in an attempt to solve its mysteries or retrieve a piece of loot rumoured to be buried there.
Two last points - this adventure contains many foes who completely outclass normal 150 point characters. If your players are simple hack n' slash types, they will probably suffer a high casualty rate. Be aware of this. Secondly, there is a lot of magic in this adventure - however, not all of it is likely to be found, and much of it will probably be used up staying alive during the course of the adventure. The majority are potions or similar items with limited uses. However, if the players manage to kill a Sun Knight they might get his armour, which is very potent item. Since this is a tough adventure, the prize is not entirely out of proportion. Just remember that many attacks that will kill a Sun Knight will also trash their armour and be prepared to get rid of any surviving armour in a later adventure, if you want to ensure the longevity of your game.