Tad Leckman (Order #22105967)
Saltmarsh (who is secretly a 'receiver' for the smugglers)
will learn of the party's intent from a casual remark in
conversation with a Council member and the assassin will
be hurriedly planted (see particularly the notes to part 1,
G. Have the party equip themselves by dealing with local
traders, then let them set out along the old coast road. For
part of the way they will be accompanied by encouraging
and admiring townsfolk and hero-worshipping children,
though the followers will retire to the town as the house
looms in view ... .... .
PART ONE - THE HAUNTED HOUSE
...wherein the party discovers the first part of THE SINISTER
SECRET OF SALTMARSH ...
It is suggested that the Dungeon Master should introduce the
players to the adventure in the following way:
A. Have the party meet at Saltmarsh as a result of vague
rumours that there is worthy work for adventurers in the
B. Describe the town - provide the players with maps and
other information you have prepared, such as they could
reasonably be expected to observe for themselves on
C. Have them lodge at an inn, but do not let them hear of the
Haunted House yet.
D. Let them stay in town, vainly pursuing information and
spending their money (according to the list of expenses
you have prepared) for a day or two before you arrange for
them to hear of the legend of the House - perhaps in
casual conversation with the landlord of the inn, with
whom they should by then have struck up an -affable
E. Tell them the Legend and perhaps let the poacher talk
to them if you feel this to be appropriate.
F. Once they have decided to visit the House, have the innkeeper introduce them to a prominent member of the
Town Council so that this august body will be aware of the
imminent attempt to stamp out the local menace. The
Council will not in any way sponsor the quest atthisstage,
though there will be hints of rewards if the party accomplishes the task.
Note: at this time one of the leading personalities of
The Haunted House stands on the cliff top 70 feet above sea
level and about 80 feet from the cliff edge. The 6' high stone
wall surrounding the garden has partially collapsed in a
number of places, so access to any part of the garden is simple
even if the main gate on the cliff road is ignored. This gate, of a
heavy and ornate metal construction, is still functional and
stands open. The garden itself is overgrown and shows no sign
of any care for years. However, any part of the garden and the
main earth driveway can be easily traversed.
The well to the east of the rear of the House is 5' in diameter
and 15' deep with 3' of water at the bottom .and a rocky floor. A
poisonous snake (AC 7; HD 2; hp 12; #AT 1; D 1-3 plus mild
poison) lives in a hole in the well side about 2' above the floor
and will attack anyone who reaches the water level. Characters
bitten must save vs. Poison, adding a +3 bonus to the saving
throw, or be infected with a mild disease from the poison,
causing the victim to feel progressively more drowsy and after
2-8 turns fall into a deep sleep for 4-16 turns. A victim, once
asleep, cannot be awoken by normal means (though remedies
such as cure disease will be effective); however, no ill effects
are felt and the victim will be quite normal when the period of
sleep has ended.
Tad Leckman (Order #22105967)
character will lapse into delirium and will need constant
attention by another member of the party. After 1-4 days
the character will die if cure disease has still not been
giant weasel: a vicious creature which will attack in all circumstances. On the melee round after it successfully bites a
victim it does not release its jaws but instead sucks
blood at the rate of 2-12 hit points of damage each
round. The creature's pelt is worth 2,000 gpo
giant ants: these are worker ants foraging for food.
The house is 35' high from ground level to roof ridge; the roof is
peak-pointed and gabled, with several holes from missing
slates. The interior is very dilapidated, damp and with patches
of harmless mould everywhere. Cobwebs festoon the place;
the woodwork is generally rotten, while dust and dirt are thick
and rubbish is scattered about in profusion. Plaster, fallen
from ceilings and walls, lies on the floor in several places;
many floorboards are loose and some are missing entirely,
while there is liberal evidence of rodent and insect infestation.
Many rooms have fireplaces and chimneys which show no
signs of recent use. The chimneys are too narrow and twisting
for anyone to climb.
All house corridors are 5' wide and 10' high; all rooms are 10'
high except for the attic level where, because of the sloping
roof, the height ranges from l' at the sides to 15' in the centre.
All doors are 5' wide and 7' high, of normal wood construction;
all are closed but unlocked (exception - see room 15) and
easy to open. Most of the windows have panes broken and all
are easy to open.
The passages in the cavern complex are generally about 7-8'
wide and 8' high and have a marked, but not precipitous,
downward incline. All caverns are roughly 12' high. All walls,
ceilings and floors in the caverns and their connecting passages are slimy, wet and discoloured.
KEY TO THE GROUND FLOOR
OF THE HOUSE
1. ENTRANCE HALL
Light is excellent on the ground and first floors of the House. In
the attic, due to sundry holes in the roof, the illumination is dim
but adequate though leaving plenty of dark shadows in
corners. In areas 20,23,24,25 and 26 there is no light at all. In
areas 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 the light is good since there are
torches set in crude brackets on the walls.
The front door opens onto a musty, dirty entrance hall. To
your left a corridor leads into the west wing of the house. On
either side of the corridor opening the walls are bare but
some pieces of wood in the corner near the window indicate
that a small wooden table or chair once stood there. Ahead
of you, another corridor leads towards the rear of the house.
To your right a staircase climbs to the next storey, reaching
it at a balcony which overlooks the hall along its north and
west sides; the stairs appear safe to climb though the balcony rail is broken in several places. Under the stairs at the
rear of the hall a third corridor leads east.
No wandering monsters will be eRcountered in the garden
though there will be numerous small and harmless animals
-mice, voles, rabbits and the like. Nor are there any wandering monsters in the cellar, caverns and passages below the
So long as it is done before the party move into the hall proper,
a careful examination of the floor by a ranger (10% chance of
success per experience level) or a member of another character class (5% chance of success irrespective of level) will reveal
two 'paths' along which there has been occasional and recent
human movement - one from the foot of the stairs to the
corridor towards the kitchen, the other from the foot of the
stairs to the western corridor. These have been made by the
smugglers when moving between the cellar and their signalling point in room 14.
In the House proper an encounter takes place 1 chance in 12,
checking each turn. For each encounter roll d4 'and use the
4 Goblins (AC 6; HD 1-1; hp 4; #AT 1; 0 by weapon
2 giant rats (AC 7; HD 112; hp 4; #AT 1; 0 1-3 plus 5%
chance per wound of disease, save vs. Poison) with 3
young (AC 7; HD 112; hp 2; #AT 1; 0 as adults).
1 giant weasel (AC 6; HD 3+3; hp 20; #AT 1; 02-12 plus
6 giant ants (workers-AC3; HD 2; hp 5; #AT 1; 0 1-6).
Should the tracks be discovered here and followed in any of
the three directions (upstairs to room 14 or to the cellar via
either route), a ranger will have a 50% chance per turn of losing
the track, while members of other character classes who were
fortunate enough to find an initial track in the hall will be
unable to follow it more than a few yards. Should the party,
now or later, ascend the stairs ....
goblins: a small independent group passing through the locality who have decided to break their journey fo'r a brief
treasure hunt; they know nothing about the smugglers.
They will be encountered in the house, if at all, but not in
the basement area. They are armed with short swords
and slings but attack at -1 in bright light. Each has 1-8 sp
in a pouch and one of them has a 25 gp ruby in a secret
compartment in his sword hilt.
giant rats: these creatures will surprise 4 chances in 6. They are
disease carriers: any character bitten by a giant rat has a
5% chance of being infected by disease. If an infected
character then fails a saving throw vs. Poison and does
not receive a cure disease spell by the third turn after
being bitten, the wound will swell and fill with pus; the
The stairs creak ominously as you ascend but they are safe
enough. At the top you reach the gallery which is on the
north and west walls of the hall. To east and west the corridor appears to stretch the full width of the house, doors
leading off it to the south. Opposite the western portion of
the gallery is another corridor leading north.
The stairs will not collapse under the party's weight but at a
point on the gallery 10' to the west of the head of the stairs the
floorboards are so rotten that they will collapse if any party
member steps on them (the fall causing 1-6 hit points of damage) leaving a gap stretching from the wall clear to the gallery
edge and 7' across.
Tad Leckman (Order #22105967)
re-enter the room.)
The pile of refuse contains nothing of value except a single
large gold ear-ring, value 20 gpo
You can tell that this room was once a library, with bookshelves around the walls. Most of the bookshelves are broken now and in many places have come away from the wall
altogether. Those few shelves still intact are empty but there
is a pile of books in the southwest corner.
Should the party manage to follow the tracks from the entrance hall, they will lead to the trap-door.
There are 14 books in the pile untidily thrown into the corner
and now covered with cobwebs, vermin droppings and harmless mould. All have been partially spoiled bydamp, mould and
mice but are still legible. Only three are of any interest, the
other eleven being of a routine nature (histories, collections of
romantic poems and so forth). These three are clearly titled on
The Magical Properties of Gemstones by Mage Tenser
The Magical Properties of Herbs and Flowers by Mage Tenser
The Metaphysics of Mathematics by Mage Nystul
These three books can be sold for 150 gp each (though not in
Saltmarsh - the vendor will haveto seek a larger community if
a purchaser is to be found).
LIVING AREA II
The only thing of any note in the room is a clump of tiny red
mushrooms apparently growing out of the floor all around
the fireplace in a roughly semicircular formation. Otherwise
the room is bare.
The mushrooms are perfectly harmless though their presence
may cause any adventurer wishing to step into the fireplace to
do so carefully to avoid touching them.
Up the chimney, about 3' above the top of the fireplace, is a
loose stone concealing a small cavity. Inside the cavity is a
small leather pouch containing an amethyst, value 120 gpo
If the players want their characters to read the books and
demand to know something of their contents, the Dungeon
Master's imagination may be stretched! Sections of the Dungeon Masters Guide will be helpful (e.g. page 126) . However
reading the books will convey no special advantage to the
characters and most of their contents will be too obscure for
LIVING AREA III
This room is empty. The only matter of interest is that the
quantity of fallen plaster on the floor is significantly greater
The floors in the two rooms above (see rooms 14 and 15) are
considerably weaker than elsewhere. There is nothing else of
interest and nothing of value here.
Inside the third volume can be found a sheet of parchment
obviously torn from a larger sheet, on which are a few lines of
handwritten text in the common tongue. It has been spoiled by
damp so that only two words are still legible:
" ...... beyond skeletons .... ."
At one time a long table stood in the centre of this room;
now it lies broken - though still recognisable - on the
floor. A broken chair stands against the wall between the
windows and there is a heap of broken china in the north
This room was once a writing room or study. Against the
wall under the windows is a large wooden writing desk
partially broken and riddled with damp rot. There are three
drawers in each pedestal and a large central drawer; the
latter is closed but the others are all open - two obviously
broken open forcibly.
There is nothing of interest or value here.
The central drawer (which is locked - the key has been lost for
years) contains nothing but valueless documents, all written in
the common tongue - receipts for payments on the purchase
of various chemicals and laboratory equipment. A careful
search of the cavity in which the central drawer fits will reveal a
small secret compartment. Inside, wrapped in cloth, is a glass
phial containing a watery, rose-coloured liquid with a spicy
aroma (potion of neutralise poison, two doses).
The other drawers are all empty.
4. LIVING AREA I
A door in the north wall leads onto a small paved patio, the
paving now cracked and over-run with weeds. There is a
pile of refuse in the south east corner. Otherwise, the room
Two stuffed armchai rs stand near the fi replace of th is room.
The covers of both have been torn or cut and the stuffing
has been pulled out; however, the wooden frames are still
intact. The pieces of a broken table lie on the floor near the
The secret trap-door in the floor at S (detect as secret door)
leads via a staircase down into cellar area 21. A magic mouth
spell is placed so as to be triggered by anyone coming within
5'of the trapdoor; a voice, coming from the ceiling above, will
say "Welcome, fools - welcome to your deaths!" followed by a
prolonged burst of insane and fiendish laughter. (OM's option:
have each party member save vs. Spell, failure affecting them
as would a fear spell. Subsequently each character failing the
original save has a 40% chance of being too frightened to
In the chimney, about 3' above the top of the fireplace, is a
loose stone, easily discernable. The cavity behind the stone
contains a small metal box; this is locked but the key is nowhere to be found. The box contains a ring (ring of protection
Tad Leckman (Order #22105967)
A large spider (AC 8; HO 1+1; hp 6; #AT 1; 0 1 hit point plus
poison) lives inside the chimney and will attack anyone investigating the loose stone. A character who is bitten must save vs.
Poison, adding a bonus of +2 to the saving throw, or suffer
enfeeblement (as the spell, 25%) for 1-4 days, the effect beginning 1-6 turns after the bite.
This room has suffered the effects of damp and decay more
than most in the house. Mould grows in patches on the
floor, walls and ceiling; there are many cobwebs, though
even these appear to be decaying . A large copper boiler,
dented, split, discoloured and empty, stands underthewindow; a small heap of crockery shards is on the floor beside
it. Stairs lead down into the darkness of what is presumably
This was obviously the kitchen. It is dirty and damp, with
patches of grey mould and a few cobwebs on the floor, walls
and ceiling. In the corner to your left is some iron cooking
equipment with a chimney above. Next to it, under the
window, is a cracked and discoloured stone sink.
A magic mouth spell has been cast on the stairs and will be
triggered when anyone treads on the top step. If the spell is set
off, hideous screams - as if of a soul in torment - will rise
from the cellar area below. (OM's option: treat as a fear spell as
in Living Area I, room 4).
To the right of the sink a small, closed wooden cupboard is
fixed to the wall about 5' above floor level.
KEY TO THE UPPER PART OF THE HOUSE
Against the far wall a flight of wooden stairs leads upwards
from left to right; even from the door it is obvious that the
woodwork is decayed and a few of the treads are missing.
When and if the characters climb the main stairs, refer to the
second part of the description of the Entrance Hall, ground
floor, room 1.
A family of 5 giant centipedes (AC 9; HO 114; hp 1; #AT 1; 00 plus
poison) lives in a nest under the floor below the sink, with
access to the room via a hole at floor level. They will attack any
character coming close to the sink or investigating the cupboard. Anyone bitten by a centipede must save vs. Poison,
adding a bonus of +4 to the saving throw, or suffer enfeeblement (as the spell, 25%) for 1-4 days, the effects beginning 1-6
turns after the bite. The mould is harmless.
What was once a fine master bedroom now stands dirty and
decayed. Some of the floorboards are missing and there is
rubbish scattered around. A tall wooden cupboard stands
against the wall opposite the fireplace, its door closed.
The cupboard contains two items: a pair of old, cracked leather
boots with no value or special properties, and a dirty, ragged,
stained cloak hanging on a peg. The cloak appears harmless
but the inner folds are covered with yellow mould (AC 9; HO
nil; hp nil; #AT 1; 0 1-8 plus poison spores) which examination
of the cloak will disturb.
The stairs are passable - see the notes relating to area 18. The
cupboard is empty.
There is nothing of value in the room.
Once perhaps a fine guest bedroom, this is now decayed
I ike the rest of the house. Rubbish is scattered around; there
is some evidence of rodent infestation and some webs hang
torpid in the corners. A four-poster bed, once a grand piece
of furniture, is against the wall opposite the fireplace. Its
woodwork is worm-ridden and the curtains which once
screened the bed are torn and stained. There is no bed
linen, but the carcase of the bed is relatively intact.
There is nothing of interest or value here.
This bedroom is dirty and decayed; the floorboards appear
intact but rubbish is scattered everywhere and webs are
profuse on the walls and ceiling. From the doorway, you can
see a glint of light in the fireplace from what appears to be a
small, highly reflective object. There is no furniture in here.
The object in the fireplace is simply a fist-sized chunk of
crystal. It has no value though it is superficially attractive.
In the webs live two large spiders (AC 8; HO 1+1; hp 7 each;
#A T 1; 0 1 h it poi nt pi us poison) wh ich are 90% likely to attack
(check each round anyone is in the room).
The spiders' poison is relatively weak - saving throws against
poison are at a bonus of +2 and the effects of a bite are less
severe than most. Thus the poisonous bite will not kill the
victim though he/she will be incapacitated and completely
helpless for 1-6 hours.
Tad Leckman (Order #22105967)
Another dirty, decaying bedroom without furniture. From
the doorway the floor in here does not look particularly safe;
some floorboards are missing while others appear to have
suffered partial collapse.
The 'safe area' is a 3-5' wide strip from the door down the west
wall and across to the window. Adventurers may stand in this
area without danger but anyone moving into another part of
the room may (60% base chance for a light character, increase
incrementally to 100% chance for a very heavy character)
precipitate a collapse of the floor, the character falling into
room 6 below and taking normal falling damage (1-6 hit
points). Referto Dungeon Masters Guide p. 102 for determination of character weight.
If the party has been ab ...
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