The Spirit at Galen’s Ford (hex 0715)
Just north of of Galenford Keep is Galen’s Ford. This ford across the Stajin river is named for a the village of Galen that used to be located at the ford. The village consisted of a dozen or so wooden buildings that were all put to the torch when Galenford Keep was stormed many years ago. Years later a small waystation was built at the ford to give travellers a place to shelter. It was run by a succession of factors working for the Merchants guild. The last of the factors was a devious man who consorted with river pirates and highwaymen. He arranged for rich merchants to run afoul of bandits or killed single travellers on his own. The bodies were dumped in an unmarked pit out back of the buildings near a copse of trees.
One of these travellers who was killed in his bed was himself a particularly evil man and he came back as an evil spirit (spirit, wight, spectre whatever is appropriate in your campaign). This evil spirit scratched at the doors and windows of the way station at night frightening away men and beasts. The factor dug up the corpse, burned it and reburied it with a stone slab placed on top. The next night the spirit was back scratching at his door. Eventually the factor went mad and burned the buildings down trying to kill the spirits but himself died in the blaze.
|Galen's Ford Map|
Today, travellers have no choice but to pass the Way station ruins and the ruins of keep on their journey into Stillwater valley. But few stay the night in the area. The experienced travellers of Stillwater valley make certain to spend the night in Whitewater and then pass through Galenford in the middle of the day. Occasionally, foolish travellers spend the night in the way station ruins and speak of moaning noises and scratching at the barred windows that continues until the sun rises.
Introducing Galen’s Ford to the players
The best method to introduce this short scene to the players is to arrange for them to be approaching Galen’s ford as night falls and bad weather nears. The building are damaged but they do offer shelter from the storm. The evil spirit can be put to rest with the normal methods for the type of creature chosen (reducing a wight to zero hit points) or if it is considered an evil spirit the creature can be put to rest by exhuming the body beneath the stone and properly burying it in a ceremony.
Stone Building (location A)
The stone building is the most intact. It is 40 feet long by 20 feet wide. The interior is full of charred wooden debris. The roof is mainly intact except at the front where the stone wall has collapsed. The building looks to have had two floors but the upper floor collapsed into the main floor. Careful searching could allow players to find the evil factor’s treasure. A loose floor tile reveals a shallow hole with a canvas bag inside full with 200 sp, 50 gp, and 2 pieces of jewelry worth 200 gp each. It is very hard to find.
Wood Shed (location B)
The wooden building was likely a stable. The roof is gone and the charred walls are rotted and leaning precariously. The wall at the front has collapsed. There is a small chance that in high winds the entire structure collapses. If characters are inside at the time they would be buried in debris.
Out back of the buildings are three, old oak trees standing fifty feet tall. Not far from them is a large stone slab (6 foot by 4 foot) lying on the ground. It appears something dug its way out from under the slab judging by the hole in the ground. Lifting the slab (300#) reveals a shallow grave. If the evil spirit is a physical evil then there is no body located in the grave after sunset. If it is daytime or the evil spirit has no physical body then there is a fairly fresh looking corpse of a man in tattered clothes. He has a gold chain and medallion around his neck (worth 500 gp it is the badge of the mayor of Pirn).