Horror at the Hollow Hills: Entry Level Adventure.


I am developing my group's first Conan RPG adventure as our resident DM and only player familiar with REH's work.

In doing so I am applying the same episodic pulp feel REH lent to his work. This means the story starts inthe Middle of another story, usually at sucha point as the PCs are on the short end of the stick.

I will be printing the entire adventure here (with suggested descriptive text and Gm guidlines) in installments spread across several posts on this thread.

Feel free to comment and criticize as we go along.

The first post immediately follows.
Horror at the Hollow Hills

All is lost.

The stench of death fills your nostrils under the setting Shemite sun. You’ve been lying in the sand for Mitra knows how long. Through blood matted hair you watched as Kothian camp followers ransacked the bodies of the fallen. When the rag-pickers came round to you it was all too easy to play the corpse as they rifled through your pockets and satchels.
Slowly you rise from the desert floor as the cohort from Koth marches back from whence it came and disappears behind a wide plume of dust, turning the summer sun purple in the haze. The arid land’s opportunists fill the void left by the retreating warriors, scouring for choice morsels. Vulgar cries of bestial scavengers accent the wet sounds of the carrion feast lending the atmosphere a sinful euphony of despair and horror. Rising from the dead you frighten vultures as they dine on the soft entrails of your comrades. The rapacious buzzards flee your path and able off after less mobile prey.
One set of vultures to pick the bodies clean, another to pick the bones. The Kothian sluts left precious little in their wake. Across the field of battle rise others, like, you, casting desperate glances at the fallen. The captain and his horsemen are nowhere to be seen. The mighty Conan has seemingly led his men to slaughter, not to glory and riches.

[The first thing the PCs will likely do is establish their relationship to the mercenary outfit that has fallen this day and then set upon the bodies of the fallen to find usuable goods, particularly food and water. Little remains after the Kothians have left but a careful search ( taking about an hour, all told) turns up enough water for two days per PC, enough food for one day per PC ( two if the PCs are willing to eat food tainted blood, bile, and other internal fluids). If the PCs think about it they can kill up to 3 vultures before the birds decide to find easier pickings elsewhere.
Of weapons and armour little remains that is of value. A maximum of 25sp in weapons per PC can be gleaned from the dead, and no more than 1000sp, total, in armour can be found. Various other goods can be found totaling 75 sp along with fifty feet of rope.]

As you garner your meager supplies raided from your comrades you come across the body of the lieutenant, his prized blade broken, the tip buried deep in a Kothian breast you find a parchment case tucked into his girdle. Unscrewing the device a vellum scroll falls out, a map indicating Conan’s desired location for encampment, an oasis, deep in the Shemitish desert. The map gives no key nor indicates how far from the Kothian border the oasis lies, but the pass your corps took is clearly marked as are several landmarks ending with a palm grove named “the Hollow Hills”.

[Player Handout 1 (no scan available)]
After the Dust settles

[Allow the PCs a Survival check DC 15 (10 if from the desert) or a Knowledge: Nature check DC 20 (15 if from the desert) to detect the upcoming sandstorm. The storm will blow in early the next morning, just in time to blot out the rising sun. This gives the PCs about 12 hours to find shelter and to prepare. A second Survival check of 15 or more allows the PCs to find shelter beneath a shallow rock outcropping no more than a mile away. If no one in the party has the appropriate skills or the rolls are poor then let them take what precautions they may. A gruesome igloo of the fallen might be constructed, or the PCs may moisten cloths to cover their mouths as they attempt to walk out of the storm. In any case such endeavors should carry whatever providence the GM decides.]

In one moment there is the pre-dawn silence then the subtle susurrus of sand sliding on sand followed abruptly by banshee winds that wail on into the day like the souls of the damned beckoning the living to join them in death. On and on the winds blew promising to blot out any who dared breach the borders of Shem. The nomads native to Shem called this wind samiel, after the Hades-spawn that is said to bring such storms. Though it is surely midday the sky remains dark, and but for the flashes of friction lighting you could not see your hand before your face.

An eternity passes before the demon howls cease and suns pokes through, purple in the remaining haze, turning the yellow sands to crimson. Wiping grit from your eyes and emptying sand from your belongings you rise to a landscape wiped clean. No longer can yesterday’s battlefield be discerned and where once great dunes rose now lie ditches, as if the sands were a great sea whose waves lap but slowly at mountain edges. At your back Samiel raises his fury against the Mountains of Fire closing off the road from whence you came.