A dense wood grows thickly over this craggy hill. The ramshackle ruin of a chapel stands atop the hill’s zenith.
Warberry Hill—craggy and wooded—shelters the town from savage winds raging in from the Bitter Sea. At the hill’s zenith stands a ramshackle chapel of unknown origin. Rumours and legends cluster thickly about the simple chapel which has stood here since before Bleakhaven was founded.
Folklore hangs thickly about the chapel on Warberry Hill. Some say storm-wrecked sailors raised the chapel in thanks to Serat, the Storm Mistress, for sparing their lives, while others believe a sailor’s grieving widow built the place as somewhere to pray for her drowned husband’s soul. Yet others point to the building’s queer and uncanny timeworn architecture as proof that the chapel is much, much older. Whatever the truth of the matter, the building looms large in the minds of the townsfolk, and it is a shunned place.
The ramshackle stone building clings to the dark, jagged crest of Warberry Hill and commands a sweeping view of the Skeleton Coast and the Bitter Sea’s wave-flecked waters. A dense wood of oak, holly, birch, hazel and hornbeam cloaks the hill. But two paths ascend the hill all the way to the chapel, and they are twisted and overgrown. Warberry Hill is a place of shadow and gloom where time seems to hang heavy in the air. Few townsfolk come here, although Maalin Lempinen, Seneschal of the Skeleton Coast, periodically mulls plans to transform the chapel into a watchtower. Thus far, she has been dissuaded from this course.
What the Characters Know: Through personal knowledge, chatting with locals or research, the characters know something about the chapel on Warberry Hill:
- An old ramshackle chapel of unknown origin stands atop Warberry Hill. Folklore and legend hang thickly about the chapel.
- Plans are occasionally mooted to turn the chapel into a watchtower, but they never come to anything.
- Warberry Hill is a place of shadow and gloom where time seems to hang heavy in the air. Few folk wander the wooded hill.
What’s Going On?
While the characters are on Warberry Hill, one or more things from the list below may occur.
- Silent: The wood is silent and seemingly devoid of bird and animal life. Gloom hangs heavy in the air.
- Something in the Undergrowth: The crunch of leaves and the swaying of branches presages the arrival of a large badger. It regards the characters for a moment before scuttling off into the undergrowth.
- Wise Owl: An owl perches on a branch high up in the canopy. It regards the characters with unblinking eyes as they pass by.
- The Sighing Wind: A breeze blowing in from the Bitter Sea caresses the wood’s boughs. They clatter and rustle as if the trees are talking to one another.
- A Fox: With a red flash, a fox darts from the undergrowth, rushes across the trail in front of the party and then disappears into another bush.
- Dark Clouds: Dark clouds scud across the sky, plunging Warberry Hill into deep gloom. The temperature also drops—it is cold in the wood.
Opportunities & Complications
Lucky adventurers find opportunities almost anywhere. Unlucky adventurers find complications almost anywhere.
- Tracks: The characters come across a strange set of tracks leading up toward the ruined chapel. The tracks are an oddity and resemble a human’s sort of dragged shuffle. They take a very circuitous route upwards.
- Someone’s Watching: One of the characters gets the sudden impression that someone—or something—is watching them. The feeling persists as long as they are in the wood.
- Apothecary at Large: Tuure Tornia is in the woods searching for herbs. He is happy to chat briefly with the characters but wants to get home before dusk falls.
- Axe in a Tree: The characters discover an old rusty axe wedged into a gnarly old oak’s trunk. The axe has clearly been here for years—the oak’s trunk has grown around the weapon’s blade.
- Lost: Inexplicably, the characters get lost following a dead end path that leads nowhere. They must backtrack and try another route to the hill’s summit.
- Slip and Fall: One of the party slips and falls, badly twisting their ankle. They take 1 damage and their movement is halved until the wound is healed.
Citadel on the Wilderlands is my love letter to B2 Keep on the Borderlands and B5 Horror on the Hill. I'm writing 500 words every weekday for a year.