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Click image to download this free TTRPG battlemap of Shadowlands Library, then keep scrolling for the detailed adventure prompt written for it. 🙂
Guards approach you in a town you visit, saying you look like adventuring types, how ‘bout you help them with a problem they have with some hysterical women? The women are in some sort of religious order and won’t get out of their hair about some sort of magic, but it’s way beyond the guards to handle.
If you agree to go with them, they’ll take you into the barracks and introduce you to some stressed women in robes. The guards casually hand you off to them, saying you understand magic stuff and whatnot.
The acolytes will approach you quickly, wringing their hands as they explain their problem. They say they’re from a library about a day’s walk from town and something terrible’s happened! They are the Sisters of Secrets, who protect ancient and powerful books, and now a sister has been possessed by one of them. The book is using her to cast a spell that brings an evil realm into this one. If she is allowed to succeed, everything will be overrun by darkness and horrible shadow-creatures!
If you ask why the book suddenly possessed her, the oldest of the sisters will explain that one of their younglings dared their friend to read one word from the book as a joke, not understanding how dangerous it was. The girl was possessed by it just from getting too close, so dangerous a tome it is! Now you must kill her to save this realm, it is the only way.
At this point the youngest acolyte will interject, saying that’s not true! She’s got a book in her hands and claims to have read about a scroll which can be used to eject the spirit of the book from her friend’s body, then she’ll survive if you defeat the spirit. The girl even knows where the scroll is in the library.
At this point the matron will shake her head, explaining that since her friend has been possessed by the book, even if she survives, she will never be the same again. Such things have happened in the past, and the book drove the possessed mad from the terrible knowledge they gained while under its influence.
At this point the young girl will burst out in tears, begging you not to kill her friend and saying it’s all her fault.
If you choose to try save the girl’s possessed friend, she will give you instructions as to where to find the scroll in the library.
Should you agree to the job, the women will thank you profusely, saying you can read any of the safer books you choose after the disaster is averted. The matron will then give you directions to the library, as well as how to find the secret room within it, where the book is located; bidding you ride fast and sure.
Once on your way, as you draw close to the library the forest around you will begin to grow dark and twisted. Red sap will leak from deformed, dying trees with leaves like ash. Large fungi with glowing red spots release crimson spores, which spiral like embers throughout the air. And the bone-dry dust disturbed by your mount’s feet will stink like wet coals.
The area will darken like night by the time you reach the library. It is as ruined and twisted as the forest around it. If you find the scroll and then the secret room, the girl will be floating inside; her hair and clothes defying gravity, eyes glowing red. She is chanting the same spell again and again, her voice hoarse. Before her is a giant book, glowing red. The book is chained to pillars.
She’ll notice you very easily, and once she does will begin casting other devastating spells at you.
Should you manage to read the scroll, a red spirit will be pulled from her screaming body. The girl will fall to the ground, unconscious, but the spirit will be furious. It’ll continue casting spells voicelessly.
If you manage to defeat it, the spirit will disappear and the book slam shut loudly. The ground will shake and suddenly the area is pristine; there are warm braziers glowing around you, all the mushrooms are gone, and the forest has resumed its original, verdant state.
Soon after, the Sisters of Secrets will arrive. They’ll rush to the fallen girl, who will wake, screaming and crying. One of them will read another spell from a book, and she’ll fall comatose again, groaning and mumbling in her sleep.
Her friend will be sobbing onto the comatose girl’s shoulder.
The matron, her eyes haunted, will thank you for stopping the spell and saving the girl. She’ll explain that some of the sister’s will take her to a healer in a distant land, one who has experience with magical ailments. Though she’ll never be the same as she was before, maybe they can do something to ease the girl’s burden.
She’ll then let you choose from any of the safer books in the library to study, which hold highly valuable knowledge.
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LUKE: The founder of Seafoot Games, Luke's been making maps and RPG games since he was a child, and spent over a decade creating his own game systems from scratch to play with his brothers. That was before he discovered other TTRPGs existed. Now, he paints the realistic grimdark fantasy battlemaps we're known for, helps write adventures as needed, and spends his free time printing and painting 3D minis, as well as working on his forever in-development TTRPG system.
BEB: Luke's wife, Beb's been writing, painting, and graphically designing things her whole life. She published her first book when she was 20, alongside a handful of sci-fi short stories, and was responsible for writing almost all of our adventures until mid 2022 when Steve joined the team. Now she mostly creates the outlines for the adventurer's guides with Luke, graphically designs documents, handles the bookkeeping (or as she likes to call it, bureaucrat wrangling), and manages the website—but she is slowly delegating these responsibilities, so she can focus on raising her and Luke's beautiful son.