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HDK 41 † The Erth's Town Mystery


To reach Erth you must follow an impervious path that climbs along the mountains. The cold of late autumn makes the journey difficult: the humidity transforms the soil into mud and ice could let you fall. After a few hours walking, in the late afternoon, when the fog begins to rise from the bottom of the valley, you see the profile of the watchtower of the village of Erth in the distance. You have a strange feeling, a subtle disquiet: suddenly you realize that the forest has become incredibly silent, almost as if time had stopped. You go ahead with a constant sense of threat, even if no enemy gets in front of you. Even the animals seem to have disappeared ... with weapons in your hand you finally reach the village of Erth …
The village looks exactly like it was described to you: totally abandoned, immersed in a thick white fog. The houses seem to have been suddenly abandoned, a few doors are even open. You explore one by one all the houses, and you find everday objects, some silver coins and other useless stuff. In the village inn everything has been left untouched: there are dirty tables and a few still half full glasses. Your rummage in Peter’s room, the innkeeper, you find a stack of parchments where, between the accounting and the dispense of the orders, there are a few written words. The last in order of time, speaks about Saragat, the mage: "Today Saragat is particularly in a good mood: he told me that he will become soon Archmage of the Thule's magicians' guild. We don't know how he managed to unseat his direct opponent; many years older than him ... that wizard is cunning but he is also dangerous. I have to be careful about what I say ... ".
While you are about to camp in one of the abandoned houses to spend the night, you see a female figure walking along the main street of the village. She turns and looks at you, for an instant you meet his gaze, then she disappears behind a house. You chase her but she seems vanished into thin air. Illusion or reality? You don't know …
You wake up in the pale morning light that filters through the thick fog. You slept little and badly, with a semi-open eye and terrible nightmares. You want to explore the ancient watchtower: from the top you can see the whole valley of Thule. It is abandoned, obviously. The large and sturdy iron and wood door is open, set ajar. You go up the stairs to the first mezzanine, where there is Edward's apartment, the civic guard. The room is empty, as you expect, but searching carefully you find a stone in the wall that you can move: behind it there is a niche with a small glove box. You handle it carefully; you defuse the trap (a poisoned needle) and you find out what's inside ... a medallion with a ruby set in a dragon mouth. It's Rebecca's necklace! Bino has described it very well, you cannot go wrong. Why is it here? Has Edward stolen it from her? You decide to take it and store it in your backpack.
At the edge of the village the house of Saragat the wizard. The door is hermetically sealed by a spell. No way. After several attempts you can find a passage leading to the cellar under the house. Here, among the magician’s junk, you find a parchment with a rather confusing drawing of Erth map. It looks like a sort of sketch drawn by the wizard: there are marked notes and an arrow indicating the secret entrance to a cave, near a two-headed cliff near the village. Suddenly, from the unique small window that illuminates the cellar, you can see the face of a crouched blonde girl, who is watching you. She looks at you with a terrified gaze and seems to ask for help. Just in time to notice her and she flees. You run out exclaiming "wait!" but she vanishes. Is it the same vision as yesterday? Is she really Rebecca?
You decide to look for the entrance of the cave on Saragat's map. You wander in a thick vegetation. After a short but hard walk in the impenetrable woods you can see the cliff: you cannot go wrong, it has two heads. As you approach, the ground beneath your feet seems to move and a hideous half-decomposed bear attacks you ... it's a big undead grizzly! You start a furious fight. In the end, wounded but still alive, you manage to kill the horrible monster...
When you arrive near the cliff, you see two human figures in front of the cave cached between the branches. While you hide, you see they have a glassy gaze and they are still. Looking at their clothes, they could be villagers, probably struck by a terrible curse. Suddenly, as if they are hit by an electric discharge, they run towards you: they look angry and no more human! They attack you with spiked clubs with berserker behavior. After a raging fight, you cut off their heads with a series of precise blows: their bodies sag as if they had suddenly lost their unnatural strength. Moving the branches of a large climbing plant out of the way, you find your way through the darkness of the cave...
The ritual 01:45
The dungeon is humid and dark and if you feel exhausted. After many minutes of walking it seems you are now in the icy heart of the mountain. You reach a point where the corridor gets wider: there is a door, with two torches hanging on the two sides of the wall: You hear a kind of dark chant coming from beyond... You open carefully the large door and try to look inside. This vision freezes blood in your veins. A huge underground hall carved into the rock and illuminated by dozens of torches. The door looks on a monumental staircase that descends. Thanks to the view from above you can see quite clearly the situation: a hundred of human figures are gathered together here. They have the same glassy gaze of the two villagers killed at the entrance to the cave and they look like in trance. They are walking in a circle, as in a sort of evil ritual, murmuring a dark litany. At the room bottom, behind a marble altar, there is a figure in purple tunic: you recognize Saragat the wizard. He officiates the ceremony with solemn gestures. Behind him, there is a four meters high statue of a horrible deformed god, half goat and half man with a sadistic look. You silently observe the scene, hiding yourselves carefully. In the crowd you see a blonde girl: she looks like the one that appeared in the village... she is Rebecca! At her side there is a stout, raven-haired man. He could be Edward, the guard of the tower. They are both alive but prisoners of the dark spell of Saragat...
Witchcraft 01:59
While you are watching the scene, with no idea of what to do, you see Rebecca and Edward approaching the altar and solemnly offering a medallion to Saragat. It looks the same as the one you took in the watchtower at Erth, and that is still safely in your backpack. Saragat takes the medallion: he turns to the god statue and offers it as a precious gift. Suddenly the statue of the god, with a horrible noise, comes alive: sulphurous flames come out from its nostrils. An obscene and diabolical voice re-echoes in the hall: "Silly wizard, this gift is a fake!". With a horrible gesture, the god stretches his claw and grabs Saragat's skull, crushing it. Then, after hurling the wizard lifeless body to the ground, it indicates the door behind where you are still hiding. "Slaves, bring the real medallion to me!". Now you are in real danger.
The village inhabitants, possessed by this obscene spell, suddenly turn and run fast toward you, going up the great staircase. They are hundreds and shout with an unnatural and bloodthirsty ferocity. You escape with the heart pounding along the dungeon, trying to survive. The tunnel is impervious and you repeatedly stumbled but still standing. You feel the fierce screams of your pursuers, you don't dare to look back but it is as they were very close to your shoulders. You go outside of the dungeon and run towards the village. You are exhausted and the possessed villagers do not get tired or slow down. The only idea that comes to your mind is to reach the watchtower with your remaining strength. With your heart in your throat you finally reach the building. You close the big door behind you and you lock it. Your pursuers hit the closed door with a choir of horrendous screams.
Dead end 01:08
Exhausted and panting despite the cold, you understand that the door will not hold up for long. Besieged by the enraged zombies, you climb to the top of the tower and look around you. They are hundreds and surround the tower. No escape. You think to throw the medallion to your pursuers, so they may leave you safe. But maybe the medallion can be your only chance to survive. You decide to wear it. Resigned to your unlucky destiny, you go back to the watchtower ground floor and look at the door that is now breaking. Weapons in hand, you prepare to fight until the end. When suddenly the door swings open, you see the obscene horde of living dead run inside. You are ready to die but, suddenly, the villagers stop. They lose their inhuman ferocity and return with glazed gaze, motionless, as in a trance. You feel that the medallion you have around your neck protects you. You exit slowly, remaining close to each other, and you head warily toward the Saragat home, beware to the villains who follow you slowly in the dim light of sunset.
You enter the Saragat house, which is now open. You hear some laments coming from inside. In the main room of the house you see a kind of a small altar with a baptismal font. An old tied and gagged man lies in a corner. He is the Archmage of Thule's Guild: he is weak but still alive. He was imprisoned with deceit by Saragat: he finally tells you how to break the evil spell that curses Erth inhabitants. You must just put the true medallion in the blessed water of the baptismal font: once this was the house of the Erth priest, secretly poisoned by Saragat to take his place. You take off the medallion from your neck and put it slowly in the water. Suddenly that sense of uneasiness that you have felt right away once you get close to Erth, disappears: the spell finally vanishes.
The Erth inhabitants awake from a bad dream: they become conscious and, after a while, they congratulate and thank you for thei freedom. You look around and see Rebecca and Edward hugging themselves: they kiss in tears, happy to be still alive. They tell you that Bino, Rebecca's father, had betrothed her to Saragat against her will. She was in love with Edward and so she had escaped from Cassor stealing the precious medallion from the family treasure. His father Bino wanted to find her only to do his evil affairs with Saragat and to get back the medallion, which is very precious and endowed with powers of black magic. But now the medallion is gone: touching the holy water, it has crumbled apart and it is dust. And maybe also your reward is vanished too. You don't know what to do. Maybe the girl lies, maybe she is telling the truth: but are you so cruel to bring her back to her father who threw her into the hands of the evil Saragat for greed of power and richness? The old proverb is really true: never trust a merchant from Cassor...


Yes, the same old story: you are adventurers in search of fortune.

After a long journey, you come to a town called Cassor, a lively nucleus inhabited by merchants and shopkeepers, a strategic hub at the feet of the Thule valley. Beyond it there are the majestic mountains of Morgul, with their mighty glaciers and their dangerous heights: an impervious place, that now people can overcome more easily thanks to the new commercial road built by the wealthy alloy of the merchants of Cassor. With the passage of goods and caravans, the valley of Thule has gained prosperity and its small villages, wrapped for many months a year by cold and dense forests of firs, are filled with shops and inns for travelers.

As soon as you arrive in the town, you know that something mysterious has happened to Erth, a small village of a few hundred souls located along the valley: its inhabitants have suddenly disappeared. All. The last rumors of those who passed by, describe it as a ghost town, enveloped by fog, completely deserted. Yet a few days earlier everything was normal: the innkeepers Peter, Edward the guard of the civic tower, the secretary of the Thule magicians' guild called Saragat and even Rebecca, the daughter of a wealthy Cassor merchant who was temporarily in Erth to manage the father's business... it was just like everyday life. Bino, Rebecca's father, begs you to investigate this mystery: he is in despair, if you take his daughter back safe, he will give you a bag full of gold. How can you recognize her? She is blond, young and beautiful: when she disappeared, she had a precious medallion around her neck, a gift from her father for her twentieth birthday.

This is what you are looking for: the adventure begins …


"The Erth's town mystery" is the soundtrack for an homonym RPG fantasy campaign, specially written by HDK creative team. The music, by the american artist called Blood Tower, takes us to the origins of the dungeon-synth, to that decadent minimalism full of atmosphere and nostalgia that characterized this musical style in the 90s .

This foggy and autumnal album has the scent of the old D&D cyclostyled adventure modules and the 80's typed fantasy 'zines. "The Earth's Town Mystery" transports us into a world magical and pure that we have known when we were children.


released October 31, 2019

Maps & Drawings by Paths Peculiar (Niklas Wistedt).
Enjoy his amazing works at: www.wistedt.net




Heimat Der Katastrophe Milan, Italy

DIY label focused on ambient punk, minimal-synth, dungeon-drone, wartime music and post-nuclear wave. Managed by a creative punx collective from Milano city.

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