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HDK 69 † The Grim Abbot


The arrival 03:16
You arrive in this quiet region of the barony on a gloomy morning. Stenfeld stands on a hill and is a small center of artisans, shepherds and farmers. The people of the country are silent and hastily conducts business. In Stenfeld there is an ancient abbey of the paleochristian cult: very suggestive stories are told about the past of the abbey, when, about a century and a half ago, the abbot was a man called Smotelius; he is remembered in the chronicles for his oddities and the gloom of his character. Much information about the abbot can be found in the annals of Brumais, musty volumes kept in the town hall library: there, the abbot is described as very shy and silent, but it is said that anyone who intercepted his gaze was overwhelmed by a feeling of madness and wickedness. The abbot was obsessed with studying, even if he dealt with subjects far from the ecclesiastical ones: it is said he dealt with black magic and necrophilia; many attribute the desecration of some graves in the Stenfeld cemetery to him and his dark monks. The abbot committed suicide at the incredible age of 111: he burned himself alive in front of the church altar after chasing away the monks. For seven years after his death, countless misfortunes (at least so the legend goes) hit the village of Stenfeld. The inhabitants still curse that mad abbot who came out of nowhere. Among the rumors about Smotelius is that he hid impressive riches somewhere in the abbey. This is obviously what drove you to Stenfeld ...
Today, the small monastery of Stenfeld has been partly destroyed, partly converted for other purposes. What survives is the abbey church, still active. Two testimonies of Abbot Smotelius are: the stained glass windows of the church that he had made himself and the well that he ordered to dig in the garden behind the church. After having taken up residence in the cozy inn of the Owl Bear, ask questions to some of the tavern's customers (the more sober ones) to obtain some useful information. Roll 1d6 to know what they tell you: 1) "The abbot's curse still weighs on Stenfeld, if I were you I would be careful to awaken the past" 2) "It is said that the abbot had found a way to turn the bones of the dead into gold" 3) “The ashes of the abbot were never found; someone thinks he's still alive somewhere, probably in hell ”. 4) "The abbot practiced necrophilia!" 5) "Some inhabitants of Stenfeld, during the rainy nights, saw the abbot talking with the dead, sitting on the graves of the cemetery, regardless of the rain". 6) "The abbot, before committing suicide, poisoned all the monks".
t the Stenfeld Church, you meet Germinius, the current parson: he is a stocky and red-faced priest, with an intense gaze and a shrill voice. When you ask him about the legend of the grim abbot, Germinius minimizes: “The annals of a century ago contain a lot of inaccuracies and unfounded popular beliefs! Those were dark times and fear produced some of the most abstruse stories... You can't believe in all these weird things! It is true that the abbot was probably interested in issues that were not strictly Orthodox and that he had a dark and eccentric character, but in the ecclesiastical registers there are no measures against him and indeed his management of the monastery was positive: he restored the windows of the church and he had the well dug in the back of the church, today unfortunately dry”. Regarding the desecration of the cemetery, Germimius says "it is much more likely that they were the work of unscrupulous bandits who ravaged the region in those turbulent centuries". While the parish priest babbles, you notice the famous stained glass windows dating back to the time of Abbot Smotelius. There are depicted three fathers of the paleo-Christian cult in tattered robes: IOB has one finger raised upwards, IOANNIS two fingers raised and ZACHARIAS three. Zacharisas holds in his other hand an unrolled parchment with the inscription in gothic characters: "Follow the orbits". The three figures rest on a completely opaque black glass plate. "What is the meaning of that message and that finger position? You ask the parson. He shrugs: "Bah... who knows!".
Taking advantage of a moonless night, you sneak out of the window of your room at the Owl Bear inn, to explore, away from prying eyes, the church and its surroundings. In the chapel of the church you find a very old copy of San Girolamo's “De sommo excelso bene”: it may be worth something, but it is certainly not the abbot's treasure. The cemetery, reachable by a small road from the back of the church, does not seem to have any oddities, it is only the night residence of a colony of cats. You notice that the well is on average deep, you drop with a rope: after about ten meters it ends, without a trace of water. Strange, you think. Inside the bell tower you notice a metal bas-relief depicting the phases of the moon. It looks fake, and in fact hides a secret niche in the wall. The niche contains an iron ring (with a strange gray iridescent stone embedded in it) inside which a worn sheet of parchment is rolled up; you pull it out and read: "has opened wide to my sight and only The Supreme knows its obscene secrets. The dead have used me and consumed me, now I hate their treasures that I had longed for in a moment of madness. Iob, Ioannis and Zacharias hold the secret in the moonlight. I ask for mercy: soon I will reach my enemies and I will be able to fight them more effectively on their own plane of existence." You wear the ring, but a feeling of nausea and terror pervades you. Better to give up - you think...
When the full moon shines high on a freezing cloudless night, you finally sneak inside Stenfeld's church. You have reflected on what you have seen and heard and you have developed some hypotheses ... you want to understand if they are true. Well, the answer is: yes! Under the moonlight, a mysterious writing in four lines has appeared on the opaque black plate of the church's stained glass window, which you can now read thanks to the light of the fullmoon: GTOKTLTKTD WKETKLTKTL YKETKLKTKL ZTAKTAKTKM! You read the words by skipping first one, then two, then three letters, as the three saints suggest with their raised fingers: TREASURES THE WELL SAY ZAM When you reach again the bottom of the well, you touch the walls: they seem very solid and there don't seem to be any secret passages. You take a breath and say in a stentorian voice: "ZAM!". The floor of the well magically disappears and you fall. The flight is short, after a couple of meters you crash on the damp floor of a gloomy corridor carved into the rock. You have to explore this dungeon... The corridor ends and you can decide whether to continue to the right or to the left. Before your feet lies a human skull. It has the orbits facing right. Do you choose to follow the direction of the orbits or continue in the opposite direction? Luckily you followed Zacharias' advice ("Follow the orbits!"), Because if you had entered this corridor without exit behind you a magic grate would drop and you would be trapped in this place forever. A rotten wooden door closed with a heavy latch (now useless) leads to this cave illuminated by two magical candelabra of perennial light. In the center is a stone sarcophagus with some Christian symbols containing many gold coins, jewels and precious artifacts. You found the abbot's treasure, obviously! You burst into a tasty laugh and are about to fill your bags with treasures. While you are working you raise your head and you seem to see the air in front of you moving. Will the shadows and reflections be produced by the magical light? Petrified, you watch a transparent, floating shape take shape in front of you. You think you are wearing tattered and torn priestly robes. It's a Neecro-specter. It's Smotelius.
The beyond 05:31
A Necro-specter is an undead with no physical body, which has the appearance of a pale, almost transparent figure, similar to a man of thick fog. It is immune to spells. A specter can only be hit by silver or magical weapons. When a Necro-specter touch you, you lose a lot of energy. A victim killed by a Necro-specter will become a necro-specter in one day, under the control of the killer. Unfortunately, you do not have adequate weapons with you to fight this creature. The next day you wake up in a strange flat region, made of arid gray earth and tall sharp menhirs that here and there they stand out against the yellowish sky. "Don't worry, it's the Hell ..." Smotelius' necro-specter tells you, holding a hand on your shoulder. You observe your arms, your legs ... your body is as transparent as Smotelius's. “Now a common mission awaits us. It is an eternal mission because, unfortunately, we can no longer die ... ”.


Upsetting mysteries lurk in the basement of the church in Stenfeld, a peaceful hilltop village. Bold and confident, you traveled there to find out if the legendary treasure of the Grim Abbot really exists or is just a silly legend. But in Stenfeld fate will hold you a chilling surprise ...

By pressing "play" on your cassette player you will be shrouded in mist, autumn melancholia and wet cold; you will learn about ancient and morbid stories of nercofilia and black magic, you will be led into a burial dungeon, home to unspeakable horrors. You will be transported to dark medieval times, where the lines between superstition and truth are blurred.


PAFUND built the soundtrack of this quest with utmost care: his dungeon-synth is devoted to the masters of the past, and is capable of painting the autumnal, gloomy and decadent atmospheres that we lovers of this kind of music we are looking for.

The Grim Abbot cassette includes a 20-page illustrated booklet, something between a novel and a form usable for a fantasy RPG campaign. Enjoy the music, enjoy the adventure!


released October 31, 2020

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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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