In the last installment, we presented you with scenarios to introduce the Harbingers of the Yawning Void into your campaign for low-to-mid-level adventurers. Now we present adventure hooks for your mid-to-high level characters. As before, these can be used as single encounters or strung together for an ongoing campaign against the machinations of the cult.
A major metropolis is in turmoil. The city-state is on the verge of total anarchy. A disease has broken out in the poorer sections and threatens to become a full-borne plague, even though those quarters have been locked under quarantine under threat of death. Doomsayers walk the streets, prophesying the end times. Suicides are at an all-time high, and violent crimes have drastically increased. On top of everything else, there are widespread reports of hauntings—eerie whispers in desolate places, and spectral forms lurking in the doorways and windows of old, abandoned buildings—which have the populace even more frightened than the mundane troubles warrant.
Thanks to terrible ritual sacrifices performed by the Harbingers of the Yawning Void, a herald of the Void (see Tome of Beasts 2) has been summoned, and it will arrive here, in the city, at the next new moon. A band of cultists await its arrival and are ready to assist in exacerbating the city’s woes. Unless the adventurers can defeat the herald and its cultist minions, the plague will spread, and the violence in the city will erupt into riots. As a major trade hub in the area, this will lead to war as neighboring powers attempt to intervene and take control of the city while it is weakened.
Foul desecration leads to an uproar. A terrible night descends on a local city. Sleepers are tormented by horrible nightmares. Those who are awake experience strange whispers on the wind and see terrifying shapes twisting in the darkness. Folks considered “touched” or particularly sensitive have bouts of hysteria. Some are said to have died of fright, faces twisted into hideous rictuses of terror.
The following morning, these portents pale next to the terrible thing that has come to pass: the necropolis has been desecrated. Every grave, every mausoleum, is open and empty. Even the mass graves of the paupers are looted, great depressions marking the earth where hundreds of bodies once lay. Worse, there are tracks, thousands of them, leading out the western gate, a trail one half-blind could follow. They lead into the hills to the entrance of an abandoned iron mine. Years ago, miners broke into a natural cavern, walls graven with disturbing symbols and stalagmites carved into foul idols. Soon after, a number of natural disasters and strange deaths closed the mine. The dead seem to have risen and entered the cursed place. Adventurers that delve into the depths of the mine find the Harbingers of the Yawning Void ensconced within with a new army of the walking dead at their beck and command!
A foreboding, black obelisk terrifies the populace. Rumors about a sinister object are spreading like wildfire among the populace. People report seeing a tall, black obelisk. The object is so dark that no marks can be seen on its surface—even its edges are hard to define. It looks less like a physical presence and more like an absence of substance, a dark hole cut in the very tapestry of reality. The obelisk emits a palpable aura of dread and chills the air around it. Animals panic at its presence. It is said that those foolish enough to touch it suffered a terrible fate, screaming in terror and pain as they were absorbed into its stygian depths. The black obelisk appears without warning or fanfare, standing ominously where it arrives for minutes, sometimes hours, before vanishing, leaving behind nothing but a scar upon the earth. Where the obelisk has stood, nothing will grow, and animals still shy away from the spot.
Adventurers who try to find the truth of these tales may be able to predict the obelisk’s appearance based on its previous locales. When plotted on a map, they draw a rough line south, and west. If the pattern holds, it will appear near or around a major city in that direction. Should they locate the dreadful object, they find it resistant to magic or force. Touching it, however, draws the offending creature through a portal, depositing them in the courtyard of a black fortress under a starless sky, where powerful members of the Harbingers of the Yawning Void await.
To save a World Tree. The heroes are called upon in an hour of most dire need. The Harbingers of the Yawning Void have summoned a massive beast to destroy a World Tree to undermine the foundation of the cosmos. Any massive, terrifying beast can be used for such an epic foe, but this would be the perfect time to unleash the tarrasque against your PCs, or an ancient wyrm of your choosing. The spawn of Nidhogg from Warlock 9: The World Tree could also be an appropriate foe.
This could be a two-part encounter. First, the PCs may face the cultists that have summoned the creature, camped about the World Tree with a dark shrine made to use in their ritual to summon the creature to the tree. Once done, the PCs can shelter amid the tree’s mighty roots, watching as the creature battles allies in the distance that attempt to hold off the mighty beast for as long as they can. The creature, slowed but unbeaten, finally descends upon the World Tree where the heroes can have their climactic battle to defeat the creature and save the sacred site.