The Ruins of Sketh – a solo Scarlet Heroes wilderness adventure

The Ruins of Sketh PNG image

One hex = six miles

This is another condensed version of a wilderness adventure played using the solo gaming guidelines of the Scarlet Heroes roleplaying game from Sine Nomine Publishing.


Having left the village of Enping in the wilderness my player character, a second level fighter named Du Renshu, returns to the city of Haicheng. After buying equipment he leaves Haicheng and travels north through the village of Huaiji to the fort of Shanbao in the hills.

Renshu has the following traits:

  • Forest Hermit: 2
  • Strong Constitution: 2
  • Once was a Peasant Rebel: 2


Built at the top of a hill, Shanbao is a square stone tower surrounded by a wooden palisade. Lower down on the slopes there are rice paddies and farm houses. He ascends the hill to a gate in the palisade, where he is met by a soldier. Renshu asks if the commander has any work for an adventurer. The soldier summons another soldier who goes into the tower.

Does the commander have any work? I consult the oracles. No, but… an adjustment to the physical environment.

The second soldier returns to say that the frontier is peaceful at present and there is no work for Renshu. It starts to rain very heavily. Renshu does not want to set up camp in such a downpour so he offers each soldier a gold piece in order to enter the palisade and stay in the stables for the night. The soldiers pocket the coins and Renshu goes to the stables where he stables his horse and climbs up a ladder to the loft, where he stays the night.

Money: 20 gp, 2 sp and 9 cp

The next day he refills his waterskin at a well and then leaves Shanbao, travelling north-east into jungle hills.

Hex 09.04

Six goblin Shou are patrolling the hills for intruders in their territory, specifically goblin Shou from a rival tribe. They will parley or ignore Renshu if at all possible. Five of them have 2 HD instead of 1 HD. They are 350 feet from Renshu and notice him first, but not so far in advance as to be able to avoid contact.

Renshu sees six green-skinned goblin Shou advancing through the jungle in his direction. They have seen him but do not appear to be interested in fighting; instead they appear to be looking for others, perhaps goblins from a rival tribe, and they move up the hillside away from him.

Hex 08.04

The next day he travels north-west. The jungle hills give way to forested hills.

Event: impassable mud; no move for three days.

It rains heavily and the valley he is traveling along turns to an expanse of impassable mud. Neither he nor his horse can cross it so he camps for three days until the mud has dried.

Not able to check for Features

After the mud has dried he searches the hills for ruins or other features.

Hex 07.04: forest hills

Hex 06.04: forest hills

A Feature is discovered

Hasan al-Sakhawi’s trade post

Type of Feature: structure and trade post

In the foothills of the Altgrimmr Mountains he comes to a timber palisade built at the top of a hill. A guard at the gate informs him that this is the trade post of the Eshkanti merchant Hasan al-Sakhawi. He enters the trade post which consists of a ramshackle collection of tents and rough timber shops, and a guards’ barracks just inside the gate. There are dwarves from the Altgrimmr Mountains trading iron tools and weapons for rice, and Gadaal mountain folk trading gemstones for goods from Haicheng. Renshu buys eight lots of rations and a bottle of cheap rice wine. He pays six silver pieces to Hasan al-Sakhawi to stable his horse and camp within the palisade.

Money: 14 gp, 6 sp and 9 cp

Rations: 10

The next morning he refills his waterskin at a well and then leaves the trade post, travelling south-east into the Altgrimmr Mountains.

Hex 05.04: mountains

A Feature is discovered

Ruined lizardfolk town

Type of Feature: dungeon

Dungeon type: habitation (prehuman habitation)


Locations: 13

Inhabitants: necromancers

Threat: 2

Feature details

Feature builder: lizardfolk

Reason to build: occult purpose

Great past event: outside conquest

Current state: surprisingly well-kept

Walls: mortared stone

Towers: strange substance

Wall adornments: statue niches

Other features: no ground windows

Favoured colours: hot red hues

He travels up a forested valley in the mountains. As evening approaches he comes to a ruined defensive wall of mortared stone, beyond which stand towers which appear to built of dried red mud. The mud glows faintly as if it were magical.

Going through a ruined gateway in the wall he finds himself in an abandoned town where all of the buildings appear to be constructed of the same strange mud. A stream runs through the ruins and ground is quite swampy. None of the buildings have windows at ground level, and the doorways are high and narrow arches. Above ground level there are oval and circular windows. The exterior walls of the buildings have niches cut into them at ground level which contain statues of lizardfolk – walking snakes with arms or legs or beings with a human torso and serpentine hindquarters. The statues are made of stone and some have fallen from the niches and are broken on the ground nearby, but all are coated with the glowing red mud. Although seemingly devoid of life the ruins are quite well-kept as if they have been inhabited recently and are largely clear of vegetation from the surrounding forest. As night falls he leaves the ruins and sets up camp nearby, intending to explore the ruins the next day.

That night while Renshu is setting up camp a jiangshi is traveling down the valley 90 feet away. The jiangshi has the appearance of a beautiful but stiff-limbed woman and will attack Renshu. The jiangshi has 7 HD. Renshu notices the jiangshi first but not so far in advance as to be able to avoid contact.

As Renshu is setting up camp he sees a beautiful young Imperial woman walking through the trees nearby, illuminated in the moonlight. She is wearing ragged clothes and moves stiffly. The woman turns to look at him, and then leaps 40 feet through the air and lands about 50 feet from him. She is a jiangshi, a leaping vampire. He shoots an arrow at her but misses. The jiangshi leaps another 40 feet and is now 10 feet from him. He draws his sword and attacks.

The jiangshi claws and bites Renshu, inflicting 2 points of damage and one level of energy drain on him. He is now a first level fighter with 9 maximum hit points and an attack bonus of +2. Renshu wounds the jiangshi and reduces it to 5 HD. The jiangshi claws and bites Renshu again, inflicting 2 more points of damage and another level of energy drain on him. He is reduced to 0 level and must Defy Death (2d4) or perish. He takes 1 point of damage and the attempt is successful.

Hit points: 6

The jiangshi bites Renshu a second time and coldness fills his body. He falls to the ground and wonders if he will rise as a jiangshi himself. He sees the glowing red ghost of a lizardman emerge from the ruined town and move with unnatural speed towards the jiangshi. The lizardman ghost destroys the jiangshi with a fireball and then purifies Renshu’s body with these magical flames. As he is losing consciousness he can hear the lizardman ghost speaking to him telepathically in his hissing voice, telling him to return to the mountains after he has rested and to purge the ancient lizardfolk town of Sketh of the necromancers who now infest it.

When he revives it is day. He returns to Haicheng via Hasan al-Sakhawi’s trade post, Shanbao and Huaiji. He recuperates for four days at The Bronze Horse inn. Then he withdraws some of the gold pieces he has stored in the vault of the goldsmith Komatsu Quan and buys more rations, before returning to Sketh to explore the ruins further.

Renshu has overcome the jiangshi’s energy drain and is once again a second level fighter with 14 maximum hit points and an attack bonus of +2.

Money: 48 gp, 7 sp and 1 cp



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