CRITICAL HITS are a series of thrilling single-session adventures that focus on story, fun and ease of play.
The Curse of Sapphire lake is the next in the series, a short tale of misery and woe for 1st-level characters.
Thirty years ago, the little hamlet of Kingsbridge was on the verge of becoming a proper town. It had loomed in the shadows of the hills for years, but Halfgard Trollsbane had finally slain the last of the monsters who had plagued his people. On the eve of their celebration, though, the hall doors were splintered by a hulking figure. Dripping with the dark waters of Sapphire Lake, the intruder was larger than any warrior in the hall, its face hidden by war mask of pale, white bone. It scythed through everyone who tried to stop it, barely slowed by blows that would have killed any mortal man. It vaulted the dais, and with a single swing of its blade cleaved Halfgard's head from his shoulders. Then it vanished into the night, leaving a trail of gore and blood that stopped at the rocky shores of the lake.
Though many searched, no one could find the creature who had slain the Trollsbane. Several who went looking were found dead, and others were never found at all. Whispers began that it was no man they sought, but a vengeful spirit of one of the old kings that once ruled in these hills. With the death of their headman, no one had the will to stay in Kingsbridge any longer.
Last year, Halfgard's son Siegfried gathered a band to rebuild Kingsbridge. The very image of his father, Siegfried sneered at the legends that something haunted the ruins of the town. He brought his people to the place where he'd been born, and they set to work clearing, hammering, and sawing. And at first their fires and songs seemed to keep the night at bay... but it wasn't long before things began to go wrong. Tools went missing. Trees fell over recently cleared paths and roads. Food vanished from larders, and fires began unexpectedly. The people carried on, but they began to catch sight of a strange figure in the night mists. A huge man in tattered clothing, with matted hair and beard, his face concealed behind an ancient war mask of carved bone.
Several brave adventurers have attempted to track this creature, but though some claimed success, the thing always returns to harry the town. Worse, many hunters have disappeared, or been found without their heads. There is real fear in Kingsbridge, and the people's courage holds on by little more than a thread. If peace does not come soon, Kingsbridge will return to shadowed ruins.
Will you come to the aid of this beleaguered town and solve the mystery of the curse of Sapphire Lake?