The chapel’s main bulk is a squat, round structure with a domed roof and a small, pillared entrance. The building looks extremely old, but the small bell tower attached near the entrance and the rectory near the back are obviously much more recent additions. The place exudes an eerie, horripilating feeling, making the hair on the back of your neck rise.
The Chapel is one of the most important parts of Hexenburg for characters to visit, as it contains many valuable items that will assist them greatly against the creatures elsewhere in the Castle, including some potent magical weapons and valuable scrolls, some of them considerably more potent than those usually available to 1st level characters. However, it is far from a “safe” area for characters. Its catacombs are currently devoid of undead, but the hundreds of bodies within will rise if the Mummified Heart of Saint Severine is destroyed, and a Huecava, Father Leopold, lurks in the chapel itself. This crafty creature uses its Disguise Self ability to appear as Father Umberto, the priest who came here with Brother Ambrose and Sir Albrecht. It killed the real priest (his body can be found hidden in the wardrobe in CH 8), and will try and lure characters down into the catacombs to destroy the Heart.
During the night, when its true form is revealed, the Huecava retreats to the catacombs and evades characters if possible.
For more details on Father Leopold, see CH3.
CH1 – Narthex
The narthex of Hexenburg’s chapel is a shadowy antechamber covered in sacred murals depicting scenes from the life of Saint Malus, a warrior saint, including an image of the knight battling a demonic sea serpent and converting a community of Trolls. These murals are now peeling and cracked, and some of the figures have been deliberately defaced. A doorway to the left opens onto a stair, presumably leading up to the belfry. Up ahead, a pair of double doors leads into the church itself.
CH2 – Belfry
The bell at the top of this belfry is cracked and badly tarnished, and the entire belfry is slick with guano. Looking out from the bell-tower you can see over the walls of Hexenburg into the dark, snowy forest beyond.
Perception DC 10 to note the dozens of bats roosting here, if it’s the day. If at all disturbed they become a bat swarm which will harass and attack characters until they descend the bell tower again.
CH3 – Church
The church consists of an expansive dome supported by a series of columns, with a few broken, rotting pew scattered about the floor. The place is windowless and very dark. A fresco depicting the horrors of Hell on one side and the glories of Heaven on the other is visible overhead. The celestial half of the image is swathed in cobwebs and dust, the faces of angels made grey and dim, with age, giving them the appearance of winged corpses, grime darkening the clouds and marring the empyrean purity of the sky. Curiously, the infernal side of the fresco seems remarkably untouched, the grimacing demons and tortured souls still terrifyingly vivid. There is an altar here, and a number of statues of Saints, but they seem out of place amongst the ancient stone columns and heathen darkness of the temple. Several of the statues have been decapitated or otherwise disfigured, and the altar itself has been thoroughly defiled: sitting upon it in a pool of dried blood is a decaying human head, and a disturbing, antlered idol formed from wicker, human bones, and the skull of an enormous stag presides over the desecrated shrine. Two arched doorways lead to other chambers of the desecrated chapel, and a third leads onto a stair winding down into the earth. A small wooden door is marked “Rectory.”
There is some treasure here: inside the altar in a locked compartment (DC 25 to pick, or use the silver key), within which is stored 4 flasks of holy water, a holy text, and a consecrated masterwork dagger.
If it is still daylight, Father Leopold will rush up the stairs from the catacombs, disguised as Father Umberto:
Suddenly, a bedraggled-looking figure rushes up the stairs from the depths below, bringing with him a reek of the grave; he is so haggard that for a moment you take him for some undead monstrosity, but then you see he is alive. The man is garbed in torn ecclesiastical robes and has tonsured hair. His eyes are wide and frightened, his face contorted into an expression of horror. He stumbles into the church.
“Thank the Light!” he exclaims. “I did not think I would ever see another living soul again.” He pants, recovering his breath. “My name is Father Umberto,” he says. “And I must beseech you, in the name of all that is holy, to come with me. I have found the source of the corruption that plagues this castle – an undead heart, reanimated by some vile necromancer. I would have destroyed it by my own hand, but the place is haunted by evil spirits – I barely managed to escape their clutches. We must destroy the heart, and cleanse this place of evil once and for all!”
“Father Umberto” will insist on leading the characters down into the catacombs. He grows very nervous and agitated if the characters wish to rest. Play him as an utterly earnest and desperate character who seems to sincerely believe the heart is evil. He possesses the silver key.
The father may have to make several Bluff checks (he has +8 to this skill, having lost 6 ranks from Stealth – Stealth is +6). If the players want to roll a Sense Motive check, it’s DC 20 to catch a strange gleam in his eyes or feel that there’s something not quite right here.
If the party has Brother Ambrose with them, he’ll be convinced this is the real Father Umberto, and will urge the party to follow him.
Father Leopold will try and get the characters away from the rectory and other rooms, and if they start messing around with his old bedchamber or study he gets very agitated indeed.
CH4 – Baptistery
A baptismal font stands at the centre of this octagonal chamber. The walls of the baptistery are adorned with murals depicting scenes from the crusades – images of heretics and heathens being slain by crusaders, hundreds of them impaled on stakes or decapitated, their heads piled high. The gruesomeness of these murals is unusual, and, curiously, these murals look quite clean and intact compared to those in the narthex. The font itself is ornate, crusted with sculpted images of cherubim, though in the gloom their faces look strangely cruel rather than beatific. There is water within.
The baptismal font has been desecrated as well; it now produces unholy water. In addition, anyone drinking from the water must make a DC 15 Will save or shift to an Evil alignment for 1 hour of real/player time. Hand the player a note with this change (do not announce it out loud). The character becomes filled with violent impulses and the desire to sacrifice his or her companions to the forces of darkness. While under the effects of the water, the character will not be attacked by undead in the chapel or catacombs.
If a scroll of Consecrate or Bless Water is used on the font, it is restored to its prior state and will contain holy water instead of unholy water.
CH5 – Sacristy
This looks like a sacristy, where holy vessels are kept, with many prayer candles, linens, a huge, golden chalice set with rubies, incense censers, a thick book, and phials of anointing oil. Unlike the main chamber of the chapel, this room looks undisturbed.
12 phials of anointing oil, a Hallowed Chalice worth 600 gold pieces, and a Tome of Hymns. A Bard who studies the Tome, which takes 48 hours over at least 6 days, adds the spells Bless, Bless Weapon, and Bless Water to his or her spell list.
CH6 – Reception Room
This small but well-appointed reception room might once have been quite comfortable, but now the hearth is cold, the chairs and divans are rotting, the thick rugs mouldy, the wall hangings in tatters.
CH7 – Vestry
This cloakroom is filled with the rotting remnants of robes and other holy vestments, held on pegs lining one wall. Spiders have infested the robes, and their webs shroud the ceiling.
A spider swarm lurks in the robes. There is little of value here save for a pair of Healer’s Gloves tucked in the pockets of one robe. There are lots of ecclesiastical outfits, but they’re in very poor condition.
CH8 – Chapel Library
This door is swollen shut – DC 20 Strength to force.
This large, square chamber is lined with shelves containing a variety of mouldering texts. Many of them look like nothing more than chapel archives, but others are books of scripture and Apocrypha. Some portions of the shelves contain stacks of old vellum scrolls instead of bound books. There’s a small work-table here with an unlit candle. A high window admits light, and a ladder allows access to the higher tomes.
Make Perception checks (stirges have +16) to notice the colony of 4 stirges roosting on the ceiling. Otherwise the creatures will attack if the books are disturbed:
There is a fluttering, squeaking sound as four grotesque bat-like creatures with insectoid heads and juddering proboscises swoop towards you!
There are a lot of valuable objects here. First, the following scrolls can be found:
4 Scrolls of Hide from Undead (1st level)
6 Scrolls of Protection from Evil (10th level)
3 Scrolls of Consecrate (3rd level)
3 Scrolls of Dispel Magic (5th level)
2 Scrolls of Speak with Dead (5th level)
2 Scrolls of Remove Disease (5th level)
2 Scrolls of Remove Curse (5th level)
2 Scrolls of Dismissal (10th level)
1 Scroll of Dispel Evil (10th level)
1 Scroll of Hallow (10th level)
1 Scroll of Raise Dead (10th level)
1 Scrolls of Cure Moderate Wounds, Mass (11th level)
The library also contains several books that may be of interest. The first is a book on demonology, the Daemonomicon, which grants characters referring to it a +4 bonus to Knowledge (planes) check to identify evil outsiders (it also allows them to make such checks untrained). Another is the Book of Martyrs, a text describing the lives and martyrdoms of many Saints, including Saint Severine. If a character spends 8 hours studying this text, they acquire all of the knowledge normally gleaned from a Knowledge (religion) check concerning the Saint, as outlined at the start of the adventure (this includes the fact that her heart reputedly still lives!).
There are also about a dozen holy texts here that are still mostly intact, each worth about 10 gp.
CH9 – Priest’s Chamber
The iron-bound door to this room is locked (DC 25 to pick, DC 25 to force, or use the silver key).
This small but well-appointed room includes a four-poster bed, and a tall, oak wardrobe. Unlike most of the furnishings in the chapel and rectory, those here are still fairly intact. In one corner, someone has built a small, macabre shrine with an improvised altar-stone upon which is lain the corpse of a rat, set before a kind of fetish or totem, a crude figrue made from fur and bones.
Perception DC 10 to notice the still-wet blood seeping from the wardrobe. Within is the corpse of the real Father Umberto, and half a dozen ecclesiastical outfits.
The shrine is dedicated to a dark power of vermin and pestilence, the Prince of Decay, Crom Mogg.
CH10 – Priest’s Study
The iron-bound door to this room is locked (DC 25 to pick, DC 25 to force, or use the silver key).
This room appears to be a study, with a bookshelf and a writing desk. On one wall is a portrait of a stern man in priestly robes, with piercing black eyes. An inscription on the frame reads “Father Leopold.” There are a few scattered papers strewn across the desk; most are badly decomposed, but some might be legible…
There’s a page here from Father Leopold’s Diary: