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Titlethe scare crow
TagsLeisure Magic (Paranormal) Maize
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Table of Contents
                            Front Cover
The Field
The Scarecrow
The Farmhouse
The Waterpump
The Horses
The Harpsichord
The Men
The Sword Which is Uncertain
The Spellbook
Tales of the Scarecrow
Back Cover
Document Text Contents
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Page 3




his adventure location can be
placed in any out-of-the-way rural
area, located along a scenic route
between two larger settlements.

Somewhere along the route, just off the
road, will be a roughly circular lush green
cornfield—even out of season. (Yes, the
cover shows something else, but when
an artist turns in something that great,
you don’t correct him.) A trail from
the road leads through cornfield, leaving
a gap in the crop through which can be
seen a farmhouse standing in the middle
of the field. This might be enough to
get the player characters to investigate,
but if not, the Referee knows what will
entice his players more than any writer
would, and he should use that knowledge.


elow the cornfield lives a gigantic
beast which cannot stand the air
above. If conditions are right,
it can detect the most minute

vibrations in the ground around it, and
it will use its million tentacles to attempt
to snatch prey from the surface.

The “right conditions” are rather peculiar.
Potential prey must be within range of its
tentacles (which can reach to the perimeter
of the corn field), but not directly above its
brain (which is quite coincidentally the same
size as the farmhouse and the cleared area
inside the cornfield). It also cannot detect
targets moving towards its brain, so moving
from the outside of the cornfield to the inside
renders a potential target safe from attack.
Those standing still in the cornfield, or moving
away from the farmhouse while still in the
cornfield, are subject to attack by the beast.

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It also finds the open air intolerable, so it can
only attack one target with one barbed tentacle
each round. It attacks as a 5 Hit Dice monster,
doing 1d8 damage per hit. The attack is a fast
strike-and-withdraw maneuver, the tentacle’s
barb tearing away flesh, so unless the victim
is acting on the same Initiative number as the
monster (or if the character won the Initiative
and holds his action until the creature strikes),
the tentacle cannot be attacked. Only when a
victim falls to the ground and does not move
will the creature ignore anything else in the
corn field and feed on it, sucking the body
through hollows in the tentacle barbs.
Note that the tentacles are sufficiently long
to attack levitating or f lying characters up
to 100’ off the ground.

Each tentacle is Armor Class 14 with 8 Hit
Points. “Killing” a tentacle will cause it to
be withdrawn from the surface, but will
not deter the creature from continuing
to attack with another of its tentacles.

The creature itself is 1000 Hit Dice and
except for its tentacles, is immobile.

The corn grows closely together and
is a difficult obstacle to move through,
reducing movement rates by three-quarters.
The corn is poisonous: eating it triggers a
save versus Poison in each of the next four
turns, with each failure resulting in the
consumer suffering 1d8 points of damage.

The corn, thanks to the strange fertilizing
influence of the creature below, almost
instantly regenerates any damage done
to it. Any corn stalks cut down or burned
grow back within minutes. The trail from
the road to the farmhouse is intentionally
kept open as a trap by the creature, and as
soon as any victims have entered the clearing
around the farmhouse it will allow the corn
to grow back in the gap and thus block the
easiest route back to the road.


he scarecrow stands at the point
in the field indicated on the map.
The Creature will not attack
anyone within 20’ of it, so this

area can be used as a safe haven.

However, close examination of the scarecrow
itself is not advised: it drains life. If anyone
wishes to examine the scarecrow or gets close
enough to touch it, confirm with the player
first how many Hit Points that his character
currently has (whether this involves asking
the player or informing him based on your
own records depends on the individual style
of the Referee). Then begin counting down;
this represents actual Hit Point losses for
the character until the character is no longer
within reach of the scarecrow.

The physical scarecrow itself is mundane.
It can be destroyed or burned normally,
but its destruction does not cancel or nullify
any of the area’s effects. The scarecrow is a
physical manifestation of the malefic power
at work here, but is not its cause.

Page 5




he farmhouse is a small brick structure
with wooden flooring and a tiled
roof. There are only two features
worthy of outside of the house:

• The water pump.

• The horses.

There are several features worthy of note
inside of the house:

• The stench of death and rot throughout
the house.

• The corpse in the bed in room B.

• Another corpse on the floor covered
with a blanket in room C.

• The live man in room A.

• The harpsichord in room A.

• The Sword Which is Uncertain,
lying on the bed in room C.

• Two books, Malleus Deus and Tales
of the Scarecrow, on the table in room A.


he water pump at the side of the
house is operational, but the water
it draws is thick and foul-smelling.
It will quench the thirst of any

drinker, but it is full of microscopic parasites—
anyone drinking the water will require twice
the usual amount of food per day beginning
the day after the thick water is first ingested.

After two weeks have passed, the parasites
will be visible in the host’s urine, at which
point the character loses 1d3 points total from
his Constitution, Dexterity, and/or Strength
(determine randomly). The character must
make a saving throw versus Poison. Success
means that the character fights off the infection
in 2d10 days’ time and the ability score points
lost are restored. Failure means that the
infection and its effects—the increased appetite
and the ability point loss—are permanent.


our horses lie dead and rotten behind
the house, all four still bridled and
saddled with saddlebags attached.
If the remains are disturbed, evidence

of dozens of large puncture wounds on the
f lank and sides of the horses in contact with
the ground will be discovered. The saddlebags
are empty except for one which contains a
scroll case which holds the receipt of sale for
Fox’s purchase of the sword and the two books
which are detailed below. The seller’s name and
address is noted on the receipt, and the Referee
is encouraged to use this or the additional
contents of the saddlebags of his devising
to seed campaign-specific information so
as to develop further adventure hooks.


espite the dilapidation of the farm-
house, the harpsichord is somehow
still in perfect condition. It is finely
crafted and worth 10,000sp if it

could somehow be removed undamaged from
the house. The creature below will not attack
while the harpsichord is being played by a
skilled musician. If an unskilled character
plays the harpsichord, it will enrage the beast
below, causing it to make 1d4 attacks per
round in the field instead of the usual one
attack as long as the playing continues.

Page 6




he badly decomposed corpse of one
man, Kingsly Addams, lies on the
straw-mattress of the bed in room B.
Another, that of Edward Corley, lies

on the f loor in room C covered with a blanket.
A third man, sickly and pale, still lives. His
name is Richard Fox, and he will barely
acknowledge anyone entering the house.
He will just sit on the floor in room A, staring
into space. If disturbed, he will demand food
and water, claiming not to have eaten for five
days. He will refuse to speak or cooperate in
any way until he is given some food and water.
Both the body of Edward Corley and Richard
Fox himself stink of excrement as they both
abandoned hygiene and even rudimentary
waste disposal some time ago.

Fox is a wealthy adventurer and collector
of odd and bizarre items. On his journey
home after collecting his latest crypto-
paraphernalia with his three servants,
he spotted the farmhouse. He still had some
way to go, and expecting to purchase supplies
from the residents, he instead decided that
they would stay the night once he discovered
that the house was abandoned.

The first to die was Nicholas Gristleman,
who was unafraid to walk through the corn
field after they discovered the path had closed.
The others did not see exactly what happened
to him, but his screams and the sprays of blood
above the corn made it clear that the fields were
deadly. The horses refused to enter the fields.

Kingsly Addams was the second to die,
after the men’s food ran out. He decided
to eat some of the corn. He became ill
immediately and died within minutes
of his companions bringing him inside.
Unbeknownst to his fellows, he robbed
the man who sold the books and the sword
to Fox. Addams attempted to swallow the
valuables, but only got a few things down
before accidentally biting down on a coin
and chipping his tooth. His pouch contains
2gp (both of them with teeth marks) and
47sp, but in his stomach is a small, brilliantly
cut ruby worth 1750sp, a platinum charm
worth 550sp, and 4gp.

Edward Corley was the last to die, as he
and Fox stayed in the house, too afraid to
leave despite having quickly gone through
their meager supplies; none of them were
expecting to eat on the road at all. Corley
eventually starved to death, but Fox, near
death himself and quite desperate, resorted
to cannibalism. Fox has been picking at
Corley’s raw flesh the past couple of days,
and Corley’s left thigh shows the signs of
this. It is not enough to sustain Fox, but
it staves off death that much longer,
although Corley is beginning to get
a bit rank. Corley’s corpse still wears
a gold ring worth 500sp on its left hand,
and in a pouch inside Corley’s vest, is an
exquisite music box worth 1300sp.

Page 7



If questioned after being fed, Fox will relate
the story of what happened to his party
(leaving out the cannibalism bit of course).
If asked about the sword and books in the
room, he will explain that he bought them
only recently in [nearest large city], and
that he believes that they are quite valuable,
but has not had them properly appraised,
having bought them quickly because he
believed that he was getting such a good
deal. If pressed, he will admit to paying
50,000sp total for the three items. He does
not know that they are magical. If the player
characters offer to help him escape, but only
if they are rewarded for doing so, he will
reluctantly agree to a 5000sp reward if he
is returned home safe, plus 1000sp for each
of his companions whose body is returned
to his family. (This amount should not count
towards experience awards.)

He will not resist if the player characters
take the items, but should he return to
civilization, Fox will file legal grievances
with the appropriate authorities. Note
that this will make the authorities aware
of the Malleus Deus, at least, bringing all
of the complications that entails. Fox will
soon “disappear.”

Despite his weakened state, if Fox
discovers that the bodies of his fellows
have been looted or robbed, he will attempt
to kill the perpetrators and will actively
undermine all of their efforts as best he
can, even if cooperation with them would
be in his best interest.

Richard Fox is a 3rd level Fighter who
currently has 2 Hit Points (out of a
maximum of 15 Hit Points).
He has 12gp and
231sp in a
sack (“You
should have
met me before
I bought this
junk, I had a cart full of
gold!”), a rapier and a dagger,
but no other equipment or
possessions worthy of note.


his exquisitely decorated rapier
(worth 5000sp just for the
craftsmanship and inlaid gems
and precious metals) is also magical.

It treats all opponents as if it they had Armor
Class 14. However, on any attack roll of 16 or
17 (including all modifiers), the sword will
instead strike one random nearby target within
striking range of the attacker. This target can
be friend or foe or indifferent, but it will not be
the intended target. When this happens, roll
1d8 for damage twice, and use the higher roll.

If there are no other possible targets when
a 16 or 17 is rolled, then the errant strike is
“banked,” meaning that the next time the
sword is used to hit, it will automatically
strike an unintended (or perhaps better
described as a “target other than the

declared target” because players do catch
on to these tricks quickly and use

them to their advantage, as is
proper) target. If this attack

roll was 16 or 17, one extra
strike is still “banked.”

There is no limit to
the number of strikes
that can be “banked”
in this way, but only
real attacks intended
to cause damage to

a target
count for

the purposes
of “banking”.

Page 8




ne book on the desk is a massive
tome called Malleus Deus. Any Cleric
or Magic-User will recognize the
title and although they will not know

what is in it until they (try to) read it, they will
know that it is supposed to be a book that rends
order and understanding from the world.

Religious authorities (of all organized religions,
bar none) consider possession of the book a
capital crime; even knowing why is grounds for
burning if one is not in a “need to know” position.

Clerics will be able to recall stories of people
who even jested about possessing a copy
found their entire households and even their
acquaintances, tortured and killed in order
to determine the whereabouts of the book.
Magic-Users will have heard stories that the
destruction of the Library of Alexandria was
a deliberate act committed just to ensure that
this one book was destroyed.

Given the book’s reputation and the supposed
lengths to which the authorities will go to
ensure its destruction, surely anyone who
values their life would simply let the thing be
and leave the area at once, telling no one where
they have been or more importantly, that fact
that they have seen the book.

As a spellbook, the Malleus Deus contains the
following number of Magic-User spells:


1 2d6 6 1d4
2 2d4 7 1
3 1d6 8 1
4 1d4 9 1
5 1d4

If more than one spell of any particular
level is present, then the extra spells of that
level are not Magic-User spells, but instead
Cleric spells of the same level. These Cleric
spells are written in magical script and
are Magic-User spells for all intents and
purposes, and thus cannot be used by Clerics.

If a Magic-User casts one of these usually-Cleric
spells in the presence of a Cleric, that Cleric must
make a saving throw versus Magic or never
be able to cast that spell again—or at all, if the
spell cast is of a higher level than the Cleric can
currently cast. This also happens if a Cleric knows
such a thing has happened. (“Clever” players of
Cleric characters may make a fuss about how
their character never picks up on such things,
even despite the fact that to a Cleric, such
things should be obvious. Fine. The player just
declared the character to be both unobservant
and oblivious, and a good Referee will remember
that.) A Cleric who has lost the use of a spell in
this fashion, who relates the events to another
Cleric also causes that Cleric to have to save
versus Magic or lose use of the spell.

Determine all spells in the book randomly.

Page 9




he other book on the desk is a
storybook titled Tales of the Scarecrow.
It is a creepy horror anthology with
all of the stories concerning, you

guessed it, evil scarecrows.

What exactly happens in the stories?
The players will determine that.

The players should be told that each of them
will determine, in secret, the possible powers
and effects of the scarecrow. Whoever comes
up with the most interesting (and/or dangerous)
effects will have their entry become the actual
power of the scarecrow, and that player’s
character will receive an experience bonus.

(If they ask how much of a bonus, tell them
the truth—it will be random. There is every
possibility it will be a negligible increase,
every possibility of many thousands of
experience points being awarded, and every
possibility of something in between.)

Let them know that they do not have to
make the scarecrow a monster or assign
abilities or powers to the scarecrow itself;
it can merely have an effect on the area inside
the cornfield or anyone within it. Nor do the
effects have to follow any established game
mechanics. Any described effects cannot
name a specific character or class (unless every
character or class receives an individual effect,
in which case it is okay; also, “the first one to
do x” is acceptable, but any sort of “Yeah,
I’m screwing Josh’s character but good with
this one!” stuff is not.). Tales of the Scarecrow
is a book of scary stories and whatever the
players invent should work in that context.

Tell them that the entry which leaves the
party in the worst position will likely win
the experience award, so they need to weigh
their desire to get experience against the
disadvantages of creating a truly debilitating
or horrific effect.

Give each player ten (or fifteen, or whatever
you think is appropriate) minutes to invent
these effects without discussing his idea with
his fellow players—this is not a collaborative
exercise. These should be written down and
each player must sign his idea so that the
Referee can tell which player wrote which entry.

The entries must then be passed to the Referee,
who should choose the entry that is the most
sinister and diabolical before putting it into
effect. The “winning” player’s character will
then be awarded experience according to the
following chart with the player being allowed
to make all of the rolls instead of the Referee:


1 +1d100 percent

2 +2d20 x 100

3 Total of all ability scores x 1d100

4 Reroll every digit of the character’s
current experience point total on a d10,
and continue until each digit comes up
an equal or larger number. For example,
if a character currently has 4425xp, re-roll
the 4, the 4, the 2, and the 5 each on 1d10
and replace the previous number with
the number rolled if it is a higher number.
If the number rolled is not equal or greater
than the current number, reroll.

5 + 1d10 x 10 percent

6 + the character’s current level x 750.

While the character gains the experience
immediately (and this bonus is not subject
to any “only gain one level per session” rules),
the character will not actually increase in level
until he has returned to a safe area.

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