The Noble Rot is a location-based adventure for characters of 5th to 8th
level. This adventure can be played in one or two sessions of reasonable
length. It is a straightforward, haunted house-style adventure.
The story revolves around Le Chateau Gluant, a vineyard and winery of
repute. Vintages of its famous white (chardonnay) and red blend (cabernet
sauvignon) are sought throughout the land. Some vintages can bring up to
200 gp per bottle from the right buyer. A case (twelve bottles) of the wine
in pristine condition can fetch up to 1,500 gp. Unfortunately, the winery
fell upon dark days and the prized wine has not flowed from its cellars for
a few years.
Approximately five years ago, the head winemaker, Malcolm Roth,
hired Tobias Suey as an apprentice. Unfortunately for Roth, Suey was a
member of the Cultus Limus (Cult of the Ooze). The Cultus Limus makes
sacrifices to its demonic master Lumaszu in her faceless form. Lumaszu
or “she who erases” is an ancient demoness who preys upon travelers
by drinking their blood. She is the cause of nightmares, pestilence,
infestation of pure water, and a bringer of disease, sickness, and death.
Her worshipped form in Cultus Limus is that of a gigantic ooze.
Suey turned the field hands who tended the vines against the winemaker.
Then the new cult turned its attention to the Gluant family. Eventually the
cult members started preying on each other. With each sacrifice to the
ooze, Suey’s power grew—until there was no one left but Suey.
The whim of demons is fickle. Suey was blighted and corrupted for his
work. Now he deep in the cellars under the chateau as a minor ooze demon.
His handiwork, however, remains. The chateau is now the abode of its
former residents and workers, in undead form. Also slimes, molds, fungi,
and other foulness fester in the fields, buildings, and cellars. The riches
of the Gluant family remain undisturbed; would-be thieves and robbers
quickly fall prey to the current residents. Besides normal valuables, cases
of wine remain undisturbed and waiting to be plundered.
The title The Noble Rot refers to a few factors in this adventure. The
first is the rot that befell the Gluant family in the form of the Cultus Limus.
Another is actual noble rot disease that may aid the PCs in overcoming
the challenges posed. The phrase also refers to a real-world gray fungus,
Botrytis cinerea, which in the right conditions creates world-class dessert
wines such as French sauternes. In the wrong conditions, it destroys
grapes and is known as gray rot.
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