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A wedding-themed investigation encounter for 5th-level parties in D&D 5E.

A town in the freezing mountain climes is preparing for the wedding of its lady and future lord. Everything must be perfect for the special day and the entire town is dedicated to seeing that it all goes right. But an issue has arisen, likely owing to the infernal nature of the bride and groom-to-be. There have been sightings of an infamously zealous monster-slayer, growing ever closer to Harrowcrest and threatening to disrupt the proceedings.

This is only Part 1 of 2, covering the setting and its most important friendly characters. The second will dive into the wedding’s itinerary, as well as the monster hunter and his plans!

A Special Collaboration

This project is our special way of celebrating Valentine’s Day together with our friend Alex Miller, AKA the Boy King of Idaho.

Boy King of Idaho

Hi all – I’m Alex and I compose under the name the Boy King of Idaho. I write unique and immersive music and ambient soundscapes for D&D and other tabletop rpgs. I write big battle tracks, sweet and quiet ditties, dark and sinister tones, and even some synthy and sci-fi vibes – everything a session might need.

I release multiple songs and ambient soundscapes each week over on my Patreon, where you can also find a collection of free tracks to stream and download.
Check it out at: www.patreon.com/boykingofidaho

Alex has composed Rumors in the Night specially to accompany this adventure! Please feel free to download it, or hit play below and enjoy it as you read further:

The Town of Harrowcrest

The rocky mountain road passes through pine trees to reveal a village of stone cottages. A central well is surrounded by homes, workshops, and what appears to be a single inn, its metal sign releasing a shrill, echoing creak with every gust of wind. Encircling the town is a crown of jagged cliffs and mountain peaks. Townsfolk bustle around the square, dressed in thick, hardy furs to stave off the freezing chill in the air, almost camouflaged in the lightless grey cast down by perpetual cloud cover. And beyond the town, perched on a raised ledge like the gargoyles that decorate it, is an imposing, shadowy manor.

Harrowcrest is a mountain town that boasts all the trappings of the darkest fairy tales. It sits in the valley between a ring of mountain peaks, subject to the thin, frigid air of its altitude. These same mountains deprive Harrowcrest of light. What little sunlight that could reach the town in the middle of the day is dimmed by overcast skies, draining the atmosphere of color and warmth. Afternoons bring the creeping shadow of Harrowcrest Manor, a gothic mansion that looms over the town. And inside that manor are Harrowcrest’s beloved leaders: Etriel, the incubus, and the vampiress, Lady Esmerelda Calvus.

Snowy Plaza Battle Map, Night Banner

Currently, Harrowcrest is deep in preparation for the wedding of its lady and her groom. Various members of the community have taken on the responsibilities of planning, catering, and officiant. Most are absorbed in their duties, including the bride and groom-to-be, who are dealing with the tension of their respective wedding parties gathering within the increasingly claustrophobic manor.

But disconcerting news has reached Harrowcrest. Word is that a mysterious monster-slayer with a merciless reputation has been sighted in the area, no doubt drawn by the prospect of crashing such a union. While a single individual poses little physical threat to the town’s infernal residents, his interjection could jeopardize what is an important day for Harrowcrest. Rather than sully the occasion by personally hunting a man through the streets, Lady Calvus has instead called for outside help. She wishes for the party to act as security until the wedding’s conclusion. They are instructed to remain subtle and unobtrusive so as to not upset the preparations and to, above all else, stop the monster hunter from ruining the wedding.

Map and Asset Downloads

You might find some of these maps appropriate as your players move about the town of Harrowcrest. In particular, the Haunted Estate.

Characters of Harrowcrest

While one might expect Harrowcrest’s climate to breed a population of gruff survivors, the people instead choose to defy their surroundings. Those in Harrowcrest are a kind and joyous lot who are content in a simple, community-driven life. Much of this can be attributed to the safety and leadership provided by the undeniably odd residents of Harrowcrest Manor.

Haunted Mansion (Furnished) banner

The people of Harrowcrest are fully aware of their leaders’ identities, who have never sought to charm or otherwise enchant the town. They share a mutual trust. Harrowcrest’s small size also makes it difficult to keep secrets, fostering a tight-knit and trusting community. They are similarly friendly to visitors, showing them kindness and openly discussing Lady Calvus and Etriel, provided that travelers do not seek to judge or alter their way of life. 

Feel free to Right Click > Save our character tokens! They are .webm video files that are compatible with Roll20, FoundryVTT, and most modern virtual tabletops. You can also find static .png files at the end of the article.

Lady Esmerelda Calvus

(LN female vampire)

Dressed in a luxurious gown of rich purple, black, and white, is a woman of proud posture and porcelain skin. Her jet black hair falls in loose curls, framing statuesque features and pulling your focus into the gaze of her icy blue eyes. You can smell the faintest trace of sweet perfume drifting from her. She smiles, her lips coated in the red of what you hope is lipstick.

The previous Lord of Harrowcrest, Nathaniel Harrowcrest, was a reticent, stone-faced man. His attitude drove his wife, Matilda Calvus, to leave him and take their only daughter, Esmerelda. The latter only returned decades later and after Nathaniel’s death, in an effort to discover who her father was. Unfortunately, it was during this journey that she was attacked and infected by a vampire.

Esmerelda did not believe she could return to her previous life. The people of Harrowcrest were accustomed to an absentee ruler, so they showed no resistance when Esmerelda instead sought to claim the Manor. Though she kept to herself in a similar way to her father, Esmerelda had also been raised to be kind. She slowly became more active in the community, earning the respect and eventually the fondness of the people as she learned and developed as a leader. And by the time that Esmerelda could no longer hide her immortality, she had long since proven who she was to them. Harrowcrest accepted her admission and implored her to stay.

Further decades passed and Esmerelda was met by an incubus summoned at the bidding of Barnabas Fletch. The summoner’s scheme failed the moment it began but the vampiress and her fiendish visitor grew close until he even became a permanent resident of Harrowcrest Manor. Several months ago, they announced their plan to wed.

Lady Calvus is currently absorbed in the frantic preparations of her wedding. Aside from organizing with Maisie Holloway, she must also contend with the tension between Etriel’s party of fiendish friends and her own entirely human mother and half-brother and best man, Mikael. Her responsibilities leave her without spare time. Coupled with a shared wish for the wedding to be without flaws, this places Esmerelda in no position to deal with the news of an infamous interloper. Though she is more than capable, she would rather pay for outside help than slaughter a man and ruin her own wedding day. The same applies to the gathered wedding parties. Fortunately, it does not preclude hiring a discrete security detail.

Etriel, Lord-to-be

(NE Incubus)

A man steps forward, his expensive and largely unbuttoned suit eclipsed by a pair of black and red, bat-like wings that extend from his back and a pointed, devilish tail that flicks like an agitated cat’s. He pushes back an intentional mess of red-brown hair, exposing two small horns and eyes with blood-red irises. They inspect the people before him with genuine interest as he grins wickedly.

Etriel’s time in Harrowcrest began when Barnabas Fletch, a disgraced wizard in search of power, summoned him to the town with the task of seducing and controlling Lady Esmerelda Calvus. Barnabas was sure that this would allow him to rule through them. He, nor Etriel, had accounted for Lady Calvus being a vampire and easily seeing through the ruse. She and Etriel played along for a time, all the while plotting what they should do with the manipulative mage. During this period of tricks, plots, and schemes, Etriel found himself enamored with Lady Calvus in a way that none had anticipated. The two brought a peaceful end to the situation.

Etriel has remained in Harrowcrest since then, ingratiating himself to the locals in much the same way that Lady Calvus once did. Her presence has likewise helped to calm and contain whatever evils he may once have attempted.

B’zevlaba, bone devil and maid of honor

Their approaching wedding has also seen the arrival of Etriel’s wedding party. His two dearest friends are occupying rooms in Harrowcrest Manor, though they may appear in town if they manage to escape the attention of Esmerelda and Etriel. The first is B’zevlaba, a bone devil and the maid of honor, and the second is Typhest, a lich who was once the first human to ever summon Etriel. They have not mellowed in the way that Etriel has but have sworn to not prey upon Harrowcrest in any way, as a personal request from their friend.

Maisie Holloway – Mayor and Wedding Planner

(NG female halfling noble)

A female halfling, hunched over a set of papers that she carries. Her brown hair is slipping out of the ribbon that ties it and falling over frantic eyes with deep bags below them. She has rolled her sleeves to her elbows, freeing her arms to fidget impulsively between exaggerated motions as she directs other townsfolk in an impressive, if increasingly hoarse, volume. 

A lifelong local to Harrowcrest, Maisie Holloway may as well have been the daughter of the entire town. She was a friend to everyone and spent much of her childhood helping, and eventually working, in as many of the town’s businesses as she could. When the previous mayor retired, he personally recommended Maisie as his replacement. She has now held the title for almost a decade.

Mayor Holloway’s regular duties mostly revolve around the everyday organization of the town and its resources, working alongside and building a close friendship with Lady Calvus herself. Recently, however, she was assigned the prestigious role of wedding planner. This has exaggerated Maisie’s already anxious and frenetic nature as she rushes between daily objectives, fueled by a self-sustaining engine of pure stress. The wedding must. Be. PERFECT.

Though she may be the foremost source of information on Harrowcrest and has access to records that may expose Maximus Brandt’s secret past, Mayor Holloway is constantly wrapped up in her duties and has little time to stop and talk. Woe betide those who slow or disrupt Holloway’s work or threaten the wedding in any way, accidental or otherwise.

Maximus Brandt – Innkeeper and Caterer

(CN male human commoner)

Though he wears the same hardy, judicious expression that one might expect of a mountain village tavernkeeper, the Peakshade’s proprietor is clothed in clean, well-kept clothing and with neat hair and trimmed beard. He pays a courteous smile, though his eyes maintain an element of skepticism as he inspects a set of new faces and the equipment they carry.

Maximus came to Harrowcrest almost two decades ago, using personal connections and wealth to establish the Peakshade tavern and inn. Though there are rarely any visitors to fill the inn’s hastily-prepared rooms, the ground-floor tavern serves as a popular place for townsfolk to gather and eat after a day’s work. As such, Maximus is an appreciated and well-informed member of the community. He volunteered the Peakshade to handle the catering for the upcoming wedding.

But Maximus hides his true intentions for the special day, which stem from a similar secret that he has kept since deciding to travel to the town: his true name is Maximus Harrowcrest, the unrecognized son of Nathaniel Harrowcrest. He now seeks to claim what he believes is his rightful inheritance.

Maximus is in league with the mysterious monster-slayer, who is being hidden in a secret room in the inn’s basement and behind an arrangement of barrels and crates. Stores of weapons, maps of the town, and plans of attack can be found inside. Should the monster-slayer succeed in his hunt, Maximus plans to fill the resulting void and take the manor for himself, feigning reluctance to admit his heritage and manipulating the town’s grief. Facilitating this plan may require Maximus to curry favor with the party, allowing him to feed them false information and misdirections.

Typical Tavern banner

Barnabas Fletch – Town Guard and Wedding Officiant

(NE male high elf cult fanatic)

A lithe elven man whose skin bears faint scars of burns and cuts, wearing a fur coat over longer, dark robes. His slicked-back hair is speckled with strings of grey and parted by a large scar that runs across his right temple. Beneath his coat, you spot multiple pouches, vials, and a thick tome strung at his side.

As the summoner who originally called upon Etriel to seduce and manipulate Lady Calvus, Barnabas met the unexpected fate of becoming a personal friend to the ruling couple. His plot, in addition to bringing them the happiness of finding each other, had also proved Barnabas’s cunning, resolve, and ability. He was summarily offered the role of Harrowcrest’s singular official guard. Barnabas has since used his considerable magic to defend the town from the mountain’s beasts and judgmental outsiders. Surprisingly, most of all to Barnabas himself, he has since become rather content with the position, perhaps even to the point of liking the town and its people.

In addition to being a friend of the bride and groom, Barnabas is also the only resident of Harrowcrest that worships a god. Despite this god being, in Barnabas’s words, “a being of pure entropy, unknowable to mortals who live and die within its inexorable gaze,” his worship made him the only true choice to officiate Lady Calvus and Etriel’s wedding.

Barnabas is spending most of the days of preparation within Harrowcrest Manor, assisting in dealing with the meeting families. After the hiring of the party, he also makes his way into town each day to liaise with them and to prepare the chapel. He can aid in establishing defenses and discussing the town, and will act as a last line of defense should any hostility reach the ceremony.

That’s it for part 1 and the residents of Harrowcrest. Part 2 will cover the hunter himself, his faithful assistant, as well as the wedding’s schedule and how they plan to attack! Until then, feel free to leave any feedback, comments, or other thoughts down below!

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Troy McConnell

Boy King of Idaho

Hi all – I’m Alex and I compose under the name the Boy King of Idaho. I write unique and immersive music and ambient soundscapes for D&D and other tabletop rpgs. I write big battle tracks, sweet and quiet ditties, dark and sinister tones, and even some synthy and sci-fi vibes – everything a session might need.

I release multiple songs and ambient soundscapes each week over on my Patreon, where you can also find a collection of free tracks to stream and download. Check it out at: www.patreon.com/boykingofidaho

You can also further support David Wilson, our talented token artist, by buying him a cup of coffee. Thank you!

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Do you prefer static tokens, or do our animated tokens not work with your setup? Please feel free to download the static versions below:

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About the author

Troy McConnell

Part-time DM and author of 2-Minute Tabletop's encounters, map lore, and characters. Basically, I write about all the campaign ideas that I don't have time to run. All with the assistance of my feline familiar, Wink.

You can support my writing efforts on Patreon.

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  1. This is legitimately SO CUTE. I cannot wait for the next parts, and I may run this as a one-shot for my group when all the material is out <3

  2. Hi, I really like the concept of this adventure! Any suggestions what Tier of party this would be appropriate for, or tips on how to adjust it?

    1. Thank you, Victor!
      The encounter is designed for a 5th-level party (of 4 characters), which primarily comes from the CR of the monster hunter in Part 2. Adjusting his stat block for other levels is mostly a matter of changing his hit points and damage-per-round.
      The adventure may not scale well for higher levels, however, as the primary focus is on the investigation and not actual combat. Certain spells could start invalidating entire sections. Adjusting the adventure itself would require you to account for your characters’ capabilities in order to balance an element of challenge.
      Part 2 goes into more detail about the focal points of the encounter, if you’re looking for more information on what to change.

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