Schönau – an enchantment for D&D

Zurück vom blinden See
28 enchantments and 3 wishes in thrice accursed, enchanted, bewitched January.

Today: An enchanted village as the 8th enchantment

The small village of Schönau, deep in the dark forest, has recently become a pilgrimage site of a very special kind. The reason for this is the so called blind lake, located in a nearby bog. The lake owes its name to its near circular shape and the fact that its waters remain pitch black even under a bright midday sun. After many pilgrims becoming lost in the bog in recent times, logways have been constructed leading from Schönau directly to the blind lake.

When a person’s corpse is thrown into the lake, they come back – alive – into the village on the night of the next new moon. Nobody knows why. Schönau has trouble stemming the flood of mourners who seek the return of loved ones. The village is experiencing an unheard of economic boom, inns and shops are being built to house and support the pilgrims as they wait for the new moon to then depart, reunited with their loved ones.

However, the strange enchantment does not work if there is a living soul at the lake during the night of the new moon. The ire of the waiting pilgrims is sure to fall heavily on anyone foolhardy enough to try. The villagers, wary of preserving their newfound fortune, have put up warning signs and stand watch at the ways into the bog on the nights of new moons.

Schönau is meant as a plothook:

Maybe a church sends the heroes to investigate the phenomenon, or rumours of the resurrections make the rounds as one of the heroes or a beloved NPC lies dead, or the heroes passed through the sleepy little village before the discovery and now they return only to find a booming pilgrimage centre…

In a world ripe with resurrection for those wealthy enough to afford them, the poor will likely flock to such a locale. This, however, makes Schönau into a threat to the wealth and power of big temples selling resurrections – and such people might take a dim view indeed of the sudden competition, especially one with such a mysterious source. But will the poor heed the warnings against the evils of the blind lake or will they just – rightly or wrongly – assume them to be made out of greed and pride?

Perhaps a church even tries to take over the lake and give it its “official” blessing, grand new temple, pilgrims’ rests and all. This, of course, will also entail church control of access to the lake. The villagers might turn to the heroes for help against this takeover. Or the heroes themselves are the ones who are tasked by their superiors in a holy order to secure the lake – but by what means?

And then there is the question of what lies in the lake’s black, unplunged depths causing the resurrections. A gate to another plane? An undead or some other monstrosity, binding the dead to its will? You could place a dungeon, such as a sunken temple, at the bottom of the lake, or it might simply be an artefact buried in the mud. An artifact, long ago hidden by some extraplanar creature perhaps, which sought to dispose of it for fear of its powers? And was it placed in the lake by accident or for some specific purpose?

It’s the endless possibilities which make me like this so much and that is the reason why I refused to list any definite answers from the entry itself. Make of it what you wish.

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