Shilo the Buff
Horror has swept over the small village of Whitwick. Men, women and children have gone missing in alarming quantities in the past few months. The culprit? A cannibalistic mad-man deep in the woods nearby. Will the players be able to find and defeat the menace and bring relief to the people of Whitwick?
This mini-adventure is designed for a group of players level 3-5. For maximum enjoyment and terror, players should be human, non-magical classes with no items or equipment.
The Village of Whitwick
This scenario assumes that the characters are traveling in a secluded, unpopulated area.
After several hours of travel along the quiet, winding path, a small village comes into view. A thankful sight after a long, difficult journey. With a hungry belly, no equipment and only a few coins left to your name, you feel a pang of hope. The dense forest clings tightly to the edge of path and cradles the village in thick pines and spruce trees. Several dozen quaint wooden cottages nestle in a circular shape, plumes of smoke billowing from their chimneys. In one corner of the cobbled town square stands a cozy tavern.
A quick look around Whitwick reveals that things are amiss. All the cottages have boarded windows and heavily reinforced doors. Some even feature large scratch marks gouged into the wood - a DC 10 Nature or Investigation check reveals that a humanoid made the scratch marks. The town square is deserted - in fact, not a single living soul is outside.
Most villagers will not answer the door. Some will peek out from their boarded windows and perhaps open the door a crack if the party seems friendly. The tavern will be the easiest place for the party to gain information.
The Holly Inn
In the town square stands the Holly Inn, a cozy inn and tavern. The entrance, a heavy oak door, is barred from the inside and has a small peep-hole. Like all other buildings in Whitwick, the windows are boarded shut.
If the party knocks on the door or shouts out, the peep hole will swing open and an old man will inspect the party. If they seem friendly, he will allow them to enter.
The sturdy door creaks open, revealing a quiet tavern. A tall, thin man eyes you from behind the door, sour-faced and pale. A large crackling fire warms the Holly Inn and the smell of cooked meats wafts in the air. The lofty walls feature dozens of mounted animal heads: elk, bears, owlbears. One lone patron sits at the bar in the otherwise deserted room.
Cedric Shaw is the proprietor of the Holly Inn. A thin middle-aged male human with long, curly black hair, a thin pencil mustache and pale, translucent skin. He has a sharp, angular face with piercing grey eyes. Straight-faced, paranoid and twitchy, Cedric is wary of everyone he meets. He will question the party incessantly on their business in Whitwick before sharing any information with them. If he thinks they are being honest, he will reveal the following information:
- An alarming amount of townsfolk have gone missing in the past few months. It started with hunters who would go hunting in the Holly Forest and never return. Then the townsfolk of Whitwick started disappearing during the night.
- Many townsfolk have moved away, but those who stay have taken extra precautions, like boarding their windows and keeping a curfew.
- The foodstores of the town are dipping lower and lower as fewer hunters survive their excursions.
- No bodies have been found, but splatters of blood have been seen in the forest.
- Only one person claims to have seen the beast, and he sits at the bar.
Quinn Ashglade is the man at the bar, one of the few remaining hunters in town. Broad-shouldered with rough tanned skin and a full beard. One arm is in a sling while the other grips a frothy pint of ale. Quinn is a gruff man of few words, but will loosen up after a few drinks. He might tell the players:
- He has seen the beast, and it bit his arm. (If the players wish to see his arm, they see a large fresh wound - ripped flesh and humanoid bite marks).
- It was dark, but he says it was the size of a man, although it ran on four legs.
- It's very fast and strong.
- He set some bear traps in the woods to try to catch it.
- He's not willing to go back into the forest until his arm has healed.
Knocking on doors around town may help the party gather more information.
Emeline Kramer is a young, slender woman with long, straight jet-black hair and brown eyes. Her parents went missing two weeks ago and now she cares for her younger brother, Sam, alone. They are quickly running out of food and unsure of their next move. She desperately wants her parents avenged and will offer the party her father's hunting knife (see dagger stats) in exchange for some food.
Muriel Cleves is a middle-aged woman with red eyes and tear-stained cheeks. Her son, Gregory, went missing last night. She says that she found his bedroom window torn open and his entire bedroom covered with blood. Muriel will allow the party to investigate her home. Everywhere but the bedroom is in perfect condition. Gregory's bedroom is splattered with sticky blood. A successful DC 10 Investigation check will reveal slash marks on the bed that were made by a very sharp object. Muriel lives next door and didn't hear anything. Investigating outside will show smears of blood on the back of the house beneath the window. The smear continues into the forest beyond. A DC 15 Investigation check will alert the players to ripped clumps of grass and finger-made drag marks in the dirt.
Arthur Fenwick is an elderly bald man with piercing blue eyes. He's very friendly and chatty but suffers from dementia. He will tell the players a variety of information, some true and some false, always correcting himself or changing to different subjects.
- Cedric Shaw is a werewolf who sheds his human skin every night to hunt the townsfolk (False)
- The beast is actually a renowned bard from Waterdeep who lives in the forest (True)
- The creature is an evil hag named Muriel who makes blankets from human flesh (False)
Sooner or later, the party will venture into Holly Forest. If they visit during the day, a DC 10 Survival check will reveal a few scattered gouges and scratch marks in the trees and some spatters of blood on the forest floor and a confusing amount of tracks - some animal, some human. It's difficult to tell what direction any creatures have traveled. The brush is dotted with bright red holly and pointed leaves. If they decide to visit the forest at night, things get more interesting.
The Holly Forest is dense and overgrown with underbrush and tall spruce trees. The woods are strangely quiet. Thick grey clouds roll over the moon, blocking out all light occasionally. After a few hours of walking, the trees are all starting to look the same. Confusion is setting in - you feel like you're walking in circles. Something feels wrong.
A DC 15 Perception check will reveal the following information:
As you try to collect your surroundings, you see a dark flash of movement between the trees behind you - about sixty feet away.
On a failure, the party keeps walking, oblivious to Shilo stalking them. After a few moments, reveal this information:
You hear the sound of a branch cracking underfoot - about thirty feet back. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot him. Bathed in moonlight is a man following you, brandishing a knife that glints radiantly. As you take notice of him, he gets down on all fours and breaks into a sprint.
If the players run, describe how fast the creature is and how he is gaining on them. As he gets closer, they can see that he is covered in blood and has a wild look in his eyes. When he's almost upon them, the clouds billow over the moon, completely blocking out the moonlight.
With a DC 10 Perception check, the party hears panting and soft footsteps nearby. Eventually, the sounds disappear. The woods are completely dark now.
Now it's dark and you seem to have lost him... but you are hopelessly lost yourself. Creeping quietly through the underbrush, you see a small cottage in the distance - the light is on.
Have the head of the party roll a DC 20 Dexterity check - on a success they hear the click of a bear trap and manage to jump out of the way in time. On a failure, their leg is now stuck in the bear trap. The bear trap deals 1d4 piercing damage and a creature can use an action to make a DC 15 Strength check to pry it open. Another creature can step in to help to give the trapped creature advantage on their Strength check. On a failure, the leg is severed and the player's movement speed is halved permanently.
You creep silently through the underbrush towards the cottage. From the doorstep, you see the man sitting inside, turned away from you. He is sharpening an axe.
If the party sneaks inside, Shilo doesn't hear them approach - he is too focused on sharpening his axe. His cottage is simple, with a single armchair and fireplace. Upstairs is a clean, plain bedroom. When the fight breaks out, Shilo attacks using his axe and knife. The party can attempt to fight hand-to-hand or try to grab Shilo's weapons using the Disarm action. Unless beheaded, Shilo will come back to life an hour after dying. He will attempt to sneak up on the party and point a gun to the head of one party member.
You hear a sudden voice from behind you and the barrel of a gun pressed against your head. "Shilo Surprise!" The man grins at you with cold, dead eyes.
Round 2 of combat begins. Shilo can use an action or bonus action to reload his shotgun after 2 shots. Describe how Shilo dodges their swipes and parries with ease. Finally, describe the final blow as decapitation.
Finally, you catch him in the neck, chopping off his head. His head topples to the floor, expressionless. You fall to your knees and catch your breath... finally safe from Shilo the Buff.
The party has successfully defeated Shilo the Buff. If they decide to return to Whitwick, the townsfolk celebrate them as heroes and shower them with rewards.
Shilo the Buff
Medium humanoid, chaotic evil
- Armor Class 15
- Hit Points 71 (11d8+22)
- Speed 30 ft., 50 ft. sprinting on all fours
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 13 (+1) 18 (+4) 14 (+2) 11 (+0) 13 (+1) 12 (+1)
- Skills Stealth +8
- Condition Immunities frightened, sleep
- Senses passive Perception 14
- Languages Common
- Challenge 5 (1800 XP)
Shilo Surprise If damage reduces Shilo to 0 hit points (and he has not been decapitated), he regains all hit points in 1 hour.
Death Eyes (Recharge 5-6) One target within 60 ft. of Shilo who can see him must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened until the end of Shilo's next turn. If a creature's saving throw is successful, the creature is immune to Shilo's death eyes for the next 24 hours.
Multiattack. Shilo makes 2 attacks: 1 bite and one melee weapon attack, or one shotgun attack.
Axe. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5ft. or range 20/60, one target. Hit 4 (1d6 + 1) slashing damage.
Knife. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5ft. or range 20/60, one target. Hit 6 (1d4 + 4) piercing damage.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage.
Shotgun. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 30/90, reload (2 shots), two-handed, one target. Hit 12 (2d8 + 4) piercing damage.
Parry. Shilo adds 3 to his AC against one melee attack that would hit him. To do so, Shilo must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.