Location: The Single Step (Part 2)

Part one can be found here, and a PDF of both parts combined can be found here.


Main Plot: Saul and Pyretaneis


Saul’s death was indeed an accident, but one that Pyretaneis blames himself for. After many failures at freeing the bound elemental, Pyretaneis and Saul started designing more experimental and desperate rituals. The duo created a more powerful banishing spell, hoping to send Pyretaneis home. Unfortunately, the spell caused an unforeseen consequence: due to the attachments he had formed during the time he spent here, Pyretaneis’ mind and spirit were more strongly attached to the material plane than his primordial, fiery form. As the spell pushed them both towards the fiery plane, the two aspects were split temporarily. Pyretaneis’ consciousness was only able to watch as his uncontrolled flames erupted into a blazing inferno, consuming the study. Pyretaneis’ regained control, but it was too late for his dear friend Saul. 

Pyretaneis, wracked with guilt, sealed the study and avoids any questioning about the topic. He worries that if anybody were to discover the truth, he would be considered dangerous and uncontrolled, and lose whatever trust and reputation he has built. Unfortunately, not everyone has been quick to accept a fiery interplanar creature as a simple business proprietor. 

He also fears that the residual magic from the ritual in the study could cause him to lose control again if anybody tampers with it. Indeed, he can sometimes feel his control slipping away during traumatic or highly emotional moments. As the years of imprisonment drag on, Pyretaneis’ mind has begun to degrade. 

However, Pyretaneis has not been sitting idly. In the years since Saul’s death, his guilt, depression, and desperation has led him to necromancy in an attempt to restore Saul and continue his work. Saul’s body was too badly burnt by the elemental flames for typical resurrection magic, which is in part why he has begun to work with the Waning Howl. More details about this Waning Howl are in the next section. 


The players can advance this plot by:

  • Breaking into Saul’s study(11), accessed as described in (8). While the study is mostly empty but for ash and scorch marks, some of Saul’s notes survived in a stone workbench describing the failed ritual and how to reactivate it.
  • Communicating with Saul’s spirit, who has been brought closer to life by Pyretaneis’ necromancy. The spirit can communicate with the party through a continuation of the dreams described in (9), or if the party holds any sort of seance. Saul says the ritual should have worked, it just needed more time. Saul’s spirit wishes to see Pyretaneis returned to the elemental plane of fire, before his mind degrades and he causes more harm.
  • Pushing Pyretaneis to a rage by being noticed in the study, or by pushing their questioning too far. Pyretaneis will give them several opportunities to drop it, but will eventually break and lose control, attacking the party if they don’t back down. In particular, suggestions that he was responsible for Saul’s death are more likely to push him past the limit. 
  • Present Pyretaneis the information they received from Saul or found in his study, suggesting they attempt the ritual again. Pyretaneis’ rage and guilt are unlikely to let him trust the party on this, but he may be convinced if your players are clever. However, the ritual itself is traumatic enough that he will still become enraged during the process. 


Whether convinced by Saul to help free his friend, or if they decide Pyretaneis’ should be dealt with before he becomes too dangerous, or if they convince Pyretaneis’ to try the ritual again, the final confrontation will likely occur in Saul’s Study.

(11) Saul’s Study

The study itself is a stone workshop. The walls and floor are horribly scorched, and there are piles of ash from incinerated books and scrolls along the walls. Rows of bookshelves and crates of supplies are badly burnt. In one corner, a stone workbench still stands mostly intact, in which the party can find Saul’s notes describing the lead up to the failed ritual, as well as Saul’s Amulet (see appendix). Using Saul’s notes, the party can find and reactivate the magic circle used in the failed banishment spell with a DC 20 Arcana check. If they have spoken to Saul’s spirit and received his help, they have advantage on this check. 

If they do, Pyretaneis immediately senses the magic and teleports to the study if he’s not already there. Enraged, he indiscriminately attacks the party. However, the following effect occurs on each round on initiative 21: 1d4+1 squares of fire within 100ft, starting with those closest to the ritual circle, are sucked back into the elemental plane of fire and extinguished. If there is not enough fire within range, instead reduce Pyretaneis’ current and maximum hit points by 20. If his current HP is reduced to 0 or less while the ritual is active, he is banished to the elemental plane of fire. The ritual lasts until Pyretaneis is defeated, the individual who reactivated the spell dies, or 1 hour has passed, whichever comes first. 

If Pyretaneis is successfully banished, Saul will manifest to thank and reward the players. He will point them to a secret stash in the cellar containing 2000gp and Saul’s Ring. Alternatively, if appropriate for your campaign, the stash could instead contain the deed to The Single Step, and the party will have the option of taking over the inn. 

Side Plot: Waning Howl and the Single Step


The Waning Howl is an unsavory group of poachers who dabble in crude necromancy. They strip their prey of any valuable external parts, and when they die, revive them. In this way, they can continue to harvest certain animal products such as venom or fat. Additionally, it provides them with truly fearsome creatures to use in battle. The organization has hideouts throughout the realms, but this particular group operates out of a hideout deep in the forests of the Inbetween, where the Single Step sits.

Pyretaneis has recently contracted with the Waning Howl. On the surface, the reason is to provide meat and animal products to the isolated inn. However, Pyretaneis’ secret motive is that they may help him devise a way to revive Saul, at least enough to help him finish his work. Where regular necromancy has been insufficient, Pyretaneis hopes their unusual approach to the practice might come up with a solution. In the past, Pyretaneis would have been a better judge of character, but his years of struggle have led him to this poor decision. 

For the Waning Howl’s part, the contract allows them a safe place from which to stage their hunts. There are many strange and unusual creatures in the wilds outside the inn. In particular, they hunt the bulldrake, a creature whose venom is used to create a valuable drug. 

Unfortunately, their presence has made the area even more unsafe for travelers. Tortured, half-alive creatures lash out at passersby, and other forest denizens have become violent and defensive.


The players can advance this plot by:

  • Confronting Kathal or Wynna, members of the Waning Howl. When the players arrive, Kathal is guarding the wagon at the entrance, while Wynna is selling their goods to the chef in the kitchen. After the deal, the two will return to the Waning Howl hideout in the forest, but will return to the inn a few days later with another haul. 
  • Speaking to the chef, “Charred” Charles, who buys meat regularly from the Waning Howl on behalf of Pyretaneis. He personally isn’t too concerned with where the meat is coming from, as long as he gets paid.. There aren’t a lot of job opportunities this far up north, and this one has treated him alright. However, he doesn’t have any particular love for the howl and won’t hesitate to give up their names if threatened or bribed. He doesn’t know the location of their hideout, but can tell them when they’ll make their next stop to the inn. 
  • Speaking with Alber in the cellar about his missing coworker, Panard. Panard fell afoul of one of the Waning Howl’s beasts while exploring the forest. Investigating the employee’s rooms at (10) finds the map that Panard was making of the area, as a hobbyist cartographer. This could lead the party to the last area he explored and his body. The escaped Bulldrake (see appendix) that killed Panard is in the area. The bulldrake is wearing a thick metal collar, hinting at the Howl’s prior attempts at taming the beast. On Panard’s body the players can find a Bound Lantern (see appendix), as well as his explorer’s journal that includes the location of the Waning Howl’s hideout.. 


Whether by confronting the Howl directly or tailing them to their camp, the only likely solution is a show of force. The Howl will attempt to flee if sufficiently intimidated, or if a fight breaks badly for them, but will likely sneer at any diplomatic attempt to remove the poachers. 

The hideout is protected by a variety of traps, which the poachers can use through their lair actions, see appendix.

The camp itself  is currently occupied by Kathal, Wynna and a Risen Bulldrake. Wynna was injured during the bulldrake’s escape, and is at half health and poisoned if encountered within 24 hours of the players arriving at the Inn. In the camp, players can find 230gp, 2x Bulldrake Blood(see appendix) and 1x Wyvern Poison. If the poachers are defeated, players can retrieve any unused traps, as well as Kathal’s warhammer, Malus (see appendix)


Stat Blocks

Variation: The standard Bulldrake found by Panard’s corpse does not have the Necrotic Venom attack.


Bound Lantern

This lantern sheds a bright light in a 30-foot radius and dim light for an additional 30 feet. The light shed by this lantern is invisible to anybody more than 60ft away. 

Additionally, the first time each day a creature within the light’s radius uses a spell, ability or attack that deals fire damage, roll the damage dice twice and take the best result.

Bulldrake Blood

After drinking this potion, for one hour you are immune to fear. Additionally, you remain conscious and are able to act normally while at zero or less hit points. You still die at 3 death saving throw failures.


Warhammer, Requires Attunement

You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. Additionally, on a critical hit, the target is affected by Bestow Curse, with a save DC of 13. 

Mimic coin

As an action, you can transmute the Mimic Coin into any other coin, gem or similar valuable. Anyone who interacts with the transmuted coin must make a DC 12 investigation or perception check. If successful, they notice it has been altered. 

The Mimic Coin is very skittish. If the transmuted coin is used in a transaction and the other party succeeds on their check, the Mimic Coin grows tiny pseudopod legs and attempts to flee.

If used to mimic a spell component, roll on the following table when casting the spell to determine the effect:

1: Complete and utter failure: the spell fails, the mimic coin and spell slots are consumed.

2-10: The spell succeeds, but with a twist or consequence at the GMs discretion. (ex. Change or add targets, invert effect, cosmetic side effect, target grows a pseudopod, target is slimed with adhesive goop, target is transmuted into a treasure chest…) The Mimic Coin is not consumed, but it attempts to flee.

11-19: The spell works as expected and the mimic coin flees.

20: The spell works as expected, but the mimic coin does not flee and can be used again.

Saul’s Amulet

Wondrous Item, requires attunement

Once a day, when you summon a creature, you can give it the following benefits for 10 minutes:

  • It is immune to cold damage and has resistance to fire damage.
  • It can move across difficult terrain created by ice or snow without spending extra movement.
  • The ground in a 10-foot radius around it is icy and is difficult terrain for other creatures. The radius moves with it.

You can attune to both Saul’s Ring and Saul’s Amulet using one attunement slot. While attuned to both, you may only use one or the other each day. However, when you do, you also gain the benefits.

Saul’s Ring

Wondrous Item, requires attunement

Once a day, when you summon a creature, you can give it the following benefits for 10 minutes:

  • It is immune to fire damage and has resistance to cold damage.
  • Any creature that moves within 5 feet of it for the first time on a turn or ends its turn there takes 1d10 fire damage.

You can attune to both Saul’s Ring and Saul’s Amulet using one attunement slot. While attuned to both, you may only use one or the other each day. However, when you do, you also gain the benefits.