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The Hetzelsberg is a small mountain which was the location of an iron mine during the Feudal Ages. For a long time, it was assumed that most of the iron ore had been mined out and that the remainder was unprofitable to extract. This changed in 1387 NA, when the Behringer Bergwerke company purchased the land and began operations. Rather than digging lots of new shafts through the mountain to get at the iron ore, they poured out specialized alchemical compounds within the existing shafts which seeped through the mountain and dissolved the iron. This fluid was then captured at lower elevations and processed with further alchemy, resulting in purified iron at a fraction of the cost of normal mine operations.

This procedure was a huge success and helped the company to establish itself in the region for the twenty years of its operation. After that, only traces of iron could be gathered. However, it appeared that self-sustaining alchemical reactions were still going on within the mountain, causing poisonous waste to gather in the local water reservoir built for the mine. The corporation reinforced the dike surrounding the reservoir and waited for the reaction to stop, as trying to stop the poison at its source was deemed to be too expensive. However, the flow of poison continues, and so much of it has accumulated at the bottom of the reservoir that a failure of the dike would be able to poison most of the water supplies of downstream Grüngarten, as well as the river flowing further west to Praxus and beyond. For this reason, Behringer Bergwerke tries its best to hush this problem up, as its exposure would lead to vast public outrage.

However, waiting passively is no longer an option - two years ago horrible mutated creatures began to emerge out of the mountain and into the reservoir. At first, they were small and did not represent a threat. However, as of late they have become larger and larger and even started attacking the dike. The corporation is now desperately searching for skilled mercenaries who can travel into the mountain and solve the problem at its source somehow. If they fail and the dike breaks, the owners are ready to travel at a moment's notice as fast and as far away as they can.

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

This was inspired by this Arcana Wiki entry about a very polluted mine in California. The Hetzelsberg represents a good dungeon for a party of adventurers who can survive in a very hostile environment. If the GM wants to provide additional loot to the payment provided by Behringer Bergwerke, the alchemical reactions might also have produced rare alchemical compounds useful as components for ritual magic, or perhaps purified gold or silver.


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