Long ago the site that would one day become Grover’s Mill was visited by a squad of anunnaki. The otherworldly beings experimented on local fauna before returning to the distant stars. To mark their presence on the planet the anunnaki left a large metal rod embedded in the earth. It would serve as a source of mystery for those who encountered it in the future. Thousands of years later humans founded a small village was founded near the rod. To help expand the village, a man by the name of Grover erected a mill along a nearby river.
When it came time to refurbish the mill Grover suggested using the metal rod as the new axle for the waterwheel. This proved to be a fortuitous decision as the new axle doubled the mill’s output. The greater production drew more people and caused the village to develop more rapidly. When Grover died, the town was named Grover’s Mill to honor their most important benefactor. The mill still stands today and serves as the backbone of industry in the town. Lately, however, it has come under scrutiny by the city leaders. They suspect it may be the source of the strange incidents that have begun to plague the town.
It began when a lightning bolt struck the mill during a violent storm. Runes in an unknown language glowed green along the rod, bathing the town in an eerie light. The next evening workers at the mill reported bizarre dreams involving gray skinned humanoids. It wasn’t long before other people in town started experiencing similar dreams. Soon after, a shooting star was seen crashing into the nearby forest and causing an explosion. Those sent to investigate found a crater but the shooting start turned to dust before their eyes. A few days later local hunters started showing up dead with their bodies mutilated. The peculiar dreams and horrific murders have everyone in town on edge.
Outside the town limits, there is a sign that proudly proclaims, “Grover’s Mill: The Shining Town of Tomorrow.” The people of Grover’s Mill exist in somewhat of a paradox. They claim to be a free society with democratically elected leaders. But non-human races are treated like second-class citizens. Gnomes, halflings and other small races can only find labor jobs despite being as qualified as their human counterparts. Mayor Blamire and the town council try to sweep all problems under the rug. They work hard to give the appearance of everything running smoothly. The dreams and murders have thrown the leaders into a panic. Mayor Blamire has personally hired extra guards to keep the carefully constructed façade of the “perfect” community intact.
The shared dreams everyone is having are actually encounters with an alien race. The grays planet was visited by the anunnaki too and they have come to Grover’s Mill seeking answers. After the mill road was struck by lightning it started emitting a signal. The grays were able to detect with their advanced technology. They believe the anunnaki left a message in the species that were experimented on. The grays have been abducting people to try and decipher the message hidden inside them. When they are not probing into minds the aliens reside on their ship hovering invisibly over the town.
The crashed shooting star was a transport for a group of interstellar scavengers known as the neh-thalggu. Their species is engaged in a massive war with something they call The Starless Empire. The neh-thalggu have come to Grover’s Mill to develop a weapon to use against them. They also detected the signal and were elated to find somewhere with the materials needed. The neh-thalggu are harvesting brains from people to power a massive cannon. Once completed it will be capable of blasting psychic energy across space. The neh-thalggu are so focused on completing the cannon they are do not care that the mounting bodies may expose them.
During construction on the mill workers stumbled on a stockpile of technology left by the anunnaki. The forewoman of the excavation followed procedure and turned the rail gun, hard light shield, and power cells over to the town council. Ripley expected them to call for a magical expert to figure out what the items were and how they worked. She was flabbergasted when Mayor Blamire had the items locked up. He also threatened to arrest her or any of her workers for discussing what happened. This whole air of secrecy does not sit well with Ripley. Since the incident, she has been quietly seeking help to steal the items back from the mayor.
While studying the dusty remains of the shooting star the wizard Giger suffered a scroll mishap. The mishap exposed him to the influence of The Starless Empire and changed Giger into their herald. Following the bidding of his new masters, he built up a cult to worship The Starless Empire. They are currently engaged in a shadow war against the grays and neh-thalggu. They have been trying to capture a gray to gain access to that race’s space flight technology. Knowing the threat of the neh-thalggu’s Giger has been exhausting his resources to discover their base. To lower suspicion, the cult is presenting themselves as a group of citizens concerned about strange occurrences.
Drag & Drop Encounter (CR 11)
The view from the foothills near Grover’s Mill is gorgeous, and you can see the entire town spread out below. As you trudge higher, a cry rings out from over the next ridge. From the hilltop you can see a woodsman lying on the ground with one leg pinned beneath a heavy boulder. Upon seeing you he waves his arms and begins to shout. “Hey! Hey you! Quick get me out of here! Help me get my leg out before they come back!” The boulder requires a DC 20 strength check to move off the man. Once it’s moved you can see the man’s leg is broken and he’ll need help to get back to town. The air begins to shimmer as three large crab-like creatures dispel their invisibility. They move in from all sides to surround the party.