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Pallowen: Festival of the

Frightful Harvest
“Gather, all, for night falls and brings the deepest darkness
with it! This is a time that brings both fear and trepidation,
but these tales will protect us from Old Scarwood and his ilk
as long as the terror rings true.”
—Traditional start to the Warding of Pallowen

Pallowen, known in some areas of the continent as the


Frightful Harvest, is a yearly festival celebrated in honor of
the last day of autumn. It acknowledges the blessings gained
throughout the year and the role that both good and evil play
in the lives of the people. It is a time to give thanks, but more
importantly, it is a day of warding. Warding against not only
the darkness of the season to come but of the nefarious
creatures and evil spirits that are empowered during this
transitional season.
A Druid’s Sacrifice
There are two central figures of Pallowen: Pallowen, the
brave halfling druid that the holiday is named for, and Old
Scarwood, a dark and twisted tree creature full of rot, blight,
and malice. As the legend goes, a thousand years ago, the
specter of a blighted druid tormented the people of the
countryside, poisoning their crops and blighting their forests. The Grace
After many people valiantly tried and failed to stop the wicked
spirit, a humble halfling druid answered the call of the At first light, The Grace of Pallowen starts and is seen as a
woodlands that depended on her. time to recognize the bounties of life and the harvest. It starts
Pallowen battled the foul spirit, but the specter was with fasting, while the community gathers to decorate and
powerful, more powerful than Pallowen by far. But the druid prepare the feast and treats for the day of celebration. When
knew that if she didn’t stop this evil it would continue to spoil the sun is at its highest, they break their fast and begin the
and corrupt the lands that she loved. So Pallowen cried out to Great Meal, a time for family, friends, and welcomed visitors
her god of nature and channeled every bit of earthen energy to come together and show their gratitude. It’s customary that
that she could muster from the ground beneath them and each person at the table takes a turn to speak their gratitude
into the specter, destroying herself in the process. Her aloud and acknowledge the fruitful gains that they’ve made
desperate gambit worked, but only partially. The specter over the season, generally while receiving jovial ribbing and
wasn’t destroyed but was instead sealed within a great tree, teasing from the others around the table.
where it has been trapped since that day so long ago,
merging its essence completely with the tree that holds it.
But there is one day a year when the spirit, now known as
Old Scarwood, is free to roam the world again. The transition
between the seasons when all evil is at its most powerful. The
day now called Pallowen.
A Festival in Parts
Pallowen begins at first light and ends at first light the
following day, and is a holiday filled with food, costumes,
dancing, and stories. The traditional celebration is separated Credits
into several distinct parts, each representing Pallowen’s Written By ~ Keith Pendley
battle with Scarwood, but it’s not uncommon for urban areas Designed By ~ Keith Pendley & Jess Pendley
to focus more on the masquerade and treat giving aspects of Art By ~ Victor Benitez Morales
the holiday. Editing By ~ Jess Pendley

Published by Underground Oracle Publishing under the


Open Game License version 1.0a. Copyright 2019 Under-
ground Oracle Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

The Underground Oracle | Festivals


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On the outskirts of a small hamlet, the group is
The Warding approached by a terrified young child that tells them that
The Warding of Pallowen starts as the feasting comes to an her mother is going to be sacrificed by the locals in an
end and the sun begins to hang low in the sky. It’s the time of attempt to drive off Old Scarwood.
the holiday to focus on fear and how to face it. It’s a During the Warding of Pallowen, the sound of snapping
commonly held belief that Pallowen marks the transition trees and piercing screams suddenly interrupts the
between autumn and winter, and that this transitionary festivities, as several treants amble into the town square.
period on the Prime Material plane is a time when evil While walking down the street, an unseen force suddenly
creatures and spirits, led by Old Scarwood himself, are at lifts a horse and throws it through a tavern window.
their most active and powerful. Screams can be heard coming from the building as people
To ward off the creatures of the night, and stop them from spill into the street still dressed in their Pallowen
bringing famine and disease to the community, the people costumes.
gather together and tell scary stories and legends of great Raina Pamerra, a local lord, has asked that a nearby
evil. These tales are always told in the first person, as though dungeon be emptied out before midnight on Pallowen.
the speaker themself was the one causing the terrors of from She fears that the evil within will devastate the
their story, in order to trick Old Scarwood and any other countryside if left unchecked during this dangerous
wandering evils into believing that the village has already season.
been claimed by nefarious beings bragging about their
conquests.
The second half of The Warding is full of fun and
celebration, as everyone puts on colorful costumes and
gathers the treats they had prepared earlier in the day,
placing them in a central Pallowen basket. After the treats
are gathered together, all of the children (and lighthearted
adults), who have dressed themselves as various monsters,
demons, and villains, begin their parade around the
perimeter of the village, winding around the streets and
houses and marching past the Pallowen Basket to collect
treats wrapped in parchment and containing blessings and
prayers for the season to come.
The Sealing
The Sealing of Pallowen is a time to recognize the druid
Pallowen’s sacrifice and to protect the village and people
during the hard season to come. After the parade, the people
gather together for dancing and games, celebrating for as
long as they can before midnight approaches.
Midnight on Pallowen, being not only the transition of one
day to another but of one season into the next is believed to
be the most dangerous time of the year. As the celebrations
and festivities come to a close, villagers giddily rush back to
their homes, laughing and scrambling to collect the pieces of
parchment containing the good omens and tidings that their
neighbors festooned their treats in on the way. To close the
evening, and provide the final act of protection for the season
to come, they burn the pieces of parchment on the doorsteps
of their homes, sending the good wishes and blessings into
the ether to join the spirit of Pallowen herself.
Plot Hooks
The following are plot hooks that you can use to stir up some
adventure on Pallowen.
While traveling through a great swamp, the party realizes
that midnight has passed on Pallowen and the ominous
feeling of being followed settle upon them. The rush to
make it back to civilization now begins.

2 The Underground Oracle | Festivals


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