From publisher blurb:
Only the bravest adventurers dare to enter Abbottsfolly Wood. The local villagers at the nearby keep tell of a crazed wizard who once dwelt there. Legends say the wizard could travel beyond the world of men, into the darkest reaches of the hidden worlds. Some say his evil magic lingers on and that the very trees whisper warnings on the night breeze. Can you find the wizard's lair and unlock his dark secrets or will you succumb to the power of the Master of Many Worlds?
Return of the Mad Hermit is a short Swords and Wizardry WhiteBox adventure designed for 3-6 characters of 1st-3rd levels (about 12 levels total), but is suitable for any OSR game. Return of the Mad Hermit is a dimension-hopping romp that contains a mixture of problem solving and dungeon crawling elements. A wide range of monsters and challenges are involved, so a variety of classes is recommended. The adventure can be "dropped in" to any outdoor wilderness setting whenever the characters make camp for the night.
In ages past, an adventuring wizard named Faloren of Marks roamed the land, fighting evil alongside holy warriors of the Church of Law and Order. Faloren became obsessed with the concept of other planes of existence and devoted his life to exploring the mysteries of the universe. He eventually retired with enough wealth to build a remote wizard's tower on the borderlands and continue his research. In time, he discovered how to open mystical doorways that allowed him to explore entirely new worlds.
To the villagers at the nearby keep, it seemed that the strange wizard had chosen to become a hermit. Before long, folk grew uneasy and began to whisper. After a number of bad omens, failed crops, and strange disappearances, the villagers were certain that Faloren had been tainted by the evil he had once fought. They convinced a band of adventurers known as the Brighton Swords to bring the "dark wizard" Faloren to justice.
The Brighton Swords stormed the tower and a terrible battle was fought. The tower was razed, but the adventurers were slain. Faloren barely survived the encounter and fled deeper into the borderland forest where he hid in the bole of a hollowed oak tree. The villagers at the keep assumed he had been killed in the battle.
In time, Faloren resumed his research into planar travel and eventually opened doorways into small "pocket dimensions" of his own design. However, Faloren lacked the proper ingredients and resources to safely travel between worlds and with each crossing, his mind slowly became unhinged.
Faloren was recognized one day by a huntsman, and word spread among the nearby settlements that he still lived. The local priest led soldiers and a mob of able-bodied men into the woods in search of him. Faloren chose not to kill the misguided soldiers. Instead, he used an ancient spell to shift their life's essence into a thick stand of trees, and this forest later became known as Abbotsfolly Wood.
Paranoid and fearful that stronger enemies might come looking for him, Faloren poured his own life's essence into six brass chimes and hid them among his pocket dimensions. Faloren's madness continued to grow and he eventually lost all knowledge of magic. He became a sneak thief and mad hermit who roamed the countryside with various animal companions and preyed upon travelers. Legends say that Faloren was killed by a band of wandering adventurers and that afterwards, the local faeries took pity on him and laid his bones to rest inside the hollowed oak.
Countless years have past, and Faloren's spell has slowly begun to unravel. A lightning strike recently killed one of the enspelled trees, and one of its largest limbs fell to the ground, just waiting to be picked up by a band of weary adventurers. . .