At the Mines of Madness, Part 1

I've finally started off a new campaign after shelving Songs of Erui since the only original character's was Josh/Shazbot's, a razorclaw ranger named Greymalkin. I've been itching to run something Eberron since it came out last year, and after building up on a one-shot idea I had am glad to be back in Khorvaire, or more accurately the Shadow Marches. For the curious, here's the party roster (the reason I list the player's name first is because I only remember the name of Liz and Josh's characters).

  • Liz is playing a changling rogue named Moxie.
  • Randy is playing a half-elf battlemind whose name I forget.
  • Josh is playing a half-orc seeker named Hawkeye (or rather, Hok'Ai, or some such spelling)
  • Beth is playing a kalashtar bard that uses a bow.

I mentioned a long time ago that I was going to start out this adventure with a flashback vignette, in which the players played commoner-type characters running from something in the middle of the night. They didn't know what it was, just that people in Shardpit started going crazy, killing and eating each other. Naturally they and a bunch of other townsfolk legged it and after many hours were severely dwindled in number and exhausted, which was about the time I started murdering them. It started off shaky, and in the final adventure writeup I'm going to note how I think it would be better initiated, but suffice to say it did a good job of getting the players freaked out and wondering what the fuck was going on.

Of course, I did forget to mention that some of them had golden treasures of various sorts, but I added them in later when the party looted their digested corpses.

The adventure opened up with the party guiding a caravan through the Shadow Marches, along with a few minion soldiers to try and even up the odds with the 938 XP encounter that they ran into. It had bullywugs and frogs, which they laughed at until they realized that the croakers hit pretty hard and that if they burn healing surges then they get weakened for a turn. Yeeep, that shut 'em up.

After losing half the guards and chasing off the last remaining bullywug, they found some fish-themed treasures, half-digested corpses, and one without a head (their characters from the vignette). They didn't laugh at that, but it did start getting them to ask questions (and Beth accusing frogs of being the BBEG). Realizing that they were getting closer to whatever it was they killed them before (but unable to act on out-of-character knowledge, heh heh), they proceeded to loot their previous characters--something that hasn't happened since OD&D--they trekked on and arrived at Shardpit.

The gates were open, but finding everything abandoned looted the everburning torches and proceeded. They found a blood-spattered stone, and a stable with lots of dead horses. As they stood around arguing for a bit until crazy-eyed people started emerging from their houses. When a crazed human horde arrived, Liz described it as a very, "Left 4 Dead moment," which I guess is apt.

And then a girl packing a hammer came rushing out of the stable, except that she had a shark mouth in her stomach. Actually, that's still pretty similar to Left 4 Dead.

Okay, she wasn't that ugly. Blegh.

They barely scraped by this fight with a few healing surges left, but still kept going until they got ambushed by dog-crab things that could teleport and the guards with tentacles for arms. I had the guards on top of the houses, hoping to grab characters and strangle them while the dogs distracted the rest of the party, but Josh fucked that plan by lighting the buildings on fire with his elemental spirits power. This attracted more of the crazed horde who upon seeing the warped guards and dogs didn't stick around long.

At this point the party has abandoned the caravan wagons and lost two out of three merchants. The general prediction is that they will all die, which probably won't happen because I've got at least five more adventures planned out. We'll see who makes it through the next session.

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