4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 108

  • Adair (level 3 elf war cleric)
  • Humal (level 3 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Sumia (level 3 elf rogue)

After spending several days recuperating, the party returned to the Ebon Triad's temple.

To say that it was in disarray would have been a vast understatement: the elevator was destroyed, forcing them to climb down hundreds of feet of chain in order to make it to the main chamber, where they found countless dismembered bodies strewn about.

Apparently, the monstrous creature had thoroughly ransacked the place before seeking them out.

They set about exploring the other two wings of the temple. The first was dedicated to Morrigan, an old, somewhat obscure war god. They checked each room as they went, and the further they ventured the less destruction they observed. The very last room looked to be the perfectly intact bedchamber for this particular cult's high priest. He was dead, but his body was completely unharmed.

This lead Sumia to theorize that the creature had somehow stolen his soul, possibly in a similar fashion as the three-faced high priest they previously fought. Her hypothesis was confirmed when Filge tried communicating with his spirit, and his ritual failed to provide any results.

While they looted his room Humal found several scrolls. One of them seemed to contain nothing more than garbled characters, but when he referenced the cipher scroll they found in the three-faced priest's laboratory the message became clear: it mentioned a being called Kyuss, an "age of worms", and that they would need the "worms of Kyuss" in order to further their agenda.

Though it did not explain why, it also stated that what they sought could be found in the Mistmarsh, among the lizardmen tribes that dwelled there.

The third and final wing was little more than a cavernous series of tunnels. Bones were both placed in roughly hewn alcoves and scattered about. Corpses of slain cultists wore gruesome armor made of bones, and wielded heavy maces. Though none of the dead rose to trouble them, a pack of chokers were either dwelling there the entire time, or recently moved in while the party was recovering.

Fortunately, they only had to slay a few before the rest fled back into the shadows.

They scaled a cliff, crossed a rickety wooden bridge, and found several large chambers connected by narrow, winding passages. As with the previous wing, the furthest chamber contained the corpse of the cult's high priest, also without any visible wounds. It was slumped in a crudely carved stone chair, before which was a small pool of blood, a bowl of dried mushrooms, and numerous scraps of parchment.

Humal examined the parchment, and was able to puzzle out the rambling, disjointed notes. They spoke of a swarm of worms, the return of Kyuss, and the Age of Worms.

Design Notes
Going through The Three Faces of Evil, I noticed that there's a bunch of masterwork weapons and armor, which was a thing in 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons: masterwork weapons gave you a +1 bonus to hit, while masterwork armor reduced your armor check penalty by 1. For some bizarre reason, only masterwork weapons and armor could be magical.

Something we've been kicking around is whether Craft (and, I suppose, Profession) skills should be included in FrankenFourth. My reasoning against it them is, despite what 4th Edition detractors have said, that Craft (and Profession) rarely come up in actual play: I played 3rd Edition for nearly a decade, and the only Craft skill I ever used with any frequency was Craft (alchemy).

After reading the Weapon Mastery section in Rules Cyclopedia, I like the idea of making Craft skills something you can learn at any time, so long as you put in the necessary amount of time (which could be reduced if you study under someone more skilled than you).

This way, you don't have to invest actual points or slots in a very specific skill with nebulous applications, and characters can't run around adventuring, yet still quickly and easily eclipse the skill of craftsmen that dedicate their entire lives to doing that one thing.

A Sundered World is out (and also available in dead-tree format)! If you for some reason don't want the entire setting, you can just snag the races and classes.

The Ghost has manifested!

Sunken Treasures has been dredged up from the depths!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

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