4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 110

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

Tracking the lizardmen through the Mistmarsh was the easy part: they'd clearly taken no effort to conceal their course, sticking to elevated ground whenever they could, and the party discovered their den by the end of the first day.

It was built in and under the root structure of a vast, ancient grove of trees. The only entrance was hidden behind a thick curtain of flexible roots, making it difficult to find even with the assistance of the tracks.

Since they would need light sources in order to see, the party opted to wait until dawn, figuring it would be at least somewhat easier to navigate the den without immediately betraying their presence.

Unfortunately, they were ambushed by a trio of lizardmen during the night, and only managed to slay two before the third fled into the darkness: so much for getting the drop on them.

Despite their wounds they ventured inside the den the next day, figuring that further attempts at resting would only result in additional ambushes. They chose a tunnel at random; it led to a wide chamber with a hole in the ceiling, under which was a substantial pile of excrement. Unsure what to make of it—an awkwardly and oddly placed lizardman toilet, perhaps—they exited through the only other opening.

This led them to a bedchamber of sorts, with four lizardmen sleeping on grass and mud pallets. Sumia snuck in and slit the throat of one, but its hissing managed to wake the others. Fortunately Adair and Humal managed to take out the other two before they could arm themselves, which prompted the fourth to drop his weapon and surrender.

Unable to communicate with him, Humal conjured an image of one of the soldiers from Blackwall Keep. The lizardman seemed to understand what Humal was getting at, and directed them through a nearby passage. This was connected to another bedchamber, and after they picked up a second lizardman captive finally made it to what amounted to a lizardman prison.

There were four cages that looked to have been somehow grown from carefully shaped roots, though only three had occupants: two contained a single man each, clad in filthy rags, while a third contained a similarly attired woman. Her mouth was gagged, and her fingers were twisted at painful angles: Humal surmised that this was the warmage, and that the lizardmen had taken "precautions" to prevent her from employing her magic.

The chamber was guarded by a single, monstrous lizardman. Unlike the other lizardmen they'd encountered, this one was nearly the size of an ogre and covered in thick, black scales. Numerous thick, chitinous plates were tied to its body, and it wielded an appropriately sized maquahuitl.

Thanks to Humal they didn't receive a demonstration of its fighting capabilities: one charm spell later and it—against the protests of their lizardmen captives—was effortlessly tearing the cages apart and freeing the prisoners. The party in turn released the lizardmen and left, and while carefully making their way back to the entrance, the soldiers asked what they were doing in the swamp.

At the mention of green worms, the soldiers said that they'd encountered worm-ridden undead: the worms could be passed on to living hosts, killing and reanimating them as new zombies. The safest method of dealing with them was to whittle them down from a distance and incinerate the remains. They weren't sure where they'd come from, but it seemed that the lizardmen suspected humans of creating and loosing them in the swamp, which might explain the sudden increase in hostility.

The soldiers also explained that others had been captured. They weren't sure where, but pleaded the characters to help rescue them, too. The party agreed: they still hadn't discovered what the Ebon Triad believed was out here that could assist them, but with a few more capable warriors it'd increase their chances of at least surviving long enough to find it.

Design Notes
We're about halfway through Encounter at Blackwall Keep, which means I'll need to get on re-reading whatever the next adventure is, because this is the first time in about a decade that a group has gotten this far. I also kept running the campaign in Eberron, so I'll need to decide whether to use Sharn or a more "normal" city.

I'm prepping a public alpha document for FrankenFourth. Obviously it won't have everything (or even most of the content): the core four races (except for halflings, of course) and classes (with six or more talents to choose from each), skills, gear, some typical low-end monsters, basically enough to see you to at least to 3rd-level (and beyond if you don't mind making up XP requirements).

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!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print.

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.


  1. When I originally modified this campaign path for Eberron in 3.5E, I placed Diamond Lake near the tip of the Dagger River on the south east. That made Sharn the perfect place to use as The Free City, and there's a lot that Sharn can offer for much of the campaign. I also had a brief side quest planned from another Dungeon magazine featuring a murder mystery in Sharn. Unfortunately, I tried 3 times to run a group through the campaign from the start, and none of them ever got as far as Blackwall Keep, let alone to Sharn :/ Still, I would recommend using Sharn as the Free City; it just makes a great contrast from Diamond Lake, and has tons of optional possibilities for the players.

    1. The first three or so times I used Eberron, which was a bit easier thanks to those Overworm/Overload articles (put Diamond Lake near the hilt, Free City = Sharn, swap out Hextor, Vecna, etc with The Keeper and so on, etc).

      Really I SHOULD just go that route again, since I still have Sharn: City of Towers.


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