Dungeons & Delvers: Age of Worms, Episode 710

  • Humal (level 12 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 12 dwarf war cleric/druid)
  • Sumia (level 12 elf rogue/ranger/wizard)

Session Highlights
Now that they're up close to the ziggurat, the party realizes that it's entirely made out of countless bones, all mashed together and coated in a resinous substance. Humal and Filge of course like Kyuss's style, less so everyone else.

Everyone flies up to examine the floating obelisk fragments. Though much of it is missing, Humal is able to determine that each arm was keyed to a specific type of magic, and served as a powerful focus that funneled various magical energies into the uppermost point (which is missing). He can't be absolutely certain of its function, but it's safe to say that it involved Kyuss's ascension to godhood.

With his analysis concluded, the party heads inside what's left of the ziggurat. Aside from a bas-relief intricately assembled from small bone fragments covering the walls, the first room is empty. The bas-relief depicts numerous people and warriors bowing and kneeling before Kyuss. A set of double doors on the opposite wall leads further in: each door bears a massive skull, and can only be opened by pulling on a series of levers. After a few tries they hear screaming, snapping, and popping from within the doors as they slowly slide out of sight.

The second room is much larger and square-shaped. Each wall features another set of double doors,  identical in appearance and opening-mechanism to the first. There's also a huge pit in the floor from which tendrils of noxious green vapor issue. Luckily another hole in the ceiling prevents it from accumulating in the central room.

Picking the southern room at random, they find that it contains a kind of operating table bearing what looks to be a dismembered corpse. Next to it is a lectern with a scroll draped across it and a chained sarcophagus. The back wall isn't bone, but numerous panes of glass reinforced by bands of iron arranged to depict skulls: it's all that's separating them from hundreds of thousands of writing Kyuss worms.

Assuming that it's going to jump up and attack them anyway, they check the corpse first. Humal and Corzale realize that it's a completely dismantled marut, an ancient divine construct made by priests of Bel-Amaranth to locate and annihilate powerful undead creatures. According to the scroll, Kyuss knew one or more would come looking for him, and devised a way to make it so that they couldn't detect him or even be aware of what he was doing. In fact if Humal's theory was correct, even if a marut were to get close to Kyuss it wouldn't be able to sense him at all.

If they bring it back to their lair, Humal believes he can reassemble all of it except for what amounts to its brain: it's incredibly complex, made of up tapered bars that could change, divide, and merge as the marut learned new information. He decides to resort to his trapazehedron fragment; after a brief consultation he learns how to completely repair the marut in exchange for all memory of his brother's true name, causing him to both completely forget it and preventing him from learning it again.

This might put him at a disadvantage later should he run into his brother again, but having a marut ally certainly couldn't hurt.

Designer Notes
Originally the players go into the ziggurat, fight some stuff, go into a room, fight some more stuff, go into another room, and fight yet more stuff. It sounded like a slog so I got rid of all of it: there's going to be plenty of fighting down below, anyway.

They're also supposed to run into these visions during which they get automatically fed backstory information. Doesn't make sense and is kind of lazy, so I'm ignoring them and just letting the players try to figure stuff out on their own: there are plenty of NPCs to speak to if they want, plus Humal can Speak With Dead anyway.

The marut is there because of some campaign/character specific lore that I came up with on the fly, not something I thought would generally improve the adventure (but seriously why aren't maruts looking for Kyuss?). I was surprised to see that they want to repair it (and even going so far as to sacrifice a very useful bit of information), because I also mentioned that its arms can be made into magic gauntlets that shoot lightning and create thunder blasts.

Ah, well, maybe they'll keep those and give the marut non-magical robot hands.

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want!

After months of doing other things, we turned our attention to and released The Warden. It's based on the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons class of the same name, but judging by the responses we did an excellent job converting it over.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

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 (which you can now do).

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