Dungeons & Delvers: Age of Worms Episode 804 Highlights

  • Humal (level 16 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 16 dwarf war cleric/druid)
  • Sumia (level 16 elf rogue/ranger/wizard)

Session Highlights
It's been quite awhile since this session; this is as best I can recall how it went down.

After helping Tallis loot her mother's lair/sister's' grave, the party heads back to Magepoint using the Rootways so they can do some shopping in familiar and safer territory. Primarily they're in the market for more appropriate attire for the upcoming party, but Humal figures it can't hurt to get Zeech some sort of gift.

I'm pretty sure before they head back Humal briefly pops over to Dovin so he can check on a few of his side projects: he's got around a half-dozen, mid-level doppelgangers slow-cooking, and Doppel-Filge is helping him research a method to modify Kyuss worms so they'll eat each other. Former is further along than the latter, but then Doppel-Filge is doing most of the legwork, anyway.

On the night of the party they're escorted to Zeech's palace on gilded coaches, pulled by nightmares and driven by mysterious, gurgling, and thankfully heavily garbed coachmen. The interiors are illuminated with scented lanterns, lined with comfortably cushioned benches, and stocked with several bottles of wine and types of cheeses that would probably compliment each other if the party knew anything about either.

At the palace gate they meet up with the other guests. There's several groups of humans and dwarves, a few seemingly angelic beings, and a horde of demonic entities with varied appearances. Among them are Humal's cousins Ashtoreth and Hamatu (who doesn't seem to mind being killed by them before), his uncle Larethes (still imprisoned in ice), and Varosiol, who's apparently taking it easy tonight and so only casually bargains with Humal for the rod fragment once.

They're efficiently filed into the courtyard, where Zeech attempts to entertain them with a few competitions unabashedly rigged in his favor. Few bother participating, or participate with earnest, and all that do invariably lose. Some even attempt to hasten their loss as subtly as possible. Except, of course, for Corzale: during a shooting contest she takes a shot at one of Zeech's assistants. She fails to kill him, and despite barely making it look like an accident Zeech doesn't seem to mind.

Afterwards they are brought inside the palace. The interior is gloomy, and reeks of brimstone and sulfur. They're unable to see the actual walls, windows, or other exits, but twin channels of lava run parallel on opposite sides of a massive, U-shaped table. Columns that appear to be composed of compressed mortals and demons, bodies painfully contorted and faces frozen with expressions of agony and sorrow extend upwards and out of sight.

Even though they can't see the ceiling, they can see what looks to be a very elaborately detailed stained glass dome directly over the table. It features nine concentric rings, each filled with hellish figures and profane symbols that even at a distance are unnerving to look at. It radiates a crimson light, which besides the lava is the only other source of illumination.

Once everyone's seated Zeech gives a succinct speech about his victory and conquest, all in the name of his father of course, and once it is concluded servants emerge from the smoke. Some are obviously demonic in nature, but most look to be humans and dwarves, all scarred, branded and bound in iron. They bear a wide variety of food and drink, meticulously tailored to the suit the tastes and possibly needs of each individual guest: it would seem Zeech did his homework. Or, more likely, someone did it for him.

During the feast the party notices many of the demons speaking among themselves in hushed whispers, as they are wont to do, and at one point or other most approach Zeech to briefly, quietly converse. The humans and dwarves remain seated, nervously glancing about and speaking only intermittently with each other. When one of the fiends strikes up conversation with them, there is clear discomfort.

Corzale chats it up with the dwarves, and learns that they're up here trying to secure mining rights to the mountains. The humans are either merchants of the Hydra Trading Company or members of local barbarian tribes, wishing to establish trade agreements or peace treaties respectively. They're more than a little worried given the atmosphere and company, but Humal offers to put in a good word for them.

Sumia mingles with several demons, but besides the one frozen in ice they're only really interested in tempting her. The pair of angels aren't much more engaging: they're quite jovial despite their company, and are apparently here simply to keep tabs on their enemies.

After about half an hour Zeech stands to give a toast, but he's interrupted (fortunately) when a broad column of golden light quickly descends from the stained glass dome, accompanied by a faint chorus. For a few moments motes of light swirl about like golden feathers before the column suddenly contracts, and a pulse of energy shatters the dome as it races down the narrow shaft of light, plummeting into the ground in a violent, blinding explosion.

When their vision clears the party notices a pair of walls has shielded them from the brunt of the attack: one is composed of blackened, crumbling bone, the other mostly melted ice. Before anyone can react a host of angelic warriors barges through the front door, clad in golden armor and wielding shining spears. They're followed by a scarred, bleeding, and hobbled angel wearing nothing but tattered white robes.

From above they hear a voice rhythmically chanting "Glory", and when they look up see a figure descending through the hole where the stained glass dome recently was. Despite concealing itself with a few pairs of wings, it shines so brightly that it is difficult to gaze upon. Corzale immediately recognizes it, and so best grasps the gravity of their plight; it is a Seraph, an angel whose might is eclipsed only by the Archangels.

The only question was whether it was sent here to crash the party, or looking to simultaneously exact vengeance on Humal for the accidental death of Araqiel (and finish the job).

Design & Development
I ended up skipping the play, because it was only vaguely described and not very interesting. The competitions weren't much better, especially the one where you throw skulls because it's really just a matter of who rolls the best.

I think, were I to rewrite the adventure, I'd make it more of free-roaming carnival-type event (which could work given that the servants are various freaks and attractions from Diamond Lake), and let the players participate in various contests if they wish, instead of dragging them through everything. Maybe even pay money for tokens to get certain prizes.

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want! We've also released the first big supplement for it, Appendix D, so pick that up if you want more of everything.

The first issue of The Delver, a magazine featuring fungal-themed content for both players and GMs (including an adventure in which myconids find religion), is available!

Our latest Dungeon World class, The Ranger, is now available.

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!

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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