4Ward/FrankenFourth: Return to Epiro One-Shot

  • Ainslie (level 1 elf monk)
  • Liander (level 1 elf hireling)
  • Ruari (level 1 elf wizard)

The party arrived in the village of Sidon some three days after the murder of its previous ruler, Silas Kosta. His daugher Eleni had taken over, and put a bounty on the bandits responsible: five gold pieces per head brought to her.

The party were elves native to the Tunnelwood, and knew that the bandits were located somewhere along the Hydra River: they told Eleni that they would avenge her father's death for just one gold piece per head, if she also agreed to suspend logging operations at the Nasso Sawmill.

Eleni agreed, and the party returned to the forest. One day, ankheg, and bandit skirmish later they arrived at the bandit's camp. They had holed up in an ancient human fortress, long since forgotten in the forest and almost completely buried under a pile of dirt. Only a few crumbling towers jutting forth indicated that it was anything more than a great earthen hill.

There was no cover, but rather than wait for nightfall they charged across the clearing. A pair of guards spotted them, and as they made their way up the mound four more appeared. Two of them loosed arrows, while the rest moved to keep Ainslie and Liander at bay.

Once the party slew four of the bandits the other two surrendered. Ainslie and Ruari interrogated them, but they denied any involvement with the murder of Silas, claiming that they were hired to protect a group of scholars investigating the ruins. When Ainslie demanded to see their employers they bolted for an excavated door, but Ruari and Liander crippled them before they could escape.

Under torture one of them admitted to the crime, and said that their leader was in the keep. The party bound and gagged both men, but when Ainslie attempt to peek through the door another bandit opened it, muttering something about hearing noises outside.

Ainslie and Liander respectively punched and speared him in the face before charging into the room. Outnumbered, Ruari conjured an illusion of a gorgon. This caused two to flee and everyone else to temporarily avert their gazes, until one of them lashed out and inadvertently dispelled it. Ainslie tried taking out the leader, but one sword stroke later and she was sprawled out on the floor, quickly bleeding out.

At this Liander and Ruari focused their attention on the leader, and once he was slain the other bandits fled the keep. They bandaged Ainslie's wounds, argued over how much of the stolen loot to keep (in addition to their agreed pay, of course), and headed back to Sidon to deliver the bandit leader's head.

Design Notes
I originally ran the Epiro campaign back when 5th Edition was still in its "playtesting" phase. Eric Sheldahl wanted to give 4Ward/FrankenFourth a shot, so I think it was fitting to dust it off and run it using a game that is actually open to feedback and such.

The main point of contention is the wizard's illusionist talent. Currently it allows you to conjure a stationary illusion that can occupy up to a 5 x 5 x 5 space. You can't move it at all: you have to let it vanish and create a new one where you want it to be. If touched there is a visible distortion, revealing that it is fake.

This is because in our Age of Worms and Keep on the Shadowfell playtests, players have used it in some insanely, encounter-breaking ways, such as by making a bunch of wolves think there is a bear, causing some to flee or hesitate (effectively spending your turn to have 3-4 other creatures waste their turns).

The revamped talent still lets you create distractions (and illusionary walls, granting cover), but they're only likely to work for a bit, and against intelligent foes they're not likely to fall for it again. You also can't use it to make it seem like you have larger numbers than you do (at least, not at the start).

The problem I guess is that the talent doesn't make any of this explicitly clear, nor does it provide ways for the GM to rule as to whether it works or not (I've been having the wizard make an Intelligence attack against the target's Will defense, or let them use Intelligence with Bluff or Intimidate). So, that's something to add to a sidebar, or maybe the GMing section.

I think I should also make it clear what talents are primarily intended for: if you take illusionist and enchanter, you aren't going to be able to blow your enemies up. If you wanna do that, you'll need Evoker and other, similar talents, like Arcane Ordnance and Intense Evocation (or wait until you pick up Solid Illusion and Phantasmal Killer).

A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

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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