4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 105

  • Adair (level 3 elf war cleric)
  • Filge (level 5 human necromancer)
  • Humal (level 3 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Sumia (level 3 elf rogue)

With the guardians destroyed, the party rode the wind column up through the ceiling. It deposited them in a square chamber, considerably smaller and less adorned than the one below: the only features of note were a single, colorful bas-relief carved into one of the walls, before which lay a marble sarcophagus.

The bas-relief depicted a bald warrior confronting a partially cloaked demonic creature, with two long, red horns curling from its head. Near as they could tell, the warrior and demon fought, but the demon used a hoop-like device to direct a black sphere at the warrior, consuming all but the diadem he was wearing.

The sarcophagus was virtually identical to the one they originally discovered in the lantern chamber, though it seemed to be formed from a single piece of marble. Humal examined it, and discovered a series of glyphs on the back. They were similar to other glyphs they had found scattered throughout the tomb, but when Humal studied his series of charcoal sketches realized that only one was a perfect match.

He touched it, and the billowing wind briefly ceased, before suddenly resuming with increased intensity. Allustan—being versed in various  languages of the denizens of the plane of air—realized that it wasn't merely wind, but a voice that demanded them to speak "His" name, presumably the name of the one entombed.

Humal shouted Zosciel: the wind subsided, and a seam appeared on the sarcophagus. Adair pushed the newly formed lid back. He had expected another trap, and was both surprised and relieved to find that its contents were merely a long metal box, a pair of curled, crimson horns, and a silver diadem.

Sumia briefly inspected the diadem before donning it, while Humal pondered possible uses for the horns. Adair noticed that the box was made from two pieces of metal that were poorly melted together, so he smashed it open. Inside was a dark, metallic device that looked like a hoop attached to a handle, virtually identical to the one on the bas-relief.

Seeing this, Humal promptly discarded the horns—to Sumia's delight—and eagerly snatched up the device. He knew that it could be used to control the destructive black spheres, of which he possessed a basic understanding, now all he had to do was find one.

Leaving Allustan to investigate the rest of the tomb, the party returned to Diamond Lake, purchased some supplies, and rested for the night. The next day they met up with Filge so that they could plan their way into the cult, eventually settling on buying some crappy clothes and pretending to be workers (which came so very close to including the murder of random people, just so Filge could animate them as zombies).

They made it into the mine without incident, and after twenty or so minutes of wandering around the mine looking for something, came across a wooden barrier with the words KEEP OUT scrawled on it in several languages. Instead of smashing it apart with his hammer, Adair carefully pried the boards apart so that he could reassemble it once they'd passed through.

Beyond the barrier was a kind of elevator, that operated using a hand crank attached to lengthy spool of chain. Humal—oddly the the strongest member of the group despite his profession—operated it, gradually lowering them hundreds of feet underground. They eventually emerged into a very large, mostly rectangular chamber.

A pair of guards greeted them, wearing chainmail and mail masks. Humal managed to convince them into thinking they were members of the cult, summoned to expand part of the temple, but wasn't sure which section they were supposed to work on. Obviously the guards weren't either—since there were in fact no such orders—so they left the party to their own devices to figure it out.

That left them with three choices, specifically three short passages that each ended in a marble door. One was flanked by banners depicting ravens, one was marked with the symbol of a bearded man, while the other was completely blank. Not wanting to potentially blow their cover by asking more questions—such as what the symbols on the doors meant—they chose the door with the bearded face.

Design Notes
Since the players are working with Filge, it meant that they didn't have to run into Smenk just so he could force them to do his dirty work (or else).

In the original adventure the diadem was a periapt of Wisdom +2 (one of 3rd Edition's many mandatory stat-boosting trinkets), but that doesn't scream wind-elemental-thing to me. Since it's a diadem, I'm thinking of making it so that the wearer can command creatures native to the plane of air, though maybe I'll just do a limited weather/wind control so it's a bit more immediately useful.

Since we're not playing in Greyhawk, I've changed up the gods that the Ebon Triad worships and is trying to mash together. Waaay back when I was planning/running a kind of celtic campaign for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, I came across The Morrigan, a (sometimes?) "triple god" made up of an inconsistent trinity.

I'm not planning on sticking too close to the actual mythology in this case (it's not important to the plot or development of FrankenFourth): I just like the idea, it makes sense with the Ebon Triad's original goal (merge three gods into a single "overgod"), and I've also come up with some weird shit while incorporating various elements of it into the adventure (which I won't reveal now).

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 Gunner is locked and loaded.

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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