4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 407

  • Humal (level 6 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 6 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 6 elf rogue/ranger)

Before leaving Doppeligos's lair, Sumia plucked a magic crystal from one of the tanks. It looked similar to the ones they'd found in Doppeligos's remains; when she touched it she felt a presence faintly press against her mind, but she couldn't understand what what it might be trying to say or show her.

Weaving through the mirror-maze, the party gradually made their way back to the pillar room. Where before, the room was at least poorly illuminated by luminescent fungus growing in patches of various sizes across the ceiling, it was now completely dark.

Sumia moved towards the lever that crested the pillar jutting from the brackish water, but when she attempted to pull it something sharp grazed her arm and fell into the water with a brief, quiet splash. Undeterred, she tried again, but as before something sliced her arm.

She couldn't see what was attacking her, but rather than return to the rest of the party she ordered Humal to conceal her in an illusion before trying the lever a third time. It worked, and once the pillar finished noisily retracting into the floor she found herself all alone at the bottom of the now mostly dry chamber.

Sumia shouted back to the rest of the party that something was sniping at her from the darkness. Corzale walked onto the bridge and looked about, but saw nothing. This was when Sumia realized that whatever was attacking her had followed her down. Her mysterious assailants sliced and stabbed at her until Corzale literally leaped to her aid, crushing one of the creatures on her way down.

Fortunately Corzale has the foresight to bring a torch, and in its flickering light she caught glimpses of an amalgamation of man and rat, clad in rags and wielding jagged daggers...but when splattered looked just like every other doppelganger they'd killed so far. Humal commanded his skeletons to assist Corzale and Sumia, and when the doppelgangers attempted to flee he charmed one while the rest of the party and his skeleton crew killed the stragglers.

They quickly learned that the surviving doppelganger possessed a variety of useful abilities beyond simply changing its shape: it was exceptionally strong, could quickly and easily climb walls, see in the darkness, and store objects inside itself. It also knew much about the sewers, including a hidden passage that would allow them to escape more easily, and where its creator was holed up.

The only problem was that it reacted to their statements very literally: when Sumia instructed it to take a rope, climb the wall, and throw it down, it did precisely as instructed. After some back and forth it eventually just carried Sumia up with a rope, and she lowered it for the rest of the party.

Per Humal's request it then guided them out of the sewers. Not wanting to just let it go--possibly to simply go warn its creator--Humal gave it the name Abby and had it assume a form that would allow it to pass itself off as Sumia's sister. When they went to retrieve their corpse-laden cart at Stonehome, they learned that the staff believed that they bribed their way to freedom, and were regardless no longer welcome there.

So, they returned to Filge's hovel.

As expected he wasn't there, and the place was ransacked. They could not be sure if he had been captured, killed, or simply fled the city in a hurry, but at least it gave them a place to stay while they recovered. Plus, if he was still alive there was a chance he would return. In the meantime, Sumia went about posting fliers and asking about her owlbear, Humal went to the mage's guild to put their invisible stalker essence to good use, and Corzale paid a visit to her local temple to see if they'd learned anything.

It took all of their invisible stalker essence, but Humal was able to fabricate a pair of cloaks that would help whoever wore them blend in with their surroundings. The task complete, he set about delivering the information they'd uncovered underneath the Sodden Hold to various guilds and organizations. This he did in secret, so as to avoid him and the rest of the party being targeted in case the information fell into the still wrong hands.

At the temple, Corzale learned that many of the clergy had been suffering from nightmares involving green worms. In some, the worms wriggled into people without transforming them, in others massive worms erupted from the ground to devour and destroy. Her friend had also taken to drawing worm-riddled skulls on the walls with his own blood; they were forced to restrain and drug him in order to prevent further harm.

The high priest warned Corzale that something was about to happen, and he believed that she had been brought to Dovin in order to find the source and destroy it. To aid her in finding and cleansing the evil that stirred within the city, he provided her with a blessed maul. With it, she would be able to inflict harm upon any evil creature regardless of their defenses.

Design Notes
Hopefully Melissa learned to never split the party. It's a harsh lesson, but at least she survived: other characters aren't so lucky.

I'm considering having Enchanter have a limited duration, unless you "invest" mana into the effect in order to sustain it (though mistreating the target will still break it). Originally I for some reason thought that charm person from other D&D-games was permanent, but checking the d20srd I see that it's only one hour per level, which sounds reasonable enough to me.

That said it's been a blast socially roleplaying Abby, so I'm not about to retcon anything.

The party went waaay of the rails this session, which is fine because they still accomplished and learned quite a bit (plus they got their first noteworthy magic item). I'd planned enough to see them through the first half of the last dungeon (which included of course changing various bits of it), but maybe next time and we had a lot of fun anyway.

The invisible stalker cloaks basically give whoever wears them +1 to Stealth (Humal could have used all of the essence to make a single +2 cloak). They aren't magical (and so won't register with the Detect/Smell Magic talents), but are an example of many magical-ish/alchemical items characters will be able to make.

If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

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 Cleric is out! Next up, The Paladin and probably The Mimic, after which we'll run another class vote.

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).

No comments

Powered by Blogger.