FrankenFouth Sandbox Campaign: Into the Black Wood

  • 2nd-level elf ranger
  • 2nd-level human paladin
  • 3rd-level dwarf fighter
  • 3rd-level human cleric

As I mentioned in this post, the players were able to choose which dungeon they wanted to tackle first. I warned them that each time they explored a location, subsequent visits would be more difficult. Despite this, they chose the Black Wood twice in a row.

Their first foray had them wandering about the outskirts, where they found a seemingly friendly hunter that led them into an ambush near what they assumed was his cabin. After killing the cultists they ransacked the cabin, hauling out bundles of animal skins, a handful of gems, and a strange bone idol.

Near the cabin was a ring of bloodstained standing stones, but when they went to inspect them another band of cultists showed up, this time with a few goat spawn who were much tougher and stronger. The party slaughtered them all, but while trying to destroy the stones a hulking, tentacled monstrosity emerged from the forest.

Despite the fight being four-to-one, it managed to knock out the dwarf and paladin before it was finally slain. Lacking the necessary tools to even deface the stones, the cleric looted the bodies and with the help of her skelidog dragged the other characters back to Falcon's Point.

Their second trip took them much deeper. This time the party came across a larger band of cultists camping outside of a cave. They weren't interested in talking, and during the fight that ensued one tried to flee into the cave, but the ranger took him out with a few well-placed arrows.

Inside the first chamber was a group of cultists and goat spawn. Nothing new, and by now the party knew well to keep their distance from the goat spawn: the ranger and cleric remained outside of the cave, using divine magic and arrows to support the frontline warriors.

The last chamber contained a gate that about a half-dozen cultists were apparently trying to ritual open for some almost certainly nefarious purpose. The party tried stopping them, but a dark young popped out a couple rounds in. Fortunately its sheer size prevented it from bringing all of its tentacles to bear, at least until several cultists were slain.

The dark young was then able to scoop up the paladin and cleric, smacking them about until they were rendered unconscious, but by then all of the cultists and goat spawn were dead, and the ranger and fighter were able to focus their attacks and finish it off.

Design Notes
While the cultists could harm the fighter and paladin, the combination of their armor, and the cleric's Hymn of Healing and Healing Domain talent basically had them dealing 1 point of damage once they started losing Wound Points.

At first this concerned me, but in retrospect I think this is fine given that most of the characters were two levels higher, decked out in medium armor, and the cultists were just using daggers: the goat spawn were wielding two-handed axes (2d6+STR damage), and they were definitely feeling those. That, and by the end of the second session the paladin and cleric were both knocked out.

Due to the staggering number of damage taken, most of the party is going to be out of commission for at least a week in game time, which is also fine since several of the characters are picking up various craft skills: dwarf fighter is learning weaponsmithing, the paladin is picking up armorer, and the cleric is going with alchemy (my character is the only odd-person out).

One of the (many) highlights of FrankenFourth is that every craft skill can be learned simply by paying someone that knows the skill, and taking the requisite amount of time to train with them (which for novice craft skills is generally 7-10 days). You don't gotta spend your skill points or talents (or feats if the game had feats). The first rank basically lets you make normal items in the normal amount of time, while additional ranks reduce the crafting time and/or let you make improved/masterwork versions.

This gives the party something to spend their cash on, and since magic items aren't assumed/necessary/available for purchase regardless is probably more rewarding for the fighter when he makes his own weapons and/or armor that aren't utterly eclipsed halfway through the first dungeon.

Image Dump

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).

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