4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 410

  • Humal (level 7 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 7 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 7 elf rogue/ranger)
  • Cenric (level 7 human fighter)

Humal determined that the symbol on the floor was a sort of magical trap, that would at the least cause whoever triggered it to hallucinate for a period of time. Not wanting to risk anyone else's health, he instructed his cockatrice skeleton to stand on it. The symbol flared brightly before vanishing, and as expected the cockatrice skeleton seemed completely unaffected.

Sumia asked Humal to check for any other magical effects, just in case, and when he shifted his sight spotted a glowing white sphere above them. When he tried to point it out it vanished. Apparently someone was spying on them; so much for the element of surprise.

They continued on until they found another chamber. A door made of white marble was set into one of the walls, flanked by a pair of pillars, both branded with a strange sign that none of them recognized. Humal checked for magical auras, once again spotting the white sphere, which also vanished before he could point it out. Suspecting a trap, Sumia started by inspecting the pillars. While she didn't find a trap, she did find a strange, octopus-like creature with pincer-tipped tentacles hiding behind it.

It lashed at Sumia, as two more emerged: one from behind the other pillar, and the other from a crevice in the far wall. The party assumed that they were sort of doppelganger, up until Corzale smashed one and splattered ichor and viscera about. After they were destroyed, Humal examined the remains and theorized that he could possibly craft a suit of leather armor for Sumia, which would grant her enhanced protection should she remain still.

They gathered up the largest chunks they could find, but before they could recuperate the marble doors swung open: a pair of doppelgangers in what amounted to their natural form stood there, instructing the party to follow them and meet their Master. After some deliberation they agreed, and after passing through several rooms arrived in a circular chamber, largely occupied by a rectangular pool filled with translucent green eggs.

A throne was perched at the far end, atop which sat a man in black robes that they had never seen before. He candidly explained that he had been hired to kill the party, but if they swore to leave the city and never return he would let them go. After all they'd already wreaked plenty of havoc thus far, and he preferred to not expend any other "resources" disposing of them.

The party opted for a third option. Humal conjured a massive illusionary bird and sent it after Zyrxog, while Corzale blasted him with divine light. Cenric rushed towards him, wading through the pool to try and close the distance, but before he made it or Sumia could act a wall of stone erupted from the floor, separating Zyrxog and Cenric from the rest of the party.

The doppelganger escort ganged up on Humal. Corzale went to his aid, but after crushing one a section of the wall slid across the room and slammed into her. Though she managed to avoid getting pinned, it gave an obviously mind-controlled Cenric enough time to run through the opening and attack Humal. Not wanting to hurt Cenric, the party continued focusing on Zyrxog, but before Corzale delivered the killing blow he surrendered.

If the party agreed to spare him, he would tell them everything. The party didn't debate long—Humal was confident that he could figure out who Zyrxog was working for, and he'd just go back to using doppelgangers to gradually take over the city—but by the time they decided to kill him and sort everything out later, an insect-like creature detached itself from Zyrxog's back, leaped into the pool, and exited through a drain.

Corzale rushed to the hole and blasted it with more divine energy, but when Humal sent a skeleton after the creature it came back empty handed.

Design Notes
I was concerned that combat was "too easy", but even with their armor, Vitality points, and Corzale's blessing of protection (+1 armor and temp hp for the whole party), Healing Domain (spend Favor to reduce Wound damage), and Hymn of Healing (reduce Wound damage by 1 if you're super close to her), the players all assured me that the game certainly feels deadly. Jacob and Melissa both stated that without their Vitality points and Corzale's healing, they would have been dropped on several occasions (and Melissa has been dropped before).

Even so, I'm going to put in a houserule section in whatever I end up calling the Dungeon Master's Guide (or the GMing section) for those that want a more lethal game and/or randomized Wound/Vitality points. This would include giving characters only Wounds, rolling a die and splitting it up between Wounds and Vitality (favoring Wounds of course), and making Vitality replenish at a slower rate (or even a randomized amount at a slower rate).

We spent sometime post-session talking about The Therianthrope (the next Dungeon World class) and wizard talents. From the sound of it, the wizard will end up with about four talent trees to choose from at the start, with more getting added later. Currently everyone seems to mostly dig Abjurer, Enchanter, Evoker, and Illusionist, but we can always put it to a vote.

I've also been noodling about how to handle the druid, specifically druid magic (the shapechanging part is easy). Pseudo-Vancian magic doesn't make any sense, so that's out, and giving them spell points doesn't feel right. I'm leaning towards giving them more ritual-based abilities (like control weather and plant growth), and having some magic talents do one thing if you spend Vitality, and another if you spend Wounds (giving it a kind of blood sacrifice kind of vibe). Could also give the druid a point system similar to the cleric, except that they need to provide offerings to various nature spirits instead of praying a god.

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

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Paladin is technically the sixth "core" class we've provided an alternative for. If you interested in an alternate class that isn't merely a half-assed reskin, 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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