FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 507

  • Humal (level 9 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 9 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 9 elf rogue/ranger)
  • Kuhnja'bi (level 9 human w/ devil-in-the-details fighter)

Following their victory over Pitch Blade, the party was awarded their prize money and ushered back to the Coenoby, where they waited until nightfall before again sneaking out. There was only one other team left, so even though both guards weren't inebriated this time it was still a simple matter to slip away.

Retracing their steps to the first section they investigated, the party moved through the ruined chamber and again removed the stone disk that was apparently the only thing keeping a pack of ghouls at bay. The stench of death still lingered, but at least there weren't additional ghouls waiting for them.

They followed a winding tunnel to a partially submerged chamber. The walls were covered in numerous geometric patterns and shapes, but as far as Sumia and Humal could tell they didn't have any significance: apparently even ghouls get bored.

The only other exit led to a flooded chamber. Two heaps of rubble and refuse jutted forth from the fetid water. Hoping nothing was lurking within, Sumia floated out to examine the heaps in case there was something useful to be found. To her astonishment she discovered the remains of both Pitch Blade members, which she could only recognize due to the matching longswords they were still clutching.

One of them was magical, but before Humal could discern the nature of its enchantment a thick glob of deep orange slime plopped onto Sumia. It burned her armor and flesh, but Kuhnja'bi was able to deftly slice it off of her before it could inflict too much damage. They examined the ceiling before proceeding to identify the sword, and when they were confident nothing was going to literally get the drop on them Humal discovered that the sword could wreathe itself in flame at the wielder's command.

Sumia spied another magic aura on the other heap. It belonged to a gauntlet that while severely rusted was still intact: Humal determined that every few hours it could be commanded to reduce a metal object touched to rust, and at least partially rust exceptionally large objects.

Once Sumia was certain that there weren't any other valuables, the party helped Humal haul both dwarf skeletons, and a gnoll and owlbear skeleton back to the previous chamber, as it had enough space for him to perform a ritual that would allow them to interrogate their spirits. Both dwarves initially mistook him for someone named Bozal, and he learned that Raknian had paid them 5,000 gold pieces to kill the party. They didn't remember anything after being defeated in the arena, so they'd either died from their injuries or were more likely killed while still unconscious.

The gnoll spirit wasn't aware of anything suspicious going on, at least concerning Raknian: he had been killed by the surviving elves of team Arcana Auriga, and promised to reward Humal somehow if he got revenge on his behalf.

Humal proceeded to animate the owlbear skeleton before they returned to the flooded room, because he figured a chimera and cockatrice skeleton would making sneaking virtually impossible. The only way out was a channel that gradually sloped up, which terminated at a cylindrical shaft. There weren't any noteworthy handholds, so Humal conjured the solid illusion of a ladder. When Sumia climbed to the top she realized that it was both a bathroom and garbage disposal, and that some of the filth crusted about the edges wasn't dirt.

The party reluctantly followed her, and the next room contained several fortunately empty coffins and bags filled with dust. Picking one of the two doors at random, the party first came across a pump room, though the machine was ancient even by Corzale's standards and no longer functioned. There was a pipe large enough to climb through, but Humal could faintly sense the necromantic energy they were seeking nearby, and they decided it was best not to crawl into such a cramped space.

Backtracking to the coffin room they took the other door. This led to a training hall: six dummies were lined up along the wall to their right, while an ogre-sized construct was positioned across from them at the other end of the hall. Sumia noticed that they all radiated magic, and when she inspected one she discovered that they all contained corpses. None of them moved to attack, which led Kuhnja'bi to suspect that they were waiting for them to open the double doors leading out.

Positioning himself in front of the largest "dummy", Kuhnja'bi swung his flaming sword at it. As expected all of the undead sprang to life, and to the party's horror the six human-sized zombies were quickly covered in Kyuss worms. Kuhnja'bi had little difficulty hacking them apart, though it was only thanks to Sumia's handiwork that the Kyuss worms didn't wriggle their way into his flesh. It didn't take long for Humal's owlbear skeleton to get taken over by Kyuss worms, so Humal conjured an illusionary angel to help Corzale smite it.

Once all of the undead were destroyed the party approached the doors leading out of the room: whatever was responsible for the stream of necromantic energy that Humal and Sumia had sensed before wasn't far beyond.

Design Notes
Hooray for their second non-cursed magical weapon. To-hit bonuses are a pretty big deal (right now, anyway), so the fire sword "only" deals a bonus 1d6 fire damage (as if Maria's character needs more damage).

I ran a poll on G+ awhile back, asking if people wanted armor as damage resistance, armor as Armor Class, or one with the other as optional. I was a bit surprised to see armor-as-damage resistance win at . Per someone's suggestion we tried doing random damage resistance, but the group didn't seem to like it: the extra step of rolling one or more times wasn't worth the payoff. We're gonna try out traditional Armor Class next week, and maybe a DR/AC hybrid.

Haven't had a chance to try out clerics with per-day-Favor. Going through it with Corzale's player, but also going to try it with just Melissa some time this week. We did add in a multiattack class feature, because clerics—especially war clerics—really need something like that.

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!

Hot on the heels of The Blackguard, The Troll is out! The Rogue is up next: we should have an alpha draft ready soon.

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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