FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 601

  • Humal (level 10 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 10 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 10 elf rogue/ranger)

Since the party would need to wait over a week for Humal's doppelgangers to finish brewing, in addition to recuperating they took the time to purchase new armor, the diagram for a teleportation circle, and round out their stock of potions.

They also decided to pay Eligos a visit, let him know they were still alive, explain themselves if necessary, and see what he'd learned about Kyuss thus far. Fortunately they didn't have to explain anything to Eligos...

...because he'd been murdered.

As best they could tell his throat had been slit while he was sitting in his study, and their understandably brief investigation didn't reveal anything else: nothing seemed to be missing, and there were no signs of a struggle or that whoever had murdered him had been looking for anything at all.

When Humal entered the study, Eligos's corpse jerked towards him, gruesomely withdrew a blood-caked metal coffer from inside his body, and croaked out instructions for him to bring it to Allustan before slumping to the floor.

Unable to open the coffer, they left after Sumia scrambled about the manor, snatching up everything magical she could find, plus his potions and jewelry. She perhaps unnecessarily justified her actions to the rest of the party, reasoning that Eligos would obviously want them to use or sell them to help prevent the Age of Worms.

Despite Eligos's cryptic and probably time-sensitive instructions, the party remained in Dovin just long enough for the doppelgangers to finish cooking (and as requested they implanted Filge's mind crystal in one), which also gave Sumia and Humal enough time to open a magically trapped chest, gradually identify Eligos's magical valuables, and fence the more mundane swag.

They returned to Diamond Lake nearly a week later to find it drastically changed: there were still heaps of garbage and corpse-laden alleys, but many of the buildings had been smashed and/or what could only be described as melted. Both townsfolk and soldiers from the garrison were busy cleaning up rubble and bodies, and rebuilding what they could, which all things considered was probably having a much-needed positive impact on the town's infamous crime rate.

It didn't take them long to learn what they'd already suspected and prayed would never happen: a black dragon had arrived a few days ago.

It was searching for Allustan and several other people, but since the dragon couldn't provide descriptions or even names for the latter the townsfolk were unable to assist it. Despite someone revealing that Allustan had left to investigate one of the cairns to the north, the dragon proceeded to destroy numerous buildings, and devour and dissolve many of the townsfolk before departing.

Hoping that Allustan had somehow managed to evade the dragon, or even better slay it (or at least drive it off), the party departed for the Whispering Cairn. As they trekked north they discovered that like the town the wilderness had also changed: what was once a verdant forest was now a murky, putrid swamp.

They navigated it as best they could, until they found the cairn's entrance: the rocks and trees that had previously concealed it had been completely dissolved. While they didn't see the dragon, Corzale knew that black dragons could breathe underwater; depending on the water's depth and the dragon's size, it could easily sneak up on them...

...which is precisely what it did.

Out of the corner of her eye, Corzale spied its head slowly emerge from the water and loom over them. It stated that it recognized many of their smells from the lizardman nest, and while some were unknown—and therefore not necessarily deserving of its wrath—they were all about to die.

Design Notes
Kelly wants to have Corzale multiclass into druid to better emphasize the nature aspect of her god, which is great because multiclassing in FrankenFourth has worked out great so far, and it'll give me yet another chance to see the druid in action.

The teleportation circle is something Jacob (Humal's player) asked about. While I haven't actually written the exact mechanics, here's the gist of how it'll work:

Teleportation can be used as a ritual, which means that anyone that takes the time to learn how to use it can reference the scroll and cast it. Since scrolls in FrankenFourth don't normally crumble after use, it can be used over and over again. The only drawback to using it as a ritual is that it takes more time to cast, and eats up Arcana ritual components.

(Back when we played 4th Edition, I didn't use residuum, which was a universal component thingy. Instead I broke broke down ritual components into abstract categories: Arcana, Religion, and Nature. So wizard rituals required Arcana, while cleric rituals required Religion.)

Wizards (and right now only wizards) can study the scroll and use it as a way to learn the talent, which would let them instead spend Mana and use it as a Standard Action, but wizards with the Conjurer talent would be able to use the scroll more quickly, and spend less Arcana components (this is something I'm going to do with every spell school: you can choose a talent that makes linked rituals cheaper and faster to cast).

Erecting a fixed teleportation circle would make it easier and cheaper to teleport to and from, treating it as a big-ass, expensive magic focus. I could even see making one-use trinkets that let anyone basically emergency recall to it (then they have to get a new trinket). Not sure of the Action, but probably Standard or Swift.

I could also see the circle, if constructed on a magical wellspring or node, gradually gather energy on its own and give you a free teleport once per x days. We'll just have to see what Jacob wants to do with it.

I've drastically overhauled the new wing of the Whispering Cairn. I'll explain how in later play reports, but frankly I wish I'd thought of these changes before we even started the campaign, as it would have made the first adventure much more interesting and memorable.

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

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, 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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