Dungeons & Delvers: Age of Worms, Episode 605

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

Busy with lots of stuff (work, game work/stuff, art for various things, kids, general farm crap, etc), so I'm going to keep this as short as possible (which after writing it ended up not being nearly as short as I'd planned).

Picking up from the previous session, the party finds a grievously wounded Allusten suspended in a lightning sphere. Luckily the sphere has him trapped in some sort of stasis, so he hasn't bled out yet.

Sumia takes a shot at a metal spike in the ceiling that best as she can tell is generating the lightning sphere. This causes a bolt of lightning to arc from the spike into the metal floor, conjuring a kind of amorphous creature made from metal shards and crackling with electricity (visually I was going for how watch towers in BLaME! download exterminators).

It propels itself towards Corzale because of her metal armor, but she summons a bunch of roots and plants to hold it in place. This works for a bit, but it quickly burns and cuts its way free and attaches itself to Corzale, shocking and cutting her pretty badly before it is destroyed.

The party then proceeds to pelt the spike with various ranged attacks. They quickly shatter it (luckily before more shrapnel elementals are summoned), which causes the sphere to dissipate and Allustan to fall to the floor. Not wanting to risk killing him via botched Medicine checks, Sumia administers a healing potion before carrying him back to the smaller room where they found the magic chainmail (that was lightning resistant) and stone slab.

While they rest Allustan recounts how he got trapped while exploring the sky tomb, and even attempts to teach them how to reorient their perception of gravity so that they can walk on the walls and ceiling, but unfortunately only Humal picks up on it.

They then tell Allustan about the black dragon, and how it destroyed his home and wants to kill him. Humal explains how he has a teleportation circle primed in the Whispering Cairn to transport them all to Dovin: between the city's militia, wizards, and labyrinthine sewer network he figures that if the dragon even figures out that they teleported to the city, it'll get picked off long before it can find them.

Allustan seems cool with the plan, but he still wants to explore the rest of the sky tomb because his life's work involved the Wind Duke cairns, and now he's found another tomb on another plane of existence. Plus there's probably more magical shit and maybe something to do with the Age of Worms. But, just before they head out they hear something talking in the other room.

It's speaking in Infernal, so only Humal knows what it's saying: mostly it sounds annoyed and tired of looking for something, but while it sounds like it's talking to someone else he only hears the one voice.

Sumia lifts the door slightly, and when Humal looks underneath realizes that it's his half-brother Humata. Small multiverse, right? Humal goes out to speak with him, and learns that their father sent him here to retrieve as best he can figure a wooden stick, claiming that he doesn't know what it can do or why their father wants it. Humata explains that he's checked out most of the tomb, but there's this ice tower that he can't get into because of magical wards.

Humal offers to help, but when he mentions he's here with other people Humata suggests killing them so they don't get in the way or cause trouble. Luckily Humal manages to convince his brother to spare the rest of the party, and they all tentatively follow him to the ice tower. At the tower's base is an open door, but as Humata said it's enchanted so that demons can't go in or damage it.

The wards are too powerful for Humal to dispel (probably: I don't think he wanted to let them in anyway), but since he doesn't have enough demonic blood to be barred entry and the rest of the party doesn't have any, he offers to retrieve the rod for him. This is when Humata's "shadow" is revealed to actually be his sister Seruya in disguise: she extends a black tendril into his shadow, allowing her to communicate with him via telepathy.

Seruya elaborates that the "stick" is a fragment of the rod of seven parts, but she also claims to not know what it can do or why their father wants it. She then produces a square metal seal, stating that they found it in a small room (the one with the stone slab) but haven't found any other indentations where it would fit, which meant they might need it somewhere in the ice tower.

Humal takes the seal, Sumia trades her cursed dagger for a few extra sets of eyes from Humata (who even arranges them like a spider's eyes after Sumia complains about them and Humal uses his illusion magic to explain what a spider looks like), and Seruya warns Humal that if he can't find the fragment that he'd best not return.

Just inside the tower they run into what looks like a walking, talking ice sculpture. It asks for an authorization key, so Humal shows it the seal Seruya gave him, and when it asks for the name of their superior Humal responds with Icosiel (it being the only Wind Duke name he can remember): the sculpture-sentry accepts the answers and warns them about the stairs before returning to its post.

Inside the tower is a central shaft (also made of ice) that runs all the way to the top. A set of narrow stairs winds around it, but they're also made of ice and there's no rail. Not wanting to risk falling (especially near the top), Corzale summons a wall of wood up the entire shaft (eating up almost half of her Favor in the process), and they begin their ascent.

At around the halfway mark a pair of ice golems burst from the walls. Strong and durable, they swat Corzale and Allustan around before they're mostly shattered by the former's hammer and melted by the latter's fire magic (Sumia tried to contribute but didn't do much). Hoping there aren't any other surprises, the party hurries to the top before the wood-wall rots away, stopping for a brief rest just underneath the entrance to the next room.

Design Notes
For some reason in the original adventure there's an oculus demon wandering around the tomb. It's basically a winged humanoid covered in eyes with a paralyzing gaze, I think. I was originally going to scrap it, but then figured why not have a kind-of family reunion? Humata retained some of the oculus demon abilities, but Seruya was made from scratch.

Not that it mattered, because surprise surprise the party didn't fight them (though they might on the way back). I really thought they would because Corzale seems to hate all things evil, and Sumia really loves her some demon horns.

The ice-security-guard thing could have also been a fight. In the original adventure it's supposed to be a kolyarut (which is a magic robot that punishes people that break deals, and has access to a life-draining magic) that for some reason is stationed there to stop intruders from going somewhere, and I figured fuck it I'll just convert it over and see what happens (which also resulted in them talking their way past it).

The ice golem duo was supposed to be fought on slippery ice stairs, with the golems walking on the outside wall so they could hit the PCs and ideally knock them off so they take a bunch of falling damage (or dangle from the stairs), but Corzale played it smart and made a bunch of roots so they wouldn't have to worry about it.

I know some DMs would get pissed, and maybe come up with some bullshit ruling or whatever to make it not work, but I like it when my players monkey-wrench my shit and they probably do, too. So that plus Allustan's fireballs made it pretty easy (though I got some hits in before they were destroyed).

Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, 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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