Dungeons & Delvers: Age of Worms, Episode 709

  • Humal (level 12 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 12 dwarf war cleric/druid)
  • Sumia (level 12 elf rogue/ranger/wizard)

Session Highlights
After returning to Manzorian's fortress, the party is given one last chance to think of anything else they might need before they're teleported to the outskirts of Kuluth-Mar.

As expected, there's virtually nothing left of the ancient city: sparse stretches of stone road run between rough hills that on closer inspection are ruined houses, almost completely overgrown by tangled foliage. At what they assume to be the center is a tightly packed ring of dead trees.

Within the ring is a ziggurat. Unlike the rest of the city it looks to be completely intact and untouched by nature. Several massive stone fragments are suspended above it. They aren't moving, and it's clear that they were part of the geometric cactus-looking structure they'd seen several times, now.

As the party approaches the wall, they're hailed by a lumpy sphere of flesh, eyes, and dangling limbs. While it certainly looks monstrous, it doesn't appear immediately dangerous and seems friendly enough (albeit confused and a bit rambly). Cozale is still suspicious, but they decide to hear it out.

It introduces itself as Xan'tchak, and clumsily explains that it wants to investigate the ruins, but powerful creatures lurk within and so it's spent most of its time inspecting the exterior ruins and the broken spire above. The party figures safety in numbers, agreeing to bring it along but declining its offer of magic eyes.

Once they arrive at the wall, they realize that the trees are growing from the backs of petrified, armored skeletons, which both Corzale and Humal quickly determine to be dwarven. Ancient, dwarven runes are scratched into the trees, still faintly glowing green. As best Corzale can figure its a huge binding circle, probably intended to at least contain Kyuss.

After more discussion, theories, and considering whether they should smash their way through the trees, they all just fly over the ring (carrying those that can't fly). Inside the tree-ring, Kyuss worms sluggishly wriggle to the surface wherever they step. Fortunately the worms don't move fast, and as soon as they move away the worms burrow back into the ground: the party will just need to keep moving.

As they approach the ziggurat, a humanoid figure emerges, completely encased in gruesome plate armor seemingly made from bone. He introduces himself as Sir Nezzarin, Commander of the Fourth Wormlegion. Given everything else they've fought he's surprisingly talkative and cordial, going so far as to commend the dwarves and elves for their sacrifice, even though they could only seal Kyuss away for a time.

Corzale challenges him to singe-combat, to which Nezzarin agrees. There's a group of twisted swords driven into the ground nearby, and with a simple motion one of them is slowly pulled into the ground and re-emerges next to him. While he grabs it and gives it a few practice swings, Corzale telepathically tells Sumia to back her up if Nezzarin starts to win. Underhanded but sensible: Nezzarin is a far superior warrior, and the fight is almost ended after a few seconds.

The rest of the party jumps in, causing Nezzarin to summon an armored wormlion from the ground to serve as his mount. Even though they outnumber him nearly four to one, they just barely succeed: Nezzarin's body quickly rots away, leaving only the bone plate armor and his blade. Sumia suspects the weapons are magic, and tosses a couple swords into Humal's bag of holding.

Corzale can sense something beneath the rest of the swords. She pulls them out, and after the last one is removed a stony, skeletal arm bursts from the ground: a dwarf skeleton, clad in ruined plate and wielding a maul made entirely from a golden material. He doesn't remember much, mostly that he came from a now forgotten dwarven city forged from the bones of Bel-Amaranth, and that his hammer was one of many weapons forged from one of his ribs.

Corzale has heard of the city, but it's ancient even by dwarven standards. Unfortunately the dwarf has also been undead for who knows how long: he tries to provide directions, but none of the locations or landmarks are familiar to Corzale (or anyone else in the party). She'll have to consult sages and libraries, see if anything he's mentioned comes up and matches some other place.

The dwarf wishes Corzale luck in her quest to destroy Kyuss and locating their lost city. Though she already has a holy maul, he states that his hammer is better, and gives it to her before crumbling to dust.

Designer Notes
So, adventure changes.

I've done away with the visions as they don't make any sense, and feel kind of lazy. Instead, I've changed the adventure such that the PCs can learn information on their own by searching the ziggurat, questioning the dead, and other stuff that they haven't encountered yet.

Originally the ziggurat is supposed to be surrounded by an obsidian ring. This is an example of me changing the adventure based on information the players provide about their characters: I figured it would be more interesting for Corzale's player to discover that Bel-Amaranth clerics and paladins have dealt with Kyuss before, and also apparently teamed up with elves. Plus it provided a good opportunity to dish out a magic weapon.

I decided to give the Kyuss knights some personality, and dropped the eviscerator beetles entirely, because they just don't fit, instead giving Nezzarin an undead worm-lion mount.

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want!

After months of doing other things, we turned our attention to and released The Warden. It's based on the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons class of the same name, but judging by the responses we did an excellent job converting it over.

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