Sunday, January 28, 2024

Three Worlds #2

Kargen falls afoul of a giant scorpion
When our heroes returned to the fort they found that their success had already been made known by the restoration of the spring. Once more a modest feast was held in their honour, where they made acquaintance of two newcomers to the fort, who had escorted a priest of Andeus there.

After learning what our heroes had encountered, Captain Mossak asked our heroes to lead a party of his soldier to the site of the dam, where they hope to pick up the trail of the orcs and find their lair and end the threat. Arwin and Kargen, the two new arrivals, were asked to join the mission.

The next morning Arwin, Kargen, Mala, and Rokas (see PC profiles here) and five soldiers from the garrison made their way back to the site of the dam. There they found that the bodies of the orc warriors slain by our heroes the day before had been dragged away. Following the trail east for two hours, the party came upon an abandoned village set against the side of a cliff. The adobe houses of the village lacked doors at the ground level; a wooden ladder led from the ground to the second storey door in one of the houses, and through its windows Arwin saw a few orc warriors.

Kargen and Rokas approached the house, but immediately the orcs shot arrows at them - the ladder to the door was withdrawn.

The soldiers took shelter behind some rocks, while Kargen and Rokas ran towards the houses and stood against the walls of the houses beside the one occupied by the orcs so they could not be shot at. They were soon joined by Mala.

After a failed attempt by Kargen to flings a lit lantern into the house, the trio decided to entered the house next to the one held by the orcs. From there they ascended to the roof top by a hole in the ceiling, and sneaked to the roof of the house held by the orcs.

Through the hole in the ceiling there, the trio could see that four orc warriors were in the room. The three planned a co-ordinated attack: Rokas would hurl a throwing axe at one of the orcs shooting from one of the windows, Mala would cast a spell of fire to burn the two behind the other window, while Kargen would leap from the roof down and attack any surviving orc.

While Rokas and Mala managed to execute their attack as planned, Kargen found to his surprise that when his feet landed on the floor of the house it gave way and he plunged into the room in the floor below. Almost immediately he heard a clattering sound and turned to see giant scorpion charging at him. Kargen was seized by the giant claws of the scorpion, and fell unconscious.

On the floor above Mala and Rokas had trouble taking down the last orc warrior, until the soldiers entered the fray and cut him down. The party then shot missiles at the giant scorpion to keep it away from the prone body of Kargen. Eventually Gad, an orc soldier, offered to jump to the floor below with a rope tied around his waist, and recovered the dwarf.

Eventually the soldiers killed the scorpion, and when they searched the house they found that the bodies of the two lost soldier had seemingly be fed to the scorpion, while their gear were found in another room. With the hour being late, the party made a sweep of the village to make sure there were no more threats, and then settled for the night.


Two days later, when they had rested and recovered, Valdus offered to take Arwin and Kargen into employment, and sent our heroes out to scout the routes ahead to make sure they were free from orc raiders. So once more our heroes ventured out of Fort Davelmag, this time to investigate the cliff painting of the manticore which gave the valley its nickname.

It was late afternoon when they arrived at the base of the cliff which bore the painting of the monster, which differed somewhat from the manticore of the Old World. Under the painting, some 20 feet from ground level, they saw a cave opening the size of a door, which they entered by employing a grappling hook.

image from wikipedia

Inside, they found a large cave with the floor covered by a layer of sand blown in from the outside, and a tunnel leading further into the mountainside. With sunset approaching, they resolved to spend the night in the cave and explore further when morning came. While they prepared to settle in for the fight, Mala was attacked by a giant lizard which had laid hidden under the sand. After a short fight, Mala killed the lizard with a blow from his shovel, and the party settled down for the night.

The next morning our heroes ventured deeper into the cave. There they found a larger cavern which was used as a burial site for orcs. In another chamber they found the remains of an orc interred in a seated position, with grave goods placed on and beside him. Our heroes took some of the goods, with Kargen claiming a necklace with a turquoise stone the size of an egg.

One tunnel led to a strange round cave that had the size and shape of the pit which served as a jail in Fort Davelmag: a round chamber some 12 yards across, with a ring of stones placed in the centre serving as a fireplace, and a small pit about two foot across set north of the centre. The room was also unnaturally cold, and frost formed upon the floor and walls of the cave.

Mala was able to sense magic in the cave, but was otherwise unable to learn more about it, and so the party decided to return to the fort.

Prepping and Running the Game

The first part of this session was a continuation of the encounter from the last session, but I changed the scene of the combat from a dungeon to an adobe village and added a vertical element, which worked well and provided some tension and laughs.

With the first encounter and quest done, I asked the players to choose which location they wished to explore next. There are about seven "dungeons" in the module, so it was not difficult to prep all the locations beforehand, especially since I modified all of them to cut them down and make them easy to remember.

The "manticore" in the photo above is actually a piasa, a mythological monster from the Mississippian Culture, which I borrowed because I thought it fit the name of the module.

The magical cave is based on the kiva of the Ancestral Puebloan culture, and is actually an important part of the plot of the campaign.

The character Mala had scored three criticals while attacking with the shovel in our two sessions, and it had become a running gag in the campaign. The player and I have decided to capitalise on this and use the shovel as a device in the character's specialisation as a warlock.

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