"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Friday, May 15, 2020

Posts about The Broken Lands - Hooks vs Play Reports

Nothing creative or insightful, but I find it interesting that the posts with the hooks for The Broken Lands consistently get about twice as many views as the play reports.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Broken Lands - Current Map

With the party pursuing the first step in their quest to retrieve The Illhiedrin Book, there won't be any additional adventure hooks for a while.

Below is the most recent version of the map for The Broken Lands. It is abstract in terms of scale and does not represent exact locations. Instead it is more about being a visual record of their adventures and exploits and serving as a visual tool to aid in decision making and a reminder of possible unfinished business or adventure hooks.

Additions to the map are made as the party shows interest in various adventure hooks. Before the very first session I roughly knew the locations for the adventure hooks I threw out at that time (Tower of Birds, Monastery of the Iron God and The Tower of Zenopus). For new hooks, I know generally where the adventure will be but don't land on it until the party actually goes there. The party hasn't been to The Hive or Vulture Hill yet, but I placed them on the map from the rumours provided.

I also follow the guideline that the area closer to the Cliffs of Leng are for lower level adventures and the further south one goes the harder the adventures get. Also, more traditional adventures are generally on the east side of the Tartarus Road while more "gonzo" adventures are generally to the west - don't know why, that's just how I'm doing it for now.


Monday, May 11, 2020

The Broken Lands Session 5

Taking it up a notch - to kill a god.

The Party:

  • Comtruise the Auditor (Cleric 2)
  • Elu the Elf (Elf 1 - Protection from Evil)
  • Steefe the Invisible (Halfling 2)
  • Jakar (Fighter 2)
  • Plus retainers:
    • Konill the Medium (Magic-user 1 - Light)
    • Dyban the Veteran (Fighter 1)
    • Fallin the Veteran (Fighter 1)
    • Tallus the Acolyte (Cleric 1)

The Adventure (aka there will be spoilers below; aaka if you’re one of my players don’t snoop through this adventure):
A few backstory bits from The Illhiedrin Book. Alcastra the Fairspoken sent the party to Lassering Thay, the High Priest of Hades in the City of Jekarra. In return for his aid he requested to party to kill the god Akron. For this part I am using The Undertemple of Arkon from The Dragon Horde Zine #1 from New Big Dragon Games with a few changes (including me mispronouncing the name the first time so I just went with it).

What Happened:

  • After accepting Alcastra’s Geas, upfront gold, and various magic-items, the party meets with Lassering Thay, High Priest of Hades in the City of Jekarra. He tells them he can provide aid for their quest but first he wants them to enter an ancient shrine carved into the base of the Cliffs of Leng and kill the god Akron.
  • Thinking that killing a god would be pretty damn cool but possibly out of their league, the party proceeds down the Tartarus Road and follows Lassering Thay’s directions to the shrine.
  • Entering the shrine, the party susses out a stair-slide trap before it causes them any issues.
  • In a huge chamber, they find two deep pits - in the larger one they find three emaciated, naked, and unconscious neanderthals and in the smaller one a black panther. Fearful that the panther may jump out, they decide to proceed down one of the many passageways exiting the chamber.
  • Next they find an expansive chamber with a large circular symbol painted on the floor filled with arcane markings. Being very careful not to cross into the circle, the party continues to explore the room when three small creatures of a degenerate, swarthy-skinned pygmy race carrying spears come up behind them. The party was careful not to appear threatening (and a very good reaction roll), and the wandering pygmies left them alone.
  • Continuing to explore, they came across a number of rooms containing skeletons. Through the Cleric’s turning ability and combat, all of the skeletons encountered were overcome. This allowed the party to find a number of secret doors. The first lead to a small room with a bronze flask full of liquid on top of a short pedestal. Promising Tallus the retainer that he could keep the obviously magical potion in the flask (and a very good reaction roll), he took a sip and died in writhing pain.
  • In another secret chamber, the party is spooked by panther shaped shadows lurking on the walls despite there being no objects that would cast such things. Suddenly, a shadow panther jumped off of the wall and attacked! However, the creature was quickly defeated. After the combat the party found a chest full of treasure.
  • Thinking the panther they had found in the pit earlier may be the god they were sent to kill, the party developed a plan using the poison they had found and some of their foodstuffs. Returning to the large chamber near the entrance to the undertemple, the party poisoned the great cat. Using lots of rope (and benefiting from a lot of negative wandering monster rolls) they trussed up the panther and hauled it out of the pit and back to the temple of Hades in Jekarra.
  • Lassering Thay told the party they were various forms of imbeciles for thinking they could poison a god.

The Tally:
Tallus the Acolyte dead
A poisoned panther
~ 20 skeletons
3,200 gp
A poison potion (used)

What Worked Well/What Didn’t Work Well:
I was happy with this adventure so far.
I’m still knocking the rust off my DM-ing chops. Especially around combat - keeping it interesting and dynamic. I am finding that the online platform and not being able to see everyone is hindering this a bit.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

I love this painting

I saw this on Dyson's blog the other day.



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Subsequent Adventure Hooks for The Broken Lands Session 5

Having accepted the sorceress Alcastra's Geas:

Presenting the letter you received from the sorceress you are able to obtain an audience with Lassering Thay, the High Priest at the Temple of Hades:

   “Alcastra was correct when she wrote that she feared there was little I could do for you. The location of Elegrain’s tower was a well kept secret while he was alive, and those servitors with him prior to his death never revealed its location. The only person who could possibly tell you is Elegrain himself. While I am not able to tell you where the tower is located, I may be able to help you in this matter in other ways…”

He will give you a map to the Tomb of Elegrain and a clerical scroll with a version of Speak with Dead. However, before he gives you these items he wants either:

A. “Carved into the Cliffs of Leng is an entrance to an ancient shrine. I would like you to enter the shrine and kill the god Akron. Bring me proof of the god’s death and I will give you the map and scroll” or

B. “In the Broken Lands is a narrow entrance to a box canyon. In that canyon is a ruined abbey. In the darkness below that abbey is a pool where the dread Black Lotus blooms. I will give you a silver knife to harvest the Black Lotus blossoms. Bring me three blossoms and I will give you the map and scroll. However, do not touch the blossoms for their touch is death.”

The Broken Lands - Players

There might be room for one or two additional players in our online B/X game - The Broken Lands.

I'm finding the current four players is a good number for an online game, however, it might be nice to have a one or two more to draw on.

It is a very low tech game - we just use Google Hangouts. Every once in a while I might share my screen showing either Google Canvas or a picture. Usually, I just hold something up in front of the camera. Sometimes I point the camera at my dice.

We've been playing at 6:30pm MT on Monday evenings, usually for a couple hours.

If you are interested email me at ode2blackdougal [at] g m a i l [dot] com.

Note that this isn't a sure thing - just something we're considering.

Also a warning, I'm still knocking some of the rust off my DMing and online gaming is making that process take longer. The game is choppy in a few places largely due to me.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Adventure Hooks for The Broken Lands Session 5

Available Adventure Hooks:
  1. Continue exploring the cellars under the ruined wizard tower. What the hell are those guys with the cages on their heads? Can you get into the wizard’s tower? There are still a few unexplored passageways to the south.
  2. You have met the powerful sorceress Alcastra the Fairspoken: “It has come to my attention that the wizard, Elegrain, who died many years ago possessed a book, the contents of which are beyond your comprehension. The fate of his book is unknown. Given that knowledge of the contents of such a tome would be difficult to keep secret, I assume that it remains hidden in his tower, the exact location of which remains a mystery. I offer 2,000 gp for the delivery of the book. For those willing to accept a Geas to bring this book to me I offer half of the reward upfront as well as the following aid: a weapon of the ancients (a laser pistol: +1 to-hit, 1d12 damage on a 12 the target has to save vs Death Ray or die, range 60-ft, 4 charges), the Wand of Thieves (detect traps and secret doors, 6 charges), a holy scroll (Detect Evil and Resist Fire), an elixir of giant strength (for one round after imbibing you are wracked with horrific pain during which you can’t do anything. After that it acts as a typical potion), and finally a mystical scroll (Annorax’s Black Noxious Cloud - new spell - like cloudkill but has range 60-ft). I have but two suggestions to offer to begin your search. First, the Temple of Hades is where Elegrain’s funeral rites were performed. I have dealt with the High Priest in the past. A letter of introduction from me should enable you to receive an audience and gain whatever information he may possess about the location of the tower. Second, trust no one.”
  3. Heralds of the Immortal Omnithrox have made it known throughout the city that the ruler of the Ruby Throne desires adventurers to explore and clear the cellars of a ruined fort in the Broken Lands. This fort once protected the lower reaches of the Tartarus Road but was destroyed during some forgotten battle many generations ago.
  4. You have acquired a treasure map. It shows a hidden valley to the east of an ancient stupa on the Tartarus Road. In the hidden valley lies a forgotten ruin. Rumour says this ruin was a stronghold of an ancient vulture cult, but is now inhabited by a degenerate, dark-skinned pygmy race. Who knows what ancient mysteries and treasures await discovery?
  5. You’ve overheard a group of adventurers planning a foray into the Broken Lands. They were trying to be circumspect in their talking, however, it sounded like they were going to investigate the Hive. The Hive is west of the Dragon’s Teeth which can be seen from the Tartarus Road.

Other News/Rumours/Things to Think About:
  • What were those creepy dudes with the cages on their heads?
  • A group of about a dozen silent, red-robed monks passed through the Black Gate and down the Tartarus Road a few days ago.
  • What exactly is the Blood Egg?