The Hole-in-the-Ground Gambit (GM only)

Share tales of your favorite adventures.
Post Reply
Posts: 1038
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

The Hole-in-the-Ground Gambit (GM only)

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:07 pm

This is not as polished as the other I posted, and I've never run it. Neither the NPCs nor the PCs have been fleshed out, and there may be some weirdness in what I say they do as a result. It is intended as an introductory adventure, although not as on-the-rails as is typical for these things.

The Hole-in-the-Ground Gambit

The PCs are living in a kaer in old Landis. They still haven’t opened because of fear that the Scourge is still ongoing. They have noticed that the elemental earth sphere has stopped descending, but the debate about what to do about it has been ongoing for a century. The party are all friends and/or frenemies, as is everyone in the kaer, since the total population is only 231, all human.

While everyone in the kaer rotates through the various jobs, the party is known as the Out Guard. Theoretically, they are meant to defend the kaer against horror incursions, but that, fortunately, has never actually happened. As a result, the number of adepts in the kaer has declined, as has their average circle. Furthermore, the Out Guard acts as a police force and as the judiciary, as well as taking their turn with everyone else in the vegetable patch. The characters, all 1st Circle adepts, represent the entirety of the Out Guard and nearly the entire population of adepts. Some of the PCs spontaneously became adepts, and there are a couple of elders who mentored the others.

The water for the kaer is supplied by an underground river. Suddenly, and without explanation, it slowed to a trickle. This is the first real test of the Out Guard in about 300 years. The craftsmen of the kaer break away the stone walls of the well room to reveal the small tunnel of the river. As they make their way through the tunnel, they find a number of Greater Termites who have moved into the tunnel to feed on the rotting slime and algae. After defeating the giant insects, they come to a place where the water becomes a deeper and they see the problem. A portion of the wall has been destroyed, letting the water run out into the daylight. This is the first daylight they’ve ever seen - it is blinding. Through the hole they hear singing.

Outside, the party may become nearly incapacitated by the dazzling light and agoraphobia. They find a party of adventurers who are mining the diverted river for True Water. The adventurers act like they are making nice while they surround them, even inviting them to spend the night in their camp, while their elementalist flies off to collapse the tunnel to the kaer. They don’t want to share the elemental treasure with them. Once the adventurers are defeated, the PCs will hear a rumbling from the source of the water. The elementalist has used Undermine to collapse the tunnel. When she sees the PCs coming she will flee, using Arcane Mutterings, Icy Surface, and Winds of Deflection. The PCs may be able to coerce him into opening the kaer if they can capture her, otherwise he may make a great recurring villain. Otherwise, they will spend a terrifying night outdoors. In the morning they awake with a great stone in the middle of their camp. Slowly they realize it is actually a Name-giver, an obsidiman Wizard and Warrior. He has been seeking out unopened kaers in Landis for about 80 years and can help the PCs communicate with those inside the kaer.

Just Another Unday
It is the Out Guards’ turn in the veggie patch. You are nominally the kaer’s first line of defense against Horror incursion, but other than training, that hasn’t affected any part of your lives as members of the Kaer Tremound. For centuries, the most exciting thing that’s happened is an invasion of greenworms. The Hour Board clicks the time, and you all meet in the garden. Everyone knows their place and their time by the Hour Board in the Great Hall, not that checking it is really necessary. Pretty much everyone has calculated out their routine for the next schedule for the next 5 years. No one is late. No one is ever late in the same way that no one goes to dinner without pants. It’s just not done. You have all known each other for your entire lives. Your families have lived in this kaer with only a couple other hundred people for generations, and there are no secrets, only truths that remain unspoken.

The players should describe their characters to each other. They are not wearing any armor or carrying any weapons, other than possibly a utility dagger.

The veggie patch is in a rough-cut cavern, the second largest in the kaer. The ceiling is covered in glow moss and light crystals that brighten and dim on 10-12 hour cycles. The plants are grown in raised beds arranged in a grid with paths between them. There are a variety of fungus, hardy and economical vegetables, and a dense forest of stovewood stumps that are harvested and burned in cookstoves. The air is humid from the plant’s respiration and heavy with the stench of fertilizer. You bend to your tasks without thinking when you notice the drip irrigation system seems to be jammed.

The water flows from a large cistern through a series of small stone pipes and troughs to all areas of the garden. After investigation, they find that the cistern is nearly empty, a thing that has never happened.

Hamus sticks his head in. He is a middle-aged, portly fellow with the cleft chin common to his mother’s family. “You’re wanted at the Middle Table. As the Out Guard, not as gardeners. So bring your gear.” He looks troubled.

Hamus doesn’t know what this is all about, but the Out Guard hasn’t been called on in their official capacity in living memory. The characters have gear in your quarters, but it’s only seen service in sparring matches. When they retrieve their gear, give each character an inventory card.

The Middle Table is a large stone slab in the Great Hall. It is often used as a place for craftsmen to set projects that need to dry undisturbed or as a stage for children playing troubadour, but now it is occupied by the elders of the kaer, who are wearing unusually somber expressions. Mhodi waves them over. He is very short, with a long beard and tremendous ear hairs that are the delight of all the children.

“There is a bit of an emergency underway. It seems that something has interfered with the Spring. For centuries it’s served us without problem, but a few days ago the flow slowed, and now there is barely a trickle.”

“That’s because we were supposed to have left a century ago!” grouses Nuli. He’s younger, the only living person with red hair. He’s always thought it made him special.

“That’s aside from the point, Nuli! We need to find out what the problem is now!”

“Well,” Nuli says, “I’ve traced the water flow all the back to the Spring itself. Whatever is happening is happening outside the kaer proper. We’ll need to crack the door to find the problem.”

“You’ve lost your mind!” Yammell slams a meaty hand down on the table. She’s one of the most capable craftmen in the kaer, and her forearms are corded with muscle. “Have you forgotten what we’ve keeping at bay all these years?”

“The sphere has halted! It’s been like that for a century! It is not going to get any better!”

“Nuli, Yammell. Stop this.” Mhodi rests his head in his hand for a moment. “Nuli is correct on one point. We will need to look outside the kaer to solve this. However.” Mhodi raises his hands to Yammell. “We won’t be opening the door as a response to a crisis. Yammell, I need you to take down the wall to the spring. The Out Guard will be going straight to the heart of the matter.”

Yammell furrows her brow, in the way that she does when engaged in a problem. “There are robust wards on the spring. I’ll need to wake Obalis to help me create an opening.” Obalis is the kaer’s most powerful adept, a 4th circle wizard, but at 80 years old, he is not inclined to leave his couch or his library.

“Well, do what you need. How long will it take? Time, I need not remind you, is of the essence.”

“If Obalis is still alive, give me until 17th click. It won’t be much of a gap, but they should be able to get through one at at time.”

Mhodi turns to you. “Well, it sounds like you have about two hours. This is your chance to earn your title. You are excused from your duties … until you’ve saved us all, I suppose.”

The PCs have a little bit of time to do any preparations they feel necessary. They may be able to round up some healing aids from Gessgor, the Chosen Questor of Garlen (Social Defense 7). They may be able to change out any weapons or armor they wish with Navvisis, the martial instructor (Social Defense 5), or requisition any extra food or other supplies from Nuli (Social Defense 6). They can trade weapons for other weapons of approximately equal value or less without any tests. To request additional supplies, a character must talk to and then make a Charisma test against the Social Defense of the NPC in question. Each success garners one normal item, though some things might require 2.
Into the Walls

The Well is in a small chamber at the highest point of the Kaer inside the Great Gates. Normally it is incredibly tidy. The walls are polished stone, and the pipes and troughs that lead out are meticulously maintained. Obalis and Yummel have turned it on its head. Many of the stone blocks behind the main cistern have been removed and stacked on the floor in the hall. There is now an opening into a small, dark cave that has been smoothed by centuries of water flowing tangentially to the Well. Now only a small stream flows weakly on the bottom. Mud and dust are everywhere. The opening seems to breath a foul, mildewed air that nearly knocks you over. Obalis stands, wavering back and forth in the middle of the room. He appears to be asleep. Yummel gestures to him. “Obalis said he should be able to keep a gap in the wards open for a day or so. Then he just started standing there with his eyes closed. Snoring occasionally. Here, hold out your left hands, palm facing down.” He lays a crystal mounted in a steel setting on the back of each or your hands. There are silver wheels with numbers engraved on them all around the center stone.

It is beautiful. You are about to ask what it is when steel spines bend like living things and jab into your flesh. You can feel them hooking around the bones of your hand. After a few seconds, the tiny wheels begin to spin, pausing to display numbers every few seconds: 1091, 1889, 6073 …”

The devices are blood charms that measure the relative corruption of the Name-giver they are attached to. Embedding the charm does 2 points of damage. House rule: GM makes a secret Willpower test for each player against DN of 2. If it fails, the character gains 1 corruption point. It constantly casts Divine Aura against the character. If there are no changes in the character’s corruption level, the wheels display a 4 digit prime number. If the character tries to remove the charm without entering the correct code, it does step 12 damage and causes a blood wound. To reenter the kaer, they will need to relay 4 numbers from the charms to the council, which has a secret tome with a list of prime numbers. Outside the kaer there is a special clockwork interface that will allow the Out Guard to enter the numbers. There is are design flaws that the kaer-dwellers are not aware of, but that won’t come into play in this adventure. It is very sensitive to the state of astral space, so if it is ever exposed to Tainted or Corrupt Astral space, it becomes less and less reliable, so that after 5-7 days it will simply display random numbers. Also, if the character’s corruption level drops, the charm is thrown off.

There is no light source in the dry riverbed. There is only enough room for the party to walk comfortably walk single file, so they must establish a marching order. The tunnel’s profile is a trapezoid, with a roof made of a single large slab of hard stone that ranges from 2 feet high on the left side to 7 feet side on the right. It is roughly finished. When the kaer was built, they redirected this river to they would have a reliable water source. The floor of the cave is wet and slimy, meaning any tests to remain upright (such as knockdown tests) are at a -2. They could go to the right or the left, but there is a dim light far down on the left side. If they go to the right, after about 200 yards the cave drops abruptly, breaking into several chutes that are too small for the PCs to pass through. After they travel down the left side for about an hour, they hear the clitter-clatter of the claws of greater termites. These oversized insects are happily munching on the decaying slime left when the water receded and aren’t willing to share with a bunch of Name-givers. They will fight to kill but not to the death, fleeing when they are all wounded or unconscious. There is one termite per character.
The Glare of a New Day
After defeating the greater termites, the tunnel rapidly becomes brighter and brighter. Very soon, the torches are unneeded.

The tunnel becomes brighter and brighter. There is a large gap in the left side of the wall. The light is brighter than anything you’ve seen in your life. You can’t see anything at all through the gap, but the blinding light seems warming and wholesome in a way that you cannot explain. Still, it is obvious what happened to the water. The stream grows deeper and begins to fill the floor of the tunnel as you get closer to the gap. However, most of it is flowing out into the glare. Outside, over the sound of the flowing water, you hear loud, rhythmic singing.

The characters must make a Swimming (6) test to get through the hole in the wall. The river gets shallow very quickly, so there is no risk of drowning, but if they fail they are knocked down and washed 2-12 yards downstream. In addition, the characters much make a Toughness test DN 7 or be blinded by the glare, suffering -2 to all sight-based tests. Furthermore, when they leave the tunnel, they must make a Willpower test DN 7 or be crippled by agoraphobia, taking another -2 to all steps. To find out how long they are affected if they miss the roll, subtract their roll from the DN. The result is the number of rounds they are affected. When the characters go outside, read the following:

Overhead, there is a crushing blueness with a piercing yellow light. It can only be the sun and sky. You are on the side of a mountain, surrounded by unfamiliar plants, some of which reach dozens of feet in the air. You are floored by the intensity of the smells and colors. The air is moving all around you, and the effect is unnerving. There are a few Name-givers working near the stream, but they are strangely proportioned - very short and stout. Both the males and females are extremely hairy, with skin the color of dark wood. Of course, they must be dwarves.

A number of dwarf miners equal to the number of characters are working the stream. They hail the PCs in strangely accented Throalic. “‘Ello there. Whachoo all about?” One of them immediately leaves and head down the hill while the remaining grab up crossbows and train them on the PCs. The players may attack or talk as they wish.

If combat breaks out, they start 50 yards apart. After 5 rounds the reinforcements arrive. The miners are not trying to be heros - they’ll use defensive options to stay alive until the reinforcements arrive, and if they take any wounds they will flee. Once the reinforcements arrive, the leader, Grepher K’tenshin, will suspect they came from the unexplored part of the river tunnel. He will send the windling elementalist Mallamar Whistledown to collapse the tunnel to the kaer. When the others arrive, read the following:

The reinforcements have arrived, and they are even stranger than the miners. There is a human-sized lizard that walks on two feet. It has emerald-green skin and a crest that rises 2 feet from the back of its head and a tail nearly as long as it is tall. There is what you initially take to be a human woman, but on a second look you realize has protruding canines, pointed ears, and coarse, bristle-like hair. The third is a tiny woman, only about a foot and a half tall, wearing fantastically embroidered robes and bearing a spear as tall she is. She has insect-like wings on her back, but rather than flying or walking she is riding a dog-sized lizard. They can only be a t’skrang, ork, and windling, races that occupy legendary status in the oral history of the time before the Scourge.

The miners are trying to capture the party, if possible, to perhaps sell them to the Therans. The dwarves have no loyalty to the rest of their group. Hannalor is very loyal to Grepher, and furthermore, her gahad will not let her flee from a fight. Grepher is too proud to back down easily, but will abandon Hannalor if it looks like they are just going to get slaughtered. Mallamar will stand by Grepher, but isn’t interested in giving his life for him.

If the miners win, they capture the party using stun damage. House rule: stun damage is just like regular damage, but won’t put the target over his or her death rating. They can devise an escape plan, or Hannalor will free them in the night - she claims Lochost as her patron Passion - and selling the party into slavery might be the one thing that could try her loyalty to Grepher.
If the Players Win a Straight-Up Combat
They can ransack the camp and return to the Kaer as heros. The camp has the standard camp supplies - food and drink, tents, mules, mess kits, etc. They can also loot any bodies. Furthermore, the miners have some equipment that might be valuable. The miners are not set up for a full-scale mining operation, but once Grepher has a good claim, he intends to secure financing for a major haul.

Elemental Waterskin - Larger than a standard waterskin, it is topped with an intricate locking cap. Grepher has the key.

Element Waterskin Trap Detection DN: 10 Disarm 12 (req. magic)
Initiative: 24 (d20+d12+d10)
Trigger: Attempting to opening the waterskin without the key
Effect: Lightning Bolt spell vs the opening character. Spellcasting 8 (2d6), +1 target per success, Range 20 yds. Step 6 (d10) damage.

The waterskin has been woven with true water, which slows but does not stop the escape of kernels of true water. It will hold up to 12 kernels of True Water.

Grybb’s Sieve - woven with small amounts of orichalcum, its use is the equivalent of panning for gold. It is worth 300 silver.
A Night Under Oppressive Stars
They will have 4 hours before night to make Wilderness Survival tests. They may not need food or water (depending on what they brought), but they will need shelter. House rule: If they don’t have shelter, they can’t make their morning recovery test. Either way, have them make a toughness test (you can use the recovery test for this). The half with the highest result wake first.

It takes a long time to fall asleep. You have slept your entire lives in the same bed, and you know its lumps intimately. Out here there are weird noises, unfamiliar bumps, and the never-ceasing flow of the cool night air. And what can only be stars - an infinite blanket of jewels that petrify you with their beauty. Eventually, exhaustion and sensory overload takes over and you all fall asleep, even if you hadn’t intended to. It seems like you had just closed your eyes when the sun again pummels your eyelids. You rub your eyes and open them to see a cloud of insects with huge, brightly-colored wings flittering through the clearing, some perched on your still sleeping companions.

These are just harmless butterflies, unless you eat them, in which case they have a disagreeable taste that lingers all day. I hope the heros that wake up first freak out about a bunch of butterflies, though.

Eventually the party is able to circle back around to the entrance of the kaer. Roll Navigation or Knowledge: Geography to determine the narrative for finding it. House rule: the Navigation talent needs an extra success if the character doesn’t have the required maps, charts, etc, but can still succeed. A massive banyan tree complex has grown over the kaer’s entrance. Fortunately the players find a number of flagstones, all that’s left of the old road, leading into it. If the PCs rolled well, they arrive in the morning and the trees are mysterious, but not forbidding. Otherwise, they arrive at dusk and they are shrouded in mist and pitch black. The PCs may decide to wait until morning.

The trunks of the banyan tree grow close together at the mouth of the cave and thick roots have penetrated its roof and extend to the floor. The tree has partially collapsed and concealed the mouth of the cave. Where once an ox-drawn cart could freely travel, you must climb and squeeze. The inside of the cave is pitch black and clammy, requiring you to light your torches. Fortunately, however, there are no unsettling breezes inside. As you travel further in and down, the worked floor shows fewer signs of weathering. You round a bend and see a massive form nearly filling the corridor. It partially obscures your view of a large geometric pattern inlaid with a silvery glinting metal. A foul stench fills your nostrils, and you hear the slow sound of the labored breathing of a huge creature. You see thick, ropy tentacles attached to bones and muscles and skin seemingly arranged inside out.

Before them is a horror that has become entranced by an astral pattern trap. It has been here for several hundred years. While still living, it is malnourished from a lack of anguish and covered in a thick layer of dust. It will not respond, even if attacked. The party can walk around it or kill it. If they kill it, it begins to rouse itself, trying to reconnect its nervous system to its body, but they will succeed in slaying it first.

After a few hundred more yards of tunnel, you come to the Kaer Portal. It is covered with ornate tessellated patterns, some of which you know form mystical protections and others that can trigger deadly magical traps. You can barely make out the seam in the middle where the two great doors come together. On the right side you see part of 4 large metal disks set next to each other into the wall. They are like steel wagon wheels mounted on one axle, with the edges facing you and three-quarters of the disks concealed behind the stone wall. Numbers line the edges. There are handles on each wheel to turn it and a stone button the size of your fist next to them on the wall. The numbers currently read |5|1|1|9|.

The PCs must line up the wheels so that they display a 4-digit prime number, and they must do this 5 times in a row. Fortunately, their blood charms are still functioning and will display prime numbers. You can find a list here: If they enter a non-prime number, one of the runes on the door lights up with a menacing red glow. If they do this 3 times, it will set of an Astral Catastrophe (Player’s Guide p.361). The first 2 runes are essentially threadweaving runes and the third casts the spell. The spellcasting and effect step is 16. Once discharged, the trap will automatically reset and retrigger 3 times. However, it must weave the threads again, so the party has 2 rounds between blasts in which to enter the correct numbers and disarm the trap. Entering a number takes a move action, so a character can enter 2 numbers per round. Yes, this could potentially kill the whole party, but it is a trap used to kill or at least dissuade horrors. Once they’ve disarmed the trap, a bell is rung deep in the kaer. After about an hour of the party waiting and wondering, there is a rumbling of heavy stone gears and the doors open, revealing the entire population of the kaer, armed with anything they can find. Mhodi and the elders stand at the fore, armed with ancient polearms. When he sees you, Mhodi drops his weapon and rushes forward to embrace you, remembering only afterwards to check your charm.
Behind the Scenes
New 2nd circle Elementalist Spell -
Undermine - 2 threads, does structure damage to earth or stone structures.
Mallamar Whistledown - Female Windling. 2nd Circle Elementalist. A shaky alcoholic, Mallamar barely knows Grepher, but he got her out of a legal jam in Bartertown, so she feels that she owes him.

Grepher K’tenshin - Male T’skrang. 1st Circle Archer. Lives his life alternating between wealth and poverty as he chases get-quick-schemes.

Hannador Gethor - Female Ork. From a little fishing village on the Serpent River, Hannador has known Grepher nearly her entire life. He has been a constant in her life as long as she can remember. He is like an honorary uncle and she can’t really imagine life without him, even though she is a much better person than he is.

Miners - Male and Female Dwarfs. Mundane miners, here to make a quick buck.
There will be premade human 1st circle adepts for the players to choose from: a Warrior, a Troubadour, a Wizard, a Scout, a Nethermancer, and a Swordmaster.
Last edited by Slimcreeper on Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
The Undying
Posts: 696
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:25 pm

Re: The Hole-in-the-Ground Gambit (GM only)

Post by The Undying » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:38 am

My input, for what it's worth:
Slowly they realize it is actually a Name-giver, an obsidiman Wizard and Warrior. He has been seeking out unopened kaers in Landis for about 80 years and can help the PCs communicate with those inside the kaer.
This is kind of overly serendipitous. An Adept who is explicitly looking to open kaers happens into their campsite on the first day they're outside? Moreover, this Adept just joins their camp during the night?
He will use Diplomacy to help the PCs convince them to open the door.
The kaer just lost their Out Guard, whose job it was to protect the kaer from Horrors. In the same 24 hours, someone comes knocking at their door and assures them it's ALL cool, he's TOTALLY not the Horror that just [probably] ate some of their buddies, they should TOTALLY open the door because it's TOTALLY safe outside. This seems problematic.
Furthermore, when they leave the tunnel, they must make a Willpower test DN 7 or be crippled by agoraphobia, taking another -2 to all steps.
This feels heavy-handed. Not everyone who has been in a kaer would suffer crippling agoraphobia when they step outside. Remember, these people likely have grown up with stories passed down over centuries of how beautiful the world is outside. I'd imagine that most people with an adventuring bent - which most Adepts are - would be exuberant at finding themselves outside. Forcing the agoraphobia on them steals some player agency - if their character has always dreamed of being outside, let them enjoy the sudden wonderment rather than "OH NO, EVERYTHING I'VE EVER WANTED - AND IT'S HORRIBLE!!!!!"
They will find an Orichalcum-lined box containing 12 kernels of True Water
Assuming this is an Orichalcum container, this amounts to a 6,000 silver award to 1st Circle Adepts. That's ... a lot ... like, A LOT a lot. I know you say "They will know that the etiquette of the Kaer dictates that they give it to the elders for the Kaer’s use," but that feels railroad-y - what if one of the Adepts is a Thief? What if they know that's "etiquette" but don't want to give it up?
If they don’t have shelter, they can’t make their morning recovery test.
Why not? I might have missed this in the Player's Guide.
Effect: Lightning Bolt spell vs the opening character. Spellcasting 15 (d12+2d6), +1 target per success, Range 20 yds. Step 18 (d12+d10+d8) damage.
This is pretty dangerous for 1st Circle Adepts. You could outright kill someone. I'd recommend using a different spell template, get rid of the additional targets, and reduce the damage step. The first few adventures are really about introducing people to the universe, and this is really just a "hey, traps are a thing" learning experience.

Posts: 1038
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: The Hole-in-the-Ground Gambit (GM only)

Post by Slimcreeper » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:00 pm

Thanks Undying! I was really hoping someone would give me some feedback on this.

For the first point, I am okay with the Obsidiman showing up in the middle of the night. He's a bit deus ex machina, I agree, but I want the players to kind of feel like they need it. I can write in that he was investigating the area because of the actions of the miners, but it is his territory and what he does.

The ending does need some fleshing out. The kaer has 231 Namegivers, nearly no water, and a breach in their kaer, so the elders will need to do something.They could convince the elders to send someone into the tunnel to find the water source and the gap. It shouldn't be too hard to convince the elders that they are the Out Guard, although the elders should legitimately be concerned about horror corruption. I think more about this. Taking suggestions!

The box and trap ... I'll think more. Elemental mining requires orichalcum tools. Realistically, even a ramshackle mine should be worth several thousand silver, right?

The no-recovery test for no shelter is my thing. I could use fatigue rules, but I don't love them.

The agoraphobia - that stays. It is how I picture Name-givers emerging from generations below ground. It should be marvelous and terrifying.

What I am shooting for in the adventure is a 1 shot 1 session with pre-made characters. The PCs may or may not die during the adventure, the players may or may not continue to use them after the adventure ends. It should go curiosity and excitement, confidence boosted by defeating the beetles, to feeling overwhelmed by the world outside - really worried about how they will survive outside - to relief at finding an ally.

User avatar
The Undying
Posts: 696
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:25 pm

Re: The Hole-in-the-Ground Gambit (GM only)

Post by The Undying » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:02 am

I see potential in this idea, but the biggest thing I would caution you about is the railroad-y feel. My play group actually just had a nice, long talk about what it means to maintain player agency. One significant aspect of that is that the players have to feel like they're in control - i.e., no railroaded.

The agoraphobia thing, that forces something onto the characters they may not see as being their vision for their character. You're there to guide them - help them experience that incredible character moment the way they want to experience it. Through description, you can play up both angles of how wondrous it is to be outside but also how inherently frighting - this is an entirely foreign world they know only through legend, an since they still aren't sure the Scourge is over, there's a reasonable change that there's a Horror under their feet, or those miners are actually Horror-tainted. but, I strongly recommend you let them decide how their character would act.

There are also other ways to handle the kaer re-entry. As the Out Guard, who are potentially going to encounter Horrors, the kaer leaders probably provided them some mystic way to provide both their identity and [hopefully] their lack of Horror taint. They may also have a kaer pattern item that is used for re-entry through the kaer door should something happen to them (like they have to go out to face an enemy rather than let it breach the walls). In my opinion, they don't really need the outside help, and allowing the Obsidimen to open the door kind of steals the glory from the players (technically, they didn't free the kaer, they stumbled into someone that they could point in the direction to do it).

Speaking of getting to the door, there's a reasonable (but not required) chance that the gate is not just hanging on the outside of the mountain. It's probably set back in some tunnels, likely with wards and traps to protect against Horrors and other attempts at premature breach. I'd expand this area, as it allows you to do some interesting world building: look at all these incredibly complicated magic glyphs! oh and there's the skeleton of a Horror that was enraptured by one of the pattern traps, look at how alien and frightening it is!

As for the no-recovery thing, I'd made the point before that this is the player's first experiences in the system. I'd highly recommend not overly deviating from Rules As Written for that simple reason. If you want to include something that is specific to your table, I'd just recommend changing the text color or something with a caveat somewhere that says "this is different from RAW, it's a thing at my table so it should be a thing from a start, but feel free to ignore it if you are going RAW since it isn't a scenario-specific effect or anything."

Posts: 1038
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: The Hole-in-the-Ground Gambit (GM only)

Post by Slimcreeper » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:21 pm

I'll definitely be using some of these ideas. When I polish up this adventure, I'll repost it as an edit.

Posts: 1038
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: The Hole-in-the-Ground Gambit (GM only)

Post by Slimcreeper » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:33 pm

Edited! I still haven't done up the party, and the treasure is still up in the air.

Post Reply