TWtNW Prologue: Part 3: Emergence

March 1, 2013

Dramatis Personae

John as Jace Renauld, Human Sorcerer from Zethinia
Jonathan as Wyn, Halfling Bard
Kim as Marayna Elion, Human Monk from Alqadi
Paul as Nasri Windwhisper, Gray Elf Fighter from the Circle Sea
Ryan as Morgrym Harmukson, Dwarf Paladin of Clan Stoneshield
Sean as Tahdrugg, City Goblin Rogue

Rocks Fall, the Bard Dies (No Save)

GrickThe party continued to explore The Crumbling Halls, searching for a passage to the surface. Using a bit of rock, they chalked marks on the wall to ensure they could retrace their steps back to the Frozen Flame. Suddenly, another tremor struck, much larger than the previous ones. The ceiling collapsed, burying Wyn and killing him instantly. A hideous, tentacled grick fell from the halls above and launched itself at Morgrym. Nasri attempted to rescue the dwarf while Marayna and Tahdrugg fled. Nasri and Morgrym were unable to harm the creature and they were killed.

Marayna and Tahdrugg, hoping their allies would return to life again, retraced their steps to the Frozen Flame, following the chalk marks.

Twice the Man He Used to Be

While Morgrym and Nasri were reborn as before, Wyn was not. Instead, a human male appeared in his place. The human, named Jace, explained that he remembered being the halfling and traveling with the party, but he had now reclaimed his true form. Unfortunately, his memories of events before waking up for the first time in the Chamber of the Frozen Flame were lost to him.

However, he revealed that, in the darkness before he had come back to life, he had had another vision. In this vision, he was a halfling and he was strangling a mind flayer, demanding that the aberration “summon it” while the creature gurgled and screamed in pain. He (the halfling) was holding a strange crystalline dagger against the mind flayer’s bare chest, and apparently, it was causing the creature intense pain. He also noticed the halfling was wearing a ring on his left ring finger with a stylized harp and ruby. The signet was quite similar to the strange symbol that had appeared on Wyn’s ring finger after he returned from the dead the first time. The same symbol that now appeared on Jace’s finger.

Morgrym speculated that each of their strange marks might represent a piece of jewelry. Nasri’s a cloak clasp, broach, or necklace. His own, an amulet. Jace’s, the ring. Tahdrugg’s, a belt buckler. And Marayna’s, an armband or pauldron.

Obligatory Quote from Classic Sci-Fi Book: “It’s an IQ Test

The party decided again to seek the surface through the dwarven halls. On their way, Jace, while casting a light spell, discovered that the area outside the Chamber of the Frozen Flame, seemed to have some sort of partial anti-magic effect.

When the party returned to the dwarven halls, they quickly discovered someone had rubbed out their chalk marks and replaced them with different marks. Slowly, the party tried to retrace its steps to the place where the ceiling had collapsed.

But the party encountered someone else before they could find their way back.

“I’m Sorry, I Was Spouting Exposition Again”

The party encountered a human male adventurer named Cambion, a powerful bear of a man laden with a heavy pack. Well-armed and well-equipped to survive several days in the dungeon. After determining that the party weren’t Delvers who apparently police the Undercity, he was quite happy to help the party by answering questions and offering some food and water.

The party found out that they are in underground catacombs beneath the Great City-State of Vancia and Cambion shared a good deal of information bout the city. The party told Cambion that they had awoken in the dungeon with no memories, but did not reveal anything about their strange inability to die. He assumed they had been injured and robbed.

Cambion gave the party directions to help them find the surface. He also told the party to seek out a tavern called Ivy’s when they got to the surface and to tell Ivy that they were friends of his. He, however, chose to remain in the dungeons. He had apparently been hired to hunt down a band of kobolds that had been causing trouble on the surface.

Cambion also warned the party to avoid a certain corner of the ruins that was inhabited by dangerous giant spiders.

All of the Relevant Lord of the Rings Jokes Have Already Been Said

Following Cambion’s directions, the party came to a deep volcanic rift with a narrow bridge across it. But the party was attacked by a giant magma elemental who laired in the area. The destructive creature, an embodiment of pure chaos, attempted to scatter and destroy the party, but Nasri and Morgrym beat the creature back and Jace’s magic helped destroy it.

Finally, Fresh Air

Beyond the volcanic rift, the party found a passage that climbed up to the surface. Emerging from an oddly open staircase in the middle of an alley (with a few signs warning people not to enter), the party was instantly assailed by the offensive odor of the industrial quarter of a highly polluted medieval city. A district ironically named The Perfumed Row.

The party was able to get directions to Ivy’s place, which, thankfully, wasn’t too far.

All of the Relevant Beatnik Jokes Have Already Been Said

Ivy’s proved to be an oversize thatched-roof cottage with an extensive garden in the front. Even at midday, the place was crowded with lower class, flamboyantly dressed fops and performers. The landlady, was a bit more well-off than her clientele. She was a gray elf named Larialla Ivyleaf. Jace was able to identify her unseen servant spell and recognized her casting style as that of a bard, indicating that she was more than just a tavern-keeper.

When the party mentioned Cambion’s name, Ivy offered them free drinks, a free meal, and asked them to come back after she closed. Apparently, Cambion had a habit of sending her hard-luck cases.

The party visited a junk shop and a tailor to sell off some of the trinkets they had found and clothe themselves properly. Then, they returned.

Ivy was apparently friendly, if a bit wearied, and she admitted she often ended up helping out those in need of a little assistance. She offered the party the comfort of her attic for a few days and when the party asked about work to earn some coin, she agreed to help the party make a few contacts.

Things Learned About Vancia

The Soldiers' Symbol: Red on Purple

The Soldiers’ Symbol: Red on Purple

(These things may be true, untrue, incomplete, or misleading. They serve as reminders of things the party was told during the game by NPCs and they are as trustworthy as the NPC who shared the information, or the knowledge check that revealed it.)

  • Vancia is an sovereign city-state. It has fended off several nations’ attempts to claim it. (Cambion)
  • Vancia is built on the shore of the Circle Sea, on a promontory at the entrance to that great inland sea. As such it is located near every major sea trade route between the nations of the Circle Sea and every other world power. Thus it has grown quite wealthy. (Morgrym: Knowledge[History])
  • Vancia is located on the Stormwracked Cape. For ages, the cape was uninhabited because the area was prone to terrible storms. But the archwizard who founded it somehow protected the city from the storms, allowing the city to grow and prosper. (Morgrym: Knowledge[History])
  • Vancia is a magocracy. It is ruled by representatives of seven arcane organizations, but numerous other guilds and organizations also have a say in how the city is governed. (Cambion)
  • Vancia was founded about 120 years ago by the Alqadan Archwizard Esri Fahima. (Cambion)
  • Esri Fahima was acknowledged as one of the most powerful wizards of the current age, but little is known about her prior to the founding of Vancia. She was a magical artificer and sculptor, a transmuter, and a magical craftsman skilled in the creation of magical items. She established a private sanctum on the Stormwrack Cape. Soon, other wizards came to study with her. The city of Vancia grew around their towers and soon Fahima proclaimed herself the ruler of the city and established the council that governs it. (Jace: Knowledge[Arcana])
  • Esri Fahima ruled over the seven arcane societies and had a great deal of direct control over the city. She disappeared about 25 years ago, and has apparently left a major power vaccuum. The seven societies are trying to seize power and fill the void and the city is descending into chaos. (Cambion)
  • Vancia is apparently home to a population of expatriate dwarves who have organized themselves into a clanhold. Outsiders call them the Bluffhuggers. (Cambion)
  • Vancian apparently has extensive catacombs and ruins below its streets. A group called the Delvers apparently police exploration of the underground. (Cambion)
  • The dwarven halls the party is currently exploring were discovered about thirty years ago and have been thoroughly explored and looted by adventurers from the city. Now, few people bother venturing down into this section of the Undercity and various underground monsters are the only occupants. (Cambion)
  • The symbol of Vacnia and the City Watch is three moons and three stars which represent the first three magical societies to establish towers on the Stormwrack Cape and thus the three founding arcane orders of the city. (Cambion)

 




One Response to TWtNW Prologue: Part 3: Emergence

  1. TheAngryDM on March 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Let’s get this out of the way: Jonathan left the group. I didn’t murder his character out of spite with DM Fiat. He got a new job and was forced to move away somewhat suddenly. Obviously, I wish him the best of luck. Fortunately, before his seat cushion even got cold, we replaced him with John. I proposed the idea of having John’s PC be the rebirth of Jonathan’s PC to help ease his entry into the game and to help illustrate to the PCs more about how the death/rebirth thing works. I knew, going in, that I would kill off Wyn in the first few minutes of the game, but I didn’t know how I would do it. I figured I would just run a random encounter and whatever encounter showed up would ambush Wyn first and kill him in the cut scene before initiative was rolled. Paul thought it would be funny if rocks fell and he died. And I agreed, but I rolled the damn grick encounter and I was going to use it, damn it. I love gricks.

    The collapsing ceiling actually wasn’t much of a stretch. There are portions of the upper halls that have been weakened by ages of seismic activity. They basically function as pit traps, dropping the hapless PC who blunders into them into the lower level. So, the party just encountered one from underneath and instead of a hapless PC, a hapless grick set it off. Along with an earthquake because gricks aren’t that heavy.

    So much of my game happens on the fly, usually in response to the players plans. I don’t plan where my game is going, except in very broad strokes. I plan where it has been and what will happen if the PCs do nothing. Then, when the PCs are turned loose, we all see what happens. I adjust the story much like the villains and antagonists would, changing their plans in response to the actions the PCs take.

    But a lot of little details come out on the fly as well. Usually just because it looks cool. I am very proud of the flavor text that came out of the blue for both the grick encounter and the magma elemental.

    The party and I learned that a grick’s flesh is actually all a sort of slimy, interwoven muscle tissue. So that, when it gets injured, the flesh taughtens like a sphincter, pinching the wound shut. That is why they have damage resistance. And they don’t bleed much.

    The magma elemental was more special effect than anything. Whenever it was injured, bits of it would slough off, cool, and solidfy. When John’s sorcerer hit it with ray of frost, the patches of it that got frozen would shatter and crumble as it thrashed around.

    I also discovered, for some reason, earth elementals coalesce in the natural world around gemstones. I kind of knew something like this had to be the case. In order for sorcerers to work in my world (see the campaign guide), any magical creature has to leave behind a physical something that embodies its essence in some way. Like a heart or brain or other organ. I’ll have to figure out more about this as time goes on.

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