Chapter One of the Broken Land continues…
A DCC/Mythic solo play
Episode 4: Fire in the Fog Temple
The characters for this episode:
Elyn: STR10 AGI6 LCK13 STA8 INT12 PRS10 (SPD10)
Riba: STR6 AGI16 LCK8 STA10 INT13 PRS10 (SPD10)
Win: STR10 AGI10 LCK11 STA10 INT11 PRS11 (SPD8)
Borer: STR13 AGI11 LCK14 STA10 INT7 PRS9 (SPD9)
Dag: STR9 AGI13 LCK13 STA7 INT9 PRS9 (SPD8)
When we last left these five reluctant heroes, they had turned from the stony path through the fens, and along the makeshift path that heads left, or roughly north-west, away from their original course.
SPOILERS AHEAD!! If you think you may play the Shrouded Fen DCC adventure, read no further!
Prelude: The Wrong Path
The mist closes around them as they struggle along.
“Think we mighta chose wrong,” Borer the Dwarf comments grimly, then adds “don’t get me wrong: too late ta head back an’ scrape an apology to Z-man.”
“I got a hint he had a private scheme cooking,” Win comments. Then starts coughing.
“What’s gotten inta ya?” Borer asks, then wheezes himself. The others are convulsed with coughing as swamp gas penetrates their lungs, and only Borer is none the worse.
Swamp gas random encounter: Fort SV missed all round, except by Borer: d6 off STA for all those failing! Not hard to fail as everyone has a penalty on SV while off the true path!
They push on through the mist, barely managing to stay on the crude trail. There’s no way of knowing what dangers or possible treasure they may be missing. But after some two or three hours a swarm of fly- or ant-like things buzzes up and over them.
Borer cries in alarm: “They’re gnawing the wood!” For these are not flies nor flying ants – they are flying termites! Borer is left with a mere iron lump instead of a useful hammer, and is back to makeshift weapons.
Refl SV DC 12 to avoid termites – Borer misses. I also check that if anyone did bring Walt’s pitchfork hoping to use it, it is also rendered near-useless.
The five soon reach what seems to be a foul black river, a hut visible on the far side. But before they can probe the bank to check for means of crossing, an ancient crone appears among them!
This is Nahweeha, ancient inhabitant and keeper of secrets of the fen. She reproves them for leaving the swamp-beast’s path.
Mythic: Does Nahweeha warn them back? (Very likely) Yes!
The path clears behind them as she warns them not to return.
Fire in the Fog Temple!
The return of the five to the cross-trail and march in the wake of their other four comrades is without incident. They arrive at a peculiarly-designed temple or ziggurat. They can see at least one flight of stone steps up to what appears to be a flat top. Faint sounds of combat can be heard!
Mythic: Do they hurry up the steps to help? (Likely) Yes. (Chaos is 6.)
But what lies at the top is in fact 40′ square surface surrounded by 10′ parapets, pierced in the centre of each parapet by identical steps. Internal steps also descend through the flat surface at the four corners, though one corner is rubble. Perhaps even more sinister, the ochre fog seems to emanate from another corner stair.
A floating portal suggests the way the other four may have gone… but the portal also displays a very obvious large keyhole and they have no key.
That leaves a choice of two stairs inward. The team breaks up into sub-teams. At one stair, there’s still an intact gate, though in poor condition. As Elyn struggles to deal with the lock [makes a poor open locks roll] Riba calls from the other stair that it seems open. Then there’s a cry of alarm!
Mythic: I make a ’50-50′ check on whether the gated stair will be tried and a ‘likely’ on the open stair. Both are yes. So I just pick the more likely two rogues to try them.
Riba’s descent: The final stage, involving rungs, is trapped. After descending most of the way, a rung gives way and a DC16 Refl SV is required! Riba misses and falls but burns LK to reduce damage to 1 from a 15′ drop.
A note on bending the DCC rule on LK check: when I ran a DCC funnel for live players I received a complaint that damage was so lethal it was sure death. I don’t exactly ‘get’ DCC’s LK check rules but have extended them so that when a rogue receives harsh damage she can get a smaller dice reroll result if she makes a LK check. As per rules, this costs 1 LK though these rogues will easily recover it.
Mythic: Will they jump to help? (No way!) Yes!
“He has the only armour!”
Jump checks: Elyn and Dag successfully jump down and can help.
Giant camo-geckos are lurking on the ceiling and make their attack on characters on the ground below.
Init+2 (+4 surprise), +2 bite, d5 dmge, AC12, hp 8 each.
- Geckos 21
- Elyn 10
- Dag 5
- Riba 4
Round 1: One gecko hits Riba – he is out. The other misses.
Round 2: Elyn and Dag both hit while Win manages a safe drop. Damage to the gecko is 7. The geckos pretend to flee.
Round 3: Borer makes a successful drop. Riba makes a crit LK burn and revives, on 1hp. The crit nullifies this second LK burn.
Loot! Aside from the decaying corpses of two previous would-be heroes, the chamber contains a short sword and a pitchfork. These are gratefully swooped on by the weapon-deprived rogues! They also find a set of thieves tools, and a scroll tube. Through the bars of the cell gate that seals this chamber from a tunnel beyond, a black robe can be glimpsed hanging up on a peg. It’s not far from the bars.
Mythic: Do they search for alternative exits? (Somewhat likely) Yes!
They all have a go based on the exceptional yes result and on a DC14 Int check, Elyn finds one.
Mythic: Does someone try to hook the robe? (Likely) Yes.
Using the pitchfork, lifting the robe from its peg is but the work of a moment and revealed, hooked on the peg, is a set of keys!
Loot division: Riba is familiar with a shortsword and claims that as his prize. Win takes the pitchfork. (It’s a d7 weapon and will break on a fumble.) Elyn takes the thieves tools. Borer tucks the scroll away, and that leaves Dag to operate keys.
“We’re safe enough from whatever’s through the bars,” Elyn says encouragingly, “let’s explore this secret tunnel!”
Mythic: The question of the tunnel is ‘has to be’. Yes.
As Elyn begins exploring the tunnel, the camo-geckos renew their attack!
Initiatives: This time all the available four rogues are well ahead of the geckos.
Win’s pitchfork kills the injured camo-gecko, and Borer clocks the other one with his makeshift hammer. It retreats. Riba fumbled with the short-sword and puts some minutes in cleaning the hand-grip.
Elyn resumes her passage of the tunnel and pushes open a stone panel letting into a decayed storeroom. Thick dust partly masks detritus on the floor. There are is one exit, a door reached through an exit bay: however, the wall left of the secret tunnel is honeycombed with holes.
“Don’t worry – look – the dust is thick in those holes,” Riba reassures Elyn. “Whatever made them is long gone.”
Mythic: Is a search made of the floor? Yes! All five search.
A search among the dust on the floor reveals:
- A vial of poison;
- A vial of hallucinogen;
- A whetstone that when used, upgrades an edged weapon one dice up; it can be used only once per weapon.
Checking that neither poison nor hallucinogen are drunk (they aren’t) I note that the short sword is a d8; and test whether they go back to the bars of the previous room, or move on through this one.
Dag leads the way back and uses his set of keys to open the cell. It’s a broad and dark area. Riba and Binye light a torch. Three stone tables are found, the nearest with a frayed doll on it. A number of tools and (possibly) torture devices are arrayed on pegs. They are old but usable. The rogues seize, as they search, a crow-bar, knives, a whip and a blackjack. Now they all have d4 throw weapons. A tunnel extends south but appears caved in; another leads in the direction of the other chamber, with the dust on the floor, and past it east. Further east, there’s a broad bay left, to double-doors, then the tunnel extends to a final door right.
Mythic: Do they probe the cave-in? (Unlikely) No!
Mythic: Do they all check the double doors? (50-50) Yes.
With two torches they can see wisps of ochre fog bleeding through cracks between and under the doors. The doors themselves have been badly damaged by an axe or similar implement.
Mythic: Do they dare open the doors? (50-50) Yes.
DC12 STR check is required to force the doors.
Borer steps to the doors and makes a good flat-foot kick at the middle: something cracks and the doors sag open. They move in…
From inside light of a different kind comes from above.Black oozes down, over a dead woman. Beyond her, stone benches carry more female corpses.
A ghostly form rushes screeching from the corpse, and the next nearest corpse, leaving its head behind, begins fumbling its way off its bench!
In the frozen moment of horror the rogues spot that black ooze is getting into each corpse’s head and creating the mist. A huge stone face opposite is weeping dark tears which form glowing blue drops that evaporate before hitting the ground. Ropes and chains lie fallen in all directions.
Mythic is used to frame tactical options:
Do they flee? (Likely) No.
Do they suspect the tears are some type of antidote (Very unlikely) No!
Do they start gathering rope> (Somewhat likely) Yes.
Do they ask the ghost what she wants? (50-50) No.
This is the ghost of Etiyane, the main cause of the curse. Init+3, Atk+6 for a ‘fogburst’ shock attack or +4 for either a ‘dominate’ attack or a ‘drain’ attack. 26hp and immune to normal weapons.
- Elyn, Riba;
- Etiyane’s ghost (and subsequent zombies);
- Win, Dag, Borer
Round 1: Elyn makes a DC10 Refl SV to toss Riba a rope. The two begin immobilising the headless corpse attempting to rise! Riba makes a makeshift attack and gets to 21, no problem against a barely-moving target. Zombie 1 can be tied down next round.
Mythic: Just to make sure this is legit, did Elyn actually notice that zombie moving? (50-50) Yes.
Etiyane makes a Shock attack on Win, and Win makes a LK check to avoid lethal damage. He is on 1hp and for now, is helpless from the shock.
Neither Borer nor Dag have blessed items or holy water.
Mythic: Do they retreat? (Likely) Yes.
They grab Win and move to retreat. (Dag makes a STR check to double-check this).
Round 2: Dag and Borer drag the still-helpless Win out. Elyn and Riba finish tying that zombie down.
Etiyane swoops at Riba, missing. Another zombie begins groping its way off a slab!
Round 3: The remaining pair flee, and Etiyane does not pursue out of the doors, and nor do any zombies.
There’s a ten minute delay while the rogues collect themselves, assure they are not pursued, and retrieve/relight any torch that had been dropped.
- Borer is the fittest on 4hp, and he has an amped-up d8 shortsword, and knife.
- Elyn is next-fittest on 2hp, and she wields a crowbar, knives, and has thieves tools.
- The others are on 1hp apiece and can muster a slightly naff pitchfork (d7) amped-up handax, whip and knives. Riba has leather armour.
- Elyn and Borer are carrying the torches.
There’s only one way to explore, along the tunnel to the final door right. The next chamber looks ominous: even the doors look eroded or eaten… and sure enough the corrupted rats that nibbled honeycombs in the dusty room swarm in!
Corrupted rat swarm: Init+2, melee+2, dmge 1+SV DC5 Fort or die. AC10, hp13, -2dmge from non-area attacks. Will not attack targets with burning torches if other targets are on offer.
Mythic: Are both torches ready and burning? (Likely) Yes.
- Borer, Dag, Elyn, Win, Riba
Round 1: All three possible targets are attacked. However two of those attacks result in fumbles and the other is a miss.
Riba manages a critical hit, and even with the damage penalty puts 6 dmge on the swarm! Borer uses his torch for 4 dmge.
Morale check: d20+Will-1: Fight on!
Round 2: Thanks to last round’s fumble only one character, Dag, is hit. He makes a crit LK check and survives on 1hp and also makes his DC5 Fort SV.
Riba Win and Dag all hit, for enough damage to wipe out the swarm!
Loot: The ruin and mess includes a bent gold censer worth 10gp.
As they search and loot, they assess the room and find a door out in the same direction as the long tunnel, and a passage right. That would in effect head towards an unexplored corner.
Mythic: Do they check the door before they scout down the passage? (50-50) No.
The passage leads, with a short dogleg, to a door. With due caution, it’s opened. The broad chamber beyond is obviously another corner room, since it is lit from a hole above and rungs of a ladder descend from it. The roof away from the hole is dominated by a classic representation of the weeping goddess – a healing deity. Once-white robes hang on pegs about the walls.
As they press forward, they observe that the room extends even further, descending down steps to a triangular pool of glowing blue liquid.
Mythic: Does the roof relief and blue liquid make them thing: ‘healing’? (Somewhat likely) Yes.
“Let’s offer a prayer to the Weeper for her healing mercies,” Elyn advises. [Elyn crits a Religion check on this.]
Bathing in the pool makes them all feel much better [+2 to next roll] but no wounds are actually healed.
At this point I make Int checks for associating ghostly advice (just prior to the battle with Murderbeak) with the ‘waterfall’ of tears in the ghost chamber, and with holy water. Again Elyn rocks this.
Mythic: Do they explore further, seeking more clues? (Very likely) Yes.
Retracing their steps to the rat-swarm room, they test the unopened door and press on. The chamber beyond appears to be a guard-room controlling exits left and right: it’s a smallish square room with a table, and four chairs. Three of the chairs are drawn up facing the other opposite. Borer snuffs the air: he smells gold, faintly.
Suddenly, two featureless spectres appear and glide to two of the ‘panel’ seats. Their voices carry, in archaic dialect. [Int checks all round] Riba can get the gist of it. Apparently it’s about an ancient sorcerer-king named Segava, who broke a treaty and paid with his life. Then the figures fade again.
Mythic: Do they head in the direction that Borer can scent gold? (Somewhat likely) No!
“Let’s just check the other way first!” they all agree.
But as they exit, two faces appear in the doors and scream a warning about ‘needing tears’!
Mythic: Does this push them the other way? (Likely) No.
They head away, left of the long tunnel’s direction, and arrive at a tear-shaped, star-plan chamber laid out rather like the temple as a whole. All of the lobes or side-chambers seem deserted.
A search turns up merely rotted furnishings and a tarnished silver amulet.
Back they go, back through the ‘spectre’ room and towards the smell of gold.
The next chamber is in much better repair. It’s a bedchamber, the bed covered with colorful drops or skins. A gold chunk (gilt perhaps) can be seen under them, at the head. The room also features a cluttered desk; a chair to go with it; and a large tapestry. The tapestry shows people walking, falling to their knees, and crawling out in moonlight.
This is Riba’s time to shine: he spots the bed covers as snakeskins belonging to poison species. Having been warned, Win carefully extends the pitchfork to flip the gold headrest off.
Meanwhile, Elyn uses a torch to study the desk: it has a silver pot or bucket as well as writing gear and a book. A quill may be valuable. The single drawer contains a holy symbol.
Dag reads the book (nat 20) and advises them to take holy water containers. Borer takes the silver pot (it can carry at least some holy water) while Riba keeps the quill and holy symbol.
Mythic: Do they search behind the tapestry? (Near sure thing) Yes.
Behind the tapestry, a Dwarf-only tunnel is revealed.
Mythic: Will Borer try it? (50-50) Yes.
Equipped with a torch Borer crawls carefully along the tunnel and descends into a full size passage. He slides out, and walks along to…
A bad smell is the most obvious thing about the next area. Borer waves a torch into the small chamber and sees a rotted stinking corpse draped over a chest of loot. A sword and dagger, at least, are visible.
Gritting his teeth, Borer investigates. The chest is an illusion – he suspected as much. Beyond a certain point in the room it becomes a rune-carved statue of a kneeling baby.
Borer collects armour (yuck!) and finds a couple of items tucked into it. One is a bark scrip with instructions about crawling like a baby. He collects sword and dagger and turns to leave. Smack! He loses a hp from a forcefield! Uh-oh…
Luckily, Borer understands what the hint – ‘be like a child’ – means. He crawls under the forcefield.
[There’s a low DC INT check to understand the runes, which hint the same thing]
Rejoining his comrades they rejoice in weapons… and stinky befouled leather armour which can be cleaned off…
“Once we have all gathered the blue waters into every flask, cup, and cap we can muster” Elyn says firmly.
The rogues have now searched every nook and cranny they can, aside from cave-ins, and fully prepared, ready themselves outside the zombie room. Let Etiyane’s ghost beware!
In the “combat” that follows, characters attempt to dribble holy water onto the heads (eye-sockets really) of the zombies, while Etiyane’s ghost attempts to (a) stop them by using shock and dominate effects, and (b) activate zombies.
A ‘dribble attack’ is a DC5 Agi action. The book implies auto success but this is a pressure situation.
Round 1: Borer and Dag rush in, and make their DC5 checks as they pour holy liquid into zombie eyes. Those ladies cease oozing black goo and begin dissolving!
They may head back out to fetch more holy water, but:
Mythic: Do Borer and Dag realise they may be needed to tie zombies down? (Somewhat likely) Yes!
Etiyane rouses and makes a dominate attack on Riba, who has the silver bucket – this is not the big scary D&D dominate but a one-shot – and fails. Riba accordingly hurries to douse the next zombie, which is beginning to move.
Win and Elyn are next and both make their DC5 ‘attacks’ and now 5 zombies (of 12) are out of action. One is already tied down (from the previous entry) and six have yet to be activated.
Round 2: Borer and Dag, working together, tie down the next zombie. Two tied, six not.
Etiyane makes a shock attack on Riba and misses again.
Riba Elyn and Win all flee! They head to the blue-pool chamber again, to top up.
Mythic: Do Borer and Dag flee? (Likely) Yes.
Round 4-12: All top up and return.
Round 13: Borer and Dag advance to unsecured zombies, but Dag messes up the pour. Two tied, five untied.
Etiyane makes another dominate attempt on Riba and this time, fumbles. She will be distracted an extra round. Which brings up Round 14, by which time four zombies are tied and all others out.
Rounds 15-23: More holy water is fetched.
Round 24: The fog is already dispersing and Borer and Dag pour plenty of water over the last four.
ALL PCS RECEIVE ONE LCK PERMANENT GAIN!
Etiyane, still weeping, dissolves. The huge relief-face’s tears dry up. Black ooze slowly begins to fade. Its open mouth is about as big as that Dwarf-size tunnel Borer squeezed down before… and he scents gold!
Over the next little while Borer loots a rich treasury and passes gear back out.
- Tempered bark scale armour
- 2xLeather armour – one Dwarf size
- 3xPadded armour – two very petite
- 2xshields, odd ‘frog’ shape
- a two-hand sword
- 2xsilver handaxes
- longbow with special features, and arrows
- sling and stones
- various riches
- moon mirror of seeing places once visited
- see-behind copper
AP spend: to imitate dT&T and reflect their recovery from being battered, each PC gets 170AP to spend, except Borer who gets 180.
As the heroes exit with their loot, they see that the fog is already dissolving. The curse is lifted! And on the road back, they see Binye and Tadiko, supporting a young lad, waiting for them near the crossroads.
“We’ll bring this poor lad we rescued back to the village,” Binye explains, neglecting to mention the reward, “Then exchange yarns and see if we can dodge those damned Templars!”