Saturday, 20 August 2016

10: Fire in the Ruins

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 7
Scene setup: d10=10 (unchanged)

Make camp(party): Heal

12 rations left.

Jungle west of Obsidian City, Xen’drik
Dravago 21, 997 YK

Half-way through the following night, the rain started. It had not rained since they arrived in Xen’drik, and the skies seemed determined to make up for that: for a few hours, the rain poured down with such force that the whole jungle floor ran with water. They had to move camp to higher ground even though it was nighttime, and Kyorlin collected large fronds and tied them together to cover their fire, without which it would not have been possible to light it. They were finally able to rest again, but it was difficult to sleep in the damp and noise of the storm.

By mid-morning when the party stirred, the rain had lessened a little, but it was still coming down steadily. The loss of Sakhisli’s pack, including the food that she was carrying, had left them with only three days of food left. As they had lost part of the day already, Kalina agreed to Kyorlin’s suggestion that they spend time hunting for more food.

Forage(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 4) +1 = 8 Partial success.
2d4=2 rations, danger or discovery
Aid(Sakhisli): 2D6(1 2) +1 = 4 Failure!
Put someone in a spot
Forage(Arjen): 2D6(6 5) -1 = 10 Success!
2d4=4 rations

It was slow going, as the jungle floor was muddy and visibility was poor in the rain. They chose to stay together, forming a line and sweeping forward through the jungle looking for tracks or animals. They had some early luck: Arjen had taken a spear from one of the gnolls and managed to wound a wild boar with a quick throw of his spear. He soon ran the injured creature down, and the party ate a good meal of fresh meat from its carcass.

The afternoon was less successful. Kyorlin might have done better alone, but Sakhisli was next to him in line and made much more noise than the drow did as she stomped through the forest undergrowth. After a couple of hours, they had caught nothing more, collecting only some berries from plants that they passed that Kyorlin said were safe to eat.

As they the afternoon wore on, they were beginning to tire; last night’s camp had not been very restful. Kalina was thinking of calling a halt for the day when, suddenly, there was a crash of breaking undergrowth and a shout from Sakhisli. Kalina turned to where she had last seen the dwarf, but there was no sign of her, though she could see Kyorlin beyond.

“Sakhisli!” Kalina called, running over to where the dwarf should have been.

Perilous wilds random danger: hazard, pit trap.

Deal damage: d6=2 damage, also stunned.

Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment: no rope again.

There was a muddy gulch just below where Kyorlin had been standing; the ground here was uneven and wet from the rain. The muddy ground sloped down and off into the gulch, and marks in the mud showed clearly where Sakhisli had slipped and slid. Kyorlin was already climbing down the slope; further down, some structure covered in dirt and vines sat just above the stream at the bottom of the slope.

Kalina began to climb down also. “Sakhisli, can you hear me?”

Change the environment Show signs of an approaching threat

She and Kyorlin reached the top of the structure. Whatever this building had once been, the stonework was ancient, pitted and worn by the slow embrace of nature. The building was almost entirely buried by the slope on one side, and a tree had burst through one wall at an angle, its roots digging in between the loose stones of the wall in places. The slope led to the top of the wall; carefully stepping down to the edge, Kalina peered down inside. The ruin was not large, and Sakhisli was sprawled on the ground below; if there had been floor there once, it was covered in dirt and roots and vines now—as well as scattered bones.

“Are you alright, Sakhisli?” called Kalina. The dwarf moved slightly, but still did not respond; worried for her companion, Kalina gripped the top of the wall and hauled herself over the edge, feeling for footholds in the ragged wall. The wall had buckled in in places, and creepers and other plants had grown through the cracks in places, giving uncertain handholds in places to allow her to climb down.

Discern Realities(Sakhisli): 2D6(4 2) +0 = 6 Failure!
Deal damage: b[2d6] (1 3)=3 damage; Monster move(Inflicts the sick debility)

Perilous Wilds called for a random creature using the pit: camouflaged snakes. Venomous snakes duly enter the action. The slope has turned this ruined building into a trap, and the snakes have been feasting down here on stray animals and adventurers.

From below her, there was a sudden cry of pain. Kyorlin shouted “Look out, there are snakes down there!”, nocking an arrow to his bow. Looking down, she could not immediately see anything but Sakhisli; then, some of the tree roots seemed to move, and she realised that some of what had seemed to be roots were actually brown snakes disguised amidst the rest.

Defend(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 5) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Hold 1
Aid(Arjen): 2D6(3 1) +0 = 4 Failure!
Put someone in a spot: you fall in too, d6=5 damage
Channel(Sakhisli): 2D6(5 5) +2-1 = 11 Success!
Blast, forceful; d8=3 damage

Let’s say that injured three of the snakes, pushing them away.

Sakhisli struggled up, pushing her hands out in front of her, and a burst of fire shot from her hands. Three of the snakes were caught in the flames, pushed back by the heat and force of the blast. As the dwarf lowered her hands, some of the tree roots were now on fire, and the snakes began to slither towards her again.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Sakhisli): 2D6(6 3) +1 = 10 Success!

Spend hold(Kyorlin): Halve damage Deal damage: b[2d6] (2 1 ) = 2, halved to 1, 0 after armour.

Kalina heard Arjen above: “What’s happening?—Woah!” She looked up just as Arjen fell over the edge down into the ruin, apparently having lost his footing on the muddy slope above. Kalina hugged the side as Arken fell past her; Sakhisli managed to step out of the way and he landed awkwardly on the ground, groaning in pain. One of the snakes moved to strike, but an arrow from Kyorlin hit the creature before it could strike, pinning it to a tree root.

Deft Techinique(Kalina): 2D6(1 3) +1 = 5 Failure!
Deal damage: b[2d6] (5 4)=5 damage, 4 after armour. weak
Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(4 4) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Use up ammunition; deals d8=8 damage

Kalina had climbed down a little way, and now she dropped down, landing behind Sahisli as another of the snakes prepared to strike. She fumbled drawing her sword, however, and the snake struck out, biting into her leg; within seconds she felt the poison in her, and she staggered a little as it weakened her. The snake moved to strike again, but another arrow whistled down from above, skewering the creature straight through its skull and killing it instantly.

Channel(Sakhisli): 2D6(2 6) +2-1 = 9 Partial success.
Deals d8=3 damage; Turn their move back on them: fire in an enclosed space

Kalina turned as Sakhisli unleashed more flames. The snakes approaching Arjen were all blasted with the fire; as the flames cleared, their blackened bodies lay unmoving amidst the burning roots. But most of the roots and plants down in this hole were on fire now, and the fire was spreading; in a minute, the tree itself would be ablaze.

“Sakhisli, Arjen! We have to get out of here, now!” Kalina was shouting now, and gesturing to urge her shaken companions to action.

Okay, so three of the party are in a hole in the ground, which is full of tree roots on fire, and they have no rope? This doesn’t look good.

Defy Danger(STR)(Arjen): 2D6(2 6) +0 = 8 Partial success.
Not able to help the others
Defy Danger(STR)(Sakhisli): 2D6(2 1) +0 = 3 Failure!
Deal damage: d6=2 fire damage so far, can’t climb out.
Defy Danger(STR)(Kalina): 2D6(2 1) +1 = 4 Failure!
Deal damage: d6=4 damage, 3 after armour

Sakhisli is at 21/26 HP, Kalina is at 14/21 HP. And I’m not sure how to get them out.

Arjen began to climb immediately, clambering up the roots and creepers that snaked between the cracks in the wall. Sakhisli tried to do the same, but she was shorter and heavier; Kalina tried to give Sakhisli a boost, but roots broke or pulled away when the dwarf tried to haul herself up by them. The heat and smoke were growing as the fire spread around them.

Discern Realities(Sakhisli): 2D6(6 3) +0 = 9 Partial success.
What here is useful or valuable to me?

Well, I’m sure I don’t know.

Are they not the first adventurers to fall into this hole? Unlikely (Xen’drik is big).
Fate d100(45)=Yes

Present riches at a price: Okay, so there’s an adventurer’s pack with climbing gear and rope in it in the hole. Be a fan of the characters.

Defy Danger(WIS)(Kalina): 2D6(1 5) +0 = 6 Failure!
Put someone in a spot; shaky
Aid(Sakhisli): 2D6(1 1) +1 = 3 Failure!
Deal damage: d6=2 damage (to Kalina)

Kalina was starting to panic; the flames were getting closer, and it was hard to see Kyorlin above now through the smoke. “Ollandra help us, we have to get out of here!” she cried to anyone who would listen. She turned to Sakhisli, who was crouched down looking at something, and grabbed the dwarf by the shoulders. Looking past the dwarf, Kalina saw that there were some human-looking bones on the ground, mostly covered by dirt and jungle growth: the remains of some long-dead adventurer.

“There’s a pack here too, Kalina. Perhaps it has—aha, there it is, some rope! Give me your sword, will you?”

The sight of bones was little comfort to Kalina, though. “We’re going to die down here! Ollandra save us!” Kalina backed away, then started as she realised that she was backing into the heat of the flames; the edge of her cloak caught fire.

Defy Danger(STR)(Sakhisli): 2D6(6 5) +0 = 11 Success!

The dwarf shook her head and continued to dig out the pack with her hands. After taking out the rope, she put on the pack, and then tossed up the rope to Kyorlin above. Kyorlin and Arjen secured the rope above, and Sakhisli began to climb.

Defy Danger(CON)(Kalina): 2D6(6 3) +1-1 = 9 Partial success.
You don’t pass out from the smoke, but Deal damage: d6=2 damage

Kalina is at 10/21 HP. She is getting lucky with the low damage rolls. A failure would have been hard to come back from: passing out in a pit full of flames would be hard to survive, particularly when the party has no-one with good strength to haul her out.

“Come on, Kalina!” called Arjen through the smoke.

Kalina had to throw aside her burning cloak and began to climb. The roots and vines running up the walls were aflame now as well; she was able to push herself away from the side as she climbed up, but her feet and legs had still taken some burns by the time she made it to the top. She fell to her knees on the top of the wall, gasping for air.

Everyone was exhausted after their ordeal. Kyorlin decided that they should rest immediately, and an hour later they had set up camp nearby.

Treasure (hoarder): b[2d6] = 4 for a gem worth 90gp

Sakhisli was going through the pack that she had found in the pit. Most of the food had long since rotted away, and the pack itself was in poor condition but, as Sakhisli had lost her own pack, it was better than nothing.

“Aha! I thought there would be something in here. An adventurer always has something stashed away,” Sakhisli declared triumphantly. She drew out a small diamond from a small pocket on the side of the pack, holding it up to the firelight. “This one is a good quality if I’m not mistaken,” she said, speaking to no-one in particular.

Arjen came and sat next to Kalina, on the other side of the fire from Sakhisli. “Are you alright?”

Kalina just stared at the fire, her usual confident air gone. Her clothes smelled strongly of woodsmoke still, and she had lost her cloak in the pit, leaving her with only a jacket to shield her from the rain. And she felt weak and sick with the effect of the snake’s bite.

“We nearly joined that other adventurer, dead at the bottom of a pit in the wilderness,” she said.

“It may seem that all is against us,” Arjen continued, “but the Host watches over us still. What good fortune, to find that pack at that moment? Without it, you might both have been lost, but Olladra smiled on you.”

“I suppose you are right,” said Kalina, without much conviction; her usual confident air was entirely gone.

Suddenly Kyorlin was leaning down beside her, talking low. “The snakes would not have killed you, but the dwarf’s fire magic nearly did. She is dangerous, Kalina.”

Kalina said nothing. She looked up at Sakhisli, and her eyes met the dwarf’s for a moment; neither said anything, and Sakhisli returned to admiring the gem that she had looted. Kalina looked on for a moment more, then turned in for the night; but sleep did not come quickly that evening, and Kyorlin’s words were much on her mind.

Updated bonds: Kalina: Without Kyorlin, we are lost. Sakhisli wields a dangerous power: I do not trust her.
Sakhisli: Kyorlin is wary of my power, for good reason. Kalina is wary of my power, for good reason.

I’m resolving Sakhisli’s bond with Kalina in favour of this new one; I think seeing Kalina panic and become afraid of her had made the dwarf less interested in following Kalina.

End of session(party): Sakhisli resolved a bond, for +1 XP.

XP: Arjen 6, Kalina 11, Kyorlin 2, Sakhisli 6.

Make Camp(party): Heal
Level Up(Kalina): +1 Dex; Fancy Footwork: +1 armour when you have space to move about, & defy danger(dex) improvement

9: Chaos of Kythri

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 6
Scene setup: d10=4 (Interrupt!)

Event: NPC Action: Waste elements

I rolled the Adventurer’s Guild for the NPC, but I don’t see them fitting in here, so let’s lose that part. “Waste elements” makes me think that this is one of Xen’drik’s elemental zones, a magical wasteland of some sort. Once again, Eberron’s system of planes is a good random table for elemental effects: Random Kythri.

Sakhisli(Manage Provisions): 2D6(5 3) +0 = 8 Partial success.
You consume the expected number of rations

The party has around 4 days of rations left.

Jungle west of Obsidian City, Xen’drik
Dravago 20, 997 YK

Over the next week, they made their way steadily south through the jungle. They saw plenty of signs of life here, but little of habitation; occasionally they would cross a hunting trail—usually of the drow, Kyorlin would tell them—or find an abandoned campsite, but they had no trouble like the gnolls.

The weather grew hotter again as they went south, and their packs grew lighter as they consumed the supplies that they had recovered from the expedition’s camp. Kyorlin said that it would be easy enough to slow their march and hunt for food, but Kalina saw no reason to slow down now; they could hunt later instead, and put more distance between themselves and the giants, in case there was pursuit. They used the occasional river bed to obscure their trail, though, and there was little reason now to suppose that they were followed.

On the seventh day after the gnolls, Kyorlin said that they would reach the Umed river today. He climbed a tree that morning, and from the lay of the land was able to set a direction that should lead them to the crossing that he had spoken of.

Around midday, the land around them began to change as they pressed south. The jungle was growing thinner, as the ground became more stony and barren. Then, a few minutes later, they saw a clearing ahead; as they approached, a geyser in the clearing erupted, spurting steam and hot vapour into the air.

They emerged into the clearing to see that the ground was rock here, like a sheet of solidified lava. The geyser erupted again, but this time it ejected snow and lumps of ice.

“What is this place?” asked Kalina. While there were trees ahead, they were all dead; some looked like they had burned, and others were merely dead and stripped of leaves. Some unnatural force had blighted this area.

Spout Lore(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 6) +1 = 10 Success!
Useful/precise information

“This was not here last time I passed this way,” said Kyorlin. “But Xen’drik is a changeable land. This is a manifest zone of one of the planes; of Kythri, if I am not mistaken, the plane of Chaos. It happens sometimes that parts of Xen’drik become changed by one of the planes for a time; they take on the forms of that plane, as the landscape, flora and wildlife change in harmony with it.”

The dead trees ahead obstructed the view less than the jungle had done. Kalina could now just make out the great river in the distance cutting through the landscape. The jungle on the far side looked normal, at least. The day had been windy, and here the air was fresher, blowing from the ocean that Kyorlin said lay to the west; it was the first time for two weeks that the air was not moist and rich with jungle smells.

“Is it dangerous?” asked Arjen, eyeing the unnatural terrain ahead cautiously.

“Yes, though perhaps not more than jungle if we are careful. There will be ice and fire and change here, and some creatures may be changed to fit the environment also. But if we go carefully as ever, we should reach the bridge in an hour.” Kyorlin was stringing his bow as he spoke.

“Very well,” said Kalina. “We go on as before; Kyorlin sets the path, Arjen scouts the way.”

Scout(Arjen): 2D6(5 2) -1 = 6 Failure!
Change the environment

They continued south, following the gentle downward slope of the land towards the river. As they moved between burned and blackened trees, there was a smell of ash on the chilly air.

A few minutes later, they came to the lip of a small ravine once cut by a river. Where the river might once have flowed, there was now a sheet of snow and ice, perhaps thirty yards across, a glacier amid the rocky ground. Some of the blackened trees here were covered in a layer of frost. Kalina found it a strange sight; Arjen looked uncomfortable and nervous. They could see the dark stone of the bridge in the distance now, and the glacier barred their path; they had to cross.

Arjen climbed down first and began to cross the ice. Kalina went next, followed by Sakhisli—grumbling under her breath—while Kyorlin took one last look from the higher ground to get his bearings.

Kalina was about halfway across when, suddenly, the ice under her shifted as if breaking loose from the glacier. Jets of steam shot up from sudden cracks in the ice; there was a boiling sound all around them and the chilly air suddenly began to warm. Sakhisli shouted in alarm.

Discern Realities(Kalina): 2D6(5 3) +0 = 8 Partial success.
What is about to happen?

“Sakhisli, go! Whatever is under this is hot!” Kalina grabbed the dwarf by the arm and started to run forward. She glanced over her shoulder to see Kyorlin jump down and begin running across the fast-melting ice.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Kyorlin): 2D6(4 3) +1 = 8 Partial success.
Worse outcome: you don’t catch up the two in front
Defy Danger(DEX)(Arjen): 2D6(2 5) +0 = 7 Partial success.
Hard bargain: save yourself or help your friends at more risk
Defy Danger(DEX)(Kalina): 2D6(3 3) +1+1 = 8 Partial success.
Worse outcome: more danger before you get to safety
Defy Danger(DEX)(Sakhisli): 2D6(5 2) +1 = 8 Partial success.

She turned back to focus on their own escape. Arjen had made it to the far side and was climbing up; below him, the rock was now turning to lava, and the air was becoming fogged with steam. She and Sakhisli made it most of the way across, but the ice at the edge had melted away entirely now, and there was a flow of lava several yards wide by the time they reached the edge.

Defy Danger(CON)(Sakhisli): 2D6(5 2) +2 = 9 Partial success.
Use up their resources
Defy Danger(STR)(Kalina): 2D6(5 1) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Make them backtrack

Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment: rope would, once again, help.

Sakhisli simply ran out onto the lava flow; there was a crust of solid rock on top of the flow, and the dwarf seemed to know where to step, moving from one foothold to another and ignoring the heat. She made it to the far side, but the intense heat rising from the ground set her pack alight; she had to ditch the pack, leaving it and its contents to burn on the lava flow, before climbing up the far bank.

Kalina dared not repeat that feat. She looked around a moment, but the ice was melting fast and there was no safe path to the far bank. Instead, she took a few steps back and jumped the flow. She made it across, finding solid ground on the far side. But the edge of the ravine formed by this flow was several yards up, and the rock here was now too hot for her to grip to get handholds to climb.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Kyorlin): 2D6(5 5) +1 = 11 Success!

She looked to her right to see Kyorlin jump the lava flow further up. He used his momentum to run part-way up the side, finding the right footholds, and then grabbing the top and hauling himself up. Kalina found herself the only one left in danger, and with the lava only a foot behind her and rising now.

Sakhisli and Arjen were above her. Kalina called up urgently, “Sahlishi, hand me down your hammer. Now!”

Defy Danger(STR)(Kalina): 2D6(3 2) +1 = 6 Failure!
Deal damage: One of your hands is badly burned

Kalina took off her pack; she had recovered some other items from the camp, including a couple of climbing pitons. Using the hammer, she drove the pitons into a crack in the rock. Sweat beaded on her forehead, and her clothes clung to her as the heat and steam thickened around her.

“Come on Kalina, grab my hand!” Sakhisli was leaning down now, ready to help her up out of the ravine. Kalina used the pitons as handholds, then as footholds, but she needed to hold something to steady herself for the final reach up: she gripped an outcrop of rock and felt a searing pain in her hand as the heat burned her. She hauled and pushed herself up and felt the dwarf grab her other hand; in a moment, Sakhisli and Arjen had hauled Kalina up to the top.

Fictional positioning matters: we know that Sakhisli has a salve for burns.

The ice was all gone now, replaced in the space of a few minutes by lava flowing through the gorge. Kalina and the others paused for breath on the higher ground here. Kalina’s left hand throbbed with pain, and her palm was burned; Sakhisli applied some salve to the burns, and the pain lessened, but it was still painful to work her fingers on that hand.

Once that was done, Kyorlin urged them to move on. “The bridge is not far, now.”

Introduce an element from ages past

Spout Lore(Kalina): 2D6(6 2) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Not useful information

As they drew close to the bridge, Kalina saw that it was bigger than she had thought at a distance. Massive columns of white stone rose out of the river to support more great slabs of stone, forming a bridge twenty yards wide and two hundred long. It looked like the bridge had stood here for thousands of years—it must date from the Age of Giants, she realised, when all of Xen’drik was under their rule. The individual blocks of stone were massive, like those they had seen in the old walls of Stormreach.

As they walked up onto the bridge, they could see that the river below was also affected by the planar disturbance. Chunks of ice floated downriver, that could surely not be natural in this climate, and steam rose off of the water in places.

The bridge itself was untouched, however. Kalina felt exposed as they walked across the broad expanse of stone, looked down on by the jungle on both sides of the river. But their crossing was not opposed. As they reached the far side, both the river and the jungle here were normal; trees came right up to the foot of the bridge here, having long since overran whatever road must once have passed this way. As they stepped into the jungle, the normal smells and sounds of the wild surrounded them once more.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

8. Onatar's Fire

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 7
Scene setup: d10=5 (Altered scene) Undertake a Perilous Journey

Navigate(drow ranger)(Kyorlin): Auto success
Scout(Arjen): 2D6(1 4) -1 = 4 Failure!
Does something find them? Unlikely (They are a small group with a Drow who knows the jungle guiding them).
Fate d100(91)=No

Let’s roll a Discovery then.
d12 (8) = Creature; d12 (1) = Common; d12 (11) = orc/gnoll
Activity d12 (4) = hunting; Alignment d12 (4) = evil; Context (wilderness) d12 (8) = Commoners.

So it’s a regular gnoll hunting party.

My initial thought was to have them blunder into the hunting party and have a tense standoff/negotiation. But Mythic gave a modified scene, so it needs something else. Gnolls in DungeonWorld have a move Doggedly track prey. Let’s say that they have caught their prey, and we encounter them and have to decide what to do about it.

Give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities

Discern Realities(Sakhisli): 2D6(4 5) +0 = 9 Partial success.
What should I be on the lookout for?

Jungle west of Obsidian City, Xen’drik
Dravago 13, 997 YK

The jungle changed little as they journeyed south. The weather was not as hot as it had been the day before the attack, but still too hot for any but Kyorlin to be comfortable and there was little breeze. They could move much faster, now that they were not tied to the expedition; there was no backtracking to the camp at night, no searching for paths that the wagons could follow. They did have to carry their own food now, but they did not have as much of that as they would have liked—less than two weeks’ worth—so they were still travelling fairly light.

Kyorlin was their guide still, leading them southwards towards the crossing that he knew over the river. He said that it was dangerous to travel too far east, due to the large holdings of the Sulatar that lay upriver. Kyorlin and Arjen took turns scouting; they now needed only a single scout, a little ahead, to warn them of obstacles or danger. But for the first two days, they encountered nothing of great interest; there was the occasional river gorge, or thickening of the jungle, that forced a detour, but they made good progress.

It was the afternoon of the third day when Sakhisli called a halt. “Kalina, hold up a moment.”

Kalina turned to the dwarf. “Are your burns troubling you?” Sakhisli still bore the burns from their encounter with the mephits, and they did not appear any better after four days.

“No, Kalina, I told you that there is no pain at all.”

The dwarf had indeed said that every time that Kalina asked; she still did not believe the answer. “What then?”

“There is something near our path; a campfire, just over there.” The dwarf pointed a little off to their right.

Kalina looked but saw nothing. Lowering her voice a little, she said “Are you sure? Kyorlin, get Arjen back, quietly.”

“As you say.” The drow vanished into the undergrowth, keeping low.

“I’m fairly sure,” said Sakhisli. “I was right about that gold before, wasn’t I?”

Kalina frowned—she assumed that the gold had been a guess. “Let’s check it out then. And keep your voice down.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

They moved off in the direction that Sakhisli had noted. Kyorlin and Arjen joined them in a minute.

“I did catch the smell of woodsmoke a moment ago, when the breeze shifted,” Kyorlin said. “That may mask our approach as well.”

Introduce a new faction or type of creature: gnolls

They reached a slight rise in the ground, overlooking a slight depression in the jungle floor. About thirty yards away, there was a campfire in a slight clearing. Several bipedal creatures stood near the fire; they were around seven foot tall, long-limbed, covered in tufts of fur and with canine heads. They carried bows and spears. Then Kalina saw the smaller creatures: beside the fire were four kobolds, tied to stakes.

Spout Lore(Kyorlin): 2D6(2 3) +1 = 6 Failure!
Monster move(Scent-tracker)

“Gnolls,” said Kyorlin. “Cruel hunters. One does not normally see them so far north.”

Kalina vaguely recalled reading a description of gnolls in the account of an adventurer that she had read as a child. The hyena-like heads and long limbs did seem to fit that description.

Arjen said, “What are those creatures that they have as prisoners?”

“Kobolds,” said Kalina; no-one who had lived in a city in Khorvaire could fail to recognise the pests.

One of the gnolls chattered something in their own language; another let out a series of barks. Was that laughter?

Kalina felt a hand on her wrist; it was Arjen. “We can just go around, Kalina. It’s nothing to do with us.” She realised that she had a hand on her sword hilt.

“No, we should do something.” Kyorlin turned to Kalina. “I care naught for kobolds, but no creature deserves to be prisoner to gnolls. Death would be better.”

“I’m itching for a fight myself,” said Sakhisli. “I’ve never seen a gnoll, but if they’re evil, I’ll gladly try to end them.”

Offer an opportunity, with or without cost: I’m playing the character’s alignments here; see the previous chapter for the character sheets. Kyorlin wants to free the prisoners; Sakhisli just wants to see the world burn. And Kalina wants an adventure. There’s much chaos in this party. If Arjen knew that gnolls were fiends, he would be game for a fight too, but they failed their Spout Lore.

Discern Realities(Kalina): 2D6(3 1) +0 = 4 Failure!
Monster move(Doggedly track prey): a gnoll is drawing a bow on them right now

“Alright, we’ll do it,” said Kalina, gripping her sword again. “We’re adventurers; there’s no point avoiding every fight. There’s only three of them, so we should be able to handle them. Kyorlin, get up in a tree and harry them with arrows; the rest of us will charge them.”

Arjen and Kalina drew their swords, and Sakhisli hefted her hammer, as they began to creep forwards. There was no clear ground for an easy charge, but Kalina hoped to get a little closer before they made their presence known. Then there was the momentary whistling of an arrow from their right; Sakhisli cursed and staggered slightly, and Kalina looked in that direction to see another gnoll there, bow in hand, just as it made a loud barking cry—alerting its friends to the danger.

Golden opportunity: Monster move(Strike at a moment of weakness) Deal damage: d8=1 damage, negated by armour.

The other gnolls all turned in their direction. There was no going back now; Kalina said, “I’ll deal with that one, you hold the others,” and began pushing through the undergrowth towards the gnoll flanking them.

The three gnolls are about to shoot; what do you do?

Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 4) +1 = 8 Partial success.
d8=4 damage, 3 after armour; draw attention
Defy Danger(DEX)(Kyorlin): 2D6(6 5) +1 = 12 Success!
Arrow misses
Defy Danger(DEX)(Sakhisli): 2D6(3 3) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Worse outcome: only one arrow hits; Deal damage: d8=1, negated by armour

Sakhisli is getting really lucky on those damage rolls.

Defy Danger(INT)(Kalina): 2D6(3 5) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Hard bargain: take your time and the gnoll shoots at someone else; rush and the gnoll shoots you

Kalina chooses to take the hit. Deal damage: d8=5, 4 after armour.

She heard the gnolls loose their arrows, and heard another arrow whistle overhead towards the gnolls—Kyorlin has found a perch, then—as she pushed forwards. Kalina moved from the cover of one tree to another, making it hard for the gnoll to take a shot; but, as she ran forward, she saw the gnoll draw an arrow pointing off to her right, presumably aiming for Sakhisli. Kalina broke cover and charged; the gnoll shifted its shot and the arrow struck Kalina just below the shoulder; her leather jerkin took much of the force out of it, but she still winced in pain.

Hack and Slash(Kalina): 2D6(6 5) +1 = 12 Success!
Deals d10=8 damage, 7 after armour

Then she was on the creature. It threw down its bow, pulling a spear from its back; the creature towered over her and, with a spear in hand, it had far greater reach. But Kalina was too fast for it; she leapt in and thrust up with her sword, driving the point of the blade through the creature’s gut. The gnoll let out a yelp of pain and wavered; it dropped its spear and fell, clutching its wound as it bled amid the tree roots.

Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(4 4) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Take what you can get; deals d8-d6=-5 damage
Hack and Slash(Arjen): 2D6(4 4) +0 = 8 Partial success.
Deals d6=6 damage; Deal damage: d8=3 damage, 2 after armour
Hack and Slash(Sakhisli): 2D6(5 3) +0 = 8 Partial success.
Deals d4=4 damage, 3 after armour; Put someone in a spot

Kalina turned to see Sakhisli and Arjen charge recklessly the gnolls at the campfire. Arjen, his sword held high, brought it down like an axe on the head of one of the gnolls. Sakhisli yelled a dwarven battle cry and jumped into the midst of them, and managed to catch one in the leg with a swing of her hammer.

Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 3) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Use up ammunition; deals d8=5 damage, 4 after armour

Kalina was moving towards them when she saw another gnoll, bow drawn, emerge at the far side of the camp. It was aiming for Sakhisli, but then an arrow from Kyorlin hit it in the chest and it staggered, letting out a yelp of pain. The kobolds tied up near the fire yipped excitedly, struggling with their bonds.

It’s time.

Summon Elemental(Sakhisli): 2D6(6 4) +2 = 12 Success!
Fire mephit(blast tag); d4=2 control

The remaining gnolls by the fire, now wielding their spears, had backed up and were keeping Sakhisli at bay with their greater reach; she could barely keep away from their speartips. Sidestepping one of their thrusts, the dwarf put a foot into the campfire but seemed not to feel it. After another swing of her hammer, Sakhisli yelled in frustration. And then, the campfire seemed to flare up suddenly as flames engulfed her burned arm. The flames seemed to have a life of their own, rising up away from the fire to stand above the dwarven smith.

Elemental Attack(Sakhisli): 2D6(1 2) +2 = 5 Failure!
Deal damage: d8+1=7, control reduced to 1; deal damage: d8=8 damage

Sakhisli turned in surprise; one of the gnolls took its chance and stabbed her in the side with its spear. As if in response, the fire creature—Kalina could see something within the flames now—reached out, and a burst of flame engulfed both gnolls. There were yowls of pain and both fell to the ground; Kalina reached them and stopped, putting a hand over her mouth at the smell of burned fur and flesh. The creatures did not rise again.

Hack and Slash(Arjen): 2D6(3 6) +0 = 9 Partial success.
d6=2 damage, Deal damage: d8=3 damage
Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(4 6) +1 = 11 Success!
Deals d8=4 damage

All gnolls down.

Arjen was still battling the last gnoll at the edge of the clearing; he had managed to cut its arm but was struggling to get closer because of its great reach. Then another of Kyorlin’s arrows hit it through the throat, and the creature fell. A moment of relative quiet followed, broken only by the frantic yipping of the kobolds.

Kalina could see now that it was a fire mephit in the midst of the flames that had appeared over Sakhisli. Kalina kept her sword drawn, ready to dodge aside when the creature attacked; but it just stayed hovering near Sakhisli. The creature seemed passive now, despite the smell of burned gnoll still hanging in the air from its last attack.

“Where did that come from?” said Arjen. He also had his sword still drawn, but made no move to approach it—perhaps remembering how he had been burned last time they faced these creatures.

“Are you alright, Sakhisli?” asked Kalina.

“Yes; it did not burn me.” Sakhisli sounded puzzled. She raised her burned arm to look at it; as she moved it in front of her, the mephit seemed to react, moving around to stand before the dwarf. “In fact, it seems connected to me, somehow.”

Spout Lore(Kalina): 2D6(2 3) +1 = 6 Failure!
Think offscreen
Event: NPC Positive(Clifftop Adventurer’s Guild): Planned cruelty
Show Aid from an Enemy, or Opposition from an Ally: The adventurer’s guild is in league with some evil organisation; sending so many inept adventurers on such a dangerous mission wasn’t incompetence, it was malice. Perhaps whoever set this up is in the service of the Dark Six, and the whole expedition was a sacrifice to the gods. TBD.

Kalina had never heard of such a thing. “You can control it?”

“I don’t know. It seems to react to me, that’s all.” The fire around the mephit flared a little, and it turned its head towards Kalina watchfully.

Spout Lore(Kyorlin): 2D6(5 1) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Not useful information

Kyorlin joined them now, eyeing the mephit warily. “I did not know that dwarves could channel fire magic.” He had an arrow nocked still.

“You have seen this before?” asked Kalina.

“The Sulatar are our—the Vulkoorim’s—main enemies in this land. They are drow, but they reject nature and worship fire itself. Which gods do you follow, dwarf?” There was a hint of accusation in the question; Kalina looked back to Sakhisli.

“I worship Onatar, the god of forge and flame, craftsmanship and creation—as do most dwarves from the Holds.” Sakhisli returned the drow’s stare defiantly.

“Onatar is one of the Host, which is widely worshipped in Khorvaire,” said Kalina. “She is still just a blacksmith, Kyorlin.”

Awkward moment for the party here. The Host is the main religion in Khorvaire, an honourable faith in a collection of reasonable gods; different to the worship of elemental fire practised by the Sulatar and Ildjotun. But the party failed their religion checks here and don’t know that; fire worshippers are the ancestral enemies of Kyorlin’s people for 40,000 years.

DungeonWorld is not a PvP game though, and Adventurers struggling together. So no fight here; instead we will write distrustful bonds between them.

Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment: dismissing the elemental summoned is an advanced move that Sakhisli doesn’t have yet.

“Is she?” Kyorlin moved to the far side of the gnoll’s camp, keeping his bow at the ready, watching Sakhisli and her mephit closely. As he walked past Sakhisli, the mephit moved to stay clear of the drow.

“Can you get rid of it?” Kalina asked Sakhisli.

The dwarf shook her head. “I don’t know how. I—I think you should just kill it, Kalina.”

“Hold it still, then.”

Kalina watched the creature closely as she approached; it looked around as if wanting to move, but it stayed in place. With a yell, Kalina slashed at the creature; its flames flared up, then swirled around and downwards into the campfire. The creature was gone, and the campfire burned brighter once more.

It’s under control, so no Hack and Slash here. Kalina deals d10=7 damage, more than enough to kill it.

“What do we do with the kobolds, Kalina?” asked Arjen. There were four kobolds tied up near the fire; they were small, brown-skinned reptilian creatures, crudely dressed in leather tunics. They were still yipping excitedly, though it was hard to say whether it was in hope or fear.

“Let them go,” said Kyorlin. “They are no problem of ours.”

“Yes, let them go.” In truth, Kalina had no idea what else to do with them. Brave swords could earn money in Sharn or, before the Mourning, in Metrol by killing kobolds for the city watch; they infested many a sewer and abandoned warehouse in Khorvaire. But in a jungle this big, they were surely harmless.

The kobolds grew quiet as Arjen approached with sword drawn. But as he cut their bonds, they grew animated again, jumping around excitedly as he freed them. Once they were all free, one of them went over to the gnolls and retrieved a couple of daggers from its belt pouch—clearly sized for kobold hands, not gnolls—and the kobolds armed themselves. The same kobold then approached Arjen, chattering excitedly in their own tongue, and held out a necklace with several gems on it. Arjen took it, and the kobold bowed; then all of them turned and ran off into the forest.

Arjen turned the necklace over in his hand, then pocketed it, shaking his head. “Strange creatures.”


  • a minor piece of art (gold pendant of the Fury, worth 60 gold coins),
  • minor magical trinket: a vial of demon blood,
  • 3x bundles of arrows,
  • spears,
  • 5 rations (as the creatures were far from home).
End of Session(party): Kyorlin met his alignment goal, +1 XP

XP: Arjen 4, Kalina 7, Kyorlin 2, Sakhisli 1.

Arjen: Sakhisli is a fellow follower of the Host
Kalina: Without Kyorlin, we are lost.
Kyorlin: Kalina is the first adventurer to treat me as an equal, and has earned my respect. Sakhisli wields a dangerous power: I do not trust her.
Sakhisli: Kyorlin is wary of my power, for good reason. Kalina will lead me to great riches.

The Party

Pinterest for the campaign

Kalina - Swashbuckler. Damage d10, hit points 21.
Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
13 (+1) 14 (+1) 13 (+1) 15 (+1) 10 (+0) 14 (+1)

Alignment: Chaotic: Give an enemy a second chance

Race: Human; Fighting Company

Moves: Parry; Deft Technique; Resourceful; Challenge

Equipment: Leather armour, short sword, blanket, 40 gold coin, adventurer’s pack, 15 rations; 40 gold coin

Appearance: a tall, broad-shouldered, eye-catching young woman; 5’10”, 20 years old. She wears an ill-fitting leather jerkin over inexpensive but comfortable yellow travelling clothes. She carries a shortsword.

Background: Born to a family of merchants in Metrol, Cyre. Kalina was always interested in stories of adventure and liked to travel as a child. She learned some of the epic legends and songs of Galifar and might have trained to be a Bard. However her home country was destroyed in the Mourning when she was sixteen, and her father was killed by the same; fortunately, Kalina and her mother were in Breland on business at the time. She signed up for the expedition looking for adventure.

Personality: Kalina has taken the loss of her homeland better than many of her countryfolk, seeing it as an opportunity to redefine herself as an independent adventurer. She longs to be part of some great story. Charismatic and intelligent, she is a natural leader. She is not strongly religious, but believes in the Sovereign Host and prays to Ollandra sometimes.

Arjen - Fighter. Damage d6, hit points 16.
Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
12 (+0) 9 (+0) 6 (-1) 7 (-1) 6 (-1) 7 (-1)

Alignment: Neutral: gain fame or wealth

Race: Human; worships Balinor; Survival

Moves: Armoured; Weapon Specialization: Two-handers; Battle-Ready; Combat Awareness

Equipment: Leather armour, 2xshort sword, 40 gold coin, bedroll, adventurer’s kit, 15 rations; 40 gold coin

Appearance: 21 years old, 6’1”. Arjen is roughly-dressed in homespun brown peasant’s trousers and a leather hauberk (still bearing burn marks in places). He carries a shortsword.

Background: A lumberjack from near Wyr in Aundair. His parents were farmers; he lived in a rural community there during a period of decline, due to the Last War, the loss of the nearby Eldeen Reaches when it declared independence, and a loss of people due to urbanisation as the technology of the Five Nations began to change the way of life of ordinary people.

Personality: Arjen has always lived a rural life and is adventuring partly to escape from the changes that are eroding that way of life in his homeland. He is somewhat in awe of all magical and strange things; so far, he is more comfortable scouting than fighting (though he is not much good at either). Worships the Host, particularly Balinor.

Level Up(Sakhisli): +1 Wis; Channeler

Channeler is one of the GrimWorld playbooks. The main thing to happen to Sakhisli so far is that fight with the fire mephit where she was badly burned (nearly killed) and shouted about being unafraid of fire. I think she had been imprinted with fire abilities as a result.

Sakhisli - Channeler. Damage d4, hit points 26.
Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
10 (+0) 14 (+1) 16 (+2) 8 (-1) 9 (+0) 11 (+0)

Alignment: Chaotic: Use your conduit to cause great disorder or chaos

Race: Dwarf; conduit for flame, emanating from her fingers

Moves: Summon Elemental; Trickle; Channel; Techniques; Elemental Protection

Equipment: Leather armour; hammer; blanket; 10 rations; 40 gold coin

Appearance: a stout dwarf woman; 4’0”, 49 years old. She wears red trousers and a leather hauberk, and she carries an old dwarven forge hammer. She wears her black hair in a long braid. The left side of her face and left arm were badly burned recently.

Personality: She can be loudmouthed and her temper flares sometimes. Otherwise, she is happy to work as part of a group and willing to do hard work without complaining.

Background: Born in the Mror Holds in north-eastern Khorvaire. She was a smith, born to a family of smiths, and has spent at least twenty years working a forge. She was forced to leave her homeland and her people for unknown reasons; she worked as a blacksmith in Atur for a while, but grew tired of such routine work and decided to seek riches by a faster route, joining the Clifftop Adventurer’s Guild around a month before the current expedition to Xen’drik was formed. She was badly burned by a fire mephit during the fire giants’ attack, but she came away untroubled by it. Worships Onatar, of the Sovereign Host.

Kyorlin - Hunter. Damage d8, hit points 22.
Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
9 (+0) 13 (+1) 14 (+1) 15 (+1) 13 (+1) 11 (+0)

Alignment: Chaotic: Free someone from literal or figurative bonds

Race: Drow elf: When you undertake a perilous journey through wilderness, whatever job you take you succeed at

Moves: Revenge; Hunt and Track; Hunter’s Mark; I Wander Alone; Set The Trap

Equipment: Leather armour; shortbow; arrows; 10 rations; 80 gold coin; two long hunting knives and a dagger; athame (unknown to him, magical)

Originally I created Kyorlin as a Ranger; although I retconned him into a Hunter, I kept his gear and alignment unchanged.

Appearance: 5’7”, 130 years old. Kyorlin is grey-skinned, slender, with white hair but a young face for an elf. He wears well-fitted leathers, made himself from his kills as a jungle hunter; his clothes are grubby from years of travelling the jungles of Xen’drik. He carries two long-bladed hunting knifes at his belt and a shortbow on his back.

Personality: Kyorlin is intelligent and thoughtful; he can act in haste when required but prefers to have time to plan. The loss of his brother to fire giants has affected him, time will tell how. He hates fire giants, resenting their presence in Xen’drik far more than the outsiders from Khorvaire. A worshipper of Vulkoor, the scorpion god.

Background: He was born into one of the Vulkoorim drow tribes that populate the jungles of Xen’drik. Trained as a hunter from a young age, he has a hundred years of experience in the harsh and unforgiving wilderness; the only other civilisation that he has seen is the city of Stormreach. With his brother, he left his tribe some years ago for reasons yet unknown, and has made a living as a guide for Khorvairian expeditions through the jungle. His brother was recently killed by fire giants.

Arjen: Common
Kalina: Common, Elven
Kyorlin: Giantish, Common
Sakhisli: Dwarven, Common