Tuesday, 12 September 2017

11. The Giant's Watchtower

Jungle west of Obsidian City, Xen’drik
Dravago 22, 997 YK

14 rations. The party rolled badly for food from their hunting yesterday, so they will need to hunt some more.

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 8
Scene setup: d10=5 (Altered scene)

I decided that they would stumble across something as they hunt today. I rolled a random discovery, and got a ruined giantish keep.

Forage(Kyorlin): 2D6(6 3) +1 = 10 Success!
2d4=5 rations
Forage(Arjen): 2D6(1 3) -1 = 3 Failure!
Use up their equipment Offer riches, at a price

The rain continued into the next day. Kyorlin decided that they should spend another day hunting for food and Kalina, still feeling weak after the snake bite on the previous day, did not feel up to pressing ahead. The hunting was left to Arjen and Kyorlin today, with Kalina and Sakhisli following behind.

Arjen had lent her his cloak, but Kalina was still miserable after an hour of stumbling through the rain. Sakhisli mostly stayed with her, but she paid little attention to Kalina; occasionally she would stop to help Kalina if she faltered, but the gruff dwarf made little effort to disguise her impatience with her sick companion.

Around midday, after Kyorlin had brought down a deer, they stopped to eat. A rest, in the lee of a rocky outcrop, helped restore Kalina’s spirits somewhat. Arjen spent the time talking to Kyorlin about the creatures of the jungle, asking for hints on hunting better in this place. Kalina thought back to when they had first left Stormreach and how she had thought Arjen was one of the best of their group at scouting and tracking; hearing him talk to Kyorlin now, she realised how little the lumberjack really knew about living in the wilds compared to a wilderness dweller like Kyorlin. How optimistic they had all been when setting out from Sharn, and how ill prepared they were in reality!

The rain slackened a little in the afternoon, and Kalina felt a little better as they resumed their slow journey south, foraging as they went.

It was late afternoon when a shout from Arjen caught their attention. Kalina registered his first shout without hearing the words; he was out of sight through thick jungle foliage, but Kalina and Sakhisli began pushing their way through towards where they had heard his call.

Further off in that direction, they heard him shout again, “Stop damn it!”

“Kyorlin!” called Kalina. “Arjen? What’s going on?”

A few moment later Arjen called back. “Damn beast won’t slow down. Come back here!”

They were going uphill, muddy ground and leaves slipping under their feet as they climbed a ridge. Kyorlin suddenly appeared alongside them, the light-footed drow easily outpacing the two women. “I’ll see what’s going on,” he said, quickly moving past them and following after Arjen.

It only took them a minute to catch up with the two hunters; they found the two standing just past the top of the rise. There was a slight break in the trees ahead, due to a ravine with a stream running through it; through the gap, looking out over the jungle canopy below, they could see a tall stone tower in the valley below them.

Arjen looked down the slope, then turned to Kalina. “I hit a boar, but it ran off with my spear still stuck in it.”

“You have to deal a serious wound to the animal, or it will just run off,” said Kyorlin, keeping his eyes fixed on the tower. “If your spear caught in its fur then you have lost it—unless you can follow it to its lair.”

The tower was narrow but rose probably two hundred feet above the jungle canopy. There was a gap in the jungle around it, though they could not see from here whether it was just a large clearing or something more.

“What do you make of that tower, Kyorlin?” asked Kalina.

Is is guarded? (occupied by some intelligent force) Very unlikely (Most giantish settlements, unless close to Sulatar territory, are just ruins).
Fate d100(85)=No

“It is of Giantish make,” said the drow. “I do not see any movement—no-one standing watch at the top.”

“The boar went down into the valley. We would have to get closer to get my spear back,” said Arjen.

“No-one cares about your spear,” said Sakhisli. “That tower though—a place like that means treasure, Kalina.”

“That tower is visible for miles around,” said Kalina. “Surely treasure hunters have searched it long ago.”

“There was treasure in the other ruin that we explored,” insisted the dwarf. “This land is barely inhabited; there are thousands of ruins here, and probably most of them have never been searched. Besides, even if someone has been through there, I bet we can find something that they missed.”

“It is very visible,” said Kyorlin. “Something to navigate by. The Vulkoorim use such features as markers, but we rarely get close to the giants’ old places; the Sulatar often use them as waypoints and may camp near them. Giants sometimes dwell in them also. It could be dangerous to spend time in such a place.”

“Everywhere in this jungle is dangerous,” said Kalina. “I would not mind some shelter from the rain.”

“Not everywhere is equally dangerous,” said Kyorlin.

“We are here for Giantish ruins,” insisted Kalina. “We will approach carefully, and if Kyorlin sees any signs of life or anything alarming, we can turn away and find a path around it.”

Is the danger in the tower something unintelligent? 50/50 ().
Fate d100(31)=Yes

Once they descended into the valley, they could see only glimpses of the tower through the trees until they got close to it. It was only at they approached the edge of the clearing above which the tower rose that they could see it clearly again, and the smaller buildings surrounding it.

Discern Realities(Kyorlin): 2D6(6 4) +1 = 11 Success!
Who’s really in control here?
What should I be on the lookout for?
What here is useful or valuable to me?

The four adventurers huddled down behind some bushes near the edge of the settlement, watching for signs of movement amid the overgrown ruins.

“This was certainly a Giantish outpost,” said Kyorlin. “It looks like it has been in ruins since the Fall. If the Sulatar were using it as a camp or had settled here, they would have cleared and rebuilt some of these buildings.”

The buildings were certainly large, and constructed from the same large squared-off stone blocks that they had seen in the Giantish construction in Stormreach. Most of the buildings had collapsed as if from an earthquake; few of the walls still stood high off of the ground, with large stone blocks scattered on the ground and covered in foliage as the jungle struggled to reclaim the land.

The tower, though, still stood tall and seemed largely intact. Looking up to the top, Kalina exclaimed, “Look up there! What is that alongside the tower?”

It seemed to be a platform, floating a little way to the side of the tower, just below the tower’s highest level. The platform looked like it was made from bronze, and seemed to have some kind of pattern to its surface and around the edge. It seemed to be tilted at an odd angle.

“What is it?” asked Arjen.

“I have seen a platform like that before, on the ground,” said Kyorlin. “It was in the ruins at Hjelglang—you remember that other party of adventurers, Kalina? There were some gems still embedded into the surface, and some of the, um, pattern on the platform was made of gold.”

“How would we even get to it?” said Arjen.

“Well let’s get in there and work it out,” said Sakhisli, standing up. “This is just the sort of thing that we are looking for.”

Kyorlin shook his head. “Just because no-one has occupied the settlement, does not mean that it is safe. Wild animals may have found shelter in the ruins.”

“There is treasure in this place,” said Sakhisli. “I said there would be.”

“Alright,” said Kalina. “We will search the tower—but we go carefully, watching for any creatures that may be nearby.”

They left the cover of the jungle, moving down between the ruined houses. They quickly found what seemed to be the main street, judging from the ancient stone paving slabs that were still visible in places, though mostly the street was buried in dirt and vines. Large stone blocks lay scattered over the whole area, which the four adventurers had to climb over in places. They startled a group of monkeys living in the ruins of one building, but mostly the area appeared free of any larger wildlife. The street led up to the entrance to the tower, a huge archway built by and for giants; the remains of the bronzework that would have framed a heavy wooden gate lay, bent and green with decay, half buried in the dirt by the entrance. The dark interior of the tower lay open to them.

Kyorlin stepped in first, looking around and up inside the tower, alert as always for potential threats. Sakhisli followed him in, while Kalina and Arjen hesitated in the entrance. Their attention was all immediately drawn to a large statue in the centre of the ground floor, relatively unscathed amidst the dirt and rubble covering the ground; it consisted of a huge stone hand with flames crafted from bronze sprouting from the upturned palm. Despite the pitted stone and green decay of the bronze, the status was still striking due to its huge size. Sakhisli looked at it for a moment, then took out her hammer and began rooting through the debris on the ground.

Perilous Wilds dungeon. Dungeon theme: ruined watchtower from the Age of Giants. Size: small.

Random : d12=9, themed+discovery, discovery is Random a statue.

Several floors collapsed here, so I rolled for another room for the floor above and got a discovery, and rolled an additional discovery for the other floors above that have would have had their contents dropped onto the ground floor here. Random I got coins, a book, and weapons/armour, and discounted the book as that will have rotted away.

Looking up, Kalina could see some way up the inside of the tower; evidently, there had been several floors with rooms above the ground floor when the tower was first built, as there were windows at intervals at different levels, but the joists supporting those had long since rotted away. There was an opening to a large stone staircase in one corner, though.

“These look like Giantish coins,” said Sakhisli, holding up a bronze disk. “The symbol on it matches the statue. What’s this!” she added, tossing aside the coin. She reached down to pull something larger out of the rubble and came up with a large bronze axe head.

Monster move(Lunge suddenly): enemy has the stealthy tag.

Defy Danger(Wis)(Arjen): 2D6(4 2) -1 = 5 Failure!
The attack surprises you. Deal damage: d10=4 damage done
Defy Danger(Dex)(Kalina): 2D6(1 2) +1 = 4 Failure!
Also caught in the attack. Deal damage: d10=10

It’s probably a good thing that Kalina took that max damage and not Arjen—he only has 16HP to begin with due to his lousy stats.

Suddenly, Kalina heard a pained shout from Arjen. Before she could turn, something struck her from behind; there was a sharp burning pain across her back, and Kalina gasped in pain as she fell forward. Kalina pushed herself up from the ground, fighting the pain, and scrambled forwards across the broken floor before turning back to the entrance.

Introduce a new faction or type of creature: Random Oozes—the adventurer’s favourite. Let’s go with the Emerald Ooze

Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(6 2) +1 = 8 Partial success.
Take what you can get: d8-d6=1-4; Reveal an unwelcome truth: the creature is unharmed by arrows
Hack and slash(Arjen): 2D6(2 5) +0 = 7 Partial success.
Deals d10=3, 2 damage after armour; Put someone in a spot

Looming in the entrance way was a green thing, as tall as a horse but entirely shapeless, oozing across the broken stony ground into the tower. Kyorlin, who had been checking the stairs, turned around and loosed an arrow into the monster, but the arrow sunk harmlessly in its amorphous form. Several long green translucent tentacles stretched from the monster, and it moved to strike again at Arjen; the woodsman had his sword out now and cut into one tentacle that was reaching for him, but another wrapped itself around his body, pulling him towards the main body of the creature.

Summon Elemental(Sakhisli): 2D6(5 4) +2 = 11 Success!
Fire mephit(blast): d4=3 control

Kalina jumped forwards, drawing her sword. She cut at the surface of the creature, hoping to drive it back from her friends. But her sword merely cut into the surface of the ooze without slowing the creature; it kept rolling forwards and, before Kalina could find her footing to scramble back, it was on top of her. The last thing she saw was the bulk of the ooze rolling over her, as the world exploded in burning pain.

Deft Technique(Kalina): 2D6(2 2) +1 = 5 Failure!
Does it grab Kalina as well? 50:50 ().
Fate d100(8)=Exceptional No!

The main body of the ooze just rolls over her; Deal Damage: d10=10; Monster move(Dissolve flesh and bone)

Kalina is at 0 HP. To be clear about the arithmetic, Kalina recovered 10 HP at the end of last session (through camping) taking her to 20/21 HP. She just took 2x10 damage in a row, and the ooze ignores armour.

Sakhisli turned at the first cries from her companions. She saw it grab Arjen, and saw Kalina jump forward and be hit by the main body of the creature; the human seemed to dissolve as its translucent form enveloped her. Without thinking, Sakhisli extended her hand and, like the statue beside her, flames sprang up from her open palm. Another of the fire mephits rose above her, and she willed it forward to strike at the creature.

Defy Danger(Str)(Arjen): 2D6(6 3) +0 = 9 Partial success.
You get free, but Deal damage: d10=7

Arjen is at 5/16 HP.

Elemental Attack(Sakhisli): 2D6(2 2) +3 = 7 Partial success.
Deals d8=1 damage, negated by armour; control reduced to 2

The party needs to get some better rolls, preferably real soon. The ooze is at 13/15 HP.

Arjen was struggling to get free. He screamed in pain as the tentacle burned through his jerkin; hacking desperately at it with his sword, he managed to cut it enough that it loosened its grip, dropping him to the ground. Kyorlin rushed to Arjen’s side. The fire mephit flew forward at the creature; Sakhisli gestured and the creature let out a gush of flame which washed over the ooze. As the flames dispersed the creature moved forwards once more, showing no outward signs of injury.

Hunter’s Mark(Kyorlin): +2 damage against this ooze
Hack and Slash(Kyorlin): 2D6(1 5) +0 = 6 Failure!
Monster move(Split into smaller oozes)
Aid(Arjen): 2D6(1 1) +0 = 2 Failure!
Deal damage: d10=1; Arjen was lucky to stay in the fight there

Kyorlin struck at the creature’s body with his hunting knife, making deep cuts into its shapeless form. The gash that his blows created grew wider, and the edges became rounded, as the creature split in half in front of them. Now two blobs of green ooze faced them, still blocking the entryway of the tower; the oozes seemed to have an emerald glow to them as their translucent forms caught the dim light from outside the tower.

Elemental Attack(Sakhisli): 2D6(1 1) +2 = 4 Failure!
Use up their resources
Channel(Sakhisli): 2D6(6 6) +2 = 14 Success!
Deals d8=5 damage, 4 after armour

First ooze is at 7HP, the second (approaching Sakhisli) is at 2HP.

Hack and Slash(Sakhisli): 2D6(4 6) +0 = 10 Success!
Deals d4=3 damage, 2 after armour

The mephit moved to strike again, but this time the ooze grappled it first, its tentacle wrapping around the small creature and burning through its wings and body in just a few of seconds. The ooze continued to move forward, approaching Sakhisli now, as the other continued to menace Kyorlin and Arjen.

Frustrated, Sakhisli hefted her hammer in one hand, but before the creature got close she raised her free hand and flames shot forth, engulfing the creature. Sakhisli could feel the intense heat created, but it did not cause her any discomfort; the ooze in front of her sputtered and steamed, and as the flames abated she saw that the creature was moving slower, blackened and scorched by the heat. As it moved in close to her, she brought her hammer down hard into the centre of the ooze. The creature shuddered once and stopped moving, losing its cohesion as its gelatinous contents sunk down and spread into a pool on the floor. It continued to steam as it expired, filling the area with a strong burnt acrid odour.

Arjen is so weak that one hit will probably kill him. Kyorlin has to continue to take the lead, though neither of them—none of the party now—are any good in a close-quarters fight.

Hack and Slash(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 4) +0 = 7 Partial success.
Deals d8+2=9 damage, 8 after armour; Monster move(Dissolve flesh and bone): a minor injury though, as it would be very harsh to deal a major injury on a partial success

Arjen had backed up to the staircase, limping and holding a hand to his burned chest. Kyorlin stood before him, confronting the other ooze. The creature moved slowly forwards, backing Kyorlin towards the stairs, but the drow suddenly darted forwards and drove his knife deep into the creature. The creature quivered and suddenly stopped advancing. As Kyorlin backed away, keeping his knife at the ready, whatever life the ooze had seemed to pass from it, and it began to slowly sink down, becoming a pool of sticky gloop on the floor. The oozes had at no point made any sound, and all that could be heard was the strained breathing of Arjen and Kyorlin as they stopped to catch their breath.

Arjen leaned heavily against the wall, looking around at the mess in the room. “Where is Kalina?” he asked. Kyorlin cursed softly and took off his pack.

Last Breath(Kalina): 2D6(1 3) +0 = 4 Failure!
Death is not an adventure, for those who come face to face with it.

“She’s gone,” said Sakhisli. Treading carefully around the deeper pools of goo left by the creature, she walked over to a sword that lay partly submerged in the remains. She lifted it up to show the others.

“Gone?” echoed Arjen.

It was less than a minute since Kalina had stood with them, but there was little else left of the woman that had led them here. The creature had almost completely dissolved her. Only a few bones remained, still dissolving in the pools of goo; and a few coins and other metal items that Kalina had been carrying lay scattered amidst the remains of the creature.

“Completely gone,” said Sakhisli.

Spout Lore(Kyorlin): 2D6(1 2) +1 = 4 Failure!
Reveal an unwelcome truth: Kalina, and Kluthlin, were the only ones that knew the way to Kappefesting

“What do we do now?” asked Arjen.

Indeed. Kalina was really holding this together, so without her party cohesion will be a problem. The party also has no-one right now with a positive strength bonus: so they are in a hostile wilderness and no-one is good in a fight. The end may be near.

End of session(party): +1 XP to all, for overcoming a notable monster

Arjen: 3 failures, 1 session; 10 XP
Kyorlin: 2 failures, 1 session; 5 XP
Sakhisli: 1 failures, 1 session; 8 XP.

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