Bones of the Naga
GMed by Jess, starting the 1st of May 2010.
This will be a high fantasy campaign starting in the formerly plague-ridden city of Serenton. Characters will be starting with moderate point values, and I'm planning on growing them fairly rapidly through the use of character points awarded for excellent role playing and in-character or movie-worthy actions or words as well as through loot and possible advantages and disadvantage development, based on role-playing. My goal is to simulate, in a fashion, the more rapid and powerful character progression of other games such as Dungeons and Dragons. However, there will still be role-playing required and I do not intend this to be exclusively a hack'n'slash tactical combat session.
From Fantasy book:
In low fantasy, and in fantasy based on folklore and fairy tales, point values below 100 often work well. An ordinary man thrown into adventure can be a 50-point character. In higher fantasy, characters built on 100-200 points work better; the added points can represent the Rank, Status, and Wealth of aristocrats, or the skills of veteran adventurers such as the heroes of sword and sorcery. In a dark fantasy setting, PCs may need the added points just for survival! Still higher point values are possible, but move the campaign to the level of epic, with heroes who can contend with the gods or challenge fate. This chapter assumes that the base for typical characters is 100 or 150 points, with up to 50 or 75 points in disadvantages.
Characters should have diverse but realistic skill sets. That is if you've been a baker's assistant your whole life, you're probably not an expert rider and swordsman, but you may have high manual dexterity, a good cooking skill, some herb lore, and perhaps be strong from lugging around bags of flour and making deliveries or such. In that example you may also be overweight for gorging on your own tasty sweet specialties.
I expect role-playing, not just hack'n slash dice rolling. I will be awarding extra character points for playing your character and for good role-playing.
Party will start in the now recovering Serenton. Serenton was plagued some two years back and many died. More left. The city was wholly evacuated and the Serentonian guard barricaded the outer walls, keeping the refugees who camped nearby from sneaking back in until the plague was dealt with.
You are likely all young adventurers or perhaps elder citizens who've never risen to heroics previously. At 100 points you are not likely complete novices. It is possible you are Serentonian Guards, mage apprentices, devout religious followers, wandering tradespeople or mercenaries. I would like interesting back stories perhaps to use to enhance the campaign. It is also altogether possible you have spent the entirety of your life in Serenton or any other city for that matter coming into Serenton only recently. It's possible you are not an experienced adventurer, but then it would be unlikely that you have a 15 riding skill and a 18 broadsword skill, for example. Your points might be invested into trade skills or "book learning".
Regardless of your origin and past you have to have some reason to be involved in the campaign. That means you have some affiliation with Abacaneeser the alchemist in Serenton. Perhaps you are his niece or nephew or have ran errands (sometimes adventurous) for him in the past. I would like it if at least some members of the party were familiar with each other prior to this. In any case, Abacaneeser has summoned you together for an errand that he trusts your skills will be valuable to accomplishing.
As there are primarily only humans native around Serenton, if you desire to be another race, you can use the following templates:
Elf - -5 pt unusual background
Dwarf - -5 pt unusual background
Half-elf - no cost
Half-orc - -2 pt unusual background
Gnome - -5 pt unusual background
Other race - with DM consultation
Characters will have 100 points to start with and up to -50 points in disadvantages with an optional additional -10 points to be used specifically for Enemies, Reputation or Debt disadvantages, but these must be a tangible part of your back story and your character during role-play.
Characters will be illiterate by default. Being semi-literate (B p24) in the Common tongue will cost 1 pt, literate 2 pts.
Character outlines must be presented to the GM by the 16th of April in order to be in the outset of the campaign.
- Characters will start with the TL3 starting wealth of $1000.00 which in Gurth recently has been one-thousand silver pieces. This can be modified by choosing the Wealth advantage or disadvantage accordingly. Clothing, weapons, armor and gear should be purchased at base cost in the Characters book from starting wealth. If you have $1000.00, you have nothing and are naked walking the streets of Gurth. A gold piece is ten silver pieces.
- Specialized adventure gear and magical items from Dungeon Fantasy - Adventurers are fine. Magic items must be purchased with character points, at a cost of 1 point per $1000 cost.
* You may buy power stone(s) by spending 2 character points per power level, with a maximum of 12 power level total in all stones/items. Spending 20 points gets you a single 10 point powerstone, or two 5-point stones, etc.
- Kemble Coyote, played by John
- Una Laing, played by Niki
- Ferona, played by Melissa
- Jinx, played by Traci
I have called you both here to run an errand for me. There is an abandoned logging operation in the Trollwood. At the heart of this operation is an abandoned tower. Somewhere in that tower it is rumored there are the bones of a great serpent and I would very much like to have as many of those bones as possible. If you can procure me the head and teeth of that beast I will double your reward. Also, keep your eyes peeled for any other oddities. Amulets, baubles, flagons of strange brew. It could be a curious place, tred with caution and beware. The tower lies in the Trollwood, so Ferona's woodland knowledge should help you find it safely. It is said there were strange goblin-kin enslaved as the laborers of the operation and they may yet remain at the tower.
He then gave each a potion and 5 gold coins to send them on their way.
Ferona gathered supplies and Kemble parlayed with a miserly stable-owner named Cleed for horse-transport.
Una, Abacaneezer's nosy and untrusting servant, haphazardly gathered some supplies and followed behind the pair secretly. She drank old wine in order to stay hydrated while trying to keep up with the horses as they left Serenton on Joseph's Road, heading southeast.
A night was spent in a kindly old farm woman's farmhouse. Una was discovered and embraced as a compatriot. Kemble swayed his way into sharing a bed with Ferona while the heavily fatigued Una passed out on the floor.
Along the way, they met an old hunter who gave them a warning about Troll Wood.
"What news from Serenton?"
"Going to visit a friend of mine who's keeping an eye on Serenton." "That's Trollwood you know? You'd best be cautious there. If'n you run into trolls, be sure to burn them. Otherwise, you'll run into 'em again."
The party entered Troll Wood with trepidation and gathered deadfall for a fire for dinner.
A troll snuck up in the night awakening Una who roused the others. Kemble was nearly eviscerated by the monster and narrowly escaped with his life. After Una threw a flurry of hasty hexes and Ferona tried to coax the forest into binding the beast, they eventually chased the beast off with burning sticks.
Then as they approached where they'd seen the bloodied Kemble fall, they were bound and drug rapidly through the darkness in nets. The local population of Sligs had captured the entire party and dragged them off to a fate yet unknown. The women awoke to look upon a clothed yellow goblinoid holding a small sword. With a spark of keen intelligence in his eye he peered at them wondering while other such creatures clad only in crude furs lurked about the early morning shadows of the deep TrollWood.
Reaching the Tower
As Ferona and Una tried to talk to Dohbart, one of the goblins, at dawn. Kemble awoke to see a toothy hard-skinned goblinoid packing mud into his shredded abdomen and fainted. Jinx crept up in the dawn shadows after looting Kemble's pack the night before.
The human girls sent Dohbart off to check on Kemble while they untied themselves just in time for Dohbart to return. They then were taken to the small tree root, branch and mud huts of the sligs where they tried to help Kemble. Una by using her voodoo to summon forth benevolent spirits and Ferona by dressing one of his troll bites. While this occurred in the cramped quarters of the smokey hut with Dohbart asking "Where...you go?" Jinx introduced herself by squirming around the Slig and rummaging through the contents of the wooden bowls of the hut. When asked who she was, she replied simply "I'm nobody, but my name is Jinx."
After getting Kemble back on his feet, the women were led by one of Dohbart's sligs back to their camp site where they gathered the parties gear. After the gnome bounced around the trees some, she and Kemble mock sword fought with Jinx barrowing Kemble's dagger.
When all were again reunited in the Slig village, Kemble demanded that Dohbart send one of his men to take them to the tower. After some discussion because Dohbart views his people as free, a Slig swordsman, Kuu'lok was sent along.
Travelling through the dense Trollwood, Kuu'lok seemed neither interested or understanding of Kemble's patronizing remarks. Along the way, Una fished, Ferona grew and harvested plants and Jinx looked through saddle-bags, tried to learn swordplay from the half-elf and tried to show off her circus tricks.
One night of the travel was torn asunder by a screaming Kuu'lok, running into the campsite from an apparent troll attack. The beast was dispatched handily by Kemble severing it's remaining arm as Kuu'lok slashed at it's mossy green body while Una chanted and shook her bones summoning spirits to carry their camp fire to the beast. As the remainder of the troll bubbled like over-roasted marshmellows smelling of a singed dish sponge, Ferona saw to Kuu'lok's wounds and Jinx jumped down from the tree branches to deal the final blow with Kemble's dagger to the smoldering troll-mass.
The following day, the party came to a clearing in the dense Trollwood. The tower with it's broad square base tapering to rise into a cylindrical spire looms darkly in the expanse of burnt stumps and young saplings pushing their way up between glass-like clumps of melted stone and soil. The tower does not fit, like some misplaced erection of a far-off society forcing its foreign filth and poison into primal forest about it. However, the newly sprung trees give proof to the fact the forest is a resilient force.
After staring in awe at the spectacle before them for a moment, Kemble threw rocks into the clearing suspecting some explosive trap that scorched this tower and surrounding clear-cut. Having deemed there being no danger, Ferona and Jinx moved ahead as Kemble and Una led up the horses.
The large 10-foot tall double doors seemed locked or barred from within with no keyhole, knocker or handles visible. The daring gnome attempted to scale the 45 degree charred stone face to jump to a window on the cylinder. After she'd slid down like a child a few times, leaving beige streaks where her coat and trousers removed suit from the fleshy colored stone, Una and Ferona decided to walk the perimeter of the tower.
As the two women approached an opening at the back, Jinx finally got Kembles hook and rope secured in the open window, and before noticing the wispy obstructions beyond, she leapt in, sticking in mid-air a few inches from the ground. After squirming free of her beloved coat, she urged Kemble to come up and help, yanking on her coat stuck in the "sticky stuff", as Una and Ferona light their lantern and begin descending into an apparent tunnel beneath the back-side of the tower.
Spiders and Skeletons
While the gnome freed her coat, Kemble held off one of the large chittering beasts bravely with his short sword until his belly was bitten and injected with a nauseating venom.
As Kemble retreated out the window, adjusting his hook for easy retrieval, Jinx dare-devilishly ran back into the smothering darkness and slid like she was being chased to 2nd base under the giant spider webs into the tantalizing unknown beyond.
Having pulled a small jar of the iridescent Moonflies from her many-pocketed coat, she peered at some arachnoid bi-ped monstrosity before she fled further into the darkness, having to leave behind a very curious body-sized pile wrapped in giant web, to flee down a spiral staircase.
In the mean-time, Ferona and Una found a giant spider of their own in the dark earthen tunnels below. The giant octopod scrambled along the crude dirt walls and rough-hewn timbers around them, then spread legs and mandibles apparently trying to frighten the women deeper into the tunnels. They would have none of it and as Una began shaking her voodoo bones and the oil lantern chanting a spirited curse upon the beast, Ferona tapped her druidic magic to overcome the creatures small will. Having done so, she mounted the beast and rode it out into the bright afternoon sun.
The women, hearing Kemble yell at Kuu'lok, ran to his aid.
Jinx had unfortunately scrambled down the stairs from the frying pan and leapt into the fire. She came up behind an animated skeleton in the darkness. Evading it's ancient iron mace, she scrambled down a hall and up onto a bookshelf, as she saw other undead razing what appeared to be a library.
In the center of eerily red-lit room was a skeleton who appeared to glow to the gnome as it spoke frighteningly in an archaic language before vanishing in a purplish flame. Having overcome her shock at the mind-bending horror of the undead and the soul-curdling speech, Jinx scrambled atop the bookshelf evading skeleton spears and axes.
After leaping over the silent fleshless aberrations from the book-shelf to a soft-chair, Jinx slid across an end-table collecting a strange pipe along the way. Sadly, only moments into her frantic dash, she was overcome by her wounds and fell unconscious in the red light pursued by skeletal soldiers.
Una and Ferona did what they could to mend Kemble's new wounds while the Slig brought forth the horses. After resting and sharing horror stories of giant spiders, the party decided to go in after the missing gnome.
They entered the tunnel at the back of the tower and crept into the darkness below. As they stopped briefly along the way to gather some mining implements a giant spider attacked. By the blades of the swords of Kemble and Kuu'lok and an iron pick-axe wielded by Una, the beast fell. They then continued up dark giant stairs, passing more tunnels where they heard voices, before going through a door into a brickwork hallway where Ferona grabbed a whip. Moments later after passing a large pit trap, Una fell into another such pit where she encountered the husk of a long dead giant spider.
Having gathered Una from the pit below, the party prepared to venture further into the dark mysteries of Marckall's tower.
Rescuing the gnome
Having circumvented the pit traps, the party emerged into a great dark hall. Hung with large expensive tapestries and rugs, the immense room was empty save for an ornate throne and a large dining table.
Kemble relieved the throne of a thumbnail sized red gemstone and took the decorative copper dishes and silverware from the table before the party proceeded into what appeared to be a kitchen and pantry beyond.
In the pantry, Ferona noticed a flaw in the wall, which she corrected. Convinced there was something hidden, Una broke through the secret door using her pick axe and the party ascended to the 2nd floor of the tower. Traversing the dark hall toward a strange red light at the end, the party was charged by a spear-wielding skeleton. Fortunately, the skeleton tripped a magical exploding torch which ignited it's skull as Kemble swiftly hacked it's jaw free and severed it's spear before felling it. Avoiding the exploding torch, the party crawled down the hall into the eerie red light into the ransacked library of Marckall. In the library, Ferona placed together broken chunks of jade to discover there were two statues of nubile young females destroyed here, while Kemble looted and Una and Kuu'lok were awed by the strange red glowing stone.
Having puzzled out the statues, Ferona's charity got the best of her and she urged the party on to find the gnome. Down another hall, the party entered the third floor, previously visited by Kemble and Jinx where they dispatched a giant spider and an ettercap. Ferona and Una used druidic magics and voodoo spirits to turn the spider on the ettercap before Kuu'lok slew the spider. Having overcome some strange mind-numbing body controlling sorcery, Kemble looted the corpse of a long-dead would-be thief while Una burnt the webs from the room.
Kemble then endeavored to use his hook and new-found fancy rope to climb into a higher window while the girls smashed at a wall, to reveal a hidden staircase bypassing the spider den. They then ran down to smash through another secret door with Una's pick and ascend the stairs while Kemble found Jinx hanging from the 12 ft ceiling by her feet, bleeding into a silver platter. Hearing strange unearthly voices from another room, Kemble crept in and tried to rescue Jinx.
Una and Ferona bounded up the stairs, followed by the fearless Kuu'lok until they came to a small room with a handle-less door faced by an animated knocker.
After conversing with the knocker, the girls learned that his duty was to let no one through unless told so my Marckall, but that some other powerful mage named Got'zhakek had recently passed through. Additionally, the knocker warned them about Topits, a guardian beyond the door. After trying to trick the knocker open, they convinced him that one of their party named Kemble had lost his mind and gotten past the door. He allowed them passage simply to get Kemble and be on their way.
Through the door, they were accosted by a granite statue with glowing red eyes. Una began chanting to the spirits of the dead to stop the automaton while Ferona dashed past it into a den complete with couch and fireplace. After seeing and ignoring a cloaked skeleton chanting in an unknown language, she was stabbed to the core by unbearable pain. She continued to turn her back on the creature and to grab an unknown magical item from a shelf, despite a warning not stating Not Yet.
At hearing Ferona's scream and Una's chanting, Kemble left the partially bound Jinx to run to the aid of the other women. He saw the statue attacking as the spirits responded to Una's chants and made the stone of the statue flesh, stopping it's attack. Everyone stared in awe for a moment before Kemble dashed up on deft feet and hacked deep into the ribs of the guardian. Ferona then ran to his aid. Kemble went into the den and looked for loot before going back for his pack which was being ransacked by the gnome. Having gathered his things, Kemble went back into the den determined to gain entrance to the remaining doorway. After impulsively kicking the door to no avail he and Jinx listened to the voices on the far side:
"I warn you, Got'zhakek do not fail me! I brought you back believing your mastery of the dead would be a tool worth the price I paid. If you prove me wrong I will send you back. Do not doubt it. Find me that amulet or you'll return to your infinite suffering with the wrath of Jahkeel of Thay burning your hind-side." Followed by an eerie and unnerving voice which sounded as though not from the throat of a man, but borne from some distant crypt, long buried cold and black. "Yes my lord. The Amulet of Pyeerask will be found. I wished only to update you on the interruption and recent findings."
Kemble and Jinx discussed in hushed tones the possibility of demons and indescribable evil behind the door. Jinx went back into the room to obtain first aid from Ferona as another skeletal warrior emerged from the closed door. Kemble defensively fought his way back into the room with the rest of the party, where Kuu'lok stepped up to help until his sword arm was crushed beneath the undead's pole axe. Having downed the foe, Kemble collected it's steel pot helm as Jinx pummeled the bones with her slig bolas claiming she helped.
Ferona stifled the bleeding of the statue-made-man and began tending to Kuu'lok's crippled arm. Una, having succumbed to the fatigue of the adventure and bending spirits to her will lies on the floor fighting for consciousness.
The party now rests awaiting the next horror to come from the closed door as Kemble and Ferona discuss their original quest to find serpent bones for Abacaneeser.
Discussing their quest for the bones and the apparent gravity of their situation, Una began chanting and incanting in order to summon the aid of the lost spirits and loa to aid the party in their weakened and fatigued state. All fell asleep.
All awoke refreshed and somewhat healed. Ferona demanded that the talking knocker guide them to the bones they sought. The knocker pleaded ignorance and warned Ferona when she began pulling on the knocker's ears trying to remove it from the door. She was stopped by the knocker breathing fire across her chest and neck. Tipots returned to her the bandages she had applied to him the day before, his wound healed. Kemble and Jinx explored the study. Jinx discovered the locked door barring the skeletal wizard to be trapped.
Then Kemble tossed his hook to the roof and Jinx scampered up, then down into the room the skeleton was in. The party raided the former bedroom of Marckall, where there was a large magic mirror and an imprisoned fairy with a small pan-pipe which he played morosely despite the cheery fluting of Ferona.
The party then followed the womanly intuition of Ferona and Una into the bowels of the tower, where they found a giant bedroom and below a tunnel into an exquisite stone hallway. The tunnel emerges into a finely crafted stone hallway, not by original design. A short distance to the south, it can be seen that the hallway is collapsed. The way north is open.
The party delved deeper into the ancient tomb beneath the tower, finding and fending off skeletal warriors and stone golem guardians before entering a chamber inhabited by a raised stone well-like cistern before an ajar previously hidden door containing a chest of treasure and a large war-hammer. A dark serpentine naga slimed up from the pool as Jinx scoured the treasure while the others battled stone golems in the hallway outside. When the Naga threatened Jinx, she hid in the treasure chest, locking herself inside. Just as the Naga was about to drop the gnome containing chest into it's dark pool, Tipots and Kemble entered and slew the vile serpent.