Most of the players couldn’t make this week’s session, so when one turned up unexpectedly I had 20 minutes to figure something out. The process went something like this…
- I can’t carry on with the current adventure, so let’s have a flashback. Buster has jet black skin and is kind of evil, being a drow originally, so he’s obviously a High Tricarnian. An earlier adventure together would work.
- The last couple of things I looked at were the Pool of Endless Froglings in WotC’s Book of Challenges, and canals in the Dominions. OK, something is eating canal slaves in Tricarnia and the dynamic duo are sent in to sort it out.
- I can use orc stats for the degenerate Frog Men and orc chieftain stats for the boss. I’ll make him a priest, so he can have AB (Miracles), Boost/Lower Trait, and Bolt.
- Need a map. First thing out of the drawer is a pile of Wydraz hex dungeon tiles, they’ll do.
At this point I pick half a dozen tiles that look interesting and slap them on the table to make a map, like this:
Then I need to scribble some scenario notes, which look like this – you don’t need more than this unless you’re going to publish the scenario.
Buster and The Warforged entered from the canal bank. Nobody in Tricarnia much cares about dead slaves per se, but fewer slaves means less rice, thus less food or money, and the local Priest Prince isn’t standing for that.
They walk brazenly across between the pillars in the entrance hall, and are noticed by the half-dozen Frog Men in the barracks, who attack immediately (neither PC knows this, but they are defending their spawning pool, so they’re in no mood to parley).
Six resprayed orcs was enough to get Buster down to two Wounds and one benny, and The Warforged down to one Wound and one benny, so the CR was pretty much bang on. I think I could have killed Buster with wild attacks and gangup, but he made good use of the pillars to restrict how many Frog Men could get at him at once.
Once the Frog Men were down, the crocodile in the opposite room decided to take advantage of the free lunch. The PCs locked themselves in the barracks, and since there was food lying around it didn’t have to fight for, the croc had no reason to pursue them.
It was at this point the PCs realised they had no healing magic, and only Buster had the Healing skill. Rolling at –4 didn’t help, so they waited for the croc to finish and then snuck back to town to get healed up, which drained the cash they’d found in the barracks area.
Returning, they pressed on to the pool room, where they found bits of missing slave floating in the pool while something they couldn’t see nibbled at them. The Warforged realised that as long as he had bennies, his chances of blowing himself up were very slight, so unleashed half a dozen Blast spells into the pool as a fantasy version of grenade fishing. Since one of them reached the giddy heights of 37 damage, I decided any swarms remaining would go and hide somewhere for a while. The Warforged walked across the pool bottom while Buster used his superior climbing skill to go around the sides.
Next up, the altar room, where the Big Bad and two minions awaited them – I figured while they were healing, he’d work out what had happened, and close up to protect the spawning pool. The minions parked themselves on either side of the door, and neither PC wanted to go through, so the Big Bad amused himself firing Bolts through the door at them (with a trapping of “big sticky frog tongue”).
After a few of those, The Warforged threw a Fear spell into the pack, causing the minions to flee, then charged into melee with the Big Bad, while Buster followed up the minions and killed them. A lengthy melee ensued, ending with the Big Bad bleeding out on the floor.
They discovered that moving the emerald Frog God statue made the whole temple shake in alarming ways, so put it back while they searched the rest of the complex. At the bottom of the chasm, I put an exceedingly large and angry Frog Thing (resprayed Giant Worm) as a warning that the scenario was over. So of course they tied off a rope to give them an escape route, and jumped on top of it, managing to Shake it with a violent Bolt first. Once it recovered, they started climbing back up. only to realise the Big Bad was crawling over to the chasm intent on chopping their rope before he died. Unfortunately, he died first and they got back out.
Completely failing to think of putting a weight on the statue’s plinth, they grabbed it and ran. The complex collapsed, making a huge hole in the side of the canal – this may be why they left Tricarnia in the first place.
My creativity must be recharging.