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ID: 3330

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December 16, 2007, 8:13 pm

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The thirst for return

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Your average posse of adventurous types is hired by a wizard to stop the attacks on a small village.

Plot Description  
The characters receive a message from a wizard in the village of Ferwal, asking them to come to the town and kill a wyvern. Pretty much straight forward.  
  
  
Secrets  
In reality the wizard, named Therrogga Thorn, is a disciple of a demonic god named Wrike Kranara. Wrike was defeated a millennia ago by the sun god, Helior. After his defeat Wrike fell into the abyss and fortunately cannot return without a sacrifice of a son of Helior. Therrogga is trying to return him to this world, he attempts to lure the players to the town with his wyvern, so he can sacrifice them. 
 
 
Once the players have defeated said beastie the real fun begins, Therrogga thorn vanishes, before they return, and the players start off on one hell of an adventure (hopefully). First Therrogga leads them to Wolfden Mountain, aptly named for the werewolf that lives there. The werewolfs name is Apollyon and he also serves Wrike Kranara. Apollyons lair is a complex of natural caves about halfway up the mountain. At the top of the mountain is Therroggas next hideout, a fortress guarded by his undead minions. This fortress is made entirely of chiseled marble, and has no less than three outer walls.  
  
Next, Therrogga leads the players on a merry goose chase down a ghostly silent stairway leading to the abyss, called the Winding Path. On this stair there are many devilish traps and pitfalls, and a menagerie of fiendish creatures bonded to the will of Wrike Kranara. While descending, Therrogga will place defensive spells and glyphs to ensure that the players never reach the bottom, for he feels that a more defenseless sacrifice would be better suited to his needs. 
  
Next, Therrogga travels through the abyssal realm of Gaertanem. Gaertanem was once ruled by human lordlings, before its fall, it is a mountainous and thickly forested. Numerous castles and fortresses litter the countryside, affording housing for the troops of fiendish lords. Therroggas passage across this land leaves in his wake slaughtered armies. An enturpenurial party should be able to gain a profit from fiends wanting revenge. Certain fiendish lords include:

Fankerand-This mammoth beast looks like a grotesquely misshapen snake. Scabby bulges and rancid smelling sores cover his body. His coils are distorted by tiny, clawed hands, each grasping feverishly for flesh to tear. Fankerand was once a high-servant of the god Quetzalcoutl, sent to Gaertanem to convert more worshipers. While there, Fankerand met Set, the evil snake god. Set bought Fankerand’s loyalty with promises of power and wealth. When Gaertanem fell Fankerand’s body was distorted, and he became the fiendish lord of greed for that realm. Therrogga destroyed much of Fankerand’s wealth during his sojourn in Gaertanem, because of this Fankerand wants him dead, and he will see the deed done even if it means hiring a group of measly mortals.

Gerthwen-This gigantic, skeletal beast is as tall as seven men. Its eyes glow red, like two shimmering pools of blood. It is shaped like a man; a man with huge wings, fangs, a crown of horns, and claws like sharpened steel. Gerthwen was once the slave of a powerful baron named Firneth. Firneth had serious gambling problems, and was almost perpetually in debt. One time he gambled with death, literally. Firneth bet one soul, his, against the reapers blade and cloak. He lost. When Death came to collect, Firneth claimed he had merely A soul, not necessarily his. Death, having a tight schedule, gave in and demanded the soul. Firneth called his slave, Gerthwen, to him, and handed him over to Death. Death took Gerthwen to the underworld, and eternal torture, but once there Gerthwen escaped, accidentally or not. Gerthwen wandered around for weeks before finding a small vial in the ribcage of a dead man. Hoping for salvation (because anything had to be better than living in hell), Gerthwen drank the strange elixir inside. He felt extreme pain as his horns and wings burst from his flesh. Once all the changes had been completed, Gerthwen saw what he had become. In his horror at what he had become, Gerthwen threw himself off a cliff into a pit of boiling acid (hey, its hell). As you would think, Gerthwen was killed, but he was not completely corroded, his skeletal structure remained. Just as the last glimmer of life left his eyes, the awesome and strange powers of absolute evil known as hell planted behind those same eyes another light, not a glimmer, but a cold, dead light. Then Gerthwen rose as the fiendish lord of death, not only for this realm, but a score others. Gerthwen admires Therrogga for his great ability to deal death, admires, and fears. Well, almost. He will attempt to stop characters if he discovers their plot to stop Therrogga. However, if he thinks that they’re going to help him, Gerthwen might see his way to helping them along their way.

   Beondul-The man before you, if it can indeed be called a man, is grotesquely bloated, with quivering jowls, and warm, fetid breath. Numerous food stains cover the front of its torn tunic. Several platters, heaped high with rotting meat, spiced as to hide the taste, are piled around its slumping wooden throne. Beondul was born the son of a rich lordling that ruled a small river side county named Terringond. Growing up rich and spoiled, Beondul soon developed a taste for good food, and lots of it. Even not so good food could easily find its way into his ample paunch. When Beondul was thirty-one winters old, an ambitious neighbor attacked and conquered Terringond, adding it to his own dominion, Gaertanem. The neighbor, a powerful Abaddonite named Mephistopheles, captured Beondul alive, and when he was brought before Mephistopheles, he pleaded and begged for his life so wretchedly that, out of some sadistic cruelty, he set him loose in the countryside. Before he let him go, though, Mephistopheles put a devilish curse on Beondul, to be ever hungering, never satiated. Beondul wandered about Gaertanem for several years, feeding off farmers sheep, wringing their necks and then gorging himself on their raw flesh. Eventually, a devil-witch named Tisiphone noticed this wreck of a one-time man, and, filled with the same sadistic cruelty as Mephistopheles, set upon him a pack of hellish hounds. Hounded, forgive the pun, by these fire-mawed wolves across desolates mountains and through dusky forests. He was allowed to eat the food he scrounged, but never enough of it. How long it went on like this, who knows, weeks, maybe months. Finally, Beondul could no longer run, most of his blubber had become muscle, but he was still fairly out of shape. Beondul found a small cave and, after picking up a large tree branch, went in to await his tormentors. A mere hour later they came, and with eyes blazing they slunk up to the cave mouth. With a yell, Beondul attacked, after a brief battle he had killed two of the hounds, and driven away the others. But Beonduls hunger took control of him and he began to feed upon the bodies of his dead foes. After finishing off the two hounds that he had killed, Beondul fell to the ground in a spasm. The hellish flesh of the hounds changed Beondul; he became more like them, with a subtle tie to the abyss, and a little bit of evil in his soul. After wandering around the countryside for a couple years, Beondul decided to travel back to his city and see what was transpiring. When he arrived, Beondul was surprised to find that Mephistopheles was gone, in fact, everyone was gone, the entire city was empty of life (well, except for a few various and sundry rats and toads). Beondul took up residence in the old palace, soon, people from a few neighboring villages moved into the empty houses for protection from the ever increasing packs of wild beasts. After the fall of Gaertanem, Beondul usurped the position of the fiendish lord of gluttony. Beondul will try to capture the PCs to serve as gladiators in his arenas.

Canarin Throne. The name is actually an altered form of Kranaras Throne. A millennia ago, when Kranara was thrown down by Helior, he landed on this gods forsaken piece of stone and a small part of himself was left in it. Since that time this mountain has become a beacon of power for all things unholy, and Wrike Kranara holds court there. Therrogga Thorn is headed to this court; he has discovered a way to unleash his god without offering an innocent. This meeting of the characters and Wrike is the climax of this plotline, so make it big.
  

Addendum  
Wrike Kranara is as tall as a castle, with the head of a boar, and the body of a human. The very air around him reeks of pain. His eyes glow with dark ponderings. His body is encased in blackened ice, hard as steel. In his hand he holds a massive blade, long as two men. The blade is thrice-forged, of star steel, dug from the depths.



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Comments ( 7 )
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Drackler
April 6, 2007, 20:28
0xp
Updated: The realm of Gaertanem will become it's own sub mission soon.
Wulfhere
April 6, 2007, 20:42
0xp
Drackler, I recommend that you put this into "In Work" and specifically solicit advice from some of the old hands around here. What you have so far isn't bad, but it could be a great adventure with a bit of tweaking.
Wulfhere
April 6, 2007, 21:28
0xp
Your plot has some interesting parts, but also has a few holes and a few clichés. Addressing these will make it a much more exciting adventure.

First: The PCs receive a message asking that they come to a village to slay a dragon/horrendous monster. Presumably, Therogga Thorn does this to lure them into his trap. Problem Point: The “Guy that hires us but secretly wants to kill us” is an ancient and timeworn plot device. I’d skip it and let the PCs be contacted by a mage in the village who gets himself killed fighting the horror before they arrive. Second Problem: Most campaigns should avoid “random” dragons. If dragons are to be kept as awesome and horrifying creatures of legend, there shouldn’t be any destroying nameless towns as flunkies for some mage. A good substitute might be a group of Wyverns or the like: Beasts much like dragons, but not having quite the same mystique.

Then, how do they get the idea that they should be following this Therroga guy? I’d recommend that the mage in town leave a battered journal telling what happened: Perhaps Therroga tried to extort tribute from the village (“Yield five children to be mine, or my scaly minions will slay you all!”) and only attacked when they refused his terms.

So, the heroes trail the villain to his classy marble fortress (“Look at the sculptures, Sven!”), brawling with his werewolf buddy and undead minions on the way. There, the creep must elude them, leading them to an abyssal realm. Problem Point: It can be frustrating to almost have the bad guy, only to get hit by his traps as you try to pursue him. You don’t want to aggravate your players that way. I’d suggest that he already went below, but some of his undead flunkies are talkative and give away where he went (“You will never reach the MAaasterrrr! He is already in the realm of Kranara, preparing to free the demon princccceeee!”) as they duke it out with the PCs.

The idea of playing abyssal politics is one of the strong points of the adventure. Unfortunately, you skimmed right past that: It would be good to include a few of the demonic folks they might meet down there and how they act. The idea of recruiting demonic local allies could provoke some serious debate in most parties.

If you plan, the “Son of Helior” part doesn’t have to be an issue. Say that he snatched up one of the kids from the village and that kid is his sacrifice. The PCs can learn that he’s going to do a sacrifice “when the stars are right” and free his demonic master. Any self-respecting hero will come after the guy, slavering with righteous wrath.

Alternatively, if you wanted to keep the idea that he’s luring the characters to him, one of them is likely to be a champion for some good holy order. Let that cleric or paladin or whatever be the one that he wanted to sacrifice: The champion of the demon’s ancient enemy.
Demagogue
April 6, 2007, 22:22
0xp
My personal feeling on a sacrifice is that the sacrificial victim must be killed in a ritual fashion, leading the wizard to use various methods of non-lethal force. Just an idea. I am not voting because I agree with Wulfhere, you might want to back off of this one and get some feedback before you submit it again.
Cheka Man
April 7, 2007, 9:02
0xp
It needs to be put in work for a while.
Voted MoonHunter
January 6, 2008, 23:58
0xp
If it is not in useful in works... It really is "in need".
Voted valadaar
March 6, 2014, 7:50
0xp
Putting it in the Workshop

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