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Old 06-20-2012, 09:13 PM   #6
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Midwest, USA
Default Re: [DF] Shadowyrm -- One-Shot Beginner Adventure

8. When the players first enter the area, read the following passage aloud:

Silvery northern daylight illuminates the entire room brightly, sun rays from the opening in the center of the cavern's ceiling high above. Here, the cool mist along the floor is all but invisible. Fleeting shadows hide along the walls, recoiling from the light.

As if he had failed to notice you intrusion, a robed figure pores over a giant tome laying on a stone lecturn decorated with serpents winding through grimacing skulls. His pallid face is hidden in the shadows of his deep hood. One bony, pale hand -- its slender fingers ending in long, black nails -- cradles a page on the verge of turning it.

Haphazard stacks of books, some four feet tall with human skulls sitting atop them like paperweights, surround the figure, lining the far walls. There must be nearly 100 old manuals, worn primers, and ancient grimoires contained in the dozen or so leaning columns of thick, decrepit tomes. Stalwart guardians of an immense collection of obscure knowledge, untold lore must be recorded upon their thousands of silent pages just waiting to be discovered.
Mages need not roll Perception+Magery to know that most of the books are enchanted, probably with spells to allow them to resit the elements and the heavy hand of time. However, a Sense roll will reveal that N/2 of the skull "paperweights" are enchanted, and which those are. The skulls are enchanted with Skull Spirit (Magic, p. 151), though the Sense roll won't reveal that information.

The robed figure is an orc shaman who is all too aware of the PC's presence. Even if the PC's have somehow managed to go so far undetected, a Watchdog spell placed at the entrance to the area warned the mage he had uninvited company. Though the PC's may mean the mage no harm specifically, their intentions overall are undoubtedly nothing less than hostile.

The robed figure seemingly ignores the PC's until they address him, move into the area, or begin to take some action. He'll disregard and even interrupt a PC's first words.

If the PC's have engaged the goblins in area 6, read the following passage aloud (with N/2 being the number of skulls):

When the robed figure at last speaks, his voice is a cold, raspy whisper seething with contempt, slithering from between dry, parsed lips: "You come to me as intruders, blood upon your hands. You damage my property and murder my guests. How then should I receive you? Not as friends, certainly."

With a flick of his hand, he flips the page his tome as he looks up to fix his gaze upon you, red eyes shining with unbridled hatred from the beneath the shadows of his hood. It is the aged visage of a gaunt, venerable orc. Faint, blue veins run through his translucent, green-tinged skin.

"Enemies then, as surly as if you had broken through my gates with a battering ram. You shall find I am quite prepared to deal in like kind with such invaders."

With that, the scowling orc takes a step back and barks a harsh word in a bizarre dialect. [N/2] of the skulls sitting atop the book stacks shatter violently. Born from the explosions, vaporous ghosts like wicked, skeletal shadows appear.
As a free action, the orc shaman gave a password in the language of dark ones activating N/2 skulls enchanted with Skull Spirit (Magic, p. 150).

Determine combat order. On his first turn, the shaman will take a ready maneuver to summon his magic staff enchanted with Hide Object (Magic, p. 86). Read the following passage aloud:

As if catching some unseen object out of the air, the shaman calmly outstretches his hand. Suddenly, an ebon staff appears in his grasp!
The skull spirit(s) will take the Do Nothing maneuver first as they materialize and collect their bearings. On later turns, they will attack.

Remember, the skull spirits are at -5 to hit with both melee and ranged attacks due to their size modifier (p. B19). The Basic Set is somewhat unclear that SM applies to melee attacks, but it has since been clarified. For a compilation of information about SM, see the following link:

On his following turns, the orc shaman will cast spells, likely selecting Steelwraith (Magic, p. 54) or Glue (Magic, p. 142) first. Remember, his skill of 15 reduces the casting cost and time of Steelwraith by 1, allowing him to cast the spell with a single concentrate maneuver (see Magic Rituals, Magic, p. 8). He may then chose to levitate above his attackers. Once he's ready to go on the offensive, he'll likely select spells that won't endanger his surrounding library! Candidate spells include Ice Dagger (Magic, p. 188), XXX, XXX, XXX.

Missile spells (Magic, p. 12) are less effective in melee combat. To attack with a missile spell, the mage must first take at least one concentrate maneuver to cast the spell. On a success, the mage may invest one or more points of energy in the spell, to a maximum of a number of energy points equal to his Magery level. Since the orc shaman has Magery 3, he'll undoubtedly invest that much in charging the spell, causing Ice Dagger, for example, to do 4d-4 impaling damage (casting cost is reduced by 1 for skill 15, allowing him 1d-1 damage for free).

While engaged in melee, it's unlikely that he would use another turn to charge the spell with three more points of energy for a total of 7d-7 damage since getting injured while charging a missile spell could cause the spell to explode in his hand failing a Will roll. Notice, this is worse than the affect of losing concentration due to injury (see Distraction and Injury, Magic, p. 7)! It's more probable that he'll opt instead to throw the spell after casting it using his Innate Attack (Projectile) skill. Thus, he can only attack with missiles spells every other turn at fastest.

The shaman's maneuvers in order may go something like this:
  • Turn 1 -- Ready maneuver to retrieve staff.
  • Turn 2 -- Concentrate maneuver, cast Steelwraith (6 energy).
  • Turn 3 -- Concentrate maneuver, cast Levitation (1 energy)
  • Turn 4 -- Move maneuver, rise 3 yards.
  • Turn 5 -- Concentrate, cast Ice Dagger (3 energy for a potential 4d-4 impaling damage).
  • Turn 6 -- Attack maneuver using Innate Attack (Projectile) skill.

"How the heck am I supposed to justify that whatever I
feel like doing at any particular moment is 'in character'
if I can't say 'I'm chaotic evil!'"? óJeff Freeman

Last edited by Stripe; 07-03-2012 at 03:37 AM.
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