Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-22-2018, 02:59 PM   #1
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default One-shot adventure: The Tomb of Hroth Yaggeltor

On Tuesday, I ran a DFRPG one-shot as a followup to "You All Meet at an Inn" (Pyramid #3/98), and I thought I'd share an overview here in case anyone else is looking for a quick jaunt to insert into their campaign. We played this with three players (plus me, the GM) and five 250-point characters in a little over three hours. My group is not-at-all combat-optimized (scout, bard, thief, cleric, swashbuckler), so I wanted to include a role-playing challenge. Upgrading the combat encounters and adding a trap or two would make this tougher for a more optimal or experienced group. My pre-session notes amounted to a few scribbles on a page, so I don’t present this as anything especially clever or creative. But, I have been wishing for more DFRPG content to mine for ideas, so I thought I’d try to provide some. Feel free to improve, pillage, or re-skin as needed.

Setup

The setup happened off-screen for us because it was just backstory for why they were at the inn for the previous adventure, but here's the gist: The party should come across new information about the location of the tomb of a renowned barbarian chieftain of yore. Hroth Yaggeltor was a vicious warrior, brutally laying waste to his enemies with his axe. He is rumored to be buried with “pots of gold” in the mountains. Add other rumors as necessary to interest your group. Tomb has never been verifiably located. The clues for my group included a terrain feature, "the Titan's Fist," that the scout recognized because he knows this part of the mountains well and the fact that the crypt lies at the source of a stream with a subtly unusual taste. There is no particular significance to the taste other than to provide a unique identifying feature; it comes from dissolved minerals around the spring. (I had it have a "coppery" taste, though now that I think about the copper pipes in my house, I'm not sure copper has a taste.)

There and Back Again

The scout made a Navigation roll to see how efficiently he could get them to the general vicinity. Then Observation to recognize the Titan's Fist (a ridge with knuckles). Then some Per rolls to find the right stream and follow it to its source. Any failures added time and more wandering monster checks.

Tainted Stream

As they followed the stream up into a narrow gorge, the elf scout realized that the water did not just have a metallic taste, it was also tainted in some disturbing way. They noticed as they got closer to the source that plant life was dying nearby and some of it was off-color or otherwise warped. The water is, in fact, poisonous, though it doesn’t pose a direct threat to the party unless they start guzzling it (I left it undefined, but based on other plot points, I would have it lead to death or the mutation of the character into some sort of amphibious monstrosity).

Encounter Area 1: Tainted Frogs

Further upstream there is a depression where the stream widens out into a marshy area. There is a large hole in the bank with a muddy area around it. The threat is not primarily in the hole. Hidden in the mud across from it and along the muddy bank are a number of giant frogs (from Pyramid 3/108, or modify the giant constrictor snake from Monsters, p. 31); quick Contest of Per vs. Stealth to notice them. Roll vs. Naturalist (or appropriate Survival, perhaps) to recognize that these are unnatural giant frogs, more grotesque and warped than the standard variety. In my session, the frogs had no treasure, but you could add some leftover goods from a hapless mountaineer if desired (requiring a crawl to the back of the stinky, muddy burrow, of course).

The Pool

The stream emerges from a pool beneath a rock face with no easy routes past it. Investigation reveals that there is an underwater tunnel leading into the cliff, barely big enough for the PCs to squeeze through. It winds underwater for about six yards before emerging into a dark cave. Water Move is Basic Move/5, minimum 1, and characters can hold their breath for HT seconds when swimming or engaging in strenuous activity (Swimming and Holding Your Breath, Exploits, p. 21). A successful Swimming roll means that a character makes it unscathed. A failed roll leads to panicked flailing as the character gets snagged on a rock, burning margin of failure seconds recovering. Repeat until they succeed at Swimming. If this pushes them past HT seconds in the water, they begin suffocating, losing 1 FP per additional second (Suffocation, Exploits, p. 70). Since most of my group did not have Swimming and were unlucky with the dice, they ended up burning a fair amount of FP making it through.

[Continued in the next two posts.]
Dalin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2018, 03:06 PM   #2
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: One-shot adventure: The Tomb of Hroth Yaggeltor

Encounter Area 2: Tomb Grotto

The stream (one yard wide) passes through a natural cave. If it is daylight outside, a small amount of light filters in through the water, resulting in a -8 vision penalty; at night, the cave is lightless (-10). The cave is roughly circular—about eight yards in diameter. The ceiling is low, especially toward the edges, requiring tall characters to stoop. There are two stone coffins on either side of the stream. Each coffin has a ceramic jar (or “pot”) beside it, sealed with cracked wax. Upon the farthest coffin on the right is a cave nymph. She lies on the lid (her divan) with the remains of a former mortal companion who died while under her charm.

The cave nymph was inspired by the speleid in GURPS Underground Adventures (p. 27), but I modeled her crunch and motivations more on an earth-based version of the dryad in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 3: Born of Myth and Magic (p. 9). The DFRPG Monsters book is lacking in the Fae department, so if you only have DFRPG and don’t want to completely wing it, I suggest basing her on an elvish earth druid with a few extra powers and not as many spells. Her key ability is her unconscious power to charm people with her touch (18 vs. Will; the charm lasts for a number of days equal to the margin of success). I gave her the ability to change the illumination in her grotto as a free action and to walk through stone/earth at will. (The latter power can be granted, temporarily, to mortals by tying a strand of her hair around their head; the hair loses potency if she dies.) She should be tough enough to be a respectable threat if the party resorts to violence. Her ability to walk-through-stone gives her significant tactical advantage, including being able to disengage completely if the party proves too much for her. With an especially strong group, it would be thematically appropriate for her to be able to awaken a few rocks (earth elementals, Monsters, p. 25) to fight at her side.

Goals: The nymph’s goals are twofold. First, she is lonely and would dearly love companionship. As a nymph, she doesn’t fully understand the nature of mortality and has no awareness of the power of her charm. Her last mortal companion, an erstwhile tomb raider, blissfully wasted away, from either starving or drinking the tainted water. She is friendly, generous, and very touchy-feely—grabbing hands and stroking cheeks whenever possible.

Her second goal is related to the tainted stream. She has been in the grotto for a long time, and the water used to be pure. A water nymph (naiad) used to visit regularly and cared for the stream and its spring. The two fairies were startled by the barbarians coming in to bury their dead, but didn’t interfere. Recently (whatever that means to these spirits—could be years or centuries), however, the naiad hasn’t returned, and the water has a bad feeling to it. She misses the naiad (referring to her as a cousin) and doesn’t like the water spoiling her grotto. She would be grateful and willing to do a favor for anyone who dealt with the taint.

The nymph also knows that there is another, larger cave upstream. She used to consider it part of her extended grotto until the “angry one” (a draug) awoke. Now she doesn’t go back there, though her cousin (the naiad) used to travel through the cave to reach the spring, and would sometimes tease the draug.

Treasure: Each jar contains a single gold coin (4 total, worth $1200). The coffins contain the remains of bodies and corroded weapons and armor of no value. A useful item (weapon, shield, potion, scroll, amulet, etc.) could be part of the nymph’s former companion’s remains, but she would need some finessing to allow anyone to investigate and/or take anything.

[Continued in the next post.]
Dalin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2018, 03:10 PM   #3
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: One-shot adventure: The Tomb of Hroth Yaggeltor

Encounter Area 3: Hroth Yaggeltor’s Tomb

The tainted stream continues about eight yards upstream through an airless passage to another, significantly larger cave. Follow the mechanics from the first passage (see The Pool, above) if PCs want to swim up to the upper cave. The passage is a bit longer this time, which can be dangerous for characters who lack Swimming. Alternately, clever role-playing might convince the cave nymph to extend her walk-through-stone power to the PCs. You can set limits on this ability that seem appropriate to your group (i.e., it could last just long enough to dash through the wall, or it could last longer, allowing it to be used tactically in the following encounter).

The stream (one yard wide) winds through the lightless cavern, which is roughly 20 yards across, with natural cracks and crevices in the walls (none of which lead anywhere). The ceiling is higher, with beautiful stalactites and crystalline formations. Some cover is available behind stalagmites and outcroppings from the walls. There is a stone slab bridging the stream about twelve yards into the cave. There is an alcove to the right which contains a large, open, stone coffin. It is flanked by four clay pots (similar to the ones in the previous room), and there are carvings on the coffin and walls that match some of the iconography associated with the legendary barbarian chieftain. The lid of the coffin is the bridge over the stream.

The stream emerges through a pile of rocks (an old collapse) at the far side of the cave. Upon the rocks is the motionless body of a naked woman, sliced nearly in two by the blade of a grim-looking great axe. The axe is apparently embedded in the stone behind the body, and the body’s hands grip the blade. Fluid (blood? nymph ichor?) drips from the wound into the stream. This fluid is the source of the taint. The body is the naiad that used to occupy the stream. She taunted the draug (see below) until he became enraged and ambushed her. Her body remains, with no sign of decomposition, and he has been unable to retrieve his axe—a dying curse from the naiad—which makes him even more cranky.

This cave is occupied by the the undead form of Hroth Yaggeltor, a draug (Monsters, pp. 23-24), who rests in his coffin when he is not pacing his cave or attempting to retrieve his great axe. He wears a large distinctive helm (horns!) that matches the descriptions the party has heard of. Without his great axe, Hroth is reduced to using his six throwing axes or punching and grappling. Fortunately, he can Fast-Draw them and will try to pick off delvers individually as they enter his cave through the stream. He will not, however, willingly enter the water (bad naiad juju), nor will he cross it except via the bridge.

Scaling: A single draug was a tough opponent for my group (indeed, I removed the draug from “You All Meet at an Inn” because it was too much after the flame lord, toxifiers, and stone golem). You should scale him up or down as necessary for your group. He can be buffed to be more powerful, or there could be multiple draugr (his family or top lieutenants) or lesser undead minions. Depending on how you want to use the great axe, perhaps he can retrieve it after all.

Treasure: The four pots contain at least one gold coin each. In my session, they also included mixed ancient coins of lesser metals. A hefty haul, but the group won’t be retiring. When the draug died, I had his gear disintegrate with him, except for his helmet (though they nearly destroyed it with an all-out-attack to the skull). It would have value to collectors. You could arm him with magical weapons or other valuable gear.

Then there is the great axe. In my session, one of the characters grabbed it to try pulling it from the rock. It almost looked like the naiad’s eyes opened for a moment, at which point her hands released the axe. It came loose easily, and she transformed into water, flowing down into the stream. This cured the taint on the stream. The character holding the axe had an immediate sense that it was a bloodthirsty tool, filled with a hatred of life. He tossed it across the stream (successfully resisting his Greed), and the group decided to leave it behind. I didn’t fully stat it out and hadn’t decided on all the details, but I imagined it as an enchanted weapon with some basics (puissance, accuracy), plus a mild life steal element (gain 1 hp for every kill?), along with a moderate curse (some progressively violent disadvantages and, perhaps, a Will roll to avoid frequent bloodshed). I was fairly sure that none of the characters in my group would be interested, so it mainly existed as a possible seed for further adventures (trying to sell it, someone steals it, others are out to destroy it, etc.). Revise as needed for the stories you like to tell.

Aftermath

The naiad may or may not be alive again (my players disagreed about it and I didn't provide an answer). Either way, the cave nymph is thrilled—she has access to her full grotto and the stream is no longer tainted. She is grateful to the group and will provide assistance within reason. She is happy to let them keep any treasure unless they start prying crystals from the walls. They can rest up in her cave if they face a perilous journey. (The water is safe if they released the naiad.) If anyone is charmed and other characters ask her to release them, she will order her devotee(s) to continue traveling with their companions. They may be a bit melancholy until the charm wears off in a few days or weeks, but will otherwise be fine.
Dalin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2018, 05:30 PM   #4
evileeyore
 
evileeyore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: 100 hurricane swamp
Default Re: One-shot adventure: The Tomb of Hroth Yaggeltor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
On Tuesday, I ran a DFRPG one-shot as a followup to "You All Meet at an Inn"
Consider it stolen...

Quote:
(I had it have a "coppery" taste, though now that I think about the copper pipes in my house, I'm not sure copper has a taste.)
It would if the copper was dissolved into the water... which would require it be slightly acidic. So if your tap water ever starts tasting coppery...
__________________
Feel free to steal, borrow, fold, spindle, mutilate any rule, advantage, etc I come up with it.

Gurps Combat Club on RPoL. Come check it out, play in a tourney or two!
evileeyore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2018, 01:30 PM   #5
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: One-shot adventure: The Tomb of Hroth Yaggeltor

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Consider it stolen...
Excellent. I would love to hear how you use it with your group.

Quote:
It would if the copper was dissolved into the water... which would require it be slightly acidic. So if your tap water ever starts tasting coppery...
Good to know. So it might not be entirely implausible for there to be natural water with a coppery taste if the geology where the spring rises includes both copper and something that makes the water slightly acidic. (Speleids, naiads, and draugr are, of course, well-attested in the the scientific literature.)
Dalin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2018, 02:41 PM   #6
evileeyore
 
evileeyore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: 100 hurricane swamp
Default Re: One-shot adventure: The Tomb of Hroth Yaggeltor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
(Speleids, naiads, and draugr are, of course, well-attested in the the scientific literature.)
Knigthy McSworder: "This spring water tastes coppery. Is that safe?"

Druid MacTreedude: "Oh aye, the Naiads just been peeing in the spring source again is all, leeches minerals outa the surrounding aquifer... makes it antiseptic. Use it in all me healing pots. Quite useful really..."
__________________
Feel free to steal, borrow, fold, spindle, mutilate any rule, advantage, etc I come up with it.

Gurps Combat Club on RPoL. Come check it out, play in a tourney or two!
evileeyore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2018, 08:26 AM   #7
Carrot
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Default Re: One-shot adventure: The Tomb of Hroth Yaggeltor

Thanks for posting. This is a great little adventure! I'll be using it.
Carrot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 12:51 PM   #8
bert
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southern Sweden, possibly on an Alternate Earth
Default Re: One-shot adventure: The Tomb of Hroth Yaggeltor

Love this little adventure! Will use. Thanks for sharing Dalin.
bert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2019, 11:56 AM   #9
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: One-shot adventure: The Tomb of Hroth Yaggeltor

Quote:
Originally Posted by bert View Post
Love this little adventure! Will use. Thanks for sharing Dalin.
You're very welcome! I'm glad that the effort of sketching it out here has proved worthwhile for a few folks.
Dalin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
adventure, dfrpg, fae, one shot, undead

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.