stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 14: Lair of the Keeper

Fortified in the ruins of a Sovereign temple in Desolate, the heroes confront the approaching threat. It turns out to be the Night Wolves, a barbarian tribe of shifters, humans, and half-orcs, charged in the ancient past with guarding the borders of the Demon Wastes. Their leader recognizes Achon as a Flamist Templar and the potential fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. The tribe’s shaman confirms it: Achon’s lycanthropic curse is the “Heart of the Wolf” the shifters have awaited for generations, since the Silver Flame crusade wiped out most of the lycanthropes in Khorvaire.

The Night Wolves agree to aid the heroes in their quest in exchange for what Achon bears. They ritually bring out his werewolf self and the heroes must defeat the wolf in combat for the tribe’s shaman to extract the Heart of the Wolf, placing it inside a Khyber dragonshard, where it will empower the tribe. Freed of the curse, Achon and his companions accompany the barbarians out into the Wastes. There they encounter an army of undead, and the Night Wolves draw them away, allowing the heroes to slip past their lines towards the Lair of the Keeper.

Crossing the treacherous wastes, rivers of lava, and deep chasms, the party has their final confrontation with the necromancer Maralon, who has beaten them to the Lair and awaits their arrival with the Heart of Khyber. They overcome Maralon and his skeleton warriors, and Achon’s final blow severs the undead sorcerer’s head. The Heart of Khyber is placed in the depths of a lava flow, taken into the deepest part of the underworld, there to remain, and the world is safe from the demon lord trapped within.

So ends the tale of the Swords Against Khyber, although not the stories of our heroes, but those tales remain untold for now.
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 13: Dark Voyage

The heroes sail aboard the Wave Mistress towards the Demon Wastes, passing Scion’s Sound and Stormhome. While aboard ship, a cabin boy is murdered in an occult ritual in the hold. The heroes assist the captain in investigating while the crew’s suspicions of them grow. Marik and Achon suspect the killing was the work of a Vol cultist among the crew, perhaps intended to delay their mission.

Their suspicions are borne out when a strange storm hits the ship at sea. In its wake comes Maralon, riding an undead wyvern. He strikes the ship with a couple of devastating lightning bolt spells before the heroes are able to drive him off. The Wave Mistress founders and sinks amidst the raging storm, everyone forced to abandon ship.

Washed ashore in the aftermath of the storm, the heroes find themselves near the abandoned town called Desolate on the edge of the Demon Wastes. Exploring the ruins as night falls, they hear the distant howling of wolves, which call to the werewolf curse Achon carries. They quickly find a defensible spot in the ruins of the town’s old Sovereign temple as the howling grows louder and closer...
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 12: Cardinal Sins

The party accepts High Cardinal Krozen’s “hospitality” for the night. Thanks to a spy in the employ of Queen Diani, blood-regent of Thrane, they’re warned to avoid the drugged food served to them. So when an invisible stalker enters their rooms late that night, they’re awake and able to deal with it.

Before a confrontation occurs between the Cardinal and the characters, his eminence receives an urgent message: the crowned heads of Khorvaire are summoned to Thronehold by the Warders. The Keeper of the Flame accepts the characters’ offer to go along as part of her entourage. In the great hall of Thronehold, the rulers of the Five Nations gather to hear a proclamation by a warforged emissary of the Lord of Blades. A warforged army gathers in the Mournland and will soon invade the rest of Khorvaire. The only terms they offer are unconditional surrender, or death.

Chaos breaks out in the great hall after the warforged crushes the recovered crown of Cyre and destroys itself, rather than be captured. When Merrix d’Cannith attempts to bid time to find out more from the characters, his rival Baron Jorlanna reveals they may know the location of the Heart of Khyber. The heroes make an impassioned plea to the assembled kings and queens of Khorvaire not to attempt to use the Heart against the warforged, knowing its evil and corrupt power will only make matters worse. They receive support from an unexpected source when the Voice of the Silver Flame speaks through Jaela for the first time outside of Flamekeep, telling witnesses that what the heroes say is true: the Heart of Khyber must be bound for all time. It cannot be used by mortal hands.

The characters are permitted to leave Thronehold under the guidance of the neutral Warders, as the sovereigns attempt to plan their defense against the Lord of Blades. Placed aboard the elemental galleon Wave Mistress, they set off towards the west and the Demon Wastes, knowing agents of their enemies cannot be far behind.
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 11: The Temple of Blood

The heroes arrive in Atur by lightning rail at sunset and begin seeking evidence of Maralon’s arrival in the City of Night. While Corlan and his wolf companion Dapple keep watch on the main entrance into the city, Vandal cases the Crimson Monastery, stronghold of the Blood of Vol, and Marik and Achon explore the central marketplace, where Achon finds Sister Elvinor, a Flamist agent operating in Atur under the identity of an old washer-woman running a laundry in the city. She informs them Maralon arrived in Atur not long before them and created quite a stir at the monastery, where they’re apparently preparing for some important impromtu ceremony. She agrees to help them get into the monastery, posing as a laundry delivery.

Realizing they have little time, Achon goes to get Corlan while Marik goes to collect Vandal. When the gong sounds at the monastery, calling the faithful to worship, Vandal chooses to slip back inside, while Marik returns for the rendevous. Ruffians ambush Achon and Corlan on their way back to the marketplace. They’re easily dispatched, but Achon feels a terrible bloodlust during the fight, just managing to retain control and keeping the lycanthropic curse from overwhelming him.

Vandal sneaks into the priests’ quarters in the monastery to steal a robe to disguise himself and finds the entrance to the catacombs guarded by Karrnathi skeletons demanding a password for entrance. As he returns to the dormatories looking, the rest of the party comes knocking, disguised as delivery men wheeling a cart of laundry (which conceals their weapons and other gear). When Achon kicks the door in on the priest who answers it, Vandal is behind him, blade in hand. They’re able to coax the password (a Blood of Vol prayer) from him, and head quickly to the catacombs.

There they find Maralon beginning an occult ritual, aided by priests of Vol and guarded by several skeleton knights. The heroes burst in and a battle begins, as blood pours down from channels in the worship chambers above: cultists “tithing” to the cause, energizing the undead necromancer and the Heart of Khyber. Achon fights alone against several skeletal knights, fighting down his terrible bloodlust all the while, until Vandal finally strikes Maralon a terrible blow that severs the necromancer’s left arm at the elbow, allowing the dwarf to seize the Heart of Khyber...

... and the temple chamber vanishes in a flash of silver-white flame from the holy symbols given to them in Flamekeep. The heroes find themselves alone in a small, private chapel of the Silver Flame, Vandal holding the dragonshard. The door to the chapel opens to admit High Cardinal Krozen and several Silver Flame Templars.

“Well, well,” the Cardinal purrs, “What have we here?”
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 10: To the Bone

Riding to Fort Bones, the party encounters more warforged making their way towards the Mournland, then later the remnants of Fort Bones’ garrison. The learn the undead of the fortress have turned on their living masters and taken the fort. The captain and her surviving men are headed to Fort Zombie for reinforcements to try and retake the fort.

The heroes manage to sneak into Fort Bones and strike at the office of the skeleton commander in a lightning raid. They overcome a number of Karnnathi skeletons and the skeleton captain, seizing his notes (which Marik learned about using his Mark of Shadow abilities). Then they beat a hasty retreat from Fort Bones, with skeletal cavalry in pursuit.

Unable to outrun the tireless undead steeds, they decide to make a stand on the plains of Karnnath, meeting the skeletons’ charge. In a furious battle, they overcome the undead warriors, although Achon is wounded by their leader. From the commander’s notes, they learn Maralon is on his way to Atur, the City of Night, so they return to Fort Zombie to board the lightning rail and head north deeper into Karnnath, in hopes of reaching the city and the necromancer in time before Maralon can put his plans into motion, creating a disaster that will transform Karnnath into a true land of the undead!
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 9: Shadow & Flame

The party takes the lightning rail to Flamekeep in Thrane, where they’re met by a detatchment of the High Cardinal’s guard. Apparently, they’re expected. Taken to the Cathedral of the Silver Flame, they have an audience with High Cardinal Krozen and Baron Jorlanna d’Cannith, where they relate their recent experiences and what they know about the Heart of Khyber.

The arrival of Jaela, the Keeper of the Silver Flame, interrupts the audience. She admonishes the High Cardinal for not having brought the adventurers to her at once, and escorts them from the High Cardinal’s Tower down into the depths of the Cathedral to the Chamber of the Flame itself. There the Voice of the Flame speaks through Jaela, warning the heroes of the dangers of the Heart, and not to trust anyone too much, as the khyber shard’s power corrupts all those who possess it, even those with the best of intentions. It tells them Maralon has taken the Heart to Fort Bones in Karnnath, so they set off at once.

Taking an airship the Karnnath, they pick up the lightning rail there to Fort Zombie, where they visit “the Slab,” a local inn, and enjoy the “hospitality” of the crone innkeeper Yselda and her deceased husband (now a zombie doing manual labor around the inn). They set out at first light for Fort Bones, but are attacked en route by a pack of wild wolves, led by a werewolf! (This is a grave concern, since the Church of the Silver Flame supposedly wiped out lycanthropes in a crusade centuries ago.) They defeat the pack, but not before the werewolf wounds Achon. Now the heroes must complete their task and find magical aid for Achon before the curse of lycanthropy can take hold in him.
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 8: The Dragon Wakes

The heroes take the lightning rail from Vathirond towards Sharn, to deliver the khyber shard recovered from Bluehearth to Baron Merrix. While en route, someone sets off an incendiary in the baggage coach of the lightning rail and several of the party go to investigate it. Vandal (suspicious fellow that he is) heads back towards the private coach arranged for the party by Merrix’s letter of credit. There he finds Qella, a dark cloaked half-elf woman trying to pick the lock. A scuffle follows, and Vandal manages to disarm the daring thief. When Corlan arrives, Vandal has him watch Qella while he steps into the coach to find a window open, and the magical haversack containing the dragonshard gone. A dimly visible figure flees from the path of the lightning rail in the distance. Qella chooses that moment to literally vanish into the shadows, so Vandal and Corlan do the only thing they can think of: leap from the lightning rail to pursue the thief.

Achon and Marik arrive from fighting the fire just in time to see Corlan make the leap. Having no idea what’s going on, they follow, Achon quipped that Vandal must have stolen the shard. The four adventurers quickly regroup and pursue, as a mysterious flock of crows flies overhead. They catch up to see their quarry is Achon’s warforged servant Drudge, surrounded by Karnathi zombies. The crows resolve into the form of Maralon the necromancer, an old foe of Achon’s. The skeletons decapitate Druge before the heroes can reach him, handing the haversack over the Maralon. They then occupy the heroes long enough for the necromancer to transform again, and the murder of crows vanishes into the night.

Drudge’s severed head speaks to the heroes, claiming to contain a part of the spirit of Starrin d’Cannith, the patriach of House Cannith, lost on the Day of Mourning. He tells them his faithful servant Drudge was prepared as a failsafe. The dragonshard they have recovered is the Heart of Khyber, the prison of a mighty Raksha demon lord. It was used as part of an ultimate binding ritual to create an impenetrable ward around Cyre, but caused the Day of Mourning instead. The demon seeks to cause death and destruction, and the Heart inspires avarice and desire in the hearts of those in power. Others will attempt to possess it, and use it like Cyre did, with terrible results. Only in the Demon Wastes to the far west can the Heart be cast into the furthest depths of Khyber, keeping it from the hands of the living.

Returning the Vathirond on foot, the party learns sometime during the night all the warforged in the town up and left, doing violence to anyone trying to stop them. They walked straight into the mist surrounding the Mournland and disappeared. Moreover, word has come from nearby Starislaskur and Wroat that warforged are leaving those areas in numbers, all headed east... towards the Mournland. Unable to track Maralon, but suspecting the necromancer is headed to Karnnath, the party decides to make their way to Flamekeep, the stronghold of the Church of the Silver Flame and capitol of Thrane. If what they have learned is true, the powers of the Five Nations and beyond must be warned.
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 7: A Simple Errand

The characters make their way from Vathirond back into the mists of the Mournland, following the track of the old lightning rail to the abandoned town of Kalazart. There, while resting for the night, they encounter a small troop of warforged, bearing broken daggers as amulets worn on crude chains. Ambushing two of the warforged scouts, they’re able to escape the town without needing the deal with the remainder of the troops.

They find their way to the secret Cannith facility of Bluehearth using the maps provided by Baron Merrix. Inside, they discover all the wood in the abandoned facility has sprouted tendrils growing everywhere. Achon sense it is a kind of undead plant life, the dead wood given unnatural growth. That growth apparently includes invasively controlling the bodies of the former inhabitants of the forge, which attack the heroes as “plant zombies”.

They discover the dragonshard mentioned by Baron Merrix, suspended in a web of metal cables above the deep pit into the underworld of Khyber. Marik makes the daring leap to the web to retrieve it as plant zombie warforged break into the chamber and Achon has to hold them off. The party flees the forge, Achon’s silver fire igniting the undead plants, sending flames shooting through the hidden facility. They’re able to return to Vathirond with the dragonshard, where Lord Bishop Olivar Thul of the Church of the Silver Flame informs them he has assumed command of matters involving Angwar Keep. He makes Achon a templar of the Church for his actions (an opportunity for Andy to get that level-up he planned) and the party makes plans to return to Sharn with the recovered dragonshard.
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 6: The City of Towers

Arriving in Sharn, the fabled “City of Towers” in Breland, the party accepts an invitation by Lady Eladren d’Cannith to visit the House Cannith Tower and meet with Baron Merrix, the head of the Breland faction of the Dragonmarked House. There Merrix makes them a tempting offer: he will supply them with considerable equipment (magical weapons and armor, cloaks of concealment, protective amulets, and so forth) in exchange for recovering a few particular items from former House Cannith forges in the Mournland. The party readily agrees and dines that evening with the Baron and his guests, Baron Elvinor Elorrenthi d’Phiarlan, the matriarch of House Phiarlan (Marik’s house) and Imre Lavelle, the dwarf “Curator of Acquiistions” for the Wayfinder Foundation. Merrix and guests are most interested to hear about the party’s adventures in the Mournland.

That night, they’re awakened by Lady Elyadren with dire news: Angwar Keep and the nearby village have come under attack. Merrix arranges for a House Orien scion to teleport the party back to Angwar at once, where they discover a force of warforged has decimated the keep and neighboring village, slaughtering most of the inhabitants, and leaving behind a few iron hounds to finish off the rest. They destroy the iron hounds in the keep and learn from the handful of survivors a force of several dozen warforged emerged from the mists of the Mournland, crossed the Brey River (by simply walking across the riverbed) and assaulted village and keep. Apparently, they were looking for the party, but no one knows why.

The characters arrange to send word to Merrix and to Professor Namuras in Sharn before heading into the Mournland, both to carry out Merrix’s first errand and to find out more about these warforged and what they want.
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 5: Shadows of Wroat

The party arrives via lightning rail in Wroat, the capitol of Breland, on their way to Sharn, the fabled City of Towers. Gran the orc druid discovers Prof. Namuras is missing, but his belongings are still in the coach, along with a note from someone asking him to meet in the dining coach of the lightning rail at midnight. A search makes it clear the Professor has been abducted by parties unknown, and the characters inform the City Watch, which begins and investigation.

Lady Elyadren d’Cannith offers to assist and enages an associate from House Tharashk, who locates the Professor in the Citadel, headquarters of the Dark Lanterns, Breland’s intelligence service. Before Lady Elyadren can bring any House Cannith pressure to bear, she, too is abducted, her warforged bodyguard Bulwark badly damaged, although he manages to reach the characters and tell them what happened.

Their investigation reveals Elyadren’s kidanapper is Baron Jorlanna, head of a rival House Cannith faction, rather than the Dark Lanterns. With the aid of Mor’tok d’Tharashk, they find her on a ship anchored on the Howling River. The party rescues Elyadren and narrowly escapes incineration when Jorlanna’s wizard hurls a fireball at them.

Arrested by the City Watch and taken into custody, they’re released when Elyadren’s faction of the dragonmarked house supports them and Jorlanna’s refuses to press the issue. They get a visit in the gaol from a changing agent of the Dark Lanterns, who tells them they’ve learned what they needed from Professor Namuras and warns them about the dangers of the territory they’ve entered. The Mournland is a valuable prize, one many nations and factions will do anything to control....
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 4: The Starilaskur Run

Professor Namuras intends to return to Morgrave University in Sharn to translate the draconic symbols found in the fire cave underneath Blackhearth and to seek a more extended expedition into the Mournland. Before he leaves, a messenger contacts with party: Prince Oargev, the last surviving member of the Cyran royal family, wishes to meet with them in Starilaskur in Breland. So the characters accompany the professor to Aruldusk and board the lightning rail there.

En route, orc druid Gran intervenes to help the characters deal with a displacer beast, telling the party he has sought them out because of a prophetic vision. Although he wishes to urgently return to Angwar Keep (the site in his vision), Gran agrees to travel along with them to Sharn and back. They board the lightning rail at Aruldusk, Gran relates his tale to the characters, and they retire for the evening, expected to arrive in Vathirond by morning.

That night, the characters all dream of being attacked and interrogated by Karrnathi skeletons, demanding to know the whereabouts of something called “the Heart of Khyber.” They all awaken at the same time, but Vandal notices that his hand is actually bleeding from where he grabbed the skeleton’s knife! Clearly, it was more than just a dream.

In Vathirond, Achon befriends a down-on-his-luck warforged servant named Drudge and hires him to accompany the characters, prompting Vandal to ask if he intends to adopt every stray they come across (since Achon also vouched for him). Drudge quickly and eagerly throws himself into his work.

In Starilaskur, late at night, the party goes to the Inn of the Golden Gryphon to meet Prince Oargev, who is eager to engage their services as explorers and find out more about the current state of Cyre (the Mournland). They reach an initial agreement and the characters return to the lightning rail station before their coach is scheduled to continue on to Wroat and eventually Sharn. There Drudge informs them of someone waiting to talk to them: Lady Elyadren d’Cannith, a scion of House Cannith, who is also quite interested in hiring explorers willing and able to enter the Mournland. The characters say they’ll consider her offer and she suggests they visit her while they are in Sharn (as she is also returning to the city aboard the lightning rail). Will they try and play both sides for all they can get?

Game Play: The “you have a vision to seek out these characters” trick to get Mike’s new character Gran into things quickly is a bit crude, but effective, particularly since there are prophetic things going on. The adoption of Drudge (originally just intended as some “local color” in Vathirond) was unexpected, but the servile warforged valet is fun to play and have around, kind of a magical C3PO.

Other than the short fight with the displacer beast, the evening’s game was pretty much all roleplaying: meeting new characters and setting up new potential plots and relationships. We’ll see what happens when the characters pass through Wroat (the Brelish capitol) and finally reach Sharn, to say nothing of their return to the keep and further exploration of the Mournland.
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 3: Maze of the Iron Minotaur

The party descends into the lower level of Blackhearth to discover it is a maze of twisting tunnels, containing the remains of some warforged apparently destroyed by traps they triggered. They also find the maze’s end: at the entrance to an even deeper underground passage to Khyber, the Underdark. In the antechamber is an iron statue of a minotaur and a pair of ancient pillars flanking the entrance to the tunnel. Old orcish script on the pillars reads: “Those below are bound for all time in Vvarrak’s name,” according to the translation by Maester Namuras.

In the tunnel, the heroes encounter some darkmantles and fight them off in the magical darkness they create. The minotaur takes the opportunity to seize Corlan as a bargaining chip, but releases him as a show of good faith. The party agrees to help the iron minotaur—a construct created by the artificers of Blackhearth during the Last War—to leave the magically warded lower level of the forge. In return, he reveals there is a wealth of Khyber dragonshards further down the tunnel, the reason why House Cannith built Blackhearth.

The adventurers brave a fire cave and lava flow to get the dragonshards, but a massive fire worm rises from a pool of lava and they’re forced to flee with what they have. The worm doesn’t pursue them and they’re able to leave the abandoned forge, only to encounter a band of warforged marauders. The warforged demand the dragonshards, but the adventurers are able to negotiate with them for access to Blackhearth, as the key only works for the dragonmarked and no warforged has manifested one. The Minotaur decides to remain with the warforged, which are more of “his kind” as part of the agreement, sending his rescuers back to Angwar Keep.

Game Play: Pretty smooth, for the most part. I figured out that initiative worked better dealing new cards each round: much more fluid (I’ve gotten too used to the d20 way of doing it). My house rule for “improvised” powers might be too restrictive, at least, the one opportunity that came up during the game was forgone due to the perceived difficulty, so I’ll need to consider that. Otherwise, the system worked pretty well, although it’s clearly not difficult to have an opponent the characters essentially can’t harm, like the fire worm. Fortunately, they were smart enough to run when faced with a fifty-foot worm made of volcanic stone!
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 2: Blackhearth

The characters adjorn to their room in Olladra’s Inn to open the strongbox they retrieved from the Mror Holds. Inside, they find a map of Cyre and a letter from their old commander Captain Farrik, explaining that the map shows the location of a secret House Cannith forge but, since no one has entered the Mournland and returned, it might be useless. Of course, the characters know that’s no longer the case, as they survived the Mournland. Maester Namuras is eager to take the opportunity to study conditions in the Mournland.

Just then, the door bursts open and a pair of warforged rush in with crossbows. The heroes fight them off: Marik rushing and pinning one to the wall with a chair, Achon engaging another. Vandal slips in and finishes off the second with an underhand strike, while Corlan’s wolf companion attacks the other and tears its neck apart, killing it. The characters decide to leave the inn quickly rather than wait around to talk to the authorities. They go from the keep to Angwar village by the riverside, where they spend the night.

In the morning, they acquire some supplies and a small rowboart and set off down the Brey River to near where Blackhearth is shown on the map. They hike inland to some flint hills, where Marik finds a small cave entrance. A hatchway leads down to a four-spoked complex. In the large workshop the party encounters and fights a pair of iron hounds (dog-like metal constructs) and finds a dragonshard braclet. In the library they deal with a living whirlwind using some warding chalk found on a desk there, and in the barracks and the Maester’s quarters in the forge, they find the mummified bodies of the former House Cannith personnel, carefully tended by construct servants. In the quarters, they find some other enchanted dragonshards.

The sharp-eyed Marik uncovers a hidden entrance beneath the main hall of the complex, keyed to the dragonshard bracelet they found. The adventurers descend the deep shaft into darkness and the next level of Blackhearth below...

Game Play: Savage Worlds continues to perform well, being fairly transparent and easy to use. I figured out I’m doing initiative slightly wrong (I should be dealing out new cards each round) and I’m keeping my eye on how damage works (although my concerns might be due to using fairly high Toughness foes like armored warforged and such). None of the characters were more than shaken in the fights, and overcame their opponents in no more than four rounds or so. Again, however, all the creatures they faced in this chapter weren’t “wild card” characters in SW parlance, so a couple solid hits took them down. The system seems to be catching on with the players.
stevekenson: (go-play)
Chapter 1: Any Tor In a Storm...

In the four years since the Day of Mourning destroyed the nation of Cyre, our four heroes have returned once a year to Angwar Keep, where they fought their last battle on the Cyrans on that fateful day. This year, they find a message from their old Captain, Farrik, along with passage on board the airship Silver Princess to the Mror Holds. In Korunda's Gate, the stronghold of House Kundarak, the heroes receive an odd bequest from their former comrade and commander: a locked iron strongbox, but without a key or any means to open it.

The four—dwarf scout Vandal Thorn, dragonmarked elf Marik Pharilan, ranger Corlan Half-Elven, and Achon Vaildos, priest of the Silver Flame—decide to return to Thrane on board the Princess. A storm diverts the airship from its planned course towards the grey expanse of the Mournland then, during the height of the storm, Karnnathi skeletons attack, slaying the crew and crippling the ship before the heroes fight them off. Barely escaping the last skeleton on-deck, our heroes leap from the falling Silver Princess using life-rings to carry them safely to the ground, and find themselves amdist a storm in the dark of night in the middle of nowhere.

They find a small, abandoned tower on a lone tor overlooking the mud-soaked plain. When Achon attempts to use his arcane senses, they are overwhelmed by the terrible wrongness of the Mournland and his companions are forced to drag him into the tower to revive him.

The interior of the tower is strangely bare: two floors and a set of stairs, but no furniture or debris. Corlan's wolf companion Dapple is nervous and edgy, but the heroes find shelter on the second floor of the tower and try to get some rest. That's when Corlan notices something dripping from the ceiling. Rain? No... for when it drops on his cloak, it sizzles and smokes! A massive grey ooze attacks from the ceiling, as the very walls of the tower seem to melt, for it turns out the whole of it is alive: some kind of amorphous creature with an acidic touch. With their torches and Achon's Silver Flame, they are able to hold this living tower at bay long enough to escape its gullet and flee into the storm. Their last sight is the massive creature, tendrils waving, silhouetted against the storm by a lightning flash.

By morning, the mysterious tower is gone, and the companions make their way westward to the Brey River and the border of the Mournland. There they are able to swim across the river into Thrane and return to Angwar Keep. At Olladra's Inn, the halfling proprietess Yollanda tells them a man has been looking for them. He introduces himself as Sul Namuras, Maester Sul Namuras, a professor at Morgrave University in Sharn, and he asks them why it is his old friend Captain Farrik has sent him this small silver key...

Game Play: Overall the Savage Worlds system performed pretty well. There's some definite variability in the system, with the capability of "acing" on a roll: getting multiple re-rolls. We saw a couple instances where aces permitted d6 rolls of 12-18 for some pretty spectacular results. On the other hand, that added some spice to the action. Likewise, characters suffered some damage, but no more than a wound in any given (short) fight, and resources like bennies and power points seemed to last sufficiently for a three hour game session. The system itself is pretty simple, and I like the use of playing cards to determine iniative, since you can leave the cards out face-up and see at a glance who goes when. Overall, a successful first game.



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