Continued from here, we have the final part of Kingon's first (and possibly last) adventure...
The 9Q’s: Questions 7-9
Q7. The Elvish Council
Focus (PC initiated): defiance
Imewar was very displeased to see Kingon. And for the third time, the young half-elf warrior surrendered his weapons. However, he refused to be blinded, arguing that he had found them in the first place. Perhaps that is why they were not sure how to decide his fate and why they brought him again to the elf lord.
After hearing Kingon’s excited and winded tale, the elf lord said, “And I am expected to believe such a farce?”
“Believe or disbelieve, at you leisure,” replied Kingon in the best elvish he could muster (he might have mixed up the fairly complex cases — but the gist was there). “Sit here and scoff at me, if you like…until that thing shows up to destroy your habitat.”
“Why would a demon show up here?” asked Imewar.
“Because it was following me,” answered Kingon with a smirk of satisfaction. “I see no other plan than to stand and fight, or pack up and flee. Your game with the goblins — your mistreatment and cruelty to them by whatever you have done — may end up dooming your people.” (miss)
“I will leave…” interrupted Kingon.
“Never to return!” amended Imewar.
“Yes…just give me my weapons and point me the way to the dale. I must go if I can and warn the folk there. May the gods have mercy upon you…”
Kingon was expelled from Mosshollow. He knew then and there that should another meeting ever take place, Imewar would be merciless and unforgiving.
Kingon set a course for the dales through the quickest route told to him (crit). Again, his speed and endurance could not be measured against any such feat before. He emerged from the wood, crying out in alarm for the people to ready themselves.
Q8. The Battle of Battledale
The Dramatic Finish: kookily lacking, punish home
Where? the village in the vicinity of Battledale
Focus: the enemy takes aggressive action against the heroes and unsuspecting victims
Does the demon have minions? No
Kingon crashed headlong through the woods, coming to a clearing near one of the northern hamlets of Battledale. He cried out, arms flailing in the air as he ran. Behind him followed his black feline.
“Fight! Fire! Flight!” he called, mustering all of his urgency (miss).
Some of the Dalesfolk, who were by nature generally fiercely independent and wary, watched the half-elf dance around like an idiot with some cynicism and a dash of humor.
“Send word! Call the village warriors! Run! Tell everyone to be ready — a fell beast comes!” he called.
No one moved… that is until the first sounds of the monster crashing through the woods came followed by a bloodcurdling shriek of rage. Some of the treetops in the distance quivered, some smoldered as the flaming monster lit bramble and foliage alight. Then, the few villagers who witnessed the coming ran in all directions wildly, shrieking cries of despair and panic.
Then the monster emerged, a towering bipedal horror of bone and flame. The monster threw its head back and shrieked yet again, sending a pall of terror among the folk.
Making a withdrawal, Kingon put arrow to bowstring, drew to ear and let loose (crit). Several arrows flew directly at the beast, feathering it here and there. The monster howled again in pain and then tumbled recklessly forward at a speed that belied its immense girth and height.
This immediately put Kingon into a run (partial). By near margins, he avoided being trampled by the monster, but was not many paces ahead of the thing. Even now, the demon reached down with an arcing swing of an elongated, taloned arm. Kingon sensed the impending doom, broke his run and abruptly rolled to the side (miss). Few could have withstood a minor strike from a major demon from the depths of the abyss. The blow knocked the young half-elf senseless, and blackness shut out the world.
Beyond the realms of the living were the many shades of the dead. In it center was the kingdom of death himself. Kingon was freed of his body and now stood before the lord of death. He was judged, and it was not surprising for death to know well of his coming (partial), but the final chapter in the land of the living was not yet come. And so, through the layers of the nonliving he was sent back...
Q9. The Nightmare
Where Does the World Stand? innocently drab, judge legal
Does someone encounter Kingon and restore him to health? Yes
Who? lovingly lacking, haggle mundane
What deal does death make? defiantly tranquil, fight weather
Kingon awoke in a none too comfortable bed — little more than a bolster and rushes. There was some acrid odor, hot stifling air, and the sound of something bubbling. When he opened his eyes, he saw an old crone leaning over him. However exceptionally ugly she was, he knew without a doubt that this woman had saved his life.
Glancing down, he noted he was stripped of his things and thoroughly bandaged with some exposed patches of badly burned skin revealed. Drawing a breath was agony. He had been leveled by a single swipe of the monster and left for dead.
Almost as if reading his thoughts, the old woman said, “You should have died, you should! Ah, but I see you are awake. Here, sip this…”
She brought a cup to his lips and poured slowly. He recoiled with disgust. A hot, revolting concoction slowly made its way down his throat.
“Ugh! What is that stuff?!”
“Best you not know, dearie,” cackled the woman.
“Ah, the demon!” the woman exclaimed.
The memory and the horror came back all at once. She described how the thing tore into the village, slaying many and leveling many of the homes and buildings. The creature continued a course south through Featherdale. Where it went next, was anyone’s guess.
“Don’t you worry, dearie! Some wizard will likely vanquish the thing, and banish it to the hells from whence it came,” the woman cackled. “You had quite some dreams while you were out.”
Then, the memories came back, if vaguely. “I remember seeing Him.”
“Him? Ah, the dark soul reaver!”
Kingon did not reveal the next part, but he remembered. His time was not yet to come, because there was work yet to do. A startling revelation came to him then, that all mortals were witless agents of death in some form or fashion. He remembered seeing the image of a man — a dark, evil worker of the Storm Lord. He realized this was probably a priest of Talos. He knew not his name, but the face was indelibly burned into his memory.
His reverie was interrupted by a knock at the door. A dark bearded man entered. It was the elected chancellor of the dale, a rather honorary title given to a representative to the annual moots of the dales.
“Ilmeth,” the man introduced curtly. He bore several burns and scars. No doubt he was involved with battling the monster. The man had come to ask questions about the origins of the monster and of the half-elf’s involvement.
Kingon related all his story — although he had not wanted to harm Imewar’s people or escalate tensions between the elves and the men of the dales, he felt it was his duty to tell the honest truth. So he did, the entirety of it.
When he had finished, Ilmeth said, “Well, we will have to check on that. I will have our foresters go to the woods to track the beast. I will also alert the Abbey of the Sword. If there is trouble with the elves, they will increase patrols and provide protection for the people.”
It sounded innocuous enough, but somehow, Kingon didn’t like the sound of it. He was disappointed when he asked Ilmeth about whether the elves had shown up to help fight the demon. Apparently they had not. Kingon was inclined to be judgmental, but then stayed his thoughts, not knowing what their story was. Were they killed? Did they go into deeper hiding?
Without a penny to his name, the half-elf did not worry about surviving. In the wild he could take care of himself, and there were always odd jobs to which his sword could lend aid. However, he was indebted to the old woman. He could not pay in the form of money, but he could help her by gathering herbs for her potions and other odd ends fix her dilapidated hut. When he had gained some strength, he helped many survivors rebuild their homes, or at least prepare a suitable temporary shelter.
He had made friends with the woman, and learned her name was Clarisa, a hermit and outcast of the village. That suited Kingon just fine too, because he preferred her peculiar company over the more inquisitive and prying village folk.
In a matter of days, Ilmeth checked in again on Kingon, and reported that his woodsmen had indeed found the goblin village and found signs of witchcraft that explained the demon’s appearance. Kingon was essentially cleared from Ilmeth’s suspicions.
When Kingon had mended enough, it was time for him to go. He thanked Clarisa many times. She also gave him supplies for his journeys. He had at least one friend in the dales. He enjoyed their time together, and even Shadow had come to appreciate the woman’s company. But, the half-elf could not stay in one place for too long. He and Shadow bid their farewells and moved on.
A fun little game! This was one of the first ones I could complete in one sitting — though the editing and filling some details took time. I will continue this one in as many scenarios as continues to provide myself some amusement. Using World of Dungeons (or a variation of it), I’d like to try advancing the hero through a few levels.
I’ve included other notes below:
Here is the form in which I created NPC stat blocks. Each has some hit points, gear, and a few keywords that may inspire some moves. Generally, light weapons do d6 damage up to d6+2 for a great weapon. Something truly potent might have 2d6+2 to 3d6+3.
GREATER DEMON. 17hp (Kingon’s volley crit took it down to 11), giant fists, trample, wreathing flames, armor 2. Skeletal horror of the lower planes. Terrifying shriek. Set aflame. Huge.
FOREST ELF. 4HP, sword, bow, light armor (counts as none). Wilderness. Stealthy. Resistant to sleep and charms. Intelligent. Ambush tactics. Elf-magic.
GOBLIN SNIPER. 2hp, long knife, short bow. Dirty inhuman thieves from the woods. Volley from afar. Craven in solitary numbers. Dirty tricks. Hit their own number.
GOBLIN RAIDER. 3hp, long knife or hand axe, shield. Dirty inhuman thieves from the woods. Pack tactics. Craven in solitary numbers. Dirty tricks.
I use a more DW approach to XP, gaining marks mostly through failure. Kingon's tallied 8XP from failure, and one for acting “good” in light of sacrificing himself to try to protect the town. That’s enough to boost him to level 2, which raises his horrible hp total to 9.
And there was much rejoicing...
For his next adventure, Kingon signs up for a low-paying caravan gig, and things quickly go awry.