Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mystery of the Burned One, part 3

And now, the final part of the adventure...

The 9Q’s: Questions 7-9

Q7. Be the PCdefiance, combat

Scene: Tengrym is led away by drow to be transported to the Underdark. It is his one chance to escape.

Tengrym was released from the chain, though his manacles were kept in place. Leg irons were attached with a chain to his manacles, keeping him restricted. He was led down a darkened corridor away from the gathering. Pushed roughly at times, he trudged along, taking note of several side corridors, one that led to a stairway landing going up to areas where light played. Another corridor led to an area of dungeons. He wondered if possibly Aurous’s family was kept there.

Deeper he was led and down another stair coming at last to a round chamber set with a six-pointed star at its center. Six monoliths stood at each point. A gate, mused Tengrym. There standing nearby was a drow sorcerer with a staff of black and long robes trimmed with violet. The long-haired emaciated dark elf regarded Tengrym dispassionately and resumed study of a scroll. Tengrym noted the fellow to his left flank who carried his weapons and gear. It was his one and only chance…

Does Tengrym magically break free of his bonds? [1 FU to activate power, -Manacled, +Veteran Mage, +Veteran Mage] Yes, but…

Tengrym closed his eyes as the others stopped, awaiting to be signaled by the sorcerer. He imagined the representative symbols of power in his head and focused his attention, using a greater control of will to substitute for his hand gestures. With a breath, he uttered one word…


Immediately, his chains broke free, but his guards were not witless nor idle. With a grunt, Tengrym dropped with a kick to his backside.

Be the GM nextopen book, treasure chest, digging

Tengrym rolled up and prepared another quick spell. His opponents drew their weapons and grimaced in hatred, ready to kill. In the meantime, the dark elf sorcerer dropped his scroll and drew something dull from an inside pocket of his robes. The half-elf could not wait.

“Alarthcana vae!” he cried, launching a blast of fire at his four escorts from the tips of his fingers.

Does he inflict a wound on them with magical fire? [1 FU to activate, +Veteran Mage, +Veteran Mage, -1 More than one target] Yes, but…
☑ Injured

Flame erupted and consumed the four screaming warriors, but still two of them stood defiantly, swatting off sparks in black smoldering cloaks. The stench of burnt flesh filled the chamber, but the sorcerer was not idle during this time. The dark elf had cast a dark stone to the floor. It bounced and rolled. Where it landed, the stone around it took the sudden shape of a massive humanoid and sat up from its stony grave, a hulking monstrosity.

Be the PC again

Does he snatch up his sword before the others can stop him? [+Injured, -Injured, -Athletic] Yes…

Quickly, Tengrym rolled between the two distracted and still standing dark elves, snatching up his magical elf blade from his pack of things still clutched in the charred arms of one of the downed escorts. He continued his momentum through to stand on the opposite side of the group. His still-healing wounds caused him to grunt in effort.

The rock monster stepped forward, each step trembling the stones with a powerful impact tremor. Even the recovered drow stepped back in alarm and fear.

Does Tengrym cause a partial tunnel collapse from his spell? [1 FU to activate, +Veteran Mage, -Veteran Spell] No… [1 more FU point to flip a pip] No, but…
☑ Slowed

Tengrym stepped backward into the tunnel escape. Summoning all his power, he recited an incantation, repeating the arcane melisma. Directing his offhand upward, the stones above the way started to melt, turning to mud and slag. It didn’t have the effect he wanted — the tunnel opening remained intact. However, the hot and slippery stuff kept back pursuit for the moment.

The monster lunged forward against the hot and weakened arch, trying to clear the way for pursuit at the command of its master. Tengrym didn’t remain behind to see the outcome.

Does he escape? [+Slowed] Yes…

The sounds of impact and crumbling, tumbling rock continued behind as Tengrym sped down the darkened way.

Q8. Be the GMlightbulb, coughing, entering corridor — the enemy takes aggressive action against unsuspecting victims and the heroes

Scene: Hearing the alarm, and Aurous staging a sudden daring rescue with the loyal militiamen of Deepingdale, Shandorin moves with a contingent of drow to take Aurous’s family hostage to buy safe passage, running into Tengrym.

Not far down the tunnel, Tengrym approached the dungeons. From out of that passage, Shandorin appeared suddenly, roughly tugging a screaming woman in chains. Behind him were four dark elf warriors, two of whom bore squirming bundles — most likely children.

“We must escape!” he told his minions. “Aurous has stormed the warehouse with men of Deepingdale. They are our ticket to freedom…we must get the cargo out of here.”

It was then the scarred half-elf spotted Tengrym lurking in the shadows beyond just as another distant crash drew their attention. The man’s eyes widened…“And stop him!”

He fled with his hostages, leaving two to intercept Tengrym.

Be the PC again

Does he shield himself with magic? [1 FU to activate, +Veteran Mage, +Veteran Mage, -Novice Spell] Yes, but… [for only this one encounter]

Tengrym hastily incanted a spell, and a blue-white energy coalesced briefly around him. Then with a snarl, he leapt forward with his blade flashing in a testing arc.

Does he defeat his opponents? [+Swordplay, +Enduring Elf-blade, +Magically Armored, -Injured, -Drow Warriors, -Adamantium Weaponry] Yes, but… [the earth elemental charges]

The dark elves put up a fight, but could find no weakness in Tengrym’s defenses despite their fury of blade work. The half-elf cut them down. As he stood catching his breath over the fallen, a sudden explosion of rock nearby caused him to shield his face from a spray of flying shards. Before him and blocking his way was the stony behemoth, crouched in the narrow way. There seemed no place to run.

Does Tengrym magically “blink” to the other side? [1 FU to activate, +Veteran Mage, -Veteran Spell] Yes…
Does he outrun the elemental? Yes, and…

With a flourish and a mote of red sparkles, Tengrym disappeared, reappearing far to the opposite side of the passage, leaving the controlled creature to seek its prey. The half-elf wasted no more time and continued after his own prey. Nearby screams in the darkness alerted him that he was close.

Does Tengrym catch up? [-Head Start, +Burdened by Captives] Yes…

Tengrym rounded a corner and came close on the tails of his quarry. Shandorin spun wildly with a woman of middling years in his grasp, a dagger at her throat. “Not another step, Drowsbane!”

“It’s over, Shandorin,” Tengrym said. “Aurous will ensure you never leave this town. If you harm her, he will have no mercy upon you. What’s in the shipment?”

Does he get an answer out of the villain? [-Principled, -Cunning] No…

“You’re a fool, Drowsbane!” spat the disfigured half-elf. “You’ll die in thralldom like most of the other quaint Dalesfolk!”

Be the GM Once More

Shandorin turned with the woman, the drow backing away slowly and keeping the children between Tengrym and them. When they disappeared again, Tengrym kept going. When he came to the warehouse, already a battle of men and dark elves was taking place. Parts of the warehouse were burning, and everywhere men and drow grappled in hand to hand combat or exchanged arrow fire. Set in the center of the clearing of containers and boxes was a laden wagon already hitched to two horses. Shandorin was making for this. Already, the children freed themselves from their two dark elf captors in all the chaos.

Tengrym saw Aurous across the way. He beckoned and nodded toward the escaping Shandorin. “Your wife, I presume?” He shouted over the cacophony. Seeing this, Aurous shot into the midst of battle to get to the fleeing half-elf. Tengrym did the same.

Does Tengrym avoid injury? [+Lots of Cover] No, but…

As Tengrym sped across the open spaces, an errant arrow clipped him. He fell, swooning in pain. However, Aurous had got to Shandorin’s wagon. Now he was halting due the villain’s dagger tip poised at the throat of his wife.

Does Tengrym cause an injury and a distraction to Shandorin with a magical blast? [1 FU to activate; +Veteran Mage, +Veteran Mage, -Dazed, -Protective Ring] Yes...

Tengrym felt himself losing consciousness from the pain. He focused himself enough to utter a spell. A ball of light coalesced in his palm, then sped towards Shandorin, striking him in the back. The villain cried in pain and released his hold on the woman. Aurous leapt forward to protect his wife’s escape, and the two were locked in battle. Shandorin was the better swordsman, but with his injury, the two were well matched. The tide was turning toward the Dalesmen, with the drow getting pushed back.

Suddenly, the great rocky behemoth smashed through a wall, and all sides of the conflict turned to panic. The giant stepped through fire and charges through crates and obstacles, even splitting one of the supports of the warehouse. It fought its way toward Tengrym’s position, knocking anyone or anything out of its path. Behind the thing, Tengrym spied the sorcerer who summoned the thing from the beginning. It would mean ultimate disaster for the Dalesmen if something was not done about it. Tengrym was little help in a fight in his current condition, and even if he was fully hale, he couldn’t hope to stand up to an earth elemental. Dark elves were also notoriously resistant to magic.

Tengrym was pushed with a surge of adrenaline. He forgot his pain. With effort, he called into being a last magical effort.

Does Tengrym blink behind the sorcerer? [1 FU to activate; -Dazed; +Line of Sight, +Veteran Mage, +Veteran Mage] Yes, but…

With a word and gesture, Tengrym again vanished just as the monster bowled through his location. He reappeared just behind the spell caster, but it seemed the wizard had expected such a maneuver.

Does Tengrym avoid a blow? [-Dazed, -Injured, +Swordplay, +Enduring Elf Blade, +Emaciated] No, but…

With a grunt, Tengrym took the butt of the sorcerer’s staff to his gut. However, the brunt, he deflected firm enough that the dark elf lost his grip, the staff clattering on the floor.

The behemoth turned, locating his quarry again and lurched forward. Putting a sword tip to the sorcerer’s throat, Tengrym snarled, “Call off your monster! Do it, or you die!”

Does Tengrym’s threat work? [+Enduring Elf Blade, +Compromising Position] Yes…

The elemental stopped in its tracks. The sorcerer sneered. With a word, the monster shrank back into its handheld phylactery form. The dark elf kneeled in defeat, but in the confusion, Shandorin and a handful of drow escaped on horseback with the wagon. Several Dalesmen gathered around to gather up the surrendering drow and the sorcerer. As they did, Tengrym collapsed on the floor. He could give no more…

Q9. Conclusionsmiley face, tangential arrow, pushing over wall

The half-elf recovered from his mild injury, though his old wounds had reopened, and traveling any time soon was not in the cards. Nonetheless, the folk of Highmoon were hospitable and welcoming, especially after the Drowsbane had helped uncover the corruption. Aurous was discharged from service, but was pardoned of any treachery, since he was under duress. The half-elf constable happily accepted the decision — he thanked Tengrym for helping to free his family, and he no longer had to work for young Lord Thormemnon. He looked forward to peaceful times in the country caring for his family and leaving the constabulary of the dale to capable hands.

Tengrym, too, was exonerated for any suspicion of slaying five men in the inn his first evening in town, and given the thanks of the Dale and an honor for his valor and service. Tengrym refused, not wishing the name Veldis to become famous for deeds connected to his true identity and know by his enemies. However, Lord Thormemnon would not hear of it and held a banquet in his honor many days later. Thanks to some healing by a priest of Lathander, Tengrym planned to leave town before that date would come around.

Shandorin and a handful of his cronies did escape to which direction none knew for sure. The villain had done well to thwart any pursuit. And though the wagon had been recovered along the road outside of town, it’s mysterious cargo was missing. How Shandorin disappeared with an apparently heavy load on horseback was unknown. Only a mysterious grain spilled around the old warehouse near some of the parcels that were taken was the only clue as to what that cargo was. Tengrym took a small scoop of the stuff…perhaps research would illuminate more of Shandorin’s and the dark elves’ plan.

With that, Tengrym was unsure of his next move. He felt that more information was needed before attempting to pick up his nemesis’ trail again. Perhaps he would get the information he needed from his new friends in Shadowdale. After two days in Highmoon, being greeted by every goodwife and laborer, he knew it was long overdue to hit the road again.


  1. Finally got around to reading the ending. Cool stuff! Question: Did the FU system take control away from your PC, or were you playing it more as GM with an AI player?

    1. You mean with him wimping out at the end and not giving chase? That was all of the cardinal sins of roleplaying: being anti-heroic. He was down far enough he had no way of handling a chase and confronting him with any chance of success. Bad form perhaps, but I really want to see the story go much live to see another day.

      But perhaps you meant something else.