Copyright © 1993 by Michael O’Brien and Brian Hebert
Permission is freely given for personal gaming use.
This tournament was first played at Necronomicon III in Sydney, New South Wales in 1993, Convulsion ’94 in Leicester, England and RQ Con II in San Fransisco the following year. I had loads of fun running this at conventions, especially at RQ Con II where one team (including Nick Brooke and some of the lads from Seattle/Victoria) finally dispensed with dice altogether and used beer bottle tops to determine outcomes. The more beer drunk, the more variables we added to the game! (This was also the game were we had to make up an extra PC on the fly, and made him a disgraced 79 year old Light Priest who farted in the temple or something. When Rich, the guy playing him asked what geases his character had, we all replied, “All of them!”)
Like Mad Prax Beyond Sun Dome (to link) this is a very traditional pre-MGF slice-n-dice RQ tournament, featuring my favorite Gloranthans – the Sun Dome templars of Prax. Once again the lozenge’s looniest baboon Melo Yelo appears, as does the amiable xenophobe Mars Melus. I guess this adventure takes place at an undefined time sometime after the events in Mad Prax, but the two scenarios are not linked in any way and can stand alone.
Trevor Ackerly, Andrew Bean, Phil Green, Tim Leask, Derek Prout
Only troublemakers get assigned to the VIIth Militia Squad at Rory’s well, commonly known by their nickname “Men of Gold”. The Men of Gold are mocked by a squad of Sun Dome Templars as they pass by. The Templars are escorting a salt trader to Isig’s well, an oasis far out on the Praxian plains.
Later, the Men of Gold are haunted by dreams which compel them to head for Isig’s Well. On the way they discover a number of strange animal corpses. They come across one of the Templars who tells that all the oasis folk are dead, and his comrades died too when they drank from the well. Soon after they find an oasis girl Teeka, who leads them to her grandfather Old Man Tree. He interprets their dreams and tells them that chaos is oozing from the well and that they must restore a warding made by Isig in mythical times to restore its purity.
After receiving items from the Cave of Ancestors, they trace the water to its source and restore the wards, passing chaos frogs and fighting off a chaos naiad. Finally they encounter Phloxx, the broo responsible. If they overcome Phloxx’s strange powers and return with his horns, they receive boons and blessings from their gods.
This tourament features 5 pregenerated player characters. If you’re going to integrate into your own campaign, note that Peltas Longarm is crucial to the plot. If you don’t use him, you’ll need to create a background for one of your players that fits this role.
(When I ran this at RQ Con II in San Fransisco we had to invent one extra PC on the fly, so we made him a disgraced 79 year old priest, busted back to the Sun Dome militia for farting in the temple, or some such. When Rich, the guy playing him asked me what Yelmalio magic does he have, I said “all of it”. When he asked what Yelmalio geases his character had, I replied “all of them!” (and we read them all out!) This made for some very amusing roleplaying!)
A templar ready to make Light Son. Shame his Shield Push team lost to the Lunars last week in front of the Count…
A strange baboon who’s convinced that the Yelmalio cult is his true calling. Make me light, brother…
Your typical Sun Domer farmer – loyal and stolid; a decent racist xenophobe.
Once said to be the Count Solanthos’s favorite, he’s been sent to the militia to make him a man…
Always an outsider in his own country, Peltas has just returned from two years digging salt at Pent Ridge, the County’s prison.
Jaspar Yello – The would-be Rune Lord
Jaspar Yello is File Leader of the VII Sun Dome Militia, the “Men of Gold” based at the far-flung Rory’s Well. Although talented and ambitious, command of this post is considered a punitive assignment. Jaspar came to be here after the Yelm’s Boast Eagles, the Shield Push team he captained, lost badly to a Lunar team (Shield Push is martial game not unlike American Football, but with shields). Gambling is forbidden in Sun County, but it widely understood that the Count had had a heavy wager on the game and also lost a lot of prestige before the Lunar Governor. Soon after, Jaspar found himself out at Rory’s Well.
You’re ready for Light Son (rune lord) status, but need to prove himself before the Count again. It’s going to be difficult with the rag bag bunch of militia you’ve got to work with! The self-assurance (well, arrogance) and cockiness that you had before the big Shield Push game is beginning to return. It’s been a while since you commanded mere miltia, and you are having trouble getting them to the level of precision and cohesiveness of your Shield Push team.
Mars is a loyal old stick, and well worth keeping on side. Peltas has the makings of a good Sun Domer, if his prison yard surliness can be drilled out of him. Promidius will never make the mark, and it vexes you to have such a type in your squad – if the Count ever came to inspect, what would he think (then again, didn’t Promidius used to be Solanthos’s joy-boy, that was the rumour). Melo Yelo is a pest, especially the way he follows you around and copies you. However, the priests sent him out here, and you can’t afford to cross the priests at the moment!
Responsibilities of the Sun County People’s Militia
- Keep the borders secure
- Keep tabs on foreign traders, adventurers, travellers and other riff-raff
- Stamp out the Hazia trade (Hazia is an illegal narcotic, also known as “dummy”)
- Support and obey the Sun Dome Templars when present
- Uphold Truth, Justice and the Sun Dome Way! (Sacred Yelmalio cheer: OY !)
Initiate of Yelmalio. Human male. Age 27STR 10
APP 15 Move: 3
Hit Points: 13
Magic Points: 16 + 8
DEX sr 2 + SIZ sr 1 = 3
Dodge = 44%19-20 Head 20 8/5
16-18 L.Arm 18-19 4/4
13-15 R.Arm 16-17 4/4
12 Chest 11-15 4/6
09-11 Guts 07-10 4/5
05-08 L.Leg 04-06 0/5
01-04 R..Leg 01-03 0/5Travelling Gear: Cuirboilli and Linen Armour on all locations except legs, plate helmet. Spear, hoplite shield, 3 javelins.Javelin SR-3/9 (1d8+1d2) A-81%
1H Spear SR-5 A-85% (1d8+1+1d4) Parry (10) -40%
Hoplite Shield SR-7 A-30% (1d6+1d4) Parry (18) -69%Spirit Magic (90%): Heal 4, Multimissile 1, Light (1), Lantern 1, Protection 2, Skills: Jump 62%; Swim 56%, Climb 55%, First Aid 63%, Listen 90%, Scan 50%, Hide 41%, Sneak 48%, Search 91%, Cult Lore 52%.Languages: Pavic 62/26, Firespeech 23/–, Trade 12/–. Yelmalio Gifts and Geases: Raised INT, Wear no armour on legs, never eat meat on Fireday.Special Items: Gold (what else) brooch shaped like a griffin has two gems for eyes. One is a magic crystal that stores 8 magic points.
Melo Yelo – The Devout Baboon
“Melo Yelo” is one really strange baboon. His baboon name is Garzeek, but the Sun Domers started calling him “Melo Yelo” and the name has stuck. Melo was drawn in from the Wastes by the glittering reflection of the Sun Dome temple’s golden roof, and became an instant believer.
After hanging around the Sun Dome for several years, the racist priests finally relented and let Melo become an “honorary initiate”. This means very little, but the baboon is certain the cult of Yelmalio is his true calling.
As a symbol of his earnestness, Melo is completely shaven and his skin is dyed bright yellow. He knows a few stock phrases of Firespeech, like “Shine, Son-Worshipper”, “Dome Above!” and “Make me light, Brother”.
You’re like all baboons, man: laid-back and c-o-o-l (think of a Rastafarian and you’ll get the picture). And you got rhythm, bro’ (except when you’re trying to walk on only your back legs).
What these humans get up to is pretty weird sometimes, but you figure if you just imitate what they do, you’ll look like a good Sun Domer too. You know that Yelmalio forces them to obey all kinds of strange rules – like only eating birdmeat but not eggs, and being kind to horses (this is a real shame, ‘cos you love to eat horse) – so you’d better find out what these rules are and follow them too. Getting into this militia unit was really great, and the leader, whose got the same last name as you!, is obviously the epitome of what being a Sun Domer is all about. Try and do what he does.
You’re pretty handy with your teeth, but Sun Domers don’t bite so you’ve gotta remember to use your spear (you sometimes forget in the thick of a fight). Sun Domers don’t go around on all fours either, so try your best to stay on your back legs or perhaps on threes.
You really want to do something to impress those Sun Dome priests, so they’ll let you become a Yelmalio for real. The painting yourself yellow trick didn’t work, so what next?
Getting into this militia unit was really great, and the leader, (whose got the same last name as you), is obviously the epitome of what being a Sun Domer is all about. Try and do what he does. The old man Mars is another good one to follow, even though he doesn’t like you much. The other two are learners like you, but you might even have a thing or two you can teach them.
“Honourary Initiate” of Yelmalio (lay member), Male baboon. Age 27.STR 22
APP 04 Move: 5 (all fours), 3 (on three legs), 1 (on hind legs)
Hit Points: 13
Magic Points: 15
DEX sr 1 + SIZ sr 2 = 3
Dodge 68% (-ENC) = 64%17-20 Head 19-20 1/4
14-16 L.F.Leg 17-18 1/3
11-13 R.F.Leg 15-16 1/3
08-10 ForeQ 10-14 1/5
05-07 HindQ 05-09 2/5
03-04 L.R.Leg 03-04 1/3
01-02 R.R.Leg 01-02 1/3Travelling Gear: Total Encumbrance = 4. Fatigue = 31 (35 -4). Leather skirt. 2-handed spear and gladius.
2H Spear SR-4 (1d10+1+1d6) A-60% Parry (10) -52%
Gladius SR-5 A-32% (1d6+1d6) Parry (10) -27%
Javelin SR-1/5/9 (1d8+1d3) A-52%
Sling SR-1 (1d8+1d3) A-43%Spirit Magic (85%): Protection-2, Ironclaw-2, Light (1), Disrupt (1), Mobility-2, Slow-1.Skills: Climb 106%, Jump 76%, Swim 56%, Listen 57%, Scan 46%, Track 71%, Hide 75%, Sneak 77%, Baboon Lore 23%, Human Lore 08%, Yelmalio Cult Lore 05%.Languages: Baboon 33/–, Praxian 33/66 (knot-writing), Pavic 19/–, Firespeech 03/–. Yelmalio Geas: Never eat the meat of horses (note: horse meat is a great baboon delicacy, dammit!)Equipment: Leather pouch contains 2 days supply of “baboon” food – nuts, berries, roots and a large, skinned water rat. Melo’s spear has a strap attached to the shaft, so it can be slung if he wants to run on all fours.
Mars is your typical Sun County farmer – stoic and loyal, maybe lacking a bit in humour, but an honest, decent fellow all the same, who works hard and loves his family – his dear wife Karla, and the kids; Haloric, the eldest (a boy, thank Yelmalio!) and the three girls, Kerin, Erryn and little Aleese. If he grumbles a lot, it usually only about the weather, and farmers everywhere grumble about the weather. Mars has a small holding just outside the settlement of Yelm’s Griddle, where he grows barley and hops.
You epitomize all the Sun County virtues and faults. If you’re unfriendly and distrustful of outsiders, it’s only because they’re impure and perverted, and not worthy of living in the Lands of the Sun. As for non-humans (such as baboons), they’re little more than animals, and should be treated as such. As a loyal militiaman, gifted with mastery of the bow by Yelmalio, you are ready to obey the commands of those placed above you, but you owe it to your family to stay alive and healthy. Fortunately, the really dangerous jobs are given to the Sun Dome Templars, not mere militiamen such as yourself. Nevertheless, fighting and warfare is a man’s job, to defend the womenfolk and children from harm.
Mars is a secret Hazia addict. Mars has a slight limp and chronic pain in his right knee, thanks to a bout of Malia’s Shakes last year. A friend suggested he try a new type of pipeweed to relieve the pain, and before long, Mars realised to his horror that he was addicted to the illegal narcotic, known colloquially as “dummy”. He hopes to wean himself off Hazia during his militia service with the Men of Gold, but all the constant patrolling aggravates his gammy leg. His addiction shames him, and doesn’t want to return to his family until he’s sorted himself out.
Hazia is cultivated illegally in plots deep in the barley fields of Sun County. The leaves are dried and smoked. It is a mild euphoric and is addictive. The Sun Dome authorities consider it a great evil, and a corrupting influence. Punishment for growers and traffickers is severe (eg. hanging or death by fire), while smokers are often given a righteous admonitary beating.
Jaspar is tries to be everything a good leader should be, but why does he allow animals in the squad? The two young fellows need a good dose of Sun Dome discipline – you can see Peltas one day proud to join the muster, but you’ve got your doubts about Promidius. He might be the Count’s favourite and all that, but he ain’t really got what it takes. Peltas deserves your encouragement; Promidius, your scorn. He if can’t the heat, he should go back to his mother’s kitchen!
Initiate of Yelmalio. Human male. Age 38. STR 14
APP 08 Move: 3
Hit Points: 14
Magic Points: 11
DEX sr 3 + SIZ sr 2 = 5
Dodge: 50% (-ENC) = 37% 19-20 Head 20 4/5
16-18 L.A. 18-19 1/4
13-15 R.A. 16-17 1/4
12 Chest 11-15 1/6
09-11 Abdm 07-10 1/5
05-08 L.L 04-06 1/5
01-04 R.L 01-03 1/5Travelling Gear: Total Encumbrance = 17. Fatigue = 13 (30 – 17). Linen armour on all locations, cuirboilli helmet. Spear, hoplite shield, self bow and quiver of 30 arrows, 3 javelins (belong to Yelanda). 1H Spear SR-7 A-44% (1d8+1+1d4) Parry (10) -37%
Hoplite Shield SR-7 A-19% (1d6+1d4) Parry (18) -46%
Javelin SR-3/9 (1d8+1d2) A-42%
Self Bow SR-3/9 (1d6+1) A-94%Spirit Magic: Heal-1, Bladesharp-1, Light-1.Divine Magic (one-use): Catseye x1, Sunbright x1.Skills: Jump 46%; Swim 16% (-ENC), First Aid 34%, Listen 57%, Scan 43%, Hide 31%, Sneak 27%, Plant Lore 21%, Craft Wood 43%, Farming 59%, Human Lore 31%.Languages: Pavic 31/–. Yelmalio Gifts and Geases: Mastery (90%) of self bow; Never seek shelter from Storm, Never flee or surrender to any Darkness creatures (eg. Trolls), Never eat any meat but bird meat.Special Items: “Lucky” shadowcat paw charm – halves the wearer’s chance of fumbling; two pipesful of Hazia – where are you going to get any more?
Young Promidius was the official Yelmalio contestant at the Garhound Contest last year. This is a special contest held during the Harvest festival at the market town of Garhound. Contestants compete in a number of events – a horse race, a drinking contest, wrestling, etc. – and the winner marries the Harvest Queen. Promidius lost. Although once the favourite of the Count, he’s been sent to the Sun County equivalent of Coventry – Rory’s Well. That’ll make him a man…
When Count Solanthos’s favourite, Promidius affected the haughty arrogance of a Sun Lord, but he has come down a long way in the world since then. The son of a Chalana arroy nurse, Promidius is gentle, sensitive soul, with poetic grace and manners. He took as his Yelmalio gift increased skill in dance, and it was his Yelmic ballet that won the heart and soul of the Count (in a purely platonic sense – the Count has a restrictive geas that prevents that sort of thing). Promidius is entirely unsuited to life as miltiaman or soldier. He hates the dirt, the dust and the grime, the lack of decent food and table manners, and not only sharing the barracks with common folk, but a baboon as well! When goaded by Jaspar, he tries his best, but his best never seems to be good enough!
When roleplaying Promidius, think of Tim Brooke-Taylor in The Goodies, or young Pike in Dad’s Army.
You feel you have absolutely nothing in common with your comrades, except maybe Jaspar, who aspires to bigger and better things too. Like you, he seems to be out of favour. Mars is a common dirt farmer, with no wit and no manners. Peltas is a common criminal, and born on the wrong side of blanket too, you suspect. Still, you sometimes have to admire his surly manner in front of Jaspar and the others. Your attempts to be cool like him just made everyone laugh. Melo is a dirty beast, quite literally, but it secretly shames you to know that he might one day be a better Yelmalian than you’ll ever be.
Initiate of Yelmalio. Human male. Age 17 STR 09
APP 18Move: 3
Hit Points: 16
Magic Points: 18
DEX sr 2 + SIZ sr 1 = 3
Dodge = 28%19-20 Head 20 4/6
16-18 L.Arm 18-19 1/5
13-15 R.Arm 16-17 1/5
12 Chest 11-15 1/8
09-11 Guts 07-10 1/6
05-08 L.Leg 04-06 1/6
01-04 R.Leg 01-03 1/6Travelling Gear: Linen Armour on all locations, cuirboilli helmet. Spear, hoplite shield, 3 javelins.Javelin SR-3/9 (1d8+1d2) A-41%
1H Spear SR-5 A-35% (1d8+1+1d4) Parry (10) -30%
Hoplite Shield SR-7 A-30% (1d6+1d4) Parry (18) -70%Spirit Magic (90%): Light (1), Detect Gold (1), Farsee 1, Lantern 1, Coordination 1 (reduces SR by 1), Repair 1, Disrupt (1).Skills: Jump 32%; Swim 16%, Climb 65%, First Aid 13%, Listen 47%, Scan 40%, Hide 61%, Sneak 38%, Animal Lore 11%, Ride 35%, Dance 66%, Cult Lore 12%.Languages: Pavic 32/16, Firespeech 03/–. Yelmalio Gifts and Geases: Raised Dance; Speak only “truth”.Special Items: Special poultice, worn around neck, protects against colds, chills and other ailment (+1 to CON rolls) – a gift from Mum.
Peltas feels like an outsider in his own country – and in many ways he is. Adopted into a kind Sun County family, the origins of himself and his sister are obscure. Unlike most Sun Domers who are fair-skinned, with blonde hair and brown eyes, Peltas has an olive complexion and rich green eyes. Although treated with kindness by his elderly adoptive parents, Peltas and sister had a difficult time with the other Sun Dome children in their small village. This brought them closer together. When he was 11, his sister succumbed to the plague of Malia’s Blue Pox which was raging in the county. Lost without her, Peltas began a slide into anti-social behaviour which ended up with him being sent to the Count’s salt mines at Pent Ridge out in Vulture’s County. He has just finished a two year sentence as punishment for various petty crimes – stealing, taking our Yelmic Lord’s name in vain, urinating in public, insubordination and so on. His heartbroken adoptive father arranged for Peltas to be sent out to Rory’s Well for a spell in the militia in the hope it will straighten him out.
After two years digging out salt under the whip, you project an image of being hard and tough. This hard labour almost broke you though, and you are only beginning to recover physically. Actually, the life of a miltiaman ain’t bad, if a little boring – haven’t had a chance to arrest anyone yet! It sill rankles you a bit to follow orders, but at least Jaspar seems to know what he’s on about. You’re still looking to find your place in the world, and beginning to wonder if perhaps Sun County isn’t the place you’ll find it. Unfortunately, you know very little about the world beyond, but are eager to find out.
Jaspar’s one of these ambitious types, whose always gotta make sure he comes out of anything smelling like roses. Mars is a surly old bugger, and was probably the sort of kid who teased you mercilessly when you were a kid. You suspect he’s smoking dummy on the quiet – he sometimes has that look about him that you learnt about out at Pent Ridge. Promidius is just a mama’s boy, Yelm knows how he ended up here. Jaspar comes down hard on him, even when he tries his hardest. Sometimes you can’t help feeling sorry for him, as he has that same look on his face your sister had when she was copping it from the other kids… Melo is great fun to have around, if only for the aggravation it gives to old Mars. It also secretly pleases you to have someone around whose even more foreign looking than you are.
Initiate of Yelmalio. Human male. Age 27STR 17
APP 09 Move: 3
Hit Points: 12
Magic Points: 10
DEX sr 2 + SIZ sr 1 = 3
Dodge = 34% 19-20 Head 20 4/4
16-18 L.Arm 18-19 1/3
13-15 R.Arm 16-17 4/3
12 Chest 11-15 1/5
09-11 Guts 07-10 1/4
05-08 L.Leg 04-06 1/4
01-04 R..Leg 01-03 1/4Travelling Gear: Linen Armour on all locations. Cuirboilli helmet. Spear, hoplite shield, 3 javelins.Javelin SR-3/9 (1d8+1d2) A-41%
1H Spear SR-5 A-45% (1d8+1+1d4) Parry (10) -40%
Hoplite Shield SR-7 A-19% (1d6+1d4) Parry (18) -46%
Fist SR-8 A-66% (1d3+1d4) Parry (arm) -57%Spirit Magic (90%): Heal 2, Lantern 1, Bladesharp 1Skills: Jump 42%; Swim 19%, Climb 75%, First Aid 33%, Listen 30%, Scan 30%, Hide 11%, Sneak 17%, Search 31%, Mineral Lore 33%, Cult Lore 02%.Languages: Pavic 36/–, Trade 16/-, River 22/–, Lunar 20/–. Yelmalio Gifts and Geases: Gift of Languages, never use any axe.Special Items: Tattoo on right arm is enchanted to provide 3 AP. Incomplete enchantment tattoo on left arm.
Part 1: On Yelmalio’s Service
On the Road
The plot opens on a hot dry and dusty day, some- where among the farms of Sun County. The Men of Gold are on patrol, on the lookout for signs of trouble along the western fringes of Sun County. Beyond the last farmstead lies the plains of Prax, home to the barbarous animal nomads, who look open the pleasant farmlands with jealous eyes. Unfortunately, there are no nomads to be seen, just mile after mile of endless barley, interspersed with the irrigation channels which keep the County alive.
After an overnight patrol, the party are walking down the trail back to their barracks at Rory’s Well. The dusty path follows the dry bed of Stony Creek, which only flows when the rains come. Behind them, the trail winds its way to the last Sun Dome village of Yellow Sky, and then back into the Long Dry, a particularly arid part of the Praxian plains.
- Give the PCs some moments to establish their roles. After a while:
The OY Boys
Sometime in the morning, the PCs spot a wagon coming towards them along the road, escorted by a number of Sun Dome Templars. These are the real soldiers of Sun County, and their polished armour shines in the sunlight as they approach.
- The Militia are supposed to line up at attention, and be properly deferential when Templars are around. The Templars look contemptuously at the militia and one, with a bushy black beard, says something about Melo Yelo and his companions laugh.
The wagon is pulled by two mules and is driven by a Lokarnos initiate, Eudocius Skysell. He stops to have a word with Jaspar:
“Tell me man, this is the path to good village of Yellow Sky is it not?” (It is.) “Good, we must stop there for water before heading out onto the plains.”
- Looking in the tray, the wagon’s cargo is made up of hemp bags.
- Peltas identifies the bags as filled with rock salt from the Count’s mines at Pent Ridge out in Vulture’s Country. Just seeing the rock salt brings a sting to Peltas’s eyes and burning to his back, for it was at Pent Ridge where he served out his punishment.
“We are heading for the oasis at Isig’s Well, where we shall trade with the Nomads. Salt’s the only thing the nomads need, so we get a good price for it: each bag’s gotta be worth a good meat beast for sure.”
- Just as he readies to leave, the trader looks curiously at Peltas: “You’re not from Isig’s Well are you? You remind me of the oasis folk.”
The trader bids farewell, the Templars give the sacred Yelmalio salute (“Yo!”), and march off with the wagon.
The Men of Gold return to Rory’s Well for the night. Rory’s Well is a typical Sun County market town, with very little to do, and few people willing to do it with you.
- Pass through the evening’s activities quickly – the Men of Gold are all exhausted from their patrol.
That night everyone dreams which they remember vividly upon waking.
What the Sun Priest Says
The PCs might seek spiritual guidance. The local acolyte is willing to cast a divination to interpret their dreams. He lights a fire in the Sun Dome temple and stands above it, inhaling the smoke. Then, after reciting a long prayer in Firespeech he stares up through the hole in the dome of the temple directly into the sun. His answer:
“You are under the watchful eye of Monrogh, the founder, he who keeps us true to Yelmalio ways. A great white bird flies behind him. You have the Lord’s blessing: go!”
- If the dreams are ignored, they increase in intensity the following night. A man in golden armour appears at the end of the dream, shaking his head in anger and disappointment. He jabs everyone with the point of his spear and they awaken with a pain in the chests and the extra Yelmalio geas “Never Seek Shelter from Storm”. This is Monrogh, spirit of Reprisal for Yelmalio. After intercession from White Crane Woman, he knows that the future of Sun County is at stake!
Part 2: The Journey
The PCs know that they can get to Isig’s well by following the trail along Stony Creek. They are unsure how far it is. The village of Yellow Sky lies on their way.
The PCs trudge into Yellow Sky, the last Sun Dome settlement before the Long Dry. The village is protected by a high brick wall, for the nomads are an ever-present menace out on the fringes of the Count’s lands.
The headman, Banashi Sandbeard, is a retired Templar, who runs his settlement as if he was still in the military. He responds well to the PCs if they play along as model soldiers to him, but if they do, he tries to cajole them into standing watch that night – two until midnight and three until dawn.
- Very little happens in the village at night, as Banashi enforces a strict curfew. If the PCs want to get up to hi jinks, the GM if welcome to improvise. Most of the villagers are sullen and resentful, but totally cowed by Banashi’s authority.
- Several villagers are secret Hazia addicts – Scan or Human Lore by Mars picks up the tell-tale signs – sniffing, vacant expression. They may be willing to sell or trade to him, if they can do it without Banashi finding out.
Banashi can tell the PCs that a Lokarnos wagon and a half file of Templars marched through the village exactly a week ago, following the trail by the river bed towards Isig’s Well. There has been no traffic either way since.
Banashi suggests that the PCs fill their water bags at the well before beginning the march, as Stony Creek will remain dry until the rains come next season, and there is no water out on the Long Dry.
Into the Long Dry
The last signs of human cultivation peter out soon after leaving Yellow Sky. Beyond lies the Long Dry, an unusually arid region of Prax. Isig’s Well is an oasis some 30 kilometers into the Long Dry, at the foot of the barren but holy Eiritha hills. The usual way to reach it is by following the dry bed of Stony Creek. The going is fairly rough, and it is 2 day journey on foot.
The Herd Beast
About noon of the first day’s travel the group notes a strong smell of decay coming from nearby. In a hollow they find the corpse of a bison bull. It appears to be fairly recent, as the corpse is intact.
- A closer examination (Animal Lore) reveals that the body must be fairly old as it is drying out in the hot sun.
There is not a mark on the bull to explain its death. Even more strangely, there are only minor signs of scavengers having eaten at the corpse.
- Melo Yelo is aware that by now it should be no more than bones and sinew.
- Scanning the site reveals the remains of several carrion birds scattered in the grass nearby.
Anyone stupid enough to eat the flesh of this animal is poisoned (POT 25). It takes 2 hours to reach full effect (faster on smaller, high metabolism creatures, hence the dead birdies nearby). If the CON roll is successful, the victim is still violently sick for several hours.
Ants Take a Detour
More corpses of various animals in a similar state are discovered as the PC’s progress towards Isig’s Well.
In the late afternoon, the group wanders past several warrior ant mounds. A pair of wild sables lie dead, close to a warrior ant mound.
- Scan: a swarm of ants cut a wide swathe around the corpses, whereas the tenacious warrior ants usually stop for no obstacle and consume everything in their path.
Towards dusk, when the PCs must look for a suitable place to camp for the night, they come across a dead zebra which has several great gashes out of its belly.
- Listen: a pitiful squawking about 100 metres away.
Investigation finds a dying giant condor (SIZ 26), lying in the grass, flapping one of its wings fitfully. Strips of zebra skin hang from its claws. The condor has a gold ring around one of its legs which is marked with a series of Fire/Sky runes.
- Like many birds, condors are sacred to the Yelmalio cult. There is very little the PCs can do to save it, but burning the corpse and offering a prayer to Vrimak, god of the birds (or Yelmalio) Monrogh grants those responsible one free use of the Speak to Birds spell. The ring is not magical, but returning it to the Sun Dome would be well regarded.
As Yelm sinks below the horizon on his nightly trip to the underworld, the PCs must bed down somewhere. The Praxian night is still and cloudless, and countless stars blaze in the heavens. To the west, the Red Moon emits her reddish pall, as if the Goddess’s eyes look out even as far as Prax. Frogs croak disconsolately underneath the stream bed, waiting for the rains to come again.
Late in the evening the PCs are roused by a gasping sound, and the clanking sound of metal against stone.
- Scan: an indistinct creature coming along the stream bed from the west: sort of a triangular blob, sounds as if its dragging something.
- Scan with Light/Lantern spells: a humanoid figure, dragging something behind it.
- Sunbright spell (or wait until he draws near): a bearded man, wearing the helmet of a Templar but dressed in filthy rags, dragging a wooden frame behind him. Tied to the frame are several pieces of armour, which clatter on the stones, and a large bundle. The man is covered in scratches and blisters, his mouth is parched and his eyes are glazed.
This is Yelonidas, one of the Templars who marched to Isig’s Well earlier. As soon as he spots the PCs – whether they are hostile or not – he makes toward them, struggling with his awkward burden and gasping for water: “Water, for Yelm’s sake, water!” He stumbles on the rocks, and falls to the ground, sobbing with a dry throat.
Yelonidas is crazed by thirst and exhaustion, and cannot offer anything coherent until he drinks some water. Despite this, he looks at the PCs water bags suspiciously, and asks where they got their water from.
The frame Yelonidas was dragging is made from two wagon axles lashed together. Various pieces of metal armour are tied to it. All of the armour is bronze, Templar-issue.
- A bronze vambrace that could fit Peltas and Jaspar (plate 8 AP)
- A bronze cuirass that could fit everyone except Melo Yelo (plate 8 AP)
- A gilded full helm that could fit everyone (plate 8 AP)
The large bundle is actually the body a male human, with a thick black beard. The lips are parched and cracked, and the eyes open, but dried out and unseeing. The PCs will recognize the corpse as that of the Templar who insulted them earlier. In his dazed state, Yelonidas is unaware that his comrade Orlantio died earlier that day, and continued to dragging him behind. Once he realises Orlantio is dead, he still insists on taking him to the Healers as soon as possible, in case his dearest friend can be resurrected.
After Yelonidas is given water he calms somewhat and frantically eats any food that is offered. He tells this story:
“There were eight of us. Now that Orlantio is gone I am all that remains.” He swallows and drops his head. “When we got to Isig’s Well we found everyone dead – the people, the dogs, even birds out of the sky, everyone. Although there was no Healer among us, we are sure we saw the mark of Malia, for what else kills without wounds? No one answered our calls, so we were quick to leave. As our water bags were empty, we refilled our skins at Isig’s Well, for the purity of its water is well known and we thought it would fortify us against the stench of corruption in the air. Orlantio and I were the only ones not to drink for – the Lord compels me to tell you this – we had secreted some wine in our water bags and had to drink them dry lest our commander find out. Orlantio then rinsed his mouth to disguise his breath. I did not drink. Now I’m the only one left alive.”
Yelonidas spends the night at the PCs’ camp, and continues on with his dead comrade at dawn. He wants to get back to Sun County as quickly as he can, because delay will lessen the chance of successfully resurrecting Orlantio. Yelonidas knows the spell Seek Sun Dome, which can guide him safely. He can be persuaded to give up any of the equipment he is carrying, but under no circumstances will return to Isig’s Well, even if the PCs take Orlantio’s body and burn it.
Yelm breaks over the barren plain, heralding a hot and dry day on the plains. However, as the PCs draw closer to the bare Eiritha Hills they notice dark clouds building above them. More dead animals are encountered, all like the others – with little or no sign of scavengers, and no marks or wounds.
Some hours later, the PCs come across the corpse of another of the Templars, curled up under a skullbush. The corpse is several days old, but like the others, has no signs of scavengers. The corpse is dressed in Templar armour, which the PCs may be reluctant to filch. However, wearing the armour will have no ill effects.
- The corpse wears a gold armband with a Fire rune etched onto it. It is a matrix for Lantern 3 and works for any Yelmalio cultist.
Shortly after encountering the dead Templar, the PCs come across the Lokarnos wagon. Two templars lie slumped over the traces, they collapsed and died pulling the wagon. The others lie dead around it and back along the trail for some distance. The Lokarnos merchant lies dead in the tray of the wagon, one of the water bags at his lips. Some of the wagon’s cargo of rock salt lies strewn on the road behind it, and the rest can be found in bits and pieces almost all the way back to the Well. Each of the hemp bags weighs 4 ENC, and there are about 40 that could be recovered.
- Peltas knows just how valuable salt is to the Animal Nomads of Prax. Salt is the only thing they lack for their way of life, for they need it to preserve meat and to make leather. Each bag could be traded with the nomads for the price of a large meat beast, such as a zebra or bison. But is the rock salt safe?
- The PCs can scavenge Templar armour for everybody, if the threat of infection doesn’t scare them off. One Templar’s spear has a silver band wrapped onto the haft, which is a Bladesharp 4 matrix. Another has a small pouch containing several plugs of high grade dummy (tsk tsk). Each Templar carries 1d20 gold stars (each worth 1.5L).
- The Lokarnos merchant was a mere initiate, and carries a concealed belt pouch with 6 wheels and 31 stars.
The terrain becomes hilly as the Long Dry runs into the foothills of the Eiritha Hills. Isig’s Well is only a few kilometres away when another human corpse is spotted, this time the body of a young man. Not far beyond this is what appears to be the corpse of a child. As the players dismiss it as another victim it moans and stirs. It is a girl about 10 or 11 years old, dehydrated and exhausted.
- The child has the characteristic piercing green eyes, olive skin and fair hair of the oasis folk from Isig’s Well. In fact, she resembles Peltas’s little sister, who died at about the same age.
The girl is eager to drink but is in a state of shock. She only speaks the Isig oasis dialect, a language spoken nowhere else. After a drink she begins to speak excitedly, but it sounds like meaningless gibberish (the language spoken by the oasis people at Isig’s Well is unlike any other tongue). About all they can tell for certain is her name is “Teeka”.
- As she babbles on, Peltas slowly becomes aware that he is beginning to understand the child: memories of the language he spoke as a infant come flooding back into his mind.
Teeka begs to be taken to “Old Man Tree”, her grandfather. He lives, she says, “near the prickly pear towards the sunrise”. Asked who he is, she says “A Wise Man”. If asked about Isig’s Well she wails. If brought in the direction of Isig’s Well she becomes hysterical. Teeka takes to Peltas, and stays as close to him as she can.
Old Man Tree
Teeka leads the PC’s east to a great stand of prickly pears on the slopes of the Eiritha Hills. Birds and bats flit about the place, but it is very still. Teeka calls out to her grandfather, and after searching for some time they get the feeling they are being watched.
Eventually as Teeka calls out as she is snatched from behind by someone who quickly disappears back into the thorny depths of a prickly pear clump with the child and out of sight.
- Chasing after Teeka’s abductor requires rushing headlong into the clump of prickly pear, doing 1 point of damage to 1d6 hit locations (armour does not protect). Search or Track reveal nothing.
Just as the PCs are beginning to despair, Old Man Tree appears again, holding Teeka’s hand. Teeka is chewing on a succulent piece of prickly pear fruit and looks completely at ease. He speaks in fluent but strangely accented Pavic: “Please forgive my behaviour. I did not mean any rudeness. I prefer my own company and am somewhat protective of my privacy. When I saw that you had my granddaughter I was alarmed and unsure of your intentions.” He looks at Peltas, and a new cast comes over his face, one of reverence and joy. “Ah, the last son of Isig has come! I wondered how long it would take for you to answer White Crane Woman’s call.”
Old Man Tree is green-eyed like his grandchild, but white-haired and stooped. His face and hands and neck are heavily tattooed and he gives off an almost palpable aura of magic and spirituality. Old Man Tree is a reclusive and powerful shaman of the Isig family.
The shaman leads the party on a winding path through the dense prickly pear, and when they finally come to a small clearing everyone is amazed to find that their clothes and skin haven’t been ripped to shreds by the sharp spines of the cactus. A campfire burns by a small lean-to.
Old Man Tree invites the party to share a meal with him. He offers them freshly cut prickly pear fruit and swigs of a refreshing and potent drink also made from the cactus.
He asks the group to tell them their story. He grows very grave listening to their tale. Old Man Tree follows with the story of Isig’s Well:
“Long ago, in the golden age of Godtime, Isig was a son of the earth, who found that he need hardly exert himself to find food, for he and family dwelt in Genert’s Garden. When the Darkness came he was forced to leave his home and wander, searching the blasted plains for forage. When light returned to the world he took those of his people who survived back to their home, only to find that the well of sweet water had been corrupted by chaos. The smallest sip could kill man or beast, and their valley through which it ran was dead and parched. Isig swore an oath to purify this land and claim it once again for his people.
He prepared great magics and, using the power of his crane-bone flute which he won in the other world, he travelled to the very source of chaos and sealed it. From that day on the waters which flow into Isig’s Well are famous for their purity. Many who are ill or need spiritual ease travel to bathe there and to drink.
The ancient warding which he forged has been broken and the corruption of chaos is again free to pollute our land. The people of Isig took the water and died: their poisoned souls spirits crowd into the Cave of Ancestors, where Isig tries to offer them comfort.
When the rains come, the defiled water will overflow and run down through the stony creek to the big river, and from there into all the channels the Gold People (Sun Domers) have dug.”
When asked what can be done, he refers to the PCs’ dreams:
- To Peltas: “You are the last son of Isig, which is why White Crane Woman came to you. Your friends too, they have been chosen to aid you: White Crane Woman has seen to it. She is the wife of Isig and her message is clear. You must travel to Isig and offer him your service. Only Isig knows how to master this threat.”
How can he be reached?
- “His shade rests in the Cave of the Ancestors. You must travel first to Isig’s Well to retrieve the ladder which is kept outside the High Man’s hearth. Do not enter the High Man’s hut. Bring the ladder to the cliff of the ancestors and climb to the caves. Be wary in that cave, for it has stood for since the Dawn without being looted. I will keep Teeka safely here. Go now child of Isig and children of the Sun!”
Part 3: Isig’s Well
The path approaches Isig’s Well from the hills above. Before they come close, dozens of vultures and condors are visible in the sky, circling but not landing. Coming over a rise, the PCs are afforded a view of the oasis.
Isig’s Well nestles up against a cliff at the foot of the Eiritha Hills. The oasis is a lush garden of date palms lying behind white walls, with small conical huts scattered amongst the greenery. A large green-blue pool shimmers in the heat: this is fabled source of the once pure water of Isig’s Well.
As the PC’s approach the oasis the stench of death becomes almost overpowering. Dozens of corpses of animals are scattered about, as they approach the site, human bodies become increasingly visible as well. There is no one left alive at Isig’s Well, and the scavenger birds circle uneasily above, wary of landing, but reluctant to leave a tantalising site with so much ready meat.
As the wind whips around the PCs, it has a wailing quality about it, as if hundreds of people are crying out in anguish.
The headman’s hearth is the largest of the wattle and daub huts. Outside it, a large fossilised tree-trunk is planted in a stone base on the ground. It is about 6 meters high, polished smooth and covered with runes. Deep notches are hacked out at regular intervals, that serve as rungs. This tree trunk is the last remains of the garden Isig and his people lived in before the Darkness. It is inherently magical, but specialised knowledge of the Isig clan is required to activate any of the powers. To unearth the tree trunk requires requires a combined strength of 40. To carry it any distance requires a combined strength of 60.
- The PCs can search the village freely, but, due to the smell and revulsion, must roll CON x 3 to enter any structure or examine any body. If the PCs need any type of common equipment it can be easily found here (Search).
The head man’s hearth contains the only items of great value – ritual items of the Isig family, and the clan’s secret hoard – but the hut is guarded by the Old Man Tree’s fetch: POW 66. Anyone attempting to enter the hut is chased out or possessed and marched out.
The wailing, moaning wind continues as the PCs wander in the village, which is otherwise silent. Clouds continue to build up over the hills.
The Cave of the Ancestors
A number of caves are visible from the Well, high up on the cliffs. Carrying the ladder to a spot underneath is difficult but not impossible. There are about 20 holes, all about 10 – 20 meters from the ground. The wailing, moaning sound seems to becoming from these holes.
- The cliff actually hangs at an angle past the perpendicular, making climbing to them extremely difficult (Climb -20%; fail means a fall; roll 1d20 to see how high up).
On the ground just below one cave is a shallow depression, worn into the rock. If the ladder is placed here and leaned against the cliff face it fits into a slot worn into the lip of the cave at the top.
- Climbing the ladder is fairly easy, requiring three Climb rolls at +30%.
- It is possible to climb or use the ladder to get to one of the other caves. Most contains the remains of the Isig clan, dating back since the Dawning. The caves are now haunted by hundreds of spirits of the oasis people, who died after drinking from the Well. They are all in a frightened and confused state, and will attack anyone who enters in spirit combat. Describe dozens of howling spirits swarming around the character and tearing and grasping at him with incorporeal fingers: it should be enough to chase ’em out.
The ladder leads to the cave mouth, which is more just a split in the rock, about 2 meters high and wide enough to allow the passage of one person at a time.
- Some form of lighting (eg. Light spell) shows that the cave stretches about 5-6m further and ends in a large open space. Strange shadows seems to flit about in the light: are they bats or insects, or something else less altogether?
Isig’s cave has no traps or magical defences: Isig’s spirit is quite strong enough to deal with any ordinary robbers.
The end of the cave opens out into a large cavern. Skeletons are heaped in drifts around the sides of the room and there are several decaying baskets and large, sealed earthenware urns tucked away into nooks and crannies. Four coffin-like holes are dug into the sides of the cave which contain human remains. Scan reveals 5 more such holes which are still sealed with mud and clay.
- If the PC’s search through any of the contents of the cave, call out, or simply wait for a few minutes, Isig appears.
A feeling of being observed starts to grow and the shadows in the edges of the cavern darken. There is the occasional rattle of sand and pebbles: it feels as if something very powerful is stirring.
A low reedy voice can barely be heard. To Peltas, it is in the oasis tongue. To the others, in Pavic:
“Who are you?”
If no one answers the sense of menace grows and the question is repeated.
If the PC’s still do not answer then a random PC is struck by Isig’s Fire and the question is repeated.
The correct answer is “I am a child of Isig” or “We are the children of Isig”, or “We bring a child of Isig”, etc. If this response is given then Isig asks his second question. If the response is wrong then the PC who answered is struck by Isig’s Fire and the question is repeated.
His second question is, “Who sent you?”
The right answer must mention White Crane Woman (Peltas) or Yelmalio (the others). “Old Man Tree” is not a right answer. Failure is again punished. Success brings the the question, “Why have you come?”
The correct answer here includes any variation of the following: “To serve you.” “To cleanse Isig’s Well.” “To purify your hearth.” etc.
Once these three questions have been answered to Isig’s satisfaction the mud covering of one of the burial niches crumbles and Isig commands:
“Reach into my grave and retrieve only my flute and beaded bag.”
- The open grave is impossibly dark, and even Light spells cannot penetrate into its murky depths. Reaching into the hole is an unnerving experience; inside, it feels warm, and filled with bones, teeth, and moist soil. Worms and bugs seem to slither through the dirt on over the PCs hand. The flute and bag can be located with a successful Luck (POW x 5) roll. Retrieving anything else is especially unwise, and the thief is struck by Isig’s Fire until he restores the item.
The flute appears to be carved out of a long, thin bone. Its head is shaped like a crane’s beak. When the beaded bag is opened it is found to contain fist-sized lumps of white chalk, charcoal, red clay and soft yellow stone.
Once the PC’s have retrieved the bag Isig orders them to seal up the grave once again.
After this is done, Isig continues:
“There is a cavern behind my pool. Follow it to the source within the earth. Find the painting which I made there and restore it. Then play my flute, the song will come of itself. Those who are not playing must sing. This will reseal the source of chaos which is buried there. When you have finished return my things to me here. Go.”
After this Isig is silent. As the PC’s begin to leave he adds:
“This obscenity was crafted by the one who calls itself Phloxx. Bring me its horns and I will grant each of you a boon. Now go.”
The audience is over.
Part 4: The Source of Isig’s Well
Note: A map is unnecessary. The cave and chambers run in the same direction, in a pretty much linear path.
The pool at Isig’s well looks deep, cool and delicious, but dark. Drinking it however, is deadly. Even rinsing the mouth is enough to be fatal, as Orlantio proved. Death comes in 1d20 hours. When the first of the oasis people began to fall ill, they were given Isig’s water to drink, and taken to bathe in the pool. Those still healthy flocked to the pool and drank also, to fortify themselves against the sickness. Unfortunately, the curative properties of Isig’s Well had turned to poison, and everyone at the oasis sickened and died.
Only Old Man Tree’s shaman powers preserved him, but he was unable to save his people. Leaving his fetch behind to guide their souls to safety in the caves of the Ancestors, he fled to the only nearby water source at the stand of prickly pear. There he summoned White Crane Woman, asking her to find a son of Isig to aid them.
The cavern at the back of the pool disappears into the cliff. Water trickles out of it and into the pool. A faint croaking of frogs can be heard coming from within the cavern.
- The tunnel is a very tight fight, and it is impossible to carry in such things as spears or shields. At several points the PCs must crawl.
It is almost impossible to avoid splashing through the water while in the tunnel, which stretches for 20 meters before widening into the first chamber. Avoid doing by attempting a successful Climb or DEX x 3 roll at the three points crawling is required. The water in here is stronger than that in the pool and acts mild contact poison which is lethal after sustained contact. Here it has a POT of 2; roll against CON. Failure indicates the character has taken 2 points of general hit point damage, which manifests as horrible burn-like weals and welts all over the exposed parts of the body. This damage can be magically Healed.
Drinking the water after its purification will heal all of this poison damage.
The croaking sound becomes louder as the PCs move long the tunnel. It opens out into a large chamber.
The First Chamber
The first chamber contains a wide, deep pool bordered on the right by a sloping shelf. The pool is fed from a cavern at the far end. Water trickles from it and down a small rockfall into the pool. The second chamber is reached by scrambling around the shelf and up the rockfall.
- The PCs will probably want to avoid touching the water. To do so, the sloping shelf must be negotiated, and the rockfall scrambled up. Make a successful DEX x5 roll to move around the shelf, and a Climb to get up the rockfall.
The pool is about a meter deep. It is poisonous, and if someone falls in, they must make a Luck Roll (POW x 5) to avoid getting any water in their mouth. If this happens, ask the player to mark their sheet with a X. It is also contact poison, POT 4. Damage is as above.
The Chamber sounds like it is full of croaking frogs, but there are none in the pool or along the walls. in fact, they are all hanging from the ceiling. These are chaos frogs, perverted and twisted by the chaos. They are a purplish colour, with bloated skins covered in pustules and slime. Each is about as large as a man’s fist, and has mouth filled with tiny razor sharp teeth.
- The ceiling of the cave is about 6 meters up. Shining a light up there reveals countless hundreds of the frogs, clumped together in croaking masses. As soon as light is shone their way, they begin to drop on the PCs.
Each round 1D6 frogs attack each character, trying to drop on them. If a frogs fails its Jump roll, it lands in the pool and waits for something to fall in, including other frogs. Then it tries to eat them. Frogs who do jump successfully land on a random hit location. Once a frog successfully bites a PC, it also leaps into the pool.
There are hundreds of these creatures and to stand and fight should appear futile very quickly. Keeping track of their movements is irrelevant. Simply calculate the total number attacking each character each round.
There are countless chaos frogs waiting to drop on the PCs. The only realistic strategy is to flee to the next chamber. Any frogs still stuck to a PC take a final much and leap off back to their own cavern.
Once the waters of Isig are purified the frogs will drop dead from the roof in a grotesque rain of thudding, splashing corpses.
There are countless chaos frogs waiting to drop on the PCs. The only realistic strategy is to flee to the next chamber. Any frogs still stuck to a PC take a final munch and leap off back to their own cavern.
|Chaos FrogsPOW 1Hit points: 1 |
Note: – 20% to hit due to small SIZBite SR-1 (1d3-1) A-50%
Note: A special hit does normal rolled damage, but ignores all armourSkills: Croak Menacingly 87%, Jump 60%.
The Second Chamber
After climbing up the rockfall and entering the chamber the PCs find themselves on another shelf bordering another pool. Bubbles rise up from the center of the pool: this is the source of Isig’s Well. Across this pool is another rocky shelf, and above it a cave painting can be dimly seen on the wall. Another narrow tunnel leads off from the far shelf, but no water comes from it.
Unlike the other pool, this one is effectively bottomless. Its poison is even more concentrated (POT 8), and anyone swallowing it will be dead in an hour. Damage for skin contact is as above.
There are two ways across the pool: swimming or wading. Both ways require a CON roll against the contact poison.
- Swim roll – fail means the character must roll POW x 3 or accidentally swallow water. In addition, they might drown!
- Wade: carefully moving around the edge is possible, as the water is only knee deep. This requires a DEX x 3 roll. Failure indicates the character has fallen in and must begin swimming (do a POW x 3 to see if they had their mouth closed!)
Once on the west shelf the wall painting is very clear. It is an intricate design of white, yellow, black and red. The design has been defaced with numerous rough scratches and scrapes but the original design is still clear. The PC’s should have no trouble restoring it with the materials in the beaded bag. It takes 10 minutes to restore the defaced sections.
Half way through the restoration the group are attacked by Peg. Peg is a chaos naiad who manifested here after Phloxx rededicated the site to chaos. If one of the group is acting as lookout, they may notice her manifesting in the water and slinking toward the shelf (Scan).
Peg tries to Befuddle a PC and then leap up and drag him into the water, holding him under until her drowns. To do this, she must successfully overcome her victim’s magic points, then try a Grasp attack. If the character fails a DEX x 2 roll, he tumbles into the water. Roll POW x 5 to avoid swallowing any.
- To break free, the character must make a successful Swim roll and STR vs STR roll. Until then, he takes damage from the contact poison (a CON roll vs POT 8 must be made each melee round). He must also try to avoid drowning – roll over CON x 10 in the first melee round, CON x 9 for the next and so on down to CON x1. Failure indicates 1d8 damage to the chest and exposure to the poison.
While holding her victim under, Peg demands that the others throw their chalks into the water and leave her domain, by the way they came. Once they do so, she promises to let her victim go (she’s lying of course – once she gets the chance she’ll eat him).
- Peg does not have horns, and if asked “Are you the one called Phloxx?”, she just cackles and asks back “I am Peg – who in hell is Phloxx? Leave or your friend dies!” Peg does not know who or what Phloxx is: her manifestation here was not a deliberate act on his part.
If her victim breaks free, she goes after him, and tries to Grasp him again. If she seriously injured Peg retreats into the depths and skulks there, brooding. Once the water is purified her dead body will drift to the surface, wash over the falls and disappear.
|Peg the Chaos NiaidSTR 08|
APP 04Move: 6 (water)
Hit Points: 12
Magic Points: 13
DEX sr 2 + SIZ sr 2 = 4
Dodge: 64%19-20 Head 20 1/4
16-18 L.A. 18-19 1/3
13-15 R.A. 16-17 1/3
12 Chest 11-15 1/5
09-11 Abdm 07-10 1/4
05-08 L.L 04-06 1/4
01-04 R.L 01-03 1/4Grasp SR-8 (Grapple) A-40% Parry (arm)-40%
Claw SR-8 (1d6) A-40%Spirit Magic: Befuddle (2)Armour: slimy skin gives 1AP protection.Note: Peg subsists on chaos frogs that blunder into the chamber or that she gathers on her rare forays into the first chamber.
Once the wall painting has been restored the magical song can begin. The player who tries to play the flute falls into a trance and plays, a haunting and beautiful tune, far beyond his natural abilities. As the other PC’s start to sing they too fall into a trance and sing as well as the flutist plays.
- How long they sing and play for the PCs cannot remember (about 15 minutes), but they all feel drained physically (lose half of their remaining magic points).
As the last echoes fade away there is a palpable feeling of change in the cave. The bubbling has stopped, and the waters in the pool have lightened significantly (looking much more silvery and reflective). The air, which was stuffy and odorous, feels much fresher.
If Peg is not dead then she dies now as described above, and from the first chamber comes a multitude of plopping sounds, as hundreds of dead chaos frogs fall into the water and are washed away. Isig’s Well is clean once again. Any damage from the poisoned water can be healed by drinking or bathing in the water. Even characters who died from it inside these caverns miraculously revive if immersed in the water. Drinking or bathing the water here at its mythic source also restores 1d6 magic points. This effect only occurs once per character.
The Third Chamber
The PCs’ main quest is accomplished. They may return now and receive the honour they deserve. If, however they want to receive Isig’s promised boon they must find and kill Phloxx. He is presently located in the Third Chamber which is reached through the narrow tunnel off the shelf under the painting. If the PC’s leave now he will escape. If they proceed into the chamber they find him waiting.
The third chamber is wide and high. Seated on a rock at the far end is young girl, with the green eyes and olive skin of the oasis. She looks very much like Teeka, or Peltas’s dead sister. However, sprouting from her head is a pair of tiny horns. She wears a simple linen shift, and carries no weapons. Runic carvings mark the walls on either side, about half way into the cavern.
As the PCs enter she stands slowly and holds her slender arms out, palms forward. In a gentle, sad voice she says, “I am unarmed”.
If the PCs rush to attack, the girl leaps behind the rocks and attempts to Hide. She begins her arguments as below. The far end of the room is protected by a Warding x2 spell; the wards are the runic carvings. When inside it, Phloxx is protected by Countermagic 2 and in crossing it, each PC takes 2d3 damage to a random hit location.
Phloxx has several chaos features, including the ability to appear harmless (hence the image of the girl). However his primary chaotic feature is the ability to charm people with his voice. The longer he talks the harder it becomes to resist him.
- Note: Phloxx’s charm power has NO EFFECT whatsoever on Melo Yelo (or most other non-humans for that matter). In fact, whereas the others see the child, Melo sees Phloxx in his true form: a goat-headed male broo, with huge curling horns. Send Melo’s player a note: “You see a big broo with huge curling horns”
Phloxx’s power is represented in the following way. There are five main points that Phloxx hopes to make (see below). After each argument, any PC who wishes to attack must attempt to resist his charm. To resist the the first argument requires a POW x 3 roll. The GM must secretly roll for anyone who wishes to attack at this point. Anyone who fails will not attack. Peltas’s POW rolls are halved, as Phloxx’s resemblance to his cherished sister affects his judgment.
Each successive argument reduces the roll:
- Argument 1: POW x 3 (Pelatas POW x 1.5)
- Argument 2: POW x 2 (Peltas POW x1)
- Argument 3: POW x 1 (Peltas POW x 0.5)
- Argument 4: POW x 0.5 (Peltas 5%)
- Argument 5: 5% chance to resist (Peltas cannot resist)
“I know that you will wish to kill me. So be it. I ask one thing only. That I be allowed to tell my story. I am unarmed and you stand between me and my freedom. Surely you can grant my last request so that my death will have some meaning.”
“I too was brought here by dreams. An ancestor of my people came to me in my sleep and sent me to this place. He showed me how this was once a sacred place to my kind and how it had been defiled. He taught me the magic to cleanse it and restore the waters to their natural state.”
“I had no intention of harming anyone. It has been generations since these waters ran pure and no one among my people remembers that time. I did not know that cleansing this place would cause so much harm to your people and I regret it.”
“While the harm I have caused cannot be undone, you have restored the blight placed here by Isig. My efforts have been erased. I accept this. There are two wrongs here. It was wrong for your people to destroy our holy site here and drive my people away. And it was wrong for me to try to turn back time and in so doing cause such harm to innocents. I regret what I have done and wish it had not been done.”
“You have heard my story and can now destroy me if you must. I thought to do good here but have erred. I swear on my ancestor’s honour that I will never attempt to do such a thing again. Can’t you find it in your hearts to let me live? Would you kill me just for personal gain? Please. Let me go.”
If some PCs choose to attack, those failing their POW roll have been won over by the argument and will try to stop them. Such an attempt might include grappling and argument, or spells such as Befuddle, but will stop short at violent attack. During such a fracas Phloxx tries to slip past the PCs and away. He may need to butt anyone blocking his path. If he takes damage, he must make a concentration roll (INT x 3) or assume his true form.
If, at the end of his arguments, everyone is won over (and Melo Yelo refrains from attacking) Phloxx gets away. Once he is gone, characters must roll POW x 3 to shake off the influence of his honeyed words.
If Phloxx escapes he flees quickly and may be pursued eventually. If he has a lead of 1-2 melee rounds he will be overtaken somewhere within the caverns. If his lead is 3-5 melee rounds he will have left the caverns and a Scan will be required to see him disappearing into the distance. If his lead is 6 or more melee rounds then the only way to catch him would be to track him. He heads cross country towards the Dead Place.
Broo Devotee of Primal Chaos
APP 07Move: 4
Hit Points: 19
Magic Points: 14
DEX sr 2 + SIZ sr 1= 3
Dodge: 54%19-20 Head 20 10/7
16-18 L.A. 18-19 2/6
13-15 R.A. 16-17 2/6
12 Chest 11-15 2/9
09-11 Abdm 07-10 2/7
05-08 L.L 04-06 2/7
01-04 R.L 01-03 2/7Butt SR-7 (2d6+1d6) A-65%
Fist SR-7 (1d3+1d6) A-50 Parry (2+arm)-35%Divine Magic: Worship Primal Chaos x1, Worship Chaos Ancestors x1, Spirit Block x6, Warding x2 (in use).Chaos Features: Appears Harmless, 2 point skin armour (huge horns give 10AP on head), Charm Ability.
Part 5: Return to the Cave of Ancestors
When the PCs emerge from the cave a light rain is falling on the oasis. The rains have come. Soon, Isig’s pool will overflow, and its revitalised waters will run down Stony Creek to the River of Cradles. By restoring the cave painting, the party has saved Sun County and restored the purity of Isig’s Well. The wails and moans are no longer to be heard: the souls of the oasis people can now rest.
The PCs should return the bag and flute to the Cave of Ancestors. Once the burial is niched is reopened, the items deposited and the plug resealed a blaze of brilliance fills the cavern.
Two splendid figures appear before them: a handsome man with green eyes, who carries in his hands a leafy branch, which rustles and shakes as if alive. Flowers are braided into his hair, and they seem to twist and flutter with mythic potential. With him, a splendid man in golden armour, carrying a glowing spear. Jaspar and Mars may recognise the figure as Monrogh, the Yelmalio cult’s mortal founder (the appropriate response is to fall to one’s knees).
They speak simultaneously:
“I am Isig of the Well”, “We are Monrogh, a son of Son of the Sun.”
“We thank you for what you have done. You have earned our favour.”
Isig: “You have restored the purity of my well – for this you are blessed.”
Monrogh: “You have saved the Lands of the Sun from a terrible blight – for this Yelmalio’s face does shine upon you.”
If the PCs did not bring the horns, the two apparitions vanish. Proceed to Epilogue.
If the PCs have brought Phloxx’s horns with them, there is more. Isig and Monrogh bestow blessings on each character.
Isig: “You are a true Son of Isig, lost but found again. Return unto me, and become the High Man of this place. One day will take Teeka as your wife, and restore my Well to plenty. Old Man Tree shall guide your spirit.”
Monrogh: “You are free to return to your birthright, but always welcome as a friend of the Sun Dome lands”
(If Peltas accepts, Isig hands him the leafy branch – it is Isig’s Wand, the source of Isig’s Fire).
Monrogh: “You have a weakness, a vice, a secret sin, not worthy of a Sun Dome Templar.” (Give Mars time to grovel in self-abasement and self-pity) “Yet you have still served us well. We shall relieve your torment, and strengthen your resolve against temptation.”
Monrogh touches Mars’s leg with his spear, and the ache vanishes. His resolve is strengthened by two new geases: Remain celibate every Fire season, and Never speak to or help non-Light worshippers in any way (this will keep him away from those foreign influences, such as the wicked dummy pushers).
Melo Yelo’s Blessing
Monrogh: “They call you Melo Yelo. You are a lowly baboon, unfit by your bestial nature to worship at our Lord’s Sun Dome or enter Yelm’s mansion. Yet you have proved by your deeds that you are the equal of a Sun Dome man, and a Sun Dome man you shall become: step into Yelm’s cleansing fire!”
Monrogh turns into ball of blinding flame. If Melo steps into it, the onlookers see that he is burned to a crisp. When the fire subsides, a naked human lies smouldering on the floor. It is Melo, made into a man by Yelm. The mark of the Beast rune has been scorched away (but he still retains the same personality and “animal magnetism”).
“Welcome Melo Yelo of the Sun Dome. Embrace your brother, who shall adopt you into his family” (pick out the PC who Melo annoyed the most – probably Mars or Jaspar).
Monrogh: “Though your performance was displeasing to us at Garhound last year, your actions this day have proven pleasing to our eyes. However, you are not one made to be Templar no matter how hard you might try. Speak to the Count: he shall send you away with his blessing. Go to the Sun Temple in New Pavis. You may dance your Last Tango in Pavis before joining a caravan to the Dara Happan lands in distant Peloria. There you may study the Yelmic ballet, and learn the arts that make men civilised. But before the Count passes to the towers you must return to the Sun Dome and brighten his dotage.”
Jaspar Yello’s Blessing
Monrogh: “Leadership above all is what Yelmalio takes pride in, and you have shown yourself worthy. You are promoted to Light Son and will serve in the Templars.”
Isig finally looks at everyone and says: “I pass my flute to Old Man Oak to hold for the remainder of his days. He must come and retrieve it. Be warned; no one else can use it without risk of great harm. I bid him to learn its power and use it to restore my lands to health. Now I rest.”
Monrogh stares upward and says “I return to Yelm’s Heavenly Mansion”.
He disappears in a flash of light.
Peltas becomes High Man of Isig’s Well and spends many years restoring its richness with the help of Teeka and Old Man Tree. The oasis continues as a site where nomads and the Sun Domers trade salt.
The Men of Gold return as heroes to the Sun Dome lands and receive their just rewards.
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