Okay, so I was asked by a good friend to DM a campaign. Now this is no ordinary thing; my friend is an uber player who's been rolling since the 70's with the original D&D.
I've decided to go with Hellspike Prison. It's for 9th level characters, has two really groovy double-sided poster maps just for the occasion and is nice and short for my first time.
I've decided to spice it up a little, though. I've written an introduction that I want you guys to take a look at and tell me if, as experienced players, this might make things more interesting than the boring script I've got. For now I'll just post the introduction:
When I say "The Wizard" it's because I don't remember the name of one of the player's character.
This game is set in the Forgotten Realms universe, and the blanks below are going to be filled in once I find out the nearest town they're in from the last adventure.
We find our adventurers traveling between _______________ and _______________. The weather is bright and sunny, a very good day for traveling.
Those that make the Listen Check (DC 15) hear a horse fast approaching the group. After a time a rider in a dark green cloak becomes visible. Heâ€™s on the back of a powerful horse that looks like itâ€™s built for speed and stealth, not battle.
If the group stops him or as he gets closer: He slows as he approaches the party and stops 10 feet in front of them. The extremely ornate scabbard of a long-sword pokes sticks from under his cloak and his forearms are covered in studded leather bracers. He sits erect, confident and very in control of his horse. He pulls his cloak back to reveal the slightly pointed ears, fair skin and short hair of a half-elf. The horse is breathing extremely heavy as if it has been running for a very long time without rest.
He speaks with in a confident voice, â€œMy name is Loren Dorthonion of CarnesÃ®r. I am a messenger from the east. Allow me toâ€¦.â€ He stops and seems to look past the leader of the group to the wizard. (or recognize him if itâ€™s the wizard) His eyes linger on the staff/clothes of the wizard and a look of recognition comes over him.
Hopefully theyâ€™ll introduce themselves. If anyone but the wizard questions him further he will respond, â€œI am sorry, but I may only discuss this with the wizard.â€ He will only respond if the wizard tells him itâ€™s okay to discuss
A look of relief crosses his face, â€œMy lord ________________, I apologize. I didnâ€™t realize it was you. I come with word from Nalumdan of Dyndina.â€ He pulls a folded piece of paper from inside his cloak and begins to hand it to the wizard. â€œA grave threat has befallen the city and he requests your aid.â€
SPOT CHECKS: Anyone who fails a spot check of DC 21 does not see the 3 Barghests approaching from the side.
FAIL: DC >20
All of a sudden a creature jumps out of the woods and throws Loren to the ground. It begins snarling and rips Lorenâ€™s throat out before turning its gaze upon the party. It howls loudly and three more appear to the left, center and right of the party.
Those who fail are surprised.
SUCCESSFUL: DC <21
The hair stands up on the back of your head as you see a shadow skulking in the woods. All of a sudden a creature jumps out of the woods and throws Loren to the ground. It begins snarling, and rips Lorenâ€™s throat out before turning its gaze upon the party. It howls loudly and three more appear to the left, center and right of the party.
Those who are successful are not surprised and can act as normal.
Knowledge Planes: DC 16 reveals that these creatures are Barghest, shapeshifting lupine fiends that can shapeshift between wolf or goblin.
Lorenâ€™s corpse lays on the ground, motionless. Heâ€™s clearly dead. In his hand is a note. The paper has been crumpled in his hand.
Give whoever picks it up the prop paper.
Come quickly. Time is running out. The city is almost gone. You must let our old rivalries at the wayside. A dark terror threatens this world. Do not fail me.
(symbol of Nalumdan)
The symbol of Nalumdan (the quarter moon sided with three stars) lets you know the document is genuine.
THE ABANDONED VILLAGE
As you approach the ruined village, the stench of burning straw, wood and bodies fills the air. Thereâ€™s nothing left; in the rubble and the dirt you can see footprints. A Knowledge Nature DC 18 will reveal that the footprints on the ground are scuffed, as if they were made by people who were running. Few bodies are seen anywhere, those that are around have been burned so completely they are unrecognizable. There is no sign of Nalumdan, only a stone hut with odd scorch marks on it and the surrounding area. Large boot prints fill the ground and disappear into the woods. Any intelligent being can recognize them and see they lead off along a trail out of the village.
A successful Spellcraft DC of 18 will reveal this hut has seen recent magical activity â€“ the scorch marks are recognized as spells having missed their intended target and instead hit the ground, the hut, and the surrounding area.
Once you get outside the village you see ripped and bloodied clothing along the wayside. Hastily covered mounts are obviously graves. You see the bare foot prints of humans. You follow the trail for several miles until you come upon a great smoking pit that surmounts a ridge. A few half-collapsed retraining walls still surround it, hinting at the outlines of some monumental structure that has vanished, swallowed into the earth. The fumes rising from the pit are black, and a stink of sulfur hangs in the air. A reddish glow highlights the edges, hinting at active lava in the pitâ€™s gullet. You can see small bits of what used to be a caste.
A crudely constructed stairway that looks recently made descends down one side of the pit and into a worked stone tunnel. DC 15 Dungeoneering recognizes this as part of the sub-basements of the absent fortress.
The trail left by the barghest kidnappers leads down the stairs to the subterranean opening. You pass through the subterranean cavern until it opens up into a large cavern. The air ripples with the heat of the surrounding lava.
AREA 1 â€“ MAGMA KEEP
CONTINUE VIA TXT ENCOUNTERS IN THE MAGMA KEEP
There you are. Let me know what you think so far. The game is tomorrow night.