Lindrain, a Windfare Dale adventure

I’ve been too busy to write anything for a long time, but I finally managed to finish a short interlude adventure and location description for my campaign; Lindrain Fortress.

This module describes an old elven ruin, currently inhabited by a gang of bandits called the “Blackfeet” which have featured heavily in my campaign so far. It is also the site of a hidden outpost of the fallen Elven Empire, with several very deadly traps and a portal to the fabled Teliandrin where the three fallen High Elven Houses once dwelled. The portal could really lead anywhere, though… into the belly of a megadungeon, to another planet or campaign setting perhaps (Carcosa springs to mind). Thus, I decided to put the adventure out here; it could be a nice start if you want to run a campaign where the characters are transported far from home for some reason.

This adventure really lacks hooks, but I doubt anyone who wants to use it will have trouble supplying their own. It should be said that I have provided no leads in the location for how to access the underground areas; in my own game, the players have already found this information elsewhere and will be heading here primarily to find the portal. They have already found one elven Spell Gem (out of the three needed) for the portal, and they have scried out the location of the ruin, but they have also enlisted the aid of an elven ambassador who knows the pass phrase and is backing their attempts to find the necessary keys. The presence of the Blackfeet is what will surprise them. Other possibilities might be to have the bandits possess information on the portal, but either be too afraid to use it or perhaps awaiting some sort of magical assistance after having lost one or more men to the traps below.

The adventure includes an Elven Spell Gem; you can read more about those here on the blog.

The maps for the adventure were made by the incomparable Dyson Logos. You can download the adventure here, or in the Library.

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Foulest Waters

Finally…

I’ve spent a lot of time fidgeting with this adventure, but at last i feel it is at least ready enough for showing it here and hoping I get some good feedback (or constructive criticism, or just a beat-down). It’s a free product, so use it and abuse it however you like. Rip out the bits you like if you want, or twist it to suit your needs. If you are in the mood to give me some input on what you liked and didn’t like, things that you feel should be added or taken away, then please feel free to contact me or leave a comment here! But, of course, all that is optional.

For some things referenced in the adventure, such as the Anmunak (wildmen) and my takes on attribute checks and other things, some of my other blog posts here and the material in the Library might be useful, but generally speaking all these things are very easy to replace with whatever interpretation you  prefer yourself. I also use the “silver standard”, for those who might wonder.

The adventure can be downloaded here or in the Library.

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Winter’s Blade

A long time since my last post – I’ve been busy working on a new module for my players, but I should have something juicy for everyone in a while.

I was, however, fidgeting around with some changes to the Tomb of the Iron God before running it for my players a while back and I created some more interesting magical items to replace the more generic +1 swords with. I created this particular sword, and fel very pleased with it.

Winters_BladeThis magnificent greatsword is made from a gleaming and silver-like metal. It is exquisitely crafted and looks very valuable. Someone with knowledge of weapons or blacksmithing would guess it is of elven make. Its name, “Ythaliona”, is inscribed in elven runes along the hilt. This is ancient elven, but if the characters can translate it the name means “winter’s blade”

Winter’s Blade radiates powerful magic, and is indeed a very deadly blade; it deals an additional D4 frost damage per strike to all creatures vulnerable to cold, grants its wielder a +1 bonus to hit and also grants the wielder Resistance to Cold as per the spell when held. Perhaps most impressively, it also deals double damage to dwarves. If the sword is ever used to damage an elf, the wielder suffers 3D8 points of cold damage and must save vs Poison or die immediately.

However, for each battle in which the blade is used (defined as wielding it and using to make at least one attack) the wielder ages one year. If this effect is unknown, the GM should keep track of this aging in secret; there is a cumulative 5 % chance per year aged that the wielder notices the effect, through joint pains and physical signs. The aging is of course less of a drawback for elves, albeit still a heavy price, but it can be absolutely devastating for humans as their physical bodies are ravaged. See the rules for aging in LotFP Rules & Magic p. 34 for the actual effects.

Should it become commonly known that someone is wielding this blade, an elven prince (Lvl 2D6) will appear with his retinue within 1D6 months to claim it as an heirloom. Perhaps the characters will be glad to be rid of it, perhaps they will ask a price, but regardless the prince will press them to hand it over and will gladly do battle with them if they do not do as he says.

Tower of the Stargazer

stargazer_coverAfter running my players through a short introductory adventure I’d written myself in order to set the scene of the Windfare Dale setting, I presented them with a numer of “hooks” when they returned to town. The tale of a master thief passing through the town recently and local legends about a lightning-stricken tower off in the wilderness seemed to do the trick, so off they went to the Tower of the Stargazer.

First, a warning; this review / play report contains a few spoilers.

Let me start by saying my group had a terrific time in this tower; they all liked the adventure very much and I was also pleased with our sessions (they spent two entire four-hour sessions on this adventure). The adventure has a good setup, a nice atmosphere and feels easily adaptable to almost any setting and campaign style.

The PDF looks good enough, the formatting is a bit dated but the text is well written. The only real suggestion I would make if the adventure ever got an update would be to structure the presentations of the more complicated chambers in a better way; an initial presentation of the whole room, its contents and what is immediately apparent about them followed by another structured list describing each section or component in more detail. Some room descriptions run many pages, and even though I prepared thoroughly I found myself needing to pause the action a couple of times to just get my bearings and make sure I wasn’t making a mistake. My advice to the GM would be to not only read this adventure beforehand, but also compose some notes or mark critical passages with a colored pen.

It was my intention to try to run this adventure almost completely “by the book”, but I did make a couple of changes. Nothing major, but a few encounters and problems just didn’t feel right for my group of players. All in all, the central locations and interactions went unchanged.

The tower is indeed suitably lethal; in our group, three characters met their end in the tower, all of them in suitably grisly and/or comical ways. An unfortunate rogue died from a classical poison needle trap on a locked chest. Sweeter still was how his friend the dwarf was so frustrated with this he started hewing at the chest with his axe; a chest containing nothing but a demon trapped in a glass jar, which was promptly released and treated to some dwarf burger. Also, one character fell prey to the best set-up trap/bait in the adventure, managing to get himself sent into the void and eaten alive by space flora…

To sum up, I think this adventure is a very good introduction to OSR gaming (and at just over €2 for the PDF at the moment, an utter steal). The setting for this adventure is very static, without random encounters,no real time constraints and reactive encounters; for later adventures, I’d say this was a weak point, but for an introduction it is excellent. If the players manage to find all treasure in the adventure, they may very well advance to second level even if they were absolute beginners beforehand – this might not be to everyone’s taste, so have a look at the treasure at the end of the adventure and make sure it fits into your “XP economy”.