Posted by : David Guyll June 15, 2017

Cast
  • Saitama (1st-level human monk)
  • Sarush (1st-level cambion warlock)
  • Uttama (1st-level tarchon ranger)

Very Brief Summary
Since I want to publish this adventure as a kind of starter adventure for Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book, I don't want to spoil too much (especially the puzzle solutions, which was a big reason why I wanted to playtest it in the first place).

Basically what's happened so far is that the party was hired to deal with a harpy plaguing a village, and after a day or so of travel and climbing they find out that the harpy is squatting in an ancient tower high up in some mountains.


While exploring the tower they find the harpy on the rooftop, and after a string of bad rolls followed by some good ones the monk goes down, but the harpy is so badly wounded that she tries to flee. Melissa has Uttama make a penalized ranged-attack because the harpy is so far away (and why not): she rolls a critical hit and takes it out in mid-flight.

They stabilize the monk and want to keep exploring the tower, because hey, ancient abandoned tower, so they just camp out a few days. When the monk is back on her feet the party runs into a sylph. She wants to go home (which is the Elemental Plane of Air), but all she knows is that the tower is somehow able to do that, and she's been waiting for the harpy to leave or die so she can try and figure it out.

Eventually with the sylph's help they manage to open a portal to the Elemental Plane of Air (considering changing name). Everyone hops into the portal, and it takes them to a stone platform suspended in a seemingly endless sky. A single bridge extends from the platform to a stone door, but its locked and requires a specific combination of incomprehensible symbols to open.

Everyone in the party besides the sylph (who is sticking around to help them out because it's thanks to them she was able to make it back at all) takes turns trying out different combinations and choking on toxic gas before they guess the correct combination. The door opens into a long hallway filled with a bunch of stelae, and that's where we stopped for the night.

Design Notes
So even with some pretty abyssmal luck a party of three 1st-level characters was able to take out a lone level 7 harpy (though the monk was dropped). Of course that's just a Medium critter: I'm sure something like an ogre would have splattered them all due to its size and damage output (I warn about the dangers of Large monsters in the Black Book's GM advice section).

Melissa was able to solve the first puzzle all on her own (opening the portal), but even though she overlooked a clue for the lock just outside of the sky tomb, she was still able to guess it on the third try. I might add more combinations to make it a bit harder to brute force (which might even make the clue a bit more obvious), but I guess losing WP/VP with each attempt is a more meaningful cost than just time.

Not much to say design-wise about the new classes: everything worked pretty much as intended, though Melissa never offered up anything to gain Boon for the warlock. Probably just do a few combat-heavy test runs to see how that works out. We got in a Dwarven Forge set that among other things has a spider web and my daughter is pestering me to make a "spider house", so at least I'll have a solid theme to work with.

(The warlock, as well as a few racial classes and a bunch of new monsters will be going into the next Black Book Appendix D update. Not sure when exactly, but should be out before the end of the month.)

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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