Category Archives: 5e

The Review of the Awesome Azure Adventures Digest- Issue 001!

221593

 

First– I’ve been following Trey Causey’s blogposts on Azurth for years. It’s a fun and original campaign setting more inspired by Wizard of Oz and 70’s and 80’s Saturday morning cartoons than The Hobbit and other Appendix N materials. So I’m very excited that Trey is releasing this stuff!

He’s already released a fun and awesome Azurth adventure called Mortzengerstrum, The Mad Manticore of the Prismatic Peak!

Second– this book is damned adorable!!  The art and layout really highlight the tone and feel of Azurth.

Note: Both of the Azurth books use D&D 5e mechanics.  If that ain’t your cup of tea- fret not. It’s easy to stat it to your preferred gaming mechanics (I’d use DCC, The Black Hack, or White Box).

What’s in the Book

The Azurth Adventures Digest opens with a cool location called the Motley Islands. There are four islands: Murk, Big Fin, Lurid Lair of the Frogacuda (kickass monster hunting type mission, and a fun illo to highlight the feel- see below), and Polychrome, which has a small set of islands called the Paps.

Azurth Digest Frogacuda page

 

The descriptions are briefs and full of flavor (as is always the case with Trey’s writing).

There are two sample NPC’s included (with cool ills): Black Iris, Pirate Queen, and Rarebit Finn (Hara First Mate).  They are statted, have equipment, and notes on their personality.

There is a handy tool to generate pirates that sail the Boundless Sea. You can generate names, occupations, Notable Traits, and Trinkets in a few short rolls.

Example: Name: Burlap Baggs; Occupation: First Mate; Notable Traits: Demonlander with Scrimshawed Horns; Trinket: Pair of Cursed Dancing Shoes, Never Worn.

There is also a quick generator to generate cool/fun pirate captains on the fly!  You can generate names, ships, what the captain is known for, and exotic booty.

Example: Name: Gray Harriet; Ship: Runcible Goose; Known For: Obsession With a Specific Sea Creature; Exotic Booty: A Small Flask Containing a Condensed Squall.

The Digest then highlights further locales that are uncharted (and possibly just legends told ‘round campfires) called The Chain of Fools.

As with the Motley Island, these locations are short and sweet and dripping with flavor. There is a 1d10 random encounter table to use for maritime encounters.

The location that is showcased the most is the Candy Isle (with a fun map!). I remember when Trey first mentioned the Candy Isle on his blog some time ago, and thought it was such a fun and unique idea, so I was really excited to see it in the book!

azdigest candy isle map-blog

With the Candy Isle you get a few locations, info on traveling, various dangers (including random encounters), info on the Candy Folk, aaaaannnnd a quick dungeon in an active chocolate volcano!

All in all there is a bunch of info packed into the 26 pages of the Azurth Adventures Digest!  If you’re interested in some whimsy, fun, and a homage to 80s Saturday morning cartoonage, then I highly recommend this book!

Trey has also teased us with a picture of the next issue (the bastard).

Well done to the whole Armchair Planet team for putting this together!

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The Murder Hobo- A 5e Halfling Subrace

The Murder Hobo

Murderhobo 1

As a murder hobo Halfling, you revel in the suffering of others- especially when you’re the one inflicting it.  Other Halfling races tend to shy away from you and your unpleasant demeanor.  You weave in and out of combatants and tense situations, attempting to cut as many hamstrings and do as many kidney shots as possible, muttering an unsettling laugh all the while.

 

Ability Score Increase. Increase your strength score by 1.

Murderhobo 3

The Smell of Blood.  The thought of inflicting pain on another creature gets blood of a Murder Hobo Halfling pumping, and impatient to get into the fray.  You have advantage on initiative rolls.

Murderhobo 2

Pin Cushion.  Murder Hobo’s enjoy inflicting pain.  On your first attack you against a target deal an extra point of damage.

Murderhobo 4

Unsettling Laugh.  Murder Hobo’s have an unsettling laugh that makes people uncomfortable (see video below).

 


Thoughts on a New 5e Campaign- Thanks for the Inspiration Jez Gordon!!!

Setting Idea

Summoning

 

The high elves empire was at its pinnacle, yet desired more power.  The high elf king entered into a contract with ancient and forgotten gods in the hopes of advancing his empire even further.  Instead of delivering on their promise, the elder gods brought chaos and death to the world.  The high elf empire was destroyed and horrid portals opened in the sky, flooding the world with abominations.  The various kingdoms of the world fought a losing battle for decades and watched in horror as each of their allies were toppled one by one.  Plague and chaos reigned for decades.  The divine was cut off from the mortal realm, leaving clerics, priests, and paladins unable to perform miracles and heal the ailing.

 

Vault 1

Dwarven vaults

Eventually the dwarves and dragonkind came up with a plan they hoped would save the few remaining humanoids.   The dwarves delved into the earth and created massive vaults capable of housing thousands of beings.  Humanoids were placed in specially crafted and blessed chambers and put into a deep sleep, and the vaults were sealed.  Those that volunteered or could not fit inside the vault stayed in the outlying dwarven outpost as guardians of the vaults.

 

The dragonkind knew their time was upon them and offered up one final and mighty prayer to their divine god, Bahamaut, to save the world- offering up their own lives as sacrifice.  The combined offering of all dragonkind reached Bahamaut, who agreed to the offering.  In a flash of light- all dragonkind vanished, as did the divine touch of Bahamaut and other gods, but the deed worked.  The portals that the elder gods had opened were sealed, but the damage was done.

 

 

 

The sacrifice of the dragonkind will never be forgotten.

The sacrifice of the dragonkind will never be forgotten.

 

 

The deity Bahamut is still worshiped as the savior of the world.

The deity Bahamut is still worshiped as the savior of the world.

Millennia have passed and those in the vaults slumbered.  Five hundred years ago those slumbering in the vaults awoke to find themselves in a less than ideal situation.  Many of the vaults were broken into by beings of the underdark, taking slumber bodies into the depths for food, slaves, or worse.  The vault-dwellers fought to establish order to survive in their new confines.  Many battled with horrors leaking up from the bowels of the earth, while others collapsed into the chaos of fighting amongst themselves.  Fifty years ago the vaults doors opened, allowing the survivors to step out into a world that none have seen or touched before.

 

You are a survivor of one such vault, located in the wild and savage jungle of the southern continent of a world that is completely unknown to you.  Many survivors busy themselves by fighting off hordes of vile creatures and abominations while slowly rebuilding the fallen city of Vabittra piece by piece.  Others defend the vaults from enemies that leak up from the underdark, or venture into the underdark themselves looking for much needed ore and material for the city’s reconstruction.  While others, and those that tend to be the most suicidal, venture into the wilds, mapping out the surrounding territories, delving into ancient ruins in the hopes of finding some trinket of worth or piles of gold.

Angkor Wat

The massive and ruined city of Vabittra.

Angkor- Lost city 3 Angkor- Lost city 2

 

 

Meta-information

Available Races

Dwarf (both sub-races available)

Elf (only wood elf and drow)

Halfling (both sub-races available)

Human

Deva (only one per campaign)- There are 10 Deva in Vabittra, which is where the Deva hail from as their capital.  They claim to be the last of the deva on the planet.

Gnomes- Nope…  Not located in this part of the world

Half-elf

Half orc

Shifter

Tiefling

 

Available Classes

 

Barbarian

NO BARDS

Clerics– The touch of the divine is gone in the world.  Clerics now enter into the servitude of spirits of the world.  The manner of the spirit represents the domain that the cleric chooses.  Clerics will be called upon to do favors or leave offerings to the spirits.  Angering or denying the spirit its pleasures will result in the cleric losing class abilities until they atone.

Druid– tend to be more savage and hostile since the world has been corrupted.

Fighter- Occult Slayer as well as other fighter paths in PHB.

Monk– One school of monk survived in the vault, the Silver Skull (all three paths available- each representing an aspects of the skull- way of the open hand, right eye; way of the shadow, left eye; way of the four elements, mouth).

Paladin– Not available.  The orders of paladin have been lost

Ranger- Undead slayer and Arcane archer in addition to archetypes in book

Rogue- All good in the hood.

Sorcerer- bloodlines available- wild magic (PHB), bloodmagic and Oracle

Warlock– Ok

Wizard– Very few wizards exist as the knowledge has been all but lost in the chaos leading up to the vaults.  In Vabittra there are 8 wizards of note, each with two apprentices (if a player desires to be a wizard- apprentice you shall be).

 

Goal– Players rediscover areas lost to chaos and time, delve into the underdark and discover new territories, sources of ore, ruins, etc. or help retake the massive fallen city of Vabittra, which (except for a few areas that have been reclaimed in the last 50 years) is largely a hostile set of ruins that are filled with monsters, forgotten knowledge, and items.  Death, mutilation, and mutation are constant (even in 5e) threats, but dammit they’ll have fun trying.

Borderlands 1

 

Monster

The campaign will be a high octane meat grinder action adventure of exploring a world that no one knows about, discovering interesting and terrible relics best left forgotten- encountering creatures and monsters that are unknown, and shaping the world with every action.  New factions and government will sprout up as people vie for power, supplies, territories, and material.  Metal weapons are cherished as most use bone, chitin, and the like.  Metal is highly sought after as it is rare (mines have been lost after the world “ended” after all).

 

 

The campaign model will support a regular Google + group, a live group, and possible flailsnails games.

Inspiration– Indiana Jones, Jez Gordon’s “Welcome to the Jungle setting, Earthdawn, Dark Sun, Unsettled Expanse (Hubris), Vornheim, Skyrim, Dragon Age, Dark Souls, and Borderlands


The Deva- the 5e Hack

The Deva

Deva 1

The deva is a specific type of assimar that has been bound to mortal bodies.  Some believe that these angelic beings angered their god in some way and were thrust from the heavens and forced to live in the mortal realm.  While the body of a deva is mortal, their soul is divine and can never be truly killed, save by the Wish spell.  When a deva is killed their soul is reincarnated into a new body.   When a deva is reincarnated, the one that perished is lost.  The new being has new skills, goals, and personality.  However the memories of past lives lingers in the subconscious mind of the deva and can sometimes be accessed.

Most people find the deva haughty and insufferable.  Many deva, due to their immortality and divine nature, consider themselves superior to other humanoids and do not hesitate to boast about their grand nature.

The sinister secret of the deva: It is not common knowledge that when a deva is reincarnated lives must be paid to fuel this divine energy.  Each time a deva is reincarnated a number of humanoids die equal to the number of times a deva’s spirit has reformed.

 

Ability Score Increase.  +1 to Wisdom and +1 to Charisma

Deva 2 

Age.  A deva ages as a human.

 

Alignment.  Deva’s are divine beings and are guided by good.  Those that wish to return to the light of the heavens and adhere to old religious scriptures tend to be lawful good.  Those that enjoy the delights of mortals and seek to learn more earthly knowledge are chaotic good.

 

Size.  Medium.

 

Speed.  Your base walk speed is 30 ft.

 

Touch of the Divine.  You are able to cast the cantrip Guidance a number of times equal to your Charima modifier and cast Protection from Evil one time per day.  You must take a long rest to regain expended uses.

Deva 4 

Astral Resistance.  You gain advantage on any save to resist necrotic damage.  You also have resistance to radiant damage.

 

Immortal Origin.  When you are killed, your spirit returns to the astral sea for a number of days equal to 2d20+10.  Once that time has passed your spirit is reincarnated into the deva form somewhere else in the known world (and not in a place of danger).  The reincarnation isn’t free- each time a deva is reincarnated people die to fuel the divine act.  The amount of people that perish is equal to the number of times a deva has been reincarnated.

 

Each reincarnation is a new being.  Only vague memories of their past life exist.

 

A deva can only truly be killed with the Wish spell.

 

Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes.  You are able to tap into your past incarnations and gain insight into a skill you know.  Choose one skill and again advantage on that roll.  A deva can use this a number of times per day equal to 1+Intelligence modifier.

Deva 3 

Languages.  You speak common and celestial.


The Wrathofzombie Totally Unofficial Hack of the Alice Class From A Red and Pleasant Land

Recently Zak Smith released the amazing and awesome Red and Pleasant Land book (seriously it’s fucking awesome- get it).

Prior to the books release I asked Zak if he’d be cool with my hacking the Alice class for 5e D&D and he said sure- just wait until the books official release.  I did this hack right after the book came out, but I never got around to cutting everything out and making it look like some bizarre, butchered punk rock flyer.   I got off my ass this AM and get it done.

The 5e Alice Hack from Red and Pleasant Land

The Alice pic


5e Session Seven Recap Part II- We Don’t Have Fly Paper Big Enough to Help Us With Our Problem…

See Part I here

Fletch- played John’s wood elf rogue for most of the adventure, and then introduced his Snow Elf Cleric of Tittivilla

Stephen- Halfling barbarian level 1/fighter level 1

Chuck- High elf sorcerer

Liam- Gnome paladin

NPC- Benedict (Level 0 NPC)

Let’s Get the PHAT Loot

The group arrived at Gargomel’s and lumbered down into the basement to find Benedict and the girl they had rescued sitting on a bed, drinking tea.  The girl was still battered and bruised, but looked better.  The group nodded at the pair and then moved into Gargomel’s room- presenting the ruby to the skeleton wizard.  He cackled and looked at the ruby, “Freeeeeedom!  At last.”  He held his other hand over it and small lances of lightning left his palm and lanced the gem.  Gargomel looked at the group, the yellow pinpricks of light in his eye sockets growing larger, brighter, “I would leave this room if I were you…  I’m not entirely sure what will happen.”  The group heeded this warning with haste and left.  As the last person vacated, there was a small explosion and dust rolled out of the doorway.

The group all looked at one another, and then started to discuss what they were going to do with the chest and then returning to Saltmarsh.  A cough issued from the Gargomel’s room and then a very alive man came out, swatting the dust away from his face.  He looked at his hands, jubilant, “I must say, I didn’t expect THAT to happen!  I am FREE!  I am ALIVE!!”  Gargomel cackled.

 

 

Behold, the wizard (and drug lord) Gargomel!

Behold, the wizard (and drug lord) Gargomel!

 

He thanked the group profusely and ran into a room, emerging with a small lock box.  “For what you have done, I shall give you this.”  He opened the box and explained each of the rewards: a ring of protection (+1), a dagger of venom, 3 vials of acid, and 2 sun rods.

The group thanked him, and then decided to rest up for a bit, and wait for midnight to come so they could open their treasure chest, and claim the rewards inside.  While they waited, Benedict introduced the girl as Illiana.  She was shy and meek, but thanked them for their help.  She explained that she was from Saltmarsh and doesn’t know how or why she was kidnapped by the smugglers.

That night the group took out the treasure chest that they had found last session, and once more read the note (just to be absolutely sure that they wanted to go through with this):

“Interlopers! 

You have come to plunder

Goods and treasures that are not yours.

So a choice is to be made,

If you desire what is to be had.

Four choices you have,

Potentially all of them good,

But all of them are bad.
Opening this chest within these catacombs,

Will yield fruits of your labor,

But it will corrupt you,

And change your behavior.

 

Opening this chest under the open sky,

While the sun shines bright,

Will grant quite an amazing sight,

Yet you will pay most dearly in a rather difficult fight.

 

Opening this chest under the open sky,

At the midnight hour

Will grant you amazing gifts indeed,

Yet others will constantly seek your power.

 

Finally you can choose to walk away

And leave my treasure to me.

However nothing is simple, nothing is free…

Should you leave, one of you will cease to be.”

 

With it finally decided the group opened the treasure chest and were all bathed in a sinister red light (a menacing  chuckling could be heard).  What was in the chest is below in white (in case any of my players read this recap)

Opening the chest outside at night: A flash of red light hits all who interested in chest.  Wherever they go there is a 1 in 6 chance that someone will seek after their goods and power and begin plotting and scheming on how to get it.  If a 2 is rolled the target hungers for the targets power, but is not willing to act.  Instead they treat the character(s) coldly and with disdain for 24 hours, after which they revert to their normal temperament with the characters. 

 

Always inside the chest: 500 GP

Bloodstone x2 (50 gp each)

Blue quartz x10 (10 gp each)

Jade statuette x1 (250 gp)

Small silver crown with obsidian and opals x1 (2,500 gp)- will take time in Saltmarsh to find someone to purchase or can go to a larger city (Vornheim or Daggerfall in River Kingdoms). 

A book and map to the Jade Ruins (dungeon dive)

 

Magical items in this chest:

Animated Shield

Shield of Missile Attraction- become cursed. 

Scroll of Insect plague x1

Potion of Speed x1

Wand of Web

The Next Morning and New Troubles

The next morning Gargomel asked the group if they would be interested in a business venture with him.  He wants to start producing SMURF again, but it’ll take time to do and he’ll need supplies.  He also made his fortune appraising rare items and antiquities…. He would like the group to find him a suitable place to set up shop in Saltmarsh, and a steward to run the shop while he is away from the city.  He also needs laborers to come and fix up his dilapidated house.  For their services he will give the group 10% of all he sells in SMURF sales or 10% of his appraisals/sales.  The group declined this offer, not wanting to become involved in the drug trade, and instead a new accord was struck; the group would receive a 15% discount on all appraisals he does for them and they would bring items to him first before any others.  He would- in return- only take 15% of the sale price as his earnings rather than his normal 30%.  The group agreed.  They then asked Illiana if would like a job running a shop.  She stuttered her thanks, and with that behind them the group packed up- ready for the 8 hour walk back to Saltmarsh.

When the group was roughly 2 miles from Gargomel’s mansion a thick fog suddenly appeared and then dissipated with a strong gust around.  In front of the group was a woman with an alabaster mask with two golden triangles going from the forehead, over the eyes, to the tip of the mouth.  In her hand was a chain that led to a naked, and badly beaten snow elf (Fletch’s new character).

To the woman’s right was three men wearing golden masks, bows drawn.  On her left were three men with no masks, bows drawn.  All had red and black leather armor.

IMG_1597

Her voice rang clear when she spoke, “So you are the ones who interrupted our business transaction with the smugglers… Interesting… and unexpected.”  The woman then took notice of Illena, “Beautiful woman… little beat up and worse for wear…”  The group tried to offer their services to, mayhaps, fix whatever they ruined with the smugglers.  “You want to fix something that was in operation for years, and was delicate and special… No.. No no no…  the setback is inconvenient and minor… like your lives…  Kill them.”

She launched a stream of insects from her hands, obscuring the vision of everybody (and dealing 2d10 damage).  All in the 20′ radius suffered disadvantage on all rolls and movement was reduced to half.  Initiative was rolled and the group went to work attempting to kill all these peeps.  The men let loose arrows, and only a few actually struck anyone.  From the sky a buzzing noise was heard as two flies, the size of sheltie, appeared out of the fog, vomiting acid on Stephen and Liam.

The group focused their efforts on the woman first.  After she took a few hits, she cast misty step and appeared a distance away…  “Kill them fools!  We will meet again!”  She threw out her hands and a massive buzzing filled the air.  A fly the size of a car descended and scooped her up, disappearing into the low-lying clouds.  “Son-of-a-bitch!” Stephen shouted.  The halfling barbarian then turned his frustration onto one of the men with the golden mask, dropping him in one hit.  Chuck was defending himself from a man with no mask and one with a mask.  As they neared the ground erupted and a massive crocodile clamped its jaws down on the man with no mask.  He screamed and flailed as he was drug back down beneath the surface.  Chuck used his advantage to draw a short sword and a long sword, “I’ll show you barbarians and fighters how it is done!”  He attacked with both weapons and downed the minion with the golden mask (this got quite a few laughs).

Liam was throwing tridents at the flies that were swarming overhead.  His lil gnome was angry after vomit got on his armor and melted it (reducing his AC by 3 permanently).  Fletch grabbed a short sword from the fallen enemy that Stephen slayed and killed one of the maskless bandits, scooped him up, and ran into the fog to strip him and get himself some armor.

Stephen and Chuck were about to move on to new enemies when a terrible noise issued from both the bodies.  Their flesh tore apart and rising from the strands of skin where hideous anthropomorphic antmen.

Ant Spirit

“Oh fuck.”

Chuck was then downed by the antman creature.  The crocodile reemerged from the waters and transformed into a ragged, sopping wet man who ran over and healed the fallen wizard.

Dorian the Druid

The fight was concluded with more batters and bruises, but in the end the group was victorious.

Fletch’s character was introduced, “Tim the Snow Elf.”  He and the druid, who went by the name Dorian were tracking a sickness that had been cropping up in the swamp when they were ambushed by these fiends.  “I would have saved you sooner if I could, Tim… but we were kind of out numbered.”  Said Dorian.  “I’ve known Tim since he arrived in Saltmarsh years ago from the north… from Vornheim.  Anyways, are you all heading back to Saltmarsh?”

The group all decided to travel together (safety in numbers and all that).

With that we ended the session.

This session was a bit combat heavy (especially with rolling the random badass encounter).  However I needed to set two stages one with the portal (should the group have found it- and they did) and the other with the mysterious masked people and interfering with their smuggling ring operation.

I let the group know that I’d like the next session (maybe two) to take place predominantly in Saltmarsh (should they choose).  We’ve been dungeon diving 5 out of 7 sessions, and I think it would be a nice change of pace to be in the city and flush out their characters.  Also they’ve learned quite a bit of information that they can research, etc.

They also have a ton of money that they can invest in new items, etc.

 

All in all this was a great session and I’m looking forward to session 8.


5e Session Seven Recap Part I- Puzzles, Riddles, and Difficult Decisions

Last session we left of with the group dealing with the death of Fletch’s dwarf barbarian, defeating a bone naga and claiming Ruby Eye of Shazal for the dead sorcerer Gargomel.  This session we finished off the apprentice’s secret lair and encounter a whole new set of problems.

Players

Fletch- played John’s wood elf rogue for most of the adventure, and then introduced his Snow Elf Cleric of Tittivilla

Stephen- Halfling barbarian level 1/fighter level 1

Chuck- High elf sorcerer

Liam- Gnome paladin

NPC- Benedict (Level 0 NPC)

The group continued down to the southern area and found a wall with a gargoyle head that turned either left or right.  Fletch examined it and was about to roll for traps when I described the new situation.

Aside: I’ve decided to make some traps more like puzzles (and more interesting than just rolling), but structuring them in a flowchart layout (see picture below).  This was fun to watch, because it got the group debating on which way to turn the gargoyle head and wanting to be involved (yay!).  See the picture below:

Multi-tiered Trap

The group decided that the gargoyle’s head was function more like a combination lock and thought they may have missed the combination somewhere.  Stephen and Liam decided to go back and explore each room in an attempt to find it.  I decided to have a random encounter and gave it a 1-in-20 chance (and I rolled a 1)… soooo the bones of the bone naga reformed into a massive bone golem (I used the minotaur skeleton stats from the 5e MM).

 

Bone golem

Stephen and Liam ran like hell back to the group where a good fight ensued.  After taking a short rest (and regaining some HP), the group said screw it and played with the gargoyle’s head some more and managed to guess right and opened up secret door.

 

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore…

The group found a large room covered in thick roots, vines, and brambles.  In the back of the room was an arch that had a wispy green mist danced in-between the pillars.  The moment the group entered the room a flash of green light lanced from the arch and enveloped each of the group.

Suddenly the roots dislodged four humanoid-shaped creatures that looked as if they were made up of sticks and branches and two humanoid-shaped creatures made up of vines and leaves.  The group launched into combat and had a little bit of a tough time with these creatures.  After the second round, the dungeon vanished and the group found themselves in a lush Amazonian style rain forest.  Chuck muttered, “nooo..  We didn’t get the treasure in the dungeon…”  the group kept fighting, lighting one of the vine creatures on fire with oil and a torch.  However the creature ensnared Liam, lighting his little gnome on fire as well.

As the fight continued the jungle would fade, becoming ethereal, showing the dungeon wall behind it, just out of reach.  Eventually five of the six plant creatures were killed.  As the group turned to deal with the last vine monster a massive pink leg slammed on the ground, crushing it.  The group looked up to see a horrid monster; a massive pig head with huge tusks attached to a komodo dragon body.  Its body covered in pink scales and hair.  Stephen moaned, “Why did I buy you the monster manual as a present…?”  I laughed, “sorry dude…  This my own.  I had a dream about it.  I call it a piggard.  It’s a mix between a pig and a lizard.”

Suddenly there were cries from the jungle as arrows and spears were let loose from the foliage.  The piggard roared as several of the projectiles struck true.  Several humanoids with rich brown skin emerged from the trees, shouting at one another and the group in an unknown language.

Witch doctor

 

As soon as the chaos began, it was gone.  With a flash of light the group found themselves back within the dungeon.  The group looked around, shrugged, and decided to go examine the treasure chest that was encased in magical protection that they had found the previous session.

Decisions… Decisions…  Decisions…

The group decided to throw a rope around the treasure chest so they wouldn’t have to touch it and drag it out.  The moment the rope touched the magical aura, it lanced out and covered all of the party members.  Everyone rolled a Constitution save- Stephen and Chuck failing.  When the aura dissipated, Chuck had frog eyes and Stephen was covered in hundreds of hairy brown moles (the trap gave a mutation to those who failed their roll.  I used the cosmetic mutations table in my Hubris Mutant class).

The group heard a small click and saw that a small compartment in the front of the chest had opened, revealing a small rolled up piece of parchment.  Fletch carefully took it out, and saw in a neat calligraphy, the following:

“Interlopers! 

You have come to plunder

Goods and treasures that are not yours.

So a choice is to be made,

If you desire what is to be had.

Four choices you have,

Potentially all of them good,

But all of them are bad.
Opening this chest within these catacombs,

Will yield fruits of your labor,

But it will corrupt you,

And change your behavior.

 

Opening this chest under the open sky,

While the sun shines bright,

Will grant quite an amazing sight,

Yet you will pay most dearly in a rather difficult fight.

 

Opening this chest under the open sky,

At the midnight hour

Will grant you amazing gifts indeed,

Yet others will constantly seek your power.

 

Finally you can choose to walk away

And leave my treasure to me.

However nothing is simple, nothing is free…

Should you leave, one of you will cease to be.”

 

The group debated for a long while and finally decided to carry the treasure chest with them back to Gargomel’s.  They would give him the ruby, see what happened to him once he got it, and decided to do from there (however the popular vote was to open the chest at midnight).

With that decided the group headed back towards Gargomel’s mansion…

To be continued…