d20 Adventure – Playdough Fun Factory of the Godz

Alternate Title: Evil Elf Chicks Must Die

This was the adventure designed for the sole purpose of testing out the Injury and Consequences mechanics mentioned earlier. The level of the PCs was 6th and I had them gradually facing protagonists closer and closer to the standard D&D challenge ratings.

The since some of the mechanical elements I eventually try out might clash with any of the pre-planned settings (ie. Forgotten Realms or Ravenloft) I instead cooked up a home-brew setting with characteristics generally similar to the standard ones. There’s not much to it but a few background details thrown together and some antagonists. Since I’d been reading Vance’s Dying Earth recently you may notice some minor thematic aspects of that setting worked in as well. Other elements will be invented later as they become relevant to the story.

My prep-notes for the session follow. As such they contain spoilers, players be warned.


It is the 12th Era.

Your company comes recently from Flez where you’d sat idle for some months carousing or meditating as is your want, then mending weapons and preparing as the money ran low, then restless for a job as it finally ran out. You journey now on your way to Yullek Non as record has it the sunken chambers of the 7th Era Iron Wraiths lie buried thereabouts with many potent relics eagerly awaiting to be united the hands of well moneyed antiquarians.

But the journey is long and just after dusk on the third day you arrive at the hamlet of Kuth. The locality sports an inn, the “Landed Mougle”, the door of which hangs ajar with light shining through. There seems to be some activity there but not quiet drinking nor patrons at revel. Rather chairs are broken and bodies are being carried out. The bodies include three elven women clad in silvery armor which catches the starlight, also a large man in some sort of padded leather jerkin, all dead. Two other patrons, a man and a woman appear to have knives and club nearby them but are tending to some nasty looking avulsions.

The bartender Sharvis looks somewhat unnerved. He says that the three women showed up at the same time yesterday babbled gibberish and when no one knew what to make of them they started getting pushy. Sent for Olav the Burly who started to arrest them and they drew blade. For all their fancy gear Olav barely touched them and they keeled over, but they kept fighting as long as an ounce of strength remained.

Today they showed up again and acted exactly the same, but this time they had some fire in ’em. Sent the boy for Olav and asked him to bring extra help. They cut up Thal and Jibbinik pretty good and you can see what happened to poor old Olav (he gestures to the large deceased man).

“Who’ve I done wrong to deserve a curse like this,” he asks.

Lithan, Lathan, and Latheen

The three elven women, paladins all, are clad entirely in masterwork mithril armor over some sort of false lambskin shift. Their blond hair though long is permanently swept back and has a slightly zig-zag appearance to it as if crimped. If anyone can figure out a way to communicate with them it is discovered that their names are Lithan, Lathan, and Latheen. In fact every duplicate set will have three elven women with the same three names.

The three were created in a hallet, a device forged by the god Grash during the war of the gods in the 3rd Era. They speak only ancient 3rd Era Tagli (the language of Grash) which is nothing like modern Tagli (the language of the local area).

They insist in 3rd Era Tagli that the locals re-build a temple to Grash to their exacting specifications on the site of the inn. Exhaustive inspection of the inn will reveal that it was built on the foundations of an ancient building, although no one locally knows what the ancient building was (except the three women), the town was only founded three generations ago to service the local trade route.

The women start out from the hallet every day at the break of dawn, march all day and arriving at Kuth around dusk. Every night the hallet works to spawn a new batch of three women who are a little stronger than the last (ie. +1 Paladin level per day)


The Paladins travel extremely light. Their only equipment includes the following:

  • Strange masterwork mithril two bladed sword. The each of the two blades sticking out in opposite directions is bent slightly forming an angular “integral sign” shape. The strange aspect of it is that, while it is not magical ,the sword always appears as if seen from the side. No ammount of rotating it will allow it to be seen blade-on except by an opponent. This mundane-but-bizarre effect is a result of the weapon’s origin: the work of a god now largely barred from the universe.
  • Strange masterwork mithril shirukins. The shirukins are similarly designed. The can only be seen face-on, not edge on. In fact when thrown it appears to the target as if twinkling, glittering disks are floating toward him. *Strange masterwork spikey armor. The dead Lithan, Lathan, and Latheen each wear scale armor. The living ones wear either plate or half-plate. *They also each have a somewhat oddly shaped dagger. It’s odd properties are similar to those of the two-bladed sword.

The Hallet

The hallet is a brick made of adamant (diamond) with a seam running down the center of it. It’s roughly as large as a living room. On top is a boss made of thinly layered mithril elements somewhat like flower petals the shape of lightning bolts radiating out from the center. Something about it seems strangely symmetrical and looking at it too long makes your eyes dance. It absorbs the light from Grash’s star when it is above the horizon.

Filaments or tubes of mithril run from the boss into three woman-shaped cavities in the hallet. You can see the insides of women forming in the cavities currently (the sight kind of puts you off human contact for awhile).

A new layer of the boss is extruded each time Grash’s star comes above the horizon. Damaging the boss will hamper the development progress although not stop it unless the boss is entirely removed and it’s anchoring point covered with some opaque substance.

About 20 yards along the trail from the rift lies the emaciated body of Lithan. She looks furiously that you are trying to impede her progress but can barely move and is too parched to talk.

Near the top of the ravine is Latheen who eyes you pleadingly and is more friendly but in a similar state. She knows what Grash’s will would be but feels that something must be wrong about the current state of affairs, maybe an enemy has sabotaged the Hallet? She will help you (point out to you what the Hallet does) if you let her.

Lying in front of the hallet are four bodies: three emaciated corpses of elven women, along with a Lathin curled in the fetal position comatose.

Every 15 minutes of contact with the hallet heals 1 hp of damage from injury but does nothing for hunger or thirst.

Morality note:

Most modern spells for detecting alignment treat “good” as prosocial tendancy and “evil” as selfishness or lack of concern for others as “evil”. But back in the day such was not the case. Of a time “good” meant that a particular thing was in keeping with the will of a particular god and “evil” was anything against that god’s will.

So there were as many “goods” as there were gods, concepts of right which were totally from anything mortals would favor.

Unfortunately for the Paladins it turns out that Grash was among the those entities on the losing end of that war. As a result his conceptual underpinnings were banished from this world. The hallet is one of the few toe-holds he has left. So while the Paladins show up as “good” under alignment detection, their concepts of what constitutes “good” are totally alien to residents of this world. In fact the world they build at Grash’s behest would be quite alien and possibly horrifying to it’s current inhabitants.

Other characters:

Sharvis – The innkeeper. Unnerved that the women have been back twice. Will consider selling the bar if they come back again.

Olav the Burly – The dead sheriff of the locality.

Jibbinik – An honest yeoman with a cudgel, husband to Thall. Recruited impromptu by Olav to deal with the three women.

Thall – Wife of Jibbinik. Good with a butcher or carving knife. Wearing a leather apron.

It’s also to have extra names on handy in case incidental characters show up and require a name. I provided these:

Quanni the Ham

Joez Ril’s Son

Joez from the Medow

Viza Abhal




That was pretty much it. We just ran with it from there.

About Peter

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4 thoughts on “d20 Adventure – Playdough Fun Factory of the Godz

  1. That is a very interesting bit about the morality and good of the paladins. Is that one of your ideas or inspired by Vance? If not, what elements came from Vance?

  2. The morality idea is more mine. Actually an idea that seems to me generally held in monotheism: God is not good because He conforms to human desires, but things are good because they conform to God’s desire for them.

    The concept becomes a bit different if applied to a multi-deity pantheon since there could be multiple conflicting desires for the divine beings. And, at this stage of the setting’s history, the gods who once took an active role in the setting are generally alot less involved. So you have human ethics comming into play as well as divine-will-morality.

    I was never really satisfied with the whole good/evil, law/chaos aspect of D&D even though it’s become a pretty ingrained aspect of the game. With this I thought I’d tweak it just a bit. As a result casting the “Detect Evil” spell will generally tell you a being is “good” if they wish to accomplish the goals of your deity or “evil” if they are likely to foil your god’s efforts. But it won’t tell you for sure whether the person is kind to small children or a psychopath.

    As far as Vance goes, stuff inspired by him is basically the historicity of the setting. In the Dying Earth stories the world is 21 Aeons old (IIRC), but an Aeon is not well defined it’s just a very long period of time (I assume between 1000 and several million years). And as a result there’s all this old stuff lying around: half-human/half-animal races, gods people have wished into existence, powerful magical tools burried or lying around, old technology here and there. Just all kinds of junk for folks to stumble across or quest after. That was the Vancian aspect I was going for.

    Actually the original D&D magic system borrowed alot of spells from him (Prismatic Spray is one of them). It’s “fire and forget” method of casting spells is derived from this book as well, although in The Dying Earth even the most practiced magicians can only memorize 8 spells at a time (whereas in D&D they can memorize some huge number when they get to high levels). But his magic system isn’t something I’m looking into emulating more closely at the moment.

  3. Well, I think it is a wonderful concept. I was reading and thinking, “these are paladins, how come they are acting like rouges?” When I got to the explanation about “notions of good”, I thought, “wow”. So yeah – great stuff. Have you played the game yet? If so – how did the party react? I think ours would have just fought and probably died.

  4. The players sort of did what you’d expect them to on this one.

    The player characters were a druid, a sorcerer (a D&D 3ed class somewhat similar to a wizard), and a rogue.

    The first night they showed up at the inn they agreed to protect it if any other women showed up and to investigate where they were comming from the next day. There was no really obvious sign that the women’s corpses had been paladins and they didn’t catch on to this fact until much later.

    One person specifically asked and discovered that the women’s corpses had no bellybuttons.

    The next day they started following the tracks back to the hallet.

    About 1/3 of the way there the druid cast a spell and asked a tree if it had seen the women come by and it explained that it had detected three mammal-ish figures with silver skin (armor) come by late the previous day and the day before. So the adventurers continued onward until they met the three women again.

    There was some attempt at communication through writing: One of the PCs tried to draw a picture of the inn to ask the women about it. The woman he asked crossed out the picture and drew a very accurate picture of the temple she hoped to build with a strange idol inside and lots of people kneeling down outside.

    The PCs got the idea that there might be a temple burried under the inn, possibly with something of value in it. So the druid (he was a pretty proactive one) changed into a hawk and flew ahead of the party back to the town. He told the villagers to hide in the forrest until the PCs told them to come back. He noticed that there were some ancient stone foundations behind and under the inn. Thinking that he’d help the women uncover the thing they sought he used some sort of wood-shaping spell to change the floor-boards of the inn into trap-door sections that could easily be removed and put back into place.

    The women showed up in town finally with the other PCs at around dusk. The women went straight to the inn where the druid met them. He showed them the old foundations and pulled up a trap-door section of the floor to show them they could get under there. They were overjoyed at his enthusiasm to help them out and one of them quickly went to work with him removing all the trap-door floor sections.

    The other two women meanwhile encouraged the other two PCs to help them out as well. Finding implements of destructions (a pick and an axe) they went upstairs and started hacking out the roof thatch. The one who had been removing the floor sections eventually realized that her zeal to get to the foundation was misdirected and that it was probably best to take a house apart from the top down than from the bottom up.

    As the women tore away at the inn it gradually dawned on the PCs that they were unwittingly participating in an episode of Extreme Makover: Temple Edition. They tried to get the women to stop but the women weren’t listening to that noise.

    It was probably about this time that the rogue said, “Ok, I think it’s pretty clear that these are evil elf chicks and they must die.”

    Quick and deadly combat ensued. The “evil” elf chicks all died.

    The innkeeper was distraught at the state of his place and willingly sold the it to the PCs (who thought it might be handy to use for some sort of plan) before moving out of town. A few other families with small children moved out of town to stay with relatives as well at least until the whole thing blew over (if it ever did).

    The next day the PCs again went down the trail toward the hallet. This time they didn’t dally to talk with the women who showed up. They just fought them when they encountered them and proceeded onward.

    Eventually they came to the angry but emaciated woman on the trail. The sorcerer charmed her and gave her food and water. When she was able to talk she tried to explain things to him, about the hallet and what it did but she wasn’t very clear (speaking another language and all. Then she noticed he was injured and laid a hand on him to heal him.

    That was when the PCs realized these were paladins and it seemed they took it as being pretty weird.

    But not as weird as when they came across a big rift in the ground about 20 feed deep with a giant crystal brick laying in it and the bodies of several sick, comatose, or dead and rotted elf women laying around it.

    Weirder: inside the brick were three elf-chick shaped cavities with beating hearts and pulsing lungs inside them.

    They quickly figured out that the brick produced three women every day and then the two halves of it slid apart to release the newly minted paladins into the world.

    Upon figuring this out the rogue set to work tearing up the thin mithril “petals” of the boss atop the cube, but there was a big bulb of mithril that was the tip of a mithril vein at the boss’s center which he couldn’t pull out.

    IIRC at this point the druid used “stone shape” spell on the hallet and made a narrow tunnel into one of the elf-chick-shaped cavities In the very top of the cavity he could see the tip of a mithril vein with a faint radiance eminating from it.

    The party then decided that they couldn’t risk having the hallet open again so the druid cast “stone shape” again and made linking loops so that the two halves of the hallet couldn’t pull apart the next morning. The party then sat back to see the results of their handywork.

    They noticed that as a certain star crested the horizon a beam shot from it to the center of the boss on top of the hallet and the boss extruded a small new set of mithril petals which also seemed to absorb the light (apparently a larger set of petals was extruded each night allowing a stronger elf-chick to be produced the next day). The next morning a little while before dawn the hallet tried to pull apart but could not.

    They could see a couple elf-chick-like figures struggling ineffectively to get out. Then the disturbing happened as the hallet tried to make a new elf-chick in the spaces the old elf-chicks had inhabited.

    That was pretty much it. The adventurers went back to try and salvage their newly bought inn and wallow in the wealth they’d accumulate after selling all the mithril scraps and elf-chick armor they’d picked up. Also since the hallet it’s self had healing properties I believe there was some discussion on how to exploit this aspect for profit.

    The end.

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