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