WARNING: Spoilers for “Hollow Threats” – a sidequest adventure from Dungeon #96
tl;dr: I use a combination of pre-written modules and seat-of-pants on-the-fly material for my games. In this case it involved an orc clan in a dead dragon turtle, a tree throwing dead bodies and old ruins around, and a mimic pretending to be a door.
Sunday’s 3.5 game was pretty fun. This week the dwarven cleric was off dealing with a war back in the clanhold (she’s a cleric of War and Strength, no god, so her clan going to war was a religious holiday for her), so we had the 1/2 Barbarian, the Halfling Smartass (err, Rogue/Bard) and the Human wizard (not an illusionist, but he carries a lot of illusion spells).
The party is searching out the last four segments of a dead king’s soul that were torn from his body and turned into demons that haunt the land (Ferals from Sword & Sorcery Studios’ Creature Collection). They have triangulated the rough areas for them, two pairs. Looking for the southern ones, the party wanders through the small farming and fishing hamlet of Fogly where they hear tales of a giant Dragon Turtle that has been ravaging local villages from a travelling hafling peddler trying to get the fuck out of dodge.
The next morning, the dragon turtle beaches in town and the villagers run for the hills, heeding the warnings of the halfling. The wizard notices that the dragon turtle is long-dead and orcs are climbing out of it and announces it to the party as well as the halfling peddler and his companion. The halfling and his friend try to waylay the team, score many a critical hit, and discover that critical hits with d3 damage weapons really don’t mean much to a level 4 barbarian.
The orcs are slaughtered (although the fight is hard and nearly ends with the death of the barbarian), and the turtle boat captured. The next morning the chieftain of a nearby orc tribe pulls into Fogly and explains that the party now owes him for the dead orc’s debts after claiming the boat as theirs – and the debt is a wig made from the pelt of a fiendish dire wolf.
More combat ensues, and although these forces were much more powerful with their dire wolf mounts, the battle is better controlled by the party and is over very quickly.
Gaining the assistance of the local cleric, Pollidicious Morningwhistle, the party continues on to the ruins nearby where Morningwhistle says there are often undead prowling about at night. Scanning the hilltop they see the old ruins of a manor house, one remaining mostly intact tower, and a massive tree in the middle of the structures with two skeletons dangling from it’s branches. Only on closer inspection does the tree score a critical hit with a thrown corpse on the halfling, and then begins throwing the ruins themselves at the party as they light it up with scorching rays and alchemist’s fire.
Once taken care of, the door of the tower (well, a mimic pretending to be such) proceeds to try to eat the wizard (damn near succeeding) and keeps stealing weapons from the barbarians’ hands, sucks up the cleric and finally succumbs to the combined beatings of the rogue and barbarian.
Within the tower they find one of the old king’s thrones, a secret compartment that contained one of his crowns, and the ruins of a tapestry that probably depicted the king wearing said crown. They are now headed back to the Citadel on Sabre Lake in their Dragon Turtle boat with said so they can figure out where the crown is now (and probably the Feral that took it).
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Best part? After getting stuck to the mimic, EVERYONE was poking everything they saw with a stick before they would touch it, for fear of it being another mimic. I want to write up an adventure where the building itself is a huge fucking mimic with smaller mimics operating as furniture, woodstacks, fireplaces and doors and very small mimics as doorknobs, broomsticks and so on.
Just to fuck with players.