Saturday, January 21, 2017

Castle of the Chaos Lord

Another Khamen and Candorra Adventure
Using Four Against Darkness

After their adventure of the sunken temple, Khamen and Candorra returned home for some relaxation. Alas, it was not to be. As soon as they reported to the Temple, the Preceptor offered them another job. A chaos lord had established himself in a castle in far-off Ehrlich. The source of his powers seemed to be a magical wand that he always carried. Steal the wand and his power would be broken.

They journeyed to the castle. Fortunately, the guards were very lax, and our heroes were able to sneak in through the front gate. The found themselves in a corridor (1) with an intersection.

As they approached the intersection, they could hear voices. Khamen signaled that they should hide. They pressed flat against the walls of the corridor as three robed figures approached from the right.

Khamen and Candorra try to avod detection
 Candorra tried to edge away from the passage, but kicked a pebble.

"What was that?" the cultist asked as he peered around the corner. Spying Candorra, he yelled and charged. Khamen slipped behind the attacker and stabbed him. But the next cultist struck Khamen. He stumbled back. The remaining enemies attacked, but both the heroes parried and then struck down their foes.

After the fight, Khamen turned to Candorra and said " I really thought you were good at this."

Candorra looked at him quizzically then he put a finger to his lips, indicating that she needed to be silent. She just rolled her eyes.

They turned right at the intersection and entered a room (2), where they were attacked by skeletons. After a short battle, they were victorious. They returned through the corridor (1), fending off some vampire bats.

The next room (3) featured a caged area, with seats outside the cage. Concerned that there might be prisoners, the duo crept down to the cage and opened the gate. As the hinges creaked, a looming bull-headed figure arose from the shadows.

"Close the gate!" Khamen yelled as the minotaur charged. Candorra slammed it shut just in time.

Leaving the minotaur's cell, they were wandering down another corridor (4) when they felt a sudden chill. They turned and saw an apparition pass through the wall behind them, cross the corridor, and then disappear through the opposite wall. Our heroes stood a moment, their hearts seemingly stopped. Then they shook off their fear and proceeded.

They wandered through a few more rooms and corridors (6-8), only facing some vampire bats. Then they opened a door to a small room (9). At one end was an altar of a hideous demon. A figure knelt before the altar. Lying next to him was what appeared to be a stick. Khamen realized that it was the Chaos Lord and his wand!

Trying to steal from the Chaos Lord
Candorra stood in the doorway, an arrow nocked in her bow. Silently, Khamen crept up to the wand. The Chaos Lord appeared deep in thought and oblivious to their presence. Khamen reached for the wand, gripped it, and started to slide it away.

"STOP!" a piercing cry called out. Khamen looked up. The idol was alive, screaming a warning to his worshiper.

The Chaos Lord turned, lashing out with a flaming sword that seemed to come out from nowhere. Khamen ducked, and the blow passes harmlessly over his head. Candorra released her arrow; it struck the Chaos Lord, knocking him back. Khamen backed away.

The Chaos Lord pursued Khamen, slashing at him futilely. Candorra drew her sword and rushed into battle. However, the Chaos Lord finally connected, and Khamen fell wounded. The Chaos Lord rushed to finish him. Khamen rolled and slashed his enemy's ankles. Howling in rage, the Chaos Lord forgot about Candorra. She slipped behind him and drove here sword into his vitals. The Chaos Lord collapsed.

"Let's get out of here!" Candorra urged.

Khamen reached down and grabbed the wand. Then they rushed back through the castle. However, the death of the Chaos Lord must have triggered some kind of warning. As they fled, they had to fight their way out against a horde of skeletons. They made it out, though. 

Shortly thereafter, they were riding back to the Temple.

"Well that was a near-run thing." Khamen commented.

"It could have been better. I thought you were good at this." Candorra replied.

"What do you mean?"

Candorra merely put her finger to her lips.

"It wasn't my fault! How was I to know that the idol would come to life!"

Candorra just repeated her gesture. Khamen rolled his eyes.

Once they returned to the Temple, they reported to the Preceptor and delivered the wand to him.

"Although much good it will do you," Khamen commented. "Candorra killed him."

"Actually," the priest stated, "you killed him Khamen."

"No, it was Candorra. She stabbed him through the heart."

The priest held up the wand. "Ah, but if he had this, no blow from Candorra, nor any other hero, would have been mortal. Your, ah, recovery, sealed his fate."

Game Notes:
  • I want to play the Three Rings adventure from Ganesha Games but my characters are not high enough level yet. I decided to try to level them up with an original adventure.
  • For this adventure, I used my own encounter tables. I rolled the final boss first, then choose encounters that would fit the theme.
  • I rolled for rooms as per the normal Four Against Darkness rules, although I reduced the size of the dungeon. I also ruled that the Chaos Lord would only be encountered in the back quarter of the map.
  • I'm moving along with the 6 x 6 Challenge! Here is another completed 4AD adventure.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Sunken Temple

Part 2 of Dark Waters
(A Khamen and Candorra Adventure using Four Against Darkness)

This post accounts my play-through of the Four Against Darkness module, Dark Waters. If you plan to play this module you may not want to read further.

Although they captured the corsair captain, our party of heroes failed to recover the idol of Telzany, the Shark God. Khamen and Candorra reported to the local Temple. The Preceptor shook his head in frustration.

"We must recover the idol. With it, the deep demons can summon Telzany itself."

Khamen looked perplexed. "What are these deep demons? And can they really summon a "god?"

"The deep demons are green-skinned, fish-faced humanoids. They live under water. And Telzany is real, but it is no god. It is a true demon, a powerful entity from the infernal regions. We cannot let them summon it!"


The Temple arranged for a boat to take the party to the location of a sunken temple known to be used by the deep demons.The Temple priests cast blessings upon the party, allowing them to breathe and act underwater. Our heroes were joined by Gerard, a young warrior on loan from the local coast guard.. Together, they leapt into the water and dove to the ocean floor and headed to the temple.

The Sunken Temple
As they entered the first room (1), they ran into 4 deep demon guards. After a short fight, where Candorra and Gerard took wounds, the deep demons were defeated.

After passing through an empty corridor (2), they entered a room (3) littered with the corpses of drowned sailors

"Likely sacrifices to Telzany." Gerard explained.

Suddenly, 4 of the corpses jumped up and shambled toward the party.

Our heroes about the engage the zombies
Khamen, Flint, Candorra, and Gerard (L to R)
Khamen and Flint managed to kill two of the zombies. Another went after Gerard. He tried to strike it down as it lunged, but he missed. He froze in fright. Armed with a bow, Candorra shot the undead horror. Then another attacked him but once again Candorra saved him.

"I guess I'm not cut out for this." Gerard apologized after the fight. "Perhaps I should return to the surface and let real heroes finish the quest."

"Nonsense Gerard.' Candorra replied. "The mark of a real hero is to continue forth into danger, despite our fears, because it is the right thing to do."

Somewhat encouraged, Gerard agreed to continue.

Returning through the corridor (2), they were attacked by 2 giant octopi. The creatures entangled the party with their tentacles. Khamen and Flint managed to free their weapon hands and strike down the cephalopods.

In the next room (4), the party was attacked by 7 fish-men. Three rushed Gerard. This time he did not flinch, but instead managed to deftly block the attacks and strike down 2 of his assailants. The rest easily defeated the rest of the enemy.

"Well done, Gerard." Candorra said. "We'll make a hero of you yet." Gerard smiled at the praise.

After passing through an empty room (5) they entered a darkened sanctum. Eight deep demons clustered around an altar, muttering incantations. The idol of Telzany sat upon the altar. Khamen quietly signaled to his comrades to sneak up on the enemy, When in position, they struck. Three of the deep demons fell. Others spun around, pulled out wicked daggers, and attacked. The head cultist continued to invoke Telzany. With a sudden eruption of steam from the idol, a huge, fanged creature with claws and tentacles appeared!

"Telzany!" Gerard cried in terror. He felt a sudden urge to flee, but then he remembered Candorra's words - real heroes continue into danger despite their fears. He gulped back his horror and turned his attention to the enemy. He hacked down a pair of deep demons then turned on Telzany. Flint and Candorra, who struck down the demons attacking them, joined him.

Meanwhile, Khamen was locked in a fight with one of the cultists. He was able to avoid getting wounded but could not land the final blow. Now Telzany began lashing out with its claws and tentacles, slicing and battering the heroes. They also landed blows, but Telzany appeared unfazed.

It struck again with its talons, raking deep wounds in Flint's and Candorra's flesh. Bleeding profusely, both backed out of the fight. Candorra downed a healing potion but Flint had no such option. Khamen finally finished off his foe and took a position on the front line. Despite his fears, Gerard joined him and used his shield to protect him and his comrades.

Telzany began to focus on Khamen and Gerard. They took numerous wounds - now Khamen had to back out of the fight to heal. Flint and Candorra looked at each other. A fatalistic determination overcame them. With a cry, they charged back into battle. Freshly healed, Khamen joined them, doing his best to defend his wounded comrades. Together, they hacked and slashed at their enemy until viscous, black blood oozed from Telzany.

Yet Telzany refused to surrender. Instead, it decided to punish Khamen's temerity. It grasped him in its claws, drew him to its face, and bit hard with its shark-like jaws. Khamen screamed in pain. Flint tried to free his friend, but the demon grabbed him with the other claw. It began banging the two against each other until they were nearly unconscious, then flung them to the floor as it laughed in apparent triumph.

Righteous rage filled Gerard's breast. He yelled at the top of his lungs and charged at the demon. Distracted by its torture of Khamen and Flint, it reacted too late. Gerard smashed it with his shield, causing Telzany to stumble backward. Gerard ducked under the claws and tentacles, then drove his sword deep into the monster's torso. Telzany screamed in rage and pain. Then, as if dissolving in the ocean's water, Telzany disappeared.

Gerard slumped to the floor, exhausted. Candorra came over, checking his wounds.

"A hero indeed!" she whispered to him.


A week after their epic battle, Flint and Khamen sat at a table in the local tavern in port town of Telzany's Cove. The Temple had destroyed the idol so that Telzany could never be summoned again. Gerard was the toast of the town; some of the townspeople even wanted to make him commander of the coast guard. Khamen and Flint were having one last celebration before they departed.

"And what now, my friend?" asked Khamen.

Flint guffawed. "The Temple has made me an honest man!"

Khamen eyed him quizzically. "Really?"

"With the reward, and the, um . . . souvenirs from the sunken temple, I can buy my own ship. The life of an honest merchant for me!"

"Honest merchant, now there's an oxymoron." laughed Khamen.

Flint snickered in return. "Perhaps, perhaps, but it's a start to respectability. But what about you?"

"I think I may keep working for the Temple."

"An honest Khamen. Now there's an oxymoron!" retorted Flint.

"I'm serious."

"And this has nothing to do with the elf lady?" Flint asked.

"No." Khamen stated. Then he grew philosophical. "Not that at all. It's that . . . All my life I've been struggling, to make ends meet, to get ahead. Over that time, I developed certain . . . skills. But what did it all mean. What was the point? For the first time, I see the point. I feel like I have a role to play in the greater scheme of things. And ironically, those skills I developed for my own gain, I can now use for . . . something greater."

Flint nodded and took a pull from his flagon. "Well, you're a better man than I, Khamen. I wish you well."

"And the same to you, Flint."

With that, they shook hands and parted, Khamen heading back to the Temple, and his next adventure.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Into the Corsair's Hideout

Part 1 of Dark Waters
(A Khamen and Candorra Adventure using Four Against Darkness)

This post accounts my play-through of the Four Against Darkness module, Dark Waters. If you plan to play this module you may not want to read further.

After arriving at Telzany's Cove, Khamen and his companions visited the Atlis Coast Guard headquarters. There, they learned that a band of corsairs had a hideout nestled in the cliffs and rocks several miles south of the city. The difficult terrain has made it impossible for the Coast Guard to approach, but perhaps a small party could do it. The authorities offered a large reward if the party could capture the captain of the corsairs.

After agreeing, a Coast Guardgave them a small boat. They sailed to the cove then rowed in to the entrance, avoiding some dangerous rocks. Entering the caverns, they ran into a guard room with bandits and dogs. They reached for their swords but Flint intervened.

"Where's your captain?"

"What?" their leader responded.

"We're here with a proposal for your captain. A lucrative deal. Lead us to him, and you may all benefit." said Flint.

"Find him yourself," the head guard responded, pointing the way deeper into the caverns. The guards let the party pass.

Game Note: As I mentioned before, I am not tracking gold. When I roll "bribe" (as I did with the guards), I then make a persuasion roll. Success means that they party can pass.

The party moved deeper into the caverns. Entering a room, they ran into a bunch of goblins.

A schematic of the party's run-in with goblins.
The party consists of Khamen, Candorra, and Flint (in rear)
Three goblins attacked Khamen but he dodged and ducked the blows. Candorra and Flint killed two of the goblins each. The goblins continued to attack, though. Khamen and Flint avoid blows and then Candorra and Flint took out the last two.

The party continued deeper into the caverns. They opened a door and entered a room filled with garbage. Suddenly, a green slime lashed out at them. Khamen was hit, but then they withdrew from the room. After going further, they found a secret exit from the caverns.

The companions backtracked and finally found the captain. He was at the edge of an underground lake, conversing with a green-skinned creature. The creature grabbed a golden idol from his hands and dove into the lake. The captain turned and gasped in surprise, for the party had snuck up to him and attacked. Candorra's blade bit into the captain's arm. He roared in pain but swung in return. His counter struck home, and Candorra staggered away. The captain chased after her, deflecting attacks from the others and stabbed her two more times. Flint stepped forward, blocking the captain. This gave Candorra time to drink a healing potion. She then murmured an incantation. Lightning flashed from her fingertips and struck the captain. He collapsed.

After administering aid, they tied and gagged the captain and began carrying him through the caverns. But they ran into 3 corsairs. When they saw their captain tied up, they charged. With his rapier and dagger whirling, Flint took out 2 of the enemy. The last attacked Khamen but he parried the blow. Candorra came over and struck down the last one.

The party made it safely to the secret exit, which led down a ladder. Khamen went first, and ensured that the way was clear. Then they used a rope to lower the captain. Candorra went next and then Flint followed. As he made his way down the ladder, a rung gave way. He fell to the bottom and sprained his ankle. Despite his injury, the party made their way back to their boat and sailed back to Telzany's Cove. Flint's eyes grew wide as they handed him his share of the reward.

But what of the idol? Find out in part 2!

Game Note: The module consists of 2 parts. First is a pre-generated dungeon, which I describe in this post. The second is a random dungeon. I haven't played that part yet.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Search for the Shark God Statue

Introduction to Dark Waters
(A Khamen and Candorra Adventure using Four Against Darkness)

Note: Pardon the long-winded intro. The actual game report will begin in the next installment. If you skip this intro you won't be missing much.

Khamen sat at a table in the rear of the tavern, enjoying the spoils of his last adventure. He sipped his ale and watched the drunken revelry of the patrons. The tavern door opened, and a gust of frigid winter air blew through the crowd. Even in the back, Khamen could feel its icy blast. The revelers shouted for the newcomer to close the door. Apologetically, an old man in pilgrim's robes entered. He seemed out of place in this nest of debauchery, but the patrons did not notice. Khamen watched him warily.

The old man made a beeline for Khamen's table. As he approached, Khamen recognized him. Different robes, but the same walk. It was the Temple priest who sent him into the Rat God's temple.

"May I sit?" the old priest asked.

Khamen hesitated, then nodded. "Although it will avail you little." he added.

"We shall see. It is all as the Maker wills it."

"Does He will you a drink?" Khamen asked sarcastically. "No. I suppose not."

The priest smiled and nodded. "It is for another reason I come, but I'm sure you can figure that out."

"Another job?"

The priest nodded and began to speak. Khamen cut him off.

"Not interested."

"Not even for 100 gold?"

Khamen looked up from his drink. "200." he demanded.

"Done," stated the priest, putting out his hand. Khamen grasped the proffered hand and shook.

And thus Khamen found himself once more in the employ of the Temple. As he stood at the taffrail of the ship, he pondered the events of the last few weeks. His employer was sending him to the Sea of Storms, to the south of Talmatia, in search of a relic of the pagan Shark God, stolen from a merchant ship traversing those perilous seas.. It sounded like a difficult assignment, but at least it was in a warmer climate.

Note: And so Khamen took up the quest presented in the Four Against Darkness module called Dark Waters.

Candorra accompanied him again. The Temple still did not entirely trust him. Besides, she was useful; he would never have escaped the Rat God's lair without her. This time, however, they had another companion, They met him on the docks of Talmatia as they searched for a ship to take them to Telzany's Cove, a port on the southern continent. From there, they hoped to track the relic. As they made their way through the bustle of the quayside crowds, Khamen felt a hand brush against his belt - the telltale sign of a pickpocket. Khamen quickly turned and grabbed the offending hand as he surreptitiously unsheathed his dagger.

"I would let go of that purse if I were you." Khamen snarled.

"I don't know what. . . Khamen, is that you?"

Khamen stared at the pickpocket. "Flint?"

"It IS you, Khamen!" the man named Flint responded. "It is good to see you. How long as it been? 10 years? We should share an ale and catch up!"

"Yes, we should." Khamen agreed. "But first you should return my purse."

"Of course, old friend! You'll need it because you're buying!" Flint laughed as he returned the purse.

They soon learned what Flint had been up to. A little thieving, a little smuggling, a little piracy. Flint loved to talk, Khamen recollected. For his part, Khamen revealed little. He just mentioned that he was on a retrieval job for a wealthy client.

"The Shark Idol, perhaps?" Flint pried.

Khamen's eyes widened for a brief moment before he regained control. Flint just laughed, for he knew his guess was correct.

"Then ye'll be needin' someone to guide you through these dark waters. And I know just the one to do the job."

Candorra demurred at first, but Khamen reassured her that they could trust Flint, or at least as far as thieves go. Besides, it would be more hazardous to leave him, and his knowledge of their goal, behind. And thus, they hired Flint to join their party.

What happens next? Stay tuned for our next installment.

Note: I originally was going to run just Khamen and Candorra through the adventure. Then I saw that the module introduced a new character class - the swashbuckler. I just had to try out a swashbuckler character. And so Flint was created.