Thursday, February 3, 2011

Village of Hommlet - D20 Style (Part 9)

[continued from here]

The Rest of the Dungeon

After stripping the bodies of your enemies and piling them against the portcullis, you set off to explore the rest of the dungeon. This time, Geffen is careful to map the interior, though you also have your chalk out to mark the way.

As you cannot get through the portcullis, you head back up the stairs and through the ogre’s chamber. Past the antechamber (the door opposite the secret one), you find yourself back in the cellar that contained the zombies and the two locked doors. You now take the time to pick the locks on the doors and find that they contain stores of supplies. The first contains dozens of spears, pole arms, and axes, as well as scores of arrows and crossbow bolts. The second one contains shields, leather armor, barrels of salted meat, and two kegs of excellent brandy.

You also find a crate in the weapon room containing more than fifty black capes sewed with the yellow eye of fire.

Going back through the torture chamber tunnel, and then through the crypt, you explore the rest of the underground complex. You find the chambers that housed both bugbears and gnolls, but nothing of value is in these rooms, only squalor and filth. You find a room with a pool in it; obviously the water supply for the hideout, a giant crab-like monster lurks below the surface and menaces you when you approach! Deciding that your party has enough water to last, you leave the pool and creature in peace, rather then risk further injury. You also find the other side of the portcullis, and loot the fallen; the sergeant has a gold chain around his neck and all the men have purses of coin. A simple winch mechanism lifts the portcullis.

Finally, down a long deserted corridor you find the chamber and barracks of the guardsmen and the residence of the high priest. The guards’ barracks contains only cots, salted meat, and other basic supplies, but the chamber of Lareth is another thing entirely! It is lavishly furnished with rugs and wall hangings and a silver serving set and goblets begs your immediate attention. A brazier of sweet incense burns near a carved alabaster box filled with rich unguents (obviously worth a good amount of gold) and lastly you discover a gold necklace, beautifully wrought with ten gorgeous fire opals and set with diamond chips. It is obviously worth a king’s ransom!

You also find another tunnel, near the guards’ chamber that leads in a long upwards slope to the surface…well outside the moat house and deep in a bramble grove. This is probably the way the remaining guardsmen fled. You use this exit and hike the short distance back to the moat house, where your horses and the body of Burne awaits.

The Road Back

You carefully tie Burne to the back of his great white horse, and stow your wealth in bulging saddle-bags. Kendra has changed her scale mail for the gleaming plate armor once worn by Lareth the Beautiful, a unanimous decision by the party as it was she that struck the telling blow. The group is amazed as the way the armor seems to magically contour to her body, slighter though it is compared to the six foot Lareth. Bryant carries the cleric’s quarterstaff, having given his own sword to Kendra. She in turn gives you the dagger of Burne, to use until it is decided what to do with his gear. So equipped your battered party turns its horses towards the open road.

More than a day has passed since you first entered the moat house, but your party has not yet rested, and figures to regain its strength after finding solace at the Inn of the Welcome Wench. However, it is near dusk as you head east back to Hommlet The dim light is enough for your half-elven eyes, however, as you guide the humans in the party.

You have not gone very far, though, when you find your way blocked by two horsed figures, one dressed in armor and the other in casual robes. The robed man holds up his hand for you to halt as you approach. You recognize Turuko and Kobort from the inn!

“Whoa, fellows!” says the monk from the back of his horse. “It appears you’ve had a rough time, with many wounds among your party, and at least one member not fit to ride. You should have taken us along on your excursion, as we could have kept you in better repair. Perhaps you need some protection to see you back to town? The roads are very dangerous at night and we’d be willing to escort you to Hommlet for a share of the spoils.”

Turuko blinks at your offer of 10%, then smiles. “Actually, we were thinking more like fifty percent.” The barrel-chested Kobort fingers the hilt of his long sword meaningfully.

You “tsk” at Turuko and the two thugs attack!

Turuko launches himself into the air, feet and hand flying, but Bryant is there striking with his new quarterstaff before the human can do any damage. He strikes twice, and the monk goes down in the dirt. You sling Burne’s dagger as Kobort kicks his mount forward, and it easily pierces the big fighter’s shoulder. Then Kendra and Eldoran are riding forward, the dwarf striking the foe in the knee and the paladin glancing a blow off the man’s shield.

Kobort throws down his sword and sues for peace. “Let me live! I’m not evil! Turuko told me that it would be easy money to waylay your party, since you all were wounded…I didn’t want to kill anyone! Please don’t slay me!”


You turn to Kendra and suggest you tie the dog up and leave him for the buzzards. Kobort, large man that he is, shivers in fear and pain at his wounds as you and your companions surround him with drawn weapons. Kendra shakes her head.

“We won’t leave him to die, but I don’t see any wisdom in letting a potential brigand loose either…he might try to waylay some other poor soul who is not as prepared as ourselves.

“Let him leave all weapons and armor to us, and let him bury his fallen comrade. After that, he may ride away to find some honest work for himself, but we will not leave him with accoutrements of warfare!”

The five of you supervise the burial of Turuko (performed by a half-naked Kobort) and then allow the man to ride away, with only his breaches and a small bag of copper. Your party then continues on to Hommlet.

In the Common Room

Ostler is only too happy to send a pot boy to Rufus, while his other servant stables your horses. Burne is brought into the common room and laid on a table with a sheet thrown over his body. Then Ostler goes about getting you some food and drink.

The common room is full of people tonight, but the whole room has fallen silent at the sight of Burne. Some of the men drinking are laborers from the castle and are used to Burne’s presence every day. To all the villagers of Hommlet, “his Most Worshipful Mage of Hommlet” was a figure of both respect and awe. They find it difficult to believe the wizard is dead.

However, the silence is broken as Rufus arrives. Rufus sees the covered form of his cohort and goes red in the face, hand on the hilt of his sword. He glares at your party not saying a word, just as Ostler comes into the common room with a tray of drinks. The inn keeper halts mid-stride clearly sensing the tension and danger in the air.

Then Kendra speaks: “I’m sorry, Rufus.”

It is enough to dissolve the tension, and with that the five of you sit down to table with the fighter and share what transpired in the dungeons beneath the evil moat house. The common room is filled with low buzzing as people alternate between listening and commenting to their neighbors. You consider briefly taking the conversation back into a more private room, but decide the townsfolk have a right to know what happened to the wizard that employed many and was a protector of all.

Rufus countenance grows dark as you tell the tale of Lareth and his strangely garbed warriors. He chokes a little when you tell him of Burne’s death, and all but hoots with joy when you describe the defeat of Lareth and his men. You show him some of the trinkets taken from Lareth’s personal chambers and the crowd “oos” and “ahs” over the jeweled splendor of the loot. Then, as you finish your tale a startled look of hope comes over Rufus’ face.

“Wait…by what you say, Burne’s passing was only three days ago. If this is true, then there is still a chance to save him!”

Rufus quickly begins ordering his men to prepare horses for travel and to bring them to the inn, and also orders a few days worth of iron rations from Ostler. Then he explains, “The soul of my cohort has left his body before its time, but his body is still whole and intact. It is possible to call his spirit back to its form but it would take a mighty holy man to do so. The High Priest of Apollo in Gilea has the power to raise him up, but we must be able to get the body to his temple within 10 days of its death. After that, even the high priest may not be able to call him back!”

While Ostler makes ready Burne’s body (and the rations), Rufus continues, “Listen…I must try to raise my companion while there is still time, but this entire incident is troubling. This ‘Lareth’ whom you slew was a cleric of surpassing power, and only a true worshipper of dark gods could command the type of unholy might you describe. This was no charlatan using the name of Elemental Evil…this was a cleric of that foul power! It is good that you stopped him when you did, and extremely lucky for you that Burne was along with you to help. But if the dark power is rising enough to call mortal servants, this whole region could be in great danger!”

Let Me Tell You About Nulb

Rufus continues, “I must travel south (and quickly!) to Gilea or I would investigate myself, but I need someone to go to Nulb and investigate the old temple dedicated to the Cult of Elemental Evil. I charge your party with doing this; you have already proven yourselves worthy and strong by deeds both good and fell. You must make certain that the old temple is secure, that the seals on the place are unbroken. The seals were placed both to keep potential worshippers out, and to keep other things IN. It is the ‘other things’ that worry me!

“Travel the Western Road to Tryss…the same road that goes by the site of our castle construction, and the same road that goes by the moat house. You should see sign posts marking the lane that leads to Nulb a few miles past the moat house. Just on the outskirts of Nulb, you should find the Temple, once a place of great evil and foul creatures. Be VERY careful.

“Nulb itself is a miserable little village; I have only ever been there once, on a scouting expedition for Burne. The place is smaller then Hommlet, and meaner…it’s fallen on rough times the last few years. I daresay there may be brigands residing in Nulb and feel free to do with them as you will. To my knowledge, there’s no real law or militia in Nulb and it is ruled more by strength then by group consensus. Like Hommlet, it falls loosely under the rule of Gilea, but the Empire does not ride that far north and does not enforce its will over the village. However, that does not mean there are no agents of the Empire there…Gilea has a vested interest in keeping an eye on the old Temple Ruins, so you may find hidden help in Nulb…though why they did not notice the rebirth of the Cult is a mystery!

“You may take Burne’s gear to help you…I am sure he does not begrudge you using his equipment while he soars the afterworld. If we bring him back from the dead…well, we’ll deal with that if the lucky event comes to pass. However, until then, please use his enchanted items to best ability. His wand will fire magical missiles and this musical chime will open any lock or door with a slight ringing. His dagger is also enchanted and his ring will protect the wielder as if you were wearing an extra suit of leather. His other items back at the tower, I will keep for now.

“One last word of note: be very careful of your treasure. Nulb is not known for gentle qualities of its townfolk and unguarded loot will surely be stolen. Find a good base of operations in Nulb that you can secure against robbers, or buy a house in Hommlet even! I will return in about two weeks and after that I may be able to help you store your valuables. Until then, be careful!”


Your party enters the Waterside Hostel…a fairly seedy place. The proprietor is burly and scowling, his bartender is surly and sleazy. Two slovenly women act as the barmaids/entertainment of the establishment, and both give you an unfriendly eye as you rent your rooms. On the bright side, all the costs are half of what they were at the Welcome Wench.

You feel a bit uncomfortable as you pay the fee; all eyes are fixated on the platinum you count into the innkeeper’s meaty palm.

You tie your horses outside, Geffen assuring you that they’ll make a ruckus if anything happens. Then you go to your rooms and wait for nightfall. Once it is dark the party, at your behest, takes to the streets in pairs looking for “anything suspicious.”

There isn’t a whole lot to explore. There are no lamp lights and the streets are dark, only lit by the crescent moon and stars. The only place open (besides the Waterside Hostel) is the Boatmen’s Tavern. Lights and raucous noise emanate from the river-front establishment. A drunk appears passed out on the street a few yards from the entrance.

[this is the end of the transcript and as far as the Doc and I got through the T1-4 super-module. Hope you all enjoyed the recounting of our's been fun in the telling!]


  1. That was awesome! But, why the jump from Hommlet to Nulb? Did anything happen? Really just curious at this point.
    That was an amazing "little" script. Gave me ideas on running the Temple myself, again really. Big fan of the blog. Any other scripts you have? Either way, it was a fun read.

  2. @ drago: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!

    Re: "jumping locations" I've never been a huge fan of playing out "road encounters;" I prefer to get to the next location of action and start playing! And D20 (this is what this particular adventure was adapted for) doesn't take the same approach with wilderness encounters as B/X and AD&D anyway.

    I do have one or two other transcripts, but they're not for D&D...I may post them later if folks are interested, though I believe they're shorter than this one.
    : )