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This section is adventure ideas that suggest campaign themes. Players should not read this section. It is only for the GM's eyes.
Two men who had been out on a hunting expedition return with an injured man. He is the only survivor of a caravan that was delivering needed supplies throughout the Wastes.
The caravan has 2 scouts that were sent ahead. After the scouts were out of sight, the caravan was attacked by Outsiders. Everyone but the one man was slaughtered, including the Ritual Master. The goods must be recovered and delivered and the bodies properly disposed of.
Before the group leaves their settlement, they are given supplies by the Matron in charge of stores and goods.
At the site of the attack:
There are 8 dead bodies lying in heaps, some without arms or legs attached. One body stands out; it is an old woman. Her long grey hair is tangled as if she had been held up by it and her throat was slashed. The tattoo of a Ritual Master stands out clearing on her forehead. [She has a Ritual Master pendant that the players should keep.] One of the bodies has no ancestral tattoos and is obviously an Outsider.
Tracks were left behind and are easily followed. The Outsiders that took the caravan are suffering from several days of exposure to the Wastes and are weakened from it.
Things found in the caravan:
A few bolts of clean cloth
Non-magical swords and armor
A large shield
Cloaks, and other common items
The Ritual Master's body needs to be disposed of properly (burned). Even though the players may do that, they were too late. The players must find the Wise Men to put her spirit to rest.
The Wise Men appear at random, or where there is need of them. They are capable of teaching talents to anyone. They also have many other talents and will be able to put the spirit to rest once they have the Ritual Master's pendant.
*I suggest that this come in some random place, after the players have earned some legend points to that they may be able to study from the Wise Men.
The GM should choose a Ghost Master Spirit to accompany the players and be a source of advice and encouragement. From her on, the spirit is referred to as Jedda, who in my campaign was an 11th circle Swordmaster. To determine the circle of the Ghost Master Spirit, use a d12.
This horror lends itself well to a long term campaign. However, this section will only include the riddle she left for Kisi and its twin town.
Do that which would draw me near yet drive me away.
[The answer is: destroy both the towns and everyone in it: it would draw her near to enjoy the suffering and then drive her away when there is no one left.]
The Ritual Master from the caravan was carrying the answer to this riddle back to Marthen, the leader of Kisi. Marthen is a middle aged, but very tired looking Human man. He invites you into his home and asks his wife to prepare some food and drink for you. When he fully understands what you have done, he thanks you vigorously and offers you the comfort of his home for as long as you are planning to stay.
I have a request to ask of you. As you know, our Ritual Master was on that caravan. She was carrying an answer for us. Now that is lost.
We were given a riddle seven weeks ago, by the Monarch. She has promised to destroy our home and our sister settlement if we do not perform the answer. However, we have not been able to solve it. Though perhaps it is only that we are unwilling to see the answer she seeks. We sent our Ritual Master to Jaklio to get the answer. Since she was returning, without going on to another place, she had the answer. We have no other Ritual Masters, only one girl who had not yet completed her training. Obviously, we cannot send her. Will you go to Jaklio and retrieve the answer for us? We will reward you as best we can if you help save us. [Glancing at your weapons, he continues.] Our craftsmen can supply you with weapons or armor. . . [If they do not take the bait, offer added incentives until they do.]
Before the group leaves, Marthen gives them a banner with the same symbol the Ritual Master had on her forehead. They are to present this in Jaklio and tell them what happened and why the Answer did not arrive in Kisi.
The Way To Jaklio
Six days travel west reveals no other camps, only a few Namegiver tracks, and many unrecognizable tracks. They are tracks of Reavers and their minions.
After three days, the marks are much more recent, ultimately circling around (if followed). At twilight of that third night, when all is normally quiet, soft clicking and chittering can be heard - this is the Reavers communicating with their servants. Moments later, the campsite is attacked by a pack of 8 scurriers and two pair of unravellers. After the first 6 rounds, they are joined by 4 Grave Drudges. They have all come from the east, following the group's tracks. The pair of Reavers pass nearby during combat, but do not attack and leave to travel south.
If the group tries to follow the Reavers, the tracks ultimately end in a wide loop, and never actually go anywhere.
If someone in the group has a mapmaking skill, or some direction skill, they can find a diagonal path and cut a few days from their travel. However, it is always safer to follow direct lines (N,S,W,E) and any good navigator or mapmaker will always prefer to follow those directions.
When the group arrives, they are met by confusion. It seems that everyone is running around, and everyone is definitely too busy to speak to them. When they finally do get someone to stop for a moment, they are directed to the shrine in the center of town.
In the shrine, the Jaklio Ritual Master greets you but seems distracted until he notices your spirit, Jedda. Then he closes the door behind you and insists that you sit down. A look of panic crosses his face when he sees the banner you were given. When he learns that the Answer was not received, he thanks the unseen heavens that you hadn't come bearing the news that the Answer had been heeded. Unless of course, you, or someone else had figured out the answer. . .
If the players have figured out the answer, he asks what they will do. To tell the people would be to guarantee their deaths, for they would most likely follow the suggestion because the Monarch said so. To not tell them would subject them to attack by the Monarch, or at the least, her minions. Are you prepared to protect the people of Kisi and Sika from at least a dozen Reavers and all their little minions? Have you any idea of what kind of defense would be needed? After all, it is not really feasible to move the whole of the towns, or even just their people and animals. And now you are involved as surely as if the Monarch had sent you herself.
He gives them a copy of the scroll the Answer and Riddle had been recorded on, even if they have figured out the answer themselves. He wishes them a standard blessing and then confidentially informs them that he is not at all jealous of their future duties. He also warns that Jedda may become unduly influencing and to watch out for her mischief. Jedda merely laughs off his comments and tells her master that they should be on their way. However, Jedda seems distracted after you depart Jaklio.
On the way back to Kisi, you see more tracks like those of before. There are four times as many Reavers, scurriers, and unravellers. As you travel on, the Horrors begin to show up, lining a path for you. The Reavers stand in pairs off to the sides with their long bone blades crossed in front of them, pointing to the ground. The scurriers chitter as you pass, almost sounding like laughter and the unravellers hiss at mages in the group. Directly above you, the sky seems darker, as though the mist biters are gathering there. They do not attack. However, there is an overwhelming sense that you are being mocked by the Horrors. This lasts for only a few minutes, after which things almost instantly turn back to normal. It would take a perception test of over 12 to discern that this is not an illusion.
Again, nothing untoward happens on the rest of the return to Kisi.
Once back at Kisi, Marthen asks for the scroll. If they do not give him the scroll, he will likely send out another group to get the answer. If they have forged a scroll, he will likely believe what it says as long as it has the same symbols on it. If they give him the real scroll, he will present it to his council. Knowing they are no match for the Monarch and her spawn, the city will probably destroy itself, rather than allow her the victory (as twisted as that sounds).
There are 3 possible outcomes:
1. They destroy the city themselves.
2. The 2 cities are attacked by the Swarm
3. The cities are evacuated and resettled.
In a seemingly abandoned city, the players encounter a group of children. There is an old woman who looks like she should have died many, many years ago. Her face is wrinkled, her back bent. The children are playing with silver-golden balls [star balls], rolling them back and forth. Each child also has a doll. The children look in your direction, but then go back to playing. The old woman ignores you completely, acting like a slave to her duties. If you approach the children, they run to grab their dolls. If you speak to any of them, they act like they are listening to their dolls before replying.
Players can identify the doll players through: half-magic perception tests, creature lore, magic lore.
All five dolls must be destroyed, or at the very least, their connection to their children must be severed. When this is complete, the old woman falls down dead and blows away into dust. The players are free to raid the kaer/city.
Inside the kaer, the players discovered some tunnels. The players know that after the Scourge, while people still lived inside the kaers, they began to build tunnels and often, many riches were hidden in these tunnels. Unfortunately, these tunnels were often littered with skeletons and other dead things. The tunnels usually go for miles without any directions marked on the walls or floor. It is very easy to become lost here and maps were never created, requiring everyone to memorize the correct path. There are countless treasures to be found in the Wastes in places such as these.
Along the way, there are many broken bones and smashed skulls. In an alcove, there are piles of rusted weapons and armor. If the players go through the entire contents of the alcove, there are no decent weapons to be found, but there is what looks like a salvageable set of very old chainmail.
This chainmail, if examined, is in wonderful condition, if it is cleaned. It is pre-Scourge magical chainmail. Searching it reveals that it is of elven construction and is named Rathmark'd. See legendary items for details.
Further down the tunnels, you hear a strange rumbling. Following the sound leads you to some run down cadavermen (4), one solid hit will take them down, but full legend points.
In an alcove near the cadavermen, something sparkles under a pile of gnawed on bones. There they find a sphere that glitters like a fire in the distance. It is the size of a melon, requiring two hands to hold it. [It is called an Isseolu Sphere, see items.] The pictures the flit across the sphere change too quickly to see details and are different for each person looking at it. Further searching reveals a soft leather bag with the proper dimensions for the sphere.
Further items to find:
-a pair of matched pendants
-a small wooden box*
-a well made scabbard with unknown words sewn on it in silverish cord
*this box does not have an apparent opening or latch or hinge, but it is obvious that it was meant to be opened.
The anti-magic collars are used in both tournaments and in torture. When horrors are captured, they are contained by the first type of anti-magic collars. On occasion, individuals are stripped of their magic powers via a collar and thrown in a ring with a collared horror for the entertainment of the crowd. Other times, two horrors are forced to fight it out. Still other times, two Namegivers are thrown in together to fight to the death.
These normal tournaments only take place in the deep Wastes and are never spoken of to other Namegivers. Generally, people register singly -- if they are a mage, they are given a type two collar. The tournaments progress in single combat as a normal tournament. However, instead of dividing down to a single pair at the end, the final four and two runners up are thrown into the arena with a Reaver wearing a type one collar.
This adventure should be used with care. It can be used to drive characters apart or together. Since the outcome can be fixed, the characters can investigate the tournament. Since no one speaks of it, information will be hard to come by. Also, prizes are awarded to the winners, often legendary items, but the cost of taking a Namegiver's life in the Wastes may be too high.
These notes should be enough to get a group of 4 first circle adventurers to their next circle. The Monarch should be an on-going threat, one who seeks to amuse herself. Can you get your players to save the Wastes?