These days Bester Brainstormer's blog proposes a challenge consisting in creating an adventure choosing randomly a monster or creature that appears in any of the manuals of Dungeons & Dragons, retroclones or similar games that are part of our collections.
To participate in the challenge I decided to use the supplement Isle of Unknown written by Geoffrey McKinney (which I reviewed in this blog post). Isle of Unknown offers statistics for 109 creatures, 83 magical statues 83, 27 sorcerers and 15 clerics, so there's really a lot to choose from, so using the random number generator from Random.org I decide to select an item each of the categories I mentioned above with the following results:
Among the creatures I just picked one of the 12 5 Hit Dice (HD) monsters, specifically the mutated roadrunner on the hexagon 0311.
Within the magical statues I just picked the two gargoyles carved in stone by the cleric that protects the sanctuary on hexagon 2001.
Within the magicians I just picked the sorcerer who lives in the tower crowded with books in hexagon 1306.
Among clerics I just picked the evil priest on horseback in hexagon 2411.
Well, this leads to a number of quite diverse elements to work on, but I need to decide which will be the focus of the adventure, so I just asked a coworker to tell me a number from 1 to 4 and he chooses 3, so the magician in hexagon 1306 and its tower will star in my response to the challenge, which also try to integrate the other elements in the best way I can (yes, I know that in principle it comes to choosing a single creature, but I could not resist the temptation to use the potential of the book, besides the results make me think that the adventure may be more suitable for characters of level 2 or 3 not for first adventurers, but well, it's what you get when choosing randomly).
After a while of thinking about the outline of the adventure is as follows:
Player characters are urgently summoned by the magician Kalixos, also known as Lord of Wisdom (though perhaps not as wise as it sounds as you will soon see), to come to his tower, serving as his home and also with magic laboratory and a large library with information of the surrounding territories; at the meeting they will see that she also attending are brothers Egbert and Stavros, two clerics belonging to the Order of Our Lady of the Chalice, dedicated to defend the mortal men from dangers of magic or demonic nature.
Kalixos explains that asked them to be present in the tower so quickly because a creature born of the experiments conducted in his lab has managed to escape from the stables where it was confined, wreaking havoc in nearby towns, attacking the villagers, destroying crops and causing destruction wherever it goes. Given the gravity of the situation calls for the gathering to find the creature as soon as possible and return it to the tower or if they see that it's impossible to put it to death before the situation deteriorates further.
If players asked the magician about the creature to capture and its capabilities (and presumably want to do to assess what are they confronting) he will facilitate the following description: "The creature is actually a bird I bought to some merchants from distant lands beyond the sea; in their natural environment it's a small bird that is noted for its preference to run around instead of flying and emits curious sounds with its beak, but the specimen they will have to hunt... has undergone some changes due to the experiments it underwent, and now its size is equal to that of a standing man and have grown a pair of legs in addition to those it previously had, most of its plumage is covered with leathery spines and now has a tongue like that of certain lizards, able to grasp objects at a distance of 10', it is also possible that it have developed other skills unknown to me, but I can assure you that it is probably susceptible to attack by weapons forged from precious metals such as silver or the gold."
Beginning the mission: not everything is what it seems
With this information the group can now start searching for the beast to capture it and return it to its owner, or if that is not possible to definitively stop it, although it may not be an easy task due to the special ability that the bird has developed that soon they will find out when they start talking to villagers in nearby towns: he could charm anyone who intends to attack it to desist in its purpose or even actively defend it, which can lead them to attack their neighbours or even their families.
But the real danger of this adventure is not the bird, that after all is nothing more than an ordinary animal that has fallen victim to the experiments of a magician too curious and that only attack other beings if it is cornered or if its life is in danger. The real danger that the characters have to face is the brother Egbert, a worshiper of demons and other creatures of the Underworld decided to corrupt the Order from within; to get it believes necessary to depopulate the region so that their acolytes can easily occupy it and he is determined to use the bird and take possession of the tower of mage Kalixos murdering him and carrying the blame on the characters and brother Stavros, he will not hesitate to kill them at the earliest opportunity. To achieve such nefarious purposes he will use all the tools at his disposal, including clerical spells and his sacrificial dagger (forged from enchanted silver) with which he can reap the life-breath of his victims and thus obtain a longer life.
From this point the story will unfold depending on the actions that the characters take, so the referee will have to improvise in response to the course of events.
Tower of mage Kalixos
The tower may be one of the important scenarios where the adventure may develop, so it will be advisable to describe its interior, to illustrate it I will use one of the great maps that Dyson Logos makes available to the role-playing community to be used for free on occasions like this.
The tower is divided into 4 sections (A, B, C and D) with the following arrangement:
Section A: Includes entry to the tower (an excavated gate in the hillside in which it sits), the guard post in charge of protecting the entrance, the servants' quarters and kitchens as well as lounge in which Kalixos welcomes guests.
Section B: The top of the tower, including the chambers of Kalixos and the library as well as the brazier where the mysterious magician burns herbs that allow him to view the surrounding events (initially only he is able to use these herbs, but an experienced magician could study them also try to run the brazier in the same way).
Section C: The laboratory where Kalixos conducts investigations and experiments.
Section D: The stores and pantries with supplies needed for day to day life of the tower, there is also a secret room (with a door marked S) which can hide Kalixos substances and books that he thinks could be dangerous in the wrong hands, it could also be used as a hiding place if the tower is invaded.
To protect the tower Kalixos has a guard formed by 5 mercenary soldiers and two carved stone gargoyles (both decorate the top of the tower) that can be animated by the mage if necessary.
Well, this is my entry for the Bester Brainstormer challenge, I hope you like it.
In the coming days I will supplement this post with other documents to download with game stats for Aventuras en La Marca del Este, Món de Monstres and Labyrinth Lord.
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