A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2016
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Playtest Rules.)
Award 1 XP if the Characters recruit the native workers by themselves.
There is a short path up the bluff to the Keep which goes right past the Mine. The entrance to the iron mine was buried by a landslide, created by the attackers, just after many of the workers had gone in for the day. As the Characters go up to the Keep to investigate the dragon, a group of miners has finally made their way out of the cave-in. Emerging are 2 Colonial Overseers (Militia Sergeants armed with swords) and 10 Native Workers (Native Warriors armed with pick axes, 1d6 damage). Most of the other workers are dead, but there are several wounded inside. The senior Overseer is Mr. Tindal, part of the local militia, and after seeing the damage in town, he and the other Overseer volunteer to face the threat when it’s described to them.
If Seeker is with the Characters, he’ll talk the natives into joining them. Otherwise, they might be enticed to fight. Their families are not in town, so there’s nothing for them to fight for, except their jobs. By the same token, they’re only working here to get paid, so their services could be purchased. One of the natives will know about the dragon from experience. His name is Hellion. He comes to his home village to collect a human sacrifice once a year. He is powerful and fearsome and possibly immortal, according to the tales. But even when taking his due, he is cordial and friendly. There are no stories of him engaging in this sort of destruction. The Colonials didn’t even know there was a dragon in Africannes. He’s never shown himself to them.
1 XP for running off the dragon. 2 XP for killing the dragon.
It seems very quiet. The fire has gone out in the Keep and it is now just smoldering. The buildings are charred ruins. There are breaks in the wall, and all of the towers have had their tops broken. There’s no human life left inside.
If the group coming to the Keep is not actively trying to be quiet and stealthy, the dragon will be alerted to their presence. If alerted, Hellion will cast Disguise Self and pretend to be corpse (until disturbed) or a lone survivor. Otherwise he’ll be lying in the courtyard, sleeping, and clearly badly wounded amongst a pile of dead bodies. His current stats are Hp 30, no breath weapon left for the day, but he does have his spells. (This makes the assumption that he’s had at least 1 turn of rest since his attack. Yes, his hp includes a rest healing. His full stats are in the ***following post***.)
What happens next may be more determined by the Players’ disposition and whether this encounter is ending a gaming session or beginning it. If the Players are itching for a fight, give it to them. Assuming they’ve got surprise and several (expendable) allies, it should be a stiff fight they can win. Hellion will try to fly off and escape if reduced below 10 hp. Ref, don’t worry if they kill him here in this weakened state, this wasn’t meant to be a big fight, and (spoilers) Hellion is going to reincarnate, so they’ll meet him again.
If this encounter is perhaps taking place at the end of a session and the Players seem the slightest bit sick of fighting, Hellion will address them without appearing to wake up, “You come here for a fight or to talk? Because talking would certainly be a refreshing change.” He’ll invite them into the courtyard under a truce. All of the NPC’s are going to stay away, at least under the pretext of keeping the Characters covered.
“I’m guessing Kurtz’s attack on the town has failed,” he’ll say, “Are you responsible?” He’ll laugh if they say “Yes.” “Well, good for you, heroes. You know, he told me there wasn’t going to be any serious resistance to someone like me, but you people surprised me. After meeting Kurtz, I shouldn’t have been surprised about that. I also shouldn’t have been surprised that he lied to me about the strength of the garrison here.” Hellion may be willing to divulge some of his story with Kurtz here, if the Characters are nice and attentive. He might make the connection for them about the attack on the Intended’s townhouse to get the dragon bones back. It should fairly apparent that Hellion is not really an ally of Kurtz, especially now.
If the Characters have mentioned that they’re out to kill Kurtz, Hellion will say “I think I’ve had enough of Kurtz, too. It seems unlikely we’ll meet again, but if we do, maybe we’ll have something more. . . substantive to discuss.” Hellion will rouse finally himself, “I’m gonna leave now. You wanna call this a truce between me and you people, or do you wanna fight?” It’s totally up to the Players here. If they want to fight, I’d suggest having Hellion puke on the Characters while attempting to use his expended breath weapon. (DC 18 Fort Sv or sickened 1 turn.) Hellion’s going to attempt to escape if he takes even 10 hp of damage. And if he doesn’t escape, that’s fine, too. If the Characters let him leave, they can report that they’ve negotiated truce with the dragon. The townspeople aren’t to be entirely happy, but given how their day’s gone, they’ll take it.
Award 3 XP for clearing the town of invaders. Nice job. The people here will sing songs about the Characters.
It’s not unthinkable that the Characters might be the most capable people left alive in town, unless there’s a military officer present. All of the other accepted community leaders are dead. The survivors are going to be frightened, if not hysterical. If the Characters are in charge, they should have some difficult moments as the townspeople will be looking to them for leadership. Have people asking them questions about what to do, how to organize, are the Possessed Natives coming back, what about the dragon, what do we do with the dead, etc. etc.? Go ahead and make things uncomfortable and overwhelming for the Players. Hopefully, they’ll immediately start delegating to anybody left with some leadership skills.
In the meantime, they’ll get some rest and get fed, though not very well given the state of Inner Station. The bar owners will be fighting to take care of them and get their endorsement, but make sure that the Characters notice how many other people are in worse shape around them. Give them a chance to be gallant.
At the end of the day, a flotilla of reinforcements arrives from Central Station and the surrounding communities. They are lead by a clearly borderline insane, gung ho commander, Colonel Killgore. Thankfully, his capable and more practical subordinates will quickly start getting things organized in town, distributing medical aid and food. Killgore will be led to the heroes of the day, the Characters. He will be convinced that they were special reinforcements sent by Kurtz, regardless of anything the Characters say. Killgore will immediately give them commendation medals and field commissions as lieutenants. In other words, he’s just drafted them. The Colonel is going to be leading an expedition to relieve the forts at the Falls up river. “And you hero boys are comin’ with me.”