Last time, Jutoomb the Magic-User strapped on her spellbook and snaked her way through Lakehome. Today, she will delve into the creator ruins and finally earn her wings as a freebooter. On the frontier. See? The name of the game makes sense now.
• Jutoomb’s brothers and sisters
• The lampmen
• Lorn’s former halfling employer
• Lakehome’s ferryhalfling
• Explore the creator ruins
Scene Zero: Retcon
If I recall correctly, Lakehome’s patron deity is Hilda, the goddess of tradition. The halflings must have had some sort of iconography throughout town, right?
Sure, I’ll give you this one. Every door on the sprawling complex was flanked by statues of Hilda. You saw some halflings perform gestures of prayer as they entered and exited. What did the statues look like?
The halflings sculpted Hilda in their image, so she had the mole-like snout and the mole-like claws, but she was idealized. Hilda was musclebound and stood with her chest out, unlike the genuine articles who really love beer and slouching.
Nice. I’m afraid to ask why you even brought it up.
Jutoomb knocked one of the statues over on the way to the ferry. Not because she’s dedicated to Sunnivar or any other deity for that matter, but her prejudice got the better of her. Also because she gets experience points for acting her alignment.
There it is.
Did anyone see her do it? — 50/50 CF 6, rolled 13 (exceptional yes)
Everyone and their mother. When Jutoomb knocked the statue off its perch, a group of halfling schoolchildren and their halfling teacher happened to be walking by. As well as a priest of Hilda, the very sculptor of the statue in question, and a group of older halfling ladies and gentlemen who judge Miss Lakehome every year.
What are the odds? She made sure to make eye contact with each and every one of them as she did it. Then she walked away.
As she did, she heard the sculptor yell about how it took him a week to carve that statue, buddy. A week! It’s not going to be a warm reception if you survive the ruins.
Which Lorn and Jutoomb plan to do. Anyway, apologies for the digression. What can you tell me about the ruins?
Scene One: At the Doorstep
The sun dips below the faraway mountains to the west as you step foot on the opposite shore. The ruin must have been a small stronghold in life. Now, its stone remains are merely a reminder of the lampmen’s supposed creators. Collapsed walls surround the central keep, a forlorn squat building with a massive hole in its roof. Where there used to be thick double doors barring entry into the fort, an empty space remains. You figure brave halflings must have chopped it down for material.
Does it look like anyone’s been here recently? — 50/50 CF 6, rolled 52 (yes)
With the door gone, you can make out the inside of the keep somewhat. Enough to find a trapdoor propped open, and a lantern, long out, waiting for its owner on the floor.
From the ferryhalfling’s last trip out here? — 50/50 CF 6, rolled 25 (yes)
He tells you they never came out, so he had to leave them behind. The way he says it makes you believe he doesn’t lose very much sleep taking the boat back to town without a passenger.
You’re only reinforcing Jutoomb’s prejudices.
You would try to find a way to deal with the knowledge you were ferrying people to their death, too.
By charging 10 silver for a lazy boat ride?
A halfling’s got to eat.
Best case scenario, my predecessors have good loot on their bodies. Jutoomb warns the ferryhalfling that she has an accurate sense of time and if he leaves a minute earlier than a day and a half, she will find him and his family. She gives Lorn a high five because teamwork makes the dream work. Finally, she gives her spellbook a good squeeze before stepping down through the trapdoor.
+ Find out what happened to previous adventurers
Scene Two: Down Below
The Creator Ruins
Creator Fort, Small Size
deepening mystery ○○
Common Areas (1d12)
5-6 Winding stairs down
7-10 Common room
11-12 Caved-in dead end
□ The storeroom
□ The control room
□ The engine room
What’s your marching order? I assume Jutoomb isn’t taking point.
Human shield in front, squishy vulnerable genius right behind.
1) The storeroom — rolled 12 (Themed: Unique, Discovery)
You and Lorn climb down into what appears to be the fort’s storeroom. The remains of crates and barrels are stacked in haphazard piles. If there were food or supplies in these containers, they are long gone. What alarms you the most is the claw marks you find scratched onto the room’s surfaces. There’s a desperation to the markings, and it reminds you of a teething babe. Besides that, you see two doors leading out of the room. — deepening mystery •○
Gee, I wonder why adventurers never made it back to Lakehome? Is Lorn doing alright? — Very unlikely CF 6, rolled 64 (no)
Her instinct is to avoid danger. So she’s hugging her peasant flail like it’s a deadly teddy bear. She tells you it might be better if she stayed upstairs. You know, to keep watch. Make sure no one gets in.
Lorn, this isn’t what I’m paying you for. — Trait, rolled 2 (benevolence)
Jutoomb tells her she can stay in this room, but Jutoomb will be keeping all the doors open. In case she calls for help, Lorn better come running and swinging that flail of hers like a madwoman. Of course, since Jutoomb hired a full-time bodyguard as opposed to a part-time one, she’ll have to dock Lorn’s pay.
She gives the ladder up one more fearful glance, but she nods.
Worst comes to worst, Jutoomb has some bait when the Deathclaws come a-running. Let’s try door number one.
2) The control room — rolled 10 (Themed: Unique, Danger)
The door opens into a vast chamber, and at first glance you can’t figure out its purpose. There are two long rows of seats on either side of the room, and each seat faces a pedestal with an orb placed on top of it. A lot of those orbs are cracked, but the ones that are still intact glow with faint blue light.
It also looks like the entire opposite wall is missing, but when you see your own faint reflection, back-lit by the open door, you realize it’s a window. Why would you need a window underground?
You don’t have very much time to ponder any of this because your entrance received the attention of three desiccated shambling corpses. They start dragging their feet towards you. — rot/decay •○
How I imagine this is Jutoomb telling Lorn to stay put until she calls for help, walking over to the door while muttering something about how you can’t find good help these days, opening the door, blinking, and then shouting Lorn’s name over and over.
Scene Three: Three Vs. Two (Or Not)
Do these guys have weapons? — Likely CF 7, rolled 67 (yes)
That they do. On the bright side, you seem to have found the adventurers who came here before you. One of those bodies looks fresher than the rest. What remains to be seen is how they came to be like this.
We can figure that out if we live. I want Lorn to get to the bodyguarding, and I want to use that +1 forward I got earlier for succumbing to my Vice of prejudice to help. I tell her to stop shaking like a kitten, start being useful, and earn her share of the silver. — Order Follower, rolled 5 (that’s with +1 forward and +1 loyalty)
The good news is you get 1 XP. The bad news is that you’re shouting to the space that Lorn used to occupy. She’s turned tail and climbed back up to safety. You can still see the dust she left in her wake.
Jutoomb, I had such high hopes for you. That’s fine, we didn’t need Lorn in the first place. Jutoomb must have read something about the undead in her studies. Maybe something about a weakness, or ways to defeat them. — Establish, rolled 9
You remember a book called Ezingar’s Travels: There and Backtracking Again that detailed the author’s encounter with reanimated animals. He learned that while creatures brought back from the dead retained their sense of sight—like how these guys knew you came in when you opened the door and light came into the room—they lose their senses of smell and hearing in undeath. Though he did mention it was just a theory.
We’re about to test it. Jutoomb closes the door to buy some time, then she runs over to the furthest pile of crates she can find and climbs on top of them. She’s going to cast salt voice, and I want the effect to be that all her words turn into salt as they leave her mouth. Jutoomb will be using her magic staff and a handful of chipped rock salt for a total of 3 power. If she casts it successfully, she’s going to tell the crates a story she memorized. The idea is to fill them up with salt, and make them heavy enough to crush some corpses.
That idea is crazy. You’re crazy.
But I’ll give you +1 forward if you tell me what story she’s going to tell.
There are few tales Jutoomb has committed to memory. One of them is a tale she read when she was researching the serpentine side of her heritage. It’s about a warrior who happened upon two giant snakes arguing with each other in the wood. It turns out, they’ve become tied to each other by their tails. Being the friendly, helpful sort, the warrior agreed to help the two become untangled. In thanks, the giant snakes bit him in half, and started arguing again, this time over who got to eat the top half.
It was one of those fairy tales where you’re not sure what lesson you were supposed to learn.
It’s endearing that Jutoomb enjoyed this story so much she memorized it word-for-word.
It was a lonely childhood. — Cast a spell, rolled 11
If you ever retire from adventuring, you might want to devote your life to auction calling. I don’t think anyone living or dead has ever heard anyone talk so fast in their entire lives. You fill the crates from the bottom up, to avoid them collapsing from each other, and you tip it all over just in time, as the undead corpses reach your end of the storeroom. A sickening crunch is heard as their bones break from the crates falling on top of them.
Is it over? Did I win Freebooters on the Frontier?
One step closer. All in all, you loot a dagger, two shortswords, 11 rations, a small gem worth 50 silver, and 146 silver from the bodies.
Jutoomb is going to pocket the gem and the silver and leave the rest there for now. She’s feeling pretty confident now, and she still has the rest of this place to explore.
+ Lorn, that traitorous hireling
– Find out what happened to previous adventurers
+ Find out what is bringing adventurers back to life
I can’t believe that worked, either. Admittedly, the GM is going easy on the player. Next time, with one danger dealt with, the rest of the creator ruins await.
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