Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Bone King

Nord Fyel is a far distant kingdom. Its people, the Vann, are isolated from the continent by the Giants' Mountains. The Vann appear in the south only to raid the coasts or trade with the fortified towns of Kelet. Our adventurers left from Elhis with a crew of Vann to explore this isolated country and make their fortunes, but upon arrival of their first Vann town, nearly everything went to shit.

The town of Hundenshode was burned to the ground, the long house at the center of town was packed with mutilated bodies, and the island of Hudd surrounded with an impenetrable fog. What's more, the boats at its docks were intact but all were resting on the seabed, just below the water.

This adventure had its twists and turns, but ultimately what it led to was a portal, mistakenly opened by Saga the witch. She paid with her life, but not before being "rewarded" by the Noble she accidentally resurrected. Fortunately for her and the townsfolk that managed to hide in the caves up in the hills, the adventurers were able to release Saga from her "gift," close the portal and in the end dispatch the Noble. Of course, this did not erase the Noble from the world, but he was trapped in the Shadow Realm– and from that place, the adventurers bore out a gift. A cup, dull silver in the Shadow Realm became a gold jewel encrusted goblet in the material world. With that, the mist dissipated and the survivors boarded the boat with its crew and left for Torvald.

Theodor Kittelson

The ship pitches, you dream about the dark, the Noble's hall in the Shadow Realm, Saga crying, a heavy rain. You are sleeping in a forest as black as the caves you just left. You feel as if something is watching you. You catch glimpses out of the corner of your eye but when you turn your head you see nothing. Ahead is a tall standing stone. When you come near, suddenly you are on your back and you cannot move. Then a face looms over you. A face of a corpse with eyes like rubies. You try to sit up but you feel a crushing weight on your chest. It’s hard to breathe… you wake.

The light of the two moons is pale making the night sky bright with stars. At the back of the ship is a dark shape. You are reminded of the corpse. Long shadows obscure its face, but when you near it, you recognize Ask, the captain, staring blankly. You shake him and the shadow passes. He appears normal again but bewildered, then confusion ensues. The ship lurches as it strikes a reef.

It's then you notice the cliffs. You are very near the shore. Ask looks up at the stars. Noting the constellations to get a sense of direction and the moons for the time of night and exclaims how far off course you are. The boat is taking in water. You’ll need to come ashore for repairs.

The Cup: Evroul, the once great Master gifted his vassals beautiful goblets. When drunk from, mortals would gain mystical powers (roll a random power). 1- darksight, 2- immunity to fear, 3- shadow touch (can interact with incorporeal things), 4- wilt (creatures you wound can only be healed of 1 Life for each instance of healing), 5- suggestion, 6- inspire fear in those that oppose you

If you've drunk from the cup you are touched, drawing the attention of the ancient draugar that now stirs beneath his ancient broken fortress. He wants the cup and he would like nothing more than to add to his number of servants.

Dreams: Characters that drank from the cup dream of a time under the Nobles. The one that possesses the cup dreams of Hundenshode and the castle hall in shadow. Each time the possesser dreams he also sees the standing stone and eventually the ruby eyed corpse (a creature known as the Bone King). Each time the touched characters dream, the Bone King gains a stronger foothold in the minds for as long as the adventurers remain on the shore (start at 2d6 and then add a d6 to its dream checks for each time its invaded their dreams before). The Bone King will also attempt to lead or trick the dreamers into its dungeon. Once the Bone King can roll 4d6 against the adventurers in the dreams, it will reach for their neck and drag them in (they may of course resist).

The Runestone: 50 meters up the beach is a tall runestone. Such runestones are scattered about Nord Fyel. Most tell stories. Some familiar, some so old that the people and events they speak of are forgotten, while others are strange and speak of strange things and events not generally known. On this runestone is an inscription:

Under shadows of the western peaks,
drawing nigh the untravelled pass,
The Mountain King watches ever vigilant,
while his children break the hilltops.
In all their might, even they fear the chamber…
which below the ground fatefully lies!

(Runestone inscription borrowed from Oerath Windsoul)

The runestone is a portal. In the realm of dreams, it appears as a narrow hall. The Bone King will lure the drinkers and possessors of the cup in a shared dream down this narrow path into a strange and closed off dungeon. Once entered the wall appears solid again. The adventurers will be unable to leave unless they can answer the riddle:


My life can be measured in hours,
I serve by being devoured.
Thin, I am quick
Fat, I am slow
Wind is my foe.

A CANDLE  (once a candle or fire is lit, the wall becomes a pathway and the adventurers are free to explore the dungeon. If the fire would go out, whatever room they are in is again closed off)

The Dungeon: Use Dyson's cubic dungeon, it is perfect for this--> Cubic Dungeon

The Dungeon has no escape. The passages are only revealed with fire but even without it the characters can see. The outline of the entire dungeon is visible because it exists in the Shadow Realm, hence its impossible nature. Within the dungeon are a few things of consequence. The Bone King will leave them trapped while it hunts the trespassers on the shore, but it will leave the characters guarded. On the opposite side of the cube, an old wight shadows their movement, always staying on the opposite side (and while in the dungeon it regains Power and Life 1 per round). It will not be revealed, however until this riddle is solved (this riddle repeats on many walls):


The part of the bird
that is not in the sky,
which can swim in the ocean
and always stay dry.
 A SHADOW

The last riddle within the dungeon is this:


What is deaf, dumb and blind
and always tells the truth?


A MIRROR

This riddle hints that a mirrored surface will reveal the passage which exits the dungeon. It also reveals the mundane aspect of the dungeon, which is black as pitch and a linear catacomb (but you cannot access it without magical help). There is a room within the dungeon with silver objects. There is a silver tray there. If brought back to the original room, reveals the exit. If the adventurers walk backward while facing the mirrored object they will exit the dungeon.

Valdis: This strange hermit lives on the cliff overlooking the beach where the adventurers and crew have come ashore. Valdis is an ancient witch. So old, in fact, that she is dead. Valdis is a völur, a creature given a semblance of life from sheer force of will. She is not quite old enough to know how the draugar came to this place or when its fortress was last manned, but she does know its story– but she will do nothing for free.

Should the adventurers want information, the price will be one of their possessions. She cannot be tricked, whatever she asks of the adventurers must be given exactly. Once given, Valdis tells the story of a nameless fear unleashed upon the forest kingdom, north of the Nobles' Empire. These people, she tells you, were the Grey. At first their onslaught was unchecked, but the Grey are clever. They hid well and ambushed whenever possible, so after hunting across the vast woodlands in vain, the Nobles returned their attention to humanity. So it came to be that the most powerful of the Nobles' servants passed through the giants' mountains, a thing thought impossible, and made war on the Vann. The Vann named the most powerful of these creatures the Bone King (the Bone King is a draugar).

The Bone King built his castle in southern Nord Fyel and conquered half of it, pushing the Vann ever northwards. Only after the death of their masters and the growing strength of the Seithren were the Bone King and his servants driven into their crypts.

She will give no other help until it's needed and needed it will be if the party is split. If the adventurers seek help or protection, Valdis will create a globe of light to guide and keep them from fear as long as they are within its light, but the price will be steep. She will do this in exchange for a year of an adventurer's life (which subsequently becomes a forgotten year of their life), an adventurer's name (once given it remains their true name, but they and everyone that's ever known them no longer remembers it), or an adventurer's humor (they no longer laugh or enjoy humor).

The Last Riddle: Hidden at the base on the back of the runestone is a crudely carved riddle, left by Valdis as a hint to a secret, second entrance.


A life longer than any man,
it dies each year to be reborn.


A TREE

There are ruins, hidden deep in the forest. At the center of these ruins is a tree. At the base is a bone hand with an iron ring on its index finger. Pull this ring and a second entrance to the dungeon is revealed. But a word to the wise, the hand is still connected to the draugar. If pulled at night, the draugar will come alive and drag the one who touched it into its dungeon, where it will be much, much harder to defeat.

This is also an excellent map for this (also Dyson): The Caverns of Ulthik

Theodor Kittelson

The Bone King’s Sword: Frostborne (Enemies struck with this weapon are afflicted with a growing frost. A successful hit deals an extra 1 point of cold damage. For each following hit, it deals an additional 1 point of cold damage, which accumulates after each successful strike against the same target (first strike deals +1 cold damage, the second deal +2 and so on).
The Bone King's Servants: A wight (inside the dungeon), innumerable zombies (outside; he can spend an action to raise 1d6 each round, but only at night)

Hundenshode Resources:
  
The left insignia is Turel (anyone who's played Soul Reaver should recognize this --Soul Reaver is awesome if you've never played it or read the story btw). The second insignia is Stolas, a demon of knowledge. The left Insignia (Turel) is circled, it is also carved on Saga's head. In the room is a cauldron filled to the brim with a strange substance that reflects no light (it is a portal). In front of it are two burnt out candles (ghost candles). There is also a cat, pegged to the wall and a summoning circle that's clearly been broken (accidentally, by the cat, thereby freeing the summoned creature).