Friday, December 30, 2016

Temple of the Rat God

A Khamen and Candorra Adventure

After being released from prison, Khamen accompanied the priest and Candorra to the Temple. There, the priest briefed the pair. Cultists of the Rat God had stolen the Tooth of St Celene, a sacred relic. It was being held in a reliquary within the Rat God's Temple. Khamen was to sneak into the temple, find the box, and retrieve the relic. Succeed and he would be free; fail and he would find the freedom of death. What of Candorra? She was there to keep Khamen to his task.

The duo traveled to Talmatia, the city of sin, where every manner of vice and corruption prevailed. In this bustling miasma, the Cult of the Rat God thrived and its heathen temple stood proudly.

As night fell, two cloaked individuals slid through the shadows and up the stairs to the entrance of the temple.
A schematic of the Temple
The doors were open and no guards were posted but the duo cautiously entered the foyer (1). There was no door forward so they had to choose another route. Heading right, they entered a room (2) filled with bones. As soon as they entered, the bones magically joined together and a half dozen skeletal rats attacked. They leapt upon the heroes; two bit through their armor. A few choice slashes decapitated half of the skeletal beasts and the others fled.

Finding a dead end, the duo backtracked and entered a room (3) where three priests were engaged in an arcane ritual. Khamen signaled to Candorra to creep quietly past them. 

Game Note: I introduced a mechanic where the characters can try to sneak past the enemy. They need to roll the enemy's level or higher. Rogues get a +1 modifier. If any character fails, the party is spotted.

But as they made the attempt, Candorra kicked a loose pebble. Alerted, the priests attacked. Khamen killed one, but another slashed him. Stumbling back, Khamen made a perfect target. The priest charged forward, but Candorra rushed up, slashed him, spun and parried another attack, and then cut down the remaining priest.

As Candorra bandaged Khamen, he said "I thought you were good at this."

Scowling, she replied, "What are you talking about? I just took out two of them."

"I meant sneaking. Your clumsiness alerted them."

Candorra grew flushed. She tried to stammer a retort but just ended up huffing. Khamen winced as she tightened the bandage a little too vigorously.

In the next room (4), they ran into a horde of rats. Again, Khamen was bitten, but at least the wound did not fester.
An example of my virtual battle board.
The black dots represent rats.

Next (4) they passed a gem-encrusted statue of a large humanoid rat. Khamen hesitated and approached the statue.

"Don't even think about it." Candorra commanded.

Khamen withdrew his hand and headed for the door.

Game Note: Given the nature of the quest, I would choose not to touch the statue (especially because I know it could turn into an enemy) but I figured that Khamen would be tempted. Therefore, I had the characters make a Level 3 willpower roll.

At the door they could hear voices from the other side (6). Cautiously, they opened the door. Four cultists were worshiping at a blood-stained altar. They tried to sneak by but this time Khamen made a noise. The cultists turned and attacked, wielding bloody curved daggers. Each of the heroes took a wound before they dispatched two of the enemy. The others fled.

Another battle board.
This time the token represent cultists
As they left the room, Candorra stated, "I thought you were good at this." Khamen just scowled.

The next room (7) was an armory. Passing through, they turned left and entered a dark room (8) with a throne on a dais. As soon as they entered, a shadowy humanoid figure on the throne stirred.

"Who dares enter my presence?" called the figure. A light shone on its face; they could see the visage of a large rat!

Khamen started to raise his sword but Candorra stopped him. She fell to her knees, pulling Khamen after her.

"Please Lord! We mean no disrespect. We have lost our way. We have sacrifices for your altar.

The rat king stared its beady eyes at them. Then it snarled and ordered "Begone! And disturb me no more!"

With that, the heroes scurried out of the room.

Game Note: I rolled "bribe" for the rat king's reaction. The problem is that I'm not tracking cash! Instead of a bribe, I allowed them to make a persuasion roll (vs. the enemy's level). Candorra passed, and momentarily appeased the king.

Finally, they found the reliquary room (9). Along the rear wall was the object of their search - a large box-like structure covered with grotesque, gilded ornamentation. Khamen began to fiddle with it. He sprung one lock, then another. As he experimented with the final lock, there was a frightening buzz. Suddenly, he felt a shock run through his body. He fell to the floor.

At that very moment, the door behind them opened. In strode a rat-headed humanoid, a large scimitar in its grasp. As soon as it saw the duo, it charged. Its attack was clumsy, however. Candorra easily ducked the slash and drove her sword into its vitals.

"Hurry!" she hissed. "Open that last lock and let's go!"

"I can't" Khamen stated, his teeth still chattering from the shock. As she looked at him, he held up his trembling hand.

"Tell me what to do and I'll be your hands." she responded.

He gave her instructions and she managed to open the last lock.

Game Note: Due to his wounds, I was worried about Khamen making the last roll (which was initially a puzzle box) so I had Candorra do it. I modified and embroidered the story a bit.

"At least I'm good at something." she jested as she pulled out the stolen Tooth. Wrapping it up carefully, she placed it in her pouch. Then she helped Khamen to his feet. Together, they stumbled back through the temple. Fortunately, they were not challenged and were able to sneak out into the Talmatian night.

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