Monday, February 27, 2017

The Crypt of Count Valod

A Khamen and Candorra Adventure

After their adventure on the island of Sarpedon, Khamen and Candorra hopped on a ship back to their home. Stopping for provisions at a little town on the coast, they witnessed a funeral procession. However, there was no body or casket, just an effigy of the deceased, a young girl. When Khamen asked what happened, the locals just scowled, said "the Count took her," and gestured to a menacing castle overlooking the town. After some pressing they were told that the Count was a "vampyr." It took some prompting from Candorra but they decided to investigate.

Here is a reproduction of the map that they drew:

They entered the foreboding castle through the front gate. In the foyer (2) a trapdoor suddenly opened under Candorra's feet. With a deft leap, she vaulted clear of the gaping pit. The next room (5) was empty; they searched and found a clue. In the next room (6), several corpses animated and shambled toward our heroes. Candorra minced them in seconds.

Opening the door into a kitchen (9), our heroes were confronted by a coven of witches toiling over a cauldron. The lead witch called out "Kill them!" Then she launched a lightning bolt at Candorra. The elf could not dodge and was singed by the electric shock. She responded by pulling out her sleep wand; 3 of the witches succumbed. Khamen and Candorra then defeated the remaining witches without further wounds.

After driving off some vampire bats (8), our heroes reached a dead end. They backtracked to the empty room then exited through the western door (4). This room was being used as a den for a pack of wolves. They immediately attacked but the party drove them off. Then the party had to backtrack again. fighting more wolves along the way until they entered a room (1) with four young women. Seeing our heroes, the women bared their fangs - they were vampires! One swooped upon Khamen; he dodged then stabbed it. Candorra took out two more and the last fled. After a couple more rooms they finally found the stairs (3) to the crypts below.

"Looks like we took the scenic tour." Khamen quipped, much to Candorra's dismay.

They passed along a musty corridor. Large mushrooms grew from the floor. Suddenly they erupted, spouting spores throughout the passage. Khamen and Candorra covered their faces and rushed forward.

Note: I treated the cloud of spores as a poison gas trap.

Suddenly a malevolent presence appeared before them.

"Welcome to my castle." announced Count Valod. "I trust you shall stay for dinner."

Candorra wasted no time. She cast a lightning bolt. It struck the Cont in the chest, knocking him back and singing him. In a blink of an eye he pounced on Candorra. She eluded her grasp and struck the Count repeatedly. Howling in pain, he turned into a bat and flew away!

"He got away! Now what?" said Khamen.

"Destroy his sarcophagus. He won't be able to return to this castle!"

The heroes dismantled the sarcophagus. Later, they would bring a priest to the castle to bless the ground of the crypt. This would seal the vampire's fate.

Game Notes

  • For this adventure, I decided that the final boss would be a vampire. I then chose encounters that would give a gothic feel. The party missed (did not roll) some of the more interesting encounters, such as a laboratory, a Frankenstein monster, and a werewolf.
  • I finally was able to get Candorra to level 3. Now my heroes can take on the published adventure Three Rings.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Part 2 of a Khamen and Candorra Adventure
Using Four Against Darkness

After their meeting with the medusa, our heroes departed from the grove to seek the sorcerer.. They ran into a range of impassable mountains so they took a detour. They came to another grove with an altar in it. Khamen approached the altar and was immediately struck by a sense of ennui. He knew that his defense would suffer.

After a little while the woods cleared and the party traveled through rolling hill. At the top of the hill several beautiful ladies lounged upon the grass. Khamen called out a friendly greeting but the women responded angrily. They donned bronze helmets, took up spears and shields, and charged in a phalanx at our heroes.

"Amazon warrior women!" warned Candorra. She stepped forward with her bow and started shooting. Two of the warriors dropped dead. But the phalanx quickly overran their position. Their spears darted out, stabbing Candorra repeatedly. Badly wounded, she tried to retreat but they followed doggedly. Wynne stepped forward and blocked the pursuit. She took a wound but managed to overcome a warrior. A seesaw battle then ensued, with all of our heroes taking wounds. Finally, the Amazons were overcome. Wynne healed Candorra then bandaged herself and Khamen.

They continued their journey, winding through hill and dale. At one point they ran into a nest of snakes, but the creatures fled. Finally, they came across a ruined temple. A man was lounging upon the portico. He rose and greeted the party.

"I know why you are here. The medusa has sent you to capture me, but you will be the ones in chains!"

He began to mutter an incantation while waving his hands about. Suddenly, Candorra remembered the wand she found on the bridge. She pulled it out and unleashed its power. A blast hit the sorcerer; he looked stunned. Then he collapsed to the ground.

Wynne checked him out. "Asleep!"

They bound and gagged him, then returned to the medusa. While standing behind him she had the party hold his head and pry open his eyelids.

The medusa spoke: "In a minute, I will stand before you so you can see your handiwork. Of course, it will be the last thing you see as you turn into stone. There is but one way to save yourself - remove the curse!"

"If you turn me to stone then you will remain that way forever!" the sorcerer replied.

"If you won't remove the curse I will stay this way forever anyway. At least I will have my revenge!"

She moved closer to the sorcerer and began to sidle around him. As she did she kept speaking to him. He could hear his doom approach. Finally he cried out "Alright, I'll do it! Just stop!"

"Make it quick!"

The sorcerer uttered a spell. Suddenly, the hideous medusa transformed into a beautiful lady.

A few days later the party was aboard a ship headed for home. They had the Rod in their possession, along with a sizable chest filled with gold. The former medusa, a lady named Melodia, elected to remain on the island. She was herself a powerful sorceress and would be able to keep the sorcerer imprisoned so he could not curse any one else.

Game Notes

  • I ran this adventure as a hex-crawl rather than a dungeon crawl.
  • Because the boss was from Greek myth I crafted a Greek-themed adventure.
  • I've been trying to level Candorra up so that I can play the next published adventure (Three Rings). Alas, she botched her experience roll! 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Grove of the Gorgon

A Khamen and Candorra Adventure
Using Four Against Darkness

Once again Khamen was summoned before the Preceptor and offered another mission. This time, he and Candorra would sail to the southern island of Sarpedon. Rumor had it that the Holy Rod of Leonidas, another lost relic, was located there, in a grove guarded by a medusa.

This time our heroes were accompanied by Sister Wynne, a priestess of the Holy Temple (whose earlier adventures have been recorded previously).

Our heroes landed on the rocky shore of Sarpedon. Cliffs rose from the beach, with a pathway cutting through them leading into the island's interior,

Suddenly, with a screech, five bird-like creatures swooped upon the party. Two of them dove upon Candorra, rending her flesh with their sharp talons. Swinging wildly with her sword, she struck down her attackers. Khamen and Wynne took care of the rest. Their way was open.

As the path climbed through rocky terrain, they could hear the rumble of water in the distance. Then they came upon a bridge that crossed a gorge. A raging river ran through the gorge fall below. A gate blocked the river. It was fastened with a rope tied in an intricate knot. An old man sat beside the gate.

As they approached, the gatekeeper rose and greeted them.

"You may only pass this way if you can solve the riddle of the knot. Otherwise, the gate shall remain closed and there is no other way."

Candorra approached the gate and inspected the knot. She tried to untie it but failed. Wynne also could not unravel it. Khamen approached, pulled out his magic dagger, and with a single stroke cut the knot in half. The gate swung open as the gatekeeper's mouth dropped in surprise. Khamen's companions gave him a look.

Khamen shrugged. "I read about something similar once."

"Well, it worked." Candorra replied. "Let's go."

As she advanced, she noticed something lying upon the bridge. It was a wand. She pocketed it, and promptly forgot about it.

After traveling a ways, the party entered a forest. The sound of pipes seemed to emanate from the trees. Khamen and Wynne began to get drowsy.

"Let's take a short break." Khamen urged as he plopped upon the grass. Wynne joined him. Candorra urged them to rise, but they paid her no heed. Suddenly, a bunch of half-man half-goat creatures popped out and began to shower the party with arrows. Candorra pulled out her bow and responded. The satyrs could not match her elven marksmanship, and soon they were routed.

The path now led our heroes into a secluded grove. At the far side was an altar with a rod upon it. The Holy Rod! But where was the guardian?

As they stepped into the grove, a figure appeared from behind a tree. It turned to face them.

"Avert your eyes! Look upon the ground!" Wynne commanded.

She and Khamen looked away, but Candorra hesitated. She then got a full view of the guardian's face. It was a terrifying sight - with the malformed features framed by a mane of writhing snakes! Candorra emitted a cry of horror, then she froze in place. Khamen glanced at her, then stared in horror as she petrified before his eyes. In seconds, a stone statue stood where his friend once was.

Wynne was not the least bit fazed. She stepped over to Candorra, laid a hand on her stony shoulder, and said a prayer. The rock began to crumble and flake off. In but a moment, Candorra was restored.

Wynne challenged the medusa. "Begone vile creature! Your evil has no power over us!"

The medusa hissed. "Fool! I am not evil; just cursed."

"If you are not evil, then step aside and let us claim the Holy Rod of Leonidas." Wynne demanded.

"Nay, Sister. I cannot do that. Part of my curse is to remain here and guard the Rod. I cannot let you have it . . . unless the curse is broken."

"And how do we do that?" asked Khamen.

The medusa's hideous visage broke into a smile. "You must bring me the sorcerer that cursed me. Alive."

Will our heroes capture the sorcerer and recover the Rod?
Find out next time!