Upheaval – A Storm’s Brewing

Tunnel

So in my previous post regarding my Upheaval campaign (found here), the tavern was under siege through a dug out tunnel in the wall, where undead (named the Fell) were attempting to pour out of their makeshift tunnel and decimate the inhabitants.  The players managed to keep the undead creatures at bay and saved most of the town’s citizens.

It was the beginning of a new campaign and a paragon one at that, so I couldn’t just let them rest, now could I?  …that wouldn’t have given the right “feeling” I wanted for this campaign.  So, since I wanted to keep them on their toes, constantly wondering what will happen next…this happened:

“The front door of the tavern bursts open, and Thorin stumbles in, littered with crackling blue lightning that dances all over his body.  He is gasping for air, and tries to speak, but only gets the words out, “courtyard…more” before he collapses unconscious into a sizzling heap, his hefty axe clanging to the ground next to him.”

When the PC’s decide to investigate the courtyard, this is what they found:

Looking into the courtyard up ahead, the shadows of three large creatures loom toward you, their true forms barely visible only when the blue lightning flickers and flashes in the stormy night sky. Two of the creatures have a similar build of the creatures known as the Fell, but these seem much larger, standing at least 11 feet tall.  One of them has his claws upraised, the blue lightning dancing and arcing through his extended claws.

lightning

The third creature shares the same gray leathery skin as the first two, but instead has four large heads, each thick and wide, like giant Venus fly traps, that weave in the air on long, snake like necks.

 As you draw closer, the largest humanoid creature of the three motions you forward, his claw extended out a foot or more. You can see he wears a belt, with a diamond centered on the front of it. He says in a raspy, deep voice,  “Listen well… to whomever is in charge.  You will hand over the ORB immediately or I will RIP EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU APART!”

(The PC’s don’t know of any orb, but this is how I envision it)

orb_recursive

 At that point, the wizard speaks up. “I know one of you have touched it recently…I can sense it.”  He turns to the other… “It is near brother…let us dispose of these cretins and find the Orb ourselves.”

The other smiles, and then draws back his claw to strike.

It was an interesting battle, though far less deadly than I would have hoped.  Since it took place under the inverted mountain and with a storm raging, I decided that pieces of the mountain would be dislodged and come careening down (in a 4×4 zone) randomly choosing a quadrant of the map I had set up.  Well, when this actually did occur, it unfortunately ended up finishing off the storm wizard.  Plus my Venus fly trap hydra was effectively useless as one of the PC’s kept slowing it, so it could never get close enough to them to do any real damage.  (one of the drawbacks of 4th edition D&D)

Now there were other little tidbits thrown in as well, which was going to leave the PC’s with a hard decision.  What to do next?

1.  There were four rangers that had gone out to scavenge/hunt for food, who would normally be back within a day or two, but it has been almost five days now.  The people are without food and depend on it down to the last piece, without much wiggle room.

2.  There is a keep about 20 miles north, that has the promise of weapons and supplies, which could be used as a means of defending against anything else that comes up through the hole.  Problem with this is that if they leave the people of Vertigo, there could be another attack.  If they take them on the journey, it would be hard pressed to protect them.

3.  There was also the decision to go down the tunnel, to where these creatures came from and stop the threat permanently.  However their leader was hurt, they had no other protection and were out of food. Plus, the tunnel gave inklings to Drow, deeper down the tunnel.

4.  There was talk of a map to a Dwarven city, but with the landscape moved so considerably in the Upheaval, was it still there?  Can the PC’s go verify it’s existence, but in turn leave the inhabitants alone without protection?  Could they safely bring the whole town with them?  How could they possibly protect them in a world so twisted and broken?

5.  What was this orb they were looking for and did anyone really have it?  Why did they want it?

One of my favorite parts of this decision making by the PC’s, was that they were split in their decision.  The holy Deva sword-mage cleric and his close friend, a Drow rogue/sorcerer decided they needed to go down into the tunnel, leaving the town to fend for itself, while they got to the root of the problem and rout them.  The rest decided to bring all the townsfolk to the keep, in hopes of finding a more suitable place for them to live.  Problem being, is that this keep was over 50ft up in the sky, as two giant, mountains of rock spewed up from the ground, pinching it and holding it over a deep, massive chasm.  It has held for two years though, since the upheaval.  It was fun to see the players mulling over and discussing the path forward.  It was a welcome change from the heavy combat oriented games we’ve had in the past.

Well, that’s all for now.  In my next Upheaval article, I’ll go in depth about the arrival at the keep and what transpired.

Would love to hear your thoughts so far!

Thanks,

Jinx

About jinx_the_bard

Longtime Dungeon Master, tabletop and video gamer. Been playing D&D and Shadowrun on and off most recently. Ran a post apocalyptic, paragon, 4th edition D&D campaign for a couple years. Running a 5th edition campaign now called "The Fall of Astia". Enjoy Borderlands 1, 2 and even the Pre-sequel (which I tend to play with fellow author Ness), Fallout 3 and 4, Bioshock and Skyrim. (Games this good never get boring) I also indulge in Magic The Gathering, mostly in the Legacy and Modern formats. Please feel free to contact me at dungeonmaster.bm@gmail.com for any questions, thoughts or things you'd like to see featured on our site.