Wednesday, November 30, 2022

It's a A Very Wyvern Thanksgiving, Halfling Brown (plus a bonus review of The Crimson Monastery by Dawnfist Games).

Well met.... 

Back at the Brewery, we meet our erstwhile heroes. 

Since it had been a minute since we had played, I pulled a Gary G and treated the real-time break as equivalent game-world time. What was everyone doing over the last couple of weeks?

  • Bonk, fighter, had befriended the local fisherman and was abusing his magic trident in spearing carp
  • Tylenol, cleric, had been proselytizing at the inn, drinking and gathering souls 
  • Jax, barbarian, had been wandering the woods, collecting plants and snooping about caves
  • Rondel, elf, had been transcribing found spells into his spellbook (his charmed chaos acolyte saved out of the charm, but chose to stick around, as Tylenol has been missioning hard to convert him) 
  • Frederick, thief, showed up late to the session after attending local gladiatorial matches
  • and the party was joined by Feef, halfling, who had escaped a bad family reunion elsewhere... She was taken in by the local halflings, who appear to be a different kind of "family"

I was reminded that I'd forgotten to gift Feef with headgear, and she rolled up a spiffy crusader helm to match her plate armor.

just imagine a fire hydrant creeping through the woods

I was up for some lighter adventuring, and described a beast having preyed on the local goatherd's sheep. With some description, it was found to not be the resident giant eagle, but a wyvern. The party made some plans to counter the dangerous beast, and got a sense of which direction the beast had come from. Assuming that it laired in a cave, the party hoped to either corner or trap it to rob it of flight. 

Departing after Brother Tylenol's morning prayers, the party headed to the woods. I'd made a quick d6 tracking game for the party's search. By rolls, the party first spotted the flyer, then heard its call. Knowing that they were nearing the lair, Jax poked ahead to some previously-known caves, spotting rotting detritus and bones (Goober rolled in it, of course). 

While Bonk and Tylenol scrambled above the cave with a weighted net, Rondel, Fred and Feef crept inside, hoping to spot the beast (determined to be sleeping off its latest kill). Jax held back, readying her bow. After a couple of rounds of creeping, the trio woke the thing and ran in terror as the result of the creature's horrific scream (failed saves). 

Taking the three fleeing PCs to be a sign, Tylenol rolled boulders (missed) and Bonk threw his net (partial success). The net was enough to ensnare a wing, but the beast was likely to escape soon. Jax took the initiative to rush the tangled beast and attempt to better tangle it up. Winning initiative, she was able to get the net around the animal's head. The wyvern exchanged blows, striking the barbarian with a venomous claw. Jax rolled away, digging in her pack for her anti-venom plant poultice. 

Feef hit the thing with a javelin, as Tylenol rolled another stone (miss). Bonk leapt from the cave mouth, spearing the wyvern, and ending up on a monster's back for the second time. Frederick, still shaken, sent his shot wide, and Rondel rolled a nat 20. I use the ASSH variable damage critical hits. The damn elf rolled x3 damage and maxed rolled damage. Headshot... 

Fine. Kill my monster. At least Goober didn't get a chance to overshadow Jax, as often happens.

The party checked for gut-treasure and explored the cave, recovering a modest amount of treasure. They butchered the wyvern and hauled their spoils back to town.


The wyvern (and much locally-donated food) was prepared for a town feast at the inn. Much merriment occurred. 

And carousing happened. 

  • It turns out that Feef had placed a bet against the party, and lost some coin. She regained some gambling...
  • ...from the coin that Rondel lost in the evening's card games.
  • Frederick attempted some pickpocketing, but only ended up with a shiner.
  • Jax lost arm wresting against a teamster, but can have some goods shipped as a favor.
  • Bonk bought the house multiple rounds, regaled folks with tales of derring-do and now has an available man-at-arms hireling.
  • Likewise, Tylenol preached he blessings of Garond, and now has access to three porters and spear-carriers.

No big mission or mysteries here. But some excellent planning on the party's part. After all, there is no such things as a fair fight. A brief scenario, but everyone got to grab a role, and roll at least once when the wyvern emerged. As noted above, I took the opportunity to have the players do a bit of character exploration and interaction with the local world before and after the skirmish. 

Oh, the wyvern wasn't off-the-shelf, but borrowed from The Crimson Monastery, by Dawnfist Games. 

The scenario is a system-neutral mini hexcrawl involving a bunch of zealots arriving in a small town and harassing the locals. The adventure is appropriate for a low-level party that doesn't mind the potential for some replacement characters...

The adventure is designed for a few sessions of play, and includes a 'timer' for driving events to occur after 1+ days of in-game play (zealot actions, other NPCs, etc.). Outside of town, there is the zealots' lair, a flooded tomb of cursed heroes, and the above wyvern's cave. The scenario also includes a list of rumors and other interactions to encourage the players to take actions. 

While dealing with the zealots is the main objective (by violent or non-violent means), the side adventures grow the 'world' of the valley setting and potentially provide resources or information regarding the scenario. 

Writing is brief but detailed enough to provide flavor and a sense of environment. Text layout makes good use of bullet points and bolding to highlight information, similar to Necrotic Gnome's adventure layout. The module clocks in at about 30 pages in booklet format. 

The "monsters" are statted out for a TTRPG named "Adventurous" (no link available Update, the author let me know that the rules are currently submitted to DTRPG and should be live shortly) but described well enough for easy conversion (the author mentions OSE or Knave as example systems). The author gives each monster type (whether goblins, zealots, or the wyvern) sufficient description for easy conversion, plus flavored abilities, selectable by a d6 roll. I ganked the wyvern, adjusted it for OSE, and kept the alternative attacks, which included a shriek (fear) attack and multiple venomous claws (instead of the tail stinger). The monsters/NPCs with alternative abilities is a strength of the module, and provide enough flavor and surprise for players to keep them on their toes. 

Likewise, there are several excellent magic items, similarly flavored and themed, and much better than the generic +1 sword. The monsters and items are my favorite parts of the adventure, and the most likely bits to be reused elsewhere. Speaking of, a local trader has a number of magic items for sale. Since magic for sale isn't a typical bit of B/X I'll either strike this or scatter the items in the forest (or somewhere) if appropriate. 

That said, the adventure provides a good framework for a couple of sessions, and there's a good chance that my merry bunch of mushroom harvesters will stumble into this milieu. 

The author also has a second adventure, The Serpent Cult, a similar, smaller adventure, with the same design style and philosophy. 

I recommend grabbing one or both, either to run, or to mine for inspiration. As small scenarios, they can readily drop into a hexcrawl or similar open world. Enjoy!

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