So far we have sent the characters up the creek without a paddle, half drowned them and made them fight under water against a new and unknown monsterous race. Today, it is apt to make their day go from bad to worse!
The river they have been careering down so far has been randomly generated and designed to make it virtually impossible to swim out of or row out of. anyone reaching the shallows would be facing swimming rolls at something like -90 and taking krush criticals should they fail.
Now, I suggest giving them a bend in the river that has formed a bit of a calm pool. The river widens here and the rate of flow slows and the characters get a chance to reach the bank.
Finally, staggering to the bank it is time to reintroduce the Orcs that we had start this whole thing off in the first place. These have been tracking the river down stream assuming the characters will be killed in the rapids and their bodies washed up in this pool or another one further down stream. This is easy pickings for the orcs which is why they hand out near here in the first place.
This pool is also the domain of a huge lamprey. Once upon a time the orcs attacked a group of adventuring heroes just like the characters now. That party included an alchemist who was adept at making potions and the group regularly enhanced themselves with these. A perfectly normal lamprey fed off of one such magically enhanced hero and in drinking the hero’s blood also consumed a potion of Enlarge designed and dosed for a human. The same thing happened again with its second victim. The second potion was one of Extension used by the hero’s magician to extend the duration of his defensive spells. The final victim of the lamprey was the monk who had cast Strength III on himself. The combination of all this magic infused blood on the poor fish turned it into a huge monstrosity and trapped it in this pool. It now spends most of its time lurking in the mud at the bottom of the pool waiting for a victim of sufficient size to satisfy its hunger.
So returning to a current party they have just escaped or slain the freshwater merfolk and ended up in this pool where they can finally emerge from the river. As they do so they will be confronted with a band of orcs in front of them who have arrived at the same time. There should be just enough orcs that the party should not be certain of the outcome. I will not be specific as this is largely dependent on how the river run went, that could easily have broken many bones on its own and the fight against the merfolk.
The orcs know full well what lurks in the pool and will not go too close. They would prefer to use slings and spears to hold the characters off. They know full well what is coming next.
Warning: The image at the bottom of this post is really disturbing! It is a real, but dead, lamprey. It is just to give you a sense of how horrifying a lamprey is. That is a real one, we are dealing here with a fantasy 30′ one!
Behind the characters rising out of the water is Lampy the Lamprey. This is a 30′ long, 3′ diameter blood sucking fish.
|Max Pace/MN Bonus||Run/0|
|Attacks||110 HGr 100/Special ✓ *|
|Special Attack||Lampreys suck blood. If its grapple attack delivers a critical it will suck 3-30 hits of blood per round, starting the round after the critical was delivered. Ripping the lamprey off yourself or off someone else will deliver 4 ‘A’ slash criticals to the victim. Fire or eletricity may (Very Hard maneuver roll) cause the lamprey to release its prey.|
So as the characters face off the orcs, out of the water behind them rises the giant lamprey intent on attacking the person most in the water. It will attempt to grapple and latch on to the victim and drag them back into the pool and down to the bottom. As soon as they are dead i.e. drained of blood it will return for the next victim.
If the body is not too laden down with equipment it will just be left to float back up. As the death is probably going to be from loss of hits if enough concussion hits can be restored before the soul departs then the character can be revived without the need for life giving. That does make it rather important to finish off the orcs quickly!
This ‘misadventure’ is a potentially interesting way of weakening a party or even bringing low a very powerful party. It is unrelenting, the river is extremely difficult to fight but can deliver real harm to the characters. The orcs are do not need to be particularly numerous or high level. Many partys will almost discount an encounter with half a dozen orcs but in this case the orcs are just the trigger at the start and by the time they are encountered at the end they may be significantly more dangerous!
The fresh water merfolk and the Lampy are not things the characters are ever likely to have met before and tucked in the middle there was a Naiad. I have given the Naiad an additional power. She can rescue some of the characters by casting waterlungs on the characters. The mechanism for doing this is actually via another of the alchemists potions. The ‘drowned’ characters will not have known this at the time but the naiad had taken a draft of the potion and delivered it using a ‘kiss of life’ type action.
The anatomy of a story metaphor that we started with was put the characters up a tree, throw stones at them and then get them down again. Over the past three posts we have done the up the tree and thrown the stones. The getting them down again is the perfect time to throw the characters an adventure hook. Right now they are God knows where, beaten and bloodied. Now is a good time to kick them into a different direction.
Scroll down for the scary Lamprey photo!
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Those are some terrifying pictures of eels. And to think they were considered a delicacy by the medieval aristocracy. King Henry I of England loved them so much they killed him: one of his chronclers notes that he died after feeding on ‘a surfeit of eels.’