Saturday we had another foray into the Black Mire, continuing Timothy the Tulip’s quest to slay the Widow Dragon, Grizelle. The road so far:
- First. He meets up with someone who knows a wizard who is looking for a dragon’s lair, and gets involved.
- Second. He joins an expedition to get into a long-dead hero’s trophy room to learn the location of the dragon’s lair.
- Third. Traveling towards a port where he can get passage closer to the dragon’s lair, he is sidetracked into a dungeon crawl to earn some cash.
- Fourth. He travels the dangerous last leg of the road to the port city.
- Fifth. He rescues a scholar who is familiar with the dragon’s lair, breaking him out of a prison, and acquires a pirate ship to work out transporting treasure.
- Sixth. He gets to the island with the lair on it, and begins searching for a way in through the magically sealed back door of the lair. He meets a frog god that assures him if he collects 4 pieces of magic amber, a big iron rose, and a big stone basket, the frog god will give him the key to the back door.
- Seventh. Tulip and his crew make it to Mire Port, then back out into the Black Mire, finding the amber.
- Eighth. Tulip and Vayu go out into the Black Mire again, and this time defeat a necromancer and get the rose, turning it in with the frog god (as well as exploring.)
- Ninth. Tulip puts together a bigger crew, gets banished from Mire Port, and collects the basket, waking a dark cosmic power in the process.
So now they need to get the basket to the frog god, get the key, make it to the back door of the dragon lair, get in, defeat any defenses, gank the dragon, pack up the loot, and live happily ever after.
If you are not one of my players, you might get a kick out of comparing the adventure reports with my source material, Dyson Logos’s contest-winning Challenge of the Frog Idol.
Most of the characters are 7th level. We have a new one at 1st, one at 5th, and I think Tulip is up to 13th. We have had people cycling through characters: Simon found one he likes as the third, Niki is on her 2nd and may be still looking, Mark is looking to trade out but might stick it out with his guy, Shaun struck gold with his 2nd, etc. The only consistent character through this whole set of adventures is Tulip, which is the main reason that this arc has settled as being his story (also he has adopted this quest as his objective).
When I go through the rules again, it will be impossible to duplicate Tulip, as there are some unbalanced things I’ll rebalance. Also, I’m shifting how the armor class system works, so that will change a few things. The new system is more complex, but when adding complexity the question is whether the resulting depth is worth it. As of the first adventure playtest, I think it is.
The great thing about having documentation on a quest like this is that I know it will be fun for the players to go back later, years later, and read the reports. Not in blow-by-blow detail, but there is enough there to remember the good times. And being sullied by the fey.