PrinceCon XL: Steve’s Scenario Recap
The name of the scenario was:
“WE NEED HEROING!”
Or if you looked closer at it:
“WE NEED (remedial) HEROING (101)”
There was a large stack of Mead and Turkey leg item cards attached to the poster with the guidelines, “Take one, or more! Feast!” This should have been the first clue where this was headed.
(In fact, I heard that a Turkey Leg was used to save a character’s life, so hey my job here is done.)
In Episode 1, entitled “Don’t Let Your Legend Suck” (that was taken from the title of the training montage music from Episode 2 of Galavant) the heroes are called off to a grand colosseum by the Gods to take part in some heroic games to boost morale. Upon arriving, however, they met with Eða, a Valkyrie, who lets the boom drop that the reason why they’re here is because they are the souls who emphasized the eating and drinking in Valhalla more than the fighting and revelry, and as a result needed to have their doughy bodies whipped back into shape — by physical force if necessary.
Throughout the dilapidated colosseum were hundreds of stoneoak trees that needed to be chopped down to make room for the physical tests, so Eða said “Get on it!” Immediately which after the party executed the most stunning and well-coordinated campaign of aggressive procrastination that has ever played out at PrinceCon.
As the name suggests, stoneoaks are very, very tough to knock down or move. One of the party members — a Riddari — tried tilting at windmills, treating them like giants with a charge with their lance. That didn’t work very well; however, it gave the rest of the party a good laugh.
One of the party’s Danu clerics decided to talk to the trees to see what they could do about their task more peaceably… Eða didn’t like that, so she took her axe and… well very soon afterwards the Danu cleric was complaining that she was just talking to that tree — “Well now you’re not. Finish the rest of them!”
When they finally managed to knock one over, they noticed that down under the roots, coiled around the tree’s taproot was a stony-looking hand. A Detect Evil later, and they realized that rock trolls were incubating under each stoneoak in some kind of symbiotic/parasitic relationship.
Eventually the boom drops and the mature trolls, about 3 or 4 of them, start to climb out of the dirt, their umbilical cords being snipped by the adventurers, and one of the huge stone slabs behind this area started to make thumping noises as if a really big troll was trying to come out behind it, too. The normal sort of fight ensued, but one decidedly abnormal maneuver, involving falling upon a troll with a lance aimed at their head while wearing full plate armor led to the award of the Character title “Trollrider.” It was epic.
Another in the party made the best use of Hold Portal that I have seen. Focused on the giant rock they managed to hold back the huge troll until they were able to build a pit trap in front of the door, call on reinforcements, and gather munitions to take the troll down…
READY STEADY HERE IT COMES!…
But when the spell wore off, they realized that the poor troll was knocking its head into the rock so many times that it was quite dazed and just sat there until one of the players coaxed it out with a turkey leg and it fell headlong into the pit.
The troll, strangely enough was carrying two things: A map leading up into some scraggly woods into a mountain, and a rubbing of a Fate Stone that read, “The characters shall SMUDGE at this fate stone.”
A curious clue that could not be ignored.
That led to Episode 2, entitled “And All I Got Was This Lousy Fatestone.”
The party took on three more members and set out to follow the map, and it took them through the scraggly woods where the were completely unmolested… but noticed that someone was planting stone oak seedlings. With some jiggery pokery (well, pully-uppy) they found that each one had a rock troll larva by its roots that died immediately upon exposure to sunlight.
The trees were getting bigger the further into the woods towards the mountains they went –
Could this be a trap? Nah. Onwards!
Pulling up as many trees as they could they made their way to the base of the mountain. The soil started getting more volcanic.
Was this danger? No! Onwards!
They come across the crest of the mountain and descend into a small, flat valley to notice that there is a little potting shed shack in the center.
A perfectly round caldera-like valley. Is this a potential hazard? Pssh!
They find that an equally disoriented rock troll lives in the little shack, and is more or less harmless. They name him Jonny Trollyseed, assuming he’s responsible for all of the tree plantings…. but much to their surprise, they find in the middle of his shack, the Fate stone they have a rubbing of!
It reads: “The adventurers shall arrive at this fatestone.” A singularly puzzling fate.
Of course, they pick it up. But it is at that point when they hear their old friend Eða, who had followed them, shouting at the top of her lungs to get out. That it’s a trap, and that upon entering the valley she was cut off from the song of her sisters. In fact, none of them can feel any connections to their deities, nor can they seem to fly or get away from the fate stone.
By about this time, too, another party member manages to walk around the back of the shack and notice a large pile of bones… and loot! This was apparently a trap sprung many times before them upon many adventurers much more well equipped than themselves. Lots of them. So many bones.
So, they can’t get out and the caldera starts to activate, the hot lava getting closer and closer.
And then it dawns upon one of them! The Fatestone! That’s what’s keeping them there.
One of them says, “Quick, smash it!”
Another interjects: “No wait! It’s a Fate stone. One of us has to say the incantation.”
Yet another volunteers: “I’ll do it!”
And so he solemnly takes it into his hands, looks squarely at it and recites the words that will break the stone and cost him his life:
“I reject this Fate.
Ordained events kill the adventurous spirit.
Predestination is the little-death that brings complacency.
I reject this Fate.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will face my Future… unknown!”
… and nothing happens.
He says it again, this time quicker and more frantic.
Finally, all of the party members stood around in a circle holding hands “kumbaya style,” reciting the Litany that they pray will save their lives.
So one revisits their, “Smash it!”
And smashing it actually works!
It turns out it’s a fake fate stone, or Fakestone, powered by an old manuscript talisman.
Note: The Manuscript was actually adapted from an actual Old Norse skald poem with some of the names replaced (Hione for Oden, Ratri for Loki, Volva or Wise Woman representing one of the Wyrd Sisters, etc.) with a number of kennings for different events.
With an additional map puzzle in hand it lead them to:
Episode 3: “Verkstedet” (The Workshop or Laboratory)
They finish the map puzzle, making a trek out into the woods and arrived back precisely where they started — but something was different. They found a cottage that was absolutely dripping with both magic, and seriously deadly traps.
Long story short, as this run was puzzle, trap, puzzle, trap, they find out that it is one of Ratri’s auxiliary labs where she is developing the troll-tree-embryos to raise a huge army, and tinkering with fatestones and fakestones, trying to find ways to break them, alter them, or try and create them… luckily she didn’t get very far.
After the mages sacrificed two monkeys to the cause of disarming traps… and nearly causing a kerfuffle with the nature clerics in the party (earning one of the characters the title “Monkeybane”) they manage to utterly destroy the cottage by — “accidentally” — creating a feedback loop between a trapped cabinet of reflection (which stored one of Ratri’s deepest secrets) and a mirror of reflection, held by one of their clerics.
The cabinet… and the supporting wall behind it… lost after a volley back and forth 13 times.
Some things that were not caught: After they realized that it was one of Ratri’s labs, why would a god have a place to sleep? Why would a god have an underwear drawer?
And, if they *had* managed to get into the cabinet that they… *cough* blew up, they would have been asking, “Why is there a painting of a little Ratri with flesh and blood mortals who look like her parents?”
Regardless! With the secret lab destroyed along with the extra hordes of troll seeds, the Remedial Heroes are proven to be genuine heroes after all.