Aaron’s Scenario Recap (PCon 42)
The Heart of Gold
Backstory: One of Gargravarr’s great promises to the people of Qoin was to tunnel through the center of the disc to create a trade route from Heads to Tails. While nobody has ever reliably reported contact with the far side of the disc, this proved to be an inspiring undertaking, spreading dreams of beautiful fabrics and exotic spices and wealth to be made.
It was certainly popular among Dwarves and Gnomes, for it created the world’s largest demand for mining and machinery. Gargravarr used a vast tunnel-boring machine, built and maintained by the Gnomes, directed by the Dwarves, and supported by mining grunts of every shape and size.
Or course, a trade route was not Gargravarr’s actual motivation…
Run 1: The Mission is Mine
As far as the Resistance is concerned, there’s one big problem with the mining operation, and that’s that it was Gargravarr’s idea. Therefore, no matter how attractive it might appear on the surface, there must be some underlying motive to the detriment of the world. The first party was sent to investigate the mine and find out what’s going on there.
They had some adventures even reaching the glacier at the center of Qoin where the mining operation was located. All shipping capacity was consumed with miners and supplies, and the captains had turned to highway robbery to allow miners or passengers to claim a spot. With strategic bribery, the party lubricated their departure, and found themselves crammed in to a ship vastly overloaded with rough-edged folk. And then the first night out, the ship’s crew abandoned them, taking the money and running (er, rowing the dinghy) out of sight.
The lack of food, water, and elbow room could have proved to be a serious problem, except for the legendary Elven secrets that the party brought on board. (Namely, an alchemist’s jug producing an endless supply of fine wine.) With a little help from one experienced hand, they managed to reach the glacier, and by following another vessel, crash-land on the docks that were the intended destination all along.
Following the crowd, they crammed into wagons headed for the mine. On their arrival they found a vast temporary city — rows on rows of tents — in concentric circles around a vast hole in the ground. Unable to locate a “headquarters” among the tents (it was revealed later that all those in charge lived underground), they opted to take over one of the wagons of tailings, dumping it and returning to the mine for more.
The found themselves rudely directed down a circuitous path by Dwarves, who appeared roundly entertained by abusing the hapless grunts directing the wagon. In fact, a little investigation established that the mine was run by Dwarves and Gnomes, who were thrilled to have the chance. The Dwarves seemed to choose the route and procedures, while the Gnomes operated the vast tunnel-boring machine, and everyone else involved attended to the mundane tasks such as digging side tunnels, clearing the waste left by the boring machine, and resupplying the proper miners. This left the enormous main tunnel, surrounded by a huge number of weaving side tunnels, and a nearly inscrutable wagon route marked only by Dwarven runes etched faintly into the rock.
More investigation and a fair bit of stealth brought the party to a room where one of Gargravarr’s advisors was apparently dictating terms to frustrated Dwarf and Gnome leaders. From the sounds of it the Gnomes were advocating a break for maintenance, the Dwarves were advocating following a gentler route that avoided harder ground and obstacles, and Gargravarr was insisting on a straight-line route. (To the Heart of Gold, of course, though this wasn’t apparent to anybody at the time.)
Before the party could take advantage of this information, a party of invisible Drow attacked, supported by spellcasters in the distance. This turned into a four-way melee, from which no side emerged satisfied. The party lost two members and was unable to secure any of the specific plans or diagrams that had been under discussion. The Drow attempted to carry off Gargravarr’s representative, but were unable to. The representative was ultimately killed, leaving the Dwarves and Gnomes in a tight spot, and Gargravarr assuredly displeased.
Still, the remainder of the party returned with excellent intelligence on the mine, the factions involved, and Gargravarr’s influence.
Run 2: Tails of Qoin
Run 3: The Enemy of My Enemy…?