Posts made in August, 2019

Andy’s scenario recap (PrinceCon 44)


My scenario was a series of 4 one-shot Holds, each based on a different Dwarven Clan (Subrace) invented for PrinceCon 44.  Thank you to all the players who ran with me this year.  You made the experience even more fun than I had hoped. It was an honor to run for you.

Run #1: AMAGRA FARAKHDUM (Lost Hold of Diazoden Dwarves; focus: Bureaucracy)

PrinceCon 44 Andy's poster


The entrance to this hold was found in the library of Drozvindrian (GM: Conway Niles) buried beneath veritable a mountain of overturned books.  This is an “Easter Egg” scenario which can only be unlocked by characters exploring

As the bureaucrats charged with keeping the Empire running, and being inclined to efficiency, Clan Diazoden was naturally put in charge the Arnagra Farakhdum, the Bureau Imperial Measurements.  Naturally they establish an orderly system to ensure the precision of Imperial Standard Measurements (ISMs). Over time, the loss of their obsessive quest to maintain the ISMs has caused much former Imperial technology to fail or become substantially less reliable.

The Party

Claire Vaywont (Human Wizard)

Korthos Firerose (Klaxton Dwarf Monk)

Pholiccular (Human Cleric)

Shamash Silverbeeard (Half Elf Paladin)

Sir Gen Tell (Human Cleric)

Thorgal Graniteaxe (Klaxton Dwarf Barbarian)

The Adventure

The door to this hold read simply, “Imperial Business Only!”  The party pried open the huge doors and were immediately confronted by a giant clockwork spider with the torso of a woman.  She bore the Mark of Parok (GM Alex Reutter); her name was Khoh.

She inquired if they had an appointment, and learning they didn’t, began a countdown after which they needed to vacate the premises. Her job was to keep out the riffraff.  Pointing to their Observe, the party claimed they were official inspectors sent by the Emperor himself to assess the state of the hold. Khoh allowed them to pass to the elevator behind her.

An assistant met them and led them to the to the Bureau Chief’s office.  A long and winding series of halls, stairs, and passages led the party to conclude that this hold must be incalculably large.  The assistant explained that due to the space requirements for their scientific experiments, “the Bureau may be a tad larger on the inside.”

The Bureau Chief seemed both haughty and obsequious, the very model of a CEO perhaps a bit out of his depth.  He pointed out that the facility had not received its Imperial Funding Allotment for the last “857 ayarus  2 ‘uf 16 narat  16.45987 adaram (hours).” He was completely unaware of that his hold had been lost, and the party determined it was best not to reveal this to him.

The Chief admitted that the Bureau needed to recertify the dragon glass rods that function as the SIM’s for distance: the kafka (Shard), the kargh (Dove’s Egg), the sulum (Full Step), and the khuzdsig (Dwarf-Height).  They were last known to be in the Heart of the High Temple of Hione in Velzan-Gol (GM Michael Tumerello).  The party was asked to retrieve them.

Before setting out, the players cast an Augury to ensure that the rods were still at that Temple.  When they got to the Old Imperial Capital, they saw that the magnificent sity had been utterly destroyed in the Collapse of the Empire.  The Temple of Hione, being an enormous Ziggurat, seemed to have survived largely unscathed however. Using magic, they uncovered an entrance into the ziggurat’s base.

Inside the Temple was a labyrinth of corridors with windowless rooms off them.  Exploring several of the rooms, the party determined that something had bored through the solid stone construction and despoiled the rooms over the centuries.  They soon determined that the burrowed tunnels converged near the center of the ziggurat, quite near where the rods were supposed to be.

Good news: They found the dragonglass rods still in their magically protective case.  Bad news: the case was being sued as a pillow by an eldritch horror. As the group debated their next move, Korthos decided to explore a nearby room.  He entered the burrowed tunnel, realizing that it was an alternative entry to the room with horror.

When the party finally opened the main door and engaged the horror, Korthos used the distraction to grab the case with the rods and flee back to the passage.  Alas, he flubbed his stealth roll. The horror whipped around, and began to chase him through the tunnel which was juuust big enough to accommodate the case, slowing down Korthos’ escape. The party met Korthos as he emerged back into the original room inches ahead of the horror which they soundly defeated.

The Burueau Chief was delighted at the party’s success.  He noted that the glass rods and case were being sought by the Ffloyd’s of Fflondon The Arkinthel Governemnt used the insurance payment to “make up” the missing past-years funding for the Bureau, so it was best that the party not mention their find to Ffloyds.

Run #2: GIBASHEL (Lost Hold of Potenkhan Dwarves; focus: Belief)


Many years ago, a charismatic Visionary arose among the Potenkhan Clan. As his visions proved prophetic, his following grew; as his following grew, his visions turned very dark. He foresaw an inevitable race-ending tragedy that would consume the great dwarven empire.  The Visionary used his Marker to ask the Beating Heart of Stone to help him lead his followers safely through these trials, that the Dwarven Race and the Visionary’s followers would not be extinguished.

He and his followers secretly delved Gibashel and retreated into it, sealing the doors behind them. Once the doors were sealed, the Visionary revealed that the group had a quest: to discover the True Nature of the Heart – a concept that has come to be known as Commonality. Only then could the Heart be made fully manifest and save them from the Disaster To Come.

The Party

Farro Lastwell (Elf Druid)

Myko Hypha Dikaryaon Cerevisi (Gnome Druid)

Chadwick Thistlewick (Hafling Fighter)

Nokrun Boneminer (Dwarf Wizard)

Jold Sonpher (Human Barbarian)

Gregreg Toregy (Human Paladin)

Maystorh (Half Orc Barbarian, convinced he is also a Bard)

The Adventure

Myko had in her possession the bones and a magic locket of a Potenkhan woman which had been found in the Necropolis (GM Jacob Lisner).  The woman’s ghost asked Myko to ensure she was reunited with her true love who possessed the other half of the locket and her 3 daughters.  She told her when to look for the hidden entrance to the secret hold.

While searching for the entrance, the party found an abandoned shaft in which a canary in an ancient cage had been left.  Recognizing this must be an antique magic item used to detect toxins while mining, Myko attuned to it. She was resistant to poisons, she could scout ahead and keep the others from danger.   It was not long, however, before she (alone) began to hear the bird whisper in her ear, “Dig deeper! Come closer!” She began to talk to the bird, eventually speculating if she was becoming Potenkhan herself.  The players handled this perfectly in character. Myko never told them what she heard from the bird, and the rest began to wonder if she were succumbing to Miner’s Madness for the rest of the run.

Further on, Nokrun used his mason skills to detect an unusual patch of tunnel construction.  Farro used Produce Flame to look for changes in airflow, which turned out to help him find gems embedded in the walls which “ate” the magical flames to project a puzzle on the unusual construction.  Nokrun then used his prodigious linguistic skills to decipher the puzzle which all party members contributing to the solution, revealing the portal to Gibashel.

Inside, the party found a veritable paradise although the architecture (Nokrun) and the fashions (Chadwick) determined were clearly centuries old.  Myko used her half of the locket to summon the other half, thus meeting the many-greats granddaughter of the woman from the Necropolis.

The party was brought to the Great House of the hold to meet The Visionary, who improbably was still alive although very, very old.  He stunned them slightly by referencing the adventures in finding Gibashel before they had told him anything. He explained to them the Quest of Commonality.

The party explained the state of affairs in Khazthand and the surface, asking if Gibashel could offer refugees a place to settle.  The Visionary invited them to tour Gibashel and learn more about life there.

The party found that society is organized into Thaiku (Mines) in which a “great question” about the Beating Heart’s Nature is examined, discussed, and debated.  Within these Thaiku are groups attempting to answer questions realted to the “great question.”  These are called Ganad (Shafts, Delvings).  As in mining, Ganad can converge and diverge depending on what the deliberation process requires. New Ganad are constructed when a new question arises, ending in a room for discussion of the new issue.

For example, the Thaiku of Divinity is where members go to discuss if the Beating Heart is a god.  Those who answer the question affirmatively dug a Ganad to a new room to begin discussing what kind of god.  Those who answer negatively dug a different Shaft to continue discussing what else It could be. Eventually, members believe all Ganad in every Thaiku will meet at one point, and  they will have reached Commonality.

In the meeting with The Visionary, Farro had asked if non-Potenkhan, indeed non-Dwarves could join the Quest.  During the tour of the Thaiku of Salvation he was show the new Ganadi being mined to explore his question.

The party played central roles in the interment of the bones they had brought, fulfilling their promise to reunite the women from the Necropolis with her true love.  They gathered copies of The Visionaries prophecies which later proved valuable as some of them provided clues to the opposition in a Hold near Velzan-Gol, the old capital.

A Note About Gibashel’s Design

This run was designed to play either of two ways, depending on the mood and inclination of the players involved.  The first possibility was that the players would take everything at face value and “get into” exploring the question of what the Beating Heart truly was.

The second possibility was that the players would treat The Visionary with deep suspicion.  Could he be a cynical, false prophet-messiah, who is taking advantage of his followers? Or, could he be sincere-but-delusional with enough Xharisma to lead others astray. My intent would be to run this so that there was never definitive proof either way.

The goal of either possibility was to examine the role of faith and belief – that of the Potenkhans as to the nature of the Beating Heart or that of the party as to the nature of The Visionary.

Run #4: IMHDUM (Lost Hold of Klaxton Dwarves; focus: Artisanship)


Almost years ago, a group of Klaxton artisans created this commune in order to “focus on their art” and avoid the constant distraction of war. They accidentally isolated themselves when an art installation was incorporated into the gateway to the hold.

Free from outside intrusions, they have pushed the technological boundaries of artistic techniques to dizzying heights. However, they tightly closed nature of their society naturally lead to the formation of competing “schools” of art.  As with anything endeavor where the stakes are purely subjective, the rivalries have grown irrationally fierce.

The Party

Algwyn Tevantian (Elf Wizard)

Brogmira Axeborn (Klaxton Dwarf Barbarian)

Eldeth Grayforge (Klaxton Dwarf Barbarian)

Jiro Zincharvest (Diazoden Dwarf Fighter)

Kvadrato Thundergrip (Dwarf Wizard)

Larth (Half Elf Bard)

Morticia (Bugnear Druid) – NPC, guest Played by DM Hugh Huntzinger

The Adventure

After finding the portal gate to Imhdum, the party set out for the only monumental structure in the Hold, The Heykal (Great Temple) of Tabnimi, Dwarven Deity of Beauty and Artisanal Prowess.  The single-family dwellings were scattered about the temple; most had workshops or studios attached. Interspersed among the dwellings were several multi-story buildings which the party later learned were the homes to the main “Schools of Art”.  Beyond the dwellings were the fields that supplied the hold with food.

Each century, Imhdum celebrated the Festival of Grand Creations in which Schools present Masterworks to be judged for possible inclusion as Grand Offerings in the Heykal.  Fortuitously, the party arrived on the cusp of the next Festival.  Alas, the commune roiled on the verge of fracturing. A vandal had defaced many of the past Grand Offerings to Tabnimil.

The rivalries among the Schools ran so deeply, that no one within Imhdum could investigate the crimes credibly in the eyes of all citizenry. The party was pressed into service since they had no allegiance to any of the Schools.  In exchange, the community’s leaders agreed to hear the party’s proposal that Imhdum accept refugees.

The party decided to start by interviewing the Masters of the main Schools to determine where the rivalries and fault lines lay. They learned about the aesthetics of each Schools as well as their takes on their rivals.  It quickly became clear that every School had been victimized and no School could be eliminated from suspicion.

Now the significant advances in artistic techniques in Imhdum meant that all the works were immersive and experiential. In fact, several artisan from various Schools had died trying to repair the works from “the inside,” something which should normally have been impossible. So, the party decided to enter the lethal works to gain some insight into the vandal’s mind and motives.

To aid them, the priests of Tabnimi gave the party several Tools which the Schools had developed to create/repair the works.  The list of the art works they entered is bulleted below. After repairing each artwork (or at least neutralizing the danger), they found a symbol which they correctly assumed was the mark of a “hidden school” – one that rejected all of the others.

The hidden school was comprised of residents who had tried several of the schools and found them all lacking. Their School followed the principle that the only way to give art meaning and value was to strip it of all meaning and value. They called themselves the Paradox School or Doxxers. They had not just defaced the artworks, but they had robbed them of their originial meaning, thus turning them all into Doxxer Masterpieces.

The art was saved and the Festival was observed while the party was celebrated as honored guests and heroes.  In future years, their exploits became the subject of several masterworks displayed in the Heykal.

The Damaged Artworks

  • Paradise, By Design (porcelain, Designism) – this large platter has a decorative border with the interior disk covered by an opulent garden, all done in the blue/white style of Chinese porcelain.  Visitors are transported into the Garden and may walk its grounds – smelling flowers, listening to fountains or birds, and feeling the gentle breezes while admiring the meticulous design;  the vandal has introduced a troop of flying monkeys, however, who fling poo at visitors and pick them up only to drop them from heights; there is also a section with deadly poppies which Charm nearby viewers into walking into their midst and putting them to sleep with poison spores before devouring them. Monkey’s livery is emblazoned with the Doxxer Sigil.  (This is based on an actual commercial product:

  • Velocitrons (sculpture, Emotionalism)– a collection of metallic spheres of various sizes (radii ranging from 6 inches to 4 feet) held in one piece but uncannily appear to be spinning on their axes; viewers grip handles attached to central box and their consciousness is transferred to a place on one of the spheres which then begin to move around one another, giving them the sensation of “riding” that sphere; the spheres had been flattened into disks and the party used the Bellows tool to re-inflate them.

  • Thread of Infinity (collage, Surrealism) – animated fractal in which a construct spider generator has been placed   the construct spiders shoot webs that electrify; They are stamped with Doxxer Sigil; the artist sent to fix this work was killed; The party destroyed the  spiders.

  • The Fall of Goth (painting, Formalism) – depicts the glorious victory of the Klaxton Forge Furies over the Visi Drow of Goth; defaced by someone using the “Spot Heal” Tool to turn the Gith invisible; the Formalist sent to fix the painting was killed by the Invisi-Goths; it took 76 tries, but the party eventually used the color brush to “paint” the drow, allowing the Forge Furies to massacre them.

  • Facet-nating (painting, Surrealism) – defaced by being completely empty – everything was turned to the same shade of black; entrants are effectively blind, needing to rely on sound and other senses to determine what is out there;  Surrealist sent to fix painting was crushed by moving objects he couldn’t “see” them coming; the party did not attempt to fix this work.

  • Hydra, and Lions, and Dwarves (ceramic amphora, Designism) – this amphora is composed of parallel scenes separated by decorative borders; all in the same black tone, emphasizing designs/patterns; visitors enter a band of figures and experiencing the sights/smells/textures as the figures of that band “come to life.”  The vandal twisted the bands causing them to cross and interact with each other as well as patches of weird gravity. The point where the bands are twisted for the Doxxer Sigil; there is a Doxxer Sigil on the forge table. The party did not attempt to fix this work.

Tabnimi, Dwarven Deity of Beauty and Artisanal Prowess:

  • Domains include all Arts, Crafts, and Competitions of things hand-made or created

  • Symbol is a obsidian mirror with downward-pointing ox horns as tine for its handle

  • Depicted most often as female or androgynous, but gender unfixed

  • Always holding a mirror or hammer; depictions can have many arms

  • In some eras, considered Consort of Daglir

  • Worshippers most often Klaxton although not all Klaxton by any means worship Tabnimi

  • name derived from Neo-Khuzdul meaning “cause to become or make beautiful and graceful.”

Run #3: KHELUZDUM (Lost Hold of Myletha Dwarves; focus: Hospitality)


This hold was a major rest stop along the main Hypogean Way between Velzan-Gol (Old Imperial Capital) and Arkinthel. Run by community of Myletha Dwarves, the hold was more popularly known as MADAMAI – an ancient Dwarven word meaning “All Are Welcome.”

During the last days before the fall of Velzan-Gol, it was used as a refugee center by those fleeing the fighting deeper in the Middledark.   As Arkinthel was preparing to seal its connection to the rest of Kazthand, Kheluzdum sealed itself off from the Hypogean Way and was never heard from again.

The Party

Alice Lucia (Half Elf Bard)

Dr. Richard Reterson (Half Orc Barbarian)

I’m the Trashman (Klaxton Dwarf Bard)

Jane “Twice” Rachnell (Human Ranger)

Pip, Imagainative Rascal (Human Ranger)

Shiroi Akagi (Half Orc Paladin)

Skalgan Mrishni(Half Orc Paladin)

Thokk Hammerfist (Half Orc Barbarian)

Tim the Enchanter (Landrrol Dwarf Bard)

The Adventure

The party found the turn off leading to the hold easily.  However, they immediately encountered strange signs, indicating that something horrible lay ahead.  These include heads on spikes (typical warning/wards of orcs) as well as graffiti left by Drow and other ancient enemies.

The outer doors of Kheluzdum were locked and sealed with three blood-red runes of protection.  Adding to the mood, the party realized that these wards were placed as if to keep something IN mot out of the hold.  But, they had a mission to accomplish; in they went.

Immediately they were met by a Parok-made clockwork construct named Marvin.  He informed them that all weapons needed to be checked before entering the entertainment and recreational areas of the hold.  He was quite depressed that there had not been any visitors for him to greet for so many years, although he was unable to calculate the precise time since the last visitor.

Marvin conducted them to the Gamboling Gelding Inn where they were offered food and drink by the proprietor who leads the hold.  The only other “customer” in the joint was a Half Orc Barbarian, out of whom Thokk attempted to wheedle information. He bitterly revealed that  he had been a guard escorting refugees along the Ways when he became trapped here along with them.

It soon became clear that the residents were older than they appeared.  They seemed to have memory problems about their past and trouble judging the passage of time.  The party began to suspect that they were the original inhabitants of the hold when it was sealed over 800 years before.

The residents were hiding something, but what?.  The inhabitants had managed to arrest the plague that forced them to institute the quarantine, but they had not found a cure.  As long as the party left before dusk, they would not be at risk for contracting the disease.

Deciding to look around the hold for clues, the party decided to visit the hold’s Wise Woman, an herbalist of great skill.  She explained that the disease was an aggressive fungus that, left unchecked, would consume host and turn it into a giant fungus.  The refugees brought it into Kheluzdum.

When the disease was detected, they isolated the refugees, but it was too late.  The entire hold had been infected. The initial victims formed a “field of fungus” between the village and the Refugee encampment.

The party decided to visit the refugees next to gain further information about the fungus ith hopes of deciphering a cure.  On their way, they were intercepted surreptitiously by one of the inhabitants, a young man. He led them to a secret chamber below his home where he introduced his extended family.

Unlike the other villagers, these Dwarves did not suffer from memory problems.  Confirming the earlier suspicions, they explained that the others were the original inhabitants and that fungus was a bit of a cover story for something much worse.

Unlike the others, these people were the descendants of a particular family from the time of the quarantine. Something about their family home brew had protected them from the greater evil that the refugees brought with them.  The memory lapse side effect has aided them in keeping the secret that they are immune.

One of the refugees was indeed infected with the fungus.  By the time they learned to arrest its progress, however, most of the inhabitants had become violent monsters.  Each night they transform into beasts with claws and tear into any person who crosses their path. Come the morning, they appear in their Dwarven form, none the worse for wear.  They have virtually no memory of their rampages the night before.


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Fflondon Calling (Alex’s scenario recaps)


I ran 6 expeditions in “Fflondon Calling”

 At the beginning of the Con, Fflondon and the other holds of the Ashpool Complex were in trouble.  Three were under Imperial Seal (Tyrol, Balad Naron, Volan), one was locked from the inside (Parok), and Fflondon was under the dominion of a Mind Flayer.

Despite the bumps along the way, including saying goodbye to a special Kuo-Toan friend (RIP, Jimothy, you will never be forgotten!) and a con-long intraparty discussion over whether to kill the mind flayer, convince the drow to kill the mind flayer, convince the mind flayer to brave the nameless horrors in Volan Hold and get himself killed, or make the mind flayer mayor, all five holds in the Complex were made safe for colonizing.  The furnaces of Balad Naron were lit. The forges of Tyrol were running. Parok Hold was secure. The kruthink xenomorph threat in Volan was neutralized. And Rory Destle-Ffloyd was mayor of Fflondon!

Fflondon Calling


A’kanom Depaix, Gnome Cleric of Ratri

Adrie, Half-Orc Cleric of Aru

Bragwell “WideEyes” VonStathe IV, Human Wizard (Ratri)

Shagra Marsa, Half-Orc Barbarian (Pantheist)

Valetuda/Vallie, Clan Myletha Monk, Way of the Drunken Master (Pantheist)

Zelta Cirvis, Wood Elf Rogue Thief (Ratri)

Remy’s crew was a group of retired con artists, thieves, and mercenaries that were being blackmailed into one last “job” to help Khazthand retake the Lost Holds.  The exception was Shagra, who was the daughter of a member of the crew, and was honoring her mother’s memory by taking her place on this mission. Prior to reporting to Reclamation HQ, they all met at a tavern owned by Vallie.

In their own words:

“Remy’s Crew”

  • On our journey to assess Fflondon’s requisitionability, we were approached by the Ffloyd Brothers, a couple of “insurance” guys who want us to retrieve a list of items vital to restoring the family business.  It was supposed to be in the Ffloyd’s mansion strongbox — but it was gone!

  • As for the requisitionability… the area has been claimed and inhabited by what we suppose is around 7,000 people.  “People” being kuo-toa, kobolds, goblins, drow, orcs, and… a Mindflayer controlling them all!!

    • The Emmissary — Mindflayer — is scared of the drow, since they do not believe in the religion it’s spun to control the other factions.  Which could be used to potentially clear the area by way of war, except…

    • There is a group of goblin children in a beneficial existence with a group of machines with long lost knowledge (?).  The children work on the machines due to the size and dexterity of their hands, and the machines give them knowledge in exchange.  These children are friendly… if not a little playful, and surprisingly powerful

    • Meanwhile, a character named sharkie in the big house with the emissary has requested visitor’s presence… is it connected to the house of elves that went extinct in this area?

A map of the area can be found on the back… oh yeah, and –



  • Met the Ffloyd brothers, “insurance” guys whose family went bankrupt and trying to get back in the business

  • Discovered a nest of Hook Horrors near the Tube that allowed fast travel to Fflondon, but left it for the next party to deal with

  • Explored Fflondon and discovered

    • It’s currently occupied by a number of factions

    • The factions seem to be relatively peaceful because of the presence of a mind flayer; however,

    • Maybe the drow faction (a group of big-game hunters who want to test their mettle against the rumored nameless horrors locked in Volan Hold) and the mind flayer could be played off each other?

    • There are machines teaching goblin children clockwork magic, and keeping it secret from the mind flayer

    • The mind flayer (“Sharkey”) wants to meet with the party, but the party ducks out and leaves it to the next group

Other notables:

  • “IS ANYONE ELSE BEING BLACKMAILED HERE!?”  — Adrie, bringing all conversation in Vallie’s tavern to a halt.

  • “If my crimes are ever discovered, I’ll be executed.”  — Adrie, sharing a bit too much in front of people outside the crew

  • “So, you were spotted by goblin children?” — Adrie, to Zelta, after Zelta reported the results of scouting around the abandoned Ffloyd family mansion in Fflondon and encountering the goblin children who were learning from machines

The party also befriended “Jimothy”, an undersized kuo-toa who won the hearts of Vallie and Shagra and almost resulted in a big intra-party conflict when they had to decide whether to allow the mind flayer to eat Jimothy’s brain (since Jimothy had won the lottery to meet “the Great Tentacled One”) or intervene.

Vallie kept a sketchbook with some renderings of Jimothy.  The “where’s my spear?” comes from Jimothy putting his spear down, having it stolen by the rogue while interrogating the PC’s, and then totally forgetting about the spear because he’s so delighted that the PC’s have come to help celebrate the Festival of the Great Tentacled One (as evidenced by Vallie, a drunken master monk, carrying a cask of ale).

Dangers of the underdark, as reported by Remy’s Crew:

The Mind Flayer of Fflondon


Bray, Rock Gnome Wizard (Pantheist)

Ren, Human Rogue – Arcane Trickster (Ratri)

Rick Parker III, Half Elf Warlock – The Archfey (Pantheist)

Thorgal Graniteaxe, Clan Klaxton Barbarian – Totem Warrior (Daglir)


“We should kill the mind flayer.”

“How do we get the drow to kill the mind flayer?”

“Is that really what we want to do?”


This party continued adventuring in Fflondon:

  • They investigated the Ffloyd mansion more closely, and found a box with red clogs.  When removed, the box would create another pair of red clogs, which would perfectly fit whoever took the clogs from the box.  Ren began to distribute red clogs throughout Fflondon and spread rumors that “when the dwarf with red clogs comes, it will be a time of great prosperity for the hold.”

  • They accepted Sharkey’s invitation, and found the mind flayer was interested in having Fflondon rejoin Khazthand, so long as he was officially recognized by Arkinthel as mayor.  He even had papers drawn up for Arkinthel to look at! The party agreed to take it back to Arkinthel for consideration.

  • They planned to try to convince the drow to work against Sharkey, but Sharkey had already helped the drow to open Volan Hold.  When the players investigated, they came across a sole survivor, who described the horrors in Volan Hold as a mutated form of Kruthik


“this hold believes in the Red Clogs.  They trust those who offer Red Clogs. They await the chosen dwarf who, it is said, will rule this hold, clad in the Red Clogs…”


“Never trust a human without clogs.”

  • Ren


I’m Sorry, Dave, We Can’t Do That

Adrie, Half-Orc Cleric of Aru

Alice Lucia, Half-Elf Bard

Brogmira Axeborn, Dwarven Barbarian

Korthos Firerose, Dwarven Monk

Morrig Dunron, Dwarven Monk

Pho Liccular, Human Cleric of Aru

Shamash Silverbeard, Half-Elf Paladin

Zelta Cirvis, Elf Rogue

The first two parties ran away from the Hook Horrors and left them for the third party to deal with.  :-) Even this party had trouble with them, because the hook horrors used the environment (several levels of catwalks around an open space) to their advantage, since they’re excellent climbers, so it took about 3 hours of strategizing, hunting, and fighting for the party to finally drive them away from the subway station and burn the nest.  The mothers and young escaped, but are unlikely to come back.



Act II of the expedition involved delivering a contract from Arkinthel to Sharkey that would make the mind flayer officially the mayor of Fflondon.  This was complicated by the appearance of David Tessier, the long-lost heir to Parok Hold (near Fflondon). Clad in his own pair of red clogs, he wanted to exploit the party to retake “his” homeland.  Alice, however, had previously encountered David on a previous run, and knew him to be Bad News(tm). The party delivered the contract to Sharkey, who happily signed it, and Khazthand settlers began to head to Fflondon.  The party trapped David in a Zone of Truth, and under interrogation, got him to confess to his crimes. While telling them they wouldn’t be able to enter Parok without him, Zelta beheaded him.


  • It was now safe for people to travel to Fflondon

  • It was uncertain how future groups would enter Parok Hold (apparently the center of all the clockwork mechanisms running throughout the Ashpool Complex)



  • “I don’t know if anyone wants me to spore you… (rest of the party looks extremely dubious) … but it gives you resistance to psychic attacks.  (party suddenly looks extremely interested because a mind flayer may be in their immediate future)” — Morrig, at the beginning of the expedition

  • “Let’s turn him into a turtle and toss him down the chute.”
    “Wait, you have polymorph?  Why don’t we turn him into a bird?”
    – during a debate over how to approach the hook horror nest

  • “This is either a good idea or a terrible idea.”
    “Why can’t it be both?”
    – continuing the debate

  • “There’s a time for kata, and a time for fighting.”
    “That’s not funny.”
    “Everyone else was laughing”
    – Shamash, admonishing Korthos


The Furnaces of Balad Naron

Alice Lucia, Half-Elf Bard

Brogmira Axeborn, Dwarven Barbarian

Gyges Ness, Human Wizard

Korthos Firerose, Dwarven Monk

Pho Liccular, Human Cleric of Aru

Shamash Silverbeard, Half-Elf Paladin


Arkinthel wanted the golem forges of Tyrol reopened.  The party escorted the Elder Tyrol (of the Tyrol family that founded Tyrol Hold) to Tyrol; unfortunately, it looked like *something* had gotten into the forges and spoiled some of the golems.  The party discovered that it was the mutated kruthik, which could propagate themselves using the golems as hosts! They managed to trap and kill the few that had just been born.


The party then looked to restarting the furnaces of Balad Naron, which involved Alice distracting an Ash Golem while the others searched for clues.  Restarting the furnaces involved calling the Balrocs back to Balad Naron. The ceremonial rites were carved into the temple walls; unfortunately, Bishop Aku’s bird stump vase was missing!  (That must be why the Ash Golem is shouting “thief!” at us…)


The party wondered, “If I were a 1200 year old stolen bird stump vase, where would I be?” and then searched the Daglir temple in Fflondon.  The priests, newly come from Arkinthel, had been cleaning up, and noted that they *had* seen a particularly ugly iron bird stump vase, but had given it to some goblin children who wanted it for parts.  This led to Gyges noting, “I swear to god if I have to beat up goblin children for a flower pot…” Fortunately, the flowerpot was recovered outside the Ffloyd’s mansion, and with the Ffloyd’s help, as Bishop Acu’s bird stump vase was one of the insured items on the Ffloyd grand list.

This was followed shortly by Alice’s “with friends like these” adventure (see below), which ended up being of help to the party after all, since it opened Parok Hold.  While Shamash pleaded with the Aru temple back in Arkinthel to raise Alice from the dead (offering all his possessions), Korthos and Pho explored Parok, initially with the intention of destroying Winter, the arkenstone of Parok.  However, after following some directions to fix Winter’s vocal systems, they were able to discern that while David Tessier was a monster, the rest of the Tessiers were not, and many of their consciousnesses were in fact stored in Winter, and one could be “downloaded” into a Tyrol golem, and thus become the next “Winter’s Queen” and lead Parok.


  • The Tyrol forges restarted, fueled by the furnaces of Balad Naron

  • Parok opened, and the new Winter’s Queen to be forged

  • Alice raised from the dead; after the con Shamash to be an honorary Paladin of Aru

With Friends Like These

Alice was a bard whose driving goal was to seek and share lost knowledge.

Alice was on Steve Caruso’s expedition where they discovered a prison that was stuck in a time dilation where 1 year equalled 1000.

David Tessier was imprisoned there 8000 years ago, for crimes against Daglir, and during the expedition, he tried to kill the party.

Somehow, David escaped the destruction of the prison and wormed his way into the good graces of the Empire.

Alice was on the expedition where David intended to use the party to help him seize Parok Hold.  Alice convinced the party, based upon her experience, that David was seriously bad news. The party got David to confess his crimes on live observer and executed him.

Alice then became convinced that, as the last remaining Tessier, David was the only way to retrieve the lost knowledge of Parok Hold.  So she conspired with a mind flayer to steal DAvid’s body from a Daglir temple, reanimate him long enough to open Parok, and then kill him again.

Enchanted with the thought of all the lost knowledge that would soon be hers to explore, Alice began to investigate Parok, turning her back on the mind flayer, who promptly stunned her and ate her brain.

The New Mayor of Fflondon

A’kanom Depaix, Gnome Cleric of Ratri

Adrie, Half-Orc Cleric of Aru

Chadwick Thistlewick, Halfling Fighter

Rory Destle!, Dwarf Barbarian

Shagra Marsa, Half-Orc Barbarian (Pantheist)


The mind flayer having absconded, Fflondon was in need of new leadership.  The party decided to enlist the Ffloyd brothers’ help in making Rory Destle! mayor, and ran an ad campaign.  Initially, it was going to be an election campaign, but then remembering that democracy didn’t exist, made it an informational campaign that Rory was the new mayor.  the signs were brilliant (see below).


Shagra also gained some closure on her orcish heritage.  She sought out the (small) orc community in Fflondon, which tried to reject her.  She won a shoving match with an orc that tried to bully her away *and* rolled a nat 20 on an intimidation check to earn the respect of the tribe.


Shagra and Adrie then rejoined the other’s at the Ffloyd’s mansion, rolling *another* natural 20 on door knocking to perfectly tap the wooden door with her warhammer without leaving a dent.



  • Fflondon has stability with a new mayor and powerful backing; as the earliest sponsors of the new Mayor, the Ffloyd Brothers will want to ensure Rory is successful, otherwise they will lose the trust of people who might otherwise do business with them.

It’s a Bug Hunt, Man

Ardent, Half-Elf Paladin

Bartlebumf Higgenbottom, Halfling Fighter

Bray, Gnome Wizard

Ren, Human Rogue

Shiroe Akagi, Half-Orc Paladin

Smash, Human Barbarian

Xandrial, Dwarven Cleric of Aru

Things were looking up in the Ashpool Complex, but there was still the matter of clearing the xenomorph kruthik menace from Volan Hold.  When given a set of missions to choose from, this party opted for the most dangerous! Bray commented: “Let’s do dungeons of unspeakable horrors.”


Volan Hold was full of twisting tunnels, and the party was in search of the Kruthik Hive Queen.  Using an invisible Owl familiar to scout, they eventually found a seemingly wounded Kruthik that led them further into the tunnel system. However, the injury was a ruse, and the party was surrounded by Kruthik that attacked in small groups to minimize the number that would be caught in a fireball blast.  Upon realizing this, Bray hissed, “They’re intelligent. That’s why we have to destroy them all.”


After the first waves, the party discovered the Drow (from the first run!) being kept barely alive in what appeared to be a larder.  Ardent woke them and laid on hands, and the Drow priestess agreed to ally with the party, though they had difficulty keeping up and were eventually separated.


The party discovered the location of the Hive Queen, and prepared to burst through the Kruthik’s defenses with Ren in a Wall of Force “hamster ball”, being pushed by Smash, Shiroe, and Ardent.  They manage to hit the Hive Queen with some powerful attacks. It tried to bring the ceiling down upon the party, and Bray used his final spell slot to catch it with a Wall of Force, allowing the others to safely finish off the Hive Queen before hightailing it out of Volan Hold.



  • The entire Ashpool Complex was now safe from the Kruthik xenomorph menace!



  • On their first push with the hamster ball, Ren rolled a 20 to keep his balance, Smash rolled a 20 to push the ball into the kruthik, and the kruthik rolled a 20 to push back!

  • Meanwhile, the Drow fought their own way out.  Oddly, they experienced little resistance, and the kruthik seemed unwilling to attack the Drow priestess.  Unbeknownst to herself or the other, she was the host for a larval kruthik xenomorph queen…

Genesis of a PrinceCon Scenario

When Michael floated the idea of the Lost Holds, I started thinking about interesting dwarven settings from old cons.  There was Dain Makair, the supposedly impregnable dwarven fortress that Hugh ran in PrinceCon 17, which could have been lost surprisingly easily/early during the shrinking of Khazthand.  There was Balad Naron, the city hung by chains under the discworld of PrinceCon 18. As far as I knew, PrinceCon 44 wasn’t a discworld, but Balad Naron could be hung over, say, the caldera of a volcano.  I liked that and wanted to run with that.

A little later, thinking over all the things that people must have lost when evacuating the Holds, I realized that this would be a good reason to bring back the Ffloyd’s of Fflondon from PrinceCon 11, and even better, 44 is a multiple of 11!  The Ffloyd family would be currently paupered, but could recover their wealth if players could return enough lost items. The Ffloyd NPC’s would be brothers Randolph and Mortimer, loosely based off the characters from Trading Places.

I was thinking about possible “hooks” for Holds, like one entirely run by Clockwork, perhaps with a HAL-like AI in charge that the PC’s would need to face.  Maybe one that manufactured weapons of war, or golems, or something. Maybe there would be a monolith that opened a Gate, either to Balad Naron (which would otherwise be inaccessible?), or to another Hold elsewhere.

During the summer, I finished reading John Crowley’s Aegypt quartet.  Part of the story of the books covers the defenestration of Prague, and Frederick and Elizabeth, Winter’s King, how they were driven into exile, and how their descendants eventually recovered their heritage.  That seemed to tie into the Lost Holds theme well, so Prague –> Parok Hold, and the AI would be “Winter”, thus the leaders of Parok would be Winter’s King/Queen. A lot of the clockwork in Parok and the surrounding holds would be broken, so Winter couldn’t speak with the PC’s until repairs were made (“Winter” was “mute” -> Wintermute).  To complete the Neuromancer reference, I called the family that founded Parok the Tessiers, and decided the surrounding group of holds could be known as the “Ashpool complex”.

Well, if cyberpunk was going to inspire part of the scenario, then the Hold that manufactured golems might as well make golems that were more dwarflike than dwarves.  Tyrell corporation becomes Tyrol Hold, and Eldon Tyrol is there with his construct owl. I had ideas about a confrontation between Eldon Tyrol & Roy Batty golem, but those ideas didn’t solidify, and examining the golems more closely wasn’t a direction any of the expeditions seemed to go in, so it was quietly dropped during the con.

It was natural then for there to be a hold that was infested with xenomorph kruthik.  Weyland -> Woland -> Volan Hold.

Finally, Balad Naron would, in fact, be the location of the furnaces that powered the other holds, but I had trouble figuring out how the furnaces were fueled, and how they were shut down, and how they might be restarted.  An aperture that needed to be held open like Thor in Nidavellir was one possibility, but then I recalled the Balrocs from PrinceCon 40, mighty birds of fire that nested in volcanos. And so the Balrocs returning to Balad Naron would be like the swallows returning to Capistrano.  Acú was the bellringer at Capistrano, so the ceremony involved ringing the bell of the Bishop of Balad Naron.

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