Archive for June, 2010

The Hammer Falls

I’m finally allowed to say that I wrote a pretty cool adventure for Dungeon magazine, available today. It’s called The Hammer Falls and it’s about a clan of duergar, a metalworking refinery, a giant magical hammer, and a sinister imp named Sleed with plans above and beyond what you’ll find in the PDF (to be continued in another Chaos Scar adventure, I hope). This was my first article for Wizards of the Coast, and, more importantly, the first time I’ve ever been paid to write anything involving D&D. It might just be a short little adventure about dwarves and devils, but I know I’ll always remember it as my “first real gig” – or whatever the kids are calling them nowadays. So please, read it, play it, and let me know what you think!

I can’t offer the adventure here on my site, but you can view and download it if you have a D&D Insider account. Summary below:

The Hammer Falls is a short adventure for five 2nd-level characters that takes place in the Chaos Scar. The characters enter an abandoned metalworking refinery under the control of a clan of duergar who have given their souls to infernal forces in exchange for power. Inside, the duergar work tirelessly to uncover the secrets within a river of lava corrupted by a shard from the meteorite.

An overpowering stench of sulfur lingers in the air as you approach the refinery. It’s evident from the decay and debris that the facility has not been used in many years. One of the upper walls has collapsed, and rusty tools lie scattered around the entrance, yet steam and smoke billow out from the broken chimneys, rising above the faint sound of hammers on anvils that echo within the broken walls.

Liar, Lyre

Liar, Lyre is a standalone encounter designed for five 18th to 20th-level adventurers. An otherwise boring town has suddenly been invaded by a clan of hill giants, controlled by an eccentric bard looking to create a battle worthy of his talents. The PCs are forced into playing the part of the heroes, and will need to kill the giants and put an end to the bard’s creative process.

Heroes are found or lost within the pages of history. To transcend mortality, a hero’s feats must be brought to life in an engaging and timeless epic capable of captivating an audience. Behind each of these stories is a bard, wielding words and language in an intoxicating manner to hypnotize, inspire, and dazzle any listeners. Victories and defeats are recorded with the utmost attention to every detail—a momentary glint of sun on a falling sword, the last breath of a life coming to a quick end, or the changing color of the sky as the sun rises on a bloodstained morning—nothing is neglected. In a world where lives are short and names easily forgotten, a well-told tale can mean the difference between rising to legend and falling into obscurity—every story needs a narrator.

Eager to oblige, bards spend many of their days traveling the world, looking for a tale worth telling, for when a marvelous story is remembered, so is the storyteller—fame is one epic poem away. In search of this, they enter perilous caves and dungeons, exploring the unseen evils of worlds below; they accompany armies into battle, chronicling each flank, attack, and blow; each brush with death is a story waiting to be told—a song waiting to be sung. Sometimes, however, there is little worth singing about, and bards must turn to their own devices and embellish a mundane altercation: a skirmish becomes a battle, hundreds become thousands, and an unlikely victory becomes an impossible conquest.

One such narrator in need is Coro, an eccentric bard in search of a story worthy of fame and fortune. Unfortunately, Coro has seen little during his travels that would merit a song and, unsatisfied with the lack of action and heroism, has decided to take matters into his own hands. Using his lyre to enchant a nearby clan of hill giants, the bard leads them from town to town, enticing them to pillage, crush, and destroy everything in sight, hopefully provoking a passing band of heroes into a battle worth remembering.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

From Dawn Till Dusk

When it comes to vampires, you’re usually trying to last the night and wait for dawn. Not this time!

From Dawn Till Dusk is a standalone encounter designed for five 17th to 19th-level adventurers. A vampire named Brilus has taken up residence in an old manor, terrorizing a small village nearby. The players will enter the house with a limited amount of time to find the vampire’s coffin and weaken it before dark, when Brilus awakes to attack.

The village of Solisuan began as a shortcut over the marshy wetlands, and little has changed in the years since. Many of its buildings rest upon wooden terraces and raised platforms that once formed a long and crooked bridge across the swampy terrain. Some live on the swamp itself, in shacks and houses built on the occasional patches of dry and stable land. Together, the many scattered households and shops make up a small and close-knit community; last names are an uncommon and unnecessary formality. The villagers toil through the hot and humid days, skinning and tanning animal hides to make leather for trade, waiting until the cool dark of nightfall, when the village comes alive with music, games, and drinks. Dancing and laughing under the subtle blue glow of the swamp’s luminescent plants, Solisuan has always had a vibrant night life.

Lately, however, nights in Solisuan have been a little more lively—and deadly—than normal. Taking up residence in an old, dilapidated manor outside of the village, a powerful vampire lord name Brilus has come to the marsh in search of a reliable food supply. So far away from civilization and hosting a reliable amount of traffic from travelers and merchants, Solisuan has proved to be an ideal hunting ground for Brilus. With an ever-changing population of people passing through town by the bridge, and an unchecked population of giant swamp monsters, it’s almost impossible to tell if someone has gone missing—and if so, how or where they disappeared. Taking advantage of the situation, Brilus sets upon the village and bridge each night, choosing a victim from the groups of drunken, dancing wanderers.

Although Brilus normally attacks visitors passing through the village, he has, on occasion, taken residents of Solisuan. In such a small community, these abductions were noticed immediately, and it wasn’t long before Brilus was discovered and his house attacked—to no success. Enraged by this effrontery, Brilus has begun targeting the villagers, vowing to turn each and every one into a mindless servant. Under the cover of daylight, the villagers stormed the manor again and again in hopes of finding a weakened Brilus, but the coffin is never found, and each attempt provokes another onslaught of brutal attacks from the vampire.

Now, resigned to their fate, the villagers ward off travelers and spend the nights hiding indoors, huddled together while they wait for the first rays of sunlight to breach the horizon each dawn—giving them precious few hours to fight back before night darkness falls once again.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)