SPIDERS & ANGELS
A Stormbringer 1e adventure.
Here is the first installment in my Stormbringer 1e scenario, ‘Spiders & Angels.’ Why Stormbringer 1e? It is the grand dame of fantasy rpgs, and allows you to tromp around Michael Moorcock’s multiverse. It’s beautifully broken and eminently playable.
So yeah, why not?
Don’t expect tons of stats or explanations. Read the adventure, get your mental bearings and fill in details as needed. A Random NPC Generator is provided at the end for Gamemasters lacking inspiration or wanting to leave things to chance.
PART THE FIRST – THE FALLEN CITY
It starts with a rumour that comes to the Adventurers, of a fantastic city fallen to the earth 1d6+1 days’ travel from where they are. Gamemasters can have an old contact slip them the information for a share of the spoils, or a diviner tell them, or a deity contact them, or whatever is convenient and discrete. If play starts with this adventure, use the following table to decide starting locale and the rumoured location of the city, and have players prepare as they can for the journey to come.
1 Start in Karlaak, fallen city is in the Weeping Waste. Wooden armor, bows and horses are half price, metal weapons are triple.
2 Start in Isle of Purple Towns, city is near the Unholy Fortress. Adventurers will need to hire a boat and crew. If they fail a Bargain roll or are just loudmouths, word gets out and all costs triple in addition to having rival crews to deal with.
3 Start in Lormyr, city in the hinterlands of Yu. Any characters publically professing allegiance to Chaos must make a Luck roll (POW x 5%) or draw the attention of Inquisitors of Law.
4 Start in Pikarayd, city is in the hinterlands of Dorel. Any characters publically professing allegiance to Law must make a Luck roll (POW x 5%) or draw the attention of Inquisitors of Chaos.
5 Start in Aflitain, city is in the Marshes of Mist. Mounts cost double and no one will rent horses as few return from the Marshes.
6 Start in Immryr, city is on one of the lesser abandoned isles of Melnibone. Non-Melnibonean characters will have their hands full escaping the Dreaming City, much less arming and equipping themselves, while any found outside without imperial permission will be executed.
PART THE SECOND – THE FAKEOUT
Once the Adventurers have started out on their journey towards the fallen city, the Gamemaster should throw a completely random and distracting encounter at them. The point is to provide a red herring that heightens anticipation for the fallen city.
1 Bandits! A number of bandits equal to the Adventurers plus 1d4 more block their path demanding coin. Adventurers may pay a suitably hefty amount or decide to fight as they see fit. The bandits are poor locals looking to prey on soft travelers and will flee if any are killed or incapacitated.
2 Clakars! A traveling family of 1d4+1 Clakars spies the Adventurers from afar and decides to hunt them. They will start by flying over and dropping rocks on the Characters. If the Adventurers can slay one Clakar or if the creatures can slay one Adventurer and make off with his corpse the encounter ends and they fly off.
3 A caravan! 2d6+2 wagons with 3d6+3 caravaneers wind through the wilderness. Though wary at first, they will offer hospitality in the form of tea, a meal, directions, and shelter for the night. If the Adventurers offer violence the caravaneers will attempt to defend themselves, but are simply mortal merchants and can all be slain if the Adventurers are up to the task. If the caravan is massacred by the Adventurers, the Gamemaster should go to pains to convey the bloodthirstiness and brutality of their actions. The cargo is dried foods, nails and metal weapons. A lockbox contains a sufficient amount of operating money.
4 A lone Hero! He or she is on a quest and will not stop to talk. Any attempts to parley are rebuffed, any violence is met with merciless force. The Hero has 99% in weapon of choice, and can summer one type of supernatural aid chosen by the Gamemaster. The Hero will destroy Adventurers if he or she can or flee with supernatural aid if threatened.
5 A beast! A giant animal is sighted in the vicinity. Roll 1d6 – 1 crocodile, 2 mastodon or elephant, 3 cat, 4 bull, 5 lizard 6 buck. If left unmolested, it will wander off. If the Adventurers attack it, the beast will do its best to destroy them.
6 A strange wanderer! Roll 3d6. He or she is from 1 Hawkmoon’s realm, 2 Corum’s, 3 our world, present day, 4 our world, historical period chosen by the Gamemaster, 5 a fictional realm chosen from the Gamemaster’s own readings, 6 a completely alien world. The wanderer is totally helpless but needs to get home or at least to civilization. If the Adventurers help out, either give them a reward or have the wanderer return and save them at some future point.
PART THE THIRD – THE CASTLE OF THE UGLY SISTERS
After days of travel and the encounter above, the Adventurers arrive near the fallen city. From afar they think it a natural formation or mesa, but as they draw close any character making a Known World roll, or else from Oin, Yu, the Sighing Desert or the Weeping Waste will recognize it as very alike a giant insect hill. It is a 30 meter high monolith with signs of having dropped from the sky and impacted the ground. Adventurers have two choices of ingress – either scale the craggy walls to the entrance holes they can see up their, or crawl into one of the radiating cracks in the ground from where the city landed.
At this point, Gamemasters should throw a rockslide at the players, unless they are already injured from a preceding encounter. Have them make Dodge rolls or take 1d4 damage, which is halved if they are wearing armor. Hopefully at least one Adventurer will take minor damage, which can be used to advance the story as described later. If players arrive inside unscathed, feel free to throw a wild animal, insect, or hostile force of looters at them to ensure they get clipped. The point is to inflict minor damage, not cripple or kill Adventurers.
Whichever they choose, after some effort the Adventurers find themselves in a giant shaft leading from the dark chamber at the bottom of the city to the sky above, with entrance holes leading off to darkness at irregular intervals. Have all make a Perception/Search roll. Suddenly, the successful roller sees a grey nun-habit and robed figure disappear into the nearest hole, strangely enough by apparently walking on the wall. If no one succeeds, tell players they hear a fall of rocks from the same area.
If Adventurers follow the figure or noise, they proceed through a dark winding organic tunnel until they see a pulsing light at the end of it. If they manage to Sneak closer to the light source, they see a half dozen of the robed, nun-habited figures standing in a chamber whose walls are made of glowing crystals and fluorescing latticeworks.
If Adventurers enter the chamber, they will see that the ‘nuns’ are hideous, spider faced humanoids with bulbous lower bodies. They radiate a feeling of complete alienness, as does the room and all the weird furnishings in it.
If Adventurers attack, the nuns flee by walking up the walls and disappearing in holes near the ceiling, then attempt to communicate telepathically as described below. They have Dodge skills of 75% and 15 Hit Points with one point of armor each, DEX 18, and can be slain easily if the Adventurers can hit them. If Adventurers enter peacefully, one of the nuns draws a slim rod and shoots a green ray at them, which hits one wounded character automatically. (NOTE: Secretly inform the hit player that his character is completely healed, but that he cannot tell other players until his character’s turn comes around. Hopefully this will sow a little chaos and lead players to think before they act in future).
If any nuns survive, they begin to talk telepathically to the Adventurers as follows:
“We are the Si-Anan, knowledge seekers through time and space. We come in peace and the spirit of inquiry, and wish you no harm. Our city was attacked by our enemies, the dread Winged Death, and our flight generator destroyed. If you would help us gather the materials to repair the city and move on before the Winged Death arrive, we would be in your debt and reward you.
What say you?”
Let the characters debate their course of action. If they decide to exterminate the Si-Anan, they will spend a fortnight wandering aimlessly through the city while the nuns scuttle away, then the Winged Death will arrive and slay all who remain. If they off to help, the Si-Anan will meet them and discuss plans. The Si-Anan can read minds, and any attempt to lure them with false promises of help will go unanswered.
END OF EPISODE ONE
BONUS – RANDOM NPC GENERATOR
Use these tables to make a character on the fly. Simply roll 7d6.
First Dice – 1-3 is a male, 4-6 is female
Second Dice – 1 or 6 is Lawful, 2 or 5 is Neutral, 3 or 4 is Chaotic
Third Dice – Favorite weapon is 1 Sword 2 Axe 3 Club 4 Bow 5 Polearm 6 Daggers
Total of Next Three Dice – Gives weapon skill as follows:
3 Unskilled 10%, 4-5 Beginner 25%, 6-8 35%, 9-12 50%, 13-15 65%, 16-17 Veteran 75%, 18 Master 90%
Seventh Dice – 1 Unarmored, 2-3 Leather, 4-5 Half-plate or barbarian, 6 Plate