This is the second part of this solo dungeon crawl in which a party explores the labyrinth of Vorin the lich which lies beneath the city of Bromlen. I used the following tools:
- Sophia Brandt’s Miso game, a minimalist solo RPG available for free on her blog.
- The Dungeon Generator Version 4.1 available for free on the Tabletop Diversions blog (used to generate the physical dungeon during play).
- Rory’s Story Cubes (the basic set and the Voyages set).
- The D30 version of DungeonWords from Risus Monkey.
The Ghost and Troll inn
The elven woman Eshenra Fenlen returns to The Ghost and Troll where she pays for a fine room. She also buys a long sword. She finds three adventurers to accompany her on a second excursion into the labyrinth. They are:
- Blanzim, a gnome illusionist. In combat he can cast a spell to create a cone of clashing, whirling colours to stun an opponent, or can create duplicate images of himself as decoys. He can see in the dark and will map the labyrinth. He wields a dagger.
- Ivrith Yedlor, a warrior woman who wears a chain hauberk and wields a battle axe (a one-handed or two-handed weapon). She will carry a torch in her free hand.
- Odrigrun Greyhall, a dwarven cleric of Otrena, the goddess of night. He wears banded armour and wields a magical war hammer (a one-handed or two-handed weapon) that is very effective against undead creatures. He can turn undead creatures and cure wounds and disease. He can also see in the dark.
As evening is falling Eshenra returns to the house of the merchant Calnefus Oldstone with her three companions. They go through the door in the cellar and down the stairs to the labyrinth. They enter the library (1) and go through the door in the east wall.
Story Cubes: Giant, turtle
4: Statue of a warrior
The adventurers enter a corridor which leads to a T-intersection with corridors leading to the left and right. In an alcove at the junction stands a stone statue 10 feet tall, a warrior in plate armour wearing a skull-like helmet and bearing a two-handed sword.
Option A: The statue is harmless (d10).
Option B: The statue comes to life and attacks (d8).
On the base of the statue there are lines in an ancient magical script. Reading the script Blanzim explains that the statue is that of Gorord Dreadhelm, an ancient champion of the necromancers. The statue is just an ordinary statue. The adventurers take the left-hand corridor which leads to a door.
Story Cubes: Beams of light, turtle
5: Portal to Ogzura the Aspidochelone
Going through the door the adventurers enter a square chamber with doors in the north and east walls. In the southeast corner is a floating sphere of glowing blue and turquoise light which turns slowly, emitting beams of brilliant blue light. On the west wall is a painting on black velvet, depicting a vast turtle swimming in an ocean under a darkening sky. The turtle’s shell forms an island of trees, hills and rocks. At the bottom of the painting are written the words “Ogzura the Aspidochelone. Step through the portal.”
The adventurers have heard legends of Ogzura the Aspidochelone who travels across distant oceans. There are said to be powerful artifacts hidden on her shell. Perhaps they will find something with which they can fight Vorin. They decide to step through the portal.
On Ogzura’s shell
Stepping into the sphere they hear a roaring sound as if made by a great wind or waves. A pulsating expanse of blue and turquoise light surrounds them. Then they find themselves standing on Ogzura’s shell in the middle of a distant ocean under a tropical sun. The turtle is swimming slowly and they marvel at the sight of one of her colossal flippers moving through the water. Behind them the portal floats in the air. Further up the shell they can see trees and hills as depicted in the painting.
Story Cubes: Axe, tent, octopus
A ship-wrecked sailor
With her keen eyes Eshenra sights what appears to be a piece of canvas in the trees, and they set off to investigate. The canvas turns out to be the hammock of a man in rags with a black beard and a weathered face, evidently a ship-wrecked sailor. Beneath his hammock is an axe. The man wakes and speaks to them in the Common tongue, confirming that he is indeed the survivor of a ship wreck. He is dying from his injuries and lack of food. The adventurers are about to offer him some of their wine and rations when they see a huge tentacle come through the trees and grasp the man. They see that a giant octopus has emerged from the ocean onto Ogzura’s shell.
Eshenra is closest to the tentacle and grabs the axe beneath the hammock. She tries to cut through the tentacle to save the man.
Option A: She manages to cut through the tentacle and save the man (d10).
Option B: She doesn’t and the man is lost (d12).
Eshenra swipes at the tentacle but only succeeds in making a shallow wound before it rises into the air, taking the man with it. The giant octopus returns to the ocean with its prey as the adventurers retreat into the jungle.
I decide to roll seven cubes and get the following results that I can work with: an alien face, a parachutist, a moon, a palace, and a worried face.
The palace of the Idsorm
Making their way through the cluster of hills at the top of the shell, the adventurers come to a clearing in the jungle where they see a remarkable building, a palace of slender towers made from some blue substance like glass or crystal. Strange men and women emerge from a doorway. They are all at least seven feet tall and have turquoise-coloured skin, long black hair and elongated faces. Both the men and women wear loincloths of dark blue cloth. One of them, a woman, steps forward and communicates with the adventurers without speaking; they hear her words telepathically.
Her name is Kaela and she is the queen of this people who are called the Idsorm. They live peacefully on Ogzura’s shell and can breathe underwater, so they can still live when Ogzura dives. However, they are threatened by a terrible flying demon who swoops down to the palace at night to kill and eat them. This monster cannot be harmed by their spears or arrows. Kaela implores the adventurers to help the Idsorm. She says that she knows of their quest to free their city from the lich Vorin. If they destroy the demon then she will order her best warrior, Lenro, to accompany them back into the labyrinth.
Odrigrun says that he possesses a magical war hammer which may be effective against the demon. The other adventurers agree that Odrigrun should try to destroy it. They go with Kaela into the palace and she leads them to banqueting hall where they sit down to dinner with the Idsorm. Their food and wine tastes peculiar but is not unpleasant.
Night soon falls and they hear a terrible screech outside which informs them of the demon’s arrival. They hear it break through a wall of the palace and enter the antechamber to the banqueting hall. Odrigrun gets up and, grasping his war hammer, leaves the hall to confront the demon. Blanzim follows him, saying that he will cast a duplication spell to fool the demon. The other adventurers and the Idsorm follow them into the antechamber. The demon is horrible to look at; it is of a humanoid shape, though 10 feet tall, and has a single red eye, a skull-like face, huge leathery wings, and great talons.
Blanzim casts his duplication spell and he and his double runs towards the demon, darting this way and that to confuse it. He hopes to get the demon to attack his duplicate so that Odrigrun can get a free strike at it with his war hammer.
Option A: The demon is fooled by the duplicate and attacks it (d12).
Option B: The demon isn’t fooled by the duplicate and attacks Blanzim himself (d8).
The demon is fooled and attacks Blanzim’s double, which vanishes in its claws. It shrieks with fury as Odrigrun, chanting a song in praise of Otrena the goddess of night, rushes towards it with his war hammer raised.
Option A: Odrigrun destroys the demon (d20).
Option B: Odrigrun wounds the demon (d12).
Option C: The demon wounds Odrigrun (d10).
Odrigrun brings his war hammer down on the demon’s head, but only succeeds in wounding it; it falls to the ground but he growls in frustration when it gets up again a moment later. He steps away from the demon but it lashes at him with a claw.
Option A: The demon fails to wound Odrigrun (d20).
Option B: The demon wounds him (d10).
He manages to evade the demons claw and attacks it again with renewed vigour.
Option A: Odrigrun destroys the demon (d30).
Option B: Odrigrun wounds the demon (d10).
He brings his war hammer down on the demon’s head and destroys the fiend. It shrieks and dissolves into a cloud of grey smoke which quickly dissipates.
Back to the labyrinth
True to her word, Kaela says that the Idsorm warrior Lenro will accompany the adventurers back to the labyrinth on their quest to destroy Vorin. Lenro steps forward and they see that he is armed with a spear and a shield made from some strange silvery metal. The adventurers have no wish to be caught on Ogzura’s shell when she dives so they thank Kaela and leave the palace. They return to the portal. A night sky full of stars and a full moon illuminates the strange world of the Aspidochelone, who appears to be at rest and drifting slowly in the flat ocean.
Stepping through the portal they find themselves in the chamber in the labyrinth again, facing the painting of Ogzura. Blanzim remarks that were it not for the presence of Lenro among them their recent experience would seem to have been a remarkable illusion or a vivid dream. After resting for a while they leave the chamber by the door in the north wall.
Story Cubes: Shield, rain cloud
6: Cloud chamber
They enter a rectangular chamber. The ceiling is very high and obscured by a dark cloud that looks like an ordinary rain cloud on a miniature scale. There are no other exits to the chamber. Leaning against the opposite wall is a metal shield that gleams magically.
The adventurers discuss what to do. The chamber may well be a magical trap of some kind, but the shield is obviously also magical. Ivrith says that she does not want it, as she must use her free hand to carry a torch for herself and Lenro to see by. But she suggests that Odrigrun should have the shield, since he is the most likely adventurer to be able to destroy Vorin, and the others agree. Since Eshenra is the fastest among them it is agreed that she should make a run for the shield.
As she is running towards the shield it starts to rain heavily and thunder can be heard within the cloud.
Option A: Eshenra gets to the shield without being struck by a lightning bolt (d20).
Option B: She is struck by a lightning bolt before she can get to the shield (d12).
A lightning bolt comes down from the cloud and strikes Eshenra.
Option A: Eshenra is stunned (d20).
Option B: Eshenra is killed (d8).
Eshenra is stunned and lies on the floor unconscious. Odgrigrun goes to her and carries her back into the previous chamber featuring the portal to Ogzura. The others follow him and attend to her. Odrigrun fetches the shield before returning to the others. Eshenra revives and the adventurers leave the chamber by the door in the east wall.
Story Cubes: Monster, angry person, mountains
7: Ghoul lair
The party enter a square chamber. The walls are painted with faded frescoes depicting an unknown and sinister-looking mountain range under a black sky filled with grey clouds in the form of demonic faces. The bleak mountains are dotted with ruins, dark towers and gatherings of hideous figures such as undead and demons. There are doors in the north, east and south walls. The floor of the chamber is strewn with human bones.
In the middle of the room a human woman wearing scale mail and carrying a lantern is confronting a ghoul. She is a cleric of Otrena and attempts to turn the ghoul, but does not succeed. The ghoul claws and bites her, leaving her paralysed. Odgrigrun attempts to turn the ghoul.
Option A: Odrigrun succeeds in turning the ghoul (d12).
Option B: Odrigrun fails to turn the ghoul (d10).
Odrigrun succeeds in turning the ghoul, which flees through the door in the south wall. He turns his attention to the paralysed cleric and uses his own clerical powers to heal her. The woman is named Uda Smallstream. She came to Bromlen hoping to destroy Vorin, and she is glad to join the party in their quest. She wields a mace.
The adventurers search the ghoul’s lair for anything of value.
Story Cubes: Pendant
Amidst the bones they find about a hundred coins (mostly copper and silver and a few gold pieces), and Ivrith finds a silver necklace with a pendate of black agate banded with white. The adventurers leave the chamber by the door in the north wall.
Story Cubes: Goblet
Beyond the door is a four-way intersection. On the left a corridor ends at a fountain in the shape of a dragon’s head, with a silver goblet next to it. Odrigrun fills the goblet and tries the water cautiously; it is cold and refreshing! Each adventurer has a drink at the fountain. The party take the corridor leading north which ends at a wooden door.
Story Cubes: Skull and crossbones, fish, hand, tree
Although the skull and crossbones cube has been rolled, I decide that the adventurers won’t encounter Vorin in his physical form yet.
9: Chamber of the ghoul trees
Going through the door the adventurers enter a large, dark chamber. Growing out of the floor are strange, gnarled trees of grey wood with dark grey leaves. They can see at least six by the light of Ivrith’s torch and Uda’s lantern. To their horror they see that the trees bear vile ‘fruit’ in the shape of pale human hands which hang limply. There are bones and scraps of armour scattered beneath the trees. Beyond the trees they can make out pools of stagnant black water.
A cloud of swirling black mist forms before the adventurers. Within the cloud appears the monstrous image of Vorin’s face; withered yellow flesh scarcely conceals the skull beneath and pinpoints of red light shine deep within the eye sockets. Vorin speaks to them:
“Foolish trespassers in my labyrinth. Turn back now for you will not get past the ghoul trees!”
Vorin’s visage fades and the mist dissipates. The adventurers can see no other exits to the chamber. They decide to cross the chamber in single file along the south wall, with Ivrith leading the way. Her right hand which holds her battle axe is furthest from the trees. As they pass the ghoul trees the branches come to life, stretching out almost to the wall. The hands clutch at the air around the adventurers, forcing them up against the wall.
I decide that Blanzim and Eshenra are small and/or dextrous enough the avoid the hands. I roll a d4 to see which of the other adventurers are seized before the party makes it to the east wall.
As she approaches the east wall Ivrith is seized by her left arm by one of the hands. The grasp is very strong and she is unbalanced as the hand pulls her towards the tree and the other hands. She swings her battle axe at the branch.
Option A: She cuts off the branch (d10).
Option B: She misses the branch (d8).
Option C: She misses the branch and her right arm is seized by the tree (d6).
She misses the branch but manages to avoid a hand at the end of another branch which tries to seize her right arm. She is pulled closer to the tree and tries to strike the branch again.
Option A: She cuts off the branch (d8).
Option B: She misses the branch (d8).
Option C: She misses the branch and her right arm is seized by the tree (d8).
She misses the branch again and this time her right arm is seized. The tree starts to pull her arms in both directions. She can barely hold on to her battle axe. Dropping his shield, Odrigrun rushes to her aid and tries to break the branch holding her right arm with his magical war hammer which he wields with both hands.
Option A: He breaks the branch (d10).
Option B: He misses the branch (d8).
Option C: He misses the branch and is seized by the tree himself (d6).
Odrigrun misses the branch and retreats to the wall as another han tries to seize him. Eshenra draws her sword and tries to cut off the hand that holds Ivrith’s right arm.
Option A: She cuts off the hand (d12).
Option B: She misses the hand (d8).
Option C: She misses the hand and is seized by the tree herself (d6).
Eshenra misses the hand but darts back to the wall before the tree can sieze her. Odrigrun tries to break the branch again.
Option A: He breaks the branch (d10).
Option B: He misses the branch (d8).
Option C: He misses the branch and is seized by the tree himself (d6).
Odrigrun misses the branch and a hand from the tree grasps his left arm. He chants a song in praise of Otrena the goddess of night, in the hope that she will save him from this vile monster.
Option A: The hand lets go (d20).
Option B: The hand doesn’t let go (d6).
The hand lets go and he scrambles back to the wall clutching his war hammer. By this time the tree has hold of Ivrith by her legs as well as her arms. The adventurers hear her scream just before the tree pulls her apart.
The surviving members of the party reach the east wall which they follow until one of the pools blocks their way. The water reaches almost to the wall, leaving only a narrow, slippery path in between. In the water they see that some monstrous aquatic creature has swum up from the depths; it looks like a huge white eel but is blind. The creature’s mouth snaps in the water as if it can sense their presence.
Blanzim, Eshenra and Lenro easily make their way along the path between the pool and wall. Odrigrun hangs his shield on his back, tucks his war hammer into his belt, and he and Uda make their way slowly down the path, clutching at every available handhold in the wall.
Option A: Odrigrun and Uda make it across safely (d12).
Option B: Odrigrun falls into the pool (d10).
Option C: Uda falls into the pool (d10).
Option D: Both adventurers fall into the pool (d8).
Odrigrun slips and falls into the pool, and sinks like a stone in his heavy banded armour. The monster attacks him and Lenro tries to kill it with his spear.
Option A: Lenro’s spear hits the monster and kills it (d12).
Option B: His spear only wounds the monster (d10).
Option C: His spear misses the monster (d8).
Lenro’s spear pierces the monster’s head and kills it. He dives into the water to rescue Odrigrun.
Option A: He succeeds in rescuing Odrigrun (d12).
Option B: Odrigrun drowns (d6).
Lenro returns to the surface bearing Odrigrun. He succeeds in resuscitating the dwarf. Diving back into the pool, he retrieves his spear.
Another ghoul tree
After Odrigrun has recovered the adventurers make their way along the east wall and see a door in the wall ahead. But blocking their path to the door is a ghoul tree whose pallid hands flex in anticipation.
Remembering that the hand of the other ghoul tree let go when he called on Otrena, Odrigrun steps forward and chants a song to his goddess, singing with all his might.
Option A: The ghoul tree shrinks away from the adventurers (d20).
Option B: The ghoul tree is undeterred by the song (d6).
The ghoul tree withdraws its branches. The adventurers leave this chamber of evil.
Story Cubes: Cauldron, ladder
10: Stairs to trapdoor
Beyond the door a corridor leads to a flight of stone steps leading up to a landing. Ascending the steps the adventurers come a dead end. A wooden ladder leans against the north wall, and above it in the ceiling there is a trap door.
Eshenra goes up the ladder first and tries the trap door. It is unlocked, and she opens it cautiously. Going up into the chamber beyond, she finds herself in the cellar of a house. Barrels, chests, crates and sacks line the walls. The cellar appears to function as a laboratory as well; a stone table piled with all manner of beakers, vials and other glass utensils stands in the centre and a cauldron simmers over a fireplace set in the north wall.
Eshenra makes her way quietly around the cellar. At the top of a flight of steps a door opens and an elderly man steps through. Eshenra hides in the shadows. The man has a long white beard and is dressed in robes of blue and grey. He descends the steps and examines the contents of his cauldron, muttering quietly to himself.
After a few moments the wizard speaks to Eshenra, introducing himself as Drozor Brightstone. He tells her to come out of hiding, saying that he means her no harm. He is an enemy of Vorin and he knows of her and her companions. Eshenra talks to the wizard and finds that he has been following their quest by means of magic. She summons her companions up from the landing and they go up to Drozor’s dining room where they enjoy food and much needed rest.
Drozor tells the adventurers that Vorin stole one of his magical scrolls. Although his powers are great he considers himself too old to go and retrieve the scroll by himself, but he will be happy to accompany the adventurers on their quest to destroy Vorin. He has been brewing a potion that makes the drinker and all the items on their person incorporeal for a short time. Their way must take them back through the chamber of the ghoul trees, but if each of them drink the potion then the trees will not be able to grasp hold of them. After dinner the adventurers go to a guestroom where they lay out their bedrolls and get some sleep. The next day they will return to the labyrinth with Drozor.