In short, this homebrew was intended for beginner GM's. The story contains a variety of elements in sequence that gradually go through different terrains, battle situations, and other challenges to allow a DM to become familiar with the rules.
As the rest of the team discusses and meet a new member, Edelle attempts to grapple the steer and bring it down into submission. She dives at the beast, but her strength is not enough to bring the animal down. Finally, after moments of struggling, she must let the creature go, knowing that it is too late. She holds her head high despite the loss, happy to have been able to show her skills. She reunites with the rest of the group as they discuss the events with the child, Troy, and get to know Guthar.
Male Half Elf Fighter 1/Sorceror 4/Dragon Disciple 2
Watching Sly ride a doped up animal again, a change comes across Alric's face. "You know, Ive had it with these guys. We need to show that they can't push people around, us specifically. Im changing my mind, lets take 'em down hard.
Male Half Elf Fighter 1/Sorceror 4/Dragon Disciple 2
We hit them on our way out. Either get the kid or a hostage to exchange. No holds barred, no announcing ourselves, and try to separate one of them if possible. Which it should be, during the ceremony. Guther, you joining in? I know you have no personal stake.
Casvian bows out at this point, his motivations are hard to tell, but he leaves without a word, perhaps lost to the wind.
The second activity of the night is the young run. The young folk of the area are allowed into the arena to chase a number of baby animals with tags tied loosely onto them. As the chase ensues, a handful of the children get a hold of the tags and win a few nice prizes, including a magic bobble that talks back to you in a silly voice.
As the young run continues on, the crowd seems the most interested in the arena and relaxed at the same time. There is something about children playing that calms the spirit, Roughrider observes, half to himself.
The final event is an amazing show to watch. Buttercup is brought into the arena in all of her glory. She is an intimidating beast to be sure. One at a time, each of the remaining contestants (of whom there are now three) is brought into the arena. The objective is to dominate Buttercup in whatever way will be most appealing to the judges. Points are given for talent, creativity, speed, and difficulty.
Roughrider is up first. He is in full battle armour and wields a ranseur. He dodges Buttercups strikes a few times upon entering the arena, and then sets about distracting her by throwing rocks. Finally, when her guard is down, Roughrider jumps on the Wyvern's back and spurs her. The beast bellows before taking off into the air under his direction. He brings Buttercup around the arena and sets down next to the judges table before dismounting.
Sly is the next contestant. He seems much less confident than his usual. He wields light armour and a buckler and net. He throws the net right away, but to no avail. Sly then reaches into a belt pouch and pulls out a smokestick. He breaks the stick against his knee and blinds the crowd to his actions. Your group is particularly nervous as they know well that this is a great opportunity for Sly to cheat in some way. When the smoke clears, Sly has Buttercup wrapped in the oversized net by all appearances. She moves incredibly quickly and breaks loose though. It is hard to keep track of her movements. They seems almost to blur.
Buttercup takes a shot at Sly, and nails him in the stomache before he quickly makes his way out of the arena.
The final contestant is a spellcaster who has made his way up through the competition so far using wit and intelligence. He comes in and attempts to mesmerize Buttercup with illusions, but to no avail.
She appears to be more angered by these cheap tricks than anything, and attacks the magician fiercely. Fortunately, the rods of fairplay around the arena prevent him from taking any permanent damage. Nonetheless, Mama D calls off Buttercup before things get too out of hand.
Later that day, after a short interim for the judges to discuss and tally points, the final award ceremony. "Ladies and Gentlemen your attention please! Would the contestants of the final competition please make their way to the arena stage to hear the results? " The three men arrive on stage, each looking hopefully at the judges and nervously around them.
"In third place, Jim Darkmagic of the Newhampshire Darkmagics!" The spellcaster comes up with a sour look on his face, but thanks the judges anyways and takes his consolation prize.
And now the moment we've all been waiting for... Your winner of the 10th annual Wyvern Rodeo is...
The Newhampshire Darkmagics are a once powerful and renowned family of spellcasters based out of Royaleton. The most recent generation has fallen into debt due to their children's various expensive vices.
Teriwyth makes his way through the crowds up to Jim Darkmagic, with eyes full of wonder he takes out his spellbook and says "Mr Darkmagic, my name is Teriwyth. If it's not too much trouble could you sign the cover of my Spellbook?"
Jim, still steaming from his loss, gives you a quick glare, before realizing what you have just requested. He quickly casts arcane mark on the cover of your spellbook. His symbol is a ferret wearing a monocle and tophat.
With the suspense at its peak, and a dramatic pause, the announcer grabs Roughrider's hand and pulls it up into the air. "The Roughrider! Rufus Redhammer! Congratulations! How do you feel? " At this news, Sly's eyes widen and his indignation is almost tangible. He storms off stage without even taking his prizes, heading towards the bunkhouse. The rest of his posse is not too far behind.
Sly goes into the bunkhouse and the rest of the group stands outside guarding the doorway. They see you watching them, and they brandish weapons this time. Clark sends you a message using his spell "Back off, you've already one. " Sly comes out a moment later with a key ring. He then proceeds to a nearby storage shed and unlocks the door. Out from that door falls an unconscoius Troy. Sly carries him over to you cautiously, with his gang at the ready. "Here. Little runt did his job. It's just a little drow poison, he'll wake up in an hour or so. " With that Sly turns to leave.
Your group packs up and heads further east, in the direction indicated by Roughrider's investigation, and in continuation of Kronos' request. You reach barren hillsides. The farm and ranch land falls away and you find yourselfs in the unsettled areas of the Humming Hills.
Below are some k(local, history, geography) results for the area. I'll also need a will save from everyone and any marching/movement specifications you want to mention (using earplugs, order, distance between you, mounts, etc.)
This land is named for the constant ringing noise that seems to constantly surround you from all sides. It has been said that travellers who stay too long find themselves maddened by the noises.
A good profit can be made by freighters willing to make the trip. Often enough, the undead are sent with shipments of cargo, for safety as well as the absence of a need for rest or food. Those brave men who lead these expeditions use earplugs to provide themselves with some relief.
The only other life in the area are the hill giants who find themselves at home in the chaos and insanity of the constant noise. Some suggest that the giants lost their sanity upon arriving, others say that they were always mad and gravitated here. In any case, there are some deaf species of animals that have grown accustomed to this land. The giants feed upon these, as well as any wayward travellers foolish enough to let their guard down.
I guess I would be up front if the group will have me. :)
for everyone to read:
I would put the a secondary combat+scout(good perception) in the rear also with the others in the middle. If we stay close we are ripe for spells like fireball. If we are far apart it takes more time for us to group up if needed. Below is my suggestion
X X X
The top and bottom would be lined up with the X in the middle.
If we come to an area where being that far apart would cause the people in the front and back to lose sight of each other then we tighten the formation up.
PS:I think those ear plugs were a hint from the GM.
Upon our departure I bid farewell to the kind folk who fed and sheltered us, and paying special attention to Mama D and Roughrider. I make sure to ask where their plans are for the rodeo in case we happen to be in the area, wishing them well on their future endeavors.
Knowledge (Any) 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Will Save 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
As they near the area Teriwyth informs everyone "This area is interestingly enough famous as it's name would suggest from the constant hum that seems to permeate the air." Thinking of the best way to phrase it Teriwyth pauses for a moment before proceeding "Here's a fun fact, oftentimes the trade routes that lead through here often use undead as labor, the men in charge of these folks use earplugs to keep out the constant hum that apparently drives people insane. A slightly lesser known fact, it's populated by mad giants that enjoy preying upon travelers. All in all, a very interesting place to be."
A number of folks preparing to leave the rodeo have extra earplugs that they are readily willing to sell for the standard price. You also come across a few men with skeletal and zombified horses. Some are willing to part with these mounts for the right price. With the large attendance at the rodeo, you have a few options.
These horses are taken from a mix of breeds and they were created using various methods for third life. (the common name for the period of undeath)
The base cost to buy a horse raised using animate dead(skeletons and fast zombies) is: 400GP.
An amulet of control (to command the undead ongoing) is: 100GP.
A regular zombie horse (moves half speed) is: 250GP.
Carts wagons etc. are at normal cost and readily available.
Finally, there is a man who offers you a one way passage for a greatly reduced rate. For 50GP, he will direct his skeletal horse to march east until it reaches the town in the marshlands. There, another man will retrieve the skeletal horse. The downside of this method being that without direction, the horse will march without breaks and that any problems encountered along the way may halt the creature altogether.
You may select your mounts from these. Note also: zombie horses are much less in style as skeletons tend not to smell. and the bones are often painted in bright decorations.
At Teriwynth's questions, Mama D clarifies: "Oh the rodeo's not going anywhere. It'll be here same as always next year. " She pauses, looking stoically off into the distance North. "If there is a next year, that is. "
Roughrider tells you that he will be returning to duty in Royaleton after a short investigation into activities recently reported to the west.
You are able to find someone willing to part with his periscope for the standard market price. What's the bow, exactly?
Mama D looks your group over before you go. " You folks have been a good asset to me, and you helped make things run relatively smoothly. I thank you, and this is in payment for your extra help. " She offers you a bag to split containing 150 GP, and 5 dragon coins for next year's rodeo.
As Guthar and Alric politely debate, the vendor pipes up "Look friend, I'll solve this for you. I'm not a hunter or a warrior myself, so though that's a nice bow, I'll take up this gentleman's offer on the gold. Enjoy your cart. Take her easy around the turns. "
Your group is reassembled after taking an aside to compete in some local festivities. You prepare for a dangerous journey across the Humming Hills by making some essential purchases. Once your group has departed and reached an isolated point, Kronos, the Ancient appears before you. His is an image of frailty at this moment. He does not pull himself from the ether, but instead, he approaches you hobbling from the distance, gesturing you closer.
"This land. Something here. It weakens me. You must find this power. Use it. For that which can harm me can surely harm my protégé. I cannot help you directly from here. You must know though that I am working to aid you though you may not always see it. Here. " He stands upright shortly and gestures towards the group after taking some laboured breaths. His voice speaks with a booming resonance, that seems to clash with the ringing of the crystals that protrude from the ground. "GROW!" Each of you is encased in light and you feel your muscles being stimulated. Your minds race and your blood boils. Finally, the effect ceases. You are not entirely sure how, but you feel stronger now. Everyone Level Up! Kronos stumbles back and clutches his staff for support. "That is the last I can do for you before you leave my immediate guard. Good luck. " Kronos then begins to hobble away back into the distance.
Still waiting on will saves from Thervold, Edelle, and Alric.
You load up your cart and hitch up to a fast zombie named Bruno. The smell is already quite potent, but at least it isn't a hot day. As you wave goodbye to your friends, Guthar activates the amulet of control and commands the horse onward.
Shortly along the road, the ringing noise is very strong. Your earplugs help to drown out the worst of the noise, but idle chat is nearly impossible. Already, Teriwynth begins to complain about a headache. He is agitated and can't stop thinking about the ringing.
2 wisdom damage
The first day otherwise passes without incident. You halt for the night and set up camp.