Tuesday, March 23, 2010

[Labyrinth Lord] The Emperor's New Clothes: an Ashford Valley Adventure

I published this short adventure last month for my Switching to Guns 'zine. Let me know what you think.

The Emperor's New Clothes: A Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Labyrinth Lord adventure set in the Ashford Valley.

Get Ready:
The PCs fall in with a wanderer named Yingo and walk the same path for a bit. After leaving them at a wayside shrine, Yingo discovers an old jacket made of wolf fur (actually a were-wolf pelt) and puts it on, turning into a weak version of a were-wolf. Over the course of several nights, the PCs are hunted by Yingo!

Get Set:
The PCs are wandering from one adventure to the next and are a fair distance from the nearest town. Along the way, they meet a fellow wanderer name Yingo. He's an odd fellow, dirt poor but always looking for money or goods to trade for food and drink. He'll work if he has to but prefers to "live by his wits" as he's fond of saying. The PCs can't tell how old he is, he could be between 30 and 50, but he's got a lot of knowledge of the region they are in, as well as lots of history and heraldry and jack-of-all-trades knowledge, and so could provide the PCs will a lot of new adventure leads. Best of all, Yingo likes to tell the PCs "I'm named after a famous ancestor of mine, Yingo the First, an Emperor, you know." Unfortunately, he can't rightly explain what empire that Yingo the First ruled, it changes with each telling.

Yingo stays with the PCs for a day or two, showing off a brass arm brace he found a few days ago in a field. If pressed, he'll admit it was a grave but "they's been dead a long, long time so it's all right, they won't be missin' it." He helps out his new friends by finding good spots to camp, near streams teaming with fish, shrubs with berries and moss patches with edible and safe toadstools. After a couple of days with the PCs, he wanders off a trail, saying goodbye without a look back, waving his hand over his shoulder at them.

About an hour later, Yingo is in an old, abandoned wayside shrine where he finds an old wolf fur jacket. He puts it on and becomes a were-wolf, not a real one, though. This one is vulnerable to normal weapons. And he goes after the PCs for lunch! Along the way, he runs into a small wolf pack that is starving. A quick show of teeth and soon Yingo had a bunch of lackey wolves.

Over the next couple of hours, the PCs are convinced that something is stalking them. A lone PC will be attacked and bitten (or killed, if possible) by one of the normal wolves. As night falls, the were-wolf makes an attack. During this combat, Yingo will bite a PC until he takes 1 hit point damage then he'll run away, disappearing into the forest. One of the PCs in the fight will notice the wolf has a brass arm brace on the same arm (leg) that Yingo had it on. The rest of the night, the PCs are attacked as necessary by Yingo and the other wolves.

The PCs may believe that they are being attacked by were-wolves and this may lead to some very humorous acts to prevent "infection." If one of the PCs ends up dead and not guarded, the wolves will sneakily drag him away, which could lead to further belief that he wasn't dead but had turned into a were-wolf! If the PCs lack wolvesband and look for it in the forest, an elf or wizard find some on a 1-2 on 1d6 and all other races and classes find it on a 1 on 1d6. Dodging the wolves while doing so should be a chore. Unfortunately, wolvesbane doesn't effect Yingo like a normal were-wolf (see below).

After a nearly sleepless night, if the PCs return to where they left Yingo the next day, they easily find the wayside shrine and Yingo's pack, plus a piece of the were-wolf pelt jacket. They might put it all together and realize that Yingo is under a curse! Can they arrange a trap to capture Yingo and free him from the were-wolf pelt jacket?

Notable NPCs:
Yingo the Wanderer; No. Encountered: 1; Alignment: Neutral; Armor Class: 7; Hit Dice: 1d8, Hit Points: 3; Attacks: dagger (1d4); Save: NM1; morale: 6.

Yingo wearing the Were-wolf pelt; No. Encountered: 1; Alignment: Chaotic; Armor Class: 5; Hit Dice: 4d8; Hit Points: 19 (including Yingo's 3); Attacks: Bite (2d4); Save: F4; morale: 8; Special abilities: none of the usual were-wolf abilities.

Yingo is a friendly wanderer, spending most of his time collecting this or that to trade. He'll run away rather than fight and doesn't have much to his name. He treats anyone he "bonds" with (like the PCs) as a brother and doesn't steal from them. He hears many tales and is a good source of information, some of it is true.

As a were-wolf, Yingo is more bold than usual, willing to fight to get tasty food like the PCs. He has an overwhelming urge to kill and eat them that can't be sated until they are all dead. If the PCs manage to capture Yingo, they can figure out how to remove the jacket fairly easily. But doing so will require them to get within biting distance. Since Yingo isn't a regular were-wolf, he's not immune to normal weapons, nor can he transmit Lycanthropy through bites. As a side effect, wolvesbane does not affect him, so any attempt to use it fails!

If the PCs hit Yingo enough to drop him to his normal Hit Points (3), then he's knocked unconscious and the jacket can be removed without harm to him (that means the jacket has 16 Hit Points until it is "dead."). If they do 19 or more points of damage, Yingo is dead.

If the PCs manage to save Yingo, he'll be very grateful. The jacket is destroyed while removing it but it may be worth something to an achemist. If the PCs fail to free Yingo, he'll wander the forest around the wayside shrine, killing and hunting until he is destroyed or freed from the curse. The Necromancer may bind him to his service at some later date, allowing the PCs to finish Yingo either way.

Weak wolf pack; No. Encountered: 1d3+2; Alignment: Neutral; Armor Class: 7; Hit Dice: 2d8+2; Hit Points: 9, 9, 8, 7, 7; Attacks: Bite (1d6); Save: F1; morale: 8 or 6 (for 3 or fewer wolves, including Yingo).

This wolf pack is very weak and hungry. They chanced upon Yingo and he easily dominated them. They work for him, at least for now. They prefer hit-and-run tactics and going after the weak (or small) members of the party. They'll run away rather than fight to the death.

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