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Zjelwyin Fall Playtest #1


Although the first half of the gaming session was taken up by other campaign matters, the broken hourglass of Shodredh Dachod has finally been entered.

Last night a party of 2nd level AD&D characters struck out across the Astral Plane. They carefully circumvented a spectral host thronging at an unfathomable Astral membrane, fled and escaped from a ravenous demon and then...things got bad.

DM: "Frighteningly thin figures slice the twilit-blue at terrifying speed. Though dark, they glitter with jewels and metal. Black hooks rise from their crowns. Tattered bindings trail their mummified forms. Ornate swords, like ghostly lanterns, light their way."

Party: "Oh crap."

A natural 20 meant the Cleric/Assassin's silver cord had been severed. She faded away over the next ten minutes, a difficult thing to watch as her eyes became more and more panicked.

Thankfully, the silver-sword-bearing anti-paladin and two wizards were slept, quickly slain and looted.

The player whose character had just died took over the backup character and the party of six, now packing astral jewels and weapons, passed on into dream.

They arrived at the Fall and witnessed its passing. Then, by will and desire, they made their entry into the lich's lair.

What they found was mystifying.

The arrival point was in a calm spherical pocket contained by streaming bands of luminous scarlet and dark crimson sand—as if the pocket was being pushed through a sandstorm strafed by sunlight and shadow. At center spun an immense globule of plasma that burnt with magenta, orchid and hellish lime-ice-colored light.

Spaced around the globule were six blocks of black stone that immediately set about trying to crush or push the characters into the plasma.

Floating in the the zero-G environment were some singed bits of former explorers and a few valuables. The party grabbed what they could and managed to escape, landing in a tube-like conduit, 20' wide. This tube was bounded by streaming vapors of violet, periwinkle and indigo. Fast-moving patterns of light passed through these vapors in disorienting, drowsy-making patterns and moving away from the group at high-speed was a crackling pinkish ball of what? Lightning?

Fearing the ball might outpace and catch them in the circular tube, the party dashed after it and exited the tube at their first opportunity.

This put them into another hall, walled by more vapor but partly shod in obsidian. The obsidian portion was cut with deep shelves, stuffed with countless black bottles (some of which were broken on the obsidian floor). Gravity it seemed was in force again. From a resplendent gemstone portal set with strange golden fixtures, strode three mechanized orbs with wings, large singular eyes and spears. These being seemed intent on addressing the group.

And this, sadly was where we left off.

One player claimed this was his favorite location thus far and everyone agreed it had been a very good night. Though the party lost one character just getting to the Fall but I suspect they will do alright going forward as they are not a careless bunch.

Paper pawns were used for the pregen characters. I typically don't use minis to represent player characters until at least level 3 or 4. Investing in a paint job for a level 2 guy is very bad ju-ju.

The surviving characters are:

Incantrix 2

Cleric 1

Fighter/Thf/M-U 2/2/2

Psionicist 2

Fighter 2

Paladin 1

Once the play-test concludes and I finish a final editing/balancing pass, the adventure will be available from Lulu.

Happy gaming.

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