Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hearken Back to Adventure

Player 1, I watched Adventuretime with my kid today and there's a scene in which Finn the Human is carried through the air by a pack of Prankster Balloons that owe him a Blood Oath. Fulfilling their Oath, the mighty warrior allows then to fly free and finally die.

So then I was thinking about days of yore when adventures prompted this kind of thinking in me, and I came up with Atari Adventure, which predates even my exposure to Moldvay Dungeons and Dragons, I'm fairly certain.

A biggish dot. That's your class and race.

Your Quest?  Recover the Enchanted Chalice, taken and hidden by some evil sorcerer.  You start outside the Yellow Castle; it's never explicitly stated but the Yellow King is your Patron and he has charged you with bringing back what was stolen.

The sorcerer retired from this story - perhaps some necromancy went afoul and did him in. His three Dragons lurk the hedge mazes and catacombs of this mostly-empty land.  Yorghl, a Choppingdrake, fears the power of the Yellow King invested in his castle's Yellow Mithrael Key.  The Green Venturevore Grundle is madly jealous of the treasures placed in his care and pursues thieves to the ends of the realm, roaring mightily.  And lastly Rhindle the Red Flamiger is fast and treacherous and guards the entryway to the abandoned Red Castle in the far Southeastern Wastes.

Flitting above it all the Kleptobat Knubbherub occasionally and perversely screeches down to visit ruin upon unsuspecting questers by taking gold and artefacts at his whim. Some say that locking him away in the White Castle will ease his ceaseless flying. He flits about looking for a thing that most creatures cannot see.  A totem to enter into some secret dimension where a message may be read by only the most wise and patient.  The Bat may be the incarnated God of Thieves or perhaps an avatar of Kaos itself.

An elegant Yellow Mithrael sword that is nearly omnipotent - but The Bat is immune.  This legendary blade was salvaged from the Collosal Caves that the most hoary and sagacious remember only dimly.  It is as deadly when set down as it is when wielded by a master.

Keys to the various totemic castles that dot the Land. Yellow, White, Black.  These are made of strange alien metal and have additional properties that can only be unlocked by gifted questers.

The Magnet. Made of inert Black Oridium, the magnet has no effect upon standard ferrous metals but it attracts the Ancient Keys from a distance.  It can even pull the Enchanted Chalice through solid walls, and deflect the Bracket Bridge's path momentarily.  The Sword hurtles through the air when brought within a certain distance of this mysterious horseshoe - perhaps they are attuned, somehow.

The Bracket Bridge - Precursor technology allows the Questor's passage through solid walls and thorny hedges without slowing.  The device is rather cumbersome.

The Enchanted Chalice glows with a reaffirming light, and Dragons are naturally attracted to this glow and the constant beautiful hum the orichalcum inside it resonates with.  What will happen when the Chalice is brought back to the Yellow Castle (1d20)?

1.  The Castle will dis-enchant and the magics inside will be invested into the Questor, who gains 1000 XP per difficulty level
2.  The Bat is revealed to be an avatar of Nyarlathotep - somewhere he is startled and drops the Brown Book of Wor
3.  The Great Old One Robinette will come again to deliver his Æostre Message.
4.  The Reality Switches click clack smoothly to the right - all Dragons gain +3 to their attacks this Quest
5.  Level Select!  All the items in the Land are taken up by the Great Processor and moved to another random location.
6.  Previously unknown Castles arise, and the landscape shifts to allow passage to these hitherto hidden demesnes
7.  the Bat becomes a terrible Black Dragon that can swallow Players and Questors on his own
8.  Flylike robot beings from beyond the sky swoop down to nibble on the walls of all Castles, occasionally firing gouts of devastating magic.  It's rumored they destroyed the Magician, somehow
9.  A hulking Gorilla is set loose upon the lands and its mazes.  He throws barrels and steals the daughters of royalty away. He hates plumbers.
10.  The great adventurer Harry runs by, always heading to the right.  Is it eastward?  Eventually he clambers down into the gloomy depths of the Æreth to rescue his cat.
11. Glowing Yellow dots appear throughout the land, and adventurers are set upon by colorful ghosts, released periodically from dungeons beneath the Gray Castle from whence none may enter and that none living hath glimpsed
12.  The Mithrael Sword vanishes! It is replaced by a spinning knife disc, or else a maul that inflicts an improved die of damage upon fire creatures
13.  Local gravity near the edges of pits is greatly increased; these effects are more pronounced upon Lawful alien beings
14.  You may now find a Whip, A Map, A Parachute, and a Pistol. The Pistol has no ammunition.
15.  A fiendish mad bomber appears at the top of all Castles, hurling explosive bombes down at all that approach
16.  A rabid female Kangaroo appears, who punches all Monkeys, Gorillas, and Dragons until an adventurer aids her or is directly responsible for bringing her Joey safely to her. The Monkey King loudly objects
17.  The King's Chef is set upon by animated Pickles, Eggs, and other terrible Hamburger Toppings. He uses Essential Saltes and gravity to quell these  possessed foodstuffs
18.  Missiles stream from the sky, come to destroy the pitiful rulers of the land and their colorful Castles
19.  The Kings war with each other frenetically, hurling stones and fireballs at each other for days until a truce is finally negotiated.  It is possible the Princess has eloped with a Plumber
20.  the Wizard of War approacheth, with his Smiling Orb of Doom and an Army of One-Eyed Laserbots. All shall tremble and despair!

Yorghl, a voracious Dragon: +8 initiative, Bite +10 (1d12), HD 10d10+25, Action Die 1d20+1d6, Reflex +5, Will -10, Fortitude +8.  Alignment N.  May roar once per encounter causing a DC 16 Fear effect in all who hear, with those failing must run opposite. Those that save are at -3 to attack that round.  He will flee when the Yellow Key is presented strongly.  He collects all jokes told to him in a book bound in the skin of Pole-Vaulting Perverts (the so-called Brown Book)

Other Dragons have similar statistics.  At night, Grues and Ghosts wander the land, looking for Adventurers that want for light.  It is rumored a great number of artefacts as powerful as the Chalice exist, and the Chalice was stolen from an Underground Empire far away

Other dragons are posited to exist/wished to exist but have not been espied.  Those swallowed by the Dragons are not killed - nothing in this land may ever be killed forever - but they do acquire minor corruptions that may be relieved by the hot breath of Giants

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