It’s thirsty Thursday once again, and here at the Dead Sea Trading Company that means we have a new beverage for your enjoyment! Today’s featured alcohol is an item coveted by blood mages the world over: the legendary Sanguinomancer’s Wine. The wine appears as a deep, succulent red that has a faint aftertaste of iron, and requires a DC 10 Constitution saving throw to drink without spilling. While under its effects, a creature gains the ability to see the life-force coursing through the veins of any warm-blooded being, even through walls, floors, and other adventurous obstacles. The effect lasts for one hour and extends out to sixty feet. The game master determines what counts as “warm-blooded” for the purposes of the wine.
It’s hump day, and to help you get over the crest of that wave, we introduce a new magic item in the Trading Company’s catalog: the Trident of Cresting. While held in the hand and properly attuned to, the Trident allows the wielder to skate across the surface of the waves, propelled by the water beneath them. The Trident makes it impossible to sink, even in heavy waves, but for each ten feet of the swell above fifteen, reduce a character’s speed by five feet (ocean swells average about fifteen to twenty feet in moderate wind but bad conditions can see the occasional fifty-foot wave, with even-rarer ship-sinking waves of a hundred feet or more typically reserved for bad storms and hurricanes). Additionally, the trident may be thrown with a range of 20/60, and is a +1 weapon that deals 1d8 piercing damage. When so thrown, the trident may be summoned back to the wielder as a bonus action, provided it is within 100 feet. The trident floats just beneath the surface of the water in a vertical orientation, provided the water is deep enough to submerge its full length and it is not within an anti-magic field.
PDF Version: https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/HyANeAga4
Wolf’s Note: There won’t be an almanac tomorrow morning. Rather, content will resume with the Wednesday edition of the almanac, which will return to the Outlaws of Atwood Forest with a mini-adventure.
Welcome to today’s special installment of the Monday Mystery. If you missed last week’s mystery, you might want to start there – the Tomb of Seya has important clues that lead to the discovery of Ieyta’s resting place, where this adventure starts. Before we get into all that, though, you’ll need some background to game master this one (and the next) effectively.
The Kingdom of K’ren
The elven kingdom of K’ren was a historical empire covering the eastern half of the Eternal Empire and all of Northern Sariland – basically everything from the capital to the ocean on the eastern side, ranging to the Winterheart mountains in the north and to the Sarilandic Range in the south. It encompassed vast swathes of jungle, a good deal of which remains in the interior of the continent – in fact, the city of Anak, where Seya’s tomb was discovered, lies only across a river from the jungle beyond, though it is desert-like itself. It is into this jungle that the heroes will go when they follow the clue from last week. The trek takes them deep into places that even the Empire doesn’t patrol because they are so remote – places untouched for several thousand years.
K’ren, during its heyday, was a thriving empire known for woodcraft, worked goods, and the arts. It dwindled around the middle of the second age for reasons still unknown, around the same time that the neighboring kingdom of Tyrel also fell out of the historical record, plagued by invading orcs from the blasted lands beyond the Winterheart mountains. Populated mostly by elves, humans, and half-elves, the realm is said to have harbored great magical knowledge, especially of druidcraft.
The Lost City of Dena
The city of Dena was the historical capital of K’ren. It has a legendary status, most especially because it is said to have housed the queen’s archive, a library of Alexandrian proportions containing knowledge of just about everything that existed in the world of its day. Long rumored to contain spells which no one still remembers and secrets of locations and deities long forgotten, the library is a trove of knowledge unparalleled by any that the modern world has to offer.
Ieyta was the last queen of K’ren of whom there exists a historical record. She is said to have been a druid of great power and wealth who ultimately perished at the hands of invading orcs on a road near the northern border of the realm. No one has ever found her resting place because they’ve taken this to mean the north-eastern border of K’ren, near the Winterheart mountains. In reality, it means the north-western border of the nation, only one hundred miles south-east of the Eternal Empire’s capital, near the edge of the dense jungle that forms the south-eastern interior of the continent. That’s where the heroes will be starting this adventure, led by the clues of their previous mystery in Anak.
Your heroes should already be headed here if you ran last week’s Monday Mystery, so start there if you need an intro. Other than that, you’ll want to ensure they have supplies for the jungle – which can be easily purchased in Anak – and send them on a three-day journey. During it, they should encounter some form of hostile jungle creature – perhaps giant spiders or bats or a tribe of goliath barbarians. Have them a little bloodied up when they reach their destination.
Ieyta may have died on the road, but her handmaidens didn’t just leave her there – instead, they erected a tomb fit for a queen – or at least the queen of a dying empire. The structure is large, made of stone, and mostly underground, leaving only the entrance exposed. To unlock it, the heroes will need to each speak their true name – they can divine as much from the inscription on the door. Have a little fun with this one – true names should reflect the character’s identity. Have each player explain to you what their character’s true name means and how they embody it, and don’t be afraid to play up certain characters being afraid of their names, lying, or being changed by the epiphany of realizing who they really are. Once inside, they’ll face three challenges.
The Test of Faith
The test of faith is a bottomless pit about twenty feet across. A powerful wind rushes into the pit, threatening to drag anything nearby (and certainly anything above) down into it, but five feet from the pit is a sword mounted in a stone stand. While a character holds the sword, a bridge of whispy, vaporous fog appears for everyone who isn’t that character. The bridge is solid and can be walked upon, and protects from the wind enough to be crossed safely, but the character crossing is still incapable of seeing it until they reach the other side. The sword obviously can’t be thrown back, but spilling the blood of a good-aligned character in a small bowl near the far side causes the wind to abate for just long enough to do so. If the sword vanishes into the pit (by poor throwing), an evil laugh rings out, and the players must cleanse the pit with good-aligned blood to cause it to be hurled back out by the fiendish creature at the bottom.
The Crypt [Optional]
Between the first and second tests, you can insert an encounter occurring in the crypt of the handmaidens. Eight handmaidens are buried here, and their vengeful spirits rise and attack any character in the party who isn’t good-aligned. Use stats appropriate for your party’s level, and bear in mind that the handmaidens can be dissuaded by a sufficiently persuasive character with a good reason for disturbing their queen’s final rest.
The Test of Character
This is the second of three tests, and begins after the crypt in a room that can only be described as a sacrificial ritual site. There are four braziers in the four corners, kept burning by unknown magic, and in the center is a circular table with channels for blood. The inscription on the exit reads (in ancient Elvish) “Here you must yield those you care about.” The twist, of course, is that (being good-aligned) a “worthy” character must totally refuse to do so. Spilling any blood causes four over-levelled fiends to emerge from the four braziers and attack the heroes; refusing openly to do so causes the final door to open – it’s as simple as that. Unfortunately for the heroes, when they pass through the final door, they each find themselves in a separate demiplane, isolated from their allies.
The Test of Memory
At this point, you may ask the heroes questions about their allies. Don’t let the players who play those allies interject – here, each hero is being evaluated on their knowledge of the people they trust their life to on a daily basis. Ask questions of moderate challenge – something about a backstory, or a love or hate of something, or an NPC important to the character like a sister or an old friend. For each success, mark a point to both the character the question is about and the character who gets the question right. At the end, award each of your players a reward based on how many points they got, and give the player with the most points the location of Dena as an additional reward – it’s deep in the heart of the jungle, and they’ll have to brave numerous hazards to get there. Today’s mystery may seem slightly short, but it’s that way intentionally – it’s designed to fit into a session (or two sessions at most) and the test of memory will take up more time than you expect if you do it right, since players will spend quite a while racking their brains and piecing together bits of who everyone is.
Don’t forget to check back next week for the conclusion of the three-chapter Dena arc. In it, the heroes will encounter the lost city itself and will face their greatest puzzles yet, as well as their greatest rewards.
PDF Version: https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/rkwb-NTnV
The Week in Review
We started a new campaign this week, set in the near future in a world where technology replaces magical effects. Nanites, plasma blades, and level three heroes with legendary magical items. What could go wrong? Tune in tonight to find out, as our heroes continue to seek answers behind the mysteriously failing power of their world.
City of Echoes
We streamed our second session of City of Echoes this Thursday. Time and memory are strange within the city, and the heroes had a hard time wrapping their minds around the temporal shenanigans. See previous editions of the Almanac for detailed recaps of the first few sessions, and tune in Thursdays at 6pm Central to see the city for yourselves!
Jet’s intrepid heroes managed to blow up a nuclear reactor this week, but it did take them at least a little bit of time. It turns out they’re really bad at solving puzzles, and the bad guys are really patient. Did I mention they blew up a nuclear reactor? Check these guys out at 10pm Central on Thursdays, right after City of Echoes on Vlastilon’s channel.
After some restructing and re-planning, we’ll be bringing Atlantis to you sometime this week, and continuing it through the coming issues.
The Lost City of Dena
You’ll be able to continue the adventure from Seya’s Tomb with an exploration of the city of Dena, coming up in this week’s Monday Mystery.
The Fox Den
After a week off, the Fox Den will be returning this week. Stop by to hear me and Vlastilon chat with you the viewers about current and general topics in gaming. It’s been a blast the past times that we’ve done it, and we’re proud to announce we intend to consistently co-host going forward.
School has come to a close for many of our members, and is coming to a close for others; watch for increased activity and ongoing activities as our team comes back online after papers and exams. Vlast will almost certainly be streaming more, and I’m informed that both Silver and Steph have something in the works.
Deck of Symbols
This deck of cards contains forty magical effects – each of the four suits has a theme, and contains ten cards. The cards disappear once used, and using a card from the deck requires an action.
These cards grant material wealth to the owner, in various forms.
|1||A bucket of copper trade bars worth 50GP|
|2||A well-crafted steel helm|
|3||A milking cow|
|4||A pair of oxen and a wagon|
|5||A full suit of plate armor|
|6||A warhorse in full armor|
|7||A chest of gems worth 5,000 GP|
|8||A ship of the line|
|10||A masterwork set of magical dragon armor|
These cards teleport the user to illustrated locations in your campaign world.
These cards teleport the user forward a number of feet equal to five times their rank.
These cards grant single casts of various divinatory spells.
|1||Detect Evil and Good|
|3||Detect Poison and Disease|
|7||Find the Path|
|10||Commune with Nature|
PDF Version: https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/HJiWu0ihN
City of Echoes Recap
In case you missed it, here’s what’s new this week in City of Echoes. Catch us on Thursdays on the SSG Channel (twitch.tv/silversgames) at 6pm Central.
As they finished exploring the tower and claiming their gear, the heroes came across the observatory at the top, where they had a heart-to-heart with Jess. There, she claimed it was “funny that it started right where it began” before showing alarm at the roar of a bestial dragon and mentioning something called “the conflux”. Witnessing the destruction of the city in flames, Ember panicked at the sight of Komyros examining him and nearly fell off the tower, but was saved by Laika casting Spider Climb. He’s now convinced he can innately climb like a spider.
The heroes saw a glimpse of the mysterious Kiera on the east platform and sent Kota to find her. When he didn’t come back, they pursued, only to find him flitting back with talk of biscuits and “biscuit girl”.
Laika led the way to an abandoned guard barracks with a bunch of old, moldy biscuits, and the heroes explored for a while before running into a doll, which sent Komyros running for the door. The other two found themselves transitioning from an ancient, ruined area to a well-lit, lived in space where they met a girl named Ellie in a holding cell, clutching her dollie (which suddenly seemed much less threatening). After giving the heroes two ornate copper pieces that she stole from her piggy bank and asking them to help find her mommy, Ellie ended up staying in the cell because the heroes deemed it safer than tagging along to face the dragon they could hear roaring outside. On the way out, the other rooms were also well-lit, and Ember found a cape of invisibility that also changes his outfit (although he’s not yet aware of either effect after botching a number of rolls in sequence). When they emerged, the heroes found no dragon – just an empty city. Komyros wondered aloud at the strangeness of it, and provoked a woman’s laugh from behind them – though no one was there when they turned.
Having a Blast
If you haven’t heard of the G-Team, you should have. Streaming on Vlastilon’s channel at 10pm Central on Thursdays, right after City of Echoes, this not-safe-for-work crew is always a riot. This week, they blew up a nuclear reactor after solving Jet’s dastardly puzzle. And yes, G stands for Gort, in case anybody was asking.
Featured Item: Spoon of Feeding
The spoon of feeding is a special spoon, carved of wood with a handle in the shape of a bird. When the command phrase “here comes the birdie” is uttered in a singsong voice, a single target creature must succeed on a DC 18 Charisma saving throw or be forced to consume whatever’s on the spoon, no matter how repulsive. We sell them by the droves to new parents, but for unknown reasons they’re also popular with adventurers. Maybe it’s because there’s no other way to get them to take medicine.
Dead Sea Almanac
Moving forward, we’ve decided to roll previously planned adventures (and new ones we’ve been coming up with) into the Dead Sea Almanac, much like the quest that took our heroes to the Tomb of Seya earlier in the week. If you missed that, be sure to check it out, and watch for more adventures to come!
The Fox Den
We botched the scheduling a little bit this week in terms of Fox Den and ended up double-booking. Vlast and I have enjoyed co-hosting the show immensely, and we’re endeavoring to find a regular time when we can both show up each week. Between jobs and families, we think we can just make it work, even if it’s a little tight. Stay posted for potential time changes week-to-week as schedules shift, but watch for a consistent time to emerge as move towards June.
City of Echoes is at three players, and I have no qualms about going up to five or more. I’m also floating the idea of running a weekly “sandbox” where people can bring any homebrew they’re looking to playtest and run it at any level. Let me know what you think by hopping on our Discord (discord.gg/YK5Bfga) or tracking me down in chat during one of our many streamed events.
PDF Version: https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/HkdnHUqh4
This strong spirit, one of our finest, is enchanted by the Necromancers of Westport to ensure the finest ability to contact the dead in concert with its drinking. I confess I have used it before to speak with my own mother, who truth be told gave me a scolding for fooling with such things. When consumed after dark, the absinthe draws ones spirit into the ethereal plane, where ghosts and memories are said to linger. A word of caution, though, to the unwary – not all the dead are harmless.
|Crystal Skull||12||64 GP|
When consumed, the absinthe causes the spirit of the drinker to begin passing into the afterlife, allowing them to interact with the spirits of the dead while they remain intoxicated. The spirit has no effect before dusk, but after dark it makes the dead appear as real as when they were alive, albeit greenish and glowing with an otherworldy light. The dead are not necessarily hostile to the creature, and some may even be friendly, but most dislike being disturbed, and some are downright malicious. The effect lasts for one hour, after which another dose must be consumed.
A Story From the Frontier
Today’s story revolves around Captain Clarke, who has written in by courier pigeon to inform us of an opportunity for heroes. Apparently, she has been contracted by a friend on the Isle of Palm to recruit several adventurers for a trip to the still-quarantined Atlantis, where it is said a chest of great doubloons lies, cursed by a potent evil that will release a demonic spirit upon their removal from a treasure horde. Captain Clarke says she would do it herself, if she were not busy with other things, but that she will happily ferry a group of heroes to the isle if they seek out her armada, and put them in touch with someone who knows more. As always, Clarke insists she does so from the goodness of her heart – and for the favor that any such adventurers will owe her going forward.
Update: The Atlantis Syndrome
The first installment in The Atlantis Quintet is almost ready; watch for it to be featured in an upcoming edition of the Dead Sea Almanac.
Dungeon Crawl No. 1
Welcome to the first installment of a new column, the dungeon crawl. In it, we detail a number of traps and other obstacles that our relentless acquisitioners have overcome in the pursuit of magical goods to sell to you at bargain prices.
The Bridge of Blades
This trap was faced by Alec, the apprentice to our very own Diggory McAllistar, in the tomb of one of the ghost-kings of Dena. Formed of millimeter-thick blades spaced eighteen inches apart, the bridge must be walked on by a deft practitioner of acrobatics with specially hardened shoes; the task is made considerably more difficult by the presence of a dart launcher at the end of the corridor which fires down the length whenever the blades are disturbed. Our heroic apprentice managed the task with a pair of climbing boots and a large shield, though he swears it nearly cost him everything.
The Freezing Pool
Encountered by the Marvelous Melinda in her pursuit of the Ice King’s fortress in the north, this pool of clear water shows no signs of being infected with algae or life of any kind; it seem shallow and safe to cross, albeit cold, and at the bottom lies a chest of untold riches. When touched, however, the water freezes instantly, trapping the limb or implement which intruded upon it. It then thaws over the course of several hours if left undisturbed, but continues to remain frozen if the afflicted never ceases struggling. In the arctic clime of the Ice King’s citadel, such exposure to cold water can be fatal; it is lucky for Melinda that she tested with a staff before her assistants sought the fool’s chest at the bottom.
The Room of Darkness
This trap is truly unique, and we’re impressed Diggory managed it. In his quest for the golden skull of the ghost-king Denmar, Allistar was forced to navigate a room of stone tiles, each of which bore a symbol and could flip at a moment’s notice to trap the foot or dump a man entirely into the pit below, where dwelled a foul beast of hideous nature. Limited by magical darkness to the five-foot circle of his torch, Diggory was forced to memorize the symbols that he passed and tested with a rod to ensure he could find his way back while pursued by a horde of slowly creeping skeletal soldiers. He claims the secret lay in understanding the celestial beliefs of the ancient Denans, but we remain convinced he’s simply a genius in disguise.
PDF Version: https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/HkQKWSqnE
Beads of Summoning
Today’s featured item is a necklace manufactured by the barbarian spiritualist known as Sygma. Bearing the ancestral symbols of the twelve tribes, it summons forth great spirits and items that prove most useful in time of need. Worn on a leather band that serves as a good necklace or doubled bracelet, the beads are each inscribed with the mark of a great tribe or a tool common to all of the mountain peoples.
The necklace has twenty beads, each of which may be used once by pulling it from the necklace and speaking a command word. Once used, the bead is forever consumed, and whatever was summoned disappears at the end of the next long rest. The twenty beads are as follows:
Tribes of Light
Bead of the Owl Tribe: Summons a pair of mated owls to scout ahead and explore for the party. The owls are also willing to offer their wisdom, but will not fight.
Bead of the Fox Tribe: Summons a fox who can explore an area silently and steal one item weighing no more than five pounds.
Bead of the Salmon Tribe: Must be used in flowing water, where it summons a large number of salmon that can be used as food.
Bead of the Bear Tribe: Summons a bear, which will fight on the heroes’ side in combat.
Bead of the Wolf Tribe: Summons a pack of 2d4 wolves, who will assist the heroes in hunting or fighting.
Bead of the Eagle Tribe: Summons an eagle who will fight, scout, or hunt for the heroes.
Tribes of Darkness
Bead of the Raven Tribe: Summons a raven, who can foretell one event of great disaster which may befall the heroes if they do not heed the warning.
Bead of the Weasel Tribe: Summons a weasel, who will bring the heroes one item they desire at the cost of one item it names.
Bead of the Pike Tribe: Summons a large pike that will fight for the heroes or perform any task for a pound of flesh – it doesn’t care whose.
Bead of the Crocodile Tribe: Summons a large crocodile. Roll 1d4; on a 1, the crocodile is hostile to the heroes and attacks them. On a 2-4, it is neutral but obeys their commands.
Bead of the Rat Tribe: Summons 4d4 giant rats to aid the heroes in combat, but requires that they all be able to feast on flesh before they leave; otherwise, they turn on the heroes.
Bead of the Vulture Tribe: Summons a vulture that can heal a single creature to full health, at the cost of consuming the soul of a recently deceased being.
Items of Great Use
Bead of Rope: Summons fifty feet of rope, neatly coiled and ready for throwing. The rope lasts indefinitely.
Bead of a Lantern: Summons a lantern and eight hours worth of oil. The lantern lasts indefinitely.
Bead of Tools: Summons one type of tools of your choice, which must be spoken aloud as part of the command that activates the bead. The tools are of decent quality and last indefinitely.
Bead of Instruments: Summons one musical instrument of your choice, which must be spoken aloud as part of the command that activates the bead. The instrument is of middling quality and lasts indefinitely.
Bead of a Bucket: Summons a bucket that holds two gallons of liquid. The bucket is made of wood and is not fireproof, but lasts indefinitely.
Bead of Knives: Summons a pair of knives: one dagger for throwing and one short sword for holding on to. The knives are of good quality and last indefinitely.
Bead of Firewood: Summons 20 logs of dry, easily splittable firewood perfect for making fires provided that you have a hatchet handy. The firewood lasts indefinitely or until burned as fuel.
Bead of a Bedroll: Summons a warm, dry bedroll, neatly tied and ready to use or carry. The bedroll lasts indefinitely.
Table of Beads
Sometimes, you may want your players to find a partial necklace. Roll a d20 to see how many of the twenty beads remain, then roll on the following table that many times to see which ones. You can roll again if you get duplicates, or choose to allow them for expediency.
|1d20||Bead of Summoning||1d20||Bead of Summoning|
|1||Owl Tribe||11||Rat Tribe|
|2||Fox Tribe||12||Vulture Tribe|