AP: Svarttårn in Autumn (Basilica of the Leper Messiah)

A fun couple of moments from yesterday’s game.

We’re playing in Middarmark, and I’m running a number of adventures based on @Fuseboy 's work.

We had just completed “Roost of the Condor Queen” by @Lord_Mordeth and Co. of Mordite Press.

Now, at last, they are going to tackle the Problem of Gorm the Boneless.

Quick summary:

  • Ulla the Magician is a native of Svarttårn, and Gorm had sent her a letter requesting a service of her in exchange for Gorm mentoring her. This required a very large quantity of ashes from Tannoch Rest-of-Kings.

  • Grimwald the Skald had a vision in the Lair of the Lantern Worm that seemed to indicate that All Was Not Well in Svarttårn, and that Gorm is being controlled / influenced restricted by a demon-stoat. The party plans to aid Gorm against the demon-stoat.

  • They have found out something of the dangers of the ash monoliths (from the Basilica), and are appropriately wary of them.

  • From the Condor Queen, they now know the name of the demon-stoat.

  • From their own research, they know a fasting ritual that will mean that they are inconspicuous to demons, provided that they remain Hungry and Thirsty.

On their way to Svarttårn, they stop off at the Lair of the Lantern Worm to reforge a white metal bracelet of theirs, when one of them has the Good Idea to forge a white metal collar inscribed with the demon-stoat’s True Name, to act as a method of binding / banishing it, should they be able to get it around the demon’s neck.

For the ritual, they have heard of an ancient circle near Svarttårn (which is the Circle of Wolves, if they ever decide to investigate further).

Whilst they get lost in the fog, they do manage to eventually get back on track, which is good, as they are now under time pressure: as they are all Hungry and Thirsty, they plan to camp every 3 turns to avoid the Grind making them exhausted.

They establish a small camp outside of Svarttårn (described as “the sort of place Hobbits would hide from Ringwraiths”), so that they have a safe fallback position.

Then, onto Svarttårn itself.

Depending how people get into the tower of Svarttårn, it is very different. Students who enter through the appropriate grand doors are in an institute of learning (scriptoria, lecture rooms, libraries, alchemy labs, etc.). Another entrance would lead into a throne room and audience chamber, etc.

For the party, the lifting platform lifts them impossibly high, and onto a plateau on which a monastery sits (@Fuseboy’s Basilica).

Within the building itself, the party be see the full horror of the dead plague victims being cremated and made into ash bricks for the monoliths.

They manage to squeeze in a camp phase, during which Tryggr the Paladin successfully lays on hands for one of the victims, and actually cures their plague! This causes consternation in the Basilica at large.

As they cross the Nave / Courtyard, one of the monoliths flares, and our heroes wisely dive to safety. Behind them, the courtyard is seared with spell runes as that monolith catalyses a spell (Mantle of the Fylgja).

Ulla and Grimwald try to study it from their position of safety, but it does not go well, and the spell affects them, transforming them into their Fylgja. Unfortunately, Ulla no longer has a Fylgja, so, instead, transforms into a snake-like coil of fire whose dimensions are Wrong and that hurts the mind / eyes to look at.

Just then, the demon-stoat rushes past (tail-first, of course), but pays them no mind (good going on that ritual!), seeking out this supposedly cured plague victim.

This gives them the opportunity to meet with Gorm privately.

Ulla the-impossible-snake-of-fire does not want to meet her master in her present form, so instead uses Arcane Semblane to disguise herself as… herself.

With but a few short minutes before the demon-stoat might return, the party and Gorm confer, and he tells them what he wants them to do:

Use the ashes they have brought of the dread sorcerer-kings to form bricks, and add them to all 20 monoliths (19 of which are already complete), so as to disrupt the demon-stoat’s Great Work.

In a couple of weeks, we’ll have to see how that goes…



Fantastic! Though I’m disappointed in the old lich for getting snared by a demon like that.

“Snared” is a strong word.

I like to consider this a temporary setback, where Gorm wants to use the PCs to get out from an unfortunate complication.

In our game, Gorm’s focus is less on the politics of the world, and more on study, magic, etc.

And once the demon-stoat is removed? Well, then Gorm can concentrate on the things that are important to him.

… and, given that numerous powerful plague victims are beholden to him for their survival, this will be useful.

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Did you ever do a report on the second half of Condor Queen?

Whoops! I’ll check where we were at during the last write-up, and get back to you on that.

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