The Beacon at Enon Tor

Xposted with the Torchbearer G+ Community:

Had a great time running last night for Andy Action, Topi (Skiort) and Alexander (Iskander).

I ran The Beacon at Enon Tor, which is a great little Basic D&D adventure published in White Dwarf back in the day. A wizard lives outside a port city in a tower. The guilds support him in his experiments there and in exchange, he operates his tower as a lighthouse…until one day the lighthouse is briefly engulfed in some sort of magical light after which the beacon is no longer lit at night.

The characters are offered a reward to discover what happened and why the beacon is no longer being lit.

A couple of the characters had conditions, so they planned to quickly earn a check or two and then camp. They marched right up to the front door of the tower, opened it (Ob 2 Criminal test) without listening and got jumped by orcs on the other side. They managed to kill the orcs, but Topi’s elf, Maeglas, took an injury as part of it. They had just finished with them when someone from the next room shouted: “what’s with all that noise you wankers?”

Alexander’s thief tried to mimic the orcs and answer, but the bugbear on the other side of the door was having none of it. He came into the room and the PCs bolted. Bad move. Bugbears are brutal stalking machines in flee conflicts. It soon had them in a pile over his shoulder and dragged them off to the kitchen, tied them up and left, singing a ditty about firewood to heat his cook pot.

Though they were quickly able to slip their bonds with a Criminal test (Ob 1), the Bugbear was now between them and the exit. Also, this was the end of the fourth turn: two of the characters had been made hungry and thirsty as a result of the skirmish with the orcs, so they were now exhausted. They decided their only real option was to delve further into the tower and hope they could find another exit. They spiked closed the door the bugbear had left through and plunged into the unknown.

So much for a quick camp and recovery.

They found themselves in a well-stocked pantry with another door on the far end. They weren’t alone: giant rats were in the pantry as well! All the characters had the injured or sick condition at this point, so none of them wanted to risk tangling with the vermin. They saw several haunches of meat hanging from the rafters to cure, and cut them down in the hope that the rats would go for the easy food. They then skirted along the wall to the other door and slipped out.

They soon found themselves in what seemed to be a storage room with multiple exits. It had 10 large crates in it. In an open one they spotted the desiccated body of a man with his lips sewn shut. He was strongly redolent of rosemary, as if he’d been stuffed with the herb. Moving farther into the room, they saw two similar bodies lying on the floor, hacked to pieces. Their wounds had not bled.

They determined that one of the doors in the room led back to the room where they had encountered the orcs. It had been spiked shut from the other side. They could hear the bugbear moving around behind another door (he was still singing his horrible song). That door was also spiked shut from the other side. Behind the last door they found stairs leading down. The players were too terrified to take that option. They decided to take the stairs up instead.

They reached a landing with a door, though the stairs also continued up. They opted for the door and found what appeared to be another storage area: oil, pitch, rope, nails, timber, axes, saws, pulley blocks, etc. there was also a door out.

The players opted to camp in the storage area. Bad luck though! They got a minor inconvenience on the camp events roll. It seems rummaging through all the supplies kicked up a cloud of dust. They were all +1 Ob to recover from exhausted.

Even though they had 5 checks between them, the two exhausted characters both failed to recover that condition, so they couldn’t even attempt to recover from sick or injured. The one character who was not exhausted failed to recover from injured. They’d spent lots of rewards in the fight with the orcs because they were on the bubble of second level, so they had very little left to spend here.

After camp, they decided to continue up. They disturbed a group of giant bats and drove them off before reaching the actual beacon of the lighthouse. They opted to light it and run back to town.

The guild masters in town weren’t satisfied that they’d gotten to the bottom of things, so no reward yet. They decided to live high on the hog and spent some time in a hotel. They all rolled terribly when attempting to recover from their respective sick or injured conditions.

Topi decided to suck up his injury and gave me his sheet. I dinged his elf’s scout – the wound he took left him with a bit of a wheeze if he over exerts himself. It was a good move on Topi’s part though! He succeeded at his lifestyle test and left town Fresh!

They’re determined to return to the tower at some point to finally collect their reward!

::Weeps quietly to himself::

This is excellent. I feel like you have this willingness to stick it to the PCs (in a good way!) that I don’t that I need to try to internalize.

Also the bugbear’s kitchen is terrifying.