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    Murlynd´s Early Adventures & Subsequent Ventures: The Epidemic, and Heads Down!
    Posted on Mon, May 12, 2003 by Trickster
    tzelios writes "A high level adventure presented in 1e format. Action takes place before the rise of Temple of Elemental Evil, and involves the passage of the mythical holy sword Fragarach from Tir-nan-Og to Oerth.

    Murlynd´s Early Adventures & Subsequent Ventures: The Epidemic, and Heads Down!
    By Tzelios, with assistance from E. Gary Gygax and Scott Casper
    Used with permission, do not repost or redistribute without the express consent of the author.

    Background and Outline
    Aeons ago, it was Fraz-Urb´luu, the demon prince of deceit and illusion, that corrupted druidic rituals to include human sacrifice. In the dangers of disease or battle they sacrificed human victims, since it was erroneously judged that the gods are appeased only if for a man's life another man's life is offered. Criminals were perceived more appropriate hosts, but when they were running out of supplies, innocents were put to the torch. An entire sect of nature gods was debased, hence their relocation from Concordant Opposition to the border with Abyss. Some centuries ago, Fraz´s machinations, clearly not serving the principle of true neutrality, enraged a mysterious cabal, who sought his demise. Fraz-Urb´luu was too strong to be defeated, and instead he was lured to enter a weird demi-plane, that proved to be his prison as he was entrapped into stone.

    A decade before the fabled battle of Emridy Meadows, with Fraz-Urb'luu still imprisoned, the characters will have the chance to live a great event in modern Flanaess history. They will be involved in the passage of the mythical holy sword Fragarach from Tir-nan-Og to Oerth. Tir-nan-Og, located inside Concordant Opposition, is the place of residence of the gods of Celts, a human race from another time and world. In the years to follow, the sword will prove to be an invaluable relief to the clergy of Heironeous, who despite their rumored problems manage to produce six copies of the sword (1). In 569 CY, the weapon will be wielded by Prince Thrommel of Furyondy to the devastation of the minions of the Temple of Elemental Evil, only to be lost under wicked circumstances at the finale of the victorious battle.

    The characters arrive at the hamlet of Nulb. Locals have just been cured from a horrible epidemic. Fortunately, the epidemic did not spread due to the presence of a holy man, though with eccentric white outfit. Only curiosity will make the characters follow the ?white paladin.? An invitation will give them the opportunity to witness a dark druid ritual, and encounter the fell goddess Morrigan (2). Next, Murlynd will fetch his mitrailleuse, in order to assault Tir-nan-Og in search for Morrigan. If everything goes well they will be rewarded, not shortly though, with a holy sword copy of Fragarach.

    Nulb is described in The Temple of Elemental Evil (T1-4), but in case that you do not have it, develop the place from your own. No names have been given, such that no cross-referencing can be done, and deluded good folk implicated in the rituals be protected. Run this adventure with a group of 4-5 characters of 7-9 levels. Take care that the characters do not outmatch Murlynd in case they want to attack him. Nevertheless, if he is seriously threatened by the PCs do not hesitate to bring St. Cuthbert.

    The Epidemic (TZ5)
    The characters arrive at Nulb, just a hamlet two hours ride east of Hommlet. Locals seem exhausted, but happy at the same time. Most of the houses are marked with starbursts, the symbol of St. Cuthbert. Villagers are painting over the symbols. There are signs that the houses have been boarded up with wood or barred from the outside.

    After an hour spent at Nulb, PCs have 25% chance of contacting the disease, and being carriers. If they miss a saving throw vs. poison they suffer symptoms: immediate loss of 1 point in constitution, dexterity, and strength; after a day, loss of 3 points in all attribute scores; for each day thereafter, loss of 3 points in constitution, strength, and charisma; death occurs when an attribute reaches zero. Carriers do not suffer symptoms, but unless they are cured, they can infect others.

    Talking to the locals will reveal that symbols of St. Cuthbert have been used to designate infected houses. The locals have just been cured from a horrible epidemic. Soon characters will see a weird guy, dressed in white clothes and hat, breaking into a quarantined house. He looks like a ?cowboy.? If they approach he will introduce himself as ?Dr. D.R. Murlynd, not Merlin,? but he will be too busy curing disease to make any other discussion with the characters.

    If the characters assist Murlynd or the villagers they will be invited to attend a druidic ritual. In the meantime they will have the chance to watch Murlynd eat from his spoon (Murlynd´s Spoon).

    Later, at the grove, 10 minutes walking distance south from Nulb, within four standing stones, a druid and two aspirants are preparing a terrible human sacrifice. Apart from the characters and Murlynd, some forty followers are present. No matter what the characters will do, Murlynd will pull out his ?45s.? The druid after the first round will try to escape in the commotion. As a result, all followers, being non-leader NPCs should make morale checks. Standard morale rules apply from DMG 1e, but in case you do not have it, morale score is expected to be 15%, check each round. Any score greater than this indicates that followers fall back (up to 15% difference), retreat (16-30% difference), flee in panic (31-50% difference), or surrender (51% or greater difference).

    Farmers (40): AC 8 (leather); Level 0; hp 5; #AT 1; D 1-6 (club or hand axe) or 1-8 (military fork); XP 15

    Aspirants (2): AC 8 (leather); Level 1 Druid; hp 7; #AT 1; D 1-4 (dagger) or 2-5 (hammer); XP 35
    Standard druid abilities: +2 bonus to saving throws vs. fire and lightning.
    First level spells: entangle, faerie fire

    Druid: AC 6 (padded armor); Level 5; hp 32; #AT 1; D by weapon or spell; XP 1019;
    cloak of protection +2, ring of invisibility, scimitar +1
    S 11 I 11 W 18 D 9 Co 15 Ch 15
    Standard druid abilities: identify plant type, animal type, and pure water; pass without trace; +2 bonus to saving throws vs. fire and lightning.
    Druidic Spells:
    First level: detect magic, entangle, faerie fire, invisibility to animals, pass without trace, speak with animals
    Second level: barkskin, charm person or mammal, cure light wounds, heat metal, trip
    Third level: neutralize poison, summon insects, tree

    Murlynd (Quasi-Deity): AC ?2; MR 35%; Level 11 Paladin, 12 Magic-user, 11 Illusionist; hp 133; #AT 2 or 6 (both hands); D by weapon or the ?45s?; XP 1,100,000;
    dagger +6, holy sword of dancing +4 (broad), two 45s
    S 18/76 I 18 W 15 D 16 Co 18 Ch 14
    45s: Two 45 caliber pistols, each shooting thrice per round for 2-8
    damage, within the range of the light crossbow. Bullets can hit all opponents.
    Standard paladin abilities: at will protection from evil 1´´, detect evil 60´, +2 bonus to saving throws, immunity to disease, and lay on hands 22hp, 2/week cure disease, turn undead as 9th level cleric
    Magic-User Spells:
    First level: detect magic, feather fall, jump, magic missile
    Second level: ESP, levitate, mirror image, web
    Third level: blink, dispel magic, fireball, tongues
    Fourth level: confusion, dimension door, ice storm, Murlynd´s ogre
    Fifth level: contact other plane, telekinesis, wall of force, Bigby´s interposing hand
    Sixth level: Murlynd´s void
    Illusionist Spells:
    First level: color spray, detect illusion, gaze reflection, light, wall of fog
    Second level: blur, detect magic, improved phantasmal force, mirror image
    Third level: non detection, paralyzation, suggestion
    Fourth level: dispel exhaustion, emotion, phantasmal killer
    Fifth level: maze, projected image
    Clerical Spells:
    First level: bless, command, cure light wounds, purify food and drink
    Second level: know alignment, slow poison

    Macha (Demigoddess): AC -4; MR 50%; Level 10 Druid, 20 Fighter, 15 Assassin, 10 Bard; hp 200; #AT 2 (both hands); D 1-6+7 (spear); XP 1,800,000; two spears +3 (auto return)
    S 18/76 I 15 W 12 D 18 Co 18 Ch 5
    Devine standard abilities: command, comprehend languages, detect alignment, geas, quest, teleport, plane shift, true seeing
    Morrigan´s abilities: fear, improved invisibility, see clearly over 15 miles, immune to mortal magic while in battle, move at any speed while chasing
    Standard druid abilities: identify plant type, animal type, and pure water; pass without trace; +2 bonus to saving throws vs. fire and lightning, immune to charm, change form to crow

    Macha serves as an avatar to Morrigan, a war lesser goddess. She appears as a hag or a crow. She will be present at the ritual in the form of a crow. Observant characters may be able to locate her. After the first round she will change form to a hag with two spears, and will start attacking her worshipers, just because they are not brave and run away from the battle. If she is seriously threatened by Murlynd, and his companions, she will turn to them. If situation gets critical she will flee to Tir-nan-Og.

    Heads Down! (TZ6)
    It is unlikely that the characters will be able or willing to follow Macha. Murlynd asks the characters to wait for a few days, till he fetches ammunition. In the meantime they can do divinations or any other preparations they deem necessary. In two days time Murlynd arrives with a heavy large sack. If asked what he got with him he will show them his mitrailleuse:

    Murlynd´s Mitrailleuse: A complex technomagical weapon, supported by similar to Murlynd´s residence magic principles (dynamic span of one static and arbitrary worlds). A machine gun, rate of fire 500, range 40??, damage 2-16. It is needed one round to be assembled with the tripod. It needs no reloading, as it is connected with a Texas ammo depot, though only 15000 bullets are left. Bullets can hit all opponents. For all 500 bullets, roll only one to hit, the difference with the sufficient to hit number over 20 being the portion of the 500 bullets that found target; distribute the damage to the target and to others located in target?s vicinity. For every 5?? of distance with target the weapon is ?1 to hit. For example, suppose that you need a 10 or better for a successful to hit roll. If you roll 11, only 1/20 of the 500, i.e. 25 bullets will hit the target and others near him.

    Thereafter, everybody is plane shifted to Concordant Opposition. The team is found in the middle of a vast battle. However, everybody sees different things according to their lives, race or class. Murlynd sees a plain, thousands of buffalos are charging one mile ahead, and thousands of redskins on horses are charging a mile ahead the opposite direction. You, the DM, make each PC see the most hazardous battle he has experienced in much greater proportions. The PCs have the time to talk about what they see, and attempt to find common norms to communicate with each other. There is no illusion in the place, so disbelieve will not be helpful. The effect is permanent.

    What is really happening is a battle between Fomorians and a Celtic force led by King Lugh. No matter how confident is the team holding the mitrailleuse, they must find a way to understand who the enemy is. Detect evil or similar divination magic help. The mitrailleuse is not too powerful inside Concordant Opposition in the middle of a large battle. If they do not attack the Fomorians, their venture into Tir-nan-Og will be suicide, as they will be attacked by both Fomorians and Celts. A 90 feet high, steep but bare, mound at 100?? can provide a tactical advantage to the PCs.

    Celts (6000): AC 8 (leather); Level 2 Fighter; hp 11; #AT 2; D 1-8 (spear)/ parry with shield; XP 62

    Fomorians (1500): AC 3; HD 13; hp 65; #AT 1; D 4-32 (huge club or huge morning star), XP 3920

    Battle Rules Inside Concordant Opposition: All attacks normally inflicting random damage do the minimum damage. An exception to this holds for weapons forged inside Concordant Opposition; they function normally inside the plane, but their powers diminish outside of it. This exception allows legendary large-scale Celtic battles, like the one of Magh Tuiredh, to be idealized at these outlands (see Fragarach description bellow for an example and proof of the exception). Lets assume that our battle takes place at the border with the lower planes, 1000 miles from the center, where 9th level spells do not function.

    The battle is unequal for the characters, since they inflict minimum damage, while the Fomorians inflict normal damage with their huge weapons. Let the characters be scared to death; if they can guard their positions for 7 rounds, the god Lugh appears on their side, and asks Murlynd to borrow his weapon. In return he lends Fragarach. The mitrailleuse at the hands of Lugh inflicts normal damage. Lugh misses only on a 1.

    Fragarach: A +4 broadsword of Lawful Good alignment. Always strikes last in a round. For every successful hit on its possessor, it will strike unerringly back. Inside Concordant Opposition it has additional powers; it inflicts 3-30 damage, and its purpose is to kill Fomorians (3).

    Murlynd´s presence at Tir-nan-Og is a surprise to greater powers watching the battle. These powers will cut the supply of the mitrailleuse, not fast enough though, 4 rounds after Lugh appears.

    All characters are invited at the Feast of Ages, a special annual ceremony in honor of heroes. Participants who dine with the gods are granted one year of life. Tactful inquirers may obtain esoteric information from the Background and Introduction section. Lugh passes Fragarach to Murlynd to use it as he sees fit. Murlynd upon returning to Oerth will give the weapon to the clergy of Heironeous, the most sound religion he happened to meet lately. After a year, one of the characters, a paladin if possible, will receive a copy of Fragarach.

    (1) At the time that the adventure takes place, Heironeous together with 8 other demigods is imprisoned deep in the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.
    (2) Her cohort N´Threxus, known also as Cernunnos, manipulates the dark druids of the nearby Gnarley forest (see R.J Kuntz´s ?Dark Druids?). Those fallen gods find a vindication of their actions in the destruction of nature by humans, but in reality they enjoy the sacrifices. In Greyhawk lore those fallen gods are only known as demons, their descent long forgotten. The demon lords Yuibiri, Zomar, and Chidun, all from the Gord novels, are speculated to be among them.
    (3) Dragon 65 relates Lugh wielding a sword +4 doing damage 3-30. According to myth, Mannanan trained and granted Fragarach to Lugh to fight the Fomorians. So we deduce that Mannanan´s sword from Deities and Demigods 1e, Retaliator, inflicting 3-30 damage, is Fragarach the Answerer. In Deities and Demigods, Retaliator kills fire giants (save vs. death magic applicable), which, based on Celtic myth, we had to change to Fomorians.
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    Re: Murlynd´s Early Adventures & Subsequent Ventures: The Epidemic, and Heads Down! (Score: 1)
    by grodog on Wed, May 21, 2003
    (User Info | Send a Message)

    An interesting snapshot of adventure/history blended; nice use attention to details (Murlynd's Ogre and ...Void) and use of _Dark Druids_ too :D

    It seems that you've dropped Murlynd a level in both Paladin and Illusionist, since his stats don't match up to any of the 3 published versions I'm aware of (Dragon 71, WOG83 set, or EX2). Care to talk about that---Murlynd gained the levels later, seemingly? ;D


    Re: Murlynd´s Early Adventures & Subsequent Ventures: The Epidemic, and Heads Down! (Score: 1)
    by Shalaban on Thu, August 11, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    I like the time setting, and would like to see more like this. A clear glemps into the past.

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