Saturday, 20 August 2016

9: Chaos of Kythri

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 6
Scene setup: d10=4 (Interrupt!)

Event: NPC Action: Waste elements

I rolled the Adventurer’s Guild for the NPC, but I don’t see them fitting in here, so let’s lose that part. Waste elements makes me think that this is one of Xen’drik’s elemental zones, a magical wasteland of some sort. Once again, Eberron’s system of planes is a good random table for elemental effects: Random Kythri.

Sakhisli(Manage Provisions): 2D6(5 3) +0 = 8 Partial success.
You consume the expected number of rations

The party has around 4 days of rations left.

Jungle west of Obsidian City, Xen’drik
Dravago 20, 997 YK

Over the next week, they made their way steadily south through the jungle. They saw plenty of signs of life here, but little of habitation; occasionally they would cross a hunting trail—usually of the drow, Kyorlin would tell them—or find an abandoned campsite, but they had no trouble like the gnolls.

The weather grew hotter again as they went south, and their packs grew lighter as they consumed the supplies that they had recovered from the expedition’s camp. Kyorlin said that it would be easy enough to slow their march and hunt for food, but Kalina saw no reason to slow down now; they could hunt later instead, and put more distance between themselves and the giants, in case there was pursuit. They used the occasional river bed to obscure their trail, though, and there was little reason now to suppose that they were followed.

On the seventh day after the gnolls, Kyorlin said that they would reach the Umed river today. He climbed a tree that morning, and from the lay of the land was able to set a direction that should lead them to the crossing that he had spoken of.

Around midday, the land around them began to change as they pressed south. The jungle was growing thinner, as the ground became more stony and barren. Then, a few minutes later, they saw a clearing ahead; as they approached, a geyser in the clearing erupted, spurting steam and hot vapour into the air.

They emerged into the clearing to see that the ground was rock here, like a sheet of solidified lava. The geyser erupted again, but this time it ejected snow and lumps of ice.

“What is this place?” asked Kalina. While there were trees ahead, they were all dead; some looked like they had burned, and others were merely dead and stripped of leaves. Some unnatural force had blighted this area.

Spout Lore(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 6) +1 = 10 Success!
Useful/precise information

“This was not here last time I passed this way,” said Kyorlin. “But Xen’drik is a changeable land. This is a manifest zone of one of the planes; of Kythri, if I am not mistaken, the plane of Chaos. It happens sometimes that parts of Xen’drik become changed by one of the planes for a time; they take on the forms of that plane, as the landscape, flora and wildlife change in harmony with it.”

The dead trees ahead obstructed the view less than the jungle had done. Kalina could now just make out the great river in the distance cutting through the landscape. The jungle on the far side looked normal, at least. The day had been windy, and here the air was fresher, blowing from the ocean that Kyorlin said lay to the west; it was the first time for two weeks that the air was not moist and rich with jungle smells.

“Is it dangerous?” asked Arjen, eyeing the unnatural terrain ahead cautiously.

“Yes, though perhaps not moreso than jungle if we are careful. There will be ice and fire and change here, and some creatures may be changed to fit the environment also. But if we go carefully as ever, we should reach the bridge in an hour.” Kyorlin was stringing his bow as he spoke.

“Very well,” said Kalina. “We go on as before; Kyorlin sets the path, Arjen scouts the way.”

Scout(Arjen): 2D6(5 2) -1 = 6 Failure!
Change the environment

They continued south, following the gentle downward slope of the land towards the river. As they moved between burned and blackened trees, there was a smell of ash on the chilly air.

A few minutes later, they came to the lip of a small ravine once cut by a river. Where the river might once have flowed, there was now a sheet of snow and ice, perhaps thirty yards across, a glacier amid the rocky ground. Some of the blackened trees here were covered in a layer of frost. Kalina found it a strange sight; Arjen looked uncomfortable and nervous. They could see the dark stone of the bridge in the distance now, and the glacier barred their path; they had to cross.

Arjen climbed down first, and began to cross the ice. Kalina went next, followed by Sakhisli—grumbling under her breath—while Kyorlin took one last look from the higher ground to get his bearings.

Kalina was about half-way across when the ice under her shifted suddenly, as if breaking loose from the glacier. Jets of steam shot up from sudden cracks in the ice; there was a boiling sound all around them and the chilly air suddenly began to warm. Sakhisli shouted in alarm.

Discern Realities(Kalina): 2D6(5 3) +0 = 8 Partial success.
What is about to happen?

“Sakhisli, go! Whatever is under this is hot!” Kalina grabbed the dwarf by the arm and started to run forward. She glanced over her shoulder to see Kyorlin jump down and begin running across the fast-melting ice.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Kyorlin): 2D6(4 3) +1 = 8 Partial success.
Worse outcome: you don’t catch up the two in front
Defy Danger(DEX)(Arjen): 2D6(2 5) +0 = 7 Partial success.
Hard bargain: save yourself or help your friends at more risk
Defy Danger(DEX)(Kalina): 2D6(3 3) +1+1 = 8 Partial success.
Worse outcome: more danger before you get to safety
Defy Danger(DEX)(Sakhisli): 2D6(5 2) +1 = 8 Partial success.
ditto

She turned back to focus on their own escape. Arjen had made it to the far side and was climbing up; below him, the rock was now turning to lava, and the air was becoming fogged with steam. She and Sakhisli made it most of the way across, but the ice at the edge had melted away entirely now, and there was a flow of lava several yards wide by the time they reached the edge.

Defy Danger(CON)(Sakhisli): 2D6(5 2) +2 = 9 Partial success.
Use up their resources
Defy Danger(STR)(Kalina): 2D6(5 1) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Make them backtrack

Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment: rope would, once again, help.

Sakhisli simply ran out onto the lava flow; there was a crust of solid rock on top of the flow, and the dwarf seemed to know where to step, moving from one foothold to another and ignoring the heat. She made it to the far side, but the intense heat rising from the ground set her pack alight; she had to ditch the pack, leaving it and its contents to burn on the lava flow, before climbing up the far bank.

Kalina dared not repeat that feat. She looked around a moment, but the ice was melting fast and there was no safe path to the far bank. Instead, she took a few steps back and jumped the flow. She made it across, finding solid ground on the far side. But the edge of the ravine formed by this flow was several yards up, and the rock here was now too hot for her to grip to get handholds to climb.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Kyorlin): 2D6(5 5) +1 = 11 Success!

She looked to her right to see Kyorlin jump the lava flow further up. He used his momentum to run part-way up the side, finding the right footholds, and then grabbing the top and hauling himself up. Kalina found herself the only one left in danger, and with the lava only a foot behind her and rising now.

Sakhisli and Arjen were above her. Kalina called up urgently, “Sahlishi, hand me down your hammer. Now!”

Defy Danger(STR)(Kalina): 2D6(3 2) +1 = 6 Failure!
Deal damage: One of your hands is badly burned

Kalina took off her pack; she had recovered some other items from the camp, including a couple of climbing pitons. Using the hammer, she drove the pitons into a crack in the rock. Sweat beaded on her forehead, and her clothes clung to her as the heat and steam thickened around her.

“Come on Kalina, grab my hand!” Sakhisli was leaning down now, ready to help her up out of the ravine. Kalina used the pitons as handholds, then as footholds, but she needed to hold something to steady herself for the final reach up: she gripped an outcrop of rock and felt a searing pain in her hand as the heat burned her. She hauled and pushed herself up and felt the dwarf grab her other hand; in a moment, Sakhisli and Arjen had hauled Kalina up to the top.

Fictional positioning matters: we know that Sakhisli has a salve for burns.

The ice was all gone now, replaced in the space of a few minutes by lava flowing through the gorge. Kalina and the others paused for breath on the higher ground here. Kalina’s left hand throbbed with pain, and her palm was burned; Sakhisli applied some salve to the burns, and the pain lessened, but it was still painful to work her fingers on that hand.

Once that was done, Kyorlin urged them to move on. “The bridge is not far, now.”

Introduce an element from ages past

Spout Lore(Kalina): 2D6(6 2) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Not useful information

As they drew close to the bridge, Kalina saw that it was bigger than she had thought at a distance. Massive columns of white stone rose out of the river to support more great slabs of stone, forming a bridge twenty yards wide and two hundred long. It looked like the bridge had stood here for thousands of years—it must date from the Age of Giants, she realised, when all of Xen’drik was under their rule. The individual blocks of stone were massive, like those they had seen in the old walls of Stormreach.

As they walked up onto the bridge, they could see that the river below was also affected by the planar disturbance. Chunks of ice floated downriver, that could surely not be natural in this climate, and steam rose off of the water in places.

The bridge itself was untouched, however. Kalina felt exposed as they walked across the broad expanse of stone, looked down on by the jungle on both sides of the river. But their crossing was not opposed. As they reached the far side, both the river and the jungle here were normal; trees came right up to the foot of the bridge here, having long since overran whatever road must once have passed this way. As they stepped into the jungle, the normal smells and sounds of the wild surrounded them once more.

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