We continue right where we left off in Grave Titan Harvest, somewhere deep underground where miners, books, and wizards have all gone missing. Can our heroes save the miners? Will they exchange all the books? Or will they be eaten by adorable little mushroom people?
Play time: ~3 hours
- Garvin the Ranger (absent)
- Thorin the Fighter
- Cassius the Very Good Cleric
- Lothki the Artificer (and his metal ram “Ramkin”)
When last we left our heroes…
The team had just failed to help one of the lost miners to assemble a silver puzzle, and were ready to move on. Following a watery glow, they headed north to the rim of a shallow pool full of giant scorpions and glittering gems. Lothki wanted those gems! Cassius tossed some jerky into the pool to distract the scorpions and Lothki grabbed at whatever he could reach. The water tingled, but he successfully grabbed a few gems, which contained tiny wriggling shapes.
They headed east toward another glow in the distance, but they soon encountered a tiny mushroom man humming on a rock. Again, they scared this little creature, which blasted them with spores and ran off. Lothki and Thorin were fine, but Cassius found that half his hair had melted away!
Onward to the glow, past a dangling shape under the titan’s skull, and they found a narrow ravine full of glittering crystals containing a few dim, shadowy faces. Everyone was overwhelmed by the sulfur fumes, so they backed away and headed south. Dodging through some ghost bass, they found a tall, dense grove of mushrooms, and quickly noped out of there.
Heading back north to the skull, they discovered that the danging shape was a rope ladder. After climbing up through a stiff breeze and a school of ghost piranha, they emerged into the bony cave of the dead titan’s skull and heard a woman’s voice. They soon found the missing wizard apprentice Lorenza under a red crystal, trying to convince the dead titan to pass its soul into her wand.
This started a very compelling debate between the heroes, the wizard, and the titan about the value of knowledge, life, power, and death. At first it seemed that the team would help Lorenza acquire the soul to preserve the titan’s knowledge and help mankind. Then it seemed they would help the titan pass its soul into the Black Well to join its dead brethren. But ultimately Lothki decided he wanted the soul for himself and Cassius persuaded the titan to pass its soul into their metal familiar, Ramkin.
The red light winked out.
Lorenza flew into a rage, shattering the chamber and the heroes, who quickly retaliated. She then thundered into thin air, leaving the team battered and confused. But Cassius ran back to the ladder to look down, and saw Lorenza talking to Ramkin! So the team opened fire and quickly killed her.
Ramkin, with glowing red eyes, turned and ran north, ignoring Lothki’s commands. The team pursued! While Cassius gathered up Lorenza’s body, Thorin grappled the ram to a standstill. After another tense negotiation, they convinced the titan that they weren’t murderhobos by healing Lorenza. The titan then introduced herself as Misty and agreed to join them on their adventures!
Exhausted, the team made camp. During the night, they heard a strange grinding sound in the distance. In the morning, Lorenza was gone. The team quickly headed back to the mining camp and discovered Lorenza asleep in her own bed. They then went to the wizard Orazio and offered him his spellbook back in exchange for The Wail of Zerah. Orazio was not pleased at having his books held hostage, but he agreed to the exchange.
(During this scene, one of the miners returned to camp with the completed silver puzzle: a rabbit familiar! What did it do? No one knows! He belongs to the miner now!)
Lothki check the book and discovered it was not in fact The Wail! A double-cross! Cassius invoked his Radiant Soul and intimidated the wizard into handing over the correct book. (I was sorely tempted to kick off the big wizard battle with the mutant chicken at this point, but their rolls were just too good!) Orazio gave them the book and they left in peace.
Passing through the teleportation stone, they arrived on the surface and gave the book to Hadiya, who let them leave in peace as well. The heroes returned to Ragged Hollow victorious, with many discoveries and a newly possessed ram to aid them.
My players did a great job engaging with all the weird stuff in GTH, and they only cracked into half the stuff in there! So many things “almost” happened, but didn’t. Lothki almost mutated into a scorpion. They almost found the skeletons in the crystal ravine. They almost freed the hag from the obelisk. And they almost returned the titan’s soul to the Black Well, which would have destroyed the whole cavern!
They also didn’t explore the mining camp much, so the cook and the cleric didn’t come into play. Nor did they show any interest in the magic flying boat that the wizard was building. Oh well!
All in all, everyone had a good time. My big take-away was that sandbox adventures like this need a strong hook, or storyline, to give events more momentum and focus. My players were great about wandering around and poking all the things, but a little more story focus on my part might have helped to maintain tension and energy.