Play time: 3 hours
Hero: Amaranth the Warlock (6)
Note: This one-shot adventure was written for low-level play, but since we only had one player for this session I allowed him to super-charge his solo character to level 6. This had… interesting results.
Fire in the Sky
Lonely warlock (of undeath and plants) Amaranth was making his evening camp when a mass of flaming debris appeared in the sky above him. He quickly dug a bunker and ducked underground just before the cataclysmic impact. After digging himself out, he found himself standing in a huge impact crater full of burning wreckage and one strangely intact white platform. Amaranth looked around, and then touched the hand-shaped indent on the pillar at the center of the platform. And everything changed.
Blades in the Dark
Amaranth found himself in a dark room. Chipped murals on the ceiling, torn portraits on the walls. He was standing on another white platform, but the central pillar was broken, and missing.
Out in the hall, he saw several doorways, mostly dark or flickering. As he approached one, a giant wing of metal blades burst through the wall, screeching and flailing at him. He unleashed his undead vines (eldritch blasts) and shattered the wing to pieces.
In the next room, he found a large glass hatch looking out at the stars. Stars in every direction, up and down. He was IN SPAAACE!!!
The door to the Private room was shredded to pieces, and the interior was flooded with blue fluids and shattered glass. Inside four huge broken tubes, he found a headless man’s corpse, an elephantine man’s corpse, and a reptilian man’s corpse. In the fourth tube was a young man named Rev, shivering and terrified. He had no idea where he was or what was happening, but he was naked and covered in blue goo. Amaranth collected a few potions and then revived the red reptilian man as his zombie servant, Scaly.
Amaranth led the young man (and Scaly) to the Medical bay and tried to pry the door open with a crowbar. A voice called from inside, and Amaranth convinced the stranger to let them in. Squinting into the bright sterile lights, they found a small operating theater, the white walls spattered with blood. The skeleton surgeon, Dr Mahkoi, explained that his bandaged patient, the maid Griselle, was dying of extraordinary slash wounds.
Amaranth demanded exposition! Dr Mahkoi explained that this tower was the Manse of Onar, the home of a vampire alchemist. And yes, they were in space above the world Harth. But one of the master’s creatures had escaped and destroyed much of the tower.
Leaving the naked gooy man Rev with the doctor (and a pair of pants), Amaranth and Scaly moved on. They poked around the staff quarters, finding some work clothes and a skittish cat. Then it was time to head upstairs.
The Master suite was locked, so Amaranth poked around the dark luxury of the Guest suite, picking up a little gold and some vampire sunglasses. Then he went through a shredded door into the Recreation suite, where he found three curtains.
Behind curtain 1 was a flickering illusion of a tropical beach, where a tsunami of turtles caused him psychic damage. Curtain 2 revealed a snowy mountain, also a flickering illusion, and he retreated from a sudden blizzard. Beyond Curtain 3 he found an illusory bar full of ruffians, and had to run for his life as a violent brawl broke out. Despite the stranger danger, Amaranth emerged with two magic rings and a magic dagger.
The warlock then ventured into the Observatory, which appeared unharmed. He sat at a massive telescope and started pushing gems in his chair’s arm. The first button revealed a golden tower floating among the stars, and a woman’s voice erupted from the chair. When Amaranth claimed that he had taken over the Manse of Onar, the woman was amused and said he wouldn’t enjoy it for long. He then summoned a view of a red moon covered in red tentacles, and horrific screams burst from the chair’s arm. Lastly he looked at a silver moon covered in glowing people and heard them chanting.
Amaranth continued up to the Greenhouse and found a lush jungle beneath a glass dome, full of colorful creatures. He quickly set to work killing the flora, transforming the vibrant rainforest into a decaying landscape of browns and grays covered in moss and lichen. This made it easy to spot the blue parrots and red monkeys, as well as a giant green sleeping serpent.
He also found a swarm of fire ants (ants on fire) attacking a red octopus in a tree. The octopus protested the destruction of the jungle, because he was so hungry and wanted to eat everything. Then he begged Amaranth to help him escape from the tower. Amaranth agreed and the octopus climbed on top of the zombie Scaly.
Master of the House
Back at the Master suite, Amaranth met the vampire alchemist Revelius Onar in his Iron Skull armor. Revelius explained that he was trying to cure his allergy to sunlight by studying two immortal creatures: a red horror and a metal celestial. Then he spotted a fragment of the red horror, the octopus! After a brief battle, Revelius slaughtered the small horror while Amaranth watched in amusement.
Revelius then hired Amaranth to find and “deal with” the metal celestial hidden somewhere in the tower. Just then, they heard a sound from downstairs…
Amaranth went downstairs to find a voidship had docked at the large glass hatch and three grizzled warriors had arrived. These mercenaries worked for the vampire in the golden tower, the woman who Amaranth talked to in the Observatory. They were here to loot the place!
After a brutal battle, Amaranth killed all three mercenaries (mostly by sucking the life out of them with his eldritch vines) and took their weapons.
What’s in the Basement?
Downstairs, the warlock examined two corridors. One ended in a red resin cell, and one ended in a wire mesh cell. The metal cell was splashed with blood and a butchered body lay on the floor. He assumed this was one of the servants who let the celestial out.
In the Machine shop, Amaranth tried to free a small construct from under a fallen beam, but a clumsy misstep accidentally smashed the little guy to pieces. But he did grab a cool knife and a powerful orb. The floor of the Alchemical lab hissed with bubbling acids, so he didn’t go in. The Animal lab had been torn to pieces and bodies lay everywhere. He spotted a creature in the shadows feeding on the corpses, believed it to be another red octopus, and left it alone.
After a brief battle with some mechanical hall monitors, the warlock found the Sub-basement.
In the Reservoir, Amaranth spotted yet another fragment of the red octopus horror swimming in the dark water, and left. He then entered the Compost heap and battled some Mycotic Zombies to acquire wand made from a golden raven’s talon.
After a short rest in the Guest suite, Amaranth noticed a vampiric woman floating outside the window. Using gestures, they agreed to meet at the glass hatch. Amaranth nudged the Cleaning Crew’s voidship away from the tower and the vampire came inside. She was Skarlet Anzi, assistant to Revelius Onar. Amaranth tried to convince her that the celestial was gone, but she didn’t believe him and chose to take the voidship and fly down to the dying world of Harth.
Amaranth then went upstairs and told Revelius that all was well. He was suspicious and went to investigate. While he was gone, the warlock discovered an ivory wand in the Master suite, and then stole his personal voidship. What followed could only be described as a harrowing free-fall flight back down to Harth, complete with two last-ditch teleports to escape from the fiery explosion as the ship impacted the desert.
But our hero survived!
This one-player one-shot was tons of fun. I definitely found a number of places where I want to streamline the written adventure because I found myself a bit overwhelmed with all the rooms, NPCs, and options. But the player had a great time, and really enjoyed discovering that the adventure was a survival-horror session IN SPAAACE!!!
There was tons of interactivity, and the mood was solid. He said it felt a little too sci-fi instead of fantasy, so I will tweak the language accordingly. But all in all, a great game night!