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Chapter Two – Dek’s Shop
If your players have not completed The Ashes of Valkana, this should be the first part of the adventure that they experience. For those GMs who have read the first chapter for background information, don’t worry about the Touched by Chaos condition. PCs will have the opportunity to gain it in a later chapter of this adventure.
Because of this, where PCs who have completed The Ashes of Valkana experience something different to those who haven’t, I have endeavoured to create similar experiences throughout the rest of this adventure. The differences themselves are minor and shouldn’t cause any issues when playing through The Winds of Chaos.
Scene One – Roleplaying
If your players have completed the previous chapter, read the following aloud:
The teleportation portal shivers and quakes as you step through it, maddening whispers brush against your mind momentarily as the magic wraps itself around you, complete darkness enveloping your senses.
If your players have NOT completed the previous chapter because they have not completed The Ashes of Valkana, or had already left the Tomb of the Prophet, read the following aloud instead:
Today started like any other day, the sun rose, the birds sang and you awoke after a pleasant dream to the smell of wet grass and cooking. You felt in no particular hurry as you washed and dressed. It was only as you began to make your way to breakfast that the whispers began brushing your mind and the world went white.
After reading either of the two passages above aloud, read the following to begin the scene proper:
When your vision clears, the ringing aftereffect of the magic fading from your ears, you are confronted with the rugged face of an extremely surprised dwarf. One hand, seemingly made of some matte-black metal, holds a gem firmly in place whilst the other squeezes some adhesive from a small tube around the edges of the lustrous jewel.
The teleportation pad the players have landed on is at the back of a cluttered shop, surrounded by archaic technology in varying degrees of repair. The dwarf, who the players can now see has been trying to repair the teleportation pad, steps back when he has sealed the gem in place and introduces himself as Dek Steelhand and welcomes them to his establishment.
If pressed, Dek will explain that he runs a mercantile goods store in Vorakis, buying and selling trade goods, foods and relics from the Chaos Wars. The PCs were somehow teleported to his shop as he finished fixing the teleportation pad. If pressed, he will admit that he is a mage (he lost his hand in a magical experiment) and that he has conducted some study into the Chaos Wars (he is a former Mountain Guard and roamed the Broken Spires as mercenary and treasure hunter), but will not go into further detail (i.e. he will not reveal the information in the brackets).
He is wholly apologetic to the PCs and vows to fix the teleportation pad to send them wherever they want to go, pointing out that the gem that allows the pad to function fully is still in his storeroom. He estimates that it will take the rest of the day to fix the pad and that the PCs should enjoy the city whilst it is a ‘Lady Day’. As he mentions this, he inclines his head towards the bust of beautiful woman standing next to his table at the front of the shop. He will explain more about this (relaying the information found in The Ashes of Valkana regarding the city of Vorakis).
Should the PCs wish, he is willing to answer any more questions they may have but seems urgent to continue with his task. He is genuinely upset about what happened and wants to put it right, as such he will not sell the PCs anything, preferring instead to tinker with the teleportation pad whilst he talks with them.
Scene Two – Exploration, Roleplaying
The PCs should now be encouraged to explore Vorakis. Allow them the freedom to go where they want to and to name the shops and attractions they wish to see. Should they go shopping for supplies, the store keepers are happy, welcoming and willing to haggle down to 50% of the price for any items.
Any citizens they meet on the street are also welcoming and friendly, any rumours and gossip the PCs manage to overhear are about how it’s nice to have a tenth consecutive Lady Day considering the turbulence of the last few months.
Draw the players’ attention every now and then to the cyborgs that patrol the city. These mechanically augmented men and women stride through the crowds, their faces relaxed, obviously watching out for trouble but in a non-threatening manner. Should the PCs talk with one, it is happy to answer any questions they may have about the city, its people and its attractions. Each cyborg has a glowing blue light on its chest plate.
In their exploration of the city, the players should see the many statues of a beautiful woman erected in prominent places. Unless they succeed on a TN 15 Communication (Investigation/Persuasion/Seduction) check, all the PCs can find out is that it is good thing the statues are of ‘the Lady’. Succeeding on this check reveals the information that the statues sometimes show ‘the Lord’ and that the city isn’t anywhere near as pleasant when they do.
By the end of the morning, the PCs should be relaxed and enjoying the almost carnival atmosphere of Vorakis.
When each player has had a chance to name a shop or attraction that the PCs visit and these events have been role-played to their natural conclusion, read the following:
You’ve just sat down for lunch when you notice the fight occurring across the street. Two vendors are arguing over the limits of their stall on the crowded pavement and it looks like it is about to come to blows.
As one of them pulls his arm back, his fist clenched, a cyborg appears as if by magic and interposes itself. From your position, you can hear it reasoning with the two men, calming the situation down and getting them to agree to concessions.
As you are watching this, a horn blares out over the city. One of the nearby statues of the Lady shivers and shifts, the visage of a stern-faced man replacing the serene woman. The blue light on the cyborg’s chest-plate turns red and it turns to the florist on its left. The man, shouting loudly moments before as he argued with the pan merchant over the terms of their new agreement, goes pale and begins to back away.
Without warning, the cyborg reaches forward and picks him up by the neck, slamming him into the ground. The pan merchant runs, abandoning her wares, and disappears into the crowd. One of the cyborg’s fingers begins to spin and a probe emerges from the tip, the tell-tale arc of electricity dancing from it. The florist’s body spasms violently as the cyborg electrocutes him and then walks off, the unconscious man over its shoulder.
The PCs are now free to explore the city further. Again, each player is encouraged to name a shop/attraction that the PCs visit and all social encounters are role-played to their conclusion.
This time, however, shopkeepers are subdued, unwilling to haggle and will try to get the PCs out of their shops as soon as possible. This isn’t prejudice against strangers, the shopkeepers are treating the citizens of Vorakis in an identical manner. The citizens themselves are the same, any conversations the PCs may wish to have with them are rushed, quiet and end with a warning to stay out of trouble.
Succeeding on a TN 15 Communication (Investigation/Persuasion/Seduction) check will reveal to the players that now the Lord is in charge, the cyborgs will respond violently to any minor infraction or perceived troublemaking. The citizens will tell the PCs no more about the Lord and Lady than they already have. Should the PCs talk to a cyborg, its voice is now more mechanical sounding and it will repeatedly tell them to move on and be about their business, ignoring any questions they may ask of it.
After each player has had a chance to name somewhere for the PCs to go, they should be allowed to return to Dek’s shop.
When they return to Dek’s shop, it is surprisingly busy. Should they ask about this, Dek explains that he is rarely troubled by the cyborgs, succeeding on a TN 13 Perception (Seeing) check allows the PCs to notice Dek’s eyes flicker to a large crystal set into a metal plate covered in arcane sigils that hangs above the door. A successful TN 11 Intelligence (Arcane Lore required) check will allow a PC to realise that it is a magical array designed to deflect attention and is extremely old.
Dek offers the PCs refreshments after they have asked all they wish of him and will prepare drinks and food in a small attached kitchen before returning to his work. Shortly before he reaches the teleportation pad, two vials of bright orange liquid smash through the front window and break over several items. In the time it takes the PCs to notice this, the liquid catches fire and Dek’s shop begins to burn.
Scene Three – Combat
As Dek’s shop begins to burn and more and more of his wares go up in flames, two things happen. The first is that the customers in his shop begin to panic, understandably screaming and rushing around, trying to push past each other to get out of the burning establishment. The second is that a number of members of the Broken Gear gang equal to double the number of PCs plus 2 rushes in, breaking through the window. The players should now roll initiative.
This fight is intended to be tough and as such has the following special rules:
- Panicked Citizens: Due to the number of people rushing for the exit, all ranged attacks suffer a -2 penalty for the first of combat, this drops to -1 on the second and on the third and subsequent rounds, the effects of this rule no longer apply.
- Smoke-filled Interior: The smoke filling the shop makes it harder to accurately hit combatants in vital areas, as a result all Stunts cost one point more than usual. Should Dek successfully extinguish the fire (see below), the effects of this rule no longer apply.
Dek himself will not take part in the fight, spending his turn (Dex benefits from a 3 Dexterity (Initiative) ability) trying to extinguish the fire spreading throughout his shop. At the beginning of the encounter there are two fires, each dealing 1d6+2 damage to any character that enters, or starts their turn, in the fire. At the beginning of each round after the first, roll 1d6 for each fire, on a 6 another fire ignites nearby. Each fire requires a successful TN 13 Intelligence check, which Dex has a +3 bonus on.
Any nearby PC may also attempt to extinguish a fire, they need to pass the same check or use an appropriate Arcana. PCs may gain bonuses (no more than a +2) at the GMs discretion depending on their method of extinguishing the fire. The GM may also change the Ability and the focus needed for a PC to pass this check depending on the PCs actions.
When all the fires are out, Dek will retreat to the teleportation pad and defend it. Any attacks made against him miss and he will only make a mêlée attack in self-defence, with a +4 bonus and dealing 1d6+2 damage.
The gang members, using the profile below, will fight to the death and will pass all checks required to remain in the fight. Any PC taking a minor action to study them will note that their eyes are glowing slightly. A successful TN 13 Intelligence (Arcane Lore required) check will reveal that they have been magically compelled to attack the shop. Any attempts to dispel this magic fail.
One gang member, already in the shop when the fight breaks out, is there to steal something and can be found in the press of customers at the door during the first two rounds of combat. Spotting him requires a TN 15 Perception (Seeing) check and all PCs may attempt this as a free action at the start of their turn. If the PCs pass this check, they see a small figure holding something to its chest, leaving the shop as fast as they can.
Once the gang members are dead, Dek will approach the PCs and tell them that something has been stolen. He offers them the use of a special piece of equipment to track it down for him, while he repairs the damage done to the teleportation pad, now giving off multi-coloured sparks and plumes of smoke.
Using the device requires a PC to pass to a successful TN 11 Intelligence (Arcane Lore) check, or a TN 7 Intelligence (Arcane Lore) check if they ask Dek to explain how it works. Upon a successful check, the PC carrying the device is spun around to face the direction the thief took and they can see a small figure in the distance, running through the city.
|Broken Gear Gang Members|
|2||Accuracy (Blaster Pistols)|
|Light Blaster Pistol||+4||1d6+3||10/20|
|Favoured Stunts: Knock Prone, Lightning Attack
Talents: Armour Training (Novice)
Weapon Groups: Brawling, Light Blades, and Blaster Pistols
Equipment: Light blaster pistol, light leather armour, dagger
|Magically Compelled Berserkers|
Read Chapter Three here
Any feedback is gratefully appreciated.