So we end up with an unexpected day or two of free time for this last weekend, and my friend wants to run a one-shot of Monte Cook’s Iron Heroes. That’s kind of like D&D 3.5, in a Conan setting. Your class is based around your fighting style, with one lone arcane class available to those who just can’t live without their sorcery. The entire thing’s set in a low-magic, pseudo-hyborian world.
Our buddy plays Zoltan the Magnificent, a street conjuror who is secretly a wizard. My wife is his assistant, a scantily clad dancing girl who’s secretly an executioner. (Assassin type.) We’ve also got an African amazon style weapon master, and she’s deadly with a shield and trident.
Me? I’m Khalid Ben-Hussan, the worst merchant in the city. Every few months Khalid staggers out of the desert leading his camel, with arrows sticking out of both of them, crowing about how he saved much money on caravan guards. Khalid fights with a falchion that has its own zip code. He’s technically a berserker, though his abilities are based on good humor rather than rage… He has “Intimidating Laugh”, rather than Battle Howl, that sort of thing. And he gets more cheerful as he fights, considering it all good play. Khalid is one-eyed… A bandit shot it out. Fortunately that bandit’s head fetched a good bounty, and Khalid had the gold from it made into a new eye.
Khalid sells useless souvenir stuff… Bamboo flamingos, tiny silk umbrellas, and hats with wine mugs built into them. But he has a few useful things, such as Khalid’s ever-burning torches (With a socket build into the bottom, so you can screw a new torch into it. Technically it’s the same flame…), and Khalid’s ten-foot pole. (A back scratcher with ten clawed animal feet built into it.)
So, the adventure is beginning, and Zoltan is telling the amazon’s fortune in his booth, which happens to be up against the old, ruined city wall. Lo and behold, the wall starts to shift, move, and magically open! They’re gaping at it, when Khalid pokes his head into the tent.
K: “Hey, Z! Friend of Khalid and conjuror beyond compare, the market magistrate is here. He wants the pay for this – by the gods! What did you do?”
Z: “Nothing! Though my magics be mighty, this is none of my doing.”
K: “Hmph! Khalid believes you, but the magistrate will not. And he will be upset that you broke the wall. Maybe want double-bribe from Zoltan, this week.”
Z: “Such perfidy cannot stand!”
K: “Yes! Let us find rude openers of walls in respectable wizard’s homes, and request that they cease their opening!”
And so, our intrepid group went down into the dungeon to find someone we could politely ask to reseal the dungeon. All so our good friend didn’t have to pay a 6-copper bribe, instead of a 3-copper bribe.
The grasping carnivorous fungus down the tunnel was easy to chop through, as were the skeletons waiting for us in the tomb antechamber. Then we came upon a sarcophagus that opened, revealing an iron-masked mummy, a terrible fearsome sight that glared at us with pure malevolence.
K: “Greetings effendi! The gods look down on us with favor, the stars themselves dance with joy, and Khalid declares an all-day twenty-percent off sale at this, the most auspicious moment of our meeting!”
The mummy stops. The rest of the party stops.
K: “Though humble Khalid hates to admit it, we have come as supplicants. Truly, we wail at disturbing such a revered great one! We rend our hair and gnash our teeth, woe, woe! But great urgency drives us forth to discuss our small, meager needs with esteemed ancestor.”
The mummy stares. The rest of the party stares.
K: “Yes, you see, Khalid does not know exactly why, but a door has opened up in friend Zoltan’s tent. If perhaps such a great ancestor could see fit to shut the door, Khalid and Khalid’s friends will depart, giving much thanks and perhaps a bamboo flamingo puppet on a stick as a small gift for great one’s casket…”
Mummy: “YOU TRAVEL WITH THE AZORAN.” And then it tried to kill Zoltan.
Then there was fighting. But Khalid tried!
Later on in the tomb, we started hitting traps and puzzles. After the first trap, the wizard insisted on checking every door for more traps. (Anyone can search for traps in this system.) Every door came up clear. Then we got to the central chamber, and found five non-moving skeletons sitting around a table. On the table was a pedestal with a ruby the size of Khalid’s head!
Immediately, Zoltan goes for the ruby! Immediately, amazon woman tries to stab one of the skeletons! Khalid tries to stop both of them, and fails miserably.
K: “Wait! What? Think! Stop! This is perhaps… GAH! SOMETHING IS WRONG WHEN KHALID IS VOICE OF REASON!”
Of course, the pedestal animates, swallows the ruby, sprouts limbs and attempts to kill the hell out of us.
K:”OH! EVERY DOOR, EVERY DOOR HE SAY WAIT KHALID! WAIT, LET ZOLTAN LOOK FOR TRAPS! BUT NOOOOO, FURNITURE JUST FINE! COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE TRAP ON FURNITURE, JUST WALK OVER AND GRAB EASY TREASURE! Dammit Z, now Khalid have to kill a dais because of you. We live through this, you buying first bottle.”
And the dais was defeated, the ruby reclaimed, and a fiery demon released unwittingly from the gem… But on the plus side, we did find out how to seal the wall again, and dodge the 3-copper bribe. So all’s well that ended well…
By: Lost Demiurge