Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 4: Looting the tomb, tracking the kruthik

Our intrepid heroes, still in Ashtura’s tomb in assorted states of disrepair, got to the business of patching themselves up thanks to Lestok the eccentric old gnome being the only one with the presence of mind to have procured healing kits before entering the kruthik lair (gotta love the gnome’s love of anything remotely resembling a gadget!). Jak threw caution to the wind and let Lestok tend to his wounds, a gamble which paid off when Lestok proved surprisingly adept at it (well, not surprising to him), and though Kayde rudely declined Jak’s “dying” wish to let him inherit his bar tab if he didn’t make it out of the tomb alive, Jak paid it forward and stitched up Kayde and Lestok. 

Their attention then turned to Ashtura himself. The hobgoblin blademark Aruget was determined that they not do anything to desecrate the body of his ancient kin, with Jak catching a rebuke after kicking at the corpse to ensure that the undead was really dead. A cursory examination of the body by druid/Dhakaani scholar Quentin turned up nothing out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, Kayde strayed to the far end of the tomb and discovered two chests brimming with treasure – carvings, gemstones, a veritable mountain of strange coins, and, much to Lestok’s delight, a whistle (he assessed it for arcana; it was a perfectly mundane whistle, but he believed it can go on on to do great things). The party was faced with a decision: to take the treasure and run, or to finish the job we came for – exterminating a kruthik hive and collecting specimens – and hope the treasure would still be there when we got back. Jak pointed out that he has a reputation for getting the job done, and that that meant something, and the others agreed. Jak removed a handful of gemstones from one chest to guarantee the party wouldn’t leave the tomb empty-handed, and Quentin salvaged a bottle of fire oil before using shape earth to cover the chests with rock, a very clever disguise and deterrent against any opportunistic treasure-hunters who are not themselves.  

Backtracking out of the tomb through the mysterious room with the pressure plates in it, their only options for going forward were a door with no lock…and down into the kruthik tunnels. Kayde went into his shadow form and scouted through the door, finding no way to open it, another room full of pressure plates, and below the pressure plates, a series of pits full of grinding gears. That’s a mystery for another day, but he was able to backtrack through the kruthik tunnels to guarantee that the one we were at would connect further down. With nowhere to go but down, the party went down! Jak happily retrieved the net he’d lost to some pesky kruthik earlier in the day, and made chalk marking along the walls to mark the party’s path. Eventually, they came to a larger natural cavern full of kruthik goo…as well as an unnatural cavern that appeared to be the foundations of one of Old Sharn’s towers.

Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 3: Battle in the Tomb

After dispatching four zombies, the party buckled down for epic combat with the undead Dakhaani warrior Ashtura and his guardian wights. After narrowly dodging a killing blow, Jak found himself flying across the stone floor when the hobgoblin blademark Aruget shoved him out of the wight’s reach and took his place in the face of danger. 

Their friendly resident exterminator Lestok tried his best to dispatch the wight with his alchemical concoctions, but the wight was unaffected, and the party’s attempts to reason with, intimidate, and finally belittle Ashtura were met with casual disdain until the Dakhaani scholar Quentin made a particularly obscene gesture that rattled Ashtura to the core. Meanwhile, Lestok and Jak continued to pepper the wights with crossbow bolts, which didn’t pierce their armour but did distract them enough for House Phiarlan’s Kayde and Aruget with his shield dance to land a succession of killing blows – but not before one of the wights’ blades caught Jak across the chest, slashing him open and dealing a near-mortal blow. Kayde caught the business end of Ashtura’s sword shortly after, suffering a minor wound in the process. With the help of his friends, Jak managed to retreat to safety while the others introduced the haughty Ashtura to his doom. 

He kept telling them they wouldn’t have the ashen crown, he kept telling them we wouldn’t have his sword…and maybe he was right. As he died, his sword fell from his hands and shrunk to no bigger than the size of an ornamental dagger. Quentin (and his friends at Morgrave) will be over the moon trying to solve the mysteries of this relic.

In the meantime, Jak badly needs a healing hand, and while Kayde is also injured, the greater indignity was yet another hole in his good shiftweave. As we ended the night, the party was left in the tomb recovering from our wounds…and they still haven’t done the job they were sent down to the Cogs for in the first place!

Behind the Scenes

  • Getting saddled with two wounds right off the bat was quite alarming as a new player. I honestly thought I was done for!
  • We tried everything to talk to Ashtura, with increasing penalties on each attempt. What finally worked was…definitely amusing, flavour-wise.
  • Aruget using his turn to push Jak to safety was when I knew that this group was something special. If memory serves, this was also his very first session with us, and he chose to be selfless and live up to his backstory as a defender. He’s a good guy.

Introducing the Seekers of the Ashen Crown

In which I introduce the party, and fast-forward to my first actual recap of the campaign.

Bugs. Why did it have to be bugs?

It all started simply enough. Professor Reddick at Morgrave University wanted some samples of kruthik eggs, and hopefully a rare, live, flying kruthik as an even better prize. He sent us down to the Cogs, where the foreman of the ir’Tain foundry revealed that the nest was threatening his workers and thus, his bottom line, while a vassal of Sovereign Host down there was concerned for those same workers as well.

Kruthik. Ugly bastards. Imagine a cockroach the size of a dog, with oversized claws and jaws, and now you’re getting closer to the heart of the matter. But work is work, and our intrepid adventurers-for-hire were better off for it.

The misfits in question

  • Quentin Yandarrl, a Khorovar (half-elf) scholar from the dead nation of Cyre, currently employed by Morgrave University as a researcher specializing in ancient Dhakaani culture. Interested by the prospect of exploring the ruins under the Cogs.
  • Aruget, a House Deneith blademark hired to protect this expedition. Originally a gladiator from Graywall , Aruget has been in Sharn these past six years doing bodyguard and mercenary work.
  • Lestok Morgas, an eccentric gnome artificer who ostensibly works as an exterminator for Morgrave. He just showed up one day, and no one ever bothered to tell him to leave. Lestok is never seen without his trusty gadgets such as the Fumigator 9000.
  • Kayde d’Phiarlan, a scion of House Phiarlan whose talents extend beyond just putting on a good show. Unknown to most, Kayde is a skilled spy, and his house likes him keeping an eye on interesting goings-on in Sharn. Likes: showing off. Dislikes: getting dirty.
  • And last but not least, Jak aka Jack Fenton (that’s me!), a changeling agent of the King’s Dark Lanterns…or at least he was, until he got suspended for dreamlily abuse a few months back. Good friends with Kayde, Jak hopes this job will help him get back on his feet.

The story so far

After accepting the job, the party made their way down to the Cogs. A poor, dark, dirty place, the Cogs are uninviting and dangerous, but its lava flows help power the foundries Sharn depends on. After meeting with a rather surly dwarf at the Tain foundry, and Professor Reddick’s friend concerned for his people, our heroes made their way down into the ruins of Old Sharn.

They quickly found themselves enmeshed in something they didn’t expect: signs of treasure hunters (now deceased), and signs of ancient Dhakaani civilization. From murals to statues, it was plain as day. After dispatching a few kruthik (sadly, no flying ones), they made their way into a strange room with a door with no obvious mechanism at one end, and a series of pressure plates marked with strange symbols in the middle. Taking their cues from some symbols found branded on a scrap of leather, the door soon creaked open, and they made their way into a large tomb of some sort.

While Lestok investigated the strange, multi-armed statue in the middle of the tomb, the others took a casual look around when suddenly, the door slammed shut…and two statues (and several zombies) came to life as a sarcophagus clanged open and an undead Dhakaani warrior climbed out. The fight was on.

Why Savage Worlds? A brief history of SWADE and me

In which I wax poetic about why Savage Eberron is my favourite Eberron. And what the heck is an Eberron, anyways?

If you’ve found your way here, that probably means that you know about Savage Worlds, you know about Eberron, or you have had the pleasure of combining the two already. But in case a piece of the puzzle is missing, consider this the Coles Notes version!

Eberron began life as the winner of a Dungeons & Dragons setting search contest hosted by Wizards of the Coast in the early 00s. Created by game designer Keith Baker, Eberron is a world where magic is wide, motivations are rarely cut and dried, and everyone from the kings and queens of the Five Nations to the lowliest beggar is feeling the effects of a recently ended, hundred-year war that tore the continent of Khorvaire apart. It prides itself on being a great setting for both pulp adventure and noir intrigue, two areas in which Savage Worlds (we’re playing the Adventure Edition, or SWADE for short) excels.

And what is Savage Worlds? It’s a setting-agnostic tabletop roleplaying system, and you can preview the rules for free here. Official Savage Worlds settings include supernatural-infused versions of the Old West and ancient Rome, sci-fi adventures, and strange goings-on in a college town. What does any of this have to do with Eberron, you ask? Well, it just kind of…does. Mechanics like the wild die, bennies, and exploding dice help heroes succeed at seemingly impossible tasks, narrowly cheat death, and even know things they’re not supposed to know. The GM makes you roll that common knowledge check at a -4, but you get a dice explosion? Turns out that rumour you once heard in a tavern while three sheets to the wind was true after all! Top that off with a system of graduated success – and failure – and you get some dice that have the potential to tell stories of heroes who beat the odds by the skin of their teeth…or get into more than they bargained for.

Anyways, like I said in my last post, I stumbled across Savage Worlds courtesy of an LFG on the official Eberron Discord. And while I was anxious about learning a new system at first, having been used to 5e – the freeform character creation was surprisingly hard to wrap my head around – I quickly fell in love with it, and wouldn’t have my Eberron any other way.

Early on in our first campaign together, I started writing detailed, cinematic recaps of our sessions. At first it was just for fun, then I started sharing them at the behest of one of my fellow players. But they garnered a little attention, enough for some people to start asking me when I’d share our adventures for more people to read. So here I am.

Our current campaign is a home conversion of the D&D 4e adventure Seekers of the Ashen Crown, converted to Savage Worlds and tailored to our party by our trusty GM. It starts in media res as I didn’t start my recaps until week three, but don’t worry, I’ll bring you up to speed. 🙂 In my next post, I’ll introduce the party, and from there, the adventure begins!

Nice to meet you!

Hey there! I’m Elly. Or, as some of you may know me in other spaces, TheLostSkeleton.

My love for all things tabletop began in July of 2018, when I found myself playing an impromptu game of Grant Howitt’s Jason Statham’s Big Vacation…and next thing I knew, I had a D&D character sheet in front of me, and my adventure began.

Fast forward to August 2020. I was browsing Discord when I saw an LFG post for something called “Savage Worlds”, and in my favourite setting: Eberron. Something in me clicked; that little voice in my head wouldn’t shut up until I messaged the DM, and Savage Worlds quickly became my favourite system for Eberron adventures. I fell into the role of my party’s unofficial official chronicler, and after posting tales of our adventures on Discord for several months, I was encouraged to branch out and spread the word. So sit back, relax, and I hope you enjoy hearing about our adventures as much as I enjoy being a part of them.