Sunday, April 16, 2017

Portal Rats #1: Feet of Flames

Planescape: Torment Enhanced was recently released, so I was in the mood to play a Planescape solo adventure. Coincidentally, Portal Rats was just released; a Black Hack Planescape hack. While I initially thought of using Black Stream's Solo Heroes to tweak damage values, I decided to play it almost as is. I used The Perilous Wilds to populate and theme the Five Room Dungeon after creating the adventure seed via Portal Rats.

Morcant’s light skinned muscular form is broken by patches of turquoise scales. He has uniformly black eyes, the color of raven feathers, with shoulder length hair to match. He wears the trappings of a corsair beneath an ashen gambeson which does little to conceal his webbed fingers and gills.

STR 12 DEX 09 CON 11
INT 09 WIS  13 CHA 11
HP 07
HD d8

ATTACK d6 / d4
ARMOR 2 / d4

PROFICIENCIES blunt weapons, swords, gambeson, leather, chain and shields
ADVANTAGE ON WIS saves and combat tests against Lower Celestial beings

RATIONS        d4
TORCH           d6

GEAR mace, gambeson, backpack, lantern, fresh rations, rope, flint and steel, wineskin, bedroll, flask of oil, fishing gear (d6), 3 silver feydds


How had he gotten away with it?

That thought crossed Morcant’s mind for the hundredth time. He stared across the icy waves of the Razor Tides at the looming island ahead of him. Behind him, the Many-colored Dimension waited. Three days was the agreement. Looking at the barren rocks ahead of him, he wasn't so sure about the three days.

Gal Kuhr sprang from the City of Lost Hope. Somehow, he had gained access to the Temple of Dwr and stolen a handful of blessed coins. A wretched thing. Purple skin mottled with red, rust hued claws, and feet that smoldered like cooling lava. Gal Kuhr was arrogant, intelligent and bred to survive in the city of sorrows. Somehow, that thing had crossed the Ocean of Razor Tides, infiltrated the temple, then made way back here. Wherever “here” was.

The boat ran aground, shards broken from the floes at sea cracking against it. Morcant gathered his gear and pulled the boat ashore. He had seen a cave somewhere, but the waves, and his brooding thoughts, had misplaced it. Above the sound of crashing waves, he could hear footsteps. Thuds and scrapes. Something large if it could be heard above and the tide. The lightly armored warrior crept forward, crouched low.

He wasn't much of a hunter, so stalking was not one of his specialties.  Still, he made his way up the coast and peeked from behind some rocks. Ceitan. Morcant counted three. He heard from some Rats they were called deer. They didn't fit the description, though. Ceitan wore antlers and had skin the color of night. Not black. Literally night, complete with stars shining beneath as if the creatures were walking glimpses into the night sky. As he turned to spy a way around them into the caves, his foot caused rocks to roll and clack down the slope behind him. One of the antlered heads shot up and gazed in his direction.

The first ceitan swiftly turned and ran off a few hundred yards. It paused, the star light grew in intensity, then it exploded into motes of fireflies with a hollow thump and flew further down the coast. The other two sniffed at the air and quickly followed. Morcant didn't want to deal with a herd of ceitan by himself anyway.

He took the lantern from his pack and illuminated inside the cave. There was a tunnel a few dozen feet back. Stone arches, a henge, he thought, circled the perimeter of the cave. The rocks were ancient. Old etched things were worn beyond comprehension. It may have been words, perhaps they were pictographs. Someone more intelligent than himself would likely take the time to study it.

Perhaps studying the henge would have been the better option. Morcant continued down the corridor and entered a second empty chamber. Empty aside from the trigger he had stepped on. And the falling block that came from the ceiling. As he desperately attempted to dive out of the way, his foot got caught beneath the weight of the fallen stone. That may, or may not, have helped him as spikes rose from tiny holes in the floor and ripped at his gambeson. If it were not for the watchful eye of Dwr, and the gambeson, he would be dead.

That was a near death experience. He thought it wise to rest here while he levered his foot from under the stone and take stock of the situation. Morcant checked over the tears in the armor; it was still serviceable. This was not an auspicious start…

Still, in the service of Dwr, he would find some way to recover the blessed tokens. There was just the one direction: forward. Which led to another chamber, but the tunnel forked forward and to the left and right. The lantern showed dirt, stone, and more of the faded etching. Though less faded, Morcant still couldn't read what the pictographs were trying to say. With a muttered prayer to Dwr, Morcant chose the left hand path.

He could hear low, guttural speech from up ahead. As cautious as he could be, his hard soled boots still seemed to echo in his ears. A purple skinned man stood in front of a stone arch, arms raised in ritual. Gal Kuhr turned and Morcant could see half of the thing’s grin.

“Late again, I see,” Gal Kuhr said in an inhuman tone. A hollow bass like rock shifting on rock in an empty market. It echoed itself without the aid of the cave walls. Within the cave, it sounded like being surrounded by copies of him.

“You stole from Dwr. I need to take it back,” Morcant replied.

“Spent,” Gal Kuhr retorted.


It started as a small sphere of moss green floating within the stone arch. The scent of green grass and the rush of a gentle breeze. The globe seemed to emanate the sound of a breath being quickly inhaled then held, then it suddenly expanded to fill the emptiness. Beyond the portal, Asphodel Meadows beckoned.

Behind Morcant, heavy foot steps echoed from the other tunnel. In the human realms, it may have been described as a twisted rhinoceros. Immense, thick skinned and a duet of horns. However, where its mouth would be, a roiling mass of tentacles lifted and appeared to taste the air. Its hooves smoldered with the same burning embers as Gal Kuhr’s. A khirs. Morcant drew his mace which crackled with energy: Dwr’s Will manifest. Lightning sent minute tendrils of electricity into the air surrounding the weapon and to the ground, snaking around the Paladin’s feet.

“I’ll leave you to it,” Gal Kuhr said smugly then stepped into the portal.

The khirs snorted and rushed at Morcant, who was barely able to step aside from the charge in the tight confines. Now the beast was in the chamber, giving the Paladin more room to work with. The mace crashed down on the thick skull and hide of the Burning creature. It barely seemed hurt.

With the additional room to maneuver, Morcant deftly avoided the horns as they raked across where he stood. His mace continued to rain down on the thing, but it had even less effect than the last strike.

Now the beast was angered and attempted to ensnare Morcant in its tentacled maw. The Paladin was guided by Dwr and the dance of combat, continuing to weave around his opponent’s flank. He swung the mace upward and felt Dwr drive the blessed mace home, smashing into the khirs jaw with an audible crack. Teeth shattered, shards of bone dropping to the cave floor. And, yet, it continued to fight.

The giant head swung toward Morcant’s chest, another foiled attempt at goring him on its horn. Morcant responded with a strike against the larger horn. Not as palpable as the previous attack, but it crashed loudly against the bone, tiny fissures opening along its length.

The khirs feebly tried stomping the Paladin with its feet. Awkward though it was, Morcant hadn’t expected it. His foot snaked out of the way, only his toes being smashed against the floor. A trivial price to pay. The mace arced down from above Morcant’s head and shattered the skull of the khirs beneath it. Lightning discharged with a thunderous roar, and the khirs collapsed to the ground.

Morcant’s breathing began to slow as he stood over the thing’s corpse. He glanced back the way he had come. The Dimension waited for his return. He looked at the portal with its offer of fresh, clean air and green grasses. Gal Kuhr was likely waiting for him. But this was in service of Dwr. There was only one path.

I will get those blessed tokens back...

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