December 24, 2010

Arkham Friday: Lost Io'vanthor

This Arkham Friday is inspired by the (now old) Dragon article about the lost city of the Dragonborn, Io'vanthor. Reading that article back in Two Thousand Aught Eight, I was inspired by the descriptions contained within. However, I always felt that the mechanics were lacking. It was no fault of the author, whom I'm sure wouldn't have been allowed to create something more substantial due to page count limitations. But there was this disconnect, as often there is, between the fiery imagination of the Dungeon Master who reads all these great descriptions from published adventures and DDi articles, and the player who only experiences snippets of that majestic world. It's a puzzle of the entire hobby. How to get the players to feel like they're experiencing this wondreful world that you have in mind, yet at the same time avoiding turning the game into "Storytime with Uncle Dungeon Master".

But, I digress.

Here are the unveiled horrors of the devastated Arkhosian city, left bare and rotting for your enjoyment.

LOST IO’VANTHOR – Random Event Table (d20)
1              As soon as your eyes fall upon this cursed city, you know its name to be Io’vanthor. Looking down upon its empty streets, you are filled with despair and hopelessness as you try and imagine the cataclysm that destroyed this once-great metropolis. You suffer a -1 penalty to all attack rolls until you reach your next Milestone.
2              The setting sun stains red the bubbling river, Io’s Blood. You wander the streets of this forgotten city, alone and lost. Take a -10 penalty to your next Initiative roll as you wander through the labyrinthine streets.
3              Frustrated and alone, you cry out, and your voice echoes through the city streets. Instantly, you realize that you have angered the ancient draconic spirits still inhabiting this place. You suffer a -1 penalty to all defenses until you reach your next Milestone.
4              You are in grave danger. The angered spirit of the last Arkhosian Emperor, Toruk, is coming. Make a Religion check, Moderate DC by level, as the spirit attempts to possess your body. On a failure, your mind is subsumed by the will of the Emperor Toruk, and you are dominated (save ends) the next time you become bloodied.
5              Hearing the sounds of approaching footsteps and tattered cloth blowing in the wind, you are abruptly terrified. Make a Stealth check, Moderate DC by level, to avoid the notice of a cannibalistic Tiefling survivor. On a failure, you are assaulted by the horrid creature and lose 1 Healing Surge.
6              You walk around the shores of Lake Hali, seeking to reach the distant and shrouded city that sits there. However, no matter how far you walk, it always remains on the far side of the lake. Make an Endurance check, Moderate DC by Level. On a failure, you wander through the night and are fatigued, losing 1 Healing Surge.
7              Walking through the shadowy alleyways, you are attacked by a grasping, horned tentacle: + Level + 5 vs. AC; Normal High damage per Level.
8              Shivering, you feel the light of a baleful star upon you, but upon looking up, you see only darkness where you know the star to be. The disapproving gaze of Gibbeth curses you. Until you reach your next Milestone, every time you make an attack roll of a natural 1, you hit yourself with the attack.
9              Wandering through the red-lit desert, you come across a great tree, at the root of which is a great stone. Looking at the stone, you find that it is inscribed with your full name, the date of your birth, and – gods above-- the date of your death! You take Normal High psychic damage by Level.
10           You find the body of a long-dead adventurer. If you want to route through the adventurer’s possessions, make a Perception check, Moderate DC by Level. On a success, you may receive one consumable magic item of your level or lower of your choice.
11           Your feet begin to sink into a repulsive, sticky black goo. Make an Athletics check, Moderate DC by Level, to pull yourself out. On a failure, the goo saps away a portion of your soul, and you lose a Healing Surge.
12           You come across a sleeping Far Realms horror with its tentacle draped across a small gold idol of a dragon. Silence is of the essence. If you wish to ease the idol out from under the creature's pseudopod, make a Stealth check, Moderate DC by Level. On a success, you gain the idol, which Is worth gold coins equal to 10 times your Level squared. If you fail, the creature lashes you with its tentacle: + Level + 3 vs. Reflex; Normal High damage by Level.
13           You are lost in a labyrinth of high walls and twisting crags. Make an Intelligence check, Easy DC by level. On a failure, you are lost here overnight and lose 1 Healing Surge from dehydration.
14           A monster's corpse lies before you, and to your horror, you find your mouth watering with an unnatural hunger. If you consume the corpse, make an Endurance check, Moderate DC by Level. On a failure, take Limited damage by Level from the rotted carcass poisoning your system. On a success, you keep everything down and benefit from the meal, gaining 1 Healing Surge.
15           The Tiefling usurpers presence is still here, and will curse this place for eternity. You discover a Turathi library, built during the occupation of Io’vanthor. Roll for one event on the Great Library of Vor Kragal table.
16           In the streets where flap the tattered banners of the Arkhosian Emperor, you hear the rousing battle hymns of the Ninth Legion, and you are emboldened. You gain resist 5 fire (per tier) and a +1 power bonus to Fortitude and Will until your next Extended Rest.
17           The spirit of an ancient dragon speaks to you for a time, foretelling of a prophecy. After it leaves, you find yourself pondering its words. Gain a +1 power bonus to all saving throws until your next Extended Rest.
18           The humidity and heat of this desert landscape is exhausting.
 Lose 1 Healing Surge.
19           The bruising winds make movement difficult and batter you mercilessly against the hard, stone walls. Lose 1 Healing Surge.
20           A sheer cliff stands before you, blocking your path. Make an Athletics check, Moderate DC by level. On a success, the view from the top of the cliff grants you insight into the city’s twisted design. Gain a +10 power bonus to Initiative checks while in Io’vanthor. On a failure, you twist your ankle on a loose rock and fall, taking Normal High damage by Level.

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