It has been a bit of a hiatus, but we’re back! Hooray! The lands beyond Qvosfeir await, as our team etches closer through the rugged terrain of the bloodied wyvern peaks. And by lands beyond, I mean quite beyond! As always, things are about to get even weirder!
I know what day it is and it’s not the right day to be gullible. Also, I know this blog is about homebrew and the occasional related topic. That said, since this blog was started, I have made posts about how I fanboy at the idea of Science-Fantasy D&D! Seriously, do a search, more than half of the posts on this blog are science-fantasy related! Hell, I made my own adventure that I’ve also been recording for the D&D podcast I’m on (called FlumphCast, look us up! We play D&D very drunkily!) But, I digress. Wizards of the Coast has earned my love back. How, you may ask? Through their next plot based adventure, of course! So, breaking tradition a little, I wanna ramble about Wizards of the Coast’s next big announcement for the Fall 2017 super adventure!
For some context, I’ve grown to dislike the formula they’ve done since 5E’s launch and often felt alienated by it. Organized Play bores me, the modules feel long winded and just don’t engage me, the organization in the adventures alone just boggles my mind at times. Their use of the Forgotten Realms setting felt quite uninspired and bland to me, akin to how Greyhawk was handled during 3rd edition’s organized play. But, enough ranting about the past, let’s focus on the future! (Yes, that’s a pun.)
And by future, I mean indeed a Science Fantasy adventure! And not just any is a source of inspiration, one of the greatest classics is! I’m talking about Expedition to Barrier Peaks! I mean, come on, they teased a chunk of it in Volo’s Guide to Monsters! Many saw it coming! It was likely cut from Tales of the Yawning Portal due to space, but it’s being fleshed out! The hints here and there likely imply an alien invasion stemming from a crashed ship in what I can only guess will be either Icewind Dale or the Bloodstone regions. On top of that, many tiers of play will involve the Xeno Threat as it brings chaos to parts of the Realms. What’s this, Doc? You’re ranting about Realms-Shattering Events and misuse of lore? And here you are celebrating a literal alien invasion of the setting? HAVE YOU GONE MAD? Well, kinda. I dunno, I just love this idea in any capacity and D&D doesn’t do it often enough… especially in recent years. So, this is one instance that I’m willing to let this sort of things slide. Plus, just look at the name of the event, “The Assault of Radiant Steel!” It sounds more like a prog-rock song than a D&D adventure, but I don’t care! That makes me love it even more!
Read onward for more information, including launch info! WOOOOOO!
Greetings and well met! Welcome to the realm of Qvosfeir, a land of frigid tundra and hardy folk. Under normal circumstances, the Kingdom of Orvaldt would be a thriving hub of trade and travel, overseen by King Orvaldt; proud head of the clan as well as ruler. A thriving internal economy of mining helped to establish the kingdom’s presence far before modernizing into the city of today. Forged by an ancestor of Orvaldt, as well as House Emberbeard, the small mining town grew until it had earned its place as a proud and powerful land. The nearby land proved lush and fertile, as the rocky crags and fields gave way to refreshing springs and favorable hunting grounds.
That was, until the “strange things” began to occur. A general term, the strange things marked a series of events over the course of a year; people vanished, the soil turned bad and crops withered, plague began to emerge from no where, strange poisons leaked into the water, reports of horrible monsters overwhelmed locals and travelers alike… especially the miners. The far most odd were two incidents witnessed by residents. The first being tendril-covered ball creatures attacked a nearby homestead, dissolving what prey they could find and absorbing it into their mass. Upon being slain, attempts to study them only brought confusion as they had no discernible anatomy from quick glance and they melted and vaporized not long after death. The other incident was an airship jumping out of a planar portal over the mountain, before a pillar of incredible light shot up from one of the peaks and destroyed the vessel, as it crashed somewhere in the mountains below.
Attempts to discover the cause or end it outright have been failures, with the remainder of each exploration group returning insane or deathly sick. Those who didn’t die were sent to a converted sector of the Physician’s Ward of the city that was converted into an asylum. Meanwhile, much of the populace has been evacuated with the help of much of the kingdom’s army, as bandits and other opportunistic folk have seized the chance at picking at the desperate kingdom. Attempts to gather heroes from the inside and outside have been mostly fruitless. Those who survived the raiders and bandits have managed to push into the city, in hopes of an audience with the king.
Hello again! For a slight change of pace, I wanted to chronicle my expanded take on the D&D adventure I wrote a little ways back. Don’t worry, more homebrew is on the horizon. In fact, I have a prospective DM’s Guild project that’s almost done as well. While I’ve had fun running modules over the years, even running organized play events, I wanted to jump back into creating my own campaigns. I hope you enjoy reading this as I did running the campaign! In addition, I hope to have some uploaded audio logs of the campaign as well, for your entertainment. I’ll probably post an announcement on that, but in the meantime, the FlumphCast YouTube channel is where the videos will be found.
Background: All of you have been summoned on account of a king’s desperate plea for aid. Resources have been running low for his people and attempts to trade with outside lands has been shut off completely. The routes you’ve all taken are too unwieldy and out of the way for caravans to use often, in part because it is longer, far more hazardous and ideal locations for bandits. All that is known is that the wider passage ways to Bloodied Wyvern Peak have been sealed off and going there is far too dangerous. Attempts at leaving have been, more often than not, futile as the people feel trapped in their once cozy land. To make matters worse, the soil and water have slowly been poisoned by something in the mountains. King Orvalt Delinandor will reward handsomely for your efforts.
Inside the lavish meeting room, a temperamental man in kingly garb fidgets with his fingers as he attempts to give off a composed look. He ushers each of you to take a seat at one of several ornate chairs, adorned with plush cushioning and fancy stitched patterns. He rises from his comparatively large chair, himself, as to make a grand speech.
“I would like to thank all of you for making your way to my great kingdom. Forsaking the usual pleasantries, I’d like to get to addressing our main concern. The prime routes for trading and traveling has been completely cut off in the last couple of weeks. Why? I can’t really say, as most of my scouts haven’t returned for many days. And those that are either died moments after returning or worse… On top of that, imports are running low as our commerce has been thrown into peril. Our soil has also turned bad, poisoning those who have used it. Any mining operations have been halted, due to reports of collapsed tunnels and monsters. Any workers, traders or scouts that came back alive from the mountains have returned scarred, plagued or driven mad. Worse yet, entire towns have vanished lately. People proclaim they see horrible things and disappear instants later! Please, explore the cause of this; whether it’s bandits, monsters or worse! Some blame our miners for unearthing something foul, but I have my doubts. I’ll award a bonus if you bring any captured subjects back… dead or alive.”
After the meeting with the king, his guards escort you to rooms to equip all of you with proper provisions; climbing equipment, coats and other survival essentials. After everyone is set with equipment, everyone is taken outside where a carriage sends them towards the outskirts of the mountain. This ride take about 1 hours time. The landscape changes from a bleak winter forest into jagged mountainous rock jutting from the earth. The carriage driver indicates on a map given to you that the route follows the dirt path ahead, in through a canyon-like divide.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Inspired by my Barrier Peaks conversion and Epicroll’s short adventure, as well as a lot of retro/pulp sci-fi, here’s my take on the classic sci-fi spaceship into fantasy world crossover. This adventure is meant for characters of 7th level. A WORD OF WARNING! This module gets more and more deadly as time goes on. Some encounters aren’t meant to be fought, but are meant to be part of a puzzle. Either way, this is a bit of an experiment for me. Enjoy.
There is much more to the Barrier Peaks than a romp against alien monsters. The mechanics and workings of the downed ship are far more complex. Access cards, radioactive hallways, infested hives, among other things await our heroes as they make an… Expedition to Barrier Peaks!
Author’s Note: This is probably the longest post in this series. It’s a bunch of notes on running the module itself, as well as the technological artifacts you’ll find. The cards are in the first part, as they don’t really have much mechanical depth aside from a McGuffin.