Session 8: “Everybody Dies” | Defenders of Kathrakopolis



Chapton yawned, and shaped his mouth into his "secretary" voice. "Why doo you keeep dropping bellls down mye well?"

"O Secretary of the Great and Wise Chapton, we are in need of your wisdom and justice. A gilman and a land-dweller cannot resolve their dispute, and the surveyors must judge."

Chapton leaned his head out into the well, and checked the sky. Eight o’clock.

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Session 7: “Off the Path” | Defenders of Kathrakopolis

“Magistrate, can you hear me?” Kasita touched Thane’s shoulder. “How many fingers am I holding up?”

He groaned. “Jethan, is that you? It hurts. I’m just…” His eyes fell shut, but his breathing steadied.

“We need to get this man to a temple.”

“What about the last tower?”

“I can fly there on Charon, and — wait, Cordwynn is an ogre. Even a giant raven can’t carry her.”

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Sessions 5 and 6: “Spread out and look for clues!” | Defenders of Kathrakopolis

Chapton perched on a wooden framework on top of a hundred-foot obelisk, and glared at an idiot. “Why are you trying to kill this ogre, anyway?”

“She’s been corrupting minds!” The woman stamped her boat-hook on the stone for emphasis. “Distracting the young from their work!” Stamp! “And she is unbelievably aggravating.” Stamp! She pointed the hook at a bound figure hanging from the scaffold.

The ogre twisted around in her bonds. “Do not waste your breath on words. If I ought to die, kill me.”

Chapton sighed. This had already been a long day.

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Session 4: “You all meet at a Wake” | Defenders of Kathrakopolis


The flooding had done a lot of damage in the Joy district. Soldiers and bartenders, humans and gillmen had all pitched in over the past month to make repairs. The improvement was remarkable.

Jethan scraped the last shovelful of sludge out of a basement, and looked up. The soldier next to them was staring at their blue skin. “Are you Jethan?”

They nodded.

“Magistrate Thane asked me to give you this.” He handed them a small ivory plaque.

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Session 3: When the Monsters Don’t Carry Cash… | Defenders of Kathrakopolis

A month has passed since the meteor strike, and life has returned to normal.

Vinnie, Wildflower & Igor

After they restored him to life, Vinnie and Wildflower got on well with the marching-band member, Igor. The three have become fast friends, and are often found relaxing at Igor’s house of an afternoon. Igor may be a little greyer-faced than before, and a little stranger, but his hospitality cannot be faulted.

This afternoon, though, their relaxation was interrupted.

“You have to come at once!” The giant’s “whisper” was far too loud. “It’s Meth’s experiment. It’s attacked him.”

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Session 2: “What Game Are We Playing?” | Defenders of Kathrakopolis

Wildflower & Vinnie

Wildflower stood up from the trophy-goblet of ambrosia, still burning. Cordwynn met their eyes from the ring. “Do we keep wrestling?”

The referee raised her hands, unsure.

“No matter. I concede.” Cordwynn bowed to Wildflower. “I have faced you, now. You know my strength now, and I know yours. I shall be glad to test you again — another time.”

The referee lifted the kylix, and held it out to Vinnie. “This is somewhat irregular, but — I declare you tournament champion! Hail Wildflower!”

Still somewhat dazed, Wildflower carried the trophy into the city.

It was about then their shirt caught fire.


The silver glow faded, and the room was dark. Vinnie could barely make out the shape of the now-dry pool — and was that a metal ring around it? Silver? Gold? He leaned in closer.

It was lead. Worthless.

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Session 1: “Rocks Fall” | Defenders of Kathrakopolis

For hundred of years, the Pillars of Kathrakopolis have brought many blessings on the city, granting its citizens health, happiness, and plenty. But their ancient network is incomplete.

After decades of research, and years of construction, the Ancients’ work is about to be finished. On the Spring Equinox, when the final stone is placed in the central Great Pillar, the pillars will bless the city with a thousand years of prosperity.

The project is about to be completed. The city is about to celebrate. And four citizens’ lives are about to change.

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Crypt of Three Evils: Session 1

The man in the bar was raving about skeletons. Or maybe demons? He wasn’t exactly very lucid.

It was enough to get Augustus’ attention. He stood up — six feet of armoured muscle — and told the taproom in no uncertain terms that folk had to stop the undead.

That shut the man up.

In fact, half the bar fell silent. It looked like Augustus and Patricia would be working alone again.

First order of business: find out where this infestation was. Patricia made a circuit of the bar, while Augustus stayed at the table hoping for volunteers (and drinking).

He found three, each with information. Melil — a forest ranger in thick hide — had heard tales of cows and other creatures drained of blood. A cloaked figure named Micala reported scattered incidents of arson and vandalism, probably the work of goblins.

And rumor spoke of a macabre skeleton procession in a valley to the north.

As the four adventurers began their plans, an aged crone shuffled up to the table. She introduced herself as Liz, and opined that the party seemed in need of a healer.

There was definitely something off about Liz, but the party were happy to accept her offer. The group agreed to start at dawn, and with the drinking done (and money borrowed for Augustus’ bar tab), they turned in for the night.

The next day, three townsfolk were waiting for them outside the inn. There was a somewhat scrawny soldier called Frederik; a gentlewoman, Erassi … and Tarramor, who soon proved himself a bigger idiot than he looked.

After a brief visit to the temple for Erastil’s blessing (which took the form of holy water), Augustus led the group into the forest.

A few hundred yards in, he was thoroughly lost.

Melil took over and led the party back in the right direction. Following some discussion, the group agreed she would lead them around to approach the valley with the sun behind them.


A goblin squealed somewhere in the trees ahead.

The party lined up to face the foe, villagers behind the experienced adventurers.

The first goblin was equally cautious, shooting wildly from cover. The second charged, and was quickly dispatched by Augustus.

The third advanced more slowly, into the crack of Micala’s spiked whip — then was pulled down by their dog, Flair.

Tarramorr took the opportunity to pose atop the body. The third goblin charged him with a scream of rage.

Frederik chased after it. So did Augustus, who swung his sword in blow that would sever any man’s head from his shoulders.

It sailed right over the four-foot goblin, and stopped just an inch short of Frederik’s neck.

Then Melil stepped up and disbatched the goblin with a simple stab.

When the dust settled, Tarramorr was the only person injured — though Frederik was understandably still in shock.

Making Dungeon Non-Linearity Meaningful

I’ve always been a fan of non-linearity in game design.

Some time ago, I read Justin Alexander’s series on Jacquaying, and immediately decided I wanted to use those principles — loops, elevation changes, and meaningful choice — in the maps I designed.

Using the tools wrong

A 30-room dungeon in three levels, with lots of inter-level connections.

Everything loops around eventually, but the paths are never short.

Recently, I got to run my first full-size dungeon (built, of course, on my understanding of these principles).

It didn’t quite work.

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