Where the party mostly succeeds at saving the mountain village and encounters a horrible monster that more or may not be abominable. This is Part 1 of “Brubax and the Abominable Snowman”.
If this is your first time checking out our little D&D Adventure Blog, you might want to check out this post that explains the setup and format of the game. You can check out all “Big Fish” content on this nifty landing page.
Keith (me, Jim Clocks) is writing this bad boy up this week, I’ll be in black, Jon (our DM) is in blue, and Eric has a few cents to chip in, he will be in red.
If the reader is not yet familiar with Brubax, this will be the story where you will become so.
Brubax is a Goliath Barbarian. He presently lacks a purpose. But he is very good at hunting and killing monsters. He is most alive in the thick of combat against some legendary beast. And yet, even having slain a number of formidable foes, he finds himself lacking his raison d’etre.
Something is missing in our poor Barbarian’s life. A void which even our remarkable adventures cannot fill.
The entire land is still covered in a blanket of unseasonable snow, but our heroes have yet to track down Glacius Rex. The party finds themselves in a Goliath village, nestled within the mountains to the North called the “Spine of the World”. Badass name for mountains Jon, who says that R.A. Salvatore is not a master wordsmith?
Many people. I’m actually not sure if that’s an R.A. original or if it was around before him. He gets a lot of flack and a lot of it deservedly, but there’s a reason his novels are more widely known than some of the other scores of authors in the extended Forgotten Realms universe. I think there are 130 novels in there? He’s far from the worst.
The party, as parties do, headed into the nearest pub. A pub the knew was open because the sign has a red mug and a green mug, and the green mug was pointing down. Green means go. Even in a Goliath village. Goliaths use stoplight technology for their tavern signs!
Mysterious creatures, goliaths.
Standard Adventure Hooks
Despite Jim Clocks being eager to enter Brubax into some Goliath drinking games, the two people inside the bar seemed pretty low. Something was troubling them. Seemed like a quest!
Some members of the party are extremely pleased with their giant-sized beers!
The Goliaths, Thrice-Dead the tavern owner and Slow-Hand the sheriff, tell the party of missing Goliath hunters. Good, able bodied types familiar with these mountains. Types who should not normally get lost or dead up in these paths. Seemed even more like a quest!
I know you can’t do this stuff every session, but I really dug how “classic” this whole adventure felt. It really had an old school vibe to it that reminded me a lot of old 16-bit RPGs.
Yeah this one was purposefully a back to basics experience. I let myself get real high concept down in the Underdark and it’s time for some good old fashioned monster hunting.
The weather had been getting worse and worse in the mountains, so if the party was going to act, they’d better act fast. After pumping the pair for as much information as they could (lay of the land, maps, etc) and acquiring themselves (and the monkey) some adorable cold weather gear, they turned in for the night. The next morning they would set out first thing to hunt down whatever beast was plaguing the village.
Late Night Premonitions
A few more classic tropes go down in the middle of the night.
Jim Clocks was sprawled out in a Goliath-sized bed that was probably Goldilocks-ish for him, Tidus was sleeping comfortably, L’Eau Dur was probably drunk and Jaxxo the Lizardman was sitting extremely still (sleeping?) by the fire like a chilly lizard.
Brubax though, was visited by a Goliath shaman who lived deep in the mountains. The shaman, named Bright-Soul, demanded to know:
Death walks among us.
I can help,
But you must know who you are.
What are you?
Brubax, sadly, could not answer this question. Were you hoping for more decisiveness from Brubax?
A little, but what can you do. Maybe Brubax is destined to wander, lost, forever.
Personally, I think it fits very well with him. Like Conan, suffering the customary uneasiness of the head that wears the crown.
The rest of the party was woken up by a horrible howling. Jim Clocks tapped into the fact that this howling is coming from his favored enemy: a Monstrosity. In fact, not just any Monstrosity: an abominable yeti. Not just a regular yeti. Abominable.
Jon makes sure we all know the definition of “abominable” so I will share:
adjective abom·i·na·ble \ ə-ˈbäm-nə-bəl , -ˈbä-mə- \ formal : worthy of or causing disgust or hatred
Emphasis on “worthy”. They do not sleep well for the rest of the night.
I rush to the hallway and try to rouse the rest of the party. They pretty much throw a pillow at me and tell me to go back to bed. Cads.
After some stew, the Cads looked to Brubax for guidance. After a grave warning about the seriousness of yetis, he decided that they should go see the shaman in person.
How do they get there? By climbing up some steep ass cliffs for most of the day.
As they neared the top of their climb they heard screams coming from within the village down below. That’s not great. Still, whatever was doing the killing would probably be done by the time they got back down, so they pressed upwards.
Here’s a fun side story: Tidus the Triton is really into Deep Sashelas. So much so that he forged a ring out of a gem worth a few hundred GP and pledged to give it to the first member of the party who performed an act of bravery in the name of Deep Sashelas. Jaxxo the Lizardfolk always wants money so what does he do? He climbs the cliff in the name of Deep Sashelas. Gain a Ring of Protection Jaxxo!
Really into Deep Sashelas? I’m a cleric of Deep Sashelas!
The met Bright Soul at the top of the cliff and he demanded again that Brubax finds himself. Brubax, sadly, cannot. He just… can’t… commit… to you.
So, I talked about this a bit with Danny (Brubax’s player). Essentially, he made a character choice to not let this be a turning point for Brubax. I asked him what his “Level 20 Ideal” was for the character, and he couldn’t say. Is something you want to explore with the player/character? Or are you cool leaving it as is?
If this was a Serious Roleplay Game I might be concerned. This is Dungeons and Dragons Action Theater, and it’s all good. Brubax gonna be an indecisive level 20 barbarian.
Bright-Soul tells Brubax that he might find his answers in an ancient Goliath cave. Furthermore, what lies in that tomb will give him the power to defeat the evil that plagues the village.
Can you believe that it took Jim Clocks basically chanting “Do it! Do it! Do it!” to convince Brubax to go to the tomb of his ancestors? Unbelievable.
The Goliath Tomb
The party trekked towards the tomb and stumbled upon a number of sights. They saw what is almost certainly a white dragon (remember, Glacius Rex has a big ole crazy white dragon on his team) many days off in the distance. They should probably deal with that sooner or later.
I wanted to ask, is this a future hook? Or was there a version of this where we just said ‘Screw it, let’s go get that dragon!’?
You have a magic flying carriage pulled by Nightmares and a big map with pushpins and now there’s a location called Glacius Rex’s Hideout pinned on the board. You tell me.
Not for nothing, but the scene you set had us hiking through the mountains. At no point in this adventure did I think we had access to our flying carriage. Why would we be hiking anywhere. It’s kind of an issue with the narrative format that maybe needs clarifying. We rarely start from our homebase, we often start right in the the thick of things. It’s not always clear what the starting conditions are.
True story I only thought of that like a half hour before game and I was like nah, they’ll never think of it. Everybody gets one, I guess.
Once near the tomb, they found tracks that appeared to belong to a humanoid sized creature dragging a bloody carcass. That’s fine. At the entrance of the tomb there was a very bad ass statue of an axe wielding Goliath. The inscription was mostly scratched out, but the word “truth” could be made out. Also the tomb was full of an all encompassing gross beast smell. Not unlike, as Eric pointed out, a Kid Rock concert.
Alienating Kid Rock fans everywhere.
Undeterred, the party ventured inwards.
Upon entering into one of the side rooms of the tomb, there was some kind of a grooved floor and hand holds that were clearly Goliath height. Brubax hems and haws some more about what to do so Jaxxo just gives it his Lizardman Best and fails miserably. Brubax finally mans up and goes for it and with a Strength check of over 20 manages to drag the entire room revealing a tomb…
What happens next?
I guess you’ll just have to tune in next Wednesday (exceptionally the next installment of Big Fish will be next week instead of two weeks from now).
Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.
Eric plays a Triton Cleric in Big Fish and also once went to Otakuthon for us and interviewed Hamlet Machine.
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