Running the Age of Worms (Dungeon Magazine) in Conan


Hi guys,

Just thought I would share my experiences with running the Age of Worms Adventure Path from Dungeon magazine in Conan's world.

The campaign begins in the small town of Vesci (Diamond Lake in DUNGEON) where a mysterious Stygian sorcerer (Rakepf, a PC) has arrived with a typical treasure map. He posts a job offering in the town square looking for mercenary warriors and then retreats to his room at the local inn. The posting asks for all interested parties to meet at an old abandoned mine office about an hour north of town at dusk tommorrow.

The posting catches the eye of 3 warriors in town the next day, Batu, a Hyrkanian Nomad who wandered into town on his horse after his clan was wiped out by a unit of the Ophirean army disguised as a trade caravan. He sees the posting, notes his empty coin purse, and proceeds to the mining office at dusk.

Tyberius, an Aquilonian soldier in service to the local town militia also spots the posting. Seeing an opportunity to help his sick and destitute mother, he proceeds to the mining office as well.

Belarion, a Brythunian soldier in service to the town's corrupt sherrif also notes the posting, seeing an opportunity to improve his pathetic wages, he quits his job and heads north to take up this new offer.

Finally, Ormag, a Cimmerian barbarian wanders by this old abandoned mining office on his way into town. He had come south, searching for his cousin and ended up in Shadizar initially. After being insulted by the governor's chamberlain upon asking about said cousin, Ormag killed him as well as 2 guards, and fled the city bound for Corinthia, and hopefully, his cousin. Upon reaching the mining office, his dim mind finally grasped the fact that he had been tricked, and in frustration, he lifted a large rock and threw it through the roof of the abandoned office, much to the shock of the other 4 group members within.

The five of them discussed their terms for the contract, and agreed to help Rakepf plunder a nearby tomb, known as the Whispering Cairn.

More to come!!!
I'm not familiar with the campaign. What issue of DUNGEON and what's the campaign synopsis?
The adventure path begins in Dungeon issue #124 and goes until #135.

The adventure path essentially entails 12 adventures all linked together. The first 2-3 involve discovering a cataclysm approaching called the Age of Worms. The next few adventures revolve around discovering and killing the people responsible to bringing it about. A number of them also betray each other to the characters in hopes that they will be able to take their place. Lots of backstabbing. Finally, the end game involves the summoning of a demi-god (Kyuss) who in my version will be a demon lord and the group will need to make it through a city infested with worms and undead to the monolith where he's being summoned, and essentially do battle with him.

The adventures range from a couple of dungeon crawls, assaults on keeps, and gladiatorial matches, to travelling to far off jungles in search of ancient ruins that may or may not house evil beasties and relics that may be essential in fighting this demon lord. There is also at least one adventure which is entirely within a court-like/diplomatic setting, and involves little to no combat.

I have been replacing the typical D&D monsters with humans where I can, and removing the ones that were not needed. Magic items were removed unless they were essential to the plot, but so far, none are. Treasure I just converted the gold piece values of loot to silver pieces, which appears to work fine.

I'm using the basic Conan d20 rules with only a few house rules for defensive blast and I imported a bunch of feats and skill uses from Iron Heroes. I also gave the PC's a reserve pool of points equal to their hit points that they can dip into to heal faster. Greatly reduces the time needed to heal between combats which helps since these are essentially D&D adventures at heart.
Oh, so it's not super old then.

I'll look on the Wizards site and see if they have the previous articles in PDF format or something - they're only on issue #130 now, so 5 more to go, huh? I dont' want to have to go back and buy all those back issues just for the adventure articles, particularly if I don't know if I want to run it or not yet.

Thanks. 8)
You should also be able to get back issues and other downloads from the Dungeon site.

I'll see if I can post the group's first adventure through the Whispering Cairn later today, if stupid work doesnt' keep me too busy.
This brings up the fantastic idea of mining old (or new) adventures from other games for adventure hooks for the Conan game. This is something I haven't done that much of, but will from now on. I usually use the Conan books or other fantasy novels.
Yeah, I'm the GM for this campaign, but don't have loads of time to write adventures, so Dungeon magazine is a great resource for me. I'm fairly proficient at converting a plot or adventure into almost any system as I prefer doing this to writing my own adventures.

Plus having the maps is nice too, as I suck at map drawing.
Adventure 1: The Whispering Cairn

Adventure modifications
Diamond Lake becomes the town of Vesci in Corinthia. Any references to the Free City refer to Polopponi. Many parts of the town were revised and removed as being way too D&D'ish but the mood of the place remains the same. I made a word document about this so PM me if you'd like a copy.

-Kullen was changed to a Hyperborean barbarian wielding a bardiche.
-Rastophan was changed to a Corinthian Borderer wielding an arming sword and short sword.
-Todrik was changed to a Corinthian Soldier wielding a Bill
-Merrovin Bask was changed to a Kothian Spawn of Dagoth Hill scholar with the Hypnotism sorcery style
-Filge was changed to a Corinthian scholar with the Necromancy sorcery style

I removed the Grick encounter, the water and earth elemental encounters, and the Lurking Strangler encounter from the cairn. I kept the wolves, acid beetle swarms, mad slasher, bombardier beetles, one risen dead (in place of the ghoul), and the wind warriors encounters. I also left all the traps and most of the inscriptions about wind dukes and such as is.

The Feral Dog fight used the modified NPC's above, but otherwise, worked like a charm.

The observatory portion of the adventure had some various modifications. I removed the tomb motes and replaced them with dire rats. The skeletons I left in place and used a simple ruling that Petreus' demonic pact was keeping them animated permanently as guards, while the demon enjoyed some particularly nasty unspecified payment from Petreus. The zombies in the vats were replaced with risen dead that Petreus could use his Raise Dead spell on, but he was taken down too quickly due to a bad initiative roll to actually use them.

I removed all wands, wondrous items, potions, and scrolls from the treasure handed out. Magic weapons and armour were changed into their mundane Conan equivalents. All gold pieces were converted to silver pieces.

The adventure ran pretty smoothly. The group had some trouble with the wolves, but had much more trouble with the acid beetle swarms, as they only had torches and the scholar's defensive blast to attack them with. The larger beetles proved to be relatively easy to kill for them. The risen dead was tough as only 3 of the 5 players entered the water filled room and 2 of them failed their terror checks and fainted in the water :) The ghost of alastor land I ran pretty much as is, except he didn't possess any of the players or injure them in any way.

Once the players made it back to the surface, they quickly found out about Alastor's family and their missing remains. They fought Kullen's gang (aka Gorm's gang) at the Feral Dog tavern (awesome fight) and managed to get arrested after killing two of his gang and disabling the remaining members. They bought their way out of jail (except for Rakepf the scholar who wasn't arrested as he was not involved in the fight). Rakepf later decided he didn't like the sherriff and summoned his demonic pact patron (a black fiend) to disembowel the sherriff in his sleep and thereby release his companions from their obligation to him.

After learning from Gorm about Filge (aka Petreus) they headed for the old observatory. Ormag, the cimmerian scaled the outside of the wall up to the 3rd floor and peered in on Petreus as he was disecting a corpse upon the stone altar. The group decided to use the windows in the 2nd floor to enter Petreus' bedroom and snuck up to the third floor. Petreus was subdued before he could summon his undead minions and questioned. They retrieved the Land family's remains from him and buried them next to Alastor's. Alastor then opened the great iron doors for them so they could penetrate the inner tomb, where no man had been before.

The group encountered the 2 wind warriors here, and after a tough fight, they managed to destroy both of them. Following the column of wind up to the top of the room, they discovered the final sarcophagus and remains of Zosiel. However, not being able to discern many of the glyphs throughout the cairn, the group had to request aid from Allustan (aka Alban Nepos), the "smartest man in town" who in turn had to send away for a book from the Polopponi library. They have only just now, after the second adventure, learned how to decipher the glyphs.

Next week I'll post about the group tackling the next adventure, The Three Faces of Evil! This one had our first player fatality (who used a fate point to be left for dead).