This article originally appeared in Pyramid #27
A Fantasy Adventure for GURPS
by Scott Tengelin
Art by Eric Hotz
IntroductionThe far-off principality of Glimpuddle has been recently troubled by the mage Therigon. With his bravest companions to accompany him, Prince Richard went in search of the wizard to stop him. There was a great battle, but in the end, Therigon won. Richard's companions were imprisoned with a horrible curse, changing their forms forever.
This is a story of a frog prince with a twist; the frog is in his natural form, while his subjects have been changed to humanoid statues. This adventure is for four to six characters, 100 to 125 points each. A wide variety of character types is recommended.
The MeetingThe characters encounter Prince Richard, a 2'-tall frog in chain mail, brooding by the side of the road. If the party talks to him, read the following:
"I am Prince Richard. My friends and I have journeyed from our principality to confront our most hated foe, only to lose the battle. My people have been imprisoned with a curse most foul, but I was allowed to escape to live with the burden of the curse for the rest of my days.
"Please, help me and my people! Our enemy is a mage whose strength I cannot combat alone. His treasure is great, of course, and you may keep all that you find, if only you help me break the spell. And you would have the gratitude of the people of Glimpuddle forever."
Notice that Richard said he was to live with the burden of the curse, not the curse itself. For the adventure to have the greatest impact, avoid letting the players know the nature of the people of Glimpuddle; let them think that Prince Richard is the classic prince turned into a frog. If asked, he will only call it a "curse most foul," and "a great burden for me to bear." If the party asks for the specifics of the curse, he will tell them that his people have been turned into stone. Richard is not trying to hide anything from the characters; he is simply too preoccupied to consider the obvious. And of course it is only obvious to Richard that his people are humanoid frogs.
The Journey ThereThe forest seems to grow stranger as you travel along the path. Richard takes you down trails that you probably never could have found had you not had him as a guide. The mushrooms along the path stand as high as your waist, and the trees and flowers seem to watch you as you pass.
Gradually, the mushrooms and flowers become more sparse, and the trees seem to scowl at you and reach across the path with long, clawed branches. Clouds gather overhead, darkening the trail.
The party's journey to Therigon's lair can be as difficult or as easy as you wish. This forest is highly magical, and any encounters should reflect the sylvan setting.
The Lair of TherigonWhen the party arrives, read the following:
The forest clears to reveal a fence of sharpened logs, surrounding three wooden buildings. Eight pens line the largest building, each containing a lean, hungry wolf. The buildings seem to be guarded by five statues, all in various battle poses. "My people! My people! Oh, how Therigon will pay for this!" Prince Richard exclaims.
The fence has a large set of wooden double doors, braced from the inside. A combined ST of 28 is required to force the doors open. When the party enters, read the following:
The double doors to the farthest building fly open, and there stands a man in dark robes, with a thin black beard. "Richard!" he says, "I see you have brought new decorations for my home!" "Therigon!" Richard replies, "Raise your curse, and I will see you are spared! If you do not, you will die today!" With that, Therigon raises his hands, and the eight pens swing open, releasing the mage's wolves. At the same time, about a dozen undead rise out of the ground, in various stages of decay. Richard bounds towards Therigon, sword drawn. "I will keep Therigon busy! Break the spell! Break the wand!"
The wand Richard is referring to is the Wand of Ages, held by the statue of Holofernes, in the center of the courtyard. It's very fragile, and breaks with any amount of force. Breaking it results in this: Suddenly, with a flash of light and a clap of thunder, the spell is broken. The statues return to human form - and shrink to only 2' tall! Suddenly, the courtyard is filled with bounding frog people, leaping this way and that, fighting the forces of Therigon.
With the added forces, the party faces only two skeletons, two zombies and three wolves. The wolves rush the strongest members; the undead attack whoever is closest.
ST 9, DX15, IQ 8, HT 10.
Basic Speed 7.25, Move 7.
Dodge 7, Parry (Broadsword) 8.
Advantages: High Pain Threshold, impaling weapons do
Disadvantages: Crushing weapons do double damage.
Skills: Broadsword-17 (-1 for lower ST than minimum).
Weapon: Poor-quality broadsword, 1d cut, 1d imp.
ST 8, DX 14, IQ 5, HT 12.
Basic Speed 9, Move 9.
PD 1, DR 1.
Weapons: bite does d-2 cut, at Reach C.
ST 11, DX 13, IQ 8, HT 15,
Basic Speed 7, Move 7.
Dodge 7, Parry (Broadsword) 7.
Advantages: High Pain Threshold.
Weapon: Poor-quality broadsword, 1d+2 cut, 1d+1 imp.
As soon as half of Therigon's force is defeated, Richard will fall. His friends will be too busy with their own opponents, so it will be up to the PCs to defeat Therigon. He will have spent four fatigue in spells and have taken 3 damage at this point, and his stats below reflect this.
ST 9/5, DX 11, IQ 15, HT 10/7.
Basic Speed 5.25, Move 5.
Dodge 5, Parry (Quarterstaff) 8.
PD 2 (from staff).
Advantages: Magery 2, Literacy.
Disadvantages: Intolerance: All but animals, Sadism.
Skills: Animal Handling-15, Quarterstaff-12, Survival-14, Tracking-14, Alchemy-14, Occultism-15, Magic Jet-13.
Quirks: Talks to animals and undead.
Spells: Beast Soother-15, Persuasion-15, Sense Foes-15, Water Jet-15, Shape Water-15, Create Water-15, Purify Water-15, Seek Water-15.
Equipment: Therigon's staff contains the Staff spell, and provides the owner with 2 PD.
The Wand of Ages holds 25 fatigue, and contains the spells Zombie, Flesh to Stone and Shapeshift Others (Human). Breaking the wand will break the spell on Richard's subjects, changing them back to their normal state.
If the party searches Theri-gon's home, they will find $1,500 in gold coins, plus his spellbooks; any spell Therigon knows is available for PC mages to learn. Therigon also has two magical potions he has created, in an outside laboratory; an Elixir of Invulnerability and an Elixir of Health. Before the battle, Therigon will not have time to get to these, but will try to flee into his home if the battle goes poorly.
ConclusionRichard will be eternally grateful for the PCs' help, and will invite them to a feast in their honor, in the village of Glimpuddle. There should be no encounters on the way there, but the path will be just as mysterious as before.
As the players might expect, the entire village is populated with humanoid frogs, all about two feet tall. They live in large mushroom houses, with swamp all around the village. Dinner consists of a fine wine (made from fermented lilies), honey bread and roast quail. After the banquet, the party is invited to stay as long as they like, as royal guests. They may return whenever they wish, and will always be welcome in Glimpuddle. But finding the hidden country again may prove to be another adventure entirely . . .
Award each PC 2 experience for the adventure, plus 1 for exceptional roleplaying.
Article publication date: September 1, 1997
Copyright © 1997 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to email@example.com.