The Hellish Seal

The tiefling poet Morxius has a problem…

Morxius is one of the celebrated poets of the region and in a few weeks he is going to be marrying the demi-ogress Ghorza, flower of the Highwind Steppes and daughter of the chief of the Hallowhorn tribe. There is just one problem: his grandmother and patron Sarissa is insisting that he recover the seal of her uncle, Horvius Stavenger, Cupbearer to the Archfiend Stroma. The seal has been a prized heirloom of the Stavenger family, a “lucky charm” that purportedly has been a part of the family’s success. But the seal was lost with Horvius’ manor was covered in a landslide years ago, and Sarissa wants the seal back before the nuptials are formalized.
Morxius sent servants to the old estate to try to unearth the seal, but they reported that while most of the home was surprisingly intact under the rocks and dirt, strange creatures had taken up residence, dragging several of the servants into dark. Now Morxius is desperate, and he has heard about the character’s skill and discretion and is interested in paying them well to recover the seal.

Trying out the new “Level Up” table accessory

My kids and their friends finished my first adventure “The Monastery in the Mists” and have started the second “The Hellish Seal.” The first adventure arc was basically built around a location (the monastery) while the second is definitely a dungeon crawl with some roleplaying. The third adventure arc will significantly up the roleplaying aspects of the game.

One interesting conversation I had with the group, all of whom are high school or college students, was about Critical Role/Vox Machina and its influence, positive and negative, on their own sense of what Dungeons & Dragons is like. I’ll admit to being familiar with Critical Role in concept only, and have never listened/watched a single bit of it. Some of the players like it, others don’t. Those critical of Critical Role (see what I did there?) said that it encouraged a silly, over-the-top style of play with more powerful PC’s, but again that is just their take on it. No real point here, just an interesting take on what this generation of gamers thinks about things.

One small note: the players discovered on the villain of the first arc, Brother Fydel, a mysterious amulet which I printed out on my 3D printer as a gaming prop. It is the first clue in the over-arching narrative of the game, and I told myself that the players could only identify the being on its face with a natural 20 on a Religion check. Which, of course, they made. So a major puzzle piece was attained without as much effort as previously thought, but now the players have a hint there is major things afoot….

The amulet of the Archfield Scylla


  1. So, reading about the “you need a natural 20 to get any information about—” “oh, never mind” bit of the session, I’m wondering if, for items that should be difficult to research (but possible to research in parts), something like the approach taken by Shamus Young for the Orb of Mordan () might work out well.

    It seems as if it would let there be layers of discovery, and a single immediate 20 (without the context to ask the right questions) might only start letting you know about what the other layers are.


  2. The amulet sounds a bit like a clue you don’t want to fail to give. Probably worth pulling a ‘gumshoe’ move and give them basic info automatically. The critical success would be bonus stuff……like recognizing the artisans style who crafted it….

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