The Mud Flats and Fetid Pool are locations where the second quest offered in Lioneye’s Fort will lead people; the former is infested with the living dead and a large number of aggressive flightless and armored birds. The latter is filled with nothing but the dead, save for a single living being – the Necromancer that Tarkleigh is concerned will come for the fort if not dealt with soon.
The Mud Flats is an area with a pair of Aspects; first and most importantly, it has Ancient Waygate, an Aspect that indicates the presence of the first activated waypoint device crafted by the people who lived in the now-lost Empire as a method of swift travel. The most obvious use of this is to allow people to travel quickly back to the fort if they need to do so, but it could be used for any number of clever tricks and boosts. The other is Sucking Mud, which will most often be compelled by the GM to make life harder for players as the soggy mess of the flats drags at anyone moving across the slick, soft surface.
Rhoas – the aggressive birds that live in the Mud Flats – have two stress boxes, Fight (+2), Notice (+1), and Object In Aggressive Motion as an Aspect. They’re fond of charging targets, relying on their sharp beaks and armored skull and shoulders to let them run things over. They often come as a mob of three to five, fighting until at least half have been downed before fleeing.
The Drowned Dead will drag themselves out of the ground when they sense living creatures near; they have one stress box, Fight (+1) and Slow And Steady as an Aspect. They tend to exist in mob-like numbers and serve mainly to harass and slow down players save for the occasional lucky effort.
The Fetid Pool has Foul Fumes, Rushing Water, and Pervasive Gloom as Aspects, each one masking a different sense and making it hard for people to find things in what appears to be a large cavern chewed out of the rock by the waterfall that spills down the wall at the back. Numerous bones litter the floor – some truly dead, some merely waiting until someone comes close enough for them to be able to strike before revealing their animate status. The Necromancer itself – a figure wrapped in rags and twisted by the dark arts it practices until it barely resembles a human at all.
The Restless Dead have a single stress box, Fight (+1), Stealth (+1), and the Nothing But Air And Bones Aspect, as well as a stunt that grants them a +2 on Stealth as long as they’re laying still on the ground. They’ll lay harmlessly until someone enters the same zone as them, after which they’ll move – often in a large swarm – to attack anyone unfortunate enough to be in reach of their jagged, broken fingertips. Killing them near the Necromancer is a somewhat futile task, given its primary strength, but they all collapse like abandoned puppets when it dies.
The Necromancer has three stress boxes and a mild consequence slot, Virtue (+3), Lore (+2), Notice (+2), Fight (+1), Acrobatics (+1), and Throw (+1). It has One Foot In The Grave, The Might Of The Damned, and Wracked By Cannibal Hunger as Aspects, as well as a stunt that allows a Virtue roll against a +4 Difficulty to return a single dead body in the same zone to a semblance of life, essentially creating another Restless Dead. Each shift it achieves above this allows it to bring another body to unlife.
The Necromancer isn’t afraid to try to run, but it has positioned itself unwisely, with the only way out being the one the players enter through. As such, it isn’t likely to escape – but if it does, it may return at a later date with more power and an army of the undead to try to conquer Lioneye’s Fort. Regardless, taking it down means the small cache of gathered treasure is left to be found, which contains a few Virtue Gems (left to the GM to determine as suits the players) and a trio of strangely-shaped gylphs.
Defeating the Necromancer earns Tarkleigh’s respect, and he can identify the glyphs as matching impressions in a small cleft in the cliffs that surround the Mud Flats – but he cautions that going there may be too dangerous, as a monster of a spitter-crab lives in the flooded passages of the area, and it’s grabbed more than a few exiles in the past.
With this quest complete, Lioneye’s Fort gains a new Aspect for players looking to improve their new home: The Seeds Of Hope Are Sown, representing how the other exiles are looking up to the example of the players and starting to feel that there might be a future for them in this place. It’s a small change, but the effect will reverberate through the rest of the campaign conversion.