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There's a big mechanical contraption. Usually I hate stuff that forces too many assumptions about technological levels on your setting, but what can I say, when inspiration strikes, you follow it.
There should always be consequences for players' actions - this scenario teaches them that indirectly, as the villains are a dark mirror of the players, adventurers turned murderhobo with human consequences.
Conversion notesAC is ascending, with unarmored AC at 11. To convert to Swords & Wizardry ascending AC, deduct 1 from all AC and to-hit values. To convert to Lamentations of the Flame Princess, add 1 to all AC values. To convert to B/X descending AC, subtract all AC values from 20.
Gold standard. MV refers to full movement rate, so divide it by three to find regular combat movement speed. Skills (Climb, etc.) are assumed to be as per LotFP (from 1 to 6). If you don't use skills, replace Architecture/Tinker with Intelligence modifier and a +2 bonus for Dwarves.
Lumber Hulk Loggers
Rumour: A trio of bandit bosses has taken over the village of Ashton and is extorting it for all profits from the village’s lumber production. Apparently, the group was an adventuring party hired to retrieve “the Lumber Hulk”, the village’s ancient and poorly-understood dwarven tree-cutting contraption, from the forest after it was overrun by twig monsters. However, the adventurers stole the contraption for themselves and used it as a weapon to hold the village hostage. With their plundered wealth, they’ve hired callous mercenaries to watch over the enslaved villagers. One of the villagers managed to escape and is promising Ashton’s gratitude to whoever can rid them of the evildoers.
Village: Ashton is divided into the main village and the lumber camp, a few hundred feet apart. At any time, the village proper houses 40 able-bodied men and women, watched over by 8 cold-hearted mercenaries. Most of the mercenaries man small watch-towers hastily built from wooden planks. Two ex-adventurer bosses will be lounging about the village, usually Ogden and Selby. All wealth in the village has been gathered up by the bandits. One or two houses are crushed remains. Loud rumbling and buzzing emanates from the adjacent forest. If the villagers see the player characters approach, they will stare with uncertain expressions on fatigued faces, as the party might well be nothing but fresh mercenaries.
Camp: At any time, 20 able-bodied villagers are working in the lumber camp, sawing up wood that is being cut down by the dwarven contraption. One of the three ex-adventurers operates the Lumber Hulk - usually Yavor, the dwarf. 6 mercenaries keep watch on small wooden watch-towers. It is hard to hear anything here due to the noise from the machine.
Villagers (60): HD 1-1, AC 11, MV 120’, ML 7, Atk (+0) axe d6 or improvised weapon d4.
Mercenary (14): HD 1, AC 13 (leather), MV 90’, ML 8, Atk (+1) spear or bow d6. 1d6 gp.
Yavor Scarscalp, Dwarf 3: HD 3d8, AC 15 (mail), MV 60’, Atk (+2) battleaxe d8. Yavor understands the Hulk the best. If an enemy takes control of it, he will attempt to climb on its back and remove the crystal (see ‘power slot’). Pouch containing gems x 5 of total value 1200 gp (topaz 500 gp, tourmaline 500 gp, carnelian 100 gp, obsidian 50gp, blue quartz 50 gp).
Ogden, Cleric 3: HD 3d6, AC 15 (mail), MV 90’, Atk (+1) mace d8. Ogden has lost the favour of his god due to his evil deeds, but does not know it and will not find out until he attempts to cast cure light wounds and the spell fails. 1150 gp, holy symbol worth 50 gp. Slaying Ogden and returning the holy symbol to a temple will result in a blessing.
Selby, Magic-User 2: HD 2d4, AC 11 (robes), MV 120’, Atk (+1) staff d4, spells: charm person, hold portal. It was Selby’s idea to turn the Hulk on the villagers; they despise him the most. Leather case with 90 pp, potion of detect magic.
The Lumber Hulk: Hull points 5 (any hit deals 1 hull point of damage for every 10 points of regular hit point damage), AC 16, MV 60’, Atk sawblade 3d6 or claw 1d6 + grapple.
The Hulk is a metal box the size of a shed with two mechanical arms, on four wooden wagon wheels, topped by a cockpit with a complex set of levers used to control the Hulk (see ‘controls’). There is an opening in front of the box that acts as an inlet for logs, and an outlet in the rear. On the back of the box above the lumber outlet is a hatch (see ‘power slot’). If the Hulk loses all its hull points, it can no longer move, though it can still attack.
Combat: The circular sawblade arm is used to cut down trees while the claw arm holds on to the trunk. The log is then inserted by the claw into the opening in the centre of the Hulk. Spinning wheels on the inside pass it through while blades cut it lengthwise.
The Hulk uses the operator’s Tinker or Architecture skill as its attack bonus (i.e. +1 to +6). A character that is hit with the claw must save vs. Paralysis or be grappled. As an attack on a subsequent round, the claw can insert the grappled character into the blades. A successful save vs. Death allows escape, but otherwise the outcome is death.
If the Hulk drives into a creature, it must save vs. Paralysis or be crushed by the wheels and take 2d8 damage. Driving into a wooden building will likely destroy it.
The cockpit’s cover grants +4 AC against ranged attacks. Reaching melee range under stress requires a Climb check at +2, but melee attacks against a busy operator are surprise attacks.
Controls: The first time a character operates the Hulk, and once per turn during challenging situations such as combat, a Tinker or Architecture skill check is required. On a failure, the operator loses control of the contraption, which starts at full speed in a random direction for d6 rounds, after which another attempt to regain control can be made.
Power slot: In the back of the Lumber Hulk is a metal hatch with the Dwarven text “EMERGENCY SHUT-OFF” painted in red. The hatch is easily opened by hand to reveal the glowing moonstone crystal powering the contraption. Removing the crystal under stress requires an Open Doors or Tinker check. Shattering it with a hammer or similar automatically succeeds, while an improvised blunt tool such as a sword pommel or axe butt requires an attack roll against AC 15. Edged weapons are ineffective. When the crystal is either destroyed or removed, the Hulk becomes inactive (no movement or attacks). The crystal is worth 3000 gp whole, or 300 gp if shattered.