Players' Background"The filthy ape men infested a temple two days to the south five years ago," said the village head man when you sat down with him two days ago, "and that's when all the trouble started. Before that, they were just brutes but ever since they found that temple, they've gone and gotten... organized." With that, the head man recounted raid after raid, the ape men getting more and more daring with each successive one, and what started as livestock theft escalated to the kidnapping of young men and women -- those about to undertake the rite of passage into adulthood. Losing livestock is one thing, but losing the next generation is quite another.
The head man sent a runner to Mustertown, where you first heard the promise of gold and silver in reward for adventurers brave enough to take up arms on behalf of the village. At the foot of Ur-Hadad, you gathered your allies and prepared for the five day trek across swamp where it gives way to jungle and on to the village of Rakau. <Stop here and ask the players what preparations they're making such as recruiting men at arms or new 0s or the like.>
"We want our young-folk back, adventurers," the head man advised before you left, "but we are a realistic people: we know they are likely dead or might be better off that way. If you cannot bring them back to us, healthy, then avenge them. Avenge us. We shall pay for your metal with ours, that they may be one: our coins for your swords, our vengeance and your violence. For each of our young men and women you return, we shall gladly pay one gold, but destroy the tribe of ape men -- and bring us proof -- and we shall shower you with wealth."
With such a promise heavy on your mind, you made the two-day trek through the sweltering jungle to the narrow valley where the map the Rakau villagers provided you with shows the long-forgotten temple of the ape men set flush into the cliff wall at the far end of the valley. Built ages before man first thought to record history, the temple is overrun with ancient banyan trees and, the villagers claim, beasts of all sorts. As you now stand that the foot of the valley, a brightly-colored flock of small birds alights from the drooping boughs of a nearby tree, a last glimpse of hope and beauty before the yawning, unplumbed depths of arboreal gloom ahead of you.
RumorsRoll one rumor per player.
1 - Outside the temple is an ancient well which, if drank from, imparts the imbiber with wisdom, allowing him to grasp the great mysteries of the universe.
2 - The temple was built by an ancient race that was extinct before men first walked the face of the world.
3 - There are two species of ape men living in the ruins: smaller pygmy ape men and larger, white-furred ape men.
4 - The pygmy ape men of the temple are the result of the white ape men mating with shadow demons; they haunt the jungle's shadows and steal babies in the night.
5 - The pygmy ape men are the degenerate offspring of the white apes who happened upon a village of halflings ages ago. I hope the gods afforded those poor halflings a swift death in child birth.
6 - The ape men's improved coordination is due to the fact that they've taken up worship of some blasphemous god -- one of the Metal Gods that turned its back on the rest of the pantheon.
7 - A year ago, the head man hired another group of adventurers to rid us of the ape men menace. They never returned.
8 - A year ago, the head man hired another group of adventurers to rid us of the ape men menace. Only the group's thief survived and he was found near a watering hole, gibbering nonsense words and series of apparently random numbers.
The first session of this adventure is being run tonight via Google+ hangouts, so I thought I'd go ahead and post this info here now. I thought it would make sense to allow my players who take the time and trouble to read my blog the small jump on the game that this info represents.