Sunday, August 19, 2012

Escape from Queztec'l

A Xermoc!

On our road trip to Gen Con, your humble host and his doughty companions decided to kill some time by going through the High Fantasy solitaire adventure Escape from Queztec'l. Since your humble host had been through the adventure once before, he did not participate in making decisions; he limited himself to bookkeeping and reading the 'scenes' aloud. In truth, the adventure is relatively extensive, allowing for many distinct experiences. The adventure itself (360 scenes) takes up 59 of the rule book's 196 pages and an additional 17 contain the adventure's instructions, stat blocks, background etc. Because High Fantasy uses percentile dice exclusively, we did not need to roll actual dice but were able to use the 'random' function of the scientific calculator app on your humble host's tablet. 

Warning – Beyond this point be spoilers!

In Escape from Queztec'l, the player portrays – or in this case, players portray – Xenon Swif'sord, a Swordsman/Healer. Given Xenon's depiction, it seems that a player could have Xenon be of either gender; however, Xenon is described as a swordsman and – in certain parts of the adventure – is referenced with masculine pronouns.

Xenon is a noble whose lands are not part of the Queztec'l empire but who, nonetheless, is connected with Queztec'l by virtue of “a common language, religion, and customs.” (Queztec'lan religion was described in this post.) Visiting the city of Queztec'l for a Holy Day ceremony, Xenon is staying at the Imperial Palace when the adventure begins. A military coup ensues and Xenon's life is in danger. While Z'lan* search the palace for nobles to slay, a chambermaid loyal to the nobility shows Xenon a secret staircase which leads to the catacombs beneath the palace. The only chance Xenon has of escaping Queztec'l is to travel through the catacombs to a seaside exit. The chambermaid says, “You may follow the red hands of Djacarta through the crypt and down to the sea, but that path may be dangerous. There are other routes...” While descending the stairs, Xenon thinks about Dazia, the cousin with whom Xenon traveled to Queztec'l. “You wonder if she can survive the usurpation, and you find that you really don't care. She always knew how to win favor.”

The doughty companions elect to have Xenon run down the southern hall which “is significantly wider than the other two and relatively well lit.” (Being pursued by soldiers, this is not the choice your humble host would have made.) Anyway, Xenon reaches an intersection and goes east to another intersection and a large bronze door “adorned with a left and right palm painted in an eerie shade of red.” Instead of taking the north or south corridors, the companions have Xenon open the door. (Your humble host approves, believing the palms to be “the red hands of Djacarta” about which the chambermaid spoke.)

Beyond the door is “a large well-lit circular room” with another bronze door opposite and six iron doors besides. (A diagram is provided below.)  “The six iron doors apparently lead to tombs, for the names of the emperors are still visible to them.”  Rather than go through the other bronze door, which also has the “two red palms set in relief,” the companions decide that Xenon enters the tomb of Hac Djacarta.

Inside the tomb is “a man-sized statue of Djacarta” which turns out to be “the sarcophagus of Hac Djacarta.” Xenon examines the statue and a gem it holds.  While doing so, the room seems to spin and the stone dissolves beneath Xenon's feet.  A random roll offers seven results and the result determined by the scientific calculator has Xenon wind up in a large room with a Xermoc.**  Xenon rushes for the nearest exit but is psychically assaulted by the Xermoc.  Instead of leaving, the companions opt to have Xenon attack the Xermoc.  As Xenon approaches, the Xermoc goes behind a statue of Djacarta and the statue “steps off its pedestal and moves toward” our hero.  Pursuant to the will of the companions, Xenon attacks the statue.  Alas, the statue proves to be quite formidable and when, after three rounds of combat, Xenon has the option to break away from the battle, the companions have him do so.  As Xenon exits the chamber, the Xermoc hits him with another psychic blast.  Xenon slams the door and finds himself in a north-south hall.  Before proceeding, Xenon uses his talents as a healer to recover completely from his wounds.  Still, Xenon's armor has been damaged extensively.

The companions have Xenon walk south and, after several turnings, Xenon is in a hall with two doors opposite one another.  Xenon opens the east door (which has two red palm prints) and enters the dark room beyond.  Within the room is none other than Xenon's cousin, Dazia the 5th level alchemist.  Dazia has made an agreement with the leader of the successful coup:  Dazia's life for Xenon's.  Dazia claims, “My only hope is handing you over...”  Dazia puts aside her wheel-lock pistol in order to “make the contest fair.”  In contradiction to her claim of a fair contest, Dazia drinks a Potion of Strength.

Cousin Dazia
In the ensuing fight, Xenon manages to get in some good hits against Dazia but, ultimately, Dazia prevails.  When Xenon regains consciousness, he finds that his hands have been bound.  A Z'la prods Xenon down a hall and Dazia says,“Take him to the room...”  When Xenon and the Z'la eventually stop to rest, a random roll offers three possible results.  By virtue of the scientific calculator, Xenon falls asleep.  Upon awakening, Xenon finds two Z'lan standing over him.  A Death Dealer approaches and laughs.  “Together the Z'lan and the Death Dealer carry [Xenon] back to the palace, there to await [his] fate.”  The fate is not a good one; this scene concludes the adventure.

*  A Z'la is a common Queztec'lan soldier. Z'lan would seem to be the plural.
**  A Xermoc is a “[t]elepathic lizard with a type of vague intelligence. Used by the army for tracking.”


  1. Hopefully the trip to Gen Con had a happier ending!


  2. If I ever met one in real life I would kick it in the jimmy and I don't care what PETA has to say about it.