Necromancer/Frog God campaign.

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I'm starting a campaign in two or three weeks, we're going to be building characters tomorrow, and starting 2-3 weekends after that.

The premise is to run through old-style dungeons.  The plan is: The Wizard's Amulet > Crucible of Freya > Tomb of Abysthor > The Black Monastery > Rappan Athuk.

 

We've not really run an adventure focused on dungeon delves.  I anticipate going through several characters.  I have a mechanic for new characters to join in, as replacements, with knowledge of what has happened up to this point.  Replacement characters are going to have 50% of average party wealth, and no more than 25% of their wealth (12.5% of average party wealth) into any single piece... that will somewhat compensate for looting the fallen... the math is sort of close, if 1 in 4 deaths results in a lost corpse.  Replacement characters also start one level below party average, but need less experience to level... so should catch up in a session or two, if they survive.

 

The players will have fairly strong characters.

We'll be using Gestalt rules, with (Paizo) Pathfinder material  and Psionics (Dreamscarred Press).  15 point-stat buys, with 10-point 'Build your own races' from the Advanced Race Guide.  The characters will be 'Low-Mythic', as in zero mythic power, but mythic rank 2... which is going to translate into 2 mythic features and 1 mythic feat (or pick extra mythic feat, as one of the two features for the reverse 1 & 2), that gets a +2 to any stat, over and above the 15-point buy.

I'm going with fractional BAB and fractional Saves, and Best-Progression for things like Sneak Dice or whatever.  Characters should have above average BAB, above average Saves, decent Hit Points, and a combination of class features that they think will be 'good'.

 

The players are leaning towards starting with these (at level 1):

Paladin 01 | Bard 01

Psychic Warrior 01 | Cleric 01

Cleric 01 | Monk 01

Rogue 01 | Inquisitor 01

No one is starting with any kind of a primary arcane class... but we'll see how long that continues.

Sounds really cool, jmj! Let us know how it goes.

jmj_1975's picture

We ran through 'The Wizard's Amulet' last session, and just started into 'Crucible of Freya'.  We had planned on a session to build characters as a group, so they'd integrate well together... but that didn't take all that long, so we started the series of adventures.

 

I included the pregenerated characters Corian and Galdar in the party, for the first adventure.  Both managed to perish in the encounter at the farm house (which I ran on the more difficult setting, given my tougher characters and the number of bodies present).  The group liked the style of the ambush, with the farmers already animated as Zombies and Skeletons buried loosely in the dirt.  Having 'Channel Energy' from Galdar, and two PCs made the encounter much easier than it could have been.

Vortigerm and Talon have escaped with the Amulet. 

The group has decided to continue along the Tradeway towards Fairhill (which they are just entering, as we ended the session) to investigate Eralion's Keep, without the Amulet.

I have a feeling, the Orc's might steal something while they're resting up within Fairhill.

 

 

 

We have had a friend, with no pencil & paper gaming experience, express an interest in joining us.  Gestalt isn't exactly a simple introduction, but his concept is mainly being an archer, with some casting support.  Another player suggested he play a Ranger | Monk (Zen Archer), that eventually goes into Ranger | Inquisitor.

A fifth player should round the group out nicely, although there are no 'Arcane Caster' types yet.

Thanks for sharing! Would love to hear some more session summaries if you have em.

I am starting a new campaign this summer and am thinking of doing Stoneheart Valley -->Tsar. Just curious - any reason you settled on RA instead of Tsar?

 

Cheers!

jmj_1975's picture

At the time of the adventure, I already has the Rappan Athuk book but did not yet have Slumbering Tsar (have added that, Morrick Mansion, Tomb of Abysthor, Crucible of Freyja, Black Monastery and ordered Sword of Air) since the start of Rappan Athuk.

This one has gone: Crucible of Freyja > Morrick Mansion > Rappan Athuk.

Our group wants to alternate Dungeon type adventures with predominantly open-world stuff, so the next one will likely be the Rise of the Runelords (Anniversary edition).

I'm definitely interested in a Tomb of Abysthor > Slumbering Tsar adventure in the future.

And the Sword of Air is a 1st to 20th option; if it's anything like RA/ST, I'll want to run that one too.

 

 

 

We've run eight sessions in total.

I'll try to remember/summarize what has happened.

 

 

Following the 'Wizard's Amulet', we ended up in Fairhill (as per, Crucible of Freyja).

Pretty much followed the adventure, as it was written.

 

The characters found the town, and were there for a day or so, when the Orcs attacked... including stealing the Crucible.

I had Lanet (NPC Halfling Rogue) follow the party, because they were 'Interesting' and he was bored.  He stole a few items from the group (one per PC), but wanted to travel with them so returned each item after asking that character what the significance was.  He didn't ask if he could come along, but kind of followed, in case they needed his help.

The Orcs were tracked, towards their keep.. but the party caught up to the raiding party prior to their arriving at the keep.  There was a heated battle between the Orcs and the Party.  The healer (Monk|Cleric) fell, due to a couple of critical hits from the leader of the Orc party... characters can be fragile at level 1.  The healer was knocked unconscious, but did not immediately die.  However, the party didn't make saving him a priority so that character was finished off by the Orcs prior to the Orcs dying.

(Tracking deaths, as inspired by the Obituray section at the back of Rappan Athuk).

 

The party found returned to Fairhill, returned the Crucible and received the thanks of the Priestess Shandril.  The one-arm NPC (leader the guard) convinced them to return to the Orc Keep and at least scout the area, or deal with the Orcs if that was possible.

The party managed to infiltrate the keep, but the scout was poisoned by the spider near the back door.  (He was a full DEX (Inquisitor|Rogue) build, with very low STR rating to begin with... I believe he was moderately encumbered from Armor + 2x Light Maces + Longbow alone, so would routinely drop everything and either fight with two-weapons or with a bow, to retain his DEX mod...

The party managed to take out the guard, atop one of the towers and were planning on taking out the Orcs (and the Ogre) in the courtyard below.  The still-wounded Rogue opted to go off on his own, to climb one of the other towers, his reasoning being to catch the Orcs below in a crossfire.  Alas he did not make a DC 5 Climb check, for knotted rope and fell to his death.  (Death #2).

The party dwindled down the Orcs, and eventually got the Wizard (the one with the Imp Familiar, from Wizard's Amulet) to turn on the Priest (Tavik, I believe).  The Wizard lost the altercation, but Tavik was not in good shape for a battle at that point, so he used his Recall ability.

The PCs investigated the tower, from the clues left them from Corian.  I modified the Shadow attack, into the Shadow mistaking the PC (with the Amulet) to be his good friend (the Wizard with the Tower)... and he asked the PCs to save his life by reversing Orcus's ritual, which would involve a Holy Relic possessed by the high priest of Orcus, who resided in a nearby dungeon.

The PCs won the day, and returned to Fairhill as champions.

 

 

 

jmj_1975's picture

The next couple of sessions were spent around Morrick Mansion.

 

The PCs opted to head towards the dungeon that they believed the Priest of Orcus was within.  They basically came across the outskirts of Morrick Mansion, and encountered some of the Cursed creatures.  The nearby town of Grollek's Grove became their base of operations.

They met with a few of the NPCs within the town, and became interested in acquiring proof of who was responsible for whatever had happened at the manor, on behalf of Richard Arien.

Along the way, Thyran Whiteoak offered them good rewards, for information about the curse or how to break it (or use it against rivals), but the more scrupulous members of the party didn't want much to do with him.  The interaction was mainly between a (Rogue 2 | Brawler 1/SoulKnife 1) (the replacement of the first Rogue that fell to his death), as the rest of the party did not trust or like Thyran that much.

They had a bit of interactions with Leah Redoak (Druid) and Sarah Lyrean (Priest).  Leah wanted as much evidence as possible from within the cursed area, as she was acting on behalf of the Druid's Circle.  Sarah was used more for her curative (remove curse) powers, as she didn't want the curse to spread.

The (Paladin 2 | Bard 2) almost drowned, when he was investigating an area by looking down a well, and the NPC chick (cursed, believed everyone was out to get her) bull-rushed him down the well, in his armor.  The party prevailed, and rescued Rommel.

They cleared, or explored, the majority of the outer areas on the first session.

 

On the second session, they went into the Manor house and played there.  Rommel had another near death experience when the Tiger (cursed) attacked the party and eventually fled (wounded) but was dragging the unconscious Rommel away (to be its' dinner)... the party Archer (Zen Monk | Ranger) managed to down the Tiger as it was disappearing into the tall grasses...

A clue found within (a Vial of Poison and a note instructor the assassin to be careful, but to place the stone within a pool of water upon the grounds)... that motivated the party to check (Detect Chaos) each of the exterior pools of water.

The (Rogue|Brawler/Soul Knife) fell in battle, against the Demonic Mists... but the party managed to acquire the cursed rock, whom the Druid/Priestess dealt with.

jmj_1975's picture

From Morrick Mansion, the party joined with a Caravan which was traveling along the great caravan road.  Their ultimate destination was an outpost called Zelkor's Ferry, which was the last place of civilization before the dungeon Rappan Athuk.

 

The caravan was large enough to basically travel without incident, save for a massive Red Dragon which flew well above but across the caravan, possibly to let them know of its' presence or that they were ultimately insignificant to the dragon.  One of the caravan guards confided a rumor he had heard... that the Dragon seeks to gather a reputation of its' own... that eating a caravan of nobody guards wasn't worthwhile, but that once he (or possibly the PCs) had made a name for themselves, and attracted the fame that goes with it... the Dragon would consider them worthy, as slaying mighty heroes would add to its' prestige. 

Needless to say, the PCs were not exactly happy with idea.

 

The caravan guards each had a story about the Dungeon of Graves (taken from the free Player's Guide to Rappan Athuk), which they shared with the group over several weeks of travel.

Eventually they were even (on the road) with Rappan Athuk (which was well to the east), but the road continued on northward to a river, and from there the caravan would follow the river to Zelkor's Ferry.  The nominal leader of the party Ulric (Psychic Warrior 2 | Cleric 2) wanted to abandon the caravan and head overland towards the dungeon, as that was where the Priest of Orcus likely resided.  Rommel (Paladin|Bard) wanted to head to Zelkor's Ferry, to see what was available there and to reconoiter the area.  The party ended up in favor of heading directly to the dungeon from this point.

They managed to acquire the services of several of the guards from the Caravan (which did not make them all that popular with the merchants of the Caravan), by paying wages in Gold Pieces per day that the caravan had been offering in Silver Pieces per day.

The first day off of the road was relatively quiet, but the ups and downs of the trip was hard on the PCs wagon (the Rogue and Paladin|Bard wanted to haul everything found, until they managed to find/convince someone to pay more than 100% value for each item... so they were hauling everything possible)...

Several Stirges attacked in the night; the sentries were their hired guards (who didn't have stellar perception bonuses); the Stirges did coup-de-grace attacks on sleeping targets (determined randomly).  One PC (the Monk|Ranger archer) had one attack him, while Rommel had a few attach themselves to him.  The sleeping guards did not fair particularly well.

The Stirges were battled off, but most were not slain... so there was the looming threat that they would return at some point in the next several nights for another feeding.

The NPC guards basically disappeared the next morning, except for one who was basically almost dead... Two of the PCs had Mythic 'Cure Light Wounds' which is capable of restoring Ability Damage.. (the Rogue replacement... Rogue 02 | Fighter 01 / Cleric 01) and the Healer replacement (Paladin 2 | Oracle 2).

The next day, around noon, a pair of Trolls came across the party... one member was able to understand their banter, about catching a yummy hummy and having him for breakfast.  The Trolls were especially nasty, given the level of the party... they likely were in well over their heads.  In the end, one of the Trolls was wounded and the other was slain (temporarily... Regeneration was still going), when the party decided to let the living troll go (with their almost dead / unconscious last NPC guard).  The other Troll waking up, but obviously more interested in Breakfast on a Yummy Hummy than in battle against armied Little Uns that hurt them, kind of helped sway their decision.

 

A small pack of (2) Dire Wolves (semi-intelligent) with (6) normal wolves... were encountered just prior to reaching the main road again.  The wolves basically went for the closest person, unless someone were to hit them too hard.  The Dire Wolves made more intelligent decisions and went after the PCs that were more dangerous to them.

Lanet (Rogue 3), the halfling henchman, fell in this battle while trying to tumble around one of the Dire Wolves, as he was seeking a flank position.  The battle wasn't easy, but it ended with a win for the PCs rather than letting Trolls run off with their hired hand.

jmj_1975's picture

In the next session, the party explored Zelkor's Ferry.

A new character joined us for this session Rocky, a Dwarf (Arcanist|Slayer)...

They had a chance to interact with a few more of the NPCs there.  I modified the town a little, by making the Bristleback (Tavern owner), the Captain of the guard (Skorma) and the Sergeant of the Guard (new NPC) as retired adventurers.  That makes the outpost a lot more secure and a safer refuge, at lower levels, and ensures that the PCs cannot just take it over and kill everyone... at least for a few levels.

 

The party decided to explore the area around Zelkor's Ferry, since the Rappan Athuk foothills were a bit over their heads.

They managed to acquire a few rumons, including the 'Mouth of Doom' from Pappy (in the Inn) (from the Player's Guide), along with mention of the Cloister of the Frog-God, a Gnoll Scouting Outpost (for a massive gathering of Gnolls intent on destroying... something, unless they're dealt with later), a Giant Red Bear, an Ogress somewhere in the woods, and a Cave full of Stirges.

They were exploring the woods, when they came across a Druid lady, who unlike the Druidess outside of Grolleck's Grove was almost hostile.  The more intuitive (higher Sense Motive) characters basically decided she was looking for a reason to kill them, as she warned them to not despoil nature.  She eventually told them of a Spider Colony, which was not natural, and that they could prove their worth by taking it out... the party basically left her as soon as they could.

The Gnoll outpost was a joke, the party decimated the five Gnolls in a couple of rounds.  The Gnolls were not even close to a minor challenge.

The party opted to head more towards the Mouth of Doom, rather than tackle of Cave of Stirges. 

They ran into another pack of Wolves (3x Dire, 6x Normal), and for whatever reason (the Psychic Warrior|Cleric was late for the session) decided to space themselves out, gaining flanks and such but also granting flanks to their advesaries and allowing the wolves to gang up on the weaker characters.  It looked like it was going to be a total wipe, but shortly after Ulric's player arrived they managed to turn the battle around.  Loki (the Zen Monk | Ranger) was the only death of the battle.

He opted to come back with an identical character, named Thor, whom they found wandering the nearby region.

 

The party got to the entrance of the Mouth of Doom, but opted to camp for the night rather than descend within.  A group of Kobold Raiders, from the upper reaches of the Underdark happened to chose that night for their surface raid.  These were not ordinary Kobolds, but rather battle hardened (same level as the PCs, also Gestalt... all of them were (Fighter 3 | Rogue 3 (Unchained Rogues)).

The battle was rather hard, again because the party split their resources... an ongoing thing, I think.  Ulric went to the Northern end of the battlefield; Silk (Rogue|Fighter/Cleric) and Rommel (Bard|Paladin) opted to go South.  Thor, and the healer Ramiriez (Paladin|Oracle) were kind of in the middle, with Rocky circling about the edges.

In the end, the party came together and denied the Rogues the sneak attack field-day they had been enjoying.

 

The party headed into 'The Mouth of Doom', but haven't really gone all that far.  Pretty much explored the first room very carefully, having heard of how deadly Rappan Athuk can be.

They've poked their heads about, but haven't gone too far.

 

 

Unfortunately, Rocky's player is going to miss the next eight sessions.  Cannot avoid a two-month committment to real life.

 

Ulric's player won't make the next session, due to watching his team (Chicago Blackhawks) in Game 7 vs Anaheim...

Could be an interesting session tomorrow... Five deaths in Eight sessions... with a good chance at a party wipe for next session, given the tactical acumen of the players who will be present.

jmj_1975's picture

We didn't get a whole lot done this last session... Ulric decided to show up, when I let him know there was a pretty good chance everyone would be making brand new characters for next session (he does his best to play a single character, all the way... in whatever we're doing).

 

We ended up starting late and ending sort of early.  That said, it was a fun session.

The party continued exploring Area 01C-X 'The Mouth of Doom', and found the 'Chamber of Magic Pools'.  They discovered the adjacent nest of Stirges, but the player trained in Knowledge Nature rolled poorly so overestimated how many of them there were.  They closed the door quietly, and did their best to not awaken them.

I've let the players (who are not versed in dungeon-crawls) know that deeper is nastier... and have expanded the relative depths of each level... ie 1, 1A, 1B etc might be at one depth, but 2, 2A, 2B is drastically deeper (200 ft. or so, on average).

They discovered the illusionary fountain, with a ladder (leading down 200 feet) to the next sub-level.  Some of them wanted to explore it, while others wanted to 'clear' the current level first.  The guy who wanted to explore opted to start the descent.  He used a grappling hook and rope to prevent a nasty fall.  I decided on 1/6 (D6) chance of a loose ladder rung, per 50 feet of descent (so 4x D6 rolls, 1 is bad).  The first 100 ft., was fine, but the third roll indicated a loose ladder rung, which I rolled as almost at the top.  Poor Silk was anchored to his 100 ft. length of rope and fell 90 ft. (still achored) to his death.  (Two of his three deaths, have been fall related).

The party decided to go down and get him... The corpse was too heavy to pull up (200 lb dwarf, with 250 lbs of gear).  A party pet (Psi-Crystal) ascertained that there were four creatures holding onto the rope, hoping to be pulled up along with Silk.  The party archer climbed downwards (using 20 ft. lengths of rope, instead of 100 ft. lengths), and attempted to dissuade their interest in Silk, as the party hauled him upwards.

The unknown creatures (intelligent undead, but no one has the relevant knowledge) basically used the corpse as a vaulting point, to get up onto the ladder rungs and assault the archer.  The rest of the group was all for a shooting match, Archer vs 4x unknown creatures, in melee... but Ulric decided to cut the rope, which resulted in the four falling (along with Silk's corpse) to a point where they could not jump upwards to where Thor (the Archer) was hanging.

Not too much happened aside from that... they discovered and by-passed three traps.  They were ambushed by some wandering Rogues (who are allied with the larger group, in a room that the party has not yet found), but managed to deal with that group.  The traps were worth twice as much experience, and so far have been a significant source of experience whilst in RA.

Short session, and didn't really get too far.

Silk's replacement (his fourth character (six deaths in total)) will be Essen Diese (German for 'Eat This') who is a Rogue 01 / Fighter 02 (going to Fighter 19) <Two-Handed Archetype> || Soulknife 03 (going SK 20).  He has maxed Perception/Disable Device, along with Skill Focus in both skills... he is not planning on scouting (as that is his perceived cause of death, although I think aggressive/independent play away from the party is the true culprit... while scouting alone... moving into three flanks, to land 'Sneak Attack' damage because you won initiative against creatures you've never encountered and have no clue as to relative strengths/weaknesses... was a tactic he used).  He hopes to cover the Trap Monkey role.

 

No true scout, and only the almost brand new player (the Zen Monk|Ranger) with partial scouting skills, is going to make for an interesting next little bit.

On any death, the player can bring in a replacement character (same level as the group, but 1/2 the total wealth), who knows (up to that point, anyway) exactly what has happened with every character to date... a Scout or an AoE Caster type might appear in the near future...

 

I did a spreadsheet for wealth; giving a new character 50% of average wealth... and assuming the party loots the corpse of the newly deceased character... if one in four corpses (over the course of the campaign) prooves to be unrecoverable, that results in close to expected wealth.  Silk is the first death (out of six) where the corpse is not recoverable.

Interestingly, the survivors pick over the corpse prior to letting the new guy get anything, even though they know there's a new guy coming the next morning.  In a way, that's the penalty the group is imposing on a new character, despite the fact that the new character might be responsible for your life (or death) in the next encounter.

jmj_1975's picture

Heading into session 10...

They party is:

  Ulric (Cleric 03 | Psychic Warrior 03)... Original character, built to tank, hasn't done much casting yet.

  Rommel (Bard 03 | Paladin 03)... Original character, with lots of close calls.  Does a song, then charges with

                                                         a two-hander; has low armor.

Ramirez (Oracle 03 | Paladin 03).... On his second character.... in melee, but with Defensive Fighting, primarily

                                                          playing as a healer.

Thor (Zen Monk 03 | Archer Ranger 03) .... On his second character, identical (aside from name... Loki was

                                                           the first.  Pretty much a brand new player.

Essen Diese (Rogue 01/Fighter 02 | Soul Knife 03) On his third character... plays very recklessly. 

Rockey (Arcanist 03 | Slayer 03).... Missing in action, until he returns in 7 sessions.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 10, still in 'The Mouth of Doom'.

 

The group explores most of the remainder of this dungeon.  They find a room, which was jammed shut (with climbin pitons) and batter the door down.  Inside are a few corpses, still in their sleeping bags and one is propped up against the wall.  They pilfer the corpses and leave.

 

They find the main group of Rogues (same band as the smaller group, that they had dealt with the previous session).  One of the Rogues appears to be a leader, and is actually hitting Ulric a fair bit of the time (basically one hit, between his two attacks, each round).  The guy hits hard anytime there is sneak damage, but otherwise isn't that difficult.

He has three lieutenants with him, two are also Rogues and one is Healer.  The Healer finds a position where he has complete cover from the parties archers (a nook in the wall).  He's able to burst heal the majority of his group or single target heal his leader, without taking any damage in the process.

The Rogues have a whole bunch of much weaker guys in their band.  They've (in numbers) explored the Mouth of Doom to a greater extent than the party.  The lower guys basically (via Run action) circle around behind the group and eventually come up towards the rear, where the parties Archer and Healer are stationed.. that was their full move, and they're still a little short of the group.

The group repositions itself, so the tank (Ulric) has guys attacking him from both directions (he's fond of Expansion, size large (2x2, on the BattleGrid... the new Tactiles rock) and plugging passageways/doors as the choke point.  Most of the more fragile members are in a safe position.

They continue to focus fire on the leader rogue, who proves to be a very elusive (higher AC, also with cleric AC buffs) target.  Meanwhile the weaker rogue guys are providing flanks and the lieutenant rogues are starting to deal fairly significant damage with their extra sneak dice.

Rommel (low AC, 2-Hander) and Essen (2-Hander, Soulknife) are having fun, killing the lower/weaker guys (often in a single-hit), but they're taking a bit of damage in the process.

The lieutenants and the leader are still in very good shape, because they're sticking close to their healer (who is still immune to player damage, via 100% physical cover...) and is AoE channel-healing or touch-healing (via spell) anyone who needs it.  The party doesn't know, but he's getting low on spells and is thinking of running off to save himself and abandon his team (evil does look out for itself); the party is thinking this is not a winable encounter at this point... but they've let the opposition cleric heal at will, fast enough to heal through their DPS as they target the one guy they have serious difficulties even hitting.

Rommel does a Withdraw action, moving behind the party choke point (Ulric) and gets a heal from Ramirez.  On his next turn, he uses Vanish and moves back towards the front line.  Essen continues to focus entirely on killing stuff (he never tracks his own hit points or any resources).  The party is getting a little frustrated at this point, thinking this was an unwinnable fight/bullshit encounter (despite their interesting tactics).

Essen has the brilliant move, of eating an opportunity attack, to move into a position so he and Ulric now flank the leader rogue (for the +2 to hit), but in doing so he is now between a Lieutenant Rogue and the Leader Rogue who in turn flank him.  The next round, with two rogues, both sneaking his lower AC he falls unconscious.  Ulric (PsyWar | Cleric) manages a defensive casting and heals Essen.  On his turn Essen swings (from Prone) to not provoke an OA getting up.  They kill him on their turn.

The NPC/bad-guy healer starts to move for one of the doorways, to run away.  Rommel (who is invisible and adjacent) decides to wack him with his Greatsword, which lands easily because the Cleric is flat-footed.  The cleric (who wears armor, so moves slowly) does not think he can escape with a melee in his face.  His best option is to continue his move but change his destination.  He ends up adjacent to Rommel with an open space and then the leader rogue.

The leader rogue shifts over and knocks Rommel unconscious with a vicious attack (good sneak roll).  Ulric moves a square and continues to miss the leader.  Using the last Channel, the party healer (behind the Ulric Wall) burst heals Rommel to a couple of hit points.  Rommel decides to play dead, but the flanking cleric drops him (unconscious) the next round and finishes him off the next round.

The cleric, now free of PCs in his face abandons his leader.  The leader notices this and offers to surrender if the party promises to let him live.  The dead players say to make him strip naked and to tie him up, but the survivors (who have very low resources) don't want to guard him, so they tell him to run away and not return... he leaves, with all of his gear.

The party licks its' wounds in a previously found 'safe room', one in which the lock still works (no key, but Rogues are keys).  They decide to call this their loot room, and deposit found stuff here.

The next morning, replacement characters are found within their room, literally appearing out of nowhere.  They have knowledge of what has transpired, up until their arrival... the players decide to accept their arrival without question (so the dead players can play again).

jmj_1975's picture

Replacement Character Mechanic

 

My basic idea for replacement characters, beyond the initial group, is that a seemingly immortal Archmage offers a challenge once every three or four generations.  He presents his challenge to numerous and diverse lands, who each send champions to participate.  Thousands of champions answer the call.

They are in a vast chamber, with multiple and massive viewing spheres (similar idea to Stargate SG-1's... Gou'ald 'Long-Range Communication Devices') each one essentially a crystal ball following one of the Player Characters.

Everyone in the chamber knows what each surviving (or dead character, up until the point of death) has done while within 'the Game'.

The replacement character gets Teleported in, at Sunrise (or the timing of Sunrise, when they're underground)... In the case of multiple (two, in this case) arrivals, it's one per minute.

The new guys know the existing characters' names and tactics (anything the player's know, regarding what they've seen as Players (not as characters) is knowledge of the new arrivals) as well as what has happened up until now.  If one guy wanders off alone, to see what is down a hallway... and dies... the replacement will know that a large feline beast prowls and got him (or whatever)... knowledges may or may not identify what it was...

This allows new/replacement characters to join in, even if the party is deep underground...

 

The first replacement characters told the initial characters... This is just like the Hunger Games, where we see what you're doing, as you do it.

The party accepted this... I guess the characters must each either know what a Hunger Games is, or perhaps didn't want to admit lack of knowledge when everyone else seemed to understand the meaning.

 

The new guys arrive with limited gear (can purchase whatever, but they only have half wealth of the party (per PC) average, and cannot spend more than half of their wealth on a single piece).  This is treated as, the stuff they have acquired in life/adventuring up to this point, not what the 'Game' outfitted them with.

Generally the party survivors are looting the dead, and letting the new (under-equipped) guys only use their initial stuff, as a party-penalty for dying.

 

The half wealth, is basically going to average close to 'expected wealth by level', if 3/4 of corpses are retrievable and 1/4 are lost (with whatever they were carrying).

Not that I'm necessarily doing treasure parcels... Loot is whatever the description says a given creature/NPC happens to have.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 11 -- The Mouth of Doom.

The new guys are 'Deadmeat' (same player as Karzak > Schurke > Silk > Essen), who is a: (Fighter 01 / Aegis 03 || Rogue 01 / Soulknife 03) and Sigrunin (Rommel's replacement), who is a: (Druid 04 || Rogue 04, built as a Finesse/Wildshape character).

They join:

Ramirez (Oracle (Life) 04 || Paladin 04)

Thor (Ranger 04 || Monk (Zen Archer) 03 / Inquisitor 01)

Ulric (Psychic Warrior 04 || Cleric 04)

 

 

The party rescues a disturbed Paladin (made him the religion that is shared by 2 of the 5 regular players), who lost most of his group on their own expedition this way.  His name is Gelver.  His group entered the same way, but took an alternate path to end up where the group is now.  They were losing a fight against things one room to the west, and retreated to this room... he doesn't go into details, but has been cannibalizing his companion who made the escape with him, but died in this room.

They party came from the west, defeated the 'Giant Leeches' (that Gelver's group lost to) and are now exploring in the direction that Gelver's group came from.

 

They discover a room with numerous statues, each depicing a god/godess of chance/gambling (from numerous different pantheons).  Along the back wall are three hand impressions and a bowl.  The party guesses that this is a slot machine gambling room.  Placing something within the bowl has a chance to return more coins or to eat the coins instead.  More often than not, coins are merely eaten.  They play in this room for a while, with Deadmeat wanting to play a couple of copper coins at a time (party has about a thousand) but Ulric takes a turn with 100 GP, saying if you win only a few coppers what's the point...  They resolve to return to this room (at the end of each session, to do a little gambling)... so far have not come back.

 

Deadmeat and Sigrunin both detect a secret room, that Gelver's party had not found.  The room contains a chest, which Deadmeat ascertains is trapped in the form of a pressure plate... which could trigger if too much weight or too little weight is placed upon the plate.  He estimates (via an Appraise check) that the coins within the chest might weight 200 lbs (approximately, for that volume of metal).  He announces that he will get a 200 lb block of stone from rubble a few rooms back, empty the chest completely and then place the rock into the chest.  Sigrunin convinces him to get a whole bunch of 2-3 lb rocks instead, and to remove the coins (and replace the weight) in much smaller increments.  Amidst the coins, was a buried dagger.

Once the coins have been replaced by rocks, Deadmeat buries (adjusts rocks positioning) a few grappling hooks in the pile, and pulls rocks out of the chest, to 'see what would happen'.  The result is that the entire ceiling (a single massive block of stone) falls and obliterates everything within the room.

 

From the room that the Bandits (Rogues) were using as a base of operations, they find a doorway to the east which circles about via a long path... North than West in a NW/SW/NW/SW zig-zag, placing them further west (in their estimation, via number of tact tiles removed from the east and replaced with new tiles on the western edge... as the new stuff is drawn) than their initial entrance.

They find a few fairly clear rooms and then run into a Gelatinous Cube that was almost invisible, until it lurched at (but just missed) their scout.  No one could identify what it was, but it appeared to be acidic.. eating away at things it touched.  No weapons were destroyed, but they were steaming as the acid was working on them.  Mending was applied after the battle, to ensure everything was repaired properly.

A room, with a sawed off halfling foot was discovered.  Deadmeat was tapping the floor (with his 2H Soulblade) but the blade became stuck to the floor instantly on the slightest touch.  He was able to dismiss it and summon another (standard action).  On the far side of the room was a treasure chest.  Some wanted to get rubble or corpses and use them as stepping stones to get to the chest without touching the floor.  Deadmeat decided it would be a better idea to smash through the wall from the far side (10 feet of rock).  It took quite a while, and they attracted the attention of wandering monsters several time in the process.  The chest wasn't anything special...

The passage continued East or South.  East ended up in their initial room, but from one of the two doors they had not taken initially.  South led to a room with two metallic snakes (King Cobras, and made of Iron).  The fight wasn't overly difficult, but they had psyched themselves into thinking it would be very hard so had done almost every buff possible (after baracading within a safer room) and camping a day to get full resources.

There were stairs downwards (a total of 2x Stairs and 1x Pit Trap (with a ladder at the bottom) and 1x Illusionary Well (with a ladder descending downwards... where Silk had died) far enough, that it was clear to them to be a new and deeper level.  Four methods to go down...

 

The party decided to gather all their stashes of loot and coins, and head to the surface... to return to Zelkor's Ferry to sell and re-equip prior to moving down.  The consensus was to investigate the Giant Red Bear, the Stirge Cavern, the Ogress in the Woods, and to explore in general prior to hitting over surface level dungeons.  They had heard of a Frog Temple to the north of Zelkor's Ferry and of another first level (one level down, adjacent to the ground) near a 'Sunken Graveyard'.

 

Upon exiting 'The Mouth of Doom' an Ogre was planted in their path (immediately outside of the dungeon).  Sigrunin was in the lead, with others 40 feet back (still down the stairs and out of sight).  The Ogre was flanked by six kobolds (with short bows), three on either side.

He called out (in broken common): "Me Vorlak very smart.  You drop weapons and bags but keep armor and shield.  Then you go and live.  Steal sword and club from dummer hummy and come back to hole in ground.  Vorlak steal from you next time too.  Drop stuff now or we kill."  Sigrunin proved to be quicker on the reactions, and managed to retreat down the stairs before the Ogre could attack or the Kobolds fire their arrows.

The party ascended the stairs to just the point where they could barely see the opposition, but where they essentially had 9/10s cover.  A bit of a discussion occurs, and Deadmeat gets tired of standing around doing nothing, so decides to double move (around the Ogre and one flank of three Kobolds).  He notices that there are many (maybe 60-80) additional Kobolds on each side of the Mouth, but out of view from the stairway descending into the Mouth; one player asks him what he's going to make next.

The Ogre calls to Deadmeat... Drop stuff now and live, go to hummy town or me kill and eat you.  Deadmeat moves in an angle back towards the group (the stairs) as he takes off some of his gear slowly.  He tosses his Soulblade to the ground (it disappears once he's a square away from it) and acts like he's taking his gear off.  At the point where he'd have to drop stuff, he breaks for the stairs.

The six Kobolds (three on either flank) each take a shot at him, with two arrows connecting.  He takes marginal damage but his shoulder is sore.

In Goblin, not the Common tongue, the Ogre calls out for ten kobolds to watch the entrance carefully at all times, the hummies have to come out sometime.  We make camp and wait, they run out of food and water then give us stuff.  Unbenowst to him, Sigrunin speaks Goblin and understands.

 

They decide to go down the stairway, in the room with the Metal Snakes.  Deadmeat discovers the stairs are trapped and temporarily disables the trap.  There is a passageway to the North with a branch to the East, almost immediately.  They head north, without even checking the eastern passageway.

There is a room to the West off of that Northern passage.  It has a pool of fetid water and a statue of a humanoid, but with a goat's head and rams' horn in the place of a normal head.  The bat emblem on the shield animates when the water is touched.  The bat is defeated and all they find in the water (after a very cursory search) is a moldy boot.  Unexamined, it is discarded.

Continuing north, there is a door to the east or the passage continues North before curving to the NorthEast and breaking line of sight.

Within the east room are bones and piles of crap (feces).  There are two visible doors on the east side of the room and a grate against the eastern wall (as far North as you can go within the room).  One room is empty but the next contains Five Gnolls with Five Hyenas.  They hear the lock open and surprise the scouts... only one clear charge path (miss), but the others move towards the scouts.  Sigrunin backs off, and Deadmeat advances.  The rest of the party (outside of the room) did not act in the surprise round.

Ulric enlarges and block the doorway.  Everyone else gets ranged weaponry out, except Sigrunin and Deadmeat.  One of the gnolls moves to the grate and barks in its' alien tongue.  Deadmeat is surrounded and attacked, with only one connecting for a nasty blow (Greataxe, 2-handed, decent STR).  The puppies (Hyenas) follow their masters into the room.  Sigrunin pounces (Wildshaped into a Deinonychus) and connects a few blows.

As the five gnolls and five hyenas enter the room (taking up a good chunk of the floorspace) Sigrunin backs away behind Ulric.  Deadmeat moves into cleaving position and starts to trade blows (he's moved out of line of effect/sight from the healer).  More gnolls come through the grate and approach him from the north too.

Deadmeat hits them very easily, but cannot drop them in single hits.  He essentially hits two with a Cleave.  Next round hits two again (dropping them, and hitting a third when Cleaving Finish kicks in).

At this point the archers (one archer build, two with abyssmal archery skills... but safe behind the 'Great Wall of Ulric') are dealing a little damage (one hits hard, two mostly miss or hit for little).

More Gnolls come from the North.  Sigrunin drops her Wildshape (cannot cast in that form yet) and does an Entangle in the hallway.  Deadmeat continues to play 'Whack a Gnoll', but is at the point where two successful hits will drop him (one hit did a little over 1/3rd his health).  Gelver is knocked unconscious at this point, and later perishes; so much for their second henchman...

The battle continues, with the Gnolls and Ulric rolling very poorly; Deadmeat is the hero of the show, dropping most of the Gnolls.  Sigrunin summons an Earth Elemental (just a baby one) but it helps blockage the Gnolls to the north as Ulric continues to plug the doorway to the east.  No monsters are attracted by the noise of the ongoing 15 round combat.  (It would have been fun to have 'adds' come from the southern hallway (possibly the east passage they had not checked).

 

The party explores further, finding a couple of trapped rooms, which they decide to use as their new 'stash' room for the level.  There is a room with strange writing on every surface.  The words are in common, but seemingly very random.  Trying to understand them makes Deadmeat dizzy and he almost falls over from the effect, he manages an autohypnosis check and memorizes a small section from one square.  He continues to examine the walls and falls over unconscious and drooling.

 

Meanwhile Sigrunin moves into a doorway to the north.  Inside is an easily spotted open pit and a door to the east.  Touching the door teleports the offender 20 ft. above the 20 ft. deep pit.  Sigrunin falls but lands easily taking minimal damage (1,1,2,4=8).  There is a small depression within the pit, a gargoyle like face about 4 inches across set into a slight depression.  They party gets her out, via a rope.  She tries to shoot the gargoyle head and connects only once out of several rounds of shots.  The head moves into the depression slightly, but does not trigger.

 

 

Someone or something can be heard screaming about the voices and a companion.  Entering the southern area (where Deadmeat was investigating) there are drag marks leading to the door, but no Deadmeat.  The party moves in and attempts the door, but it proves beyond Sigrunin's ability to pick the lock.  Ulric (enlarges) and smashes the door down in a few rounds.

Deadmeat has been dragged to a corner and propped up.  He wears a holy symbol of Orcus and has blood smeared on his forehead.  As Ulric enters he is attacked from the side by a half-orc who easily Feints a strike at one place and then attacks another.  Both Ulric and the Half-Orc cannot hit each other (a string of 1-4s on the D20, from each of them for several rounds).

Thor moves into place and starts to shoot, but the Half-Orc has partial cover from the wall to the side of the door.  Thor cannot connect so uses an Inquisitor spell for True Strike.  His next shot would have connected, but the Half-Orc uses its' shield to swat the arrow away (he had never encountered anything like that in game to date, so was annoyed a little).

Sigrunin uses some of her last spells to summon critters and swarm the guy.  Deadmeat eventually wakes up and as a group they drop the Half-Orc.

That's about where they got to.

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Session 12 - The Demon's Gullet (02B)

 

The party begins the session in their "Loot Room" (Room 02B-09A) for the level.  As they check their rations, it becomes clear that aside from Ulric and Sigrunin, the party does not have rations for the upcoming day.  They decide to redistribute the rations between the party, and have enough for two more days. 

Apparently, dealing with the Ogre + Kobolds on the surface, whether succumbing to their demands (turning over everything except Armor) or attacking their adversaries is still not an option.

 

They continue to explore the level.  They find a room, where a statue shoots a ray at anyone who enters the room; the ray seemingly always causes paralysis on a first hit, but has a different (possibly random) effect on later hits... either that, or they're just unlucky on the first ray randomly causing the paralysis.  There are no encounters whilst part of the party has been immobolized.

There are two secret rooms off of this room.  One contains a statue which enquires 'Experience' or 'Life'.  In turn, each of  the characters opts for Experience, and this bumps them up to 5th level.  They have not experimented with the statue beyond this, so do not know if Life is still an option, if additional Experience is an option, or if there are consequences or additional effects.  The party resolves to return here, each time there is a death and a new character joins the team.  Despite this resolution, the party has not yet returned once.

 

They encounter a chamber with gargoyle statues high above them.  None of the statues animate to attack, so the party assumes these must be normal statues.  The party passes through this chamber a few times without issue.  They investigate the floors and walls carefully, but only give cursory attention to the statues.

 

Beyond the statues, the hallway turns at a right angle and heads to the south.  Along the right wall (west side) are four rooms.  The first appears to be empty.  The second is full of something that emits a tremendously powerful scream as soon as the door has been opened.

This noise attracts the black skinned creatures, the same type that prevented the party from recovering Silk's corpse when he fell down the shaft (from the illusory well).  Again, no one can properly identify what they are, but they hit for moderate damage, and hit very easily.  Meanwhile they're quite difficult to hit themselves.  Ramirez thinks they might be a type of undead, and decides to channel positive energy offensively.  This absolutely enrages the creatures, who then jump over the 'Wall of Ulric' and swarm Ramirez without mercy.  At the end of the fight Deadmeat is unconscious but not dead, unfortunately Ramirez did not escape their fury.

 

Ulric resolves to Create Food & Water every day, with his single 3rd level spell.  He sets up a rotation where he and the healer both eat every day, with the remaining three characters each eating every third day (which barely staves off the effects of starvation).  He's not too happy that his only level 3 spell is wasted on food.

 

 

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Session 13 - The Demon's Gullet (02B) & The Fountain of Pestilence (03C)

 

For a replacement character, a veritable giantess (named Jaala) joins the party (Druid 05 || Sorcerer 02 / Barbarian 03).  She spends as much time as possible in the shape of a Deinonychus and does massive charging damage (after a few rounds of buffs, one spell & two potions).  Her healing is for large numbers, but she frequently foams at the mouth and goes into rages where healing is her last consideration.  Occasionally, the party can convey the desperate need for healing (Rage Power - Moment of Clarity), but generally her focus is on killing the opposition, so healing is not necessary.

 

The party finds a dam, which holds back a large amount of water (which for whatever reason is only a few feet deep).  They previously acquired a clue (which is in a print-out, in their small stack of "found stuff") regarding the dam, but have set it aside as unimportant. 

The clue read: Dam it is alive; have to sleep or die.

The dam is seemingly immune to their damage, but only reaches so far.  The party spends most of the session attempting to hurt it (with no discernable effect) and a little bit of effort at retrieving something that is slightly submerged within the water, at the far side of the room.

Ulric comes close to dying, the one time he moves up to engage the Dam in a slug-fest.

The party retreats, recuperates, and returns for another slug-fest with the Dam, again to no effect.

 

They discover a set of stairs that leads downwards, but decide to take another attempt at the Dam.

The session ends, without really doing a whole lot beyond a single unsuccessful encounter, several times.

 

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Session 14 - The Fountain of Pestilence (03C)

 

The stairs descend to a room with three doors.  The room has a thick stream of puss, mixed with dried chunks of blood, oozing in from the North West corner.  The pus has the attention of four Zombie like creatures who seem to be crouched about it, possibly drinking from it.

The party defeats the Puss Zombies without much issue, except that anyone who is melee range is covered with a spray of puss, every time the Puss Zombie takes damage.  In addition, the pond of puss (seeping in through the wall) lashes out at any living creature that moves within 10 feet of it, seemingly as if intelligent.

Those showered with puss (via the Zombies) or struck by the puss pond/rivers make a fortitude save, with seemingly no adverse effects whether on a save or a failed save.

 

One of the exits leads to a room, without much of interest in it, and no additional means of advancement (the eastern most door, on the south wall).

The west door (in the South West corner of the room) leads to a hallway, which winds around and comes up to three doors each leading south.  The scout (Sigrunin) returns to the party at this point and checks out the Northern door.

This leads to a rectangular chamber with a massive puss pond in the middle of the room.  There is a hallway to the right (east) roughly halfway into the room, with a river of puss flowing into the room's pond from somewhere beyond.  The northern wall has a series of books along one face, and there is an alcove with a carving near the books.

Sigrunin bounces coins into the alcove and then touches it, which transports her somewhere unfamiliar.  Deadmeat attempts to use the alcove, but neither touching nor bouncing a coin or marble and then touching will activate it for him (Ulric is asleep, in his chair at this point) with Thor and Jaala kind of following Deadmeat's lead.

Sigrunin finds herself in a room with several cabinets along with cupboards above them.  There is a decrepit looking chair in the room, and it quickly becomes evident the room has a guardian which attacks her.  Through a combination of summoning allies, spell casting, and wildshape melee attacks, she emerges triumphant but is essentially out of resources and close to losing consciousness.  There are two alcoves within the room, but she is not sure which takes her back (if either) or if they both take her forward.  She decides to sleep for the night, without investigating the room further, so as to not set anything off.

Deadmeat wants the rest of the party to navigate through the puss/blood ooze and beyond, but they're not too sure about that course of action.  He opts to go himself and finds a large room dominated by a massive pool of puss that flows into the walls in several places.  The puss flows west (where he came from) and east (through a doorless area into a hallway).  The room has a statue of some kind of a healing god, except that it has been corrupted in some way.  As he spends time in the room, giant puss bubbles begin to form and coalesce into shapes.  He discovers he can damage the shape, prior to it forming into anything, but that does not kill it but merely delays its' formation for that round.  Four of the shapes begin to form, and he does not have enough actions to damage them all.

He retreats to the library room and makes a stand there, as the healer, the tank (who is sleeping) and the archer are there.

 

That's where we end the session.

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Session 15 - Fountain of Pestilence (03C).

The party, sans Sigrunin, manage to defeat the puss flying things and the wave of puss Zombies that were pursuing Deadmeat.  Deadmeat wants the party to wade through waist-neck deep puss, sewage smelling stuff, and mixed chunks of blood, but no one else is that enthusiastic for going that direction.  Sigrunin is the only reliable finder of traps, and no one is that eager to explore without her.

Sigrunin recovers and randomly picks one of the alcoves, this takes her back to the library room and the rest of the party...

The team decides to head south, despite Deadmeat making it very clear the party should not be running from a fight and that they'll likely have things coming behind them to kill them unless they deal with it now.

The outer two doors, that head south, are into dead-end rooms, but the middle door heads south until it hits a hallway which continues south or turns to the left (eastward).  The party explores both directions.  The eastern passage leads to several rooms, with another of the flying pestilence thing and more zombies plus several dire rats and one giant rat.  There is a room, with a giant spider, which the party psyches themselves out into thinking it is massive and extremely nasty; they buff massively, outside of its area and then engage and kill it in the first round of combat.

To the south is a common living area, several living quarters, a kitchen and a storeroom.  There is a room, of pestilence mobs, which includes a statue of something with a horned head, which the party physically have difficulty approaching; they decide to leave it alone and explore further south.

They find a room, with a set of stairs heading upwards, which are left unchecked.  This room has healing motiffs all about, and there is another room to the north of this room.  It too seems dedicated to healing, but something has written on the walls in a tongue no one reads.

Leaving the two healing rooms (and the stairway up) the party (Sigrunin actually) finds a pressure plate.  She attempts to push down on it, to see if it is a pit trap, which it doesn't appear to be.  There is another of these further along, which like the first doesn't seem to do too much.  A minute later, a very well built portculis drops between the two pressure plates, which traps the party on the far side...

The passageway leads to another hand print on the wall.  This functions for most of the spellcasters (the full casters anyway), but not for the pure melee/ranged guys.  Touching those allows the party to use the teleportation and take everyone as a group.

This leads to a room, with hand prints on the North, South, West and East walls.  Ulric is again falling asleep at this point.

Sigrunin and Deadmeat decide to use the North handprint, to see where it leads, but instruct the rest of the party to not follow until they know it is safe, and can return with that knowledge.  This leads them to a 10 foot by 10 foot room, with just a hand print on one of the walls.  The hand print doesn't do anything for either of them this time.  They cast spells at the wall, summon a small earth elemental to burrow about, try to wildshape into different forms to burrow, without much success.  The Elemental glides through the stone, with a message written on it in chalk, but it is seemingly lost or doesn't arrive before the summons expires.

In the morning Sigrunin memorizes a bunch of Stone Shape spells, but Deadmeat and Ulric come down with something that knocks them out and causes blood to ooze from most of their orfices.  Jalaa and Sigrunin aren't feeling too well, but aren't in as bad shape.  Thor (the archer, who has never been touched by the puss is 100% okay).  Remove Disease scrolls are used, leaving one scroll on Ulric; these seem to do the trick, as the next day the disease is gone and everyone has recovered.  Sigrunin uses some of her Earth Shapes on three of the walls that day, and memorizes three more on the following day (the recovery day) and basically destroys the hand-print on the wall that day.  Deadmeat and Sigrunin die of lack of water.

 

The session ends there.

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Session 16 - Fountain of Pestilence (03C), Demon's Gullet (02B), Mouth of Doom (01C), Cloister of the Frog God (0B).

 

Deadmeat's replacement is Freshmeat (Aegis 05 || Soulknife 05), his sixth character.

Sigrunin's replacement is Blitzkreig (Rogue (Unchained) 05 || Arcanist 05), his third character.

The rest of the party is:

-- Ulric (Psychic Warrior 05 || Cleric 05), the only original character.

-- Thor (Ranger 05 || ZenMonk 03 / Inquisitor 02), his second character.

-- Jalaa (Druid 05 || Sorcerer 02 / Barbarian 03), his third character.

 

 

They join up with the main group, in the larger room with the four choices.  The north choice does not seem to work for anyone.  The east choice leads to another chamber, basically identical to the North choice from the previous session.  This time however, the hand print works fine.  The party hypothesizes that the smaller rooms are isolation wards for the sick and that once you're not sick the hand print works just fine... if this is the case, then a cured Sigrunin and Deadmeat could have escaped on the third day if they had not destroyed the hand print via Stone Shape.

 

Freshmeat and Blitzkreig decide it should be a priority to escape the dungeon, with the assorted treasures, without surrendering most of the gains to the Vorlak (the Ogre) and his Kobold friends.  The rest of the party wants to continue to dungeon, rather than backtrack.  Those two decide they're heading out, while the rest of the party decides to not help them but to also not advance without a trap finder.

Freshmeat and Blitzkreig have some issues with wandering monsters on both this level (Fountain of Pestilence) and the one above (The Demon's Gullet), but eventually make it out of the dungeon.  They manage to retrieve items from 2 of their 3 "loot rooms", although due to weight restrictions one of the rooms is not entirely cleared.  The items and coins are sold within Zelkor's Ferry and scrolls and potions are bought.  They manage to return without incident, except that they witness Vorlak's extortion on their way in (flying while invisible).

Vorlak and the Kobolds have slain two people and ten more are surrendering gear (which is recognized as coming from the PCs "loot room" that is closest to the surface).  The ten survivors are allowed to leave, while wearing Mithral Shirts (that the PCs had previously brought in as starting gear for higher characters and/or found within the dungeon).

The group carefully checks over the three levels they've been to (Mouth of Doom, 01C), (Demon's Gullet, 02B), and (Fountain of Pestilence, 03C) and cross off each of places they haven't been.  Their choices are either to face the puss room to find where the passage leaving the room to the east goes, or to leave the dungeon and attempt one of the other entrances they've heard of (they have heard of the Frog Cloister and an entrance off of a Graveyard).

Deadmeat wants to go through the puss, but no one else wants to... one of the players seems a little green in the face from the adventure's description of the puss and the room, so they head to the surface.

 

They choose to go to the Frog Cloister.  Along the way, they meet a patrol out of a distant city/town which the patrol identifies as 'Bard's Gate'.  They claim to be keeping the road safe and enquire politely where the PCs are going and what they're doing. 

The group explains they're heading to the Frog cloister, and the Patrol starts to act a little hostile until the PCs make it clear that they're going there to clean the area out, not to join up with the cult.  The patrol helpfully escorts the party most of the way (along the roadway) towards the Frog Cloister, and mentions that they'll be in this relative area for a while; it the party has any issues just get to the road and make a lot of noise so the patrol can come to their rescue.

 

The frog cloister is a fortified monastery, but it is in poor shape.  It is situated within a swamp, which the ranger||monk/inquisitor identifies as possibly containing lethal hazards such as quicksand or alligators.  The monastary itself is on solid ground and a roadway leads to the monastary upon a solid foundation.  This road leads right to the edge of the swamp.

Midway from the swamp's edge towards the monastery, a voice (they surmize either an invisible person or possibly a Magic Mouth) enquires if they've come to pay respects to the cult and the demon lord; it seems excited when it says they'll be sacrificing travellers in the next few nights.

The party vehemently states that they have no interest in the cult, beyond slaying every last member of the cult.  The voice goes silent, possibly out-stealthing their perceptions/detection abilities or maybe leaving them alone.

The road leads to the monastery.  There are four half-orc priests outside, each with a combination of Skeletons/Zombies.  In all, there are 24 undead, so six per Priest.  The skeleton/zombies move to engage the group, while the Priests retreat into the monastery and close/bar the doors.  The party sets up to take out the undead, with the melee in the front and the archer/caster in the back.  The owner of the voice attacks each of them, with a Cleave Attack and hits both easily (very low ACs) and fairly hard.  The archer and the arcanist position themselves a square away (shift) and attack, which allows the bad guy to shift closer and again Cleave them both.  They eat opportunity attacks to move amidst the rest of the party (who largely thanks to Ulric's channel energy (PsyWar||Cleric) has cleaned up the horse of undead).  The bad guy eats a few opportunity attacks to move close to the arcanist and archer, but now has to choose between them due to their positioning... he goes for the Arcanist, who is hitting (touch AC) more often and harder.

The party drops the bad guy, who dissolves into mist and floats towards the Cloister.  It flies upwards and enters through an arrow slit.  Ulric and Blitzkreig both surmise (knowledge religion) that it was an vampire, and that unless they get in fast, it will reform and come at the party again... more likely than not, at the worst possible time.

The outer cloister is a veritable fort, but the place is run down.  The door proves too sturdy to simply back in, but at least the ample archer slits are not manned, nor is oil being poured on the PCs who attempted to smash in the door.

Blitzkreig scouts about and finds the ruins of another structure in between this structure and an even more impressively fortified monastery like or fort like structure further to the south.  For whatever reason, this new structure seems to be abandoned, and Thor guesses from the condition of the stones that they've not been maintained for several hundreds of years.

Blitzkreig doesn't find too much of interest, but is under the impression that something is just out of sight watching him... he does find a set of keys, on the skeletal remains of someone who was literally torn into two as if by a massively strong giant...

 

The session ends here, and we're off next week, but will resume the following Saturday.  The party is unsure if they can force a way into the monastery or if they should investigate the graveyard entrance that they've also heard of.

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Sessions 17, 18, 19, and 20.

Sorry, I've been a bit busy so haven't been able to update this adventuring blog for a while... so the exact details aren't quite as fresh.

 

Session 17...

The party heads back to Zelkor's Ferry, deciding that the second abandoned keep isn't worth exploring, beyond poking their heads down the stairway they had discovered and learning that the catacombs beneath were extensive. 

Back in Zelkor's Ferry, the party stocks up on rope, potions and rations.  They head back towards where they believe the main dungeon entrance is.  At least, to their best recollection based on what guards had told them, while they were part of the initial caravan to Zelkor's Ferry.

 

Without much difficulty they find a sunken graveyard, which they investigate.  There are several crypt like structures along with a well and a statue of a forgotten dwarf hero.  While within the graveyard, they become aware that creatures are watching them, but they don't manage to catch any of them, or even to get a good look.

The statue of the Dwarf hero warns people to not disturb his bones, so the party decides to honor that and leave the statue alone.

Aside from dropping coins (with 'Light' cast on them) down 'the Well', the well is also left alone.

Two of the smaller buildings are mausoleums, but they're basically empty and uninteresting.

 

The largest building contains freshly dug graves, along with engravings upon one of the walls in a kind of memorial, which mentions the names of fallen heroes along with something either about those heroes or regarding how they had died... Disturbingly, each of the PCs finds their name upon the wall, along with an epitath describing an unpleasant end.

The building is set within a depression within the sunken graveyard.  There are a set of steps that lead downwards towards its front door.  Blitzkreig, the rogue (Arcanist|Rogue 5) descends the stairs alone, as the rest of the party spreads out around the stairway leading downwards.

As he begins to tinker with the door, several of the Gargoyle statues (made of a strange green material) animate and attack.  Four of the gargoyle like creatures swarm Blitzkreig and attack from all directions.  Four more of the gargoyles fly to the top of the stairs and basically tie up the other characters.  Alas, Blitzkreig's (12 AC) does not prove to be an effective defense against four creatures each with multiple attacks.  He rolls poorly on initiative... they close the distance to him (and the party) in the surprise round and take him out in the first round of combat, prior to his getting to act.

The rest of the party manage to deal with the Gargoyle creatures without too much of an issue, although a significant amount of healing is expended in the process.  The healer spends the majority of her time, wildshaped into a small dinosaur creature which then charges and rages (Druid|Barbarian); while her healing prowess is likely the worst to date, not as much healing is required when the primary healer is also the highest damage dealer in the party.

 

The party retreats from the Sunken Graveyard area, awaiting the arrival of Blitzkreig's replacement.

His replacement is Atom Waffe (German for atomic weapon), who is almost identical (Arcanist 5 | Rogue 5, having moved two points from Charisma into Dexterity, resulting in 13 AC unbuffed).

 

The gargoyle's are reforming on the roof, but Thor (the Dwarf) believes it will be around a week before they have fully reformed.  The partially reforming gargoyles do not animate or attack.

Atom manages to unlock the massive doors of the mausaleum, but is not strong enough to open them himself.  Freshmeat manages to slowly open the doors enough for each of the party members to pass through in single file.  They opt to leave the doors mostly closed, to make the structure more defensible should the need arrive.

The structure is mostly empty, save for a sarcophagus near the back wall.  As the party examines it, Thor starts to get a nagging feeling that something is wrong.  He chooses to not concentrate on that feeling, but to instead ignore it.  The sarcophagus contains a skeletal warrior of some sort, wearing oiled black chain armor and dual-wielding short swords.  The creature is fast and hits easily, but not for that massive of an amount of damage.  The party manages to defeat it fairly quickly.

Atom Waffe discovers a plate in the ground, which is far too heavy for him to move.  Freshmeat attempts to use his muscles and a crowbar to pry at it, but the thing is nearly set flush so getting the crowbar to grip the flagstone is rather difficult.  At this point, Thor decides to concentrate upon his nagging feeling and realizes that the very floor the party is standing upon is rising at a miniscule rate; for whatever reason, he does not share this information with the party.

All concentration and efforts are upon the slab of rock in the ground.  Ulric is standing watch, near the entrance of the mausoleum, but everyone else is deep within.  The doors suddenly slam inwards and close; Ulric almost jumps outwards but due to his heavy armors, is a little too slow.  The floor continues to rise at a miniscule rate, and Thor now decides to inform the group that this is happening.  It quickly becomes apparent that the rising of the ground has made it impossible for the doors to be opened.  Everyone directs their attention to the slab in the ground, which is pried up and reveals a ladder which heads downwards.  A massive steel plate is very slowly sliding into place, which will make the ladder inaccessible in the very near future.. Atom is pretty sure that if the party had been a little slower with the slab, that the plate might very well have already been blocking the ladder...

jmj_1975's picture

Sessions 17, 18, 19, and 20.

 

Session 18...

The party descends down the ladder and finds themselves in natural tunnels.  This quickly leads to a doorway, and beyond that is the first of several forks.

Each direction is investigated, as well as numerous tunnels (similar to the ones on the surface, in the Graveyard) but these (like those) prove to be too small for medium sized creatures to traverse.

A collapsed room, where the ceiling has caved in and blocks travel beyond the first section of the room is the first interesting area found.  There are several coffins in the room, one is partially buried.  Digging this one out, it contains a normal skeleton, with a magical sword (which turns out to be a +1 keen shortword) along with an ivory scroll case and three arcane scrolls.

Exploration continues, until a room is discovered with a trapped set of stairs leading downwards.  Atom decides to place his foot upon the trapped stair and to push down hard to ascertain the amount of force necessary to trigger the trap.  It turns out not a whole lot of force was required, the stair gave way and he found his leg knee deep in a hole with a series of spikes angled downwards in such a way that he would likely lose his leg if he were to attempt to force it back up.  Freshmeat came to the rescue, by smashing out the surrounding stair area and then smashing both the spikes and Atom's leg... Healing was required afterwards.

Beyond a room, where skeletons were seated about a table and seemingly in the midst of a game of poker... the party encounters a blob like creature with tentacles, obviously a mutation of... something.  The creature can be damaged (slightly) although that prooves to be rather difficult and is seems to regenerate anything the party throws at it, in very short order.  It doesn't hit terribly hard, but consistently hits with ease.  It also seems to be virtually magic immune, at least Atom Waffe wasn't able to land any spells upon it.  Eventually the party decides to flee, but its tracking skills are strong perhaps supernaturally strong.

The party finds a large chamber with hundreds of cat sized rats surrounding and attacking a lone damsel in distress.  In addition, the chamber has several thousand normal rats within.  A lazy river enters the chamber from the west wall and flows through the east wall, and stairs lead downwards from the north-west corner.  The party manages to slay most of the dire rats, with the smaller vermin scattering.  The Inquisitor (Thor, the Dwarven ZenMonk>Inquisitor|Ranger (archer) ) determines that the woman is evil and this time immediately shares the information with the party.

She claims to be part of a group of adventurers, with a rather vague story on where they were from, they were attacked by a blob tentacle monster, which got the rest of her party.  She survived by fleeing, but then the rats came out.  She just wants to get out of this place.  The party doesn't want to just leave her somewhere, nor do they want to kill a seeminlgy unarmed woman, so they let her tag along but are rather wary of her.

The blog Dung creature is almost upon the room now, so they descend the stairs rapidly...

This leads to a room, with a doorway to both the North and South, along with a pair of doors on the west wall.  The party opts to take the southern-most of the west doors, as it is the closest... and they don't want to be close to the dung blob thing, if it chases them down the stairs.  Atom summons several Stirges and leaves them on the stairs to delay the creature and give them more of a head start.

The passageway beyond the door heads west then south then west again.  It opens into a room with a massive coffin.  With great effort, the three strongest characters manage to budge the lid a small ways and hundreds of finger sized maggots swarm out of it.  Freshmeat, who can fly thanks to augments on his Aegis armor (Aegis 5 | Soulknife 5) takes to the air and begins to empty flasks of lantern oil upon them.  The rest of the party flees back into the cooridor room, and with urging from Freshmeat close the door.

Freshmeat quickly runs out of flasks of oil, and the maggots are still pouring out of the coffin.  There is a hallway to the north, but a massive iron wheel rolls back and forth along its entire length and a great speed.  There is no space to jump above it, but there is a little space to either side... although razor sharp spikes protude to the sides of the wheel making is difficult to pass.  Freshmeat does his best, but is sliced for some damage and then knocked prone by the wheel.  He rises and progresses up the hallway, but the wheel gets him again both the sharpened spikes (which he could not avoid) and then run over again.  He darts into a room of supernatural cold, which was painful to stand near (in the hallway with the wheel thing), and takes cold damage for being in the room.  Still alone, he runs through the room into the hallway beyond.  This leads to a room, with a secret area from which five of the black oiled armor skeleton things, each dual-wielding short swords emerge from; he is hit several times, each time for a small amount of punishment, but they essentially do not miss.  He flees back they way he came, and fortunately they don't chase him into the Wheel hallway.  Freshmeat arrives where the group was waiting, with one hit point remaining.

Session 18 ended here.

 

jmj_1975's picture

Session 17, 18, 19, and 20.

 

Session 19...

The party chooses to investigate the main room, upon the floor.  Atom makes no noise and after checking the area for traps gives an all clear signal.  Freshmeat and Ulric, in their bulky and heavy armors make a lot of noise, and the Dung creature (just atop the stairs, on the previous level) comes down to eat them.

They know there's bad guys, then a cold room, then a wheel trap should they take the northern of the two western doors, so they choose to go south this time.  They move quickly, to get distance from the Dung Beast thing, not stopping or doing more than a percursory search for traps along the way.

A secret door is discovered, but the area beyond reeks of death... the door is carefully closed and that area is passed, as they don't wish to have enemies both in front of and behind them.

There are three doors along the northern edge of this passage.  Scratching can be heard at the first of these.  The second is quiet.  There is a whisking noise from the third, which through the doorway they assume to be a swinging blade that periodically cuts through something.  None of these are investigated at this time, due to the Dung thing that might still be chasing them.

There is also a door to the south, from which several voices can be heard but no one speaks the language.  The voices are deep, most likely monstrous humanoids or giants of some form.

The passage then turns to the north, at which point Atom guesses the level is laid out as a giant square shape, with a passage around the outer edge.  There is a doorway to the east, most of the way up the passageway northwards, but there is no sound beyond the door.

To the north there is a door, which leads to an east-west passageway.  There is an immediate door to the east and a large hallway (longer than maximum line of sight) to the west, which the party guesses will eventually lead to the northern door, of the first room they had been into on this level.

The eastern door leads to a dug out chamber, which with one look convinces Thor that the ceiling is not at all reinforced and could come down at any time.  He flat out refuses to enter the room, but says that others can if they want to.  The non-dwarves (everyone else is a build-it-yourself-race from Advanced Race Guide, none with any underground or earth related traits) all defer to Thor in this.

The first room to the west appears to be a storage room of some kind.  It opens on the south edge of the long west-east cooridor.  They party holes up here for a night, hoping they've lost the Dung Beast thing.

 

In the morning the coast appears to be clear.  They backtrack to the rooms that had been bypassed previously.

 

The room with the deep voices is opened by Atom Wisse (who is Invisible at the time).  It contains five Ogres who are intently balancing copper coins into stacks on 100.  One of them looks at the open door, and closes it.

The party does a few buffs and then opens the door.  Ulric and Freshmeat are both enlarged (Ulric enlarges via Expansion, as a standard tactic to this point), and jointly blocking the 10 ft. wide doorway, each partially in and partially offset 5 ft. from the doorway.  Jaala the charging barbarian/dinosaur cannot charge as the path is blocked.  Thor can take pot-shots but does not have a clear line of sight; similarly Atom can hit one creature from his angle (different from Thor) but is the wrong angle to have multiple options.

One of the Ogres hits like a truck and after having discovered Ulric to be harder to connect on, while Freshmeat is easily hit, focuses on Freshmeat.  Jaala blows her heals, trying to keep him alive, but cannot match the damage.  Freshmeat is knocked unconscious (actually is slain) and the Ogre turns his attention onto Ulric.  Once it becomes clear that Atom is hitting fairly hard, the Ogres rotate which is in the doorway... Ulric blocks the way out, while an Ogre constantly blocks the way in... Atom and Thor unleash damage on the doorway Ogre but that Ogre changes every couple of rounds.  Meanwhile Jaala is out of heals, and Freshmeat is dead.  Ulric falls as Atom uses his last Scorching Ray.  It is now a Mage (Arcanist|Rogue) with a couple of Magic Missile spells, an archer without many arrows, and a healer charge-dinosaur without spells, vs a hard hitting ogre...

The party wins, but is in horrible shape...

The Ogre has an Unholy Weapon, which was more effective against good characters and hit them much harder than it should... The party does not want to use an evil item, but also doesn't wish to leave it for others to find or to sell it.  They decide to keep it, as "an increase to average party loot values, so we get more gear when we bring in future characters".

 

Deadmeat has most of his next character ready... Thrymm (ending up with an Aegis 5 | Fighter 5 (Two-Handed Archetype) (we added an extra m, since he has already has a Thrym character).

Ulric's player spends a lot longer making a character, since both Karzak/Shurke/Silk/Essen/Deadmeat/Freshmeat and Rommel/Sigrunin/Atom Waffe have spent 90 mins to 2 hours of previous sessions making their next toon to continue to adventure... He ends up with Ulver (Cleric 5 | Fighter 5).

The replacements join the group the next day...

 

The room with the scratching is filled with rats, mostly cat-sized Dire Rats.  After clearing the room, there are numerous tunnels which progressively get tighter.  Atom is able to crawl a couple of hundred feet on his belly, before reaching a point too tight to move further forward.  He does this for each of the tunnels, and encounters a set of eyes that look at him, within one of the tunnels.  Scorching Ray and Magic Missile dissuade whatever it was from chasing him too far, as he scurries backwards feet-first while on his belly...

The next room contains very rusty carpentry tools, including 3 hammers, 2 saws, 1 axe and a 260 lb box of 10,000 rusty nails.

The room with the whisk whisk whisk sound contains an animated broom, which the party cannot figure out how to stop it from cleaning... it is still animated (and trying to clean) the inside of a Bag of Holding.

 

Returning to the eastern North-South hallway, there is the other silent room on the eastern edge of the hallway.

The doorway reads in Celestial, but using the Infernal alphabet (Thrymm can read both of those, but no one could with previous characters)... "Sarack: In life a deluded slave of blinding light; In death a dark warrior-king.".

Forcing their way within, they encounter a skeletal man in full armor and wielding a heavy sword.  No one gets good knowledge checks so they're not sure what he is exactly, beyond something undead...

He does a spell (cast defensively), which the casters identify as 'Detect Good'.  Ulver is hanging back a little, so Jaala does her charge and hits all five pounce attacks for a little over a hundred points.  The skeleton thing focuses on her, even as Ulver and Thrymm move in, and it hits her exceptionally hard (Smite Good...).  She doesn't last two rounds against it.  It then switches to Ulver (who was also detected as Good initially).  Ulver is hit too hard to get heals off, so he trades swings with the skeleton who drops him shortly.  Thrymm decides to run, as the creature moves next to Atom Wisse and drops Atom in one round.  Thrymm runs one way (faster than Saracek can run; Thor runs the other way, a lot slower than Saracek.  Saracek catches Thor and dispatches him quickly too.

A heavily wounded Thrymm is lucky on random encounter rolls, and manages to get back to the ladder leading upwards to the first mausoleum chamber.  Unfortunately, the iron plate is still in place, and there is no escape from the dungeon that way.

Dungy makes an appearance and finishes off Thrymm; that makes it a Total Party Kill on the session, if not in the one fight.

 

 

Session 19 is over.

 

I total experience, and let the players know that the Rats put the party to level 6, so that's where everyone's new characters will start.

However, since there are no survivors we cannot total the party wealth, and then divide by the number of party members, so we default to the initial value of 500gp of gearing.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 20...

 

New characters coming in:

Ulric > Ulver > Helmut (Elan, Barbarian 6 || Psion 6)

24 AC, 97 Base / 115 HPs buffed/raging.

 

Sensei > Ramirez > Jaala > Jedakya (Build-Your-Race, Oracle 6 || Vitalist 6)

25 AC, 70 HP, with two self-buffs.

 

Karzak > Shurke > Silk > Essen > Deadmeat > Freshmeat > Thrymm > Leoric (Build-Your-Own-Race, Paladin 6 || Fighter (Two-Handed Archetype) 6).

A front line melee, with 17 AC, 62 HPs.

 

Loki > Thor > Acetalyne (Build-Your-Own-Race, Monk (Zen Archer) 6 || Sorcerer 1 / Rogue 1 / Fighter 4)

26 AC, 59 HPs.

 

Rommel > Sigrunin > Blitzkreig > Atom Waffe > Burgerkreig (Drow Noble, Sorcerer 6 || Summoner 6).

{Burgerkreig, German for Civil War} ... still 12 AC (sometimes 16, with Mage Armor), 59 HPs.

 

 

The party decides to clear some of the things that have been troubling the region of Zelkor's Ferry, prior to returning to the Dungeon of Graves.

The first thing they check on is the rumors of the Ogress in the Woods.  The information they had found several levels earlier proved to be good, and they located her cottage in the woods with relative ease.  She hit fairly hard, but wasn't much of a match for a party at level 6.  Still, they managed to earn 40 (of the 12,000 experience necessary for a level up) and acquire 20gp (divided five ways) in loot.  Not bad for a couple of hours of game time.

 

Helmut basically pointed out that challenges, designed for level 1-2 characters are essentially a waste of time from the perspective of leveling up and/or acquiring items to return to Rappan Athuk.

The party all agreed, but have opted to go through the Mouth of Doom > Demon's Gullet > Fountain of Pestilence... rather than new content, or returning to the main dungeon entrance Sunken Graveyard > Lair of the Dung Monster > Marthek's Place / Ambros' Base > Deeper...

 

All of the traps had been reset, and the chalk markings for traps and such removed, but not everything in the dungeon has been repopulated yet.  Several of the wandering types had moved into fixed homes, previously occupied by other stuff, now dead...

The first level, 'The Mouth of Doom' was rushed through, and the party remembered one of the routes to a deeper level, although they thought their path was leading to a different room... still they found a way to go deeper down, which is the goal.

 

Upon the Demon's Gullet, they were forced to re-explore as three different people each thought their goal to be a different direction or that something else was in a given room.

Interestingly enough, the new Rogue type (1 Rogue level, but a DEX priority character with skill focuses in Perception and Disable Device... the Archer) was told by each of the players to not bother investigating certain places, he had to go this way or that way... and twice was looking at things which the previous parties had missed completely, but was dissuaded away from his discoveries.

Little do they know.

 

The room where the Gnolls had previously been encountered were still vacant... They found a room, with a blatantly obvious pit trap upon one side, and a sunken gargoyle head set into the wall at the bottom of the pit.  In that room is a doorway, which when touched or prodded with a weapon 'teleports' the character above the pit, resulting in a fall.

So far, no one has pressed the gargoyle skull, set within the wall of the pit... but instead been rescued by other party members.

This group decided to circle around the outside of the room, guarded by the teleport door, and to smash their way through 20 feet of rock with two-handed hammers (a Lucern Hammer and an Earth Breaker).  Unfortunately, the massive amount of noise got the attention of Gargoyles which were posing as statues in a nearby room.  No one died, but a few characters got uncomfortably low in health...

 

They remember a statue, which offers Life or Experience, and only functions once for any given character... since they're all playing new characters, they'd like to find that statue once again.  Last time, no one had the possible adverse effect from that statue, so they're pushing hard (in slightly the wrong direction) trying to get there quickly.

Low on resources, that's where we left off.

 

This is awesome stuff, jmj. Thanks for sharing!

jmj_1975's picture

Session 21

 

After sleeping in an empty room, the party pushes onwards to a familiar looking hallway.  They find a room, with a totem-pole like statue in it, which they remember does something that makes it best to have only one person in the room at a time.  They don't remember why, but they do remember that only one should be in the room at a time.  They also remember the hallway they're in, is a high traffic area for not inconsequential encounters with patrolling monsters looking for their dinner...

Leoric leads the way, while the rest of the party closes the door behind him; he's hit with some kind of a ray which reduces him to a fit of coughing and renders him helpless and paralyzed.  Time passes and he recovers.  He enters the adjoining room with the statue and when asked if he wants, 'Life or Experience' he says Experience.  He is attacked by the totem statue on the way out (each time they enter the room, they're hit... but once hit they're not attacked for as long as they stay in that first chamber of the room).

Helmut enters and manages to avoid being struck by the ray entirely.  He too takes the Experience option. On the way out, he is hit by a ray which makes him invisible to both the party and himself. It takes some time, but the effect wears off.

Burgerkrieg is the next to enter, the ray striking her and rending her paralyzed and in a fit of coughing. Leoric, who hears the coughing through the closed door says that he intends to enter, pick her up and carry her to the statue for her experience, as the party doesn't have time to wait through several potential monsters coming down that hallway.

He enters the room, closes the door behind him (with the warning that the room is a one person at a time thing, and to not enter to help him...), and is struck by a ray from the totem-pole thing. He immediately begins to hallucinate (effect 4 is fun). The paladin sees that a soul-demon has just finished sucking the life and soul out of his recently met companion, who now not only is dead but has her soul condemned to torture in the lower planes... The soul-demon turns its' attention upon Leoric!

Naturally he defends himself against the vile fiend... meanwhile Burgerkrieg's Eidolon starts to go crazy in the hallway, and attempts to force its' way through the door. Helmut decides to open the door and render what aid he can, against whatever has attacked his friends. He sees Leoric thrust his blade through Burgerkrieg and decides to pull Leoric out of the room and subdue him if necessary.

As soon as Helmut (Barbarian/Psion) reaches into the room, he too begins to hallucinate. He sees a Mindflayer which is in the process of sucking his friend's brains out, so he attacks it. The mindflayer turns its attention upon Helmut, and it is a close battle for a short while and then Helmut emerges victorious. That's when he notices that the Illithid has reinforcements; several more of them come around the corner and move menacingly towards Helmut. Helmut, already severely weakened retreats.

The rest of the party is perplexed... why did the Paladin attack Burgerkrieg, and then why did Helmut attack Leoric? And why did Helmut then run away from the party, when they asked him what was wrong and what they could do? Acetalyne tries to approach Helmut, but that only drives him away faster...

The party retreats back to their 'safe room' to spend another night, and to await reinforcements from the Wizard... The effect wears off of Helmut, who manages to return to the safe room without any altercations with wandering monsters along the way. He doesn't understand how the rest of the party did not see the Mindflayers and cannot explain his actions.

 

The wizard teleports in replacements for Burgerkrieg and Leoric.

They are another Drow Noble female... Einfal (Sorcerer 6/Summoner 6), who uses Mage Armor constantly (not just on the Eidolon on occasion) and Barkskin + Shield in combats... her Eidolon is bipedal with four claw attacks...

And Thrymmm (three Ms, as this is the third Thrym) (Aegis 6/Fighter 6) (two-handed archetype, again).. AC 18, with his Astral Suit... +12/+7 to attack (with Power Attack) for 3D6+23... this one utilizes a size increase and Lunge, to so far stay behind the tank whenever possible.
 

Thrymmm decides he wants to get his experience for this new toon, but the rest of the party prefer to just advance towards new territory. Thrymmm enters the room alone, while the party proceeds slowly without him. Thrymmm is once again paralyzed, this time for an hour. He then stands in front of the statue and chooses experience. The chance to swallow a character, instead of granting experience kicks in FINALLY, and Thrymmm is swallowed whole.

He finds he cannot effectively swing is Greatsword here, but manages to wriggle about within the confining statue and grasp his shortsword. The statue inflicts automatic crushing damage each round, but Thrymmm is massively strong and begins to chop his way out from within.

 

Meanwhile, the party has a random encounter with some kind of black skinned undead creatures that are capable of incredible jumps and seem to prioritize slaying divine healing characters. They party is still severely under-equipped, but they're higher level than their predecessors. The battle is not exactly easy, but it is never in question.

Without Thrymmm, or even being aware of his predicament, the party advances towards the 'Fountain of Pestilence' slowly, to allow Thrymmm to eventually catch up.

They descend the long flight of stairs and Acetalyne (with an Invisibility and the company of an Invisible Eidolon) surveys the first room. There are plague zombie like things within the room and flying Pestilence Demon things as well. Acetalyne unlocks a door quietly and then runs full out back towards the party (still invisible). The demon things hear something and become invisible themselves. The Eidolon opens the unlocked door, moves through it and closes it behind itself.

The party descends the stairs, finds several plague zombie things clawing at a closed door. Helmut positions himself at the bottom of the stairs and the zombies converge upon him. They're rather ineffective, but every time anything strikes them, they spray diseased puss over everyone within a fairly large area. The Pestilence Demon things drop their invisibility, and begin launching Magic Missile attacks at Helmut. The party focuses on one of the demon things, and it eventually disappears (they assume Invisibility again), and after a bit of attacks on the next one, it too departs.

Thrymmm has broken his way free, and catches up to the party at this point. With the aid of invisibility and haste, the party spends as little time as possible in the puss-like sewage/diseased/bloody waters and advance to where the Eidolon has found a set of stairs leading down. They decide to leave the remainder of the new areas of the level unexplored, and explore deeper regions of the dungeon.

 

The first room connects to a stable area, with a pair of undead/zombie horses, which die in a single Fireball. The party rests within this room. Opposite the stable, another doorway leads to a passage that progresses countless miles and takes three days of travel, before the party encounters an underground inn of some sort, run by a Mongrelman. They have some drinks with the creature, and learn that several Priests of Orcus, accompanied by numerous Acolytes make a monthly trip out of Rappan Athuuk and to the Mouth of Doom, where they reset traps and such, for some unknown reason. The party considers staying at the inn for a couple of weeks, to meet with these Priests but are undecided. Eventually, they tell the Mongrelman that they're planning on taking the northernmost of the two passageways leading away from 'The Mouth of Doom' but instead take the southernmost passageway, the one that leads to where the Priests come from and return to.

 

They get a day away from the Mongrelman's Inn when we call it for the night.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 22

 

The party decides to backtrack and check for places they have not explored within 'The Mouth of Doom', 'The Demon's Gullet' and 'The Fountain of Pestilence'.

They end up taking the passageway to the right/south from the stairway leading back up to the Fountain, from the Gut.  This leads to a teleport, which they later discover is one way only, placing them back near the start of the level.  They decide to explore one of the areas on the map, which had been previously ignored; the room with the likeness of Orcus carved into the wall, which they had had difficulty in approaching and chose to ignore...

 

This leads (via teleportation) to a room which not only is dark, but every surface is painted black as well.  Once the whole party arrives they investigate. 

There are a series of plates, which can be lifted upwards and rotated about.  Some of these have one notch point where they can be lowered, while others have two or three such notches.  After some experimentation with traveling one way and then taking the same plate back to the origin room, and then changing the position of the plate, which then took them elsewhere... it is determined that this will be a complicated area.

Some of the rooms look almost exactly the same as other rooms, which further adds to the confusion.  In the process of exploration, they come across some Spiders which proove to be a nuissance, along with some Giant Ticks upon the room, in clusters of fours... which drop down on meals that walk beneath them (fireball shined here).

The Eidolon is sent forward several times, presumably to maintain its' effectiveness with limited duration buffs.  In one room the link is severed to it almost immediately, which indicated it was slain before it got to act.  The Eidolon frequently went ahead, before ascertaining whether the current room was safe, trapped or had any hidden passageways to explore, or whether the telportal disc could go more than one place.  One such disc had no notches, and the Eidolon died attempting that teleportal.  The Summoner continued to rationalize the Eidolon's reckless exploration, as better that it dies than a living companion.

Not all of the Telelportals transportation took the same length of time, which the party theorized meant that certain rooms were further away than others.  Also, it was discovered that there was a varying amount of time after a teleportal had been used, prior to it being reusable by the next person.

In one room, there was a lengthy one minute delay between arrivals, with the Eidolon arriving first.  It, via the telepathic bond with the Summoner, revealed the room was basically a massive lake with the Teleportal just beneath the surface.  An island wasn't too far off from the Teleportal.  Helmut came through next, and at that point a Hydra attacked the pair.  They basically fought it and then ran from it, and fought it another couple of rounds, while mainly playing run away.  The Eidolon was relaying the information back to Einfal (its' summoner) and she was relaying the situation to the party.  Thrymmm figured he should be next, as he did the most damage and the thing needed to be killed.  Helmut wanted the Jedakya because heals would mean survival, and he didn't really want to die.  The party sent Jedakya and then Thrymmm.  Thrymmm was extremely impatient, with the one minute delay after Jedakya before he could arrive, and was quite vocal about it.  With the arrival of Thrymmm, and the damage he was dealing, combined with the inability to down anyone in the party with the healing of Jedakya, the creature dove downwards into the murky depths and wasn't seen for some time.

Thyrmmm reconfigured his Astral Suit the next day, and went swimming with the Eidolon in tow, in search of the Hydra.  While he didn't find the Hydra, he did find a cavern littered with bones, which got progressively tighter as it went on, but the reduction is size was over a truely massive distance.  His swim speed was rather impressive in his suit, yet it was well over a day of swiwmming before the relatively narrow passage opened into a vast cavern.  He spotted a massive sleeping creature, with tentacle arms that were a hundred feet long.  Although he wasn't sure what the creature was, he did recall stories of sea monsters that could sink ships, and this sleeping beast was larger than any ship he had seen before.  Tail smartly tucked between his legs, he returned to the group.

The Teleportal in this room pointed in only one direction, which was not the direction they guessed that they had come from.  The party chose an order, but the healer did not want to be the last one out of the group, he continued to point out he was the most valuable member and the highest priority in all situations.  He never wanted to be first, or last, or on any edge... The order was decided as Eidolon (who was theoretically less important, as it could be summoned back), and then some of the damage dealing classes, then Jedakya and finally Helmut in the rear. 

As everyone else was out of the room, except Helmut, the Hydra choose to re-engage in one more attempt at lunch.  Helmut activated an acid aura, which dealt automatic proximity damage to anything that was close to him.  He stayed near the Teleportal, and proved to be too thorny of an obstacle to be worthwhile eating.

This teleportal took the party to a room with bubbles along one of the walls.  There were two Teleportal options to choose from.  The bubbles prooved to be explosive and possibly deadly if enough were detonated at once.

 

The party camped at this point, and we ended our session.

 

jmj_1975's picture

Session 23.

The bubbles were cleared a few at a time, with healing in between.  The party is rested, and decides it has wasted enough time here (close to a week of campaign time, with another week before the Priests are expected to make their journey from Rappan Athuuk, to reset the traps and erase chalk markings on traps and such within The Mouth, Demon's Gullet, and Fountain).

 

Einfal correctly plots the course back to the entrance of the Teleportal area, and the party navigates through the Pestilence level back into the Gut.  The Gut is followed to the Inn, and the party kills the remaining week, and decides to spend the last couple of days on the south side, by the stables.

The Priests of Orcus come in numbers.  There are eight important looking individuals in the front, along with a Vulture like humanoid creature in their midst.  They are followed by numerous Acolytes, which the party estimates to be 30 or 40 in number.  Each of the Acolytes has an undead with him, typically a Skeleton or Zombie.  The party, with Invisibility, decides to abandon all attempts at stealth and run full out away from this horde.  Unfortunately, the bird man's senses were rather acute, and it detected Jedakya's movement with the invisibility; a Dispel Magic upon the general area and the healer was plainly visible.  The Vulture teleported beyond Jedakya, so he was now between the Vulture-Man and the Priests of Orcus.

Einfal attempted speech through the Eidolon, explaining they were from the surface and were exploring in an attempt to find the priests of Orcus, as they wanted to become members of the religion.  Jedakya corroborated the story, but the Priests saw through his lies and beat him almost to death.  The Vulture-Man slew the Eidolon and demaded that Einfal show herself or the life of his new slave was forfeit.  She offered to buy her former companion's freedom and to become an Acolyte and learn the worship of the Great Orcus.  A price was set for Jedakya, which turned out to be a few gold pieces more than the entirety of party liquid wealth.  The Vulture-Man accepted, but confiscated Jedakya's items down to his clothes even.

Einfal went with the Priests and Jedakya fled around the corner (towards the Northern Passageway), where the party had gone.  He was given a dagger and a blanket, which he cut a hole into with the dagger, for a makeshift poncho.

Einfal went with the Priests, who believed her (Bluff) lies that she wanted to join their ranks.  They told her of an adventurer that they had captured within the Mouth, and that she would be given the honor of torturing him to death slowly and painfully, as proof that she was committed to their cause.  All this time, she was looking for an opportunity to slip away, but she was in the midst of the Priests, with a massive horde behind her and her Eidolon dead...

 

The Northern Passageway, eventually opened into a natural cavern with lime walls and ceiling.  It did not appear to be in immediate danger of collapse, but that said the cavern wasn't likely to be that difficult in forcing it to collapse.  Almost immediately, the statue became visible.  Whoever she was, she was mostly regal, except for a necklace of fangs; the statue was forty feet tall, with some kind of a basket upon her head.. this reached up almost to the ceiling of the cavern.

Helmut, via Metamorphosis, flew up the top of the statue while carrying Acetalyne.  Once they were above the basket, it became clear that it was hollowed out and near enough ten feet across and about that deep too.  In the bottom were several sets of bones, completely rotted clean of flesh and a strange blue gem around the size of a human's head.  Helmut went in to investigate and landed beside the gem, his eyes glazing over as he approched.  He curled up onto a ball, with the gem near his chest and started to stroke it.  Acetalyne felt a pressure against his head, but shook of whatever the effect was.  Helmut was non-responsive to the calls of Acetalyne, who decided to climb down to the party; he fell, but due to his monkly arts took basically no damage in the process.

Thrymmm decides it is best to chop the statue down, but quickly realizes the cavern is going to come down instead.  He flies upwards, spots the gem and decides to crawl over to it and rub it as his eyes glaze over...

Jedakya is on the ground, too heavy to be lifted upwards and too poor a climber to ascend.  Acetalyne climbs up and finally decides to descend within the bowl/basket.  He once again shakes off the pressure against his mind, and shakes Helmut to wake him up.  Helmut responds almost immediately, with a violent swing of his sword and then goes back to rubbing the gem.  Acetalyne disturbs him again, and this time Helmut activates his Corrosive Aura (AoE Acid)... Acetalyne jumps down and takes some acid damage, but again nothing from the fall.  Unfortunately, while Helmut and Thrymmm rub the gem, the Corrossive Aura continues for six rounds and Thrymmm dies while happily rubbing the gem.

 

Einfal has managed to slip away from the Priests of Orcus, and she makes her way towards the Northern Passage, hoping to catch up with the party...

 

Newmeat (Aegis 6|Soulknife 6, Jimmy #10) is the next addition to the group, sent by the Arch-Mage at what would have been dawn upon the surface.  He decides to fly to the top of the statue and tie a rope around Helmut, careful to not disturb him while doing so.  Helmut does not attack while this is happening, content to continue to rub the gem.  Newmeat, Jedakya and Acetalyne manage to pull Helmut out of the basket, and the effect is broken.

Newmeat, having viewed the action up until his arrival, informs the party that Einfal has escaped, and she's not that far behind the group.  They decide to wait for her, and she arrives a few hours later.

Once the situation has been explained to her, she seems obsessed with acquiring the gem both to sell it and to possibly give it to the Priests of Orcus.  As the party is exploring the cavern, she heads back for the gem and her eyes glaze over... The party rescues her from the statue, using the rope method again... and they leave the gem behind.

 

A cavern is found, which is covered with runes upon the floors, walls and ceilings.  The runes have a negative effect upon the minds of everyone within the area.  People become dizzy and disoriented and start to take damage while within the area... they basically move through it as quickly as possible.  Einfal sends her Eidolon back in to explore and it perishes...

This cavern leads eventually to a natural cavern, and that leads to the second level of Rappan Athuuk (if descending from the Sunken Graveyard entrance).  The party realizes they're close to where they wiped by the Anti-Paladin and turn tail and flee the way they came.

 

An alternate exit, from the limestone cavern follows a river as it meanders roughly to the Southeast.  This eventually leads to a massive black gate with bars of Adamantine.  One such bar upon the gate must be worth a fortune.  The gate is beyond the parties ability to pick and does not respond to Dispel Magic.  There are three runic symbols above the gate, one of a demon (Orcus) another of a Circle and another of a Square.  The party ignores these.

There is another passageway which heads west from this room.. presumably the path that the Priests take, and they haven't returned yet, but will be relatively soon.

 

This leads to another cavern with a short windy passageway on the right (to the north) opening into a spherical room or the main passageway continues into a larger cavern with a winding ramp circling upwards and out of view.  Einfal sends her Eidolon up the narrow passageway, and it spots several plant like creatures resting.  Einfal moves up into the passage to a point where she has clear line of sight to the creatures and decides to Fireball them pre-emptively.

They animate and move aggressively towards her... she backs down to where the rest of the party is... they attempt to form a blockade with Helmut in the front.  Unfortunately, more of the creatures come from the main/larger cavern too.

Helmut and Newmeat position themselves where (due to size increases) none of the plant creatures can bypass them to get to the rest of the party.  The plant creatures prove rediculously easy to hit, but in turn lash out four times each, and wrap a tentacle about the target's neck.  Once the tentacle is attached, any damage dealt to the plant creature is evenly divided between the plant and whoever it has a tentacle latched to.  The party, after a bit of painful discovery, decides to attack the ones in the rear... Both Helmut and Newmeat have reach, due to their size increases and everyone else has some kind of Ranged attack, except for the healer who is busy keeping everyone alive.

Most of the rear creatures fall, but Helmut has one attached to his neck, while Newmeat has three latched to his neck due to moving forward to stagger his position with Helmut but allow the plant guys to approach him from six squares as opposed to Helmut's two squares of adjacent open area.

Newmeat decides to spread his attacks amongst the creatures attached to him, sort of harming each without killing any, while taking the full (half) of his damage each time.  Helmut focuses fire, also taking the full (half amount) of his damage and drops the creatures that are attached one at a time.

It's very late at this time (2:30am), and Helmut decides the battle is taking too long; why is Newmeat keeping four things alive while damaging himself for half his damage dealt each round, without killing any of them.  Helmut goes into full offense mode and drops the plant guys in turn, but between (half his damage), and (half Newmeat's damage) and the damage dealt by the plant-men, Jedakya cannot keep up and Newmeat perishes.

 

Out of game, the next morning... Helmut's player isn't really sure why he attacked, knowing Newmeat was dying in the process, but said it seemed like the correct move at the time.

 

 

Chaotic_Blues's picture

Reads like you folks are having a good time.

jmj_1975's picture

With the exception of one player, who has a family including a new born, everyone is attending every session, which is a good sign for investment within the campaign.  In the past, we've had players who missed sessions a lot more regularly, because some random social event was more interesting than the game.  That is totally not the case here...

 

The group hasn't really done too much by way of dungeons in the past.  Two members have been gaming, pretty much weekly for the last 25 years or so.  Another has been gaming off and on, likely as long but with us for say 5 years in a split roughly half ten years back and the other half recently.  The other players are either in their second campaign (for one) or their first campaign (for another).  We have another new player for today's upcoming session; he's in his first campaign (with the player who has played with us five years, as his DM there), so this will be his second campaign but running concurrently with his first and likely his first deadly dungeon delve and shot at the Gestalt ruleset.

The challenge of a hard dungeon, and seeing what the diabolic minds at Necromancer Games / Frog God Games has come up with, is definitely an appeal.  Beating something hard is more rewarding than plowing through easy encounters throughout.  The challenge is a huge draw, and makes the game very fun indeed.

 

Every since encountering the Gestalt ruleset, and then giving it a shot.. way back in 3.0 edition of the game, it has been a favorite of the group.  Anytime we have a more challenging product, or perhaps a more challenging home made adventure/campaign, Gestalt is how everyone wants to go. 

This is the first Pathfinder shot at those rules, so we're still exploring the options and combinations.

One of my players really enjoys taking a concept (his role this campaign is the TANK, but each successive character is different, often drastically so).  He really enjoys the progression of the character and watching it gain abilities.  There is almost always a build through 20th, but it migrates along the way and is never really that close to what it was envisioned to be at 20th.

Another of my players just enjoys building characters and trying options.  He makes small changes and tries to improve upon what he has.  He's taking two of the three (Soulknife, Aegis and Fighter (with 2H archetype)) and building the meanest two-hander guy possible.  So far, his goals have been pure offense without a thought to survivability or defenses.

In the next one I run, I want some kind of a penalty for just throwing characters away... in the last session (have to record two sessions of play, for posterity ;) ), the group attacked what appeared to be a stronger, ready, and organized group of bad guys (who were willing to ally, against a different group of bad guys that the party is aligned against) with the rationalization that if we die, we'll come in with similar characters so it's no loss really, and if we win then we get their stuff.  Not the most ideal of viewpoints, hence the desire for some kind of a new character penalty.

Currently, the new character comes in at the same level as everyone else, and is the same percentage experience into their level (group experience, split evenly even amongst those who did not make the session).  Characters come in with half of the average party loot value, to a minimum of 500g; they also cannot spend more than 50% of their value (if it's more than the minimum 500g) on a single piece.  With a group wipe, and a couple more since... half of average value has been the 500g minimum, which makes for weaker level 6s and level 7s, even if a fairly broke Gestalt 6 is likely stronger than an average geared non-Gestalt level 8 or 9 of similar classes and optimization skills.

The trick will be to be weaker for a time, but to be able to catch up in a session or two... and to be able to contribute throughout.  Have to work on that one a little bit, before the next one... We've explored maybe 10% of RA, so that is a long ways into the future.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 24.

 

We begin where we left off, outside of the area with the plant guys who wrap tentacles around your neck, and then leach your life as they are killed (splitting damage) with whoever their lucky object of affection is... It is the same day/night as the previous battle, which saw Newmeat die.

Einfal decides to send her Eidolon (renamed to Kenny, in case they kill off the Eidolon) into the larger chamber, to ascertain that there isn't anything too hostile there and that the current area will be a safe-ish place to set up camp, regain spells, and await the arrival of replacement characters, via the Archmage and his experiment/game/mission.

Unfortunately, Kenny runs into another group of the plant guys, and they again attack... low resources, fewer characters...

The tactics are a lot better, having had a week to reflect upon things.  The party sets up a blockade with the melee in the front, who are enlarged to both take up more room and to reach ranks further back.  The front rank of bad guys deal their damage, which is then healed... while the back ranks cannot deal anything, and are attacked with either reach weaponry (from the Enlarged guys) or via ranged attacks.  Once all of the back guys are down, the party focused on the front guys and had a much easier time of it.

The night then passes without issues and spells are regained.  In what would be the morning, replacement characters arrive.  Strangely two new souls joined, when only one had departed.  They are:

Asara - a female dwarf (Ninja 06 || Slayer 05 / Inquisitor 01), who is focused almost entirely on stealth and knowledges... (Karzak > Schurke > Silk > Essen > Deadmeat > Freshmeat > Thrym2 > Leoric > Thrym3 > Newmeat's new character).

Seven Underhill - a male halfling (Ranger 05 / Paladin 01 || Warpriest 04 / Skald 01 / Rogue 01), who is a multi-talented character with decent abilities in a lot of areas. (Rocky's new character... Rocky didn't die, but was separated from the group, in the Mouth of Doom, and his fate is unknown...)

 

The next large cavern contains several different plant creature guys, who are floating in groups of four near the ceiling in each of the corners of the cavern.  There are sixteen in total, in four groupings of four plant guys each.  Asara is in the process of sneaking in (and the group completely forgets her presence, due to 'Of No Consequence' the mythic ability she possesses), when Kenny is sent in to explore the next chamber... again.

One of the plant guys shoots down a Fireball which squarely hit Kenny, but which Asara jumps out of the way of entirely... they both retreat to the previous room, and the party remembers Arara again and find it odd that they had so easily forgotten of her presence... I mean, who doesn't remember a bearded dwarven female?

Einfal suggests the use of Invisibility, to sneak through the area, and after some debate, that is the approach that is taken.

The passageway connects once more to the Inn with the Mongrelman innkeep.  Less time is spent here than their last visit, and the party eventually decides to head up to the surface, for easier pickings.

 

On the surface, Asara encounters a group of four Trolls who are busily eating something that appears to have once been a human or a similar creature.  They're not at all aware of her, and she sneaks back to the group to let them know.

The party decides to take out the Trolls.  The forest is thick enough that line of sight is not a given, until within 30-40 feet, although in places 50 feet of vision exist before a tree blocks sight.  The party has its sneakier elements move closer while the loud and armored types stay back.  Then those types close as quickly as they can, but the Trolls hear their approach and are ready.  The sneaky types are already in position, and have the element of surprise.

Einfal has positioned herself carefully and then activated her Levitate to float almost up into the foilage, so she is just beneath the branches with thicker leaves and such.  Asara moves closer in anticipation of a deadly sneak attack.  Acetalyne sneaks up, but decides to let Helmut close before he does anything.

The battle is a slaughter, with only a couple of scary moments, where Asara got a Troll's attention (but she lost it easily in the thick undergrowth) and where Acetalyne was charged, but his Monk training helped him dodge each of the Trolls attacks, until Helmut came and dealt with that beast.

 

The angry druid lady, makes an appearance with lots of wolves in the periphary and with her Owlbear pet.  She does not recognize these trespassers, but does not like strangers coming into her woods.  She basically threatens the party, should they do anything against nature, and like the first group (of characters) she tells them to proove themselves by dealing with the spider colony, deeper into the forest.

Asara finds a point where the webs are thick enough that a less careful character might easily become entangled within them.  She scouts carefully, and finds the corpse of a spider roughly the size of a pony; it has two spears driven entirely through its abdomen portion and has eight arrows within it.  Nearby are the corpses of six humans, who were wearing chainmail armor but that was wripped in two.  From the passage of time, it's impossible to say how many humans or spiders were involved, but Asara figures that generally humanoids bury their dead so the spiders likely forced a retreat or won.

 

jmj_1975's picture

Session 25.

 

Seven Underhill's player cannot attend the session. So we decided his character was taking a pee in the woods, when the ambush occurs... and became separated again.  (Einfal's player was quick to point out that a pee is not taken, it is in fact given or left).

 

The spiders have detected the party and set up an ambush for them.  In all, there are eighteen spiders and they approach from every direction at once.  Asara hides, and is adamant that Tremorsense and Blindsight only works to 30 ft., so she says there is no way for them to detect her.  However, when she snipes at one and then ducks for cover (more than 30 ft. back) is has no issues detecting where she's hiding (but her Vanish does give an advantage).  Helmut's tactic is more straight up smash things, while staying close to Jedakya, the healer, and focusing on things that threaten the heals.  Acetalyne is directed by Helmut to prevent the spiders from getting the healer; through his long practice with the bow, he has learned to fire whilst in melee but without dropping his guard so being in their face is not a serious detriment to his archery.  Einfal uses her magicks to great effect, and the party emerges victorious.

Asara once more scouts ahead, and she reaches a point where the webbing gets so thick that the party will have to cut it to progress.  She circles about the thicker area of webbing, and determines the area is close to a mile across.  Her guess is that the colony has in the range of a hundred or two spiders, and guesses that they might be too much for the party.  When she returns, she convinces them to try something different.

 

The party pieces together the rumors they they have heard, and each announces what they remember... basically, what the options are.

-- An Ogre with more than a hundred Kobolds ambush groups, as they leave the Mouth of Doom, taking everything except armors.

-- A giant Red Bear resides in the forest, and seemingly hunts travelers actively.

-- A cavern exists, in which reside a colony of Stirges.

-- Bandits have taken over the ruins of a long destroyed castle, it has numerous subterranean passageways that connect to something deep undergroup.

-- The Frog Cloister has a couple of buildings way to the north.  Tsathoggan cultists were in a well maintained northern structure, while a southern structure was abandoned.  The southern structure had underground passages which were partially explored until four options of travel were discovered, but none of these were investigated.  A vampire was defeated, and its' mist form entered the fortified northern building.

-- The sunken graveyard has both a well (which numerous groups have said to avoid... wonder how long the group will avoid it) and a mausoleum entrance.  The mausoleum is trapped, but previous groups discovered the secret of the trap; it needs to be allowed to start before it can be bypassed, but wait too long and it's over.  From their experience, once you descend you're trapped for at least a few days.  The first level has a beast that cannot be hurt (at least not by the first group to go this way) and the level below that has a tough anti-paladin that wiped that first party.

-- The Mongrelman's Inn has passageways that lead to the city of Orcus, or at least a stronghold or temple or Orcus.  The means to get beyond the great adamantine gate has not been discovered.

 

The party chooses to investigate the ruins with the bandits...

Asara scouts ahead and determines that there are four semi-broken or very broken towers on each of the corners.  The North-South distance is roughly twice that of the West-East distance.  There is broken walls between the towers, sometimes standing for eighty feet or so, and sometimes rubble for a hundred feet.  The entire area within is mostly rubble, with excellent hiding positions.  The Northwest and Southwest towers appear to be in the best of shape.  The NW tower has been reinforced and build somewhat, and there are four groups of people, some in pairs and some as singles that are scattered in the rubble around that NW tower.  The SW tower had a very well made trapdoor within the floor and that was reinforced heavily.

Helmut used Metamorphosis and dropped rubble (chest sized boulders) on the door to batter away at it, but it appeard to be very reinforced.  He was sure it would eventually break.  Einfal was using an acid spell, but they eventually had Helmut use his Corrosive Aura, which went for several rounds and hit rather hard.  An earth elemental was sent into the ground to report what was below, but it never returned... With two applications of that psi-power, the trapdoor was reduced enough for the party to force it open.

The party enters the area beneath the trapdoor... it is an entryway foyer, the top level of a flight of stairs.  The stairs descend downwards to a room.  There is a structure in the room, that forces those coming down the stairs to either head to the right or left.  Within the room are several guys who are ready for battle.  There is a mixture of guys in lighter armor, with big two-handed weapons.. and guys in robes.  Rather than jump down enmass, they decide to negotiate a little.

It turns out that these guys are opposed to the Cult of Orcus worshipers, and are an expeditionary force sent into RA to damage the Orcus cult as much as they can.  They offer rewards for maps detailing the levels that the Orcus guys control, a lesser bounty for the head of each Orcus Acolyte and a greater bounty for the head of each Orcus Priest/Priestess, but the party will need to accept one of their acolytes to verify things are above board, and if the acolyte is harmed or killed (or goes missing) all deals are off.

The negotiator heads up and talks with the party, then with invis scouts the area below.  The chamber is a fair size, with (closed) exits in two directions.  There are six or eight of the heavy melee guys and around the same number of acolytes/monks/whatever the robed guys are, along with the guy who was doing the negotiations (he had a few magic items on him, and was promising vast amounts of gold for Orcus Cultist heads).

The party decides to battle, they plan to occupy both bottleneck positions at the bottom of the stairs... However when they go to enter the skirmisher guys are in position so anyone jumping down is landing amidst them.  The battle is joined, but not exactly as the party had planned it to be (weird that intelligent and organized evil guys who were planning to cross you, didn't trust that you'd not try to cross them)... The party forces its way down, until they're on the stairs.  Meanwhile the negotiator guy has been blowing on a whistle, and a large number of reinforcements arrive.

The battle is harsh, involving the channeling of negative energy in large doses by the cultist guys in robes.  It's pretty clear that the party has dealt a massive blow to the enemy of the group that looks like it controls the dungeon they wish to clear... that said, Einfal and Asara (with Kenny) fell fairly early into the battle and Helmut was not in a position to escape (in the front, engaged in melee with multiple cultists); Acetalyne escaped by running away (with a single hit point left), but Jedakya was too fat to climb the rope (penalty to climb check) out of the cellar/catacombs, and so he died once his invis dropped.

Acetalyne unfortunately ran into a group of Trolls, as he ran back in the direction that Seven had been in... the Trolls charged and killed him before he had much of a chance to do anything.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 26.

 

Seven Underhill (Ranger 05 / Paladin 02 | Warprest 04 / Skald 01 / Rogue 02)... (Rocky) is greeted by new companions...

 

-- Amon, a Dwarf male with a Greatsword (Monk 01 / Sorcerer 03 / Aegis 02 / Fighter 1 | Soulknife 04 / Fighter 02 / Rogue (Unchained) 01) ... (Loki > Thor > Acetalyne)

-- Ctuchik, a Half-Orc male with a crazy gleam in his eyes (Alchemist 07 | Aegist 07), who likes his bombs... (Sensai > Ramirez > Jaala > Jedikya).

-- Conan, a Dwarf with an Earth Breaker (Aegis 07 | Fighter (Two-Handed) 07)... (Karzak > Schurke > Silk > Essen > Deadmeat > Freshmeat > Thrym2 > Leoric > Thrym3 > Newmeat > Asara)

-- Führer, a Dwarf with a Longsword and Shield (Paladin 07 | Tactician 07)... (Ulric > Ulver > Helmut).

-- Spion, a male Noble Drow (Arcanist 07 | Fighter 01 / Slayer 06)... (Rommel > Sigrunin > Blitzkreig > Atom Waffe > Burgerkreig > Einfal)

-- Skeeter, appearing to be an Elven child (Slayer 05 / Shadowdancer 02 | Wizard (Illusion - Shadow) 07) (New Player).

 

After a little debate on where to go next, the party opts to return to the sight where their predecessors were (with the exception of Seven) masacred.  They wanted revenge and "to get paid".

The trap door had been repaired, but not terribly well... and it took a lot less effort for the brave heroes to batter their way inside.  The place seemed to have been hastily abandoned by the survivors.  The main room had its' fireplace, now cold and its font of unholy water and sacrificial altar.  Skeeter found a book on the shelf, written in Abyssal, which he tucked away for study later.

The double doors to the south led to a hallway and then a larger room.  Two rooms (northward, one to the east and the other to the west) were connected off of this one, as well as a large set of doors, twenty feet across (southward).  The NW room contained several barrels of water, a few barrels of ale, and hundreds of days of rations; the party stocked up at this point.  The NE room contained a fireplace, set but not lit; Skeeter decided to light the fire while the party was stocking up on rations in the next room.

With a little exploration, a room containing frog-men was found, and they proved to be hostile, but not much of a fight.  Their room contained countless eggs, numbering well into the hundreds.  Fuhrer, Amon, Conan and Spion advanced beyond this room, while Ctuchik, Seven and Skeeter decided to transport the eggs to the freshly lit fire to burn them thereby ensuring their destruction; Seven and Skeeter seemed interested in their destruction, while Ctuchik was lured by the promise of burning things...

In the next hallway, the party (half of it, anyway) came across a group of humanoids.  There were three Ogres with some kind of a Priest buffing and healing them... and a couple of goblins and humans circled about to come from a different direction, but still Northward of the room where the T'sathar (frog guys) had been found.  The Ogres were fairly powerful opponents, but once the priest had been charged and slain they weren't nearly as difficult to deal with.  Mid-Battle, the rest of the party joined in.  The goblins were felled, but the two remaining priests (or acolytes maybe) ran off.  Some of the party wanted to chase them down, while others wanted to ensure all of the eggs were burnt, to ensure their destruction.

Eventually, the eggs dealt with, the party decided on pursuit of the priests.  They lead the party through a circutious route, taking them through a chamber with Stalactites some of which proved to be Piercers that fell from the ceiling in an attempt to smash and then digest the unwary below; Spion's reflexes were up to the surprising task and he jumped aside.  After that pursuit was a little more cautious, but still quick enough to retain the possibility of catching their prey.

The path led westward and then northward before coming to a chamber with an underground pool of almost frozen water... The trail leads to the pool and disappears.  The best swimming scout determines that there is a tunnel within the pool that leads a few hundred feet to another room/area that appears to be empty.  The party heads that way and then rests for the night.

A small group of Stirges interrupt the night, on late into the second watch.  While these were absolutely terrifying opponents a few levels ago, they are quickly dispatched with barely any difficulties.  None got close enough to latch onto anyone.

The tracks (wet footprints) lead northward, into the natural cavern (it is finished/excavated near where the watery passage ends) but Seven spots the tracks that... once the footprints dry off circle backwards to the south.  The room to the south has two additional exits, one to the east and one to the west.  To the west, the doorway leads to a short passage and then another door, which feels absolutely freezing; it is uninvestigated beyond this point.  Seven points out that the tracks head to the east, so the party goes that way.

The hallway goes a short distance before turning northward.  Almost immediately, up the northern passage, is a door to the east (where the tracks, that only Seven can see... continue).  The party continues to take cursory exploration measures (a room or so, but not beyond) of each of the forks that the tracks did not go.  The room to the north has some sounds from within, and a voice speaks in the what Ctuchik recognizes as the Giant tongue.

A trio of Trolls are feasting on something, that is best not investigated too closely.  The battle was fairly swift, except that the Trolls proved to be somewhat resilient in that slashes and bashes could not keep them down, but Spion had his firey spells and Ctuchik had his fire bombs.  The fire damage was not regenerated, so the party kept hacking the trolls into pieces, to keep them down until in turn each was burnt and actually did die.  The Trolls each had a bag of treasure, and a magical sword was within one of those bags. 

The party chose to camp here, and we ended the session in this room.

Great stuff - keep em coming!

jmj_1975's picture

Session 27 - (10 Oct 2015)

 

The party had an uneventful night, and rested set out once more to explore the dungeon.  They went into a room with a vast grate across the middle of the floor, and with four pressure plates each within a corner of the room.  Standing on any of the plates caused the grate to descend into what proved to be a virulent acid, one which would not dissolve metal but ate most anything else.

.... [The map is labelled, that the passageway leads to Level 3, which it did in actual play... but re-reading the description, it should in fact lead to 02C-19 to 02C-25; oops] ....

The room with the acid grate lead downwards along a passageway which eventually came to a hallway which was blocked by a porcullis/gate.  The passageway ran east a distance beyond the gate, and then turned to the south.  With a massive amount of noise (which was sure to alert anything beyond, and possibly attract guests) the bars were hammered apart over the course of several minutes.

This lead to a doorway and some kind of a vast room beyond.  Virtually everything was covered in a thick layer of dust, but there were several sets of footprints within the room, which were identified as being that of Kobolds.

The room contained (beneath the dust) a massive silver triangle shaped set of runes, which were identified as a powerful Enchantment type of magic still in effect.  The party took the time to carefully dust, without disturbing the runes, and found that the triangle (isoceles shaped) was 30 feet on a side.  While everyone was carefully walking around the outside of this effect, Conan opted to step into it.  When he did so, he heard a voice boom at him that he was required to deliver the bronze key which lay somewhere beyond, and that he would be greatly rewarded for his service.  Everyone heard the voice, it was not a telepathic communication.

Beyond the room with the runic triangle was a chamber with numerous Kobolds within; twelve were warrior types who moved to protect the others of their band.  The battle was quick and decisively ended via Fireball.  The Kobold cavern had two exits, one in the South East corner, which lead south for a distance before curving to the east, while the other (on the Western wall) lead to the West.  The party went West, without investigating where the other tunnel lead.

The passageway lead to a long hallway, which was a vast cavern with a small lake in the middle and a tiny stream leading both into the lake and out of the lake, each time emerging from somewhere underground and then submerging underground again.  The cavern was filled with hundreds of Fire Beetle creatures, which mindlessly attacked anything that resembled potential prey/food.  The party slew many of the beetles, yet more kept coming... eventually they decided to fight and move, to cross the cavern lest they run out of heals and offensive spells...

This cavern lead to a wide hallway, which came to two doors.  Both of the splits ran Northward, but there was a wall between the two which separated the hallway from one wide passageway to two narrow and parallel passages.  After some distance, the eastern-most of these passages angled towards the western passage and the dividing wall ended.  This then lead northwards a ways before turning to the east.

Almost immediately there was a door on the North edge of this long west-east passage, and the passageway continued East further than the eye (via Darkvision) could see.  A short distance to the East lead to a Pit Trap which Spion discovered without much issue; he managed to disable it with some Pitons and then discovered a secret passage to the North.  The secret door was locked but not trapped; the lock did not prove to be a challenge... but without listening at the door he threw it open and stepped inside.

This area appeared to be a mirror of the first entrance into the dungeon (from the initial area with the Priests, several sessions ago).  Unfortunately the area contained several guys in leather or chain type armors along with another guy in much higher quality leathers.  Several of the guys moved to engage, while the better equipped guy went through a passage on the northern end of the room and began to yell about intruders.  The initial set of bandits did not last long.

The passage to the north lead to a 25 ft. wide hallway with a door at the far end.  Stationed about that door where four guards.  Along the eastern edge of the hallway, approximately half the way down the hallway was a set of boards which had appeared to be hastily nailed across some kind of passageway.  A ranged battle was engaged upon the four guards, and some of the melee types charged at them.  Luckily for them, they chose to not charge along the most western portion of the hallway, as there was a Pit Trap in that location which had not yet been discovered by Spion... The guards did not last long, and the party moved into the hallway.  Spion found and marked the pit trap.

Listenening at the previously guarded doorway, it was evident that several voices were beyond the door and at least a few were directing people into places to 'take out' whoever came through the door.  The party did their buffs and then threw open the door.  Beyond, the bandits were arrayed in five different clumps.  The two near ones were set to block melee opponents from advancing into the room.  The three back clumps were all using ranged weaponry, with each group doing a focus fire at a single target.  Worse, they had an arcane caster of some form, who launched a fireball through the doorway and into the party as soon as the door was opened.  The battle was tense and didn't look to be going well for a time, but once the melee combatants (Conan and Amon, with their massive Earth Breaker and Greatsword) got into the room, the bandits didn't really stand much of a chance.  The caster went down (unconscious, but not slain) to Spion's scorching ray, but was healed and then returned her own scorching rays at Spion.  Once Conan hammered her head with the Earthbreaker, healing a corpse was no longer an option.

The mooks didn't have much of interest, but the five lieutenants each had a Mithral Shirt and a masterwork Rapier.  The caster type had a wand, which was later identified as Cure Light Wounds with 19 charges.  The party chose to allocate one Mithral Shirt to Seven Underhill, who would have it modified for his smaller size and to sell the rest of the gear in Zelkor's Ferry, once they returned to that outpost.

Conan went back into the hallway and started to rip off some of the boards, to see what they were blocking.  Beyond the boards was a metal grate, which something had cut through two of the one inch steel bars on one corner to the blocked passageway.

The bandit area was mostly explored, except for one specific section.  A secret door had been discovered by Spion, but the party had opted to go back to the long east-west passageway rather than explore the 'new' area entirely.  Some wanted to go back to the outpost immediately, but they were convinced to continue onwards to make it more worthwhile by acquiring more treasure to sell.

The long hallway went east a long distance and then, via a short jaunt to the south, forked backwards to the west, or continued east a short distance before heading north.  Doubling back to the west, the passage came to an end with a door to a room on the southern end of that hallway.  Spion entered first, to check the floors for traps and the walls for secret doors.  The chamber was a fairly large room, 50 ft. x 70 ft. with four evenly spaced doors on the east wall.  Something had taken the trouble to seal these doors with molten lead to create an air-tight seal.  As Spion was investigating the doors, ghouls dropped from the ceiling and attacked... but aside from a scare they didn't inflict much by way of harm upon the party.

Each of the rooms contained a massive coffin.  Amon investigated one, prior to Spion checking it for traps.  The coffin proved to be trapped with the lid flipping over and pinning Amon.  With some assitance from Conan, Amon was able to escape the trap.  Most of the coffins were empty of threats or treasure, but one contained a more challenging undead creature, one which would crumble to dust after several hits, faking its destruction... before re-forming and resuming its attacks; it was eventually actually slain.  One of the coffins contained three orbs, one each bronze, silver and gold; Conan took these, convinced that he had found the 'bronze key' and would be rewarded.

The switchback passageway went a short distance to the east, beyond the switchback, before turning to the North.  It lead to an unlocked door and a short hallway with another door.  This door proved to be locked beyond Spion's ability to pick and was reinforced beyond Conan's ability to smash.  After some head scratching, Conan had everyone move into the hallway, close the first door, and then try the second door... which now opened rather easily.  The party was able to leap frog forward, although some of the sections of hallway proved to be tight/small enough that the party had to be split to progress.

One of the doors lead to a room with paintings of wizards battling demons upon the walls.  The room contained three depressions, one each bronze, silver and gold.  Conan placed his three orbs in the corresponding colors and apparently nothing happened.  However, when backtracking through the doors which could only be opened one at a time, an area that had previously been solid wall now contained a door with the same only one open at a time property as the others.  This lead to the North quite a distance, with a fork to the left approximately halfway along before ending at another door on the North end of the hallway.

Only four characters could fit within that small area at a time, with another doorway to the North and one to the East.  The North proved a deadend, but the East lead to a large circular room with silver runes (of silver dust) upon the floor in an intricate runic pattern.  Three characters remained in the hallway, looking into the circular room, and were temporarily locked in place as Conan went back to get the rest of the party.  Once everyone was within the room they went in.  Some kind of demonic creature was within the circle.  Knowledge - The Planes identified its type as a True Tanar'ri, a Hezrou, except that this specific individual was both larger and more menacing than a typical member of its' type... thus probably more advanced in some as yet indeterminate way.  It offered a great sum of wealth, which it had piled within its binding circle along with magical items, as a reward for merely shifting the silver dust from any of the numerous runes which comprised its circle.  None of the party took it up on the offer, although Spion was initially going to until his party talked him out of it.  The thing radiated evil, more strongly than the Paladin (Fuhrer) had ever found before, and he vowed to return and vanquish the beast... at some point in the future, when such an endeavor might lead to an outcome other than suicide.  Spion's arrow, shot into the circle was not able to penetrate the creature's defenses and a magic missile winked out shortly before making contact.

The party slept in the hallway, just down from the demon thing.

 

 

jmj_1975's picture

Session 28 - (17th October).

 

Having rested (and with Seven Underhill and Skeeter in attendance... players too, not just their characters tagging along without taking too many risks), the group chose to reinvestigate the demon thing.

 

Knowledge checks were made, by two additional players, and the party ascertained that most of its' abilities could be countered, but its aura would prove to be insurmountable at this level of prowess/experience.  Seven, decided that he too would be coming back to slay the thing.

The branch in the hallway (to the west) lead to the approach of the Bandit area that had not been investigated previously.  It also lead to a secret door, that while easily found by Spion (this time) had not been even approached previously.  The passage lead to a series of hallways, another set of the doors that could only be opened one at a time and a pit trap, that was a slight chute angling to the east.

.... [Swap the chute point of egress, with the misinterpreted/poorly labelled map destination, and everywhere can be travelled to, plus its an even more unique experience than others who run the same level] ....

The party returned to town, and spent a while having armor reforged and creating consumable potions or scrolls.

Attention was turned upon Vorlak, the Ogre, and his hundreds of Kobold... who were mugging people as they left the 'Mouth of Doom' .... "Vorlak smart Ogre.  Vorlak take your weapons and stuff, but let you keep your armor.  You take weapons from dummer hummies and go back into hole in ground.  You come out and Vorlak take more stuff from you.  Vorlak let you keep armor, so you live to go back in hole in ground again.  Vorlak smart".

The rest of the party was camped about half a mile from the Mouth of Doom, with Spion and Skeeter flying and invisible and later Improved Invisibility (which was a little tricky, as neither has See Invisible to spot the other).  Fireballs were thrown, and the Kobolds basically scattered.  Vorlak ran down the stairs, into the Mouth of Doom; apparently a scared Ogre is a much faster runner than an angry Drow.

Spion, who could recast Invisibility ended up staying on the surface, near the entrance to the Mouth of Doom, while Skeeter went to fetch the rest of the party.  Half an hour later, they descended cautiously into the dungeon.  The now very familiar first room and its connections were drawn.  Seven was able to track the direction that Vorlak had run, and unfortunately for him that was right onto a pit trap with sharpened stakes at the bottom.  Scratch one ogre.

The fortress ruins (upon the surface) were returned to, and the party descended back into the 'Tunnels of Terror', via the bandit lair.  Steps were retraced, including ignoring a doorway again, and the party took a passageway that had previously been discovered but unexplored.

This led downwards to a roughly rectangular room, with a smaller room in the South East corner of the larger room, taking up more than a quarter of the space (N-S) and about a quarter of the space (W-E).  In front of the room's entrance (on its' north wall) was a very large pit trap.  Within the room were three piles of skeletons, with the pieces of five or six distinct corpses in each pile and distributed in such a way that no pile contained the entire bones of one creature.  Within the room, is a corpse of a dwarf, with evident corrosion damage to his equipment, from an unknown source.  As soon as the door to this room was opened, each of the piles of bones animated into several skeleton creatures and attacked the part.  While not a real threat, they were dangeous enough to not be push overs and did take a while to slay.

The rectangular room had a doorway to the north, almost across from the door that led into the smaller room (with the dead dwarf and corroded equipment). 

This room was also rectangular shaped, but with N-S being the long side of the rectangle.  The South East corner of the room had a passageway that leads to the East and the North East corner also has a passageway leading to the East, but curving slightly to the North as it moves eastward.  There was also a door, roughly centered upon the Northern wall.  Strangely, the floors and walls of the room were absolutely clean, as sterile as any hospital in the modern world; not a speck of dust or dirt to be found, deep underground within a subterranean dungeon.  Spion was first within, the party not that far behind, as he was clearing areas as safe of traps.

An ooze like creature arose from the floor, previously undetected or possibly undetectable... although that is not clear yet.  It arose from the floor (similar to the T1000, within the asylum area, in Terminator 2) and decided the Spion would make a fine meal.  Each of its attacks inflicted moderate damage, but left behind a massively corrosive gob of acidic goo with the consistency of thick honey.  Similarly, most melee attacks resulted in having weapons coated with the goo, which continued to disolve the weapons as the fight continued.  Some members of the party thought the goo thing was a Gray Ooze; it was defeated without too much issue, and then weapons were cleaned off and repaired via Astral Repair.

The SE passageway continued to the east and wasn't explored beyond ascertaining that was the direction it led.  The NE passageway was also not explored beyond a cursory look.

The doorway to the north lead to a fairly simple maze, except that numerous pit traps were scattered within the maze and many of those were massively large and impossible to bypass short of flying/jumping across.

A secret door was discovered but not taken, and the maze was explored a little deeper.  It lead to a jail like area, with a pressure plate on the outside which would cause a porcullis to rise and once pressure was removed that porcullis would fall and lock inside those beyond the porcullis.  Spion entered the area and scouted, with one after the other.. party members also walking into the area and having the porcullis trap them within.  Finally Seven stopped on the pressure plate and did not advance within.  This 'jail' section contained a nearly transparent blob (later identified as a Gelatinous Cube) that moved towards party members simply trying to envelop them.  It wasn't too difficult to defeat, and items were once again cleaned and repaired.

The party backtracked to the area where the Bandits had been, specifically the area that had been boarded to cover a metal grate of some kind that had been partially cut by something from down the stairs.

 

We ended our session there.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 29 -  (24th October 2015).

A few coins were the target of 'Light' cantrips, which Seven tossed down the stairs.  The coins descend a ways down, and if tossed hard go far enough that the light is basically muted to a point where it does little.

The boards are pried away from the grate and that is hammered away, until a section had been opened in which each party member could fit through.  Conan stops hammering away, and the party enters the stairway and goes downwards... the stairs descend 400 ft., which was the level divide between each level of the other entrances to Rappan Athuuk.  The party is aware that the difficulty has likely jumped up a notch.  As they descend, Skeeter takes the time to pick up each of Seven's silver pieces and pocket them.

A set of double doors are at the bottom of the stairs.  These open into a North-South hallway, with a slightly smaller set of doors heading East, almost directly across from the entrance point (the double doors, on the West side of the hallway).  The hallway leads both North and South, fifty feet before ending at a closed door.

Spion examines the east door, across from the entrance point, while the rest of the party clumps up except that Seven moves south and Skeeter moves north.  About twenty-five feet along (both Northwards and Southwards) a passage allows movement ten feet to the west, except that a grate has been placed at the halfway part of each of these short passages.  The black skinned ghoul-like creatures reach through the bars and attempt to grab at Seven and Skeeter, who are both far out of their reach.  The force of their blows against the grate/bars is such that it is immediately evident that the creatures will break free in the near future and that these areas are at best temporary bottlenecks/blockages.

Spion ascertains that the door is not locked nor trapped, but leaves the door closed and heads to the southern-most group of black ghoul creatures.  These are some kind of a variation of ghoul, which seems to have been a popular type within Rappan Athuuk; at least the party has encountered them in two other places.  They are both strong and agile, with phenomenal jumping capability and display cunning and intelligence most of the time, but risk everything to take out divine casters.

Conan hammers away at the grate, and eventually creates an opening.  Skeeter explores beyond the doorway, to the south, without having checked it for traps or such.  He is in luck, as it is neither locked nor trapped.  Beyond the doorway is a hallway that goes south until it ends at another door.  Also to the west is another grate that seemingly leads into the same room that Conan is hammering away at via the Northern of the two entrances.  Skeeter backtracks to be with the group.

Conan forces his way through the grate and into the room.  The ghoul-like guys mob him somewhat and then several members of the party move into the area.  Unfortunately, due to the tight confines and the clogging of the area by the ghoul-like guys, not everyone can bring their attacks to bear.  Worse, the angles aren't conducive to launching spells aside from three guys (out of seven) in a line leading inwards.  Ctuchik, the alchemist|aegis, continues to gleefully toss his bombs towards the ghoul guys and is actually responsible for more party damage (due to splash damage) than the ghouls themselves inflict.  The ghouls have Evasion, so aren't great targets for AoE spells.  The battle uses a lot of resources, but is never really that close to being in doubt, aside from when Conan is bit by a ghoul and rendered Paralyzed... the ghouls had attempted to swarm him, but Fuhrer and Amon were able to force their way in, once the ghoul-like guys were on Conan rather than blockading the entrance.

There is debate on whether the party should engage the next set or rest up and then engage with full resources.  They decide to massively buff up and then engage.  Again due to the angles of attack, not everyone can participate initially, and since Ctuchik doesn't have an angle to lob bombs, he opts to go solo exploring (have to love CN...).  With all of the buffs, this second fight doesn't last nearly as long and the outcome is even less in doubt.  Ctuchik returns with news of a room which is filled with mirrors and candles, to the south.

Unlike the first set of Ghoul guys, the leader guy in the second set has a couple of magical items.  Spion and Seven identify them as 'black dyed' (drow-forged) Elven Chain +1 and an Elven Curveblade, also +1.  There is a bit of an argument over who should get to wear the armor.  Spion wants it, as it will increase his protection (AC by +3, over Mage Armor) and he can use his entire DEX mod with it, with a 10% Arcane Spell Failure rate.  Seven, who is too small to wear the armor currently, thinks that it should go to a tank type and if no one else can use it, it should be reforged to accomodate a small character (the party has two halflings who could benefit from the armor).  Spion says that he's in this to be paid, and if he doesn't 'get it' then he wants his 'cut' immediately of whatever the armor is worth.  In the end, it is undecided as to who will end up with it, whether it will be used or sold and the proceeds split, but Spion is wearing it until they get back to town.

The party rests before checking out Ctuchik's room with the mirrors.  The passage leading that way is untrapped up to that point.  The room is asymetrical, and has hundreds (seemingly) of mirrors on almost every wall and along the ceiling.  Mirrors are scattered throughout the room, creating a house of mirrors like effect.  Strangely, there are numerous very thick layers of paint upon the floor, as if someone were to paint a coat and then repaint the coat, until the floor itself is covered with close to an inch of crunchy paint, that breaks apart with every step within the room.  (weak) Alteration magic (from one source) and (moderate-strong) Necromantic magic (from a different source) are both detected from within the room, but due to the mirrors it is impossible to say where either is coming from.  Seven moves into the room and is attacked by something that looks absolutely identical to him, down to equipment and all.  Whatever it is, it does not pursue outside of the room.  Spion shoots an arrow into the room, at a mirror, but instead hits another mirror... much closer than he thought it would be; the angles and reflections make size and distance hard to ascertain accurately.  Conan surrenders his Earth Breaker, and then enters the room with his eyes closed, and for his trouble is smacked by a gauntleted version of himself.  Spion decides to Fireball the room, from the outside; his first blast detonates almost in his face as the fireball streaks towards its' desired target and detonates as soon as it hits the interposing mirror; four party members are burnt, and Ctuchik points out that he's not the only one who burns the party.  A few more Fireballs and the mirrors are all destroyed, along with whatever else was creating those images.

The passage continues deeper into the dungeon, beyond the Room of Mirrors, heading West and then angling South-West.  It leads into a room, with another pit trap and a Falcata on the floor.  Touching the weapon delivers a moderately powerful shock, each round.  Seven, not liking being shocked, drops it, but Spion picks it up via a blanket and wraps it several times before placing it within his backpack.  An adjoining room contains a truely massive chest with a simple trap that is disabled with ease.  However, the lid takes a massive amount of effort and can barely be opened via the three strong characters working in unison (Bull's Strength, Aid action, Aid action, roll a 17+ which eventually happens).  The chest is empty, and there are no illusions hiding anything within.

Backtracking towards the entrance for the level, the unlocked and untrapped door which leads East is ignored for now.

The group heads North, beyond the second group of Ghoul-like guys they killed earlier.  This passage opens into a vast room with a massive fishing tank like thing.  The 'tank' is forty feet wide and sixty feet long and twenty feet tall.  At the top, on each of the four corners lilies have been constructed of the stone and they sprout sewage like water, that reeks of rotten eggs and sulphur, into the pool.  Levitation shows that the pool contains a sculpture of a demon lord, identified as Tsa'thogga, along with thousands of tadpoles which presumably will mature into the frog-like men fought previously (Tsathar).  A Fireball and a Lightning Bolt (via scroll) are launched into the pool, but due to the sheer size only a fraction of the tadpoles are slain.

A hidden door is discovered along the eastern wall, which is essentially a walk-in coat closet.  This contains eight Acolyte robes and two Priest robes adorned with the (un)holy symbol of Tsa'thogga.  Fuhrer, the Paladin, says with disgust that they should be left behind.  Seven, also partially Paladin, takes several of the robes and states that they'll possibly be disguises which will aid in the battle against evil, and ultimately bring glory to Kel.  Seven also finds several vials of Unholy Water, which he empties out onto the floor.

A doorway is visible on the Western wall, and that is where our heroes head next.  This leads to a hallway with a similar door after fifty feet.  This door is locked, but the lock is of very low quality.  However the door is also bared from the other side.  Conan smashes through it, after a few minutes of loud work. 

The chamber beyond is roughly rectangular, but a large section of the northern portion is elevated and accessed via stairs on the far side of the room.  There are six pillars of green rock (5 ft. diameter) from floor to ceiling (40 ft. above), which emanate some kind of a green glow from within.  In addition to the stairs, there is a door on the western wall, two doors flanking and facing South-West and South-East on slightly angled walls and a set of double-doors to the south.  The stairs lead upwards to a large platform with blind albino frogs, each the size of a house cat; to the north is a river which while only two feet deep is 30-40 feet wide and flowing quickly enough that entering it almost guarantees being swept away; it stretches further than the eye can see both to the west (where it is coming from) and to the east (where it is going).  One of the Paladins does a 'Detect Evil' and encounters very strong evil emanating from the double-doors to the south; the evil is not as strong as the demon within the binding circle, but is the next strongest evil thing encountered while in service to Dwerfaeter.  The flanking side doors are too difficult to pick open and resist being smashed; Spion uses his racial Dispel Magic and ends the effect on one of them.  The door opens easily, to a solid stone wall without illusion or secret passage beyond.  The doorway to the west is a storage area with numerous staples, all in the form of barrels full of whatever... ale, water, cured meats, dried grains, live crickets (the size of rabbits).

Seven says that the party doesn't have the resources to take on something massively evil and powerful, until after they rest.  Spion says that they need to rest, but that he's going to open the double doors, to ensure that there isn't something big and nasty on the other side that will kill them in their sleep.  Seven leaves the room, and heads back towards the ghoul-like guys cells, to rest up.  Spion opens the double doors and finds a small room, with another set of double doors; he closes the first set and gets ready to sleep.  Seven arrives back at the ghoul cells (he's slightly faster than Ctuchik, and much faster than anyone other than Amon who can run circles around everyone) is quick order, and discovers that two more of the Ooze things have moved in.  They achieve surprise, but through the protection of almighty Kel (via a Lay on Hands use) he acts in the surprise round and goes first in that round.  Seven runs towards the party...

The party collectively drop the ooze guys, without having their weapons destroyed.  Spion wants to sleep in the hallway between the two sets of heavy doors, with the column/frog platform room on one side and the tadpole/rotting egg fountain on the other side; Skeeter joins him here.  The rest of the party return to the Ghoul-Cells and use several lengths of rope to create a lattice to act as a door.  In the night, something big begins to pound upon the door into Spion/Skeeter's area, and it looks like it will get through in short order as the door has already been bashed in by Conan once; Spion and Skeeter unblock the far door and stand there (buffed with Invisibility) to get a glimpse of whatever is coming for them; as soon as it is spotted they slam and disable (take 10, to stick Pitons in the door as a jam) the door and run towards the party.  No random encounter on their end, that night.

Spion and Skeeter arrive at the rope lattice and start untying; the party watch alerts the sleeping member that something is breaking in, but Spion and Skeeter call out and identify themselves.  The trolls aren't that far behind; these are a different species than the three encountered earlier, but similar enough that the party understands the tactics necessary to win the battle.  The fight takes a while, as these are larger and stronger than the previous set and they enrage which further increases their danger.

The trolls are defeated, and the party sleeps for the night here.

 

(Off next weekend, due to Halloween; we'll resume for Nov 7th).

jmj_1975's picture

Session 30 (Nov 7th, 2015)

Unfortunately, both Seven and Skeeter cannot make this session; Seven is played (basic information, but no character sheet present) by Fuhrer and Skeeter (again no sheet) is played by Spion.

 

The party returns to the chamber where the evil aura was coming from.  The room has six pillars which glow with light from within, the previously discovered store room, the double doors at the southern end of the room (from which the evil aura was/is detected) and a pair of doors set at an angle near the southern door.  One of these doors had been successfully dispelled and then forced open to reveal a solid stone wall beyond.  The other was impossible to open via lockpicking or brute force.

Upon returning, more people choose to venture up the stairs, in the North West corner of the room.  There is a raised platform with numerous albino frogs upon it.  Beyond the platform is a rushing river, which although only a few deep has a massively powerful current.  It flows from the West to the East.  The party decides to investigate the frogs further, and despite invisibility they have no problems tracking Spion.  The hungry frogs view the party as a meal (the barrels of live crickets, within the discovered store room have been ignored) and a battle soon ensues.  The frogs prove to be little more than a distraction.

The river is investigated by Conan and Ctuchik, via their Aegis Suit's flight powers.  Conan flies to the West (source of the river) whilst Ctuchik flies East (to where it is heading).  Each travels about a mile before coming to a dead end.  The source of the river (to the West) is a massive hole in the ceiling with water crashing downwards with terrifying force, and then flowing to the East as there is nowhere else for it to go.  The river continues past the landing, also for about a mile before it flows underground somewhere... The force of the flowing water easily brings the party to the conclusion that swimming against the current will be impossible, and at best a strong swimmer may partially control what they collide with or avoid.  No one wants to see where the river goes...

 

The party opts to have Spion cast his racial Dispel Magic at the second door, also on an angle.  Once the magic is gone, the door can be opened and it too faces a solid stone wall... a successful decoy, which has wasted a portion of the parties resources.

Beyond the double doors is a series of staggered traps; it seems one is physical and two are magical in nature with the trigger being simple proximity which prevents the magical traps from being disarmed/removed without a Dispel Magic type effect.  Sadly, neither Spion nor Skeeter thought that Dispel Magic was worth learning.  Conan moves into the area and it hit and hurt by some of the traps (an Acid Arrow misses him, but he is hit by both a Fire Blast and a Cold Effect); he survives both of these.

The party kills another 24 hours, and Spion gets his racial dispel back.  He dispels one of the magical effects, which is good enough because the second effect did not reset itself automatically.  The party smashes their way into the room, with Conan in the front using his Earth Breaker to bash in the door.

 

As the door breaks, right in his face is a large creature which the party identifies a short time later as a Clay Golem.  In addition to the Golem there are numerous humanoid figures of mixed races (humans, elves, dwarves, half-elves, and half-orcs) all wearing robes similar to those recovered previously in the room with the giant pool and the tadpoles swimming within the rotting waters.  Just within the room, chained upon an altar is the forms of three humanoids one of which has already been sacrificed by a woman at the altar. 

The party recalls some basic information on the Golem, and it essentially boils down to its' being immune to almost all magical effects; this one will have to be slain via melee/ranged attacks.  Unfortunately, without Adamantine weaponry, it takes reduced damage from physical attacks.

The lesser accolytes engage for a short time, while the higher priests move up.  Amon runs into the conflict, but the Clay Golem hits him with impressive reach and hits him rather hard.  The lesser accolytes channel negative energies and that knocks Amon out, but does not finish him off.  The party lands some healing on Amon and he regains consciousness, but is at the feet of the massive creature... which for the moment is ignoring his prone form as it wails away trading blows with Conan.  Spion is clearly frustrated, as he wants to drop a Fireball or two upon the cultists, but his allies would be within the blast; he chooses to fire Scorching Rays towards the High Priestess, hoping that she is the main threat.

The High Priestess is dropped, and the regular priests advance; the Golem is still standing strong.  The Priests begin to channel negative energy, using it offensively against the party.  They manage to exclude themselves from the bursts but the Acolytes are not as lucky.  The Acolytes quickly back away from their Priests and disappear around a corner and out of sight.  There is an ominious sense; a wondering of what they might be doing or getting.

The party chooses to focus on the Priests, as the channelling of negative energy is quite nasty.  Conan and Amon are unconscious at the same time, and Seven runs in to join in the fray.  The Clay Golem knocks him out just before Ctuchik's healing bomb restores the party to consciousness.  The ranged guys focus fire on the Priests, one at a time and gradually their channel power depletes.  Although it was far too close to be enjoyable, the party drops the priests and then focuses on the Clay Golem which has been smashing at whatever was within its' reach.  The Golem, as the only threat, does not last all that long.  Amon gets to his feet, more than a little upset that he spent the entire battle either unconscious or pretending to be dead as the Golem stood right over him.

The party identifies the Mace of the High Priestess as an Unholy item.  Spion wants to sell it, as it will be quite valuable, but Fuhrer doesn't want an evil item to be sold to someone who will then be able to use it against a good person.  Skeeter (played by Spion) supports Spion's view that the party should get something for their trouble, while Seven (also a Paladin like Fuhrer, and played by Fuhrer) says that an evil item cannot be allowed to continue existing.  Conan (NG) chimes in, saying that it is an evil act on the part of the two Paladins to force their world views onto others and prevent them from profiting by selling evil items.  The group spends a little over two hours (real time) discussing the issue and eventually Spion throws the mace to the ground and says that it can be destroyed, but also vows to not share full information on future identified items that the holy guys will insist on wasting.

There are two mirrors within the chamber beyond, both covered by thick green curtains.  The acolytes are nowhere to be found.  One of the mirrors contains a horrid image of whoever looks upon it.  The image charges at the viewer (even if the mirror is viewed from a non-direct angle) but in each case the viewer manages to shrug off the mental effect.  The party decides to cover this mirror back up.  The other mirror has no reflection at all, and as soon as Conan touches it, he disappears completely (and is removed from Fuhrer's collective).

A day passes and there is no replacement character arriving from the Mage's Challenge, so the party decides to backtrack towards Zelkor's Ferry and sell everything they have.  Some are in favor of a long trek across most of the country to the one known larger city for selling/buying items and to potentially acquire (Leadership) followers, as seven characters is not viewed as enough.

Meanwhile Conan finds himself in a swamp and as he looks about he realizes he is near the Cloister of the Frog God.  He's not too keen on running into the Vampire again, so heads back towards Zelkor's Ferry hoping that the party will eventually return there.  Conan sells all of the party loot which he was carrying, and purchases several small sacks, and puts one share in each of those... then heads to the tavern to drink some of his share away.

Conan meets an individual who identifies himself as a collector of stories; he has heard of the great deeds of Conan and those who accompany him.  Many of the deeds attributed to the party have not actually been accomplished by the party, but it is part of their legend.  Conan introduces himself and the stranger says he is known as Drifter, because he moves about the world freely -- in search of his stories.  Drifter asks permission to accompany Conan on his journey and to record his great deeds (which are written in a book called 'Gods of the Known World'.  Conan fills Drifter in on many of the tactics the party has used to defeat various enemies along the way.

The party catches up with Conan, and both Paladins are suspicious of Drifter, but he does not detect as evil.  He states that his fee for 'holding horses calmly amidst a battle' or 'burning bacon for breakfast' is a gold piece per hundred days, plus his room & board and to be allowed to record history as it unfolds about him.  Fuhrer is skeptical about his ability to survive the harsh environments, but Drifter says that he's tougher than he looks and proves it by lifting Conan (and gear... approximately 400 pounds together) over his head.

The group returns to the Tunnels of Terror, and instead of taking the passageway North (to the Altar where there mirrors are; Conan informs the party that one of them is a shortcut to the Cloister) or to the South, which eventually dead-ends just beyond the room where the mirrored images attack those who enter the room... the party decides to investigate the doors directly across from the stairs (East) which Spion has previously disarmed and unlocked, but had never opened.

The chamber beyond is seemingly empty at first.  Spion discovers six secret doors and a secret trap door, within the room.  The trapdoor contains a couple of potions and some instructions, which the party surmises is the most direct route to exit the dungeon, taking advantage of the potions (invisibility and fly).  A secret door to the East leads to another door, after a hundred feet or so.  Spion marks that direction with a pair of Arcane Marks to signify it as safe.  He detects two doors, each in an alcove to the North, but is unable to open either of those.  He detects three passages to the south, each also in an alcove and all three are rather easy to pick open.  Each of these leads to a room, with a lever set into the wall. 

He has the party remain in the main room and enters the furthest SouthEast room and pulls the lever.  This results in his door closing and remaining closed no matter what he does with the lever.  The wall/secret door is too thick for him to communicate with the party.  They party observes his door close and the middle (of the three South doors) open on its own.  Conan finds a lever within this room too, and decides to hammer a Piton into the wall below the Lever and then to use rope to pull the Lever downwards towards the Piton via the rope from the main area.  This results in the closing of the middle door, without any other doors opening.

 

We left off for the night there.

 

jmj_1975's picture

Session 31 (14 Nov 2015).

 

The party (everyone's here this week, playing their own characters) is in the main room, with Spion trapped within his room and Conan having rigged a piton & rope system to activate his lever from outside of the room, with the rest of the party.  Apparently the only result is the closing of that door, without opening anything else.

However, a short while later the central southern door opens once more (Spion had continued to play with his lever, which once another lever in the chain had been activated once again opened the next door).

The party is debating what they should do, and Skeeter just runs into the room and pulls the lever.  He observes the door close on him, but a wall opens in the small room with the lever he just pulled, and it leads to a further south room, also with a lever.  Naturally, he moves into that room and also pulls that lever, which closes him in again.

The far left (also on the south wall) door opens and Ctuchik is easily convinced to enter the room and pull the lever.  His door closes, and Spion's door opens.  Spion comes back into the main room and the party rigs the piton/rope trick to eventually get everyone out of the southern rooms.

The Northern two doors have not opened throughout this cycle, and the party is still interested in them.

Spion wants everyone to move into their own room, and then to randomly pull the levers repeatedly, on the assumpion that two or more levers pulled at once will open the northern doors.  Fuhrer instead wants each lever to be pulled in each possible sequence as it might be a combination door.  They compromise, with a suggestion from Seven Underhill that each person be given a different delay before pulling their lever... they should count one-auromvorax-two-auromvorax-three-auromvorax... with roughly anywhere from once a minute to once every few minutes for the levers to be pulled; Spion is happy, that the variable times will eventually result in each lever being pulled simultaneously with each other level, so if it is dependent on A/B or A/C or A/D (or any other two combination) that will occur, and if it is a three or four combination (levers being pulled simultaneously) that should occur as well.

The party cycles through several iterations, and has a couple of characters stationed near the northern two doors within their alcoves, so that should a door open a piton can be jammed in to keep it open.  When each door closes, it severs with equal impunity the hemp or silk rope used on the lever rope/piton system; fortunately, the party has a lot of rope and most of the combinations is with people physically pulling their levers themselves.

 

After trying numerous combinations, the party eventually decides to move on... they take the eastern secret door, which is connected to a passageway ten feet wide and about a hundred feet long.  It ends at the door, which Spion had previously checked for traps and unlocked.  He cautiously checks the door again for traps, in case someone had gone and re-trapped it, but it is still in the condition he left it in.

The door opens into a mostly rectangular room, stretching further east (away from their door, on the chamber's west wall) than it spans north (left) or south (right).  The far east wall curves and is somewhat circular instead of being a perfect rectangle.  Almost at the edge of the room, along the eastern wall is a metal grate set into the floor.  The grate has a multi-colored key-hole in the middle of it.  There are doors to both the North and South.

Spion recalls picking up a Rainbow (Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet) key earlier and attempts to turn the key within the lock.  Merely placing the key within the lock causes the entire plate to vanish.  Approximately ten feet below, is a chamber that is twenty feet on a side, a perfectly square room.  There is a door on one of the walls (far east) slightly beyond the edge of the room above.  He hops down and discovers that the door is beyond his ability to pick lock and that it doesn't dispel when his racial ability is used.  For the time being, he comes back to the top using his racial levitation ability.

The door to the North opens into a mostly empty room; the only feature of note is a statue which is so old that most of the features have worn off completely.  The room isn't explored in any kind of detail yet, as Spion wants to check the South door too, before deciding where to go next.

 

The door to the South is opened, and the room is filled with an assortment of humanoids, mostly humans but including half-elves, half-orcs, dwarves and full orcs too; these guys wear holy symbols and mithral shirts but are accompanied by a vast swarm of the black skinned ghoul guys that have been the parties nemesis on several occasions.

Initiative is rolled, and Spion is one of the first to act; he backs away from the doorway to get away from the ghoul-like guys who have proven themselves to be dangerous melee combatants.  Unfortunately, the tank goes next to last (as normal; +2 initiative) and the ghouls go immediately after Spion; most of them double move into the room, but a few of them move and then charge in... Once they're in the room, if quickly becomes clear that this is a life or death battle.... 12 black ghoul guys, supported by 5 cultists (who mostly channel negative energy, to heal the undead).

On his turn, Skeeter does Black Tentacles which hits all of the cultists, but misses each of the party members and all of the ghouls.  The spell does create difficult terrain, cutting back on almost everyone's mobility.  The party initially moves back towards the door from which they entered, and the ghouls and cultists follow.  After the Black Tentacles, and the initial positioning of the combatants, it becomes clear that Amon and Conan are cut off from the rest of the party, but that everyone else can make for the doors and form a bottleneck there.

Most of the ghoul guys focus on the larger group of characters, but some turn their attention upon Conan and Amon.  The cultists position themselves in the middle, to be able to heal both groups without being in melee range.  Conan teaches them to keep their distance, as he has quite a reach with his weaponry, and can drop almost anything he fights in two hits, and several things in one.  He manages to take out four or the five cultists doing the healing.

Conan's defenses are not high, and Amon's depend upon his fighting defensively..., so he's relatively easy to hit too, when he double moves instead of battling with care for his defenses as well as his attacks.  Amon gets through the door, but is in single digit hit points.  Conan is very high damage, but not the highest on defenses either.  Nevertheless, he valiantly blocks the door and tells Amon to drink a potion.  It turns out Amon has a Cure Light Wounds potion, which heals him for 5 points, still single digits of health.  Conan falls and Amon follows suit a couple of rounds later.

The rest of the group, with a bottleneck created and with Fuhrer and Seven making a wall in the front, with Spion, Ctuchik and Skeeter behind the wall taking shots at guys, the battle was much more manageable.  The party likely took more damage at that point, from Ctuchik tossing a bomb (he would do heal bombs very rarely, pretty much only when everyone yelled for heals) that would deal splash damage to those in front.  At one point, he admonished Skeeter for being within an AoE of his' but everyone kind of glared at Ctuchuk, as everyone had experienced being within the blast of his bombs at some point.

With the battle won, aside from the sad losses of two stalwart companions, the group wanted to await the replacement characters which would arrive with the next dawn, from the Archmage's viewing rooms for participation within the 'Contest'.  Spion decided that he should go ahead a little ways, to check that there wasn't anything nasty in the next room.  Fuhrer pointed out, that that had already burnt them on two occasions, and that with two dead members and many of the resources on the low side that holing up would be a better course of action.

 

jmj_1975's picture

We did our level 8, level ups (mostly) and made the replacement characters for Amon and Conan.

The party is:

 

Skeeter (First Character; 3 Sessions)

01 Slayer 01 | Wizard (Shadow) 01 ..... 01.00 BAB .. 02.50 Fort .. 02.50 Ref .. 02.50 Will

02 Slayer 02 | Wizard 02 ..................... 02.00 BAB .. 03.00 Fort .. 03.00 Ref .. 03.00 Will

03 Slayer 03 | Wizard 03 ..................... 03.00 BAB .. 03.50 Fort .. 03.50 Ref .. 03.50 Will

04 Slayer 04 | Wizard 04 ..................... 04.00 BAB .. 04.00 Fort .. 04.00 Ref .. 04.00 Will

05 Slayer 05 | Wizard 05 ..................... 05.00 BAB .. 04.50 Fort .. 04.50 Ref .. 04.50 Will

06 Shadowdancer 01 | Wizard 06 ....... 05.75 BAB .. 04.83 Fort .. 05.00 Ref .. 05.00 Will

07 Shadowdancer 01 | Wizard 07 ....... 06.50 BAB .. 05.17 Fort .. 05.50 Ref .. 05.50 Will

08 Assassin 01 | Wizard 08 ................. 07.25 BAB .. 05.50 Fort .. 06.00 Ref .. 06.00 Will

*Scazrni Executioner

 

 

Seven Underhill (Rocky; didn't die, but the information was lost somewhere in the 19 sessions he missed)

01 Ranger 01 | Warpriest 01 ..... 01.00 BAB .. 02.50 Fort .. 02.50 Ref .. 02.50 Will

02 Ranger 02 | Warpriest 02 ..... 02.00 BAB .. 03.00 Fort .. 03.00 Ref .. 03.00 Will

03 Ranger 03 | Warpriest 03 ..... 03.00 BAB .. 03.50 Fort .. 03.50 Ref .. 03.50 Will

04 Ranger 04 | Warpriest 04 ..... 04.00 BAB .. 04.00 Fort .. 04.00 Ref .. 04.00 Will

05 Ranger 05 | Skald 01 ........... 05.00 BAB .. 04.50 Fort .. 04.50 Ref .. 04.50 Will

06 Paladin 01 | Rogue 01 ......... 06.00 BAB .. 05.00 Fort .. 05.00 Ref .. 05.00 Will

07 Paladin 02 | Rogue 02 .......... 07.00 BAB .. 05.50 Fort .. 05.50 Ref .. 05.50 Will

08 Ranger 06 | Dragon Disc. 01  08.00 BAB .. 06.00 Fort .. 06.00 Ref .. 06.00 Will

*Fated Champion, Guide, Rake, Sacred Fist, Sword of Valor

 

 

Fuhrer (Ulric > Ulver > Helmut)

01 Paladin 01 | Tactian 01 ........ 01.00 BAB ... 02.50 Fort ... 00.33 Ref ... 02.50 Will

02 Paladin 02 | Tactician 02 ...... 02.00 BAB ... 03.00 Fort ... 00.66 Ref ... 03.00 Will

03 Paladin 03 | Tactician 03 ...... 03.00 BAB ... 03.50 Fort ... 01.00 Ref ... 03.50 Will

04 Paladin 04 | Tactician 04 ...... 04.00 BAB ... 04.00 Fort ... 01.33 Ref ... 04.00 Will

05 Paladin 05 | Tactician 05 ...... 05.00 BAB ... 04.50 Fort ... 01.66 Ref ... 04.50 Will

06 Paladin 06 | Tactician 06 ...... 06.00 BAB ... 05.00 Fort ... 02.00 Ref ... 05.00 Will

07 Paladin 07 | Tactician 07 ...... 07.00 BAB ... 05.50 Fort ... 02.33 Ref ... 05.50 Will

08 Paladin 08 | Tactician 08 ...... 08.00 BAB ... 06.00 Fort ... 02.66 Ref ... 06.00 Will

*Divine Defender

 

 

Mortica (Loki > Thor > Acetalyne > Amon)

01 Monk 01 | Fighter 01 ....................... 01.00 BAB ... 02.50 Fort ... 02.50 Ref ... 02.50 Will

02 Monk 02 | Sorcerer 01 ..................... 01.75 BAB ... 03.00 Fort ... 03.00 Ref ... 03.00 Will

03 Monk 03 | Sorcerer 02 ..................... 02.50 BAB ... 03.50 Fort ... 03.50 Ref ... 03.50 Will

04 Monk 04 | Sorcerer 03 ..................... 03.25 BAB ... 04.00 Fort ... 04.00 Ref ... 04.00 Will

05 Monk 05 | Rogue (Unchained) 01 .... 04.00 BAB ... 04.50 Fort ... 04.50 Ref ... 04.50 Will

06 Monk 06 | Fighter 02 ........................ 05.00 BAB ... 05.00 Fort ... 05.00 Ref ... 05.00 Will

07 Monk 07 | Fighter 03 ........................ 06.00 BAB ... 05.50 Fort ... 05.50 Ref ... 05.50 Will

08 Monk 08 | Fighter 04 ........................ 07.00 BAB ... 06.00 Fort ... 06.00 Ref ... 06.00 Will

*Dawnflower Dervish

 

 

Ctuchik (Sensei > Ramirez > Jaala > Jedikya)

01 Aegis 01 | Alchemist 01 ..... 01.00 BAB .. 02.50 Fort .. 02.50 Ref .. 02.50 Will

02 Aegis 02 | Alchemist 02 ..... 02.00 BAB .. 03.00 Fort .. 03.00 Ref .. 03.00 Will

03 Aegis 03 | Alchemist 03 ..... 03.00 BAB .. 03.50 Fort .. 03.50 Ref .. 03.50 Will

04 Aegis 04 | Alchemist 04 ..... 04.00 BAB .. 04.00 Fort .. 04.00 Ref .. 04.00 Will

05 Aegis 05 | Alchemist 05 ..... 05.00 BAB .. 04.50 Fort .. 04.50 Ref .. 04.50 Will

06 Aegis 06 | Alchemist 06 ..... 06.00 BAB .. 05.00 Fort .. 05.00 Ref .. 05.00 Will

07 Aegis 07 | Alchemist 07 ..... 07.00 BAB .. 05.50 Fort .. 05.50 Ref .. 05.50 Will

08 Aegis 08 | Alchemist 08 ..... 08.00 BAB .. 06.00 Fort .. 06.00 Ref .. 06.00 Will

*Chirurgeon

 

 

Spion (Rommel > Sigrunin > Blitzkreig > Atom Waffe > Burgerkreig > Enfal)

01 Arcanist 01 | Fighter 01 ..... 01.00 BAB ... 02.50 Fort ... 00.33 Ref ... 02.50 Will

02 Arcanist 02 | Slayer 01 ...... 02.00 BAB ... 03.00 Fort ... 00.83 Ref ... 03.00 Will

03 Arcanist 03 | Slayer 02 ...... 03.00 BAB ... 03.50 Fort ... 01.33 Ref ... 03.50 Will

04 Arcanist 04 | Slayer 03 ...... 04.00 BAB ... 04.00 Fort ... 01.83 Ref ... 04.00 Will

05 Arcanist 05 | Slayer 04 ...... 05.00 BAB ... 04.50 Fort ... 02.33 Ref ... 04.50 Will

06 Arcanist 06 | Slayer 05 ...... 06.00 BAB ... 05.00 Fort ... 02.83 Ref ... 05.00 Will

07 Arcanist 07 | Slayer 06 ...... 07.00 BAB ... 05.50 Fort ... 03.33 Ref ... 05.50 Will

08 Arcanist 08 | Slayer 07 ...... 08.00 BAB ... 06.00 Fort ... 03.83 Ref ... 06.00 Will

 

Spelljammer (Karzak > Schurke > Silk > Essen > Deadmeat > Freshmeat > Thrymm2 > Leoric > Thrymm3 > Newmeat > Asara Box-Opener > Conan)

01 Psion 01 | Wizard 01 .... 00.50 BAB ... 00.33 Fort ... 00.33 Ref ... 02.50 Will

02 Psion 02 | Wizard 02 .... 01.00 BAB ... 00.66 Fort ... 00.66 Ref ... 03.00 Will

03 Psion 03 | Wizard 03 .... 01.50 BAB ... 01.00 Fort ... 01.00 Ref ... 03.50 Will

04 Psion 04 | Wizard 04 .... 02.00 BAB ... 01.33 Fort ... 01.33 Ref ... 04.00 Will

05 Psion 05 | Wizard 05 .... 02.50 BAB ... 01.66 Fort ... 01.66 Ref ... 04.50 Will

06 Psion 06 | Wizard 06 .... 03.00 BAB ... 02.00 Fort ... 02.00 Ref ... 05.00 Will

07 Psion 07 | Wizard 07 .... 03.50 BAB ... 02.33 Fort ... 02.33 Ref ... 05.50 Will

08 Psion 08 | Wizard 08 .... 04.00 BAB ... 02.66 Fort ... 02.66 Ref ... 06.00 Will

* Psychoportive (Psion) & Admixture (Wizard)

jmj_1975's picture

Session 32 (21 Nov 2015)

We begin our session in the room, with the plate in the floor which could be opened by the Rainbow Key.  The room to the North contained the crumbling statue which had given a cryptic hint, "Two colors to enter the place of seven, seven to clear the three.", and the room to the South was where the Black Ghouls and Acolytes had emerged from and slew Amon and Conan...

Being a fresh day, and not 02:00 in the morning, many combinations of ideas were attempted to open door, which was accessed by placing the Rainbow Key in the center of the plate (which made it disappear) and then dropping down ten feet to the hidden room below.  Dispels were tried again, as were key words and pushing the Rainbow Key up against the door.  Nothing seemed to be working...

The party moved to the South, through the area which the undead and acolytes had come from, and opened the secret door which Spion had located previously.  The room was partially carved out of the rock, but quickly became a rough natural cavern.  Unfortunately, the entire room was filled with almost ice cold water to a depth of a couple of feet.  Spion, using Invisibility and Fly checked the walls upon which numerous rats were climbing and moving along, he checked the ceiling (which was ten feet above the floor) but did not go into the water at all.  The rest of the party remarked that he wasn't a very good Scout/Trap-Finder/Clearer, if he wasn't going to check for traps along the floor.  Nonetheless he remained dry.

The passage continued to another room, one with a jet of water propelled upwards six feet into the air, from some source in the floor below.  The slight slope of the room had caused the water to flow downwards over time, and the floor and walls were very smooth and quite slick.  Fuhrer moved at normal speed, to test the difficulty of holding his balance, and was rewarded by falling onto his back and getting an icy bath.  This room had an exit to the North East, which was the higher elevation area of the room, and thus was dry.

The passage went East a short distance before coming to a T juncture, where the party could go North a very short distance before turning East once more, or head South a longer distance before also turning to the East.  Spion scouted both directions, with the South option quickly leading to a closed door... except that instead of it being a door, it was a massive slab of rock... while the North option led to a couple of forks in the road.  He chose to lead the party to the South and to investigate the room there.  The slab of stone proved far to heavy to move and the room was warded with a powerful Abjuration type effect.  An Earth Elemental was summoned and told to burrow through the stone, unfortunately for it, the door was as impassable for it as for the party.  It was told to circle around (through the passage's stone walls and earth, etc) to ascertain the size of the blocked chamber.  After a minute, the Elemental had not returned, and Spelljammer concluded it was not coming back due to the duration of his summons, given his experience as a Wizard in the past.

The other route came to a fork to the North or continued onwards to the East before sloping downhill sharply to the next level below.  Spion led the group to the North, to finish the level first before progressing deeper into the ground.  Not that long of a distance to the North and there was a short fork to the West which opened into a fair sized room, around 30 ft. wide and twice that long.  The room was devoid of life, but had two sets of interesting features.  Along the western wall, seven evenly spaced holes of one inch diameter each were cut into the floor.  Casting Light on a coin, and dropping it into a hole did nothing except that the coin dropped and continued to fall until sight of it was lost.  The second interesting feature were the three basins of water, one colored Red another Blue and another Yellow.  Spion was fairly adamant that this was what was meant by seven to clear the three, and that the first room was the initial portion of the clue the statue had given while this room was the second portion of the same clue; no one else was particularly convinced of it.  The water of each type would not mix no matter how a vial was shaken or mixed.  Skeeter stuck his head into the water in the Red Basin, to no apparent harm.  Of note, the seven holes radiated the same type of Conjuration magic as the room beneath the plate which the Rainbow Key removes, while the three basins of water radiated the same type of Abjuration magic as the immovable stone slab.  The party chose to fill three water skins, one of each type of water.  Spelljammer filled empty vials, and took one of each color.

Suddenly Spelljammer requested the Rainbow Key, which Spion handed to him, and then he disappeared via his Dimensional Door.  The party concluded he must be heading back to the room in which the Rainbow Key gives access to beyond the plate in the floor.  (I checked for a random monster, and missed by only 1), so Spelljammer arrived in the room alone, used the key to make the steel plate fade away, jumped down into the smaller room and applied both red and blue water to the door.  The door shimmered and then faded away revealing the room within.  Jammer was so excited he immediately did another Dimensional Door back to the party, without even so much as looking into the room.

The party returned to the initial room, used the Rainbow Key to bypass the plate, and walked into the open room.  The new room was primarily square in shape, with the point of entry being on the West wall at the exact midpoint between the North and South extremes of the room.  Centered upon both the North and South walls were a pair of doors (one on the North wall and one on the South wall) but there were two doors on the East wall, much closer to the North or South walls, with matchingly spaced doors upon the West wall (making three doors on that wall, if the point of entry is included as a door.  A plaque was set into the floor, near each of the six doors.  The remaining feature of note is a massive and heavy white metalic pillar set into the middle of the room.

Five of the six plaques contained a riddle of some sort.  The party went around the room, and named the plaque/door combinations as 1 through 6.  Ctuchik, Jammer, Skeeter and Spion, between them surmized that the Rainbow Key had all seven colors of the rainbow upon it and that there were only six plaques in this room, so the central pillar was probably also a portion of the puzzle.

At the door the party chose as "1", the plaque read: 'Where did I swim with such gorgeous fish, their scales in hues of brown and gray?  My time there was short, I swam so fast, and only down.'  In rapid succession, both Skeeter and Spion spurted out an answer, and were each rewarded with a Lightning Bolt blast to his chest.  Neither was agile enough to jump out of the way.  Apparently, an incorrect answer had a punishment.  Ctuchik did not want to 'waste' a bomb on heals, when they were better served for burning things, so Seven Underhill stepped up and offered to use his unlimited usage orison of Cure Minor Wounds, for approximately 4 minutes (40 rounds) per target, to heal them back to full.

Going around the room, clockwise from that point, the plaques read: "2" 'With which I painted my silver arm one cold winter's day, ink stolen from a man who gave no chase.' (No attempts were made to solve this one).  "3" 'Father, although we call him child.  He watches us, but only half the time.' (The negative effect of this riddle was being rendered blind, which once it had affected Jammer he continued to speak words at it, in an attempt to solve the puzzle as blinded didn't really impose an additional penalty on already being blind)... Fuhrer also made an incorrect answer at this one and was also blinded.  Ctuchik had the ability to cure one of them that day and the other on the next day, so the party had Fuhrer cured as he was the best tank type and had Jammer cured the next day, shortly before departing the room... "4" 'I stopped to admire your hair, so pretty was it when it blew in the breeze.  I wondered how you ever kept it short, and marveled at the color.  My companion stopped to ask me why I should speak to a hill.  What was it that I could see, and she could scarce care for?' and "5" 'Who was it that I watched fade?  Beauty repeated, a loss of something priceless each and every time.  I felt no sorrow, for its passing promised a new beginning.'.  And "6" was a blank slate, which resisted carving, or coloring with the red, blue or yellow waters, and did not respond to a piece of vellum placed across it and various words written onto the vellum.

Before the party gave up on the room (temporarily, perhaps), as they were getting antsy to kill something (six hours into the session, at this point), Spion had guessed a correct answer to one of the riddles, and that door had opened to reveal an Orange Quarterstaff, which was both impossible to identify but which radiated overwhelmingly powerful magic of all schools.

The party returned to the room with the three basins of colored water, along with the seven holes in the ground.  The Orange Quarterstaff, fit like a glove, within any of the seven holes in the ground but did not appear to do anything on its own.

The passageway continued to the North, before turning to the East.  A short distance further and a large circle had been drawn upon the ground in chalk, with a cross through the circle -- a universal symbol for a wrong direction.  Further along that passageway, a dozen skeletal remains of corpses littered the way each completely devoid of any trace of flesh or items.  Spelljammer and Spion request the party to remain in the room with the holes and basins, while they scout ahead; everyone agrees to this, but Skeeter opts to follow them anyway.

Beyond the skeletal remains (Spelljammer removes the head from each of the corpses, in case they're animated skeletons which are playing dead) is a large and apparently empty circular room.  Spelljammer takes the time to throw the dozen heads into the room, one after the other.  Spion then enters alone to check for traps and hidden doors.  When he is near the center of the room, previously undetected oozes rise up from the floor and drop down from the rough ceiling above and attack Spion.  Most of them miss, but a few do manage to land a slam or two.  At this point, Spelljammer uses his Psychoportive ability to do a short distance Teleport to a location he can see (as a Move action, thanks to his feat), and appears right beside Spion in the midst of the ooze things.  He manages to get a casting of Dimension Door off, but is attacked successfuly a few times and grappled before he can step through the door.  Spion jumps through and is gone.  Skeeter sees that most of the oozes are not in a position to hit Jammer yet, so he casts a Black Tentacles over the area which includes all of the oozes and Jammer as well.

Spion arrives and yells for the party to follow the hallway North, and to get there asap.  He then does his own Dimension Door and brings Fuhrer and Ctuchik to the doorway, near to where Skeeter is unobtrusively casting at the oozes.  Fuhrer is a little upset that Spion could not bring his Crystal Familiar with them, but he trusts that Seven will bring the little guy to him.  Ctuchik tosses bombs, initially to heal Jammer, as he has called out that he's almost dead.  Fuhrer adds everyone present to his collective, as most have travelled but the range of his collective, and then applies an Armor buff to the members of his collective.  Spion does nothing, as he just stepped through the door, which ended his turn.  Skeeter does a Fireball, positioned to get the Oozes on the edge, but to miss Jammer.  Ctuchik tosses three more bombs and does the same, but on the other side.  Fuhrer moves into the Tentacle area and engages in melee on the ooze which has attached itself to Jammer.  Jammer manages to get a power off, depsite the damage he took and the two grapples (ooze and Black Tentacles) he is stuck in, and gives himself a lot of Temporary Hit Points (via Vigor).  Spion decides the battle is well in hand, and that he should save his resources in case they're needed later.  The rest of the group arrives, as the battle is dying down.  The oozes are defeated, in short order and they party moves onwards to the deeper area of the dungeon.

The stairway descends to a room, with a disturbing tapestry on either side wall (North and South) and with a door upon the far wall (East) which is situated to be the mouth of a giant depiction of Tsathogga, who the party now know is an Abyssal Lord and demented God of pestilence and frogs.  Jammer moves right up to the door and is hit with a powerful urge to take a nap, but he manages to shrug the effects off.  Spion remarks that the party may not need a scout type afterall, if people are just going to run into everything.  He uses his racial dispel unsuccessfully and then casts his own dispel with a similar result.  Still, when he approaches the door, he feels no urge to take any naps.  He uses an acid cantrip to melt the hinges and takes the door off and leans it against the wall nearby.  The door was covering a stone wall, which appears to be absolutely solid.  The two tapestries contain scenes of humans being tortured, with the expressions of anguish and tormentation upon their faces, yet no evidence of what is causing their horrible distress.  Skeeter cuts down a section of one of the tapestries containing a couple of the humans in distress, and wearing it as a cape, announces he is going to at least rescue these two by taking them back to the surface.

The South doorway leads to a hallway, which Spion discovers (via Detect Secret Doors) contains a hidden doorway; he doesn't mark it or even move into the hallway.  He then checks the North doorway, and it too leads to a dead-end hallway, with another secret door.  This is the route he chooses to take, and tells the party there is a secret door in this direction.  The door leads to a ten foot drop and another passageway, which moves to the East, below the initial passage from the Tsathogga's Mouth room.

The passageway leads east, to a large octagon shaped room.  There are four giant statues, each facing a corner of the room with their backs to an inverted pyramid depression within the floor.  With some examination, each of the statues has a circular carving about it, indicating that the statue can likely be rotated.  With the combined efforts of the party's muscle, including available strength related buffs, each of the statues is either far too heavy for their respective strength or perhaps is somehow locked into place and needs an unlock of some sort.  From how the statues are placed, Spion thinks he might be able to Disable a statue to prevent it from turning once it has been unlocked, but the locking mechanism (if one exists) is beneath the base and inaccessible from his location within the room.  After a little examination, the inverted pyramid pit appears to have been constructed well enough to trap water, should it be filled with a liquid.  Upon the far wall is a curtain, depicting some strange city, where the buildings are all in 'wrong' angles which strain the eye to follow; this city has been built at the shore of a lake, and strangely the water appears to ripple and ebb slightly as the image in the tapestry is viewed.  Jammer uses a psionic equivalent to Mage Hand and pushes the curtain from a distance, without touching it, and it appears to be placed against a solid wall.  Skeeter touches the curtain, and pulls his hand back immediately from a sharp pain and then thinks to himself his pack is too heavy, and that he has been carting along too much gear all this time.  Jammer calls out that he can cure Skeeter, and uses Body Adjustment except that Jammer feels the effects heal himself but none of those effects do anything to anyone else.  He explains he kind of manifests things spur of the moment, but has not taken the time to research the limits of his abilities.  Jammer holds the curtain back and Spion finds a secret door behind it, leading to a rather short hallway and another door.  Once everyone is through, Jammer does his Body Adjustment and suddently his pack and gear does not seem nearly as over-filled, but unfortunately Skeeter is still straining to carry his gear and possessions.

The doorway leads to a tiny room, ten feet on a side.  There are doors to both the North and South, and he discovers a secret door to the West as well.

 

We end the session here.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 33 (28 Nov 2015)

 

The party gets fresh inspiration, and decides to return to the chamber accessed by the Rainbow Key.  The riddles rapidly fall, standing no chance against our fresh heroes who have had a week to think of potential answers to each.

The party takes the staves, from each of the riddle alcoves to the room with the three basins and seven holes within the ground.  The staves are arranged correctly, and a loud grating sound is heard from the distance.  With a little investigation, the party finds that a previously blocked doorway has now opened.  Within the chamber is a large bier with a coffin upon it. 

Unfortunately when the coffin is opened, three swords animate and attack the party.  Spion, as the scout, is the furthest into the room and checking things out, so he is the initial target of all three.  Ctuchik gleefully chucks a bomb and gets all four targets, Spion included.  The battle is won, and Spion survives but spent the latter portion unconscious having taken a significant portion of his total damage from Ctuchik's friendly fire.  Seven Underhill, the Paladin, has very strong words with the Half-Orc and lets him know in no uncertain terms that getting party members in an AoE is unacceptable.

Fuhrer takes the longsword from the coffin, and decides that he should leave his magical shortsword behind in its' place so that he is not actually looting from the tomb.  He, and Seven, insist that nothing else be taken as defiling the tomb of a holy warrior is not something they can allow.

 

The party follows the dungeon, finding a set of stairs that descend and lead to a room with curtains on both the north and south wall, with a door on the east wall (their stairs are on the west wall).  It turns out that the door does not go anywhere, and is actually just a trap.  The party manages to survive the effect, by a force of will power; they're not sure what it would have done.  The curtains to the north and south portray a boggy landscape with faces of various humanoid races sinking in the swampy area; Skeeter cuts out a section of the curtain to make his cape, which he wears proudly.  Doing so reveals a passage behind the curtains.  Spion scouts both directions (north and south) and then chooses the northern route.

This leads to a room with four statues that can seemingly rotate, yet are too heavy or possibly locked into their current positions, so the party cannot rotate them.  They are facing outwards, away from an inverted pyramid shaped pit/depression in the ground.  The pit is water tight, and the party suspects that at some point liquid filled it.  There is another curtain within this room (on the eastern wall again), which when touched saps the strength of the toucher.  Spelljammer is able to heal his own strength loss, but not that of another, so Skeeter decides to not touch this one further, whilst Jammer holds the curtain so that his party can pass beyond it; there is a secret door behind this curtain.

It takes the party to a room with doors almost immediately on each side (10ft x 10ft).  The left/right doors lead north and south to passageways which both turn to the east after a short distance.  It is suspected that there is a room within the area that these passages surround.  Spion discovers a secret door and there is a room within, with a pillar to the north and a pillar to the south.  The northern pillar seemingly does nothing, yet the southern pillar (when rotated) inflicts those who touch it with Blindness.  Fortunately, this condition can be cured, but the relevant spell must be memorized which means the party had two blind fellows for the remainder of the day and that night.  Fortunately, nothing accosted them that night.

After their experience with the Blindness induced by playing with the pillars (attempting to rotate them clockwise or counterclockwise), the party leaves the room careful to not disturb the pillars on the way out.  The passages north & south, which both then lead east each have two doorways spaced roughly evenly; on the northern edge for the north then east hallway and on the southern edge of the south then east hallway.  These rooms are utterly dark, but with a little poking around a group of Shadowy Undead creatures are provoked.  On his turn Ctuchik moves up with his more advanced party members and tosses a bomb at the Shadows.  Unfortunately for him, on the parties turn, each of his allies backs away.  The shadows just need to land a touch to drain/feast upon the strength of their victim.  A couple of hits and Ctuchik is down and unconscious.  The party elects to withdraw to a point where they can make a stand.  Seven has Skeeter cast his mythic Mage Armor on a couple of people, as he believes a force effect will prevent the partially incorporeal shadows from landing touch attacks as easily.  Spion, who is invisible and in a corner, watches the Shadows feast upon the corpse of Ctuchik, who then rises as a Shadow himself and joins the four as they advance upon the party.  Magical weapons had a greater chance at landing blows, and area attacks were somewhat effective, and the battle was won, although Strength drain was suffered by several.

 

The party rested once more, as Ctuchik however flawed was their only real healer.  The next morning, with the coming of the dawn, the archmage again sent a replacement for a fallen comrade.  She is a stunningly beautiful woman of fair complexion with fiery red hair.  She introduces herself as Nighshade and explains that she is an Oracle focused on Summoning creatures to do her bidding.  Nightshade does not detect as Good, Evil, Lawful or Chaotic (the same as both Skeeter and Mortica).

With expendable lions (with the Fiendish template), the remaning rooms of Shadows are cleared out relatively easily by the casters mainly as the lions occupy the attention of the shadows.

The two rooms at the end of the halls each contain a lone pillar, which the party is not all that interested in touching.

 

Not sure where to go from here, the party abandons the remaining Tunnels of Terror (with a lot of the level left unexplored), and returns to the mausoleum and sunken graveyard upon the surface.  Seven believes the party can now take the anti-paladin, which had previously wiped (to a man) the previous group of heroes sometime in the past.

The green gargoyle statues had reformed, and again animated to attack the party.  Again they sent enough of their number to tie up the larger group and focused on picking on those who had advanced too far.  Nightshade's tactic of Invisibility, summoning creatures (more lions and some kind of a Stegosaurus like thing) and healing those in need (while remaining invisible the whole time) partially backfired as she was in a fireball (that the party had no way of knowing where she was).  Still the battle was won.

 

We ended the session there.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 34 (5 Dec 2015)

 

With Seven unable to make the session, and his character the driving force behind re-confronting the anti-Paladin that had wiped a previous group of adventurers (played by the same present players), the trepid adventures decided to take another path.  They weighed their options, and decided on another foray into the Cloister of Tsath'ogga worshipers in the two buildings to the north within the swampy area.

Along the way, Dire Wolves leading a small pack of normal Wolves attacked the party.  Given an extra six levels of experience, they were no longer a life and death battle but instead a relatively easy warm up experience.

They rediscovered that there was seemingly a single safe path from the edge of the swamp towards the cloister.  Seven, using his survival skills cautiosly lead the party through the swamp probing the ground to ensure no one entered an area of quicksand, most of which was indistinguishable from the solid route he was gradually locating.

Spion traveled with the group, until they were approximately half a mile away from the Cloister, at which point he cast Invisibility and Fly upon himself and sped well ahead of the group.  He had previously informed them, that he would be raining firey death down upon the cultists at the door entry way, once the party was closer to get them from more than one direction at once.

Depsite having viewed (through the Orbs) the entire adventure to date, everyone had forgotten the Vampire who regularly partrolled the area outside of the Cloister.  He once again asked the party if they were coming to celebrate the Demon God Tsath'ogga by joining in the sacrifices of captured villagers.  The Paladin again answered that they would take no part in such things and that the Vampire must die if he was involved in those kind of activities.  It did not take a lot of effort to break the Vampire's invisibility, and again with a few more levels of experience the fight... although not easy... was much easier than the first time through.  Before being slain, the Vampire turned into a gaseous cloud and flew straight upwards to escape.  All this time, Spion was wondering what the delay was and why the party had not already arrived.

Eventually, the party arrives near enough to the gates to make out a dozen or so acolytes, each with a skeleton or zombie as a pet.  With Spion's fireballs from above, most of them were obliterated in the initial portion of the fight, although some did escape within the Cloister and closed and barred the gates once again.

Spion used a short distance teleport effect, to enter through an arrowslit of one of the upper rooms.  His scouting was relatively short, but revealed an upstairs series of cells each occupied by a few monks or acolytes of the cult.  A set of stairs lead downwards to a central room, in which a larger portion of the cult was massing.  Some wore heavier armor and readied their weapons, others seemed to be casters.  A large number of Zombies were gathered as well, along with an obvious leader and the Vampire.

The party had more resources this time around, and Spelljammer created a wall of psionic fire with an infinite duration as long as he continued to concentrate upon it and do nothing else.  The massive oak doors took a long time to burn through, but at least this time the party could force their way within rather than circle the outside and be forced to depart after just a short scouting of the secondary building to the south.

The party regrouped, and applied a plethora of buffs and finally stormed within the Cloister as the fire wall finished off the door.

Zombies were amassed at the door, and while not overly weak were in the way and a drain of a few more fireballs to clear them away.  The melee cultists formed themselves into pockets on either side of the partially burnt great doors and engaged the party as they came through.  The acolytes did what they could, to channel and keep the zombies alive through the AoE attacks and after the zombies fell switches to AoE channeling to hurt the living.

Meanwhile the Vampire assumed gaseous form, used the arrow slits itself, and reformed next to Skeeter and Spion.  It's sword proved to be particularly nasty, and bestowed temporary negative levels upon the living.  The party had fun, as the Vampire was plowing through their casters, the Abbott was casting Flame Strikes at any clumps of heroes, and the cultists were sniping away as they could.  Eventually the cultists fell, the vampire was forced back into gaseous form, and the abbott was pursued into the courtyard area.  There, six pillars began to shoot unholy energies (one bolt per pillar) at characters who registered as good (detect good); the pillars individually did little damage, but having each good character struck six times each round began to add up.  To make matters worse, the pictographs of frogs upon the walls... hopped down, and began to attack those within.  The abbott fell, and Spelljammer risked the pillars to drag his corpse out of the courtyard to the area outside of the massive but semi-burnt oak doors.

Some members of the party wished to pursue the vampiric mist, which was slowly floating its way beyond the courtyard, and around a corner.  Afterall, a party had previously "slain" it, but its' coffin had restored it to health; and the current party had also beaten it, but possibly only temporarily if it could make it to its' hidden coffin within.  They reasoned that almost all, or more likely utterly all, of the available cultists would have been slain at the entryway, and the area within would be mostly clear.  However, the casters were low on resources and reluctant to move within in their depleted states.

Fuhrer looted a Brooch (of Shielding) and a Protection Ring from the Abbott.  Nightshade insisted she get her fair share of the sale value of the gear, unless the party was willing to give her the Ring.  They opted to give the Abbott's magical Sickle to her, which she accepted.

Spion, who had on numerous occasions demonstrated that he was greedy beyond belief, was still not allowed within Fuhrer's collective (Tactician ability), as Fuhrer could only have so many people and had to pick the most virtuous or useful choices.  The next day, 24 hours after tasting the level draining of the Vampire's sword, Spion failed his saving throw and those lost levels became permanent.  No re-roll of the save, as he was not within the collective... He opted to commit suicide, rather than travel along with two permanent negative levels (permanent until cured at any rate, but the party would not be able to cure that loss until the next level up).

 

Spion's replacement is Beorn, a Druid 7 / Psychic Warrior 7, with a one level dip on both sides into Rogue 01 / Arcanist 01.  A primarily melee focused character, with cat type forms as his preferred wildhapes.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 35 (12 Dec 2015)

Within the mainhall of the Cloister, a set of stairs lead downwards a great distance.  They eventually end in a short hallway, with a T-junction.  Right (north) leads a longways into darkness and Left (south) leads into a small cathedral/worship area.

The worship area has pews, and then stairs upwards to an area with both an altar and a large cauldron (still boiling with a mixture of human/animal fats and other unsavory liquids); a closed door leads south from this level.  There are also stairs upwards to a giant statue to the Demon Frog God Tsath'ogga on the highest level.

Beorn discovers that he makes a better scout in the form of a Deinoynchus, except that lacking hands he cannot pick locks or disarm most traps.  And unfortunately his chirps and squawks are not understood by the party either. 

At any rate, he manages to unlock and disarm the trap on the door to the south, which opens into a laboratory area.  Within the area are a number of Zombies, which were set to guard the area.  Along the walls are shelves containing books, scrolls, and vials of something.  A flamestrike and a fireball later, and the zombies (along with whatever was interesting upon the shelves) are both no more.

While this is happening, Skeeter takes the opportunity to remove a pair of rubies (each the size of his small fist) from the eyes of the Tsath'ogga statue.  He pockets the gems (which he had quickly appraised as somewhere in the 5,000gp range (each)) and does not tell anyone of his acquisition.

The area within the now destroyed lab is searched more thoroughly.  There are two heavy chests which survived, but little else.  One chest contains a mummified hand and some kind of an orange substance and some notes on how to animate zombies to be more powerful than normal.  Seven holds onto the Hand for now, while Spelljammer holds onto the notes as they're likely of value and Fuhrer believes they should be destroyed immediately.  The second chest contains a variety of potions, some are curative others are poisonous or contain acid; one of these radiates strong evil and necromantic magic... the party destroys this vial on the spot.  Upon later identification, the Hand turns out to grant a ranged effect to spells which are normally touch, and to be able to drain the strength of an opponent, but doing so will eventually change the users alignment to Chaotic Evil; initially Fuhrer and Seven want the hand destroyed, but Nightshade talks them into giving it to her, so she can use the ranged touch ability exclusively, while abstaining from the strength drain and gradual alignment shift.

A secret door is discovered behind the statue of the Tsath'ogga.  This leads to a room with dozens of coffins on each of the walls.  The party is paranoid of the vampire and decides to spend half an hour wrecking each of the coffins.  Two exits are apparent from this room, one to the north and another to the southeast; the party goes South East.

This leads to a large chamber, with a vaguely humanoid statue but it is immense in size.  A golden crown is looted from atop the statues head.  There are four doors within the room and stairs that lead downwards, plus a passageway to the east again.  The four rooms are going to be investigated, but as the first is opened, skeletons attack from that room and emerge from other three rooms as well.  While not easy, they're also not that hard of a battle, for our now seasoned combatants.  Each of the side rooms contain additional coffins, and the party spends a few hours here destroyed each of those as well.

The eastward passage leads to a hallway, lined with coffins on both sides for several hundred feet.  The party gives up on breaking them all, as they don't want to still be down here in a decade.  It leads to a fork, to the north or to the southeast, and the party goes north.  More coffins for several hundred feet, along a massive rectangular room (approximately 50 ft. North-South, but hundreds of feet West-East); the party enters from the west and continues to the east.  This leads them to a room with three sets of stairs leading downwards (along the south wall) as well as three rooms to the north, although the first two are actual rooms and the third (obscurred from their position) is shortly revealed to be an open area where walls could have been built to make a third room but instead a statue of a Satyr-like creature stands with pipes which the breeze blows through creating a sound.

As the room is entered the pipes affect the mind and make party members begin to dance.  As they dance, bizarre goat/human hybrid skeletons drop from the ceiling or emerge from the two siderooms and dance with the character.  Anyone not dancing is attacked.  As characters continue to dance, additional goat-human skeletons join in.  Seven voluntarily enters the room, and dances his way deeper within.  He finds the statue and uses some cloth from his cloak to plug the pipes and prevent the music... all the while dancing with the skeletons.  As he plugs the pipes and ends the music, the skeletons attack him but the battle does not last long.

Another room is spotted adjoining this one, also to the east.  Upon opening it, a bunch of black skinned ghouls (perhaps related in type to the previously encountered types) attack the party.  They too jump with great alacrity and a fierce battle ensues.  The ghouls fall, in particular due to the smite evil ability of the two Paladins.

The group is low on resources and the day is getting late, so they decide to camp for the night.

In the morning, Bearn, Spelljammer and Skeeter are all sick.  It is determined that Beorn has Slimy Doom and Spelljammer has Filth Fever, but Skeeter's malady is not initially identified.  It seems that a subterranean temple dedicated to a demon god of pestilence has various molds and fungus upon the walls, floors, and ceilings which aren't all that healthy to come into contact with or even to just breath in.  The symptoms are cured and the party advances.

The next day is relatively uneventful, except that Skeeter's symptoms return.  He is once again "cured" but his symptoms come back again.  The party asks him if he's done anything, taken anything, exposed himself to anything, something which is unique to him, as everyone else who was sick was cured entirely yet a cure only temporarily removes symptoms but doesn't seem to remove or cure the root cause of the affliction.  Skeeter briefly considers revealing the gems, but quickly decides that he doesn't want to share the gold value once he manages to sell them -- and if the symptoms can be cured until he unloads them on some unsuspecting merchant -- he'll be rich.  The next time the symptoms re-appear he doesn't survive.

The party goes through his gear and determines that the gems (he has eight) are unaccounted for, and they opt to ditch them within a pool of acid that they've discovered along the way.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 36 (19 Dec 2015)

(Skeeter's player cannot make the next several sessions, so his character doesn't have a replacement introduced yet).

 

The party has learnt that down almost always means harder; they decide to clear the current level before descending to a lower level.  They backtrack to the most recent fork and take the south branch this time.  A rather dirty human is found hiding within an alcove in the wall.  Upon questioning, he tells the party that he is the sole survivor of a party of adventurers who came down here from a cave on the surface.  His party became lost and was wandering trying to find the way out.  They were attacked by some undead things that ate the unlucky few whilst still alive, and that he had fled and not seen anyone for days.  He is given some food and water, and then Spelljammer uses a couple of Dimension Door hops to get him to the surface.  Spelljammer returns to the group, unaware that his money pouch has been absconded by Smir, the lone survivor of his group.

Returning the cathedral room, the party takes the hallway into the darkness.  After a hundred and a half feet, they come across a pair of jail cells one to the east and another to the west.  Another hundred and a half feet, and there are again two jail cells.  And again the pattern repeats.  Beorn opens each in turn, and discovers a mostly naked human (in five cases, or elf in one case).  One of the humans detects as evil, to the Paladins, and the group decides to lock that one back within his cell and to leave him behind.  The other five travel with the group, more eager to be returned to the surface (from where they were kidnapped), but reluctant to travel through an unknown dungeon alone... so they tag along with out group of adventurers.  They are given the cast-off armors and weapons, which our group has been lugging around in the hopes of selling off for a bit of gold, once they return to town. 

A human male knows how to use a longsword.  An elven male knows how to use a longbow.  A human female, with only one breast but otherwise quite beautiful takes a rapier (she doesn't like men at all).  The other two humans are male and prefer to fight with fist, knee, elbow and foot strikes.

The hallway winds clockwise and gradually descends downwards until it comes to a set of stairs leading sharply downwards with slightly oversized steps before opening into a room with scattered bones and a sleeping Ogre.  Taken unaware, the Ogre puts up a minimal fight before it is slain; the five captives reveal that he was their guard and cruel even for an Ogre.

Beyond the ogre is a cavern with a large lake like area, which the party investigates and discovers is a pool of paralytic acid.  The cavern ceiling has a chute, where presumably a pit trap far above would drop an unlucky victim several hundred feet into the middle of an acidic and paralytic pool.  The area has a lot of statues of harpies within, along with two passageways to the east (near the north and near the south edges of the eastern wall) along with a bricked up passageway to the south.

Both of the eastern passageways lead to the same large cavern.  The northern wall has a glasslike wall, with skeletal humanoids trapped as if a fly within amber.  The sea-green glass is highly resistant to damage and the party quickly loses interest in smashing it.  Along the southwestern edge of the cavern a massive pile of bones is found.  With care, they can be crossed which lead to a passage southward for a long ways, eventually opening into a rectangular area with a massive number of coffins stretching a short distance to the west and beyond sight to the east (along both the northern and southern edge).  In the Northwest corner of this room, stairs lead upwards to the room with three stairs downwards and the Satyr statue with plugged pipes; these stairs are the far east set.

The party backtracks and smashes down the bricks blocking the passageway south, from the room with the paralytic acid pool.  A musty passageway forks sharply to the east and west, almost immediately, with each of the two options also slowly heading south although mostly east or mostly west.  To the left (east) are a set of stairs which lead upwards to the room with the Satyr.  To the right (west) is a larger room with more coffins.  Stirges attack the party from the south, almost immediately, but are dealt with with relative easy now that the party has AoE spells.

There is a room to the West from here, or the party could have gone South to where the Stirges had come from.  They choose to go West initially.  There is a massive iron wall, with a heavy iron door which is weighted so it closes unless held/blocked open.  A short distance within that, is another iron wall and iron door.  The party doesn't give the doors a chance to close on them but explores the vault/tomb/chamber area.  The inner area contains a lone coffin, which with trepidation the party investigates.  It contains the corpse (according to a plaque) of one Monos Diarmos, which is in such a state of decay that it becomes dust with even the faintest of contact... not our vampire.

The party returns to the Satyr's room, and takes the middle flight of stairs downwards.  This leads to another crypt, with a thick layer of dust upon the floor.  The Ranger's best guess is that no one has been here for approximately 200 years.  A corroded brass lantern burns with magical flame, as it hangs from the ceiling.  A dirty coffin is within the room, and again with great care and some suspense, it is opened.  It contains the already staked corpse of a humanoid, presumably a vampire.  Detect Evil reveals it to be a powerful agent of evil, and the parties knowledge of Religion suggests that it is dead until the stake is removed, but once that happens it will return to life.

The party camps here, to refresh all resources, and plans to buff up in the morning to remove the stake and defeat the Vampire for its' experience.

 

We end here.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 37 (1 Jan 2016)

 

Our intrepid adventurer's proove to have second thoughts regarding the removal of the stake from the heart of the currently (temporarily) dead Vampire.  On the one hand, they want it permanently dead and not just incapacitated indefinitely (as long as the stake remains), but they also want to overcome it in combat to learn from and gain experience in their battles against the undead.  That said, they have no real way of knowing whether it would be an easy battle, a challenging battle, or an impossible to win battle.  They also know that just cutting off the head of a corpse isn't going to teach them anything, even if it would more or less permanently remove the threat of the stake being removed.

The stairs are retraced upwards to the room in which the Satyr statue's pipes are plugged with part of Seven's cloak and another set of stairs are taken.  These lead downwards to a mostly West-East room, again lined with dozens upon dozens of (empty) coffins along both the North and South walls.  After a long distance of travel eastward, the hallway curves to their left, so that it now moves from the South-West to the North-East, still with coffins along the respective outside edges.

A short distance into this hallway, and it becomes clear that there are three doorways to take, or at least check out.  The first door is on the right wall (more Easterly, running SW to NE), after another hundred or so feet are a pair of opposite doors, each a lot larger than the first door.

The first (lone) door leads to a room with both soot and ashes.  A partially bent and discarded placard reads 'Wizard's Light, Wizard's Might, Light of Fire, Funeral Pyre', which doesn't mean a lot to anyone initially.  The coffins within this room have all been smashed, with bits and pieces of their contents strewn across the room. Beorn locates a secret door upon the far wall, and with a little bit of exploration also finds a brass valve buried beneatht he assorted junk of the room.  It becomes clear that the valve, when rotated allows the secret door to be opened, but without turning the valve the door cannot open.  Gas is smelled by the more sensitive party members, but everyone either has Darkvision to see in the darkness or is using an Everburning Torch, which doesn't actually comprise of flame, but rather magical light akin to a modern electrical lantern.

The passageway beyond the secret door leads a short distance to the North East (not quite parallel to the main passage) and then curves to the right, heading eastward away from that main passage.  Beorn finds a secret door at the otherwise dead-end of the hallway.  The door leads into what appears to be a cluttered laboratory of some kind.  The room is similar in shape to a pair of rectangles, one to the west (near the entrance point) running longer North-South, with another running West-East in such a way that they share a South-West corner.  Along the entire Southern wall, following the contours of the two rectangles is a massive bookshelf, from floor to ceiling, containing numerous books and vials of assorted liquids.  A good chunk of the Northern wall edge has coffins along it and there is a visible passageway upon the east wall that heads eastward without a door.

Spelljammer examines the bookshelf, which awakens the mummy from within one of the coffins.  It emerges, wrapped up with bandages and moves threateningly towards the group.  Often those who approach to attack it become paralyzed with Fear, and unnable to act.  Also, sometimes it is able to counterspell spells in such a way that they strike the caster of the spell, which again makes the battle that much more interesting.  The mummy has a wide range in damage, hitting some characters for moderate amounts and others for devastating amounts.  Spelljammer is wounded rather badly in the initial forray, but the healing has to go towards those who are slugging it out with the Mummy in close range, as it often hits for a massive amount.  The Mummy appears to be somewhat wounded, and Spelljammer chooses to do his short distance teleport to move just beyond the melee range of the creature and to hit it with Magic Missile attacks as he knows these automatically strike without any chance to resist them.  Unfortunately, they bounce off of the Mummy and strike Spelljammer to horrible effect; he has slain himself... The Mummy falls a few combat rounds afterwards. 

The Mummy turns out to have a ring which allows it to reflect a limited number of spell levels worth of spells that directly target it, along with a weapon that deals additional damage to lawful creatures (which is the majority of the group... most are Lawful and Good currently). 

The party gives only a cursory examination of the room and moves onwards to find a heavy door which blocks the passageway.  They choose to rest here, to recover their severely depleted resources (not a lot of combat heals remain), and Spelljammer has fallen.  From previous experience, a new party member will arrive with the at the time of dawn outside, which will return the party to full strength.

 

 

We started late this session, as half of the group had morning committments following New Year's Eve.  Beorn built several backups that morning/early afternoon.  We didn't go overly late, as we were planning on playing our regular Saturday (the next day).

jmj_1975's picture

Session 38 (2 Jan 2016)

 

Karzak > Shurke > Silk > Essen Diese > Deadmeat > Freshmeat > Thrym 2nd > Leoric > Thrym 3rd > Newmeat > Asara > Conan > Spelljammer... is replaced with Yoda!

Yoda is a goblin like creature that is blue skinned and creatively enough calls himself a Blue.  His build is: Psion 5 (Telepath) / Thrallherd 3 || Slayer 2 / Cryptic 6.  The NPCs who were recently rescued by the party, and are presently tagging along until the party returns to the surface... Yoda does not judge any of them as being a worthy Thrall, and so puts out his Psychic Call for a healing type Thrall; he senses that Believer's are moving towards the dungeon entrance from which the party entered this section of Rappan Athuk.

The large double sized door, which blocks passage along the cavern/tunnel wall does not prove to be much of a hindrance for Yoda and Beorn, who make their short distance teleports to the other side of the door and then attempt to remove the massive bars.  This proves to be a little bit of a difficult task, as Beorn is in the form of a small but quick and agile Dinosaur (with mostly useless forearms) and Yoda only stands two feet tall.  With a lot of effort involving jumping and clawing the door, headbutting the beams and such our heroes emerge triumphant over the door beams.

The next chamber appears to be natural rather than carved out of rock.  It is an eliptical circle, somewhat lopsided, going more NW to SE.  An idol to Tsathogga is within the room, along with a  pair of large golden candelabra, which radiate evil.  The party chooses to smash the gold into lumps which they'll eventually smelt down and sell as raw gold.  The party takes the time to smash the statue/idol to little bits and discovers a stave hidden within.  It radiates a strong aura of Necromantic magic, when Detect Magic is used and merely touching it causes intense dizziness and a feeling of nausea, which fortunately could be cured via the Divine Magic which the party had access to (via Beorn).  This staff is smashed and broken, before the party moves on.

The left-most wall (running SE to NW) leads to a passageway about twenty feet wide, while a similar width passage leads mostly North, but slightly East from the NE corner of the room.  There are several large green fungus/mushroom trees within the North-Eastward chamber, seemingly scattered randomly about the room but always close to a wall.  As the party enters, a group of Frog-Men (knowledges indicated they were larger versions of the previously encountered Tadpoles/Frog Creatures) ambush the party; they had heard the hour long smashing of the statue/idol of Tsathogga and carefully spied upon the group and set their ambush up well.

The Tsathar (Frog Men) tossed nets upon party members, with Beorn being in the lead and trapped first.  The net proved easy to land upon Beorn and greatly tangled him preventing his movement and reducing his ability to attack.  The Tsathar were also poking him with spears.  Beorn opted for a second Wildshape, this time into a large Bear which he believed would have a much easier time forcing its' way out of the nets that were being held down by relatively scrawny Frog-Men.  Yoda's attacks from range proved to be rather effective and the Frog-Men were routed and then slain as they attempted to flee the battlefield.

Beyond this cavern the party found a room, with another statue, this one of an indistinct robed monk figure with four pedestals nearby.  This cavern had a flight of stairs which lead downwards; the party has associated down with harder, and wanted to clear as much as possible within this level before descending.  Each of the pedestals had an object on them, one of which detected as magical (a vial), but it proved to be a puzzle in order to get the this vial as each time an item was grabbed at a different item took its pedestal position and the object which was used to grab/push at the item which the potion swapped with instead swapped with that item.  A party member's dagger ended up on a pedestal, with a skull upon the ground and the potion changing position but remaining upon a pedestal.

Another passageway lead to a room, with a weird shape and a massively deep circular pit almost centered.  A set of stairs lead downwards from the far side, with a warning that this passageway lead to Rappan Athuk.  The party did not go this way, and thought of returning at some point in the future.

And another set of stairs (the NW passage, from the room prior to the Tsathar ambush) lead downwards.  This was the first set attempted, as the party believed it had covered everything on this level.  The stairs lead down quite a distance to a room with a giant stone head upon the floor and surrounded by not-too-precious gems.  There was another set of stairs leading upwards from this room (which eventually proved to lead up to one of the sets of stairs down (the room with the crudely carved monk and the four pedestals)).  A passageway, roughly between the two sets of stairs led to the SE, and was a lot wider than most hallway/passages had been up to this point.

The room had numerous coffins within, each empty fortunately, but there were mold spores (gray-green in color), which caused fits of coughing when breathed in -- and walking along the floor would crush the mold and release the spores into the air.  A wall of psionic fire (two actually) with heat radiating outwards from one direction only... first against one wall and then the second placed just within the edge of the area burnt by the first wall's heat emanation.

One direction lead to stairs downwards, which the party took initially.  This opened into a natural cavern, where the rush of water could be heard.  As the party progressed, they came across impossibly life-like statues of amazing detail levels.  And then they came across Basilisk tracks.  The statues were more densely packed, deeper within the chamber near the edge of a underground freshwater lake.  Moving to their left, along the shore of the lake, the party came across giant weapons sized for creatures several hundred feet tall, driven into the ground.  Fortunately, the creatures were not found, but the area was only cursorily searched in haste... In the other direction, the noise proved to be a waterfall leading downwards to an underwater river which may go somewhere or maybe would just drown whoever was carried away.

The party retraced their steps to the fungus/mold room, and went the other direction.  This lead to a rectangular room, with a plethora of normal quality weapons... short swords, scimitars, light and heavy maces, flails, longswords, battleaxes and shortspears.. the five rescued NPCs (the evil one had been left locked in his cell) armed themselves here, although they remained unarmored.  As the party was searching about this room, four Gargoyle creatures proved themselves to not be statues; the battle was not difficult for heroes of our prowess.  From this room, a passage went south (along the eastern side of the southern wall) and another to the north (along the western edge of the northern wall).

The south door was never checked, as a combat ensued as soon as the north door was opened.  Yoda could not hear anything from within, and thus choose to open the door.  Several (eight) of the Black Ghoul-like creatures emerged, with their acrobatic jumping technique and quickly swarmed the party.  Worse, the Vampire with its level-draining sword was within.  The initial attacks caused Yoda to be paralyzed and utterly helpless.  The battle was chaotic, with the previously rescued NPCs told to hang back (by Fuhrer) as he feared they were not up to this level of a challenge.  With 'Smite Evil', Fuhrer was able to consistently land blows upon one of the creatures, but they were able to hit him with some regularity as well.  After a few rounds of Combat, Beorn fell victim to the paralyzation as well.  Seven had been previously hit a few times, but the guidance and protection of Kel had saved him from the paralyzation several times, but finally he fell -- as previously encountered, these dark ghouls focused massively so upon Divine Casters and both Paladins had an aura of good.

Beorn (able to mentally communicate within Fuhrer's collective, via the Tactician class) urged someone to loot his ring (from the Mummy), as our replacement character rules base the new character's wealth as a percentage of average party wealth... slight meta-game there.  As Nightshade (invisible, had been moving towards Yoda to try to heal him) looted the ring, at Beorn's urging, Seven finally fell victim to the Paralyzation.

At this point it really did not look too good for our heroes.  Mortica, fighting defensively was almost impossible for the dark ghouls to hit, as was Fuhrer.  Mortica had a near total defense build, so she basically could not respond effectively, even though she was poised to riposte (Crane Style, Crane Wing, Crane Riposte, Combat Reflexes) each time an attacker missed her while in melee...  Fuhrer almost had one of the ghoul things down, but was hurt himself.  Nightshade's healing was slowly not keeping up with the damage dealt.  By this time, the Vampire had started to drink from Yoda's helpless and paralyzed form.

Mortica and Fuhrer positioned themselves where they could not be flanked and Nightshade made her way to them.  She did her short distance teleport (Dimensional Door) and was high enough to take two companions with her (the not Paralyzed companions).  They immediately did a second jump, and then a third.  Drifter arrived at their new destination without offering an explanation for how he had found them but apparently he had his own teleportation magic.

The orb viewers (thousands of characters, some few of which would randomly be selected as replacements for fallen characters) witness the death of Yoda (via drained by the Vampire), and the deaths of Beorn and Seven (eaten whilst still alive, by the Ghouls).  With each death, the viewer upon that character fades out.

 

-End of Session-

jmj_1975's picture

Session 39 (9 Jan 2016)

 

Yoda is replaced by Dumbar Lighthammer (a mixture of Fighter (Two-Handed Archetype), Aegis, and Soulknife), who hits rather hard but doesn't have much by way of defenses... and likes to Enlarge (Expansion), Lunge (extra reach) and Cleave... for cummulative AC penalties.  His tactic is to remain behind the tank type characters and hit the enemies hard.  He has been known to take a gold piece from Fuhrer in exchange for breaking something...

 

Rommel > Sigrunnin > Blitzkreig > Atom Waffe > Burgerkreig > Einfal > Spion > Beorn is replaced by Jesus (HAY-zeus).

Jesus is: Cleric (Merciful Healer) 8 || Vitalist (Mender Method) 8, with a goal of the removal of any and all status effects such as Blindness, Poison, Disease, Paralysis etc.. initially he has a chance to remove Poison and Disease.  All of his mythic abilities are invested into Heals, which with the Empowered effect from the Healing Domain and the Vitalist ability to direct the heals wherever they're needed the most is very strong healing.  Rather than play a DPS/Support, he has requested that Nightshade focus almost entirely on Summoning/Buffing instead of on Healing.  Aside from re-directing heals to those hurt the most, the Vitalist portion of the class very much likes to give Temporary Hit Points (Vigor) and very rare do a 15-25 ft. teleport.

 

Seven (cannot make the session, so for reasons unknown to the party... no orb brings a replacement for him)... and Skeeter is unfortunately stuck with mandatory overtime on his Saturday's lately, so no orb replacement for him either.

 

The party backtracks within the Catacombs beneath the Frog God Cloister, searching for a new area that is not in the direction of the Black Ghouls and the Vampire.  They spend quite a while beneath the surface moving back and forth before electing to return to the surface and check out the second Cloister structure.

Mortica takes over the scouting role, and is ambushed by vines off of the walls of an area of the Inner Cloister.  The party does not have a lot of issue with these, and her Riposte is particularly effective here.  As the area is explored, Mortica is attacked by invisible creatures, which because she cannot see them she cannot effectively dodge their attacks (most of her armor class, and her defensive fighting, is dodge based bonuses to armor).  It turns out that Nightshade basically doesn't have much by way of offensive spells, aside from summons who in turn do not see invisible... and Jesus does not have an Invisibility Purge effect.  Dumbar is really frustrated because he cannot see what to smash and his party members clump up which effectively blocks him out.  Eventually Nightshade does a See Invis (personal range) on herself, Fuhrer uses his Tactician ability to 'Echo' the effect, so he has it too, and he Augments this to give the effect to Mortica as well.  Fuhrer only does moderate damage against a non-Evil opponent, but his buff ability is what allows Mortica to effectively single handedly kick the invisible guys butts.  Dumbar lands a lucky blow on the same area that Mortica and Fuhrer are flanking and attacking, but he figures invisible chickens*** guys are losers.  Once seen, the Invisible Stalkers did not stand a chance.

Exploring upwards, the party finds an oily cloth, which proves to be a magical item with which a good character can handle an evil item without triggering adverse effects that harm the good guys.  Conversely, an evil character can do the same and not be damaged by a holy item.  Fuhrer holds onto this item.  Another item, a Horn (which turns out to be a unique and powerful item dedicated to an Abyssal fiend) is found and proves to be indestructable to the parties current capabilities... Jesus decides to Stoneshape the cobblestones to literally have the ground swallow this horn.  A holy symbol is found, this is of an aspect related to Sarenrae who is Jesus's patron deity; Nightshade is not even able to hold the cross, for her it might as well be Mjolnir (Thor's Hammer); she is able to identify that it allows the turning of Lycanthropes, the same as a Cleric can attempt to turn undead.

After some wandering about, as the stairs down from this Cloister effectively intersect with an early passage from the stairs down from the Outer Cloister, the party discovers a 'new' area of the Cloister.  This area is the vault of one of the Cloister's earlier Abbotts who is himself an intelligent undead Ghoul like thing with a lot of experience in martial arts and monk training.  It turns out he is especially difficult to hit with a touch attack, and specializes in ripostes against those who miss attacks upon him.  His touch has a chance to Paralyze the victim, so Mortica opts to not trade blow with him (Hit, Miss, Miss, Miss, Miss, Miss), she takes five riposte attacks on him (all of which miss) and he takes five ripostes back with another one landing... she makes her two saves against Paralysis and later on it is her turn... Fuhrer, via Smite Evil, has a much easier time against the Abbott.  The Abbott is accompanied by four skeleton champion things, which are rather effectively tied up by Fiendish (template) Dire Lions which Nightshade summons.  Dumbar cleaves them rather effectively, while they cannot get to him thanks to the summons.  The Abbott has a magical Scythe (which goes to Party Loot, as no one wants to use it), as well as a Ring of Protection, which Mortica, Dumbar and Nightshade all want but the party eventually settles upon giving it to Dumbar.

 

Lots of wandering about, looking for new areas... that's what happened of note this session.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 40 (16 Jan 2016)

( I was rather busy with real life unfortunately, so the journals have kind of lagged behind quite a ways.  I have my session notes, and will try to fill in the details of the sessions as best I can. )

 

Our adventurers dig out a collapsed tunnel, within the crypts beneath the Cloister of the Frog God.  Upon the floor is carved, "The Crypt of Callixt", but there is no further clue.  The digging goes on for quite some time, and eventually they decide that the tunnel either doesn't go anywhere, or that the area has collapsed too far to be worth digging it out.

Upon returning to the surface, the massive Red Dragon is once again observed flying in the skies above; either it doesn't see the adventurers or perhaps they don't interest it all that much.

The party decides to cut across the foothills to head directly to the Sunken Graveyard.  Along the way, they encounter a half dozen Giant Bees (as long as a Baseball Bat) that aggressively move towards the group... perhaps they're defending their nearby hive, is the surmation of the party.  While the bees are not overly dangerous, they did pack a fair punch, and the group decides that they're not interested in taking on dozens or hundreds of the things at once.  The party backtracks the way they came, and circle wide about the area where the bees were encountered, to avoid the issue entirely.

The Gargoyles upon the roof once again animate as the steps towards the mausoleum are descended.  Expecting the gargoyles, they don't proove to be that difficult of a challenge any more.  The mausoleum doors are picked, with some difficulty; it seems the newest 'sneaky' guy isn't quite as proficient as the last one.  Once the doors are unlocked, they again prove to be on the heavy side, but with some effort can be opened.  The trap is triggered again, but the group knows where to look for the escape mechanism, and they descend once more into Rappan Athuk.

On their way down, to the 'good adventuring areas', they rush and unfortunately Mortica gets her foot stuck in a trap upon a stairway which had previously been discovered on a prior trip.  Haste makes waste... Her foot is extricated from the trap, but the poison has had a chance to work upon her and she's limping along in a sorry state.  Shortly after the stairs, the pit trap too has been forgotten, and it prove to be another hassle on their way downwards.

The noise attracts the attention of 'Dungy' the dung smelling creature.  The group decides to battle it once more, rather than flee from it, like they had to do the last time it had been encountered.  (A significant portion of the session was spent on this battle... 22 rounds of combat).  Eventually, getting a little low on resources, the party once again flees from the dung monster.  Mortica, even wounded, is fast enough that the party gets ahead of the Dungy with relative ease.

It seems our brave adventurers have forgotten the woman who had been surrounded by the giant rats, and rescued by their predcessors.  The rats were accosting her once again, and the new group rescued her once again.  This time, the Paladin did a 'Detect Evil' on her and determined that she was evil.  He did not want to leave her alone and unarmed, nor did he want to escort her to the surface, or kill a defenseless woman he had just rescued.  Fuhrer determined that the best thing to do would be to convince her to give up her vile ways, and set about convincing her to change her life.

The party descended down the stairs, just beyond the massive area where Filaar had been attacked by the rats, and this time headed north from the chamber beyond the landing.  Their exploration lead them to a tucked away chamber with a truly nasty spike sticking out from the wall.  It seems the occupant, a seemingly insane Barbarian did not appreciate the disturbance, and did his best to bull rush the party onto the spike.  The battle wasn't necessarily easy, but having tested their mettle against other adversaries, it wasn't nearly as difficult as it would have been for their predecessors upon going through this level the first time through.

 

We ended the session, after the Marthek battle.

brvheart's picture

I have a number of Lost Lands games running on Paizo ATM. Two in RA, one in the Splinters of Faith and one new one just starting in Barakus that will lead into the Sundered Kingdoms. All are pretty much standard games with 25 point buy. I intended the Splinters of Faith game to be a sandbox in the LL, but they decided to keep going after the Sceptre of Faith line. We are now in book three nearing the end of this one, five to go. 

jmj_1975's picture

Session 41 (23 Jan 2016)

The night is spent in the hallway outside of Marthek's area of the dungeon... no one wanted to sleep upon his flee infested pile of furs, yet the area was a deadend and therefore relatively safe in that nasties could only approach from one direction.  Fortunately, the night was uneventful.

The northern section of this level of the dungeon is explored in greater detail.  A room is discovered, which contains dozens upon dozens of rats, which swarm towards the party as the door is opened.  The room also contains several Dire Rats the size of small dogs.  The battle is rather quick and easy now, but it still used up a few resources and the noise had the potential to attract an unwelcome guest.

The party thinks about Saracek, the Anti-Paladin, for a bit, but decides against another encounter him at this time... he essentially wipes the last group to tangle with him.

The stairs downwards are taken again, leading to a massive cavern with a very fast flowing river within.  The warning sign regarding Purple Worms is spotted again, but fortunately none of the worms are within the area.  The party moves across the chamber, more or less directly, rather than sticking to the edges like the last group.  Using a stagmite as an anchor, a quick and dextrous character leaps across the river with a rope and holds it secure for the others to cross.

The rock formation is again investigated, but doesn't seem to lead anywhere.  The exit tunnels are explored a short distance each, with most ending after only a short distance.  One of the tunnels leads to a series of worked caverns, after only a short distance, and the party decides that this is the way to go.

The worked area is an irregular shaped room, like a series of squares and rectangles places seemingly randomly, such that there are alcoves along the room.  The party chooses to take the nearest door, to their right from the natural cavern.  This leads to a hallway with another door at the far end.  There is evidence that travellers have camped in this area before, from the fire pit and ash stains upon the floor and the smoke stains above; no one is here at the moment.  From there the tunnel curves sharply to the left, and the party guesses that they're heading south again.  It opens to an elipsoid shaped room, with a doors, each leading to a tiny room the size of a coat closet.  Each of these rooms leads to another elipsoid shaped room and it soon becomes clear that there is only one correct path, as the other passages lead to dead ends.

The odd shaped rooms eventually open into a chamber, with a small pentagram inscribed upon the floor.  In the middle of this pentagram is a human skull.  As the room is entered, its' eye sockets glow with a red flame and it floats up from the floor.  It says, "I am the Oracle, possessor of all knowledge.  Ask what you wish and you shall learn the answer you seek."  Fuhrer asks a flippant question, but does not receive any answer.  The party thinks a while (makes knowledge checks) and guesses that an offering must be made, and that the quality of the offering will likely impact the meaningfulness or accuracy of the answer.  Fuhrer tosses a copper piece into the pentagram and it disappears.  His answer didn't mean anything to him, and then the skull descended to the ground and ignored the group thereafter.

Returning to the square/rectangle room, the door opposite to but further into the room (coming from the vast cavern) is checked next.  It lead to a hallway, with a door at the far end, but on the left of the hallway instead of at the end.  From beyond the group could hear an anguished scream and decided to investigate.  Three fox-headed creatures were in the process of torturing (via whips) an elderly human who was shackled to the wall.  The fox creatures fought the group, but were reluctant to leave the man and one of their number continued to work on him.  It seemed frantic to get information from him, before the fiend returned...  Eventually the fox guys were all dead, and the party released the man.  Jesus explained to him how a telepathic collective worked, and that he wanted to invite him to theirs to fascilitate healing the man.  The man agreed to whatever aid the party could offer and thanked them.  The party headed deeper into the chamber, but was especially wary of the 'fiend' who could return at any point.

Instead of a fiend, they found three chests filled to the brim with platinum coins.  Bob and Jesus emptied the contents of their Bags of Holding onto the floor... Bob left piles of gold, to fill his bad to the last possible platinum piece.  Jesus elected to keep his the bible of his faith, and his bedroll, but to otherwise empty out all of his possessions and to also fill the bag to the brink with platinum.  The other adventurers were close to their maximum possible loads, except for Fuhrer who did not think multiple hundreds of thousands of gold piece value in 'free' platinum would actually be free... so he did not take any of it, but instead kept his gear as it was.

The party decided they would return to the surface, head to Zelkor's Ferry, and join up with the Caravan once it came... to spend the months of travel to head to the 'big city' where they could buy 'real items'.  The old man, whom no one had asked his name, told them of a place called Endholme which he explained was much further away but also a far larger market if they were really interested in buying the best magical items they could find.

 

Session 41 ends here, upon the surface, but still within the wilderness close to Rappan Athuk.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 42 (30 Jan 2016)

On the surface, that night, their sentry notices someone approach and it turns out to be Seven, the Paladin of Kel!  He cannot explain how he had survived (except to say it must have been the will of Kel), as the last anyone had seen of him had been paralyzed and had a ghoul feasting upon him.  The replacement characters (who had viewed the carnage through the orb, had confirmed to the group the demise of Seven... but could not explain why a replacement adventurer had not been chosen from the 'viewers' to join the party on their quest).  In the morning the group examined Seven and determined he really was who had claimed and welcomed him to their party once more.

Bob and Jesus decided to show Seven the parties good fortune, but upon opening their Bags of Holding, they were filled to the brim with small bits of woodchips rather than platinum.  The old man was missing too; no one had seen him depart, and he seemed the likely suspect for stealing the platinum but where had the wood chips come from?

The party decided that since they were once again broke, that they should return to the dungeon.  They had Dimensional Door'd their way out of the dungeon, and decided to walk back as the Gargoyles were an easy source of practice for their skills at arms (more experience, possibly).

Four Trolls had an ambush point, which the party walked into.  They came at the party from all four directions at once, and proved to be rather brutal opponents.  One of the Trolls went straight towards an empty space and swung a mighty blow; Drifter, who had a tendency to become Invisible when threatened let out a yelp and that Troll without any difficulty followed the invisible bacon burner, who just wanted more notes for a book he was writing called 'Of Gods and Heroes' (staring our party).

A voice, from the west, called something and the Trolls who were very close to annihilating some of the party backed off.  Unfortunately, Bob was upon the ground either unconscious or possibly dead... The voice demanded that the party relinquish their magical items or face slaughter at the hands of the Trolls.  Through the collective/telepathic link, Jesus told the party to Dimensional Door away (those close enough to party members with the spell) and that he would Invis and check on Bob once the Trolls (and voice) left.  The dimension door and invis went off, without issue, but the same Troll that had pursued Drifter moved up to (the now invisible) Jesus and finished him off.

The Dimension Door places the small group of badly beaten surivors right into a small nest of Stirges... fortunately, the Stirges don't prove to be too much of a challenge anymore.  The severely hurt party decides to stick to the immediate area, rather than potentially wander into anything else, and await more replacements...

The next morning, with the coming of the dawn, two orbs shoot down from the sky, and replacements have arrived.  Bob (the 2nd) replaces Bob, and by some miracle is exactly the same race and class/archetype combination.  Kain is the replacement for Jesus, and his build is similar but not exactly the same (Cleric 08 | Vitalist 01/Shaman 07.... instead of Cleric 08 | Vitalist 08).  Given that the new guys are almost exactly like the old guys, the party figures they're strong again and should head back down into RA.

The short distance towards RA, they meet a rather tall human dressed in leather and furs and wielding a massive Great Axe.  He calls himself Juberoo and his goal in life is to split evil people into pieces with his axe.  When the party tells him of the evils within Rappan Athuk, he insists on joining them upon their quest of smashing and slicing.

Juberoo is the first to risk the curse of the dwarven statue, and pilfers the key amidst the remains of the dwarf beneath said statue.  The gargoyles do not animate, inexplicitely.  Nor does the trap trigger.  The party is not sure why, but counts their blessings and descends into RA.

This time, Mortica remembers the traps and is sure that no one gets their foot stuck on the stairs or falls into the pit beyond them.  The party continues to where Filaar had been saved and took the stairs down to level 02 (the level with Marthek, the Ogre, and the Anti-Paladin).  They decide to go South again, instead of North like last time, to see if they had missed anything ealier.

Mortica discovers a secret door, which had eluded the previous scouts.  There is a short passageway, and it opens into a large room, which her limited vision did not allow for seeing the far side.  She does however see a pile of the Black Ghouls (and estimates there might be 20 of them), seemingly asleep (but through her knowledge of religion, she knows they're merely dormant, possibly out of boredom, and don't sleep).  She very cautiously and quietly retraces her steps, and lets the group know that a bunch of the nasties are just beyond.

The group is debating whether they should 'buff up' and attempt to clear these guys, as there is a good 'choke' point or if they should let sleeping dogs lay... as most of the combats with these guys have been painful.  Bob (the 2nd) decides he should get a look of his own, to determine if these were the weaker or stronger type of ghouls, as the party has so far encountered them at two drastically different levels of power.  As he walks into their chamber, their heads swivel towards him and they get up quickly and move towards him.  For warning, the party feels Bob drop out of both Kain's Vitalist Collective and Fuhrer's Tactician Collective (which happens when he dies or is rendered unconscious)...

The Ghouls get some of their number into the hallway immediately, and Fuhrer, Seven and Juberoo attempt to get to the front and block them from getting more through.  The battle is frantic and desperate at first, but once Kain falls, Nightshade decides to save her beloved (Mortica) and does a Dimension Door which takes the two of them (and Fuhrer) to the stairs leading entry landing of the level.  They decide to head down to level three, because the last two time they had headed to the mausoleum, a massive plate had blocked the way out.

With only Seven and Juberoo remaining, and desperately holding the door, Seven gives into his hunger... he had been cursed with nightmares of enjoying the flesh to living and sentient beings, which he knew was wrong, yet they filled his dreams.  No amount of regular food, whether hunted rabbit, fish from a stream, or dried rations would feed his hunger and such normal foods were becoming more and more repulsive to him.  Seven turned upon Juberoo and bit him... the paralysis kicked in immediately, and dozens of ghouls piled through the door to join Seven in his feast.  Mercifully, Juberoo died quickly into their feast.

The party headed downwards, across the cavern with the warnings of purple worms, and into the hallway leading towards the Oracle and the where they had rescued the old man from the Fox Men.

 

We end here.

jmj_1975's picture

Session 43 (13th Feb 2016)

With the coming of the dawn, there are two additions to the group Gloin (Karzak > Shurke > Silk > Essen > Deadmeat > Freshmeat > Thrymm > Thrymm (the 2nd) > Newmeat > Asara > Conan > Spelljammer > Yoda > Bob Works > Bob (the 2nd)) who is a warrior with a two-handed sword and George (Rommel > Sigrunin > Blitzkreig > Atom Waffe > Burgerkreig > Einfail > Spion > Beorn > Jesus > Kain) who explains that he is a specialist at attacking with reach and preventing things like ghouls from jumping over the front line at a choke point, but that he has no defense and cannot fight in the front.

Gloin and George want to kill Seven immediately, as they witnessed his eating Juberoo, through 'the Orb', but Fuhrer believes he can be saved, possibly with an Atonement.  Seven did express his remorse over the deed and claims to have been overcome with hunger beyond his control.

Since they're close to the Oracle, Seven elects to enter by himself, since the rest of the party had been told that they could only ask one question per month.  Seven asks his question, and when he offers his Holy Symbol of Kel as payment, the Oracle lets him know that the Fox-Men and the Fiend were really only Thought to be there and not there.  Both Gloin and George are openly suspicious of Seven, and don't like his doing anything on his own.  Gloin states that he'll be on watch with Seven, whenever Seven has a watch, and will exclusively watch Seven; Fuhrer agrees that Seven should not be allowed to serve watch alone.

The party decides to explore the rest of this level... The door southmost (far side of the square/rectangles room) leads to three trapped rooms, with one in particular that caught the party's attention as it seems that the door could easily become stuck and the chamber would fill with water.  Beyond these three trapped rooms, is a chamber with several more of the Black Ghouls within.

A full dozen of the Black Ghouls, but fortunately, these ones prove to be the weaker variety.  Within the chamber, a crypt is discovered of an ancient Paladin who had been buried with their weapon and armor.  For whatever reason, Seven found himself unable to step across the threshold of the doorway.  Fuhrer elects to take the armor and weapon, but leaves 500 gold coins within the coffin with the decayed corpse of the Paladin and its' holy symbol (of Thyr).

Beyond this chamber, a roughly carved or perhaps natural tunnel is discovered, which almost backtracks the way they came, except that after some distance it curves to the left (which is close to true North) but also begins to descend downwards sharply.

The stairs lead downwards far enough, that they're aware it must be a new level, probably the deepest they've been so far.  There is a hallway, which extends left and right (they guess West and East), with the eastern direction going a hundred or so feet and the west curving to the south almost immediately.  The eastern passage is given a cursory investigation; it turns south into a much wider hallway... with a door immediately on the left, and a passageway (also on the left) about halfway down the wider hallway... before that ends at a deadend.

The other direction (the one our group takes) leads to a junk strewn room, with bones scatter upon the floor.  Mortica discovers a secret door which leads to a hallway.  There is another room filled with junk, to the left almost immediately.  That room is seemingly empty of interest, aside from the massive amount of junk within.  The hallway goes south, to a rectangular shaped room (longer North-South, than East-West) and covered with moist dirt.  Occasional bubbles ripple to the surface, and our heroes ascertain that there is a layer of mud atop the water and then there is dirt atop the mud.  The water is deeper than Gloin can reach, with his two-handed sword.

There is a passageway out of the rectangular room, on the left (West... assuming the parties initial guess of North is correct) wall, and with careful climbing (and Gloin flying with his Astral Suit), the party eventually reaches.  This leads to a relatively large natural cavern/cave, with eight tunnels leading out of it (one is their means of ingress).  Each is explored a short distance, and most prove to be dead ends.  However, three of them go somewhere... One of the three (near the North edge of the area) heads upwards at a relatively sharp angle and progresses straight for several hundred feet, but is not explored all the way to wherever it leads.  One of the three (near the South East edge of the area) heads mostly east, but slightly north as well, and goes a very long distance before opening into a large chamber (Seven returns to the group, without actually entering the chamber).  The last of the three leads to a worked stone hallway (not natural) which runs to the east for about a hundred feet.

Almost immediately into the hallway, Mortica discovers a secret door, which leads to the mud/soil/oily-water room... the passage goes East and then opens into a trapezoid shaped room, again strewn with junk seemingly randomly.  This room is fairly large, 80 or so feet across from one edge to another (NE faces SW and NW faces SE); near the southern most point, and on the western wall is a door.  This leads to a chamber with beds and foot lockers.

The footlockers are checked, one at a time by Seven, who has a decent level of proficiency in many arts including nefarious rogue skills such as picking locks.  This happens as Mortica is checking the walls slowly and carefully to ensure nothing is missed.  A sacrificial dagger is found within one chest, a magical ring related to fortitude saving throws is found in another, and a book (which turns out to be cursed and impossible to discard) is found within another.  In the course of opening the chests, an alarm is triggered...

The party gathers near the door, on the far East wall.  A few minutes pass, with the alarm wailing away... and then their old friends, the Black Ghouls drop from holes within the ceiling, and move up upon them from behind.  At this point, something starts to open the door, but Seven's reactions are quick and he places some pitons in the door's edge jamming it into place.  The party backs up to the passage they came through, with the Black Ghouls in pursuit and the door is smashed.  At this point a ghost/spectre thing floats through one of the walls, and begins to launch Scorching Rays at Fuhrer.  The disabled door is forced open, and numerous cultists of Orcus swarm into the room; each cultist has either a skeleton or a zombie with him.  Things do not look too good for the heroes at this point (no AoE casters, twenty or so cultists with twenty or so undead) the abbott (maybe) arrives with a Succubus on a leash and a bird demon in tow (Knowledge the Planes -- the party thinks it is a Vrock).  The Vrock (maybe) teleports to the far side of the group, so now they have two fronts to deal with, as the Spectre/Ghost thing continues to Scorching Ray easy targets and the Black Ghouls press the choke point.

Gloin moves deeper to occupy the Vrock's attention, while Seven and Fuhrer desperately try to keep the Black Ghouls from leaping into the midst of the party, while the caster launches Scorching Ray attacks unimpeeded.  George moves himself into position, to (Standstill, feat chain) prevent the Ghouls from leaping over the front line... and Gloin has wounded the Vrock enough that it teleports away at about this point... Fuhrer and Seven decide to make a break for the exit, as they don't think they can handle this many of the Black Ghouls with a caster also taking pot shots at them, and the High Priest with his Succubus having not yet bothered to engage.  As Fuhrer and Seven withdraw, the Black Ghouls move up to George and he is hit easily and paralyzed quickly.  The party gets to the trapezoid shaped room, and again pitons the door shut.

The Vrock, now healed, is at the far end of the room blocking off their escape, as the bad guys begin pounding away at the temporarily disabled door.  As it teleports into range, the party attacks and wounds it again.  It's response is to summon in seven of it's friends (but the healer's spellcraft determines this is a Mirror Image making it impossible to know which one is a false target and which is the actual Vrock).  Nightshade decides to teleport (dimensional door) out again, but this time she takes Fuhrer and Seven, but not Mortica (who had previously been a willing lover but in recent weeks inexplicably and repeatedly told Nightshade that she wasn't into being with a woman... Nightshade must have given up on Mortica...).  Gloin and Mortica decide to run for the exit, and the Black Ghouls break the door open.

Gloin flies across the mud room, but Mortica cannot; she jumps as far as she can and then begins to swim.  The Black Ghouls jump into the oily/mud/water a short time later, and with their far superior speed actually jump beyond Mortica.  Gloin tosses her a rope and begins to pull her across, but a ghoul strikes her and she paralyzes.  Gloin is pulling her out of the liquid, as the first Black Ghoul reaches the edge and starts to climb... He is momentarily torn between looting known magical items from Mortica's soon to be corpse or in fleeing, and quickly decides to flee instead.

Fuhrer, Seven, and Nightshade have taken two dimensional hops, and are within the chamber with the warning of the Purple Worms.  They're hidden near the northern most end of the chamber, very close to the stairs that head upwards to the level with Marthek, the Ogre, and Black Ghouls... and the Anti-Paladin too.  A few minutes pass and Gloin comes running into the room at full speed.  And the Ghouls come running after him, matching him stride for stride.  Gloin decides to fly upwards and grab a Stalctite and wait for the ghouls to leave.  They instead spread out beneath him, and wait him out.

Gloin then flies towards the North edge of the cavern (where the rest of the party is hiding) and the Ghouls pursue him that way.  Again Nightshade, Fuhrer and Seven do dimensional hops, but this time they don't wait for Gloin to bring the ghouls to them again, and instead head towards the exit.  From the chamber immediately below the mausoleum, they dimension door out of the dungeon.  Gloin, as quickly as he can, arrives at that chamber and takes the ladder upwards; the Ghouls aren't that far behind him.  He climbs the ladder, and then curses himself that he had always worked on speed and agility, dodging and weaving, but not on muscular strength.  He focuses himself, and is able to force the trapdoor open from below (natural 20, STR check... made the DC with 1 to spare).  He runs out of the Mausoleum, as the ghouls reach the top of the ladder.  For whatever reason, the Black Ghouls do not leave the Mausoleum and enter the late afternoon sun.

The Gargoyles atop the Mausoleum do awaken, but they're not nearly as fast flyers as Gloin.

 

We end the session here.

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