Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Player report for session 14

Game report session #14

To be honest, I wasn’t having the greatest day.  Everyone was a little late for starts, then I realized that I’d left my computer at home… so we got a late start.  It was just one of those nights when you feel just a little bit off, and you can’t quite figure out why.

{Game clock resumes at 2:10:01pm; 02/18/3200; near the end of round 4 of the combat.}

{I had my camera this time, so I snapped a shot of things as the game resumes.}

First Pat, then Bob, and then Tym are overcome by an inexplicable madness… they lose the ability to determine friend from foe as they succumb to wild hallucinations and the sounds of the Rat Gods whispering promises and garbled words of power into their minds.  Thingerlun fails to cast his sleep spell and loses it for the day and Milo attempts to use word of command on one of the wear-rat clerics, hoping to interrupt it summoning spell, but fails.  Grub finds some shred of bravery and tries to attack the other cleric, but he doesn’t have a magic weapon, so he barely does any damage at all though he does get the clerics attention.

Pat takes damage from the swarm covering her, and then the largest of the swarms covers Tym with their filthy mass; he panics and takes off running… {the combat pauses for a moment as I take Tym’s player aside to explain what happens next.}

In his panic Tym runs down an eastern branching and into new dungeon territory; ignoring the growing stench and clawing desperately at the rats still clinging to him he doesn’t see the monstrously large dung beetle squatting in the room that he is heading into.  He also doesn’t see the beetle grab the 5ft wide ball of dung and fling it with great force at the intruder to its kingdom.  The last thing Tym ever sees is the ball of dung, oozing and chocked full of sharp debris an instant before it envelops him, and slams him against the wall, where he suffocates before he can bleed to death.

{death by dung beetle… ironic death for the gongfarmer: checked off my DM’s ‘to do’ list…}

Meanwhile, back at the main combat…
The wear-rat cleric of Narrimunath stabs Bob with its dagger of diseases, {and he promptly fails his fortitude save} Pat thrashes about wildly with her weapons, but hits nothing, same for Bob.  Milo, however, manages to cast word of command and points at a cleric and commands it to “dispel” the rat swarms.  The cleric failed its save and the two rat swarms covering Pat disappear.  Thingerlun reaches into the room passed Milo and succeeds at casting his last useful spell: Chill touch.  He manages to kill it {thanks to the randomly rolled HP of 3 points}  The remaining rat swarm is slow, so it can’t quite reach anyone, and most of the remaining wear-rat troops converge on the doorway to attack the spell casters, but two fail miserably and the other fumbles and drops its weapon.  The Cleric of Nimlurun stabs Grubb for damage with its dagger of corrupting; Grubb fails the save and his face distorts grotesquely.  Pat drops one of the wear-rats, She is trying desperately to cut her way to the door… she knows there is an exit around here and she really wants to find it…

Bob and Milo both miss their next attacks, but heartened by his previous success, Thingerlun tries the Chill touch spell again.  This time he rolls well enough {modified 21} that the spell gives him a bonus to hit, and does extra regular damage plus strength damage and lasts for 10 minutes.  He hits one of the wear-rats and damages it and weakens it, but not enough for a kill {1 point, plus 2 points of STR damage}.  Grubb fails to hit the cleric with his attack, and the wear-rat troops that are left surge forward doing damage to everyone, and cause serious problems for Bob who is both jabbering insanely and lashing about with his magic dagger {down to 1hp, and now suffering from the early stages of something else...}  Pat manages to cut another one down and moves a bit closer to the door.  Bob finally hits the cleric of Narrimunath and does some real damage. 

Milo sees how bad off Bob is, so he quickly disengages from his opponents {who failed their free attacks} and moves close enough to heal him, though not nearly enough to restore him to full health; and Bob is still very sick. 

  Thingerlun then proceeds to roll a natural 20 for his chill touch attack… 

{Player: “Can we just say that it’s dead?”

DM: “No, I want to see how this plays out.”  I may have mentioned it before, but if not: I should say that I never know how many hit point each of the enemy troops have until someone succeeds at hitting one of them; then I roll its HP to see what happens.  This target had the max possible of 12… “Roll for Crit table I…”}

Thingerlun delivers the attack with a vicious jab to the wear-rat’s eyes, blinding it, weakening it to the point where it could no longer stand, but it is still alive. {10pts damage, failed fort save Vs. blindness, and 4 points of STR damage: so I guess it’s a good thing that I take the time to fully ‘stat’ my monsters…  BTW, wear-rat goblins have STR 8 and are one of the many critters in my Creature Catalog along with my rules for Lycanthropes.”}

Grub fails to strike the cleric again and is starting to become fearful, so he dashes away to hide behind the statue again, and the Cleric fails his attack at the retreating traitor.  Milo had failed to cure any of Bob’s ailments, so he focuses on ‘praying for the dead’ to make sure that they don’t rise up and start complicating matters. The Cleric attacking Bob misses, but its twin succeeds in casting a darkness spell that yields a 20ft radius of effect centered next to Milo.  {There were questions about how Milo’s aura interacted with the spell, and if he could use his own spells to duel with the other cleric, but I pointed out that they were ahead of the wear-rat cleric in the initiative, so Milo was out of luck on that score.  Then there were questions about how Milo’s aura interacted with the spell, so I allowed him to make a willpower save Vs. the clerics casting success; he failed.}

Darkness engulfs most of the room; though there is still some murky light illuminating the southern part if the room coming from the fires heating the cauldron.  It is barely enough to see by considering they had to leave the lantern with Hearn and Dwight and had been relying upon Milo’s aura.  Pat, playing up the fact that she’s completely nuts at the moment, decides to use her bow to shoot in the general direction of where she thinks the caster must be…  Pat missed, so I rolled to see if she hit Grubb; and she only missed by one.  Everyone hears grub cursing loudly.  Bob is in darkness, but he stops for a moment to get a sense of things. {1d20 + INT + Thief level -2 for insanity against a DC of 15.  He nailed it. He then proceeds to roll a 20 on the backstab attempt and even accounting for the insanity it is still sufficient to hit the clerics AC of 15.  Horribly wounding it with his strike; the wear-rat cleric has barely any life left in him, but this is hidden from everyone by the darkness.

Milo succeeds at dispelling the darkness {rolling 1d16 to reverse the darkness spell; ‘cause I figure it’s a good mechanic for wizards so why not use it here for clerics.  In the future I think I’ll just default it to a willpower save for Milo to ‘assert’ the influence of his aura.} Thingerlun has this rat swarm about to clobber him and he has no area effect spells or weapons; he briefly considers shutting the door. In the end, he decides that he doesn’t like the idea of someone beating up and generally thrashing his favorite pet, so decides to leap over the rat swarm and rush the cleric of Nimlurun while its back is turned Thingerlun just barely makes the leap and then scores moderate damage on the cleric of Nimlurun, who visibly weakens and now turns to face Thingerlun.  Which of course leaves his back wide open to Grub, who succeeds in his attack, but without a magic weapon he only does 1 point of damage.  Pat, surprised to see her bow in hand and sight restored, shoots at the group of creatures she sees in front of the other statue (Thingerlun, Grubb, and the wear-rat cleric) she misses everyone, but only just misses Grubb again.

Bob manages to kill the Cleric of Narrimunath, in looking for another victim; he rolls randomly to see if he attacks Milo, Pat or the other wear-rat cleric… as they are the only ones he can reach.  Fortune favors the party and he sneaks up on the wear-rat {player rolls a modified 19 for sneaking, cleric gets a 5 without modifiers on listen check.} The attack succeeds, but the damage to the cleric wasn’t that impressive.  Milo takes a swing at the last of the wear-rat troops, but fails to connect.  Thingerlun fails his attack against the Cleric, but Grub hits again for all of 1 point of damage.  By this time some of the dead wear-rats that were too far away from Milo were starting to rise up again, but their attacks against Pat are naught but a sad joke.  The Remaining wear-rat cleric fails his attempt to skewer Thingerlun with his dagger of corruption, and Pat drops her bow to return to her attempts at hacking a trail to freedom.  She succeeds in slicing up one of the newly risen dead.

Bob gets a rather spectacular result on his backstab of the cleric and even though it is mortally wounded, it fights on {made its morale check even though it only had 1 HP left.}

Milo is still trying to kill the last of the wear-rat fighters, but the task is proving to be too difficult as he swings and misses again.  Thingerlun and Grubb both miss their attacks and are then swarmed by the rats that had finally managed to creep up on them.  They both took considerable damage considering that neither of them has much in the way of HP.  The remaining undead wear-rat strikes Pat for a couple of points of damage.  Sensing that the path to the doorway is nearly clear Pat destroys the last of the undead and starts to head out of the room.  In a fit of insane rage Bob manages to finally kill the cleric of Nimlurun in a shower of arterial blood.  {rolled a 20 on the backstab attack and the crit resulted in an arterial bleed…}

Milo finally hit the last wear-rat and squashes it to jelly.

{Combat ends Game clock advances to  2:11:51pm; 02/18/3200}

Pat tries to head for the door, but Milo places a hand on her shoulder and manages to channel enough divine energy to remove the curse, but not the disease she contracted from the rat bites.  {rolled a modified 23 which allowed for the 4 dice of healing needed, but none left over for restoring hp or mitigating ailments.} Bob keeps stabbing the dead cleric until they pull him away from the mess.  Bob is still quite loony and he is feeling decidedly queasy, but unable to communicate this to anyone.  They realize how tired they are; they started the day at @ 4 am after all.  After a moment or to recover, Pat tries to secure Bob with some ropes, buy pretending it’s a game.  He lets her tie him up, then casually slips out of the bonds and attempts to instruct her about the art of binding someone, but it comes out as total gibberish.  Finally, Pat distracts Bob: allowing Milo to cast Paralysis on him.  They gather the scrolls from one of the altars and use the last of the oil to set the altars and everything on fire, hoping this will suffice for a cleansing. 

Carrying the statue of Bob they retrace their steps, but not without noticing the tracks of Tym heading off in another, easterly direction.

Pat: “Those are Tyms boot prints, shouldn’t we try to find out where he is?!”

Thingerlun: “We have to hurry and get this lump back to the cells before he regains mobility, we don’t have time.”

Milo: “He’s a stout lad, I think he’ll be alright for a little while, and we know we can help Bob.”

They manage to get almost halfway back before the spell wears off.  Pat doesn’t even try to hold on, so Milo and Bob begin to tussle, but it is Milo who wins out in the end. {unarmed attack roll of 20}  Pinning Bobs arms behind his back and force marching him the rest of the way back to the cells.  {During all of this, I nominated Thingerlun to be the one to roll the random monster encounter checks with his luck penalty included; sadly he kept rolling really well on those rolls, so they make it back to the jail room without being further accosted.}

{Game clock halts for these party members at 2:31pm; 02/18/3200.  It is then rewound to 2pm in order to relate the events from Dwight and Hearn’s perspectives.  By this point they’ve had about 35 minutes to listen to the minstrel telling them the prisoner’s story and have roughly 20 minutes to interview the Halfling gypsy, the Elves and the Dwarf.  To further set up this scene I must relate the following details: 1. That the Elves and Dwarves have a deep distrust of Humanity after several attempts by the Old Nimorian Empire at Elven and Dwarven genocide. There is also a prejudice on the Human side because they don’t trust anything that can live forever, and it doesn’t help that Elves delight in cataloging Humanities mistakes and follies in great detail;  2. That the players kind of caught me with my pants down on this one… I had fully expected to see most of these prisoners turned into new characters, so I didn’t really flesh them out story wise.  I roughly knew the info that I wanted to convey to them via the Sage and the Halfling, but I had nothing for the Dwarf.  So for the interview, I was having to seriously ad lib my way through it and got most of the names wrong, and in the end I just tried to pass things off with the fact that the prisoners were all a bit befuddled from their long confinement.  What follows is the slightly edited version of things that will get emailed to the players for their review.}

Dwight is apparently a traditionalist with regards to Elves, but less so with the Veltoni and the Dwarf, so he handles those interviews.

Hearn: “Are you injured? May I know your names?”

First Elf, dressed in the rags of green leather armor, and the general demeanor of someone who knows how to fight. “Who we are isn’t important really.  As a cleric of Elyr I think I can trust you and your motives for helping us, but after this ordeal I don’t know what is real anymore.  I’m not much more than a guard and escort for my elder companion here.”

Hearn: “Why are you in here; did they torture you and your elder companion?”

First Elf: “I don’t know really.  We can’t have been much fun for Gruftus, as I and my companion are able to enter into a trance state that rendered us immune to his blades and potions.  He’s trying to starve us now, but he’s finding out that we don’t eat much either.  Mostly we were just hoping to outlast what was going on in here.”  He nudges his companion who wakes and sits up abruptly.

The Older Elf is dressed in tattered robes that seem to have been quite fine: “Well, this is a strange turning of events.”

Hearn: “But you were unconscious…”

Older Elf: “I’m a Sage, and have learned many secrets in my lifetime.  My body was still, but I assure you that my mind and senses were roaming about the place while you were speaking with our friend Thistle.  I am not inclined to trust Humans, but as you’ve done us a service and from the events I’ve now seen… I suspect our paths are to be intertwined.  So I shall tell you this: we are from the forest of Mystenmere, north of the kingdom of Morain.  Our lady has seen dire portents within the movements of the stars; she has tasked us to make contact with one of our southern enclaves within the Warderwood, along the southern coast of Crieste.  We are to consult their records.  We were to be transported beyond the intervening lands via powerful magics, but we landed not in the forest of our choosing.  Only later did we realize how far off our enchantments were thrown, by then we’d been surrounded by zombies and skeletons and dragged into the dark.”

{Kasi says she tells them [the Elves, and the rest] the cliff notes version of how and why they are in the dungeon, but we didn’t bother with a recital…  I asked if she includes the information about the vision they’ve had about the ending of the world, and she said ‘yes, but not all of it.’}

Older Elf: “I am trained not to dismiss any information without first attaining its veracity, but what you tell me is the antithesis of everything I’ve been taught.  My parents died in the fires that consumed
Ahna-Vithyre and I do not want to believe the things you say.”  He pauses to think for a moment, then continues, “I shall have to think upon your words, and I hope that I might be given a chance to partake of these visions first hand.”

{I figured all that story telling would eat up a fair bit of time, so I switched over to Dwight walking over to interview the Old Veltoni Gypsy woman.  The players are told that the Veltoni Nomads (Halflings) are a strange folk by Imperial standards, they truly have no homes save those they travel within: yet they wield tremendous political power.  This is due entirely to the fact that they helped the Engineers Guild scout out the routes for the new Imperial roadways; all the Veltoni asked in return was an eternal irrevocable right to travel duty free upon those roads.  Within a century they had created a trade empire that stretched from the icy waste north of Valfores Bay all the way around the Lirean Sea and south past the great city of Punjar, capital of the Southern Province.}

To say that she is old and wrinkled is something of an understatement, and her clean brightly patterned but rumpled clothes are at odds with the dank and dirty surroundings of the cell that she is still perfectly happy to sit within.  The door is open, like all the rest, and as Dwight gets to within 10ft, he sees that she is wearing a plain brown handkerchief tying down her silver hair.  She is sitting so that she has to turn her head to see him, and the look from her deep brown eyes pierces straight through into his brain.  {failed his willpower save versus a being with full mastery of the evil eye. She is squinting a bit, and looking not at him, but rather, through him.  In either case, he is reassured to realize that she was “pulling her punch” as the saying goes, but he is more than willing to be compliant with her wishes.}

“That’s quite close enough,” she grabs her cane and uses it to slowly lift herself up off the stool she was using and turns to face Dwight.  That is when he sees that there isn’t any signs she’s been tortured, or even mis-handled in any way. {There is no longer any question as to why Gruftus left her alone; she wears power like an old comfortable scarf.}

Dwight: “Ma’am, may we ask you some questions?  Your name?”

Old Gypsy: “Zollana, you may call me.” And she seems to focus her gaze upon his chest, “Yes.  I suspect you have a great many questions, but there is no time now to go into the answers.”  She starts to hobble forward and he unconsciously backs out of her way to let her through as she explores the room for the first time.  She lingers by the cell that still houses Thistles body she looks on with sadness openly on her face, “Terrible shame that.  Though he seemed content at the end, and you don’t often see floating clerics.”  She then heads over to where Hearn is still distributing food from the bountiful bento box while she is talking with the Elves; “Well, I think that it’s time we all had a bit better than trail rations.”  Zollana reaches into the rather tiny box and pulls out a whole roasted chicken and hands it over to the crowd, then begins to distribute fresh fruit for everyone.  It was right about then that they all were made aware of something strange indeed.

A rippling wave of force seems to traverse quickly through the room and passing through all of them and leaving a chill tingle crawling up their spines.  Hearn however, ended up with a mild head ache as some great malevolent force strikes the sanctuary as if it were a giant bell; the resonance fades and the sanctuary holds.  In its wake there seems to be a palpable change in the feel of the room.  Something in the very walls is emanating a very dangerous feeling.  Zollana looks around with wide eyes, “That may be the most powerful curse that I have ever seen in my life.”

Hearn: “Has the sanctuary fallen, is there something wrong?!”

{DM: “No, it just seems that there is something very different and ominous about the walls.}

Zollana: “I doubt it; you have a strong connection to your Goddess… no, I suspect that this is something bigger than all of us.  One of the ditch diggers panics and starts to scamper about; accidentally touching a small tendril of mostly pure silver running along a crack in the wall: he goes stark raving nuts.  Zollana moves slowly towards this poor damaged soul and lays a hand lightly upon him.  He calms immediately, shaking his head and moving carefully about the room.  Hearn inspects the place on the wall that the poor man had touched, and is shocked to see that there are some sort of black striations in the silver, almost like cracks in ice or mud.  The markings don’t appear to be on the surface of the metal.

Dwight: “What about Ffwylldyr, will he be OK? Is there anything you can do for him ma’am?”

Zollana: “I should think he will recover eventually, but it may take a while.  There is nothing anyone can do, his soul is spread a bit too thinly is all.”

Hearn: “What do you mean his soul is spread too thinly?”

Zollana: “Day after day, he would use his bardic power to sooth us, and help to ease off to sleep.  Even after Gruftus had worked him over Bards use the power of true speech and the language of the Gods woven into their songs; you cannot do what he did under these conditions and not lose a bit of himself to the process.  He needs rest and some good food is all.”

{The rest of the time is spent interviewing the Dwarf blacksmith: he is a member, and perhaps the last living member of the local enclave of Imperial Dwarves.  I remind the players that like Elves, the Dwarven people were deeply affected by the sinking of the Isle of Lirea.  They too lost most of their leaders and the greatest of their crafters, and artists.  Unlike the Elves who remain scattered, most of the Dwarves banded together in the Ul Dominor Mountains: but not all joined with their brethren.  Many among them (especially the Hill Dwarves) chose to become Imperial citizens; sharing many of the secrets of Dwarven crafting.  This is a large part of the strife between Hill and Mountain Dwarves.}

Dwight, approaching cautiously: “Might I know how you came to be here?”

Dwarven smith: “I have lived in Silverton for my whole life, and I remember the night of blood, the minstrel over there tells the truth of it as best I can recall. I understand and will abide by the peace of Elyr, but Like the Elves over there I have trouble with the visions you spoke of.  I wouldn’t mind getting a chance to examine that axe you’re carrying.  It has an ancient look to it, and I should like to know how you came by it. ”

Dwight: “It was carried by a friend of ours; he died well.  I carry it to honor his memory.” Dwight hands him the weapon.

Dwarven smith, after examining it for a bit: “As I thought, the crafter that made this was lost when the Isle of Lirea sank into the sea… this axe is on the lists of the lost weapons.”

Dwight: “We’re good swimmers.”

The Dwarf just grunts and grudgingly gives the axe back to Dwight.  Before anything else can be discussed, the relative calm of the sanctuary is shattered by the return of the rest of the party.  Bob is the first one in, as he is being marched by Milo. The rest follow, and it is obvious that they have been through quite an ordeal.  Amid half shouted summaries of their encounter at the temple, they tried to figure out how they were going to observe the peace of Elyr with a crazy person to deal with.  They decide to put him in one of the cells, but the only one they can remember how to operate is the double levers to operate the cell with Thistle’s remains.  They are at a loss as to how to get Bob in the cell without violating the peace of Elyr until Dwight tosses a small gem into to cell.  Bob takes off after it, and the doors are shut behind him. 

{DM: “Bob, they have shoved you into a cell that reeks like a wilted salad.  What do you do?”}

Bob eats salad with gusto.

Zollana: “Oh dear, you’re all in sorry shape.  Let me see what I can do.” And she starts with examining Bob through the bars. {Most of the story that I’ve attached to Zollana is that she is a renown healer/mystic of her people.  I had originally planned to have her travel with the group, and use her Halfling luck ability to help them out a bit with the luck burning.  But, they were so messed up from the last fight that she decides to repay her debt to them by removing some of their afflictions: only 2 from each, leaving Bob with a case of Hamster Pox that will blossom in about 24 hours.}

It is about this time that they realize they still haven’t gone looking for Tym.  They discuss things for a bit and finally decide that they are in no condition to mount any sort of rescue, so they set up for the night.  Hoping and praying for Tym’s safety.  While they were making ready for camping, Hearn spent some time studying the scrolls retrieved from the temple.  She deduces the following {rolled a modified 18.}:

All silver ever mined from this facility, no matter how small, would have become a seed of corruption.  This seed would spread its dark energies out from it to infect all the silver of Aereth causing the silver to be useless in magic wards, runes, and any creatures normally vulnerable to silver would no longer suffer from its touch.  Furthermore, any other living creatures that came in contact with the silver would be sickened by a form of incurable madness that is transferable by touch.

She and Zollana deduce that the addition of the holy water will change things, possibly limiting the curse somehow.  They have already seen that the madness isn’t transferred via touch, so they are relieved; but Zollana suspects that this is much larger in scope.

Dwarf: “If the effect is limited to just the silver from this mine… well… this mine produced coin grade silver since the late 2800’s.”  The enormity of the problem then set in and they recall some of the lines from the prophesy about when the dread moon and silver burn the mind.  The older Elf tells them that ‘the dread moon’ probably refers to the second moon of Aereth.  He unconsciously begins to lecture about its eccentric orbit, but then trails off when he realizes what he’s doing.  One of the last things that they try to figure out is what made Tym, Bob, and Pat lose their minds.  {the players wrack their brains for a moment, and then I let them make intelligence checks against a DC of 15,  Bob makes the connection: all of them had taken silver bars from various cashes in the dungeon.  Tym and Pat took bars from behind the throne in room 1-18, as did Bob; who also took bars from other locations as well.} They examine the bars after dumping them out of their bags, only to find that in the refined state: the corruption of the metal is more pronounced.  Bob is deeply angered that these rats have made it that much more difficult for him to get rich.

Dwight and Bob sort of keep watch, mostly out of habit, but the funny thing is that they never let Bob out of his cell, tough he did take the time to pocket the gem Dwight used for enticement.  It was while Dwight was on duty that everyone was woken by the angry shrieks from Gruftus the Inquisitor: “MY TOYS!!!  Someone has taken my lovely toys away from me!  Fifi!  Come, sniff  them out! You useless cur.”  Kicking the creature into the room.   It is a human crawling about on hands and knees, head bent to the ground snuffling like a hound.  Everyone is shocked, but the prisoners are too conditioned to fear, or loath the wretched human to move or make a sound.  Dwight recognized the tattered remnants of a uniform insignia on the man.  This sorry broken man was once a Knight-lieutenant with the garrison {4th level warrior} who now thinks he’s an abused cocker spaniel.

Gruftus, striding over to the cell with Thistles body: “Someone has ruined my garden experiment!”  Then he takes a closer look, “SOMEONE’S BEEN EATING MY GARDEN EXPERIMENT!”  He rushes over and pulls both levers to open the gates. Then rushes back with Fifi in tow to examine the bite marks on the wilted corpse.  Bob casually slips out of the cell and pulls the levers to lock them inside.  Gruftus is both furious and terrified.  Because no one has as yet done anything to violate the sanctuary spell, they are all still invisible, though Grubb starts to laugh. 

Gruftus: “WHO IS THE COWARDLY WELP THAT DARES TO LAUGH AT GRUFTUS THE INQUISITOR!”  In his panic, Gruftus decides to beat the knight to death in order to sooth himself; but before he can even start, Ffwylldyr starts to sing.  So softly that everyone, even Gruftus is forced to strain to hear the sounds.  The first try fails, but he manages to succeed at a second attempt to use a lullaby to put Gruftus to sleep.  Then he loses consciousness again.

They sleep until 1am on the 19th before setting out again.

 This time they send Bob, Pat, Thingerlun and Grubb to track down what happened to Tym.  They retrace their steps quickly to the still smoldering room with the remains of the temple; Tym’s trail is easy enough to follow in the muck upon the floor and it leads them towards the exit.  They know they are heading for an exit because they can put out their torch and see the filtered light coming through from somewhere.  There is also a lot of air moving around them; unfortunately it carries a powerful stench as well.  Then they see the massive ball of dung plastering Tym to one of the walls…  His limp limbs are all that can be seen sticking out at odd angles from behind the mass of debris and fecal matter.  There is stunned silence from everyone, except for Kasi, who just smirks and giggles a bit.

Bob: “I guess Tym got the runs.”

{I could go on at length about what happened next, but it just got worse from there.  So to preserve the sanity of the readers we will simply say that the only thing that separated us from the monkey cage at the zoo was the fact that we were only lobbing puns.  I think it is safe to say that: a ‘punny’ time was had by all and that the crown for the worst pun was passed around faster than a burning bag of poo.  After a while, we returned to the game…}

In a series of sneak peeks around the corner, they put together the following picture.  Grubb wasn’t kidding, this is where the goblins and such on this level bring all of their waste, but there is no immediate clue as to what is being done with it.  They see that there is a giant dung beetle being herded by a few goblin runtlings with spears; their tactic seems to be to hide in its blind spots and use the spears to cause pain in selective ways.  The result being a rudimentary control over the critter; which they are using to gather up the waste and move it about according to some unrecognizable plan.

Pat: “OK, we found him.  Can we go outside now?” {she’s not so Dung-ho about all of this…}

Bob: “No, I don’t think we can kill that thing without some help.” {party pooper…}

Thingerlun (with a fresh reload of spells): “I think I can help with this.”  He looks around the corner and casts a Sleep spell strong enough to knock out the runtlings {got a 19}  They discovered that the bug is immune to such charms, but free from the painful menace of the runty spears, it realized that it was time to escape.  {It only has an INT score of 1, but it rolled a 20 on the check to realize its good fortune.}  The dung beetle rolls the sleeping goobers into the dung ball and unfolds its wings and flies with its trophy down the large tunnel to the east.}
{the next shot is entitled: death of a traveling gongfarmer... and was taken just after Thingerlun cast his spell}

The scout party follows behind at a discreet distance, noticing that underneath the thick layers of fecal matter, this is a fairly recent and rather large tunnel.  They emerge into a hidden valley on the other side of the ridge from where they entered the mines.  {No, James, there isn’t a little ranch around here somewhere.}  There is a spring farther up the steep sides, They cannot see it, but it flows strongly enough to be heard after the rather loud drone of the beetles wings fades in the distance.  Their noses are assaulted by the stench from the festering mass of dung, garbage and stagnant water that has built up here before it flows into the creek that eventually flows down into the Silver Vale to the south of town.  They have no light, and what they thought was sunlight was the bio-luminescence from the pools of rotting sludge.  By the time they get back to the others they are encrusted with waste, and glow slightly in the dark.  They clean themselves as best they can with water from the bountiful bento box while they relate what they found to the rest.  There is much debate about where to go next, and what they should do for the refugees.  In the end, the former prisoners refuse to stay in the prison any longer, especially with Gruftus whining and trying to cajole them into violence.  They all seem to have formed a bond of camaraderie despite their backgrounds and all of them are concerned with tending to the exhausted bard.  They agree to wait for the adventurers at the temple of Elyr back in Silverton.

The party heads back in to the sanctuary to decide what they want to do next.

{Game clock suspended at 3am on 02/19/3200}

{and the latest party progress map...}

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

session 13

Game report for session #13

Game clock resumes at 02/18/3200; 11:00:01am.

As they were coming to grips with the fact that Thingerlun was not himself, they realized that he was also blocking a door.  Tym managed to go first, and went up and looked over the wizard’s shoulder into the room and reports skeletons rising up from the floor.  Pat panicked when she heard the word skeletons and decided to close the door.  Thingerlun was too stupid at the moment to realize that he was in danger; fortunately he still has all his survival instincts.  He managed to jump out of the way only to find himself in the dark… the dead creeping up on him.  The rest of the first round was pandemonium as everyone else tried to figure out what had happened.  Thingerlun did the only thing he could: the +1 staff was still in his hand and it made a rather useful club as he started to spin in circles.  He had destroyed 2 of them before the door opened again. 

Tym had won the highest initiative he was the first one through the door when it opened and he decided to lead the charge with a mighty deed: he wanted to use the momentum of his charge to help him chop through two opponents.  He failed to hit entirely, but was undaunted none the less.  Milo was next, but rather than resort to turn unholy, he waded into the melee and crushed a third.  After Dwight got far enough into the room, he tried to fling his shield Frisbee-style to take out multiple targets, but failed to connect and had to hastily pick up his shield in the next round.  Everyone else stayed in the hall for a while, but the skeletons landed several good hits on Dwight and Tym in the next round, so Hearn ran into the room and doled out some of the magic healing ointment she’s been hoarding.  Pat and Tym each destroyed one, but Thingerlun was unable to distinguish friend from foe, so he attacked Tym…

This could have gone badly, but Tym did move to the other side of the room to get out of range.  At the Dwight and Thingerlun managed to put down a skeleton each and Herarn finally decided enough was enough and turned away the unholy wretches.  Tym decided to end the combat the same way he started, by attempting to take out both of the remaining skeletons with a mighty cleave, but only dropped one.  Dwight managed to smash the other one. 

When it was all over they saw that there was still one skeleton on the floor that never rose up; a quick search reveals both the amulet of Soleth {God of Death} and the hastily scrawled note clutched in his dead hand. 

I fear that my time grows as short as the candle stub by which I write this, my final act in this world is to impart a warning.   Even as I write this I can feel the hand of Soleth upon me.  Soleth be praised… and may he forgive me my sins.  I was one of the first miners to break through into the old and forgotten tomb that held the terrible undead monster.  Do not make the same mistake as we made when we reached the deepest level of the mine.  Do not be as greedy as we were. Now we are going to pay for our greed in death.  For this beast can raise us from the dead to serve on in undeath, as my fellows discovered too late.  I can hear the death rattles of my companions as their unholy wounds take their final toll.  Soon they will arise as more than the untended dead, they will be her creatures… her will shall fire them.  I take solace only in the fact that we found this forgotten hole and we shall be sealed in here and unable to roam freely.  Now I shall partake of Soleth’s Mercy, and trust that he shall grant me peace.  Pray for us.

They couldn’t get out of there fast enough… and shut the door behind them.

They remembered from last session that they needed to head south and east, so off they went.  After about ten minutes they come to a point where there are two southern tunnels.  Milo’s divination spell had come to an end…

Thingerlun: “Hey Grub, which way to where they’re keeping the townfolk?”

Grub: “Fresh food’s that way boss.” Pointing to the tunnel on their left.

Hearn: “What are you talking about, fresh food?  Those are people!”

Grub: “So?  They still taste good whatever you call’em.”

They head out and quickly see that at there is a door in the southern wall as the tunnel continues east again.  Grub tells them that that is the door they need to open.  Bob moves forward checking for traps, finding none he examines the door more closely and sees that it has a poison needle trap:  2 points of luck burn later he managed to avoid the needle.  Showing his resolve, he stays there and listens at the door and hears some shuffling and moaning and the general sounds of people in misery.  Then faintly he hears someone singing weakly; it is weak but otherwise flawless.

Bob: “Oh man, that’s way too creepy!  I’m outa here…”  And made his way back to the rear of the party, telling them what he heard.

With an exasperated sigh, Hearn went over and carefully opened the door.  The room was about 20ft wide and maybe twice that in length with eight cells carved into the walls.  The ones alone the long walls were about 7ft by 7ft and stuffed with 4-6 people; the one on the opposite wall was 15ft long and covered with a couple of stretched ox hides.  They were closed off by rusty bars, and at the far end of the room there was a console with nine levers on it; the type where you have to squeeze the clutch lever to make them move.  There was suffering to be dealt with, but Hearn knew better than to just walk in there.  “Hey Bob? Is it safe to go in there?”

Bob: “Ya, the door’s safe.  I checked it.”

Hearn: “I know that, but what about the room on the other side?”

Bob (sighs): “Fine.”  He walks over and starts to go through his routine.  20 minutes later he declares the room clear of traps.  Some of the cells are full of townfolk that have died and reanimated, the rest were full of weak and starving townfolk; too weary to rejoice at their deliverance.  She then positions herself near the door but between the first two cells and invokes the power of her Goddess to turn the unholy.  The 4 in the first cell stampeded each other to get to the back of their cell and 2 of the undead in the 8th cell turned to dust.
From there, she goes to where she thought the singing was coming from only to find a cell with only one occupant who appeared to be unconscious.  This cell has a single occupant he is naked and on his stomach, face turned away.  The man has a birthmark on his butt that looks just like the one on Ffwylldyr.  She knows this from the very first time they met the bard, when the checked him for injuries after they found him in the closet.

Bob goes over to the hides on the wall and after checking twice for traps manages to work up the courage to look behind the hides, but  as he gets close enough to try, he is aware of the smell of thistles and open fields.  Three tries later he called Dwight over to try and free the hides.  Two more tries later, and Thingerlun finally goes over and yanks them down.  That is when the meet Thistle the Thorne.  The Thorne are a race of sentient plants that none of the party have ever seen or heard of before.  It is withered, brown, and most of the color has faded from his purple crest.  They thought it was dead until it responds to the light of Ormazd as Milo gets closer.

“Ormazd be praised!!” it cries out feebly {Because all plants worship the sun… naturally. }

It seems to lose consciousness after that and Hearn hasn’t got a clue how to heal it; so she hoses it down with her oversized water-skin through the bars and keeps Milo standing close.  They question the inmates, a bit to find out that they’ve been kept alive as playthings for the Inquisitor.  They only know one thing about the levers: the one farthest from the door opens the first cell on the right as they enter the room. The players designate that lever and cell as #1.  Bob pulls it and the door opens, allowing Milo to destroy those 4 skeletons with the power of the Sun God to burn away the unclean dead.  Then Bob confidently pulls levers 2 & 3 releasing those captives: total of 8.  This normally paranoid wall flower then skips to #5; which he figures will open the large cell, but it was the one right behind him instead.  This let 4 zombies out of their cell.  Dwight and Tym had drifted into the room by then and sprang into action.  Tym won the initiative again and charged into the action, leading with his attempt to hack through two at once.  Still no dice, but he did manage to hit it for some damage.  Dwight destroys one, Bob got a ‘1’ on his initiative, so I figured he was so engrossed in the ‘lever problem’ that he didn’t even notice what was going on behind him.  Hearn was next up and got a ‘20’ when she invoked Elyr to lay the dead to rest.  The beam of light she generated hit Dwight, so I gave him 1 die of healing, but she managed to obliterate the remaining dead from the rest of the room.

Bob blithely pulls Lever #4 and lets four more people out of their cell; now there are Four levers left for three cells.  Bob is starting to hesitate a bit with the levers, but still doesn’t think to check for traps as he pulls #7 and it goes nowhere.  Fortunately for him he still had a few points of luck to spare, otherwise he’d have lost his hand as a blade scythed passed the lever from somewhere inside the console.  Figuring the trap was sprung, he went to #8 and pulled it, but they were all puzzled when the cell to the left of the entrance opened.  Still unwilling to admit fear, he pulls lever #9 and it stick in place as a clamping device springs out of the console and tries to grab his hand.  A couple of luck points later and he managed to avoid this one as well.  Then he figures the two trapped levers needed to be pulled at the same time; and he was correct.  There are two doors for this cell and the rumbling of their mechanism rouses the plant from its torpor.

In a barely audible voice, he says; “I’m Thistle Thorneblood, keeper of the community of Fariweather and I failed to protect them.  The reapers came in the night and murdered everyone they could find.  I ran away to my shame, but I am its guardian and must keep it safe.  He must not get hold of it.” It pauses for a moment then continues, “I have run my course for many months, striving hard to reach the Temple of the lasting Sun.  Where the Silver is mined; but autumn is short in the mountains and winters bite debilitated me so greatly that I was easy prey for these loathsome creatures.”  In a burst of energy, it tears open its chest and grabs a large topaz roughly the diameter of a large hand.

Thrusting it out to Milo, and in a pleading voice he says, “Take the Eye of Night.  I am its keeper, but I cannot bear its weight any longer.  It will be the doom of us all should Skullshank find it.”

Things that happen as he takes hold of the gem:
  1. Thistle dies as the last of his life is expended to deliver his final words.
  2. Milo’s aura brightens to the point that everyone must look away and floats into the air.
  3. The voice of Ormazd issues from Milo, full of the warmth of a fresh spring afternoon with the following Prophesy.
In the time of madness, when Dread Moon and Silver burn the mind,
Then our brightest hope shall we find.

The suns bright orb along winding course it runs,
Scrabbling through the muck until darkness comes.

Wilted flower in vile darkness the suns fruit shall bear,
To the ones who for the world still care.
Only then dream of hope, shall we dare.

If all is lost, and hope doth not the bright future make,
The Great Enemy shall the Rod of Heaven take,
To slay the Great Lovers and the world unmake.
Love is lost and Void’s rage unbound;
Darkness covers all, and tears abound,
When Daenthar’s beard is shorn.
The gears will turn ‘round,
As new hope is found,
When the Golden Child is reborn.


The parts in bold are taught to all clerics of Ormazd, as they are from the only known fragment of the great book of prophesy set down by -Al Hajduk the mad, in -644DC.  They are concerned with finding another copy in order to hear the entire piece.  They know that the line ‘Great lovers’ refers to Ormazd and Lady Shul, the Moon Dragon.  Anything that concerns the slaying of their deity and his greatest love is terrifying to them.  Not knowing how or why is equally vexing, and their Lord refuses to speak to them on the matter; charging them with the task of wandering until they find their answers in the proper course of time.  As to the rest of the snippets of information that they do have, they have had no luck in deciphering anything else.

When things return to normal, they set about eagerly discussing it for a moment or two and then they realize that they haven’t released the last prisoner, so they correct that oversight.  As they resume pondering how all of this could be interpreted, they realize that Daenthar is the God of the Dwarves, and no one really wants to think about trying to separate him from his whiskers.  They also realize that Skullshank must be that same wizard they saw in their vision, and that the first part of the prophesy must be referring to them.  As they struggle with the deeper meanings of this new information, Hearn is tending to the last person who is gaining consciousness again.

Dwight; “Hey! Why are we struggling to work this out?  Where’s Ffwylldyr gone off to?”  As he starts to head back for the hallway.

The rest of the party was still clustered loosely near the console with the last guy they let out.  From the floor at their feet they hear a croaking, much strained voice say, “I’m hear.”

DM: “Everybody rolls initiative.”

Thingerlun is the one who won the initiative and decided to Invoke the name of Aristimis the Battle Maiden.  He wanted it to be a general call for aid, rather than looking for a specific result on the table I wrote.  {he got a 15, and in Her eyes Thingerlun is much improved of late; so She decides to make a tactical move, and invigorates the true Ffwylldyr.  The other thing that casting this spell does for him, is that for the next 4 rounds he has a +4 bonus to casting from his intense psychic focus}

Throwing all his remaining strength into it, Ffwylldyr pulls himself up using the bars of the cell and with a trembling hand points to the bard out in the hallway and in a cracked and parched voice says; “Stelithex, defend thyself!” Then he collapses to the floor again.  The other bard, who is even now starting to strum the opening chords of Sydar’s Square Dance, suddenly finds himself dealing with an angry instrument.  The neck and tuning head of the mandolin have transformed themselves into the likeness of a serpent; with drops of varnish dripping from its fangs.  He disappears around the corner wrestling with the instrument and trying to avoid being struck.

Tym rushed forward in time to see him fading into the dark ranting about not letting them interfere with the ritual.  The last thing he sees is the fleeing bard stepping on something on the floor.  In the distance there is the sound of something large rolling their way.  He lets them know what he saw, but then turns to the peasants and has them scoot back to avoid getting hurt.  Pat and Dwight hastily start chattering out some kind of plan with each other, then she takes off running and tries to follow the imposter, hoping to dodge past the boulder.  She failed, and was unwilling to burn that much luck.  Pat got 10 points of damage and a crushed leg when the boulder hit the wall and caused a minor cave-in that separated her from the rest of the party.  She sees the mandolin, still frozen mid-strike, and grabs it with the intent to smash it to pieces, but it begins to writhe as soon as she touches it so she backs off.

Everyone else rushes forward to investigate the blockage and finds that it is still passable, but only one person at a time may scrabble over the debris pile.  Bob is intent on chasing the villain down, convincing everyone that they had to find out what this ritual is all about, but Hearn reminds him that they now have the 13 refugees to look after.  {She was tending to their wounds and distributing food as she reminded him} before any real resolution on what to do could be worked out, Thingerlun strode forward and attempts to invert the casting of his Enlarge Spell.  {with a +9 to casting, the need to use a D16  wasn’t an issue}  He surmised that since there was room to clamber over the top, the roof must be fairly stable, so he “reduced” the size of the pile of rubble.  {fortunately for them the tunnel made its save}  Bob goes running down the hall trying to figure out which way the imposter had fled, but it had been too long, and he doesn’t know how to track.  Hearn went swooping in to check on Pat and seeing how grave the situation was, she opted to experiment. 

Hearn was able to restore Pat to full health.

Bob: “Hey Pat, do you think you could track him down?”

Pat: “Sure, he went that way.” The two of them set off running.  Neither of them were too concerned with traps, and Pat made her next two tracking rolls.  They figured they could follow in his footsteps… literally, and be reasonably safe.  They still stopped at one point to check for traps anyway, just because they were getting too nervous about the growing distance between them and the rest of the party.  The direction that they had gone was leading them closer to the temple of the Rat Gods, because the shrill sounds of their ceremony were too loud to ignore.  Neither could they ignore the ever increasing stench being brought to them on the strongest current of air they had felt since they climbed the spiral staircase.

Bob: “We should go back and get the others, that sound’s big and nasty.”

Pat: “But… Outside…” stomping her foot petulantly.

Bob: “Later! We need to get everyone over here and see if we can stop that ritual.”

Pat: “Fine.”

There was some quick debate over what to do with the refugees.  Hearn decides to try her best with sanctuary, hoping for a grand result, but only succeeded in affecting herself.  Unduaunted, she then called upon Elyr for aid.  Hearn informs everyone that so long as they abide by the peace of Elyr, they will come to no harm so long as they remain in the room with her; if they leave the room, they are no longer affected.  She knows that the spell is solid for the next 7 days, but Dwight stays with her as everyone else sets off to crash a church social…

30 minutes later the party find themselves facing a decision… Pat fails her tracking roll, so she can’t tell them where the imposter bard went, there is a great stench down one tunnel which they figure could be the place of the ritual: these Gods being so into filth and such.  Or, the noisy corridor could be the ritual they need to interrupt; but in the end, the air flow, plus the smell leads them to the conclusion that this is probably just an open air sewer for the tribe.  They follow the noisy tunnel until they find the source of the sound behind a stout door on the west side of the north-south hallway.  Bob just checks it for traps and tests it lightly to see if it has been locked or bared.  To everyone’s surprise, it is neither and opens inward.  Thingerlun decides to try the sleep spell trick again, he signals Bob to slam the door open real fast.  The sight of what was on the other side of the door was not something they expected. 

This room, used to be a secondary smelting room, and there was a 15ft diameter crucible in the floor at least 20ft from them on the opposite side of this rather large room.  Its fires are stoked and the evil clerics have co-opted it to brew a large quantity of some malevolent potion.  In either corner of the room and flanking the crucible were matching statues in granite, each positioned so its ruby eyes set in a lidless glare at the door.  At the base of each statue is an altar stained with vile ichor and a wear-rat in hybrid form chittering and squealing to some kind of odd rhythm.  The party has opened the door just in time to see one of them turn and with a triumphant exuberance tosses Balinor’s head into the bubbling brew.  An instant later potion starts to froth and boil.  There is a double row of wear-rats in armor facing the door, and they have orders to kill anyone or anything that comes through that door: nothing is to be allowed to interfere with the ritual. {total of 7 wear-rats, one has 3HD, the rest have 2HD; clerics are 3HD each} 

Thingerlun only managed to affect one target, so he chose the cleric on the left, but it made its willpower save.  Milo tries to understand the nature of the ritual, but all she can determine is that they are 99% complete; based on the nature of the reaction.  Bob was next up and he managed to bury his magic dagger into the same cleric an instant later.  Tym is next up and his PC is at the back of the group, but he has enough movement to enter the room and engage with one of the wear-rats.  He switched to just trying to hit one target, but failed to kill it.  Pat was next into the room, her attack managed to drop one of the wear-rats.  Then it was the Rats turn to do some damage.  Thingerlun had backed out of the doorway after casting the spell, so that left Tym, Bob, and Pat clustered around the door to take the brunt of the assault.  Only minor damage for Pat, and the clerics are still screaming at a frenzied pace tying to complete their ritual.

Thingerlun: “Milo, do you have any holy water?

Milo (after furiously searching through the inventory, manages to find 1 flask) hands it over.

Thingerlun: “Grub, I have a job for you.”

Grub (cowering and drooping his ears a bit): “Um… whats youse wan me to do?”

Thingerlun: “I need you to take this,” hands him the flask, “and dump this into that cauldron in there; think you can do it?”

Grub reveals himself as a wear-rat by shifting into hybrid form. “Sure,” grabs the flask, “I much faster now.” Then he takes off running into the room, dodging behind Tym and trying to circle clockwise around the room.

Bob holds his hand up and his dagger appears, clean and fresh for another throw; but he decides to try and take advantage of the fact that the clerics still seem to be casting.  He sneaks passed Pat and into the room, but his attack fails to hit as the gyrations of the ritual movements carry the evil cleric out of harm’s way.  Tym managed to drop his injured wear-rat, he has abandoned finesse and is hacking away for his survival, and Pat drops another one, clearing more room for others to enter.

The rats hit Grub with a couple of attacks; but their weapons are neither silver, nor magic, so they do little to slow him down.  Tym avoids getting hit, but Pat gets hit for a fair bit of damage and the remaining wear-rats move in closer to the door.  The clerics continue their chanting.  Thingerlun tries his sleep spell again, but it fails so he backs out into the hallway.  The only spell he has left for the day is Enlarge, the rest are spent & Invoke Patron is a 1/week deal.  So he fades into the background, but Grub manages to squeeze behind the statue and get to the make-shift cauldron and successfully tossed the holy water into the mixture…    The brew simply turned a horrible shade of pink. 

Milo calls upon the power of Ormazd to heal Pat for a few hit points. Bob manages to wound the second cleric, but not nearly as badly as he could have…  The ritual was over, and the rat had turned to face him.  Tym guts another wear-rat and turns to see Pat miss her attack.  The two wear-rats that had been after Grub turned on Tym and scoring terrible wounds upon him.  {I rolled a 20 for each attack…  fortunately for Tym, I’ve just been using ‘x2’ damage for monster critical hits, but it still cost him 20hp between the two hits.  By the end of the round he only had 2 HP left} The cleric that was subjected to Bob’s first attack heals himself, the other one summons up 2 rat swarms. 

Thingerlun continues to hang back, but Grub (lacking any further instructions) gives in to his inner nature and just scurries to the space behind the statue to hide.  Milo invokes the power of the Sun God again and manages to heal Tym significantly, but he still bares grave wounds from this battle.  Bob attacks again, but misses his foe.  Pat seriously wounds another wear-rat, but then the tide of battle turns in favor of the rats.  Pat is swarmed by rats and fails her fortitude save against disease.  The other, larger swarm heads towards Tym.  The rest of the wear-rat attacks missed, but the second cleric summons up another rat swarm.

{Game clock suspended at 2:10pm; 02/18/3200:  We only had a few minutes left before closing.}