Thursday, November 14, 2019

Ratpack – Session 02

[The ratfolk adventurers further explore the siege castle.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened November 4, 2019.]

Player Characters:
Marativy – female ratfolk 1st level Ninja
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 1st level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 1st level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 1st level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Missed the Session:
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger


Day 1
Noon-ish
Having explored as much of the first floor as they could the ratfolk adventurers discussed how they wanted to approach the second floor of the ruins.  The options were to climb the rubble in the east wing to the remains of the second floor and open one of the two doors they saw there or use a rope and grappling hook to climb up to the second-floor landing in the broken stairwell.  After the majority of the group admitted they were terrible at climbing, the safest route was chosen.

The pack of ratfolk exited the castle and started clambering on the rubble of the east wing.  Marativy [a good climber] climbed up to the second floor.  She tied climbing knots in a rope and secured it with a piton.  This allowed the others to climb up, although it took Templeton two tries.  [We had the worst luck with the rolls.  Our target number was a 5 on a d20; my character, Roscuro, barely made that and Templeton rolled a natural 1 on his first attempt.  Eventually our dice warmed up, but it was a rough start.]

Marativy and Roscuro examined the door to the south wing.  While they were doing this, Templeton summoned his eidolon, merging with it into a foo dog synthesis.  The door was in good shape.  Zitch cast detect magic on it and determined it had some preservative magic on it.  Marativy picked the lock and opened the door.

The room beyond took up the entire second floor of the octangular south wing.  It looked empty, with dust covering the floor, but Templeton and Roscuro noticed some faint footprints in the dust near the door to the west wing.  The group cautiously entered the room and took a closer look at the tracks.  The tracks entered the room from the door to the west wing, went over to the west wall of this room, meandered a bit, and then returned to the door.  Zitch was able to identify the tracks as belonging to a troglodyte, known to be hostile and with a stench that was debilitating.  Zitch also suspected the tracks were about a week old, which was before the earthquake broke the east wing of the siege castle and provided common entrance.  As a group the ratfolk searched the west wall and found a concealed switch.  They chose not to do anything with it.

The rats went over to the door to the western wing and Marativy and Roscuro listened.  Roscuro heard the sounds of movement on the other side.  He did a dreadful job trying to pantomime the information to Marativy, but she understood him anyway [I rolled terrible on Perform but she rolled a natural 20 on Sense Motive].  Roscuro readied his light crossbow.

Marativy stealthily opened the door just enough so she and Roscuro could see through.  They saw three troglodytes standing by a mostly empty weapon rack on the far west wall.  They were looking directly at the door but had not noticed it was open slightly yet.  Roscuro placed his crossbow to the opening, took aim, and fired at one of the troglodytes.  He missed entirely, the bolt clattering against the wall behind them.  The trogs, being a bit slow, all turned to look what the noise was behind them.  Then the stench finally reached the ratfolk and Marativy and Roscuro were both sickened by it.

Marativy and Templeton entered the room and attacked the trogs while Roscuro attempted to shoot the third trog from the door.  Zitch cast her evil eye upon the various trogs during the fight.  After three missed, Roscuro gave up trying to shoot the trogs and charged into the room to attack with flurries of blows.  This was more effective, but Templeton’s claw attacks caused two of the trogs to bleed out and die.  Marativy and Roscuro teamed up to take out the last troglodyte.

Zitch set about healing the wounded as best he could, using up the last of his healing magic for the day [the trogs had been tough].  The group looked around the room.  There were two other weapon racks, all three having shields on display above them.  This room was clearly an armory, but all of the swords and most of the shields were worthless due to the ravages of time.  Only one light shield was even repairable and that only because it was a masterworked shield.  It went into the loot sack for later restoration.  Gradually Marativy and Roscuro got over being sickened by the trog stench.

There were two exits from this room, a door to the north wing and a door to the central stairwell.  The group opened the door to the stairwell to verify what was expected was there.  The door opened onto the lip of a landing, the stairs up and the stairs down collapsed to just below the first floor.  The door itself was in good condition and could be locked.  Roscuro pointed out that if the group needed to, they could hold up in one of these rooms fairly safely.

After closing the door to the stairwell, the group went over to the last door and listened.  They could hear something on the other side scratching at the door.  Based on some electric shocks he received while listening [and rolling a natural 20 on the skill check], Zitch suspected a shocker lizard was on the other side and wanted in.  Dubious of releasing a shocker lizard but wanting to explore the room it was in, the group made a plan.  They opened the door to the stairwell, they all retreated as far as they could from the door to the north wing, and Templeton used mage hand to open the door.  The hope was that the lizard was trapped and just looking for an exit.

Templeton used mage hand to open the door to the north tower.  The creature on the other side of the door was indeed a shocker lizard.  It started wandering towards the group of ratfolk.  Roscuro shouted, “No!” at it and the lizard stopped moving.  Templeton used his mage hand to move some food over by the lizard and then to the door to the stairwell.  The lizard looked at the food but did not follow it.  Roscuro yelled at it to “get the food” and then it went and ate the food.

While the shocker lizard was eating the food, the ratfolk sidled around it to the door to the north tower.  The north tower room was full of junk that had clearly been searched/looted long ago.  Marativy examined the door to the ruined east tower.  It was in good condition and lockable.

When the ratfolk returned to the armory [the west tower], they found that the shocker lizard had wandered off.  They closed and locked the “outer” doors [those leading to the ruined east tower] and locked them.  They then took their time throwing a grappling hook with the knotted rope up to the 3rd floor landing in the stairwell until it was solidly anchored [we took 20].  They then climbed up to the 3rd floor landing.  The door was locked and Marativy failed to pick it after several tries.  With no way forward, the ratfolk decided to go upstairs to the fourth floor.

[To clarify: the spiral stairs below the third-floor landing had collapsed.  The stairs at and above the third floor still existed and seemed to be sturdy or at least “sturdy enough”.]

There was a door at the fourth-floor landing.  Marativy and Roscuro listened at the door and heard snoring on the other side.  The ratfolk prepped their weapons and Marativy attempted to stealthily open the door.  It creaked.  Loudly.  On the other side were two sleeping troglodytes and two awake and aware troglodytes staring at the doorway.  Inured to the stench, Marativy and Roscuro were not nauseated by it [we both made our saves].

Marativy quickly stalked into the room to one of the sleeping troglodytes and, while the other two watched, cut its head off [she rolled a crit on the sleeping trog and killed it in one blow].  The first awake trog, realizing the ratfolk were not there to parlay, bolted to the door to the north tower, opened it, and yelled, “Intruders!”  Zitch cast Evil Eye on the second awake troglodyte.  That worthy threw a javelin at Marativy, but missed.  Templeton entered the room and and swung wide at the yelling troglodyte, failing to connect.  Roscuro, bringing up the rear, walked over to the last sleeping troglodyte and shot it with his crossbow.  The deeply sleeping trog kept snoring [it rolled a natural 1 to wake up, so even with the noise and being shot, it kept sleeping].  Over the next two rounds the ratfolk killed the yeller and the sleeper [the sleeper did NOT awaken] and Marativy and Roscuro were set to double-team the last living troglodyte.

Then the reinforcements arrived.

Three more troglodytes came through the door from the north tower and a single but larger troglodyte entered through the south door.  At this point the fight started in earnest.  Marativy killed the last of the original trogs.  Templeton held the three at the north door, but had to step back once and cast mage armor on himself.  The bleed effect from his claws helped tremendously during the fight.  After trading blows with Marativy and Roscuro, the trog boss got a solid hit in on Roscuro and sent the ratfolk to 0 hit points.  Roscuro was forced to crawl back to avoid a killing blow, but this left Marativy fighting without the swarming ability.  Luckily, her final attack was a critical hit and did enough to kill the boss trog.  By this time Templeton had killed the other three reinforcements through a mixture of bites, claws, and bleeds.

All the ratfolk were wounded and Zitch started healing them as best he could.  Roscuro drank one of the two healing potions provided by their patron and it healed him completely [rolled maximum on the healing for it – good stuff!].  The ratfolk closed and spiked the door to the stairs so they would not be disturbed.  At this point a voice from the south room called out in Common.  Roscuro talked with the voice while all the ratfolk looted the troglodyte barracks.  The speaker was a prisoner of the troglodytes and was wondering if the people he was speaking to would rescue him.  The ratfolk found 100 silver coin worth of trinkets among the troglodytes and a key on the boss trog.  Marativy claimed the key, but all the trinkets went into the loot sack.

Finished looting the barracks, the ratfolk investigated the southern room.  There they found a human chained to a wall, some troglodyte torture implements, and a chest.  Roscuro talked with the human while the others investigated the room.  The human introduced himself as Balenar Forsend of the Pathfinder Society.  He was in the vicinity when the earthquake happened and cracked open the siege castle.  The troglodytes captured him while he was exploring.

In the meantime, Marativy attempted to pick the lock on the chest and failed.  Frustrated, she tried the key taken from the boss troglodyte.  It worked and the chest opened.  Hearing the chest opening, Balenar asked if he could be freed and his possessions be returned [ratfolk have darkvision, so we were not using any light sources and Balenar was blind in the darkness].  He offered unspecified rewards and an introduction to the Pathfinder Society if the group would free him and escort him back to Magnimar, which sounded reasonably fair to the ratfolk.  Marativy used the key to unlock the chains and Balenar and Roscuro shook hands on the deal.

Balenar asked for his pathfinder [a wayfinding tool] and activated a light function on it, illuminating the room.  He let out a startled shriek when he saw the four ratfolk standing there and then immediately apologized for doing so.  While putting his gear back on, he asked how many troglodytes the group of ratfolk had killed.  After some quick counting on the ratfolk’s part, he told us there was a spell-casting troglodyte still unaccounted for.

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[There is a lot of things moving around inside of a castle that was supposedly sealed up for hundreds of years.  I’m just saying.  I’m curious to see if there is any explanation as to how the troglodytes got into the tower when it was sealed.]

[Sorry this is late – for some reason it took extra mental effort to sit down and write this one up.]


Ratpack
Session 01


Session 03 [Not Written Yet]


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Ratpack – Session 01

[A group of ratfolk adventurers decide to act on a rumors of a recently opened adventure site.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened October 28, 2019.]

Player Characters:
Marativy – female ratfolk 1st level Ninja
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 1st level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 1st level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 1st level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger


Day 1
Having all heard rumors that a formerly sealed siege castle near Magnimar was cracked open by a recent earthquake, a pack of ratfolk banded together to go explore and loot it before anyone else took the good stuff.  While walking along the road towards the siege castle, the group observed a fancy carriage flanked by two guards on horseback heading in their direction.  Seeing an opportunity to speed up their travel, Roscuro suggested the group try and hitch a ride.  Marativy opined that she did not believe the person in the carriage would agree to that.  “I wasn’t planning on asking,” was Roscuro’s response.

The group concealed themselves in some bushes and waited for the carriage to pass them.  As it did so, the ran out behind it and quietly climbed aboard the empty luggage rack in the back.

Except Roscuro, who managed to get his tail run over by one of the wheels of the carriage. [I rolled a natural 1 on the Acrobatics skill check.  Sadly, this would not be my last 1 of the night.]

Roscuro let out a large yelp involuntarily, alerting not only the passenger in the carriage but his bodyguards as well.  The two guards on horse back slowed their horses and swung around behind the carriage.  The person inside the carriage stuck his head out the side to see what was going on and saw two ratfolk clinging to the back of his carriage.  “What are you doing back there?” he yelled back.

“Abandoning a ship,” Roscuro relied, tenderly holding his tail.

“What ship?”

“The ship of walking all the way to the siege castle.”

At this point Templeton intervened and started doing all the talking.  As it turned out, the carriage rider was Frederik something-or-other [he did not give his last name], a famous collector of some note [at the very least Marativy had heard of him].  He was on his way to the siege castle to personally verify it was actually accessible prior to hiring adventurers to explore it for him.  He offered a deal: he’d hire us to explore the siege castle in exchange for right of first purchase at 250 gold coin of anything of note we found.  We could keep things “not of note” we found, but he’d also like the right to make an offer on any of that we decided to sell.  We agreed and he invited us inside the carriage.  The group of us swung around the sides and into the carriage at various levels of smoothness.  He was surprised to see five of us, not being aware of most of our party, but also liking our odds better.

An hour later we turned off the main road and followed a little used side road that eventually led to the siege castle.  Siege castles are magically-sealed castles located in various places in Golarion.  Most have been abandoned/sealed away for centuries and some rumored to be even older than that.  The magics are strong enough that it takes something unusual to access one, like an earthquake damaging one.

When the carriage came within view of the siege castle in question, the driver stopped it.  The passengers climbed out and looked.  The castle was definitely accessible.  It looked like a cluster of four octagonal towers with each “tower” sharing a wall with its two neighbors.  The lower floors of the eastern tower were heavily damaged, with partial floors still there and the exterior walls fallen to piles of rubble surrounding the first floor.  How the fifth floor was still up was a mystery.  It looked like it should have fallen and still might.

“This is as far as I go,” announce Frederik.  “I’m satisfied you can access the castle.  Find me at the address I gave you when you return to Magnimar.”  He reached into the carriage and pulled two vials out of a travel bag and handed them over to Templeton – they were healing potions..  “Use these if necessary.”  With that he climbed back into the carriage and ordered the driver to turn around and return to Magnimar.

With a shrug the five ratfolk resumed walking.  As they approached the siege castle, Roscuro noticed a small pack of feral dogs sniffing around the ruined east wing.  Not wanting to fight them up close, the ratfolk took cover behind some debris and shot at the dogs.  Winston killed one of the feral dogs and Roscuro, Marativy, and Zitch wounded the other dogs.  The dogs were spooked and ran away.

Templeton wanted to summon his eidolon at this point, which took a minute to complete.  While waiting on him, the others scoped out the ruins.  Most of the walls of the east tower were missing.  The third and fourth floors were only partial floors.  The second and third floors were more complete but also missing most of their internal walls.  The first floor was mostly full of rubble collapsed from the higher floors.  The connecting walls with the north and south towers could be seen.  On the second floor, two closed doors could be seen one door to the north tower and one to the second.  It would take minimal effort to get to them.  Where a similar door to the south tower would be on the first floor was blocked by rubble, but the matching doorway to the north tower was open.  One short discussion later the ratfolk started walking towards the first level open doorway to the north tower.

As the group approached the entrance to the north tower, the ratfolk formed up into a marching order.  Roscuro and Marativy were in front, Templeton in his Foo Dog form was next, Zitch and his familiar after that, and Winston following up in the rear.

At the entrance, the group paused to look into the room beyond.  The entire first floor was a single large chamber.  Everything was covered by a layer of rock dust and there were spider webs all along the ceiling.  While we stood there looking, the spider that created all those webs fired a blob of webbing at Roscuro and Marativy, entrapping them!

Winston hot the giant spider with his pistol while Marativy escaped the webbing and attempted to cut Roscuro free.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t as careful about what was webs and what was tail as Roscuro would have liked and sliced his poor abused tail.  The spider pounced at this point and bit Roscuro, but got a mouth of mostly fur [it rolled minimal damage].  Roscuro resisted the poison that came with the bite.  Zitch cursed the spider with the Evil Eye, which helped Roscuro land a flurry of blows on the spider with his hanbō [a half-sized staff that also doubled as a stout walking stick].  Templeton attacked the webs holding Roscuro, heavily damaging the web but not fully freeing his ally.

Winston reloaded his pistol as fast as he could.  Marativy made use of the ratfolk swarming ability with Roscuro, which allowed her to get in a sneak attack on the spider.  The spider bit Roscuro again, again with minimal effect and Roscuro resisting the additional poison.  Zitch healed Roscuro who was bloodied at this point and needed it.  Roscuro attacked the spider with another flurry of blows, nearly killing the spider.  Templeton removed the last of the webbing holding Roscuro in place.

Pistol reloaded, Winston stepped back from the spider’s reach and shot it, killing it.

While all the ratfolk caught their breath, Marativy asked if anyone knew how to harvest the poison from the spider.  Winston and Zitch were able to harvest the poison by pooling their knowledge.  Once that was done the room was thoroughly searched [we took 20].  The only thing of value we found was a locked jewelry box webbed to a shelf.  After cutting it free, Zitch said he recognized the writing on the box as elven, but he could not read it.  Marativy picked the lock on the box.  Inside was a pendant with gemstones on it.  Zitch verified it was not magical and Marativy assessed it as valuable, but could not estimate an accurate value other than “about 100 gold coin?”

There was a doorway to the west tower in this room.  The group opened approached it and looked into the next room.  This chamber took up the entire first floor of the west tower, but was empty.  There was a door to the south tower that was covered with rubble and a doorway to the central shaft of the castle.  We walked over to that door and discovered the square central shaft was a stairwell.  The stairs up to the second and third floor had collapsed, the top of the rubble was a foot lower than the floor, indicating that stairs down existed under all the rubble.

The ratfolk took their time searching the west tower room and the accessible part of the stairs.  After a thorough search, the only thing of value found was a blob of spider webbing containing bones and detritus wrapped up in a banner that was in surprisingly good condition.  It radiated a faint preservative magic and Zitch said the heraldry on it was the same as a famous hunting lodge from a few centuries ago, the Band of the Phoenix.

The banner went into a loot bag and the ratfolk fell back, burning all the webbing as they went.
End of Session


Rat Whispers
[This campaign is currently filling in for the Delvers Guild campaign until I can get more gate locations written up.  We are playing in Golarion, currently based in the city of Magnimar.  Other GM is running Master of the Fallen Fortress as an intro to the Shattered Star Adventure Path, so he’s moved where the fortress is located.  I’m just going to number the days until Other GM sets out a calendar of some sort for us to follow.]

[The game ran a bit long as the GM wanted us to finish exploring the west tower and the stairs area before we quit.  Next session we’ll have to decide if we are going to try the doors on the second level or attempt to climb up in the collapsed stairs area.]



Ratpack

Session 02


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Status Update

So last game session was a character making session for a hiatus campaign during the hiatus in the previous hiatus campaign from the Barrowmaze campaign hiatus [see the sidebar to download the Barrowmaze Using ACKS Session Notes or here to read through on this blog].  We will be playing through the Shattered Star adventure path using Pathfinder 1E.  I think we will play through the first part of the adventure over the next month or two, possibly 3, until I can get ahead on my adventure writing for the Delvers Guild campaign.  I need to write up the remaining available gate locations and some other stuff before the players get to them and that will take more time than I have on a weekly basis right now.

Did I mention we're all playing Ratfolk?  More on that in later posts.

As we didn't actually play last week and might finish character builds this week (two of the players were missing last week), I didn't want to leave y'all hanging with no posts.  If you'd like something to read in the interim, please try my other blog Adventures in the Green, where I'm chronicling a monthly campaign I'm running while fiddling with the OD&D rules.  I've returned to Dyson's Delve as most of the players in this group were not part of the group that played through it nearly 10 years ago.  Session 1 has been posted in two parts and Session 2, Part 1, should post later this week.

I'm writing my own OD&D clone (called Adventures in the Green, naturally), highlighting the odd aspects of what is actually in the original rules and adding some additional bits that seem like natural fits (like the Fatality Table and the Tampering with Mortality tables from Adventurer, Conqueror, King System).  The first part of what I'm doing is re-organizing the existing rules because, dear lord, they are a mess.  Greyharp's Single Volume Edition [Google it - I'm not certain about the propriety of posting a link directly to it] is helpful here, but I'm also adding some things from the Supplement I and Greyharp only did the three LBB.

Finally, I'm giving serious thought to turning on the Google ads feature on this blog.  I've resisted doing so for a long while, but to be frank, I could use a little extra income right now, even if it is just a trickle.  I'll be investigating the options and controls over the next couple of weeks, but I will likely activate the ads sometime in November.  Let me know if you have any opinions on the subject, especially if you've done the same.  I'd like to hear if there are any pitfalls to avoid.

Later!



Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 16 – Expedition Wrap-up

[The Delvers get the loot from the Pyramid Crypt and make their way back to Aegea so they don’t miss any classes!]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened October 14, 2019.]


Player Characters:
Ricky the Astrologer – human male – has a thirst for knowledge but doesn’t know what he’s searching for, currently studying Astrology at Monarch University
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
Zarek the Red – fox male – a cerebrally-unfettered spell researcher [read: Mad Scientist] turned into a talking fox, studying Natural Philosophy at Monarch University to find a way to become human again
Nick Stalwart – human male – part of the Stalwart family of merchants, studying Mathematics at The Interesting Institute of Profitable People, a college at Monarch University

Non-Player Characters:
Torsten, Fish, Harek – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild
Orm Axethrower – driver of the guild’s over-sized, double-decker vardo


Freysday, October 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
~7:00 PM at gate location 3-2 (Elven Graveyard)
Having taken out the last of the eight skeletons with skulls wreathed in blue flame, most of the Delvers spent some time putting out the flames in the elven cemetery.  The sun had recently set and finding the embers was easy once the flames themselves were under control.  Zarek was still down in the Pyramid Crypt, investigating the entry area to [what he hoped was] the true crypt.  He reported [through the Ear Rings of Communication] the chamber was clear of threats, but the door to the next area was a stone slab.

The Delvers set iron spikes into the floor at the top of the pit the led to the entrance area of the true crypt.  Vorgand tied off the third rope they had used so far on this crypt [the previous two were incinerated the two times the flame spout trap at the entrance to the false crypt had been triggered] and dropped the other end down the pit.  She then climbed down the rope, past the illusionary false floor 30-feet down, and stepped into the entry of the true crypt another ten feet down.  Ricky used his Shadow-Jump spell to teleport down to the crypt entrance while Nick followed Vorgand down the rope.  Clarence and Jala stayed at the surface with the torchbearers.  [Neither player was available, so their characters took background positions this session.]

Zarek and Ricky inspected the stone slab blocking their path forward.  It seemed safe to them so Ricky took the sledge hammer and started breaking the slab.  Vorgand appraised the pots the skeletons had emerged from and pronounced them valuable enough to take as loot.

After 20 minutes of hammering at the slab, Ricky broke through.  The space beyond was a 10-foot square room with intricate geometric patterns on the walls.  In the center of the floor was another round pit.  Looking down they could see the pit descended another 30 feet into a chamber of some sort.  Zarek dropped a piece of stone debris from the door down the pit and observed the stone bounce normally on the floor, indicating it was real and not another illusion.

Yet another rope was secured to an iron spike driven into the door jamb and dropped down the pit.  Zarek floated down first [using his ever-present flight spell] and Vorgand followed on the rope.  When they landed safely, Ricky and Nick followed.

The lower chamber was 20-feet square and the walls were also decorated with the same intricate geometric design, but these designs were painted on with pigment made from crushed gemstones.  The back half of the room contained a stone sarcophagus painted with the same crushed-gemstone pigments.  The top was carved to resemble an elf with an eye patch resting in his final repose.

Vorgand asked Ricky to open the sarcophagus, but the stone lid was too heavy for even his strength alone.  She sheathed her rapier and helped him remove the lid and set it aside with an eye towards removing the crushed gemstone pigment for possible later sale.

Inside the sarcophagus was the remains of an elf.  Next to the corpse was a small, bejeweled jewelry case, a scroll case, and a horn with a cork plug.  On the corpse was a skull-shaped ring, a silvery metal eye patch [later determined to be mithril], and a button that stood out from the ragged clothing for being in pristine condition.  Zarek cast Detect Magic and the button, ring, eye patch, and horn glowed in his sight, indicating they were magical.  The items were carefully removed from the corpse and Vorgand examined them to see if she could work out their use while the group rested.

While Vorgand was examining those, Zarek opened the scroll case and found a vellum scroll that radiated magic.  Ricky inspected the interior of the sarcophagus and located a concealed compartment.  Inside was a small leather pouch.  Inside it were 500 identical gold coins that appeared freshly stamped.  Inspecting one of the coins, Ricky read the High Elven markings on it and determined the elven face on the front was that of Emperor Urbez of the Timeless Mesa.  Ricky had no idea who that was, which suggested that the coins were old enough to be valuable antiques themselves.

Vorgand was unable to identify any of the magic items without any reference books and so they were all packed up in the loot sack.  As the Delvers were preparing to leave, Zarek finally opened the bejeweled jewelry box to see if anything was inside it.  He discovered a pair of Ear Rings of Communication, the very thing the Delvers had been looking for.  [There was a point as the GM where I thought they were going to sell the jewelry box without ever opening it and I was consternated, thinking they’d miss the whole point for this gate location.]  They now had four sets of the ear rings and only needed two more before they could explore the moon base as a group.  [Reminder: The ear rings also provide breathable air for the wearer as a secondary power.]

The Delvers worked their way back to the surface, retrieving their ropes as they went.  Back on the surface the group returned to the gate and passed through it back to the lowest level of the Moon Manor Ruins.  Once everyone was through the gate, the control cubes were set to the Moon Base location and the couch was stashed there to preserve it for the next time the Delvers were back.  The gate was then de-powered by removing the power gem.  The stone control cubes were returned to the pedestal cabinet and the Delvers left the Gate Room.  [One of the Delvers took the power gem with them, but I don’t have a note as to who exactly that was.]  The Delvers then made the trek back to the surface of the Moon Manor Ruins.

Back on the surface they returned to their camp in the old chapel and rested.  They discovered it was well past sunset here, approaching midnight.  As much of the gear and loot was packed into the guild’s over-sized, double-decked vardo for the trip back to town.  Watches were set for the remainder of the night and the expedition settled down to sleep.

Yggsday, October 26th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Before Dawn
The Delvers awoke and packed up the last of their gear before the sun rose.  They paid the torchbearers for the weekend’s work and asked what supplies needed to be brought next week for the camp.  Torsten [the leader of the torchbearers] requested chicken wire for a coop for the chickens to keep them safe, some roofing tiles and nails to repair the chapel ceiling so it wouldn’t drip on the campsite, and some additional fencing timber to enclose the main courtyard.  The goats were about done grazing out the inner courtyard and would need to be moved to the outer courtyard for a while.  Nick took down the list of supplies and then the Delvers climbed aboard the vardo and left.

Just before Noon
The Delvers arrived at Little Wytheford in the vardo and had Orm Axethrower drive it to the Stalwart family warehouse.  Nick arranged with Konrad Moonclub, the Stalwart family chief factor in Little Wytheford, for the storage of the vardo and purchase of the supplies Torsten requested.  The Delvers then hustled over to the Noon ferry back to Aegea City, just making it before the ferry set sail.  Most of the Delvers spent the afternoon-long ferry ride across Dragon Bay to Aegea City snoozing due to the late night.

5:00 PM
The ferry arrived at the docks of Aegea.  They went over to Vorgand’s apartment so she could access her reference books and identify the magic items in the loot bag.  Most of the magic items were apportioned out based on who could use them best or needed them.  Only two of the items were slated for later sale: the Arrow of Rage [+1 OCV in combat, with chance to become enraged and gain some additional bonuses and penalties] and the Bracers of Archery [+1 OCV with bows and crossbows and +2 Range Levels].  The Arrow was deemed to hazardous to keep around and no one used bows or crossbows, so the Bracers were not useful to the group.

7:00 PM
Finished with Guild business for the weekend, the Delvers went to The Library for drinks and some street food for dinner.

End of Session


[First, apologies for the gap in posting.  We missed two sessions of play, first due to me being ill and then half the group being out for multiple reasons, both fun and work related.]

[Second, I am taking a hiatus as the active GM so I can get ahead of the players in my planning.  I came up with the idea for the gate and the control cubes, thinking the PCs would explore all the options off the first cube before adding a second cube to explore off of and sketched out what was at the other end of the six primary gate settings.  They immediately started with the second cube settings.  Sigh.  As my “make stuff up on the fly” is OK, I’ve kept up with them so far, but I’m much better as a GM when I take the time to plan things out.  Therefore the Other GM will run a short intermission using 1st Edition Pathfinder for 4-6 weeks, allowing me to get ahead in my planning and writing for this campaign.  I will be posting session notes from that campaign as an Intermission here.]


Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1
Session B, Character Creation Part 2
Session 01

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13
Session 14
Session 15


Session 17 [Campaign on Writing Hiatus]


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 15 – Fight of the Blue Skeletons

[The Delvers fight for their lives against the guardians of the Pyramid Crypt!]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened September 23, 2019.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dusk Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
Zarek the Red – fox male – a cerebrally-unfettered spell researcher [read: Mad Scientist] turned into a talking fox, studying Natural Philosophy at Monarch University to find a way to become human again
Ricky the Astrologer – human male – has a thirst for knowledge but doesn’t know what he’s searching for, currently studying Astrology at Monarch University
Nick Stalwart – human male – part of the Stalwart family of merchants, studying Mathematics at The Interesting Institute of Profitable People, a college at Monarch University

Non-Player Characters:
Torsten, Fish, Harek – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild


Freysday, October 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
~6:30 PM at gate location 3-2, the Pyramid Crypt
Zarek, down in the True Crypt had just awoken the guardians of the crypt, eight skeletons whose skulls burn with blue flame!  He’s heard of these [Knowledge Skill: Monsters] but also noticed these are human skeletons in an elven graveyard.  He relayed what was happening to Vorgand and Jala via the communication ear rings.  Jala’s response was, “Fly, you fool!”

Zarek turned and fled, flying out the short passage, back up the pit to the surface, and out the entrance passage.  There he conferred with the other Delvers on how to deal with the blue flame skeletons.  While the group talked, several heard the skritch-skritch sounds of the skeletons using their claws to climb the pit.  Zarek gave a quick explanation on all he knew about blue flame skeletons, including their ability to throw their skulls, which would explode on impact and then reform so they could be thrown again.

Before the Delvers had a plan ready, Torsten called out a warning – the skeletons were about to exit the crypt!

Vorgand fearlessly stepped to the entrance of the crypt and performed a perfect Steel Serpent Throw [Martial Throw attack], flinging the lead skeleton back into the crypt.  The flying skeleton knocked over the three behind it and then fell into the pit.  Vorgand could see a blue glow from the pit and called out a warning that more of the skeletons were climbing up.

During the ensuing fight, the Delvers learned that the explosions from the thrown flame skulls was very localized and their magical defenses were high enough to withstand the damage except when the skeletons got a good hit in [rolled high or hit the head or vitals location].  Vorgand was able to keep the skeletons bottled in the crypt entrance.  The other Delvers cast attack spells at the skeletons that did a little more damage than the skeletons could defend against.

As the Delvers gradually wore down and destroyed the skeletons, the last of the skeletons shifted tactics and triggered the flame trap.  Vorgand was caught in the flame spout and knocked unconscious!  The flame spout also finished burning through a tree opposite the entrance to the crypt and it started to fall.  Ricky used his great strength and his axe to bias the falling tree just enough so that it fell to the side of the pyramid crypt and not on it and Vorgand.  The skeletons, now glowing like coals in a fire, advanced out of the pit.

Zarek chose this point to fly down the pit and investigate the false crypt.  He flew past the skeletons and the trigger point of the flame spout.  There he found the false crypt was indeed false, merely a mock-up designed to lure the unwary in and trigger the spout.

Vorgand woke back up in time to fling the skeletons back into the pit.  She had Clarence cast a protection spell on her and stepped into the crypt.  She observed the skeletons climbing back up the pit from the bottom.  She had a plan.  She warned the Delvers she was going to trigger the spout on purpose.  She picked up a piece of…something soot covered…and waited for the last three skeletons to climb above the level of the illusionary floor.  She then threw the soot-covered something at the visible side passage [entrance to the false crypt] and triggered the flame spout!

From Zarek’s view in the false crypt entrance, he saw the soot-covered something land, the power runes flash red, and the flame spout erupt from the runes and blow out and up the pit.  It got a bit warm, but he was otherwise unharmed.  Good to know!

Vorgand stood at the top of the pit, the flames washing over her.  The protective spell held and averted the brunt of the damage and she was able to remain conscious.  She saw the burning remains of the skeletons fall loosely into the pit, below the illusionary floor.  After a few tens of seconds she was satisfied the skeletons were no longer animate.  The rest of the Delvers started putting out fires to avoid burning down the entire forest.

[I wonder if anyone noticed the big fire...]

End of Session

[This session was nothing but the fight.  This is one of the weaknesses of the Hero System – fights take time to play out.  Additionally, both sides were just doing enough damage to get through, but not much more than that.  This made the fight take even longer, going nearly four full turns.]

[Next session will be the looting of the crypt and then the return to Aegea for classes.]


Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1
Session B, Character Creation Part 2
Session 01

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13
Session 14


Session 16 [Not Written Yet]


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 14 – Vines and Pyramid

[The Delvers continue to desecrate…, err, ”explore” the Vine Crypt until sundown.  Being university students they choose to stay up late exploring the Pyramid Tomb after dinner.  It coughs up a surprise!]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened September 16, 2019.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dusk Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
Zarek the Red – fox male – a cerebrally-unfettered spell researcher [read: Mad Scientist] turned into a talking fox, studying Natural Philosophy at Monarch University to find a way to become human again
Ricky the Astrologer – human male – has a thirst for knowledge but doesn’t know what he’s searching for, currently studying Astrology at Monarch University
Nick Stalwart – human male – part of the Stalwart family of merchants, studying Mathematics at The Interesting Institute of Profitable People, a college at Monarch University

Non-Player Characters:
Torsten, Fish, Harek – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild


Freysday, October 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
~1:30 PM at gate location 3-2
After looting the 16 sarcophagi in the first crypt they opened in the elven graveyard, the Delvers took stock of what they had found.

  • Five of the dead had copper coins covering their eyes (10 copper coins total from the Elven Imperium)
  • Three loose gems: a turquoise, a beryl, and a citrine
  • Three potions
  • Four doses worth of an herb
  • A magic whetstone
  • A magic cloak
  • A magic warhammer
  • A magic arrow
  • Magic leather armor

The Delvers took time as a group attempting to identify the magic items.  Zarek’s alchemical lore allowed him to easily identify the three potions: a potion of Wraithform [5 minutes of Desolidification without stop], Oil of Impact [+3 DC with applied weapon for 1 hour], and a potion of Heroism [multiple bonuses for combat for 1 hour]!  He was also able to identify the whetstone as an Enchanted Whetstone that made blades sharpened with it extra accurate [+1 OCV for an hour after 1 Turn of honing].

Clarence was able to identify the herb as Imhassil, a herb good for healing damaged or impaired organs.  Jala and Vorgand went over the other items with their general knowledge of thing valuable [KS: Loot-wise, see notes at the end].  They agreed the cloak was a Cloak of the Bat due to its cut, but neither were certain what it actually does.  Picking up the warhammer immediately provided the person holding it 360 degree vision, which was surprising, and both agreed it seemed to do something else but weren’t certain what.  Neither was able to learn any of the details on the leather armor.  Since the armor was lighter than anything the group was already wearing [meaning they had better protection], it went into the loot bag.

Jala was able to identify the Arrow of Rage.  It provides a combat bonus [+1 OCV] when on ones person, but also provides a 11-/11- Enraged when in combat.  Once enraged the bearer gains additional combat bonuses and penalties versus their target of anger.  No one wanted to carry this item and it was eventually taken back through the gate and sat on the moon couch in the gate room.

Ricky investigated the sarcophagi themselves and found name plates on them.  The names were all in High Elven but none of the family names repeated.  Also, the dates listed referenced different “Year of the Invasion” in a similar way to the Aegean calendar referencing the year of the reign of the current king.  He had no idea what invasion was being referenced, so was uncertain how old these graves were.  He made notes so he could research it later, back at the university.

Jala explained to the other Delvers that she had located another tomb that looked promising.  The Delvers followed her back to the Vine Crypt.  The group squeezed through the gap Jala had earlier cut in the vine wall around the crypt.  Ricky pulled out the sledgehammer and started working on the stone slab covering the entrance.  While he did this, Zarek investigated the area for magic.  He discovered that the vine wall was a result of magic promoting the growth of the vines but also limiting them to the fence.

Once Ricky broke through the stone slab and pushed aside the larger pieces of stone, behind it was a small, cramped chamber with two sarcophagi flanking asset of narrow, steep stairs descending to a lower chamber.  The two sarcophagi are decorated with a weird landscape, showing a forest scene with trees and plants the Delvers have never seen before.  Vorgand wanted to open these two sarcophagi first, so, with Ricky’s help, she opened them, one at a time.  Both held a long dead elf corpse.  Ricky checked the nameplates on the sarcophagi and found they shared a family name, suggesting this crypt was a family crypt.

After throwing a lit torch down the stairs, the Delvers made their way down the narrow, steep stairs to the lower chamber.  The lower chamber had an arched ceiling [it was the first thing the Delvers checked] and the stone walls were carved in bas relief of the strange forest shown on the sarcophagi above ground.  There was also an offering altar in to the north [across the chamber from where the stairs entered].  The altar had a coat of arms carved into it.  The left half held a heraldic griffin rampant, the right two interlinked circles.

The Delvers investigated the chamber – Ricky the east wall, Nick the west wall, and Jala and Clarence the altar.  Vorgand kept watch while Zarek cast detect magic [to no avail].  Ricky’s sharp eyes noticed that a part of the forest scene on the east wall subtly duplicated the heraldry symbol.  Investigating closer, he found it to be the catch for a secret door!  At about the same time, Nick was running his hands across the west wall and found some parts that wiggled.  When Ricky called out his discovery, Nick realized he had found a similar mechanism.

Ricky activated the catch on the east wall, which popped open the secret door.  Beyond it was a short corridor and another small chamber with two sarcophagi in it.  The walls showed more of the strange forest landscape.  Checking the ceiling before entering the chamber, the Delvers noticed a depiction of the sun on the ceiling.  Zarek cast detect magic and Clarence Sense Evil; both came back with negative results.  Opening the sarcophagi, the Delvers found a scroll in one and a wand in the other.  Both detected as magical when Zarek checked.  [Zarek’s Detect Magic is blocked by surfaces, hence his failure to detect the items earlier.]

Very satisfied with their find, the Delvers turned to the western secret door and opened it.  Beyond it was another chamber with two more sarcophagi.  The ceiling in this chamber had a representation of a moon, but not the normal moon seen in the night sky.  Ricky was fairly certain this was a different moon and not just a bad or stylized representation.  He was very puzzled.  Inside the two sarcophagi the delvers found a set of paint jars and a magic staff.  Jala immediately recognized the paint as Aether Paint – when applied to a surface, it made the surface insubstantial for one minute.  There appeared to be 4 uses of the paint available.  Jala was very excited at this!

As the group was leaving the lower chamber, Ricky noticed that the north wall also had the subtle duplication of the coat of arms.  [No one had searched the north wall and Ricky made a PER roll at -4 to notice after he said he was looking around one last time before leaving.]  He called attention to this and the Delvers stopped leaving.  When Ricky opened the secret door, beyond was a third hidden chamber.  The forest scene here was more detailed and the ceiling had gems embedded that seemed to represent the wandering stars in the sky.  Jala nearly pried one out of the ceiling before Vorgand warned they might be trapped.

Inside the sarcophagi, the Delvers found another scroll, a magical fishing net, and some magical partial plate armor that covered the shoulders and the chest.  They took the magical items but left the gems in place [for now] and then returned to the surface.  It was late afternoon and the group was feeling hungry.  The group decided to return to the Moon Manor Ruins to eat a meal and try at identifying the items they had just found.

They returned through the gate and then made their way up to the surface ruins where their camp was.  They were surprised to find that the sun had already set.  While the others worked at getting a fire started and fixing a meal, Vorgand, Jala, and Clarence attempted to identify the magic items and equipment.  They identified the wand as a Wand of Wind, which allows the user to move things around with wind [15 STR TK, uses 1 END per 5 STR, has 100 END].  The partial armor was Plate of Freedom, which allows the wearer to move freely when in water [Environmental Movement: Water].  The fishing net had the same power, but seemed able to do something else that Jala and Vorgand could not work out.  The staff seemed to be clerical in nature, but none of the three could work out what it did.

With two items allowing free movement underwater, the group speculated as to whether or not the magic ear rings they had would allow breathing under water as well as on the moon.  They tested this by having Vorgand going into the lake adjacent to the Moon Manor Ruins and test them.  Luckily, they worked and she was able to breathe under water and not drown.  After Vorgand dried off, the group sat down to dinner in their camp.

During dinner there was discussion as to whether or not they had enough time to investigate one more tomb.  Vorgand was asked what the adventurers did at Barrowmaze.  She replied that undead activity there seemed to increase after the sun set, so they never stayed that long.  At the elven graveyard, they had yet to run into any undead, so it should be safe to explore a little more.  The rest of the Delvers liked this reasoning and agreed to head back.

~7:00 PM, Moon Manor time
Freshly fed and ready for a late night in the elven graveyard, the Delvers returned down to the gate room, reopened the gate to the elven graveyard, and stepped through.  Here the sun was just setting and it was already dark in the thick forest.  The Delvers approached a pyramid-shaped tomb with a low [four-foot tall] entry.  Rick spent 20 minutes with the sledgehammer breaking in.  Beyond was a narrow and low passage the ended in a pit.  The Delvers threw a lit torch into the pit while standing at the entrance and heard it rattle off the walls of the pit for a bit before hitting bottom.

Satisfied, Zarek floated in, holding a torch in his mouth.  When he got to the edge of the pit he looked down.  The shaft went down 30 feet and he could see a side passage exiting the shaft at the bottom on the opposite wall.  What he couldn’t see was the torch the Delvers had just thrown in.  Additionally, the sounds made by the torch falling had suggested a depth of greater than 30 feet.  This made that floor very suspicious.

Zarek floated back out and (after giving the torch back to Fish) relayed what he’d seen.  This suggested some caution and preparation was needed.  A 50-foot rope was tied to Zarek for Vorgand to play out as Zarek went back in.  Clarence and Ricky would follow to the pit edge to observe what happened.  Nick and the torchbearers stood next to Vorgand at the entrance to the tomb so they could hear what was going on.  Jala sat off to one side, listening in through the earrings of communication that Vorgand, she, and Zarek were wearing.  [Ricky had been wearing the third pair but gave them to Zarek so he could talk directly with Vorgand once he got to the bottom.]  Clarence cast his protective spell on Zarek.  Combined with Zarek’s own Stony Skin spell, they felt he would be well protected against anything he found.

Zarek floated down cautiously, once again holding a torch in his mouth.  When he got to the bottom to the pit he stopped before touching the floor.  He looked down the side passage and could see a short corridor leading to a chamber.  Needing to cast a spell, he flung the torch over into the entrance of the side chamber…

…and set off the trap.

Red runes ignited and a huge gout of flame erupted from the side passage, filling the pit and rising up it!  At the top of the pit Clarence and Ricky’s eyes went wide and they both turned and dove for the entrance, nearly bowling over the torchbearers and Vorgand who themselves dived to either side of the entrance as a tongue of flame erupted out of the tomb entrance, lighting nearby plants and a tree on fire!  After a second or two the flame went out.

Vorgand pulled on the rope to get Zarek (or his body) back to the surface and found she now had a 10-foot rope with a burnt end.  She and Jala called out to Zarek through the earrings of communication.  After a short eternity [nearly 20 seconds], Zarek replied with, “Ouch.” 

The flame had been hot and intense [armor-piercing], so the defensive magics had mostly protected Zarek from being burned alive.  The flame had knocked him out and burned off his exposed fur [ears, muzzle, paws, and tail].  Unconscious, he had fallen another 30 feet onto sharp spikes at the bottom of the pit.  Again, the defensive spells had saved him from becoming a vulpine pincushion.  When he awoke, lying at the bottom of the pit, he found the first torch the Delvers had thrown, still lit.  He relayed all this to Vorgand and Jala.

Clarence and Ricky, after taking time to put out the burning plants with Nick, re-entered the pyramid tomb.  The walls were now blackened with soot.  At the top of the pit they looked down and saw the same 30-foot pit, the bottom suspiciously not blackened.  Looking up from the true bottom, Zarek could easily see Ricky and Clarence and their torch at a distance of 60 feet.  The “bottom” of the pit was a one-way illusion!

Zarek called out to Ricky and Clarence and told them to get clear of the entrance, he was going to throw the original torch into the side passage and see if the trap was self-resetting.  They and the rest of the Delvers cleared out from the entrance and gave Zarek the go ahead.  Zarek grabbed the original torch, floated up to a point just under the illusionary floor [where there was no blackening] and flipped the torch up and over, into the entrance of the side passage.

Once again flame erupted out of the side passage, rose up through the pit, and blasted out through the entrance of the pyramid tomb, setting plants and trees on fire.  The flame also provided Zarek enough light to notice two things: the “bottom” of the pit was subtly sculpted to channel the flames upwards only and there was a second side passage below the illusory floor and on the pit wall under the entrance.

Out of light sources once the flame eruption ended, Zarek floated back up to the surface.  Clarence cast a healing spell to heal the burns Zarek had taken from the first flame eruption.  This did not restore Zarek’s missing fur beyond a low fuzz.  Additionally, Zarek’s padded cloth armor was singed all over.

Once the Delvers had put out the burning forest again, Zarek took another torch and floated back into the pyramid crypt.  This time he ignored the first side passage, sank through the illusionary floor, and entered the second side passage.  This passage was only ten feet deep and Zarek stopped before entering the chamber beyond.  That chamber was approximately 20 feet square.  The side walls were lined with fat, round, lidded urns about two feet tall.  There was an ornately-carved stone door on the opposite wall.

Zarek set the torch in his mouth down beside him so he could cast Detect Magic.  This triggered a Magic Mouth on the wall beside him that intoned a command phrase.  The tops of the lidded urns lifted as the skeleton contained in each one stood up and assembled, their skulls burning with a baleful blue flame!

End of Session

[So we borrowed Loot-wise from the Burning Wheel RPG.  It is good for quickly identifying what is valuable and what isn’t and will provide some help at identifying magic items depending on how common the item is.  I usually provide one function of every 2 full points the PC makes the skill check by.  Jala and Vorgand rolled separately for each item they were trying to identify and usually made the roll by 2-3 points.  I think if they had assisted each other they would have done better.  Maybe they will learn some cooperation over time.]

[So the time difference thing is due to the elven graveyard being much further west than the Moon Manor Ruin, like two time zones west, hence the two hour time difference.  The players have worked.  In games, Ricky, being an astrologer, is working this out and it is telling him something he might not have known.  I haven’t decided if humans know their world is round or not.  Magic and the ability to commune with gods makes it possible they already know or at least some know.  As an astrologer, it is entirely possible that Ricky has read something about this already.  Now he has proof.  Perhaps a scholarly paper might come out of it, earning him his degree from the university.  Maybe he’ll keep it secret.  Who knows?]


Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1
Session B, Character Creation Part 2
Session 01

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13


Session 15 [Not Written Yet]