Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 4 – Lump and Shades


[The Delvers finish exploring the upper level of the underground complex.]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened June 17, 2019.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dust Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
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
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
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, Kol – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild
Lester “Les” Stalwart – human male, younger brother of Nick and general tag-along [DNPC]


Freysday, October 11th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
[Resumes underground, ~3:00 PM]
After a short discussion, the Delvers decided to finish exploring the level they are on before descending the stairwell to the lower level or levels of this complex.

The group backtracked to the large oval-shaped room, checking an empty side room along the way.  They went to the far end of the oval-shaped room, which they had not paid much attention to earlier [being distracted by the silver inlay on the magic circle and the body behind the desk].  The hallway out of this end of the room went south and they could see it turned west at the edge of their torchlight.  However, immediately to their left there was an odd configuration of wall in the oval-shaped room.

The wall here was only three feet high and there was a room beyond it.  The weird part was the full sized door with door frame in the middle of the low wall.  Zarek floated over towards it so he could see inside the room.  It was a 20 x 30 foot room with a large oval ring of a table.  There was glass scattered on the floor on the other side of the low wall, suggesting the low wall once had a glass upper half.  In the corner of the room to his right he could see two corpses, plus he saw a third corpse in the far, left-hand corner.

The delvers entered the room to look around.  Jala and Clarence investigated the pair of corpses on the right.  Zarek dropped his Stoney Skin spell to cast Detect Magic and floated around the room looking for magic.  Ricky searched the body over on the left while Vorgand and Nick kept watch.

Clarence was able to determine that the two elves were killed by magical violence, which was not a surprise due to the apparently exploded open glass walls.  Jala found some jewelry still on them, but it appeared that the bodies had been searched previously, long ago.  Zarek found a wand in a holster strapped to the underside of the hollow oval table – he also found a fourth corpse on the floor in the center of the hollow oval table.  That body was also searched.

Having thoroughly searched that room, the Delvers went south to explore the corridor exiting the oval-shaped room there and hopefully circle back to the entrance.  They investigated two open doorways on the left [east] and found they both led to empty rooms.  The turned back a bit to check a closed door on the west side of the hallway.  This door was locked, had no keyhole, but had an odd panel beside the door.  Jala held the keys she had stolen from the cleaning golem to the panel and heard a click from the door – it was now unlocked!  On the other side of the door was the cleanest privy the group had ever seen.  Tile and ceramics were on every surface.  Impressed, but finding no easy loot, they moved on.

As they got closer to the corner, they could see a pile of…something in front of the door that probably led to another corner room.  The pile or lump was about five feet high and eight or so feet square.  It was covered with dust and seemed translucent.  Zarek borrowed a torch from one of the torchbearers and moved to one side of the lump.  Jala, working out what Zarek was doing, moved to the opposite site to see if she could see what was inside the lump.  Not wanting to touch it, she used her dagger to scrape away the layer of dust resting on the lump.  It gave a bit.  Suddenly the entire lump shivered and then attempted to slam Jala against the wall!  Jala noticed its movement just in time and dove out of the way, landing on the floor in the hallway.  The lump [a desiccated gelatinous cube] continued to attack.

During the fight, Clarence failed to cast his Sacred Flame spell twice in a row.  Vorgand tried a lunge and a series of rapid attacks, discovering that the lunge was by far the more successful attack as the series of quick attacks barely injured the thing.  Zarek and Nick both cast lightning spells at it, which healed up the wounds Vorgand had inflicted!  She was not pleased.  Ricky used his Dark Leeching spell on the lump to great effect – great enough that it started attacking him.  Ricky was able to dodge its attacks just long enough for Vorgand and Clarence [who finally got his magic working] to kill it.

Most of the lump's liquefied innards oozed out of the slash marks Vorgand had made and the group could see the glint of metal in what remained inside the hardened shell.  Zarek climbed inside and cast Detect Magic, locating a magic dagger and a pair of magic earrings.  At this point a cleaning golem walked up, carrying a mop, and the Delvers wisely got out of its way.  Zarek floated over to the privy to clean the gooey innards from his paws and fur.

While the golem mopped up [and once Zarek returned, wet but clean], Jala and Vorgand unlocked and opened the door to the corner room.  Vorgand was just taking a breath to remind Jala about the bad air likely to be inside when Jala opened the door and the bad air flooded over Vorgand, who passed out from being unable to breathe.  Zarek quickly floated in and pulled Vorgand all the way down the hallway to the west until he arrived at the entry room, where there was good air.  The rest of the delvers followed [after opening the other closed door in the vestibule] and took a rest while Vorgand recovered and the closed rooms aired out for a bit.  Zarek took a moment to fly back up to the surface to get and idea what time it was and discovered it was later in the afternoon than he thought.

After the rest, the Delvers returned to the corner room they had just opened.  The air was still a bit iffy, but they explored anyway.  They found three elven corpses, two with crossbow bolts to the heart and one next to the crossbow and with a bolt to the throat.  The crossbow detected as magic when Zarek cast Detect Magic, as did the tripped security magic on the desk drawers.  Jala checked the desk drawers to be thorough [and found nothing but ashes], while others relieved the corpses of their jewelry.

Done with the corner room, the Delvers investigated the door across the vestibule.  This led to a set of two rooms connected by an open doorway.  The first room had a couple of desks, but not as fancy as the desks the Delvers had found in the corner rooms.  These had no magical security, but their paper contents had long ago rotted and just touching the papers turned them to slime.

In the adjacent room, the delvers found four corpses lined up against the wall.  Clarence and Ricky investigated the corpses [Ricky for loot and Clarence to determine how they had been killed].  Just as Zarek floated in to check for magic, Ricky and Zarek noticed a shadow moving against the torchlight.  Two of the corpse shadows detached and started attacking Clarence and Ricky!

In the ensuing fight, Clarence was drained heavily by one of the shades.  Ricky was able to avoid the same fate, but at the cost of casting no magic [he kept blowing the magic roll or having to abort to a Dodge].  Nick cast defensive magic and then a rapid-fire lightning attack that obliterated one of the shades [and cost Nick some STUN from the autofire attack using up all his END and then some].  Vorgand pulled the magic dagger from the loot bag and attacked the remaining shade with it.  The other shade was ended by the Delvers before it ended Clarence, but it was a close thing.

After checking a last room [and finding another amazingly clean privy], the Delvers decided that they were done exploring for the day.  They returned to the “commons room” and packed out 10 of the wooden chairs from there, hoping to sell them in Aegea as elven antiques for a profit.

Once on the surface, the Delvers made a deal with the four ex-bandits to wait here for them and keep an eye on the goats and they would pay them for being torchbearers as their exploration continued.  The ex-bandits [somewhat terrified of the capabilities of the Delvers] agreed to this readily.  [The players were going to take the ex-bandits with them to town as guild employees until it was pointed out that the torchbearers had no horses and if they all walked back to Little Wythford, the Delvers would miss the ferry back to Aegea and therefore miss classes the following day.]

While dinner was being made, Jala took an hour to conceal the entrance to the underground area, moving plants and brush to obscure the stone opening.  It was getting dark, but she was satisfied with her efforts.


Yggsday, October 12th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Early in the morning, before the dawn, the Delvers packed up their gear and the antique chairs on their horses and pack animal.  They rode west then south to get around the mountain and back to Little Wythford.

The Delvers wanted to load their chairs directly onto the ferry, but the captain wouldn’t allow it, stating they needed to be in crates and not just loose on deck.  The Delvers didn’t have time to do that and still catch the Noon ferry, so they rented some warehouse space from Nick’s family and stored the chairs in Little Wythford before returning the horses.  They put down a deposit for horses next weekend and then hustled back to the ferry, getting there just in time.

The ride across Dragon Bay was uneventful and the ferry docked at Aegea a little before sundown.  The Delvers made their way to The Library, where they ordered drinks and dinner as celebration of the first successful expedition by the Delvers Guild.  They discussed over dinner what each needed to do during the week [in addition to attending classes and training sessions].  Zarek will research the wands to determine their command words and do some craming on monsters, Ricky will research the magic circles and cram on them, Vorgand and Nick will work out the value of the loot the group secured and ask around about prices on elven antique chairs, and Jala will follow Vorgand and Nick to learn better value evaluation [Trading skill].  Clarence will spend time recovering from the shade attacks.

Additionally, the group decided it was time to start pooling resources for a guild house.  They will keep an eye out for a good location and report back suggestions at the next guild meeting.

End of Session

[So I awarded 2 experience points for this outing and everyone but Clarence’s player donated a point to a group base of operations (the guild house).  Clarence spent his two points on raising his Recovery so he recovers as much END as he spends with his holy armor spell running each turn.]

[I rushed to get the lower level sketched out before the game as I thought the PCs were going to descend, but then they decided to finish the first level.  I knew what I wanted, but hadn’t actually written it out yet due to other projects I have going.  This will give me time to flesh out the lower level and detail the room descriptions better.]


Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1 
Session B, Character Creation Part 2
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03, Part 1
Session 03, Part 2


Session 05 [Not Written Yet]


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 3 – Part 2

[The Delvers continue exploring the underground complex they discovered under the Moon Manor Ruins.]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dust Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Zarek – 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
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
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, Kol – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild
Lester “Les” Stalwart – human male, younger brother of Nick and general tag-along [DNPC]


Freysday, October 11th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
[Resumes where Part 1 stopped]
After their rest, the Delvers Guild returned to the room with the blocked door.  They suspected enough time had passed so the air would be OK, plus they did not want any of the golems to clean up the room before they searched it.  When they stuck a torch in the room it did not dim noticeably, so they started searching the room.  Vorgand started by examining the desks while Jala continued her search for secret doors.  The wooden desk on top was upside-down and the drawers faced the group.  The lower desk was made of a large block of stone and its drawers were on the other side, facing the wall – they would have to rotate it to access them.  Zarek dropped his Stoney Skin spell to cast Detect Magic.  The desks had some, focused on the drawers with a single activation point for all of them.

While they were deciding how to proceed, one of the golems walked up to the room and made a chime when it got to the door.  Clarence was sitting watch at the door and mimicked the chime back.  The golem cocked its head at him, then turned and went back to the golem waiting room across the hall.  The Delvers were pleased with this.

Once Jala was done searching for secret doors [there were none], she picked the locks of the drawers on the wooden desk.  Before she opened the desks, there was discussion about whether the magic would destroy the contents of the drawers and should they try to bypass it or take the bottom off the desk and access the drawers by disassembling them.  They decided to flip the wooden desk right-side up and turn the stone desk around and let Jala try to bypass the magic.

Jala started with the wooden desk.  Working carefully, she attempted to bypass the magic trap on the drawers, only to discover that it had already been triggered.  She opened the drawers and found only cold ashes in them.  Investigating the stone desk, she found the same.  There was discussion about taking the ashes to see if there was a way using magic to reassemble whatever they had been.  Zarek agreed to research it over the next week, adding it to his new list of things he needed to research.  He was somewhat non-plussed about suddenly having homework for his hobby.

Slightly disappointed, the Delvers left the room and went north down the corridor to the recently opened corner room.  This room was opulently decorated…or had been long ago.  The wood paneling on the walls still appeared lush and the pile of the carpet was deep.  There was an ornately carved desk in the back half of the room and sitting in the chair were the desiccated remains of an elf in very fine clothes.  The corpse was missing the top and right side of its head.

The Delvers split up and searched the room.  Zarek checked the desk for magic and found the drawer security magic.  Jala was able to verify it had triggered and when she opened the drawers, there was nothing but cold ash.  Out of habit, Jala rummaged through the ash and found an ivory figurine.  She attempted to pocket the figurine without mentioning it, but Ricky’s eagle-eyes and Zarek [who was nearby] noticed her do it.

Zarek asked out loud what she had found.  At first Jala denied finding anything, but Ricky had seen it was a figurine and when Zarek asked again, Ricky answered.  This brought Vorgand and Clarence over.  Vorgand asked for an explanation and Jala claimed she wanted to clean it and the elf ear rings before she turned them over.

Vorgand patiently explained that that was not how adventurers did things and discussion followed.  Jala, chastened, turned over the figurine and the ear rings, still on the elf ears.  Vorgand carefully removed the ear rings from the ears and put the ear rings and the figurine into the loot sack.  Nick took one of the ears and attempted to place it on the side of the elf corpses head missing its ear, but the ear fell into the skull.  He then stuck a shim into the head and tied the ear to it with some twine.  The elf corpse now had two left ears.

Once finished searching the room [and before a cleaning golem arrived], the group searched the room through the door across the vestibule from the corner office door and found another clean and empty room.  They followed the corridor east and found the next room also clean and empty.  This brought them to the end of the corridor and to the larger chamber there.

This chamber was unusual in several ways.  It seemed to be an oval with a flat side arranged diagonal to the grid of hallways behind them.  There was a narrowing corridor ahead with a set of open double doors just inside it, on the left [North] wall.  Off to the right on the far wall was a 20-foot wide, 10-foot deep alcove with something silvery on the floor.  On the immediate right against the right, curved wall [which was the back wall of the “common room”] was a low, curved desk with low doors on either side, partitioning off the area behind it.

The Delvers split up to search the entire area quickly.  Nick kept watch while the others searched.  Zarek and Vorgand investigated the alcove area.  The silvery thing on the floor was a magic circle inlaid with silver, which was on the right side of the alcove.  The left side contained a shallow, smooth, round depression with silver smears around it, which looked ominous.  The existing magic circle looked nearly identical to the one above ground Zarek and Ricky had discovered in the ruins.  Zarek cast Detect Magic to see if the circle was still active, but it was not.  The only magic he detected was the faint background magic he had notice before.

Over at the curved desk, Jala and Clarence discovered a smashed chair with a desiccated elven corpse on it.  Jala and Clarence searched the desk first.  The drawers had moldering paper in them that was indecipherable fragments now, but Jala found a wand strapped under the desktop.  She set it on the desktop for Zarek to inspect, hoping it was still magical [and that it would help the other Delvers overlook her attempt to pocket the figurine earlier], and then checked the elven corpse.  She found a couple of rings as the only valuables and carefully removed them.

By this point Zarek and Vorgand were done at the alcove and came over to the desk.  Zarek cast Detect Magic again and found the wand to be magical…as were a pair of ear rings on the corpse.  He pointed out the ear rings to Jala who looked back and could suddenly see them!  This was very peculiar.  She took the ear rings off the corpse and added them to the loot pile on the desk.

With no immediate indication as to what the ear rings did and no convenient note as to the activation word/phrase for the wand, all went into the loot bag for later study.  The Delvers noticed that the air here was much better in this room than elsewhere in this complex.  Intrigued by this and hoping for another way to the surface, the Delvers decided to search the narrowing hallway that faced their entry point to this chamber.  Standing in front of it, they could just hear the sound of water falling ahead and Zarek noticed more moisture in the air.

The hallway was seven feet wide starting out and just inside it on the left were open double doors that the Delvers looked through.  The doors opened onto a storage room of some sort.  There were broken crates and glass on storage shelves on the north wall.  On the east wall were another set of double doors, but these were closed and opened into the storage room.  The Delvers carefully approached the doors and Ricky pulled the doors open, ready to hold his breath.

Instead of the bad air they were expecting, the air beyond was good to breath.  The room beyond was roughly twelve feet deep and twenty feet wide.  A 10-foot by 10-foot section of the floor on the back-left corner was missing with a clean edge and warning stripes painted on the floor around the square hole.  Curious, the Delvers approached and looked down the hole.  It was a stone shaft that was deeper than their torchlight reached.  Additionally, the shaft was about two feet wider than the missing floor section.  The sound of water could be faintly heard down in the depths.

The Delvers discussed what to do and Jala volunteered to explore the shaft, using her Spiderclimb spell to safely descend.  Ricky suggested tying a rope to Jala “just in case.”  Everyone agreed this was a good idea and Nick, using his experience as a sailor, tied the rope with a solid knot that would hold and not constrict Jala if they had to haul her up with it.  Jala walked down one of the walls for 60 feet before she ran into a lifting structure that was jammed in the shaft, blocking her path down.  Not confident she could get around it and very uncomfortable with having it hanging above her if she did, Jala returned to the top of the shaft and reported her findings.

The Delvers discussed the situation and decided to not force things just yet.  They wanted to find an alternate access to the surface and hoped that the increased air quality meant one was near.  They left the area at the top of the shaft and then exited the storage room.  They turned left and continued east, down the narrowing corridor.

About ten feet further, the corridor narrowed to only five feet wide. Fifteen feet past that, it entered a 15x20 foot stairwell.  The stairs coiled around the outer wall and the center was open down as far as they could see.  In the northeast corner a crack high on the wall let water into the stairwell from somewhere outside.  The water dropped to the stone stairs and then followed a worn course down the stairs, into the darkness.  This was not an exit – it was a path deeper into the ground.

End of Session

[A note on the mapping: one of the PCs has Bump of Direction, which allows him to know which way is north at all times.  With that in mind, sometimes I give descriptions in the cardinal directions (to explain how things are laid out and make mapping less frustrating) but switch to left and right when explaining how things are in a room.  This helps the players get a feel for how things are laid out and where they are in relation to where the PCs are standing.  I need to draw out the more complex rooms as a verbal description would be more confusing than necessary.  It is more import the players understand what their characters can easily see than to force someone to map from my verbal descriptions only.]

[The players had noticed the faint background magic the first time Zarek cast Detect Magic, but I don’t think I mentioned it in the write-up, which is my fault.  The players believe it is what summons the cleaning golems when a mess is made, like when Zarek drops his Stoney Skin spell and a mass of pebbles fall off him.]


Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1 
Session B, Character Creation Part 2
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03, Part 1


Session 04



Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 3 – Part 1

[The Delvers start exploring the underground complex they discovered under the Moon Manor Ruins.]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dust Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Zarek – 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
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
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, Kol – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild
Lester “Les” Stalwart – human male, younger brother of Nick and general tag-along [DNPC]


Freysday, October 11th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Feeling they had completely searched the room they smashed their way into, the Delvers were ready to exit it and explore more of the underground area they had discovered.  As they went to open the door, they clearly heard a key being inserted into the door from the other side!

Jala immediately scrambled and hid behind the desk in the room.  Zarek, with his Stoney Skin spell up [which covered him in pieces of stone], curled up in a corner and attempted to look like a pile of stones.  Clarence and Vorgand drew their swords while Ricky and Nick waited to see what happened.

The door was unlocked and opened by what most of the party thought was an eight-foot tall elf!  Ricky’s sharper eyes realized it was a sculpted clay golem, not an actual overly tall elf.  Ricky share this information with the other Delvers as the golem entered the room and looked around.  It started to approach the debris in the corner from the Delvers forcing their way in via sledgehammer, where Ricky and Clarence were standing.  It paused when it approached them and emitted an almost musical tone.

Not certain what to do, Ricky and Clarence both attempted to replicate the tone back at the golem.  Ricky replicated the tone perfectly, Clarence did not even get close.  The golem cocked its head at Ricky and then stepped around him.  It then repeated the tone.  While Ricky was stepping away, Clarence attempted to replicate the tone again, with slightly better results.  The golem repeated the tone again and waited.  Clarence tried one more time and his third attempt was very credible.  The golem cocked its head at him and then stepped around him and started sweeping up the debris.

Pleased they did not have to fight the golem, the Delvers discussed it having a key and the fact they might need a key later.  This was a slightly subtle way to suggest to Jala that she pick the golem’s pocket and steal its key.  Jala took the hint and walked up to the golem, trying to stay behind it so it would not notice her.  She then looked for the key but was uncertain where the key might be on it.  The other Delvers called out suggestions and eventually Jala found and took the key.  It was unusually heavy.

With the key in their possession, the Delvers looked out the now open door.  It opened to a small vestibule area that it shared with an open door across from it.  The vestibule area was at the corner of two ten-foot corridors, one going north and one east.  The carpeting in the room they were in ended at the doorway and the hallway had smooth stone floors.  Vorgand, who was mapping, could see two open doorways to the north, one on either side of the north hallway.

The Delvers decided to investigate the doorway across the vestibule before trying either hallway.  It opened one an empty room with smooth stone floors.  Ricky looked up at the ceiling and discovered that the ceiling was once covered by frescoes, but only fragments remained attached to the ceiling.  Oddly, none of the fallen parts were on the floor.  The Delvers suspected the golem had cleaned up the debris but could not confirm this.

The Delvers next followed the north hallway.  The first door was on the left and led to another empty room with a second empty room attached to it.  Zarek dropped his Stoney Skin spell so he could cast Detect Magic in the room.  [The rules only allow him to have four spells running at a time (his INT divided by 5) and he had Stoney Skin, Flight, and two delayed Lightning Bolts ready, so he swapped out his Stoney Skin spell for the Detect Magic.]  He detected a faint background magic field over the entire area, but no magic items, spells, or concealed doors.  The others searched for hidden or secret doors, but everyone came up empty.

With that room a dead end, the Delvers investigated the door across the hall.  That doorway there led to a room 15 feet wide by 10 feet deep.  The areas to the left and right of the doorway were broken up into 5x5 areas by low walls.  In three of those 5x5 area were clay golems, similar to the one cleaning up the entry room.  One of those golems had two pale flashing lights hovering in front of its head making alternating faint tones as they flashed on and off.  Not certain what was going on here [and not wanting to provoke the golems], the Delvers returned to the rooms across the hall and took a ten minute rest.

At the end of their rest, a golem showed up at the door and made the chime tone.  This was the golem from across the hall, the one that had two lights flashing in front of it.  The delvers got out of its way and it started sweeping up the rocks from where Zarek dropped his Stoney Skin spell.  The Delvers let it do its thing and left the room.

The Delvers continued down the north corridor.  The next door down was on their left and it was closed.  From there they could see another doorway farther down on the left and a larger doorway on the right.  It appeared that the corridor turned east after that, but their light did not reach quite far enough to reveal that.

Jala examined the closed door and determined it was not locked nor trapped.  Ricky went to open it and it would not budge.  After fiddling with it a bit, the Delvers determined the door was not jammed but heavy things were blocking it on the other side.  Ricky could not push it open by himself, but when Vorgand and he pushed and put their backs into it, they were able to force the door open partially.  Bad air spilled out of the room and Ricky swooned.  Vorgand was able to stay conscious and pull Ricky away from the door.

Clarence checked Ricky and verified he was just unconscious.  He and Zarek hauled Ricky back to the entrance room where there was better air.  Vorgand borrowed a torch from one of the torch bearers [Torsten] and stuck it into the room for light so she could see what was in there.  The torch flame died down and nearly went out but strengthened when she pulled the torch back out.  The Delvers would have to wait for better air to mix into the room before they could safely enter.

Vorgand returned the torch to Torsten and then had him stand in the hallway so its light entered the room.  She then peeked in while holding her breath.  She could see the room had carpet with debris from the fallen ceiling frescoes all over.  The weight blocking the door was a stone desk with an upside-down wooden desk on top of it.  In the near corner she saw three bodies.  Vorgand relayed what she saw in the room to the others and then took a deep breath and holding it before entering the room.

The air in the room was painfully dry and made her eyes water.  Vorgand went over to the bodies with the idea to haul one of them back into the corridor where the air was better.  The parts of the body she grabbed crumbled and came off in her hands, causing dust and powdered corpse to puff out in a cloud around her.  Vorgand was able to avoid sneezing or choking and taking a breath.  She quickly checked the bodies for obvious loot.  She found two rings, a necklace, and a belt pouch that jingled when it moved and took them all.  She then exited the room and coughed and choked for a bit before breathing easily again.

The Delvers discussed continuing down the corridor, but Jala’s desire to see for herself overtook her.  She tied a cloth across her nose and mouth and darted into the room.  She looked over the bodies and noticed a pair of ear rings Vorgand had missed.  When she went to remove them, the ears came with.  In a hurry, Jala tucked the dried elf ears into a belt pouch and then started searching for secret doors.  She could not hold her breath long enough to complete this task and had to stagger out of the room before she fell unconscious.  She did not mention the ears with ear rings she had found to the others.

The Delvers continued down the corridor while they waited for the air in the blocked room to get better.  The next open doorway on the left was to another empty room, but now their torchlight reached all the way to the corner and they could see that the corridor turned right up ahead.

Across the hall was the ten-foot wide doorway into a room with a curved back wall, such that the back right corner was further away than the back left corner.  There were three tables with chairs in a way that reminded the Delvers of the common room of a tavern.  Immediately to the right of the doorway was a black stone cube, roughly 4x4 feet in cross-section and four feet tall.  Behind it on the wall was a set of cabinets that went to the corner and most of the way along the right wall.

The Delvers immediately searched the cabinets but found them empty.  Vorgand examined the black rock cube and found a magic circle of some sort inscribed on the top.  She called over Zarek, but he did not know what kind of magic it was.  He memorized its appearance to study back in Aegea and Vorgand took a rubbing of it.  Then it was time for the adventurers to rest, so they rested in this room.  They also realized the chairs in this room would fetch a good price if sold to the right antiquities dealer back in Aegea.

The group continued down the north corridor.  They were now at the corner and discovered it has a similar vestibule area with two doors.  The door to the corner room was closed and locked, while the door across the vestibule was open.  Jala checked the key she stole from the cleaning golem and it fit.  She turned the key and then quickly stepped away from the door so someone else could open it.

Vorgand stepped up and pushed the door open.  A wave of bad air flowed over her, causing her to choke and sputter until she stepped far enough away to get to better air.  At this point she noticed that the air at this corner was better than at the first corner [allowing for all the bad air that just escaped from the closed door].  Zarek sniffed around and noticed a hint of moisture in the air.  The Delvers made note of this and looked down the eastern corridor from the corner.  The torchlight showed that the corridor went about 20 feet and then opened up into a larger chamber.  It was also time for a rest, so the group returned to the “common room” to rest.

End of Part 1


[This session write-up was starting to get really long, plus I was running late getting it posted, so I decided to cut it into two parts.  Also, due to several players not being available next week, there will be no session.  Rather than have yet another week of no post, making this one into two posts helps bridge that gap and avoids a truly large wall of text this week.  Session 3, Part 2 will post next week and then Session 4 will follow the week after.]

[The 10-minute rests are not required by the Hero System, but I chose to carry them over from ACKS.  They are good for verisimilitude – adventuring is a tiring, stressful activity – plus the air in this dungeon is still very thin from being sealed for so long so the Delvers get tired sooner.  It also helps the players note the passage of time.]


Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1 
Session B, Character Creation Part 2
Session 01
Session 02


Session 03, Part 2 [Still Writing]


Friday, May 31, 2019

No Session Report This Week

Due to the holiday on Monday (our game day) and half the players having family commitments that day, I did not run a session of Delvers Guild.

What I and my wife did was have some other friends over and we continued a campaign of Massive Darkness.  We spent the afternoon and part of the evening playing through the next scenario.  We could have finished sooner, but after stopping the count-down timer on the scenario, we milked the dungeon for all the experience we could.

Massive Darkness is in the same genre of boardgame as Zombicide and plays similarly but has a different experience system that allows more customization of your character.  I enjoy it very much and it scales well with different numbers of players.  We played with 5 players and still felt challenged, even with experienced characters.

That said, I think we are reaching the OP zone with all the loot we have, especially since we may have found a loophole to get multiple artifacts.  [It involves emptying the Level 5 treasure deck until only the Lucky Find card is left (which lets you draw from the next deck up) and then hitting that multiple times.]  I think the campaign we are working through only has one more scenario to go, so it might just be a timing thing where we are peaking slightly ahead of the curve.  At the moment I don't care as the game is still fun, but I'm glad we are almost done with the campaign.

We are scheduled to play in the Delvers Guild campaign next week, so there will be a new posting late Tuesday or early Wednesday (Houston time).  See you then!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 2 – Aftermath, Prank, and the Slump

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dust Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Vargand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at the The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
Zarek – 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, Kol – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild
Lester “Les” Stalwart – human male, younger brother of Nick and general tag-along [DNPC]


Cromsday, October 10th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Having just killed half the bandits and co-opted the rest, the Delvers needed to decide what to do with the bodies.  Several options were discussed (burial, burning, exposure), most of which sounded blasphemous to Clarence, who started getting extremely vocal on the subject.  As a devote follower of St. Ygg, he knew that cremation was the only correct method and insisted on it, even for bandits.  The surviving ex-bandits had no strong opinions as they tended to abandon their dead and let the soldiers deal with the problem.

The sun having set, it was too dark to go looking for wood for a burial pyre, so the cremation was deferred until morning.  The four bodies were moved over into the northwest tower, which still had its walls and was separate from the camp in the chapel.  The spilled blood in the chapel was cleaned up (mostly) and watches were organized.

1st Watch
Clarence and Vargand took the first watch and the rest slept.  Part way through their watch, they heard the goats in the inner courtyard start getting noisy.  Investigating, they noticed a wildcat of some sort [jaguar] moving through the brush on the southern edge of the outer courtyard. Vargand urged Clarence to take a shot at it with his bow, which Clarence did.  He missed, but the clatter the missed arrow made on the stone rubble startled the wildcat and it fled.  Nothing else of significance happened for the rest of their watch.

2nd Watch
Zarek and Nick took over for Vargand and Clarence for the second watch.  Once Vargand and Clarence were asleep, Zarek and Nick confessed to each other that they wanted to play a prank on the others.  They both had the idea of staging one of the dead bodies to look like it was trying to escape.  After a quick debate over whether a body with a head or one without would be better for the prank [they chose one with a head], Zarek started dragging a body out of the tower ruins and back the way the group first arrived.  To avoid leaving fox footprints, he cast his flight spell and hovered just off the ground.  Nick stood in the guard position in case anyone woke up [Ricky and Clarence nearly did, but the efforts Zarek took to be quiet (Stealth check) were just successful enough to avoid that].  Zarek set the body about 50 meters outside the ruins and staged it to look like it was crawling.  He then flew back to stand guard with Nick.  They tried to not look at each other so they would start laughing and wake the others.

3rd Watch
Jala and Ricky took over from Zarek and Nick for third watch.  Jala decided to take her watch by casting Spiderwalk and walking up the outside of the chapel and sitting on the roof.  Not much happened until the goats started getting noisy.  Jala, sitting on top of the chapel saw there were two of the big cats and suggested Ricky shoot at them.  Ricky cast a spell to drain Body [I don't remember the spell's name] from the first jaguar but missed.  This time the cat snarled back, which woke up Zarek, Nick, and Clarence.  Zarek cast his lesser Lightning Bolt at the lead jaguar.  He missed the jaguar, but both big cats were spooked by the lightning and fled, their hunger temporarily overcome by fear.

Freysday, October 11th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
In the morning the Delvers ate their breakfasts and got started on the day’s business.  Clarence directed the torchbearers to start collecting wood for the pyre.  Then he and Ricky went to get the bodies ready and discovered that one of the bodies was missing.  Looking around, they both noticed the drag marks and followed them out to the field west of the ruins, alerting the rest of the Delvers that something was up.  There they found the dead body, posed as though it was crawling away.  Ricky and Clarence looked at each other - both knew the bandit was completely dead after the fight the previous evening and there was no way it dragged itself out here.  They then looked back at the rest of the Delvers.  Vargand and Jala looked confused and concerned, Zarek had no expression, and Nick was clearly trying to avoid their gaze.  Clarence asked Nick if he knew anything about this and when Nick made eye contact, he lost it and started laughing.

Disgusted by this, Clarence examined the body [made use of his Forensic Medicine skill, which I had not expected to come up this soon].  There were no footprints around the body, but the only places with ground in dirt and grass were the body’s toes, indicating it had been dragged, not crawled here.  Looking closely at the corpse’s clothes, he detected a bite mark on the back collar, exactly the size and shape of a fox’s bite.  Knowing only one fox who could fly and not leave pawprints, Clarence accused Zarek of staging this.  At this point Zarek couldn’t hold the laughter in and started laughing out loud with Nick.  Both confessed to their prank and were forced by the rest of the group to drag the body back to the ruins and place it on the pyre.  They did so in good humor.

After Clarence performed the burial rites for the dead bandits and lit the pyre, the Delvers started exploring the ruins.  Nick asked the ex-bandits what they knew about the ruins and if there were any entrances to a lower area.  Torsten told them that the ruins were pretty much empty and picked clean.  They found no signs of a lower area, but had only been here a week before the Delvers arrived.  Zarek could smell a subtle scent in the main hall area that made him unaccountably nervous.  He and Ricky noticed that the goats tended to avoid the main hall area, preferring to stay in the southern part of the inner courtyard, possibly due to the scent.  Ricky could not smell the scent in question.

While the others were investigating the ruins, Vargand started mapping it.  After sketching out the ruins themselves, she walked around the exterior and discovered an area where the earthen platform the ruins were on had slumped due to erosion.  At the bottom of the slumped area, a stone corner was just visible.  She called over the others to investigate and got Ricky, Nick, and Clarence [Jala and Zarek were investigating the ruined upper floor of the great hall and did not hear her call].

Realizing they were looking at the outer side of an underground structure, they decided to excavate.  The torch bearers were sent to get the shovel and sledgehammer from the gear.  Once the shovel was fetched, Ricky started digging out the dirt above the corner.  Ricky hoped to find the edges of a block or stone that he could pry out of the structure, but there was no break – it appeared to be a single, solid piece of stone.  He kept digging.

Once a large enough area was cleared, Ricky switched over to the sledgehammer and started hammering the stone.  The noise drew Jala and Zarek’s attention and they headed over to see what was going on.  Twenty minutes later, Ricky broke up the stone enough that pieces fell into a chamber below.  Dry, choking air came out and the group stepped back for a bit to let good air enter the chamber.

After a bit, the Delvers approached again and looked in.  They could see that the chamber was carpeted and the stone walls had wood paneling, but not much else.  They sent the torchbearers [who were now curious about all this despite themselves] to get torches.  Clarence lit one of the fetched torches and dropped it in at Vargand’s suggestion.  With light they could see that the chamber was about 50 feet square, had ancient but elegant furniture, and that the torch was making the carpet smolder.

Zarek flew down and picked up the torch to avoid having the carpet catch fire.  When he seemed OK, Jala was sent in via Shadowwalk.  She hopped into Clarence’s shadow and reappeared in the chamber.  She reported the air musty but breathable.  After that, ropes were fetched and the rest of the group descended into the chamber.  They found a closed door in the northeast corner and dust everywhere.

End of Session

[Les Stalwart, Nick’s DNPC, was supposed to show up this session, but I never managed to work him in.]

[The ex-bandit torchbearers were planning on making a break for it when the Delvers weren’t looking, but with the discovery of the underground chamber(s), they decided to wait to see if there was anything of value they could take with them before they fled.  They are not the most self-motivated individuals, being followers and not leaders.  Being an outlaw is a hard life and some of them are thinking that being paid torchbearers and part of an actual guild might be a better choice.  So for the moment, they are going to hand around with these crazy university students and see what happens.  Beats getting killed.]

[Yes, one of the ex-bandits is named Fish.  He might look like a young Abe Vigoda (assuming Abe Vigoda ever looked young).]


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


Session 03, Part 1

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 1 – Moon Manor Ruins

[The adventure begins.  This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dust Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Vargand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at the The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
Zarek – 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:
Lester “Les” Stalwart – human male, younger brother of Nick and general tag-along [DNPC]


Cromsday, October 10th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The founding members of the Delvers Guild set out on the guild’s first official adventure – exploring and mapping the Moon Manor ruins on the other side of Dragon’s Bay from the capital city, Aegea.  Ricky the Astrologer did the research and suggested these ruins as an easy start, being relatively nearby and both unoccupied and unclaimed.

The Delvers assembled at the City Docks and caught the early morning ferry across the bay to Little Wytheford.  They saw many merchant ships and fishing boats out on the bay as they traveled.  Most of the Delvers napped during the trip  being students they were more accustomed to being up late and not waking before the dawn.  Jala and Ricky, in fact, had stayed awake just a few hours longer than normal rather than bothering to sleep before embarking.

The ferry put in at the River Docks at Little Wytheford at Noon.  The River Docks were just outside the town walls, actually on the Moofolk River [as opposed to the Guild Docks, which are inside the town walls].  Needing horses to get to the ruins in a timely fashion, the Delvers pooled their knowledge of the town and found they knew very little.  Nick noticed a building with his family name on it [he comes from a mercantile family] and went over to find someone who could provide him directions.  A few minutes later he returned with directions to a reputable horse trader [reputable for a horse trader anyways].  The group purchased five riding horses and one pack mule [with tack] using guild funds [and getting a guild discount – it’s good to be an official guild].

After placing their packs on the mule and setting up a place for Zarek to curl up on the mule [who was not entirely pleased with having a fox on its back], the Delvers rode across the eastern river bridge and followed the Moofolk River south for three hours before turning east on the far side of Faemount Mountain.  This brought them within sight of the Moon Manor ruins, where Ricky and Nick noticed a thin trickle of smoke above the ruins, as from a campfire, apparently coming from inside the supposedly abandoned ruins.

Despite being just a day away from the capital of the kingdom, the mountainous region was only sparsely populated at best away from the coast.  Not certain who might be camping on the back side of the mountain, the Delvers decided some scouting might be appropriate.  Jala volunteered to do so and used her Shadowwalk spell to teleport between lengthening evening shadows to approach the ruins discretely from the west.

The Moon Manor ruins had once been a walled manor owned by elves hundreds of years ago, before the rise of the Kingdom of Aegea.  At some point in the past the southern gate house, the southwestern tower, and the southern walls of the outer courtyard were attacked and destroyed, leaving low piles of stone sticking up out of the underbrush now growing over the site.  The ruins were on a raised platform, three to four feet above the surrounding area and the adjacent lake to the east.  Jala finished her series of teleports in the cover of this platform, peeking over it to look for the current inhabitants.  She could just see a fence blocking off the inner courtyard, which was covered in bushes and tall grass, but she could see no people.

Seeing no guards or sentries, Jala stealthily advanced on the ruins, sticking to the mostly there western wall until she found a gap.  The tendril of smoke seemed to be coming from inside the old chapel.  Jala could not see a doorway into the chapel from where she stood, so she advanced across the outer courtyard to the side of the chapel.  She could just hear the sounds of people inside the chapel.  There was a gap in the wall of the chapel that faced the courtyard, but that felt too exposed for Jala.  The building adjacent to the chapel was missing most of a corner and a wall and she thought it might present another entrance to the chapel, so she decided to sneak in that way.

Jala quietly stepped over to the gap in the wall of this building and stepped in…right in front of two sentries who were flabbergasted to see her.  Both sentries had a light bow and Jala’s instincts kicked in – she immediately turned and ran back the way she came, not stopping until she was outside the western wall and hidden behind it.  Then she listened.  She heard the two sentries scramble out into the courtyard and discuss between themselves if they should say anything to the others.  Jala did not stay to hear any more and used the cover of the surrounding brush and trees to scramble back to the rest of the Delvers.

After Jala reported her findings, the Delvers discussed their options.  They could camp where they were or approach the ruins and see if they could safely camp inside the ruins [their original plan] with the other people.  They decided to approach the people inside the ruins.  They preferred camping in the ruins over camping on some random spot in the brush.  If nothing else, they could evaluate whether the people in the ruins were competitors or some other danger or not.

When the Delvers entered the outer courtyard of the ruins, the found a group of people in the the sentry area.  Their leader called out, “Stop there or we’ll shoot you.”  While there were only two people with bows, the other four had swords at the ready.  The Delvers stopped and let Clarence do the talking.  Clarence and the leader of the other people discussed the situation across a distance of 20 feet.  Clarence told the truth of why the Delvers were there [to map and explore the ruins, something the other Delvers complained about later] and the other person, Jasper, mostly didn’t explain anything other than to ask if they were guards from one of the nearby coastal forts [most of the PCs are fully armored, albeit in various forms of leather armor].  Once Jasper was confident that the Delvers were not guards, he and the other swordsmen stepped back behind a wall to confer.  Zarek, realizing that as a fox he was short enough to be completely hidden by the brush growing in the courtyard, scooted out and around the standing gatehouse to the same gap in the wall Jala originally used to enter and exit the courtyard.  This gave him a better field of view to cast spells if things turned nasty.

The other people had not factored in the extremely acute hearing of Ricky, Zareck, and Nick [who made their Perception roll by 8, 5, and 5, respectively].  Those three heard Jasper decide to let the Delvers share the camp, but promising the others “if they have any valuables, we can kill them in their sleep and take it.”  Ricky quietly shared this information with the other Delvers as Jasper stepped back out into the open and welcomed the Delvers to share their campsite.  The Delvers accepted, cautiously.  When Zarek trotted up, he was mistaken as a pet dressed up in people clothes by Jasper’s people.  Zarek played along and the rest of the Delvers did as well, having pulled this prank on unsuspecting townsfolk in the past.

While both groups ate their dinners, Clarence chatted with Jasper’s group, subtly pumping them for information [using his Conversation skill].  He was able to confirm that Jasper’s people were bandits hiding out from the soldiers in the coastal forts.  They had been raiding the outer farms around Little Wytheford when they ran into a patrol and had to flee.  They holed up in the ruins to recuperate.  Two of the group were still too wounded to move around freely [making the total number of bandits here 8].  When he could, Clarence discretely shared this information with the other Delvers.

As the evening progressed, the tension started ratcheting up between the two groups.  Eventually Nick broke and cast Mage Armor on himself.  This startled the bandits, who were not expecting any kind of spellcaster.  One of the bandits was heard to whisper “I think they’re on to us” louder than he expected in the sudden silence.  Zarek took this as the sign to attack and cast his lesser Lightning Bolt spell at Jasper, staggering and heavily injuring the man.  The rest of the Delvers took THIS as the sign to attack and did so.

Over the next 12 seconds, the Delvers killed 4 of the active bandits with Zarek and Jala each taking an arrow wound and Ricky some minor damage [Stun only] in return.  Nick vocally confronted the last two bandits [ironically the two guards with the ready bows] and told them to surrender and become torchbearers for the Delvers or make peace with their immanent death [a solid Presence attack with tons of bonus dice for the high level of violence the Delvers had just unleashed].  The sentries took his words very seriously, put down their bows, and asked how many torches they needed to carry and did this take them off guard duty?

End of Session

[I'm using Dyson Logos' Griffinwatch Ruins map for the Moon Manor ruins.  The bandits were average humans with partial leather armor (covered shoulders to thighs).  They were not wearing their helmets when the fight started, which contributed to their quick loss.  The next session deals with the aftermath of the fight and further exploration of the ruins.]


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

Session 02

Thursday, May 16, 2019

No blog post this week

There will be no official post this week [I know, Thursday might be a little late in the week to say this].  Two things going on right now.  The first is that the DayJob got busy as I had to do some research to set up some projects that were fairly time-critical and the DayJob pays the bills.  The other is that I want to get back into a pattern of posting session notes the week after the session happens so if work blows up, I have the weekend to write up the session notes [which is what I'm doing this week].

Session 1 will post Tuesday morning (Houston-time).  Hope to see you then!

Later!