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]


  1. Loving all of your session posts! Thank you for posting all that you have.

    As a player, how do you make sense of the game and what is happening while writing down all of the notes for your reports?

    Would you be able to enable RSS for your blog?

  2. When taking notes, I try to get the essential actions that happen as they are happening.

    As a player, when I later go and type those notes up as a session report, I start to get a better idea of the scope of what's happening, although really understanding what the GM is up to often takes a couple sessions.

    As a GM, I have the advantage of knowing the scope of what's going to happen, but not how the players are going to interact with it. I set things up in ways that should be interesting and then wait and see how things play out. Being flexible is important as a GM as the goal is group enjoyment and the unexpected stuff can be the best.

    Thank you for reading and commenting!