Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 5 – Water

[The Delvers return to the complex under the Moon Manor Ruins.]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened June 24, 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 – 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]

Unavailable Players
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts

During the week of October 13-16th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The Delvers spent the week attending classes and training at their various institutions of learning.  During their time not studying and attending classes, they researched different topics or sold off loot to fund the guild’s search for a guild house.  What little extra time this allowed was spent at The Library [a student bar], drinking and telling stories of their exploration so far to other students.

Zarek made use of his lab access at Monarch University to study the wands and magic earrings retrieved from the ruins.  He was able to determine the activation words for the wands [in Augmic, the language of magic] and discovered the function of the earrings.  He dubbed them “Earrings of Covert Communication” – they allow the wearer to communicate with someone wearing another set of the earrings and are enchanted to not be seen unless looked for.  In addition to this research, Zarek also crammed on information about monsters, hoping to be a little more prepared when the guild returned to the ruins.  [Narrator Voice: He was not.]

Ricky spent his spare time researching magic circles.  He was not terribly successful, but was able to confirm the silver-inlayed circle and the circle in the above ground ruins were both teleportation circles and likely attuned to each other.  He had no luck with the circle inscribed on the black stone in the “Common Room.”  [See notes for Session 3, link below.]

Vorgand and Nick worked out the value of the non-magical jewelry and sold it off, explaining their reasoning for the evaluations to Jala [who was tagging along to pick up the Trading skill].  They also asked around about buyers in antique elven furniture.  They located a few buyers, who tried to blow them off, explaining there was a huge difference between what was antique for humans and antique for elves.  When Nick showed these buyers some of the ancient elven coins the Delvers had found, the buyers were suddenly politer and more interested.  Without the chairs in hand, the discussions did not last long, but Vorgand and Nick were able to determine there was a market for the elven furniture and it might pay very well.

Near the end of the week, Vorgand was selected to participate in a field exercise The Tested [the royal military academy] was running and would not be available to join the guild when they left on Cromsday morning.  She expected to make the Noon ferry and would catch up with the guild on Freysday, around Noon.  [The player was out of town chaperoning a church youth group trip and missed the game session.]

Cromsday, October 17th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Early in the morning the Delvers assembled [some still slightly hung-over, some having not slept at all] at the City Docks and boarded the morning ferry to Little Wytheford.  The passage across Dragon Bay was uneventful and most of the guild members napped.

The ferry put in at the River Docks at Little Wytheford.  After disembarking from the ferry, the group went to the nearby farrier and picked up the horses and pack mule they had stabled there the previous week.  They arranged to leave one of the horses for Vorgand, who was expected to arrive that evening on the Noon ferry from Aegea.  Once they and their gear were arranged, 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.  An hour after that they rode into the ruins themselves.

The Delvers were expecting to be greeted by their ex-bandit torchbearers, instead the ruins were empty – even the goats were gone.  The Delvers looked around.  Zarek floated into the chapel the group had been using as a campsite and found a folded piece of paper held down by a rock.  Slightly paranoid, Zarek cast Detect Magic to verify the paper was not a trap of some sort [it wasn’t] before opening the note.  In a poor scrawl the note said “We had to go for other supplies.  Be back soon.”  It was dated two days previous.  There was a short discussion about whether or not the torchbearers had actually gone for supplies or fled the service of the delvers.  The majority felt they had fled and were not entirely surprised at this turn of events.

The Delvers made camp and set watches for the night.  On the third watch [Zarek and Nick], Zarek was sitting on top of the remaining gatehouse and observed a wildcat approaching the ruins.  It seemed to be heading towards the goat pen area.  Once it got closer, Zarek spooked it by striking the ground in front of it with a Lightning Bolt spell.  The light and noise of the spell startled Nick, who was unaware of the wildcat, and jolted awake Ricky, Clarence, and Jala.

Clarence and Ricky grabbed their weapons.  Jala, a light sleeper and so the most awake, called out “Is it dead?”  Zarek replied it was driven away and so Jala went back to sleep.  Ricky walked over to the entry gate area and saw the fleeing wildcat before attempting to go back to sleep.  Clarence sighed and put away his weapons before returning to sleep himself.

Freysday, October 18th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
In the morning the Delvers got up and fixed their breakfast.  After eating, they geared up and walked over to the entrance to the underground complex.  Jala examined the concealment she had set up before they left the previous week and announced it looked undisturbed.  She carefully moved it aside, exposing the stonework the Delvers had smashed open and dropped the anchored rope into the entry room.  Ricky and Nick lit torches and volunteered to be the torchbearers for this expedition.

After the Delvers had climbed down into the entry room they made their way to the stairwell on the far side of the complex.  The walked north past the “common room” area, stopping briefly to verify there were still two chairs in the common room for them to haul back.  Then they followed the corridor east, past the oval-shaped room, and entered the narrowing hallway to the stairwell itself.

Initially the stone steps were safe to walk on, but once past the crack in the wall where water flowed in, the stairs became slick.  Zarek avoided this problem as his flight spell made walking unnecessary.  Jala preferred spiderwalking on the walls [and regularly creeped out Clarence when she ate a spider to activate the spell each day].  At one point, Clarence slipped and fell in place.  At the same time, Ricky [right behind him] completely lost his footing.  Nick [in the back] was able to grab ahold of Ricky as Ricky slipped and fell, but was not able to keep his own footing and the two fell together and plowed into Clarence.  Luckily, Clarence was able to halt their fall at the next landing.

Another revolution around the open stairwell and the group found a flight of stairs missing three steps in the center.  The gap was further than anyone felt comfortable jumping [and jumping up it on the way out would have been impossible], so they hammered in pitons and used rope to get past the gap.  The stairs past the gap were dry as the water cascaded down the gap, so adventurers took a rest here.

Down another level of stairs the waterfall from the gap above threatened to put out their torches when they had to pass under it.  Ricky and Nick handed their torches to Jala who spiderwalked around the stairwell shaft [and over one of the flights of steps] to ferry the torches to the other side of the waterfall.  Shortly past the waterfall they reached the bottom of the stairs.  The last steps descended into about two feet of water that covered this level of the complex.

The doorway out of the stairwell here was propped open, allowing the water to slowly flow out of the stairwell.  Ricky was the first to notice the slow current and the group followed it into the next room.  There were two doorways from this room, a set of double-doors to the west and the south.  The ceiling of the north corner was a shaft going up.  Zarek borrowed a torch and floated over to look up.  At the edge of his torchlight he could make out the jammed platform that had blocked Jala’s explorations from above.

Looking through the open double-doors to the south, the Delver’s torches lit enough of the passage to see it turned west ahead, with another set of doors o the far wall facing them.  They also saw luminescent swirls and dots on the corridor walls down at the corner.  Intrigued, the Delvers slowly moved south to investigate.

When they got closer, they could see the luminescent lights were on the walls.  Thinking they might be some form of monster, they threw a rock at one of the walls to see if anything happened.  Nothing did.  Ricky checked the water current and determined it went down this corridor, so the group advanced to the corner and looked around it.  The corridor went west for quite a way and was completely outlined in the pale luminescent colors, which seemed to get denser the further down the corridor one looked.  Jala scrapped at some of the luminescent spots on the wall near her and the color came off onto her gloves but did nothing else.

Finding the effect somewhat eerie, the Delvers decided to check the door at the corner before continuing down the western passage.  The double-doors were propped partially open and gave access to a warehouse, now mostly empty.  There appeared to be an enclosed office space to the left of the entry and the shelves to the back left were enclosed in fencing with a gate.  The shelving units themselves were 30 feet tall with shelves at five-foot intervals.  When the adventurers entered the room the entire ceiling lit up, providing source-less, even lighting everywhere.  Jala sourly noticed that this lighting did not cause shadows, eliminating the usefulness of her Shadowstep spell.

The Delvers split up to investigate the warehouse.  Jala and Ricky went over to the fenced in area and found the gate locked.  She set to picking the lock, but the lock was very high quality elven work and defeated her first attempt at picking it, breaking one of her picks.  Undaunted, she pulled out a replacement and took her time for her next attempt.

While Jala was doing that, Zarek floated up to check the higher shelves to see if anything had been left behind.  He spotted a couple small crates scattered on the highest shelves and went to investigate the closest.  When he got close to it, the chest extruded a pseudopod and attacked him – it was a mimic!  [Narrator: Which he immediately recognized...after it hit him.]

The other Delvers noticed Zarek’s yip of pain as the mimic stunned him with its first hit.  Clarence cast his Holy Flame spell but missed the mimic.  Ricky tried to cast and failed [blew his magic roll].  Jala flung her magical dagger at it, striking the mimic to little effect [she rolled low damage].  The mimic was quick, hitting Zarek again and nearly knocking the fox out.  Ricky was able to get a spell of and drained much of the mimic’s life essence.  The mimic flattened itself as a result so those on the floor could not see it anymore, but it could still attack Zarek.  Nick responded by modifying his lightning spell [variable advantage] to affect a seven-foot area and cast it where the mimic was, shocking it.  Jala walked up the side of the shelves to get another shot at the mimic and hit it [to little effect].

The shapeshifting of the mimic gave Zarek the reprieve he needed; he flew sideways to get safely away from it.  With no immediate prey and its current location no longer safe, the mimic oozed along the shelf and then flattened itself further to blend in with the shelf itself.  Jala lost track of it when it did this, but Zarek did not and cast his Lightning Bolt spell at it, hitting it squarely, and killing it.

In the aftermath, Zarek floated down to Clarence for some healing.  Jala returned to her attempt at picking the lock to the fenced area but Ricky decided to check out the enclosed office.  The door was not locked and open nearly on its own as the two-feet of water he was standing in pushed the door open and flooded into the room.

The room had a desk that was nice but not as nice as the Delvers had seen in the corner rooms upstairs.  There was a scroll rack, the lowest level of which was now in water, and the tattered remains of wall hangings.  Ricky tried to save the scrolls that had just been submerged, but they were already fragile and went to pieces in his hands.  The scrolls still above the water line were also shambles, with faded ink and went to pieces as soon as they were touched.  Ricky was very frustrated by this.

Zarek cast Detect Magic and scanned the room.  He expected to find a tripped security system on the desk drawers but was being thorough.  Instead, he found the security system in place and untripped, meaning the contents in the drawers were still in one piece.  He excitedly relayed this to Jala, who just finished failing to open the gate lock, again.  Frustrated herself, Jala waded over into the office and examined the desk lock.  It was another tough one, so she announced she was going to take her time working this one [she decided to take 20 minutes to get a +3 on the roll for going 3 steps down the time chart].  The rest of the delvers climbed up on shelves in the main room to get out of the water and waited.

Twenty minutes later Jala called out in success as she undid the lock and disarmed the magical trap [the player finally rolled better than just making her pick locks skill, making the roll by 8 with the time bonus].  The Delvers shuffled through the water back into the office.  They immediately started discussing whether they should lift the desk out of the water before opening the desk drawers in case they were water-tight and not flooded.  After a short debate they decided it was a good idea and Clarence and Ricky lifted the desk.  Jala pulled open the lowest drawers and discovered they were not water tight – they were full of water with paper bits mixed in.  The other drawers were not flooded, but all the papers in them were mostly disintegrated from age.  They did find two cut gem disks, each about three inches in diameter, and an oddly shaped key, mostly a tube with the keyed parts inside the tube part.  The Delvers then searched the office thoroughly before taking another rest [again up on the shelves so they were out of the water].

While the group rested, Zarek had an idea on how to open the caged area.  When the rest was over, he floated over to the cage door and announced he was going to lightning bolt it.  The rest of the Delvers, who had just climbed down into the water, climbed back up out of the water.  Zarek cast Lightning Bolt at the gate itself to zero effect.  Puzzled, he cast Detect Magic on the gate and discovered that the metal the gate and fencing were made from appeared to absorb magic!  He now very much wanted some of this metal as he suddenly had all sorts of ideas on how to use it, if only they could separate it from the fence.  Nick came over and modified his lightning spell to be extremely difficult to dispel and cast it at the gate.  The gate was completely unphased by this, which confirmed to Nick that the metal was absorbing the magic, not dispelling or suppressing it.  Frustrated as a group, the Delvers decided that they just weren’t going to be able to access the fenced off area this trip.  They consoled themselves with the knowledge that no one else was going to be able to access it either.

The Delvers decided to explore more of the complex and return to the warehouse later.  They exited the warehouse [after a bit the lights went out on their own] and headed west down the corridor.  Forty feet down the hallway they reached a four-way intersection.  The passage north is the direction the sluggish current flowed and led to two sets of double-doors – the outer doors were propped open and the inner doors were missing their lower halves, allowing the water to flow freely.  The passage west went through a similar set of double-doors, but the inner set here were missing entirely and the chamber beyond was lit with the luminescent light.  The passage way south led to a ramp up and out of the water.

While the others were looking down the passageways, Ricky noticed some purple toadstools growing in a cluster at the corner.  He stepped closer with his torch to get a better look, which triggered the shriekers!  The intersection was immediately filled with piercing sound which caused physical damage to Ricky but not the other Delvers who slapped their hands [and paws, where appropriate] over their ears.

End of Session

[I was supposed to have the details for the jewelry the PCs had found ready this session, but I forgot in the press of other projects I’m working on.  I would have rolled them up at the beginning of the session, but the person with the exact list of what they had was also the person who missed the session due to a trip, so I hand-waved it and said that the task was done and the money was set aside for the purchase of a building to be the guild house for the guild.  This was a good in-game action for most of the PCs handing over an experience point for buying a group base as an out-of-game action.]

[I’m going to list out the game stats of the magic items the group finds during the adventure.  If folks show interest, I’ll create a separate post for the monster stats as well.]

[Earrings of Covert Communication: Radio Perception/Transmission, LIM: Only to attuned sets; IIF: set of earrings enchanted to not be seen unless known about (PER at -4)]

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 04

Session 06

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