Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 14 – Vines and Pyramid

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…and set off the trap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of Session

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

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


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

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13


Session 15 [Not Written Yet]

Friday, September 20, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 13 – Burning Down the House

[The Delvers face the effigies and choose discretion over valor.  Later they start desecrating an elven graveyard. What could go wrong?]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened September 9, 2019.]

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

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


Freysday, October 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
~3:00 PM
The Delvers prepared to face the three burning skeletons [see Session 12].  Zarek noticed that the skeletons had fiery apparitions attached to them and remembered a bit of monster lore he once read about an undead type known as effigies.  They were extremely dangerous and looking for new bodies to burn.  He called out a warning just as the effigies moved to attack.  One effigy attacked Vorgand [who had just swung on it] to attack, one moved to attack Clarence in the doorway, and the third threw a death glare at Zarek floating up out of its reach before turning and marching over to Jala and the torchbearers by the gate, striding over the stone rubble of the blown out wall and leaving burning footprints.

The effigy marching on Jala used its entire action to get to her.  The effigy attacking Clarence eschewed the use of the sword it held, instead reaching out with a burning hand.  Clarence was able to stay out of its reach [bad roll by the effigy].  Unfortunately for Vorgand, the one attacking her landed a solid blow in her solar plexus, knocking her unconscious in one blow [and stealing 10 STR from her].  Her armor held, mostly, and she avoided terrible burns, but flame stuck to her from the things touch.  [This indicated she was a valid target for the effigy’s Infusion (mind control) power.]

Nick showed no hesitation, using his saved action to step up…and grab Vorgand before running for all he was worth.  Jala and the torchbearers took the hint and bolted through the gate, Jal pushing to get to the control pedestal so she could pull the cubes once all the Delvers were back through.  Zarek was able to quickly fly across the cavern and through the gate, pushing his flight spell to make it safely.  Clarence and Nick (carrying Vorgand) raced for the gate, trying to get past the effigy waiting there.  Nick with a higher speed was able to get through the gate before the effigy could react, but Clarence was not as lucky.  As the effigy swung on him, Clarence dove through the gate…but not fast enough to avoid the burning touch of the effigy.  As he tumbled through the gate on fire, Zarek yelled out to Jala the team was clear and she yanked the control cubes off the pedestal, closing the gate!

The group took a rest.  The fires on Vorgand and Clarence winked out when the gate closed, but both were weakened from the touches and Vorgand was still unconscious.  Clarence cast a healing spell on himself and then Vorgand, which revived her.  They then took turns holding Vorgand’s magic sword, which restored the strength stolen by the effigies.  When everyone had caught their breath, a small group returned to the surface for some fresh pants [notably Harek].  Zarek followed as protection and noticed that it was after 3:00 from the position of the sun.  Clarence also updated his notes to indicate that gate location 2-6 was very dangerous.

Once everyone was back down under the Moon Manor Ruins, in the gate room, the Delvers quickly decided that the next location to explore should be the forest gate.  Zarek checked his notes and set the control cubes to location 3-2.  The gate opened showing a location deep inside a forest.  The Delvers cautiously stepped through the gate.

The forest air was cool and the forest was clearly very old from the heavy growth and the size of the trees.  Interspersed among the trees were pieces of marble and small structures.  Moving around and looking, the Delvers realized the forest was actually an ancient graveyard.  Ricky could see bits of High Elvish writing on the gravestones and some of the tombs, but they were heavily eroded and difficult to read.

Torsten also noticed the sun was higher than it was back at the camp.  Zarek agreed, believing it was closer to 1:00 here.  He and Ricky discussed the possibility that they had traveled in time or not and decided that they just didn’t have enough information to tell the difference.

While Zarek and Ricky were talking, Vorgand checked the gates control pedestal for control cubes and a power stone.  It was heavily overgrown, but after cutting away the growth, she was able to open the pedestal and found it empty.  This was a slight surprise as all the other gate locations the Delvers had explored still had their cubes.  There was some discussion on the need to get cubes from another location and bring them here, both to verify they would work and as a safety measure so the gate could be reopened from this side.

Jala, bored by this discussion and excited to explore, grabbed Harek by the elbow and dragged him along through the trees, looking for anything interesting.  After wandering for a bit, she found a large mass of vines covering a square area of forest floor.  Probing the mass of vines, she discovered there was a metal fence inside the vines, supporting the mass.  She used her magic dagger and cut through the vines, creating an entrance into the courtyard outlined by the wall of vines.  She and Harek squeezed in [Jala easier than Harek, who is reminiscent of Silent Bob].  Inside the courtyard was a tomb with a heavy amount of plant life growing on top of it in the foot-thick layer of plant debris resting on the roof.

Jala looked around and found the entrance to the tomb, but it was sealed with a large stone slab.  Jala had a crowbar, but this was a sledgehammer job.  Stymied, she decided to return to the rest of the group, much to Harek’s relief.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Delvers explored the area right around the gate, making note of the likely tombs to explore.  They chose one nearby the gate to start with, hoping that Jala would find them.  Ricky spent 20 minutes with a sledgehammer before the stone slab protecting the tomb broke up enough that the Delvers could enter.

Behind the slab were stairs leading down to a lower chamber.  Adopting the procedures of the adventurers she worked for at Barrowmaze, Vorgand threw a torch down the stairs to see what was illuminated and to see if any monsters attacked it.  When nothing attacked the torch, the Delvers assumed their standard marching order and entered the tomb, Vorgand warning them to check the ceiling as they entered the underground chamber.  This turned out to be wise as there was a grey ooze on the ceiling!  It dropped on Vorgand as she entered the chamber, but it was dead from various attack spells cast by Clarence and Ricky before it could harm her.

Looking around, the Delvers discovered 16 sarcophagi in niches in the walls, in two rows.  At this point Jala found the group and showed up in time to loot the sarcophagi.  The Delvers found a variety of treasure items spread amongst the sarcophagi.  [That I promised to detail at the beginning of the next session as I didn't have them ready yet.]

End of Session

[Sorry this was late – work has been very busy with four new projects kicking off two weeks earlier than planned.  Session 14 should be up on time as the sample game of Boot Hill I was going to play got postponed so the GM can finish prepping.  The city just had a tropical storm wander through the last three days, so no worries on the delay – I still need to get a copy of the rules and read them!]


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

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12


Session 14


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 12 – Explorations for Earrings

[The Delvers explore through the gate for specific loot and wake things maybe they shouldn’t have.]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened September 2, 2019.]

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

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


Freysday, October 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
1:00 PM
Taking a rest, the Delvers spent an hour sitting on the couch from the moon as Zarek manipulated the location cubes on the gate control pedestal.  Zarek methodically worked his way through the cube combinations with two cubes before adding the third cube and going through those combinations.

  • With two cubes, there was always one setting on the second cube the reflected their current location.  Adding a third cube to these settings did nothing.
  • Somewhere between a third and a half of the settings were glitches and no longer went anywhere.
  • A small number went to a location with strobing light from the receiving gate.  Based on their experience with Hefhauer, they knew this was a sign the gate was damaged and was about to explode and become a glitch.
  • A number opened onto complete darkness.
  • Another set seemed to open at other locations on the moon, including an abandoned strip mine and what looked like an abandoned shipyard.
  • The rest went to caves and ruins in various climates.  One opened inside an active volcano and let burning heat and poisonous fumes through [they closed that one quickly].  A couple opened underwater.


The Delvers discussed where they should explore.  They all wanted to explore the moon locations more, but with only two sets of ear rings that provided breathable air, they did not want to send only two at a time to explore.  They decided to concentrate on gate locations that included ruins, hoping to find more sets of magical ear rings.  Looking over their notes, they selected gate setting 2.6 [2 on the first cube, 6 on the second] as the best place to start.

Location 2-6 was a small set of ruins inside a cavern with no light.  The Delvers carefully walked through the gate, alert for signs of danger.  The cavern was roughly 60 feet in length and 50 feet across and contained three buildings and a wall.  The gate was in a clear space about in the middle of the buildings.  There were two tunnel entrances, one at each end of the cavern, both about 20 feet wide.  The tunnel to the south was collapsed, the one to the north clear.  The wall had a gate [doors] in it and isolated the northern tunnel from the buildings, giving the area the feel of a long abandoned fort or toll station.

The three buildings were of different sizes.  The smallest was a 10-foot square structure with a door but no windows.  It was in the southeast corner of the cavern, up against the walls.  The next larger building ran along the east wall, abutting the gated wall, and was 10 feet by 20 feet.  It had a door adjacent to the gated wall.  The building looked burnt, like it had been set on fire a long time ago.  The largest building was on the west wall, also abutting the gated wall, and looked to be 20 feet by 30 feet.  It had a single stout door and high narrow windows that ran along the eaves.

The Delvers decided to investigate the smallest building first.  Jala discovered that the door was locked but had been broken open in the past.  She cautiously nudged the door open.  The inside looked like an office of some sort that had been fought in and then searched.  There was a long-dead elf on the floor in the back corner, next to a filing cabinet.  Jala, Clarence, and Zarek entered the office to search it [and the corpse].  Jala checked the elf-corpse for ear rings and found a pair.  She showed them to Zarek, who cast Detect Magic to see what was magical in the room.  The ear rings were magical, so were several things the elf-corpse was wearing…and the shadow that detached from the elf-corpse and started attacking Clarence!

The shadow [actually a wraith] drained Clarence of most of his strength in two quick attacks.  Zarek and Jala attacked the shadow with lightning and a magic dagger, respectively.  This weakened the shadow enough that Clarence was able to destroy it with a holy fire spell.  Vorgand was frustrated during the short fight as she had no magic weapons to attack the shadow with.

Once the shadow was destroyed, the Delvers investigated the magic items Zarek had detected.  The armor the elf-corpse was wearing was magical ring mail reinforced with dragonbone, providing superior defense [especially Energy Defense] for about the same weight.  The shield laying on the floor next to it was beasthide with aetherstone reinforcement, making it tough and very light.  The elf-corpse was also wearing magic bracers and had a magic rapier.  Those items took more time to identify.  Eventually, Jala and Vorgand, both loot-wise, were able to interpret the marks on the items.  The bracers were Bracers of Archery and the sword was a Dragonslaying Rapier of Healing.  All agreed that the sword was Vorgand’s as the primary fighter in the group and the only one without a magical attack.  The healing aspect of the rapier also restored the strength Clarence had lost to the shadow, much to his relief.  The armor was also given to Vorgand and she immediately set to adjusting it so she could put it on.  Luckily, she had a similar build to the previous owner and this process did not take long.

Not wanting any further surprises, Clarence cast Sense the Unholy.  The largest structure had a great deal of evil in it.  The medium structure had three sources of evil.  Zarek flew up over the medium structure to peer in through the damaged roof.  He cast Detect Magic and saw three weapons held by burned skeletons sprawled on the floor.

Feeling they knew what to expect, the Delvers planned an overkill assault on the three skeletons.  Zarek, Nick, and Clarence set themselves where they could cast spells into the burned building.  Zarek pre-cast an explosive lightning bolt set to trigger when he finished casting the spell a second time.  Nick started slow casting his attack spell, still set to a cone of razors.  [He was taking extra time to cast to get a bonus on the casting roll and avoid the side effects.]  Clarence prepared to cast his holy fire spell, coinciding with Nick completing his spell.  As Nick brought his spell to completion and cast it, Clarence’s holy fire went off and Zarek cast his lightning spell, which chained in the delayed lightning spell.  All four spells went off and blanketed the interior with destructive energies.  One of Zarek’s explosive lightning bolts was super effective and blew out the walls of the southern half of the building, causing the entire roof structure to collapse into the building and sending dust billowing everywhere.

As the Delvers coughed from the dust, they distinctly heard the sound of three flames igniting.

Three damaged skeletons, wrapped in intense flames slowly stood up, pushing fallen timbers off them that burst into flame at their touch.  The Delvers could feel the intense heat radiating off the burning skeletons.  Just as the first skeleton made its way out of the debris, Vorgand stepped up with her new dragonslayer rapier and attacked it.  Her attack did a little damage, but the increasing heat from the burning skeleton nearly burned her through her newly improved defenses [it has a big damage shield].  The edges of her rapier came away glowing slightly from the heat transfer.

Back near the gate, where the torchbearers and Jala were waiting, Torsten leaned over to Jala and whispered, “Can we run away now?”

End of Session

[I used a set of random magic items tables designed for the Hero System to determine what loot the group found on the elf-corpse.  The random items worked well together and I was pleased with the implied theme they generated.]

[The burning skeletons are Effigies from 2e AD&D, Monster Manual 2.  I’ve always wanted to use them, but their high CR always seemed to get in the way.  Now I finally can.  Heh, heh, heh.]


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 05
Session 06
Session 07
Session 08
Session 09
Session 10
Session 11


Session 13

Friday, September 6, 2019

Shadowrun Archive

This page is an archive, preserving links to the runs/adventures my Monday Night Group played through as well as some cheat sheets I put together to clarify the rules for us.  The links below go to the first session report for each run.  There will be links to the following session notes for each run. I may need to go back in and retroactively add a link at the end of each run, but for now this page should suffice.  Please leave comments on this page.  Thank you.

The Pleiades Group
Mak Attack - The first run of the newly formed Pleiades Group, an association of seven shadowrunners that became a solid and successful team.

News - Background information, not an actual run.

The Pickup - An extraction in support of another team.  Run by me.

The Third Run - The Other GM ran this, so my name for it might be a little too on point.  Run by me.

Monkey Business - Concept borrowed from a Cyberpunk game run by Eric Heisserer.  Run by me.

A Dwarf in Need - Or "How to get paid three times for the same job."  Run by the Other GM.

Everybody Needs Somebody - A series of small runs dealing with the mess caused by another group's failed run.  Run by me.

Clean-up on Aisle Sin - Dealing with consequences of that clean-up.  Run by the Other GM.

Implants - Corporate hostilities start stepping up.  Run by me.

St. Valentines Day Monkey Burger Massacre and Barbeque - The second Monkey Burger run.   Run by me.

Valkyrie Ride - Corporate fallout from Everybody Needs Somebody.  Run by me.

Sam's Run - The first player-sponsored run and a follow-up to A Dwarf in Need.  Introduces our secondary characters.  Run by the Other GM.

Urban Surfin' - Grabbing an Ares prototype weapon in transit.  Run by the Other GM.

Woodchipper - A series of small jobs being spit out all over the Pleiades Group.  Run by me.

Under the Mountain - The group's most ambitions run.  Run by the Other GM.

Butcher's Bill - Doing a favor for the Vory to avoid a mob war.  Run by the Other GM.

Operation Parrot T-Rex - The group's first international run.  Run by one of the players sitting in as a GM.


We ended the campaign here on a high note.  I was beginning to burn out due to Real Life issues - getting laid off twice in two years will do that.  While Real Life got better, we have not returned to the Shadowrun system so far.  Still, what started out as an side game blossomed out into a fun campaign we all enjoyed.

Cheat Sheets

As we played, I had to put together some cheat sheets to get the rules systems straight as the 5th Edition Shadowrun rules were written for conciseness, not clarity.

Initiative Sequence

Physical Combat Sequence

Vehicle Chase Combat Sequence



Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 11 – The Agreement, the Moon, the Hand

[The Delvers make a deal and then start exploring through the gate.]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened August 26, 2019.  Nick’s player missed this session due to work-related reasons.]

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

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

NPC’d PCs
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


Freysday, October 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Approximately 10:00 AM
After defeating the four fungal brutes guarding the entrance to the lair of the fungoid people, the Delvers took their first looks around the room.  The luminescent drawings and sigils seen in the hallway were denser and partially overlapping on the walls of this room.  There were large, bulbous structures on stilts or stuck to the ceiling, including a large orange structure with an obvious entrance up in the far corner from the entrance.

The Delvers discussed what to do next for a short while.  Zarek had Clarence cast a defensive spell on him and then recast Stoney Skin to maximize his defenses.  Then Zarek floated up to the entrance of the orange-colored structure.  Inside the structure was hollow with a single fungoid sitting on what Zarek believed was a throne.  The fungoid had a bright red fungal cap and seemed to be waiting, so Zarek attempted to talk, but received no replies.

Not certain what else to do, Zarek landed in the entrance and waited.  The fungoid stood up.  When Zarek continued to wait, the fungoid slowly walked forward.  When it was close to Zarek, the fungoid released a pink spore cloud that enveloped Zarek and the fungoid.  Instead of causing vomiting and paralyzing spasms, this cloud slightly altered Zarek’s perceptions and allowed him to hear the thoughts of the fungoid leader.  Conversing mostly in emotions and images, the fungoid leader impressed upon Zarek the fungoid’s desire that the Delvers go away and not bother the fungoids.  Zarek emphasized the desire for the fungoids to not interfere with the gate room or access to it.  Both found the other’s desires acceptable and an accord was made.

Zarek floated back over to the rest of the delvers [a bit erratically as he was still tripping] and relayed what had been agreed to.  The rest of the Delvers were OK with this result as safe passage to the gate room was what they wanted.  The group of adventurers turned and left the fungoid room and went down the south corridor to the gate room.

After verifying everything was as they left it, they started experimenting with the gate’s control cubes.  They powered the gate with one of the power gems and then waited.  The gate opened to a completely dark area.  After about a minute it switched to a different location.  A minute later it did so again.  The Delvers decided that powering the gate but not using the location cubes set it to randomly cycle to other locations.

Ricky inserted the first cube with the same setting Hefhauer had used [see Session 8], which caused the gate to open on the complete darkness.  Zarek borrowed a torch from Fish and stuck it through the gate.  The flame disappeared and provided no illumination to whatever was beyond.  When Zarek pulled the torch back, it was still lit.

Ricky left the gate alone long enough to verify that it would not randomly cycle while a cube was plugged in and then rotated it to the different facings to see where the gate opened for each.  The Delvers observed:

  1. Several raised plant beds full of dead plants on a floor of grey gravel.  In the short distances is a short cliff of grey stone.  The sky beyond is black and full of starts like a night sky, but there is clearly daylight illuminating everything.  Ricky recognized the stars but would not expect to see them in the night sky for several months, which is peculiar.
  2. A large cave, partially lit by sunlight.  When Zarek went through, it had the musty smell that made him very uncomfortable.
  3. A small room with stone walls.
  4. A room that was completely submerged in water with a few small fish swimming in it.
  5. Ruins of a city with lots of sand everywhere.  Ricky believed it to be the ruins of the city of Labdah, located a week or two across the Serpent Sea to the south.
  6. The completely dark location.

After some discussion, the Delvers suspected that the first gate location was on the moon and wanted to verify that.  Vorgand decided she would go through first as the guild leader.  Ricky switched the control cube to its first setting and the gate opened to the same set of dead gardens.  Vorgand stepped through the gate and found herself inside a structure with mostly transparent walls and ceiling.  She had a moment where she couldn’t breathe very well and then it passed and she could breathe fine.  The ground was gravelly and crunched under her feet.  There was a faint scent of exploded fireworks but no obvious source.

Seeing Vorgand having no issues, Zarek floated through the gate next.  He had trouble taking deep breathes immediately and was forced to dive back through the portal quickly so he could breathe again.  One by one each of the Delvers stepped through and had the same problem, except for Jala.  They quickly realized the communication ear rings both were wearing also provided air for them to breathe.  Vorgand returned through the gate and handed her ear rings to Clarence to wear and then he stepped through.  He had no trouble breathing this time, which confirmed the ear rings allowed breathing.

Clarence and Jala explored the structure the gate was in.  There were two airlock doors at opposite ends of the room – one lead outside the building, the other into a domed hub that connected to three other chambers, those having opaque walls.  Clarence and Jala selected the airlock doors leading to the hub room.  It had no door knob, but there was a glass panel on the wall beside the door.  Having seen something similar, Jala pulled out the key she had from the Moon Manor ruins and tried it.  The key opened the airlock door and she and Clarence went through.  The inner door had a button that closed the outer door and opened the inner door to the hub room.

The hub room had three other airlock doors, each with a button to open it.  There were also large planters along the walls between the doors, all full of dead plants.  The door on left trembled a bit when the button was pushed, but then failed to open.  The door across opened to a living area and kitchen with many plant holders, all dead.  There was hallway to one side with a door to some back areas and stairs down to a lower area.  Jala wanted very much to explore those areas, but Clarence advocated checking the other airlock in the hub first and then returning to report what they had found.  Jala relented [she made her EGO roll to resist her Curious disadvantage].

The last chamber was a storage area, but this time the shelves were full.  There were canvas bags of soil and seeds, three chests of gardening tools, there were worktables along the walls, empty sprinkler buckets, and a large metal tank, probably of water but Clarence could not read the writing on anything.  There were also planters of dead plants.

After some discussion, the two decided to grab the four wooden chairs in the kitchen area and the couch in the living area and haul those back to the gate as loot.  When they returned through the gate with their furniture-loot, the relayed what they had found.  Wanting to explore further but with no way to breathe on the moon without the magic ear rings, the Delvers decided to explore some of the other areas to see if they could find more of the magical ear rings.

The next gate location was the giant cave that made Zarek nervous, so they skipped that and went to the next setting, which was the small room.  Jala went through first and reported through the communication ear rings that the room was just large enough to hold the gate on this end and had a single locked door.  She checked the cabinet in the control pedestal for the gate and found three location cubes and a de-powered power gem, which she took.  She then went to the locked door and oiled the hinges and the lock mechanisms before unlocking it.  While she was doing that, the rest of the Delvers came through, leaving Nick and Harek watching their end of the gate.

Beyond the door was a series of four empty rooms.  All the rooms showed signs of being periodically occupied, but not recently.  The third room had a metal ladder embedded in the wall that went up and down to different levels.  The Delvers first went up.  The room they entered had two doors, one of which showed sunlight around it.  Once all the Delvers had climbed up, the door outside was opened.  It opened onto a ledge that provided access to what appeared to be a cave in a narrow stone cliff.  Zarek floated out and look around and realized the structure they were in was an immense stone hand and the “narrow cliff” was the hand’s thumb!  [See The Stone Sinister by Dyson Logos for details.]

Ricky recognized where they were – it was a famous ruin far to the north of Aegea City but only a week or so west of the Duchy of Aerik and Barrowmaze.  The swamps it was in were different from the Barrowmoors but were drained by a different branch of the same river.  Vorgand was pleased to discover this as it would shorten her trip back north in the spring considerably.

The Delvers explored the rest of the giant hand, finding it currently empty of occupants and treasure.  Jala wanted to use it as the guild house, but the others were not as enthused about its swamp location and she was voted down.  The Delvers returned to the small gate room, closing and relocking the door.  They then went through the gate back to where Nick and Harek were lounging on the lunar couch.

End of Session

[In hindsight, the gunpowder smell on the moon was a marginal mistake on my part.  While actual lunar soil has that smell (as reported by astronauts who landed on the moon) it breaks down upon contact with air and moisture and loses the scent after a couple of days.  The gravel inside the building would have been exposed to air and moisture in the past and probably lost the scent already.  It might have come back after being airless for hundreds of years, but that is speculation as scientists do not know what causes the scent to begin with.  See the July 2019 issue of Smithsonian magazine for more information.]

[The description for the Stone Sinister exploration was short as I forgot to stock it before play.  I will go back and do that, having some locals pick it up as a refuge from storm flooding so there will be something there when/if the PCs return.  It is a location that favors temporary encampments by various groups, so that will work well.]



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 05
Session 06
Session 07
Session 08
Session 09
Session 10


Session 12