[In-game November 21st to 23rd – The Delvers return to the moon to explore the moon base further.]
[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement. This session happened November 2, 2020.]
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dusk Academy
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
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, and Guildmaster of the Delvers Guild
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
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Torsten, Fish, Harek – ex-bandits, now The Torchbearers for the Delvers Guild
Konrad Moonclub – Stalwart family factor in Little Wytheford
Orm Oxdriver – driver of the guild’s over-sized, double-decker vardo
Cromsday, November 21st, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Vorgand finalizes hiring terms on an ex-batsman named Lars. Lars is responsible for upkeep of the Delvers Guild Guildhall with a salary of 50 gold coin per month. His was authorized to start the cleaning of the first floor with a fixed monthly budget [which the GM, me, will work out at a later time, but it is enough to hire a cleaning crew]. Lars has also been authorized to request bids for the restoration of the exterior of the Guildhall.
The Delvers prepared for their next expedition to the Moon Manor. Ricky planned to stay the week at the Moon Manor to create a magic circle there. He arranged for extra food and supplies for inlaying and enchanting the magic circle. Jala packed up the extra clothes, coats, and other supplies she purchased for The Torchbearers.
Freysday, November 22nd, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The Delvers Guild boarded the morning ferry to Little Wytheford and took their usual places aboard. The weather was clear but chilly with strong winds from the north. They made good time across Dragon Bay.
After arriving early at Little Wytheford’s River Docks, the Delvers made their way to the Stalwart family warehouse. Konrad has the vardo completely loaded with the requested supplies. The Delvers barely have room for the additional things they brought with them and then themselves. Konrad presented the invoice for the supplies and Nick paid it. Jala requested Konrad look for three beds and bedframes for delivery later and [after getting the nod from Nick] agreed to do so. Jala paid him for the purchases he would make.
Orm hooked up the oxen to the vardo and steered it out of the town and then south to the Moon Manor. The going was slow due to the extra supplies, but the path was mostly dry.
The vardo arrived at the Moon Manor ruins. It was flying the flag of the Delvers Guild, but the sun had set so none could see it. Fish was on duty and called out a challenge [even though he had a good idea who it was – it pays to be certain in the wilderness]. Zarek flew ahead and nearly startled Fish into shooting him, but they got the situation sorted out and Orm drove the vardo up next to the entrance to the ruins.
The Delvers and the Torchbearers spent the following two hours unloading the supplies in the vardo and getting them squared away in the chapel. The Torchbearers were pleased by the clothes and furniture Jala gifted to them, particularly the new coats as winter was starting to settle in.
Yggsday, November 23rd, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
After a hearty breakfast, the Delvers and the Torchbearers opened the makeshift door to the Moon Manor under-ruins and climbed down. As they made their way to the stair shaft to the lower level, the stopped at the northwest corner room so Ricky could evaluate it as the location of the receiving magic circle. The desiccated elf corpse was no longer in the chair behind the desk. The Delvers suspected that the cleaning golems had removed it as the room was also relatively dust free now.
Ricky looked over the room and took some measurements. He estimated that the room would work, but they would need to take up the carpeting so he could access the stone floor for inscribing the circle. They also needed to work out a way to keep the cleaning golems out of the room, something the group would need to give thought to later. Jala, reminded by the desk in the room, mentioned out loud that she needed to get a desk for the Torchbearers. The other Delvers suggested they just bring this desk up when they return.
Once Ricky was satisfied the room would work, the group continued. On their way down the stairs in the stair shaft, they again discussed repairing the gap in the stairs and mending the crack in the wall letting in the water. There was some discussion about which would be easier to fix – the crack letting in the water of the magical lift. No answer was achieved.
Down in the portal room, Zarek set up the control cubes for the moon and then placed the power crystal in place to activate the portal. Nothing happened. Non-plussed, Zarek cast Detect Magic on the crystal and discovered that it was not as magical as when originally found. Suspecting it needed to be re-charged, he swapped it for the charged gem Vorgand had. The portal opened immediately. The group made not they need to go to the Room of the Blue Sun to recharge the original power gem and probably a few of the others as well.
With the portal open to the moon, the couch was retrieved and set up so the Torchbearers would be able to comfortably keep an eye on things while the Delvers explored the rest of the small moon base. The Delvers went through the portal and Clarence cast Sense the Unholy. He verified that he could sense two undead skeletons in the back structure of the base.
The Delvers entered the structure. The front room still contained the loot they had taken from the behir. They continued through the airlock doors to the building hub. There they paused so Jala could use her shadow veil to peer through the shadows on the other side of the next airlock. She sees the front half of the structure, which looks like a living room with some sort of kitchen behind it. On the left are stairs going down and a hallway to the back half of the structure with two doors, one on the right wall and one at the far end. With no apparent skeletons, Clarence cast Sense the Unholy again to get a better idea of their location. Both skeletons appeared to be in the back-left corner of the structure, which would put them behind the door at the far end of the short hallway.
With the way clear to enter this area, the Delvers went through the airlock doors. Jala and Clarence had been here before, but the others hadn’t, so they took some time to look around. [This is the original location for the couch and four of the chairs the group sold through Ferragus.] Satisfied there was no threat nor any loot, the Delvers moved into the short hallway to the back.
Jala used her shadow veil spell to peer into the back room. It appeared to be some sort of office. She had trouble finding usable shadows to peer through [the outer walls of the entire structure are magical and allow most light through], but eventually got a look at the skeletons. They had desiccated skin clinging to their bones and black gems of some sort embedded into their foreheads. Vorgand recognized this description – she had seen the Revengers fight skeletons like this in Barrowmaze! [Download and read Barrowmaze Using ACKS Book 2: Rise of the Revengers for more information.]
Vorgand shared what she knew about these skeletons with the rest of the Delvers, which included the fact that they would get back up unless the gem in their forehead was destroyed. As a result of this information, Zarek prepared two different attack spells. Clarence cast Armor of Faith on himself, Vorgand, and Ricky. Nick cast Wave Breaker on himself and drew the Wand of Wind. Vorgand used her magical whetstone to sharpen her rapier [and give it +1 to hit]. Just before opening the door, Zarek, Vorgand, Jala, and Ricky took a sip from their vials of Speed Potion.
Jala threw open the door. Vorgand rushed into the room, striking and destroying the black gem on the first skeleton’s forehead. That skeleton slashed at by the skeleton she attacked to minimal effect. The other skeleton fired an Arcane Burst at Jala and hit her twice, once in the arm and once in the hand. Luckily neither did much damage to her. The battle was on after that.
Most of the group concentrated their attacks on the first skeleton. Vorgand’s rapier barely damaged it if she did any damage at all, but she did shatter the gem on the second skeleton. Jala fled the room to the kitchen area and used Shadow Veil to observe the fight, ready to pull out anyone who became unconscious.
Ricky instead used his Tricky Ricky spell to turn invisible and then shadow-stepped into the room. Once there, he cast Dark Leaching on the back skeleton, draining it of substance. The skeleton turned to cast at Ricky! Ricky assumed it would use an area effect attack and dove for cover next to it, trusting his invisibility to keep him safe. It didn’t work.
Ricky was not fast enough to get out of the way [failed his DEX check at -1 to dive for cover] and was hit twice by an Arcane Burst attack. Ricky learned that the skeletons did not use vision to “see” their targets. Ricky fled the room by stepping through the shadow under the desk.
Meanwhile, Zarek and Clarence peppered the first skeleton with magic spells for some effect. They were next to each other due to the confined space in the office, so the skeleton attacked them both with an Arcane Blast. Zarek dove away but Clarence was hit and stunned from the attack.
Nick moved into the room and used the Wand of Wind to grab the skeleton and hold it in place so the others could hit it. It broke free a couple of times, but Nick was able to re-grab it, allowing Zarek to hit it repeatedly and keeping the skeleton from attacking the other spellcasters. Vorgand used a martial maneuver with her rapier to damage the skeleton and put it on the floor. She did no damage and it just attacked Ricky again from the floor.
Watching the fight from the kitchen area, Jala was able to observe the fight without being in it and gained an insight. She spoke through the Earrings of Communications the Delvers all wore, “Strike it with blunt surfaces, not your blade!” Zarek changed his spell and attacked the first skeleton, finally shattering it. Vorgand decided to try Jala’s suggestion and attacked the last skeleton with the pommel of her sword instead of the blade. She shattered the skeleton, ending its existence.
Jala pulled out her notebook and wrote down everything she had about the Black Gem Skeletons.
End of Session
[I borrowed the Black Gem Skeletons from Barrowmaze, which has an excellent selection of skeleton variants so every fight with skeletons is not the same. I gave these two different attacks, one a Burst Fire attack and one an Area of Effect (One Hex) attack. Replicating the gems in their heads was a slightly different matter. In D&D terms, the gems have a higher AC than the skeleton and can take a certain amount of damage. For Hero System, I gave them the -8 to hit modifier for a called shot and made them Fragile, Obvious Inaccessible Foci. The issue with Fragile is that they only have 1 DEF and break immediately upon being hit. This is too fragile, but with the healing power in the gem, without Fragile they would have had a 20 DEF and the players would never be able to break them. So either too much DEF or nowhere near enough. I’ll have to come up with something halfway. Also, I should have invoked the additional -2 for targeting a focus, but I was concerned they’d never hit the things. I forgot how much OCV Vorgand has now – she could pretty much hit them nearly at will.]