[In-game November 23rd (still)– The Delvers use discretion and investigate deeper.]
[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement. This session happened December 7, 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
Yggsday, November 23rd, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Late Afternoon or Early Evening (around 5:00)
Facing at least ten Blue Fire Skeletons and separated from the rest of the Delvers, Zarek and Jala were horrified when most of the skeletons lobbed their flaming skulls at the two of them. Zarek dove back though the hole Vorgand and Rick had hammered into the five-foot thick sealing stone separating the room of stone trees from the well room, where the rest of the Delvers were asking what was happening. Jala panic teleported [dove for cover using her teleportation spell] back into well room. Both vacated the spot where they were standing just in time as multiple skulls hit the ground and exploded, filling the area with intense blue flames! Zarek, Ricky, Nick, and Vorgand were caught in the fringes of the multiple explosions, but the small aperture in the sealing stone shielded them from most of the damage [as did my abysmally low damage rolls].
At first uncertain what to do, the Delvers quickly decided to retreat down the chimney to the slanted passage as nowhere in the well room was safe from the exploding skulls. Nick activated the Cloak of the Bat for the first time and discovered that it turned the wearer into a bat. He was pleased with this outcome and flew down the chimney. Jala shadow-walked down to the slanted corridor where as Ricky shadow-jumped back to the portal room where Clarence, Torsten, and Harek were. Fish and Vorgand made use of the ropes to climb down the chimney. Zarek flew into the chimney but stopped just inside the well-like entrance of the chimney. He drew a knife and waited for Fish and Vorgand to make their way down to the bottom of the chimney before cutting the ropes – he did not want to give any of the skeletons a clear shot at himself. The sacrifice of 3-4 feet from each rope was worth the extra safety.
Not certain of the time nor where they are, Ricky consulted Stargazer, his magic mirror that tells the current weather. Stargazer reported that it was hot and dry with a clear sky. Based on this and that the portal address branched off from the desert city ruins, the Delvers surmised that it was still daylight and they were probably somewhere in the large desert on the opposite side of the Opal Sea from the Kingdom of Aegea.
While discussing their next step, Zarek suggested they test whether or not it was possible for Jala or Ricky to teleport past the anti-magic zone. Not wanting to have either of them be isolated in case something happened, Vorgand started walking down the slanted corridor, using the rope the Delvers ran down there for Zarek’s rescue [see Session 31] to avoid slipping and falling to the bottom of the corridor. Zarek alit on her backpack and went with her. Nick decided to change back from a bat and followed Vorgand and Zarek down the slanted corridor.
Once Vorgand, Zarek and Nick were at the bottom of the slanted corridor, Zarek lit a torch and waved it back and forth to signal Jala should make her attempt. Jala shadow-walked down, targeting a point near Zarek and Vorgand, but the teleportation fell short and she was shunted to a point just before the third bracket. Jala’s Spiderclimb spell still functioned, which kept her from stumbling and falling the rest of the way down the slanted corridor. She reported to Ricky and Clarence over the magical earrings what happened. With a sigh she picked up the rope and started walking the rest of the way down. Ricky and Clarence started making their way down to join the rest of the group and explore the lower level. The Torchbearers stayed up at the portal to keep an eye on things there.
When the entire group is at the foot of the slanted shaft, protective spells were cast. [At this point Clarence’s player joined the game. He was late due to falling asleep after work. He’d been working 12-hour shifts to catch up from a backlog of work, so we cut him some slack. Some.] Zarek cast his Stoney Skin spell on himself, Jala, and Ricky. Clarence cast Shield of Faith on himself and Vorgand while Nick cast Wave Break on himself [a Force Field spell]. Jala ate a spider and recast Spiderclimb on herself.
Vorgand decided the group should explore down the left passage first. Ricky examined the frescos on the walls, which showed various elves lording it over “lesser” races, like humans, dwarves, and others. Able to read Ancient Elven, Ricky noticed that each depiction of an elf was named and he recognized some of them from his studies. Just as the group reached the first corner, Ricky spotted a depiction on the wall of Hefhauer leading elven troops! Ricky pointed this out to the others and Jala defaced the mural with her dagger, carving the words “Jerk Face” over the depiction. Vorgand approved of this.
[Short history lesson: There are 3 Ages of the Elves. The first is known as the Old Kingdom by human scholars and all that is left are some ruins and ancient legends. The second Age is known to humans as the Middle Kingdom. There are some records of this time and the frescos on the walls here seem to date from this time, which places Hefhauer as from the Middle Kingdom period. This period ended with an event referred to as the Dragon Wars, when dragons first appeared and rampaged across the lands. The current Age is the New Kingdoms and is characterized by small elven kingdoms scattered in out of the way places that tend to keep to themselves. The transitions between the Ages is uncertain and human scholars do not have specific dates for any of them and the elves are less than sharing about their history. Thus endeth the lesson.]
Vorgand asked Clarence to cast Sense the Unholy to determine if there were any undead around. Clarence attempted multiple times, but the spell never activated. [He blew his Skill Roll four times in a row, rolling a 17 or an 18 on 3d6 each time. I ruled that this indicated something was up metaphysically in game.] Clarence reported that the spell did not work down here for some reason, but privately he was slightly concerned. The failure of the spell to work suggested perhaps the deity was not pleased with what he was doing for some reason.
Once around the corner, the passage continued another sixty feet before ending. The murals along this stretch of passage were broken up into individual, large panels showing a specific elf. At the end of the passage was a statue of a significant elf or elven deity. There is a name plate that Ricky could read, but he did not recognize the name at all. [Because the GM had made up the name yet.]
The Delvers examined the statue. Zarek cast detect magic to verify it was not a golem. Jala examined the area for secret doors or hidden spaces. Vorgand specifically investigated the pillar the statue was standing on. The ceiling above the statue was domed and painted with starts that Ricky examined. Nothing out of the ordinary was discovered about the statue nor the alcove.
Ricky did notice a missing piece of plaster on the right-hand wall just before the statue’s alcove. Looking closer, he realized that there appeared to be a stone doorframe behind the plaster. The fresco over the door area was painted to look like a normal door, although slightly smaller than normal size. Ricky brought this to the attention of the other Delvers. After a short discussion, the Delvers pried the plaster from the wall, exposing a tomb entrance, closed with a sealing stone. Rick and Vorgand broke out their sledgehammers and started attacking the sealing stone.
Twenty minutes later, Ricky and Vorgand cleared the shattered sealing stone from the entrance. Beyond was a narrow passage that opened to a small room. Vorgand entered the passage and observed a sarcophagus that filled half the small room and a funeral urn that held a Blue Fire Skeleton that was standing up! In quick succession, Vorgand struck the skeleton with the blunt side of her sword, Zarek cast a burst of lightning at it, and Ricky cast Dark Leaching on it, which destroyed the undead creature.
Jala entered the small room and inspected the sarcophagus for traps. She found none. Ricky checked the name inscription and recognized it as a elven hero from Middle Kingdom legends. The name also matched the name on the fresco covering the entrance to the tomb.
Ricky and Vorgand lifted the stone sarcophagus lid and set it aside. Inside were the mortal remains of an elf and some grave goods. Zarek cast detect magic and several things immediately glowed: a wand, a horn, a hammer [weapon, not construction tool], and an incense censer. There was also a stone bowl holding several thousand elven silver coins. Treasure!
The magic items were removed from the sarcophagus and Zarek poured over them. He eventually identified them as a Wand of Transformation, a Horn of Bravery, a Valiant Hammer that appeared to be made from star iron, and a Sleep Censer. Jala counted the coins, which turned out to be 5,000 in number.
Clarence was given the Valiant Hammer and Ricky the Wand of Transformation. The rest were put into a loot sack for later discussion. Jala handed Clarence the Wand of Arcane Bolt and the Rope of Entanglement as she never used them and preferred they get used by someone rather than just take up space in her backpack.
End of Session
[Not much to say here other than I mapped out the area behind the 10 Blue Fire Skeletons, thinking that the PCs would be exploring this level. They immediately withdrew and I suddenly needed to improvise the lower area. Luckily I’d been reading a lot about Egyptian tombs and could create believable maps on the spot. The downside being I couldn’t improvise the names and legends as well, hence the lack of them in this write-up. I’ll fix that later and provide the players with the information in a handout when we return to the campaign.]
[That brings up the fact that there is one more session and then we switch campaigns. This is to avoid losing a player due to technical issues with remote play. We are switching back to the Shattered Star Adventure Path for a couple of months until our remote player gets the vaccine and can play in person again, cutting out the technical problems, which will make everyone happier.]
Session 33 [Not Yet Posted]