Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 24

[A short encounter on the way to Barrowmaze.  Includes a ruling relating to potion creation.]

[Also?  SPOILERS!  This series will spoil what’s in Barrowmaze, so take that into consideration before reading.]

PCs (The Revengers)
Daphne – female human Blade-Sister (5th level Bladedancer)
Boris the Fighter – male human Exemplar (5th level Fighter)
Adam – male human Magician (4th level Mage)

NPCs
Dergos – male human guide, still sold on the glory of adventuring, hired by Boris
‘Len – professional torchbearer, full name is Morgullen, but he never uses it, hired by Boris
Vorgand – female human porter, a university student earning coin, hired by Daphne
Verya [pronounced Vir-uh] – female human Woman-at-Arms (1st level Fighter) , hired for 1/3 share of any treasure


Moonday, July 21st, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
While several members of the Revengers chose to take some time off to rest and enjoy their wealth [read: the players could not make the game], Daphne, Boris, and Adam wanted to continue their quest to rescue the mongrel men leaders.  Daphne tacked a piece of parchment to the front door of Turgen’s Trade Goods, requesting comfrey be set aside for her purchase in the evening [the shop was not yet open for business for the day].  Daphne suggested to the other two adventurers that an additional fighter-type would be wise.  Boris and Adam agreed, so the trio went over to the Mercenary Guild to see if anyone was available.

The usual morning crowd of hopefuls was loitering around the building, along with Dergos, ‘Len and, Vorgand, who were ready to head out with the Revengers.  Boris talked with Guildmaster Osen and hired Verya, a woman-at-arms with chainmail, a halberd, and extensive burn scars.  Due to her skill level [she’s actually a classed character, not a 0th level NPC], the Revengers agreed to her pay being a one-third share of any treasure taken, rather than a flat fee.  [The players were iffy on this until I clarified it would not affect their XP for the session, then they were immediately onboard.]

With party bolstered, the adventurers headed south, Dergos leading them through the moors.  Along the way, the group spotted a small group of three trolls approaching them.  Daphne perked up at this as she needed troll blood for brewing healing potions.  After a quick discussion [while the trolls rapidly approached the party], the group decided that THREE trolls might be more than they could handle and attempted to evade.  Unfortunately, they had waited too long and the trolls caught up with the group during the chase.

Daphne cast Bless on the adventurers, who formed up a fighting ling with the porter, guide, torchbearer, and mage behind the line.  Boris and Verya threw military-grade oil [read: Molotov cocktails] at the trolls, concentrating on the lead troll.  Adam repeatedly cast Magic Missile at it [doing fire damage due to his Elementalism proficiency].  Daphne ordered Vorgand to hand out the military-grade oil in her pack to anyone who could use it on the trolls and Boris and Verya made use of it.  When the trolls were within melee range, Boris and Verya advanced on the trolls to attack.

The lead troll went down to Boris’ initial swing [plus all the fire damage from the oil and Adam’s fiery Magic Missiles].  Boris and Verya concentrated their attacks on the next troll while the trolls concentrated their [mostly ineffectual] attacks on Boris [Verya was attacking at range with her halberd, making Boris the only valid target, but his high AC and my low rolls to hit meant they did not hit as often as expected].  Daphne cast Spiritual Weapon and sent forth the Saber of Inanna to attack the trolls.

The liberal use of burning oil and big damage from Boris’ axe [along with the damage done by Verya and Daphne] knocked down the trolls.  All three trolls were heavily burnt, but regenerating.  Daphne quickly stepped forward, emptying her waterskin of water to capture troll blood in it from the regenerating trolls.  Boris and Verya periodically attacked the trolls to keep them down.  After a very tense period [about 30 minutes], Daphne collected a total of three waterskins worth of troll blood [she borrowed Adam and Boris' waterskins], enough to make an attempt at brewing her first Potion of Healing.

Once Daphne was done harvesting all the troll blood she could carry, Boris and Verya dragged the troll bodies into a pile and poured three flasks of common oil from Daphne’s equipment onto the pile and ignited it.  The fire damage from this pyre finally killed the trolls [although it took a while for the last one to stop moving].  Verya took the opportunity to take a troll claw as a memento.

At this point Adam was completely out of spells, Daphne was down to two spells, all of the oil was gone, and Boris was noticeably injured.  Rather than push their luck, the group returned back to Helix early.  With no treasure [beyond the troll blood] from the expedition, Daphne paid Verya 3 gp and offered to extend the contract to the next outing.  Verya accepted.

In addition to picking up her order of comfrey from Turgen early, Daphne bought more oil to replace the military-grade oil used against the trolls.  Boris and Adam also bought oil, Adam buying 7 flasks and storing 5 in Daphne’s gear for her porter to carry and hand out as needed.  Adam also sent a letter to the bookshop in Ironguard Motte, requesting they locate and hold a scroll of Fireball for him to purchase [he is close to 5th level and wants to be ready].

End of Session


[We could have run the group resupplying and going back to Barrowmaze the next day, but they would have only a little over an hour of game time at that point, which would have forced the PCs to leave the dungeon early for metagame reasons, not in-game reasons.  Therefore we wrapped up early and handled healing and supply purchases.  The players greatly enjoyed the troll encounter and were happy with what they achieved.]

[Daphne’s player was very pleased to find the reagents she needed to start crafting potions of healing, something she’s wanted to do since reaching 5th level.  When asked about how much blood she needed, we looked at what was described in the rules and discovered that it suggests “Blood of 1 troll”.  Is that all the blood from one troll, you need blood from different trolls to make more than one potion or what?  I decide that for the purposes of developing the formula for creating the potion, the caster needs a troll’s worth of blood and that Daphne had enough for one try at this.  After success, then she will need at least a waterskin’s worth for each potion.  The amounts might be low, but the players took the time and effort, so I don’t want to penalize them – in fact I want to encourage this behavior.]


[Also, I found an error in my links for back episodes, which I’m in the process of correcting.  By the time this goes live, that should be fixed. Thank you to Rafael Beltrame for bringing it to my attention.]

The Motley Crew
Session 1: The Start

Session 11: TPK


The Revengers
Session 12: Rise of the Revengers
Session 13
Session 14
Session 15
Session 16
Session 17
Session 18
Session 19
Session 20
Session 21
Session 22
Session 23

Session 25 [Not yet written]

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 23


[This is the first time we’ve done a two-part session, where I’ve ended one session with the PCs in the Barrowmaze itself and picked up the next session still in the dungeon.  This is Part Two.]

[Also?  SPOILERS!  This series will spoil what’s in Barrowmaze, so take that into consideration before reading.]

PCs (The Revengers)
Rhun Thruu – female elf Theurgist-Torturer (3rd level Elven Nightblade)
Daphne – female human Blade-Sister (5th level Bladedancer)
Boris the Fighter – male human Exemplar (5th level Fighter)
Adam – male human Magician (4th level Mage)
Hrglclxin [pronounced her-gull-klack sin] – male human Outrider (2nd level Explorer)

NPCs
Dergos – male human guide, still sold on the glory of adventuring, hired by Boris
‘Len – professional torchbearer, full name is Morgullen, but he never uses it, hired by Boris
Nolig – male human porter, hired by Hrglclxin
Proximo – male human Footpad, Godric’s henchman
Vorgand – female human porter, a university student earning coin, hired by Daphne


Sunday, July 20th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
[Starting immediately where Session 22 ended.]
After concluding their arrangement to rescue to supply a guide to The Revengers in exchange for the rescue of their leaders from the necromancers, the mongrelman leader The Horned One, asked the adventurers to do one more thing.  A lone adventurer was rescued in the dungeon by the mongrelmen.  This adventurer needed an escort out of the dungeon and back to the surface lands.  The Horned One asked Boris if the Revengers would take this elf back.  Boris agreed, and the group was introduced to Rhun, whose gear was battered but functional.

With that taken care of, one of the mongrelmen stepped forward as their guide and led them north.  They followed the path they’d recently discovered from the mongrelmen room [Room 100A] to the diagonal grand hallway [Room 110].  From there they went north, through two secret doors to the other grand hallway where Dr. West fell into the teleporting pit and was never seen alive again.  Their guide walked the group up the eastern wall to the far end of the hall and opened a previously unseen secret door. 

Beyond was a corridor that 20 feet in was a four-way intersection.  Their guide said, “Take the left passage and follow the left wall until you get to a door.  Beyond that door is death.  That is where you are going.  Return when you have freed our leaders.”  He then left, heading south to presumably return to the mongrelmen lair.

Somewhat nonplussed by this, the Revengers entered the corridor.  They noted the passage forward ended 20 feet past the intersection and the passage to the right [south] went further than their light illuminated.  They turned left [north] and followed the corridor to a right-turn.  The corridor around the corner was empty, so they continued, following the left wall.  Just as Boris’ glowing sword illuminated a Y-intersection ahead, Rhun’s keen elven eyes noticed a secret door on the south wall.

Curious, and hoping for some treasure, the Revengers decided to make a slight detour and opened the secret door.  In a small chamber beyond were 6 skeletons, each with a sapphire gem embedded in their forehead.  Sensing loot, the Revengers engaged the skeletons in combat in the doorway [to keep the skeletons bottled up and fight as few as possible at once].  The skeletons were a little tougher than expected, which did not concern the revengers at first.  It took two blows from his sword for Boris to drop the first skeleton.  As he and Daphne were fighting the next three skeletons, the first one stood back up, all damage from Boris’ sword gone!

Realizing that time was not on their side, Boris switched from his sword to his great axe and started targeting the blue gems in the skulls.  This time when Boris dropped the first skeleton again, it stayed down.  Calling out this information to the others, the group started targeting the gems specifically.  Adam discovered that the sapphire skeletons were also immune to fire attacks when his fire-based Magic Missile spell harmlessly splashed on one of the skeletons.  [Adam has the Elementalism proficiency and chose fire as his element.  He invoked the option to make his Magic Missile spell fire-based.]

It was a hard fight and several adventurers were injured, but eventually all the skeletons were down and their sapphires broken.  Daphne gathered up the sapphire fragments into the loot bag while Boris drank a healing potion.  Everyone else who was injured ate some comfrey to heal up some.  The chamber the skeletons came out of was a dead end with no treasure, which was slightly disappointing to the adventurers.  [The map shows an attached room, Room 124A, but there is nothing in the text that even mentions the room exists.  With nothing to go on, I just eliminated the room.]

Side trip done, the Revengers advanced, taking the left turn at the Y-intersection.  Thirty feet past that, the corridor ended at a doorway, beyond which the mongrelmen claimed was death.  Boris opened the door and found a 30x30 room with an open corridor out in the center of the north wall and a closed door in the far corner on the east wall.  The room was otherwise empty, so the adventurers moved in.  Rhun noticed a secret door on the south wall [because who can hide things from elves?] and pointed it out.  The door was examined and pronounced clear [despite no one having Find Traps as an ability and Adam not casting Detect Magic].  Boris opened it…and triggered the explosive rune hidden on it.  He was able to dodge part of the blast [made his save], but was still heavily injured.  Based on the size of the blast, Adam estimated a high-level Patriach was necessary to place that rune [Level 12 Cleric].  This gave the adventurers some pause.

Having triggered the trap, the adventurers went through the secret door.  Beyond was a short passage east to another room.  Eight [ravenous] zombies rushed out of this room to attack.  Daphne brandished her holy symbol in the name of Inanna and turned them.  While Daphne maintained concentration, Boris chopped up the cowering zombies.  [These were Ravenous Zombies – think piranha zombies – but they were turned before they could demonstrate what made them different from other zombies.]

Looking around the zombie room [Room 206], Rhun located another secret door, this one again on the south wall.  Cautiously opening this secret door, the Revengers looked through.  The room beyond was 20x30 feet, with two wooden doors taking up the south wall and two more doors and a portcullis on the eastern wall.  Peat-colored water was leaking in and had obviously swollen one of the doors on the south wall and one on the east wall.  The other southern door was open and the remaining door on the eastern wall was ajar.

The adventurers entered the room and started looking around.  The open crypt was bare and obviously looted.  The portcullis opened onto a larger [30x30 feet] room, where the mechanism to raise the portcullis was visible on the opposite wall, next to a door out.  The partially open crypt had a stone tablet on the floor at the far end.  Boris went in and stuffed the tablet into his loot bag without reading it…which is when the ochre jelly on the ceiling attacked.  [Ironically, this was the first time in quite a while that Boris had not checked the ceiling when walking into a room.]

Despite attacking from surprise, the ochre jelly was quickly dispatched.  Daphne and Adam performed healing checks on Rhun and Boris, respectively, while Hrglclxin used Boris’ axe to chop down the stuck door on the south wall.  Both healers failed at their efforts.  Beyond the stuck door was a crypt with some normal skeletons and no treasure.  After another 10 minutes of chopping to open the other swollen door, they found the same.

Disappointed and with no ideas on how to open the portcullis, the adventurers backtracked to the room with the exploding rune.  From there they went through the corridor to the north.  They took a left at a T-intersection and kept on that path around a corner, where they found stairs going up!  They went up the stairs, emerging from a large pedestal in what was clearly a barrow.  Next to the pedestal was a toppled and defaced statue of Negal.  Ahead of them, on the far side of 50-foot circular room was another set of stairs to the surface with light streaming down them.  There was a well-worn path between the two sets of stairs.

The group climbed to the surface and found the barrow was not in the field of barrows, but in the moors nearby.  They climbed on top of the barrow mound and looked around to work out where they were on their map.  They discovered they were just off the top of their map [Barrow 35].  Having brought Rhun to the surface and with several adventurers wounded, the group decided to walk over to Barrow 20, pick up Dergos, and return to Helix.  Rhun was all for this plan.

On the way back to Helix, a giant python dropped on Adam and squeezed him hard enough he nearly passed out [he went to 0 hp, but made a roll against his CON to stay conscious].  In the rush to get the snake off Adam, Rhun bounced her sword off Boris and into a deep puddle nearby, where it started to sink into the mud [Natural 1 on the d20].  She dove after it before it was lost.  By the time she had it again, the python was fleeing and she had to drop it [on more solid ground] to free her longbow to shoot [and kill] the python.

Back in town, much healing was done.  Rhun went to the newly opened Shrine of the Green Man [built by Quillian on his property].  Daphne used the last of her magic to heal Boris a little, but he had to go to the Shrine of St. Ygg to get healed the rest of the way.  Daphne made use of the magic cup [from Barrow 24] to heal her wounds.

End of Session

[So I didn’t mention it in my notes, but Boris actually took more damage from the party making critical failures – rolling a “1” to hit – than he took from the actual monsters.  Daphne hit him at least twice and Rhun hit him once.  Adam’s player could not roll above a 9 on a d20 for the entire game except once, when he needed to roll low and then rolled high.  The laws of probability seemed to be making up for previous sessions.]


The Motley Crew

The Revengers

Session 24 [Not yet written]


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 22

[This is the first time we’ve done a two-part expedition, where I’ve ended one session with the PCs in the Barrowmaze itself and picked up the next session still in the dungeon.  This is Part One.]

[Also?  SPOILERS!  This series will spoil what’s in Barrowmaze, so take that into consideration before reading.]

PCs (The Revengers)
Adam – male human Magician (4th level Mage)
Daphne – female human Blade-Sister (5th level Bladedancer)
Boris the Fighter – male human Exemplar (5th level Fighter)
Hrglclxin [pronounced her-gull-klack sin] – male human Outrider (2nd level Explorer)

NPCs
Dergos – male human guide, still sold on the glory of adventuring, hired by Boris
‘Len – professional torchbearer, full name is Morgullen, but he never uses it, hired by Boris
Nolig – male human porter, a Helix local, hired by Hrglclxin
Proximo – male human Footpad, Godric’s henchman
Vorgand – female human porter, a university student earning coin, hired by Daphne


Sunday, July 20th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The Revengers met at the Mercenary Guild building and gathered their hirelings.  Boris hired Dergos and ‘Len as guide and torchbearer (respectively), Daphne hired Vorgand as a porter for her extra gear, and Hrglclxin hired Nolig for the same reason.  On the way to the field of barrows, the group [except Adam] noticed a knot of giant toads ahead and Hrglclxin routed group around the toads [a handy class feature Explorers have].

Along the way to the barrows, the group discussed what they wanted to explore.  They decided to see if the pentagram key they found actually unlocked the bronze door sealing Barrow 7.  They made their way to Barrow 7 upon arrival and tried the key.  It fit!  Boris turned the key and then stepped away from the door as the mechanisms inside the door came to a stop and the door unlocked with a solid “clunk”.  Behind the bronze door was a set of stairs down to the barrow.  The adventurers formed up a line and descended.

[There was a typo here that I had to interpret.  The description says the barrow is “a rounded chamber 40x4040 feet.”  I’m fairly certain that the “4040” should just read “40”.  I interpreted this room as being a 40 foot diameter circular room.  Other barrows have a map and this one could really have used one as some of the detail descriptions were unclear or missing.]

The barrow was a single chamber, 40 feet in diameter.  There were four columns supporting the ceiling and a 10x15 pool in the center of the chamber, full of oily black water.  There were stairs leading into the oily black water [the room description did not say which end of the pool and so I chose the opposite end from the stairs to the surface as most dramatic].  The adventurers were not certain what to make of this.  They stuck a sword and a lit torch in it to see what happened [the sword got wet and the torch went out].

Hrglclxin volunteered to wade into the pool.  The water rose to mid-chest on him and was murky enough that he could not see his feet at the bottom.  He discovered that the bottom was sloped to the center, where it felt much deeper.  He borrowed a staff from Adam and used it to prod the bottom.  He discovered that the center had no bottom he could detect.

Boris returned to the surface and picked up a chunk of stone.  He returned to the barrow and tied it to a rope, which the group then used to plumb the depth of the pool center.  It seemed to be about 30 feet deeper than the rest of the pool.  None of the adventurers wanted to go diving in the oily black water.  Hrglclxin climbed back out of the pool, the black water clinging to him.  As Hrglclxin dried off, Boris poured a vial of holy water into the pool.  The holy water reacted violently and boiled away.  Using a different vial, Boris took a sample of the water for further examination later.  Not ready to explore this anymore, the group left the barrow, closing and locking the bronze door behind them.

The Revengers headed southeast across the field of barrows to Barrow 20 and went in.  The opened the hidden passage under the broken sarcophagus and descended into the Barrowmaze.  They went north, then through the two rooms to the grand hallway [Room 92].  In the grand hallway, they went north again and entered the far passage on the left wall, entering the room with the metal cage [Room 89].  They found the cage was recessed into the ceiling again.  Based on a scrawl on their treasure map, the suspected that the mongrelmen reset the trap.  Boris threw a rock into the center, triggering the pressure plate, and the cage clanged down to the floor again with a great deal of noise.

After waiting a couple minutes to see if anything investigated the noise, the group went through the north door and followed the corridor.  The group turned left at the first y-intersection and ended in an empty room with a door on the north wall and a portcullis on the south wall [Room 86].  Looking through the portcullis, they saw another corridor with doors on either side.  They could not find a mechanism to lift the portcullis, so decided to go through the north door.

This door opened onto yet another corridor.  They followed it to a left turn and paused.  Beyond the turn were two doors, one immediately on the right and the other further down on the left.  The corridor ended 30 feet down where it was bricked up.  Carefully inspecting the door on the north wall, they noticed red light seeping under from the other side.  This seemed familiar, so they prepared for battle and opened the door.

The room beyond was 20x30 feet and contained 5 fire beetles.  The adventurers immediately attacked, Boris cleaving away with his axe.  Once the beetles were dead, Daphne harvested their light glands for sale later back in Helix.  She was only able to get a total of 5 whole ones due to Boris’ indiscriminate attacks.

There was a passage out of this room in the northeast corner.  Investigating this, the discovered they were in the diagonal grand hallway where they observed the fight between the Acolytes of Orcus and the Necromancers of Set [Room 110]!  Boris took a moment to combine his maps before the group decided to backtrack.

Returning all the way back to the corridor north of the cage trap, the Revengers took the north fork of the y-intersection.  At the next y-intersection, the group went east, which went only 10 feet to a door.  Behind this door was a 30x30 room, in the center of which was an ancient statue of a sphinx, broken and crumbling [Room 91].  The statue animated when they entered the room (of course) and addressed them.  It offered to answer any question about the dungeon, but only if they answered a riddle.  When Boris inquired what would happen if they answered wrong, the sphinx simply said, “You don’t want that to happen,” and flexed its claws.  They decided they wanted to hear the riddle and the sphinx recited it.  [No, I’m not going to put it here.  Run some characters into the Barrowmaze and get to this room to find out what the riddle is.  But don’t get the answer wrong…]

The adventurers discussed the riddle amongst themselves but did not come up with an answer they liked.  Then they asked themselves if they had a question they wanted to ask the sphinx and the answer to that was “no”.  They told the sphinx they were not going to answer now as they had no question they needed it to answer.  The sphinx was amenable to this as long as they closed the door on the way out.  When they did, it then went back to taking a nap.

The group then continued north until the corridor just ended.  At a deadend, they back-tracked all the way to the grand hallway [Room 92] and explored the eastern passage, where the mongrelmen had tried to ambush them [Room 100].  They opened the door in the southeast corner of this room, which led to a 20x20 room with more mongrelmen!  Boris immediately attacked, but [after a round of combat and a failed casting of Hold Person on Boris] a strong voice from a passage on the south wall called out for the fighting to stop.  Boris paused in his attacks and the mongrelmen were only too happy to stop fighting.

The strong-voiced mongrelman introduced himself as The Horned One [he had an impressive set of mis-matched horns].  He was not the true leader of the mongrelmen, but their leader and healer had been captured by evil men to the north.  The Horned One offered a guide to any location in the western dungeon if the adventurers would rescue their true leader, Crab-Claw, and their healer, Sayer of the Truth.  The adventurers, wanting to be heroes, agreed to this deal.

End of Session


[So this turned into a two-part expedition, which I wouldn’t normally do, but the players had just met the mongrelmen lieutenants and negotiated a deal to rescue the mongrelmen leaders.  In-game it was only an hour and 20 minutes into the day’s exploration, so there was no believable reason for them to head back to town for the day.  Meta-game, there were several reasons to stop here.  I as the DM needed to do some additional reading and work with the big map to locate where the mongrelmen leaders were being held.  Rather than do that at the table and essentially waste the rest of the evening for the players, we stopped the game for the night, about 30 minutes early.  Over the intervening week I read the relevant sections, printed out the map sections and key (from my PDF copy), and worked out the path the mongrelmen would use to get the adventurers to the Temple of Set area of the dungeon.]


The Motley Crew
Session 1: The Start

Session 11: TPK

The Revengers
Session 12: Rise of the Revengers
Session 13
Session 14
Session 15
Session 16
Session 17
Session 18
Session 19
Session 20
Session 21

Session 23