[Not ready to end the weekend’s expedition, the Delvers re-explore portal location 2-6.]
[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement. This session happened September 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
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
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
Torsten, Fish, Harek – ex-bandits, now 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 2nd, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Safely back in the portal room underneath the Moon Manor Ruins, the Delvers let off some steam arguing over who nearly left who behind in the desert ruins [mostly Clarence’s player complaining and then arguing he wasn’t the one complaining] while Zarek took a nap in a corner. One the argument died down and nerves calmed, the group started to discuss what to do next. The three options seemed to be:
- Go back to the desert ruins immediately
- Wait before going back, including discussion as to how long they might need to wait
- Go to a different location, like the “Burning Hell” portal [the one with the effigies]
During this discussion, Vorgand noticed her skull ring was glowing brightly. She opened her backpack and pulled out the blanket-wrapped femurs she had collected from the glow skeletons. The 8 femurs still glowed light blue, but now the blanket did as well. The damaging blue aura was spreading with contact! Not wanting all her possessions to gain the deadly aura, she set the blanket and bundle of femurs in the same corner Zarek was snoozing in. Zarek felt the uncomfortable heat emanating from the femurs and trotted over to a different corner before resuming his nap.
Surprisingly [at least to the GM], the group decided to go back to the “Burning Hell” of portal location 2.6. Zarek and Nick adjusted their attack spells to be effective against the noncorporeal effigies [set their variable advantages to include Affect Desolid]. On top of that, protective spells were cast so all the Delvers had either an armor or force field spell on them [but not the Torchbearers].
With some trepidation, the portal was reopened to location 2.6.
Looking through the portal, the Delvers noticed some changes from their last visit. The gate in the wall that blocked off the front part of the cave was burned open. Additionally, the building to the left showed signs of having had a fire in it. The group of adventurers and torchbearers cautiously went through the portal to the cavern.
In the cavern, Ricky cast a Nightvision spell on himself and Clarence cast Sense the Unholy. Clarence saw no sign of the burning effigies and the building to the left still detected as unholy. The group also could now see that the smallest building, the one they called the office, was now completely burned down.
With two of the three structures burned and destroyed [the second building was destroyed by the Delvers back in Session 12], the Delvers turned their attention to the remaining building. Zarek attempted to toss a torch into the building through the front door and failed twice. Vorgand picked up the torch after the second fail and gracefully threw it inside where it created shadows. Jala peeked through the shadows to get a view of the inside of the building and reported burned bunks and chests.
As she was reporting this, she saw one of the shadows in the room move against the light and reported that. Clarence moved so he could see through the burned down door of the building with Sense the Unholy. He identified them as some sort of shadows. [This turned out to incorrect as I mis-read the monster description, but it wasn’t far off.]
With a slight smirk on his lips, Zarek chained two explosive lightning spells that affect only the incorporeal and lobbed them into the building. The ghostly lightning exploded out from his target space, covering a 22-meter diameter area, outlining the shadows…who were completely unaffected by the explosions. These were crypt shades, formed from a swirl of bones, funeral shrouds, dust, and hate and they were corporeal undead. The rest of the delvers immediately drank a dose of speed potion.
The fight was a series of frustrations for both sides. The crypt shades had high defenses that few of the Delvers could get past, but the undead’s only attack was a suffocation attack that the magic ear rings protected from by providing air to breathe. [The attack was an Attack Versus Limit Defense: Life Support and the ear rings provided the necessary Life Support, making the attack completely ineffective.] The undead had no defense against Ricky’s Dark Leaching spell and Zarek’s lightning spell was strong enough to get past the shades’ defenses, and so the Delvers gradually destroyed them.
While Ricky and Zarek recovered from the heavy spell casting, Jala and Clarence searched the inside of the building. Based on the furniture, Clarence identified the building as a barracks. Jala found a perfectly clean and sharp broadsword, suggesting it was magical. Zarek identified the sword as a Smiting Broadsword [magical and +2 OCV]. After discussing who could use it, Clarence ended up with it, although he can only wield it two-handed [his Strength is below the weapon’s Strength Minimum for wielding it one-handed].
Finished investigating the ruin of the small outpost, the group decided to investigate the cavern tunnel the outpost guarded against. Ricky led the way, and an hour later they exited the cave into the ruins of a town. The ruins are at the end of a canyon and snow can be seen on the edges of the canyon. The air was crisp and cool. The group took a rest allowing Ricky time to get an estimate of where they were.
[Originally, I told them they were far to the NORTH of Aegea City, but later, looking at my portal map, I realized they were in fact far to the WEST. My mistake. It is being ret-conned in this blog entry to avoid confusion later.]
Ricky said they were far to the west of Aegea city. Based on his readings about elven ruins, he believed this was the ruins of the city of Antaset. His research had suggested the ruins were heavily damaged and picked over, which matched what they could see. The Delvers spent an hour searching the ruins and found pot shards with Ancient Elven script on them. They also find some footprints burned into the ground, heading down the canyon. The effigies came this way.
After not finding anything of value, the group went back into the cave and returned to the portal.
With some time still available, the group decided to attempt to re-open the portal to the desert ruins where the angry behir was. There were several things that wanted to learn:
- Would the portal open or had the behir damaged it?
- Was the behir still rampaging?
- Could they get at all that gold that Vorgand and Jala saw?
When they set the control cubes to the desert ruins, the portal actually opened, which was a good sign. Looking through, there was no flickering light that suggested the portal was about to fail/blow up nor could they see the behir. Clarence placed his defensive spell on Zarek, over Zarek’s Stoney Skin spell, and then Zarek went through the portal for a quick reconnoiter.
Zarek flew around the courtyard a bit and saw the sand there was greatly disturbed but there was no other sign of the behir. Not wanting to push his luck, Zarek went back through the portal to the Moon Manor Ruins and reported what he saw. The Delvers decided they were done for this expedition and closed the portal, retrieving the power gem and the three control cubes. They then made their way back up to the surface.
Over dinner, they discussed what options they might take to optimize their trips to and from the Moon Manor to try and get more adventure time. They discussed leaving their oversized vardo here and only bringing Orm and the team of oxen when they were done or wanted to move the vardo. Horses were faster, but not a lot faster as there was no road to the Moon Manor and they were not certain they wanted one. The difference in travel time was only going to be an hour [based on previous experience] and during the winter, that was not enough time saved. On top of that, not using the vardo also limited the amount of supplies they could bring to the site. In the end they decided to stick with their current procedure of riding in the vardo between Little Wytheford and the ruins.
That night, Jala started working on notes for a journal specifically of the monsters the group has faced over the past month and what their strengths and vulnerabilities were. Ricky spent the night reading his Ancient Elven book on gated teleportation.
Sunday, November 3rd, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The Delvers packed up their camp gear into the vardo. While Orm was hooking up the oxen, Vorgand asked the Torchbearers what supplies they needed brought back and made a list. The Delvers climbed aboard the vardo for the ride back to Little Wytheford. Jala asked Ricky to start teaching here the basics of navigation and they spent the trip in discussion.
The vardo arrived in Little Wytheford. The Delvers barely had time to get unloaded and have the vardo stored before racing to catch the Noon ferry back to Aegea City. On the trip to Aegea City, Ricky continued instructing Jala on navigation with Nick [experienced with water navigation] occasionally adding to the conversation.
The ferry arrived back at Aegea City. The Delvers made their way to The Library for drinks and dinner, sharing stories with the other students drinking there.
End of Session
[This was a busy session with the Delvers returning to a couple locations to check their current status. The players also arranged what extra things their characters would be doing over the week (in addition to attending classes): Zarek will cram on Golemancy, Clarence will research different types of undead, Nick started research on a spell to recharge wands, and Vorgand just attended classes, while Jala practiced her shadowjumping with others by randomly grabbing people about town and teleporting with them. The city watch are now trying to find her for harassing the citizens of Aegea City.]