[Watches of Day 33 and start of day 34. More ‘wisps, then fungus and bitey-pinchy-bugs.]
[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game. Game sessions happen once a week. This session happened February 15 and 22, 2021, due to weather.]
[SPOILERS! If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]
Zitch Grimreaper – male ratfolk 5th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Roscuro – male ratfolk 5th level Monk
Swamprover – female grippli 4th level Wizard
Marativy – female ratfolk 5th level Ninja
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 5th level Summoner (Synthesist)
Winston – male ratfolk 5th level Gunslinger
Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston
Gridik Stormstride – male blue kobold 2nd level Wizard (Invoker)
Mel Sharples – male halfling Cook (Expert of unknown level)
Alice Hyatt – female halfling Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)
Flo’ Castleberry – female gnome Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)
Day 33, Expedition Day 3
During the second watch, Roscuro and Marativy noticed three bobbing lights south of the camp. The two ratfolk discussed what to do. Roscuro was of the opinion that unless the lights approached the camp there was nothing to worry about. Marativy, ever curious, wanted to sneak over and investigate them. Thinking that there was a slim chance the ‘wisps might indicate a portal into the dungeon was open, Roscuro agreed to Marativy investigating the lights. He kept watch while she approached the ‘wisps. Once she got near them, the ‘wisps moved to orbit around her, spaced approximately 10 feet away from her. When nothing else happened, she walked back to the camp and the ‘wisps disappeared.
Ten minutes later, Marativy returned to the place where the ‘wisps had first appeared and they reappeared around her, slowly orbiting her at a distance of 10 feet. When she approached the camp again, they stayed with her and one peeled off and started orbiting Roscuro. Roscuro had Marativy hold position and attempted to walk around the lighthouse and break line of sight between the ‘wisps. This caused the ‘wisp orbiting him to break off and return to Marativy. Roscuro returned to where Marativy was standing and the ‘wisp resumed orbiting Roscuro.
With nothing happening to either Marativy or himself, they resumed their watch while the ‘wisps orbited them. When their watch ended, Roscuro woke Templeton and Zitch and explained what was going on to them. He and Marativy then went to sleep.
Day 34, Expedition Day 4
As those asleep woke up, Zitch and Templeton explained why Marativy and Roscuro were being orbited by lights. Marativy and Roscuro woke up to the smell of Mel cooking breakfast. When the sun finally crept above the horizon, the ‘wisps disappeared.
End of Session 8, Part 1
[See Rat Whispers, below, for why we stopped early.]
Start of Session 8, Part 2
Over breakfast the Ratpack debated what to do next. They seemed to have located two different entrances to the dungeon under the Lady’s Light. One entrance was probably in the back of the hydra cave. The other entrance was in the troglodyte caves, protected by violet fungus and “bitey-pinchy-bugs” in unknown numbers. The debate was known value dangerous fight [the hydra] and unknown value less dangerous fight [the fungus and the bugs]. Roscuro advocated for the known quantity of the hydra, while Templeton advocated for the easier fights with the bugs. Templeton and Winston pointed out that Auto should be able to clear the violet fungus himself with no danger from their flesh-dissolving powers as he had no flesh. This carried the argument and the group decided to go after the unknown number of smaller things rather than the single 7-headed pyrohydra.
The Ratpack spent a couple hours marching over to the troglodyte cave. Once they normalized with the stench, Winston and Zitch attended to the sick troglodytes. The second treatment broke the hold of the disease on all but two of the troglodytes. The previously sick started to recover from the ravages of the disease. [Filth Fever causes stat damage and that takes time to heal.]
Medical ministrations over, the Ratpack went to the barricaded entrance to the deeper caves. The barricade was carefully moved aside in case it was needed again later. Marativy then scouted ahead, returning quickly to report the small cave with the violet fungus was just ahead, around a curve.
Winston and Auto advanced so that Auto could clear the violet fungus. He quickly learned several things. First, there was at least one shrieker amongst the violet fungus, which activated when Auto moved in to deal with the violet fungus. Second, he learned that violet fungus was mobile as three ambulatory clumps of the fungus moved to attack Auto! The violet fungus attacked Auto with multiple pseudopods each.
After killing one of the mobile fungi, Auto needed to retreat. The damage he was taking rapidly overwhelmed his auto-repair function. Winston held position, rapid firing into the fungal clumps and calling for help. Zitch advanced far enough to put Protective Luck on Winston and maintain it. Marativy advanced to attack the remaining violet fungi in support of Winston. She killed one of the fungi before the other slammed her, withering her flesh [STR and CON damage]. As a result, she withdrew, but she gave Winston the time he needed to shoot and kill the last fungal creature.
After the unexpectedly dangerous combat, the group fell back to a nearby passage to heal up. Zitch used three charges from the Wand of Lesser Restoration to fix Marativy’s wounds. Swamprover cast Mend to repair Marativy’s leather armor [also damaged by the violet fungus attack]. Auto’s self-repair functions spent this time repairing the damage Auto had taken.
Healed and restored, the Ratpack was ready to advance. Marativy scouted ahead [carefully stepping around the inert violet fungus]. When she returned, she reported a long winding tunnel ahead. The group formed up into a single-file marching order and advanced.
After an hour or more following the narrow passage [and occasionally backing up when a dead-end side passage was followed], the group found a chamber. Small albino insects covered the walls and ceiling and in the center of the chamber was a Thassilonian monument. The monument was a very large and seven-sided plinth, with a different Sin Rune carved on each side. Whatever statue had been mounted on top was broken off and nowhere to be seen. The remnants on top appeared to be hollow, although the angle was not good to determine this clearly.
The group paused at the entrance to the cavern and Marativy stealthily entered the room to investigate further, following the north wall across the room. She discovered several things: a passage further west, another passage south [hidden from view from the group by the placement of the monument], and a unusually large spider-like creature whose front legs ended in immense, grasping claws and not one but two powerful vertical mandibles [Albino Cave Solifugid for those curious]. Luckily, it had not noticed Marativy yet [due to her ridiculously high Stealth skill]. Marativy turned back to look at Roscuro and Winston, waiting at the cavern entrance, and attempted to warn them that she saw one of the “bitey-pinchy bugs” using hand signals. Roscuro didn’t quite get the message other than Marativy had seen something [very low roll on Sense Motive]. Winston on the other hand understood completely and readied his musket.
A second bug arrived from a side cave to the southeast. Roscuro and Winston could only see this one and assumed it was the one that Marativy had warned of; the actual first bug was moving around the monument and hidden from their view. Roscuro used hand gestures to tell Winston to shoot the bug they could see and Winston did so with Rapid Fire, heavily injuring it. The loud reports of Winston’s musket drew in three more of the giant bugs and the first one came around the monument where Roscuro and Winston could finally see it. The five Medium-sized bugs closed in to attack.
Templeton flew up to the front of the group, anchoring the Ratpack’s line on the left. Gridik cast Magic Missile, targeting the wounded bug with one missile and a fresh bug with the other. [Gridik is now second level, but has the Gifted Adept trait, allowing him to cast Magic Missile as if one level higher, gaining him the second missile for third level casting.] The first missile killed the wounded bug and the second wounded the new target. Roscuro struck a flurry of blows on the wounded bug, nearly killing it. This allowed Swamprover’s familiar, Snek [a Tiny desert viper], to cast a Ray of Frost spell and kill the bug.
Auto advanced to protect Winston and the clockwork servant, Swamprover, and Gridik piled attacks on the next bug, killing it. Zitch added Protective Luck to Roscuro, which foiled all attempts by the bugs to attack him. Swamprover eventually cast a Flaming Sphere on one of the bugs, allowing Auto to kill it. Templeton fought and killed the remaining two bugs.
End of Session
[So Session 8 Part 1 happened the evening of The Winter Storm in Houston. This is a screen shot from my phone after we stopped for the night.]
[While weather like this is not unusual in winter in other parts of the US or the world, it had been 30+ years since Houston saw temperatures this low. As a result, no one has proper winter clothes and most houses do not have enough insulation to keep the heat in against this kind of cold. This meant everyone in the state of Texas had their heat on or had space heaters running. This caused power issues across the state, especially when about 33% of the power generators (mostly oil and coal burner) went offline due to lack of insulation on their fuel lines and tanks.]
[With the state of Texas having power issues, the stability of the internet also started to become shaky. We attempted to play for an hour and a half, during which we only got 10 minutes of actual play. We continuously had different people losing connectivity, resulting in some of the group not being able to hear or be heard by other parts of the group. We would reconnect and get everyone for a few minutes and then someone would drop audio again. We finally called it for the night to wait a week for better circumstances.]
[The following week, temperatures had climbed back up into Houston’s normal winter range (mid-50s F) and the power grid had finally stabilized, so we resumed play. I was lucky and only lost power once during the four days things were bad, mainly due to the fact I’m on a power sub-grid with a fire department station, which makes our area a priority for power. I also had my pipes replaced with PEX tubing several years ago, so I had no broken water pipes. Some of my co-workers were not so lucky and had one or more rooms flood when one or more pipes in their house burst. Some lost power for a couple days, some for only hours.]