Great Demon Eyes & Flight of the Glistening Wyvern
On our next game Charlie couldn't make it, so I had Jordan and Anne roll up throwaway characters to explore a dungeon randomly generated by Wizardawn (the same deadly dungeons generated for the Fellowship of the Bling games)
Anne & Jordan find themselves in the blistering northern wastes, in a small cleft between two high ridges. There's a watering hole in the middle and the stone walls narrow to a point of suspiciously flat rock. The pair search the rock and find a removable brick, inside which is a switch that opens the entrance.
Beyond is thick with cobwebs. Walls are dark green stone carved in shapes of demons. East is big demon door. West door is smashed into cobweb filled hallway. They lit up torches and as they entered a curving formless shape shot out from the shadows of the western hallway and chased Anne, who ran back to the safety of the light. The formless thing hated light, avoided it, and squeezed itself under the demon door. Cautiously they go west down the hallway.
In the hallway they listen and hear nothing, then proceed further into an immense hall with stone columns shaped like coiling cobras. They eek further into the hall, watching their steps and pass another pair of columns. As they pass between them a lumbering glutton covered in long hair dragging a stone club lopes from the shadows and demands treasure for passage. Jordan refuses, so the lumbering glutton picks him up by his ankles and starts shaking him.
Anne sneaks behind the creature whilst he's distracted and shoots him with her bow. A critical hit, the arrows pierces the back of the creatures skull, killing it. The huge body topples over and Jordan barely rolls out of the way. Inspecting the corpse they discover the wound in its brain is beginning to heal. Jordan hacks the glutton's head off.
They head further eat and pass over a fallen column. Beyond is the lumbering glutton's nest, full of trash, with a blackened firepit and pieces of human bodies. They spend time searching the remains and find a handful of copper groats.
At the end of the hall they find a massive stone door barred by a dolomite slab. They aren't strong enough to lift the slab so they spend 30 minutes hacking through the chalky stone with their weapons, slightly damaging Jordan's longsword.
The din brings on an attack from 5 starving wolves. The pair manage to shove the door open wide enough to slip through. Three wolves get through also before they get the door closed behind them. The wolves leap to attack and the pair enter battle.
A wolf leaps and tears out Jordan's throat. At this point we remember I had them roll 4 characters for the adventure, so I let Jordan enter his second character right in the middle of the fight. The two continue fighting, wounding two wolves. The wolves teeth bounces off the restless duo's leather armor. Then Anne takes out a flask of oil and sets the wolves on fire. They fail their morale check and run off into the darkness.
The two inspect the room, finding a jammed wooden door to the north. They leave the door and head south through an open doorway. Their torches burn out so they light new ones.
In the southern room they see a pair of glowing eyes high on the eastern wall. Jordan moves in to the middle of the room and is instantly vaporized by lasers from the eyes. Jordan takes over Anne's secondary character.
Down to their last characters they are more cautious. They edge around the room and find the eyes are really rubies set into a 12 foot tall brass statue of a demon, surrounded by glowing runes on the floor. The runes create an invisible barrier around the statue. They edge around the barrier, staying close to the statue, and find a switch on the other side that deactivates the barrier.
Jordan climbs on the statue and pops outs the gems, as big as fists. As he does a horned serpentine head slithers out from a collapsed hole in the ceiling, curved teeth dripping with venom.
The pair take off running to the north, the creature flies out of the hole, held aloft by two huge batwings, a pair of eagle-like talons hang below it, it's tail a ball of dripping spikes. The creature is swift but clumsy, the pair are able to make it to the stone door and force it open.
They slip through and begin running across the hall. The flying devil smashes down the stone door and soars into the air, smashing into a column and crashing to the ground in a pile of snapping teeth and rubble.
Anne and Jordan are able to make it back to the entrance and escape.
I let them transfer the rubies and groats to their main characters, retiring the surviving throwaways, netting them 619 XP total.
They spend the rest of the game back in Darkstone. They talk to Lady Elizabeth, the lead ex-adventurer, and she puts them into contact with a real estate agent named Toadly, a diminutive man (a mere 24 inches tall) with a pencil thin mustache, greasy blond hair parted down the middle, and dapper frilly clothing, riding in a one-man chariot pulled by an elven eunuch.
The pair ride alongside Toadly as he shows them various dilapidated manses in sundry disgusting and leper-infested neighborhoods. Eventually the pair settle for the one with the most rooms, in an up-and-coming block facing the putrid river. Toadly is willing to drop the price from 1800 to 1100 if they do a job for him.
Toadly's rival Meglordenstein has been giving him trouble long enough! The tiny real estate agent wants them to break into Meglordenstein's house, smash up some stuff, steal some stuff, raise some mischief, make him realize that he's got enemies and that he should watch himself....but without leaving evidence that Toadly was behind it.
They wend the session with Anne declaring she wants to spend 100 groats filing the paperwork to get the floorplan from the assessor's office. Jordan does a number of jobs with Lady Elizabeth to increase his standing and make a few extra groats.
The Miracle of Birth & Bob Humungous Rips a Guy's Hand Off
Bob -- Level 1 Dwarf Thief (Jordan)
Rowan -- Level 1 Elf Thief (Anne) Elvish mutation: Apish hands for feet
Kraig -- Level 1 Elf Magic-User (Charlie) Elvish mutation: Bony head crest
This game Charlie is able to join us, so the pair fill him in on what's what. Anne passes her Wis check so I give her an accurately (but messy) map of the Meglordenstein's house. Then she spends an extra 100 groats to roll two checks and ask two questions, which I answer with one word ("How many traps are there?" "3", "how many guards does he have?" "1"....They take this as a sign that Meglordenstein is an idiot for only having one guard)
Jordan rolls and finds that he did 6 jobs for Elizabeth over the last week, so I have him roll a save for each stat. He fails half of them, so I award Bob 75 groats and a -2 penalty to Wis for the session.
Before we get into the swing of things it's time for the party to give birth!
They head back down to the muckmen's lands to get what advice they can. The king of the muckmen (whom they aided by assassinating his political rival) is flippant, insulting, and unhelpful. They manage to squeeze a bit of information from him. Namely that muckmen like to attack and eat each other's babies and that muckmen are terrible parents. The king renounces any support for the rearing of the hybrid muckmen/elves and muckmen/dwarf about to be born.
The party goes into labor for 13 hours as the babies tear their way out of their backs. Rowan & Kraig succeed their Con saves, but Bob fails, rupturing his penis (taking -1 Con for the session). The king's apothecaries then use their advanced remedies to heal the party in short time.
They are now the proud parents of 2 foot tall disgusting flat-faced stumbling mutants. Rowan carries her in her backpack. Bob puts his on his shoulder and gives it a knife. Kraig ignores his for the rest of the session.
Before they leave Kraig asks the muckman king to teach him more spells. The king laughs and hands him a giant bloodsucking leech. Kraig hands the leech to his baby.
After much deliberating and discussing the floor plan the party still can't come up with a plan, except to somehow find their way to the Study (which they don't realize is on the third floor) so I urge them on to at least check out the house.
It's been snowing heavily the past two days, so there's over 6 inches of snow on everything. Shovelmen have been working round the clock to clear the main streets, but everything else is packed. Nobody is out and about. At this lattitude there's only 5 hours of sunlight during Winter, so they use this to their advantage.
Nobody sees them on their way there. They find the manse: surrounded by sculpted hedges and iron sconces. They push open the front gate then decide it's better to look for a back entrance.
They slink through the shadows to the back of the house and find a small service door. Bob hoists himself up and peeks through a small window finding a kitchen. They decide not to go in there. Rowan climbs to the second floor and peeks in the window, finding a flicker of candlelight shining between two plush curtains. She climbs onto the nearby roof and drops a rope down for Bob and Kraig to climb up.
There's a central tower on the roof here, topped by a stone cupola or watchtower. Bob climbs up, Rowan follows him, Kraig tries but falls 10 feet taking d6 damage and rolling on the death & dismemberment table. He falls onto his face, crushing his nose, bruising his eye, and knocking out several teeth. This has the miraculous result of increasing his Charisma from 5 to 9.
Bob finds a trap door in the cupola with a handle shaped like a silver hand. He listens at the trap door and hears a man cough, as well as the rustle of paper. He tries to open it but the handle springs to life and grabs his arm. Thinking quickly he snatches the potion of giant size from his pack and chugs it, growing 12 feet tall, bones cracking and clothing/equipment tearing free from his body until he becomes large enough to fill the cupola with his girth. Rowan barely squeezes in and climbs onto his shoulder.
Bob tosses his shredded clothes and equipment down Kraig. Kraig is out of commission and begins to crawl his way gingerly off the roof.
With a jerk Bob rips the trapdoor from its hinge and smashes his way into the floor below.
By this time Kraig has made it to the ground. The chefs from the kitchen run out to see what all the commotion is. Kraig acts confused along with them.
Humongous Bob, broken penis swinging freely, drops down into the second floor, where he is temporarily blinded by the darkened room, and a man wielding a sword springs to the attack! The man's strikes are quick as lightning but fail to scratch Bob's girth! Bob attempts to grab the man who deftly ducks out of the way. Rowan jumps from Bob's shoulders, attempting to Merge With Shadows, but fails, instead rolling into cover by a small statue.
The man attacks again, his glowing sword glittering and clanging against Bob's supernaturally tough skin. Bob grabs the man and picks him up, rips the sword from his hand (taking the hand with it) and hurls him against the wall. The man takes 3d6 damage, fails his Save VS Paralysis, and collapses to the floor unconscious.
Rowan finds demonic looking book on a pedestal and uses her cloak to pick it up without touching it. Bob opens a nearby door and enters, finding a strange helmet hanging from the ceiling on thick wires. Tiny curtains with pull cord line the walls. He opens one and finds a large scorpion. He begins to feel is body throb and knows that his potion's effects will wear off soon so he rips the helmet from the ceiling by the cables and the pair exit through the roof. Before they leave he stops to bellow "THIS ONE'S FROM TOADLY!!!!"
Bob lands on the ground with a thud, digging into the soft dirt half a foot. Then he turns on the stunned chefs and flicks one across the lawn with his finger, before suddenly shrinking down to normal size.
The three exit the property and run smack into a number of guards coming to investigate the disturbances. They detain the two suspicious elves and naked dwarf. Kraig casts sleep and knocks everybody out, then slaps his comrades awake. They run for it. Since Kraig isn't carrying his baby I declare that he loses it, and if the get back to safety he can roll to see if it miraculously reappears.
Smack into more guards. They run down a side street. Rowan tries to find a flask of oil in her pack but trips. They outrun some guards.
At this point I start using the Citycrawl rules from Last Gasp. I use a grid and sheets of paper to simulate the streets/alleyways, using red dice for their characters and white dice for the guards.
Each round I use the same order:
0. A player does a roll-under Dex check & pursuing guards to theirs. The winner has the highest number without going over their Dex. Players rotate clockwise starting from the one with the lowest Dex
1a. Roll for Streets/Alleys and complications and place sheets representing buildings on grid
1b. If players win they gain one "step" on the guards. If the guards win
they reduce the players "step" by 1 and appear on the board (I throw
white dice representing the guards randomly onto the grid)
2. Players declare their actions
3. If there are any guards, those guards make their actions.
If players make it to the edge of the board we continue with the next section.
The players were either trying to make it back to the Ravenloft Inn (They knew it was South-east, and they knew they'd recognize the area when they got close, but they didn't know exactly how to get back) OR they had to gain 3 "steps". If they were brought to -1 "steps" they'd get forced into a combat with the guards.
I made a map of where the inn was in relation to the players by writing the word RED with all the letters connected to sort of look like streets, then I threw a couple dice on there. The south-east one was the inn, the northern one the players. Each new map they entered was an intersection, with main streets decided by the map and alleyways decided by throwing a d4.
It was a blast and I highly recommend giving this a go sometime. It made the city itself a dungeon, with obstacles and choices. Players had to guess their way back in the direction of the inn, cleverly avoid guards by dipping down alleyways, and use their surroundings (including the Z axis!) to their advantage.
Eventually they found a manhole cover and climbed down in to the sewer to wait out the chase. They sat down there for an hour and I threw two encounter checks, both were clean. They were safe.
Toadly was excited to hear all about it. Jordan shushed everyone and played it off like a regular ol' prank instead of a near disaster, and they sealed the deal on the house, and kept all the treasures.
Safetly back at the Ravenloft in Kraig decided to read the book. Doing so caused his flesh to mutate and
become rubbery and indigestible, making him immune to acid damage. They could've sold it for 100 groats but decided to keep it.
They lay their heads to sleep. Then Kraig rolls a Wis check to see if his baby survives and crits. His mutant baby shows back up at their second floor window carrying 19 groats in a sack and a leech full of blood.
I award Kraig 19 XP