Had a great first session last night! After pre-rolling a bunch of stuff on my end, the players decided to check out a dungeon that they made during “See The Frontier” so I spent most of the session just sort of winging it and going with my gut.
Massive wall of text incoming! Apologies.
TL,DR: Had an awesome time, my friends come up with absurd nonsense, and you really need to keep an eye on Magic Users.
I used a blank map from Mad Vandel’s for the lay of the land.
For HP, I let players choose to either take slightly above average for the hit die to start (Fighter: 6, Cleric: 5, Thief: 4, M-U: 3), or choose to roll. They all took the former, except the Cleric, who ended up with 2HP as a result.
Blazier, Male Human Good Cleric of Light
Koumoulia: Female Good Dwarf Magic User
Archard: Male Human Neutral Thief
Borscht: Male Dwarf Neutral Fighter
After determining that “Townsville” (ugh) was a Town around a military base, adjoining a swamp, the players came up with some details (See The Frontier).
There was a great civilization of Lizard Men here at some point, now crumbling. Also, the locals are terrified of “Vampire Cows” that live out in the swamp.
The PC’s decided the target of their first expedition would be a ruin a day and a half away. An abandoned place of worship built by “The Lilliputians of Dry Wit” (One of my players was looking at random book titles and text in the room to come up with names). They hired a stout young lad to accompany them, named Swift (Fighter with Loyalty + Quality 1).
While scouting ahead through the marsh, Borsht heard some rustling in the undergrowth, before a horrifying beast appeared. Some sort of… vampire cow? Large, but gaunt, with massive, bull-horn like fangs and bloodshot eyes.
Borscht attempted to run back and rendezvous with his party, but rolled a 7-9, and his backpack got snagged in some branches. Unwilling to abandon his precious stuff, he turned to face the beast’s charge. He dove under it, slashing at its underside and gravely wounding it. The rest of the party then caught up.
In the ensuing Melee, Kulmoulia got lucky and spotted some wild swamp-garlic growing nearby, but the fight was all happening between her and it. She ordered eager young Swift to run and grab it. Swift threw the garlic to Borscht, who rubbed it on his sword and delivered a fatal blow. (I let the garlic add +1d4 damage? why not.) They had Swift collect the beast’s horn-fangs, and continued on.
The next day, after fleeing a brief encounter with a large number of acidic oozes floating in the swamp, during which Blazier lost a boot and suffered minor burns, they arrived at the ruins. Which had been drawn on the map as a giant skull.
The was fifteen feet high, it’s mouth permanently open in a fearful grin. The adventurers noticed a trail of mud going into its mouth, as though something had recently tracked in. As they debated plans, they heard a fearful shriek from within.
Inside the skull, they peered down a deep shaft, the “throat” of a great body. Archaud the thief then crawled upward into the brain cavity, only to find it hollowed out, with an old man living inside. At first, the hermit pretended to be senile and harmless, but they soon realized that he was quite spry. He meant them no harm though, and only wished to be left alone. He did warn them that others did occasionally come and go from here.
The adventurers spotted a chest on his shelves, and considered looting it, but then remembered that none of them were evil.
They wrapped rope around a great molar and Archaud descended down the throat, ending up in a large chamber, where a fire flickered, below and a little ways off.
The party then came down the rope one by one. Unfortunately Blazier, with his poor upper body strength, landed loudly as his arms gave way. He was unharmed but made a terrific amount of noise. The PC’s saw the fire in the distance go out, and were cast into complete darkness. (They didn’t have torches out, because stealth).
Blazier petitioned his god for vision in darkness, and was granted perfect sight. Three hunched lizard-men, able to see in darkness, skittered towards the party.
He picked up a rock and threw it at the one in front, hitting in on the arm. it hissed in pain and charged!
Kulmoulia performed the arcane gestures to cast her spell, “Door of Void,” planning to open a portal to the sky to let in sunlight, but something went wrong, and instead Blazier’s right forearm disappeared completely and painlessly, his warhammer dropping to the floor.
Borsht stood fast, readying his blade and closing his eyes. He used his keen senses to hear where his enemy was. He rolled plus WIS and got a 7-9. He could slash at the enemy, but his wild swings might be less effective (I told him he could hack and slash in the darkness, but he’d have to take the lesser of 2 damage rolls). Luckily his blade struck the already wounded lizardman, felling the creature.
Kulmoulia again tried to perform her trick to bring light into the chamber, but again her powers eluded her, and she apparently opened a void door only in her mind, forgetting her spells suffering a notable decrease in mental acuity.
The ensuing melee was chaotic in the darkness, with borscht ducking and diving, using his ears to locate his enemies while blazier shouted out their positions in a vain attempt to help. Eventually, Blazier thrust young swift into the fight, using his sight to aim the lad. Swift and Borsht managed to kill a second creature.
The final lizard man fought with Archard the Thief, and looked poised to end his life with a ferocious pounce, but Archard held his blade steady, and the creature landed on it, twitching in its death throes.
Blazier’s forearm reappeared.
They re-lit torches. Blazier burned the bodies of his enemies and said a prayer.
Where the lizard men had a fire, a gruesome sight: an altar with the body of a fourth lizard man on it, eviscerated with a glistening silver knife. Some kind of barbaric sacrifice! They pocketed the knife, of course.
They decided to rest in the large chamber. Kulmoulia re-memorized her spells and they made a crude camp.
Their rest was interrupted in the night as a black centipede, 15 feet long, scuttled upward from a large hole in the floor. They were ready for it though, and Kulmoulia quickly used her Door of Void spell to send it… elsewhere. They went back to sleep for the night.
When the woke, they check out the gap where the centipede had come from. Another large chamber below them, it’s floor broken by deep, bubbling pools. They climbed down. Across the room was a massive stone statue, a man in a throne, muscular and nude, although there was a missing piece, a codpiece to be exact (The item that had been taken from these ruins before was “The Great Arid’s Codpiece”).
The dwarves smelled gold, strongly, from inside the statue. They found a small door in the side, and Borscht broke it off and walked through. He found himself in an endless black void, the only thing visible was a fist-sized chunk of gold in the shape of a human heart, hovering in the void just beyond arm’s reach. He tapped it with his sword, and it vibrated slightly. A small spark came out of it. When borscht turned around, he could not see the door. He was trapped! His allies could just barely hear his screams from outside, as if at a great distance and coming from all directions at once.
Blazier muttered a blessing upon himself, and his deity granted him an etherial tether, a light in the darkness so he could find his way out, and he walked through the door to find his friend.
On the outside of the statue, Kulmoulia, Archard, and Swift witnessed a terrfiying sight. The stone man Stood up!
From within, the others could feel it vibrating.
In a desperate gambit to flee the stone giant, the three on the outside ran into the door, joining their friends in the featureless darkness.
His greed getting the better of his senses, Archard leapt at the golden heart, hoping to pluck it from the air (Roll plus luck! ….nope). A searing light from the heart! Archard suffered a great shock and fell to the ground, his clothes burned and his body limp.
Blazier whispered another prayer to his god, asking for a curse against the heart, for the light of his god to overwhelm the evil light of the heart and render it impotent. His prayer was answered.
Borscht grabbed the heart, then Swift grabbed borscht’s legs, and together they dislodged it from whatever magical force held it aloft. As it came undone, the door to the outside reappeared!
Kulmoulia ran to check their friend Archard, and found him alive – barely.
The adventurers rushed outside, dragging the unconscious Archard, only to find that the stone fiend still stood, ready to smash them to crimson bits. Kulmoulia quickly muttered the words of the Door of Void one last time, opening a portal under the statue, and another in the ceiling of the chamber, above one of the deep pools. The statue looked down, then looked at her, then looked down, then fell through the floor and out the ceiling, splashing into a deep, dark pool.
Then they climbed back to the surface, giving archard a healing potion and saying goodbye to the strange hermit. They made their way back to Townsville, getting a pretty good price for their treasures. They stashed some money, and loaded up on better supplies for their next excursion…..