Sunday, October 17, 2010

Creepy Crawl 2010

Dungeon crawl, that is...

I was gaming in the game room, late one night, when my eyes beheld, an eerie sight...

A party of three sinister adventurers, their sinister henchmen, and their sinister mule were making their way along the road from Strangledorf to the nightmare haunted Ghoulardia pass, walking past lake Zacherly under the stern edifice of Cardille Keep. They were whistling past the half flooded graveyard, when they espied a deserted, dilapidated hunting lodge.

L to R: Svanholt the Dampyr, his henchman cleric Banrevi of the Blazing Eye, Hamza Aziz the Homanculus, Sir Maggot, Grimling henchman to Hanke the thief. (Not pictured, Buttercup the mule, who in addition to being the most black hearted hoofed mammal in Upper Krunkovia was too unpainted to present on this blog...)

Visions of larceny dancing in their cracked heads, the party made their way to the darkened hut and began to case the place. They found a ruined, empty building, festooned with thick cobwebs in all of the rooms.

In one room, the remains of a kitchen, they found five hanging cocoons, two of man size, two slightly larger, and one very large one with antlers protruding from the end. Just as they'd cut one of the medium sized ones, which feebly writhed and whimpered, they were attacked by the lodge's horrible tenant. The montrous wolf spider!

Aaagh! Kill it kill it kill it!

Thrown into a panic, the party of cutthroats did fierce battle and slew the beast, even though as a bizarre amalgam of wolf and spider, its throat was difficult to locate. They cut it down as it tried to scuttle away, but not before Hamza Aziz received a vicious bite from the thing. The venom burned, but did not slay him, so they went about their business of investigating the cocoons.

Upon opening the bundle they'd cut down, they were sprung upon by the emaciated form of a female werewolf. The creature was weakened and slow, and it was a simple matter for them to slay it with the dampyr's magic missiles.

They proceeded more cautiously with the others, eventually finding a dead knight in full armor, who was armed with a magic dagger and carried a pouch with 30 silver talons, and a dead friar in the another, who bore a silver holy symbol and several potions in a pouch. The other weakly writhing, larger bundle they decided to take no chances with, and stabbed it with the dead knight's dagger until it stopped moving.

While they cleared the bodies out of the hut, Hamza began to feel funny. Then he began to feel hairy, and undergoing a fearsome transformation into a hulking homancuwolf turned on the party with slavering jaws.

In Ghoulardia pass, Frankenstien IS the Wolf Man!

The party fought their fearsome former friend with blade and magic, finally felling him. They shed no tears, for due to his unusual homanculus constitution, the simple expedient of a cure spell and a lightning bolt would revive him almost as good as new. They kept clear of the corpse for now, however, because somehow in his death a sinister vitality had been imbued in his shin, causing it to kick at anyone who came near.

The group holed up in the ruined hut's pantry, and waited out the rest of the night for Svanholt's spells to recover. An open well at the back of the little room led down into the depths of the earth, and they planned to explore the depths the next day.

The night passed uneventfully. (As uneventfully as night can in Ghoulardia pass.) The next morning dawned, black and overcast with pouring rain washing through the thick pine forests and dampening the earth. They carefully laid out Hamza's corpse, lovingly tended it with a healing spell, and then shot a million volts through him. The homanculus jerked back to life, and the party was complete once more.

Climbing down into the depths, they found a long earthen hallway that led to a crossroads. Taking the northwest heading passage, they found a room that had caved in and was open to the sky, its walls and floor covered with twisting, trailing roots and a thick layer of damp moss and lichens. While the glittering of half seen gold and jewels caught their eye, they also noticed some of the roots were sluggishly moving, so they decided to pass through and head for an opening in the northwest corner.

There, they found a set of stairs leading up, which they followed, with Hanke the thief in the lead. He discovered a tripwire trap at the landing at the top, which he accidentally set off, causing the stairs to turn into a polished slide dumping them down into the lower room.

This proved only to be an inconvenience at worst, as they tossed up a grappling hook and climbed up with a rope. At the top of a short second flight of steps they saw an iron door, hanging slightly ajar with an ironwork skeleton on its front that was missing the skull. Over the empty space where a skull should be scrolling ironwork proclaimed the room beyond to be the tomb of Count Gore De Vol and his Legion.

They pushed the door open and peered inside, narrowly avoiding a spring loaded scythe trap, and found a fast ossuary, full of stacked bones and skulls, at the center of which was a rusted iron coffin. Hanke approached the casket, and found that his longsword stuck fast to its sides. Sir Maggot rushed forward to help him, and found his iron breastplate and greaves dragged him across the room and stuck him to the side as well. After a bit of frantic flailing, the grimling got loose and scampered from the room.

After some deliberation, Hanke pulled the lid off of the sarcophagus, and was confronted by a hulking figure dressed as a northern barbarian, with the missing iron skull for his head. The thing arose, uttering incoherent curses as it advanced, its bony hands clutched into fists.

Mrrph! Murmmph! Grr!

With a casual gesture, Svanholt cast his remaining lightning bolt, disintegrating the creature. They plucked the iron skull from the ashes, and fitted it back into place, narrowly avoiding the poison dart that flew out of its mouth when they did so.

Moving on, the group went down a long corridor, that branched off at one point and led them to a large room with a glaring vermilion dirt floor. Not liking the look of it, they tried tossing a flask of flaming oil into the room. It sizzled and blackened, but soon after the flames burnt out it faded back to the glaring red color. Hamza stuck his sword into the dirt, and found that while it felt like solid earth, a glaze of viscous red covered the point of his blade. Unnerved, they left without entering.

It was red, so they fled...

After following some more corridors, they found a room stuffed with noisome garbage and offal, that they also declined to enter, and then followed a east leading passage 'til they found a solid oak doorway.

Opening it, they looked inside to see a pack of twisted, half man/half rat creatures bearing prominent surgical scars and scrabbling and squabbling among a layer of shredded cloth and wood shavings. As the beasts turned to advance on them, their pointed snouts dripping with drool, the party backed out of the room and sealed the door with an Arcane Lock. They crept down the hall as the sound of chisel teeth gnawing on oak planks sounded through the darkness.

Eventually, their explorations took them to a dead end, although from their reckoning it was near where the Cardille Keep was located. So Svanholt burned a finger on his Hand of Glory and revealed a secret door.

Opening it, they found a 30'X30' circular chamber, with an open stone sarcophagus sitting on a raised platform in the center. Four figures in archaic red, full plate armor stood in the "corners" holding halberds, and along the east wall were four iron cell doors.

Prudence and pyromania took hold, and the group threw some flasks of oil at the coffin. The armored guardians banged their halberd staffs on the floor and advanced, and soon the battle was joined.

Yo EE oh! Yeoo HOH!

A furious battle took place, with oil flasks burning the undead doom guards and halberds plunging into mortal flesh. After a furious fight, the ghoulish creatures lay shattered, skulls seperated from bony necks inside their red iron shells and the soil stuffing the armor scattered all about.

The group investigated the room, and found three of the four cells were occupied. Two contained moaning zombies, while the third held the lovely vision of a red haired gypsy girl named Stella, who said that she'd been kidnapped by minions of the vampire Count Vladek Lobovich, and dearly wished to be released. The foul undead had risen from his coffin in the daytime for some unknown and doubtless horrible purpose, and she was uncertain when he would return.

Of course, being seasoned dungeon delvers, the party didn't believe a word of it, and decided to let the poor girl rot in her cell.

What a bunch of knifs...

Hamza investigated the stone coffin, and found it was full of grave earth. In the spirit of experimentation, he plunged his blade, still moist with the substance from the red floored room, into the dirt. Almost instantly, the soil turned bright vermilion red, the eerie effect spreading out from the blade.

At this point, the party hatched a plan wherein they would take the place of the dispatched doom guards and spring upon the hopefully weakened vampire when he returned from his unknown errand. At the very least it would be worth it to see the look on his face when he discovered they'd contaminated his grave soil.

And thus the party waited, standing uncomfortably in the earthy smelling armor as hours passed. Finally, a chill filled the room, and a tall, pale creature of cruel demeanor glided down the ramp from upstairs and strode across the room to his coffin.

A look of disgusted horror flitted across the monstrous nobleman's face, as he gazed in dismay at his befouled resting place. What the blah!?

His keen, supernatural senses kicked in, and he saw the hearts full of blood beating inside the armored shells that were formerly his silent guardians. Tossing his head proudly, he snarled a challenge at the mortals who thought to fool him. So angry was Count Lobovich that he attempted to dominate Svanholt, and was stymied by the dampyr's ability to resist his evil enchantment.

With a wave of his hand, he caused the iron doors on the cells to fly open, releasing the zombies inside. Banrevi cast Silence 15' Radius, plunging the room into eerie stillness as they fought. He and Sir Maggot rounded on the zombies and did battle with them.

Hey! Do I come around and mess up YOUR bedroom? Jerks...

The rest of the party charged Count Vladek, striking with blade and spell. Their luck held as the time of day compromised the vampire's unearthly stamina, making him vulnerable to their mortal weapons. He slashed Hanke with his claws, draining his vitality away. Svanholt loosed his magic missiles while Hamza swung his mighty sword, whittling away the monster's resolve faster than his unnatural vitality repaired the wounds to his body.

Feeling overwhelmed, the vampire summoned a swarm of bats, that filled the room in fluttering bodies that crashed into one another as their natural sonar was stilled. Svanholt fired his last magic missiles into the midst of the swarm, and the Count's physical body dissolved into heavy white vapors, which oozed to the ground and crept up the side of the coffin, pooling inside.

A blush of red spread through the unearthly fog, as it began to tremble and expand. Flashes and sparks began to pulse in its depths. The party decided quite hastily that they didn't like the look of that and fled the room, with only Banrevi, who was still battling one of the zombies, unaware of the growing danger.

With a huge, silent boom, the room exploded in a fireball!

This is what it would have sounded like...

Charred bats rained down and hit the floor, as a large black scorch mark bore final testament to the fate of Count Vladek Lobovich. Sadly, Banrevi of the Baleful Eye was nowhere to be seen, save for a pair of smoking boots and a half melted holy symbol.

The beautiful Stella had ducked behind her cell's iron door to shield herself from the blast, and now gazed through the tiny barred window, calling out to be released. But there was no one to hear her. The party had fled out the corridor and quit the catacombs of Ghoulardia pass.

The gypsy maid let out a sigh, pulled a hairpin from her slightly singed hair and set wearily to work on the lock.


  1. BJ, thanks for running the game. I had a great time at the table. But just have to call out the omission of the NATURAL 20 I rolled on hitting the vampire in the puss with a vial of holy water. Evenings of rolling dice don't get better than that!

  2. Oh right! I'd totally forgotten that! Not only did you leave a flaming bag of dog crap in his bed, you hit him with a water balloon! Sweetness!

    Poor bastard never knew what hit him.