1 Invisible Stalker – Fireballed, Magic Missiled, Hit with Magic Sword. (With a Kudosaurus for Greed for coming up with making a big puddle on the floor so you could see its footsteps)
Also, mea culpa on my part. Arongoth’s dispel magic should have sent the beastie to his home plane. Sorry.
215 EXP/7 players = 30 exp apiece
I’ll add 50 exp apiece for good ideas and GM error.
700 silver pieces of various origins.
70 GP value/7 players = 10 exp apiece
A massive silvery blue opal as big as a man’s hand and a ruby embedded inside a topaz are the prize gems (“The Limpid Pool” and “The Heart of Flame”) at 1000 gp value apiece. Followed by two 500 gp gems, two 250 gp gems, three 100 gp gems, three 75 gp gems, five 50 gp gems, and three 10 gp gems)
4305 GP/7 players = 615 exp apiece
A fine long sword in a red velvet scabbard (Lord Bragg’s sword, by which the Great Mage Emmerling was slain)
Koendar’s Staff of Great Wonders, an ash wood staff wound in an intricate filigree of gold and silver wire that forms a stylized dragon head at the top. Comes with a scroll.
TOTAL: 705 EXP apiece
Commentary: The party achieved their goal in this session, exploring the basement museum of the Lamented Redoubt of the Occluded College and fighting its Invisible Stalker guardian with a very clever use of the Decanter of Endless Water (a.k.a. the hydro-pump) by laying down a layer of water on the floor that revealed the monster's footsteps. Conversely, I was a bit less than clever, in that I forgot that Dispel Magic would work to send the airy beast away. No big deal, they won the day and went back with a bunch of loot in their sweaty mitts. Tune in next week as they get back to Kroenenburg and get all this stuff appraised.
Monsters Mashed: 2 Grey Worms: Zapped with magic missiles, stabbed in the nerve cluster and incapacitated, then chopped up. 1140 EXP/7 Players = 162
Loot Obtained: 4 gems worth 10, 25, 75,100 gp, 5 large agates worth 25 gp apiece, A small collection of 3 gold and gem encrusted eggs worth 700 apiece, a silver teaspoon with a lion’s head crest worth 20 gp, a silver snuff box decorated with a large blue gem worth 200, a gold and pearl necklace worth 800, a matching bracelet worth 400, a gold mail falconers glove worth 600, A pair of silver and ebony rimmed spectacles with lenses ground from two large rubies worth 1100, and a music box with a winged mermaid in mother of pearl with gold and silver workings worth 1200
900 gp, A rotted pair of fine shoes with silver toe caps worth 10 apiece, A platinum tea set worth 1500, A white gold ring with two ivory flower buds and one coral rose worth 300 gp.
Total: 9475 EXP/ 7 Players = 1353
TOTAL: 1515 EXP Apiece
Additional acquisitions: After stewing in the nasty beard washing station with a full dose of mandrake powder, Arongoth has turned a bit greener and has sprouted little beady eyes all over his body. He now is immune to backstab, and if he couldn’t before he’s gained nightvision. Commentary: Further filching at the Lamented Redoubt of the Occluded College. The party fought the grey worms in the lecture hall, then went upstairs and managed to get into the stone chest held by the page boy statue without topping it over and revealing the Symbol of Madness inscribed on the wall. (Thanks to the warning from the map they found in the library.) The en-weirdening of the party continued, as Arongoth used one of the doses of Mandrake Powder he'd obtained from the apothecary in Kroenenberg, which further mutated him in a rather tuber-esque fashion. There's a lot further down the rabbit hole his mandrake obsession took him, as you'll see. (Although how delicious the rabbits may have found him when he got there was never resolved.) Keep an eye on that ring with the ivory buds and coral rose. It'll gain some significance in future sessions. Later, taters. See ya on Friday.
Loot Gained: 3000 GP 3000EXP/6.5 players = 461 EXP apiece
TOTAL EXP= 507 apiece
Two +1 Longswords engraved with intricate scrollwork, one inscribed with the word “enlightenment” and the other with the word “enterprise”. 1 Pair of black silk boots with embroidered blue & white clouds and steel discs embedded in the soles. 1 Scroll of Warding Lycanthropes
Also acquired, 1 animated skeleton thanks to Arongoth’s Animate Dead spell.
In this session the party knocked over the concierge station by the entryway of the Lamented Redoubt of the Occluded College, and thoroughly looted it, even taking the hooded skeleton who sat in the chair behind the sign in book. Demonstrating that player characters would steal dirt if they could wring gold or XP out of it.
Come back Wednesday for more five fingered dungeon delving.
Remaining 2 Wooden Scholars – Chopped by Ritzy and bludgeoned by Arongoth
118 EXP/6.5 players = 18 EXP apiece
8 Shadows – hit by magic blades and ‘sploded by a fireball.
664 EXP/6.5 players = 102 EXP apiece
Charmander used Flame Thrower! It wasn't very effective.
1 Fire Salamander – Hosed down, bitten, and ker-chopped.
2060 EXP/6.5 players = 316 EXP apiece
TOTAL: 436 Exp apiece
Discovered: Map fragment with cryptic warning, possibly of elsewhere in the complex. Commentary:
Not too much to say about this session. The party delved deeper into the east wing on the first level of the Lamented Redoubt of the Occluded College, encountering a variety of monsters and jacking them up. The Decanter of Endless Water, a.k.a. the "Hydro Pump" came into play against the salamander. (I just recently realized the Pokemon related origin of that nickname. Millenials...)
They discovered one of the map fragments in the library, with the warning about the page boy statue in the upstairs room (2). Come back next week as they continue to wreck shop. Gotta loot 'em all!
I've been running the Thousand Year Sandglass as a campaign world for over ten years now, and along the way I've accumulated quite the collection of jinni minis. (Or genies, if you Wish.)
Their extreme power combined with the circumstances under which they might be countered or controlled make them very compelling monsters, and are a big part of why I enjoy using them in an Arabian Nights styled setting. Just fighting a jinni is an option, but they are so much more interesting when negotiated with. Here are creatures who can give you the world, if you only know how to ask properly.
Plus it's just huge fun to talk in a big, booming voice like a gigantic Persian Santa Claus in baggy pants, a la Shazzan.
What DM worth their dice hasn't relished the chance to grant a Wish in the most obnoxious and obtuse way possible? Or watched their players twist themselves into semantic pretzels trying to properly "code" their request such that they won't get stampeded by a million male deer or crushed under a mountain of gold.
The jinni are of course a prominent feature in my new campaign book The Thousand Year Sandglass, and I cover all four classic elemental types from AD&D:
The Djinn of the Air
The Dao of the Earth
The Efreeti of Fire
The Marid of the Seas
I've also added a fifth sub-type, the mighty Storm Djinn, bred by the Djinn to fight off the depredations of their mortal foes the Efreeti, fierce as lions with the power of thunder and lightning.
Truly mighty indeed! Ho ho ho ho!
Yeah, once you uncork some jinni into your campaign world, it's hard to get 'em back in the bottle.
2 (0f 4) Wooden Scholar statues. Chopped up by Greed
118 EXP/5.5 players = 21 EXP apiece
This session saw the party trekking into the hills to an isolated, abandoned stone quarry, where a hidden cleft in the wall concealed the entry to the Lamented Redoubt of the Occluded College. They got in through the doorway and ran into some resistance from some wood golems when they entered the library. And that's where the session wrapped up. For this adventure I used a Dyson Logo map titled "Duke Phillip's Hold" that I found in Dyson's Delves, Volume II. I took this map and inverted it 180º. Here's the key, although I'm afraid you're gonna have to guess the rooms because I'm still not sure it's cool to post Dyson's maps when they aren't his free and clear Patreon supported ones. On the first level, rooms 5-8 are to the east from the big room with the pillars, 9 is across from the curved stairway that leads down to rooms 11-13 to the west. Room 10 is the northernmost room with the spiral staircase. On the second level, room 1 is the room with the staircase, room 2 is directly south, and then the numbers proceed clockwise around the center. I think I can, however, get away with putting up the three segments I used for the treasure maps from the library. Here they are:
The Lamented Redoubt of the Occluded College: LEVEL 1: 1: Entry Hall: A Lectern with a sign in book occupies the E wall. A tilted shelf runs across the W wall, with several heavy tomes laying upon them. In the center, beneath one of the books, is a Symbol of Pain that will activate if the book is picked up. (Inflicts intense pain for 2d10 turns, -4 to hit, -2 to Dex)
2: A figure in a hooded robe sits at a dust choked desk, scribbling with a cobwebbed quill on a length of un-spotted parchment with a skeletal hand. It will whisper “Present your credentials.” Anything other than the sign of the Occluded College will cause it to attack, its etherial form boiling out of the body and leaving it limp in the chair. (HD: 4, HP: 22, AC: 3, Touch: 1d6 + Level Drain, Sv: F4, Undead immunes, etherial 1/2 dmg from silver, Mv: 120(40) Fly: 240(80), Morale 12). The desk contains a locks strongbox with 3 sacks full of 1000 gp apiece. The dead body wears a pair of Boots of Levitation. There is a Scroll of Warding Vs. Lycanthropes among the papers on the desk, and a pair of fine +1 Swords hang crossed on the wall behind a tin shield bearing the Occluded Eye.
3: A wall full of moldering bookshelves lines the E wall behind four columns. Standing in an alcove within each of the columns are the four wooden figures of scholarly mages, more ravaged by dry rot and worms the further N you go. (HD: 2+2, HP: 13, 12, 7, 5, AC: 7, 1d8 dmg, SV: F1, Move 120(40), Ml: 12, -1 to Init, -2 save vs. fire, add +1 to fire damage) These are wood golems, who will attack if you approach the books. The books themselves are all moldy and heavily damaged by time and the environment. There is a 5 in 20 chance per turn spent studying that an answer to a research question might be found. There’s a Scroll of Warding vs Undead and 3 treasure maps hidden among the books that will be turned up on a 1 in 20 per turn spent searching. (Treasures: Room 1:2, Room 1:11, and Room 2:2) There’s a skull on the shelf in the NE corner that if turned will activate a secret door leading to 5.
4: A large marble chess board occupies the center of the room, with chess pieces of ebony and ivory measuring up to a man’s knee. If any of the pieces are moved, the board will magically teleport its side’s pieces to play. Both sides get 16 hp, Roll under Int to hit, dmg 1d4, 20-Wis = AC. There’s a lever in the wall over a row of half rotted seats with a settings for Novice: AC: 8, 10- to hit, Intermediate: AC: 4, 12- to hit, Advanced: AC: 2, 14- to hit, Master: AC: 0, 18- to hit. The pieces are nicely carved but moldy, and will only fetch 20 for the ivory and 10 apiece for the ebony. If a game is abandoned the pieces will teleport back to their places and reset. (Note: I cribbed this bit from my Thousand Year Sandglass adventure "The Fallen Obelisk". Look for it in Book 2.)
5: This room is pitch black, with only a ruddy flicker of light visible under the sealed iron door to 6. Tomes of forbidden and obscure lore lie shredded and destroyed on the floor among broken and empty shelves. This room is occupied by 8 hungry shadows, black outlines with sharp, gleaming teeth in their empty faces. (HD: 2+2, HP: 16, 14, 15, 11, 6, 7, 8,10, AC: 7, Magic Weapons only, cannot be turned, immune to charm and sleep, surprise on 1-5 on d6, atk does 1d4 dmg plus drains 1 pt Str for 8 turns, if all Str drained, turns into a new shadow. Save F2, Move 90(30), ML: 12
6: The door to this room is made of iron and barred from the outside with an inscription that reads “Beware”. It is hot to the touch and there’s a flickering orange light coming from the crack underneath. Inside is a charred, smashed, ash covered chamber that is the prison of a Flame Salamander. It is ravenous from its long captivity, and will attack on sight. (HD: 8, HP: 35, AC: 2, Atk: Claw/Claw/Bite 1d4/1d4/1d8, 1d8 heat damage to all within 20’ every round, Sv: F8, Mv: 120(40), Ml: 8) If loosed the beast will make a beeline for the nearest flammable materials (anywhere there are books) and set them alight to consume their heat.
7: This hallway is full of webs, but they are hard like stone. It will take committed effort to break through, allowing 10’ movement per turn spent, which also makes a lot of racket, attracting the wraith from 2 if he hasn’t been defeated. The party will find moldering robes bearing the Occluded College sigil as well as other vacated clothing among the webs, held inside areas that would hold the volume of a human being. There’s another iron door, this one unlocked and unbarred but rusted shut (2 on a d6 to open). There are sconces for lamps on the walls, and a crystal ball that has been shattered and burned out inside occupies the center of the cieling.
8: Specimen room. This room is occupied mostly by rusty cages with dry bones of assorted exotic creatures inside. There is one smoked glass tube that seems to have been shattered from the inside. A strange statue of rusted metal that looks like a hybrid of a dwarf and a beetle sits in one corner with a bit of cage bar in its grasp. It will start moving if approached, and is greedy for fresh metal. (HD: 5, HP: 20, AC: 2, Atk 1, All contact with metal instantly rusts it. Magic items get a 10% chance per + of surviving contact, otherwise will lose pluses with each contact before rusting. Sv: F3, Mv: 60(20), Morale: 7) The creature is docile and fairly friendly, and will follow those who give it metal to rust and eat.
9: This locked wooden door leads to a storeroom full of crates, the contents of which are rotted and spoiled. The brick ceiling has suffered from decay of the mortar, and will cave in on the first ones who enter. Save vs. Paralysis in 10’ area or take 2d6 damage.
10: Lecture Hall: A stage and 3 rows of sagging, half rotted woodwork bleachers occupy the E end of this large chamber, while a grand spiral staircase leading upward occupies the W end. Frescoes of learned discussions decorate the crumbling plaster of the walls, with the image of a group of scholars pulling collectively at a giant hand covering an eye gracing the E wall. 2 Grey Worms have burrowed beneath the bleachers and will burst forth if it is stepped on. (HD: 6, HP: 30, 22, AC: 6, Dmg: Bite 1d8, Swallow on a 19 or 20, suffer 1d8/round until worm or victim dies. May cut out with dagger at -4 penalty. Mv: 60(20), Save: F3, Morale 9
11: Museum: Glass cases full of assorted junk line the walls. There are three larger cases in the center of the room. One contains a collection of gemstones displayed on shelves based on value. A massive silvery blue opal as big as a man’s hand and a ruby embedded inside a topaz are the prize gems (Labeled “The Limpid Pool” and “The Heart of Flame”) at 1000 gp value apiece. Followed by 2 500 gp, 2 250 gp, 3 100 gp, 3 75 gp, 5 50 gp, and 3 10 gp). Another holds an ash wood staff wound in an intricate filigree of gold and silver that terminates in a stylized dragon head (Staff of Wizardry, 16 Charges) labeled. “Koendar’s Staff of Great Wonders”. The third holds a finely made sword in a red velvet scabbard labeled. “Lord Bragg’s sword, by which the Great Mage Emmerling was slain” (-1, Cursed) All of these items are guarded by an Invisible Stalker, who will attack if the cases are touched or messed with: (HD: 8, HP: 45, AC: 3, Atk: 4d4 strike, Mv: 120(40), Sv: F8, Morale: 12, surprise on 1-5 on d6, -4 to hit due to invisibility) A taxidermy case full of squirrels conceals a secret door thru the S wall to 12. One of the squirrels holds a brass key in its paws, which fits a keyhole in its belly and opens the door. 12: Curator’s Room: Dusty tables with equally dusty bric a brac fills this room. An old sea chest sits in one corner, which contains 700 silver pieces of various origins and has a false bottom which conceals a treasure map detailing an island off the coast where 18000 gold pieces is allegedly buried. A stylized hook is carved into the underside of the lid. If the chest is moved, a concealed Symbol of Stunning will be revealed and activated, causing 160 hp worth of creatures to be stunned for 3d4 rounds. There’s a closet door in the W wall with a widening V of black ash extending across the floor and signs of charring on the lintels.
13: Utility Closet: This small chamber is empty, and is blackened with ash. Whatever might have been in here is long since incinerated. A charred skeleton lies in a pile in the NW corner, with the hardware of a small coffer of some kind lying among the bones, also blackened and half melted.
LEVEL 2: 1: The spiral staircase from Lvl 1 exits here. There are three doors to the E, W, and S. To the north is a half rotted tapestry depicting a pastoral scene that can be rolled by means of a crank to show the same scene in each of the four seasons. It’s currently halfway between autumn and winter, and any attempt to crank it will cause the tapestry to tear apart and crumble.
2: A sandstone sculpture of a page boy is propped against the S wall, his ankles broken off from the feet standing on the pedestal about 7 feet in front of it. He holds a chest that is part of the sculpture, hinged in steel and locked. Any attempt to mess with the sculpture will cause it to topple, revealing a Symbol of Madness causing 120 hp worth of victims to be afflicted as by a permanent Confusion spell. This can be cured with a Heal or Wish spell. The chest contains 4 gems worth 10, 25, 75,100 gp, A small collection of 3 gold and gem encrusted eggs worth 700 apiece, a silver teaspoon with a lions head crest worth 20 gp, a silver snuff box decorated with a large blue gem worth 200, a gold and pearl necklace worth 800, a matching bracelet worth 400, a gold mail falconers glove worth 600, A pair of silver and ebony rimmed spectacles with lenses ground from two large rubies worth 1100, and a music box with a winged mermaid in mother of pearl with gold and silver workings worth 1200. The room has some broken up furniture but is otherwise unremarkable.
3: The walls of this curving hallway are completely covered with scrawled messages in scratches. Each turn spent studying this crabbed text will reveal a secret about one of the rooms in this complex. (Roll 1d20. 1-13 First Floor 14-20 Second Floor)
4: Behind the locked door of this room is a cumbersome wooden apparatus rigged to fire arrows at anyone in the doorway who opens the door without the proper key. It fires as a Lvl 2 fighter, doing d6 damage on a hit and firing twice a round for 10 rounds. The machine can be destroyed by doing 30 pts of damage to it or cutting the cords on the firing apparatus. It’s large and heavy, and needs to be disassembled to be removed from the room, and will require an Int check to reassemble or modify elsewhere. There’s another locked door in the W wall, which will trigger a portcullis trap if opened without the proper key (now long lost) (Make Dex check or take 3d6 dmg)
5: This room has a low ledge around the N, S, and W wall, which holds a stout, iron banded, locked chest containing 900 gp, A wax sealed clay jar holding 5 large agates worth 25 gp apiece, A rotted pair of fine shoes with silver toe caps worth 10 apeice, and a wooden tea chest holding a platinum tea set worth 1500. In an alcove in the wall in the palm of a carved stone hand is a white gold ring with two ivory flower buds and one coral rose. (Ring of Wishes) (Once wishes are used its still worth 300 gp)
6: The door is flaking, but the dim shapes of a painting of two robed figures washing their beards can be made out. The door will crumble into splinters and mold dust as soon as its touched. At one time this was a reasonably well appointed bath chamber, fed from a cistern. The cistern has leaked, leaving a couple inches of water on the floor, and all the tiles and walls are florid with mold and mildew.
7: This area contained a dormitory for the teachers here, with beds and tables and cabinets for personal items. It’s all gone to musty decay, with nothing in value to be found among the tottering furniture and mildew ravaged tapestries adorning the walls.
Henching Arongoth of Hogendaus – Lvl 6 Cleric/Vegetable
Monsters Mashed: 8 bull sharks – smashed, bashed, sliced, grasped by wolf fangs and used as a club, magic missiled 232 exp/ 5.5 players = 42 EXP apiece
Morgus’ Money Monkey Mummy Blasted to ape giblets by an overpowered Magic Missile. (Noted here because Tysis started after this fight and Ritzy & Arongoth were absent) 900 exp/5 players = 180 EXP apiece
TOTAL: 222 EXP apiece
This session was pretty much an interstitial one, based on the tenuous details in the email here. After knocking over the hidden temple of Leviathan, they went back to the Rusty Bucket to rest up and get ready to go on Tarvinir's initiation mission on behalf of the Occluded College.
They had a bit of a bumpy night, with an attack in force from a school of fog swimming bull sharks, and also Morgus the Malevolent sent another mummified collections agent after them, this time a mummy gorilla that tried to do a second story job on our heroes. Another blast from the big red d30 sent him to the big banana barrel in the sky. Tysis was a new player, a fighter, who despite his enthusiasm and repeated attempts, just never got as weird as the rest of the party. He was good to have around for a fight, though.
(I dunno what the deal is with the parenthetical there, sometimes attendance was spotty as we were playing ad hoc over our lunch hour at work. And I didn't always remember to post a followup immediately.) More to come, as our merry monster maulers go on their quest for Koendar's Staff at the lost school of the Occluded College. Stay tuned.
Loot Acquired: 2000 GP, 3 Pearls (10, 75, 250 gp) Polished Oyster Shell (30gp), Silver & Coral Bracelet (400 gp), Jade pendant depicting fish swimming around a crown (600 gp), Silver ship’s clock with inlays of frolicking mermaids in walrus ivory (900 gp)
4235 EXP/5.5 players = 770 EXP apiece
TOTAL: 886 EXP apiece.
The raid on the secret temple of the Cult of Leviathan continued in this session. They fought some more tentacultists, grabbed some loot through the portal to the deep ocean, and Ritzy got hit by a dart full of hallucinogenic poison that totally wharbled his garble, which was fine 'cos he was henching anyway. Tune in next week as our merry ganksters wrap up their looting of this dank basement and set sail for stranger shores.
As a way of showing my appreciation and also trading a plug for a plug, I'd like to direct your attention to an adventure he's been putting together over the past few weeks titled "The Vile Crypt of the Reawakened Sisterhood"
Coincidentally, if one were to be stocking a sandbox game in the world of the Sandglass, one might find that this particular vile crypt slots in quite nicely as a challenging destination for your brave heroes to delve.
I would suggest putting it near the Mount of Tombs in the Howling Desert, or somewhere in the western reaches of the Grasslands, or in the foothills around the Jinni's Tooth. But that's just me...
As I was reading Paul's posts I was delighted that he was independently coming up with something so uncannily apropos to the project I was bringing in for a landing.
More than a thousand and one tales await in a brand new campaign guide from BigFella Games! Inspired by the Arabian Nights, and written to be compatible with Labyrinth Lord, this is the first volume in a series of books bringing my long running campaign to the public.
Contains a world hex map and gazetteer, four new classes, extensive random tables for generating adventures in the fabled city of Kalabad, a fearsome array of new monsters, as well as extensive material on various types of jinni, and 8 fully mapped and keyed adventure scenarios. And much more besides.
I would be honored if you gave it a look, and thrilled if you would be inclined to purchase it!
Full house today!: Greed – Lvl 5 Homanculus Rael – Lvl 6 Thief/Werewolf Vlad Draculastein – Lvl 4 Dampyr Tarvinir – Lvl 5 Magic User Ritzy – Lvl 5 Homanculus Arongoth of Hogendaus – Lvl 6 Cleric/Vegetable
1 Grindeylow – Smacked about than rabbit-bit by Rael.
48 EXP/ 6 players = 8 EXP apiece
Argus Strangel, cleric of Leviathan – Silenced, shot, stabbed, then perforated with Magic Missiles
1800 exp/6 players = 300 EXP apiece
Total: 302 EXP Apiece
Items Gained: Decanter of Endless Water. You’ll need to get it looked at by an expert (like the Occluded College) to gain full mastery of its abilities.
In this session the party continued their raid of the Cult of Leviathan's hidden temple. They ganked a grindeylow that crawled up out of the sea portal. (The random dice weren't really workin' for me. I prolly shoulda just tossed another skrag at 'em since they'd used up their Fireball, now that I think about it long after the fact.) They also confronted and thoroughly murderated the cult's high priest, a nautical sort of fellow who if I recall correctly didn't get much chance to put up any kinda resistance to our industrious interlopers. (Lone spellcasters are kinda like bugs on a windshield when a party gets rolling, especially when Silence spells get into the mix.) This session also saw the introduction of one of the most abuse-able, mischief making magic items in the game, the Decanter of Endless Water (particularly its firehose-like Geyser function), which the players eventually, and rather tellingly, dubbed the "Hydro Pump". Lotsa boffo laffs comin' outta that unassuming bottle. Chuckles by the gallon. Stay tuned for more hydraulics and larceny.
Monsters Mashed: Fog swimming bull shark who attacked Greed, Ritzy, & Arongoth in their room at the Rusty Bucket Inn. Bludgeoned to death and sold to the inn for soup stock to offset room repairs. 30 EXP/3 = 10 Exp for Arongoth, Ritzy, & Greed
Scrag in Leviathan Temple: Zapped, shot, and evaporated in a fireball. 600 EXP/ 5.5 players = 109 Exp Apiece
50 gp worth of copper, silver, and brass scrap from sea chest in shrine. /5.5 players = 9 exp apiece
Total Experience = 118 + 10 for Arongoth, Ritzy, & Greed
Addional gain: +1 cutlass with etched design of mermaid kissing a sailor under waves on the blade
In this session the conflict with the Cult of Leviathan escalated, with the cult sending another of its signature monsters after them: enchanted bull sharks that could swim through thick fog, which they sent after our heroes at the inn.
I smile with fond nostalgia at the name of the inn, The Rusty Bucket, which is a call back to the second campaign I took part in with Paul and Delta and my Boston gaming crew. Somehow our group wound up buying a tavern and running it, in addition to fighting angry volcano gods, giant spiders, and midget vampires in a campaign set in the multi-doomed city of Treague. But I digress. After fending off the shark that crashed through their window and selling the fins to the inn to pay off the repairs, they sought out the squid cult's home base to get them to call off their repo-fish. I do recall some shenanigans with Rael trying to climb in wolf form onto the roof of the dilapidated dockside warehouse they tracked their foes to, but eventually they found the secret entrance and began their raid on the Shrine of the Leviathan.
They made their way down into the entry hall, and Fireballed a sea-troll that crawled up thru the sea portal, and that's where we left off for this session. To prep the cult's temple I used a small dungeon/temple map I'd run across as a 1 Page Dungeon entry titled the Lost Temple of Tyrandraxu written by Mr. Joshua J. Laboskie, proprietor of Jasper's Rantings.But I needed to make it a bit more maritime in tone, so here's my modified key:
THE HIDDEN TEMPLE OF THE LEVIATHAN
1: Shrine The rickety steps lead down to a large 40’X50’ room with a thin pillar of barnacle encrusted stone every 10’. There is a corridor in the N wall behind a rattling curtain of seashell beads strung with about 50 gp with holes punched in their centers. If any of the coins are gathered, it will cause enough rattling to alert other parts of the complex. In a 10’ alcove to the E there is a prow of a wrecked ship with a mermaid figurehead. The head has been struck off, replaced by a jagged bloom of bone white coral. A sea chest sits on a low stone slab in front of it, full of copper and silver pieces and smashed compasses and astrolabes. (about 50 gp worth of coinage) Beneath the coins is a cutlass +1 (1d6+1) that allows Water Breathing as long as it’s clenched in a user’s mouth. Its blade is etched with an image of a mermaid kissing a sailor under the waves. If the coins are disturbed, the coral head of the idol will start screaming like a shrieker for 1d4 rounds. There is a locked door to the W. A puddle of wet sand streams out from under. It bears a hammered copper image of a whale and a squid locked in a death struggle. 2: Pool Room This room is 30’X30’ with walls of grime streaked green marble. A low well lies in the center, about 10’ across. If the shrines in 1 or 5 are disturbed, underwater guardians will be summoned to defend the temple. Monsters will also be called by Brother Strangel in 3 at will.
Roll 1d4 1: 1d4 Grindeylows HD: 2, HP: 14 each, AC: 7, Claw Claw Bite 1d3/1d3/1d4, Blinding eye flash Save vs. Paralysis or binded for 1 Turn (-4 to hit, 1/2 move) Mv: 90(30) Sv: F2, Ml: 8 2: 1d8 Tentacultists HD:1, HP: 8 each, AC: 7, Dmg: Tentacle grapple 1d3 per turn of constriction (-1 to hit per tentacle on victim) Mv: 90(30), Sv:F2, Ml: 12. Retributive strike save vs. Death or take 1d8 in 10’ radius. Ink cloud: Obscures vision for 1d8 rounds. 3: 1d6 Bull Sharks (can swim and breathe in air in temple) HD: 2, HP: 12 each, AC: 4, Bite: 2d4, Sv: F1, Mv: 180(60), Ml: 7 4: 1 Scrag: Troll with gills: HD: 6+3, HP: 28, AC: 4, Claw Claw Bite 1d6/1d6/1d10, Mv: 120(40), Sv: F6, Ml: 10
3: Priest’s Chamber The door to this chamber is ajar, and leads to a dank 20X20 room full of battered antique furniture and decorated with mildew spotted sea charts. A well stocked liquor cabinet sits in the E Corner. This is the dwelling of Argus Strangel, the priest and prophet of Leviathan. A grizzled man of nautical bent with one wide, staring eye. He’s willing to negotiate sale of the hook. Argus Strangel: 9th. Level Cleric, HP: 27, AC: 5 (Bracers of Armor), Belaying Pin 1d6 or Broken Bottle 1d4 Spells: 1: Cure/Cause Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Purify Food & Drink, Resist Cold 2: Silence 15’ Radius, Resist Fire, Hold Person, Speak With Animal, 3: Animal Growth, Cure Disease, Dispel Magic 4: Lower Water, Detect Lie 5: Insect Plague (crabs instead) Magic Items: Decanter of Endless Water hidden among liquor bottles.
4: Sandy Corridor
A corridor leading to a 30’X20’ flooded room with ankle deep brackish water. There is a lot of sand in the otherwise roughly worked stone corridor, which will slow movement by 1/2 (4a). Under 4b there is a pit trap (1d6 dmg from fall) There are rusted manacles set in the walls of the room, and this is where the party will be taken if defeated. The corridor ends with a water swollen door in 5, which takes a 1 on a d6 to open.
5: Deep Shrine There are two pressure plates in the corridor for 2, which will activate Poison Dart traps (Fire as F1, 1d4 damage, Save vs. Poison or affected by hallucinogen as Confusion. for 1d6 turns (1-4 Fight Phantoms, 5-6 Babble, 7-10 Fight Each Other). Past the point where two corridors meet, the hallway is hung with fronds of half rotted kelp, which slows movement by 1/2 to pass thru, and save vs. Paralysis or get entangled, needing a turn to get loose. The shrine beyond is 40’X20’, carved in black stone with a row of polished, salt crusted steel columns leading to an 8’ wide porthole opening onto a vast dark underwater vista with vaguely perceptable shapes moving in the distant shadows. If touched ripples will flow across the wet surface.
On a small rock platform on the other side is a stone chest full of treasure. (2000 GP, 3 Pearls (10gp, 75 gp, 250 gp) nestled in a polished Oyster Shell (30 gp), A silver and coral bracelet (400 gp), A jade pendant depicting fish swimming around a crown (600 gp) And a silver ship’s clock and inlays of frolicking mermaids in walrus ivory (900 gp)
Passing things through the portal has a 1 in 20 chance of attracting the attention of one of the creatures. Stepping through will put you at the bottom of the ocean, save vs. Paralysis or pass out from the immense sudden pressure. A giant squid will attack a moment later. Giant Squid: HD: 6, HP: 48, AC: 7, 8 tentacles(1d4) 2 Attack Tentacles 1d8, Bite 1d10, Mv: 120(40), Sv: F3, Ml: 9, 6 HP to cut small tentacles, 8 to large, will blast 30’ diameter cloud of ink to escape if fight goes bad.
Other gains: Mission to a lost school of the Occluded College to retrieve Staff of Koendar, secure membership in O.C. for Tarvinir. Burned letter from Prof. Scarabus to Prof. Friedrich. (Ramifications unknown.) Gained enmity from Cult of the Leviathan ‘cos Greed’s got that magic hook now and won’t fork it over.
So in this session some of the plot hooks I cast into the murky waters of the campaign went taut and started to pull the party along. Tarvinir got a mission from the Occluded College to determine his worthiness for induction into that secretive order of scholars. They would follow up on this presently. In the meantime a more pressing matter had arisen. The box that Greed got from the crazy old sailor turned out to be a literal plot hook, in the form of a giant, rune inscribed fishing hook about seven inches across, that several hooded, cloaked, vaguely fishy smelling fellows expressed a very keen interest in acquiring.
When our heroes demurred, the eight representatives of the Cult of the Leviathan each extruded a huge, flailing tentacle from the depths of their hoods and attacked. The tentacultists, as I dubbed them, are probably one of my favorite monster re-skinning jobs, if I may say so myself. They're essentially a single giant octopus, stat wise, but they appear as eight hooded nondescripts in heavy cloaks and robes, each barfing a big tentacle from their head when the time comes to throw down. They'd be fun to make into miniatures if I could get the right components together. The only plotline that went kinda dead was their dealings with Professor Scarabus. Whatever pique they might have inspired from the murderous mage by burning his letter to Professor Friedrich was postponed by their suddenly finding themselves at war with a Lovecraftian squid cult. Stay tuned next week as our merry monster squad dives into that particular tenticular kettle of fish.
No combat or cash in, but a lot of contacts made around Kroenenburg the last couple of days:
Lew Kelp of Kelp’s Apothecary down on the dock front. If asked where Arongoth got the Mandrake Powder he’ll deny ever having met you.
Adolphus Gunn from the Shrine of St. Heironymus, who hipped you to the existence of Krenshaw’s Powder and some info about Isengrim the Werewolf King.
The nice people at the Hostel of St. Gwenivere took care of Vlad until his case of the sewer pukes were cured.
Gertrude Getz, a widow and owner of Getz, Havram, & Felderman’s, a bookseller in the market district that deals in bad romance novels and good poetry. A point of contact for the Occluded College. Also a big poetry fan.
The clerk at the Shrine of St. Eumenides, where students go to make offerings for good grades.
Knowledge that the pub called “The Moment of Clarity” is a front for the Occluded College of Mages, where you met Hiram Voss. Tarvenir has presented the late Heinrich Howel’s spellbook cover and wand, and is under consideration for membership. This will entail an entry fee of 90 gp, an annual fee of 110, which will entitle you to research and magic item identification in exchange for the same from other members, and writing scholarly papers on your own discoveries.
Greed got a box from a desperate seeming old salt who foamed at the mouth and fainted when Greed tried to stop him from hobbling away. As yet unopened.
Rael got whacked with a broom and chased off by a washerwoman, but eventually obtained the makings of a disguise to pass as one of the city’s ragamuffin street urchin/guides. Tarvinir bought a nice sturdy travelling coat and looks less scholarly. Whether that will throw the town constabulary off their trail for the shocking murder of Von Zann remains to be seen.
Whilst paying for the Von Zann job, Professor Scarabus has given you a large sealed envelope with the words “For Dr. Friedrich” and an address on it.
Commentary: These two entries were a couple of those runnin' errands, makin' contacts, pickin' up plot leads kinda sessions that inevitably happen in campaign play. A lot of NPC's made up on the fly to serve as DM's handpuppets for conveying information.
Rael and Tarvinir made the drop off of the violin case at the residence of Philippe Von Zann, and were dismayed a couple days later to hear about the mage/composer being hacked to death by a pair of floating skeletal arms that popped out of a violin case with a hatchet. They were even more dismayed to hear that the local constabulary was looking for a couple people who matched their description who'd been observed dropping off the case at Von Zann's place.
(This supernatural assassin was an old monster from the 2nd. Edition Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume 1 called a Dread. I'd had Scarabus pull the old Dread in the violin case trick before, back in the Wardicon campaign when I first introduced him and he was doing an Avengers (as in Steed & Peel) style murder list on his former colleagues.)
Handy and horrifying.
Arongoth found a source to feed his growing (in a couple of senses) mandrake root habit. This time in concentrated, powdered form. And speaking of dubiously obtained and possibly dangerous powders, the green powder that Morgus the Malevolent's money mummy coughed up to turn Arongoth's entourage of undead against him was identified as Krenshaw's powder, which is a vile concoction that can either wrest control of animated corpses or just make them murderously free willed, depending on how it's formulated. There will be more on this in later Chronicles. Vlad either suffered some infected bites or fell in the sewer (I don't rightly recall.) during last session's visit to the wererats and came down with a nasty case of something gastrointestinal. He convalesced at a hostel run by the order of St. Gwenivere. Tarvinir followed the trail of breadcrumbs I laid down with the spellbook cover and wand they found in the spider wolf's lair, and worked his way toward induction into the Occluded College. This was made a bit more difficult from having to keep a low profile thanks to his involvement in the Von Zann atrocity, but he managed to make some connections and grab onto one of my plot coupons. And finally, in a Lovecraftian twist, Greed the homanculous was accosted in the street as he took the air in front the inn they were staying at by a wild eyed old sailor who handed him a macguffin mysterious wooden box and promptly expired as he staggered away. Just what all these plot hooks are attached to we shall see in subsequent entries. Stay tuned.
Henching (Hope you feel better.) Tarvinir – Lvl 5 Magic User
Loot Gained: 1000 GP payment to Greed & Ritzy for Spider Wolf Poison glands from Professor Scarabus (Vlad was present also. I leave it up to you as to how it’s split) 333 EXP to Greed, Vlad, and Ritzy
Contacts made: Professor Scarabus has asked Greed & Ritzy to drop off a violin case (that occasionally makes ominous scratching noises from inside) to the music conservatory of a nobleman and composer named Philippe Von Zann.
After an initial mugging, Rael charmed the were-rats of Kroenenberg’s undercity into taking you to their leader, the horrible Rat King, to discuss enhanced lycanthropy techniques with Rizzo, its medically knowledgable head. His recommendation: seek out Isingrim the Werewolf King, or one of his sons, and eat his heart. He is reputed to lair in the high alps far north of Strangledorf.
So the party finally made it into town and secured lodgings at an inn, then set about pursuing their various agendas or discovering new ones. Greed, Ritzy, and Vlad headed to the address given to them by the monkey skeleton and were met there by a scarab beetle rolling a disembodied eyeball, which led them to an abandoned chest of drawers/vanity in a seedy back alley. The grim visage of Professor Scarabus appeared in the mirror, and instructed them to place the poison glands of the spider wolf in the top drawer. As soon as they'd done so the middle drawer popped open, revealing their payment of 1000 gp.
While they scooped their money into sacks, the Professor asked them if they'd be interesting in doing some delivery work for him. Judging him to be a trustworthy, benevolent soul, they agreed, and the bottom drawer popped open, revealing the violin case to be delivered to Philippe Von Zaan, for the price of 800 gp. Later, Vlad, Rael, and Tarvenir went out on a little information gathering jaunt, leaving the homanculi back at the inn to avoid drawing any unwanted ire from the torch and pitchfork set.
After visiting a couple of the local religious orders, most notably the Order of St. Hieronymous (an organization of monster hunters. I don't rightly recall why they were inquiring there. Maybe it was werewolf related.) they got jumped and dragged into an alleyway by a gang of were-rats. Seems the lycanthropic rodents thought they had a bunch of neophyte monster hunters on their hands. After some initial blows were struck, Rael revealed what she was also on the were- spectrum, and the rats quickly changed their tune and became friendly. They led the excursion group down into the sewers of Kroenenburg, where they met with the were-rat's leader, a hive mind of venerable were-rats conjoined by their tails. The horrible Rat King. Rael was interested in finding out if she could transform at will and reliably, as opposed to once per day and back and possibly getting stuck in either form like she was now. The Rat King told her about the King of Werewolves, Isengrim, and how if she wanted to freely transform she'd need to eat his heart, or the heart of one of his close relatives.
How 'bout that for a plot hook? Tune in on Wednesday as the networking continues.
Morgus The Malevolent’s Money Mummy – Kerploded by a Lightning bolt from Tarvinir.
962 EXP (Factoring in the two coins in its eyesockets)
3 Zombies and 7 Skeletons – Formerly in Arongoth’s employ, gone rogue from the green powder. Stabbed, arrowed, explosively turned and otherwise smushed by party.
The Skull Vulture – Also Kerploded by a Lightning Bolt from Tarvinir
Commentary: This session was spent on the outskirts of the port city of Kroenenberg, battling an assortment of undead horrors. Morgus the Malevolent's money mummy initiated its shakedown of the party by coughing up a vial of vile green powder that caused Arongoth's entourage of shambling corpses and skeletons to turn on him and his living companions. Whut oh! Thus they were forced to smack 'em down, but it was better that way, since they were new arrivals in town and the welcome wagon generally brings torches and pitchforks (or in this case, probably gaff hooks and belaying pins) when you've got a gaggle of zombies and skellies following you around. They also encountered a monstrous vulture with a human-ish skull for a head. I'm pretty sure I just reskinned a standard harpy for that bit. I think the creature was terminated at a distance. I also think I had rough plans for a dungeon connected to it but the party was intent on getting to their destination and didn't follow up on it. Such is the way. That's why it pays to play it loose. I love doing re-skins on monsters, and had a lot of opportunity to do it in this campaign. Just like when I was a kid my action figures never really stayed as who they were on the package they came in. I was always coming up with my own characters and making up my own stories, even as a wee tad. (Except for Han Solo and Chewy, although they flew around with Hammerhead, Walrus Face, Snaggletooth, and even Greedo (Dunno if he forgave Han first or what.) as kind of an ersatz pirate crew in the back compartment of my Millenium Falcon vs. Darth Vader and his one solitary stormtrooper. (Who kinda became like Professor Fate and Max, thinking back on my youthful frolics on the living room floor.) But I digress...) By my use of the term "kerploded" in the email, I can infer that in both cases it was a one shot kill from Tarvinir's lightning bolts. I'm sure in one of those he used the Big Red d30. Like I've mused before, getting to roll a d30 for damage might be a bit overpowered, but the players enjoy it. As Jeff Rients famously said "Your NPC's suck and they are all going to die." Tune in next week as our heroes hit the town, and the town takes a couple swings right back at 'em.