FalsKrag Session 22 – What’s behind door 659?

Somehow I overwrote this post with the next one. I don’t recall my previous comments, so it’s just the adventure summary to follow.

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12th Patchwall: They continue exploring carefully. The layout of the level is a large four-quartered square, with smaller chambers of the passageways. Seldrel believes that doors with a prime number have other exits, while non-prime numbers have no way out. An undead bat, various skeletons, zombies and some shadows that slow rather than drain strength are encountered and destroyed. A floating jewelled skull that surrounds itself with dust gives them quite a scare (some had heard rumours of a demi-lich) but it does little more than try to bite them and is smashed. It’s gem eyes and teeth turn out to be painted glass, although it did guard many silver and copper coins and some minor gems and magic items. A number of traps are also found in different chambers, many in dead ends. The group gets used to having someone hold a door open while others explore. A large translucent statue of a woman in one room with a scorpion symbol attacks them – the glass golem inflicts nasty wounds that continue to bleed. Seldrel casts haste on the group and they focus on melee combat, while Merxif heals those wounded. The next room holds a chest of gold coins and the symbol of a wolf.

A second black pudding attacks them in one of the main passages. Alchemists fire, flame spells and bludgeoning weapons again win the day. A trapdoor is found that has a tunnel leading to the north-west, and they elect to come back to it later. Another tunnel leads back to the entrance, and near it Lanliss notes “13WN167” scratched into the wall. Seldrel consults his map, and finds a door marked ‘13’. The passage beyond it goes west then south. They return to that point and Lanliss finds an illusionary wall hiding a northern passage, and a pit. Collapsible planks get them to door ‘167’, which opens both ways and has stairs leading down. They return to a room found with a black gate, and Seldrel activates this, taking them to the tiled room just off the fungi caves. They walk up to the Hall of the Gods and camp in gate room. Seldrel notes that the green gem key used in the gate now has a flaw. He rechecks all the gem keys. He surmises that each has a limited number of uses before shattering. He also thinks that given good quality coloured gems he could craft his own keys.

13th: Refreshed, the group activates the Statue of Berronar, the Dwarven deity of safety, home and healing. They obtain a wand of Cure Light Wounds, which Merxif is very happy to have. (Their previous wand is nearly out of charges.) Lanliss suggests retracing some of their steps in pursuit of their quest to defeat Gregern. Returning to the great stair, they head up to the tomb found. All is as they left it, and they search the stone coffin and chamber again. They head all the way back to the Hold, and head out to the graveyard, calling for Robann. He appears, and tells them that they have not destroyed his grandson. Robann suspects a number of false tombs under the mountain. While he can’t tell them where to look, he states that he will be aware when he is no more. Robann tells them that the geas will draw them back to the mountain if they make plans not to return. If they spend longer under the mountain they may be able to stay away for longer, as long as they do intend returning. While he never explored much under the mountain, he knows others in the family did. He has heard of the great stair, and knows of hidden chambers accessed from it, including a forge and crafting hall. If they can locate that, they have a way to spend time crafting items and enchanting them without the geas interfering.

Back down the great stair, they cross the hall of numbered doors and take the stairs down. Lanliss leads them on a “left-wall-hug” through a number of small rooms with multiple doors. One metal plated door is hard to open, a second is trapped. A small humanoid figure approaches, crying like a child. It has an animal skull for a head and its sobs are quite distracting. Seldrel and Merxif confirm the creature is undead, but they know nothing more. Lanliss feels tired when bitten. After a few dusty rooms, there is a hall with three alcoves. Each alcoves has a four-foot deep hole that appears empty, and there is writing low on the opposite wall – patience, tolerance, respect. Seldrel detects nothing magical and most of the group move on to the next room – marked with charcoal lines across the floor. Lanliss finds a hidden compartment with some gems and Bacon decides to have a better look at the holes they have passed. He returns and climbs into one. After watching him for a while without any comment or movement, Seldrel and Hardaz realise that something is wrong. They pull him out with difficulty – he is paralysed! A thin transparent film slides out of the hole after him – a near invisible ooze that immobilises it’s prey and drains them of blood. It is battered and blasted until dead. Merxif heals Bacon.

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FalsKrag Session 23 – Trogs and statues

Our group got together for lunch and and an earlier start than usual for a long productive session. It was a really good time – puzzles solved, treasure obtained and an unexpected ambush. I took a photo during the troglodyte fight – I really should try to take a few each session. I usually don’t think about it unless we hit the end of the night and where PC’s are standing on the battle-map is important. This second encounter with “Monarth”, who is believed to be a grave-knight was also important, because the group had considered that he might be Gregern Falshandren. It seems they were mistaken. (Unless he lied…)

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13th Moving onward, the group note a room with many skulls lined up on the floor, mostly humanoid. A passage leads to a room with discarded material, and a hole in the wall to a cave. Lanliss leads the way into the cave and sights reptilian humanoids. A foul smell precedes the Troglodytes and the group all move in to fight, though some feel ill. Noise attracts more trogs from the north and Seldrel webs them. Bacon and Lanliss back up to the hole as a few more trogs appear there. Once the cave is clear, they burn the webs back and attack any trogs remaining in the web. This leads into a larger cave with a fountain and one foot of water across the floor… and the remaining trogs. A big crab advances on Hardaz, and across the chamber a trog druid begins casting spells. Merxif activates one of his crystal skulls, summoning a dire tiger to split the druid off from the other trogs. The fight is suddenly very one sided and the party quickly defeats the smelly saurians. A third cave has some collected equipment, treasure and a large iron gate. They don’t find any way to open the gate.

An unexpected big cat! Green tokens are fallen & dying trogs.

Wading through water they head easterly back toward where they entered and find chamber that appear to have been part of a shrine or temple. Broken rock piles (former altars?) have signs of fires on top, while urns hold bone and ash. The walls did have images and writing, but have all been damaged and scratched. A short flight of stairs lead out of the water and into a room carved with people walking around towards an altar. These images have also been defaced and some mold growing here is identified by Winter as Melandar – it can be brewed to aid against poison and disease. Many of the rooms on the level have a two regular doors and a third that is false – some trapped, some hinged onto to a blank wall, one with brown mold (that drains heat until Seldrel freezes it with a scroll), another painted on the wall. One door appears to open on a fire and released a great cloud of smoke, but they soon realise it is all an illusion and that the door goes nowhere. Four of these rooms have a well carved magical statue of a young human male, each in the same clothes but representing different emotions – happiness, sadness, anger and fear. Lanliss and Bacon realise that the statues rotate and Lanliss’ turning of the happy statue leaves him smiling for minutes afterwards, as well as occasionally breaking into song, dance, or hugging other party members. Continued searching locates a hall with many urns – some filled with water, one with bones and coins, and one a mimic. Again, Lanliss finds himself stuck and battered, but the group are faster to respond with missile weapons and spells than their first encounter with such a creature. Another hall has three monkey statues, and a dead end has both a very solid stone secret door and a poem about the change of seasons. They suspect that the poem is a clue to open this door, and while a considerable distance is between both locations, believe that the levers on a different level may be relevant.

They suspect the statues here open the iron gate, and as they finish exploring the level, see that the happy statue has returned to its original position. Bacon is chosen as the most resistant to emotion, and has the task of turning each statue to face the false door in each room. He becomes quite happy, soon cancelled out by the sadness of the second statue, and resist both fear and anger. They are very pleased to find that the iron gate has lifted and a room with three locked chests, a magical set of breastplate and a fine battleaxe and trident. Seldrel detects magic within some of the chests, and after opening them the group has a large quantity of copper, silver and gold coins, in addition to magical bandages, some potions, a wand and a scroll. They then have to make a decision about the levers and the other secret door. Based on the last door of this type they opened, the levers will reset and the door close after a number of minutes – quite likely not enough time to get back here. Lanliss and bacon decide to wait near the secret door. Hardaz, Seldrel, Merxif and Winter head up the stair, through the fungi caves, and down through the other halls to get to the levers. They note that the ogre corpse is gone from the moon room, and while blood and fluid stained, the circular platform is at floor level again. The levers are triggered – spring, summer, autumn, winter.

The secret door slides up – revealing a small room with a locked and trapped chest, and an ornate bronze casket. A lever can be used to keep the door open from within. While Bacon keeps watch, Lanliss disarms the fire trap, unlocks the chest and starts to appraise the treasure –silver and gold coins and a red crystal skull. Above and far to the north, the rest of the group hurries back through passages and secret doors. They are stopped in the fungi caves as a figure is blackened mithril armour, wielding a bastard sword blocks their way. The undead knight they first met four weeks ago asks if they have found the sword he asked about. When they state ‘no’, the warrior points at Hardaz. “What’s strapped to your back then?” Hardaz’ attempt at bluffing is terrible and the knight steps forward swinging his sword about in such fashion that all are intimidated. Combat breaks out with Winter missing with her first volley of arrows, and Hardaz also having trouble hitting. “I have found allies”, calls the knight, having hit the Dwarf solidly. Suddenly Winter turns and shoots at Seldrel, badly wounding him. Seldrel casts invisibility on himself, and disappears. Merxif runs back the way they had come, while Seldrel sights the human they though vampire a week ago hiding amid tall mushrooms. They suspect the vampire is controlling Winter, who now turns to aim at Hardaz. She speaks – her voice odd “You are vermin in the halls… as one of the Lord’s favoured it is my duty to remove your infestation from the Krag. You may discomfort me, but I will return.” There are a few quick comments between Seldrel and Hardaz. The knight pauses, “I am Monarth. Give me the sword and I will leave you be.” Hardaz drops the runed Flan blade at his feet and steps back. The knight picks up the sword and walks off towards the stairs up to the Hall of The Gods. Winter shakes of her domination and Seldrel runs to find Merxif. They all continue down to meet the others, Merxif healing them on the way. Once all are together again, they head across the halls to the room with a trapdoor and passage. They set themselves up in the room and hall to rest. Seldrel determines that the red skull can produce a fire shield each day.

14th: The group heads down through the trapdoor and proceed along the tunnel for quite a way. It stops at another short shaft and another trapdoor. Lanliss climbs up and eventually forces the door open. They emerge in the area of caves previously explored, close to the false tomb lid chamber and the ‘NEWS’ secret door. They trek the long way round to the fungi caves, and back down the great stair. Bacon and Hardaz play out a rope and Lanliss swings down to the ledge and doors about twenty feet under the level explored. Opening a door rings a bell on the back of the door. A long passage extends, but he sees and hears no-one. He anchors the rope and everyone climbs of slides down.

A narrow northern passage has closed doors, while the wide easterly hall has something partly blocking it near two side halls. Lanliss moves up to the partial blockade of wire and broken chairs and finds (and disarms) two magical rope snares. The group move into the southern branching and find seven rooms connected by short passages in a rough loop. Many have blood and old corpses or skeletons, one a magic mouth that proclaims “Death to those who wait” , a dart trap, and a patch of green slime that falls on Lanliss. Seldrel burns it off him with magical fire. A secret door with a deep pit has stone blocks with candlesticks in three corners. Lanliss notices three slight depression of the same size in the floor, and he and bacon drag the blocks into them. A hidden compartment slides open in one wall and they recover silver, gold and some gems.

FalsKrag Session 21 – Is it Prime? (Or divisible by 17)

Another “empty” tomb for Gregern Falshandren, but one with a nasty fight. The group also were faced with the down side of their deal with the ghost of Robann Falshandren – they can’t plan to spend a lot of time away from the mountain. We had a normal session, but I think everyone was more focused on the game and they got through a lot more than they usually do. In game discussion about prime numbers (and the number 17) carried into out-of game stuff that night and then over the next two weeks in conversation and emails.

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7th Patchwall: Continuing up the stairs, they find two more rooms – one small with a stone table, the other large and dusty. The larger room is marked with skulls. Lanliss locates a secret door opened by pressing a nearby skull. Two human sized clay statues stand in a niche either side of a narrow passage. They are well crafted and painted to look like armoured warriors wielding a greatsword. As Lanliss moves along the passage, one strikes at him. Both dwarves move up to fight it with the rogue and eventually they break the construct. Lanliss disarms a pit trap in a corner of the passage, and sights two more statues before the passage opens into a chamber with a tomb. He suspects that one of the statues will animate and attack. He suggests that they lead it back into the dusty room where they can surround the statue. They do entice it out of its niche, but as soon as they retreat around the corner it goes back into position. They all move up and batter the statue in the same way as the first, and Merxif heals them.

The tomb chamber is also trapped. Lanliss notes a floor tile that can be depressed and a hole in a wall close by. He disarms it and reads the inscription on the sarcophagus – “Gregern Falshandren”. As the rest of the group moves up, a hooded figure flows through the side of the tomb and attacks. The incorporeal undead seems stronger than a wraith, dealing negative energy damage and leaching the health out of those it strikes. Both Lanliss and Winter are severely wounded by the time it is defeated. The tomb and a chest in the room hold coins and jewellery. Skull shaped rubies are taken from the clay statues.

The group heads back down the stairs, through the fungi caves and around to the secret chambers they have left the snail shell and chairs in. Once out in the Hold, they briefly check the ghoul tower, but it is empty. They arrive back in Falsford mid afternoon.

8 – 11th: Lanliss and Winter take two days to recover from their wounds, under Merxif’s care. Kevelli advises them that getting a worthwhile buyer for the snail shell will take time. He sends messages to Falsridge and Mitrik. They find a buyer for the set of chairs. Seldrel studies alchemy and is able to decipher the runes carved onto a secret door under the Fals’Krag. (Nickel, copper, bronze, iron) They all spend some time training. [Fifth Level] On the second night, everything shakes. A mild earth tremor! Merxif invests in some new armour and gets Seldrel to enchant it. Seldrel also creates some Bracers of Archery for Winter. Kevelli comes up with some research on Ormarr in relation to the temple under the Krag. The group start to feel weakened, dull, and uninspired. Some are restless, some confused. They start to feel a pull back to Fals’Krag.

12th: Seldrel determines there is some supernatural curse or effect on them all, that he feels will get worse each day. Edamala, the main priest of Rao suspects a geas. something too powerful for her to remove. The group recalls that they promised the ghost of Robann Falshandren that they would destroy his grandson, in return for items from his families crypt. Merxif realises that they all feel more relaxed simply discussing returning to the Hold. They pack up and head straight out to the Hold. They all feel restored as they walk up the road to the gatehouse.

The iron grill that was set in the ceiling of the gatehouse has fallen out, and the ghoul tower is now a mass of rubble, dry grass and sticks. The unstable second floor has now completely collapsed. Lanliss sees a bit of paper with writing, and pulls part of a page from the remains of a birds next. He recognises the writing as Baklunish and translates it for the group. It refers to levers and elemental magik linked to particular rooms. In the hall of the gods they activate the statue of Rillifane (wood elf deity) and receive a wand of entangle. All three elves are able to move faster. Headed to where the levers are located, they find a dead ogre in the moon room – down the circular floor shaft. They tie a rope to the corpse and are able to move the body and read writing on a ring further down than they had previously seen. Written in Suel, it refers to the two moons and when they are full. In the halls of levers, Seldrel pulls each down in the sequence marked on the secret door in the caves, and they quickly head to that location. The secret door has slid up, revealing a narrow passageway and a small room. Lanliss searches cautiously, and brings back a large bag of copper coins and a orange crystal skull.

They decide now to continue up the great stairwell. Winter sends her owl ahead to scout, seeing through its eyes and finding the stairs end at a pair of metal doors. The iron doors are rusty and stuck. Hardaz pours some oil on the hinges and helps Lanliss to open them. Within, dusty rooms filled with webs are spaced around a central chamber with a hole in the ceiling that lets in sunlight. They begin to burn webs and are attacked by six large spiders, then a seventh that is bigger than any of them. The group deals with them efficiently. While both Summer and Merxif are bitten, they avoid being poisoned. A small amount of treasure is recovered, and behind the webs in one room is another black gate. Two doors lead out into a chamber partly open to the mountain. They quickly learn that a pair of wyverns has been nesting here. The first wyvern on its nest is quickly knocked down and killed. The second retreats out onto the mountain top and dives at the group, stinging with its tail. It poisons Hardaz before they are able to bring it down with spells and missiles. Merxif heals the group and they search the next and surrounding area for treasure. The building stands on an open section of the mountain about 350 feet above the hold. The wyvern nest has some gems, jewellery, a magic items – a wand, ring and set of bracers.

Back into the stairway, they head down to where they originally entered. Another thirty feet down, a hall leads away from the stairs to a pair of stone doors. The stairs continue another twenty feet down, and they drop a stone with light on it into the deep shaft. Winter again uses Summer to see down the shaft. About ten feet lower are double doors set into an alcove and then the shaft drops considerably before opening up into a huge underground cavern mostly filled by a lake.

Lanliss and the dwarves go to examine the stone doors, and note a secret door on either side of the hall which they cannot open. The three sets of doors all seem to be constructed the same way and pushing at the double doors confirms their suspicions. All the doors are very heavy, hard stone and can only be pushed open from one side. There are no handles or protrusions and a stone lip runs along the floor on the side that can be opened. Hardaz tries to hammer a piton into the floor to stop the main doors (engraved with a ‘3’) from swinging closed but cannot do it – the rock is too hard. Seldrel solves the problem by using stone-shape to raise a block from the ground that holds one door open.

The wide halls are clean with no dust, and cool and dark past the initial room which is light by a magical flame on the ceiling. They head west and find another one-way door with a ‘4’ engraved and the back of another one-way door. Lanliss opens the door, releasing a bad smell and revealing two thin, dirty humanoids with yell at him not to close the door. They rush out with relief, but then try to bite Lanliss. Merxif identifies them as being undead. The ghasts are quickly destroyed. There is no exit from the small chamber, but many scratches and chips on the inside of the door, as well as bones, coins and a blunt dagger. The next area along the hall has a passage heading north and a door engraved ‘11’. They open the door. Lanliss searches the room, finding many bits of curved glass and another door marked ‘373’. The group begins to discuss prime numbers. While someone stays in place to hold each of the doors open, Lanliss moves ahead. The passage behind 373 turns and heads east to a door marked ‘17’ that emerges in the original hall before the main entry doors. He hurries back around to rejoin the group and they head north. A door marked ‘13’ at a t-junction leads west, then south to ‘53’ and the room with the glass fragments. Winter and Lanliss both note that the light at the entry chamber is no longer shining and the group starts to head back that direction. Midway along the passage, Lanliss realises that a huge black mass is rolling along the passage towards then and has blocked the light. Winter shoots an arrow into the thing with no obvious effect and Seldrel thinks the creature is a ‘small’ black pudding. Like most other oozes, it isn’t likely effected by edged weapons. Lanliss strikes a minor blow with a mace that promptly breaks from the creatures acidic surface. The group draw back and use fire spells, and throw alchemical weapons. It wounds a few party members but is badly burnt in return and eventually killed.

FalsKrag Session 20 – Vampire / The Great Stair

The first usage of a black gate, some unexpected undead and the group now wants to know where the vampire keeps his coffin. Yet one more thing on the list of stuff not known. Merxif’s player has wanted to use that skull for a while – twice before he was ready, but other actions taken before his turn made it not worthwhile. Another unusual secret door. I’ve ruled that knock spells don’t open secret doors with complex mechanisms – some doors require a specific task to open. The arena combat was fun. I’d expected that one or two people might enter and trigger the event, rather than the whole group at once. The initial summoned creatures were no threat, but the air elemental in whirlwind form rolled over the whole group in one round and picked up most of them (auto damage each round, and penalties on their attacks).

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7th Patchwall: Each of the five passages is cautiously examined. Most end in false doors, each trapped in a different way. An old skeleton in a pit yields some treasure – most notably a bag of holding with an assortment of gear and a stuffed parrot that provides considerable amusement. The central passage appears to end with an open pit, but both the pit and far wall are an illusion, behind which is a “black” gate showing a still image of the Fals Hold courtyard – one that shows everything in good condition, not ruined and abandoned. Hardaz walks through; the others wait but hear no noise. They see nothing different in the image – no dwarf appears. Merxif walks through tied to a rope and Bacon plays out the length. He is unable to pull the rope back, but it remains tight as he presumes the gnome continues forward. Everyone else follows. All have emerged in the courtyard of the Hold at the position seen in the image. It appears to be early morning as all is in deep shadow, but sunlight can be seen on the hills to the south and west. The courtyard is full of ruin and long grass and they surmise that they have not travelled in time.

Movement within the main building proves to be some well armoured skeletons. A voice calls out from further in – someone trapped by the undead. When they enter the hall and attack, a human emerges and flanks a skeleton. Merxif draws his blue skull and casts Undeath to death. Three of the skeletons are reduced to dust, and the human screams – becoming a cloud of mist that retreats through the building.

The group suspects he was a vampire and gives chase. There is a faint disturbance in the dust on the floor, and Bacon locates a secret door in the northern wall of the old kitchen. Opening it, he and Lanliss hear noise from the guard tower nearby. The group hurry out and find four ghouls, two of which are digging at the pile of rubble. The ghouls are killed without anyone being wounded. Lanliss thinks they should check the towers regularly when they come to the keep, since this is about the third time they have found a ghoul or more than one in this tower. The dwarves start shifting rubble and soon reveal a large stone trapdoor. Once they can open it, there is a ladder going down and then stairs. A secret door opens onto the level where many undead where encountered before. The mist form is now long gone and the group return to the ground floor building. Another search of the kitchen finds the skeleton of a goblin under rubble, along with a magical ring of resistance. The gear of the skeleton warriors is mostly masterwork and happily looted.

The group proceed down to the Hall of the Gods where they activate the statue of Baravar (Merxif’s patron, Gnomish deity of Trickery and Illusion), gaining a wand of Sanctuary. They continue back to the caves where they were earlier, aiming to fill in the holes on their map starting to the east. There is some minor magical items retrieved from the nests of the birds. Close-by caves have normal size vermin, mostly rats and spiders, though a giant scorpion attacks Lanliss.

Further to the west, a long tunnel has a large smooth block of stone engraved “NEWS” with many cut and scratched messages in different languages. They determine that there is a hollow behind the block and think that it can slide upwards, but can’t find any way to make it move. A cave with fallen rock hides some silver coins. While they start moving rocks to uncover the coins they are attacked by invisible enlarged grey dwarves and a priest. The rocks and rubble on the floor make the combat more challenging as the group has difficulty moving to support each other. The dwarves have an assortment of useful gear, though a lot of it isn’t worth selling. The next cave has two tall hooded statues. There is nothing remarkable about them, but a silver chalice and pouch of magical black soot is found hidden away in a gap behind one statue. A little more exploration shows they have now linked all the passages on their map. They are disappointed that there appears to be no other access to the space behind the western secret door, which could be fairly large.

Up to fungi caves, and through to the great staircase. Going up a hundred feet brings them to a small room with a stone table, and an archway of purple flame marked “Trial of Fire”. Bacon runs through, being badly burnt and looks around a little bit then yells back to the group what he could see. On the wall is a circular depression divided into four parts. He drinks a potion of healing and rests while the group discuss how or if they should proceed. Eventually they realise that they have means to provide fire resistance. Merxif uses a wand on Lanliss who passes through the wall of fire without harm. Together Lanliss and Bacon look at each of the four chambers. The first is a set of short passages with jets of flame shooting out from the walls. They determine a pattern to the jets and Lanliss works out a safe position to run to and observe the next part of the puzzle. He soon makes his way through safely and recovers a curved section of white glass that would fit into the circular hole at the fire arch. The second hall is low, has a smooth metal floor and many blocks of stone that stick out of the floor and ceiling. They realise that the floor heats and cools in a regular pattern, and when it reaches its coolest, Lanliss moves quickly through the hall, using acrobatics to rolls and pivot around the obstacles to the other end. He claims a yellow curved glass pieces and returns.

The third hall has a floor covered in flickering blue flames, throughout which raised stepping-stones protrude. He carefully jumps from stone to stone, taking his time and at the end finds an orange piece of curved glass. The last chamber has another wall of flame. On one side a stone ramp leads up and over the high point of the flame, and on the other side a water filled tunnel looks to go under the flames. Lanliss notes that the water is warm, not hot and strips down. He swims through emerging beyond the wall of flame and takes the fourth glass piece – red. Returning, he dries off in the heat of the flame wall and then he an Bacon place all the pieces into the wall hole. The initial flame barrier vanishes. Both Lanliss and Bacon feel quite cool, and Seldrel determines that they both have a powerful fire resistance spell active. The others enter, and they see that the fire effects in all the halls have ceased.

Further up the stairs there is a hall engraved with images of warriors fighting in an arena. A large room with four warrior statues is surrounded by a balcony. A magical summoning symbol is engraved on the floor. The group enters together and a bell rings. A voice announces that the challenge will begin with the second bell. Merxif casts prayer, Seldrel blur on himself and Merxif. They position themselves and small fire elemental appears. It is killed quickly, but replaced by a giant wasp, then a wolverine, then a large air elemental. Only the air elemental is a challenge – forming a whirlwind it glides about the room battering everyone and picking up Lanliss, Hardaz, Winter and Merxif. A combination of magic and melee eventually defeat it. A bell rings, and everyone is fully healed.

Ral Partha – Dwarves

I would have completed two dwarves last weekend, except that when I set them up to take pictures today I noticed that I still hadn’t painted the eyes on one. Now they might be finished… While browsing the web to get some more detail on each figure, I saw the first guy painted with tusks/horns on his helmet. I like the look of that (instead of just spikes) and I’ll repaint my figure this afternoon, then take them outside for a varnish.

Both figures are by Tom Meier, and produced by Ral Partha in the late 1980’s. Metal figures. 01-323/03-025 Dwarf Fighter and 03-046 Dwarf Champion.

They were pretty easy to paint, and I’ve kept everything fairly simple. The champion did have a sword point sticking out of his left fist originally. This figure has seen a lot of use previously for MERP and D&D, and the tip broke off long ago. I’ve often thought about finding or making a replacement bit, but there’s a fair chance that any glued on replacement would also get broken.

 

The only complaint I have with these is the axe the fighter holds. I have quite a number of dwarves with axes like this. The axe has a large blade and the haft/handle is short. I feel this should have a much longer handle for balance, whether used one or two-handed.

It’s Snotlings, but not as you know it…

I’ve completed this group of 14 snotlings from Warhammer Quest (GW) in pretty much two days, which could be a record (for me) for painting that many figures in a short time. While the weather has been a cold mess recently, I got enough sunshine Friday morning to spray them white and let them dry outside, and again this morning to give them two coats of clear acrylic.

 

I chose these for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve been writing a section of my mega-dungeon that has a group of gremlins – rather small humanoids. I have a good batch of painted GW goblins, but no small humanoids (apart from my distinctive kobolds) for general purpose use. These are just the right size for generic small humanoids, and there’s a lot of them. Second, while they have some nice detail, each is simply holding a club and wearing a loincloth. I expected them to be pretty easy and quick to paint, and they were!

 

These have only been used as Snotlings when I was playing Warhammer Quest regularly. Now, with a standard (not-green) flesh colour, they will stand in for any small humanoid, be it gremlin, mite, or darkfolk. They are 3 feet high by D&D’s scale. I picked three colours to paint the loin cloths, so I can always use a specific colour to represent a particular group, or just throw them all in together. I also clipped off a few club spikes for a tiny bit of variety.

I’m very happy having some more painting done, especially something that will see use. Now I can go back to trying to ignore at the 12 undercoated figures on the side of my painting desk like I have for past months.

 

FalsKrag Session 19 – Puzzles and Monsters

Lots of exploring, checking for traps and some entertaining events and conversation. Two areas in this session required thought and planning to work through, most of which required the players to think in addition to making relevant skill rolls. I enjoy puzzles that can’t simply be solved with a dice roll, and a lot of the information that can be obtained in the adventure (whether written text in different languages, pictures, statues, or rumours) gives hints to some of the puzzles or areas. The group now have a large collection of handouts, maps and notes from our gaming.

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6th Patchwall: The group hopes that the branching tunnels will reconnect and so head north. A tunnel leading west then joins up with where they were before. Returning east, a rounded cave has four identical statues of an armoured dwarf with glowing eyes, holding a warhammer. Each is engraved in dwarven – “Honour to Khaban”. Lanliss notes the hammer pommel can be depressed and Bacon observes a variation of one hammer decoration. He walks around pressing each, starting with the different one. Each statue calls out (in dwarven) “the might of Khaban endures”. Hardaz wants to push all at the same time, so four of the group each choose a statue – the resulting roar of voices deafens Lanliss, Seldrel and Summer for minutes. Bacon notes the eyes of his statue glow slightly dimmer than the others, and puts his fingers in the eye holes. The statue pivots revealing a gem and a magical beetle amulet. A gray ooze is attracted by the noise and attacks Lanliss and Bacon. Most are hesitant to attack with their weapons – fearing corrosion – but Winter shoots it and Bacon pummels without fear. He takes minor acid damage, but kills the ooze.

The next caves have puddles, an occasional feather and marks in the dirt. As they enter another cave, their light dims, and two squid like creatures drop from the ceiling, striking at Bacon and Lanliss. They try to grapple but fail and are soon defeated. Merxif is attacked by a small dirty bird with six legs emerging from a side tunnel. After killing it, a search of the cave reveals some silver coins. Continuing west then south, they pass a quiet cave with many holes high in the walls. Further on, the cave start getting larger, and a bad smell can be scented. One cave seems full of rubbish – mud, cloth, decaying vegetation, and some dead rats and beetles – all decorated with bones. A laugh rings out, and a voice calls to them “Visitors, welcome… I haven’t seen anyone for a while.” A tentacle of some sort with eyes sticks out of some of the rubbish, and when the group enter and respond the creature attached hauls itself up out of the muck. The huge body has three tentacles and a wide toothed maw. It introduces itself as Rotharm. Seldrel identifies it as an Otyugh, a potentially dangerous beast that eats anything. Rotharm is proud of the smell of the cave, and collects bones. He offers to trade a scroll case for food, so the group head back to retrieve the corpses of bird, bear and dragon. On their return, more of the six-legged birds attack. They take those corpses as well. Roth is happy and hands over the scroll case… he also tells them that Galin lives in the cave to the south and she also collects gems and shiny stones. The group begin talking about Xorn and what they look like and have an interest in – Roth agrees with them that Galin must be a Xorn. (Three legs, three eyes, solid, likes gems) It turns out she is also a Otyugh, who is happy to trade coins for gems. Lanliss tries to steal some of the gems in the box she offers while removing pouches of coins, but she notices his action and gets quite annoyed. They are asked to leave.

Heading west, they enter a large cave and note a waving thread hanging in the cave. It sticks to Lanliss and starts to pull him into the air. He breaks the thread and lands smoothly on the ground. Seldrel casts Fly on Bacon and Hardaz – they fly up to attack the insectoid on a ledge high above. A second is spotted on another ledge. Lanliss breaks any thread it tries “fishing” with, while Winter shoots at it. Both are killed and some treasure recovered amid the bones and debris on the floor. They head north and find some dead bats, some live bats (that shriek and bump into the group before flying away from their lights) and a spiral staircase going down. On the walls are holy symbols for three good Oeridean deities – Heironeous (Justice, honour, war & valour), Delleb (Reason, intellect & study) and Pholtus (Light, order, sun & moons). Some of the party feel uneasy, and Merxif states the chamber is holy and radiates good. Lanliss heads down the stairs and finds a large room with three altars and carved text that he can’t read. He brings everyone down. Lanliss and Bacon search the room. Seldrel translates the text. It mentions a fiend, Ormarr that came to FalsKrag and was imprisoned, and that patience, talent, might, devotion and knowledge will be required to release and defeat it. Each altar is dedicated to one of the deities and text on the wall describes some of their philosophy.

The next room has a convincing illusion of Heironeous sitting in one of three large stone chairs. It greets Lanliss, and then Bacon as they enter, saying they can pay their respects, rest then move on; they are not sufficient. Once a third person enters the greeting is different – stating that good hearted, skilled people are required to defeat the demon beast of the Rift, a great wyrm. Lanliss locates a secret door but can’t open it. The group decide to rest here for the night, healing and eating. After some time, Heironeous stands and walks around the chamber. Later he does this again. An hour into their rest, he makes a third walk, but pauses to touch the wall before returning to his seat. The group immediately examine the wall at that point and find a slight depression. Lanliss pushes it and the secret door opens.

As Lanliss walks along the slim passage a shadowy figure rises out of the ground ahead and says “go back”. He feels there is a trap here and Seldrel recognises the figure as an illusion which he dispels. Lanliss disarms the magic trap. They all reach a small room with a large iron-plated door with multiple locks and a pit trap. Lanliss is able to overcome all the hazards and open the door. The next large room has two large iron wheels with handles and chains leading from the wheels to holes high in the wall. Lanliss realises that a large stone slab forms a door of sorts and the chains will pull the slab up. The group organises themselves three to a wheel and eventually manage to pull the chains in at the same time to raise the slab. A lever on the other side locks the slab in position. The next circular chamber is brightly lit by magic. A altar (inscribed “Sanctify, make holy this altar”) to Pholtus is in the centre of the room and Merxif notes an aura of good in the room. He casts bless on the altar making it glow for a few minutes. Bacon prays at the altar. Seldrel feels the magic is divine, and Winter identifies the existence of a Hallow spell on the altar. She and Merxif decide they need to cast a hallow spell themselves to open the next door. Comments are made regarding the fact that the party wizard knows more about religion, and the hunter more about divine magic, than does their priest. They retreat to the original shrine and Bacon prays at the altar to Heironeous and receives a blessing. The others choose a altar to give their respects and also receive a blessing. It wears off as they rest for the night.

7th Patchwall: Before leaving, each prays and receives a new blessing. From the cave fishers lair, they take the corpses to Rotharm, who rewards them with a bag of silver coins he has found. Back west they find an odd haze floating high in one cave, and Lanliss loses his voice. A little further is a large cave with hinged tomb lids lining the floor and a plaque of verse. Each of the tomb lids radiates magic, and most are trapped. Lanliss carefully disarms all the traps, and Bacon helps him open each tomb. All but one are shallow and empty hollows. One has a ladder down a shaft. Below is a door, then a pressure plate that seems to do nothing and a deep crevasse with a door in the cliff on the opposite wall. Lanliss flies over to check the door and eventually forces it open. There is nothing behind but the cliff wall. He tries to fly down to the base of the crevasse, but can’t reach it. Bacon thinks of climbing down, and realises the crevasse is an illusion. A second chamber is directly under the first and the crevasse is little more than a spiked pit, with a corpse, which he loots. Bacon and Lanliss set up a rope, lowering or flying everyone down to the second room and passing through the door. A narrow hall surrounds a large room with a plain block of stone. Lanliss finds a hole in the block, even though he can’t see one and manipulates a lever. The block slides back, revealing another shaft and ladder. They descend into a larger room with circular pools of water, fed by a pipe and draining down a shaft in the centre. There are sun, moon and star markings and Bacon works out that the rings surrounding the pools can be turned to block the water flow and leave the central shaft clear. Partway down is a grill and a door. Lanliss climbs down and opens the door and they all move through, while the rings above start to revolve back into their original position.

The new level has many maze-like narrow passages and odd phrases or words – “Where”, “Who”, “Why”, “Not here”. After a thorough search of all the passages, Lanliss finds a trapdoor right where they entered. This has another ladder down to a fifth level with five passages leading off.