FalsKrag Session 9 – Attack of the Killer fountain

The players realised this session that they were moving into new areas too quickly. Their rogue was 1 point of damage away from death in one combat where their main fighter was also knocked unconscious. They went back to their maps and worked out what they couldn’t access, or bypassed. They are starting to rely heavily on some of the magical items that they have found in the dungeon, but in one sense that’s something I don’t mind. They are keeping nearly every magical item they have found and most are seeing use. Money-wise they are better off than before, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to have a heap of coin. They keep investing it in things that will serve the group well, particularly working to ensure that most characters have a magical weapon. They did achieve 3rd level in this session too, and now have a wizard who can craft wondrous items!

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6th Harvester:  The group moves to the next chamber which has a bowl atop a short pedestal. Merxif again uses create water and they observe a change. Seldrel states the “water” is now magical and Lanliss samples it – he is blessed! Hardaz drinks, but is disheartened by the bane effect that he suffers. Further up the passage towards stairs Lanliss locates a magical trap which he tries to disarm. He also finds a secret door. Two small earth elementals appear and attack. Bacon and Hardaz move up to assist and they are quickly destroyed. Behind the secret door is a small room with magical lights, fine quality swords and many banners on the walls. Everything but for the lights and an engraving on one wall turns out to be a good quality illusion.

The stairs go up to another secret door – beyond which is a wide hall with engraved panels – each with a different creature. Large rooms appear at each end of the hall and the group moves west. A section of the ceiling has fallen in with many holes in the roof , wall and floor amid chunks of rock. As the group look around, eight stirges fly down attacking Lanliss and Bacon. Some of the creatures manage to attach themselves, but only one drains any blood (from Lanliss) before being killed. A lizard-like creature darts out of a hole near the floor and grabs a downed stirge, pulling it back into the hole. No-one gets a clear look at the creature, and little is visible in the hole except for the body of the stirge, while hisses are heard.

A long hall leads north, but the party continues the short distance west into another large room. An old fountain dominates the tiled floor of the room. There are a fair number of coins (mostly copper) in the dry fountain. Two large stone doors are in the western wall and there is writing on the north wall. While examining the writing (and finding a secret door), Lanliss is attacked by the fountain. The sticky surface of what they realise is a mimic holds Lanliss, and then Summer. Hardaz gets his axe stuck to the monster, and it then grabs him too. The mimic batters Lanliss into unconsciousness, almost killing him, then starts on the dwarf. Seldrel fires the last lightning bolt in his wand and then starts using magic missiles. Winter fires arrow after arrow. Merxif moves up cautiously and stabilises Lanliss. As Hardaz passes out from damage, the gnome recalls one of the new wands from the Hall of the Gods, and launches a beam of searing light into the flailing mimic. Thankfully it dies and they spend a long time healing, and picking up coins and some gems. Seldrel can read the Flan script on the wall, that speaks of five heroes from the Sheldomar and their blades. The stone doors cannot be moved. Lanliss thinks that a square hole in both the stone doors and the secret door is a lock, but they don’t have the correct “key”.

They take the north passage and turn off along a narrower passage towards some scratching or digging sounds. A broken door leads into a chamber with broken statues, and a rift in one wall. This opens into a dual cave with many broken rocks, bits of wood and a giant beetle. Lanliss moves forward striking it, but it’s mandibles badly injure him in return. Seldrel enters and casts grease – tripping the beetle and the rest of the group pile in to attack. There are no other exits, so they return to the main hall and continue to the north. Another damaged chamber is scattered with rubble. As Lanliss and Bacon enter a creature drops from the ceiling. It looks like a great brain with many tentacles. Bacon is paralysed by its attacks, while Lanliss resists. Hardaz moves up to fight, while a dreadful howl echoes along the hall from behind the group. While most of the group shrug of momentary fear and drop the monster before them, the sound panics Seldrel and he flees past the others to a corner of the room. A great black hound surrounded by shadows charges up the hall, biting Merxif and knocking him down. As the others emerge to attack it, it runs back down the hall and around a corner, evading almost all the blows directed at it. Hardaz runs after it, but it has vanished into the darkness.

They decide that a return to town is a good idea – this new area is proving more dangerous than they expected. At the secret door, another howl comes out of the dark and once again Seldrel tries to flee. Winter reacts quickly, grabbing him and dragging him out. They move up to the surface quickly and cautiously leave the keep. Stopping in the graveyard, they take another look at the Falshandren vault. Seldrel is able to dispel the illusion over the door, and also negates a magical barring spell. Even with this done, Lanliss still can’t overcome the mechanical lock, but at least he feels that his skill level is almost sufficient.

7th-8th In Falsford they rest, buy and sell equipment and Seldrel begins some magical crafting. He creates a minor belt of strength for Lanliss and scribes some scrolls for himself. (3rd Level)

9th The party heads back to the keep and head straight down to the Hall of the Gods. They are able to activate the statue of Beory (Flan deity of Oerth, nature and rain) which gains them a wand of water breathing. They spend some time considering the secret door of one chamber. Lanliss thinks something needs to be pushed into the depression in the door. Since Merxif sees it differently from the rest of them, and they decide that maybe a Cleric can open the door. He places his holy symbol (a tarnished wavy-bladed dagger) into the gap and the door swings open. Within, a room holds candles, candle-sticks, a healing potion and some useful divine scrolls. Next they try the locked door behind another secret door on the other side of the Hall. This time Lanliss opens it without trouble, but is struck by a large blade that scythes out of the wall behind. He disarms the trap and all move forward into slightly dusty passages. A door leads into a storeroom where the group spends some time sorting through food, drink, weapons, armour, and bags of coins. From behind another door, Lanliss hears a voice call out in goblin – “there’s someone in the storeroom”. He flings the door open to sight three hobgoblins!

FalsKrag Session 8 – Dark Folk

A good deed in an earlier session paid off for this session. A prisoner, with whom they couldn’t communicate, was released from a cell on the Hall of Gods level. They met a bunch of the same humanoids this session. The wizard was very happy to have Comprehend Languages available as a spell and we had a little bit of roleplay with facial expressions and gestures in return. They got a minor spell scroll, some food and information as a reward.

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4th Harvester: The party decides to head upstairs expecting to find another way into the Hall of the Gods and are surprised to find chambers they have not seen behind the secret door at the top of the stairs.

Each of the four walls has an inscription in a different human language – Flan, Suloise, Baklunish and Oeridean. Seldrel casts Comprehend Languages to read them and he and Merxif copy down the inscriptions and translations. One of the next chambers has two small humanoids similar to the dwarf-like one released from the deathlock’s cells. Seldrel understands them and with gestures attempt to respond to their questions. They are lead along a long passage past empty rooms, to a second area with small rooms. Here, ‘Genas’ meets them – one of the ‘Dark Folk’ who speaks common. He informs them that they come from far below the mountain, and a bigger group has a camp a few layers below here. They have been sent up to explore the upper levels and have made partial maps that they share with the group. Seldrel explains the meaning of the writing in the room they entered through. The dark folk haven’t gone much above this position because of the undead they had seen and heard there, and are pleased with the group releasing their companion from the Hall of the “necromancer” (the deathlock). They mention some rooms on this level that they are uneasy about exploring and the group check them out.

One room feels chill and their lights dim. Seldrel detects no magic in the chamber, but Merxif has a bad feeling about entering. Another locked door has a pit trap, that Lanliss easily avoids and disarms. A third room is full of webs, and when they start to burn them a big spider emerges and attacks. They defeat it without anyone being poisoned, and recover some coins and gems from two old corpses. The last area is a long hall with statues in alcoves along its sides. The dark folk think that it is a magical defence, or test to be overcome. After one of their folk was killed they have left it alone. Seldrel notes magical auras all along the passage, and Lanliss detects magical traps. The first two statues have magic mouths – one recites the numbers one to eight and the second mentions magic and a number of defensive combat manoeuvres. Lanliss moves cautiously in, attempting to locate and disarm the magical traps as Seldrel identifies the spells involved. Each alcove past the first triggers an elemental magical effect starting with the equivalent of a 0 level spell and increasing in power. When Lanliss triggers a lightning bolt that knocks him unconscious they pull him out and decide to leave the statues for another time.

After a brief rest and some healing, Genas shows them a large image carved on the wall of a nearby chamber – it shows Fals Hold in better days. Two old fountains are here, neither working. Under some slimy water in one are some silver coins, while a brown ooze rolls out of the other and attaches itself to Hardaz. Resistant to non-magic weapons, it takes some time for them to destroy it. The group decides to head back down to the caves, and Genas gifts them a scroll that he can’t read (Divine: Sound Burst) and two days dwarven trail rations.

Heading roughly north, the group finds a chamber scraped clean of plants. Lanliss notes the shimmer of something at the back of the chamber and calls an alarm as a Gelatinous Cube slides towards them. The owl is paralysed as it flies over to aid Lanliss and the dwarves. The cube tries to engulf both Bacon and Lanliss, but they dodge aside. The group steadily hacks the cube into pieces and some gems are found within it. Bacon notices a secret door at the side of the cavern – behind it are stairs down. West, into a very large cave, there are many fallen rocks and tall plants. They are attacked by a large vine that entangles Seldrel and Merxif. After defeating it, two wormlike creatures with very tough skin defend a rock fall that hides two potions, a scroll and many silver coins. Continuing brings them to the hole into the caves from the level above, and a small stream of water falls into the hole that continues through the floor. Nearby, a small hollow hides the body of a female elf. Merxif thinks that she starved to death a week ago. They think she may have been the source of faint singing heard on the level above about two weeks previous. From her gear they believe her to have been a Druid. South brings them to a cave with piles of dirt. Lanliss cautiously moves forward and an insectoid beast erupts from the ground to attack him. When the rest of the group start to fire missiles, it turns and sprays acid across Hardaz, Merxif and Seldrel. Melee quickly brings it down before it can bite anyone. Moving further south brings a short fight with a lizard. Seldrel tries to count legs, fearing a basilisk. It bites Lanliss who starts to feel odd later (poison) but is not petrified. The next encounter is oddly coloured flowers; pollen puts Hardaz and Winter to sleep. Seldrel and Merxif both use their wands of magic missile to destroy the plant. Merxif cautiously manages to gather some flowers, hoping to utilise the pollen. Bats fly away from their lights, and the group realises they have been all around the caves and are back near the stairs from the Hall of the Gods.

They decide to explore beyond the most recent secret door. At the base of the stairs Lanliss triggers a magical trap. The lightning bolt that fires back along the hall drops both Lanliss and Hardaz, while severely wounding Bacon, who notes a secret door as they pull the others back up the stairs. Merxif heals everyone and they elect to return to the dark folk to rest. Lanliss overcomes the poison from the lizard bite.

5th The group head back into the caves and recover the druid’s body. They take her up to the Hall of the Gods; praying to Ehlonna and Corellon (at their statues) to restore her, but they are not answered. They decide to go back to Falsford and seek news of their friends. At the shrine to Aerdrie Faenya they ask about raising the druid to life, but the cost is unaffordable even as a group. The priestess takes the body. They will hold it for a time in case anyone comes to claim it, or arrange a suitable burial. They purchase a new wand of Cure Light Wounds, as the previous one is almost exhausted. Merxif converts his flowers into a vial of pollen and helps the group encourage someone of Oeridean heritage to contribute some blood in return for a small sum of money. They hope that the vial of blood can be used to activate one of the oeridean deity statues. There is no sign of any of their friends – it is presumed that they have either found some employment as caravan guards or are at Falsridge.

6th The party makes their way back to the Hold and heads down to the Hall of the Gods without incident. Choosing the statue of Celestian (Oeridean deity of stars, space and wanderers) they state his name, place a spear in his hand, and present his holy symbol. The blood poured onto the plinth is absorbed and the statue activated. They receive a wand of Flying, and half of the group are granted elemental protection – most taking the choice of fire resistance. They head down stairs and advance to the secret door Bacon located. Lanliss again triggers the reset lightning trap, but with minimal damage to the group this time. The secret door holds a small room outfitted with alchemical equipment and materials suited to created scrolls and potions. Back in the passage, a second magical trap is found and another secret door. The walls of this room appear to have been covered with religious sigils, that have been damaged and defaced, amid the ashes of burnt furniture. Further along the passage is a spiked pit. The group use their new wand of flying on Hardaz and get him to carry everyone over the pit. A long passage extends northward with a number of doors. Beyond the first is a large room with a pillar in a wide bowl – resembling a fountain. Seldrel detects a moderate magical aura, and when Merxif creates water in the basin it swirls and glows, settling in a highly reflective pool. Seldrel’s examination reveals that the pool can be used for scrying and manages to cast Arcane Eye, something beyond his normal capabilities. He uses the eye created to look around a number of the chambers to the east – sighting a waterfall, pool, a reptilian figure, and some type of ooze.

Painting – Snake men and Star Wars

The most impressive in this round of painting are my Reaper (Dark Heaven “Legends”) #02498 Snakemen.

These are great figures. They were easy to paint and they will be great as “Hissers” for Gamma World, and Ophidians or Yuan-ti for D&D. They do tower above the Star Wars figures, both being about 45mm high. This leads me to my recent dissatisfaction with Reaper. I’ve had problems with painting Bones figures, but my concern here is size/scale.

I ordered a number of Reaper figures following Christmas with some specific plans for each figure – most of those I received are much larger than I expected. I’ll use them, but I might have looked at something else if I’d know their true size. I wish Reaper didn’t just class whole groups of figures into broad categories, and actually gave a height of each figure on their website. Dark heavens figures are “25mm Heroic Scale Fantasy Miniatures”. I expected the snake men to be around 30 to 35mm high, not one-and-a-half times as large. My catfolk warrior (not painted yet) is also Dark Heavens and he’s a full 35mm high. (At least a 7′ tall cat-man isn’t out of place in Gamma World.) How are any of these 25mm “heroic”?

My four Star Wars figures are Ral Partha (in conjunction with Lucasfilm & West End Games, 1988-89). These are all 25mm figures and definitely NOT heroic. They look a bit small against my other miniatures, but most of them I’ve been gluing onto a 25mm round base which makes them look a little taller. These are part of some boxed sets I bought long ago and really hope to finish painting this year.

SW23 “Shrike”, a Gand. While this figure came out to be used with the WEG’s adventure “Tatooine Manhunt” (which I have), the figure is based on “Zuckuss, from The Empire Strikes Back.

SW73 “Female Minor Jedi”, SW75 “Ewok” and SW78 “Male Minor Jedi”. The male Jedi is a little dissapointing – he has a seam across his face that I didn’t notice until I inked them. It actually puts his eyes at slightly different levels. I wasn’t going to try and clean up the face and repaint, so it can be treated like a scar. He’s not painted in traditional Jedi colours either, since if he gets used for anything it probably won’t be as a Jedi.

I’ve built up a collection of Star Wars pre-painted minis – aliens and humans holding laser guns work great for Gamma World humans & mutants. These will fit right in, and now I only have eight of the figures left to paint.


FalsKrag Session 7 – The Caves of Fungi

The players were very happy to find a magical short sword in an earlier session – just before encountering shadows! Following this, they decided to pool a lot of their cash and get a magical bow for the hunter. They have encountered a number of creatures now that have damage reduction /magic and their spending has proved very worthwhile. Without it, the only character capable of inflicted heavy wounds is Hardaz: power-attack with a dwarven war axe for 1d10+5 damage. The group is also starting to finish sessions with more than one choices of how (or where) to proceed. While they have been concerned that they might be getting into things too difficult for them, they have dealt well with everything they have faced (so far) and have turned back when something is obviously too difficult.

Maps – I’ve been creating my maps for the dungeon with ANAmap. This is a web-based program that makes simple maps, that I save can to my computer and also convert to an image. If needed, I load the image into a simple graphics program to make changes or additions beyond what ANAmap can do. I can also use ANAmap to save a player version without numbers, grid-lines, etc. In some cases, I then take my image and put it into PosteRazor which produces a set of A4 pfd’s – which I print out for play. The image below shows part of the caves – I printed the entire cavern level, stuck them together, then cut it up into individual sections to put on the game table as required.


Two shriekers, a violet fungus, a fungus leshy and lots of very big mushrooms (green counters).

28th Goodmonth: Hardaz and Bacon have contracted ghoul fever – Bacon quite severely. They visit a shrine to Bleredd (Lesser god of mines, metal and smiths) for remove disease. Seldrel and Merxif spend part of the day discussing the statues and religion, then visit most of the shrines and temples in Falsford. They put together a comprehensive list of details for each of the deities that have statues in the hall.

1st Harvester: Winter notices a purple leafed bush on way to the Hold – Gort. She picks some leaves which can be brewed into a tea to negate fatigue. They head quickly down to the Hall of the Gods, and the statue of Istus – placing a net in her hand, naming her and presenting a holy symbol. Blood and spells appear to do nothing. Puzzled they try the statue of Moradin, which they are able to activate and receive a Wand of Stone Shape. They try to activate other statues and find that nothing works. They decide to head downstairs to the cavern and come back later in case they can only activate one statue each day. High ceiling caves filled with fungi and other plant life spread out around the stairs. South there is a pool of water, and Lanliss glimpses something moving away from them. They spot and attack a giant toad, and a second attacks Seldrel from the pool. As they start to look around, giant centipedes drop from the ceiling and walls. Both are defeated with only minor wounds taken. Moving to the west, light and noise scares many bats that fly off ahead of them. A much larger dire bat attacks them. It also is easily defeated. Returning east, they sight a mound of rotting vegetation that rolls towards them. The fungus ooze engulfs Hardaz. Boris and Bacon batter it until Hardaz is free. Then to the north, where giant mushrooms and other fungi abound, Lanliss spots a humanoid fungus that backs away from him. Two large mushrooms begin to “scream” as Bacon and Hardaz explore. The shriekers are quickly destroyed but not before another large fungi shifts forward and attacks Boris with slimy tendrils. The fungus man attacks Lanliss, but also spits a spore ball at Seldrel. The spores make their vision slightly hazy and killing the humanoid causes spontaneous plant growth close by. They are thankful that the Violet Fungi, whose tendrils rot Boris’ flesh is not near enough to benefit from the effect. Boris is severely weakened before the fungi is destroyed. Hardaz notes a secret door, carved to resemble the rock wall. The group returns upstairs to the statue of Ehlonna to rest. Merxif treats Boris, and Hardz comes down with fungal rot from his time within the ooze.

2nd: The group activate the statue of Ehlonna. They intend to rest there until Boris is fully recovered, but some of the group are becoming restless and feel confined. They decide to return to Falsford. As they cross the courtyard, they are attacked by four hobgoblins and a dozen goblins from the gatehouse. This is a long and difficult fight. The last of the goblins try to fly, but are brought down by arrows, magical missiles and Summer! Once safely back in Falsford, Hardaz overcomes his disease, and Merxif monitors Boris who is confined to bed at the inn.

4th: Return to the Hold and head down to the Hall of the Gods. With Boris’ assistance, they activate the statue of Rao. Then it is down through the fungi cave to the secret door. Beyond it, panels line one wall and a closed southern door. What appears to be an empty room holds something invisible. A bulky creature attacks Lanliss, becoming briefly translucent, the vanishing again. The party carefully move forward and corner it, then Boris grapples it so the others can hit and kill it. The dwarves find a secret door in the passage as they head north. Each panel on the wall has one small detail or feature, and the secret door is opened by pushing on one of these. Beyond are stairs going down. The other end of the passage has a door with a trap – Lanliss triggers it twice – a sharp pendulum blade – before managing to disarm it. Merxif heals him. Beyond is a small room with a third black gate. This one has a capstone crystal that glows green. They continue onward and find stairs going up and a room with a locked iron box. When Lanliss attempts to open the box, it strikes his legs, then continues to slide along the floor and hit those trying to hold it. Hardaz strikes it with his axe and Seldrel fires magic missiles. Eventually the animated box ceases movement. It holds glowing coins and shards of a flask. Seldrel surmises that the flask held a magical oil of light.