FalsKrag Session 18 – Another Golem

No near deaths recently, but still some tough situations. We have been able to play each weekend this month, which helps everyone remember what’s been happening. It’s been a good mix of exploration and combat.

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6th Patchwall: Most of the group squeezes though a narrow gap in the wall and search the cave from which the mouther emerged. A flat section of rock in the wall is inscribed with four strange symbols. Bacon and Lanliss are certain the rock is a secret door and that the symbols are the key to opening it. – they look alchemical in nature. They turn to Seldrel, who laments having no skill in alchemy. Merxif records them. The group head northward to find the rats reported. The three dire rats that attack are slightly larger and much tougher than those typically encountered. A side chamber is carved with many small holes – nearly all have some trinket within. Copper and silver coins, rusted chain links, small bones and sticks, bits of cloth and pottery, and worthless shiny stones! As Lanliss removes a small pouch, it tears and scatters a fine dust that makes him feel light-headed. He suspects poison, but its lasting effects seem minor. Movement and dead rats are sighted in a chamber further west – Winter and Lanliss enter and see a big animated skeleton. It throws bones at Lanliss that form a cage around him. He cannot move, and neither can anyone else enter the cave. The Bone Golem severely wounds Winter before the cage is broken and the dwarves can enter the cave to fight and Winter retreat for healing. Summer entangles the golem, and Seldrel casts grease – it falls and this makes it easy enough for all to hit that it is destroyed before it can do much more than stand up again.

2019-07-06 FalsKrag

Lanliss finds an illusionary wall hiding a locked chest (a ring of protection, some gems and many silver coins) and words in an unknown language. Seldrel only partially translates – they refer to a scorpion liking the light but not the dark.

Returning back towards the entry, Bacon notes a secret door. Beyond it are some narrow passageways, locked rooms and corpses. Two of the corpses rise and attack, but are quickly defeated. As the group moves in, a third undead attacks. Seldrel fumbles a spell and turns it invisible for a short time. It retreats towards a flickering purple light rather than press the attack. The two presumed zombies rise up behind the group – not destroyed as thought. This time after being beaten down, the party continues to hack at the corpses and then burns them. The last undead hides in a chamber with a stone block and a black sphere. The sphere gives off the purple light – negative energy that heals the undead and harms the party. Seldrel targets the sphere and is able to temporarily dispel the magic. While Lanliss and the dwarves fight the smarter undead, which they suspect is a wight, the others attempt to destroy the sphere with missile fire.

One locked chamber holds the skeletons of long dead prisoners, another bowls, candle sticks and silk robes worth a reasonable sum of gold. An adjacent room contains a black gate – one that Seldrel realises he has looked out of before. It has a red glowing capstone, and Seldrel is now convinced that a particular colour gem key allows access to a gate with the same colour stone. This will allow them faster travel around the levels under the mountain.

Back to the west they enter a large cave with large rocks scattered about the floor and a few natural stone columns. As they explore they are attacked by four giant spiders, that leap to attack. Thankfully no one is poisoned during the fighting. Along the southern wall are old orcish runes – names, prayers, hope for battle, etc. Towards the west many are damaged or gone – fallen stone from a collapse long ago has wiped the visible surface clean. The next smaller cave has a steep and uneven floor. Past this a tunnel curves north then slowly around to the east. They pause at a cave with muddy water flowing out of it in a small stream towards the east. The cave itself seems full of mud which Seldrel determines is faintly magical, with a stronger source of magic within. Lanliss wades into the mud and is attacked by a humanoid form that strikes at him. The figure seems composed of mud and flails at Lanliss and the dwarves before being defeated. A wand of burning hands, a gold chain and some coins are found in a hole under the mud. Following the trickle along the passage the group is charged by two large pale toads with huge tusks. One overruns Lanliss, entangling him in sticky slime. They bite the dwarves before being killed. Seldrel decides they are Slurks – magically transformed toads. They clean up and continue, stopping as movement is noted ahead of them. As they spread out, a huge snail with a multi-coloured shell coming around the curve of the passage ahead. Seldrel identifies it as a flail snail. The creature can attack with bludgeoning protuberances, and it’s highly valuable shell warps magic. It begins to slide up the cave wall, retreating into its shell as Bacon approaches. When the dwarf tries to pry it off the wall, it swiftly emerges and hits him multiple times. The rest of the group begin to fight, with many blows bouncing off the hard shell. Eventually, they kill the snail and spend time burning out the flesh and cleaning the shell. The swiftly retrace their steps and lock the shell in one of the rooms in the hidden shrine to Nerull, near the black gate.

Continuing back through the cave tunnels they reach a small chamber with thirteen faces carved in the walls. Most are of easily identified humanoids, such as an elf, dwarf, goblin, kobold, etc. They are carved with great detail, but hide no compartments or magic. The group notes which creatures are portrayed. The tunnel now begins to branch and they head southward, hearing a roaring or snarling noise ahead. Entering a larger cave they sight the star/circle/square symbol encountered before, a a big bear that seems to have cornered some other creature. Bacon moves swiftly in to look around, sighting a small dragon in the corner of the cave. He flanks the bear and strikes it. Hardaz, Lanliss and Winter move closer to be able to attack and the dragon breathes fire – causing minor burns to the bear, Hardaz and Winter. The combat is fierce, but both opponents are brought down speedily. There are multiple exits and continuing east they check some dead ends.

More Nolzur’s Miniatures

Today I got the rest of my Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures photographed. They were finished one or two weeks ago, but I’ve been waiting for better weather to take pictures and to put them outside for a spray varnish.

I enjoyed planning the mind flayers and while wanting a simple colour scheme for each, I’ve used both different and similar colours on each. Both have the same breastplate, shoulder armour, belts and armwraps – mostly I have the same colour used on each. The staff and the claws are the main differences between each figure in addition to the pose, and obviously while the robes are the same I choose dark but different colours there. I really like my finished figures. The only thing I would have really liked was a bit more separation between the four mouth tentacles than there is. I want to touch up their eyes – a bit more white before they get their coat of varnish.

The phase spiders were fun. Being larger (they are on 50mm bases) they are easier to paint than most of my figures and pretty straightforward. I really like the 3rd edition D&D image for these, and while I wouldn’t normally think of blue with spiders, I was ready to see how it came out.

I started with a mid blue on the legs and body and a pale grey. Then a bit of ink (blue and black mixed together) which darkened the blue and helped pick out the lines and ridges in the legs. White over the main bits of the legs and under-body and then blue again to add spots and brighten some legs and body parts. The Phase Spider is described as looking like a wolf spider. The body is right, but I wish they’d actually put the eyes in the same distinct formation as a wolf spiders – two large front eyes, four small underneath, two medium above. Instead there is a circle of six eye protrusions at the top front of the head, and perhaps a dozen more around the side and back of the head. I’ve painting the circle of six as actual eyes, and then lightly greyed the other protrusions as false eyes or other sensors.

While these are identical figures, due to the nature of the resin, and the fact that they were mailed halfway around the world, each has some legs in a slightly different position. The blue of the legs looks a bit brighter in the images than they actually appear. After all the time spent cleaning the mold lines off their legs, I’m very happy to have these finished and looking good.

FalsKrag Session 17 – Swords and Spears

Combat with some interesting creatures, and plenty of exploration and discussion. Bacon’s player has missed a number of sessions this year. He has recently been able to join in regularly once more and spent a fair bit of time this session looking through maps, and notes and catching up on some of the things he’s only read about. He made some useful connections! Questions the players/characters were asking during the session finally allowed me to present some detailed background material on the family that built Fals Hold, and then the legend I’d prepared on one of the items found under the mountain.

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3rd Brewfest: Heading west towards the stairs, the group hears tapping sounds from further west and Summer hoots to Winter of active creatures. Some small lizard-like animals are digging or tapping at the rubble – as Lanliss approaches, three larger ones rush out from the rocks and attack. Lanliss is bitten – his legs feel stiff and uncomfortable. As the dwarves move up to fight, Seldrel identifies the creatures as cockatrices with their young. All are quickly killed before anyone else is affected. The group head up and out of the Hold, where they find the sun has already set. Passing the graveyard, they stop as humanoids emerge from the long grass and attack – three ghouls and a half dozen zombies. Though the ghouls strike many in the group, no-one is paralysed and all the undead are soon destroyed with only minor injuries. Merxif heals everyone and they hurry into Falsford. The town is still busy from the festival, and they are lucky to get rooms at their usual Inn.

4th Brewfest: Lanliss awakes with the shakes, and both he and Bacon are also showing signs of ghoul fever. Merxif escorts them to the temple of Rao to have their diseases cured.

5th – 7th Brewfest: The party spends time recovering from injuries incurred under the Hold. Bacon reviews the maps and notes that Merxif and Seldrel have collected, and gathers some more detailed information about the Falshandren family that what they previous had obtained from the Crimson Seer. He makes a connection between some notes about swords and a group of warriors that came from the south perhaps 200 years ago – with an inscription on two secret doors under the hold, and the three named Flan swords that they have found. He believes that the swords may be used to open the secret doors. They discuss the properties of the flan swords with Kevelli (the premier wizard in Falsford) and raise the issue of repairing the broken spear they recovered from the fountain and pool under the mountain. When they mention the pool is inscribed “Avarrath’s Folly”, Kevelli becomes quite excited, and after gathering some books, tells them of the “legend of Avar” – an Oeridean warrior who came to FalsKrag nearly half a century ago following a great dragon. Avarrath was given a magical spear of lightning by his deity Heironeous, but broke it on a boulder under a waterfall while trying to slay the wyrm. They couldn’t kill the dragon, but imprisoned it magically under the mountain. It appears that they have recovered the remains of Avarrath’s weapon, but don’t have the funds to reforge it at this time. Seldrel begins crafting a few items for the group; particularly +1 cloaks of resistance.

1st – 5th Patchwall: The party relaxes in town while Seldrel finishes crafting.

6th Patchwall: Back to the Hold early. The party heads straight down to the Hall of the Gods and observes that the statues have changed again. They now are: one elf, one dwarf, three gnome (one with a raccoon), 5 human deities, a man-like form, and a huge rock. Two of the human deities have already been named. The group recognises the dwarven, elven and gnomish deities. As with previous times, they note descriptions and details, so they can ask around the temples in Falsford for knowledge the group doesn’t have.

They head down stairs past the magical traps and upstairs to the chamber with the secret doors and sword text. The crossbars of the flan weapons fit the holes in the doors, though a sword has to remain inserted to keep the door open. The north door with the text opens to a hall, that fills with long iron spikes when closed. A second door at the end requires another weapon crossbar to open. The next chamber has prayers and blessings to Kelanen and Mayaheine.

Named brass plaques are fitted to the walls – Lanliss finds an urn full of ashes behind each, which the group decides to leave. A hidden compartment has a box with some coins and a green crystal skull. Much of what is written on one wall is magical, and Seldrel copies it down to show Merxif, who can’t make sense of it. After a few attempts, they realise that attempts to translate or copy the writing introduces errors. Seldrel feels that there’s divine magic involved, but Merxif hasn’t prepared Read Magic for the day. The other secret door has element symbols on the door – it slides up partway when a sword is used, and the hall beyond has a lever to keep the door up. The room at the end has statues. Five figures and the blades they wield are skilfully carved, with names on the plinth. Mindel, bard with rapier, Luth aithris . Deirdre, either cleric or paladin of Mayaheine with bastard sword, Dealan hallac. Comdan, warrior with longsword, Talam hallac. Idrin, lightly armoured caster with shortsword, Fuar hallac. Lastly, Denian, the warrior mage who crafted the weapons with scimitar, Tein hallac.

Looking at their maps they decide to head past Avarrath’s pool and go down the northern ramp to a new area. As they approach the pool, Winter sends Summer ahead to scout. The owl returns rapidly with sounds of pursuit. They spread out and five orcs enter the next chamber. Lanliss and the dwarves engage the first few and Seldrel casts a web spell that appears to catch all the orcs. They quickly kill the one on the edge of the webbing, then set fire to the web. It burns back to the next two orcs that are also engaged. Seldrel dismisses the spell so that the two orcish warriors can be flanked by the group, and it is seen that the last two orcs had escaped the web. They have hidden in the next room beyond, and are also defeated. Overall, the combat has been fairly quick and no major injuries incurred.

Heading down the ramp, Lanliss and Winter sight a giant spider on the ceiling. Winter shoots it, and it drops onto the ground to attack. It dies before managing to bite anyone. Summer scouts north and returns hooting about something. Using speak with animals, Winter learns that large rats are nearby. Quiet voices can be heard speaking to the west, in varied tones and not distinct enough to determine language. Heading that way, they are attacked by four giant centipedes that emerge from the rocks, and then ambushed by the source of the voices. A mound of flesh that seems full of eyes and mouths, mutters, yells and exclaims nonsense such that it somewhat disturbs half of the group. The confusion is quickly thrown off, though the gibbering mouther bites Lanliss, and then engulfs Hardaz, chewing on him internally before the remainder of the group can bludgeon it to death.

FalsKrag Session 16 – Illusions and elements

Careful exploration and some new puzzles found. Less combat. While there was a lot of time spent discussing the element rooms and pushing panels on the walls, a lot got done during this session in regards exploration and experimentation.

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3rd Brewfest: Lanliss moves forward and almost immediately feels that something is wrong with the floor. He notes a set of cracks and chips running across some tiles, and a line of cracks on the ceiling. Moving forward he notes the later part of the floor start to drop and pulls back. Bacon moves forward to look at the floor and they determine that a thirty foot section of the passage is on a pivoting plate like a see-saw, and more weight on the far side will tilt the whole section, presumably into a pit. Hardaz stands on one end with their collapsible planks set between the floor and ceiling. Lanliss crosses to check and unlock the door. Bacon, Merxif, and Seldrel follow once he has opened the door at the end and they thoroughly search the room. It appears to be a shrine to Pyremius (Evil Suel god of fire and murder.) Seldrel spends half an hour checking many bottles and jars, separating alchemical items worth keeping. He and Lanliss identify some magical potions – Lanliss samples poison but isn’t effected. Seldrel and Merxif exit, and Hardaz removes the braces; ready to hold the floor panel if required. Lanliss pushes the floor down and Bacon lowers him into the pit, unfortunately he doesn’t evade the spikes at the bottom. An old corpse is amid the spikes, which is stripped of value – a magical ring and rapier are brought up. The rapier has flan runes (Luth Aithris, “energy reaper”) and resembles the other two named weapons the group has found.

They head west into room with a brass ring in the floor and circle images engraved within. Seldrel recognises the symbol as the moons (Luna and Celene) and Bacon stands within the circle and it drops 3’ into a shaft. 2’ down is a copper ring around the shaft. Lanliss gets in and drops lower, revealing a brass ring with 2” holes. Seldrel translates writing on the ring (which relate to phases of the moons) and they discuss what everything means. Seldrel recalls a brass plug found at the Incabulos shrine, and Bacon feels there should be a second set of smaller holes to match their plug. They try placing different items in the holes. Lanliss feels something bad will happen if they keep lowering the platform, so they decide to move on.

West again and there is a long hall with stairs going down to the south and bricked up passage to the west. Seldrel recognises the symbol of Mayaheine painted on the plastered over bricks, and translates a damaged message in oeridean which may be a warning to those seeking to disturb or loot the tomb within. Hardaz and Bacon use picks on the wall to break one side open. They let the air clear, then all enter. Lanliss is confronted with a skeletal warrior, and Bacon moves down the passage a little to find two more. All are quickly defeated. The eight tombs are all carefully opened and searched. Each has a name plaque, three being already open. One decorated tomb has the stone coffin clamped shut, and when pried open holds a corpse and good quality armour and weapons.

A narrow side passage from the main north-south hall breaks into four. Each of the spiralling passages ends at a wall engraved with lever and a scene of a house, forest, fields and mountains. Each scene appears to show the same location in each of the four seasons, and the lever is made from a different metal – Winter (iron), Spring (nickel), Summer (bronze) and Autumn (copper). Lanliss pushes down each lever as they find them. The levers stay down, but nothing appears to happen. The next room along the main hall has an engraved symbol on the floor – a star in a circle, in a square – which has been seen before. Moving into another room, Lanliss is attacked by blue conical creature clinging to the ceiling. He is poisoned by its sting. Hardaz and Bacon move in to help fight. Winter casts Lesser Restoration and returns some of Lanliss lost health, while others check the dead aberration (a Tentamort) and search an ogre that the creature killed earlier. Lanliss is quite surprised when he opens a door and looks towards a wall of water. Some fish swim past and occasionally bubbles rise from the floor. Seldrel determines that its all a powerful illusion within the room and most of the group are able to disbelieve it. Bacon notes an open pit in the room and Seldrel is attracted by stone blocks in each corner, each engraved with Suel glyphs for one the four elements – fire, earth, water and air. Seldrel notes that two of the blocks have a number subtly engraved on the top. (He notes the numbers and which blocks.) Lanliss and Bacon are both lowered into the pit, which holds deep murky water. Their searching locates bones, some silver coins, a magical green key gem, and another magical piece of crystal. This large piece, nearly a foot across, looks to be a quarter of a sphere. Its clear on the rounded edge, becoming green to almost black in the centre.

The next chamber is larger, and leaves blow around in the audible wind. (Another illusion) Stone blocks with the element symbol (larger than before) radiate magic. Again, two have a number engraved on top.

Through a broken door from the main hall, the next room is cool, with packed earth walls, and loose soil on the floor. A magical bolt of force zaps out striking Lanliss. The group push forward quickly to confront a sword wielding skeleton that casts blink, and as it phases in and out, either attacks with its sword or casts magic missile. It proves difficult to defeat as most attacks either miss or inflict little damage. Once destroyed, the group search the illusion filled room, again locating a number on two stone blocks. The last room here is hot and bright – with an illusory column of flame shooting out of a square well in the floor. The well proves to be very shallow, with some pieces of bone within. The numbered stones now give the group a sequence – 1 air/air, 2 fire/water, 3 earth/earth, 4 earth/water, 5 water/fire, 6 air/earth, 7 fire/fire, 8 water/air (Stone/Room).

The last narrow passage off the main hall has five deep alcoves. The floor of each is marked with an element symbol – Air, Earth, Fire, Water and ??. No-one recognises the final symbol. The back wall of each alcove has four panels (that can be depressed), each marked with one of the four elements. Lanliss also locates a secret door in the water alcove, but cannot open it. While winter stands guard, each of the group stands in one of the first four alcoves, and Seldrel calls out instructions. In the number order they have, someone presses a element panel for the stone block in an alcove that coincides with an element room. Nothing happens. Seldrel realises that he has listed the sequence wrong, and they repeat, also with no result. They try pressing the sequence in one alcove and find that after eight presses, the person doing so takes minor elemental damage. Bacon takes the last alcove with the unknown symbol and presses the panels in sequence – he takes minor negative energy damage. Around this point, Summer hoots a warning and Winter sees a small insectoid creature approaching her. As its antennae reach for her armour, Seldrel recognises it as a rust monster. Winter dodges aside. She pulls back, and it is killed with missile fire. They quickly check on the levers and note that each is back in its raised position.

Returning south to the long stairs, Lanliss moves down cautiously and reports on mountain carvings – he thinks one wall shows the Lortmils and the other the Yatils. Bacon and Hardaz start down the stairs – Hardaz’s weight triggers a trap, converting the stairs he is on to a slide. He falls into a pit while Bacon leaps across it. Hardaz is pulled out and healed. Lanliss finds a compartment with a lever that closes and locks the pit and stairs. They head directly south to the centre of this level, and find a Wood Golem – carved in humanoid shape, with a bird-like head. Fire spells are predominate in destroying it.

Heading back around the eastern side, a loud howl startles both Winter and Seldrel. Winter flees into a northern dead-end, where most of the group gather. Bacon runs after Seldrel, who running south is attacked by the shadow hound they encountered another time. The rest of the group run down to help, attempting to surround it. It is very difficult to hit soundly. Eventually they block it in, and Seldrel casts grease to aid in destroying it. There is more healing, and since most of the group is low on spells, they consider returning to town.

Some Nolzur’s Miniatures Painted

I’ve finished four of my Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures – both female dwarves and the medusae. After some very cold and wet weather in which I didn’t feel like painting, the winter here has eased off and I’ve been getting a bit done. The mind flayers are waiting for some ink and then skin highlights, and I’ve started on the phase spiders. All have been MUCH easier to paint than bones figures. As expected, I didn’t get the detail on the medusae that I would have liked. You wouldn’t look at the figures and think that they have snakes for hair, just crazy hair styles!

Overall, I’m happy with both of them as tabletop figures. I tried to keep them fairly straight-forward with my paint colours and not fuss too much. I didn’t feel like spending extra time doing more shadows and/or highlights.

The dwarves were a little easier to paint, considering that most of what each is wearing is armour. I prefer to spend more time on figures that may be used by my players, since they will be seen more often, but didn’t want to get too complex. I did take extra time with both to try getting some metallic detail on their armour – mostly gold and copper – and this came out very nicely. There’s some silver detail on the warhammers that doesn’t show in the pictures too.

It’s a pity the resin for that raised sword is quite thin and a bit “soft”. If it had been firmer I don’t think it would have curved at the end. I really like that the cloak isn’t flat against the figure. Its attached across the top/shoulders and really “flows” (can’t think of a better word) away from the body. Painting under it got tricky, but most people won’t see under it without bright light at the right angle anyway.

Tonmorrow’s forecast is 18 degrees and sunny – good painting and gardening weather (too many leaves in the yard). Hopefully I can finish my spiders – I’m really enjoying them so far.