FalsKrag Session 24 – Snares, shadows and snakes

A fun session, with people making smart suggestions and working well with each other. Web and grease are commonly used by the group to slow opponents or stop attacks from behind. Often a web is then burnt and the group attack any opponents within. This session they actually had three of the group push forward into the web to reach trapped enemies with melee. The rogue and monk in the group have very good reflex saves giving them a good chance of moving in without getting stuck, so it was a good tactic. Pretty much all the creatures encountered this session were new to the players and I was able to use figures to represent all of them. (I was particularly pleased to bring out my snake-men.)

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14th Patchwall: As they make their way back to the central hall, a voice calls out to them. A translucent figure of a short man in robes rushes forward, addressing Merxif as “Erac”, who plays along even though he doesn’t know the figure. The ghost hasn’t seen him for about twenty years and wonders when he shrunk. He introduces himself as Haran, mentions gremlins and snakes, and then shows “Erac” his new trick – a field of coloured lights that entrances Winter. They snap her out of her trance when Lanliss hears shrill laughter out in the hall and Haran disappears. Lanliss steps out into a magical snare that entangles his legs. Hardaz emerges and his armour becomes warm. Two small humanoids rush towards them and attack. They are thin, hunchbacked and have three glowing blue eyes. One shocks Lanliss with electricity. Seldrel recognises a heat metal spell upon Hardaz and dispels it, while the others move up to strike their attackers. The four opponents (which Seldrel & Winter believe are a type of fey creature or gremlin) are killed. More laughter comes from a narrow northern hall that was bypassed. Moving steadily forward and checking the side rooms, many more are encountered. Hardaz is severely electrocuted and Winter accidentally shoots Bacon. In the end a dozen of the spell-casting gremlins are defeated. Some coins are recovered.

The next section searched is a maze of narrow turning halls. A number of secret doors are found. While most lead into empty dusty rooms, one has a pit trap and a gilded dragon skull. A wand and some scrolls are also located there. A second hidden room has carved walls, a chest and an old corpse. Both Lanliss and Bacon are convinced the floor is trapped, but can’t find any mechanism to disable. Eventually they tie a rope to Bacon any he enters – nothing happens. The chest holds coins and the corpse has a magic cloak and wand. They realise the corpse may be that of Haran. A room with an iron plated door has a bar across it. They open the door and see coins scattered on the floor. A shadow flows out of the floor and attacks Lanliss. It is quickly destroyed and while they search the room, three more attack from the rear of the group. Thankfully, only Lanliss and Summer are weakened by the attack, and Winter is able to restore their strength.

Seldrel: “Look, there’s a…” From L-R: Lanliss, Hardaz, Seldrel, Bacon, Winter, [Grell standing in for a Rast] with Summer and Merxif in front.

Further along the main hall, there are two alcoves that held humanoid statues. Legs remain in one, the other is just broken rock. One side hall holds some bloodstains and a burnt book. A secret door (and pit trap) leads to a room with bird symbols. A hidden compartment has some minor magic items. Returning to the central hall Seldrel sights something approaching and is frozen in place mid warning. The creature attacks Winter – a reddish bulbous body floating in the air with many legs and a large head with sharp fangs. As the rest of the group spread out to engage, Hardaz is also paralysed by its gaze. The creature looks fearsome, but it quickly brought down. Seldrel, once able to move again pronounces it a Rast, a beast from the plane of fire, more dangerous when able to grapple its prey.

Amusement as Seldrel’s player comments that his figures pose is correct.

Two more alcoves hold statues – these eight feet tall bird-headed humanoids with only minor damage. Lanliss scouts ahead to a chamber near the end of the hall and is ambushed by thin pale humanoids that clamber over each other to attack. Everyone else joins in the melee, and more emerge from another room, followed by two tall figures – scaled humanoids with a snake body and head, but arms wielding scimitars. Seldrel webs many of their attackers. While half the group focuses on the smaller humanoids, Lanliss and Bacon push into the web to attack those trapped. Merxif heals and Seldrel uses magic missiles. The smaller Morlocks are most dangerous when able to gang-up on their opponents, but the snake men (Yuan-ti) are formidable fighters even entangled in the web. Once defeated, many coins and a few gems are recovered.

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.

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.