Fals’Krag Session 39 – Stars and constellations

A busy session with many encounters. Many thanks to the Oerth Journal #22 for the background in this part of Fals’Krag. I’d looked up Greyhawk info on stars and constellations before, noting some that had been referenced in published work, but the journal goes a step further than that. We had fun with skill checks and what each character thought the answers would be. (Suggestion – don’t ask a dwarf about stars!)

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(3rd Sunsebb): Moving around the edge of cavern then in towards the ziggurat, they can hear humanoids yelling and approaching from two directions. They hide in a building near large t-junction of roads, with Lanliss invisible. Four morlocks approach at a jog, and both Lanliss and Bacon attack as they pass by. The Morlocks run around the corner. The party emerge, and two small groups of morlocks run past them, leaving a giant slug in the road near the group. Seldrel fires a beam of fire/magic missile. The slug spits acid back at him, and them the fight involves everyone. The slug strike solidly at Lanliss, Bacon and Hardaz. Merxif and Seldrel use fire against it. It badly wounds a few of the group before being killed. During the fight a zombie emerged from another building near where they had hidden and attacks Winter. There are more noises of movement from the building and the group starts to enter and look around. They encounter some fast zombies, a wight and a mohrg – a strong intelligent skeletal undead that tries to paralyse its victims. Winter is drained by the wight before it is killed, and the mohrg hurts a few of the group but not seriously. It runs out of room to manoeuvre and is destroyed.

Ziggurat – explore around and examine the statues and pyramid. Note damaged Yuan-ti script on parts of a structure and carved reptilian heads. The headless remains of a Yuan-ti halfblood lie on the steps. Bacon realises that the main flagstone on top of the pyramid shows a feathered snake and can be lifted. Lanliss and the dwarves reposition the stone block revealing a shaft down deep below the ziggurat. Lanliss descends with rope with Bacon close behind. His light reveals a large chamber with many bones, some pits and a giant animated snake skeleton. Lanliss misjudges his drop to the group, and lands in a shallow spiked pit. The snake promptly bites him and he is unable move – paralysed! Bacon drops to the ground in a feat of acrobatics, Winter levitates down and Seldrel flies in. They are able to defeat the skeleton construct and keep it from hitting Lanliss again.

A damaged building nearby is suspected to be a temple of Xan Yae – Baklunish goddess of shadow and stealth. Bacon notes small lotus flowers carved near the entrance and there are falchion carving inside. A pair of altars also have falchion carvings. Much of the building is in bad condition, inhabited by normal bats, rats and spiders. A centipede swarm attacks them and is dispersed by most of the group throwing alchemists fire into its midst. A Yuan-ti halfblood (a big snake with arms) is found in some repaired and cleaned rooms, and a hidden compartment hides coins, scrolls and a magical belt.

Another damaged building appears to be empty. There are recent prints (likely morlocks and bugbears) near the entrance, and much rubble in the rear chambers. Beyond a secret door are two more doors in a short passage. One door is stuck, the other locked. Lanliss cannot pick the lock and a voice tells them to leave. Lanliss and Hardaz ready a battering ram and start pounding at the door. The voice begins to threaten them and suddenly all their lights go out. When Seldrel uses a magical daylight pellet to restore light, they see a shadowy figure – the upper torso of a skeletal humanoid floating in the air. It attacks Lanliss then retreats into the shadows and disappears. Lanliss is blind, and the others observe that his skin is paler, and his clothing and gear is bleached of colour. They retreat out of the building and Merxif casts remove blindness, and then remove curse on Lanliss, but neither are successful. They head up out of the cavern, leading Lanliss up through the dungeons and back to Falsford. The Priest of Rao is able to restore his vision.

4th: The group restock on alchemist fire. On returning to the Hold they stop at the Hall of the Gods and as expected find the statues have all changed – most are human deities, though three are halfling. They activate the statue of Zodal, the Flan god of Mercy, Hope and Benevolence. They receive a wand of cure serious wounds, while Boris, Merxif, and Winter feel more healthy. {Temporary HPs}

They return to the cavern and the building with the voice and locked door. Again, they hear threats as they try to break down the door. Their lights go out, and they again use a daylight pellet. When the door opens they see a room with urns, chests and the skeletal creature that Seldrel thinks is an Owb – a thing with links to the plane of shadow that prefers darkness to light. It throws a ball of cold fire at Lanliss, then everyone rushes into the room. They use fire spells in addition to their usual attacks and strike it down before it does much more damage to them.

A building to the west has a dome on top. They check through the buildings on the way, destroying a few zombies. A hall around the inner wall of the domed building is painted with images they recognise as the animals of the 12 zodiac constellations. There is no detectable entry to the interior of the building, and a few of the group get up on the roof to examine the dome. While appearing to be stone, the metal hemisphere is marked with the constellations, but this time the actual star patterns. Seldrel realises that the positions of the Tiger are wrong, He any Lanliss depress that section of the dome, and it retracts and slides aside. Through the open segment they can see a ladder down, shelves, bookcases and a huge telescope assembly. Some of the group enter and begin to look around. There is rubbish and rotting paper scattered around, and the telescope is magical. A wheel and gears can be used to rotate, raise or lower it. While Seldrel looks it over, a translucent figure of a man in robes appears and tells them to leave it alone. “If you answer two questions, then you can look around. Otherwise, please go away. The observatory isn’t for anyone who just walks in…” They agree and ‘Nargan’ gives them two questions – “Name two of the wandering stars” and “How else is Venificus called?” While most of the party have an opinion, Seldrel and Winter are considered the more reliable sources on the stars and give the answers “the sisters, Ginsel, and Vecna.” Nargun is happy to meet others with a knowledge of astronomy and fades away. Many well known constellations are carved on the walls, and search provides the group with an astrolabe, a repairable spyglass, and a number of astronomical papers than can likely be sold. Looking through the telescope shows the night sky outside the hold. It could be disassembled, but would be difficult to transport and the magic may be negated by doing so.

FalsKrag Session 38 – Goblins and Gargoyles

Not a long session. Lanliss wasn’t the centre of attention (or damage) for a change. Seldrel nearly got torn to pieces, Bacon thought he was going to drown in the marsh and Merxif learned to fly… While he doesn’t weigh much, Merxif does wear heavy armour and has no skill at climbing. The group usually ties a rope around him and pulls him up anything vertical. A short discussion on character weight, led us to realising that the owl (small size like the gnome) is quite strong and could lift Merxif without difficulty. This may lead to some special shoulder pads, and simple leather harness for Merxif to wear to make this easier.

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(26th Ready’reat) There are caves in the cliff walls to the north west. A number of entrances exist to the same small cave system. It seems mostly occupied by goblins, with a some morlocks, two ogres and a pair of worgs. Once these are defeated, the caves are searched and some basic treasure recovered. There are signs that other humanoids (likely females and young) escaped the caves during the fighting. As they exit, they are attacked by two gargoyles.

Another cave mouth exists higher up in the cliff. Lanliss and Bacon begin to climb up the wall, while Hardaz digs a spider climb potion out of his bag and Seldrel flies up to the cave. Two gargoyles waiting at the entrance claw and bite him. He flies back off the ledge, badly wounded. Winter backs up to be able to shoot arrows, and the other three reach the ledge and attack. Seldrel drops a rope for Merxif and the group realise that Summer can actually carry the gnome over short distances with little trouble. The gargoyle cave is small and quickly looted.

Gargoyle cave on cliff, with a bat standing in for the second gargoyle.

Once back on the ground, they decide to head back to the crafting halls to rest for the evening. Crossing the northern edge of the marsh, Bacon suddenly falls over and flounders around in a foot of water. Lanliss pulls him up, but after a few steps he is prone again and acting like he is drowning. Bacon describes the “deep murky water” as pulling him down. They move him away and he feels better. Seldrel detects no unusual magical auras and they discuss mind-effects, poison, and disease. They suspect something in that part of the marsh has an unusual effect on some of them (since this sort of hallucination has occurred before), though the source is not anything that stands out. They make their way up the stairs and passages to safety.

27 – 28th: While Seldrel begins crafting a magical haversack, Hardaz and Lanliss gather some of their treasure to take into Falsford. They sell off what they can and Hardaz leaves his warhammer with Kevilli to make it stronger and rust-proof. Lanliss learns that his ring of invisibility is nearly finished and could be collected in a few days.

1 – 2nd Sunsebb: Seldrel continues crafting minor items that are quickly made. The group regularly check on the statues in the Hall of the Gods, expecting that they will change very soon with the new moon of Luna. Lanliss heads back into town to collect his ring, while Hardaz buys alchemists fire and Winter gets more arrows.

3rd: The group feels the pull to explore and heads back down toward the cavern. Near the end of the stairs out, Lanliss realises that something blocks the passage. Range enables them to destroy the gelatinous cube before it can reach any of them.