Fals’Krag Session 50 – “The dead and the not-so-dead…”

After a break of a year and a half, we re-started my mega-dungeon yesterday! Five out of seven players were available and we had a fun evening catching up and getting some gaming done.

A note of the name Telerin: this is actually based on an in-game joke. The owl ‘Summer’ has been swooping in and taking down wounded opponents in our games for so long they earned the nickname “the finisher”. Now that the owl is intelligent (INT 10) and can speak back to the group, he’ll be a PC companion who I might take over as an NPC on occasion. I decided to have him choose a name that goes along with past sessions.

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7th Needfest. The group sleeps late and are awakened by an unfamiliar voice calling them lazy in Elvish. It turns out to be Summer, whose collar of the True Companion has triggered after a month and granted human level intelligence and speech to the owl. Telerin (as the owl names himself) suggests they get moving. Seldrel translates the name into Common for half the party – the “end of, or final, memory” . Once they sort themselves out, they proceed to the Hall of the Gods and activate the statue of Ye’Cind, a Elven Demigod of Music and magical song. They receive a wand of magic mouth, and elves in the group a blessing of knowledge.

They return to cavern and head to the area they had been yesterday. An assortment of low and high walls have fallen into ruin and hold nothing of interest. Lanliss hears movement in an intact building. He and Brolith move in to fight the pair of ghouls. There isn’t room for anyone else to enter, so Hardaz moves north around the corner to check an adjacent room. He sights what might be a body. A zombie runs out from a southern doorway to attack the group. They quickly deal with the three undead and follow Hardaz. As they move up to the next corner, many ghouls spill out of the doorway, and large holes in walls. Lanliss is clawed by one during the fight. Once they are all dealt with Merxif determines that the wound looks bad and takes time to both heal Lanliss and neutralise potential Ghoul fever. Lanliss starts to use invisibility to quickly move around the building, looking in windows and doorways, then reporting back. They encounter and kill a few more ghouls and zombies. Most of the chambers are dusty and have the tracks of vermin. Many have a few bones (mostly humanoid) and bits of dry flesh, some with larger pieces of bodies that the ghouls have been feeding on. A few coins are recovered. Bits of equipment are corroded, bent or broken.

The next smaller structure has two levels, with barred windows. Seldrel flies up to look in the slitted windows on the second floor and sees into a burned out chamber. There is only one entrance on the south of the ground floor. Lanliss feels this is trapped and the door is also locked. Seldrel detects two magical aura’s – one on the door itself the other on the space in front of it. Seldrel carefully picks a path to the door and picks the lock. He believes this has also disabled the trap in front of the door, but guides everyone else in to be sure. While probably not the buildings original purpose, it has been used as a home, but not recently. The first room has the fragile remains of a table and chairs. The next room is a kitchen with broken pottery, old rusting cutlery, and stove. Then a storeroom with a ladder. The water, dried food and spices that remain are murky or covered in mould, though a darkwood shield is in good condition and magical. A ladder leads up to the room above, with looks like a workroom that has suffered through a magical explosion. A few magical items are recovered – a ring, a rod and a dried hand. Seldrel wonders if the hand (with a gold neck chain) allows the wearer to use an additional magical ring.

The final room on the ground floor was a bedroom – there are signs of vermin throughout the room, a rusty iron framed bed, and the mouldy remains of a shredded mattress. Coins can be seen in the bits of stuffing. There is no time to investigate more than this as a shrouded shape flies out of the floor, slashing Winter with bony claws, then continues through the wall to the storeroom. Bacon feels the pain of negative energy and feels weakened. Seldrel suspects a wraith. As they reposition in the first room, it flies through again attacking Hardaz. This time a few of the group have time to respond with a quick strike, but they inflict minimal damage to the incorporeal undead. They pursue outside the building and are attacked again, this time with Winter struck. They cluster together with magical weapons and spells ready to strike as it tries to fly by them again, and get a few more hits in. It emerges from the ground and shrieks in hideous laughter then darts back inside the building. Hardaz and Merxif are both panicked – dropping what they hold, and running a block to the west to get out of sight. They pause for breath and the gnome uses remove fear so that both can return. They wait for minutes without it reappearing. Seldrel uses his knowledge blessing to determine that the thing is a Geist; an undead similar to a wraith but a little more powerful. They decide to head in a try to draw an attack, keeping everyone ready. Once they reach the bedroom again it attempts an attack on Bacon but he dodges. Almost everyone in the group inflicts damage by spell or weapon. Again they wait, but it but it does not reappear. This time it may be staying away to heal. They recover the coins under the bed and leave. With everyone having passed through the front doorway multiple times now, Lanliss realises that he must have disarmed the trap that they had all forgotten about.

Lanliss invisible, scouts around the next, large block. he sights ghouls, scorpions, beetles , and giant centipedes through doorways and windows. He also finds two broken wooden doors and closed metal door. Starting with the southern rooms, they move in to engage beetles and then centipedes. There are more of each than Lanliss had observed. The beetles spray acid where not directly engaged, with Hardaz and Bacon caught between two beetles as they kill a third. The centipedes are much less of a challenge. The chambers are mostly dusty, with old bloodstains, and the vermin feeding on moss, mould or bits of old bodies. The group is unsure if the corpses are old dead, or recently killed undead.

Most of the group then tackle a pair of ghouls, while Lanliss takes a narrow passage into the centre of the building. There are dusty webs, some odd shrouds and a humming that Lanliss thinks are bees. Once the ghouls are killed, half the group goes after the “bees” only to be attacked by two large Gloomwasps. These large black wasps sting and emit beams of dark glowing light. Hardaz and Bacon take the worst of their attacks, suffering under the almost magical poison that has them both glowing for a few minutes after the creatures are killed. Being dwarves they shake off the effects fairly easily once Merxif heals their wounds.

Two cave scorpions are the next foes, and more old bloodstains and parts of corpses are found. The bodies were likely bugbears and morlocks.

Fals’Krag Session 49 – “How do you stake a Vampire?”

Four (of seven) players available, who wanted to push on. I think in each of our last three gatherings we’d had at least one player who missed other sessions. The session started quite normally, got interesting with unexpected things (the frog that was a Bogwid), the half-orcs, and then the vampires back again. Lanliss’ player was ready to throw himself at a vampire with a stake, and was determined that the group not do too much damage and force them to flee. I wasn’t going to have a vampire stand around and let a player shove a stake through their armour and into their heart, so had to pause the game to double-check rules for killing a vampire with a stake. [The vampire must be helpless, and it’s a full-round action.] They had a false start with the idea of casting hold monster (only living targets) and thankfully there were two charges left on an item that can make an undead creature drop helpless for 1d4 rounds. The vampire failed the second saving throw!

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The search of Wastri’s Temple is careful and thorough. Most rooms hold items that support the temple or would be used by the priests. Statues and carvings of frogs and other amphibians are found everywhere. A large rear chamber has four large pools or fresh water and aquatic plants. As the group enter, more and more frogs emerge at the end of the pools, making a considerable noise. Seldrel feeds them with small bits of meat and dried worms from packets and boxes on a shelf. A wand, gems and many gold coins are recovered from the altar, and the high priests room. An upstairs area looks down over the altar. Two more frog statues are here, but they do not animate. A secret door leads out to the southern side of the building. The rooms here are dusty and either used for junk and rubbish, or just empty. A few have the fragile remains of chairs, tables and beds. A kitchen and storeroom finish off the building, and many bottles of wine carefully placed into the groups bag of holding.

Heading east, there are three obvious entrances, one with a broken door. Lanliss, backed up by Hardaz move to the northern entry and sight something move further back in the darkness. Seldrel and Winter see something about a foot in size dart into the southern doorway. An Ochre Jelly comes forward to fight with Lanliss and Hardaz who quickly swap weapons to smash it. Merxif supports them by magically throwing his mace at it. They succeed in bludgeoning it to a motionless bubbling mush without it striking any of them.

Bacon has entered the south chamber, and sees a green horned lizard watching him. He strikes it, and it retreats further into the building. He follows, and finds six of them scattered about the next chamber where they unleash a chain of electrical bolts. His fast reflexes allow him to evade this and he retreats. Winter and Seldrel have moved up now, and the Hunter lines up a shot at a lizard through two doorways and hits. The lizards all move out of sight, and not having paid attention to what happened with Bacon, she follows to finish off the lizard. A second discharge of energy seriously burns her and she too retreats. Seldrel keeps his distance and casts a carefully aimed fireball into the building. They pause before cautiously entering to find all the lizard dead or dying. Lanliss vanishes, and quickly scouts the central part of the building seeing rotting curtains, and a number of pools, but no movement. Merxif heals Winter, while Bacon checks the rooms the group has cleared, but locate nothing of value.

They all move up to check the central rooms, and this time and Lanliss enters invisibly, be sees a frog-like creature rise from the murk of the main pool. Other shapes move in the water around it, so he quietly moves past it to the back of the room and waits for the dwarves to move in. To his dismay, the frog moves away from him, and rises up on tentacles rather than legs, throwing foul smelling growths from its back at Bacon. It stays in the middle of the pool and the monk takes a chance on the depth of the water and leaps in to attack the frog-like aberration. Thankfully, it is only three feet deep and with the aid of magic missiles from Seldrel and arrows from Winter it is soon dead. Bacon batters the body with part of the broken door to ensure it and the young growing on its back are dead. Merxif is concerned about the potential of disease from both the beast and the murky water, so it is left to Bacon to search the pool. He only turns up water weed and bones.

The long southern side of block has a number of doors. The first leads to a set of small dusty chambers that have been empty for a long time. The second has many alcoves and a stone bench around a large room. While Lanliss investigates here, a door further along opens and two bugbears emerge. Hardaz and Bacon both charge down to engage them. Winter and Seldrel begin ranged support, and all are surprised when other humanoid figures emerge. The dwarves realise that the new group with the bugbears are mostly half-orcs including a warrior with a great-sword, one with a bow, two monks, and two others that use magic. Lanliss (invisible) and Summer assist the dwarves. About half of their opponents have dropped when Winter sights a figure approaching from behind them – one of the vampires met a few days ago. The second drops from the rooftop and swings at Merxif who dodges. The half-orcs are finished quickly, except for one who casts a spell and disappears. The dwarves and Lanliss run back up the road to fight the vampires. Lanliss reminds everyone they have stakes and there are sudden rapid suggestions on how to incapacitate one long enough to shove a stake through their heart. The main warrior vampire wearing chainmail grins amusedly, emphasising his fangs. The vampires inflict blows with their weapons and Merxif uses the last two charges of his moon bracelet, firing shimmering bolts at the warrior. Both strike, but the second knocks the vampire down and leaves it helpless. Both Hardaz and Lanliss are close – the dwarf runs a stake through it heart and the elf cuts its head off. Winter finishes the other vampire with a storm of arrows, and it flies off as a cloud of mist. Garlic, holy water and cleric’s blessing turn the undead remains into dust. There’s some healing and the remaining southern facing rooms are searched. The bugbears look like those previously encountered here, and the half-orcs are likely an adventuring group that has made it down this far through the mountain. They appear to have been using some of the rooms here for up to a week. An assortment of gear, a few potions and coins are claimed. The last few rooms are dusty but have been entered recently – they contain bones, skulls, and a few recently dead morlocks and trogs. The group return up through the mountain and emerge in the hold courtyard. It’s partly cloudy, and both moons are visible. Celene is full, and Luna is new. They build up a large fire, and spend a few hours letting their moon items recharge in the light. Then its back down to the crafting halls to rest.

4-5th Needfest: Some of the group check out the Hall of the Gods – the statues have changed. This set are nearly all human. Merxif and Seldrel determine the identity and domains of all but one; a dark slightly masculine humanoid figure with no features. Seldrel plans to spend two days crafting a belt of strength for Hardaz, and Lanliss will make makeshift holy symbols to match the statues they have identified. Hardaz, Bacon, Boris and Merxif head into town to speak with Kevelli, sell off some treasure and buy some weapons to equip the statues. Kevelli tells them he may come back to the Halls early in Fireseek if the weather is better. They activate the statue of Vecna – the most recognisable of the deities, receiving a minor wand of fear.

6th: The group return to the block they were exploring, entering the northern side. A couple of large rooms look to have been animal pens, and then a solid building has chambers with old worn and rusting exercise and/or fighting practise equipment. It also has a few guardians, that Merxif determines are constructs. The animated armour wields swords and shields. They take some time to destroy, with the fight in narrow passages. A secret room has some jewellery and potions. The final chamber in the block has skeletons spiked onto the walls and a short stair down into a basement. Broken shelves and pottery shards are unremarkable, but Lanliss locates a well hidden secret door. A passage leads into a dusty tomb, with an animated skeletal warrior. They more in a destroy it quickly, finding this to be a another tomb for Gregern Falshadren. A bunch of gems are recovered. Two are magical, what Seldrel believes are an Ioun stone and an Ivory Goat figurine. He also realises both are cursed. Lanliss finds two more secret doors – one that leads back to the basement and another to a second crypt. This one is cleaner, with two sarcophagi. The group surround and carefully open each – the fine coffins within are both empty. They have obviously been used recently and would suit the pair of vampires encountered in the cavern. They do their best to restore both tombs to the way they first appeared and all hide in one of the secret passages, waiting in the hope of the other vampire arriving. When Seldrel’s mage armour and flight spells cease, they know they have waited about nine hours. All are become cramped and restless. They wait another hour without anything happening and decide to head back upstairs. They mess up the first crypt again, hoping that if the vampire returns he will think they only found the first crypt. All are pleased to get out of the cramped space and head for proper beds.

Fals’Krag Session 48 – Frogs and Vampires

A more relaxed game session than the last. Two of the guys couldn’t make it along, but one of those who did missed the previous session. A lot more talking about real life and not so much focus on the adventure this time.

Overall, things went quite well for the players. Almost all of them picked on the visible vampire in the first combat. This spread them out a bit too, so the other two vampires weren’t able to make the most of their initial attacks. Very few criticals rolled. I think everyone fumbled at some point. Bad rolls on my side meant that most of the Wastri priests weren’t as effective as they could have been. Even so, I was surprised to actually have one out of three Hold Person spells against the party work.

It’s nice having recurring NPC’s, and I’m enjoying the flexibility in this sense with a vampire. Even if you “kill” one, it’s coming back unless you can locate its coffin! The initial vampire spawn here was first met in an ambush on the party (and fled, session 20), then assisted a Grave-Knight while dominating Winter (only half the party involved, session 23). The group has wondered about the location of his coffin a number of times. There was distinct distaste in a comment made (along the lines of “not him!”) when I placed the figure on the board.

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2nd Needfest (cont): While discussing whether to return upstairs, some of the group hear noises. A figure is spotted crouched on the roof of a building close by. Seldrel flies into the air for a better look. The figure is recognised as a vampire spawn encountered twice previously. A voice calls to them from another part of the ruin saying that ‘their’ master is awake and the group should be taught a lesson for exploring where they are not wanted. Bacon and Boris run across the ruins and leap/climb up onto the roof ready to attack. Winter levitates up and begins to loose arrows. Merxif backs up to a point giving him sight of the undead and launches a moon bolt that topples the vampire and weakens it. Damage from the others on the roof quickly have the vampire turning into a cloud of mist. A second vampire rises from the ruins behind Merxif, punching him with a damaging blow that also drains his energy. A third moves across the ruin from the south, heading for the gnome. Lanliss appears and attacks the third vampire, while the others return to join him. The second spawn is also defeated and his misty form begins to fly off to the east. The group attempt to damage the gaseous spawn, but eventually realise that can’t harm them any further. The third spawn is similarly dealt with but only after it has inflicted a number of solid blows with its spiked maul. It too begins to float towards the east. The first vampire eventually overcomes the helplessness inflicted by the moon-bolt and flies up into the air heading towards north-east towards the ceiling hole that marks the emergence of the great stair. The group decide that the retreating vampires may not fly directly towards their coffins, and it would be easy to lose them in the ruins. With Merxif using the last of his channelled healing, the group head quickly back to the crafting halls. They discuss vampire lore, and Lanliss crafts some stakes and wooden mallets, passing them out among the group. They rest, realising its likely quite late in the evening.

3rd Needfest: Everyone prepares for another day of exploration. They take a salvaged troll’s hand to activate the statue of Vaprak in the Hall of the Gods, receiving a wand of rage. Seldrel recalls that the statues are likely to change over night, and Lanliss wants them to head out of the mountain tonight so the group can recharge two of their magical items that require the light of a full moon. Reaching the cavern, Summer becomes extremely agitated as they start crossing the marsh. He soon calms down, and no-one else has observed or felt any disturbance around them. They move between the northern buildings and head around the rubble where they fought the vampires. Hardaz notices a wall carving of a seven pointed star with runes that match the animated rune construct they fought the day before. Most of the chambers they search are empty, but two have writings on the walls. Though badly worn or damaged, Seldrel makes out a few words – “Makk, Ralht, cavern, ruin, mountain”, but not legible sentences. Scratched into the stone floor are images of thin humanoids similar to goblins, all grouped in threes. The adjacent room has one part of wall that can be read. It describes the family groups of the “Makk”. Lanliss finds a floor stone that seems to have space behind it but cannot work out how to open it. Seldrel casts ‘Knock’ and the panel clicks open. There are now three small depressions in the text on the wall corresponding with the word ‘three”, which appears three times, each with the first E reversed.

Within the hole are a bottle of wine, pouches of tobacco and many scrolls and papers that mention a humanoid society called the Makk, refer to a book of lore and rules, a small pantheon of deities, and a guardian within a cave under a mountain called . Nothing referenced in the papers (all written in the same hand) is familiar to any of the party. A few empty chambers precede one that seems full of rubble. On the other side of the street and statues – four smaller, each showing an impaled dwarf, elf, gnome and halfling, and a taller odd-featured man in grey and yellow holding a pole arm. The statues move: the demi-humans occasionally showing a tremor of movement, shudder or shift of position accompanied by a whimper, or faint cry of pain. Each statue has a badly written script in that races language “death to false humans”. There is also the intermittent croak of frogs. Lanliss and Boris are concerned with statues movement. Merxif determines that they are neither dead or alive, and Seldrel that illusions cover all the statues. Seldrel and Merxif decide the main statue is Wastri. Known as the hopping prophet, he is a human demigod of amphibians, bigotry and self-deception. A supremacist, who favours only “true” humans and amphibians. Most other races are to be slain or sacrificed, or serve humans as servants and slaves. Winter can hear dripping water, but no voices or movement nearby and they move past. Behind the humanoid statues, a line of stone turtles support inscribed tablets.

The chamber of dust and rocks also holds a maul and broom. Lanliss stalks inwards unseen and sees a large lizard in one rear room, and some weapons in armour in a another. Bacon, Hardaz and Winter move up to attack the lizard. It’s golden eyes give most of them an odd feeling as they attack it. When Summer flies forward, and then drops to the ground as a stone owl, they confirm their suspicion of a basilisk. It takes a while to kill it, but no one else is petrified. Seldrel ‘s draws on his knowledge and bathes Summer’s form in the creatures blood, restoring him to life. They discuss if they could preserve the blood, but have no easy means of doing so with the little more they could likely gain from the body.

The final rooms in this building have copper framed doorways, with copper and iron bound doors. Some are locked and many guarded by magical traps. Lanliss is able to disable all, and within dusty rooms recovers silver and copper coins, some tools and a cask of pickled fish. They cross the street back to the statues entering a room with shelves full of frog figurines. One side room contains a shallow pool of clear water, and the next a troglodyte. Hardaz moves in a swiftly kills the frog man, but not before a cry of alarm is raised. Bacon and Lanliss enter the courtyard beyond the statues and are promptly attacked by two frog statues that animate, croaking loudly. The rest of the group pushes into the courtyard before a set of double doors, where the frogs inflict only minor damage but prove difficult to destroy. A door at the other end of the yard opens and three priests in grey robes emerge, holding spears. All cast spells at the party, but only Lanliss is effected and held immobile! Boris and Bacon engage the priests, while Winter shoots at them. The double doors open while chanting is heard, revealing another priest with a pole arm. Behind him a second human with the same weapon twirls it before him.

The lead priest is killed knocked out by Hardaz, supported by magic from Merxif and Seldrel. The three in the courtyard go down similarly. The final opponent strikes viciously with his glaive hitting most of those trying to surround him before he too is defeated. Behind this a foyer leads into a room with a grey altar, damp floor and more tablets. With the temple quiet around them, they quickly search the foyer and altar. The many tablets they now have time to read describe Wastri’s philosophy and a number of simple prayers and rituals.

Fals’Krag Session 47 – Trolls, Traps and Teleports

We ended up down three players for the evening, but were more focused on game-play than we often are and the four who came along got a lot of combat and exploration done. A real mix of stuff in this session: trolls, ogre priest, vermin, undead, constructs, strange runes, traps, and treasure. The PC’s took a lot of damage in both HP’s and ability damage, but were careful to heal and back each other up when needed. I’ve done something a bit different with this summary – some maps to give a bigger picture of where the group explored, with areas they didn’t get to erased. (No hints here!)

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Lines/arrows are previous exploration. Red oval is the focus of this session.

2nd Needfest.

Seldrel casts Detect Magic again and sees all the magical auras of the lock are back. He presumes his dispel only negated the magic temporarily. The group makes notes, and will return here if they find or learn something that may help. They move north-west into an unexplored area they have skirted around previously. Approaching a large block with much damage, Lanliss vanishes and goes to look through windows and a door way on the corner of the first building. He sees giant rats, but as he returns to tell the others, the rats emerge, having heard noise outside. Hardaz charges the rats, supported by Bacon and Lanliss. The combat attracts the attention of two trolls from the damaged side of the building. Merxif and Seldrel concentrate fire attacks on one, while Winter shoots the other with arrows. One of the trolls calls for assistance from Vaprak. The rats are quickly beaten, and the group focuses on the trolls. More rats emerge from the corner, and an armour wearing ogre followed by a shimmering bat, strides into the rubble strewn area behind the trolls. The trolls are burned and appear dead, and Lanliss and Hardaz finish the second group of rats. The ogre also calls on Vapraks aid, and gestures as if casting a spell. A thick fog springs up around most of the group. Winter levitates up above the cloud and notes its size. She calls directions out to the others so that they can move out of it easily. Bacon exits the cloud on one side, Merxif on another and Seldrel dispels the fog entirely. Bacon charges into the ruin to attack the ogre, closely followed by Summer. A ten-foot tall statue of Vaprak (god of ogres and trolls) further into the rubble suddenly animates. It leaps off its dais and charges across to attack Bacon, striking him heavily. The ogre backs away and grows larger. As others move up to attack, the statues emits a wave of energy and Lanliss, Hardaz and Summer are slowed. Bacon is unaffected and continued to pummel the things they suspect is a stone golem. The ogre and its bat attack the group, and the golem inflicts considerable damage. The party is happy they had equipped three of their group with golem bane scarabs, allowing them to damage the golem with their weapons. Seldrel casts haste to neutralise the slow effect on the group. Merxif moves in to heal, and the battle turns in the parties favour. They have soon defeated the ogre and destroyed the golem. They dais the golem came from has a secret compartment with gems and scrolls. They scout the chambers around what appears to have been a large temple to Vaprak before most of the ceiling collapsed. There are a few more rooms with giant rats, which also produce some coins. The rooms used by the trolls and ogre also have coins, some gems and jewellery and odd bits of equipment.

Combined image of the battle maps used for the session put together roughly in the correct position. The eastern side is actually slightly further ‘south’ than it should be.

Moving east to the next damaged building, Lanliss spots two more trolls. Hardaz and Bacon move in to attack with him, and Merxif follows. Once the trolls are badly hurt, he uses acid to stop them regenerating. Winter and Seldrel who had stayed back are attacked by small group of stirges. A stirge manages to attach itself to each of them and Winter is paralysed. Seldrel realises that the creatures are undead, and the rest of the party is not close by. He casts a fireball over the stirges, burning himself and Winter but killing nearly all of them. Seldrel is able to finish off the last while the trolls are defeated. A little healing is required. Amid some humanoid corpses and damaged weapons and armour, they recover some silver coins.

Further east the next block of buildings is initially in good condition. Windows and a few doors are visible, all is quiet. Lanliss chooses a central open doorway to investigate. A large hall has some damaged chairs, and a passageway leading out. At first he doesn’t notice the shape standing near a pile of rubble, but as Bacon enters the room they both become aware of the four-armed skeleton that moves forward. While it attacks with four short-swords, it proves not to much tougher than other animated skeletons they have fought. Lanliss continues down the passage, which has three small chambers open along each side. Each holds a short thin pillar of obsidian, with a large rune made from semi-precious stone set into the far wall. As the rest of the group move in to search, they learn that the runes are magical constructs that attack any who enter the room. While Hardaz smashes any construct he can reach, Lanliss and Winter are attacked near the final room by a greater shadow. Lesser shadows attack as the group comes together. Trying to evade and attack the incorporeal undead means more of the runes are activated, and shadows leave half the group seriously weakened. Lanliss and Merxif draw attention of main shadow and they destroy the last of them. Bacon locates and destroys another four-armed skeleton, and then they gather back together for healing. Winter uses much of her magic to restore the groups lost strength. While scouting and finishing off the shadows, Lanliss observed a large insect creature fleeing into a hole in a ruined area close by. A locked door is found near the second skeleton, and beyond it a locked and trapped door. Lanliss disarms the magical trap and the chamber beyond has many scrolls and papers. Most of the documents are damaged and illegible. Some fragments mention temples of Boccob (greater human deity of magic), magical training for scouts, and magical theory. Seldrel also recovers some scrolls with spells that he can use.

North is the last intact part of this triangular block. Lanliss disarms a trap of the locked door, and explores the few rooms of a narrow hall. The doors have an unusual rune on them, and there are a few simple traps and old fragile furniture. Two of the rooms have a dark coloured floor tile with a silver circle and a different rune on the wall next to it. Seldrel detects a teleportation magic. Lanliss tries to activate the first circle, feeling a little uncomfortable, then pain and unconsciousness. Both he and Seldrel also try the second circle, and this time Lanliss disappears. He finds himself on the previous circle. As they try other entrances, they find more trapped rooms and more circles, each with a rune. Lanliss tries activating a circle while thinking of the rune near a previous circle and teleports to it. They decide that the first circle didn’t work because its linked to a circle that is damaged or not present any more. Lanliss triggers and is hurt by a magical trap (spinning blades) in one room, and finds a dead goblin who was previously caught by it. He locates and disarms other traps and they find six teleport circles, each with a different rune and also some small brass tokens in the shape of lightning bolts. One room has a dry humanoid body with good armour and a sword. Searching into the damaged corner of the block reveals similar bodies with useful items and some treasure that were likely killed by the shadows. Continue reading

Fals’Krag Session 46 – Midwinter Ruins

Vermin, undead and two puzzles. The first was worked out pretty quickly – rope through hooks and loops. The second is more complicated. While there was a lot of good discussion and testing of theories, they don’t yet have a solution. Traps in my game are mostly detected/evaded by dice rolls (character skill), but if players don’t pay attention to something already mentioned by me or another player (like spider webs between the difficult terrain) or walk straight into a trapped area without looking around first, then too bad. I like puzzles in my RPG’s that the players have to think about, not just rely on a dice roll to work things out. I may allow a skill check to get a hint, or more detail, but some things can’t be solved by making a roll or casting a spell.

I’ve been having fun with rumours in town recently too. Some aren’t related to the mega-dungeon, but directly to things the players have been doing. A new rumour this session was about elves bringing valuable statues out of the dungeon and taking them to another town to sell. One of the players commented about not remembering the statues. I replied “You were one of them!” (It was a year ago in real-life: Medusa in session 40)

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1st Needfest. Everyone packs up and leaves the mountain. It’s both very cold and wet outside, and they head back to Fals’ford. The rain gets worse after they reach town. Shopping, training and celebration of mid-winter proceeds. [8th Level] Kevelli will stay in town all week, as he has some responsibilities during the festival. Seldrel, Brolith and Merxif trawl a few taverns looking for a halfling they can convince to donate some blood. (There is a rumour in town that an evil halfling pretending to be a priest is offering to heal people but really marking potential targets for sacrifice.) Buying drinks for people eventually gets them a suitably inebriated participant.

2nd: The party heads back to the hold and straight to the Hall of the Gods. They activate the statue of Cryollalee, obtaining a energy protection wand but no blessing for anyone. They return to the cavern and slowly make their way west then south through the ruins. They listen and look into buildings to see if anything has taken over from the morlocks and bugbears that previously used many of the buildings. There are no traces of bodies of anything they killed in the past. Reaching the blocks they had last been exploring, they find no cultist corpses. Lanliss can tell that rooms the cultists had been using have been searched since they left. Anything useful that the group didn’t take is gone. Some rooms they hadn’t entered have been used to grow fungi, moss and vegetables. Other chambers have been sleeping quarters and these too have been searched by someone else. Winter has reported odd noises and sighted movement in the badly damaged building immediately south. Lanliss vanishes to scout and reports the closest chambers empty. One has a grey lichen growing along one wall and Seldrel enters to study it. He determines that the plant is actually ‘Gloom Orb’, and the black growths it produces are beneficial. While he gathers these, he notes an uneven floor and three holes carved in the ceiling. Lanliss returns to examine the floor and ceiling. He finds metal rings in the ceiling holes, a floor that isn’t very thick (suspecting a pit or room below) and two holes in the floor corners with hooks. Lanliss and Seldrel gather rope, which they thread through the rings and anchor to the hooks. Lanliss believes they need to “lift” the hooks to make the floor panel open, but Seldrel isn’t able to exert enough force and Hardaz takes his place.

Bacon enters one of the empty rooms with other exits, and finds some humanoid corpses. All have large chest wounds, and some scraps of brown robes. Merxif confirms that they are indeed dead, and suspects that these are cultists that the giant mosquito creatures have emerged from. They appear to have died a week ago at least. Some normal rats flee Bacon as he looks around the other rooms.

Hardaz and Lanliss’ effort cause a section of the floor to flip into a vertical position revealing a thirty foot deep spiked pit with a rusty ladder and two coffers filled with copper pieces. A search also finds a secret compartment holding a large leather bag that is empty, but magical. Seldrel is convinced they have a bag of holding, and they hope that it isn’t cursed to consume anything they place within. They test it out with the copper coins.

Meanwhile both Bacon and Merxif feel a moment of lethargy, and are attacked by one of the ‘giant mosquitoes’ emerging from the darkness. Bacon strikes it, but in return it stings him and attaches itself. He bursts into action, battering it against the wall and door frame it came through. He succeeds in knocking it unconscious, and is able to detach it. With Merxif using his Deathwatch goggles, Bacon continues to batter the aberration until it is definitely deceased. Bits of bone and body pieces, as well as some more rats are in the back of the rooms. The end of the block is more damaged than solid, and there are many cobwebs. Lanliss warns of both fresh webs and piles of rubble as he sights a few giant spiders amid the collapse. Bacon picks his way carefully in alongside Lanliss to attack a spider. Both Merxif and Winter move to avoid rubble underfoot and find themselves entangled by webs. Hardaz and Seldrel take the long way around the building as more spiders emerge to attack. Bad footing and broken walls make the fight more complicated that usual, but it is soon over with no-one poisoned. Winter breaks free of the webs and assists Merxif out. They clear and burn webs, gathering coins and a golden plate amid the remains of the spiders prey.

The back of the building comes close to the cavern wall and they move along until they find another entrance. A large hall with divisions resembles a barn or animal enclosure. Lanliss moves quickly through a few rooms and calls out what he sees for others to check on – animal skeletons in the stalls, a humanoid skeleton in chainmail, and a tiled room. Seldrel detects magic amid the stalls. Hardaz going for a closer look finds himself surrounded by the ghosts of five large hounds and their angry trainer. He shrugs off most of their chilling attacks, and is quickly backed up by the rest of the party. Once defeated they quickly check for valuables – claiming two magical fire arrows and the chainmail from the trainers skeleton. Some coins are dug up from another stall, and Lanliss has found a locked trapdoor under floor tiles in another room. Lanliss picks the lock, and finds a box with more copper coins. Winter is attacked by a hazy purple figure similar to a shadow. She backs up, doing little damage with her arrows. Hardaz with his ghost-touch axe is again the best to take down the incorporeal undead. Seldrel thinks it was a murk, a shadow-like thing that effects your mind rather than feeding on your strength. They take some time for healing and treasure appraisal, then move on to the unexplored portion of the building. There are some faint noises ahead, and Lanliss sees an animated skeleton and two thin humanoids in adjoining rooms. The group splits in two as they enter and engage, what quickly turns out to be four skeletons, two ghouls and two ghasts. Merxif uses one of his crystal skulls to obliterate the majority of the undead. No-one is paralysed, nor appears to have been infected by disease, and one ghast wears a magical necklace. They are back to the cultist’s shrine now and head north towards the shouting that has been heard on an earlier day.

A small building is little more than a dusty, rubble filled shell. It is searched but doesn’t appear to be worth completely digging out. Noise from the adjacent building is more promising. The structure is less damaged, and holds nearly a dozen ghouls which keep everyone busy as the undead exit from multiple holes in the building walls. Ignoring many rotting limbs, bones, broken weapons and bits of armor, the group gather some silver coins and two gems. A rusty iron-plated door bars entry to the last part of the building. Lanliss takes time to pick the lock, only to find its rusted into place and isn’t opening with the usual encouragement. They have to bring out their portable ram and break it down. Beyond are two rooms filled with very old furniture – chairs, desks, stands, tables, cupboards and chests. Some break as they are examined and opened, due to damage from rot, mould, insects and age. A few pieces of jade inlay, some ivory handles, and a set of silver wind chimes are kept.

Bacon is suspicious about one section of floor. After cleaning the dust away he finds the seams around a large block of stone. He and Lanliss feel that it should move. A metal plate in the centre slides open revealing a hole with metal rings and brass discs. Seldrel detects abjuration, divination and shadow-illusion magic. Bacon and Lanliss look at it from a mechanical perspective and believe it’s a lock with the central portion missing. There is discussion as to what the illusion aspect does and closer examination suggests that what they see is accurate. Seldrel tries to dispel the magic on the mechanism and succeeds; nothing changes. The group thoroughly search the rooms, but find nothing else to give them any ideas of how to open the stone panel or door.

Fals’Krag Session 45 – No smoking!

It was great having all seven players for this session. Got quite nasty in a couple of fights. The session itself wasn’t long. We’d spent a fair bit of time catching up when everyone arrived, and longer levelling up afterwards.

I was waiting for someone to try and burn the “roiling oil” ooze, and wasn’t disappointed. What I hadn’t expected was the method used: the Brawler with his shirt of immolation hit and grappled it. His shirt bursts into flame if he grapples or is grappled.

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(28th) Lanliss and bacon begin checking the rooms of what has become a shrine to Erynthul. (Evil Oeridean deity of hate, envy, and slaughter.) The two rooms likely used by the cult leaders have hidden gems and coins, while the main rooms with tables and stools provides an assortment of good food and drink. Some small casks of a reasonable ale are claimed and packed away. Most of the corpses have simple weapons and basic leather armour not worth salvage. Moving north along the thinner of the two building sections, they enter the last few badly damaged chambers. Bacon spots a shadowy figure appear within a doorway that appears to be casting a spell. A fireball of dark flame bursts around them all, with Summer and Boris taking the worst damage. The figure retreats and Bacon chases it, but only find an empty room. Lanliss and Seldrel follow, suspecting it has used invisibility. Seldrel fills the room with glitterdust revealing the creature as the rest of the group moves closer. The shadowy winged creature strikes at Lanliss and backs through the wall flying past Merxif and through another wall. The group spread out to check the connecting rooms and split up to look for the creature. Lanliss moves out to an alley and flies up into the room to keep watch. No sign is observed of their target, but a large shiny black ball of ooze exits a nearby section of the building. Lanliss and Hardaz move up, noting the thing smells likes oil. It strikes Lanliss a solid blow that also partly coats him in a nauseating film. Boris charges down the alley and throws himself on the blob. He knocks a chunk out of it and as planned, his shirt immolates, but with an unexpected result! The flame ignites the oily surface of the ooze and there is a explosion that hurts many of the group, while the alley fills with smoke. Winter is disconcerted as she can’t see anything to fire arrows at, and Boris is knocked unconscious. Seldrel has nothing to blow the smoke away and considers using magical cold, but he doesn’t want to hit any of his party. Merxif casts an area heal. The effect works on the ooze as well as everyone else, but it revives Boris giving him and the others a chance to retreat. They have all just taken positions out of the smoke when the ooze bounds out and slams into Hardaz. It doesn’t appear to be any worse for being on fire, and has been doing more damage to them than it’s taken. As the smoke starts to roll over them again, Seldrel floating above directs a cone of frost and puts out the fire. As the smoke clears the battered ooze is subject to everyone else’s attacks. Eventually it is broken up and begins to bubble and sink into the ground. Bacon had been making his way back around the building to rejoin the others and missed most of this, but had heard what sounded to him like a large humanoid cursing in very bad giantish. The shouting continued on and off a few times then stopped entirely.

Seldrel notes the winged shadow watching them from a distance – its also hovering in the air. Bacon sets off in pursuit, but the suspected shadow demon gestures and vanishes. This time Seldrel feels it has teleported.

Bacon notes movement at the end of the alley. Boris moves up and startles some rats, but hears movement in the building behind the wall. Lanliss turns invisible and he and Bacon join Boris. Lanliss observes a path in the dust of rubble through one doorway, and they soon confront three animated skeletons. Two appear to be champions, with swords and breastplate, while the third has cloak and dagger. The latter directs a ray of burning light at the group. Everyone pushes into the room to take down the skeletal mage before it can cast again, then smash the other two skeletons. Some gems and coins are found in a hidden box.

Moving back south around the building there is a doorway flanked by book symbols. Seldrel and Merxif think they aren’t religious. A faint light can be seen at the end of a long hall, and Lanliss and Bacon can hear a faint buzzing noise from nearby. In the dim light of an adjoining room is the body of a bugbear. As Lanliss moves closer, two dark purple rays shoot out and strike him for minor damage. His invisible form is now revealed by a purple glow. As a black wasp emerges from the gloom he strikes at it. It passes him and flies out of the building. It is quickly shot at by Bacon with his crossbow. His screaming bolt misses, but passes close enough to disorientate the creature. Seldrel fires magic missiles at it, and it is then brought down by Winter. The glow on Lanliss fades while Merxif examines the bugbear. Its swollen body is unconscious and they fear it is been implanted with wasp eggs. Seldrel uses fire from a wand to burn the body and the places where the wasp appears to have been building a nest. Bacon, Lanliss and Seldrel make their way into the hall, noting cubicles with damaged or rotted chairs and desks, with lamps fixed above them. In two cubicles, the lamps glow with magical light. Something bites Seldrel, and Lanliss sights a large leech on his shoulder. He scrapes it off with his sword, and Bacon sees two more moving towards the wizard. They are quickly killed and Seldrel realises his last spell for the day has vanished from his mind. The leeches are ‘wizards shackles’, attracted by arcane magic, draining it from wizards they attach themselves to. Only valueless paper scraps and bits of leather are found and the group thinks it worthwhile to return to the crafting halls.

Once back they check on Kevelli’s progress. He needs one more day to finish Hardaz’s new armour, then will return to Falsford. The group decide to rest, and sort out the treasure recovered recently. It is decided that a trip back to town is a good idea so that they can sell off all the stuff they don’t want to keep, and buy some supplies for what is on Seldrel’s list of things to be crafted.

1st Needfest. Once Kevelli is done, they all head in to town. Shopping, training and celebration of mid-winter proceeds. [8th Level]

Fals’Krag Session 44 – Beholders!

Five players along on Saturday for a fun session. They didn’t explore a lot of the map, and had four main encounters, but all were with very different creatures and things weren’t always what they seemed in each.

I used shadow mini’s for the wraith spawn, (and they didn’t know they weren’t shadows for a while) and when I put the wraith on the board one player was concerned it could be a Spectre. We all enjoyed the evening, and the group is getting close to reaching 8th level.

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(16th Sunsebb): As they return through the long grass in the north of the cavern, Lanliss and Bacon notice three giant toads moving towards them. Hardaz and Bacon move out to fight, and three slurks bound forward in addition. Merxif entangles two of their opponents, Hardaz gets slimed by one, and Winter shoots at those not in melee. The fight is short, but Bacon’s hands are blistered and he seems a bit drowsy. While Merxif is healing, Seldrel observes that the toad’s skin is poisonous. Merxif treats him as they continue to the tunnel into the cliff. They make their way back to the Crafting Halls and rest. Boris and Kevelli arrive back from Falsford bringing Hardaz’ new magical full plate armour, and a collar for Summer. The collar (of the true companion) makes the owl slightly more intelligent and he now understands spoken elvish. Kevelli states that he will rust-proof the armour, then is going back to Falsford for Needfest. (A week-long celebration of midwinter and the change of years) After hearing what the group has been doing, Kevelli suggests keeping the hand of a troll (if they encounter another) to activate the statue of Vaprak in the hall of the Gods.

27th The group rest while Kevelli and Seldrel do some crafting.

28th Leaving Boris with Kevelli again, they head back down to the cavern and head back to the western area to continue exploring.

The next block has a number of doors on the road-side and Lanliss quickly moves along and looks in each one. He notes a goblin corpse and some dead bats in different rooms. The other spread out to keep watch, while Seldrel checks the rooms for magic, and Lanliss looks more closely at the corpse. It has nothing of value, but while searching a shadowy humanoid shape emerges from the wall into the chamber Bacon has been checking. He calls a warning and begins to fight the incorporeal shape. Summer withdraws to Winter’s side and refuses to engage the being. A second appears near Lanliss. Seldrel immediately retreats out of the room and fires magic missiles at it. Bacon destroys his opponent, but another slips out of the stone to replace it, and then a fourth near Lanliss. They realise they are facing a wraith and some lesser shadow-like wraith-spawn. Merxif damages a pair with positive energy and Hardaz puts his ghost-touch enchanted axe to good work. The fight is fierce, with the life-hating undead striking the group a number of times, but they resist the worst of the life draining touch. Once all are destroyed, the Cleric spends time healing. The remainder of the building has many dried corpses, and an assortment of treasure, mostly being coins, armour and weapons, guarded by animated bugbear skeletons and Yuan-Ti zombies.

Lanliss turns invisible and scouts the badly damaged building to the south. Much of it has collapsed. The sight of five beholders in various sizes from about a foot across to six or seven feet in diameter has him retreating immediately. The group recall everything they have heard about the fearsome magic using aberrations. Seldrel is suspicious; there were so many creatures which project an anti-magic ray from their main eye and Lanliss wasn’t revealed or noticed. Suspecting an illusion, the group move forward together, with Lanliss this time using true sight. Coming around the corner he notes that they have all moved and are not illusions. Hardaz charges forward and strikes the closest, which also happens to be one of the smallest. His axe slices through the bulbous body which explodes. Seldrel’s second assumption is confirmed – Gas Spores! The beholder shaped fungi float forward and are met by Lanliss and the dwarves, while Winter fires arrows. All are quickly destroyed. The dwarves brush spore particles from themselves after being amid multiple exploding spheres. Bacon is not concerned, being practically immune to disease. Merxif examines Hardaz who it seems has not been effected by the spores either. What appear to have been goblin or morlock bodies have been reduced to much amid the rusting and rotting remains of armour and weapons. Seldrel suspects this is the effect of the spores, and they burn the bodies and spore remains.

The next large block of chambers to the east has a damaged corner through which they sight pillars, stairs down and a large hole. While the group keeps watch on the roads, Lanliss vanishes and enters. The hole takes up about half of the room, dropping about twenty feet into another chamber littered with rubble. He hears what he believes to be many bats below. What looks like a corpse draws him to rocks at the rear of the large room. It turns out to be a reddish-brown robe with a scattering on bones nearby and a scroll case. He brings the scroll case back to Seldrel who passes it to Merxif after a quick look. He adds it to his collection of cure scrolls. Seldrel and Lanliss move down the stairs and look around – there are coins amid the bat guano and rubble, but hundreds of bats are already agitated by the magical light. Back upstairs, Seldrel casts a fireball into the lower chamber and wait for the smoke to clear. An assortment of coins are recovered as well as a slightly melted golden box. The rest of the group note a loud noise start from the north-east. It could be shouting, or the roar of a beast, but before they have a chance to determine more about the sound, the banging of a drum and gong begin much closer to the east. Approaching, Seldrel can hear voices chanting in common, goblin and a third language he doesn’t recognise. The message concerns blood, slaughter and death. Lanliss moves forward, sighting a gnoll and a human in rust coloured robes in a nearby building. The noise ends while the party move closer, and the gnoll hears them advance. Merxif moves to a window, where he sees a more humanoids. He notes they are living, not undead. Seldrel casts haste on the group, and combat spreads over three rooms, one having an small altar. Three masked and robed humanoids (who prove to be minor clerics and a sorcerer) lead a mix of cultists: two humans, a half-orc, two gnolls and a bugbear. The main opponents are knocked down quickly, but part-way through One of the bodies begins to move; bursting apart to reveal a mosquito-like creature bigger than Merxif. It gives off an aura that makes Lanliss drowsy. It is battered into unconsciousness as the fight continues. Another defeated cultist ruptures and a second insectoid shakes itself off. Merxif is disturbed to realise that the first one under his feat, that they thought dying, is actually healing. He spends time battering it, trying to inflict more damage than it can repair. Seldrel decides these are Blight-spawn, aberrations that grow inside a living creature, emerging when the body dies. He suggests using fire against them and fears that their sting is poisonous. The group is now concerned about their defeated opponents, not just those still fighting, as more bodies break open. Merxif uses his goggles to look at the health of their enemy, identifying which are dead, not merely unconscious. Five of the nine cultists turn out to have been “infested”. Lanliss is the only one stung, but he has managed to resist the effect of the poison. No more cultists emerge from the surrounding buildings and the group pause to heal before searching.

Fals’Krag Session 43 – Anticlimax

A really, really good session – such a pity two players missed out. Everyone worked well together once we got past the discussion on what items to craft and who to do it. (“Are you happy to spend a bit more money to have it now?”) There was an assortment of creatures encountered, some for the first time (in this campaign) – the troll and  the glitterfire notably. For most of the ruins being explored now I have scale battle-maps, using post-it notes to hide what they can’t see.

In the last encounter I had a large snake mini which I put down and said it’s like this but made of metal, then played along with everything they said… counting rounds as they cast spells, checking who had what cast on them and where they said they were. The first arrow fired for Winter had a modified to-hit roll of 26. I said “miss”. (Cries of dismay and astonishment, especially from my wife who runs Winter.) They double checked bonuses from buffs, etc, and then she rolled for the other two arrows – same again. I paused to let them worry and rolled a Will save for Winter – she succeeded, and things went on as described.

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(12th Sunsebb): Kevelli has followed the groups adventures under the Krag for some time now, and wishes to accompany them to the Crafting Halls. He has some of his own work he would like to pursue there, but is also willing to craft items for them (using the hall) at a discount. He offers Seldrel an infinite scroll-case as a gift. The group agree to take him with them when they return. They spend time in town restocking on rations, holy water, and having a good meal. Seldrel and Merxif speak with a few priests about identity of the statues in the Hall of the Gods.

13th: The group, with Kevelli, head to the Hold and down to the Hall of the Gods. With the Wizard’s assistance, they activate the statue of Osprem, a Suel water deity. A wand of Beast Shape I (aquatic) is gained. They then show Kevelli the Crafting Halls and spend time discusses what the two wizards will work on. They eventually decide to have Kevelli craft some of the cheaper and faster to make items the group wants, like magical boots and extra dimensional backpacks.

14th – 25th: Kevelli and Seldrel work on boots of sprinting & striding, golem-bane scarabs, handy haversacks, a wand of lesser restoration, and an amulet of mighty fists. The rest of the group keep an eye on the surrounding chambers and levels to be sure nothing is taking up residence, and some of them head back to Falsford for anything the mages have forgotten.

26th: They activate the statue of Bralm – a Suel deity of Insects and Industriousness. They receive a wand of natures favour, which Winter can use to aid Summer in combat. Boris is going to escort Kevelli back to Falsford, while the rest will return to the great cavern. They choose a block near to the goblin caves and Lanliss begins to scout invisibly. After a few empty rooms, he finds a thin but muscled humanoid about 9 feet tall scrabbling in rubble. He quickly returns and the group ready to attack, sighting four goblins with it. They begin to strike down the goblins. Hardaz and Bacon go straight for the creature Seldrel thinks is a troll – when its wounds begin to heal, he is sure. He and Merxif begin targeting it with fire and acid magic. Lanliss tumbles int. Four more goblins attack from another chamber. The troll rakes the dwarves a few times, but it is no match for them when not regenerating damage. Lanliss uses magic missiles to take down the goblins Winter and her companion don’t get and the combat is soon over. Seldrel uses acid to make sure the troll is dead. The goblins yield a few coins and maces, but nothing valuable.

More empty room hold little more than dust and the tracks of vermin. Lanliss finds himself in almost darkness, and notes movement on the ceiling. He dodges something that drops suddenly and tries to grapple him, even though he’s invisible. Surprised, he runs out and calls on the others. The three “flying squids” are quickly defeated, and they recognise them as darkmantles – not a serious threat to the group.

Lanliss finds some dire rats, and as the others move to be able to attack with melee and missiles, Winter sees a snake-headed man in another part of the building. Hardaz goes to her support and they find themselves fighting four snake-men – two are large snakes with human arms, and the last has a thick snake body with human arms and head. They wear light armor and wield scimitars effectively. Hardaz is able to block a doorway until the rats are defeated. Lanliss and Bacon use acrobatics to get into the chamber and amid their foes. These turn out to be much stronger fighters than the troll & goblins, and the narrow spacing makes it a nastier fight. Merxif spends some time healing the wounded. Lanliss finds a secret door with spy-holes looking into the now empty rooms that once held many shelves or cupboards.

In the final part of the building Lanliss sees something move in the darkness, and he and Bacon move in, attacking two insectoid creatures. They knock one unconscious, and Hardaz enters to attack the second, fearful from their description that it’s a rust monster. He’s right! He and Lanliss are happy to land heavy blows without their weapons corroding before the aberrations can strike back. Their reaction speed has gone in their favour and they ascertain that the monsters have had their last metal meal. Unfortunately, there are only rust and corroded daggers remaining amid bones and clothing scraps.

Moving on to the next building, they find odd swirls on dusty floors and goblin tracks. Lanliss finds a small cloud of smoke lit by flickering lights moving about a room. His attempt at a surprise attack fails, and it tries to flow around him but he dodges. The others join him, finding weapon strikes to be effective at breaking it down. Seldrel realises that it is an ooze, and on defeat there is a brief, almost blinding blaze of sparkling magical fire, resembling a burning glitterdust spell.

The goblin tracks lead to a makeshift shrine to Maglubiyet (the main goblin deity) and two piles of stones. There is a faint glow in one and Seldrel detects magic from it. Lanliss carefully removes stones, revealing a blackened skull with faintly glowing eye-sockets. He lifts it out, almost dropping it as he finds its been anchored to the floor with a length of fine wire. Seldrel recognises a goblin skull-bomb, having been the victim of one before. When broken, the last person to touch it explodes in magical fire! They carefully place it in one of their magical bags.

A simple cross-bow trap is found and disarmed by Lanliss, and a broken door leads into an old storeroom with rotting furniture, lumps of cloth and possibly bodies. Everything glistens in the light and they recognise green slime. Lanliss enters with a torch to start burning it, and has some fall from the ceiling on to him. Seldrel quickly burns it, and they scrape the rest off before it eats through his jacket. Oil and fire quickly set the room ablaze. They retreat to find the smoke disturbing bats in an adjacent chamber. The vermin are as large as Merxif and aren’t ordinary, proven by their resistance to fire. Many are struck down as they try to bite the group and continue past them. A second wave of bats emerge followed by bulky rough-looking winged humanoids. The ‘Margoyles’ prove are tougher than the gargoyles previously fought, but Merxif weakens them with acid breath courtesy of his dragon orb.

Hardaz notes a wall that has been carved to look worn and cracked. Lanliss (invisible) scouts around it and finds a concealed, locked and trapped stone door. He picks the lock, disarms the trap and opens the door. He sees a metal cobra made of interlocking steel plates, taking up nearly half the chamber with its head about 8 feet above the floor and swaying from side to side. He notes a chest and other objects behind it. It seem to be aware that he is there. He backs off, looks around, tells the others then closes the door again. They spend some time planning and all position themselves just out of the way of the door. Wands are used to strengthen and toughen most of the group. Merxif uses a skull to summon a Dire Bear, then casts Bless and Prayer. Winter makes sure she has a line of sight to the chamber, Seldrel casts Haste, Lanliss opens the door and they both back up. The snake sways and Winter fires three arrows – all miss! The snake doesn’t react and Winter looks at it keenly. “I don’t think my arrows bounced, I’m sure they went straight into it and it didn’t react. I think it’s an illusion!”

Seldrel moves forward, casting Detect Magic and studies the chamber, while the snake continues to swing its head from side to side. There are multiple magic auras… one is illusion. Lanliss moves forward and joins the mage and both realise the snakes image has become translucent to them; they see the items piled at the back of the chamber through it. There is both amusement and relief amid the group. Lanliss steps into the chamber to look at the treasure and promptly has the ground collapse under him. The door and illusion have kept his attention from the concealed pit trap. Fortunately there aren’t spikes at the bottom. The others throw down a rope and help him climb out, not too badly wounded. He spikes the lid shut. The group is pleased to learn there are no further tricks or traps and recover quite a lot of gold coins, a few gems & jewellery, some small casks of oil, and a magical staff. They gather everything and head back up to the crafting halls to evaluate and recover.

Fals’Krag Session 42 – Cave and Temple

This session had all of my players attending, which was great of itself, but special because some of us still hadn’t seen each other for nearly a year. The session didn’t run any longer than normal, but as well as catching up on life in general, they worked their way through quite a bit of D&D!

I need to remember to take at least one photo during a session.

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(10th Sunsebb): Lanliss and Bacon check the closer southern tunnels finding small caves that appear to be goblin quarters. They make a fast search for valuables while the others make sure the goblins are dead and loot a few coins. Hardaz hears faint noises from the north and they all move forward as quietly as possible, glancing into adjacent passages and more small caves. Some of the walls seem smoothed by magic, and there are occasional traces of Suel runes. Seldrel surmises that they predate the goblins. They note the smell of smoke ahead. Lanliss moves forward as far as he can and still use his elf-sight. A chamber to the side has many boxes, but ahead in the dim light he sees a large cave and perhaps a dozen goblins. He retreats and the group make a plan – they line themselves in the passage with weapons ready, and wait for Bacon’s signal. He moves stealthily forward to the cave entrance, where he notices a trip wire, piles of rubble and what is likely a hidden pit. As well as many goblins, there is an other ogre in the cave and a large wolf. Bacon triggers a bright flash of light from his goggles blinding some of the closest goblins. He yells out to the others to watch for the trip wire right in front of him. Hardaz, and Boris make their way past him and begin to engage goblins. Merxif moves up and looks at the wire – it appears to be rigged to trip people, and not trigger another trap. Lanliss comes up and cuts it. Seldrel and Winter move up to provide ranged support. Many of the goblins fire arrows at the dwarves and Boris, while others with maces surround those in melee. Boris targets the ogre with his spell and is delighted when a fireball burns the ogre and knocks down many of the surrounding goblins. He, Bacon and Hardaz are also in the area of effect. Bacon avoids being burnt, though not the goblin he uses for cover. Hardaz and Boris take some damage from the fire. Boris manages to blind the ogre, though he has been hit by quite a few arrows. Merxif moves up to heal him before anything goes bad. Bacon trips a few goblins as he pummels those around him, and Hardaz, Lanliss and Summer finish them off. The rest of the group fire spells and arrows at goblins out of melee and are targeted in return by arrows. The blind ogre looks to be more of a threat to the goblins near him that the party and is downed before he can see again. The group block exit from the cave and steadily defeat the remaining goblins. Nearly everyone is wounded to some extent and Merxif channels healing energy to those who need it. Careful searching reveals a few more pit traps, and quarters for the goblins. A magical ring is claimed from the goblin leaders corpse and a nice selection of gems and coins are found. Seldrel is horrified to find the goblins had been burning books and scrolls, but salvages some with useful spells on them.

Many of the group are feeling a slight desire to go up through the mountain. It is similar to the pull they feel to explore when they spend days in town or in the crafting halls. They decide it doesn’t seem to be very defined in direction and do their best to ignore it for now.

At the end of the cliff path is what looks like a doorway blocked with rocks and bits of old timber. The dwarves take some time to clear it, finding a short passage and another blocked doorway. Behind this are stairs leading down westward into the cliff. Lanliss notes that they are not even, level or consistent, and must have been purposely carved that way. There are occasional faint Suel runes and what could be images of fangs. A crossroads with an open pit has images of mountains and cave entrances. Three short passages lead to doors – the southern is broken open, the northern jammed shut with pieces of the south door.

The southern chamber has three parts, with a smashed altar and open spiked pit (with a goblin skeleton). Suel inscriptions describe odd rituals, involving chains in darkness, deep pits, and flagellation. The western door opens into a three large three sectioned hall, each with a central pillar. An old goblin corpse lies at the base of the closest pillar, and some armoured skeletons are sighted to the sides. The group enters to fight them and are startled when a mummy emerges from another chamber at both ends of the hall. It becomes a difficult fight to defeat the undead, with fear paralysing two of the group, and Bacon, Hardaz and Summer all struck by the mummies. Thankfully, Bacon is unaffected by the rot that the other two suffer. Merxif heals those that he can, and struggles to remove the curse on owl and dwarf. The group search the crypts looting some treasure and decide to camp here for the night with the door spiked shut.

11th Having rested Merxif is able to remove the curse on Summer, and then negate the disease part of the rot. Winter restores her companion’s strength. The desire to move towards the surface is stronger and felt by all.

12th Hardaz finally has his affliction negated, and is healed. The group check the last door, finding within a chamber with intact altar and short mounds of quivering flesh. As Lanliss looks around, the flesh blobs extend arms and form distorted faces. They cause minor damage to those that enter to fight, but are resistant to fire, and take reduced damage from the groups weapons. Seldrel determines that these are minor demons – lemurs – that can be changed or promoted into more powerful forms. The altar is marked with the image of a set of fangs, with the walls have phrases that speak of discovering secrets in darkness, finding riches in caves, and gaining knowledge by eating your enemies. Merxif and Seldrel decide this is a temple and crypt for Beltar, an evil Suel deity of malice, caves and pits.

The group are happy to leave, heading straight towards the crafting hall, where they find they still feel the pull to go “up”. They do so, exiting the Hold and head towards the graveyard, with the compulsion beginning to fade away. As they approach they sight three human youths on the path. The trio from Falsford are curious about what the group has seen and fought. They also pay close attention to what each of the party carries and wears. Hardaz is becoming rather suspicious, and Boris who had dropped back as they approached, ducks into the long grass and moves around behind them. One of them suddenly points to a figure moving through the graveyard, and yells “the Vampire!”. All three bolt down the road heading back towards town. The group recognise Robann Falshandren, who seems pleased to have startled the “rascals” who have been hanging around a bit recently. He greets the party, and explains that he wanted to see them. They have committed themselves to locating his grandson, and in recognition of their efforts, he has relaxed the compulsion on them to explore the Krag. They should find they have more time to rest, study and prepare between bouts of exploration. After some further discussion they part, looking forward to a lunch that isn’t rations in town.

At the gate, a laughing guard asks if they have any statues to declare, while a second tells Lanliss that a bird left a message for him. A scroll (delivered yesterday) describes the group, and asks for Lanliss to visit Kevelli when they are in town again.

Fals’Krag Session 41 – Bugbears and Goblins

Covid-19 restrictions were greatly relaxed here just before Christmas – meaning I got to celebrate with my whole family. On New Year’s Eve, a small group of my mates got together (first time since March for most of us) and caught up.

We also played a ‘modern’ Call of Cthulhu game – the PC’s were all characters from “Scooby Doo” and the adventure was U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (D&D), converted to the CoC 1980’s on the coast of Maine, USA. We had a lot of fun: by the end of the night Velma was badly wounded, Scooby was very paranoid, Shaggy extremely obsessive, and Fred confused. (I may have insanity and characters mixed up.) They didn’t actually meet the smugglers (which probably would have killed someone at that point), but found drugs and Canadian whiskey being smuggled down the coast, and the body of the house owner missing for twenty years! I’ll post the character sheets and adventure notes up on my resources page when I have some time.

Last weekend we managed to get together again. With five of my seven players available, we restarted my mega-dungeon. I summarised the previous session, and people tried to remember what their characters can do. It was a great restart (particularly the moment when the dragon arrived) and we are playing again tonight – I think with everyone!

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(10th Sunsebb): Coming out of the building they sight some morlocks. Lanliss, Bacon and Hardaz move to attack them, but they retreat into the ruins. As the group moves forward, they are fired on by bugbears with crossbows from the roofs of buildings on both sides of the street. Merxif begins to summon a tiger on top of a nearby building and Winter fires back. The dwarves and Lanliss move into the lower levels to fight the morlocks. The tiger appears, leaping into one group of bugbears as Summer flies over to attack the same group. Seldrel casts a fireball on the second group, knocking some of them unconscious and wounding the others. Seldrel notes a large black shape approaching from the east rapidly and yells out a warning in elvish about the approaching dragon. The first group of bugbears are now all dead or unconscious, and the last two of the second also see the dragon. They jump down from the back of the building and Merxif sends the tiger after them. The large black dragon swoops down and spits acid at Seldrel who has been flying just above the street. He’s badly wounded and dives down into the building they emerged from. Merxif reveals his dragon orb and suggests that the dragon is tired – it needs to go home and sleep. With the morlocks finished off, the rest of the group come out to see the dragon retreating back to the eastern lake!

Merxif heals Seldrel and they quickly head into the next building, with Lanliss scouting invisibly. There are two bugbears and some more morlocks. The morlocks attempt to ambush the dwarves as they enter only to have Lanliss appear behind them. The fight doesn’t last long. The rest of the building is searched. A ladder leads to the roof through a large hole, and there are signs the bugbears have been staying here recently. This block of the ruins clear, they decided to head to the west edge of the cavern, and search the buildings there.

Some snakes, a gelatinous cube, damaged statues and a few gargoyles are the inhabitants of the first set of buildings. While in good condition on the outside, the interiors are badly damaged with missing walls, rubble and many cobwebs, except for where the cube has obviously been. Behind these buildings a narrow path ascends the cliff and cave entrances can be seen. The first few are little more than shallow holes with signs of bats, rats and beetles. Higher up, two wider entrances show signs of use. Lanliss scouting ahead hears indistinct voices. Invisible, he finds six goblins waiting just inside the first cave. Prepared, the dwarves rush up and in to attack, followed by Lanliss, while the rest place themselves on the cliff path with a view inside. The goblins are tough like those from caves in the cliff to the north. Some more goblins come from further in the cave to fight, while two more and an ogre leave the other cave. Seldrel catches these on the path with a grease spell. He and Merxif hold them back, striking them as they fall and try to stand again. Winter is in a position to pick off wounded goblins with arrows, and Hardaz finishes off the Ogre.