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.
= = = = = = =
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.