SS Week 9 – watch your step

13 October, 2011

A full table last night. Great game – went late, but didn’t feel late. Mind you, that may be because my sleeping cycles are shot to hell at the moment. Oh, and its the first week of daylight savings.

God dammit! I am still a virgin. Nearly killed two characters but they just slipped away – one with the aid of these utterly bogus “action points”. Not that I’m complaining about them when I’m playing.

Anyway. Nearly killed two characters, and forced Tim to burn all of Joseph’s action points.

Oh – last week totally forgot to mention M’Bongo’s prehensile hair. Andrew is getting a little jack of his character, so the good doctor may be copping it soon.

Our heroes continue to debate and discuss the four strange monoliths and their clue.

They discuss it at amazing length, really kicking back and discussing it over their meal – a strange dish of flatbread, cheese, and sea creatures. Eventually Alison (the bigot) leaves, and they get down to business. Mephisto’s holy water bottle will serve as a “container of purest metal”. M’Bongo can summon a viper to provide the serpent’s kiss. The blood of a thinking creature is provided by Barmy, who harvests some from Joshua. And the final bit … shit, is everyone going to have to traipse back to the caves of the mother? No! Vick has written it down! The lord’s sacred name is “Ydersius”.

Boom! Flash! Kapow! Everyone is deafened for a minute, and the entire inlet drains, leaving some pools and some rocks conveniently placed for to jump between. And a ship. And some doors.

The “purest metal” threw them. The serpentfolk, it seems, were all about bone, stone, leather and wood – metal being this strange alien stuff. That’s my impression, anyway. A metal helmet would have sufficed. A pot made of tin.

Exposed Rocks
Seaweed, sea urchins of all colors, bright green anemones, scuttling kelp crabs, and bare rock glisten here, laid bare to the sky by the unnaturally low tide.
The Salty Strumpet
The front two-thirds of a wrecked ship lies upon the rocks here, its bow mostly submerged but its ruined midsection propped up on a ridge of slimy rock. The sides of the wreck are thick with seaweed and barnacles, and dozens of crabs clatter around on deck.

They head to the ship, to start with. It’s inhabited by an odd creature. Ekubus, who styles himself captain of his sunken ship. He had been there for many tides, many moons. But tides this low! There was one only a few days ago. A strange person walked across to the doors – she had a snake’s head and tail. Ekubus left her alone.

He has one of his crew – a starfish – pipe them ashore. As they leave, he is flogging one of the sea-urchins for insubordination, using a strip of seaweed.

And so to the doors.

Temple Doors
Two stone doors stand open at the base of this cliff above a curling spur of rock. Seaweed covers the doors, hanging down in thick green and black sheets, just obscuring some sort of carvings on their surface.

The heavily carved doors are wide open, and as the party waits for Alison to get a clue and rejoin them, they remove some of the seaweed and barnacles on the outside of the doors to reveal images of vampiric demons feeding on serpent people. Inside is stairs leading upward.

Alison arrives and they head inward, passing a water mark on the stone. Even if the inlet refloods, they will not drown in here. Of course, getting out may be another matter.

Over a dozen stone pillars support this cavernous chamber’s sixty-foot-high vaulted ceiling. To the north, four empty alcoves sit in the walls, their edges carved to resemble yawning, fanged mouths. To the south, a pair of bronze doors that seem to drip with blood sit under a stone bridge that passes through the upper portion of the room from east to west forty feet above. The walls are decorated with unsettling carvings of bats, human sacrifice, and the walking dead. The dismembered, skeletal bodies of three humans lie scattered on the floor of this chamber.

They enter a large chgamber, 80′ high.There is much to see, but no time to see it, because something is throwing javelins at them! On an overhead walkway 40′ above, a pair of skeletal serpentfolk – ancient guardians (and what ancient temple does not have such?) are attacking. Vick throws bombs. Barmy runs forward to the pillars supporting the walkway and attempts to climb them, with amusing results. After a few moments, everyone is either hiding under the walkway or behind a pillar. The skeletons – mindless undead – simply step off the walkway. Injured but not destroyed by the fall, they continue to attack, and the party dismembers them.

With six characters, I ought to pump up the numbers by 1/2. I should have made it three skeletons. Meh.

They explore. The walkway above has doors at either end. Behind the east one is a corridor – at least 50′. Behind the other is a room, its walls covered with indecipherable writing.

The chamber has a similar door at ground level. The one at ground level seems to be dripping with blood. Vick determines that the blood is a conjuration, not simply some illusion. It’s real … but evaporates a few moments after it is conjured. But still …

Naaaaah – his arcana check was not good enough for me to tell him the other thing.

There are four alcoves, which Joshua investigates. One has a trapdoor, which he is unable to open. One has a lever which, in an unusual display of good judgment, he does not pull.

Barmy opens the trapdoor. It was stuck, but moves more freely now. Below is … some odd rock formation: something covered with cavey rock accretions. And briefly … the sound of bones (!). He calls for more light, but they can determine little more. The sound – whatever it was – is no longer there.

They elect not to descend. Instead, they decide to climb to the walkway and head west to the room with the writing, leaving poor Dr M’Bongo and spiky (who does not climb rope, sadly) to fend for themselves and deal with the rear door.

Oh: and Joshua does pull the lever. But nothing appears to happen.

Bits of bone and fragments of wood lie scattered through this room. The walls are carved with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of strange runes interspersed with the periodic image of a stylized rune that looks like a fanged skull.
Priest Cells
Bare alcoves line the walls of this hallway, each containing a scattering of wood and cloth fragments. A larger empty chamber lies ahead.

The party begin to assemble and investigate, but in a few moments skeletons begin coming out of doors to the north of the room they are in. There’s a fight. M’Bongo discovers that behind the lower door is a passage that leads up to the scriptorum, so it’s all in. These skeletons are not nearly as tough as the serpentfolk warriors, and are quickly dealt with.

One of the party – Mephisto or Vick, probably – recognises this odd fanged-skull rune. It’s a symbol of Azura: ancient demon god of vampirism and cannibalism. But they are not able to make much sense of the writings. The passages where the skeletons came out from – the priest cells – are bare and empty.

This horrid mass of eyes, mouths, and formless flesh stares in all directions, its countless maws yammering ceaselessly.

And so to the west. A long east-west corridor to the south is interrupted by a pit trap, which no-one is caught by. A fifteen-foot wide, 30′ deep interruption in the corridor. Vick cunningly notes that the rough stonework of the pit is very much like the space under the trapdoor in the alcove. They discuss what to do. As they stand around discussing, something oozes out of a passage – a living nightmare.

So, naturally Barmy jumps straight into the pit. The fight goes badly.

Six attacks per round. Grab. Con damage. Swallow whole. A free ranged touch once per round that blinds.

I told Tim: if Barmy dies, he deserves it.

I screwed up playing a monster with multiple attacks that grapples. It should have gotten all of it’s natural attacks per round. One to maintain the grapple. And five to attempt to swallow.

The monster glorps all over him. His companions attempt to help, but the thing shoots acid at their faces, blinding them. The alchemist gets a shot in, but is quickly blinded and unable to lob mossiles at it without hitting Barmy. M’Bongo has Alison lower him down the pit – she, being blinded, can just hang onto the rope and hope that he knows what he is doing. But the thing soon blinds him, too.

Joseph bolts off full tilt onto the dark alone, down unexplored corridors in a dungeon that we have already established is trapped, hoping to find that the corridors go all the way around to the back edge of the pit. In his haste, he falls down another pit! And at the bottom of this one are a pair of tiny doll-like monsters made of bones.

So Joseph, the halfling, decides to run full tilt, alone, . Perception check? Nope. Reflex save? Oops.

Another “dude, if your character dies, he totally deserves it”.

Joseph yells as he hits the floor of the pit, the sound communicated to his comrades by small passages in the rock. Some of them bolt after him.

One of the dolls hits him with a Cause Serious Wounds spell, nearly killing him. The other fumbles the attack, but is still holding the spell ready. Joseph falls unconscious as his companions round the corner. The doll holding the spell levitates out of the pit to deal with them, as the first doll attempts to cut Joseph’s throat. But, drawing on that strange reserve of luck that the gods give to particulary brave and talented individuals, Joseph is not killed outright.

A bit of a mix-up: we retconned Joseph’s will save against the Cause Serious Wounds. Without that, he would be dead a couple of times over. But he was knocked unconscious eventually, alone at the bottom of a 30′ pit, with a hostile construct attempting to CDG him.

Around this time, Vick regains the use of his sight and sets the monster in the first pit on fire. The creature, tempted as it is to attack Barmy again, flees to find water to quench the flame. As it squeezes into a small passage in the rock, Barmy gets a final swing at it and this time it’s good. The thing is scattered into fragments and the fragments cease moving.

Barmy climbs out of the pit, and elects to jump it to run to Joseph’s aid – running full-tilt, alone, along unexplored passages in a dungeon which we have already established is trapped.

For fuck’s sake.

Bit he gets lucky – the passage between himself and the pit in which Joseph has gotten himself into a predicament is mercifully untrapped. It’s a narrow thing, but the party manage to kill both dolls before either dispatches Joseph.

Vick determines, on inspection, that these things were constructs. Inside each is a biggish ruby that is clearly magical.

The party elect to rest a few hours and recuperate in an ancient trapped an occupied dungeon. During the “night”,

Oh, right. We haven’t played that bit yet.

Very fun.

Dealing with captain Ekubus – 800
Serpentfolk skeletons – 1200
Regular skels – 810
Pit traps – 800
Soulbound dolls – 1200
Gibbering mouther – 1600

5610/6 = 935. A nice chunk of change.

Vick: 4141
M’Bongo: 4626
Joseph: 4408
Barmy: 4031
Mephisto: 4376
Kate: 3768

Everyone is level 3

SS Week 8 – wet feet and bigots in Mexico

6 October, 2011

It’s all a little hazy, I’m afraid, because of the D&D overload.

The party left behind the NPCs to work on the lighthouse (except for Gelik, who insisted on coming) and went to investigate the red mountain.

They found a gorge with a structure matching the place described in that ancient temple thingy.

Encountered and killed a giant, winged chucacabra.

The trail down into the gorge sort of petered out at the waters edge. The new hire – Alison – is adamant that this ancient ritual not be spoken.

They summon a dolphin, or something. Under the water is a ship, a big shark, and some kind of non-natural stone structure.

SS Week 7a – XP

30 September, 2011

We are returning to Smuggler’s Shiv this week. I’ll start Dave’s character on 2300 xp, which is halfway to 3rd level and just behind Vick (Brett’s character)

UPDATE: oops! That puts him in front of barmy. Cant have that! We’ll make it an even 2000.

Vick: 2376
M’Bongo: 2859
Joseph: 2640
Barmy: 2263
Mephisto: 2608
Kate: 2000

4 tribeswomen – 600
2 festrogs – 800
6 lacedons – 2400
MT – 1200

Vick: 3209
M’Bongo: 3691 PING!
Joseph: 3473 PING!
Barmy: 3096
Mephisto: 3441 PING!
Kate: 2833