Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tomb of the Serpent Kings Sessions 2

So the GM was down with a cold and I replaced him again, continuing the Tomb of the Serpent Kings by Skerples.  The first session is here.  

Not only did the 4 payers return, 3 more added themselves.  As Argus the Charming Envoy died last time, the replacement PC brought friends with him!

The original crew:

Elrond, a Low Elf knight and historian.  I informed the player that low elves are still much better than humans, and he proceeded to roll better stats than anyone else

Smartas, the human Illusionist.  Has a fear of cheese.   The new player, sarcastic but momentarily out of inspiration, came up with this fetching name.  We grabbed random miniatures and hers was much bigger than the others so it was agreed that this was an unfortunate residual illusion that had never left her, and she appeared to be 7 feet tall.  Also has the most HP in the party. 

Twitch the human thief.  Rolled 10 in every stats except 12 in con and 8 in charisma.  The perfect "this is a playable character".  An ex brigand, a bit dubious about the whole affair.

The new PCs - an arcane heavy group.

Gildorf the dwarven Summoner.  The leader of the newcomers.  Here to kill goblin. (player used to be Argus).  Not the best entities but good hp at least.

Trogdor the human fighter:  World weary.  Had ok-ish stats but chose human to reroll strength and got 10 instead of 5.  Playable character!  The muscle of the group.  

Min the gnome.  A garden mage with mediocre stats.  Player was enamored with the invisibility power, also plays a druid in the main game so... a bit of a match.  Got magic missile as a spell!

Sabriel the Elven Necromancer.  A new player, very excited to explode corpses.


Dwane:  a rock, and Chuck:  A fellow rock

Greg the priest:  Good at providing moral advice, holding torches, and funerals.  Follower of Trodgor.

Argus:  An antling corpse

Still dismayed by the death of Argus, the party was started by the arrival of a torch bearing dwarf - with company.  They had been hired by someone to take out the goblins in this tomb.  Elrond protested - there were no goblins here! The dwarf, Gildorf, realized that the job-giver did kind of look like 3 short people in a trench-coat... but he didn't share his misgivings.  

Tensions were high, and a few threats were exchanged - the newcomers didn't want to share the goblin reward (100 gold!) and Elrond, Twich and Smartas didn't want to share the treasure... so after some time  (and an attempt to bribe the fighter Trogdor into switching sides!), an agreement was reached to share both sources of founds - seemed fair.

Argus's loot was divided.  Twitch grabbed most of the supplies.  Trogdor grabbed the great-axe.  Sabriel, the elven mage, was *very* happy to take Argus'corpse along.  For... later burial, yes, that was it.  Greg, the priest, said this was very devout.  

The newcomers decided that they too needed a rock, and picked up one, calling it Chuck.  

They poked around in the murky water of the pit, and could tell there was *something* down there. but no one wanted to actually go *swim* in the foul-smelling water, so it was left unexplored.

The doors radiating around the pool were explored, and some tombs were looted.  One tomb was partially collapsed, and noises could be heard on the other side.  The party decided to leave it alone.  Other doors were left alone for now, and then forgotten following other discoveries.  In one room a fairly valuable silver statue was found (20 gold!) and the group was heartened a bit.

The next door led to a set of stairs - opening it had let loose a faint but definitely there air current.  They carefully made their way down and.... click.  The stairs turned into a chute!  With blades at the bottom!  The party managed to avoid serious injury.  Sabriel, and Min the gnome, had been in the back and had not been caught by the trap.  Not sure how to avoid the blades, they decided to use Argus' corpse as a toboggan, sliding down the chute and letting the body take the bulk of the damage!  Argus was looking mangled indeed, oozing fluids.  Greg looked green.

The party barely had the time to collect themselves when they were confronted by an enormous stone statue!  The large room had shields surrounding it, and the snake-man statue summoned one of these shields to its arm. Trogdor and Elrond engaged the construct, with Twich helping somewhat reluctantly.  Greg, the priest screamed in fear and froze in place, too afraid to even run away.  The warriors dodged enormous blows from the statue, doing limited damage in return.

Meanwhile, Gildorf noted that Smartas had a bow.  He summoned a magical arrow head that he quickly attached to an arrow, and Smartas let a perfectly aimed shot - that took off half the statue's head off!  The arrowhead was mighty indeed.  This was followed by the small gnome letting loose a mighty bolt of magic, finishing off the stone foe.  The newcomers had magical might!  ... and had expended most of it.

DM's note:  that was one heck of a critical by Smartas.  I should have had the statue use the shield to absorb damage but... I forgot.  Ah well.

Twich discovered that the shields were held up by silver wire - 2 more gp of treasure!  Some of the shields were found to be in ok-ish condition, and were grabbed for defense, although Trogdor decided to stick with the great axe.

Beyond this room, opened an immense chasm, shrouded in darkness.   Throwing rocks down there showed that is was probably several hundred feet deep, at the very least.  A somewhat navigable path followed the ledge of this chasm.  The party followed it.  First they found a door - but it was barred.  No apparent way to go by it.  Twitch, having heard of the gnome's power to turn invisible, wondered if the gnome would also be *intangible*.  Min grudgingly obliged, and was shoved into the stone door enthusiastically by Twich.  He was not intangible.  The party moved on, with the gnome muttering.

Then they found some strange rocky outcropping.  Gildorf used his dwarven knowledge to identify these as cave barnacles, a sedentary but extremely dangerous species of predators.  They made a delicious stew, but it was said that only the greatest of dwarven champion had a hope of defeating one.  the party threw Chuck at the barnacles... only to have it swallowed *extremely* quickly, then spat out a few moments later into the chasm... When fire was suggested, Gildorf noted that *dragon* fire would indeed do the trick... so the party turned back, and were relieved to see that the stairs turned chute had converted back to stairs.  Carefully avoiding the trapped step, they made their way back to the central room with the murky water.

They took a hallway from the pool-room they hadn't explored  yet.  It led to a rectangular room filled with harmless clay statues.  They found a secret passage within said room, that lead to another large room, shrouded in darkness - their torches insufficient to illuminate all of it.  Some pillars could be seen, and shuffling and clinking could be heard... was some vast beast hidden by the gloom?  Was the clinking caused by a chain?  More alarmingly,  a small statue was found nearby... it was very life like, looking like some sort of deformed goblin.  Was this beast able to petrify things?  A gorgon?  A basilisk? A medusa?  Would a mirror help?  How about closing your eyes?

Sabriel had the solution!  She would vanquish the monster with a potent spell! ... she just needed Argus' corpse.  Despite the priest's protest, the plan was eagerly agreed upon.  With a great heave, the corpse was flung into the gloom.   After some time, sniffing, then eating sounds were heard.  Using the crunching to pinpoint the corpse, Sabriel unleash her spell, and poor Argus wetly exploded.  The beast let out an outraged roar, and backed off... hurt, but clearly very much alive.  

(DM note:  rolled a 4 on damage... clearly not enough).

What to do.  The party got the impression that the beast couldn't go very far south.  So they sent Twich, alone, IN THE DARK in that direction.  Following the wall with his hand and cursing his companions silently, he was able to detect an open passageway to the south.  He, somehow, returned unharmed.  

But how to move the entire party safely, unseen.... a plan was concocted.  They would tie blankets to a wooden frame (there were saplings outside, and they had an axe) and shield themselves from the dangerous glare of the petrifying beast, and reach the passageway!  That thing, whatever it was, would not stop them from finding the riches!

And the session ended.  However, this is not the end, as we are playing again soon!

IMPRESSIONS:   This was a challenging session due to seven players and bad allergies, but we still had fun.  The "fake" tomb was over and things got interesting.   The glog is definitely a good system for newcomers and casual games.

Specific complaints:  as mentioned earlier, the double room references keeps being a pain (mainly because the quick reference contains info not in the main description).   

Room 12 has a scroll of the spell "eye venom" - but this spell isn't in the game.  Now I can certainly make something up, but as this is supposed to be a teaching dungeon, I'm not sure it belongs... 

The Cave Barnacle as a "you can't go this way" signal was... not quite right.  The party saw it as an obstacle to overcome.  Eventually they got the hint.  

A bit more clarity as to the reach of the basilisk on its chain would have been nice.  I improvised, but I don't know if it was the best solution.