B1 (and B2) with C&C

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Philotomy Jurament
Posts: 428
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 7:00 am

B1 (and B2) with C&C

Post by Philotomy Jurament »

The PCs:

Coral (Human Fighter)

Shump (Half-Orc Fighter)

Raiden (Human Wizard)

Bellon (Human Cleric)

Shadow (Human Thief)

What has gone on before:

The PCs played through several adventures, already. Some low-level homebrew stuff, culminating in a slightly beefed-up Beacon at Enon Tor. In the "beacon" adventure, they successfully rescued the wizard, Karthedon, from his unfortunate mishap. He richly rewarded them, and also became a sort of patron, mentoring the wizard, Raiden. Karthedon gave them a map to the secret stronghold, Quasqueton, rumored to be long-abandoned by its owners, Zelligar and Roghan. Karthedon asked the PCs to locate any spell books, scrolls, or wondrous artifacts that Zelligar may have hidden in the place. Karthedon would pay them a small amount for these things, and any other treasures were theirs to keep. (Obviously, Raiden, as his student, would share in the benefits Karthedon gleaned from any arcane lore that was unearthed.)

The PCs set off for Quasqueton, which the map showed as being located miles to the north, on the fringe of civilized territory. There were no settlements nearby, only a lonely borderland keep. [Yes, this is *the* Keep on the Borderlands -- Quasqueton is placed at the location of the "Cave of the Unknown."]

The PCs established a "home base" at the keep, and then used their map to travel through the wilds and locate Quasqueton. During their journey, the came across a patrol of orcs that was burning down a tree. The tree proved to be home of some fey twik-men [the twik-men name is stolen from Jack Vance. I made them tiny faerie men, like miniature gnomes, that can ride on large dragonflies, etc. Inspiration from the B1 "Players Background" illustration.] Shump, normally NOT the party spokesman, took the lead in this encounter, talking with and distracting the orcs while Shadow secretly flanked them. By keeping their faces hidden with hoods or under helms, and with Shump speaking orcish, the PCs got quite close before the suspicious, but uncertain, orcs decided these strangers were definitely enemies. The PCs won the battle, and the grateful twik men told them rumors of a "shrine of chaos" in a valley to the northeast [the Caves of Chaos], that the cave they sought was due north [the Cave of the Unknown], and gifted them each with an enchanted wild rose grown at the tops of the tallest pines. [The roses mark them as faerie-friends, and give them a +1 blessing for 1-2 days.]

The PCs proceeded to the "Cave of the Unknown" and entered. They were startled by the magic mouths, but were pleased at the confirmation that they had, indeed, found the stronghold of Zelligar and Roghan. They investigated the battle scene at the intersection; while doing so, they were surprised by some monstrous spiders [wandering monster]. After a short battle, they proceeded west and then south, eventually discovering a webbed section of hallway and a corridor which made an inward spiral, around and around. They came on more monstrous spiders, and at the center of the spiral, a huge mother-spider in her sticky lair. The battle was very tough, but the PCs triumphed. They had to use many of their healing spells and potions after the combat.

The PCs then backtracked to explore a corridor they had bypassed, earlier. This one led to a fantastic, overgrown fungal garden in a huge L-shaped chamber. Incongruously, a laden pack-mule slowly shuffled towards them from out of the forest of fungus. Shadow cautiously approach the beast, but as soon as he got close, a fleshcrawler burst out in a splatter of gore, and attacked. The rest of the PCs rushed forward to aid their comrade. The resulting action stirred up great clouds of spores, making breathing difficult, but the PCs defeated the nasty thing. The PCs didn't fully explore the chamber, but did note that some intelligent being seemed to have cut pieces of some fungus off in square-like chunks [a band of kobolds deeper in the complex has been harvesting fungus for food].

THIS SESSION (Saturday, April 21, 2007)

The PCs cleaned up and healed the most wounded individuals in the group, then decided to go back to the "battle intersection" near the entrance of the complex and explore the eastern passage. Putting this plan into action, they retraced their steps and then carefully proceeded down the eastern corridor, which almost immediately turned south. They followed it south as far as they could. At this point, the passage made a turn to the east, again. The dust, here, was thick, and was only disturbed along the edges of the corridor (rats and other vermin sticking close to the wall). They continued to the east, eventually finding the end of the corridor, where two wooden doors pierced the north wall of the passage. Listening at both portals, the PCs heard nothing. However, the easternmost door had a rat-hole chewed in its base, near the door-frame. The PCs shone a lantern in the hole, but couldn't make out much other than a dusty stone floor.

Coral tried opening the door, which was stuck fast. When her attempt failed, Shump threw his massive frame against the portal, which smashed open with a shriek of tortured hinges. Within, the party found a dust-shrouded bedchamber, complete with a fancy canopy bed, framed tapestry, mirror, chest of drawers, water basin, et cetera. Markings in the dust showed that rodents had been through the room, especially around the bed and water basin, but other than that, the room looked long undisturbed. The PCs dispersed throughout the chamber, examining its various features. It soon became apparent that this was a woman's bedchamber; one "Melissa," apparently the paramour if Roghan. Not much of value was discovered, and the PCs were frustrated in their attempt to detach the tapestry from the wall. Eventually Coral used her dagger to cut it out of the frame, which freed it, but caused all the edges to become loose and frayed, probably diminishing its value. The mirror was removed from the wall and laid on the bed. When the PCs did this, they heard a burst of rustling from within the mattress, as if some creature was moving inside it. The rustling quickly stopped. "Rats," said Raiden, "They've probably built a nest in the mattress." Shadow began sticking his sword in the mattress and shaking it.

To everyone's surprise, the creature that rushed out the other side of the mattress wasn't a rat, but instead a large snake (which had hunted down and killed the rodents that used to live here). The snake raced along the wall, apparently heading for the rat-hole in the door. Bellon cut off the reptile's escape, and it coiled and reared into a defensive position, fangs at the ready. Shadow approached and had at the serpent with his sword; he killed it, but it stuck and bit his forearm before it died. Luckily, its venom was not lethal: it was painful and made his arm sore, but Shadow suffered no other ill effects. [Had this game been run under Basic D&D, Shadow probably would have died, here. This was true of two party members when they fought the "momma" giant spider as well. C&C is much more forgiving when it comes to poison.]

After the excitement the serpent caused, the PCs returned to searching the chamber. Coral got out a hammer and began tapping the walls. [I rolled for wandering monsters, but nothing...] She located a hollow-sounding section in the north wall; suspecting a secret door, the PCs started trying to open the portal. They attempted all manner of things, pushing, pulling, et cetera -- nothing worked. Finally, Coral got out an iron spike and began probing the mortared joints, intending on removing one or more masonry blocks [she was dead-set on getting through!]. I said that as she began, she noticed a small, un-mortared spot in one joint. She slid her spike into the cavity, and there was a rough grating noise as the wall began to pivot. [I have been slowly moving away from dice rolls for many perception-type activities. I still use them for some things, but I've become a big fan of having the PCs tell me how and where they are searching, and deciding the results of their search largely based on their described actions. I use die rolls, too, just not as much as I used to.]

Shining in a lantern, the PCs saw a dust-carpeted hallway. The dust here was very thick and completely undisturbed; nothing had walked here in years, not even rodents. Following the secret passage, their footsteps stirring up puffs of dust, they came upon the blank masonry wall at the other end. A quick search turned up another gap in the mortar, so the PCs [correctly] assumed that the passage ended in a second secret door.

Rather than continue their exploration in this direction, the PCs decided to return to the long east/west corridor and check the door just to the west. After forcing the door, which was also stuck, they followed another passage that went north, then back west, and then back to the south. They checked out what was apparently a storage room off of this corridor: it held a carpenters' bench, some rusting tools, and several pieces of crude, but serviceable, furniture (tables, chairs, stools, etc). Deciding the secret passage they discovered held more promise, the party returned to Melissa's bedchamber and re-entered it. They opened the second secret door at its north end, and found themselves in another bedchamber.

This room was very different from any other they had seen so far. For one, it walls were constructed in curves, instead of straight lines. Also, the walls were paneled with vertical wooden slats. Aside from four large and heavy tapestries depicting the deeds of a warrior (obviously Roghan), the furnishings were relatively spartan. A large bed was positioned against the east wall. Along the wall next to the bed stood a closed wardrobe, and a wooden stool sat in front of the wardrobe doors. There were no obvious exits from the chamber, and dust covered all the surfaces.

At the beginning of the adventure, the PCs had heard a rumor of a fabulous gem worth 100,000 gold pieces that was hidden in Roghan's bedchambers. This rumor prompted the PCs to make an extremely careful search of the place, including prying wooden slats off the walls, cutting open the feather mattress, et cetera. Their search proved fruitless, other than discovering two hollow-sounding sections where they suspected secret doors of some sort: one on the west wall, and one on the south wall. They decided to investigate the south wall, first. A thorough search uncovered a stone button, flush with the wall. When the paneling was still up, it would have been covered, but might have still been operable if the panel had a protuberance on its under-side (one would then push the panel to activate the button). They readied for action and then pushed the button. They heard a loud click and thump from the wall, but nothing else happened. Releasing the button caused another clicking noise. They repeated this several times. Finally, Coral pushed the button and Shump pushed on the wall at the same time. With a raspy grating noise, the wall pivoted to reveal a large, dark space beyond.

Holding up a torch and a lantern, the PCs looked through the secret doorway into a vast hall or throne-room of some sort. The floor was covered with large pieces of slate laid out in a checkerboard pattern, with colors of rusty red and dark gray. They were at the western end of the hall, where two white marbles thrones were positioned on a red granite dais. The hall extended to the east and into the shadows at the edge of the light, and echoed like a very large space. Red granite pillars could be seen, stretching up to the vaulted ceiling. Oddly, there was little dust, here, save along the edges of the walls. The secret door stood side-on to the two thrones, but the PCs could still make out two human-sized forms sitting in the chairs. They cautiously edged into the chamber, moving for a better angle.

Seated on the thrones were two corpses, both in tattered and rotting finery. The corpses sat rigidly, with closed eyes. After some whispered debate, Shadow decided to approach the thrones for a better look. Bellon the Cleric accompanied him. Torch in one hand and sword in the other, Shadow crept forward with Bellon a step behind and the other PCs kept watch on the figures and on the darkness at the far end of the hall.

Shadow reached the raised granite platform, where he noted some steps leading up to the thrones. The platform was about five feet high. There was no movement from the figures. The corpses appeared desiccated and sunken-cheeked, and didn't move. They looked more like mummified bodies than like zombies. Shadow cautiously started up the steps.

The moment his foot touched the first granite step, the corpses' eyes flew open, revealing shiny black orbs with orange irises. Shadow gasped and thrust with his sword as the undead creatures leapt to the attack. He managed to wound one in the shoulder, and a dark and sticky ichor oozed from the wound. Talon-like hands with long, black-encrusted nails ripped at his flesh. Sword, torch, and armor helped him avoid major injury, but one clawed hand raked across his exposed cheek. Shadow felt a horrible peacefulness descend upon him, even as he looked into the disgusting mouth lowering towards his neck. He couldn't move, and seemed to be falling into the orange-flecked pits the horror used for eyes. [These are ghouls that enjoy some special protections from their position on the throne dais and their proximity to the complex's evil shrine. Shadow failed a saving throw vs. paralysis.]

With cries of alarm that echoed through the hall, the other PCs came to Shadow's aid. Two fiery darts trailing sparks flew through the air [magic missiles], impacting on the breast of the ghoul who clutched at Shadow. However, Raiden gave horrified gasp as his spell seemed to fracture and burst into a cloud of black cinders. The ghoul appeared to have suffered no injury. [While on the platform, the ghouls are immune to magic missiles from lower level casters, as well as normal missiles.] Bellon was closest, and he raised his holy symbol and shouted words of divine command at the undead. He felt power thrum up his arm, but he also felt a foul, evil force that seemed like an unholy shield protecting the ghouls. They laughed at him. [The ghouls enjoy immunity from turn undead from lower level clerics.] Shump moved forward to attack, and Coral ran forward and grabbed the paralyzed thief's legs, but one ghoul still gripped Shadows arms and shoulder, trying to lift him as she pulled him down.

Bellon, angered by his failure to turn the ghouls, pulled out his mace and attacked. Blows rained down on him, but his heavy armor and shield served him well; he wasn't touched. Unfortunately, he also failed to deal a telling blow with his mace; he connected, but not solidly. This was not the case with Shump, who ascended the steps in a bound and whipped his morningstar into the head of the ghoul holding Shadow, using all the might in his massive and muscular frame. The ghoul's head exploded in a shower of black, foul smelling gore and bone fragments. Shadow fell to the floor, and Coral rapidly dragged him away.

As the fight continued, a crashing boom [door being thrown open] from the far end of the hall echoed through the chamber. Raiden, who was looking that way, gave a cry of "More undead!" and started invoking the words of another spell. Eight robed skeletons bearing wickedly curved swords lurched towards the melee. At their head, another robed ghoul, this one in an elaborate priestly headdress of some sort, led the charge. Raiden's bolt of acid [acid arrow] missed this ghoul, but struck a skeleton beyond him; the undead collapsed in a heap of disintegrating bones. Coral left the paralyzed Shadow near the wall and ran to intercept the skeletons. At the platform, Bellon's luck failed him and iron-hard nails ripped through the mail protected his neck. Like Shadow, he felt his body freeze up; he couldn't move. Shump swung hard, but the ghoul ducked so that the blow only grazed its shoulder; even so, the creature was knocked back a step.

As the ghoul priest and his minions reached Coral, Raiden let another acid arrow [his last] fly. This time, his spell flew true, striking the ghoul full in the chest. It paid the burning wound no mind, flailing at Coral with single-minded, savage purpose. Coral's falchion flashed in the lamplight, severing the ghoul's left arm. The right, however, locked on her shoulder, and she felt the talons bite into flesh, even through her mail. She fought through a moment's nausea and horror [she made her saving throw] and kicked the creatures legs from beneath it as it died from the acid and her blow. Continuing her motion, she struck at a nearby skeleton [I allow fighters to make a SIEGE engine check to cleave, making another attack if they drop a foe with their previous attack]. Coral's heavy falchion served her well, and the skeleton fell, it's spine severed [she made an excellent damage roll, so despite using a slashing weapon, she took it out -- she succeeded with a check to cleave, again]. Another skeleton was within reach, so she struck this one as well; there was a crack of bone, but this skeletal warrior kept its feet and swung its sword at her. Her magical shield deflected the feeble attack with ease.

Skeletons were spilling past Coral, with one heading straight for Raiden and others heading for the melee at the platform. Coral engaged those near her, falchion whirling. More collapsed into piles of bones, but Coral took a heavy wound, and blood started running down her side and pooling in her boot. Raiden was backing away from the advancing undead while hastily unrolling a scroll and reading the evocation recorded there. Just as the skeleton reached him, his magic missile leapt from the vellum and struck the grim visage. With a flash of sorcerous red flame, the skeleton dropped in an heap at his feet. On the platform, the ghoul sprang at Shump, nearly knocking him down. Claws raked across his armor with loud screeches, and he felt reeking and cold lips against his neck. Blood flowed as teeth ripped his flesh. Choking up his grip on the shaft of his morningstar, the half orc slammed the butt of the weapon repeatedly into his enemy's torso, hearing bones crack. [Obviously, Shump made his saving throw.] He gripped the creatures long hair and pulled its head back. The sight of his own blood dribbling down the monster's chin infuriated the warrior, and he pounded the evil face into ruin. Letting the limp body of the ghoul sprawl down the steps, Shump turned to see several skeletal priest rushing him. He whirled his morningstar and bellowed challenge.

Despite her wound, Coral continued to fight well. She took another nick, and her shield-arm was sore from taking the brunt of her enemies' attacks, but she put down the last of the skeletons around her. On the platform, Shump jumped as the undead charging him came into range. He landed like an explosion amidst them, and the spiked steel ball on the end of his weapon made short work of their skeletal bodies, cracking and smashing them like twigs. Breathing heavily, Shump screamed his victory out, the echoes reverberating up and down the hall.

The PCs, some badly injured, left off further exploration and returned to Melissa's room. Wedging the doors shut with iron spikes, they drank water, ate food, and cast healing spells. After some discussion, the PCs decided to stay here and rest, praying for more healing spells and recuperating from the battle. They decided that it was unlikely that any undead would find them -- every indication was that Roghan's bedroom had been secret and untouched, and so was the hallway between the bedchambers. They also thought that the long corridor that granted normal access to Melissa's room was dusty and untraveled, so it didn't seem that this part of the dungeon got much use.

We ended the session with them making "camp" in the room.

(If you're interested, I'm also running B4 with Holmes Basic and recording the sessions at Dragonsfoot.)

Lore Drake
Posts: 1523
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 7:00 am

Post by Maliki »

Sounds like a blast. Keep the updates coming.
Never throw rocks at a man with a Vorpal Sword!

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