Friday, May 13, 2022

Dubzaron Session 56: Dragon Horde Dead Drop

This session was played on 04/27/22. After rest PCs can take actions on 04/29/22.

Session Report

The PCs delved a brand new dungeon this session, one that I made myself homebrew. The dungeon was an ancient Temple of Lamalla and it has been sealed for centuries by the Mages of the Tower of Knowledge in Turos Orn. Why open it, you ask? Well Palatine Drakon (Patron Palatine Fighter level ???) had a treasure map pointing to what claimed to be a pretty substantial amount of cash in the form of the Platinum Shoulder pads of Contemplation of Jalako the Great. Also there were "water gems" there. 

she looks friendly right?

That was the PC reason for delving the dungeon. The Patron player Drakon wanted the PCs to delve and gave them a side mission to look for an entrance to the Black Lodge that was rumored to be in the Lamalla temple. The Black Lodge is a weirding place the PCs passed through some sessions back to travel to Las Vegas; a wormhole of sorts for use of teleportation. Drakon's hope was that such a place right under his town could be used to transport troops quickly.

In the basement of the Tower of Knowledge the Party found a mage named Seth Rogen who was "the keeper of the seals". He found the work boring and felt like maybe he has wasted his life getting high and watching a sealed door for decades. Maybe! The Tower and Seth refuse to open the sealed door but twice per week. Once to let PCs in then once to let them out. The PCs had a code phrase to get the door open and a secret knock as well and the Mages were going to watch the dungeon side of the door with Clairvoyance for a time.

Clearly, the mages took seriously their duty to not let ...whatever is in the dungeon... to raid into the Empire and Turos Orn. 

Palatine Drakon forced any PCs delving the dungeon to sign a contract with him before they were allowed inside, since the dungeon is on his property. He was taking a cut of the PCs treasure gains but I don't know the specifics; certainly less than the 50% demanded by the Prefect of the city of Dubzaron for delving the Nethercity. Such a huge cut has had the PCs annoyed with NPC Prefect Dubzillo (and me, the DM, assuming I added the tax to screw them over) for weeks now.

The Party entered the dungeon going down some steps and coming to a long 20' wide hallway with a door to one side and small natural cave passage on the other. The walls were painted blue with whales with a concrete floor. Or something. The place has a water/ocean theme because Lamalla is the Chaotic goddess of tidal waves and the like.

Of Marteen, part 1
by Dari's Player

The traveled down the wide hall and came to an octagon room with a chaotic altar. A handful of beastmen that would only be described as looking like geckos were there worshipping at the altar. The party easily killed them iirc and took one of the geckomen prisoners for questioning. Xanthos (PC Cleric level ???) happened to speak geckoman and he was interpreting for Olivier (PC Paladin level ???) and Acton (PC Cleric level ???). 

Olivier was playing good cop, telling the geckoman it's all good and such and Acton was playing bad cop, starting a fire to "burn the heretic" for worshipping at a chaos altar. At one point Olivier gave the geckoman a cigarette and as he was about to puff it Acton slapped it out of his lizard lips and said "tell me what you know!"

It was a fun scene that had the table cracking up. I think the Intimidation Reaction Check, however, decided the geckoman was happy to die for his chaos gods without giving info to the party. Acton gave him his wish, burning him on a pyre.

Later while Olivier was trying to push a badly stuck door open a random encounter of a giant toad hit and it came hopping at the party. The whole party was surprised except for Kortes (PC Explorer Level ???) since explorers have an ability that makes them a bit harder to surprise. For the second (third?) time, Kortes killed a creature that snuck up on the party in a surprise round before the party could even reaction. Olivier, carefully jiggling the handle and telling Marteen (PC Thief Level 1) things like "ok here's the trick to a stuck door" never even knew the toad had attacked the party. Later he played up the gag when the party passed through the room again and was like "how did this toad corpse get here?!" 

Olivier's player was in rare comedic form.

One room over from the octagon altar room the party came upon a room with some ancient zaharan writing on the wall, a sort of side altar to the major one they just passed. Brian happened to know how to read the language and it told them the code word to open the big double doors behind the high altar. 

After destroying the chaotic high altar they passed through those magic doors using the code word and found stairs leading down to level 2 of the dungeon. Descending down the explored level 2 a bit since that's apparently the direction of their treasure map. 

A massive battle began with a lair of Igaunamen near a canal and a bridge. They party attacked a guard room and the champion Igaunamen there put out a call for reinforcements which came storming across the bridge over the canal, some swimming the canal to try and flank the party. 

Of Marteen, part 2
by Daro's player

The Iganuamen didn't fight to the least "man", about half of them failed morale and jumped in the canal to swim away. All in all, despite the massive numbers of the beastmen and the long play time this battle took, no PCs or henchmen died and the party was able to heal up their injuries. 

The crossed the canal, which the treasure map seemed to indicate they do and turned west (map seeming to indicate same) but were stymied when the hallway/room the map seemed to indicate they travel down had at some point suffered a cave-in.

PCs at this point were like "what idiot drew this map?!" and they began discussing what the next goal should be. One player mentioned afterwards that it seems "treasure maps are not 100% [and] information changes PC goals pretty wildly". 

Marteen for his part discovered a dead drop trap in the cave in room. A spot where the cave-in was quite precarious and would drop the PCs down like 15' to what they assumed was the next level of the dungeon.

The PCs decided to set up a rope and Marteen, Xanthos, Kortes and Daria (PC BladeDancer Level ???) rappelled down the pit Marteen had found and began exploring there. The rest of the party stayed up top to guard the hole if the Igaunamen regrouped and came back. This was all happening only about 50' from where the big battle had just taken place.

The away team explored around on the lower level finding some natural caves that pierced into a weird big chamber with a balcony and pews facing some sort of high altar built into another balcony. They also came across some massive insect creatures digging holes around the walls of a natural cavern room. Thankfully the insects weren't hostile so the away team dipped out.

Daria decided this was getting a bit too dangerous for an away team and the launch party up top might get attacked again at any time so the away team went back to the rope to climb back up. Then all hell broke loose.

There was yet ANOTHER dead drop pit trap precariously holding on due to the rubble that had fallen from above. Each time the party passed through the room at the bottom of the rope they were rappelling I was checking to see if it gave out on 1 or 2 on a 1d6. The first time they passed through the room it didn't. But when they came back oh yes yes it did.

The floor collapsed underneath them and Kortes just barely grabbed onto the rope, saving himself from a very far fall. Marteen, Xanthos, and Daria however did not grab onto the rope and they fell into the abyss below.

The fall was at least 50 feet but Daria and Xanthos had levels and solid hit point pools. They survived the fall but just barely.  

But poor Marteen, a player in his first session of Dubzaron splatted at the bottom. His bones and gore was cast across the massive chamber the away team (sans Kortes) fell into. "Welcome to the campaign, newb," I vaguely recall some other player saying.

But what's this his gore was splashed across a massive pile of gold. A pile in which a very massive and extremely old dragon was lounging upon. She was very awake and, as per the Reaction check of the dice, bemused at the arrival of the PCs.

This was all randomly generated. At this point I didn't have this level of the dungeon drawn or laid out. What I did have was a bespoke random encounter table and the ACKS random room contents chart. This randomly was determined as a monster. I randomly rolled it was a dragon. I randomly rolled it was her lair. And that's how Sheila the great and powerful Blue Dragon came to exist in the Dubzaron campaign just under the town of Turos Orn.

Of Marteen, final part
by Darko's player

Daria's player said later of this development: "after a year and a half this campaign still surprises [...] I wasn't expecting a multi-level drop into something that tricky. It sort of felt like being level 1 all over again". 

Daria was very hurt so Sheila could have easily killed her and Xanthos; thus eliminating 2 of the high level PCs in the campaign and destroying their year long plus XP progress.

Daria began to sputter compliments and praise on the lizard: "why yes Ms. Dragon you're just so pretty and magnificent. Of course I love the way you smell. Eat me? Nah there's hardly any meat on my bones. Let me find you a proper snack." 

Marteen's corpse was offered as the proper snack and Sheila laughed and agreed. Daria also handed the dragon some cash as a bribe to not kill her and Xanthos. For her part Sheila revealed that many years ago a cult was in this temple that used to worship her. "They were quite stupid but it was nice to be pampered". She also mentioned "water giants" being in the dungeon somewhere as well, also a source for cultists sometime in the ancient past.

Sheila picked up Xanthos and Daria and climbed up the hole back to the top of the Party's rope while Daria was yelling out to the party to "not attack". This was all due to the Reaction Checks for Sheila coming up quite a bit in the Party's favor. Sheila ascended the top of the pit just as the Igaunamen were about to make another assault on the party and she roared at them. Then pondered aloud about bringing the Igaunamen under her service.

After this the party escaped the dungeon and the doors into the place were sealed and warded again. Marteen was eaten at Sheila's leisure.

Afterword

As I wrote above, this was a homebrew dungeon and some of it simply wasn't created yet. I made it months ago and put in things like the dead drop to a MUCH deeper level as a sort of challenge (or screw you?) to myself. I was sort of daring myself to deal with the possibility of randomly determining what some things were or what they meant. 

Later Daria's player stated the "area we're in already had quite a few problems to worry about. But then the nature of the game changes on a dime because now there's this friggin' dragon too". So true so true.

I'm certain PCs, likely RIGHT AFTER the session, were scheming secretly among themselves about how to heist the dragon's treasure. Or how one might kill a dragon knowing where it was. Some were probably advising more caution. Palatine Drakon was probably face palming and rubbing his temples with a headache at such a problem beneath his town. On and on. All because of some random rolls.

This is the type of thing that I believes keeps this kind of gaming fresh. I didn't know this would happen tonight, I was discovering some of the dungeon with the players as the delve went on. So I certainly wasn't bored. 

One might say "well the party and patron would have been better off if they never delved, Sheila the dragon wouldn't exist". But as Gygax says this is an ADVENTURE game. If you simple want to sit around safely doing nothing then D&D isn't really your game. There should always be tons of things happening at once in a real D&D campaign world. 

A game world is better if there's never a dull moment. Deadly, the Dubzaron Campaign may be, yet dull it is not.

Deceased

Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream! 

Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.

Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.

Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!

Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.

Acianus (Level 1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Chopped to pieces in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue from behind and quickly forgotten about by his compatriots who saved MadEye and lamented Hardar instead. But I'll never forget you Acinanu nanu...nanite... nananaa...

Hardar (Level 2 Mage) Total XP: 2,832. Chopped up in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue as he held his Darth Vader Choking Grip spell long enough for his compatriots to escape an unwinnable battle. His dream to become the most evil being in the universe suffers eternally the indignity of being remembered for self sacrifice and laying his life down for his friends.

Nubbs (Level 3 Thief) Total XP: 4,017. Swarmed by scarabs which bored into his ears and brain in Session 45.

Grummz (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultgard) Total XP: 0. Ripped limb from limb by a throng of skeletons and their undead golem leaders in Session 46.

Grommzs (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultguard) Total XP: 2,168. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in session 48

Rapunzel (Level 4 Priestess) Total XP: 11,540. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in Session 48.

Schizo (Level 1 Mage): Total XP: 0. Frozen to death by an assassin's guild ruffian bard wielding a Wand of Cold in session 54.

Marteen (Level 1 Thief): Total XP: 0. Fell to his death in Lamalla's Temple upon a pile of dragon horde gold. Corpse eaten by Sheila the Beautiful, an Ancient Blue Dragon in session 56.

Alexa this is so sad play "Free Fallin'" by the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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