Timekeeping: Session was played on 08/03/22 to 08/12/22. PCs can take actions 08/13/22.
I gave PCs the options to run sessions for eachother while I was on hiatus, or to let Patrons run sessions but there was only Valdar's session ran during that time. Surprising!
So anyway I came back to run Session 66 and the players threw me a curveball by saying "we found these two treasure maps... what are they?"
I proceeded to make up the theme and style of the maps based on the assumed treasure value they'd find there. Some of this was done by asking the players "what do you think the place is like?"
Daria's player said one of the maps could be like a lost valley with servitor apes. Very cool! I already rolled on the random magic item on the map that it would be something with holy magic so I made a little backstory with the map that a Paladin went there to retire and be administered to by his servitor apes because he was so disgusted with "the corrupted temple". Kind of a Super Science play on St Benedict or something. Well they liked the idea but the rumors about what the magic item could do didn't catch their interest.
The other map had like 3 magic items but I took the general value of these and rolled them into being a unique artifact with a very high value indeed. The players had no idea for this place but I also rolled a scroll (iirc) that had a random spell on it that made the caster able to exist in the astral plane or beneath the deep sea. I used this to set a theme for the map:
Some guy (I forget his name) long ago rode his astral dragon into the Meniri Mountains but his astral magic failed and the dragon was frozen in time just after eating him. (???) Inside the paralyzed dragon's belly is the SWORD OF ASTRAL EXISTENCE. Players had no clue what it could do (still dont) but the name was too good. They went for it.
And that's how you utilize treasure maps in Real D&D when they come up on your random treasure stocking tables. Easy.
The party traveled out of New Cyfaraun going south and west along the road, stopping at each border keep along the way so they wouldn't have to sleep outside at night and risk nighttime encounters. They've had some very bad luck with those!
No encounters of note until they got to Turos Erin, despite the trek taking them 3 days.
South of Turos Erin are the Meniri Mountains where the treasure map said the SPACE DRAGON met its final end. They trekked into the wilderness with their big part of PCs (no hench or soldiers!) and, on the first day, stumbled across a village of giant humanoids who I described as tending rice patties and such. Viet Cong Ogres!
Daria (PC BladeDancer mid high level) used Winged Flight and her Roc to fly up into the air and aerial recon the humanoids, counting about 50. The creatures were hostile but Daria flew away from the party to lead them away and the party itself was able to run off into the hills and wilderness, successfully using Wilderness Evade.
The next day the party was slowly trekking across the purple mountains majesty of the Meniri when they came upon some very large hostile lizards who chased them. This time the party FAILED their Wilderness Evade and the lizards caught them in combat at very close range (like 15 yards) as the party crossed a rickety rope bridge that emptied into a copse of scrubby mountain pines.
They were attacked by 6 (six) basilisks. Oh no.
The party decided to flee yet again and most of the PCs rolled 6+ on their initiative so I ruled they ran off before getting a good luck into the baslisks' eyes. Proteus (PC Mage mid level) unfortunately DID look into the evil eyes and was turned to stone! (Statuest Proteus) There was some tension as we realized the mounts (including the Roc) would need to Save vs Petrification as well. But all the mounts saved so Proteus's Roc mount did not fly out of the sky, turned to stone, but instead fled with the rest of the party with the mage statue on its back.
Cyfaraun (Elven Spellsword level 1) intiative was slower than the basilisks' and while the elf did save vs petrification multiple times he was simply ripped apart by basilisks teeth. The new players' PCs, a bard named Allen A'Dulles and an another elven spellsword named Tamryn, were both turned to stone. There are now some very intricate looking statues near a lost rickety rope bridge in the Meniri Mountains. One of the other veteran players quipped at the two newbies "Welcome to the Campaign, fellas!"
The party members who escaped the basilisks regrouped and finished the day of travel. Later they came upon a jutland barbarian named Gront, a replacement PC for one of those who died. Elite play means rolling replacement chars fast!
They asked Gront to stay up all night on watch so he'd not be surprised by random wilderness encounters. Barbarians in ACKS are very good at surprising monsters and avoiding being surprised. Kind of like 1e Rangers.
During the night Gront awoke the party because about 90 yards away there were two massive storm giants directing a light storm drawing shapes in the sky. A husband a wife couple named Paul and Pauline Bunyan. They mostly ignored the party until Daria approached and befriended them, learning they don't lair particuarly nearby but this area is "Babe's Mountain", named so because it's where their pet Big Blue Ox died a century ago. They come here toe remember Babe's life and celebrate it with lightning shows. So sweet. I'm not crying you're crying.
The next day the party was able to pinpoint the six mile hex the treasure map had a big X on so went to Searching for Lairs; using my house rules of Treasure Maps giving a general idea but still needing to drill down on the exact X marks the spot.
This could be played out as d&d exploration of the DM had the land drawn up as a really zoomed in wilderness map. But, since I don't like drawing a million maps, I just let the dice and ACKS fanstastic Lair Hunt rules do the work for me.
It took the party 4 hours to find the spot on the map even though Daria was using Speak with Animals to have her Roc help them with aerial recon. During those four hours they came across a goblin warband they decided to evade, successfully this time. Then they came across Gront's cousin Bront, a level 4 thief who was apparently following him looking to pilfer something rom the party. Bront was noticed and tried to run off into the wilderness but broked it and went tumbling down a cliffside hitting his head. He laid on the ground apologizing and the party decided to let him off with a warning.
Daria was the only PC that could possible hench Bront, since in ACKS you have to be at least 1 level (thus 5 in this case) to hench leveled npcs. She decided not to. Olivier (Paladin level 4ish) told Bront to go look for work in New Cyfarun for Legate Gaius but one assumes the thief has heard about Legate Gaiu's swift and brutal justice for breaking laws so Bront probably won't do that.
Finall the party found the treasure map location which was a massive dragon that appear to have been petrified into a giant obsidian statue. It was sticking out the side of a mountain with its mouth open as if screaming or using a breath weapon. Daria (or the roc?) flew up to the mouth to secure a rope and the party all climbed up and delved into the belly of the dragon statue (or petrified creature?)
Inside and climbing in the throat then down towards the stomach they were set upon by astral demons which looked like shadow puppets of various creatures; with the shadow full of a starry night sky that twinkled and spun. The party easily despatched a single such "demon" near the neck of the dragon shaped dungon.
Once in the stomach they came upon 4 such creatures shaped like humanoids with animal heads. Exact shapes were difficult to decipher due to the shifting night sky nature of them. They were guarding or worshipping a black sword that was floating in the center of the "room" and casting starry planeterium style lighting around the walls. Below it was a black stone chest built into the floor.The humanoid astral demons could actually be hit and damaged, apparently, and Olivier and Daria pushed into the room to engage them. The party assumed maybe they could only be hit by magic weapons but it turned out to not be the case.
Gront and the Dwarf were directed to check out and open the chest since "they're level ones (lol)" but it was not trapped or locked. Inside was 6000 gp, two scrolls and a potion which the party bagged up. Daria plucked the floating sword out of the air but that led to the entire statue structure earthquaking and collapsing. PCs were asked to make save vs paralysis checks like in a dungeon chase to escape the structure before it collapsed completely because it wasn't a normal floorplan but the inside of a dragon Jonah style.
Gront was the only one who cut it close but his Climb ability, being a jutlander, helped him deal with the collapsing dragon mouth hanging from the precarious rope and he made it safely to the ground as the whole massive place smashed to the ground behind him sending up plumes of dust and smoke. On the trek back to Turos Erin there were no particularly dangerous encounters, during camp as well. One random encounter was a friendly Cleric who met them a few hours outside of Turos Erin stating he had a vision to come heal them and help carry Proteus's statue body back to town. He didn't have a Flesh to Stone spell, sadly. The party ended in Turos Erin.
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.
Ambrose (Level 2 Cleric): Total XP: idk. Strangled to death by cursed octopi in a canoe on Lake Laman claiming the Sinister Stone of Sakkara for Law and eventual destruction in session 63.
Traiticus (Level 9 Fighter): Total XP: alot. Head split in half by Froggo's bronze magic "Fren Axe" during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22.
Alina (Level 7 Mage). Cut in half at her belt line by Froggo's bronze magic "Fren Axe" during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22.
Olgar McKenzie (Level 5ish Barbarian). Soul eaten by Stormbringer wielded by the Manson the mad assassin during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22.
Celeste (Level 7ish Witch). Soul eaten by Stormbringer wielded by the Manson the mad assassin during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22. Said Ancient Soul caused a backfire effect and blasted Manson's face off leaving him dead in the sea foam.
Allen A'Dulles (Level 1 Bard): Petrified by a basilisk in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66.
Cyfaraun (Level 1 Elven Spellsword): Eaten by basilisks in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66.
Tamryn (Level 1 Elven Spellsword): Petrified by a basilisk in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66
Allen the Bard (Level 1 Bard): Petrified by a basilisk in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66.
UnNamed Venturer (Leve 1 Venturer): Killed by astral demons and sucked into the vacuum of spacetime in Session 66.
Alexa this is so sad play "Space is the Place" by Spacehog