Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Dubzaron Session 76: First Strike on Lamalla (and why Class Grading is Good)

TimeKeeping

This sessions was played on 10/12/22 with 1 day of delving and 1 day of rest required. PCs can act on 10/14/22 and after.

Participating PCs

[Grades are Practice Grades as we began doing real grades on Session 78]

gary wtf is this
Billy (L5 Explorer)[E]
Edwelweiss (L4 Mage Magical Scholar)[F]
Gront Coldskey (L3 Barbarian Housecarl)[E]
Kortes (L6 Explorer)[S]
Tuck (L1 Barbarian)[E]
Xanthos (L6 Cleric of Turas)[E]

Hench:
Kortes: Ye (L1 Assassin)[F], Mugsy (L1 Thief)[S]. 
Edelweiss: Bella (L1 Assassin)[F], Lillian (L1 Venturer)[S]  

Session Report

This was the first (and so far only) session in which the PCs have used their session time to address the #BROSR multiverse-campaign event The Curse of Lamalla. Prefect Drakon (Patron) was particularly interested in ending the curse in the Dubzaron campaign as soon as possible. Knowing he (and the other campaigns) would need at least 6 good boy points in their favor to end it quickly, he did some downtime Patron play stuff like Divination, rumormongering and the like to think up some things he could do to help the cosmic forces of Law deal with the out of control Lamalla. One quest he dreamed up and ran by me for approval was the PCs delving into the sealed Temple of Lamalla beneath one of his cities of Turos Orn. This is my homebrew kilodungeon which his been a factor in the campaign since around May. The backstory for it was a lost cult of Lamalla used to control the Palatinate out of there some hundreds of years before the Auran empire but it was sealed up long ago by the Tower of Knowledge (Mage Guild). 

The PCs already delved the place about 4 times but hadn't been back since June! I was very happy the Curse of Lamalla inspired them to go back because I really enjoy running the homebrew and semi-randomized dungeon.

Drakon (Patron Prefect of Dubzaron) was offering a big payout if they could find and destroy the major altar inside, earning  Good Boy Point (GBP) against Lamalla the Lobsterlady Deity. The party arrived in Turos Orn and Kortes met with a shadowy contact of Drakon (or Acton's?) named Mr White. We riffed on him being Waltar White from Breaking Bad but in hindsight I believe Drakon intended him as Mr White from Reservoir Dogs. In Dubzaron canon he's a combination. Walter White in a black suit and tie with pressed white shirt. Dancing to "stuck in the middle with you". 

Mr White informed Kortes that level 3 is where the most powerful altar in the dungeon is located, according to his sources. What sources? Who knows! White slipped away with a nod of his bald head and resting nerd-rage face. 

The party went to the Tower of Knowledge in Turos Orn into the basement where they met with Seth Rogen the Gatekeeper of the dungeon. It's all sealed up by the Tower some centuries before, when the Auran Empire took over the spot and found it easier to seal than completely clear out the fel horrors below. Edelweiss tried to get the Tower mages to give the party free spell casting help to delve the dungeon but couldn't hit the Reaction Roll. The mages were "Neutral" to the party after hearing her out and were happy to cast spells for cash but not for free. Edelweiss chose not to press her luck. Seth Rogen said a sexist joke at her which he's since apologized for on twitter stating that "times were different then and I regret how my old humor doesn't align with current year woke doctrine please don't cancel me". He was clearly high on pineapple express.

The party delved into level 1 of the dungeon and crossed to the stairs to level 2 with no encounters. The spiral stairs in question continue down to level 3 so they simply kept descending them, coming to a square room with blue velvet curtains along all the walls. No apparent exits since they couldn't see the walls without opening the curtains...

Kortes, whom his player has said is dumb as rocks, marched up to the curtains on the north wall and pushed them open. Behind it was a super ghoul (ghast) which had a nosferatu thing going on, but it's face glowing slightly blue. Neither side was surprised so regular initiative combat began. As the fight progressed 4 ghouls came out from behind the curtains and another ghast. One ghast got a successful bite on Xanthos even as the cleric was turning away 2 of the ghouls with the power of Naurivus and his holy silver ship symbol. Gront sliced through the other two ghouls. Tuck was paraylzed by a ghast attack before the creature was laid low and the other ghast ran from Xantho's holy symbol the next round. The turned undead sprinted through the curtains on the east wall revealing a 20 foot wide hallway with the same curtains going down along either side. 

Kortes took to investigating the western wall for secret doors while some of the party guarded the other walls and others were waving their hands in front of Tuck's face to see if maybe the paralyzation would wear off. After 20 minutes it hadn't and Kortes was getting tired of looking for secret doors so the party gave him a Cure Light Wounds potion to remove the ghoul paralysis. Xanthos cast Commune and Naurivus (Xanthos' Deity of Travel, who looks like Captain Silver from Muppets Treasure Island) showed up bemused by the odd blue velvet room. He slapped Xanthos on the back and answered questions about "which was is the safest towards the altar", being told to go south. And some other questions I forget now.

Xanthos then cast Locate Object "altar" and a silver ship came from his holy symbol to fly towards where the ghouls had fled. The party decided to go with Naurivus's advice rather than the Find Object spell's direction and exited the room on a door on the south wall.

The next room to the south had blue curtains as well. On the west wall was a television with an eerie blue glow which was showing video of the past PCs' deaths with a seinfield laugh track and soundtrack. We enjoyed a nice episode of MadEye and Xanthos being thrown to some giant chameleons to be eaten up while the studio audience roared with laughter. "Who ARE these PCs?" Autumn Leaves was shot through with lizardman bolts while the crowd giggled. And on it went. The party didn't investigate the odd glowing video box at all seemingly annoyed with me for inventing a way to dunk on their past failures while I chuckled to myself.


They went east out of the only apparent exit in the room. This was a hallway that went east for a while then south coming to a temple room of some sort with lines of wooden pews. 

The pews looked out over a balcony into a massive gallery. The balcony had no railing. It seemed to be designed to view the altar which was on a walkway at the balcony's height but 10 feet away from the balcony edge. Between the balcony the PCs were on and the walkway altar was a drop of about 10 to 15 feet straight down. Below was, on the west wide of the gallery, a stone floor with geometrically carved tiles. Towards the east on the floor seemed to be weird blue water lapping along the walls. The high altar was about 30 fee away from the far west wall of the gallery, which was carved with graven images of whales eating women human sacrifices. The whales eyes glowed and moved to watch the PCs.

The PCs were certain THIS was the altar they needed to destroy and they discussed how to physically get over to it. During the discussion the Ghast and 2 ghouls which were turned came back but didn't surprise the party. Billy charged in to assure the creatures wouldn't engage with the mage/venturer etc. Gront charged in and cleaved through all three of the undead. No problem.

Some considered a rope bridge to cross to the altar and analyzed what the issues there might be. Eventually Kortes broke out a Potion of Fly and gave it to Xanthos who flew over and started beating upon the unholy altar to Lamalla. Immediately strange giant storks made of smoke and haze appeared. They had the faces of humans despite their long beaks, and their wings were the arms of men. Disconcerting! 

They surrounded Xanthos in a circle and began to squawk eerily. Xanthos was feeling weak from the sound.

Though the astral storks (or whatever) weren't attacking the party directly they decided it would be dangerous to let them continue to squawk at Xanthos so they attacked. Arrows were launched which simply were not finding the creatures' vitals as it seemed their strange fuzzy hides were uncannily strong. Three of the giant beasts flew at Xanthos and successfully pecked him once despite his crazy high AC as well. One flew over and pecked at Tuck and downed the barbarian. The creature cleaved at Edelweiss the Mage and players held their breath but she only took 3 damage and survived the single hit. 

Meanwhile Edelweiss, before being struck, had cast Summon Beserkers and ordered them to smash the altar with Xanthos. The Beserkers hemmed and hawed and wanted to kill rather than smash a dumb altar so I made a reaction check to see if they'd follow such a boring order. They did and went to smashing. Unfortunately they were all killed in a single round of cleaving by one of the crazy storks.

Xanthos for his part tried to attack the creatures once and, realizing how hard they were to hit, did a fighting withdrawal (flying withdrawl?) back to the party. He broke out a Dispel Evil scroll which he successfully cast, despite the beasts chasing and pecking at him, and a blast of holy light went out 30' radius iirc. One of the storks successfully rolled Magic Resistance (yes they had magic resistance) and two made their saving throws. The last one didn't resist OR make it's saving throw and it was blown into red dust. But even the ones that survived were forced to flee from the Dispel Magic, as per the spell and they flew deeper into the dungeon inside the massive gallery.

The party eventually tag teamed and took down the last demon stork. Someone gave Tuck a sip of a CLW potion before his mortal wound roll from the big beak peck he took. He stood up with 1 HP, shrugging the mortal wound roll off like no problem.

Xanthos carefully flew each PC and henchman over from the balcony onto the altar walkway. Kortes's automatic "check for secret doors" roll hit and he noticed a bit of treasure hidden in the smashed remains of the altar. The party bagged it up before heading east along the 10' walkway above the big drop to the weird water below. The walkway made a T intersection north and south with a ladder going down on the eastern portion. The party was still following Xanthos' Locate Object spell, gathering there must be more than one altar. Following it took them north along the walkway before it jutted into the wall and they were traveling down a loooong hallway going north. They came upon a hostile minotaur but Tuck drank a Giant Strength potion and beat the thing down. (with a bit of teamwork).

They went north then west along the hallway, passing a couple doors including a Nethercity style crypt door that Kortes was like "not no but hell no". Checking out some monk cells in one of the doors they were attacked by a weird elephant lion chimera thing. Giant Strength Tuck picked up a chair and beat the thing down easily like Macho Mandalf on a tark. There was much cheering and laughing and e-high-fives. 

Eventually the party went in a full circle coming back to the first blue velvet room and traveling down the wide blue velvet hallway, coming to an evil chapel with reverse gravity water on the ceiling. They smashed the altar there and ignored the steel door on the north wall, the only other apparent exit. They went back up to level 1, then out to the Tower basement, deciding not to push their luck with any further exploration.

Afterword

The PCs were really hyped to score a point against the Curse of Lamalla for the good guys. It didn't hurt that Drakon was offering a pretty solid payout for success as well. This newer crop of players is a bit more into the cash money that old Team A and Team B, who were always game for smashing altars even without a major treasure payout on the line. 

The Curse of Lamalla has since had some other Good Boy Points scored and Lamalla has become a bit more desperate, offering the multiverse of possible Chaotic/Evil Patrons and PCs to do something big to score her some Bad Boy Points. The Trident of Lamalla could be yours!

It was fun to get the PCs back into my homebrew dungeon and have some fun personally dreamed up ideas to riff off of with the background situation of the Curse of Lamalla. 

Grading Explanation

The grades I gave this session were just to practice doing it. To give PCs some conception of how I'm approaching the grading, prior to the houserules being live. I'm basically lifting most of the 1e class grading system whole cloth into the Dubzaron Campaign. I've screenshotted the DMG section with most of the rules here. A little High Gygaxian for your reading enjoyment. My thoughts to the players regarding their grades (in the Participating PCs section) are thus:

Most Explorers are going to have a hard time catching "E" when dungeon delving since it's really just not their thing overall (maybe there are some templates which it is). As such Kortes was about as superior as an Explorer can be on a deep delve without having some exemplary moment, Exploring around for secret doors. Billy copped an E because of his outstanding back rank coverage keeping the mage sorts from getting melee which imo Explorers would do. Explorers with Tracking will do well to keep that ability in mind for future grading since it was never used [not sure if either have it], didn't impact session 76. 

Gront caught an E for being a killing machine and bold, which aligns with a Barbarian Housecarl (though he should consider having some hench since housecarls would be into having servants). Tuck would have been S for being bold and brave (despite being level 1) but grabbed the E for the WWE giant strength steel chair attack. Xanthos was absolutely a Lawful Cleric the Empyrean all session and smashed two altars in this session, so E.  

Edelweiss caught a Fair grade since she was a bit reticent to use spells at one point and showed no interest in the intellectual, puzzle, historical, and possible arcane stuff in the dungeon (ignore a magic tv?). When the player objected to this I asked the player to name a "Magical Scholar" (Edelweiss's template) Mage/Wizard sort from Pulp Fantasy that would be disinterested in an ancient dungeon with weird magics everywhere.

I found the grading fun (even though this was practice) and I really enjoyed it a great deal when I was a PC in Trollopulous. Mine players may not enjoy it, exactly, but I have since seen at least acceptance of it and, after Session 78 where grading and training was truly instituted, some downtime story elements have come up with finding trainers and such.

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.

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 (Level 1 Venturer): Killed by astral demons and sucked into the vacuum of spacetime in Session 66.

Major Garland Briggs (Level 1 Explorer): Killed by the crossbow bolt of an angry thracian in a dormant (?) volcano dungeon called Queens Rest Mountain. Then his body was eaten by giant chameleons as the rest of the party made their escape in Session 73.

Autumn Leaves (Level 1 Elven Spellsword): Died to lizardman crossbow bolts to the tears of her adventuring compatriots who tried to revive her after absconding with her corpse just outside Queens Rest Mountain in Session 73.

Xanthos (Level 6 Cleric): Cut down by a flaming blade by a very powerful thracian lizardman below Queens Rest Mountain in Session 74. Ressurected about two weeks later.

Stormin' Norman (Level 1 Gnomish Trickster): Captured by the lizardman tribe below Queens Rest Mountain whilst trying to use illusionist tricks to steal a magic spear. Was subsequently fed to their Giant Chameleons for being an annoying gnome in Session 74.

Alexa this is so sad play "Free Bird"

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