Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Dubzaron Session 88: The Scales of Turas Part 1; how to pause time in a BROSR campaign!

Participating PCs

Arya Sorrowsong (Lawful L3 Temple Bladedancer)[S]

Billy (Lawful L6 Explorer, Pathfinder)[E]

Bluetooth (Neutral L1 Barbarian, Sea Rover)[E]

Hakon (Neutral L3 Shaman Runecaster)[E]

Harrigan (Lawful L1 Thief, Tomb Raider)[E]

John Cabot (Lawful L1 Explorer Mariner)[E]

Lockstep (Lawful L1 Fighter, Guardsman)[E]

Snorri Sljepyson the Watchful (Neutral L1 Dwarven Vaultgaurd) (RIP) 


Session Report

This session was played on 01/04/23. I'm going to enter the timekeeping details below. I took a week off and session 87 was ran by a Co-DM. 

The party set out from Dubzaron and traveled all the way out to New Cyfaraun. They were making solid time since Billy chose to buy everyone light ride horses so they could move with speed. In New Cyfaraun the party looked into a mission that Patron Gaius dropped a few weeks back about finding the Scales of Turas in an ancient Zaharan city deep somewhere along the Dark Wall. The Scales of Turas from the ACKS Auran Empire setting are the metaphysical scales the deity Turas measures your deeds with when your PC dies, sending you either to the ACKSy version of Valhalla or sending you back to the Prime reincarnated as something or someone else to try again (as a baybay, it's not like the Reincarnate spell). 

Pretty decent worldbuilding concept from Alex Macris of ACKS fame and the Dubzaron players and PCs have really ran with it. Turas himself has become a body builder bro type and the scales he uses, when he's seen during Commune castings and such by his many PC clerics, are actually kettle balls he lifts and poses to show off fiseek. 

Gaius was offering this quest due to some month or so back when he used a Miracle spell for some reason or another. Miracle is like Wish but, due to it being a lower level casting, it usually comes with some sort of Geas from the deity himself. Turas's Geas to Gaius (lol) was to personally go get the aspect of the Scales on this prime or outfit an adventuring party to do so. If Gaius were to ignore this Geas (lol) he'd start to take CON or WIS damage or something. I don't remember all the details there but he did in fact put the quest out there for PCs to tackle in session play.

It took a while but it seemed tonight was the night.

The PCs made the trek all the way out to New Cyfaraun, Gaius's Legature, with the assumption Gaius or his people would have some more info. They didn't. Seems the Legate has been so busy on the southern border chasing around the shadows of some beastmen (or whatever) army that he never had his people do research into the mission. . 

Luckily for the party they were approached by the NPC mage in charge of the Tower of Knowledge Mages in New Cyfaraun. While Gaius has no particular working relationship with his local Collegiate Wizards, this new fellow Jarrel is a put upon teacher of mages in NC. He moves around to various Turos's due to becoming disenchanted with his lot and put upon by the idiotic Legates he finds himself toiling under. But if he could score a big info win for the Tower perhaps his circumstances would improve! 

This was a bit of a gimme from me the DM since the party was struggling to meme up or come up with some solution to finding where the Scales even were. One problem was the fact the Patron player didn't go full Mandalf and just do all the recon work for them before the session. The other problem was we had a full house with like 2 brand new players (look above at that list of PCs, big table!). The mic crosstalk was alot and while Billy's player was Calling pretty well, no one was really stepping up with some solution to their lack of information. Perhaps they didn't have the right Class's to bridge this info gap (no mage PCs) or perhaps they just couldn't crack the code on how to find a random Point of Interest out in a massive wilderness where no Patron got it mapped. 

So as a DM I had two choices. I could shrug and let them twist in the wind and maybe see if they come up with some other goal for this group of PCs, after already having spent some game days traveling halfway across the region. Or just sit quietly while they figure out some solution to finding the location of the quest. I've done that sort of thing before. 

Second option was what I went with. One of the ACKS modules has a comment about how the Tower of Knowledge (Mage's Guild) has a modest standing quest of taking pitons with weird runes out to various points of interest, wherein the mages can use this pitons to scry on those spots for recon and to grow their arcane knowledge. It seemed possible the mid level head mage at the Chapterhouse in New Cyfaraun might want that done. It seemed possible he had heard of Gaius's quest and did some research for its location. I determined this by rolling a Reaction Check (2d6 with mods) and having him approach PCs if it was 9+ in their favor. It was.

It's possible this was a bit to in the players' favor but I made the judgement call this way since we were about an hour into the game with little story or game progress. The big table and helping new players with some chargen questions had slowed us down.

Karrell approached Arya's henchman Kallen about the party going to the Dark Wall to achieve a quest for him. In payment he will give the PCs the exact location (or so he thinks) of the place they're looking for. He simply wants the party to place 3 brass pitons with weirding runes on them at the front of the location, just inside, and somewhere interesting on the inside. He can then use those pitons for scrying and watching the location. Arya agrees!

I will note that Harrigan's player has a legacy PC that is consigliere for Gaius in downtime. What that meant for this session was instead of me perusing Gaius's notes and logs to give the PCs a "state of the legature" of what they saw, or how folks were acting, or new structures that were built etc; I just told Harrigan to take the mic and describe everything he thought might be of interest to PCs. The same happened in Turos Spen which is one of the Legatures controlled by Drakon, who was running Lockstep on this night. He had some very interesting information indeed that Spen had a new bridge (most knew this) but also a decent road that was pushing out into the wilderlands along the Blood River. 

Billy and John, both explorers, decided the best way to get out to that section of the Dark Wall was to go around to Turos Spen, across Drakon's bridge (named Valerian Bridge after the first Patron Legate who died to Ferigno the Green dragon way back when) then down Drakon's road along the Blood River. Billy stated he didn't want to cross the Blood River in the wilderness. With the Curse of Lamalla going on that may be a wise decision?

The above 20 minutes or so of game time were interesting for a very BROSR reason. Drakon's player was running a PC tonight and Gaius's consigliere player was running a PC tonight. Meaning I had two experts on the mic for the current state, description, army buildups, road/bridge improvement, important npcs and such for both New Cyfaraun and Turos Spen. So instead of me going to their Patron logs and scouring those for descriptions and flavor while everyone waited, I just turned the mic and "box text" type reading to the experts. So as the party traveled I could sit back and chill and what amounted to Co-DMs (who were also PCs tonight) were describing things the party saw. Amazing.

This sort of thing proves my theory that a new BROSR campaign could do a Session Zero type thing where he had no ideas at all but his players, who will PC in the campaign, make up Patron concepts during a session zero. This will give his 4 or 5 PCs serious buy-in for the campaign state, flavor, kingdoms, major bad guys and the like. 

At this point the session got very unique for Dubzaron. I went to my Random Wilderness Stocking tables AXIOMS 8 and about 3 of the hexes came up with "Dangerous Terrain". The first Dangerous Terrain was land which was worth nothing for domain play. Somehow the pond here was particularly effected by the Curse of Lamalla and all the nearby shrubbery was poisoned. The party got away from this hex as best they could. Next the hills the party was traveling through was sandstone with jagged gashes along them which their horses fell into a few times. In ACKS rules terms this meant that the day's travel was done completely when this entry hits and then the next day of travel is at half speed. It hit again the next day so the party got hung up pretty badly and lost some time in this section of travel; two or three days probably. With 1:1 time this is a very serious situation indeed.

The party left the hills to travel along the river instead. I kept hoping I'd roll a random encounter with a sea creature to take advantage of its increased power from my curse of Lamalla rules but no dice. Instead I rolled random terrain of Useful Herbs which was Wolfsbane. It was apparently naturally growing at an extreme rate along a bend in the Blood River. Since Wolfsbane is useful against lycanthropes I ruled to the Players that Lycanthropes avoid this area and I'd ignore any random encounters of such that hit here. They also discussed retreating back to this section of river if they encountered werewolves or whatever in another hex. 

The herbs were worth quite a bit of gp but farming it was a bit of a slow process so the party didn't want to spend the day or 2 it would take to farm it all for the GP. They farmed for about 10 minutes an grabbed enough to use in combat in case they came across werewolves and moved on with their travel.

Later the party broke through some trees in the sandstone hills and found a huge arch with heavy metal double doors. 20' high by 30' wide iirc. I memed up that the arch had a bit of a 1990s era extreme kind of look. Some players mentioned Mountain Dew Baja Blast font and package design so we went with that. This was a dwarf lair but thanks to the stupid in session memeing way we worldbuild, I have these noted as Baja Blast Dwarves. What does it mean? Do they act differently? Have different goals? Who knows. The party didn't actually parley with the dwarves.

Because I rolled that the party surprised the dwarves I interpreted that to mean the party arrived between shift changes for the front gate guards. That meant Harrigan the thief could mess around and rob the dwarves of the dozens of amethyst gems which were decorating the top section of the baja blast arch. We had some discussion that the thief could ignore this if he liked but it would most certainly mean he couldn't achieve the top session grade for thief. He went around the top of the hill with two of the brand new players who I think may have been getting bored of no combat or apparent danger. Also they were a decent fit for this side mission being an Explorer and swashbuckling Venturer. They helped tie off rope so Harrigan could climb down to the arch from the top and Harrigan went to chiseling baja blast amethysts out of the arch like the thief on the front of the 1e PHB.

I made some ruling about how many he could get out in the turn he was chiseling before the dwarves shift change finished and they'd hear the commotion and come out. The rest of the party ran away with a Wilderness Evasion before the two or three platoons of seemingly angry dwarves came marching out of their vault ready to go full napoleon complex on the party. I rolled a Listen check for the dwarves and a Move Silent check for the thief to see if they noticed him up on the hill behind them. They didn't so the robbery party had time to run away and wilderness evade too. I also made checks to see if the main party or the burgle party got lost trying to run into the hills in random directions and meet eachother back up later, as I normally do when party's split. Random encounter checks are made in such a case too. None of the dice went against the party in all these checks so they were back to traveling to the Dark Wall about 20 amethyst richer thanks to the wily thief.

The next day or something (i dont remember) the party finally got to the hex number they were given for the location of their main mission. We rain Lair Search checks to see if they could find it which is my house rule for when the party has map to a particular hex but still needs to find the "x marks the spot" on the location itself once they arrive. Much to my chagrin the party successfully found the point of interest on the first try and no random encounters during their search. This session was so strangely devoid of all combat. The chances of going this long without any dangerous random encounters (although the dwarves could have been dangerous if not surprised.. and also if they were angry) it was really going against the statistical likelihood of things since hill terrain is quite a bit more likely to have random encounters than plains or roads and such.

The point of interest itself was a 500 foot tall section of the Dark Wall which is a massive cliffside leading up to a table plateau and the party was at the bottom of it. The massive section of wall was pockmarked with like 8 visible caves like a vertical Caves of Chaos. In front of the cliff was a massive 100 foot tall statue of a snake woman or something which the party was informed the Zaharan's used as a spell focus to permanently prevent scrying of massive sections of the Dark Wall so grave robbers and Lawful's wouldn't go messing around their most important burial areas or hidden cities in this case. 

Hakan the shaman used his ability to Commune with his ancestors to divine which of the caves was most likely to lead into the earth and to the lost Zaharan city which the party was trying to find, which was said to have the Scales of Turas divine magic item; their goal. Seems the mostly likely and "safest" way to get to the lost city was the cave furthest to the left and some 500 feet up. Break out the ropes fellas!

The players didn't have 500 feet of rope so they chose to climb up 100 feet to one cave then another 200 to the next then up to the highest one etc etc. Between Harrigan the thief and the barbarian (and maybe someone else?) they succeeded at this and pulled up the non-climbers to each ledge. I've forgotten to tell you there was a flock of wyverns watching all this from a perch at the very top of the cliffside, sometimes circling around like angry vultures watching the party ominously. Luckily for the party the wyverns weren't hostile during their long ascent on the cliff. Unluckly for Snorri he was the only one which rolled a critical fail on any of the climb checks I called for during all this. He fell about 300 feet taking 125 damage and splatting on the ground below. The player began rolling up a new character who was found inexplicably in the cave room the party explored after reaching the cave they were aiming for. 

Inside this cave was a maze of cliffsides and natural rooms. A successful Find Secret Door check by someone in the party led to a small crack in the back which led into a massive chamber with a massive 6 armed lady statue. The party could barely squeeze through the crack and had to remove armor to do so. The giant statue appeared to be mechanical but the party couldn't work out how to get it moving so it might lift them up to the high ledges in this 200 foot tall or whatever room. They chose to just do the ol rope shuffle again and no one failed their Climb check in this case. They climbed up to a tiny cave behind the massive statue which, after some hundred or so feet opened up to a weirding jungle overgrowing an ancient city of geometric shaped buildings. Giant mushrooms here and there.

when jeffro reads about mine
allowing pause time

What the party did next might shock you. What the DM did next might truly shock you if you've been reading my session reports and the #BROSR hashtage. We paused the game! 

Please pray for Jeffro that he didn't break his hand punching holes in his walls upon reading this. Yes. After 2 years of calling everyone who pauses their game in the dungeon a bunch of fake dnd playing wimps, I allowed it! Am I a hypocrite? Probably. 

But you must understand the contingences in play. The party was about 10 days into the future. Which meant in the assumed next session to be played 7 days later they would be 3 days into the future. So by the next session the real calendar won't catch up to the party. I made a deal with the players of session 88 that if I was sick or had to skip DMing the session for IRL reasons then they'd be SOL and stuck in the dungeon standing still for at least 4 days to get us to the NEXT scheduled session 14 days later. Not a good chance of survival in such a case. So they basically locked in to playing these PCs next week even if the whole state of the campaign goes sideways and an easy score or something drops which they wish they could chase with their other PCs. They can't. Unless these want their session 88 pcs dead dead dead. Additionally, any new PCs in session 89 who weren't in session 88 would be newly rolled and "spawn" in this room of the dungeon for story reasons the player would ave to work out. Lastly, the session 88 players had to drop their stats into the d1scord chat in case they couldn't show for session 89 and the dm would have to get them killed running them as NPCs I mean so the dm could play them brilliantly as NPCs.

This is the first time Dubzaron has allowed session pausing and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. I allowed it because it was about 1 am and I needed to work in the morning, as did most everyone else. I'm not going to offer this as a common option because there are better ways to deal with long travel using up a great deal of a session. It was a very special case indeed what with them 10 days into the future and us at what is essentially the entrance of a very unique dungeon which I didn't want to DM poorly by rushing through it in 10 minutes and didn't want the players to PC poorly for the same reason. 

Stay tuned to see how this bold DM Dubs decision pans out!

Class Grading Thoughts

Best to Worst Grades: E, S, F, P

Arya received an S for being a Lawful Bladedancer(cleric) for having no concern or interest in healing or helping a fallen compatriot. Billy the Explorer was bold (fighter trait) and led overland travel (ranger trait) so E. Bluetooth was as bold as the session allowed and used Climbing so E. Hakon did his shaman thing fine and used Commune to great effect so E. Harrigan was a devious sticky fingered sob which is good for a thief so E. John Cabot was an explorer who went overland (ranger trait) and was as bold as possible (fighter trait) so E. Lockstep the fighter was as bold as the session allowed so E.

DM Self Grade!

I allowed pause time in a BROSR campaign. DM Grade: F

Timekeeping

Session started on 01/04/23. The party traveled and adventured for 9 days and is partway through their 10th day. We paused the game with the assumption of PCs playing on 01/11/23 with the game world on 01/14/23.

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.

Kortes (Level 5ish Explorer): Captured and pickled by Blind Pew and the 4 purple dragons of Muppetlantis sometime during downtime in late October or early November.

Billy (L6 Explorer): Roasted to a crisp by Bluey the Blue Dragon's Lightning Bolt Breath in Session 85. Had "restore life and limb" cast on him a few days later.

Tuck Dragonborn (L3[4] Barbarian): Also roasted to a crisp by Bluey the Blue Dragon's Lightning Bolt breath in session 85. Also had restore life and limb cast on him a few days later.

Xanthos: (Level 7 Cleric): Cut down by ogre champions in Session 86.

Snorri Sljepyson the Watchful (Neutral L1 Dwarven Vaultgaurd): Fell to his death about 300 feet off the side of the Dark Wall and went splat on Session 88.

Alexa this is so sad play "Time" by Hootie and the Blowfish

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Dubzaron Session 86: Dragonslayer Dundee (how to create unique magic items for your campaign)

Timekeeping

Adventured for 2 days in Queens Rest Mountain (1 day of rest after delve) and traveled for 2 days. Needing one day of rest the PCs can act again on 12/26/22.

Participating PCs

Billy L6 Lawful Explorer with Pathfinder Template

Edelweiss: L5 Neutral Mage with Magical Scholar Template

Gront Coldsky: L5 Neutral Barbarian with Housecarl Template

Xanthos: L7 Lawful Cleric with Mendicant Template 

Session Report

Between Session 85 and 86 Bluey the dragon attacked Forward Operating Base: Queen (FOB:Q), claiming that Billy and Tuck's bodies and possessions were his by right of conquest. Both PCs major magic items and a piece of their bodies were removed last session by one of the PCs who snuck back in and grabbed them. The finger or arm or whatever of each was used by Xanthos in downtime to bring them back to life with a Restore Life and Limb spell. While they and the rest of the party were still recuperating in Patron Barbarian Kyle's "FOB" near the Queens Rest Mountain dungeon, Kyle's hench vassal Robert Rambert was telling Bluey to kick rocks. He told Bluey that this base falls under the protection of WarChief Kyle O'Conner who will certainly hunt him down if the dragon survives an attack on Kyle's men or guests. The Artillerists stand ready for orders.". I rolled a Reaction Check and Bluey was not intimidated and attacked FOB:Q in downtime. Lightning shocked the FOB, killing men and cav hither and thither. Eventually, however, Rambert won but lost about 8 platoons of troops taking the dragon down. 

In downtime Edelweiss went outside with her Chirugeon and carved up Bluey for magic item creation (monster parts) sometime after the battle. The massive dragon corpse had fallen from ballista shot and left a huge crater just outside FOB:Q. You can't say this mage isn't always looking for the angles!

Session play came around a couple days later and Edelweiss convinced the PCs to go into Queens Rest mountain and claim the now (presumably) abandoned dragon horde they saw Bluey resting upon last session. Rambert took no offense to this and sent the PCs with a couple platoons up to the mountain as a base camp while they climbed the volcano and went inside yet again. 

Edelweiss and Billy were invisible as Xanthos and Gront led the group into the center stairs of the Zaharan temple inside the dormant (??) volcano. They cast the 24 hour duration Invisibility spell the day before and then Edelweiss slept and got her spells back. Essentially getting free spell slots. Elite play can be exploitive sometimes but now your PCs will do this if they read this blog. You're welcome!

Lava bubbled just 20' under them as they crossed the balcony into the place. In the first room there was a weird black and navy manta ray looking monster watching them from his resting point wrapped around a large statue the party had stolen the ruby eyes from a few months back. The monster did not appear hostile so the party chose to leave it alone. In the next room however they came across a beautiful woman with bat wings and vestigial horns who was crying over the statue of Nasga (a stone golem) the PCs had destroyed last week. This party is hard on statues. She claimed to come from the 9 Hells to mourn the loss of this beautiful work of art, when Gront asked her about it. She was wielding Billy's magic sword he lost last session when Bluey lightning breathed him in just this same location. She simply got more angry while discussing the destroyed artwork to Nasga and went on the attack. 

If you check the #brosr #hashtag you'll see the #Trollopulous has been seeing alot of demon ladies these days as well. Seems the random encounter charts are telling us something about the #brosr multiverse.

Billy charged down the stairs at her and wrenched his sword from her hands. For her part she was whispering of prurient things that seemed to make a lot of sense to Gront who nodded his head ready to obey her order to attack Xanthos. Xanthos was priming to cast Dispel Evil which would likely have ran this demon lady off but before he could do so he too failed to her enchanting words! This was a big gamble on my part having the ability target Xanthos with his outstanding saving throws rather than one of the other PCs but I run Super Intelligent NPC/Monsters as being able to strategize how I myself might. And I knew that if Xanthos failed the save then the PCs were SOL. He was very likely to save but guess what. He didn't.

Instead of using the fifth level spell Dispel Evil on the demon lady, he was directed to drop a Flame Strike on the location an invisible Edelweiss had repositioned. This seemed like a really good idea to Xanthos at the time.

 Edelweiss protested to me that the character was invisible to which I admitted the demon lady could see her. Xanthos couldn't but demon lady directed him to a general location for the Area of Effect spell. Flame Strike didn't kill Edelweiss but it did leave her vulnerable to Gront who charged and sliced her down. Soon after Billy became enchanted with this fascinating thotdemon and the players felt they had a TPK on their hands or, at least, would now be a party obeying a demon lady going forward.

I realized the spell-like effect was not permanent and would wear off soon so I tried to think of the most messed up thing the demon lady could do under the circumstances. She convinced Xanthos to take off all his armor and major magic items. Perhaps he thought something good was going to come from stripping down to his cassock and hair shirt? Poor Xanthos. He was not in his right mind of course.

The demonlady then ordered Gront and Billy to kill Xanthos and she herself ran deeper into the dungeon carrying Xanthos's magic items; giggling evilly. Xanthos for his part ran away towards the dungeon entrance to not get got by his ensorcelled pals and we fired up the Dungeon Chase rules again. Seems a common theme in Queen's Rest Mountain.

As he crossed the first doorway he failed his Save Vs Paralysis so tripped on the broken pieces of destroyed doorway that were there. Billy also failed and fell down. Gront did not and he buried his axe in Xanthos's back not killing him but certainly harming the cleric quite a bit. At this point the duration for the enchantments wore off or the PCs snapped out of it or something. Unclear! Gront apologized profusely.

The party went back to Edelweiss who kipped up since she had a Fate Point available; which can be spent to recover from falling without needing to make a Mortal Wounds check. I regret including Fate Points in my campaign. Edelweiss was, however, walking wounded. The party decided to push on and simply deal with Edelweiss barely being able to walk or function. Xanthos cast Silence on their lantern so if they saw the demonthot again they'd (hopefully) not be able to hear her dulcet tones. They lucked out and there were no random encounters or restocked rooms as they came to Bluey's horde. It was somewhat of a small horde despite Bluey's age and size but that was because he hadn't been there long enough to pile up the Gs (GPs). Gront was able to carry it all.

Inside the horde was a fancy sword with a gold dragon pommel with rubies for eyes. When Billy picked it up the mouth of the dragon pommel told him to drop his other magic blade saying "that's not a knife, I'm a knife!" with aussie accent.

Turns out the sword's name is Dragonlayer Dundee (I added "Dundee" just now) and his goal was to kill all dragons on this plane to free his soul from this blade. Also "those other dragons are so ugly, none could be as handsome as I!" Billy thought this all sounded like a great idea and felt compelled to give his old sword to Gront and to hear Dragonslayer Dundee out. 

Dragonslayer Dundee was invented with random rolls after I used the 1e magic item charts to get the basic gist of what it's power level was. ACKS has rules on intelligent magic items of which swords are most likely to have this feature out of all other magic items. I randomly rolled if it was sentient. It was. I randomly rolled what it was all about; killing dragons. Since it had will/ego was determined if Billy would go full Gollum "my precious" with the thing and he did. I also quizzed the table in play about the personality of the sword and all the dumbest behavioral ticks and personality traits the players tossed out on the mic became part of the sword. So like everything else in Dubzaron my advice on making something up in real play is to make it up on the fly and use the brains at your table.

Xanthos cast Protect of Evil Sustained on the party or something before the party made their escape. Which turned out well since they were met by a ghost of a zaharan noble in fancy clothes as they left the volcano. Said ghost wasn't able to approach or bother them much. Phew.

They got back to FOB:Q and counted their dragon horde payout cash while Edelweiss rested for a day. Xanthos healed himself of the axe wound Gront left in his back. Gront gave his cut of the treasure to Rambert.

The next day the PCs set out with 1 Platoon of Gaius's Light Cavalry and like 5 horse archers as their only escort. The other 2 or 3 platoons Gaius gave them had been killed by Bluey in the dragon attack. I'd like to note here an interesting world in motion thing. Billy, thanks to the weirding rez he took last session, is unable to travel during the day. His soul is scarred like a vampire. But the Curse of Lamalla specifically outlines how the weird red misty rain from the Curse of Lamalla blocks out the holy power of the sun; allowing orcs, goblins, vampires and other creatures who don't like or are damaged by sunlight to move during the day. This would apply to Billy! Billy was planning to travel at night (dangerous!) before I made the players aware of this. Pretty cool.

Along the way the party came across some weird fey looking mini-centaurs who were laired in a palisade of cherry blossom trees (without blooms in winter) with fences built between them. The party discussed attacking but realized the centaurs had about 5 platoons of their number and fortified walls to defend. The party wasn't even sure they were evil or whatever. They made a note on their map of the location and kept it moving. 

Near the end of the day they broke through a copse of trees and there were 15 ogres about 25 yards away. Uh oh. The ogres were hostile and fighting began. I ran this as DND combat instead of mass combat with Battle Rating(BR) since, with only 15 cavalrymen, the PCs numbers weren't too much for us to deal with in detailed combat. 

I won't run through every round of the 8 round or so combat as I'm running out of steam. But the Ogres cleaved through the Light Cavalry quite quickly and closed on Billy and Gront's holding of the front line. The PCs did a pretty good job of killing Ogres, with Edelweiss dropping a fireball then a stinking cloud taking about 5 total ogres out of the mix. Billy did Fighting Withdrawal after taking a couple big hits but Xanthos wasn't able to escape before the Ogre Champions sliced him up with their big axes. Gront, for his part, quaffed a Potion of Gaseous Form to escape when he was about to fall to 4 ogres roxburying him. Edelweiss cast Conjure Stone Elemental off a scroll and decided it looked like Rocky from "Rocky". It smashed ogres well and gave Billy a fighting partner to put his back against when things started turning against the party a bit.

Eventually however the party won the battle, killing every single ogre since the creatures kept making morale checks all through the battle. The Ogres each carried sacks of gold with 1d6x100 gp so it was a solid treasure take as well.

Xanthos was triaged but of course there was no cleric to drop healing spells available when his Mortal Wounds check said he needed to be healed to 1 HP in 1 turn or die! Edelweiss's chirugeon tried her best but failed.

The party kept traveling until they made it to a safe place in the empire to "park" (cash out). End of session.

Class Grading Thoughts

Billy was bold and led a wilderness expedition. I didn't see him do anything less than bold (which is bad for a fighter sub-class)  he was talking about fleeing the battle but never actually did so. He didn't do anything less than rangery (he tracked when he should, ran vanguard on the army across wilderness). So E. 

Edelweiss did everything a mage should do. There were some things in Bluey's room which a mage maybe probably have checked out but at the time Edelweiss was walking wounded so I don't hold it against the characters grade. The rest of the session was played properly cowardly (good for mage) and not holding back on spellcasting (also good for mage). She was also curious about Dragonslayer Dundee and tried to Loremaster the sword (to no avail). Grade E. 

Gront only had one less than bold moment of using the potion of gaseous form to escape. After the session he informed me he thought he could use it to escape and regroup to keep fighting but the spell doesn't apparently work like that. It's hard for me to grade on player intentions so I have to go on what actually happened, not intention. Or then I'd have to dock fighter grades every time the players joked/planned about fleeing but didn't. For the one less than bold moment Gront gets Grade S. 

Xanthos would get an E this session but PCs who end a session dead don't apply session grade.

DM Self Grade!

I did alright but I took too long restocking the dungeon, generating random encounters, and parsing the demon lady's reaction checks. I also realized while writing this session report I should have had Xanthos's flaming strike destroy Edelweiss's spell book and scrolls or at least have the items make a saving throw. Lost opportunity! The demon lady could have also taken said items that didn't burn up. Also think she could have done something more painful to the charmed PC party than sic them on Xanthos. Grade: D

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.

Kortes (Level 5ish Explorer): Captured and pickled by Blind Pew and the 4 purple dragons of Muppetlantis sometime during downtime in late October or early November.

Billy (L6 Explorer): Roasted to a crisp by Bluey the Blue Dragon's Lightning Bolt Breath in Session 85. Had "restore life and limb" cast on him a few days later.

Tuck Dragonborn (L3[4] Barbarian): Also roasted to a crisp by Bluey the Blue Dragon's Lightning Bolt breath in session 85. Also had restore life and limb cast on him a few days later.

Xanthos: (Level 7 Cleric): Cut down by ogre champions in Session 86.

Alexa this is so sad play "Tomorrow" by Silverchair

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Dubzaron Session 85: Bluey the Dragon (How to keep your dungeons relevant in a long term campaign)

Timekeeping

Session was played on 12/14/22 with the PCs adventuring for 4 days. Needing 1 day of rest they can take actions again 12/18/22

Participating PCs

Billy: L6 Lawful Explorer with Pathfinder Template

Edelweiss: L5 Neutral Mage with Magical Scholar Template [S]

Gront Coldsky: L5 Neutral Barbarian with Housecarl Template [S]

Tuck Dragonborn, White Death of Kobolds, Thawer of Frost Giants, Lord of the Emerald Hall: L3[4] Neutral Barbarian with Pit Fighter Template

Xanthos: L7 Lawful Cleric with Mendicant Template [E] 

Session Report

The party started out in New Cyfaraun discussing a mission to perhaps find the sorceress queen a bunch of patrons and PCs believe has been harrying the southern portion of the Unbroken Line. Edelweiss has been trying to scry the location of said sorceress and what Edelweiss believes is her dark tower for about a week, using Gaius's crystal ball. These attempts have proven no help and twice now Edelweiss has almost died due to fel magic glyphs placed about the locations she was attempting to peer upon. She gave Gaius his crystal ball back and said "heck with this, too dangerous."

Gront the barbarian met with the Sepia Uplands consulate in New Cyfaraun and we did a bit of roleplaying there with who was present, how they wanted to get drunk on Dilbert's Whiskey with Gront and such. Gront has a pretty good relationship going with Patron Kyle Oconner of the barbaric Sepia Uplands. Both he and Kyle are really playing things up in what started out as Gront needing to find a place to get class training. Use training time/costs in your campaign! Pays dividends.

The Sepia consulate sent a bird out to Kyle's domain wherein Gront was told an explorer from the Sepia domain would meet the party in Turos Drav to help guide them out there. The party wanted to go back to the Forward Operating Base: Queen and delve Queen's Rest Mountain. Don't ask me why.

Before leaving New Cyfaraun Xanthos used Commune to ask his deity Naurivus about the location of the dark tower in question. The party believes they may have a decent idea of where it is but I'll let PCs communicate that with Patrons. Various PVP things may or may not hang in the balance and I don't want to give that away here in any case.

Travel to Turos Drav from New Cyfaraun took a day and a half and there were no encounters on the way. Or those random encounters I did roll were evading the PCs since they were traveling with a few platoons of light cavalry on loan from Gaius (what a nice guy). In Turos Drav the party was eventually met at the Sepia Uplands consulate by Jeremiah Johnson who arrived, took two quick shots of Dilberts, before he'd speak with PCs. Then he called Gront brother and shook his hand. He switched horses since the Party wanted to leave for the wilderness asap and Jeremiah had rode his previous horse hard to get out to Drav and meet them quickly. They crossed the bridge from Turos Drav into the wilderness. 
I was describing the various things they passed and the Party took notes on which hexes Kyle didn't control; perhaps they are looking to claim those or vassal to Kyle at those locations later? The party eventually came to FOB: Queen and shockingly enough I rolled no hostile random encounters that wanted to tangle with the PCs or their light cavalry, during the travel. 

I couldn't quickly find Kyle's numbers on the garrison at the FOB so we just ran with it that Gaius's cavalry would accompany the PCs and Jeremiah (who wanted to come along to oversee the base camp) out to Queens Rest mountain a couple hours away on horseback. The party left their cav and JJ behind and ascended the volcano and then entered the top going down stairs into the bottom. Heat from lava flow blasted them as they once again found themselves looking at the front of a Zaharan temple built inside and directly into the inside wall of a volcano. Great location! (Kyle invented the concept, not I! Put Patrons in your campaign ASAP!)

They tracked a bit and iirc didn't learn too much before going to the western stairs which lead into the temple where they had fought a powerful warband of lizardmen in the past. They wanted to finish them off and get some of their lost items back!

At this point I'm scrambling. I know the lizardmen are long gone. Like for weeks now. So what's a DM to do? In fake DND you'd just say "oh hey this wing of the dungeon is empty". But in Real D&D like I run you need to account for the passage of time and dungeon restocking. What I decided to do right in the middle of the session was to run restocking checks on all the rooms in the dungeon which have changed since the party was last here (there are quite a few!). Additionally, to make the place feel unique, I grabbed a 1e monster book to use for it's random encounter tables. Then decide what level dungeon this place is based on it's previous use, and use that as the guideline of rolling on said random monster encounters. Lastly, the random treasure and (most importantly as you'll see next session!) random magic treasure will come from 1e's charts, not ACKS. 

What this particular element does is keep dungeons relevant in a campaign (like all brosr campaigns) that are becoming more and more about the overland aspect of DND. It also keeps session play important in the Dubzaron campaign itself which is being played so much in downtime with co-DMs, Patrons as DMs, and solo Lair hunts, solo travel and the like. 

To get the unique stuff you might find in Queens Rest Mountain you have to go to THAT dungeon and you have to do it IN SESSION. 

Edelweiss cast Clairvoyance which allowed her to see through the eyes of creatures within 60 feet or so and she directed it past the closed door at this temple entrance. She was seeing with predator heat vision and noted the creatures in the next room were cold blooded (they appeared blue not red) and were certainly not bipeds. So it's not the lizardmen! 

The party snuck up to the door so Xanthos could place a Glyph of Warding with Lightning Explosion on the floor in front of the door so the party could hopefully bait whatever is in there across the glyph and kill them. Gront and Tuck swung the double doors open but alas Gront had trouble with his (I rolled a 1) and only one door was opened on Tuck's side. Inside were 7 giant spitting snakes that begin spitting venom at Tuck primarily. He made some Save VS Poison throws iirc before the party backed up and successfully baited the snakes into the Glyph, killing all but two of them. The melee folk chopped down one of those two then Xanthos used Snake Charm spell to calm the last one and try to befriend him. Good guys win.

The party searched the room they had combated lizardmen in 3 times but never actually claimed and been able to look through. It had a door on the north and east wall. Billy tracked spiders going north so the party went that way. In this room were 7 large tarantulas the party went to work killing. This got a bit more difficult since Gront, who had Growth cast on him, was holding the door alone and taking three poisoning attacks a round. I was rolling out of my mind and while the damage from the spiders was only 1d3 Gront failed two Save Vs Poison. After the first one Xanthos cast neutralize poison but then Gront failed again. Oops.

Additionally these spiders were making missile attacks at the middle and back ranks with spearlike hairs on their abdomen.

I learned, upon attempting a missile attack on Edelweiss the mage, that she had been toting around a Tower Shield for multiple sessions which I apparently ruled sometime in the past could be used to prevent all missile attacks being made at the mage. I don't recall this. I must have made this ruling while drunk and/or suffering from cold and flu symptoms and will be revisiting it for future sessions. But it is my way to not nerf things in session so players aren't trying to hit a moving target of "how dubs' feel today?" session to session but are warned about what they'll be dealing with going forward.
Eventually the party killed all the spiders, grabbed up a decent amount of loot from what turned out to be a spider lair, and skedaddled back topside to try and save Gront from dying to poison. Barbarians are really hard to kill outright in ACKS since they essentially take Advantage when rolling for what's called Mortal Wounds; or Turning Over after falling. Gront was mostly ok but would need his Poison neutralized and Xanthos and co realized they were low on spells to continue a delve. They went back to the FOB for the day and came back the following day to take another run. 

On the second delve they went to the center staircase leading into a very large crypt room and beyond that a room with a stone golem of Nasga the goddess which they were unable to kill some weeks (months?) back since it was immune to any weapons that weren't at least +2. Today they had some +2 weapons and went on the attack. Xanthos used Dispel Evil on the statue when it began to animate which makes it flee even if it makes a saving throw vs spells (which a failure would destroy it). While the golem was fleeing to the next room the barbarians grabbed up either side of a large chain and tripped and tied it up. Then the party beat it into rubble.

The next room to the north was a massive crypt room with a bunch of empty crypts and a powerful dark altar in the center. Xanthos destroyed this.

In the next room north from there was a massive blue dragon male laying on a small pile of treasure. His name was Bluey and he was awake and curled around a green statue of some Zaharan deity in the middle of a large square chamber. Billy had a medusa head in a bag from the Party's last adventure and, when Bluey demanded a massive tribute to his majesty, Billy held up the head and said "how about this!" I used the house rule I made last session about a degrading medusa head still having the power to petrify a victim looking upon it and... yes the magic was still there!

Sadly for the Party Bluey looked right at the head and made his Save vs Petrification and was now quite angry indeed! How dare they try to turn Bluey into a statue! He yelled in an australian accent because apparently that's where the kids cartoon "Bluey" is from. As you can tell, this particular group of players has some dads among its numbers. What with our Muppets and kids modern cartoon references. Is Bluey the dragon the best DND concept ever? No. But did it have us laughing at the goofy concept we came up for this randomly generated encounter? Oh yes. And even more, the Australian theme of Bluey and his chamber and such would come back big next session with a unique magic item the party finds there. Stay tuned!

The party decided to run away so we moved to ACKS' Dungeon Chase rules. Firstly I checked Bluey's reaction to see if he even wanted to chase the party at all. The dice said "yes". Uh oh. 

In ACKS Dungeon Chase you must needs make a Save Vs Paralysis each time you go through a doorway or make a 90 degree turn while running. Or you stumble or fall down or something. I ruled the staircases the party had been descending in each room to get deeper into the temple and crypts would require a similar save for themselves and Bluey. At the first such staircase Billy, Tuck and Edelweiss tripped and Bluey caught up to them. Combat time! Bluey won initiative and breathed his powerful lightning breath and blasted both Tuck and Billy to a crisp. Edelweiss had been zig zagging as she ran away [House Rule: 1-2 on d6 in this ad hoc situation determined the PC wasn't lined up perfectly for the 5' wide lightning bolt shot. Only Edelweiss got lucky here.] Billy and Tuck were burnt to a crisp with Lightning Bolt breath.

The surviving party members used invisibility or something to sneak back in and very quickly grab a finger or something from Billy and Tuck's charred bodies to try and use divine magic to bring them back later. Their magic items or something were also a priority more than their full corpse which would have needed to be swept up with a broom into a sealed sack or something (extra crispy!) The surviving party members then departed Queens Rest mountain with a sad tale and the hope Xanthos's divine magic could bring their friends back during downtime play before next session. 

Afterword

As you'll find next session Billy was back! "What didn't he get turned crispy by dragon lightning breath?" Yes. But with Xanthos around the party has advanced to a high enough level to have a somewhat less effective version of Ressurection. This has become a trend in the campaign since Queens Rest Mountain came into play, actually. The place has eaten PCs up but few of them have stayed dead.

The campaign, by virtue of tons and tons of GP floating around between patrons and domain play PCs, has made for many more spells, potions, scrolls and the like that can be used to bring PCs etc back to life. 


I have to wonder what this all will mean for my campaign. At one point I was indeed convinced that Dubzaron was too deadly. I was happy when the new party of Team Elite started to get their feet under them and not die as much. It was tough sledding when many of those new players started out.

Team Elite has continued to play smart, careful, and at an Elite level which matches their name. But I am wondering what to make of a D&D campaign which has shifted into character death becoming relatively simple to address. Has the game stopped mattering?

Well no. Thankfully I introduced Class Grades and Training Times/Costs around the time this High Rez phase of the Campaign started. It wasn't foresight on my part, I just like the training rules from 1e. The reason this matters is while PCs might get their faces melted and still hop back up the next day thanks to Xanthos or some friendly Patron or PC who is as much as a Patron due to their downtime play, good play still matters. Because if you play badly you're going to be stuck in training jail longer. 

Now this isn't as final as your pc just, you know, being dead. But it will still keep folks engaged and playing their role at the best level they can.

Beyond that however I wonder if the High Rez Era makes for a worse campaign. It certainly isn't exactly what I'm used to, that's for sure. After deciding to stop running 3e (I never ran 4e and 5e wasn't out yet) I really got into the OSR love of PC death. Man do the OSR love killing their PCs! Just mow right through them. Die die die. DCC RPG loved it so much they created the character funnel. OSR hearts chardeath. And for a time, so did I. Ok I still do.

But this is BROSR. Maybe Rez should be easier.

A funny thing to consider is how most of the Dubzaron players who never made the leap to a 1e BROSR campaign were not in love with the high magic setting we all got to witness with BROvenloft. I'm going to assume you know about #BROvenloft but if you're not go check out the #hashtag on the elon site. 

With BROvenloft there were many extremely high level patrons with access to extremely high level and powerful spells. So powerful in fact that BROvenloft had something called World War Wish where, until the Young Pope pooped on everyone's parade with some legalistic "no wish for you" wish, everyone was popping off multiple wishes a day at each others domains like nuclear bombs. Except me, btw, despite what everyone believed about my awesome Twin Peaks Patron. 

But the High Rez Era isn't that different than World War Wish. Difference being that World War Wish made goofy interesting things happen (even when it was dumb and OP) but High Rez Era rewinds interesting things from having happened. 

I'm not sure this is a problem for a few reasons. BROvenloft and World War Wish was the natural evolution of the 1e rules as written, proving the system to have Vancian magic on a level much more intense than your average 2008 OSR blogger could have ever imagined. It showed that Magic Users were Vancian since they controlled fiefdoms they kept under  their thumb with insane world altering spells. BROvenloft was more "Dying Earth" than "Dracula". And that's what 1e was intended to be!

Similarly the High Rez Era in Dubzaron has proven that apparently this is how ACKS is written. Once players have some pennies to rub together then can work out ways to keep themselves in Wish, Miracle, and Rez spells scrolls and such. 

Is this what I thought I'd find once we reached mid to high level PCs? No. But I doubt the BROvenloft Patrons thought they'd remake "Dying Earth" rather than "Dracula". But that's what's happened.


Class Grading Thoughts

I will not be grading the PCs who ended the session dead. This session doesn't count for XP or for grading thus training time for them. 

Edelweiss was a bit slow on the spells in the snake and spider fight, spending a couple rounds doing not much of anything while Gront and Tuck were fighting for their life and could have used spell back up or something. This is explicitly "an example of bad play" on Gygax's advisement of such. Grade S. 

Gront was mostly bold the whole session but did in fact flee from the dragon. You might argue "well he'd die if he didnt!" and I agree. But I'm considering that the give and take of grading vs not dying. I also would have ran away if I was running a fighter/barbarian but the fact is that is an explicit negative on Gygax's outlining of grades. Better to be alive with a bit slower training in the future. So S. 

Xanthos caught an E this session because he had no obvious "examples of bad play". He pointedly used ALL his healing spells during their first delve (an example of good play as per Gygax) and smashed the evil altar in the place. So E.

DM Self Grade!

I made some mistakes during the navigation out to FOB Queen describing the wrong things based on the Info Patron Kyle had given me. Additionally I was too easy on the way I ran the stone golem fight. I tend to roll my eyes and throw up my hands when monsters get "flee" or "cower" status effects. It just seems a bad use of time to really play it out attack for attack. But I should have looked at the spell a bit more closely to assure the hand waived results would align with what would likely actually happen if played out. Lastly I got a bit too in my feelings about realizing Edelweiss was toting a tower shield around for like 10 sessions because I apparently ruled it was np np. Grade: C

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.

Kortes (Level 5ish Explorer): Captured and pickled by Blind Pew and the 4 purple dragons of Muppetlantis sometime during downtime in late October or early November.

Billy (L6 Explorer): Roasted to a crisp by Bluey the Blue Dragon's Lightning Bolt Breath in Session 85. Had "restore life and limb" cast on him a few days later.

Tuck Dragonborn (L3[4] Barbarian): Also roasted to a crisp by Bluey the Blue Dragon's Lightning Bolt breath in session 85. Also had restore life and limb cast on him a few days later.

Alexa this is so sad play "Bluey Intro Theme" from the TV show Bluey because I just don't care anymore

Dubzaron Session 90: The Scales of Turas Part 3

 Foreword There were ALOT of PC deaths this session so I'm going to list the PCs a bit different. With those who were starting/died up f...