Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Dubzaron Session 91: Spontaneous Heroism

I have recently taken a break from DMing the Dubzaron Campaign. But that hasn't stopped the campaign itself from continuing. In fact, the number of sessions played each month has actually increased! How, you ask? Well, thanks to 1:1 Jeffrogaxian Timekeeping and Patrons, the campaign has the EZ Mode structure to allow for Co-DMs and a stable of fantastic Co-DMs waiting in the wings. 

Most of these DMs have been keeping excellent notes on our campaign d1scord during this time and I realized hey why not share these terrific and exciting session reports with you, the people. I'm going to have an accelerated release of these reports since there is quite the backlog.

This session was ran waaaaay back on 01/21/23 by the outstanding DM Brig of Brigadungeon; a campaign where I run Teutch the Alchemist as a Patron. He runs Prefect Drakon as a Patron in Dubzaron.

Brigadine wasted no time in taking the reigns upon hearing of my need for a DMing break. I'm going to cut and paste his report below without adding anything. His DM voice is quite unique and those who haven't checked out his blog are in for a treat. 

Enjoy and game on!

Time: Downtime travel started 1/21/23 to kick off session play 1/26/23 at Turos Spen. Delve 1/27/23 5 hours, rest overnight, aim to delve 1/28/23.

PCs: Bob Lawful Explorer 1 Mariner, Tuck Neutral Barb 4 pit fighter, Daria Lawful Bladedancer 8, Gront Coldsky neutral Barb Housecarl, Edelweiss Mage Magical Scholar lvl 6, Neutralio Neutral Fighter Level 2, Arminius Lawful level 4 Nobirian Champion, Vince McMaximus L11 Pugilist, lawful

Hench: Dina, L5 Fighter, lawful, Torquemada L5 Paladin lawful, Julia, L5 Thief lawful, Davian Cruise Dwarven Machinist Engineer lvl 2, Lily Bladedancer Bringer of Mercy lvl 1, Azalea Shaman Druid lvl 2

Hi. I’m Brigadine. Bdubs had to take a break for a bit due to IRL. He announced that this past weekend and had the Discord server all atwitter. He’s temporarily passed the reins off to a few subDMs for downtime shenanigans and keeping the game moving forward. Several of us split up the responsibilities to keep up with downtime while the chatter continued on the server.

Somehow, the boys got excited enough to jump into a spontaneous session to start on a Saturday evening. Buncha players and 2 or 3 DMs on hand so someone was gonna do somethin’ hell or high water. There were tons of hooks, but Bdubs had just recently dropped this nugget: 

Blood Rain Torrential Downpour: This morning began a massive downpour of Lamalla's blood rains down across the lands. During the entire day and through the weekend it doesn't let up. Lawful dreams are haunted by the watery cackles of Lamalla during this time. "Soon!" she laughs "Soon all will be under my sway across the multiverse!" 

This drew out the big guns. Vince (Patron Pugilist 11) went to his long-time best friend or exasperated ruler (depends on who you ask) Prefect Drakon (Patron Fighter ???) with a plan to strike at Lammala and hopefully rescue some of his captured henchmen from a botched delve a month or two ago. The Curse is nearing its end and no one knows what to expect when it’s over, but why be the nail when you can be the hammer?

Drakon used his Deck of BroSR Trumps (See: Nine Princes in Amber) to contact every single PC in the Campaign on what amounted to a Zoom call where Vince pitched the mission. A pool had been discovered in the wilderness a few weeks ago that had been corrupting any elves in the hex. The Legate that had discovered it was offering rewards to deal with it and Vince and Drakon piled on.

Players picked their PCs, among them some of the heavy hitters of the campaign that have been idle or doing domain stuff, and worked out logistics to be where they needed to be to kick off the adventure. They got with the Captain of the Guard at Turos Spen for intel and did a little shopping and off they went. Wilderness travel was miserable and a little slower than planned due to the rain and differences in mount speeds, but they got there with only a few wild animal encounters that were easily avoided. It was a big party with more than a company of mercs so the few encounters that they saw really didn’t want none o’ that smoke.

They arrived amidst the aforementioned downpour to find a company of Light Cav stationed on guard who were just as miserable or more than the party. Vince spoke to Sergeant Schlepo (memed into Schlepius Maximus because ACKS) who was a bit of a smart ass but accepted their purpose for being there and showed them the pool.

It was perfectly circular, 30 feet in diameter, and perfectly clear despite the heavy downpour of blood. After some tinkering and experimentation including Vince trying to lure a mermaid with an old pumpkin spice latte, Bob the Mariner displayed great 1st level courage, tied a rope to himself, and jumped in. The rope elongated and eventually lost connection and Bob was never seen again. OR WAS HE?! Cue dramatic scene break. 

The party was worried and discussed various other plans to try to cautiously enter the pool, settling on jumping in with water breathing potions handy just in case. The notoriously cowardly Edelweiss (mage) noped pretty hard on going in until Neutralio just shoved her in and dove in after. Eventually everyone made it through the portal and into the dungeon, Edelweiss hyperventilating until they proved that they could enter and exit at will.

They were in a long, narrow room where the ceiling, walls, and floor were the color of the deepest darkest ocean, the last of which was rolling gently in mimicry of the ocean’s surface. Two rows of columns made of pink coral stretched the length of the room, several of which held magnesium torches giving off a harsh green light and sickly fumes. Bob the Mariner realized after a while that the rolling of the floor actually tilted to the northwest, kind of like they were standing on a bit of a wave and not flat water. Vince and others shared out a bunch of loaner magic items. Lammala’s Curse makes watery critters immune to normal weapons.

While the party discussed the various exits to the room, Tuck the Barbarian in his power armor tried to pluck a few torches from the columns, getting two and passing them around for folks to hold. One of the paladin henchmen detected evil and reported everything was evil. The whole place. Fun. 

They settled on heading west down a passage close to the entry, arriving at a door made of sand and seashells with a white plastic door ring shortly thereafter. Not a lot of discussion was had about how to approach doors, their confidence swollen with the presence of mid to high level characters, and they served up a no-knock warrant on the underwater realm, piling into the room and immediately triggering a trap.

The room had dappled greenish light like just under the surface of a scummy pond. About half of the large party entered the room before the trap sprung, flooding the space with murky pond water and causing swimming checks for everyone. Except Tuck. Because power armor. Sigh.

The presence of the power armor trivialized the threat of this drowning trap and the party was eventually able to swim or be towed through the water to the clear hallway on the other side. They found a short passage that led into a large chamber with an 8 feet tall pile of sea snakes writhing in the middle of it. Some discussion about how to attack and kill the snakes led to eventually persuading Edelweiss to drop a fireball on it. She did and all the sneks exploded leaving behind a spirally coral column that they had been clinging to.

I’ve never seen a group so eager to smash an evil altar, with several PCs talking over themselves on mic and explaining to the newer players that chaotic altars give a bit of XP to lawful PCs that break them. PCs only ever want one thing, and it’s disgusting.

Some elbow grease and holy water later and there were cleansed altar fragments all about the place. As they dusted off their hands, two medusa burst into the room from the west wearing mottled green and blue robes and disposable paper slippers. Unfortunately for the monsters, no one was surprised and immediately turned to stone.

The combat that ensued was pretty one-sided, all of the adventurers having fought medusas and well-familiar with the averting your gaze mechanics. I don’t even think the enemy got a chance to act. They went into the room that the medusas came out of fully expecting to fight more of the same. What they actually found was a large circular room with a swirling whirlpool of gore, bones, and screaming faces in the center that made a loud roaring sound. The edge of the room was a ten foot band of sand with a few more exits.

They talked about what to do about the pool, eventually testing it out by throwing a vial of holy water in which burst and caused a massively loud ear-splitting shriek to echo throughout the complex. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to happen or respond to it. Shortly thereafter the walls seemed to absorb about half of the light emitted by the party’s stolen torches, but it didn’t appear to them that the two events were related.

They threw a couple more vials in, more shrieking, and the paladin cast Detect Evil. It was extremely evil in that pool. Daria the Bladedancer and OG dropped a Dispel Evil on it which caused its whirling motion to cease and stop, leaving just a pool of gore with bits floating in it. Cheers were had by all. The violently loud shrieking will definitely not come back to haunt them.

The party decided to rest here and let Daria meditate to recover her expended spell slot. A whole hour chillin’ in the dungeon, NBD. Turns out it was indeed NBD. The lights even corrected themselves.

So off they went, aiming at a northern door where they found a large square chamber filled floor, wall, and ceiling with weird veiny organic pods of some kind. They noped right out of there and kept poking around, finding a much more turbulent room where they could hear waterfall sounds coming from an angle that they couldn’t see without entering the room. Again, they backtracked, opting to check a hallway off of the whirlpool room that they were confident would lead them back to the entrance and out.

Along that hallway was another shell and sand door, so they stacked up and kicked it in, rushing into a confrontation with 7 Sharkotaurs. Yep, minotaurs with shark heads. They even had hooves. A bold charge by the front line of Gront, Tuck, and Neutralio set the battle’s tone, supported by the rest including the Summoned Hero Mandonio. A mix of high AC and poor rolling left the party with little damage received beyond a strike against Bob the Mariner which felled him to exactly 0 HPs. The medic hench jumped on it quick and a solid mortal wounds roll had him back on his feet. 

They captured and interrogated the last sharkotaur and learned some small or vague details about the dungeon. Ultimately they decided to kill it when it outlived its usefulness. The critters’ room had a bit of loot which they shared out between them and boogied for the exit. They still hadn’t achieved their primary objective and it was getting late so they determined that securing the loot then calling it was the best play. But they couldn’t shake the thought that maybe Vince’s lost henchmen were in the pod people room, so they jumped back in and risked another encounter to check it out. Fortunately they made it there without incident and tried to see what they could learn about the weird cocoons.

Some failed proficiency checks to try to surgically remove a whole pod left them with the choice to cut one open or just leave. They cut one open, revealing a motionless, hairless, featureless, smooth-bodied humanoid creature that either wasn’t alive or was in a coma or something. Tuck stepped up with his Axe of Galeforce and uttered the secret to Fryer Tuck’s franchise: “never fresh, always frozen” and touched it to the… thing… which froze over like a popsicle. A podsicle, if you will. They took the podsicle and a piece of one of the cocoons and destroyed the rest, resting up top in the torrential bloody rains with the intent to come back ASAP.

Grading: Dubzaron runs a class grading system ported over from AD&D. I look for aberrant behavior from the class’s obvious role within the party.

Bob Lawful Explorer 1 Mariner: Bold, direct, courageous, Lawful. Fighter archetype E.

Tuck Neutral Barb 4 pit fighter: Bold, direct, courageous, helpful. Fighter archetype E. 

Daria Lawful Bladedancer 8: Dropped spells in key points, healed when able, engaged in melee as Bladedancer. Martial Cleric archetype E.

Gront Coldsky neutral Barb Housecarl: Bold, direct, violent. Fighter archetype E.

Edelweiss Neutral Mage Magical Scholar lvl 6: Cautious, cast in key points. Mage E

Neutralio Neutral Fighter Level: Bold, direct, courageous, Fighter E.

Arminius Lawful level 4 Nobirian Champion: Bold, direct, courageous, flexible, Fighter archetype E.

Vince McMaximus L11 Pugilist, lawful: Bold, direct, courageous, leader, Fighter archetype E.

Musings: This was my first online session that I’ve run. I’ve got a handful of games under my belt as a Judge in person, so I’m not completely lost, but it’s a different dynamic for sure. The excitement throughout the day talking about it fed the session emotionally as much as anything that happened in the game I think. Had a freshman caller in Vince on the mic, which was fun. The legacy Dubzaron players really like to put callers on the spot. But it’s all done with love. Iron sharpens iron and the rising tide and all that.

I threw the dungeon together once it looked like I was on deck for the spontaneous session. I’m not as great working from absolutely nothing as some, so I like to at least have an outline. I’m sure the PCs will throw me as time goes on with some gotcha session plans, but that’s how we get better. Push that envelope! This one was easy due to all the lead-in conversation.

We paused time again. I don’t really care as long as the timeline matches up. I think it’s proven that it works fine. There is some concern over the spontaneous session leaving players out of the loop which is unfortunate. Could also FUBAR some assumed actions and contingencies with a game with this many moving pieces in 1:1 time. We’ll endeavor to be more considerate of that in the future, but hey strike when the iron’s hot, right?

Xp from Kills:    2730

Xp from Loot:    18832

Total XP:    21562

Cuts:    22

PC:    0%    1,960    5%    2,058    10%    2,156

Hench:    0%    980    5%    1,029    10%    1,078

Lawful Only

Xp from Kills:    1100

Xp from Loot:    0

Total XP:    1100

Cuts:    12

PC:    0%    183    5%    193    10%    202

Hench:    0%    92    5%    96    10%    101

Dubzaron Session 148: Lights in the Dark

  Dubzaron Session 148: Lights in the Dark Time: Dungeon delved on 04/10/2024. One day rest needed after. Can take actions 04/12/2024.  Part...