Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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. 

Participating PCs
Bloodletter (the psycho formerly known as Reaver): L6 Barbarian, Death Dealer, Neutral.
Kyrandis: L1 Wonder Worker, Wrathbringer, Lawful.
Martel: L1 Dwarven Pugilist, Streetfighter (hadoken!), Neutral. RIP
Rory: L5 Barbarian, Death Dealer, Neutral.
Sheela: L2 Mage, female char played by male player for some reason.
Xanthos: L8 (now 7) Cleric, Mendicant, Lawful.

Bloodletter: Magos (L3 Mage, Magical Scholar [Mapping, Ancient Zaharan])
Xanthos: Ulysses (L4 Explorer, Mariner), Nestor (L4 Venturer, Merchant Mariner), Agenor (L5 Fighter, Legionnaire) Fang (4 HD Dire Wolf), Tig (6 HD Phase Tiger)

XP For Treasure: 18,000
XP for Kills: 13,545
XP for Magic Items: 0
Total XP Pool:
Cuts: 16
PC Cut: 0%: 3,943     5%: 4,140   10%: 4,337
Hench Cut: 0%: 1,972    5%: 2,071    10%: 2,169
Special: All Lawful PCs/Hench get 800 (and Lawful hench 400) for the elimination of 1 evil altar. This is also modified by Prime Requisite bonus, if any.

Session Report
As the eclipse fades into the past, time marches on, and I am back to DMing "Queens Rest Mountain" in the Dubzaron campaign. Will this dungeon ever end? Will it be "cleared"? Will I win the lottery? My sources say "no".

The party was in place well and set off for Queens Rest Mountain as soon as we all got done talking on the mic about how lame Denis Villeneuve's re-imagining of Chani from Dune was. We had a new player to the group from the Trollopulous 1e game. He was Kyrandis the Wonder Worker. A level 1 PC trying to tag along to a very high level dungeon. Will he survive? In a way. Read on! 

Welcome Kyrandis, or whatever your online handle is or your real name or whatever your future PCs are called.

This reminds me of a section in Mick Foley's book. He is a wrestler who had many personas; the most famous being the Hannibal Lecter inspired "Mankind". But he also wrestled as Cactus Jack in ECW and WCW and Dudelove in the indies and a few times in WWF (most famously where he entered into the Royal Rumble thrice, each time under a different of his three most famous identities). In one of his books he opined about how weird the wrestling brotherhood is in that they don't really know or interact with eachother by their own names. This reminds me of the BROSR specifically but of online social interactions as well. I will paraphrase Mick's book and add some BROSR guys to it instead: "Hey Brigadine can you reach out to Standing Mountain and tell him to bring his PC Rory for this session. If he can contact HereAndNow to play Xanthos or Proteus that would be good too. BTW How was Dorinal's DMing this week?"

So many names; none of them real (except in an Elfland sort of way). That's how I feel referencing Kyrandis when he's most certainly known by 2 or 3 other handles in the Trollopulous campaign.

Can you tell this is a short session report this week? It is.

The party went up the hill to Queens Rest Mountain with no random encounters during the travel. Last week it was spewing poisonous smoke again so they couldn't go. They went inside the cauldron of the volcano and I was slowing down a bit to give better descriptions since we had a new player who had never been here before.

Everyone else had been multiple times so the Caller took them to the center door of the Sepulcher in the inside of the volcano. They passed by Primanti the Cloud Giant who they made friends with in the first room 2 weeks back. He survived the smoke no problem and the party celebrated him for being so tough.

They then trekked deeper in the dungeon to arrive at a large room with a statue of the necromancer queen Alicia and a magically locked room which they believed they could open if they found an orb to go with the statue's scepter (which they found last time they were here).

Xanthos cast Locate Object with "orb" as the target and it pointed him to the northeast. The Caller went about exploring the dungeon in that direction to get them there. In some hallways to the east they came upon a random encounter of a white pillar of light with a red flaming tail. It moved at blinding speed to get right in Xanthos's face before we even rolled initiative. It burrowed into the Cleric's chest and drained a level from him. The party was bummed I think I heard "f this place" on the mic; but in full R rated glory! 

Little did the party know that if they didn't kill the thing right away it was about to get much worse! Thankfully Rory rolled a terrific attack and damage roll and killed the thing in one shot. It was sticking into Xanthos' chest the burrow deeper and deeper and he just sliced it in half; narrowly missing the cleric with his perfect shot.

The party explored further to the east where they had a random encounter with a big venomous snake. I think it got one successful attack off but the PC who was attacked made their Save Vs Poison. The party then chopped it to bits. Rory went as far as to try and carve it up to make snakeskin boots.

They found a secret door on the eastern portion of some side hallways which lead into a room with an altar and puddle of blood. When Xanthos began to smash the altar (Kyrandis was happy to help with this, to his credit) some bloody tendrils tried to attack from the puddle just like the last time they saw this sort of room. Once again this mid to high level party easily dispatched the 2 HD tendrils. 

This room had only one apparent exit which was a door that was sealed shut with iron welding. There would be no Trollopulous style "unhinged" stuff happening here! So the party tried to double back to the south of the dungeon and go back east then north. They did a similar thing to double back around sealed door last time. 

But this time there was a great gash across the dungeon splitting it in two. This made a canyon of about 30 feet wide across the dungeon which fell directly into the volcano lava. They could see other hallways across the canyon and may have been able to navigate this with climbing or flying or something but either didn't have the ability, resources, or thought better of it. "If we fail we fall in lava and die". Probably.

So they doubled BACK to the sealed door room with the intention of breaking it down. This would have taken a VERY long time but found something in the module (yes, a module, shut up Jeffro) where the room had a weak wall which a Dwarf would be very likely to notice. This party doesn't run with many dwarves but the new PC Martel saved the day here. He pointed out the weak wall and Bloodletter broke it down.

During all the travel after the snake I wasn't hitting many random encounters or monster restocking but I did hit a big one on their way back. The monster was very powerful and the monster entry stated it absolutely would have a Lair and Lair Treasure if encountered with 3 or more of them. Well there were 3 so I improvised that these could only be encountered at the next empty room the party would come upon or close to. I then decided that the noise from breaking down the wall was so loud that the monsters would hear it and I'd make a reaction roll of how they felt about all the noise and that obviously some folks were near their lair. Well the reaction was snake eyes, the lowest possible. So they were PISSED.

Right after the wall broke down and the party was getting themselves ready to go marching down the hallway they found beyond, 3 Willowisps came flying through the door directly across the hall from them and started attacking. I described these as red and black lights flashing and fading but the players seemed to guess what they were pretty quickly. 

The fight went two rounds where the Wisps downed Martel, Kyrandis, Fang, and Ulysses. Because the monster is super intelligent as per the monster entry, I had them trying to cleave through the weak opponents to essentially get free attacks on the others. This is the sort of tactics PCs do all the time. It was somewhat effective but the players smartly (or luckily?) didn't have more than 1 or 2 weaker PC/Hench lined up for easy cleaving reach for this fight. 

Eventually Xanthos cast Dispel Evil which makes summoned/evil creatures either get destroyed or (if they make their Saving Throw) just run away for 10 minutes. Two of the three Wisps were destroyed. But the third had disappeared the round previously with intention of going behind the party to kill the weaker members there (and get those sweet sweet cleaves). As such, the party didn't know for sure if the invisible wisp had been destroyed or simply fled.

Rory asked Xanthos "so were just waiting to cast that to see if we could hit it?"

The party then triaged their many wounded and after all the healing and such was done they ended up with only Martel completely dead. Our new friend Kyrandis had his legs completely destroyed, Fang got (another?) brain injury, and Ulysses was blinded. (In hindsight I think some of these fell in the second fight with the remaining Wisp but my notes aren't good enough to parse this.)

The party discussed whether they should abscond from the dungeon with their walking wounded or keep pushing on. The decided to push on in the hopes of finding the Orb. But right before they almost turned to go down a hallway in the direction they assumed the Orb, the Caller had an off hand idea to check the door to the room the Wisps came from.

They found a room with a bunch of sarcophagi and the Lair treasure. I decided to let the party roll on this so I spent some time typing in the percentage chance of 1d6 x 1000 GP and such into the chat with PC names assigned to who would roll it. The treasure came out ok and was a decent score. As the party left the room to go chase the Orb the remaining Wisp came at them. He downed Martel and Kyrandis I think during this battle, actually. But the party eventually killed it outright. 

Those things have insane AC and hit pretty hard. So, it was a tough battle.

At this point it was time to escape the dungeon. There were no encounters on the way out or on the overland travel. It was a decent score of gems, coins, and a rubied golden wifebeater than Kryandis found in another section of the dungeon I failed to mention above. 

Well done, new player and welcome!

Class Grades
Bloodletter (the psycho formerly known as Reaver): L6 Barbarian, Death Dealer, Neutral. E. He dealt death and let blood.
Kyrandis: L1 Wonder Worker, Wrathbringer, Lawful. S. He missed investigating some Arcane/Divine themed art, statues, monsters and various things which this role would likely be interested in.
Rory: L5 Barbarian, Death Dealer, Neutral. E. Dealt death, didn't flee a battle.
Sheela: L2 Mage, female char played by male player for some reason. S. No investigation of arcane things. No curiosity about very odd monsters found. (I may perhaps change my mind if the Template is such where she'd not care at all. hmu)
Xanthos: L8 (now 7) Cleric, Mendicant, Lawful. E. Healed as much as possible. 

Please keep in mind "S" is "Superior". It is the grade when there are 1 or 2 less than ideal role choices. E is reserved for there being 0 less than ideal role choices.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Dubzaron Session 146: Of Scepters and Lepers

 Dubzaron Session 146: Of Scepters and Lepers

Time: Dungeon delved 03/27/2024 and need rest 03/28/2024. Take actions 03/29/2024.

Participating PCs
Bloodletter (the psycho formerly known as Reaver): L5 Barbarian (Death Dealer, Neutral. E, dealt death.
Rory: L5 Barbarian (Death Dealer), Neutral. E, dealt death.
Tuck: L6 Barbarian (Death Dealer), Neutral.E, dealt death.
Xanthos: L8 Cleric (Mendicant), Lawful. E, healed as he could and smashed evil things as resources allowed.

Bloodletter: Magos (L3 Mage, Magical Scholar), Thiefos (L1 Thief Tomb Raider) RIP
Tuck: Duck (L4 Fighter ??), Ye (L4 Bard)
Xanthos: Ulysses (L4 Explorer, Mariner), Nestor (L4 Venturer, Merchant Mariner) RIP, Agenor (L5 Fighter, Legionary), Fang (4 HD Dire Wolf) RIP, Tigga (6 HD Phase Tiger)

XP for Treasure: 16,700
XP for Kills: 3,595
XP for Magic Items: 2,400
Total XP Pool: 44,295
Cuts: 14
PC Cut: 6,328
Hench Cut: 3,164
Special: 800 XP to all Lawful aligned participants due to the smashing of a Chaotic Altar.

Session Report
This session the party was all geared up at the Foward Operating Base: Queen to go straight to the new tentpole dungeon of the Dubzaron campaign setting: Queens Rest Mountain. The last three weeks had a random event where poisonous smoke was pluming out of the mountain (which is actually a volcano thanks to some worldbuilding by Patron Barbarian Kyle O'Conner like 2 years ago). PC Mage Proteus Beta (fr fr no cap) died to the poisonous smoke on an exploratory mission about 3 sessions ago so the PCs have been doing other things until the smoking stops. (Proteus Beta was reincarnated from the void... and came back as a chick named Protea. So, he's on the full zoomer plotline at this point.)

The party approached the volcano which, as per some random checks in 1:1 time was no longer smokey. They were a bit careful and worried about the smoke but everything seemed fine and they could go inside the top of the volcano again as they've done about a dozen times before.

They went in the middle entrance of the cthonic seplucher on the inside of the volcano. In the first large room, which they've passed by like 10 times before, I rolled re-stocking check. And got a storm giant. With a lair. Welp, this changes things.

The giant called out with a booming voice before the party quite go into his room for them to announce themselves, asked if they worked for the Necromancer Queen, and what their business ways. Bloodletter mostly did the talking and reaction checks deemed that this Lawful Storm Giant became Friendly towards the party and even gave them a Scroll of Ward vs Undead and Potion of Healing upon the party asking for help in their mission to "eliminate evil from the dungeon" and "save Celeste the Good Witch from Stormbringer" (you'll need to go to past session reports to grok all this if you already don't; I don't feel like explaining the hooks again).

Also, in true noprep fashion, the Storm Giant was named Primanti after the famous sandwich shop in Pittsburgh because I slipped into my Western PA word choise of "yinz can come in" when he invited them to approach. 

Primanti the Storm Giant is a friend of the party and he's tough enough to hold the entry room to the dungeon and keep many of the surrounding rooms cleared. This impacted my noprep restocking rolls as the party explored into the place deeper. I also adjusted my restocking rolls on the fly insomuch as if the monster which came up would die to the smoke 3 or 2 weeks back, I'd just ignore it. This, coupled with Primanti, made for quite a bit fewer random encounters in places where restocking may have happened. 

Primanti agreed to clear some rubble he had placed as a wall in the eastern passage in his room so the party could explore that direction. The party went north with the intetnion to going down the passage when they came back. They never did so, to Primanti, one Ask or Favor is already accounted for (including the one for the consumable magic items he gave them).

I'll also note Primanti had his Lair treasure here and there in the entry lobby of the dungeon since he's claimed the place his lair. Future PC thieves and such passing through here might get grade hits for shrugging at this opportunity. But tonight PCs were all barbarians and a cleric.

They went north about 3 rooms deep and came to the room they always check out which has a massive statue of Alicia the Necromancer Queen. She's the BBEG who ran this dungeon but woke up from her torpor and exited the dungeon to become a Mass Combat chess piece back in the summer. She's still at large but is rumored to be biding her time in the Wastes. 

The room itself nearly always has a restock hit and this time was no exception. When the party opened the big double doors to the room they saw what looked like a big 8'x4' oval ball of ofal and wasted with stumpy peg legs, a rancid garbage mouth, and 3 stumpy legs. It was somewhat hostile and was approaching the PCs so they decided to charge and attack.

As the fight went on the party realized the monster had ESP and Telepathy and was screaming inane ramblings about "food food food" and "eat eat eat" at it attacked them with 2 weirding tentacles and its rancid mouth. The party was strong with martial PCs and hench so they pretty much surrounded it and beat it down as best they could. It took about 5 rounds, a long time for this group on a single monster, because the monster had really good AC, alot of HP, and its mouth attack instilled Disease on a fail vs spells which gave the victim -2 to attacks. (It also made the victim unable to be magically healed but I think this may have slipped my mind and some victims were healed.) The party didn't know for sure this was a disease, in session, but assumed as much. 

I did a bit of a meta decision that, thanks to ESP, the monster could gauge the HP and AC of his targets and I chose as best I could strategize so he would cleave through low HP/AC targets to get extra attacks. And he successfully targeted his low damage but high debuff mouth attack against Bloodletter and Rory who seemed to be the highest damagers. I think Gelatinous Rube would have been proud of me. 

The monster also tried to disease Tuck but failed. 

When the battle was complete Ulysses, Nestor, Fang, and Thiefos were all down. Duck fell also but made a great Mortal Wounds roll and was back to exploring after a triage. 

After triaging their compatriots, the party went to exploring this room again. Xanthos did a Commune to bring his deity Naurivus (the deity of nature and wanderlust) in to answer questions. I describe Naurivus as Jack Sparrow and decided, as spring has sprung, he was celebrating and inebriated. (He secretly drank Rory's Dilbert's brand whiskey during the scene.)

Xanthos had 3 questions allowed as per the spell and learned the magically locked door on the northern wall of the room could be opened by placing an Orb and Scepter into the hands of the big statue. Xanthos then used a Locate Object spell to get pointed in the direction of the Scepter and most of the rest of the session was spent trying to follow this spell's compass to the Scepter.

This took them into a hallway full of crypts they already explored but, due to the direction of the Locate Object, they figured they missed a secret door here on the west wall. They couldn't find it despite searching many times. Xanthos cast True Seeing which reveals invisibility, the true nature of things, and secret doors. He found one. Then another beyond this.

The party came into a room with a big pool of blood and a dark evil altar. While smashing the altar some tendrils of blood attacked the party from the pool but the powerful barbarians made short work of this and the party got back to the business of smashing the altar and searching the room.

In a frescoe painting on one wall (depicting an evil monk in gray robes being bowed to by lower monks) Xanthos found a key glued to the wall as part of the art, disguised as a key held by the subject. This was thanks to True Seeing since the party didn't really specify investigating the art. (Xanthos may have taken a grade hit for this and other similar oversights but I've decided to offset this by the fact he smashed an altar and isn't really a theologian cleric).

The key was silver with rectangles all over it. Also in the room was an exit on the west wall which wasn't much of an exit since it was WELDED shut with steel bars. The Locate Object was pointing to the south wall of this room so the party searched extensively for secret doors on the south wall. Rory's player said "I'm realizing that none of us are really good at this, we could really use some knife-ears". How true.

This highlights a few themes of this session; namely that I made a ton of random encounter checks due to them spending alot of time wandering and searching. But encounters weren't hitting. But neither were their checks to find secret doors. 

The party left the blood pool room going back the way they came, rather than try and break down the WELDED shut door on the west wall. They wandered the dungeon trying to triangulate the Locate Object making a clockwise circle through the dungeon around the location. Detailing all this wandering isn't too interesting in writing since, like I said, they kept failing searches and I kept failing Encounter checks. They wandered and walked and I rolled no events at all. 

Eventually they went nearly a full circle around the dungeon and found two or three secret doors to go in the right direction and find a the room which held the Scepter. I'll call out the Caller's clever decision to search a wall at a capital T intersection with the thought it would make a crossroads. For my part I find it very difficult to guess where a secret door might be if it's not at a dead end. But he made this right Call which got them to the Scepter. 

The room with the Scepter had a locked door but the silver key from the blood pool room opened it. Beyond this was a vaulted ceiling room which was flooded in one corner, and had chests in another. These were covered with mold and fungus and 5 shriekers that screamed as they approach. Magos popped off a burning hands to widdle their HPs down, and Tuck threw a flaming oil for same, and Bloodletter cleaved them all down. I only got 1 round of extra Encounter checks with the shriekers yelling and (wouldn't you know it) no random encounters hit.

Some drowned zombies were hiding in the pool as well and attacked but they only hit one hench, tried to drown him by spewing water in his face, before Xanthos turned them and the party beat them pulp.

The treasure in the room was very nice indeed at about 11k GP in various coins, and some likely magical items like a spear (which went to Bloodletter), a shield (which went to Rory), a wand (which went to Magos), and a ruby helm (which went to Bloodletter).

Also, in the urns was the Scepter. It had a cthonic look in the shape of the evil goddess of pain Nasga. Xanthos cringed at seeing it but Bloodletter pocketed it before the cleric was too disgusted by its appearance.

From here the party backtracked to leave the dungeon. I got 3 encounter checks which were all "No" and I huffed to myself about this. They picked up their injured compatriots from the storm giant's room then trekked back to FOB:Queen. No encounters on the overland travel, of course.

What might happen when they return to Queens Rest Mountain? Will they find the Orb and be able to open the magically sealed door in the northern room? Or will the smoke return and keep them out? Will Primanti offer them some sandwiches? Find out next time!

How to Total NonStop Braunstein your Traveler Campaign

"We have tried to make these rules as complete as possible, with provisions for both solitaire and unsupervised play". - Traveler ...