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!

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