Tuesday, 3 June 2014
LotFP Solo - Part the Thirty-Second: "O aching time! O moments big as years! / All as ye pass swell out the monstrous truth"
Setup: roll of 3 = modified scene (was: Lycinia, Aldira, and Théscine assist Itragad's experiment in exchange for his sponsorship.)
Altered: it goes horribly wrong
Characters: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12, Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick, Baron Iehan Forzdeleu, Count Rotres d'Estancbel, Lady Delphinia, evil cult, Itragad the Invoker, Orezuthía the Wise, Cemmeret
Threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse
buy silver weapons & guns
acquire holy items for spiritual combat
learn the secrets of Vhisigus' prison
The following night Aldira, Théscine, and Lycinia return to the guildhall to meet Itragad. He takes them to his laboratory deep below the building through a labyrinthine network of tunnels carved from the living rock. The door is of oak, and reinforced with adamantine bars. He presents a succession of tokens over the lock, then whispers a password. The door swings silently open. Torches flare into life as he crosses the threshold. After they have all followed him in, the door swings shut behind them.
The laboratory itself is about forty feet square, but rises several storeys to a vaulted dome. A great clockwork machine occupies the whole of the far wall. It extends upwards nearly to the ceiling, a mass of cogs, gears, wheels, and pipes, all made of solid brass. The rest of the room has been swept bare.
"This," says Itragad, "is my... my machine. Sorry, I haven't given it any fanciful or grandiose name. I'm an arcane experimenter, not a poet. It was all I could do to some up with 'Itragad', let me tell you!"
"What does it do?" enquires Théscine tremulously.
"I don't know," says Itragad, "At least not yet. It's untested. There's no one I trust enough in the guild to assist me with it, and it requires magical training on the part of its operators, so..."
"So, what's it supposed to do?" Aldira asks.
"It... well, it alters the flow of... the speed -- no, the direction... of the wave-forms... or should I say the particulates... in a localised field, of course... of time itself."
Itragad looks helplessly at the three blank stares before him. "Right," he continues after collecting his thoughts, "let me try answering the question you actually asked. Put simply, if it works, it will allow the subject wizard -- that will be me, don't worry -- to step between the moments of time, to exist for a while in the empty space that separates the seconds from one another, and move about the world like... like a sort of ghost, I imagine. If it works..."
"You're worried?" asks Lycinia.
"No, not worried -- hopeful. But I'd be a fool if I didn't admit there is always a chance of error with magical experimentation."
Itragad spends the better part of an hour explaining the workings of the machine. In the end, Aldira and Lycinia volunteer to operate the control levers whilst Théscine monitors the readings on the various gauges, dials, and indicators. From his position beneath the 'chronal energy focussing, um... chair' (which is the best description he can think of), Itragad will direct their actions.
They take their postions: Itragad in the throne-like seat at the machine's centre, Lycinia and Aldira on opposite sides in front of large, complicated consoles, and Théscine in a recess dominated by what appearto be a complicated set of glass barometers.
Itragad gives the order. Lycina and Aldira begin to operate the machine. Gears spin, pistons pump, valves open and shut. The room is filled with the sound of buzzing and whirring, over which Théscine and Itragad shout out a rhythmical sort of call-and-response.
The cavernous room seems darker, the air grows cold and dense. Still the machine whirrs, hums and clicks. Théscine calls out the numbers. Itragad barks orders, pausing now and again to read an incantation off a parchment scroll. There is a breeze, a wind.
The shadows in the corners begin to lengthen and divide. A single clear note is heard above the din and shouting. Colours begin to swirl and mix. There is a scent of fire on the breeze, the sound of still water, a feeling of spice and bitumen. The colours are faster, like chimes and hail or sand after a flood. Théscine's chanting takes on a rainbow hue of grey and black, Itragad begins to shout, to wail, and then he is getting up from his seat, is bleeding from terrible wounds, is running running running, pursued by hundreds of inky black ribbon-like tentacles dripping darkness.
Lycinia and Aldira abruptly stop working the machine. Reality snaps back to the chamber as the gears wind noisily down, but the tentacle creature has materialised in the machine's seat, and propels itself forward after Itragad.
[For simplicity's sake, I used the online LotFP Summon spell generator (http://summon.totalpartykill.ca/) for the demon's stats; I plugged in 10HD and hit Summon until a failure came up.
Squid Demon: AC 12, MV 120, ML 10, 10 HD (44hp), #AT 1 at 1D6, Damage Sphere (all within 15' take 1d6 damage per Round) It will remain on the material plane for 81 rounds.
I also rolled up quick stats for Itragad. His spell selection is based on the fact that he was intending to use his time-between-the-seconds to break into a rival's study. There's also a few things left on the scroll he prepared (equivalent to a random scroll from the Labyrinth Lord treasure tables).
CH CN DX IN ST WI HP
9 9 10 16 11 8 17
1-Faerie Fire, Message, Sleep
2-Detect Invisible, Knock, Locate Object
3-Dispel Magic, Detect Illusion
The party was surprised; the demon easily hit Itragad for 6 damage in the surprise round, dropping him to 11hp.
round 1: It wins the initiative roll.]
There's nowhere for Itragad to run. The demon bears down on him, flailing its tentacles which open numerous cuts and slashes all over the mage. Worse still, as the creature draws near, an unearthly emanation of force causes his skin to take on a disturbing pallor as it disrupts his life-energy [6 damage from the attack drops him to 5hp, +2 for the Damage Field leaves him at 3hp by the end of the round]. Lycinia rushes to Itragad's side, drawing her sword as she runs, and hoping it can even affect the horrid beast. As she runs, she unconsciously whispers an elven prayer from her childhood against the terrors of the night. She just manages to get close enough to the creature to take a swing at it, and is rewarded with a shriek of pain as the tip of her sword takes a chunk out of its back. Oily smoke seems to ooze from the wound [despite a -2 to hit for drawing her weapon this round, she manages to strike for 2 points of damage]. But as she drew near the creature, its sickening emanation began to take its toll on her as well [2 damage puts her at 14hp]. Meanwhile Aldira and Théscine have been weaving spells to combat the demon. A glowing white arrow pierces the things side, followed by a shower of green sparks that tear through its ribbony tentacles, every further wound resulting in a slow smoky excrescence [it takes 7 and 6 damage from Magic Missiles, plus Lycinia's 2 for a total of 15; it has 29hp remaining]. Itragad draws a dagger in desperation. He hacks wildly at the beast but seems to cause it no harm.
The demon's tentacles continue to flail at Itragad, pulling flesh from his face and arms. He falls to the ground, gravely injured [4 damage drops him to to -1hp; and he takes 5 more from the damage field, so is quite dead]. Lycinia continues to slash at the demon, opening up more smoking wounds [4 damage]. Théscine draws her sword on the run, and lands a telling blow [7 damage]; her glinting sword comes away oozing with the oily smoke. Aldira also draws her blade on the run, and takes up a position where Itragad had stood. She trips over his body, and is surprised to feel it crumble beneath her foot, a distraction which impedes her attack. All three suffer from proximity with the thing, growing jaundiced and weak [the damage field drops Lycinia to 11hp, Théscine to 7hp, and Aldira to 8hp; their attacks this round have left it with 18hp].
The horrible thing is single-mindedly attacking the same spot as before, which is unfortunately where Aldira now stands. The thing catches her left arm in its tentacles, desiccating and rending her flesh at its touch [3 damage puts her at 5hp]. Lycinia makes a massive thrust of her blade up into the centre of the shrieking thing [8 damage]. Aldira severs the tentacles holding her with a swift motion of her rapier [3 damage]. Théscine raises the sparkling elf-blade above her head and brings it down upon the demon, which utters a final noxious cry then bursts into a greasy black cloud. The three women retreat from the fumes in haste, though still feel the overwhelming grip of its presence on their souls [6, 3, and 2 points of damage].
The three catch their breath, and begin to discuss how to get out of the room. Théscine has the presence of mind to look over Itragad's crumbling corpse; he has nothing immediately useful, though she does remember to collect the scroll from the machine's seat where he had dropped it. The black cloud hangs heavily in the air, but does seem to slowly be dissipating [in fact it will take about 8 minutes]. Suddenly the heavy door explodes inward. A living iron statue in the shape of a 10' tall pankratistes bursts into the room followed by two enormous gargoyles, each bearing an over-sized iron poleaxe. They face down Aldira and the elves for a few moments, watching as they put away their weapons. At length one of the gargoyles sounds the haft of his axe against the stone floor thrice, and a group of wizards enter to appraise the situation.
[Q: Are the PCs in trouble? 50/50: 22, Yes +Event: Move toward a thread (this one, luckily) - Break / Opposition]
The wizards are incensed at the unknowably mad scheme Itragad had concocted, and as he is dead direct the bulk of their ire towards the three strangers. The party is about to be thrown out in to the street (literally, by the gargoyles) when Orezuthía intervenes and puts in good word for them (she's especially happy that Itragad is now out of the way). The other wizards were not expecting an esteemed (or is it feared?) member of the guild to become personally involved in the plight of Itragad's three dupes, and quickly back down rather than risk her wrath.
Orezuthía has the party brought to a comfortable waiting room off the guild's entrance chamber, and sends for a healer. Whilst they wait, she quizzes them incessantly, though in a casual and friendly fashion, about Itragad's experiment, and a bit more about Neldir as well.
It is nearly morning by the time the healers have left. Orezuthía sees the exhausted trio to the door, and bids them come back the next night to use the library under her sponsorship. They bid her good night, and thank her for her attentions. As they are about to cross the threshold into the grey dawn outside, Orezuthía takes Lycinia by the arm and, drawing the elf's face close to her own, speaks to her in a near whisper.
"Don't forget: you owe me, little girl. You owe me."
Using the wizard's guild Library costs 100sp/person/month (non pro rata). The PCs are not allowed into the stacks, and must read under the watchful eyes of gargoyle invigilators. They hear whispered rumours that the Librarian who oversees the great library is some sort of horrible monster, but no one will discuss it openly.
Their research picks up the following (1d6=) 5 rumours, which count as Library Data (+1d6) for the Truth determination step:
Location of Vhisigus' prison is (d80,d60): hex# 49.14 -- that's only about 50 miles NW of Ildmarch.
Bibliomancy for the other 4 rumours:
an sese medios moriturus in enses
inferat et pulchram properet per vulnera mortem?
Verg. Aen. IX.400-1
(Or shall he throw himself amidst their blades and hasten through wounds to a beautiful death?)
Interpretation: only through self-sacrifice can Vhisigus truly be defeated
...recalent nostro Thybrina fluenta
sanguine adhuc campique ingentes ossibus albent.
Verg. Aen. XII.36
(The Tiber's waves are warm with our blood, the great fields still white with bones)
Interpretation: Vhisigus' prison may be guarded by the undead.
At cum incerta volant caeloque examina ludunt
contemnuntque favos et frigida tecta relinquunt,
instabiles animos ludo prohibebis inani.
Verg. Georg. IV 103-5
(and when the uncertian swarms fly and play in the sky / and spurn the hive and leave the frigid enclosure / you will keep your inconstant mind from the foolish sport)
Interpretation: There are swarms of flying bee-demons surrounding the prison.
nec sum adeo informis; nuper me in litore vidi
cum placidum ventis staret mare;...
Verg. Ecl. II.25-6
(nor am I so hideous; I have recently seen myself on the shore / when the quiet sea stood still in the winds)
Interpretation: Mention of the shore (and the fields above) seems to indicate that the prison is a vast area, and that the demon may have somewhat free range within it. This gives me an idea of how to run the dungeon generally; but I will say no more of this now. Also, whilst the translation of hideous for informis is correct for the poem, the other meanings of informis (formless, shapeless) leapt readily to mind; so this rumour also states that the demon is a physical rather than just a spiritual threat.
On day 86, the research is finished, and the silvered weapons are ready. Father Rochouart has been helping reconsecrate the fallen church all week. Miolla, Géraint, and Worland have had to do rather more shopping than they anticipated. The party reconvene at their inn to plan their route on the day 87. When they see how much stuff they have accumulated, they decide to hire a teamster to manage the packing and the horses. They intend to set out the morning of day 88.
food & lodging until day 88 costs--
Secure inn: 10sp x11 days x8 PCs = 880sp
food: 15cp x11 days x8 PCs = 132sp
Miolla: brace of wheelock pistols 350sp
Géraint: brace of wheelock pistols 350sp
Worland: wheelock arquebus 210sp
Fr. Rochouart: wheelock arquebus 210sp
Théscine: wheelock pistol 175sp
(Lycinia gets Géraint's old pistol)
2 powder horns 2sp
(100 charges of powder - 30sp used up for fun)
(shotx100 2sp used up for fun)
7x 12 apostles (pre-measured powder) 35sp
12x silver bullets 60sp
100x lead shot 2sp
gunshop total is 1366sp
blacksmith & armourer--
Miolla: silver shortsword 100sp
Aldira: silver dagger 50sp
Fr. Rochouart: silver dagger 50sp
Lycinina: silver dagger 50sp
Worland: silver shortsword 100sp
chainmail for Fr. Rochouart & Worland 200sp
leather armour for Haddie 25sp
10x lamp oils 5sp
10x torches 1sp
4weeks iron rations x8 - 448sp
4weeks horse feedx8 - 224sp
fishing gear for W - 1sp
extra cooking pots 1sp
2 shovels 6sp
100' rope 6sp
8x winter travel clothing 80sp
hiring the teamster (1mo. advance salary +50%bonus) 150sp
+1 horse 100sp
+ 4wks. food for both=84sp
+ winter clothes 10sp
+ leather armour 25sp
+ additional tent 25sp
Burl the teamster
human, Level 0, male, 31 years old
Cha 12 Con 16 Dex 8 Int 8 Str 16 Wis 9
Hit Points: 6
Social Standing: townsman (from Ildmarch)
Personality: Weak-willed, No imagination
Equipment: winter clothes
*I will wait to determine this until the first time that circumstances require a loyalty or morale check. N.B. There is a total bonus of +2 (on the 3d6 roll on the chart) for Fr. Rochouart's Charisma modifier & 150% wages.
Miolla, Géraint, Worland
1x F4 100
1x F2 50
1x F1 25
2x F0 10
total 183/3 = 61xp each
Father Rochouart (Haddie mostly hid in the corridors, so will diminish his experience)
6x F0 30
1x MU4 100
1x C3 75
total = 205xp
Lycinia, Aldira, Théscine
1x demon (10HD+spec.) 1500
total: 1500/4 = 375xp each
Aldira has earned enough to advance to 4th level. She can now cast one additional 2nd level spell per day, and happily rolled the maximum for additional hit points [1d4+1(CON)= 5; she now has 18hp, the most of anyone in the party].
(adventure continues here)