Sunday, 13 July 2014


In the last post, I completely forgot to mention that the contents of all the rooms, monsters and random events are taken from the tables in the GM section of the Katabasis rules, as are fatigue effects, special combat rules, etc.

Speaking of Fatigue... Nossis cast Δέξαι μαστιγία! (TTYF) in the fight with the harpies, using her amulet in place of a staff. An amulet can only take 1/10 its worth in silver drachmas worth of spell points through it. After that is used up. Nossis' is worth 60SD, so, after reducing her spell by 1 point of casting cost, it's down to a potency of 5. The spell gives her 6-1=5 points of fatigue, which reduce her strength on a 1:1 basis and her other attributes (except CON) at half that. Hellenic magic is not as easy to use as Trollworld sorcery!

Nossis decides to rest for 10 minutes while the others search the room for treasure. This reduces her fatigue by 1, but also necessitates another random event roll. 2d6=7, No event.

Our heroes are interested in the cramped eastern passage [room 7]. They proceed cautiously down it, to find it splits into four short dead-ends. Bodies have been interred in each, obviously some time after the place was first constructed. Most of the corpses are laid out directly on the ground or propped against the wall, though one of them was laid to rest in a lead coffin. Nossis' torchlight picks up glittering spots all round the bodies: silver coins, and jewellery of copper, silver, and even gold!

"What should we do?" asks the courtesan.

"We're grave robbers," sighs Nikias, "we should do what we came here to do."

"That's sacrilege!" exclaims Typhon.

"That's a year's wages!" replies Dicaearchos.

"Well, I suppose they've already paid the ferryman..."

Eratosthenes prods one of the bodies with his spear. It doesn't react. Eratosthenes looks back at Typhon, who shrugs and begins picking the coins up from the ground. The rest of our exalted heroes follow suit. After about 10 minutes, they have collected all the loot. There's 130 silver coins in total. Most of the jewellery is sub-standard (about 50SD for the lot), but the inhabitant of the lead coffin has some choice items: a plain gold ring (50SD), a silver knife with an ivory handle (only 1d+1 in combat, but worth at least 350SD), and a small golden necklace on which hangs a golden box, within which is a thin sheet of beaten gold (lamella) inscribed with instructions on how to navigate the underworld, written in slightly dodgy hexameter (650SD total, and may contain a spell instead of just the Orphic text).

Nossis' torch is beginning to sputter, so a new one is lit (this is from the random event table for this turn -- if they'd been doing anything else I would have said it's a Luck SR to not end up in the dark, but as they would have been actively using the torch to make sure nothing glittered in the corners they noticed automatically). I need to keep careful track of time now, as the contents roll for room 7 was actually Monster & Treasure. For the monster, I rolled (1d6[2] x 1d6[6]=) 12 Weithinverderber, undead lying in their place of interment with plenty of valuable grave goods. If their treasures are removed, they will rise an hour later to exact vengeance upon the thieves. But more of this anon.

The party head back through the room where they fought the harpies and into the chamber off its western side [room 4]. There are more alcoves in this room, though none contain bodies. There is a large pile of junk in one of them, in which something metallic shines. Eratosthenes pokes at it with his spear, and suddenly there is a flurry of movement. He has disturbed a nest of deadly, poisonous centipedes!

There are [1d3=] 2 swarms of centipedes. Each has a collective CON of 1d6x10: 20, 40. Every round they attack as a swarm, and ignore 1d6^2 points of armour. Each swarm that penetrates a character's armour inflicts one point of damage, and for every point of damage taken there is a 1 in 6 chance of being poisoned.

Each character is attacked separately by each swarm. They easily bypass everyone's armour, though Typhon and Nikias are lucky enough to only take one point of damage this round. Everyone else takes two. Eratosthenes is poisoned. The PCs easily squash all the beasties in one round of combat, but Eratosthenes falls to the ground, unable to move (I rule it will be 1d6 turns: 40 minutes).

The wounded apply pseudosilphion to their injuries; Nossis and Eratosthenes heal 1 point, everyone else feels no benefit. They decide to carefully dig through the pile of junk whilst Eratosthenes slowly comes round from the poison, and Nossis regains her lost Fatigue. Four bronze tripods are found, each worth 170SD. During this time, they find it necessary to light another torch, but also they they have been underground so long that their eyes are becoming more used to the darkness (+2 Fate for SRs due to better awareness and perception, which lasts until they encounter bright light). There are no other random events, but before Eratosthenes has recovered enough to walk, the angry undead from room 7 arrive, looking to take back their stolen treasures.

In the cramped quarters of this room, only 6 undead at a time will be able to fight. The PCs cannot flee past them if things go poorly, however. The battle is joined!

[Round 1] Eratosthenes is lying in the corner, too weak to stand, so he's not in this at all. The rest of the men advance with sword and spear, totalling 15 dice + 46 adds. The undead are MR20 monsters, so the first six get 13 dice + 60adds (as if they were a single 120MR creature; attacking monster MRs are added together in Katabasis). Nossis hangs back by Eratosthenes, and casts Dexai, Mastigia! (TTYF) which destroys one of the undead and adds 27 damage for the shock effect.

The PCs dice look amazing, rolling an even 100, including 8 sixes. Their HPT is 173, worthy of brazen-armed Ares himself. The monsters roll a paltry 45 (only one six!), +60 adds = 105. The PCs win the round, inflicting 68 damage, and 24 additional points of spite damage (as it is tripled in the harsh world of Katabasis). The damage destroys 4 of the shambling corpses, leaving the 5th one severely injured (MR 12), whilst the 6th was blown to pieces by Nossis' spell. Typhon takes the spite hit for his side, suffering the loss of 3 CON.

[Round 2] Five fresh undead join the fight. They have a total MR of 112, so 12 dice +56. The PCs still get  15 dice +46. Nossis casts another Dexai, Mastigia! spell, but after reductions for fatigue her effective EDU is only 25. Still, it's enough to destroy another monster outright. The angry dead move stiffly and their broken old weapons (passed over by the grave robbers as worthless) splinter against the shields of their foes; their HPT is a wretched 31+56=87, and they score no spite damage. The PCs fight like the well-greaved Achaeans of song and legend, with a HPT of 61+46+25= 132. They hack and hew 45 points of damage (+9 more for spite) into the undead.

[Round 3] The last of the undead joins the fray, but even the addition of a full MR20 creature only brings their side up to a combined MR58, 6 dice + 29. The fight is soon ended.

Typhon is unsure whether he should castigate his associates for disturbing the dead or praise them for their prowess in battle, so says nothing. The rest of the party, despite their splendid success, are all starting to feel a bit run down from CON loss and Fatigue, so they decide to head out of the dungeon with their treasure for now.


  1. Ah, they were able to walk away then? Any delve they walk away from is a good delve . . . because all too often characters end up on "the wrong side of the grass" instead.

    -- Jeff

    1. I think they made it out ok. I probably should come up with some sort of random event/encounter table for the trip(s) to and from Emesa, but for now I want to have them try out the trading rules to unload their treasure and buy some more supplies.

  2. I like how this turns out succesful for the group. This is a really good start.

  3. And again really nice details with the Totenpass, the orphic gold sheet. It could be a curse too, or taken literally perhaps a map deeper into the underworld.

    1. Glad you like it. I had originally thought to make the Totenpass contian a spell, probably heureka (oh, there it is) based on how the lamella texts usually tell you to go here, drink this, don't drink that.

      But I could totally sketch a rough map of part of the underworld from the texts themselves. Thanks for the idea!

    2. Or you can make it a magic items with a text to follow a river to reach the underworld. Whoever puts it on, somewhere in the tunnels he sees a current of water running along the wall, perhaps signifying to dig there and voila the wall breaches and a whole new part shows itself ;)