Saturday, 16 April 2016
Into the Odd solo - Part II : Beneath the Fallen Temple
The explorers have descended their rope into the darkness beneath the temple in the swamp. Suddenly, the fatigue of their journey has vanished. They cannot resist exploring the underground complex.
[The dungeon was run with Schweig's Themed Dungeon Creator. Since it's all unplanned, I only filled in the bare minimum: corridor & room schemata, a few trap (hazard) ideas, the chance for traps & encounters, etc. The encounters themselves were left blank; rolling higher on the table will indicate more dangerous monsters, but I won't stat them until after they have appeared. Each one will necessitate a random draw from my pictures folder, which includes a few photoshopped beasties. I marked a few lines on the chart with T for treasure -- I have pictures to figure out those, too.]
The entry chamber [Room 1] is empty, save for some rubbish and dead vegetation. Sturdy wooden doors are set into the eastern and western walls. The wood is in good condition, with surprisingly bright paint still coating it. Threnody [making a Willpower save] even notes that the hinges are well-oiled and rust-free; whatever lurks beneath this fallen temple, it is most certainly house-proud!
They haven't a coin to flip, so Aldous arbitrarily states they will explore to the east. Behind the door is a short corridor leading into another chamber.
[Room 2 : encounter]
The explorers come into the strangely cheery and well-lit space, which would resemble nothing so much as a pleasant drawing room were it not for the rough stone walls and the webs covering everything from the skirting boards to the chandelier.
Scuttling along a strand of web on his candy-stripe legs is a curious creature -- half-human, half-spider -- wearing a tie and an old-fashioned waistcoat. The Spider Man looks up as the door opens. "Guests!" says he, happily. "Do join me for some tea and cakes. Or there's coffee, if you'd rather. Pull up a pew!"
"Have you lived here a long time?" asks Aldous, stalling for time.
"Oh yes! I know all about this temple. I can tell you all sorts of interesting tit-bits, if you'd like to hear."
[The PCs need to make WIL saves in order to avoid being conned by the Spider Man. Aldous and Threnody both make their rolls, Murt does not.]
"Mine white six sugar," says Murt, sitting down.
But Aldous and Threnody do not the trust the horrible creature, and they realise with fright that the Spider Man wants to have them for dinner tonight!
The Spider Man
str 8, dex 14, wil 12, 4 hp
Driven to slay the trusting
webs: DEX save or stuck (no actions possible; STR save to be freed)
bite 1d4+poison (STR save or paralysed)
They draw their clubs and advance menacingly. The Spider Man was ready for them [Threnody failed her DEX check to win Initiative], and he sinks his fangs into Murt, lest the giant join the fray. Murt cries out, his eyes wide-staring as the poison courses through him [2 damage put him at 0hp; he fails his STR save and is paralysed]. He tries to rise but finds he cannot move. "Don't struggle like that or I will only love you more," chides the Spider Man.
Threnody and Aldous slip deftly past the omnipresent webs [DEX saves both succeed] and lay into the Spider Man with their clubs. They have soon beat him senseless [2+6 damage; it fails its STR save against Critical Damage], and continue belabouring the unconscious creature until it is a sticky lump of goo staining an otherwise attractive waistcoat.
"Murt," says Threnody, her arm tired from bludgeoning, "are you yet alive?"
The giant blinks his eyes, and does his best to overcome the poison enough to speak. "Murt feel like is being eaten by thousand million shivering furry holes."
"The joke's run its course now, Murt." scolds Aldous.
Whilst Murt fights off the poison, his companions search the room. They are soon disgusted by the Spider Man's taste for chintz, and give up hope of finding anything truly valuable [no treasure]. Once Murt is able to stand, they press on [short rest to regain HP; no encounter].
[Room 3 : encounter]
Amongst piles of pitted, yellowing bones and other bits of filth stand [1d4=] two carrion beasts -- shaggy, roughly dog-shaped monstrosities. Where their heads should be there is just a mass of stubby, writhing protruberances which drip a steady stream of caustic acid.
str 5, dex 9, wil 12, 1 hp, acidic face protuberances 1d6.
Driven to dissolve corpses.
They snap to attention as the explorers enter their demesne, and in an instant leap to attack.
[PCs lose Initiative again. 1d3=Murt is not attacked.]
One of the things launches itself at Threnody, the other at Aldous. Aldous is struck full in the chest with a terrible squelch. He is knocked backward and falls senseless into the filth [3 damage takes out his sole hit point and drops him to 9 STR; d20=19, critical damage]. Threnody keeps her feet as the horror slams into her as well, but she is besmeared with acid. She fears the pain will spell her doom, but she summons the fortitude to fight on [5 damage puts her at 6 STR; d20=1, she avoids critical damage]. She hits the beast hard enough to hear its bones crack [5 damage puts it at 1 STR; critical damage]. It falls at her feet. Murt deals merely a glancing blow to the one that felled Aldous [1 damage, to 0hp].
Threnody stands well out of the way as Murt does battle with the injured carrion beast. His axe divides it neatly into two piles of quivering gore [7 damage kills it outright], but he is splashed with acid in the process [3 damage takes him to 14 STR; save ok, so no critical].
They pause then to catch their collective breath [short rest to regain HP and wake up from critical damage; no encounter], and rouse poor Aldous. They decide that no amount of treasure is worth digging through the carrion beasts' rubbish, and make a hasty exit via the northern door.
[Room 4 - Special]
The odd-shaped room beyond is almost completely empty. The stone walls are bare, the floor free from débris. At the far end of the room looms a giant face carved into the very stone of the wall. Its eyes start to glow as the explorers approach, and it speaks to them in a voice like thunder.
[What does it say? UNE
NPC Relationship: neutral
Conversation Mood: sociable
friendly - support - retainers]
"WELL MET, TRAVELLERS! YOU HAVE COME BEFORE ME BEARING A WONDER. FEED IT TO ME AND YOU SHALL BE REWARDED WITH A SERVITOR TO DO YOUR BIDDING."
Aldous correctly surmises that the face is referring to the arcanum he carries [his miniaturisation coil]. But he does not wish to part with such a wonder, so he makes a swift exit from the room lest the face grow angry. His companions follow somewhat quizzically, but he whispers his reason to them and they continue on their way.
There are three doors in the Spider Man's room which they haven't tried, so they just proceed with the closest [NW] one.
[Room 5 : empty, +trap]
The door opens to reveal another seemingly empty room.
[As I said, I hadn't filled in the whole dungeon generation sheet before I started, so I went to Mythic for a trap idea: Separate / Possessions.]
As they take a few steps into the chamber, they each feel pulled towards the north. The buttons on Aldous' coat try to leap off, Threnody feels the (cheap, metal) stays of her corset urging her in that direction, and Murt has to fight to keep his axe in hand. Threnody's lantern wants to go too, and as she fights to keep ahold of it the light falls upon an enormous disk of magnetic lodestone set into the north wall.
[This would require STR saves if they got any closer, and/or tried to leave by the northern door. If they do go that way, there will be a +3 on the roll to determine what lies beyond, making a Special result more likely.]
Stepping back as fast as they might, they are all soon out of the reach of the magnet's pull. The lamplight reveals no twin of the stone on the southern wall, so they continue their exploration via the southeast exit.
[Room 6 : Encounter]
This room reeks like a charnel house. The furnishings suggest a chapel, but are decayed and covered in suspicious-looking stains, and amongst the icons and images lie the bones of dozens of creatures -- and people. Devotional candles burn brightly on a sagging altar, before which, in an attitude of fervent prayer, kneels a penitent in tattered robes, and crowned with rusting barbed wire.
str 14, dex 10, wil 8, 6 hp, barbs 1d6.
Driven to repent, then sin, then repent
The penitent rises at the explorers entry. A heavy hood covers its face, but its bony, clawed, grey-green hands are visible, and the stench of death hangs about it.
"Pax vobiscum," rasps the penitent.
[Threnody needs to make a WIL save to avoid a fight: she rolls a 1!]
"Et cum spiritu tuo," says Threnody, suddenly recalling her catechism.
NPC Relationship: friendly
Conversation Mood: sociable
scheming - plot - current scene]
"I am so hungry," says the creature. "Perhaps you can find me something to eat."
"I'm afraid there's not much here."
"I am a ghoul. I am not picky. Certainly you have killed some tender morsel..."
"Well, there was a Spider Man."
[Q: OK? 50/50 (4+): O2 C8 - No]
"Oh no! That is poisonous."
"Um, there were some tentacle face monsters..."
[Q: OK? 50/50 (4+): O6 C5 - yes]
"Oh, how delicious. Bring them to me."
The explorers make a quick jaunt back to the carrion beasts' lair, and drag the carcasses back to the ghoul's chapel. [2 encounter checks there & back - nothing]
"Oh! thank you, friends!" squeals the ghoul in delight, and quickly falls to devouring the offering. The explorers make a hasty exit via the southern door to spare themselves the unpleasant sight.
[corridor leads to Special (random picture)]
The corridor suddenly comes to a dead end -- or nearly so. There is a small opening in the wall, and a lantern placed inside it reveals a long, cramped crawlspace beyond. It would be just possible for Threnody to squeeze through, but Aldous would never fit, to say nothing of the titanic Murt.
"I'm not going in there," says Threnody, with an accusing look at her companions.
"Yes you are, my dear," says Aldous, "and so too are Murt and I -- with this!" And he holds up the miniaturisation coil for all to see.
Now both Murt and Threnody are looking at him accusingly, so he quickly explains the device and outlines his plan. He uses the miraculous coil to shrink Murt down to the size of a doll, and places him in the crawlspace. He then has Threnody do the same to him. She in turn sits on the ledge of the passage and turns the device on herself, so that it shrinks with her.
Now the cramped passage is as a great cavern, and they walk down it for several minutes until they finally reach the end. The room beyond is lit by some sort of overhead light, but is otherwise empty. The explorers use their ropes to climb down out of the crawlspace/cavern, and once safely on the ground they use the wonderful device to return to full size. They laugh when they look back at the passage, and see the little strings hanging from it, crowned by tiny grappling hooks; it is as if the inmates of Threnody's childhood dollhouse were exploring the underground.
[Room 7 - lit, but empty]
There is nothing of interest in this room, save the unaccountably modern lighting fixture in the ceiling, so the explorers choose a door at random by which to leave.
[West door - trap in corridor - electricity]
As they open the door, they are nearly blinded by an intense blue-white light, and almost deafened by buzzing and crackling sounds. A few metres down the corridor there is a short pillar jutting up from the floor, topped with some sort of electrical dynamo. Sizzling bolts of pure energy buzz round it, filling the entire space floor to ceiling, and nearly reaching the door.
"Perhaps we should try the other door," suggests Aldous.
"I was hoping you'd say that," replies Threnody.
"Sparks bad," concurs Murt.
The southern door opens also into a corridor, but this one is dark and still. The explorers proceed cautiously.
[T-junction with trap : gas]
They are debating which way to go when they notice the floor in the junction is pockmarked with valves, and the faint scent of gas is in the air.
"Perhaps we lack the proper equipment to negotiate this wing of the undertemple," opines Aldous.
"If you're saying we should turn back," says Threnody, "I cannot but agree."
"Now Murt know how Odysseus feel," adds Murt.
"The Scylla and Charybdis...?" asks Aldous.
"No. Murt want go home."