Wednesday, 17 July 2019

BRP solo - Part VIII: "From the darkness dread and drear"

The passage stretches some thirty feet past the blade trap [T]. Lycinia passes by a wooden door, swollen with damp, set into the north wall about halfway down, and is confronted with another at the passage's end. This door seems like it will open more easily, and indeed it does. The space beyond [Room 13 - Skill Challenge only] is only 10' square, but the ceiling is almost twice as high. A rusty metal door is set into the north wall, and the metal frame continues above it, with a grille at the top.

[Challenge: Climb  (-10%) makes easier Listen (normal)
so, successfully Climbing up to the grille would make the Listen roll Easy (skillx2)]

There is an indistinct sound coming from above. Lycinia stands still and listens intently [Listen 44%: d%=13, success]. The crackling and buzzing coming from the space beyond is like nothing the young elf has ever heard before. She tries to detect a pattern in the sound, but it is wholly without rhythm. she is certain only that whatever the source of the sound, it is probably inimical to elvenkind. She tightens her grip on her sword, and pushes the door open. It swings inward noiselessly, the hinges having been recently oiled.

The room beyond the door [Room 14 - Monster & Skill Challenge & Treasure] is some 20' wide and longer than Lycinia's torch can illuminate. The ceiling is again very high. The chamber is almost completely bare of furnishings, though intermittent piles of grey ash are scattered throughout, some containing metal fittings, nails, and the like. But what arrests Lycinia's attention is the source of the buzzing. The creature is made of pure energy, or perhaps some unusual form of matter pulled from another universe with laws wholly unlike any dreamt of by the wisest, or even maddest, of sages. The shifting and uneven colours are unknown in the world of mortals, but put Lycinia instantly in mind of the magical disaster that attended the experiment of poor Itragad. The image of the thing burns into Lycinia's eyes, but at the same time the light of her torch passes through it as if it were a mirage.

The buzzing becomes louder and the crackling more pronounced as it scurries, lizard-like, towards her.

Lesser Demon
STR (1D8)  3   Mov: 6
CON (2D8)  7   HP: 11
SIZ (2D8) 15   DB: +0
INT (2D8)  9   Armour: 7-point non-terrene matter
POW (3D8) 10
DEX (1D8)  8
APP (1D8)  2

Attacks: Gore 120% 1D8+2, +db if charging
Powers: Snout, Portage, Knowledge INT x3%

[For Form, I rolled 'lizard', but due to the non-terrene matter result I decided it doesn't have hit locations in any normal sense.]

[Round 1 - Lycinia easily wins initiative]
Lycinia lunges at it right before it closes with her. Her sword encounters surprising resistance, being turned aside as if striking a steel breastplate. [1d8+1=3 damage, not even close to getting through its 7-point armour. I was generous/lazy and gave it unmodified DEX x2 (16%) Dodge; it failed all its dodge  rolls the whole fight.]

It in turn tries to pierce her with a long 'horn' (at least, it seems to project from the beast's 'head'), but having felt its solidity under her blade, Lycinia is able to easily parry the attack.

[Round 2]
She stabs it again, but again her sword cannot pierce the crackling exterior of the creature [7-7=0 damage]. It rears up high on its hind 'legs', taking the elf by surprise. She thrusts her sword upwards at the last instant, catching the 'horn' in the crossguard, before it can pierce her neck through the centre. It grazes her ever so slightly, but the flesh it touches comes away as if shredded by a fistful of razors, leaving her cheek and halfway down her neck a raw and bleeding mass of tissue. [It rolled a Special success; her parry succeeded, reducing it to a normal hit. 1d8+2=6 damage to the head drops her to 10hp (2hp left in the location).]

[Round 3]
Lycinia's rage redoubles with the shock of pain, and she wheels her blade round the horn, plunging the tip into the beast's own head. This time it bites deep, and the creature flickers and contorts as the silvery sword passes deep within it. [01, Critical hit. 9 (maximum) damage, ignoring armour, leaves it with 2hp.]

Its feeble riposte is easily blocked.

[Rounds 4-6]
The two begin to dance back and forth. Lycinia gets a couple hits in, but her blade cannot find another weak spot. The creature's attacks are fierce, but the elf's swordsmanship saves her from harm.

[Round 7]
Lycinia finally starts to really feel the sting in her face, and with the distraction comes her first real mistake. An inelegant uppercut goes well wide of the mark [miss], and she can't bring her blade back down in time as the thing ducks in low [hit, parry fails]. The 'horn' scrapes across Lycinia's thigh right above the knee. The stiff leather of her trews is shredded by the coursing energy, and her skin beneath comes away in a red arc. [1d8+2=4 damage to the right leg. 2AP (stiff leather) reduces it to 2 points, leaving her with 8hp (6 in the leg).]

[Round 8]
She's angrier at herself than at it, though the shriek she gives out carries enough spite for them both. Her sword cuts in a vicious arc, slashing right through the beast. [hits, (1d8+1=)9-7=2 damage, disrupted (0hp)] It loses all cohesion, and flickers into nothingness even as Lycinia's next stroke passes through the empty space where it had just now been.

Realising she's vanquished the unearthly creature, Lycinia pauses to take stock of her injuries. Her leg she can probably bind; the wound is mostly superficial. Her face and neck are another matter entirely. She fishes the silver mirror out of her pack to get a look at the damage, and utters a most un-princessly oath when she sees the extent of it. She presses the cloth of her tabard against it to try to stop the bleeding, but she's fairly certain that only magic could repair such an injury. [I ruled that the unusual nature of the damage would require a Difficult roll against Physik (23/2=12%) for first aid; she didn't make either roll.]

When she finally turns her attention to the room, she finds that the monster has destroyed most of the furnishings in the room -- everything, in fact, that was not made of metal. An black iron coffer is the only interesting item which remains. Lycinia opens it, and is rewarded by the glitter of coins in her torchlight. She spills it out onto the floor, and amongst the coins finds a few chain necklaces. These she pockets, and is about to leave the rest when she realises she may soon need to pay a healer to fix her torn face. She digs through the pile and extracts all the gold (10gp) and a handful of silver (20sp) before leaving the rest upon the cold stone floor.

[the monster was TF15,  + 1d4x10=30, for a total Treasure factor of 45: 344cp, 783sp, 10gp, costume jewellery (32sp).]

Lycinia examines the room. The walls are dry, bare stone, any mould having long since been reduced to dust by the creature's strange emanations. She finds another iron door set into the north wall. She is about to open it, but...

[Challenge: POW (difficult) reveals Spell Lore (normal)

Difficult POW ((12x5)/2= 30%): d%=30 exactly]

...just as her fingertips are about to touch the metal, she feels a wave of cold energy chill her soul.

[Spell Lore (47%): d%=18, success.

d20 random trap (CR10) from donjon (link), using the first magical result

Energy Drain Trap: Energy Drain, 17th level wizard, 2d4 negative levels for 24 hours, DC 23 Fort save negates

So, match POW vs. 17 on the Resistance Table or take 2D4 damage, and for 24 hours suffer a penalty of (damage x5%) to all skill rolls.

and out of curiosity--
Q: Is it a false door? Likely (3+): O1 C7 - No.]

Lycinia knows not to touch the door in any way, not even with a 10' pole (were she the sort of elf to carry such an item), lest it wrench her very spirit from her body. And since she lacks appropriate measures of a magical sort, she decides to turn back and return to the corridor. But as she crosses the room, her torchlight reveals a third iron door, in the south eastern corner.

She puts her hand as close to the door as she dare, and only tries the door once she is absolutely certain the chill she feels is just cold metal, and not another life-draining enchantment.

The door opens into a 20' square room [Room 15. - Skill Challenge & Treasure]. In the exact centre of the floor sits a small wooden chest, round which someone has taken the effort to inscribe an intricate magic circle in blue, green, and white pigments.

[Challenge: Spell Lore  (+10%) - separate from - Read/Write Other (easy)]

Lycinia studies the design for a few moments, but it's like none she's ever encountered in her years of study [Spell Lore (47+10=57%): 77]. She decides to leave it alone. Above the door in the south-western corner she spots [Spot Hidden] a series of incised lines, which she recognises as the Ogham of the hill folk. Their tongue is otherwise unknown to her, so she begins the recitation of the charm which will make it plain.

[Slowly (+1 round) casting Comprehend Languages (36+16*=52%): first roll fails (-1MP), her second go is a success (also  costing 1MP)

* should be +INT / 5 dex ranks (+48%!)... oops.]

As the magic eddies round her, the words of the inscription coalesce in her mind: "Disturb not the rest of the dead". [Mythic: find / Ghost]

Lycinia decides to leave by the other door. Beyond it, a passage leads off into the darkness. She advances down it cautiously, wondering when --if ever-- her torchlight will reveal the end. She comes to a wooden door set into the wall, and decides that, rather than continuing in to the endless dark, she should see what lies beyond.

[Room 16. - Skill Challenge only

Challenge: either/or
Blasphemous Lore (+10% = 23%)
Religious Lore (Easy: 8x2=16%)

Blasphemous Lore it is: d%=21, success!]

The room once served as the sewer-workers' shrine to the earth goddess. A motley assortment of benches are laid out in rude imitation of the more grand churches of the surface world. The altar is of simple bricks, though the goddess' image is fashioned from good marble. These both have been recently defaced, bearing the marks of claws or perhaps swords, and all over scrawled with the insignia of the Mother of Carrion in red paint.

Lycinia had intended to avoid the altar of a human goddess on principle, and seeing the defilement only increases the distance she walks round it. She finds and iron door leading to the south, but [Idea roll (80%) succeeds] recognises it as the door bearing the life-draining enchantment. Everything about this room makes her skin crawl, and she hastens back into the long, dark corridor.

Next post: the dungeon continues

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