Monday, 22 March 2021

Mörk Borg solo - Part 3 : « Comme les meurtriers et comme les infâmes »

Having looted the body of their fallen comrade, they find that one of the cells is actually a short passageway leading to...

T6 : mechanism room - special - none
special: This is bad : none (nothing can live in here long)

...a cramped room filled with all manner of rusting iron machines. No one can immediately fathom the purpose of the mechanisms, and as they move in to examine them both Irtinj and Doctor Sêps take a sudden turn. The others also begin to feel some sort of unpleasant emanation from the corroded metal, and they make a hasty exit before they too succumb.

[The broken mechanism is leaking radiation/contagion. Everyone needed a DR12 Toughness check to avoid taking d3 damage and becoming Infected; Irtinj and the Doctor failed their rolls.]

T7 : chapter house - none - statue

They retreat back through the chapterhouse [as the dice would have it] and out to the passageway, which they follow into...

T8 : mechanism room - none - incense

...a second mechanism room, though this one is evidently in good repair. The machinery is clean, rust-free, and the air even smells nice. They approach with caution and, feeling no ill effects, puzzle over the device.

[DR16 Presence to figure it out -- only Uth makes her roll.

Q: What does it do? listen / horror]

"Ah!" exclaims Uth. "Suddenly it's so obvious. You just close these valves here, here, and here, then set these two sliders like so, and finally--"

The others are all too late to stop Uth from pulling the great iron lever. As she does, the machine whirs to life and a thunderous, screeching cacophony is heard to emanate from the direction of the cathedral's high altar. Uth slams the lever back into place to stop the noise.

[Q: Does anyone/thing come running? Likely (3+): O1 C5 - no]

Uth and her irritated companions watch the doorways with weapons at the ready until it seems certain that no one is coming to investigate.

T9 : vestry - d6 skeletons - statue

[Q: Ambush? Likely (3+): O6 C3 - yes, but... the party can test their best Presence at DR12 to avoid : d20+2=9, fail.

d6=5 skeletons, armed with knives (d4)]

A small, very plain wooden door leads from the mechanism room into a long and spacious vestry. A smallish wooden idol of a saint, executed in frankly poor taste, sits in an alcove on the far wall. Robes and raiment of all sorts, exquisitely if gaudily brocaded, hang from pegs on both sides of the room, smelling of dust, stale incense, and not a little mildew.

The explorers doubt there is much here of actual resale value, and as none of them are looking to update their wardrobes, they pass through the room after a cursory examination. Thus it is that they fail to notice the five animated skeletons hiding behind the vestments like naughty schoolboys, minus the giggling. The blood-drenched monsters rush forth from their concealment and fall upon the hapless explorers with wicked steel knives.
Both Uth and Doctor Sêps are stabbed in the back, but the blades are fortunately turned aside by their armour. Irtinj takes a nasty slash across his torso, and sinks senselessly to the ground. Vesania reacts in just enough time to parry the knife with her name on it [Defence roll 11+1 just succeeds]. Törzug throws a clumsy punch as she dodges her assailant's blade, though just as ineffectually.

[3 damage put Irtinj at 0hp exactly, so he needs to roll on the Broken table. He'll be unconscious for d4=1 round, and then awaken with d4 hp.

Törzug's defence roll was a natural 20, so she got to make a free attack -- but missed.]

[Round 1 - skeletons have the initiative]
Törzug takes a deep cut across her upper arm [2 damage, down to 2hp] as she takes the crowbar from her belt. Uth has her crowbar already in hand, and fends off her attacker, though her counter-attack is ineffectual.

Doctor Sêps faces two of the fiends. One merely scrapes its blade across his mail [2-2=0 damage]. The other makes a severe error of judgement, and gets its jaw smashed off by the good Doctor's staff [a natural 20 on his Defence roll: riposte hits for 3 damage], which then whirls about for a follow-up crack to the ribs [his actual attack also hit for 1 damage, leaving it with 2hp]. Vesania and her foe both feint, retreat, and feint again [defend, miss].

[Round 2]
Uth is hit a third time, and for a third time her armour turns aside the blow. She's almost mirthful as she belabours the frustrated undead with her crowbar [4 damage drops it to 3hp]. Doctor Sêps whirls his staff like a seasoned warrior, knocking back the knives of both his foes, then knocking off one of their heads [defend 2x, hits the injured for 4 damage, destroying it].

Neither Törzug, Vesania, or the skeletons they face do anything of note. Irtinj comes round, and climbs to his feet.
[Round 3]
Törzug gets knocked in the face by the pommel of a dagger [1 damage puts her at 1hp] and staggers back, but not before dealing a glancing blow to her attacker. Irtinj steps in and severs its head [5 more damage destroys it]. Uth and her skeleton size each other up for a moment [defend, miss] as Vesania crushes the ribcage of the thing facing her [she defends, hits for 4 damage], but it fights on. Doctor Sêps sweeps low with his staff, smashing through both legs at the knee. The skeleton falls to the ground and shatters [nat. 20: d4x2=8 damage, destroyed].

[Round 4]
[The remaining skeletons must check morale (ML8) 2d6=3, they fight on.]

Vesania presses her advantage, and her opponent soon lies in pieces at her feet. Törzug hangs back, as Uth and her skeleton poke at each other weakly. Irtinj's sword flashes behind them and Uth is nearly hit by the blade as it slices through the skeleton before her, ending the battle [d10=10 damage!].

After such a furious fight, the explorers need a few minutes to recuperate. Törzug is pleased to find her wounds were mostly superficial [resting heals d4=4, she's back up to 5hp (of 7)]. Doctor Sêps gives Irtinj a healing elixir which restores him to full health [d6=6, back to full 4hp, and his Infection is gone]. He uses a nostrum from his medicine chest on his own injuries [back to full 8hp, Infection cured].

T10 : altar (U) - random - statue
random: Coolly / Smelly

The door at the back of the vestry leads, unsurprisingly, to the altar. [d4=1] A dead monk is sprawled on altar, with ash-grey, drooping flesh and exuding the stench of rotten insides.

The wrought iron statue is larger than life, and is unutterably blasphemous in shape, depicting as it does a two-headed wyvern. Despite its size, the whole is [Mechanically / Small] formed of a myriad of intricate moving parts. Uth conjectures the bellows-like mouths must be the source of the sound from the machinery she'd activated.

As they are staring at it in rapt fascination, the monk's corpse come to life and crawls over to [d5=] Doctor Sêps, intent on taking a bite out of his leg -- though it merely succeeds in getting a mouthful of cloth and mail. The Doctor shunts it away with his staff and Irtinj severs its spine with a quick thrust of his sword.

And it is then they notice a glimmer of metal at the monk's belt; the monk has [Corpse Plundering table, d66] a Black Kergüs Dagger [2d4 damage] hanging by a cord.

Everyone's eyes go wide at the evil-looking treasure. They all want it so very badly, but aren't yet convinced that fighting all the others to the death is a particularly wise course of action. So they leave it in the hands of the Fates; they place the dagger on the floor, stand round it in a circle and give it a good spin. It comes to rest pointing at [d5=] Uth, who greedily snatches it up from the floor to admire her reflection in the cruel night-black blade.
T11 : complete - none - special

Behind the altar, at the very end of the choir, a low archway reveals a cramped spiral staircase leading up.

[As I mentioned before upper level is a separate LC Region, with its own tables (typed up again in a comment at the end), so the turn count also starts over.]
T0 : stairs - none - none

The stairs climb halfway to the grand vaulted ceiling...

T1 : balcony - none - none

...and empty onto a 5' wide balcony which extend most of the way round the perimeter of the cathedral. A low iron railing stands between the explorers and the dizzying fall to the floor far below. Above, shadows play amongst the arches of the high ceilings, and unearthly whispers can be heard [from the MB dungeon tables]. The explorers advance cautiously...

T2 : balcony - none - random
random: Miserably / Creepy

...and find the way blocked by a dead priest, whose expression is a frozen mask of horror. Irtinj beheads the corpse just to be safe. They step over the inert form...

T3 : balcony - none - random
random: Dimly / Interesting

...and continue along the balcony to find three large spools of iron chains. Each spool is furnished with lock and a crank by which the chain may be let out, lowering ornate glass chandeliers to the floor below to be lit. They continue slowly...
T4 : balcony - none - none

...along the balcony...

T5 : narrow walkway - d3 skeletons - ropes

...which narrows to but half its previous width. Stout ropes for some of the smaller chandeliers are here affixed directly to the railing. A single bloody skeleton bars the path, silently threatening with a rusty short sword.

[d6=party wins initiative]

Törzug, in the lead, thinks her crossbow a poor tool for this job, so decide to put her shoulder into it; she rushes bodily at the skeleton and tries to hurl it over the side.

[I let the skeleton attack, but her Defence roll succeeded. Throwing it over the side will require a DR 12 Strength test to accomplish, but if that fails she'll need to make a DR14 Agility test to retain her balance. d20+1=11 failure; she spends an Omen to reroll: d20+1=18]

The thing raises its sword in a feeble defence, then is propelled over the side of the rail by Törzug's charge. It falls through space for a few pregnant seconds, then shatters audibly against the marble floor.

T6 : balcony - none - window

The balcony widens again, and a tiny window is set into the wall...

[Q: Anything interesting to see outside? Unlikely (5+): O3 C2 - no, and...]

... but smoke and the glow from the crater obscures any view it might have afforded.

T7 : platform - none - ropes

Beyond is a platform in the corner of the structure, where many more chandelier ropes are tied round the rails, and a pair of chain spools are attached as well.

T8 : ring under cupola - none - window

At the end of the platform, the balcony continues, running its way round a cupola, whose vaulted ceiling is awash with religious imagery painted in the tawdriest of styles. Another window peers out into the haze.

T9 : complete - none - none

[I decided by GM fiat that the Nechrubel-worshipping lich (from the Who or what dwells here now? dungeon generation table) would be at the end of the 2nd level if not previously encountered, accompanied by d6 skeleton guards. The way the dungeon played out and the UNE conversation topics I rolled up made it clear that, rather than dwelling here, the lich was simply another explorer.]

At the far end of the ring is an opening, inside which narrow iron latticework steps lead up into the spire. Törzug stops short and holds up a hand to silence her comrades. "Listen! Footsteps on the stairs."

They back up a few paces, weapons at the ready. The sound of the plodding footsteps reverberating on the iron stairs reaches a crescendo, then a putrid corpse clad in tattered and rotten finery steps out onto the balcony, and a bloody sword-bearing skeleton right after.
The air round the ambulatory corpse fairly crackles with unholy energies, and its hollow eyes glower with sparks of cold light. The shreds of its robes, necklaces of copper and carnelian, and tarnished silver rings it wears are all caked with grave mould. There can be no question that the explorers are in the presence of a lich.

[Reaction=7, Indifferent
UNE: inquisitive - suspicion - rewards]

"Who are you?" it whispers through maggoty lips.

"We could ask you the same," says Doctor Sêps.

"You have an air of desperation about you. Is that what brought you to this place?"

"The Fraternity of the Sun tasked us with cleansing the evil from this benighted place."

"Surely not they?" it laughs. "They're naught but [Loudly / Damaged] a bunch of shouty madmen, worshipping a god that has plainly turned its back on the world. They must have offered you a fortune to come here." [prejudiced - discrimination - superiors]

"Well, er, no, not exactly..."

"What then? Do tell."

"They... they said there'd be treasure."

"Everything here is cold wrought iron, and broken down machines."

"We'd, er, noticed," says Uth.

"Why are you here?" interjects Vesania.

"The world must end. I thought perhaps the thing in this cathedral might hurry it along." [prejudiced - dislike - campaign]

"We shan't let that happen!" shrieks Irtinj.


The lich laughs out loud at the outburst. "Far be it from me to get in your way."

It stands aside with a curt bow and a sweeping gesture towards the stairwell. The explorers look at each other in consternation for a few moments, then wordlessly tramp up the stairs.

next post: staring into the abyss


  1. Location Crafter lists (balcony level)--

    narrow walkway
    narrow walkway
    narrow walkway
    ring under cupola
    narrow walkway
    narrow walkway

    d3 skeletons


  2. But do you think they explored the balcony well enough?

    1. They got in a fight where they risked falling off of it, so my GM-goal was achieved.

  3. I must say, Uth is by far my favorite character in this party. However, with only 1 hp, I fear her time in this world might be short-lived. Luckily, however, it seems she has good armor.

    1. Under normal circumstances, I'd never allow a starting PC with only 1 or 2 hp, but it seemed fitting in such a nihilistic setting.