So last session I’d just stolidly stood back and did nothing to frame up a situation or scenario for the players. I’d just left it entirely up to them to recall any loose threads from former sessions that they wanted to follow up on. This time I decided to try the exact opposite of that.
I waited for a lull in the conversation and then took a moment to rapidly move several things forward that had been suggested in earlier sessions:
- There is an index card on the tavern bulletin board from Zanzel Melancthones offering a 1000 gold reward for the return of the cadaver of a crystal monster that had been brought to him previously. He offers 5000 gold for the apprehension of whatever thief presumably broke into his tower to take it.
- There is an army of 50 Giant White Apes, 100 Apache horsemen, and several hundred orcs converging on the city of Trolopulous.
- Fàgor (and only Fàgor) has noticed a blood red moon in the sky that nobody else seems to have seen.
We have six very different players this time. How in the world do they sort this out?
Some have this idea to go scout out what is going on with this army for the city. Others are very much enticed by the gold for the reward. The scouting missing looks to have the most support then Fàgor’s player stops everything to get more information about this red moon thing, but this turns out to be even more baffling.
The players go see the captain of the guard. The guy seems to be rather incompetent, declaring that they are a bit short on men-at-arms. The players (some of whom have served) ask who this guy reports to. Off hand, I just say the prince. They are shocked. This nudnik reports to the prince?!
Evidently some sort of common sense world building fail here. Naturally I double down. But the players want to see the prince now. And I have nothing on this guy. “The prince? Oh yeah. The prince. Prince… um… Prince Elric???” I tell them he looks like Nekron from Fire & Ice,
The players are really concerned about the fair city of Trollopulous and want to help. Prince Elric is not too concerned.. When informed of the approaching army, he declares that greatest treasure of the city is its trollops. He proposes holing up with them in his tower for a few days and then maybe summoning some extra-planar entities if things look like they’re getting out of hand.
The players decide to go north into the jungles. The set out after picking out their mules and war horses. I immediately get a random encounter of 20+ orcs. Obviously a detachment from the coming army. Maybe some kind of rearguard or something. Spies? Fàgor and Maubert ride straight up to them while the rest of the party keeps going on. Maubert scolds them for being out of position and rudely directs them to go a few miles west. They buy it and fall all over themselves to get going.
The players camp out on the jungles edge. At some point, Fàgor calls the other player characters “faggots”, explaining the “fag” is of course orcish for human. (Though his name means “great hero” in orcish, it transliterates as “human killer.”) In the night these four lions wake everybody up. Next day the ranger notices one trailing them. He send a couple arrows at it but misses and then hits a tree it was crouching behind. It slinks off with a growl.
The players get to the huge ruined pile in the jungle. Fàgor wants to go up the rope that the party had left behind, but when he pulls on the rope it nearly brings a precariously balanced boulder down right on top of him. They want to work out a way to get their horses into the ruins. The players find a place in the ruins where they can house their horses then get ready to go into the temple. (They don’t have any men-at-arms or henchmen with them this time for some reason.)
The players head in and cut left. They find a door and inside are jail cells with skeletons in them Fàgor uses his pike to carefully retrieve a golden belt buckle from one of the skeletons without opening up the cells. The players then continue in the maze of twisty passages, going in a complete circle. They head back in down another path and come to a hallway with five seven foot tall statues, each with twelve wings.
The ranger goes to investigate these things and then whoosh! He disappears. One by one the players go investigate, trying different things. The all disappear one after another with a big whooshing sound. Fàgor I think throws a rope near the statues and then pisses on it, maybe tries repositioning the wings. Then he steps toward the statues and disappears with a whoosh. The paladin was last. He slips to the end of the passage along the sides and discerns a circle in the floor. He considers a few different things but ends up jumping in to see what happens.
They have all ended up in this weird strobe-light filled, screeching pulse place. The players can’t think of anything to do except move in a random direction. They arrive at some sort of crystal lattice that is growing out of nothing. They find at the top of it a platform with a organ on it. Somebody goes up to it and pulls out some of the stops, hits a key or two. Then somebody else hits the lowest foot pedal on the organ and the platform suddenly starts to tip over as the crystal lattice disintegrates.
Fàgor then starts playing the organ, a soothing, peaceful tune in a Lydan mode. The pulsing cacophony ceases and is replaced with clouds and some kind of kudzu type plant begins to grow from every direction. Fàgor then modulates into a substantially different sort of song. Counterpoint is involved. It all culminates into a legitimately intricate composition. As it develops, a red sandstone structure grows around the players which then gradually spawns architectural complexity, furniture, stain glass windows. When the song concludes, they are in some sort of alien cathedral.
The players consider looting the place but decide not to as there’s nothing demonic about the artwork. They go outside and see a world full of gigantic mushrooms. They explore a ways, concerned that they might inhale dangerous spoors. They find a stream of crystal clear water that leads to a pool. The players don’t want to drink it. They fill a waterskin with it.
They head back to the cathedral and decide that they want to take a mushroom cutting before they bail out. As soon as they slice into one, mushroom figures in many directions start moving towards the players. Everyone except one person fails their open door check. They all run inside, find a circle on the floor and all dive into it. They appear back at the temple, find their way back to where they housed their horses, and then camp for the night, their sleep interrupted by both the howling of wolves and the roar of lions.
Hans Franzen the Swoleceror (2 hits, Burning hands, Jump, Message, Read Magic) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, and 8] XP: 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 80 + 0 = 2012
Brother Pain the Acolyte [Delve 3b, 7, and 8] XP: 351 + 54 + 255 + 0= 660
Torin the Runner (7 hits) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, and 8] XP: 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 80 + 255 + 0 = [Frozen at 2250 until he levels!]
Arthur the Gallant (7 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 7, and 8] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 80 + 255 + 0 = 2389
Fàgor — (12 hits) Half-Orc Fighter [Delve 7 and 8] 255 + 0 = 255 (His name means “astonishing hero” in orcish. For real!)
Malbert the Veteran (9 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, and 8] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 0 = 1226
Experience and treasure: Nothing! (They’ll get something for the gold belt buckle when they go back to Trollopulous, maybe.)
Day 1: The Hole in the Sky
Day 2: The Thing in the Sewer
Day 7: The Big Score part I
Day 8: The Big Score part II
(Day 9-14 — player characters all carousing¹; Keebler Khan fully recovered) <—- I day of real world time = one day of game time!)
Day 15: The Drums of the Dog People
(Day 16-21: More carousing, fasting, panhandling.)
Day 22-25: Altar of the Beast-women
(Day 26-31: Resting)
Day 32-33: The Pugs of Slaughter
(Day 34-39: Resting)
Day 40: The Overbearing of the Crystal Men
(Day 41-46: Resting)
Days 47-48: The Song of Fàgor
Dorkorus — Half-elf fighter/magic-user/thief — Half brother to Keebler Khan, talked with a lisp! Killed by a pug-man in the Trolopulous mega-dungeon.
Dairage — Elf fighter/magic-user — Killed with his shield spell one, valiantly taking down the leader of the pug-men so that the party could have a chance to escape certain death!
9 Hapless men-at-arms!