Dungeon Crawl Classics

The Backstory

 

Volume 1 was run when DCC RPG was in beta. There wasn't much material for the game other than the core book. So I cobbled this campaign together using various old school sources... mainly Judge's Guild products from the late 70's. The world is the 3e Dungeon Crawl Classics world.

There is actually a link to my D&D Nyrod campaigns. When the old gods (Kaylin, PathSearcher, etc) left Nyrod, they gathered their followers in Spelljammers and sailed the phlogiston in search of a new crystal sphere to call home. After a very long travel, they entered the sphere that the world of Aereth called home. The Nyrod Gods, outside of their home sphere, had only a fraction of their godly power. They were no match for the patrons of Aereth - Sezrekan the Wizard and others took the Nyrod Gods as A threat and launched a devastating attack. The Gods and their followers all perished, crashing on the world of Aereth.

For this campaign, I chose the region of the Vermilion Steppes, a vast area where elves rode 8 legged lightning horses. I created a blue-skinned witch called Golila the Mazarine who would be both a guide and  problem for our heroes...

0. Golila's Dreams

6/15/11: After finishing Evard's Dark Legacy for the week, my group at the Den made 0-level characters and went through some test fights for the Beta version of Dungeon Crawl Classics. Here's the results....

John Z

Dwarven Herder, with sow (female pig)
Gregory, Elven Sage
Gong Farmer (cleans outhouses.. this guy has epic stats. Is "the GG Allin of dungeon crawls")

Greg

John Doe, Potato Farmer with a hen
Grym, Wizard's Apprentice (with a high int and a luck bonus to spell damage)
Edison, Elven Artisan

Krista

Skip, Corn Farmer with a mule
Galla, Halfling Gypsy
Smacky, Armorer (Iron helmet do anything?)

Matt

Hezekiah, Corn Farmer with a sheep
Mr. Boscrow, Halfling Trader
Carlisle, Slave

Tom

Arvin Twiggins, Halfling Trader
Jonathan Growhaven, Potato Farmer with a cow
Freedric Goldwynn, Urchin with a stick, a bowl, a 14 intelligence and a very low agility (-3)

Samantha

Madam Mysteria, Halfling Gypsy
Goatswyn, Dwarven Herder with a Goat
Linnette, Healer

 Our heroes lived mundane lives in the village of Greywood, west of the Kitezhan Mountains and just north of the Vermillion Steppes. The citizens worshiped Uleth, the God of Peace. Nearby was a spire upon which lurked a witch who went by the name of Golila the Mazarine. Only her brother and servant, Lergwe, lived with her. The spire was also home to Caliron, the Cantankerous Giant of the Fog. The big fellow flung rocks at any who he saw.

Golila slept and dreamed of those she would meet soon. She dreamed of scenes from alternate realities and possible futures, battles which never happened, but could have....

A call went out through the streets of Greywood. Three kobolds had barged into a barn and were eating everything. Who could possibly stop them?

A mob of eighteen citizens decided to try! They headed to the barn, and decided to have John Z's dwarf herder lead a bunch of farm animals through the front entrance to distract the kobolds. The heroes would pour in the back entrance and pummel the kobolds before they knew what was what!

(I decided that the heroes each got a +5 to initiative for this attempt. Unfortunately for them my kobolds rolled very high for initiative.. they went third in the order!)

The order:

Krista
John
Me
Matt
Greg
Tom
Sam

Krista's gypsy fired a sling bolt from the far side of a window. She struck a kobold in the head. Blood trickled from the wound. Her armorer busted in and missed with a hammer. Then Skip the farmer plunged his pitchfork through a kobold's back and flung its' corpse through the air (a critical!). Two kobolds remained.

John's dwarf burst in the front door, riding his beloved sow and leading a charge of farm animals. He rode up and missed a swing at a kobold. John's elven sage crept in and missed a kobold. John's gong farmer made his way to a kobold on the ground like a navy seal. Crowbar in hand, he whacked the kobold already hit by a sling stone. The kobold screamed in pain and turned.

The gong farmer recoiled but it was too late. The kobold plunged its' tiny blade into his neck, killing the gong farmer! The other kobolds missed.

Matt's farmer, Hezekiah rushed up and missed. Mr. Boscrow the halfling trader battled the injured kobold. Carlisle charged the wounded kobold and killed him. "For freedom... and food!", shouted the slave. Two kobolds down, one to go.

(At this point I remembered the morale rule. I decided not to use it, but made a note to make sure I did it when it counted)

Greg's turn. Edison, the elven artisan approached a kobold and crushed it's kneecap with his staff! The leg broke open and the kobold died (a critical... we talked a bit about max damage. I am looking at the rules now, and it looks like there's no max damage on a crit, just whatever the result on the table is...). The kobolds were vanquished!

I took this opportunity to talk about a rule I'd read in an old dragon magazine. It's an article called "The Restless Dead". The rule is that if a fellow character dies, the heroes must pay a "Widow's fee" and bury their friend with his stuff. If they take his stuff or don't pay the fee, the character becomes undead and comes after the PCs. The type of undead depends on the dead guy's alignment:

Lawful: Haunt
Neutral: Zombie or Skeleton
Chaotic: Vampire!


It was a rule designed to prevent the looting of friends' PCs as it could lead to over-powered PCs. I decided to use it just because I think it's cool and seems in keeping with this game's tone.

One thing I didn't like about the kobold fight was that some players didn't get to go! I was wondering if three kobolds was not enough or too many. I'm still not sure. Another note: The fight took 7 minutes! Bizarre by 4e standards. Everyone liked it. We can get a lot done in an hour in this game!


Golila the mazarine awoke. She called out at her brother to bring her a drink. But then fell asleep again, once more dreaming of the citizens she would soon meet...

The village of Greywood was under attack. 6... 6! Mighty orcs, claws bared, loincloths flapping in the breeze were crossing a field and approaching! They were clearly hostile. Who could defend the town from such a threat? Why, our golden-hearted plebians, of course!

The initiative:

Greg
Me
Tom
Sam
John
Matt
Krista

Greg's Elf Artisan, Edison, raced up and cracked an orc in the face with his staff. It reeled but was still alive. Greg's potato farmer used his flint & steel to light Grym's (the apprentice) oil. Wisely staying out of melee, Grym flung the lit oil through the air. The burning oil hit, covered and scorched the already-wounded orc. The orc screamed and died.

But Greg wasn't done! His third character, John Doe, the one-hit point potato farmer, raced forth and plunged his pitchfork into an orc's eye (yes, another critical from Greg~). The orc died.

A nearby orc snarled and swiped a claw at John Doe, killing him. Another orc lunged at Edison, clawing him in the neck and killing him as well.

The other two orcs raced across the plain. One reached Hezekiah, clawed and cut him down.

Tom's turn. One miss. Growhaven hits with a staff for two points. And Goldwyn the urchin feebly tapped an orc with his stick.. no.. he missed.

Samantha's trio got into it. Madam Misteria loaded up her sling and staggered an orc with a shot, but it was still alive. Then Goatswyn raced up and beat on that orc. Linnette missed.

John's Pig riding dwarf rode up and cracked an orc in the face. Gregory followed up and finished off the orc. Gong guy missed! Three orcs left!

Matt's guys missed, except the slave. Krista rolled low on all three attacks. End of round one. Took 8 minutes for 18 characters and a pile of orcs!

Greg's go.. Grym, the apprentice, struck a wounded orc and nearly killed it.

One orc went after Arvin Twiggins. The halfling trader died a grisly death. Then I rolled to see who the other orc attacked. It was another of tom's guys - Johnathan Growhaven the potato farmer. He'd never skin another spud, for he was slain. Somewhere in the distance, his cow mooed mournfully.

Krista said after the first adventure, we'd need to have a wake..

Tom's guy missed. Madame Misteria slinged an orc, and killed it. Goatswyn missed. Lynette also missed. One orc left...

The pig rider, Mr. Smithy, rode up and yelled "Let's get him Bessy!". He rode up, swung, and killed the final orc.

1. The Portal Under the Stars

6/18/11: 'Twas loud and sweaty in the Dragon's Den hobby store that day, but we persisted. And lo, many 0-level plebians were slaughtered, and the heroes were separated from the footnotes in the annals of history.

George

Wellington Halfling Merchant
William - Soldier (with a spear and a shield!)
Burke - A Woodcutter

Greg

John Doe, Potato Farmer
Edison Elven Artisan
Grym - Wizard's Apprentice

Krista

Artemisia - Armorer
Skip Waits - Farmer
Galla - Halfling Gyspsy

John Z

Dwarven Herder, with sow (female pig)
Gregory, Elven Sage
Gong Farmer (Is "the GG Allin of dungeon crawls")

Sam

Lynette - Healer
Goatwwyn - Herder
Madam Mysteria - Halfling Gypsy

Tom

Arvin Twiggins, Halfling Trader
Jonathan Growhaven, Potato Farmer with a cow
Freedric Goldwynn, Urchin with a stick, a bowl, a 14 intelligence and a very low agility (-3)

Matt

Hezekiah, Corn Farmer with a sheep
Mr. Bosceroe, Halfling Trader
Carlisle, Slave

Old Man Roberts lived in the village of Greywood. The old fellow talked often of a certain Empty Star that appeared in the sky once every 50 years. There was a stone circle near the village. When the Empty star rose, a portal appeared in the circle for just that one night. The portal led to a dungeon created by some ancient war-wizard. He'd regretted never going in when he had the chance. Our plucky collection of citizens would not make the same mistake he had...

The prospective adventurers filed through the portal, and found themselves in a long hallway that ended at a door with a starry configuration implanted upon it. Their cows mooed, goats neighed and hens clucked.

John Doe, a potato farmer, pulled and opened the doors. As he did so, a blast of radiance exploded outward, killing him! Undaunted, the heroes took what they could from his body and peered into the room that lay beyond.

The room was square and had a door on the far wall. Lining the wall that the door was set in were four statues holding spears, ready to throw. The heroes cautiously stepped in... Once three were in the room and one was in the doorway (the "bulls-eye"), the statues launched their spears! Arvin Twiggins, Madam Mysteria and Smitty the pig-rider all died. The fourth spear narrowly missed Grym, the wizard's apprentice.

Once they could see that the statues were not going to do anything else, the heroes looted the spears, and the scale armor each statue had on. They peered into the next room...

A thirty-foot tall statue of a barbarian was pointing at them. The square room had doors to the east, west and north. The heroes tested the statue... They launched a sling stone at it. Nothing happened. They saw a seam in its' base - it swiveled. They tried to force it to swivel, to no avail. They notice burn marks all over, as if many campfires had been set.

Johnathan Growhaven made his way to one of the doors. Suddenly, with a deep groaning sound, the statue turned so that it was pointing at the potato farmer... and a fireball exploded from the statue's fingertip and killed the poor fellow.

The heroes made a mad dash toward the east door! The statue turned and launched a fireball at Edison, the elven artisan. Hezekiah the corn farmer jumped in the way, taking the hit! The fire engulfed the heroic fellow, and killed him.

Most of the heroes made their way into the side room. Four remained in the room with the fireball statue. They were trying to figure out what triggered it (on its' turn it would ready, and the next person to make for an exit was shot at). They forced their farm animals to move. A goat and a hen each took a fireball and died. Then they used the things they had on them - a grappling hook and rope. Mr. Bosceroe climbed it and placed his empty chest over the statue's finger. Then, when the statue was triggered again, its' fireball exploded and shattered the chest, but harmed no-one. The statue had five "charges", and all had been expended.

In the eastern room, there were a few tattered items hanging on the walls next to alcoves containing crumbled skeletons. When someone would come close, the skeletons would bite at them. The heroes took a few bites, but no-one died. They got the items and crushed each of the skulls. Each time a skull was destroyed, a strange thunderous crack would shake the base of the dungeon. The thundering noise seemed to come from below the dungeon (As would soon be learned, each of these skeletons was linked to a clay general in the clay army that was waiting them below. When the heroes destroyed the skulls, they destroyed the spirit link that they had to the clay generals.

Edison grabbed a bone, wrapped some rags around it and made a makeshift torch.

The adventurers decided to make their way to the western area. It lead to a narrow hallway and a door. Galla, the halfling gypsy, opened the door. In the room beyond was an immortal demon-snake with a horn in its' head! It spoke in a sibilant hiss: "I am Ssissuragg, and you intrude on my guardianship!". The snake lunged forth, bit Galla, and dragged her limp corpse into the room. The heroes quickly barred the door as best they could. From what they could tell, the demon-snake was not going to give chase.

The adventurers then opened the door to the north. The room beyond was a vast chamber with a shallow pool in the floor that had many shimmering crystal imbedded in the bottom. Shuffling about in the back of the hall were six crystal men. Edison entered, and the crystal men shuffled toward him. He stepped out of the room, and they stopped. Through a bit of trial and error, the heroes realized that these things were attracted to heat, and were non-violent.

They attached the torch to their cow, and had it wander into a far corner. The crystal men all gathered around the weirded-out cow. There was a door in the far corner of the room. The heroes decided to check out the pool.

The crystals in the pool were embedded into the floor. There looked to be dozens, maybe even a hundred! Each crystal was worth 10 silver. The heroes climbed into the pool and cautiously began pulling them up. Each time one was removed, little bubbles came up. They did some testing and figured out that if enough crystals were removed, water would pour through the floor into a room below.

The door in the room led to circular stairs that went down. The stairs led to a hallway containing a few tables with clay soldiers on them. Four of them were made of silver. There was also a door. Opening the door revealed a huge chamber containing 70 man-sized clay soldiers, seven headless, limp clay generals, and a thirty-foot tall clay leader! They sprung to life and began to advance toward the door!

The door was shut and the heroes made their way back upstairs. The army didn't follow. The heroes resumed pulling up crystals. Once 50 were removed, the pool floor buckled and almost collapsed into the room below! The heroes exited the pool, and then forced the torch-bearing cow in to put weight on it. The crystal men followed, putting more weight on the floor.

They tied a rope around Artemisia's waist. She entered the pool and continued removing crystals. It took a long time, but 50 more crystals were removed and then the floor collapsed! The water, the crystal men, and the poor cow plummeted onto the clay army below! The cow died... the clay men did not. The water his the mud men, and reduced them all to simply inert mud in mere seconds.

In that room was a crystal globe - a potential scrying device for a wizard! Grym took it.

The heroes headed down and searched the clay room. They found a secret door! Beyond was the corpse of the war wizard and treasure! there was also a slot to place the globe in. When it was placed, a goat-headed demon's image appeared in the globe. The demon informed the heroes that the wizard's spirit had been lost in the ethereal plane, never to return. It offered to become their patron, if they'd obtain something for him....

2. The Mist-Shrouded Skull Tower

7/6/11: The AC still wasn't working. It was hot and loud, and we did a fair amount of rules-checking....

Artemisia - Cleric
Carlisle - Wizard
Edison - Elf
Goatswyn - Dwarf
Grym - Wizard
Mr. Bosceroe - Halfling
Sister Lynette - Rogue posing as a Healer
Skip Waits - Fighter


A month passed after the events in the Portal Under the Stars. The dead were laid to rest, and the survivors studied their treasures and trained in the art of battle in the muddy, humble village of Greywood.

It was during this time that Carlisle tried to cast Invoke patron, to call upon a deity of freedom to grant him power. But he made some critical errors in the casting, and found that over time his strength was draining from his body! (He would lose a point of Strength for the next three months).

Grym's patron was Ulumax, the Elemental Prince of Hail - a massive beast with hail-flinging tentacles instead of arms!

Greywood was located in a region dominated by wild elf tribes, north of the demon-tainted Vermilion Steppes and east of the Kitezhan mountains. The wild elves fought often, and rode Saadroquu - a cross between horses and wingless blue dragons.

One morning, lightning dropped down from the sky and struck the symbol of Uleth, God of Peace, which was in the center of the village. The symbol crackled with energy. The citizens and the heroes gathered around it.

Lynette smelled opportunity. "Uleth is angered!", she called out. "He seeks donations!".

Mr. Boscoroe laughed and muttered, "Very clever, girl."

Berg the local smith said, "But we ain't got anything..!"

Grym offered, "..maybe we should inspect the statue?". Pern the grocer told Grym that anyone who'd go near the symbol would have to be crazy.

Lynette called out for donations to sooth the angered god. A fellow cleric of Uleth, Colophidius, said "I'm not sure if this is the work of Uleth, m'lady... Methinks this is the work of the witch who's always giving us problems..."

The face of Golila the Mazarine, a witch who alternately terrorized and aided Greywood, appeared in the symbol. She said, "You who survived the Portal Under the Stars..."

Mr. Boscoroe interrupted. "How'd you find out about that?".

She said, annoyed, "I am Golila the Mazarine, whelp! Come to my tower at once! I have use for you."

Carlisile looked a this allies and said, "I don't trust this...".

Grym asked her, "What reason do you have for this?".

Golila squinted her eyes at the wizard. Thunder rumbled through the clouds. A citizen hissed at Grym, "Are you crazy?! She's gonna kill our cows! Or worse!"

Grym said, "I was born in a raging storm. I understand lightning.."

Golila shouted, "If you are not in my tower by midnight, the crops of Greywood will burn!". And her image faded away.

Zarkon, another cleric of Uleth, approached the heroes. You'd better go. We don't want trouble with no witch."

Edison turned to a fellow elf citizen, and saw that even the elf feared Golila. The elf seemed to fear even attempting something like going to the Portal Under the Stars as the heroes had.

The heroes headed around town as the people begged them to go and placate the witch.

Artemisia talked the smith Berg into loaning the heroes his horse and a cart. Mr. Boscoroe worked out a deal with Berg, agreeing to sell him found weapons at a "discount".

As he went to sign the deal on parchment, Berg said, "I've never touched a quill before..".

"Won't be the last time if you continue to deal with me!", encouraged the halfling.

As he dipped the quill into Boscoroe's ink vial, Berg said in wonder, "Ink, precious ink! I can't lie, friend, I'm impressed with your metropolitan ways." he signed the deal.

Lynnette scammed four vials of holy water from the church of Uleth. Zarkon, the head priest who wielded a staff, told the heroes that Golila took pleasure in murder and torture, and that at one time she served Ssendam, Lord of Entropy!

Mr. Boscoroe began to laugh and tease Zarkon and the state of the village. Zarkon offered that perhaps some donations could make things better. The halfling walked out laughing.

Edison juggled 35 copper, teasing the priest. Zarkon said "you mock us with your wealth!". Edison did a "which hand is it in" trick, further teasing the priest with a marked lack of donations. Zarkon ordered the laughing heroes to leave.

And then the adventurers were off, following a faint path through the woods as the sun shined down on them. They'd even procured a cart! Skip got his trusty mule to help pull the cart.

After an hour or so, Goatswyn caught the scent of gold. Grym cast enlarge on himself, growing a few feet taller. He spotted a band of small humanoids camped in the woods. "Sister Lynnette" crept closer to investigate and look for treasure... but she stepped on a twig. The creatures turned and bared their claws!

Her allies raced to her aid. Skip charged in and killed one of the five creatures with his trident. He tossed it's raggedy corpse into the forest. Carlisle cast color spray. firing off three coloured arrows that knocked three of the reatures unconscious, leaving only one standing!

As the battle raged, Lynette snooped around and found a sack. The creatures horde included  40 gold, 1 platinum, a weird little symbol of Nimlurun the unclean, and freshly-cooked meat of a five-legged beast.

Mr. Boscoroe clambered toward the unconscious, slitting two of their throats, killing them. Goatswyn ran over to the third unconscious one and killed it. Grym took aim at the last one standing... He cast choking cloud, enveloping it in translucent vapor. Then a horde of rats spewed forth from his robes, climbed onto the creature, and ate its' flesh, killing it!

The adventurers split up the loot. They took the padded armor off of each of the creatures. Artemisia decided she could modify two of them to create a suit of padded armor for a human-sized person. It would take eight hours. She decided to work on it on the cart as they traveled.

The heroes took out the bread loaf that Pern the grocer's wife had made for them. They had some five-legged beast sandwiches, and discussed whether one hero should carry all the wealth, or if they should split it.

Lynette offered to carry it, pointing out that she was a "devoted servant of the god of peace". She noted that she hadn't even raised a weapon in the last battle.

Mr. Boscoroe said if anyone believed she was devoted to Uleth, that he had a dragon egg in the cart to sell them. The halfling felt he should be in charge of the wealth. 

After a bit of discussion, the heroes split the wealth.  Once that was done, they continued forth.

A few more hours passed. Up ahead, the heroes spotted a lone wild elf fending off four lightning-infused skeletons. Behind her was her Saadroquu mount, badly wounded and lying on the ground. She looked at Edison, a fellow elf, and said in Elven, "Please! Save Dak'lem!". He presumed that Dak'lem was the name of her mount.

The adventurers charged forth to aid her. Grym tried to cast a Charm spell, but it fizzled. Edison ran up and destroyed a skeleton. Lynette hid behind a tree. Goatswyn charged forth and killed one with her axe, and another with her shield! Artemisia killed the last.

The wild elf begged the heroes to heal her dying mount. Artemisia tried to lay on hands, to no avail. Lynette gave it a try, and healed the beast (with a natural 20 on a heal check).

She thanked the heroes, and said in Elven that her name was Shiyu. She seemed to take a liking to Mr. Boscoroe. She rewarded him with her mithril sword. In Elven, she asked Edison if he was married. Mr. Boscoroe told Edison to tell her he was. She said he was cute, and she'd like to keep him in her cupboard in her home in the city of Qazan.

She explained that she was mapping the area, and that the skeletons had likely come from the Witch Tower nearby. She thanked the heroes again, and told them if they were ever in Qazan to find her.

The adventurers continued on, and by mid-afternoon, they'd arrived at the base of the rocky hill that lead to Golila's Skull Tower. A path wound up the hill, shrouded in fog. at the top was massive blue rock carved in the shape of a skull with a tower growing out of the top of its' head. In its' mouth were double doors. In front of the doors was a garden overgrown with vines and blue roses.

Bloat birds flew overhead. One landed on Skip's pack and began trying to peck a hole in it to get at the food inside. Bloat birds were known to literally eat themselves to death when possible. Mr. Boscoroe, disgusted, stabbed and killed it. Other bloat birds flew nearby, watching.

The adventurers began to make their way up the path toward the Skull Tower. The fog became thick. A booming voice to the right called out, "I smell the living! Only Golila and her man servant may travel here! My stones shall crush thee!"

A huge boulder flew through the air and landed at the base of the hill, where the heroes had killed the bird.

Mr. Boscoroe called out a response. He said, "I think you heard wrong! I think Golila asked us herself!"

The creature grumbled, "Now I know where you are..." and it tossed a boulder that narrowly missed the heroes and hit a tree, scattering the bloatbirds.

The heroes decided to run up the path. The creature called out, "Flee insects! My stones destroy all!".

The giant threw another boulder, which soared through the fog and landed on Artemisia, who was in the cart working on the padded armor! The cart shattered and Artemisia was hit in the back with the massive boulder! She was dead!

The creature, CalIron the Cantankerous Giant in the Fog, waited to hear movement... it heard nothing.

Mr. Boscoroe quietly ran over to her corpse, hoping she was alive through some kind of divine luck . She was the party's only healer! (He ran over to check on her, as per the rules. She needed to make a luck check, and get a ten or higher. She rolled a 2! She could permanently burn eight luck points to make it a 10.. or, Mr. Boscoroe could burn the luck and recover it all in a few days! He loaned her his luck....). The halfling was indeed just the good luck charm the heroes needed. Linette was alive, though her back would never be the same (she lost one point of strength).

Mr. Boscoroe started to call out to the giant again, but realized it would throw another boulder. He kept quiet, and heard the giant stomp away, thinking it had killed the heroes.

The adventurers quietly detached their horse from the broken cart, and continued up to the tower....

3. Golila the Mazarine

7/13/11: Sam had to work, but Brendan joined us with his three zero-level plebians! And Tom joined us after being on vacation last week.

Artemisia - Cleric
Carlisle - Wizard
Edison - Elf
Friedrich - Wizard
Grym - Wizard
Mr. Bosceroe - Halfling
Skip Waits - Fighter

The Zeroes (If they survive this session they'll be 1st level)

Arthur - Ditch Digger
Elven Artisan
Elaine - Trapper

 


The adventurers had made it to the top of the hill. Golila's tower was near. But between them and it was a garden of vines, with only a narrow path leading to the tower. The vines were animate, and the blue roses growing from them spit a sleep-inducing mist.

The heroes cautiously made their way up the path. Halfway to the tower, they came upon a chessboard with some white and black pieces on it, each around 7 feet tall and made of stone. There were also a few crumbled statues. The heroes threw coins on the squares. Coins fell through the black squares, and landed solidly on the white ones. Boscoroe chastised them for using coins and insisted they use rocks.

Friedrich lowered a stick into a black square. Something yanked on it and pulled him down. The heroes grabbed him and kept him from falling in. Friedrich caught a glimpse of what was below - a hellish maze of bars which held back many red-skinned demons with barbed skin who reached out and clawed at any who fell in.

Edison stepped onto a white square. A blast of blue radiance shocked him. He stepped on another white square and again he was shocked (This time he failed his FORT save and took one point of damage. 20% of his hit points, Greg noted). He climbed onto a white statue of an archer. The statue animated for a moment and nodded.

Friedrich stepped on some rubble on the board. It seemed that the rubble was safe to stand on, but not the squares below them. Friedrich pondered leaping to a statue.

Edison's archer statue drew back its' bow so that the string was by the elf's feet. Edison realized that the archer could launch him across the board! He climbed on the string. The archer whispered, "Beware the witch, friend!" and fired. Edison soared through the air. The shot was weak, though, and Edison did not clear the board. Rather, he landed on another statue of a black warrior.

Friedrich braved a white square and climbed onto the archer. The archer fired Friedrich over Edison and to the safe ground on the path beyond the chess board.

Carlisle braved white squares and stumbled toward the angel statue. The angel cradled him in her arms and smiled. He asked if she could bring him across. She took to the air and flew him to the path beyond the board. Then she flew back to her square.

Edison climbed off of the black warrior and stepped on two more white squares, getting shocked again, but made it across.

Artemisia yelled to those that had crossed safely, "Someone look for the 'off' switch!".

Friedrich cast enlarge on the white statue next to the archer. Once it was twice as big, that was one less white square they needed to step on. As he cast the incantation, his gibbering rat allies swarmed around, falling into black squares and being scorched by white squares.

Artemisia got to the archer statue, and was fired safely across. Skip Waits was next, and was launched to a black statue of a wizard with a tentacle face. The tentacles slowly reached for Skip's face. Skip climbed off and powered his way over two white squares to safety.

Grym was launched safely by the archer. Elaine was launched by the archer to the tentacle wizard. She jumped past a black square, powered through a white square, and made it to the path.

The Elven Artisan landed on the black piece shaped like a giant insectoid burrower. It looked at the elf, and looked down. Friedrich called out, "Maybe it will burrow you to safety!". The elf climbed on its' back, and the burrower jumped into a black square, dropping into the hellish realm below. The demons roared, unfurled their tongues and swiped at the elf, but the burrower swatted their claws away and brought the elf through the maze and climbed out of a black square adjacent to the other end of the board. The elf climbed out safely.

Arthur the ditch digger was fired across safely. Only Boscoroe was left to cross. He climbed onto the archer and said "Listen, I don't feel like being fired from a bow. Would you mind just walking me across?". No response. The halfling sighed. "Very well. Remind me never to decorate my house like a witch." Boscoroe was launched safely across to his allies. He landed on his feet and said, "I don't know what all the fuss was about."

Once past the chess board, the heroes made their way to the entrance of Golila's skull tower. Blue double doors, encrusted with runes. Friedrich knocked. The door was opened by a blue-skinned butler. He said his name was Lergwe, and that he was Golila's brother. A blue orb floated in front of him. Lergwe took a liking to Friedrich, and didn't like the looks of Skip Waits at all.

He told the heroes that before entering, one of them would have to touch the floating sphere and in doing so, bond souls with Golila forever. That meant that if she died, that individual would die as well. Friedrich touched it, and melded souls. He saw visions... first of Golila emerging from some tall vat full of fluid. Then he saw her bow to Ssendam, a massive ooze with a brain floating inside. Then he saw her get defeated by a lich with gem eyes not once, but twice...

Lergwe led them inside, past a vestibule and into a massive chamber. Golila sat on a throne. Next to her throne was a dragon skull, and next to that, an empty throne. Lergwe quietly warned them that she'd likely try to kill one of them to show them how serious she was.

She said: "I am Golila the Mazarine. Friedrich bowed and said it was an honor to be in her presence. This pleased her somewhat. She looked upon the adventurers...

She looked on Artemisia and smiled. Golila regarded her as the leader. Then she looked at the elven artisan and saw weakness. She stood up and pointed her palm at him, lightning ready to explode out. The elf begged to be spared, but she merely laughed and cast lightning bolt, killing the poor fellow.

Grym was angry. "Was that necessary?!", he called. "What do you want from us?".

She looked at Artemisia and said, "Only a lady would understand."

Artemisia said, "Sure. So what do we owe this pleasure?".

"I have summoned you here because I believe you may be strong enough to defeat my rival - an Eye of Fear and Flame named... Thurfang Bormaug (lightning struck outside as she said this).

Thurfang, like myself, serves Ssendam, Lord of Entropy. Thurfang engineered a scenario... framing me!... and Ssendam has cursed me and locked away my magic items! I must prove myself to him again by defeating Thurfang, his chosen one. I think you can do it." She glared at the heroes. "You can do it, can't you?"

Friedrich said "Yes!" enthusiastically.

Grym asked, "What benefit would it be to us to complete this task for you?"

She sneered at him and said, "You'll live, whelp!". She continued with her exposition. "Thurfang has dungeons called Spell-Crypts. They are the source of his most powerful rituals. It is said when his final Black Spell-Crypt is complete, he will have God-Like power and will rule the Vermillion Steppes!

"I know the location of the Orange Spell-Crypt. It is in the Kitezhan Mountains to the north west. I want you to go there, find the spell-crypt, and destroy the orange power gem that is inside of it... ruining one of his spells forever!" She threw her head back and cackled at this.

She explained that before the heroes left on their journey, she had three challenges for them to overcome. These challenges were designed to further test their skill, as well as provide her with amusement. Three magic tapestries unfurled on the east wall. The heroes would have to walk through them to begin the challenge. The three challenges were of Battle, Intelligence, and Cunning.

Golila began to rant about how she missed her magic items, and how cruel it was for her dungeon to be inaccessible by her. She also noted that she'd be able to observe them and communicate with them through Friedrich, who was soul-bonded to her.

The heroes sidled away and into the Challenge of Intelligence.

They appeared in a round room with 7 doors.On the floor was an inscription in glowing blue writing: "One true way there be only, so be i with the writings of Golila." Each door had a logic statement on it. (Doors from left to right are numbered one through seven...)

1. Door #1 is True and door #2 is true.
2. Certain death lies beyond all the doors.
3. Door #4 is true, or door #2 is true.
4. No harm lies beyond any of these doors.
5. An elf may pass freely through this door.
6. Door #7 is true.
7. Door #6 is true.

After spending some time trying to figure out which, if any of the doors, were safe to pass through, Carlisle called upon his patron, Otiax (God of freedom and doors), for aid. Otiax appeared in a wall as a big door frame with swirling, pulsing energy inside. The heroes passed through Otiax, and appeared in an airy void, hovering. They could see a floating castle in the distance. Elaine felt her mind "unlock". She saw formulas and visions in her mind at a rapid pace. She understood little, but felt in time she could benefit from Otiax's gift.

They appeared back in Golila's throne room. Golila again began to moan about her missing magic items. The heroes made their way into the Challenge of Battle. They appeared in a ruined dungeon. Four lightning-infused skeletons stood in a broken fountain pool, ready to attack!

Artemisia healed herself as her allies advanced. She was still in a bad way after being nearly killed by the fog giant's boulder. She considered offering her donkey to her god, Cthulhu, to regain power (she had a -3 on her spell check. If she made a significant sacrifice, she could get rid of the penalty). But she felt bad for the donkey, and was able to heal herself without the sacrifice. Boscoroe charged forth, a blade in each hand, and slashed at the skeletons. Grym called upon his patron, Ulumax.

The furry monster's massive head rose up from the fountain. He let out a warbling roar! His tentacle arms shot up and fired hail stones from the tentacles' postules! The skeletons were destroyed!

The adventurers returned to Golila's throne room where she continued to wail about her magic items. They passed through the last tapestry - the Test of Cunning. They appeared in a cave. The ceiling was ooze. A stone bridge led from where they stood to a blue door over 100 feet away. Three blue spectral scythes swung back and forth , making the stone bridge deadly to cross. Below the bridge was water full of leaping piranhas! The walls had obvious hand-holds (which, if grabbed, spikes would pop out of!).

The heroes did not want to risk crossing. So once again, they turned to a patron. Edison called upon Boulderloch, Elemental Prince of Grit! The big chubby rock blob man melded out from the east wall. He lifted Edison up and placed him on the other side where the door was. Then Boulderloch offered to let the ditch digger, Arthur, dig through his body to make it safely to the other side. He was allowed to bring one hero with him. The group decided on Artemisia. As the only healer, she was precious.

Boulderloch decided he'd let one more hero cross, but they'd have to give him an offering. Someone used their pound of clay to make a mini Boulderloch. Boulderloch was insulted. He demanded blood or a sacrifice!

Friedrich offered his blood. He cut himself and let the blood pour onto Boulderloch's palm. Boulderloch let him cross. Then he backed into the wall, melded with it, and was gone.

The rest of the heroes crossed the bridge, one at a time, carefully avoiding the scythes. All of them made it without injury.

They returned to Golila's throne room. She was satisfied with their accomplishments in her three challenges. It was time for the heroes to return to Greywood and to begin their long journey to the Kitezhan mountains. 

4. Legion Hall

7/20/11: There was a lot of run-up so we weren't able to get into the dungeon... Tom and Sam also couldn't make it. We also rolled for languages. Quite a few members of the party speak the language of Neutrality!

Alain - Cleric of Ildavir
Arthur - Warrior
Artemisia - Cleric of Cthulhu
Carlisle - Wizard
Edison - Elf
Grym - Wizard
Mr. Bosceroe - Halfling
Skip Waits - Fighter

 

The adventurers had been tested by Golila and survived. She had given them a quest - head north to the Kitezhan Mountains and seek out the Orange Spell-Crypt of Thurfang Bormaug. She gave them a bag of blue seeds to give to the people of Greywood and sent them on their way.

The heroes returned to Greywood at dawn and slept until 4 PM. When they awoke, they saw that a caravan from the halfling village of Placid Grove had arrived. They were trading with the people of Greywood. The halflings had cherries, leather goods, bread, and butter. They were guarded by a wizard named Zebulon the Venerable.

The wizard got a look at the blue seeds and wanted some. He called over a halfling named Turpin to negotiate. As Turpin and Boscoroe haggled, Grym looked over the seeds with his arcane sight. He sensed that the seeds would grow into a strange triangle-shaped fruit. The fruit would provide no nutritional benefit to those who hadn't touched the seeds and spoke their own name prior to planting.

The adventurers decided to give the seeds to the people of Greywood. They told Zebulon of their quest, and he seemed quite surprised. Zebulon claimed he hadn't heard of Thurfang Bormaug.

Boscoroe got a leather bag and some food in exchange for a deal between Berg the armorer and the halflings, involving discounts on weapons and armor.

The heroes slept the night and then set off on their long journey the next morning. The mountains were over 100 miles a day. They'd be lucky to travel 5 miles a day through the forest.

The morning brought fog. The day passed uneventfully, though the heroes found no water to replenish their waterskins. Alain went out and did some hunting, and killed a Grothe - an ox-like creature. The travelers happily cooked it up that night and ate it for dinner.

The next day was sunny. Again, the heroes could find no water source. At mid-day it ecame cloudy, and hail began to fall! The heroes took cover, as Ulumax's magic hailstorm threw fist-sized chunks of ice down upon them. The hail landed in such a way to spell out a message: "ULUMAX commands you to go to legion hall and seek out the tomb of aethering and steal his soul crystal!"

The heroes consulted with Golila via soul-bond. She was having her brother brush her hair. She told them to go ahead, as Ulumax was a worthy ally in their quest.

The heroes traveled three days northwest to Legion Hall, home to dwarves. The place was guarded by spirits of dwarves powered by the oaths of the people, who worshiped Daenthar, the Hallowed Forge. the spirits granted the heroes entry.

Inside, the heroes met with a pair of elves in a dwarf-sized tavern. Edric was a wild elf who hated wearing clothes. Annika, the sister of Edric, knew a bit about Aethering and where the tomb was.

Then they checked out the library, a small room with three bookshelves that held mostly rolled up scrolls. The librarian, a dwarf called Halmar, was asleep. Once aroused, he had something pertaining to the tomb - a map made by someone called Norval Ryder.

Annika agreed to lead the heroes to the tomb. Its' entrance was behind a waterfall. The double doors had carvings of demons and dragons on it, and each door featured a carving of a frog-demon's face. The heroes saw that the carvings seemed to relate to the worship of Madrah, a deity who hoped to re-shape the world for reptilians to rule.

Arthur grabbed a crowbar and bashed the doors open.

Inside was a circular room with no doors. Toward the far wall was a statue of a maug, a brown-furred giant monster holding a spiked club. Alain cast Detect Magic, and sensed that the statue would come to life if it or the wall behind it was touched. He sensed that the wall behind it was a secret door.

The adventurers decided to ready spells, and then touch it and launch them before the maug could react!

Everyone set up, and then Edison touched it. As Alain's spell had determined, the maug came to life! It roared and yelled "Grunch destroy you!"... and then was hammered by a barrage of spells!

But unfortunately, the spells fizzled or failed to affect the maug! Grym's Charm Person failed. Carlisle's color spray struck Grunch but did not affect him. Artemisia's Word of Command failed. Arthur's word of command also failed!

After Grunch was seen to be still standing after the display of pyrotechnics, the warrior-types rushed the 9 foot tall beast! Boscoroe sliced it with his short sword. Alain charged and staggered it with a mighty blow (a critical, extra d8 damage). Skip stabbed at it with his pitchfork.

The maug roared, "Once Grunch done with you, Grunch kill dwarves!"

Edison sliced and bloodied the monster. Grym tried to cast choking cloud, but even that spell failed! Alain sliced deep into its' belly and blood gushed out. The maug groaned and lurched forth. Arthur cracked it in the head with his shovel, killing the maug.

The adventurers sighed in relief. It hadn't gone according to plan, but they had killed the maug....

5. Tomb of Aethering the Damned

7/27/11: Everyone made it this week!

Alain - Cleric of Ildavir
Arthur - Warrior
Artemisia - Cleric of Cthulhu
Carlisle - Wizard
Edison - Elf
Friedrich - Wizard
Goatswyn - Dwarf
Grym - Wizard
Lynette - Rogue
Mr. Bosceroe - Halfling
Skip Waits - Fighter

 

The adventurers had just begun to explore the Tomb of Aethering the Damned. Ulumax, Elemental Prince of Hail, had told them to enter the tomb and retrieve a soul crystal.

They'd beaten the maug and opened the secret door. Beyond it was a long stairwell leading down. Lying on the steps in front of them were three headless corpses. It appeared they had killed each other. Each of them had an necklace depicting a different weird thing. One depicted a sphere, another was a cobra's head, and the last was a cat head with one central eye.

They decided to go back to Legion Hall, sell the necklaces, and buy better armor and gear.

There, the elf brother and sister sold them non-metal armor. Kinloch the armorer had everything else. Kinloch continued to take a shine to Artemisia, even offering her a discount on a longsword. Boscoroe hissed to her quietly to get more stuff at a discount, to re-sell at a higher price. (I also enacted the rule where when you spend one gold, you gain one xp...).

Lynette looked at buying a holy symbol of Daenthar the Hallowed Forge, the deity that the dwarves worshiped. She bought a sack and wrote "Donations" on it.

They made their way back to the tomb entrance behind the waterfall. Lynette checked the steps for traps as best she could. They looked safe.  Goatswyn and Alain took the lead... and fell into a pit trap! The floor opened up and deposited them on a steep grease slide!

The others were shocked, and watched as the trap door slowly began to shut. Some of them summoned their courage and jumped in after their friends!

They found themselves in a chamber with no obvious exits, save for the slide. The greasy slide was so slick, they could tell there was simply no way to get back up! Then, a pile of junk in a corner began to coagulate! Someone tossed a flaming vial of oil at it. It caught fire, but did not halt the transformation. Two undead, flaming lizards formed and lurched toward the heroes!

One closed in on Edison and bit him (for 5 points!). The elf was bleeding badly, but still standing. Arthur called upon Ildavir, goddess of nature, and healed the elf's wounds completely. Goatswyn bashed one of the lizards in the face with her shield, knocking out some teeth. Boscoroe raced forward and plunged a blade into the same lizard's skull, destroying it.

The other one bit Alain, leaving a bloody wound. He plunged his blade into it's belly, cutting the thing down.

The heroes above triggered the trap door and called down to their friends. Once they knew it was safe, they slid down the slide to join the adventurers.

A secret door was found near where the pile of junk was. Beyond the door was a hallway. The band of adventurers carefully crept down the hall. They tied a mirror to a ten foot pole and held it around a corner. They saw a wide hall with three man-sized gem-encrusted statues:

A man with a sphere head
A naked woman with a cobra head
A naked man with a cat head and one central eye.

Edison stepped into the room, and the statues animated and glared at him! He grabbed a dagger to throw but stumbled and fell (critical miss! He fell prone, took d3 damage and couldn't get up until the next round!)

The cat-man growled and walked closer. It's central gem-eye glowed, and fired a scorching heat beam at the elf! The beam burned Edison's leg and he screamed and fell limp! Was Edison dead?

The other two statues made their way to the hallway. The snake woman touched Alain on the cheek, and for a moment he felt his heart stop (her touch was poison and would kill you in d6 rounds if you failed your save!!). Alain swatted her hand away. Then the sphere-head grabbed his skull, blanking Alain's mind for a moment. Alain again resisted the attack.

Artemisia blew past the statues, knelt by Edison and tried to revive him. The elf didn't budge. Arthur tried as well, but nothing came of it.

Skip plunged his pitchfork into the snake-headed statue, and cracked her up a bit. Lynette did her best to hide in the shadows.

Carlisle chanted and cast color spray, hitting both the sphere and the cobra statues! the powerful spell dropped both of them (stunning them!). His allies quickly began to hack at the statues, destroying them before they could get back up.

While that was happening, a few others advanced on the cyclops cat. Its' gem glowed once more, and it fired a scorching heat ray at Goatswyn! She took the hit and did not go down. Lynette crept up and fired a sling bolt into the cat-man's kidney area, causing a crack to appear. Weird smoky energy leaked from the wound. The statue was stunned! Goatswyn then charged forward and rocked the statue with a massive blow (a critical to the torso!) and then bashed it with her shield for good measure. Carlisle bashed it with his crowbar, and Mr. Boscoroe finished it off with a stab.

The heroes checked on Edison... they found a pulse. He was alive! (He rolled a 20 on his luck check). His burned leg was usable, but he'd never be able to walk the same again...

The tomb was deadly, but the adventurers were emboldened by their early successes. Many more challenges awaited them....

 

6. Aethering's Mummy

8/18/11: We played some of the evard sequel after encounters, so we missed a week or two but now we're back on track.

Alain - Cleric of Ildavir
Arthur - Warrior
Artemisia - Cleric of Cthulhu
Carlisle - Wizard
Goatswyn - Dwarf
Lynette - Rogue posing as a cleric of Uleth, God of Peace
Mr. Bosceroe - Halfling
Skip Waits - Fighter



The explorers had survived the attacks of the three bizarre statues. They paused to try and heal Goatswyn, who had a nasty burn wound from the heat ray. Unfortunately, both healers were spent and could not summon the energy to cast a heal spell. Skip held his lantern high and the adventurers went up the stairs that exited the statue room.

The stairs led to a dead-end hallway. The heroes tested the floor by tossing copper (which enraged Boscoroe) and a grappling hook. Sister Lynette spotted a secret door at the dead end.

Through the secret door was a small room with double doors. The north wall was very warm, which caused a great deal of consternation. Lynette figured out that the ten feet in front of the doors was magically trapped.

"Ulesh has told me, with her divine wisdom.. or his, whichever... I skipped that page. There's a trap over here."

Skip flung his grappling hook onto a door and pulled it open. As the door swung open, the ten foot section of floor sparked to life with energy and lightning, then flashed. Beyond the door was solid rock.

Careful not to step on the trapped floor section by the doors, the heroes searched about and found two secret doors. One behind the warm all, and one behind the east wall.

They used a pole to swing open the door on the warm wall. It revealed a hallway ending in another dead end. Lynette could tell that there was another secret door in the dead end wall.

She began to test the floor. As her fingers neared the floor, the entire hallway burst into flame! She pulled her hand back in time to avoid getting burned. The heroes discerned that the smokeless fire wouldn't burn out for weeks.

After some discussion, Carlisle cast Invoke Patron. Otiax, god of freedom and doors, created two portal eyes that could teleport the heroes to the far side of the hall and back again.

The heroes passed through the portals. Then they explored the long hallways on the far side. Alain had boldly taken the lead, and stepped on a trapped section of floor! It gave way, and he plummeted into a spiked pit! The poor warrior was impaled on the spikes and poisoned as well! He was dying...

Carlisle tried to cast spider climb, but it fizzled. Lynette flung the grappling hook down and hooked Alain's armor. Then Goatswyn grabbed the rope and pulled Alain up. Artemisia summoned all of her luck, and was able to heal the dying warrior (with a luck loan from Boscoroe).

The heroes made their way back to the room with the trapped doors and rested for a full 24 hours to regain their spells and to heal their wounds a bit.

They resumed exploring past the fire hallway. They came to an intersection where two of the three halls ended in dead ends. The third ended in a dead end, but the diggers had apparently half-unearthed a weird skull. It looked like the head of a dinosaur with two mouths and spiky growths. They didn't like the look of it, and left it alone.

They backtracked and poked around another intersection. Boscoroe spotted a secret door in the wall. "Oh, look what I found!", he said. "Uleth told me where it is. I'm lying."

Lynette was mortified. "You know, at least I appreciate the miracles of Ulesh".

Boscoroe said sarcastically, "Of course you do. Now open that door."

The door brought them to a long hall that led them to a throne room. On the throne was a hideous, translucent wraith! Guarding it were four skeletons in ancient plate mail. As the heroes entered, the creatures tensed and attacked!

The wraith floated over to Skip and passed its' hand through his body, sucking away his vitality (draining two strength). Carlisle cast Color Spray and blinded the wraith. Boscoroe, Goatswyn and Arthur engaged the skeleton.

Artemisia held forth her symbol of Cthulhu and turned the undead! The wraith was unaffected, but the skeletons fled from the hall to the throne room and cowered. Alain cracked one in the skull and killed it as it turned and fled.

skip moved to strike at the wraith, but his armor seized up and he was unable to move (critical miss!).

Lynette came toward the blind wraith and knocked it to the ground with a slash. Then Goatswyn stood over it, and pummeled it into oblivion with her hammer and shield. The heroes then slew the cowering skeletons.

Lynette could tell that there was a secret door behind the thrones, but couldn't figure out how to open it. The heroes placed an inert skeleton on each throne to see if it would trigger the door. Nothing happen. Then she moved their hands so they were on the other's crotch. Still nothing.

Goatswyn bravely sat on the throne, and it opened the door.

Past the door was a short hallway leading to a room overflowing with treasure. A mummy was slumped in the corner. It rose up angrily. From the dirt floor beneath all the coins came two zombie maugs wielding hammers!

A maug lurched toward Skip and hit him with a hammer. The mummy gazed at Alain, who felt supernatural fear come over him. He shook it off. Carlisle's color spray blinded the mummy.

Artemisia cracked a maug's skull open, knocking its' rotted ears from it's head. Goatswyn followed up by hitting and shield-bashing it to death.

Some of the heroes rushed past the maugs to try and take out the blind mummy. But to their dismay, they saw that their weapons were blocked by a magic force shield in front of the mummy! Boscoroe decided to try using his mithril sword on it, and found that his elven blade swiped right through the field! Lynette loaded her sling with a vial of holy water and flung it at the mummy. The holy water scorched through the field and hit the mummy in the neck! The mummy gurgled as the water burned a hole in his neck! Boscoroe followed up, slashing it again with his mithril blade!

The mummy lashed out blindly, slashing Boscoroe with its' claw. The halfling fell to the ground, dying. Mummy rot quickly swept through his system, shriveling his flesh. Soon he would be a pile of dust if not healed!

Alain fought the remaining maug, but an errant swing struck his ally Artemisia! The cleric was mortally wounded and fell to the ground. Arthur cast a lucky heal (burning the last of the halfling's luck), curing and reviving Boscoroe. Goatswyn turned on the maug and obliterated it with her weapon and sheild-bash. Only the mummy remained.

Another vial of holy water soared through the air, scorching through the force shield and burning a hole through the mummy's stomach! The mummy reeled, stunned (another crit from Lynette). "Behold the power of Bulesh, god or goddess of.. something!" she called.

Carlisle cast runic alphabet, holding forth a glowing rune that repelled the mummy. Alain came up behind it and struck it in the legs, tripping it. The mummy's head hit the ground and exploded into dust.

The soul crystal pulsed on a statue nearby. The object that Ulumax desired was within their reach....

7. The Lord of Entropy

8/24/11: Greg's in Brasil, Tom has work, and Krista had to leave early. That left Brendan, Sam and Matt for a mighty session of Dungeon Crawl Classics

Alain - Cleric of Ildavir
Arthur - Warrior
Carlisle - Wizard
Goatswyn - Dwarf
Lynette - Rogue posing as a cleric of Daenthar
Mr. Bosceroe - Halfling

The vagabonds had defeated Aethering's mummy. Lynette climbed a statue and plucked the soul crystal from it. This was the object Ulumax had tasked them to obtain. A stone chest was in the corner. Sitting atop it was a glass skull.

Alain cast detect magic and saw a glow come from underneath the chest. The heroes determined that there was, in fact, a hole in the ground beneath it. They tied a rope to the chest and pulled it, revealing the hole.

Alain saw a glowing form rise up and lunge at Arthur. It was an invisible stalker! None of the others saw a thing! Before he could even cry out, the stalker had strangled Arthur and killed him! Then.. it vanished.

They rushed over to Arthur and checked on him. The warrior suddenly surged with life! The invisible stalker had been convinced he was dead, but he was not (though he somehow ended up with a permanent -1 to Agility, heh heh).

Boscoroe was in a bad way. Everything was going wrong for him. He kept slipping, dropping things... it was as if his luck had literally run out (it had! He'd burned it all!). The heroes left the tomb and headed back to the dwarven home of Legion Hall. The spirit dwarf guardians proudly let the heroes enter.

They stumbled their way to Goatswyn's parents' home and passed out. The next day, Goatspa woke them. He told them the King of Legion Hall wished to meet with them. The adventurers slowly got their clothes on as Goatspa gushed over his daughter, and Goatsma snapped at him. Goatswyn's brother, Goatsloss, was quite stupid and never spoke. He just stared at them and held a spoon excitedly.

The King congratulated them and thanked them for eliminated a threat they'd been worrying about for decades. He told them when they were fully healed, the dwarves would have a celebration for them. He hoped that the heroes would share some of the treasure that they had acquired.

The heroes rested for 10 days. During this time, Lynette acquired a holy text of Daenthar the Hallowed Forge. She skimmed it and decided that she'd shamed Ulesh and perhaps it would be better to serve Daenthar. Boscoroe found a children's book of stories of Daenthar for her. She grabbed it and threw it, uninterested.

Once their wounds were healed, the heroes went to The Happy Dwarf Inn and ate and drank with the dwarves. The King presented Goatsyn with an ornate dress, shoes, and jewelry. He again thanked the heroes.

Then, Goatsloss approached his sister. He held up a ring box. Many were puzzled as to where the little dwarf found the box. Goatswyn took it, and opened it. Inside was a pulsing energy ball. It grew and grew until it was 15 feet in diameter. Alarmed, the dwarves and the heroes backed away. Then, it exploded, and in its' wake was.... Ssendam, Lord of Entopy!

He was a massive, golden slime/amoeba with ten foot long pseudopods waving in the air before him.

"What fresh hell is this?", called Boscoroe.

Ssendam spoke in their minds: "I am Ssenda, Lord of Entropy!"

Lynette called out half-heartedly, "Benthar, save us...!"

Boscoroe muttered, "I bought you the book and everything..."

Thurfang shall rule the Vermillion Steppes! See how futile is your quest! Show me Golila's worth!"

Then his pseudopods reached out and passed into the skulls of the King, Goatsma, and a dwarf citizen. A magical symbol of Insanity glowed on their foreheads! They began to gibber, as if they had no mind at all! The dwarves shrieked in utter terror.

Arthur tried to cast a paralysis spell but failed. Alain, furious, brought down his halberd on the thing, plunging through the ooze and striking it right in the brain! Ssendam let out an inhuman roar of pain! Only the most precise strikes could hit it in its' weak spot! (what had happened was that I'd had it in my head that only critical hits could harm Ssendam unless someone used a magic weapon. Well... everyone proceeded to roll critical after critical...!)

Carlisle tried a color spray, but it fizzled. He ducked behind the bar. The spirit dwarves rushed in and came to the heroes aid. The ghostly dwarves' axes had no affect on the Lord of Entropy! Ssendam's tendrils struck more dwarves, draining their essences and leaving their bodies withered husks.

Goatswyn looked at her poor mother, then tighted her grip on her hammer, and smashed Ssendam right in the brain (critical #2! The crit result: Ssendam will die in one hour if not healed!)! Ssendam reeled, stunned that Golila's band of "villagers" were so potent a threat.

Goatswyn said, "That's what you get for making my mother even crazier!"

Alain swung his halberd again, and once more hit Ssendam in the brain! Ssendam let out a prolonged moan, and cried, "My brain! what have you done to meee?!"

Ssendam lost control of his body. He shifted between forms, from amoeba, to naked man with a black sword, to a golden demon! When in amoeba form, the heroes could see liquid seeping  from the brain and swirling about its' insides!

Boscoroe had his mithril blade in one hand, and a trusty short sword in the other. He waited until Ssendam was in the form of a man, and then he plunged his mithril sword into his cranium (Now.. halflings crit on a 16.. and he rolled a 16!), Ssendam shrieked madly and disappeared in a flash. Had they killed him?

Boulderloch's mighty belly emerged from a stone wall. As promised, he'd come to help! Who would have thought that the heroes would not need it? The dwarves bowed before Boulderloch, who praised the heroes' skill.

Dwarves tended to the King, while Goatspa cradled gibbering Goatsma in his arms and cried out in anger. The heroes pieced together what had happened. They'd met Zebulon the Venerable, an evil wizard, back in their hometown. Zebulon served Ssendam. When Zebulon found out their part on Golila's scheme, he watched them in his crystal ball and sent one of his tiny winged gremlins out to Legion Hall. The gremlin gave Goatsloss the ring box, and told him to give it to Goatswyn as a gift. Goatspa found the gremlin and killed it, and kept the body, but Goatswyn did not show him the ring box. Zebulon had given poor Goatsloss a device that would summon Ssendam!

Lynette took the opportunity to collect donations in an "effort" to get Daenthar's aid. She got 90 gold.

The heroes looked over them, and saw the symbols of insanity still blazing on their foreheads. Alain prayed to his deity, Ildavir the goddess of nature, and asked for a way to heal them. The message he got said "There is a way.. and you shall learn it in time."

Goatsma and the King were taken away. Boulderloch told the heroes that he'd helped them in Golila's tower, and now he wanted theirs. He told them one of his "sons" was trapped in nearby granite valley. He asked them to go free him. Then, he backed into the rippling wall of stone and left.

Golila contacted Goatswyn, who she had bonded with (since Friedrich is working for the forseeable future, heh heh). She instructed Golila to put some of her blood in a liquid so Golila could address all of the heroes at once. Goatswyn put a bit of her blood in a mug of dwarven ale. The heroes looked in. The image of Golila looked back..

She was a bit panicky. She said, "I'm a bit... I'm connected to Ssendam. And can you just tell me where he is and what just happened?! Please?"

Boscoroe chuckled and said, "He tried to fuck us in the ass, so we fucked him instead."

Golila stammered, "Umm - I know that's a metaphor - did he mention me in any way?"

Goatswyn said, "I don't think so. He just showed up and flailed around and made my family crazy and murdered a couple dwarves -"

"Oh, that's Ssendam" Golila said warmly.

"- And I hit him in the brain with my hammer.."

Golila gasped.

Boscoroe said, "He turned into a naked man and started to molest us, so we beat him up."

Golila's eyes went wide. "You!?! Beat him up? You did?! The six of you?! How would you ever defeat Ssendam? Why... why am I not sensing him? Like the air I breathe? I can usually almost smell the sweat of his body..."

Alain piped up, "A few well-placed shots to an exposed brain."

Lergwe, her brother, could be heard saying to Golila, "I told you he was dead..."

Golila hissed "Shut up!" at her brother.

"We didn't see him die, but he teleported away and there was blood.. We hit him in the brain a lot. A LOT." Carlisle said.

Golila choked back tears and jabbed a finger at the heroes. "Now you listen to me! I want you to come back to my twisted tower. Right now. I want to give you... something. Something great. Magical! All the magic you can handle, and then some!"

Lergwe could be heard, saying, "They know you just want them to come here so you can kill them!"

"And if we say no...?"

"Then I'm.. I'm going to teleport to where you are, turn you into frogs, and eat you!"

Carlisle said, "But you can't leave your castle..." Lergwe agreed.

She went on a profanity-laced tirade threatening the heroes. Boscoroe giggled and said, "All we have to do is not visit you".

She began to weep and said, "I want you to find my Ssendam! I want you to make sure he's OK!".

Carlisle said, "We don't know where he went. And we don't think he likes you at all..."

Arthur said, "Terribly sorry. My goddess has this thing about raising the dead, and undead..."

Golila said, manic, "Oh I don't care about your goddess! You need to go to his demi-plane! If he's alive, he'll be in his demi-plane! Promise me you'll go there! If you don't I'll make you suffer!"

"How?", asked Carlisle.

"You're just stupid villagers. I'll just get more stupid villagers to hunt you down!"

She ranted and raved for a few more minutes, and re-iterated that they needed to go to Ssendam's demi-plane. Then her image faded from the bloody ale.

Boscoroe grumbled, "What a bitch."

Some of the dwarves were watching too. "Whoa," one of them grumbled. "That lady's crazy."

She was panicking over the possible death of Ssendam, and tried to force the heroes to come back to her tower. She threatened to send minions to destroy them.

The heroes decided that their quest to find Thurfang's Spell-Crypt might be moot. If Ssendam was Thurfang's patron, and Ssendam was dead, then Thurfang likely had lost power and would not be strong enough to enslave the people of the Vermilion Steppes.

The heroes borrowed two ponies and a cart from the dwarves, and promised to find a way to heal their King and Goatswyn's mother.

They began to make their way through the woods to Granite Valley. After a day, Golila contacted them once more. She said that if Ssendam was still alive, he'd likely be in his home plane. She wanted them to go there once they'd finished re-paying their patrons (she did not want to anger any more patrons as she'd done with Ssendam, after all). She told Goatswyn to help her lure the others to her tower. They were soul-bonded, almost like sisters, she said. She offered that there was a plain nearby with many saardoquu (blue dragon/horses with six legs) riding about nearby. If the heroes could tame them, they could use them as mounts and get their tasks done much quicker.

The heroes headed to the plain, and there they saw no less than 30 of the creatures running about, purple energy trailing from their mouths. The adventurers saw many shrubs with miracle fruit growing from them. The long red berries were said to sweeten anything. If you had a miracle fruit before eating a lemon, the lemon would taste sweet.

The adventurers surmised that the saardoquus were eating the fruit. They grabbed some, and carefully approached. The saardoquus were cautious, but also approached. The heroes would soon figure that the creatures had been domesticated by the many wild elves of the Vermilion Steppes, but the elves who rode these creatures had been slain or forced to abandon them.

Slowly, as the day wore on, the heroes befriended 11 of the creatures and learned how to ride them. They let their dwarf ponies run wild, as they would only slow them down.

The next day, the heroes rode their six legged blue-scaled mounts like lightning through the forest. They thundered their way to Granite Valley.

There, from above a long crack, they spotted Boulderloch's son. It was an animate boulder stuck between two walls of the canyon 100 feet up. It tried to wiggle itself free to no avail.

Carlisla cast spider climb on himself and scampered down to the boulder. he wrapped a rope around it as best he could, and had his allies pull. After a great deal of tugging, and worries over frayed rope, the boulder came loose.

Once all were on safe ground, the living boulder raced around in happy circles at the heroes feet. It began rolling swiftly into small rocks to launch it into the air, trying to land in Carlisla's pack. It wanted to go with him. Carlisle got the idea, and stuffed the boulder into his bag.

And just as they finished that task, another was given to them. A mighty arch with double doors appeared, with a magic eye embedded at the top of the arch. It was Otiax, Carlisle's god of freedom! Otiax said: "I have have helped thee once.. twice... thrice. And now I ask that you repay Otiax. Step through into the Realm Etheral, and I will transport thee to elsewhere on the Vermilion Steppes. Another of my followers, the Beautious One, requires a demon sword called Wormbrand Soulstriker. It is held by an imprisoned demon lord of mankind called Thulcondar. Free the sword, and consider freeing Thulcondar as well." (Otiax wanted all to be free, whether good or evil...)

The heroes stepped through and came to an open plain. In the center was a dead patch of land. Arthur cast detect magic. He saw that the dead ground was deadly... skeletons of animals were scattered about. The ground was tainted in a way that unless your feet were covered well, your legs would become numb and you'd be unable to walk. Then you'd fall to the ground, whose evil energy would slowly kill you.

At the center of this horrible barren patch of land was a hill. At the top of it was a stone circle, and a pit. Spewing from the pit were magic vapors.

The adventures cut up some sacks and wrapped their feet in them. This protected them from the poison ground. Once at the stone circle, Arthur could see that there were runes engraved by followers of Justicia, that formed a powerful protection from evil spell. It prevented any evil people from entering... or leaving the pit or the circle.

Lynette and Boscoroe couldn't enter! The heroes debated leaving them behind. After much careful study, they realized they could dim the enchantment if they smeared human blood on at least two stones. They did so.

Then, they lowered a rope into the hole. Arthur scanned the vapors, and realized that they, too, were magic. The vapors drained strength! The heroes used their torn-up sacks to cover their mouths. Then, they climbed down.

The vertical shaft dropped into a large chamber. In the center was a radiant, glowing ball of vapor. Eight gems were embedded in the walls at various points around the room. One gem had fallen from its' place. The rest fired continuous rays into the radiant ball. Alain saw that the ball was Thulcondar's prison.

Suddenly, Thulcondar spoke in their minds. The heroes told the demon lord they'd come for his sword. He asked them to remove the gems... leaving the northern-most one for last. The heroes reluctantly spread out and did so, removing almost all of the gems.

The gems had been keeping Thulcondar immobile and intangible. With each gem removed, he became more substantial and regained more of his powers! He created vapor tendrils that reached out and grabbed the adventurers! He cast magic jar, taking control of Alain's body! He forced Alain to grab the northern-most gem - which was in fact an amulet that could control Thulcondar! Alain began to walk toward Thulcondar.

Carlisle cast blindness on Alain. Lynette broke free of the tendrils and snatched the amulet away. The heroes began putting the gems back, diminishing Thulcondar's power. Thulcondar took control of Lynette, but before she could hand over the amulet, Arthur cast Word of Command on her and told her to freeze.

The heroes replaced the gems and got the amulet from Lynette. The magic jar spells ran out. Thulcondar could do nothing. They used the amulet to force Thulcondar to summon Wormbrand Soulstriker. Thulcondar, furious, did so. Only evil ones could hold it. That meant either Lynette or Boscoroe. Boscoroe took it, and could feel the incredible evil power pulsing from the blade. Some wondered whether they'd hand over the mighty artifact to Otiax or keep it for themselves....

8. The Orange SpellCrypt

9/8/11: Brendan can't make Wednesdays anymore, and Greg and Krista couldn't make it this week. So it was just me, Sam and Matt. I decided just to run this anyway. They each made a third character to round out the total number of heroes to 6...

Aquafina - Wizard
Carlisle - Wizard
Goatswyn - Dwarf
Hoobu - Warrior
Lynette - Rogue posing as a cleric of Daenthar
Mr. Bosceroe - Halfling

The adventurers had obtained the evil sword called Wormbrand SoulStriker. They made their way back to their Sardoquu mounts, and saw that Otiax had appeared in the distance as a shimmering set of double doors with a large eye set at the top. The heroes approached, and Otiax asked the heroes to ride through the doors, to enter the Realm of Etheria.

They did so, their six-legged dragon-horse mounts galloping on the grey haze. In the distance was a hovering earthmote. Otiax called out to them to head there. As the heroes were close, they saw a tower growing from it. Four people stood at the base of the tower, watching the heroes ride close. They were:

Scarnisi Jesth - a beautiful woman nude save for her enchanted jewelry. She worshiped Otiax, and took a liking to Goatswyn.

Graven Cosmen - an old wizard controlled by the red imp growing from his skullcap. He wanted the sword. Scarnisi explained that he was to hold the evil sword. They were on a mission from the rakshasa king of Achaemia to give the sword to the dragons of the iron citadel of Niraz, to appease them and keep hem from attacking the genies of Achaemia.

Hoobu - a warrior who had somehow stumbled into the Realm of Etheria

Aquafina - a dark-skinned nymph, "daughter of Thalass" the god of water and music. She too was trapped in the Realm of Etheria.

The heroes rested in luxury inside the tower, which belonged to Craven. Scarnisi took Goatswyn under her wing, so to speak.

The next day, Scarnisi asked for some of the heroes including Friedrich, Skip Waits, and Grym to accompany her to the Iron Tower in case something went wrong with the dragons. She asked Goatswyn, Lynette, Carlysle and Bosceroe to bring Hoopu and Aquafina back to the world of Aereth.

Otiax appeared and warned the heroes that Thurfang had brought the still-living remains of Ssendam to his orange spell-crypt, and he was using the power of the insane lord to fuel a ritual that would give him power over all the Vermilion Steppes! Otiax agreed to create a portal which would bring them to the entrance of the crypt. He warned that inside the spell-crypt, that he and other patrons would not be able to help them in any major way. It was up to the heroes to defeat Thurfang and Ssendam alone...

They appeared in a cave high-up in the Kitezhan Mountains. There were double doors of orange with a skull engraved on it. he skull had gem eyes. As they approached, a magic mouth appeared to the left of the doors. It said in a booming voice: "WHO DARES ENTER THIS PLACE AND INTRUDE UPON THE SANCTUARY OF ITS INHABITANTS?"

Boscoroe began to reply, but was interrupted by a second magic mouth from the right of the doors: "ONLY A GROUP OF FOOLHARDY EXPLORERS DOOMED TO CERTAIN DEATH!"

Then both mouths shouted in unison, "WOE TO ANY WHO PASS THIS PLACE-THE WRATH OF THURFANG AND SSENDAM WILL BE UPON THEM!". The mouths then began a loud and raucous laughter, which faded in intensity as the twin mouths disappeared.

Past the doors were stairs going down. Hoopu boldly made his way down. As he got to the halfway point, the stairs flattened to create a slide and he slid down and crashed into the door at the base. Blood poured from his head. He may have died..

The heroes got a rope and held on. Goatswyn grabbed it and made her way down the slide. Halfway down, the ceiling exploded and a magic orange whirling buzzsaw careened toward the dwarf. She swiftly dodged to the side, avoiding the blade. It disappeared.

Having survived the traps, the heroes checked on Hoopu. He was hurt but alive!

The doors at the base of the stairs had three little holes in them. No handles or rings. Carlysle decided to cast passwall so the heroes could avoid the door altogether, but his spell backfired and he became corrupted. He already was losing strength day-by-day. Now, over the course of six months, demonic horns would grow from his head.

They put an arrow in a hole. A little blade sliced through it. They were glad they hadn't put their finger in a hole. One of the three holes opened the door.

Beyond it was a square room with a yellow door to the left, a red door to the right, and a shimmering orange force shield blocking double doors straight ahead. The walls had murals of Ssendam's demons, called Slades, killing the wild elves of the Vermilion Steppes. The heroes correctly assumed that they'd need to defeat the challenges beyond the yellow and red doors to remove the force shield blocking the double doors.

They went through the yellow door, and found a cave with six gems. They were sealed inside by a force field. Each gem had to be touched to shut down the force field. But touching each gem caused a random effect (mostly the gain of a stat point, but sometimes the loss of one). They touched each gem, and survived.

Beyond the red door was a cave cut in half by a river with murky water. Four blind grimlocks with bows took aim. One was larger than the rest. A choking cloud spell dropped the archers, and then the larger grimlock was slain.

The heroes were now able to go through the double doors in the main room. But it had 3 holes in it, and no knob. They put an arrow in a hole - and an orange beam fired out and destroyed the arrow. The heroes evaded the beams and found the correct hole to open the doors.

There was another stairway leading down. the heroes tested the stairs. They threw some meat on them. The stairs made the meat bounce faster and faster until it splattered against the door. Spears popped out of the doors at the bottom of the stairs and impaled the meat. The heroes went back into a previous room and got a boulder (which excited Son of Boulderloch - the Living Boulder) and rolled it down the sairs. The boulder destroyed the spears.

The heroes carefully navigated the stairs and got through the door. They emerged into another room whose double doors could not be entered until each of the side rooms was defeated. They went through a red door, and came upon a vast hall. On each side was a ten foot tall shell. One was grey, and one was shimmering.

Aquafina boldly touched the shimmering one - and it awoke! It was a deadly flail snail! A giant snail with four mace-like heads! The flail snail attack, and pummeled the heroes. Its' magical shell reflected or nullified their spells. It wasn't long before 4 of the six heroes were dead!

They defeated the flail snail, and two of the heroes weren't dead, but hurt bad. The other two - Golila and Carlisle were floating int he realm of death. Golila made them an offer - she could bring them back, but as a blue skinned Mazarine like herself! They agreed.

They were in a bad way. They headed into the other room, where there were three trapped chests. Lynette was able to open them without too much trouble, recovering gold, a scroll of blindness and a book of Ssendam's symbols. The book contained the information on how to reverse the symbol of insanity that affected the king of the dwarves and Goatsma!

The adventurers were close to Thurfang, and help was on the way...

9. Thurfang Bormaug

9/22/11: We wrapped up the campaign

Artemisia - Cleric of Cthulhu
Carlisle - Wizard
Edison - Elf
Goatswyn - Dwarf
Grym - Wizard
Lynette - Rogue posing as a cleric of Uleth, God of Peace
Mr. Bosceroe - Halfling
Skip Waits - Fighter

Our heroes made their way up a stairwell, knowing they were close to the lich's hall. A massive boulder rumbled down the steps, threatening to crush them. The adventurers pinned themselves to the wall, avoiding the deadly trap.

They made their way into the final chamber. There, Thurfang himself stood on a rocky isle, surrounded by an amoeba lake - the pulsing, still-sentient remains of Ssendam! Thurfang was chanting, working on a ritual to drain Ssendam's power into his undead body to give himself godlike power!

The chamber shook, and rocks fell from the ceiling and floated in Ssendam's gooey form. Ssendam moaned telepathically, his psychic energy reverberating throughout the chamber.

Thurfang launched spells at the would-be assassins. Columns of flame shot up around them. They avoided the attack. Some of the heroes boldly jumped the gap across the amoeba sea, landing on the isle that Thurfang stood. They hacked into the lich as the others fired off spells and arrows from the relative safety of the ledge.

The battle was fierce. The chamber was collapsing around them. Thurfang resisted, chanting terrible spells. But the heroes were too strong. Thurfang was destroyed.

The adventurers escaped the complex just before it collapsed in upon itself.

The lich was dead. The Vermillion Steppes were safe. They returned to Legion Hall, and taunted Golila with the news that her beloved Ssendam was dead. She went into a period of great depression as the adventurers celebrated with the dwarves in drunken revelry.

Golila was still trapped in her tower, and she had been humbled. It was said that she nver threatened the lands again. The heroes used their acquired wealth to live out their dreams, and perhaps seek out new adventures...