Check out "Dungeon of Signs"

Check out "Dungeon of Signs" - a new blog, detailing a sadistic DM sending his poor players into ASE1.  I've exchanged emails w/ the author, and he's got a boatload of fun tables, some of which have trickled their way onto his blog already.  So click the link and "Follow" away!


Invisible Plodder

Invisible Plodder
No. Enc: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 2 (-1 for claw)
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 2
Damage: 1d8 plus hold
Save: F6
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: XIV
XP: 820

The invisible plodder is most often seen as only elephantine footsteps splashing into the water, followed by victims being hoisted into the air by unseen limbs and torn to bloody shreds.

If viewed using the aid of detect invisible or similar spells, the plodder will appear as a 10’ wide football-shaped mass of gray ropy tentacles, supported by four thick tree-trunk-like legs, and sporting two crab-like pincers. Its mouth is a wet hole on top of its body, into which it drops the torn fragments of its prey.

Anything consumed by the plodder is masked by its invisible flesh, and effectively becomes invisible as well. Likewise, the tips of swords and spears plunged into its body will disappear from view.

A slain plodder will slowly fade into view, becoming fully visible within one turn.

In combat, the plodder will strike at its foes with its two pincers, doing 1d8 points of damage. Once struck, a victim is held and lifted into the air, and that claw will do no further damage, but the plodder will automatically hit with its second claw for every round thereafter until the victim is freed.

If by chance two victims are simultaneously hit and grabbed, one will be tossed aside (doing 1d6 points of damage) so that the plodder can concentration on tearing apart one meal.

Breaking free requires a successful “force doors” check (either by the victim or by his rescuer).

A victim held by a plodder may only attempt to strike at the claw, unless their weapon has an extraordinarily long reach. The claw has AC -1, and requires 16 hit points of damage to sever. Claw damage does not count towards slaying the plodder. A single-clawed plodder will always throw victims after picking them up, and a declawed plodder will flee for its life. Severed claws will regenerate within 1d3 days.

Gold weapons and bullets do double damage to an invisible plodder. Any gold swallowed by the plodder will be spat out – any other treasure the creature has swallowed will remain within its expansive gut.

A plodder on the move through water will not surprise anything with ears to hear – it makes too much splashing noise. Its normal hunting behavior is to stand completely still, waiting for cave fishes and other prey to approach. The creature is visible in these instances as four cylindrical “holes” in the water.


Treasure Maps

I am grooving on treasure maps right now.  They make excellent treasure, because they encourage players to take the initiative & crawl deeper into the dungeon.

That is all.

Fine, here's an update - getting closer to finishing ASE2-3, no idea if it'll be in time for GenCon though.  I shall deliver no module before its time.  I'm yearning to start mapping levels 4, 5, a couple of sub-levels, and Under-Miami, but I'm restraining myself until I get ASE2-3 100% complete.


session recap, 5/10/2012

Razoe the Fantra Paladin (2) and his dog Brownie
Mongo the Fighter (4) and his henchman Prinny the Dwarf (1)
George P. Burdell the Cleric (2) and his henchmen, Slick Eddie the Thief (1) and Seegar the Elf (1)
Drunk Eddie the Magic-User (2) and his henchwoman, Pepa the Battle-Dancer (1)

Now that the blade zombies were not-moving-dead as opposed to homicidal-dead, Razoe and Gutboy and their respective henchmen and/or menageries wandered off into the fungus forest for a potty break.  In the meantime, Mongo and George searched for secret doors - no luck.  As they did so, a pair of strangers walked in, introducing themselves as Drunk Eddie the wizard and Pepa the surly battle-dancer.  They had gotten separated from their party out in the fungus forest, and were welcomed by Mongo and George as bosom companions.

The trio and their entourage proceeded to the next room, finding the backside of a curtain made of rotting human flesh, and gigantic pile of rotting body parts, 10' high and 20' wide.  Mongo prodded the pile with his retractable aluminum pole, and satisfied himself that it wasn't going to attack.

They next turned their attention to the corpse-curtain - it did want to attack, but from the back side, with no arms or legs, it was fairly feeble. George used his sling to destroy the curtain, and eventually it was reduced to fleshy tatters.

Razoe and his dog made their way back to the room, rejoining the party.  The four now examined the pile of body parts more carefully.  The stench deterred them from further investigation, but smooth-talking Drunk Eddie talked Pepa into probing the mass of flesh for treasure.  "Push it, baby, push it!" she shouted, as she dove headfirst into the festering mound.  Limbs, bones, and goo flew everywhere as she pushed deeper into the decaying heap, but alas, there was no gold.

Ever deeper the quarter ventured - the next room was familiar, a large diamond-shaped room with a single corpse-curtain remaining. It was dispatched from a distance, and the party moved into the unexplored space beyond. A tapestry hung on the side of the corridor, clearly obscuring a space behind it - it depicted a group of slavering walking-corpses chasing terrified naked humans.  Razoe began yanking it from the ceiling, pulling it down to reveal a group of actual slavering walking-corpses, who lashed out at Mongo and him.

The battle was brief, but left Mongo paralyzed and badly wounded. George expended the last of his healing spells, removing the paralysis and partially restoring Mongo's strength. They investigated the rooms beyond, finding a few hundred gold coins among the remains of the ghouls' feasting.  They also found a trapped room behind a second tapestry, full of hexagonal tiles that triggered hexagonal bear-traps when stepped on.  Tapestry and ghoul corpses were tossed upon the tiles to fire off the traps, and the party was able to explore the room - sadly, nothing of value was found.

The expedition decided to head back to the eight way room near the entrance to the second level, to explore the unexplored passages. They were waylaid by a pair of necromantic midgets and four blade zombies, and a brief combat ensued.  George brandished a symbol of his faith, and the zombies fled.  One of the midgets was slain outright, and the second was forced to surrender.

Drunk Eddie: "What's your name"
Fizzworth: "I am Fizzworth!  How did you take control of our servants?"
Drunk Eddie: "Powerful magic! We can do that whenever we want!  Now, who is your leader?"
Fizzworth: "He is Yerximantin, the King of the Corpsemongers!  Most perfect of all beings!"
Fazoe: "How do you make those zombies?"
Fizzworth: "We pierce the corpses with ritual gold blades, and through the power granted us by the compressors, they serve us!"
Mongo: "Compressors? Where are those?"
Fizzworth: "Southwest of here, in the labyrinth. Do you wish me to take you to them?"
Mongo: "No. How do we get down to the next level?"
Fizzworth: "There is a room with eight corridors leaving it, take the north corridor, and stairs lead down."
Mongo: "I knew it had to be there."
Razoe: "Near the clowns? Do you know the giant clown?"
Fizzworth: "Yes, the painted men, we hate them. They make poor zombie servants.  You humans are so much better!  The giant clown, we know, he is a mercenary, and works for gold."
Mongo: "Where do you get humans?"
Fizzworth: "They are hard to come by. It is rare for them to leave Miami.  We must trade with the arrogant hinge-heads."
Mongo: "You need humans? We can get you lots of humans."
Fizzworth: "You can? Where?"
Mongo: "Up, on the surface"
Fizzworth: "I don't know what that word means."
Mongo: "You go up, there's humans"
Fizzworth: "No, no, just screaming freaks and morlocks. They are worthless!"
Mongo: "No, just listen. There are more. We can get you more."
Fizzworth: "You can? You must have an audience with our king!"
Mongo: "No!  You will come with us!"

The interrogation concluded, the party decided it was time to high-tail it out of the dungeon with their necromancer captive. There was a brief moment of panic on Fizzworth's part upon encountering the sunlit surface ("The ceiling! Where is the ceiling!  Aie! Aieeeeee!") but Drunk Eddie's murderous threats quieted the dimunitive warlock.  They led him through Chelmsfordshire, where the necromancer stared greedily at the wealth of humanity, ripe for the plucking and re-animating, and then on to Denethix, where Fizzworth became overwhelmed with joy.  "Armies! We shall have armies of human-corpses, and all the levels of the dungeon shall kneel before us!"

As they made their way through Denethix, Mongo noticed that random strangers kept pointing at him, whispering to each other, and running off into the crowd.  Paranoid, he headed to the Bazaar Incomparable and bought a hooded cloak.  Drawing it close about him, the pointing and whispering eventually stopped, and he slunk back to his apartment.  Drunk Eddie went out to see if there were any wanted posters - lo and behold, they were taped up all over the city, bearing a crude likeness of the warrior and the words "Have you see this man? If you know where Mongo is located, see Mr. Roper at the Regal Beagle. 100 gp reward."

In the meantime, George headed to the old apartment building - and noticed Chrissie standing outside, watching. She noticed him back, and took off into the crowd.  He headed back to Mongo's place to report, making sure he wasn't followed.

The party conferred, and Drunk Eddie and George decided a visit to the Regal Beagle was in order.  The bartender directed them to a back room, and both Mr. and Mrs. Roper were present, half their faces sheathed in shining steel, the eye behind the steel mask shining with a brilliant red light.

Mr. Roper: "Stranger! Tenant George! Do you wish the reward? Where is Mongo located?"
Drunk Eddie: "I don't know that, but I'm looking for Mongo too."
Mr. Roper: "This is uninteresting.  I require the location of Mongo."
Drunk Eddie: "Yeah, he's going to get what's coming to him. He's annoyed me."
Mr. Roper: "Yes! Mongo is a dundering moron who must be eliminated!  His buffoonery cannot be tolerated!  He shall be crushed, burned, splintered, bled, tortured, reduced to ash, and beheaded!"
George: "I could lead you to him"
Mr. Roper: "You will do this immediately!  Tell me the location of Mongo now!" (lifting arm to reveal laser-cannon grafted at elbow)
Drunk Eddie: "Whoa! George doesn't know where he is, but he will!  He's in the dungeon!"
Mr. Roper: "He is always in the dungeon! But he always returns! I do not care about the dungeon, you will tell me the location of Mongo!"
Drunk Eddie: "Sure, we'll come back when we know..."

The pair hurriedly left the Regal Beagle, but Mrs. Roper was following behind them. It took a few duckings and turnings into alleyways before they were able to shake her.  They then returned to the apartment, conferred again, and George decided it was best to head to Chelmsfordshire alone, with no one but his henchmen.

Along the road, George noticed Chrissie following, far behind. She ducked into a field when she realized she was spotted, so George waved down a passing guard.

George: "This crazy chick is following me. Blonde. I can't shake her."
Guard: "Oh, I know what that's like.  They're on you like glue, but you're a stallion! You've got to be free!  No worries, my friend, when I find this woman I shall give her what-for!  Don't you change, man!"

George continued on to Chelmsfordshire, not spotting Chrissie again - but as he neared the village, he briefly spotted a small shiny metal object in the air a half mile off, that ducked back into the cornfields as he watched.

Danger awaited inside the village as well - in the person of Slezgar, sitting in his open-faced recruiting tent.  George walked up to Slezgar, who was decidedly hostile.

Slezgar: "You're a punk, and all your friends are punks, and you're all going to die."
George: "Bring it!"

Slezgar then brought it, in the form of a sleep spell.  George & his henchmen collapsed to the ground, snoring peacefully until one of the many soldiers of the Unyielding Fist that were about gave them a swift kick.  "Get up, you stinking drunks! I'm sick of you scoundrels falling down in the streets! I've got a good mind to toss you in the hoosegow!"  George gave this opportunity due consideration, but the soldier pushed him along before he could accept the kind offer.

Finally, back in the big city, the rest of the party decided it was time for action.  They gathered themselves together, along with Fizzworth, and marched off to Chelmsfordshire and their destiny.  Reunited with George, the group began planning their next assault upon both the dungeon and the poorly re-imagined cast of Three's Company.

Gains: 650 gp, tapestry depicting ghouls chasing people worth 10 gp, Fizzworth
Kills: 2 corpse curtains, 3 ghouls, 4 blade zombies, 1 necromantic midget
Losses: None


Stair Constrictor

Stair Constrictor
No. Enc: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 10’ (3’)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 2 plus constrict
Damage: 1d6/1d6 plus poison, 1d4 constriction
Save: F4
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: VII
XP: 245

The stair constrictor has a flat stony body, 10’ wide by 10’ long. They prefer to drape themselves over stairs, waiting for victims to walk over them. When their prey reaches the middle of the stairs, they will wrap their bodies tightly around the victims, pinning their arms and causing 1d4 points of constriction damage per round. Players who make a successful save vs. paralyzation will be able to jump off the constrictor before becoming trapped.

While constricting, the two needle-tipped tentacles that dangle from the constrictor’s underside are exposed – these tentacles will whip out at anyone trying to help any trapped victims. The needles cause 1d6 points of damage, and those hit must save vs. poison or be paralyzed for 1d6 turns.

Attacking a stair constrictor while it has prey trapped will cause half of the damage dealt to apply to the constrictor, and half to the victim. If more than one victim is trapped inside, roll to determine which unfortunate takes the damage.

After crushing their prey, stair constrictors will spend a week excreting stomach acids and slowly digesting their meal. The undigested bones and bits of metal will be ejected, and collect in a pile at the bottom of the stairs.

With just a passing glance, dwarves will spot a stair constrictor on a roll of 1 on 1d6 – and if actively searching, will notice it on a result of 1-5. Those less familiar with stonework must actively search, and even then will only spot it on a 1-2 on a 1d6.


Session recap, 4/26/2012

Razoe the Fantra Paladin (2) and his dog Brownie
Mongo the Fighter (4) and his henchman Prinny the Dwarf (1)
George P. Burdell the Cleric (2) and his henchmen, Slick Eddie the Thief (1) and Seegar the Elf (1)
Gutboy Barrellhouse the Cleric (3), his henchman Trezgar the Elf (1) and his dogs Rufus II and Alpo

The party sat around in Mongo's apartment, recounting the good times and the bad, when they heard a commotion outside. A parade was going by - crowds of people were gleefully singing the praises of an adventurer, being carted around in a sedan chair. Unsurprisingly, they saw it was their rival and former henchman Slezgar, waving benevolently to the adoring masses. There was much grumbling and shaking of fists.

George headed to the Street of Temples, and began listening to his fellow priests' chatter to see if he could pick up some interesting rumors. The first involved Slezgar - "Did you see that parade? Any idea who that was? Yeah I don't know either, I heard he paid the crowd to follow him around" - and the second involved Louisburgh, the village that Mongo, Gutboy, and the deceased Netal had to flee after robbing a farmer of his precious shotgun - "It's terrible what happened in Louisburgh.  A giant robot rampaged through the village, blowing the whole place up!"

Mongo headed to the market, and purchased some jellied napalm from the weapon vendor for his flamethrower. He then wandered from tavern to tavern on the Street of the Alien, seeking a new henchman.  He ended up hiring Prinny the Dwarf, a grizzled lanthanide prospector and sole survivor of an expedition to the Lanthanide Wastes. "I hid under the sand while the Insect-Men ate all my friends. Every single one. No, don't tell me your name, I don't wanna know - yer just gonna die too."

Razoe, predictably, purchased a fine dungeon terrier, because you can never have too many dogs when you're exploring a dungeon.

The erstwhile crew of miscreants then headed out of Denethix towards Chelmsfordshire, seeking further riches in the depths. They quickly noticed they were being followed - by none other than their former neighbor Jack.  He had disappeared weeks ago, leaving nothing but signs of a struggle, some large bloodstains, and a human brain in the middle of the floor of his apartment.  The party stopped, and Jack stopped, some 300 yards back. They waved, but he did not respond.  Finally, the group walked up to Jack, surrounding him.  He had a scar running around his head, as if the top of his skull had been cut off and reattached.

Mongo: "Hi"
Jack: "Where's Netal?"
Mongo: "He's not here"
Jack: "Where's Netal?"
Mongo: "What do you want with him?"
Jack: "I... owe him money"
Razoe: "How much? We could give it to him"
Jack "Where's Netal?"
Mongo: "He's in Chelmsfordshire"

The party conferred, and decided they should restrain Jack and search him - and after a brief struggle, they pinned him and found that he was carrying a pistol.  A brief debate ensued, and they decided against executing him on the spot. Instead, they released him, and told Jack they'd take him to Netal.  His only response was another "Where's Netal?"

They made it to Chelmsfordshire, where they tried to convince Jack to enter a bar without them - he would have none of it, and refused to leave Mongo's side.  Mongo sent Razoe into the bar, and when Razoe came out he announced "Oh Netal's in the dungeon, we should go there instead."  This was met with another "Where's Netal?" from the conversationally troubled Jack.

The trip to the dungeon was uneventful - and they beelined towards the second level, passing the freshly-slain bodies of several human adventurers on the first level.  They had a plan - take Jack to Dr. Giggles and get his medical opinion of the skull-surgery.

On the way there, they passed the 9' tall naked clown Fat Grundle, with his poison snake wrapped around his neck, clutching his head in agony.  He was strangely non-aggressive.

Fat Grundle: "You idiots again? Get out of my way, my head is killing me"
George: "What's wrong? Maybe I can help"
Fat Grundle: "Hangover"
George: "Well, try these herbs, they should cure it" (handing him a fistful of oregano)
Fat Grundle: "This isn't doing anything. Get out of my way!"

Fat Grundle then pushed past them, heading towards the subterranean circus.

Sensing opportunity, the party rushed towards the door to Fat Grundle's lair. The giant clown had wedged a piece of stone under the door, jamming it shut, but Mongo was able to pry it out.  Inside the lair, they found a pile of rags and matted furs, and a wash-tub filled with stinking sludge.  Poking around in the tub, they find the marble worm statue and aquamarine gem that had been lost on Mongo and Netal's last expedition, and an addition 652 gold.

Moving on, they headed through the room lined with man-sized clear pods. A group of painted men were standing around the pod that contained one of their brethren, frozen in the act of trying to escape from the pod - they were pointing and laughing. Without hesitation, the party unleashed the hounds and laid waste to the five clowns.  The battle was brief and one-sided.

They continued on, and made their way to the office of Dr. Giggles. Nurse Ratchett called the doctor in, who escorted Jack into the OR. His two orderlies, Frenzy and Killer, restrained Jack, while the good doctor tried to administer anesthesia - but it didn't do anything.  Shrugging helplessly, Dr. Giggles cut Jack's skull open, while Jack continued to repeat his mantra - "Where's Netal?"

Inside the skull was a plant, potted in soil. It had thick succulent serrated leaves, dripping with some kind of fluid. The leaves writhed around on their own.  Frenzy reached in to remove the plant, and quickly yanked his hand back - "This thing tried to cut me!"

Gutboy suggested to Dr. Giggles that perhaps he could use anesthetic on the plant - "An excellent idea! Let me try that..." As Giggles leaned over to place a mask over the plant, one of the fronds lashed out and scratched him.  The doctor's last words: "Oh, a minor cut, nothing to worry about, I..."  He then turned blue and keeled over.

Killer prodded Dr. Giggles with his foot.  "Oh man.  He's dead."  The two orderlies quickly scooped up everything that looked valuable and ran out of the room, as the party knelt to examine the unconscious doctor.

Gutboy grabbed a fistful of hypodermic needles, full of unknown medicines, and jammed them all into Dr. Giggles' chest.  The doctor's body arched up, and his chest exploded open, blasting bloody fragments of heart-meat all over the room.  Nurse Ratchett ran in and stared wide-eyed at the scene.  "He's dead!  Oh no!  Dr. Giggles is dead!"  In the madness of her grief, she began pocketing various vials of medicine, and ran from the room.

Finally, the party began to search the room - but the orderlies and Nurse Ratchett cleaned out the good stuff.  Gutboy pocketed 20 vials of medicine, and George poured oil over the plant and set it aflame.  As it blackened and withered, Jack finally stopped asking about Netal.

They headed north, into Dr. Giggles' medical trophy room.  Glass tanks were filled with his surgical marvels - various chimerae created by grafting heads onto arms and so forth.  The group ignored these, but did fill a flask with formaldehyde from a stainless steel tank of preservative.

They pressed on, and found a room familiar to some of them - it had a lattice of silver rods in the center of the room, supporting a glass jar. Five of the silver rods curled over and terminated inside the jar. The room stank of ozone, and the walls and doors were covered with scorch marks, so the party decided it was best to ignore the lattice.  They moved on to the next room, another familiar location - the great hall with its murals of the various Underlords.  Mongo pressed upon the secret panel that caused the mural-of-skulls' eye sockets to open, and green and blue lights appeared from behind the sockets.

Showing more curiosity than the last time they had found this secret panel, George walked up to the sockets and peered in. Behind the wall (a 1' thickness of stone), two glowing crystal skulls, one blue, one green, sat upon a slowly spinning turntable. There were two other spots on the turntable, each with a cluster of three metal pins, but no skulls.  There were no doors visible in this room.

With no idea how to get into the disco-skull-room, the party reviewed their map, and decided they would cross the underground fungus-jungle cavern, and attack a group of blade zombies they had run across months ago.  George collected samples of fungus along the way, and they waved off a group of subterranean giant locusts.

The eight zombies that had run them off on an earlier expedition were still there.  They moved to attack as the party entered their room, but George and Gutboy held them at bay with the power of their faith.  Mongo easily picked the zombies off one by one with his bow.

And here the session ended.  Next game is on Thursday May 10th, 7:00 pm sharp.

Gains: Large pistol, worm statue worth 400 gp, 10 gp aquamarine, 652 gold, 20 vials of medicine, flask of formaldehyde, fungus samples
Kills: 5 painted men, Jack's brain plant, 8 blade zombies
Losses: Dr. Giggles