Session recap, 3/22/2012

Razoe the Fantra Paladin (2)
Mongo the Fighter (3)
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

Another day, another chance to hire henchman to fight and die in a dark pit of despair.  Cheerfully, George headed off to find another doomed soul for the upcoming subterranean expedition - and Seegar the Elf was soon hired.  Gutboy likewise decided more muscle was necessary, but he bought his - a pair of hounds he named Rufus II and Alpo.

This done, Mongo made the decision that their apartment, while free due to the Ropers' unexplained disappearance, was too dangerous.  Bare human footprints had appeared in the flour he had scattered over the floor while they were in the dungeon, and too many neighbors had gone missing and/or left their brains on the floors of their apartments.  So, a new place was rented, deposits were paid, and valuables were transferred to the Bank Inviolable for safekeeping.

While in line at the bank, Mongo, George, and Gutboy were quite taken with a rakish fantra paladin (whatever that is) by the name of Razoe.  Their instant brotherly bond was overwhelming, and the four decided to open a joint bank account together - what better way to show you trust your newfound best friend.

Deposits made and henchmen hired, the party headed back to the dungeon in search of loot.  There were more tents for various adventuring parties set up on the Chelmsfordshire town square - the three E's of the Excellent Elven Edventurers, a tent with a pink-triangle logo, and a tent with a yellow smiley face.  The tents were vacant - the adventurers had gone off to loot the dungeon.

The trip to Mt. Rendon was uneventful, and the party descended to the second level.  Passing through the first level, they heard the screams of the screech-men off in the distance, but none approached.  The dungeon walls were covered with graffiti - the three competing teams of adventurers had been painting over each other's "tags".  The entrance to the second level (the room with 8 corridors heading off in all directions) had a particularly egregious "tag" - a giant smiley face painted upon the floor.

The party decided to try to track down the treasure lost in the last session - a suitcase full of gold and a shotgun were somewhere within.  They followed the blood trail to the room of cylindrical foam-filled transparent "coffins".  The party examined the few bodies left within the 400 coffins - two nude human men, a nude human female, a skinned human male, a human skeleton, a painted man frozen in the act of trying to claw his way out, and a hideous humanoid with a mouthful of giant fangs.  They then examined the console in the center of the room - it had three dials, each numbered 0 through 9, and a white hemisphere that may have been a button.  There was no treasure visible in the "coffins", just bodies, and George urged the party to ignore the bodies, rather than risk any potential traps.

His arguments were persuasive, and the party followed the blood trail deeper - to the offices of Dr. Giggles.  The trail had gone dry a few side-tunnels before, but they thought perhaps the doctor had gotten hold of the body.  Dr. Giggles sadly informed the party that he had not seen Netal's corpse, but would be greatly indebted to them if they could bring it back so he could preserve the corpse as a medical trophy.

The group decided to abandon the search for Netal, and headed north to a new section of the dungeon.  They confronted animated curtains made of human skins, and slew one with oil.  Following the tunnel behind the corpse curtain, they encountered a carcass scavenger, zombies with knives in their eyes, and 3' tall necromancers in black robes, who damaged Trezgar using knives they stabbed into rag dolls.  They recovered four golden ceremonial daggers from one group of necromancers, and interrupted another who was having his zombies lower something into a deep cavern.  Sadly, whatever they were lowering was lost when the zombies turned to fight the party.

The intrepid group of adventurers finally checked the time - and decided to head back to town with their newly-acquired golden daggers.  The expedition had been quite successful, despite not finding the lost gold bars and shotgun.

Gains: 4 ceremonial gold daggers worth 300 gp each
Kills: 1 corpse curtain, 13 blade zombies, 1 carcass scavenger, 3 necromancers
Losses: none


Proximity-Sensing Taunt Recorder

What's up with ASE2-3?  Well, I write at the pace my players explore, because I'm incredibly lazy, and they are firmly focused on the 2nd level right now.  So it's still a work in progress.  I expect them to go deeper any session now, so I'm ramping up efforts on level 3 - plus I need to get a draft to Brian so he can finish up the art.  If I actually focus on writing, there's not too much work left to be done, but you know, lazy.  So very lazy.

I've also joined Trey's online Weird Adventures game.  Google+ is very buggy, but it was a good time anyways - Trey is a good DM.  My guy is Creskin the turban-wearing wizard.  Instead of being sensible and loading up on adventuring gear, I got a tuxedo with his starting money.  Gotta have priorities!

Anyhow here's room #1 from level 3.  This was inspired by the magic mouth illustration in the Player's Handbook.

1. Automated Taunting Machine
Mounted to the southwest wall of this room is a proximity-sensing taunt recorder. If the party has not yet had run-ins with competing adventuring parties, the recording will be of a hinge-headed, reciting “I claim this worthless stretch of dungeon in the name of Lord Pimifus and the Basalt Ziggurat!”

On the other hand, if rival parties of NPC’s have made an appearance, the message will consist of taunts, boasts, and displays of valuable loot the NPC’s have recovered (preferably referencing areas the party has previously passed up or puzzles they were unable to solve).

Proximity-Sensing Taunt Recorder
These devices have a superficial resemblance to God’s Eyes.  They are triangular black plastic screens, 4’ across, with stainless-steel frames.  Protruding from the frame under the screen is a single red button.

Anyone coming within 15’ of a recorder will trigger its pre-recorded video message. These usually involve taunts of some kind or, more rarely, loud noises to alert nearby guards.

Pressing the red button will cause the screen to go black, with the word “RECORDING” displayed in red in the middle of the screen.  While the button is depressed, it will record video and audio, for up to five minutes. This new recording will completely erase the previous message.

These machines are firmly attached to dungeon walls with strong adhesives, and prying them off will almost always damage them. Their power is supplied through bundles of low-voltage wiring, that will be torn out with the recorder should it be removed.


Session recap, 3/8/2012

Netal the Elf (3), his henchmen Brad the Fighter (1) and Snidely Whiplash the Anti-Paladin (1)
Mongo the Fighter (3), and his henchwomen Buffy and Biffy the Elf Twins (1)

The adventure began, as so many do, with an extended search for henchmen.  First, the party headed towards the Tattered Heel, a tavern of middling reputation, and saw three likely candidates:  two fighters, and a strange looking caravan guard - one of the fabled piao shih.  Mongo and Netal came up with the excellent idea of sending Snidely out to do their hiring, due to his incredible charisma and interpersonal skills, and asked him to interview the piao shih.  "Nah, boss, that's a caravan guard.  What you want is that guy", Snidely replied, pointing at one of the two fighters.  Netal and Mongo conferred quickly, and decided that that there was no way they would ever hire the guy Snidely preferred.

Mongo approached the piao shih, and offered him a job.  "Yeah, I'm looking for work.  I was guarding a caravan from the Secret City of the Shoguns, ended up here, and guess what, no caravans headed back - the city's a secret, none of you have even heard of it."  Once Mongo went into details, the piao shih refused - "Hey!  I guard caravans!  That's it!"

They got similar results from the fighter that Snidely hadn't recommended.  Finally, Mongo approached the third potential henchman, and pointed Snidely out to him.  "Hey, you know that guy?"  "Yeah.  Why?"  "No reason.  Never mind."  Snidely made several angry rude gestures at the fighter, who shrugged in confusion.

The only logical next step was to hire more elves.  Relying on Mongo's incredibly successful past history with hiring elven mercenaries, they returned to Leafy Green's Salad Bar, and saw two likely looking candidates - a pair of elven twin sisters, of moderate attractiveness.  Netal sauntered up with his giant, smelly clown foot and tried to put the moves on, but the pair were too revolted by his lewd mannerisms and vile appendage (clown foot, people, get your minds out of the gutter) and they told him to take a hike.  Mongo pushed Netal aside, and offered to hire them for dangerous dungeoneering work.  The twins, smitten with Mongo's incredible loquacity ("Mongo take you to dungeon!") agreed instantly, under the condition that they were fully equipped with pink armor.  Armor was bought, pink lacquer was bought, armor was painted, armor was decorated with bunny heads, and Netal made the twins cry whenever he talked to them.

Now fully equipped, the party headed back towards the dungeon.  First stop - the mist room.  Mongo wanted the wide-spectrum vision that Snidely had gotten.  Sadly, pouring more water down the basin in the black room didn't do anything.  Snidely also tried to become intoxicated in the orange room, but he failed as well.  Whatever magic was in these rooms seemed to no longer be working.

Heading deeper, the party made their way to the lever-room from a few sessions back, on the second level.  They entered the room, Netal approached the sign with tiny lettering, avoiding the pressure plate in front of it, and read it aloud - "To unlock doors, push levers up in the same order they moved down, and then wait."  Mongo pressed the pressure plate with a pole, and the doors slammed shut & locked, and the levers went down one by one.  Netal pulled them back up in the same order they went down, and the doors unlocked again.  Having proved themselves as masters of this trap, they moved on.

The next room was mostly empty - just a pile of scrap metal in the center of the room.  Two parallel tunnels headed northwest, and there was a door in the southeast wall.  Checking out the door, they found an artist's studio beyond - there were a dozen steel tables holding blocks of marble in various stages of sculpting, and a finished sculpture of a tentacled worm-like creature.  As it was clearly valuable, Netal ordered a complaining Snidely to carry the statue around.

The first corridor to the northwest ended at a black metal door, embedded with purple crystals.  The crystals were firmly embedded in the metal, and could not be removed.  Opening the door revealed a room shaped like an octahedron, tipped so that the points were far below and far above.  The door opened roughly into the middle of the octahedron, and there was an identical door across the room.  The walls were covered with long sharp and pointy spikes of purple crystal, densely clustered - there would be no way across this room without being cut to ribbons.  Mongo tried hammering the crystals, but they were as hard as steel, and would not break.

Seeking an easier path, the party tried the other northwest corridor.  This went up some stairs and opened into a thirty-foot wide corridor, heading north as far as they could see.  They followed it, and eventually came to four alcoves, two set on each side of the corridor.

The first alcove had a door with a sign reading "Warning: Anomaly Ahead: Lazarus Room. Authorized Personnel Only."

The second alcove had a God's Eye, with a damaged frame and crackling with sparks and electricity.  There were 17 gems on the frame, with three depressions that must have previously held gems as well.  They convinced Brad to pry one out, who leaped back in pain as the electricity shocked him.

The third alcove had a shimmering red force field.  Behind it floated a gleaming metal skeleton.  Mongo poked it with his pole, and the red field lurched forward - it was a giant cube of red gelatin.  Pseudopods flailed out at Netal, but eventually a bow shot from Biffy slew the cube.  The skeleton turned out to be made of solid silver, and looked human except for the pair of fangs.

The fourth alcove had rows of bronze shelves, holding dozens of ancient, yellowed skulls.  The skulls were some sort of humanoid, with massive curved and fanged teeth.

Curious, the party opened the door with the sign and headed into the Lazarus Chamber.  The room beyond had an oval dais with two pillars, carved with skull-headed angels.  In the wall behind the dais was a niche with three metal pins inside, sticking out of the stone, much like the niches they had seen in various spots on the first level.  Pews were arranged on either side of the dais.

Lacking anybody dead to experiment with, but thinking that perhaps the racks of skulls in the alcove might be useful, they headed over to the toothy skulls to investigate.  The skulls had no indentations for metal pins, so Netal and Mongo decided that they probably had nothing to do with the Lazarus Chamber.  Netal then began examining the shelves, and found that one was hinged so that it could be pushed up.

The party stood back, and Mongo used his pole to push the shelf - as he did so, the wall slid back, revealing a secret room.  The room was empty except for two black metal pillars, 4' tall, with silver dots upon them, that stood at either end of the room.  Mongo stuck his pole between the two poles, and beams of light shot out, severing the tip of the pole.

Some more experimentation revealed that only walking between the poles would be dangerous, so they edged around the room behind one of the poles, and followed the corridor beyond into a 30' by 30' room.  This room had the obvious back-side of a secret door, with a large metal handle to pull it open, and a corridor heading south, from which a soft breeze blew.  By the southern corridor was a corpse in a three-piece suit clutching a briefcase, and a towering pillar of yellow yelly with tentacles waving about in the breeze.

Mongo pulled out his pole, and poked at the tentacle thing.  When he did so, a few tentacles lashed out, and then the top split off and began floating towards them - a cave jellyfish!  One after another, cave jellyfish began detaching from the jelly-conglomerate, and the party hacked them apart one by one.  Eventually Netal, Brad, and Mongo charged the pillar and slashed at it, rending it into ribbons, but not before its tentacles wrapped themselves around Brad, knocking him unconscious.

Netal opened the briefcase, and found that it contained three solid gold ingots.  Mongo and Netal theorized that a traveling gold salesman must have gotten lost in the dungeon.  Snidely volunteered to carry the gold, but was instead told that he would not be allowed to carry any treasure.  Netal took the worm-statue from him, one of the twins took the gold, and Snidely was forced to carry Brad's unconscious body.

The pair and their henchpeople headed south, and the corridor quickly opened into a vast empty space, stretching down, up, and to the sides as far as their torches could illuminate.  Netal tossed one of the traveling-gold-salesman's shoes into the void, and eventually heard a spash as the shoe landed.

The party took account of their loot, and decided it was time to head out of the dungeon, much richer for the experience.  There was only one loose end left to wrap up - Netal wanted Snidely dead.  He didn't trust him, and was sick of his slacking off.  Firing wasn't good enough for Snidely - the henchman had to die.

He and Mongo conferred quietly - they would lead Snidely to Fat Grundle's lair, knock on the door, cast sleep on Snidely, and then run for their lives.  Fat Grundle would then finish Snidely off.  With a plan as simple as that, what could go wrong?

The party headed back towards the stairs out of the second level, and then detoured north to Fat Grundle's lair.  Netal knocked on the door, and the enraged 9' tall naked clown burst out, clutching his poisonous serpent and his jug of moonshine.  He hurled the snake at Netal, but missed - and then Mongo pushed Snidely forward.  Snidely dropped Brad, and Netal gave Snidely another push towards Fat Grundle for good stead.

Fat Grundle took a swig of 'shine from his bottle, and blew out a gout of fire at Snidely, who began screaming and slapping at himself.  Netal then cast sleep, putting both the viper and flaming Snidely to sleep.  Mongo and the twins took the opportunity to run for their lives.

The next round, Netal turned and began running.  Snidely awoke almost as instantly as he had fallen asleep, due to the pain of still being aflame.  Still burning, he chased after Netal, slashing at his backside with his longsword, screaming "I'm taking you to hell with me!"  Behind the both of them came Fat Grundle, swinging at Snidely.  Eventually, his blows killed Snidely, and the monstrous clown then spit a 'shine-fueled blast of fire at Netal, killing the elf.

Mongo waited for the screams from behind him to stop, and then called to his twin elf henchwomen to stop.  They carefully made their way back down the stairs to the second level, where they found the bodies of Netal and Snidely.  There was no sign of Netal's pack - it had been stripped from him.  Mongo began instructing the girls to collect Netal's remains, so he could try experimenting with the Lazarus Chamber, but the commotion of the fight had attracted visitors - four troglodytes appeared from the northwest and attacked.

Buffy fell to the troglodytes immediately, and Mongo turned tail and ran up the stairs.  Biffy made a last stand, trying to save her sister - her fate remains unknown, but the outcome was almost certainly poor.  Bereft of bosom companion Netal, and even worse, bereft of the gold bars and marble worm-statue, Mongo sadly made his way back to civilization, with nothing but a solid silver skeleton to comfort him.

Gains: 900 gp silver skeleton
Kills: Gelatinous cube, cave scyphistoma, 5 cave jellyfish, Snidely Whiplash
Losses: Netal, Brad, Biffy, Buffy


ASE will be available at GaryCon and NTRPGCON

Good news!  Jon from Black Blade Publishing has offered to to make ASE1 available at his booth at GaryCon and NTRPGCON!

So if you're attending, stop by his booth, and buy lots of stuff!