As I'm sure you know, I play the Patron Wizard Macho Mandalf, as well as several PCs, in the Trollopulous campaign. This session I sat in the DM's chair for the first time in the campaign.
This session (and the next) were unusual in that I could only DM in a limited way, since there is a lot of stuff about the world that the main DM knows that I don't (and don't want to know!)
So the set up was a slightly more restricted than normal BrOSR scenario, based off of the May Domain unsuitable encounters. We've since become a lot more experienced with sharing the DM chair, something I may put some thoughts down about in a later post.
In writing this session report, I realised that there was so much background that I should go back and complete Domain reports and other posts to set the scene. If you have been following those posts you'll know that at the end of May this happened.
Since this article appeared in the esteemed paper of record, the Machodor Daily, some time has passed without any further sign of the Vampire or the 300 Trollops.
For the last few weeks the player characters have been lazing around in their comfy accommodations within the Adventurers Aid Society Octagon in the outer circle of the city of Minas Mandalf. The day came when the manager, Iolanthis, brought to their attention some work that needed doing in relation to this Vampire problem. He informed them that through ranger tracking and clerical magic, the forces of Machodor were aware of the following;
- The 300 Trollops passed by and then walked backwards in their tracks to a stone doorway hidden at the base of a large mound deep in the swamp about 30 miles from Minas Mandalf. This highly coordinated attempt to throw off trackers was successful against the dim witted Puglins, but not against Rangers from the Pegasus Scout Regiment.
- The doorway leads to a temple dedicated to a demon of the ancient world, now long forgotten, but worshipped as a god by the primitive people of the time, known to them as Huheuteotl.
- An old (but much more recent than the temple) graveyard was found at the top of the hill.
- Commune has been used to confirm that there is only one Vampire, none of the Trollops have been turned into undead (yet).
- The "Magic Mirror" cannot penetrate the temple, but can transport the party to a location just outside the stone door.
Mission: Go into the temple and find the location of the Vampire, mapping the route and location of any traps, then return and furnish the information to Haragon, a Level 12 Cleric waiting outside with his team.
Reward: All treasure found along the way plus 50% of treasure held by the Vampire. The adventurers have options to; kill the vampire themselves (in this case they receive 100% of any treasure), help Haragon kill the vampire, or wait outside for the Cleric to kill the Vampire without the party.
Machodor Forces on site:
Haragon and his supporters (Level 6 Cleric, Level 7 Paladin, Level 5 Paladin, & Level 5 Psionic Paladin)
Pegasus Scout Regiment 2nd squad (The Whitescales).
Wand of Secret Door and Trap detection available.
Mandalf’s Prismatic Sunglasses available.
Five players answered the call. They soon found themselves in the Mirror facility, deep in the bowels of the central keep of Minas Mandalf. Here they met with the Macho King himself, who had recently finished researching a new spell;
Macho Mandalf's Prismatic Sunglasses (Abjuration, Conjuration/Summoning)Level: 5 Components: V,SRange: Touch Casting Time: 5 segmentsDuration: 12 turns + 6 turns/level Saving Throw: SpecialArea of Effect: special
Explanation/Description: This spell enables the magic-user to conjure up apair of shimmering, multi-colored, dazzling sunglasses which provide infravision to 60' and protection against all negative effects that operate via the visual faculties, for example; the gaze attack of a basilisk, a continual light spell cast on the eyes, the fear effect from the sight of a mummy, even the charming gaze of a vampire.
Where the recipient of this spell would otherwise suffer from such effects they are negated. In addition, a saving throw is made, which, if successful, causes the effect or effects to be reversed back on their originator, if possible, causing them to suffer the same effects or, if appropriate, make a saving throw but with a -4 penalty due to the amplification effect of the glasses' magic.
|When you're working for a Patron with a new spell|
Through the wonders of the Mirror Of Mental Prowess, the group placed themselves right at the mysterious door just after dawn, giving themselves the entire day to find the Vampire before night falls, and vampires are reputed to rise.
Haragon handed a Wand of Secret Door and Trap Detection to the party ‘scout’ (Machodor does not condone thieves) and set up his camp with a Daern’s Instant Fortress, while Puglins played in the muddy swamp not far away. Erwin (Thief Level 3) studied the wand and hoped it worked as advertised.
Although the Pegasus Scout Regiment squad had found a graveyard, they had not investigated it, so the party decided to make the fairly difficult climb to the top of the hill, starting from the side opposite the door. Treefingers (Ranger level 1) led the way around. Once at the top they brushed themselves off and examined the small graveyard, which contained a number of headstones; but was dominated by a square mausoleum about 20’ wide. They noted that the names had been worn away from all the headstones and above the door to the mausoleum, which was slightly ajar. Further examination convinced them that this was done in a deliberate act, rather than natural weathering.
A charge or two from the wand was used to check for traps, revealing none. Within the cracked stone of the mausoleum the party found some clues; a recently deceased body that had been battered to death, three raised platforms that had recently had something heavy dragged across them, and a small hand axe on the cracked stone floor.
Most interestingly, a search of the body produced a map.
This map showed a stepped pyramid, apparently, judging by other geographical features, at the location where they were currently standing.
The ranger Treefingers was able to track the footsteps of someone who had carried a heavy object out of the room, across the graveyard and down the hill in the direction of the door at its base.
Puzzled by all this, but feeling they had done due diligence in this location, the party climbed back down the hill (carefully avoiding a snake) and made ready to open the heavy stone door.
Several turns of fruitless shoving later, the door finally yielded and the party could see a corridor leading into the hill. The structure was made up of a seemingly random combination of granite, obsidian, and red stone, the latter of which give off a faint glow.
Before taking another step, Erwin used the wand to detect traps, and they were standing right next to some sort of trapped flagstones. They carefully marked these stones with ash that Shinji (Simple Mendicant Wujen level 3) implausibly had large quantities of for some reason.
Moving past the trap and into the corridor proper, the atmosphere became hot and stifling, very noticeable to those in heavy armour.
There was another trap at the end of the corridor where it met stairs going up. Once again they marked and avoided this, then ascended the stairs up into a large room. From the top of the stairs they could see the room contained three sarcophagi, two pillars that looked a bit oddly formed, and wall decorations depicting the male and female gods of which the party had been briefed.
From where the thief crouched at the entrance he could also see two bodies on the floor, though his view of them was mostly blocked behind sarcophagi. There was quite a bit of discussion as, via the wand, a suspicious section of wall proved to hide a secret door. One of the characters moved forward to investigate, which triggered the activation of the two columns. They transformed into moving statues in the shape of the depicted goddess of vice, Tlazolteotl, each bearing a steel sword (after this the two bodies were ignored, but an examination would have shown that they been sliced to ribbons with a sharp blade).
Momentarily struck by the authentic Harryhausenian animation, the party recovered and moved as one to attack the two statues, which proved a difficult task after a longsword +1 broke when it hit the solid stone figure. Since the weapon had been borrowed from the Minas Mandalf armoury, this event brought on mixed feelings of loss.
Hypnotic Pattern was deployed by Shinji, a spell which I had to look up to adjudicate. Amazingly, this spell makes no provision for immunity to automatons such as those they faced, which had +4 on saving throws anyway, so I allowed it to apply as written. One statue failed its save, immediately halving the danger to the party as it stopped to stare at the pattern.
A couple of different techniques were now employed by the party to ameliorate the risk to their weapons. Shinji allowed his Shortsword +2 to be used, thinking (wrongly), that it would be proof against shattering. As it happened, the sword was successfully deployed without breaking, reinforcing this belief. Erwin attempted to grapple the statue, and soon learned that short & light thieves are outclassed in this arena by stone statues.
The others plugged away while the non-hypnotized statue whiffed a few attacks. Finding little purchase with his bow, Treefingers decided also to grapple; but went flying through empty space as his attack came simultaneously with solid hits from Tancred (Level 4 Paladin) and Steiner (Level 4 Dwarf Fighter) that shattered the automaton. Shinji kept concentrating on his pattern until they had destroyed the second animated column.
A search of the room found mummified bodies clad in ornate bronze armour within the two outer sarcophagi, then they discovered that the centre sarcophagus actually contained a steep stair cut into stone, heading down.
Down the stairs and around the corner the party found a room with a five more sarcophagi, this time standing, positioned around a huge statue of Huheuteotl. Its eyes seemed to stare back at them from the far side of the room. Evil was detected; but, again, traps were not.
Erwin decided to make straight for the presumed jewels in the brow of the statue; but as soon as he got in range, the statue's eyes lit up and sent a searing blast of light his way. As this was a manifestation of the awesome power of Huhueteotl, the blast could not be dodged, and burned away a chunk of flesh from its target. At the same time the doors to the 5 sarcophagi swung open, giving the party a shock. However, the only things that came out were the desiccated, and very dead, mummified guards that fell to the floor with a clatter. It seemed that the magic power which would have animated them was no longer puissant enough to do so.
Next round the laser eyed statue blasted Tancred, and things started to look a little dicey for the PCs; until they realised there was space behind the statue, between the wall and its back. They now rushed to squeeze into the space together and began to methodically chip away at the statue until it fell to bits.
Feeling worse for wear, the party eschewed continuing down the passage that led out of the room to the west, but instead returned back up stairs, opened the secret door they had previously located, and explored the passage behind it (narrowly avoiding to forget to use the wand and dying horribly!). After several turns they found stairs going up to another room, presumably near the top of the pyramid.
It was getting late so they gathered up the bronze armour and other items they could carry (included the stone head of the Huheuteotl statue) and retraced their steps back outside. Haragon copied their map and was pleased with their efforts, and was also understanding that to complete the job they would have to return to the swamp at another time.
Treasure: 2500gp. Back in Minas Mandalf there was a sage/merchant who was very interested in their finds, and payed well for the armour and weapons etc.
Total XP :3620xp
Steiner (Dwarf Fighter Level 4)
Erwin (Human Thief Level 3)
Treefingers (Human Ranger Level 1)
Shinji (Human Mendicant Wujen Level 3)
Tancred (Human Paladin Level 4)
Haragon (Human Cleric Level 12)