Saturday 17 September 2022

Trollopulous Reloaded Session Report: 2

 



Session Report 1 is here

In this session PCs adventured on 01/07/22 for 1 day.

Forward

Back to the Vampire Temple! In this session the party was augmented by a level 4 Cleric, an addition that was to have a big impact at the end.

In the down time since last session Haragon (NPC Cleric Level 12) began to get the idea that the PCs were considering taking on the Vampire themselves, but had conflicting ideas how to do so. He told them;
"They way I do it is like this; you stake them through the heart, you cut off their head, and then you pour holy water into the their mouth. There may be other ways, but I tell you, if you do this you'll have a dead vampire, guaranteed."

Last week the had party examined the outside of a hill/mound before entering the temple beneath and examining several rooms. They left off at the base of a stair leading towards the top of the pyramidal temple, and retreated back to Minas Mandalf. This week much the same squad, with Amadeus (PC Cleric Level 4) as mentioned above, and following the same plan resumed where they had left off. 

Found this map online and modified to suit the situation



Session Report

As the party explored areas of the pyramid they had previously been through, everything they found was the same as they'd left it; including destroyed statues and various mess they had made. Even the places where they had carefully marked out trapped floor stones were just as they left them. This spooked them a little.

They travelled through a secret door discovered last week, around a few corners, then up stairs into a very large room that featured a huge sarcophagus in the centre on a raised dais, flanked by two columns carved to resemble coiled snakes piled one upon another. At the far wall was a mural of Huheuteotl that stretched 30' up to the cracked ceiling, two glowing red stones formed the eyes of the mural.

To say that the party were suitably freaked out by the prospects of what could go wrong in this room would be an understatement. However, a charge from the Wand of Secret Door and Trap Location showed no traps. Then Erwin ran up to the sarcophagus with his crowbar. Well, he wasn't quite that reckless, he did keep as low to the ground as possible - concerned that the eyes of Huheuteotl may turn out to work like the statue from last week with laser eyes. 

The thief made it to the dais without incident and saw that around the sarcophagus was a carved representation of the life cycle of the temple and the Tlatoani (king). Erwin was not interested in such trivia and went to work with the crowbar; but, as soon as it touched the sarcophagus it was suddenly stuck fast. At the same time a misshapen 'arm' formed from the side of the sarcophagus and swung at Erwins' head. It was not a sarcophagus at all, but some kind of living creature! 

Most modern Mimic depictions are too over the top for my liking


Serious damage came Erwin's way and he backed up, leaving the crowbar behind. In the heat of the moment he didn't seem to realise that using the crow bar had saved his life. The party settled in to whittle down the Mimic's HP when two Firesnakes exploded out the the eyes of the Huheuteotl mural and sprang towards them. These new comers gave them something more to think about, but some careful archery and good rolling soon saw the situation under the party's control. However, after winning the fight, there was nothing much of use in the room apart from a gem in the cracked remains of each Firesnake stone, so they left and went down two levels.

Back in the room with the standing sarcophagi and the smashed Huheuteotl statue, again nothing looked any different to when they had previously been here. They continued on and found a large room lined with columns on two sides and with, at the far end, stairs going down. The Wand found two traps in this room, and here is where things went a bit strange. They found a trap found right before the stairs which seemed to be related to an aperture hidden in the far wall, i.e. behind anyone attempting to descend.

Here is where Erwin threw another crowbar in the works. For some reason, after carefully finding, mapping, and avoiding traps; he wanted to set off this one. Perhaps he thought something might happen to the steep stairs. Grabbing some broken pieces of Huheuteotl statue, he placed one on the the trapped floor stone and I quickly improvised a method to determine how many such stones it would take to set it off. It turned only one stone was need, with the result that a jet of fire shot out of the western wall, right over the squatting Erwin's head, but close enough to singe his hair. Nothing else happened and so it seemed that this tangential action had been safe enough, but the party were about to find out differently.

They proceeded 30 feet down the stairs to a landing, which ran for another 30 feet before more stairs led further down.

It was when the party was wearily crossing the landing, while observing another mural to their left, that the ambush happened. The mural split inwards from top to bottom, the walls pivoting like opening double doors. The opening revealed a large room beyond but the pivoting wall trapped the party within a 10 foot section of the corridor. They had apparently interrupted a group of twenty or so savages in the midst of a cannibal feast. The savages, clad in armour fashioned from lizardman skins and topped with a helm made to resemble the head of Huheuteotl, stood ready to attack and were by no means surprised. They had opened the mural to ambush the party, and let out unmistakably joyful shouts of challenge in an unknown tongue.

Treefingers' Ranger surprise bonus saved the party from probable annihilation at this point.

I provided a huge infodump as the ambush happened, and probably could have done so in a way that was easier to digest for the party; but they soon had enough of an idea to respond to the attack.

Initiative; having narrowly avoided being surprised, this first round's initiative proved to be crucial since two PCs declared they had spells to cast. Shinji used his ability to add 3 to his roll (his personal initiative, I mistakenly applied it to the party, though it did not effect the end result as I rolled a 1 for the savages anyway).

Shinji needed no prompting to use Hypnotic Pattern against this new enemy, the spell that had served him so well last week. Amadeus (Cleric level 4) used Hold Person, and between them they locked up 18 of 20 opponents before they could loose their javelins.

Apart from the Javelin wielders there were two other enemies, a powerful looking leader behind the front rank of warriors, and a shifty looking shaman in the corner of the room. The shaman was standing beside a section of wall upon which was a mural of typical construction for the temple, but unique design; a glance showed it was a map of the entire temple, with markings indicating the location of all the traps the party had previously discovered. A red stone marked the location of the trap they had so recently triggered.

Steiner and Tancred charged the leader, who was also lining up to charge them. They met in the middle, and a strange kind of probability wave collapse happened as the leader chose to ignore the Dwarf and overbear the bigger Paladin, but no one knew just how big that Paladin was; which, of course, is a must for AD&D unarmed combat. 

I pointed to this previously unknown (to me) advantage in unarmed combat I'd recently come across, that is exclusive to human PCs.

DMG Pg. 12

So Tancred's player made use of the above and, in my mind's eye, all of a sudden shot up to 6'8" and 275lbs (or so). Just like that he was 20% taller and heavier than his opponent!

The Aztec tribal leader was a big man himself, so it had been an easy DM decision that, being unable to overbear the most obvious magic using target, he would choose the bigger of the two PCs within reach. However, he was really suited to pummelling Tancred and not grappling/overbearing; the decision to overbear the caster cost him the opportunity to simply punch the Paladin. What followed was a few rounds of desperate grappling with arm locks and finger holds, until the Aztec leader had had enough and drew his obsidian studded club.

Meanwhile, Treefingers flung himself in front of Shinji as a human shield against the two javelin throwers who had made their saves against the spells. He was not hit himself and thanks to him providing effective partial cover to Shinji (+7 effective AC as per DMG pg. 64) the spell caster's Hypnotic Pattern remained in effect.

Next round's initiative was super close as the shaman in the back cast Hold Person at Shinji and Amadeus, while Amadeus tried the same spell back at him. What Amadeus didn't know was the the shaman had the benefit of a Sanctuary spell, he had spent the first round casting this and sizing up the party, meaning that the cleric would need to save versus spell before he could try and target the shaman. I helpfully pointed out that the shaman appeared to be going through the same semantic movements as he was, ratcheting up the tension as the implied threat to Shinji's concentration sunk in. Amadeus made the roll though, and the Hold Person took hold of the shaman and (thanks to some later backstabs from Erwin ) he was soon removed from the fight, and life itself.

With the Shaman down the freed up PCs added their number to the two attacking the leader. The man had a lot of HP and was still dangerously swinging his club, but he finally went down.

A less dramatic, but no less intense, battle was fought out between Treefingers and the two remaining warriors (one of whom was clearly a higher level sub-leader of some kind). Once again Shinji's concentration was on the line if Treefingers fell, but the ranger emerged victorious when he killed one and the other was charmed.

Having defeated the cannibal Huheuteotl worshippers, it was getting late and players were tempted to call it a night. Through the charmed tribesman, I nudged them to check out the map/control panel on the wall, which showed only one more room to explore. They steeled themselves to investigate.

The final room resembled the fake tomb at the top of the pyramid, but this was clearly the real deal; even more gruesome murals, an ornate stepped dais, and a stone shelf holding vase like objects running along three of the four walls. A sense of ancient evil pervaded the room. They peered in and saw that the dais at the far end held an open sarcophagus within which was a coffin, also open. Imagine their surprise as the party looked into the coffin, expecting a fanged Christopher Lee look alike when...

Surprise! Female Vampire!

The players had no way to know, but I had given a chance that the vampire could have been awaked by the fight with the Huheuteotl tribesmen. One possible reaction from her would have been to use gaseous form to approach and then infiltrate the party in the guise of a trollop. The level of surprise when they saw her in her coffin made me wish that had happened, they would have bought it for sure! Having insinuated herself into the party, not knowing about Macho Mandalf's Prismatic Sunglasses, she would then have tried to charm one of them and likely been charmed herself. Would have been great, but I was not going to story game it in!

Captivated by the glint of platinum and oblivious to the risk, the party chose to move in for the kill without back up from Haragon and his squad waiting outside.

Although no dice were rolled, the atmosphere during the staking, beheading, and holy watering of the vampire was filled with tension. She went from undead to dead dead and they visibly relaxed, beginning to contemplate the gleaming treasures held within the sarcophagus; when the shadows attacked! The vase like cylinders on the stone shelf, containing the desiccated organs of the Tlatoani, each disgorged a hungry undead and they swarmed at the party. 

Was all that treasure going to be snatched away at the last minute? Not if Amadeus had a say, the 4th level cleric boldly presented his holy symbol. He rolled well for turn undead, overcoming the penalty associated with the evil in the tomb, and sent the shadows screaming back into their canopic jar homes; which the party then doused with the copious amounts of spare holy water Treefingers had had the foresight to carry with him. This cleansed the tomb of the evil presence they had sensed.

Epilogue

Through a secret door they found a large series of rooms housing the 300 missing Trollops, the place was laid out like a James Bond style training facility. Clearly, they were being prepared to go out into the world and act as agents for the vampire. Two of the better looking and more intelligent Trollops gushed over the PCs and explained their harrowing story of being groomed as "Sisters" for the vampire "Catalina". 

From their story some of the mysteries of the tomb were explained. Catalina's family were Trollopulous nobility, they owned the land and created the graveyard for the family's black sheep, unknowingly on top of the old temple. When Catalina and her two sisters were killed by a vampire, their father could not bring himself to destroy his daughters, and had them staked only, then intermed in a mausoleum he had built for this purpose. Many years later their uncle discovered the truth and dispatched a cousin to destroy them. The cousin was successful with the first two sisters, but on the second one inadvertently dislodged Catalina's coffin lid, awaking her. She interrogated then battered him to death, so as not to turn him into a vampire too. Newly awakened to her vampire nature, she used gaseous form to sink into the cracks in the floor of the mausoleum to get out of the threatening sunlight, thereby discovering the temple below and eventually the Huheuteotl worshipers; who she charmed and made to serve as her, ultimately unsuccessful, guards.

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The treasure haul from this was pretty amazing, all rolled randomly.

Magic Items
Huheuteotl worshipers:
Gauntlets of Ogre Power
Potion of Extra Healing

Vampire Sarcophagus:
Scarab of Protection
Cloak of Protection+2
Potion of healing
Potion of fire resistance
Scroll of Protection from Petrification

Loads of jewels and coins

Total GP = 68600
Total XP = 86903
 
Individually
14,484 XP each
11,433 GP each

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Session PCs

Steiner (Dwarf Fighter Level 4)

Erwin (Human Thief Level 3)

Treefingers (Human Ranger Level 1)

Shinji (Human Mendicant Wujen Level 3)

Tankred (Human Paladin Level 4)

Amadeus (Human Cleric Level 4)

Supporting Characters

Haragon (Human Cleric Level 12)

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