Friday, August 20, 2010

The Cellar, the entrance to CotMA

         |                        |
         |                        |
         |                       ,'|
    ___  |                       ||| Door A
 ,-'   `-|                       `.'
/        |                        |
|   Spiral stair down            ,'|
\        |                       ||| Door B
 `.     ,|                       `+'
   `---' |                        |
         |                       |+.
         |                       ||| Door C
         |                       '+'
         |                        |
                         |    |
                         |    |Narrow
                         |    |stair
                         `..../up to surface

During their first session, the heroes descended into the dungeon using Door C.

During session two, they used Door B and then Door A.

During session three, they used the Spiral stairs exclusively.
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CotMA Episode 3a

The party recuperated in town for nearly a week before heading out again.  Two members of the party were unable to join in on the adventure, but two new characters, a monk and a paladin, were new to town and looking for excitement.

The party headed back to the ruin and down into the cellar.  They opted to take the spiral stair down, in hope that it would end up behind the silver metal doors -- despite what Oryx said about the stairs not meeting up.

Some strange wizardry must be at work, because the stairs did in fact meet up, despite the fact that the entrance and exit were hundreds of feet apart laterally.  The characters approached the doors and listened to hear if anything was lying in wait on the other side.  Hearing none, they threw the portals wide.

On the other side of the doors, they found the corridor much the same as they left it.  The corpses of the troglodytes had been vigorously gnawed upon by rodents.  Bloody rodent footprints could be seen leading away from the trog bodies and into the darkness.

The heroes proceeded forward to find another alcove -- this one with a magic mouth!  It spoke --

"There once was an elf from Narwell, 
and soon in a deep pit he fell.
He tried to climb up it, but then just said stuff it, 
and now his ghost lives in third hell."

This even generated a bit of discussion but eventually the heroes moved further down the hall.  They discovered a branch to the right that made a sharp right turn.  Continuing on they found a hall that ended abruptly at a wall covered with wicked spikes.  

Sensing danger, the heroes backed slowly away.  The monk and the elf retreated to the alcove with the keyhole and tried putting the mechanism in the "clunk" position to see if there was any effect on the spikes or the room.  The characters set up a sort of vocal relay, spacing themselves in the hallway while the dwarf (on his leash) peeked around the corner at the spikes while the fighter held onto his rope.  Oryx could hear the mechanism clicking and clunking, but no other effect was apparent.  

The adventurers were not satisfied that they had de-activated what seemed like a trap, so they prepared to depart when the dwarf and fighter were beset by giant rats!  The vile creatures were rapidly dispatched by the pair even as the heroes ran back to give aid to the dwarf and fighter.

Once the party was reunited, they gathered in the circle of their torchlight and discussed their options.

Their strategy session was interrupted when the elf heard orc voices in the dark.  Knowing that they were sitting ducks and very visible in the light, they quickly set an ambush around the dark spiky corner and the human members of the party headed back down the corridor away from the oncoming orcs...

The orcs had a chance to see the ambush, but they didn't.  Thus, they quickly found themselves sandwiched between to walls of adventurers.  One group got some free attacks in from surprise.  The battle went back and forth, the orcs getting a few good licks in, but eventually they were all defeated.

The party took a few deep breaths and then they heard the battle cries of some more orcs heading their way.  The party girded themselves for battle, organized themselves into ranks, and waited for the orcs to arrive...

Five more orc warriors and a huge orc leader appeared in the distance, faintly visible in their torchlight...

In a few more seconds they closed the gap and JS's wizard let loose his "Sleep" spell!

Of the possible 16 (4d4) HD of monsters affected, JS rolled 14!  Loud snoring erupted in the hall as the orcs were sent into a mystical slumber (from which they never awoke!)

The adventurers continued down the hall to discover a curving corridor.  A large room with a well and four apparent exits and the orc chambers.

The orc chambers were looted for their booty some gold and a potion (!) and then the heroes investigated the well.  Rolf dropped in a torch and determined that it was some 30' deep and was filled with water at that level.  Oryx discovered that one path was blocked by a portcullis.   Before investigating further, the party determined that one corridor led back toward the spiral stair and the diagonal passage.

That's when things got interesting...  (to be continued!)
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

CotMA - Episode 2b

...continued from here...

After battling with the hobgoblins and retreating back to town, the adventurers healed up (Rolf the Fighter used his considerable charisma to join a local church, impressing a priestess with his dedication and piety.  He did this simply to get the "member discount" on healing potions!) and then they headed back to the Castle...

Once in the cellar, they opted for Door A and headed down...

At the bottom of the stairs they found a swirling mass of impenetrable darkness.  They were wisely suspicious and they took a little time testing it.  Thrusting their torches into the darkness to discover that the inky blackness quashed the light -- but didn't put the torch out.

Eventually, Oryx the dwarf was put back on his leash and he entered the room.  He couldn't see anything, but the adventurers discovered that they could speak to each other in normal voice.  The darkness didn't dampen sound in any way.

Feeling the walls  as he moved carefully along, he used his dwarven understanding of construction to map the room.  Eventually he found the exit door and escaped from the inky blackness...

Following the rope attached to the dwarf, the party threaded itself across the dark room.  LB's elf went back into the room, used a rope to "sweep" the floor of the room and found a lost key!

The party headed out and found a long hallway with an alcove that ended at a door.  Another passageway went off at a right angle and then off at a sharp 45° angle...  The heroes followed this hall.

After the angular corridor, they found a door made of badly weathered grey wood.  They listened and heard nothing then they pulled the door open.

The party discovered that the full 8' door covered up a 4' tall opening to a room with a 4' high cieling.  Oryx was put back on his leash and he carefully began exploring the room.  He discovered that it had six large, tubular holes in the cieling...

|  ,-.         ,-.         .' `.  |
| /   \       /   \        |   |  | <-- holes/tubes
| \   /       \   /        \   /  |     in ceiling
|  `-'         `-'          `-'   |
|   _           _           ,-.   |
| ,' `.       ,' `.        |   | .|.
| \   '       |   |        |tick |||
|  `-'         \_/         `._,  `|'
| '''''|
| Oryx |
|      |
|      |
|      |
|      |
|      |

Oryx explored the room but as he approached the far door, he was attacked by a giant bloodsucking tick!  It dropped out of the far ceiling hole, nearly surprising our doughty dwarf!  It took a few rounds but he splattered the creature all over the floor and was able to open the exit door.  The party carefully followed him out of the room, all other members crawling on all fours or bent over at the waist.

On the far side of this room, the heroes found a long hall that branched left and right.  They explored a little way in each direction but then took the left branch.  The found a sharply slanting hall and a set of large, metal double doors with strange silvery runic inlays.  Behind these doors they found a large spiral stair similar to the one in the cellar.  Oryx explained that there was no physical way that this stair could connect with the stair in the cellar, despite its similarity.  

Just past the doors they found an alcove and after searching they found a keyhole.  Indeed the key that LB's elf found fit perfectly.  When turned, it made a powerful "click".  Turning it back, it made a resounding "clunk".  The party decided to leave the mechanism in the "clicked" position and they retrieved the key.  

Moving further down the hall the party surprised a troglodyte patrol.  At least one member of the party (possibly more than one) were adversely affected by the horrible stench and their fighting ability was diminished from the retching.   Eventually they defeated the trogs and retreated from the dungeon by way of the staircase to Door A.
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CotMA Episode 2a

Last night we played our second session of CotMA.  We had a few new players -- JS and JW -- and a few former players couldn't make the session -- JD and LB.  Hopefully the whole gang will return for the next episode!

Our adventure began in town (I'll name it soon and make a sketch) for supplies and then the heroes headed out on the three-league journey to the Castle ruin.

Once there, they entered the cellar and proceeded to the locked middle door (Door B).  JS's wizard examined the door for obvious traps and finding none he attempted to pick the lock.

Rolling, using my new Attribute Challenge system, he got a 1 and 'click' the door was unlocked.   DB's dwarf opened the door and they looked down into a disused, steep and dangerous passage.  Loose flagstones and precarious footing all the way down.  They tied a rope to the dwarf (a common theme this episode that I referred to as "his leash") and the dwarf and elf headed downward relying on infravision to help them find the way.  The party extended the rope 50' and once taut, the dwarf and elf would wait for the humans with torches to catch up (moving accordion style).

After three such accordion moves, the heroes found themselves on a landing of sorts and the elf and dwarf once again descended downward.  After 30' around a hairpin bend, the elf heard gruff voices.  Not knowing the language exactly, he was able to determine that it was "goblin-y".

The heroes descended to discover their way blocked by a portcullis.

Sitting around a small fire, arguing with one another, was a small group of hobgoblins.  The lead heroes retreated around the corner to strategize with their companions.  It was decided that JS's wizard would incapacitate the hobbo's with "Sleep" and then the party would jimmy the stuck/locked portcullis...

Carefully, his wizard snuck down and around the corner and waited for the right time to unleash his spell...

...and it would have worked too, except that the hobgoblins kept trained killer white apes as pets!

Oryx tried to trap the arms of one ape that was foolish enough to thrust them through the portcullis bars, but it didn't work.

Battle ensued and the apes and the sleeping hobgoblins were defeated.   (It was more dramatic and suspenseful than that.  I'm almost positive that someone was badly hurt and I know that the apes presented a significant challenge... Sorry.  It's been almost four weeks and I just can't recall the details.)

The adventurers searched the room and found some minor coinage as loot.   Then a door opened...

"Hulgak crok rogath!" a brusque hobgoblin voice cried (Translation: Hulgak come here!  Now!")

The heroes shouted back and then charged down the hallway toward the sound of the voice... and found themselves in a barracks positively FILLED with hobgoblins...

To arms!  To battle!  Huzzah!  The adventurers went toe-to-toe with the hobbos and slew many.  Then the hobgoblin's morale broke and they ran from the room.

Battered and hearing the sound of reinforcements, the heroes retreated and barred the door.  Climbing out of the dungeon past the portcullis and slogged their way back to town (still un-named...) be continued...
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Rolf, Fighter

Player: JS

STR 17 INT 9
DEX 14 WIS 8
CON 14 CHA 15

Level: 1
HP: 8

Special Quality: Knack for Languages

Speaks: Common, Orcish, Dwarvish

Platemail, shield, bastard sword, dagger, short bow, arrows x20, sack, rations x10, torches x10, waterskin, flint and steel, oil x10
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Kalen the Lockpicker, Magic User

Player: JS

STR 9 INT 17
DEX 15 WIS 10
CON 16 CHA 8

Level: 1
HP: 5

Speaks: Common, Ogre, Goblin, Elvish, Orcish

Special Quality: 

Spellbook, Traveling spellbook, dagger, staff, darts x20, rations x10, parchment x10, oil x10, flint and steel, flask of wine, bedroll, backpack, 50' of silk rope with grappling hook, sack, whistle, spikes x10, hammer, waterskin, torches x10, bullseye lantern

Spells known: Charm Person, Dispel Magic, Hold Portal, Light, Magic Missile, Prot from Evil, Read Languages, Read Magic, Shield, Sleep
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Sir Owyn de Lapins, Paladin

Player: JW

STR 16 INT 10
DEX 15 WIS 16
CON 15 CHA 11

Level: 1
HP: 6

Special Quality: Orienteering, Eye for Irregularity

Plate armor, long sword, shield, backpack, bottle of wine, flint and steel, hammer, spikes x12, rations x5, sacks x2, waterskin, holy symbol - wood
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Sadhu Hanuman, Monk

Player: JW

STR 16 INT 12
DEX 17 WIS 13
CON 12 CHA 12

Level: 1
HP: 3

Special Quality: Oh Captain, My Captain

Staff, Chakram disks, backpack, waterskin, bottle of sake, chalk x10, flint and steel, grappling hook, hammer, holy symbol (handmade from silver), rations x5, hemp rope, sack x2
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