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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Heroes of the 13th Age: Part 6-Dungeon Ecology 101--Everything IS trying to kill you

Our last 13th Age play session happened last month, and we found a few hours this last weekend to get in a play session for May.  With one combat after another, I thought we might settle down into more exploration and role playing for this session.  I even mentioned this to my son.  He laughed.  He was right.  Read on to find out what else they decided to fight in this session.

The adventuring party still consists of
Cerise, the Spirit-Touched Cleric
Indigo the Gnome Cleric
Zazz (and once again the name changes), the Half-Elf Rogue
Legolis, the High Elf Ranger
Hey Watchit, the Half-Orc Fighter
Lief, the Human Bard
Delthen Eversoar, the Human Paladin
Rolen Stillwind, the Wood Elf Sorcerer, and
Yoshi Antien, the Samurai flavored Half-Elf Fighter

All players were present and accounted for, and we had a fun, if shorter, session.

Initially, there was a firm conviction on the part of the party as a whole to continue down the main passage forthwith, and to find the way down to the crypt level, where they hoped to find the Elf-slaying spear Alkarg and keep it out of the hands of suspected Man-Orc Seth. 

Ominously, they heard the cry of the Owlbear echo down the main passage.  Again, they went over the fact that, though the Owlbear was in the courtyard cistern (upon which they had placed the old partially broken stone cover, it was possible that there was some access to the cistern from this lower level, as that would be a convenience that would fit the design of an early Imperial fortress (according to researcher Monk Crommard, one of the two essentially helpless civilians that they were having to drag along since the party had rescued them).  Listening carefully and creeping forward, they determined that the Owlbear had not yet broken its way into this level, but, it seemed possible that it could.  They noted that the main 20' wide passage continued after taking a sharp left turn off into the darkness (towards the sounds of the hungry Owlbear).  They noted several side passages, and, after the turn, several old tapestries covering possible openings on both sides of the main passage.

Then they go distracted by the side passages.  Retreating back up the main passage, they first proceeded twenty feet down a side passage where they found a door, which had been jammed by the settling over the years of the stone lintel.  However, they also noted that some animal or animals had, over the years, chewed open a significantly large opening at the base of the door.  After some examination and discussion, they concluded that probably giant rats were the culprits.  They also decided that someone needed to check the room.

There was a lot of joking about how it was a low entry and that the Gnome, Indigo, ought to fit right in.  Indigo was having none of it.  Every dutiful to the party, Samurai Yoshi set aside his pack and larger weapons, drew his wakizashi and crawled through the hole.  Unfortunately, despite years of training, Yoshi's characteristics are no great shakes for alertness, and he was easily surprised by the giant spider dropping onto his back as it crossed the threshold.

Unfortunately for the spider, it totally failed to make an effective attack. 

Round 1

Everyone rolled initiative.  Yoshi (with Improved Initiative and a high DEX) scored a 27, to easily win ahead of the spider and everyone else.  That was the good news.  He planed to stand and fight the spider in the room.  However, the superior initiative allowed him to wisely scan this "battlefield" before standing, and he spotted the five additional spiders rushing down the webs that lined the ceiling and walls of the room.

New plan.

He quickly backed out, shaking off the Spider and grabbing his larger weapons while shouting "burn them!!"

Now, among the party is one spider expert, Indigo.  He was very interested in the spiders and was ready to use his background (+5 Raised Spiders) to assist in the battle.

The rest of the partly simply let loose, initially on the spider they could see at the base of the door.

Legolis the Ranger, however, missed his bowshot.  1 point miss damage.

Leif the Bard shouted thunder with his Battle Chant.  This was, unfortunately, a fumble.  Borrowing from Dungeon World, I asked "What happens?"  The players quickly decided that the blast of thunder blew the door open, so that their plan to pour flammable liquid under the door and ignite it was spoiled, and also permitting the six spiders all to boil out of the doorway more easily to attack the party.  Oops.

Hey Watchit, the Hal-Orc Fighter swinging his mighty tree. . . missed, doing miss damage.

Zazz the Rogue dashed forward, still hoping to used lamp oil to some effect.  However, her attempt to parkour her way forward and throw the oil flask forward in a cool action-movie like slo-mo coating spiders and then igniting was interrupted by her fumbling her roll.  In order not to land among the spiders coated in oil herself, she invoked a maneuver using a combination of DEX and her Raised in a Tavern background (which is perhaps the most broadly useful background ever perpetrated in the game; it is also highly amusing, and thus the player gets to push it a lot).  I let her roll.  She rolled a 20.

Okay, we had a fumble followed by a critical.  Both had to be honored.  So, the oil flask skittered harlessly into the web strewn room without breaking.  The Rogue remained uninjured.  However, she was now front a center and made the main target for the spiders, and slightly tangled up in the doorjamb such that she could not easily retreat.

Dark Paladin and Inquisitor Delthen Eversoar then charged forward shield first to hold the door.  Normally, he could have placed himself alone between the monsters and the rest of his companions, but Zazz was all tangled up beside him, so that put both him and the Half-Elf Rogue at the top of the target list for the spiders.

I ruled that three spiders could make their attacks that round.

I rolled three attacks (1 for Delthen and 2 for Zazz).  I rolled 3 consecutive 3s.  Stupid d20!

Shimmering with holy light, Cerise, the Spirit-Touched Cleric loosed her Javelin of Faith.  Miss.

Finally the spider expert Indigo had his turn.  He rolled a phenomenally good roll using his background to find out what odor would attract the spiders away back into the room (a helpless fear drenched halfling was the suggestion of one of the players).  Using his Illusion Domain, Indigo created the smell in the room, forcing all six spiders to make standard saving throws (11+).  All of the spiders except the first one failed the save (yes, that's five failures in a row--stupid d20) and turned to charge back into the room to retrieve the mysteriously appearing yummy snack.

The last spider continued to hang at the top of the door frame, attempting to bite Delthen's head.

Rolen the Wood Elf Sorcerer focused his Scorching Ray at the last remaining spider.  Fizzle.  Nothing.

Round 2
Yoshi, with the initiative, lunged forward over Delthen's shoulder with his katana, and he missed . . . no wait, hit!  Thank you Escalation Die!  Max damage!

Legolis also rolled a miss, and invoked his Archery feat to reroll, which was unfortunately a miss.

Lief determined to try to charm the spider, using his Linguist feat and enormous CHA.  The spider was not impressed.

Zazz then pulled herself away from the door and made a quick crossbow shot at the spider, making a hit!

Delthen then swung his mace, powered by his Smite Evil, and landed a 14 point damage blow.  However, he then went on to try to flick the spider off the doorjamb with a maneuver, but failed.

Cerise sent blazing forth another Javelin of Faith, this time landing a critical hit.

Indigo also fired off his Javelin, but missed.

Rolen then cast his Scorching Ray to minor effect. 

The spider was mostly done for, but not yet dead.

Round 3
Before the spider could make a move to retreat, the swift moving Samurai Yoshi thrust into it again with his katana, slaying the arachnid.

With the immediate combat ended and the other spiders still looking for a helpless hafling that they could smell, but could not find, the party backed into the main corridor to regrroup and continue to explore.

A couple of things became apparent.  First, as Lief looked down to the left turn in the main corridor, off of which was another side passage, he began to feel a distinct foreboding.  Second, Rolen, the Sorcerer, realized that the cursed mark on his left hand reacted with what seemed like hungry interest every time it could "see" Legolis (whom Rolen nearly incinerated last time with a critical fumble).  If the curse were a being, it would be saying something like the Wild Things in Maurice Sendak's book "I'll burn you up I love you so."

Both revelations got the appropriate "well, that's not good" reactions.

Moving down the corridor, they noticed that the next side passage was filled with bones.  Indigo suddenly sensed a powerful emanation of undeath from the passage.  Lief suddenly realized what was bothering him, as he had the same feeling he had experienced when he was ensorcelled by the Tribe of Necromancers (his One Unique Thing).  From the dark, some THING started to call his name and to call him to the service of the Lich King.  The voice told Lief that they could glorify the Lich King and leave his living companions behind (by killing them).

That was enough for the party, who all prepared for a fight.

Round 1
Zazz was first, tied with the suddenly rampaging giant rat skeletons (mooks).  The Rogue easily slipped into the shadows with a Shadow Walk.  There were ten skeleton rat attacks, with more coming out of the piles of bones.  Most missed, one fumbled on Rolen, preventing another's attack, but Cerise, Indigo and Lief were hit, with Lief being hit critically.  The hit on Cerise caused her Halo power to do down, much to her chagrin.  However, the little rat skeletons did not pack much of a punch otherwise.

Delthen and Hey then counterattacked, quickly destroying three skeletons.  These, however, were just as quickly replaced from a total pool of 20.  Yoshi had a swing and a miss.  Cerise's Javelin of Faith missed.  Lief began his Song of Spilt Blood and then hit with his Battle Chant and Rolen made a successful Elven Grace roll, allowing him to make an empowered Scorching Ray attack.  Legolis also scored an arrow hit.

At this point, out of the bones sprang a rag clad, tattooed Ghoul Necromancer.

Gnome Cleric Indigo then called on the gods of his people and blasted out with his Turn Undead spell.  This had an immediate effect on the rat skeletons, two more of which disintegrated, and the rest became dazed (-4 to hit, as if they were not rolling badly enough already).

Round 2
Zazz stepped out of the shadows behind the Ghoul Necromancer, but only nicked him with her dagger, rolling a miss.

All the rat skeletons attacking missed.

The Necromancer turned on Zazz.  Madness burned in his dead eyes.  Dark power shimmered across the foul tattoos etched on his corpse body.  The temperature dropped around Zazz, as the cold of the grave seeped into the space between her and the Necromancer.  Her breath frosted in front of her.  With a cackle of glee, the unclean spellcaster unleashed his blast of necromantic energy.

Zazz carefully stepped aside as he missed, leaving his lethal attack nothing more than a cold spot on the wall (stupid d20!)

Delthen, Paladin of Darkness, charged forward swinging his mace at the Ghoul's head.  The Ghoul neatly side stepped and it was Delthen's turn to miss. 

Hey mashed some rats with his tree.

Lief unleashed the thunder of his voice, smashing more rat skeletons.  The magic of his voice also allowed Zazz to freely disengage from the Ghoul.

Yoshi drew a bead on the Ghoul, and his fumble almost put the arrow into Delthen's back.  Fortunately, the arrow pinged harmlessly off his armored shoulder.

Cerise, suffused again with holy light, cast forth the Spirits of the Righteous, dealing a serious, but far from lethal blow to the Necromancer.

Rolen's Elven Grace failed him in this round, yet his Scorching Ray was effective, not only frying another skeleton, but also setting the rat mooks alight for ongoing damage.

Legolis fired his bow at the rat skeletons, rolling a critical hit.  The table suggested that he had made a double shot, loading two arrows onto his string and hitting two separate rat skeletons, destroying both!

Indigo hurled his Javelin of Faith and did damage AND befuddled the Ghoul.

Round 3
Zazz, having taken a few steps back, let loose with her Flying Blade attack, arcing her throwing glaive at the Ghoul.  Once again, the capering spell caster stepped aside, only getting nicked by the miss. 

The Ghoul again called upon the cold of the grave to attack Delthen and Zazz.

And . . . nothing.  Swish.  He did save and end the effects of being Befuddled.

The few remaining burning rat skeletons tried to attack, but failed.  One fell apart. 

Hey missed his main swing, but the slight impact of his tree on a miss was enough to shatter the last charred rat skeleton.

Delthen had a swing and a miss.

Cerise called upon the powers of light and cast forth her Javelin of Faith once again, this time landing a solid hit on the foul undead Necromancer.

Yoshi's arrow missed its mark.

Lief's Battle Chant only rattled some old bones.

Rolen's Elven Grace once again failed him, but his Scorching Ray sizzled the tattooed skin of the Ghoul.

Legoli's arrow found its mark.

Indigo's holy Javelin of Faith also struck.

Suddenly, the fearsom Ghoul Necromancer was down to very few hit points (13).

Round 4
Zazz loosed another Flying Blade attack, with another glaive and hit . . . for 12 points.

The Ghoul, now with one hit point, sought to disengage with Delthen and dive back into its river of bones.  However, that (stupid!) d20 roll failed.  So it instead launched itself in a frustrated physical attack against Delthen.  It bit and slashed and battered the Paladin, finding every chink and weakness in his defenses, doing 21 points of damage after scoring a special attack with its rolll.

The Paladin, battered and bleeding swung his mace . . . miss.

However, the one point of miss damage, the slight glancing blow, easily shaken off usually, felled the dread Ghoul.

End of combat.

Once again the, the adventurer's triumphed!  Everyone celebrated by digging through piles of bones and trash in the Ghoul's lair to find coins, gems, jewelry and other sundries!

Treasure!

Delthen sucked down a healing potion, because he was about, literally, dead on his feet.

In the distance, they heard again the wild cry of the Owlbear seeking some way to enter the level.

They decided they needed to find a place to rest, and indeed, after suffering so much punishment, with their recoveries nearly all exhausted, they had earned a full rest.

But where . . . ?

Find out next time as we continue Heroes of the 13th Age!!!