Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dwimmermount, Session 35


The last session resumed where the previous one had ended, as the characters were about to enter a room they suspected contained a medusa and her minions. As it turned out, the room contained no medusa but it did hold several giant snakes and, on a table in the far corner of the room, what appeared to be a crystal ball. The presence of the crystal ball made the character suspicious, particularly Dordagdonar, who was interested in using his ring of invisibility to sneak into the room by means of another door so that he might cover up the ball with his cloak. The players argued that, since covering up the ball wasn't an attack, it wouldn't break the ring's invisibility effect and could thus be done without alerting any opponents to his presence. I thought the reasoning sound and so allowed it.

Unfortunately, Dordagdonar soon realized that, invisible though he was, the other door would not be and his entrance through it might alert the snakes to his presence. He decided to bide his time and deal with the crystal ball later. While the battle raged on, Gaztea felt a strange "tugging" at her mind, as if someone were attempting to take control of it. Thanks to a successful saving throw no one did. Next round, Iriadessa was not to fortunate and, under the unseen mental control of someone, she turned on her allies. Seeing this Brother Candor acted quickly, casting a silence, 15' radius spell on the young mage, preventing her from using any of her own spells. Alas, Iriadessa possessed a wand of fear, recently looted from a treasure trove, and she pointed it at her allies. With the exception of a couple of the hirelings and henchmen, the entire party ran away in terror, as the giant snakes bore down on them.

With the snakes now moving into the other room, Dordagdonar decided that now was the time to act. He rushed into the other room invisibly, covered the crystal ball with his cloak, and placed it inside a bag. Meanwhile, the brave hirelings and henchmen slew one of the snakes, just as Iriadessa, still under mental domination, moved herself out of the radius of the silence spell. Dordagdonar returned to aid his companions by casting sleep on Iriadessa (which, luckily, still worked, since she is only 4th level). With her out of the way, the second snake was soon dispatched and order restored. A search of the room afterward found no sign of a medusa, but the characters did discover a large cache of Thulian gold coin.

At that, the characters decided to return to Adamas. They had items they needed to identify, supplies to purchase, and information to acquire. Brother Candor made a large donation to the temple of Tyche, much to the pleasure of High Priestess Morna. He also made a donation to the temple of Typhon as well, hoping to use it as a chance to see the archivist Saidon. Although the Typhonians gladly accepted the donation, Candor was not granted an audience with Saidon, who, he was told, was now "too busy since his recent elevation" to take visitors. Apparently, the recent visit by an inquisitor resulting in the high priest's fall from grace, with Saidon, as the main Typhonian cleric to have kept his head during the zombie invasion, taking his place.

Somewhat disappointed, Candor turned to other matters, such as finding a reliable alchemist/sage to use as a source of information. He eventually discovered a fellow called Marmaduke, who proved quite knowledgeable. Marmaduke recognized the crystal ball, asking "Where are the others?" As he explained, it's one of a linked set of 4-6 such balls, used by Termaxian adepts to scry and mentally dominate any within the range of the ball's magic. By itself, a single ball is useless, but removing one from the "circuit" to which it belonged has a deleterious effect on the others in the circuit. Brother Candor and Dordagdonar then decided that, upon their return to Dwimmermount, they'd make a point of seeking out the other crystal balls.

Just before the party planned to trek back to Muntburg, High Priest Saidon sent word that he would be able to see them after all. He apologized profusely for their being sent away, explaining that everyone in Adamas wants to see him now, hoping to curry favor with him, that his underlings routinely send away anyone who comes calling without a specific invitation from him beforehand. Grateful for more Thulian spoons, Saidon reported a few small bits of information to the characters. He noted that other adventuring parties were beginning to take note of the success of the Fortune's Fools and following suit. Many of these parties have powerful backers, most notably the Band of the Hawk, which operated under a charter from the Despot of Adamas himself! The Band had not been seen in some time, though, and there was speculation as to whether they were still in the dungeon or if they had met an untimely end. He also intimated that more sinister groups -- Termaxian cultists -- might be doing the same, a fact the PCs already knew. With that, they headed back toward Dwimmermount.

I almost forgot: Dordagdonar has decided to construct a flesh golem.

22 comments:

  1. Marmaduke, eh? I like it.

    Have you, by chance, ever read the manga BERSERK? There's a notorious mercenary outfit called the Band of the Hawk that features prominently in it.

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  2. "Just before the party planned to trek back to Muntburg, High Priest Saidon sent word that he would be able to see them after all."

    You know, I'd like to point out how very much I like this. Don't know how much you pre-planned it. But I find that these little emotional roller-coaster head fakes (Shakespearean tragedy followed by comedy) make the biggest, most memorable impressions. Probably your players are now really digging what a great guy Saidon is.

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  3. Dwarven Forge stuff...nice. How often do you bust that stuff out, James? Your players thank you, no doubt.

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  4. Oh, those are snakes. I thought it was cat poo.

    That dungeon dressing really gives an old school feel. When I do a classic dungeon again I may need to get some of that stuff.

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  5. Nice session recap. I enjoy the pace of your adventures.

    I like the dungeon dressings as well. I don't recall if you mentioned them in your blog before but it'd be nice to lean more about them. Does it slow your game down setting them up or anything?

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  6. A rival party with a royal charter... excellent.

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  7. Did the mental domination eventually wear off of Iriadessa, or did it have to be broken? From your description, it seems it was still in operation after the crystal ball was covered.

    And I love the Dwarven Forge scenery. I could easily blow far too much money on that stuff.

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  8. Is it Dwarven Forge or Hirst Arts? The closed door looks like Hirst Arts.

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  9. It's not Dwarven Forge alas. it's Hirst Arts blocks. This is my newer set of geomorphs that I build more recently out of a better quality casting plaster and taking in to account the lessons of my previous work on the subject. Glad you like it and as with everything I build, it's a work in progress.

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  10. Ah, okay. I've seen the Hirst booth at conventions and wondered how good they'd look in home use (as oppose to a convention display). These look great.

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  11. Thanks for the clarification re: Hirst. How much legwork is required to take these pieces from raw plaster to finished, game-ready accessories?

    Captcha word: Sally, as in "sally forth from the postern gate to strike the foe's flank!"

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  12. How about a photo of the entire gaming table? Natural, not staged, with dice where they lie, player sheets, drinks, etc. Some of us don't play much anymore, and it'd really stir up the nostalgia to get a view of the entire playing atmosphere.

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  13. Good lord, it's gamer-porn! ;)

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  14. it's gamer-porn! (nudge, nudge) swing, swing, cast, cast, roll, roll...what's it like?

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  15. @PatrickWR:

    Normally I start with a 50lb bag of plaster from the local sculpture supply house. That gives enough material for a lot of blocks. For a typical project like a dungeon geomorph set, it takes about a week of casting. which can be a bit finicky and messy, and then a couple days of assembly and gluing depending on if you use white glue or hot glue.

    Painting and further set decoration can take longer. Right now I use a plaster colourant that makes the blocks come out gray and saves me a bit of time on the painting. As for set decoration, while I love it, the more decorated you make the individual pieces, the less playable and the less generic they become, that means they start to interfere with the universal fit of each piece. so I try to strike a balance between decoration and usefulness. I tend to err on the side of usefulness.

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  16. You could try just decorating the walls. I usually add torch sconces, small piles of refuse against the walls, the odd skull or broken weapon/discarded shield. Just enough to give some flavour without impeding on the usefulness of the piece.

    The other thing to try is to cast full floor and wall pieces to speed up the building process.

    For those that are interested, Hirst Arts has a message forum that includes photos of completed fan-built dungeons and set-pieces.

    Great inspiration.

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  17. Have you, by chance, ever read the manga BERSERK?

    Afraid not. I came up with the name at the spur of the moment, partially as an homage to Castle Greyhawk. It's also a reference to the sigil of Adamas, which includes a hawk on it.

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  18. Don't know how much you pre-planned it.

    I don't plan a lot, truthfully. I'm a very lazy referee much of the time and often stock the dungeon as we're playing. That's why I love random tables so much.

    Probably your players are now really digging what a great guy Saidon is.

    Saidon is probably one of the most memorable NPCs of the campaign and now, with his elevation to the high priesthood, one of the most important too. I fear I'm starting to have ideas about how he might figure into future sessions, which smacks a little too much of actually planning. :)

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  19. How often do you bust that stuff out, James?

    It varies, but I try to use it nearly every session with extensive dungeon exploration. I've found it adds a lot to the experience, which is something I hadn't expected. When I was younger, we were pretty indifferent to minis but I'm finding them a very important part of play nowadays.

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  20. I like the dungeon dressings as well. I don't recall if you mentioned them in your blog before but it'd be nice to lean more about them. Does it slow your game down setting them up or anything?

    It can, which I honestly appreciate, since it gives me more time to think a step or two ahead of my players. On the other hand, one of my players (who posts as Magnavox here sometimes) is very adept at finding the right sized blocks and building rooms quickly, so we generally don't waste much time.

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  21. Did the mental domination eventually wear off of Iriadessa, or did it have to be broken? From your description, it seems it was still in operation after the crystal ball was covered.

    The domination lasted until she woke up from having been magically put to sleep by Dordagdonar.

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  22. How about a photo of the entire gaming table? Natural, not staged, with dice where they lie, player sheets, drinks, etc. Some of us don't play much anymore, and it'd really stir up the nostalgia to get a view of the entire playing atmosphere.

    I'll see what I can arrange :)

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