Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dwimmermount, Session 37

Session 37 picked up where Session 36 left off, with a leader (albeit a minor one) of the Termaxian Argent Twilight cult under the effects of a charm person spell cast by Dordagdonar. This leader, named Tzoth, warned the PCs under questioning that other members of the cult were aware of what they were doing and would soon be coming to his aid. Thinking quickly, they wanted to know the quickest way up from this level -- having been teleported here, the party had know idea exactly where they were -- to one of the levels closer to those with which they were familiar. Tzoth explained that there were two ways up: one was nearby and direct but took them through areas heavily controlled by the Termaxians (one of whom, called the Dragonmaster, true to his name controlled a white dragon) and the other was much farther away and also involved passing through Termaxian checkpoints.

Neither option seemed very attractive to the characters who pressed Tzoth for alternatives. The charmed magic-user had only one other suggestion: a gate that led to somewhere outside Dwimmermount but he was not sure where. He explained that visitors from "elsewhere" had come through the gate, men with whom the Termaxians were apparently entering into some kind of negotiations. He knew little else, as he was not privy to this information. If the players wanted, he could take them to the gate but he made no promises for their safety and added that the room nearest the gate was guarded by Termaxian soldiers with a tamed basilisk. The basilisk was tied to the end of a long stick and wore a contraption on its head that kept its eyes covered most of the time but which could be revealed by pulling a wire at the end of the stick, thus protecting the soldiers from its gaze while allowing it to be used against intruders.

Brother Candor felt that, despite the presence of the basilisk, this would be the most direct -- and safest -- option for escape and the other characters reluctantly agreed (Iriadessa raising the most objections, naturally). Both Gaztea and Dordagdonar have the ability to become invisible and so advanced into the room with the Termaxians ahead of the rest of the party, who dressed in the garb of the soldiers they'd previously beaten, with Tzoth at their head. They then entered the room, hoping that Tzoth's presence and their disguises would give them a few moments' surprise to defeat the soldiers before the basilisk could be brought into the fray. The guards were immediately suspicious. Tzoth proved the weaknesses of charm person: he readily helped the PCs in answering the guards' questions as best he could but he was no more accomplished a liar than he was before and they soon decided to attack. Fortunately, Dordagdonar got the jump on them and used his wand of paralyzation to take them all down -- Termaxians, basilisk, and Gaztea, who happened to be in the wand's area of effect.

The characters then quickly tied up Tzoth, fearing that his seeing the party act against his comrades might break the enchantment and they set off through portal, which was in a small room nearby. Passing through it, they got the sense of traveling some distance away. They arrived in a room made of a strange silvery metal that they recognized as moon argent. Looking around, they found broken artifacts of various sorts that they did not recognize. Moving on, they soon discovered that they were inside a large -- and seemingly empty -- structure with many domed ceilings and a large spire accessible by stairs. Dordagdonar climbed to the top and took a look around from the heights. He saw no signs of civilization or any landmarks that might give him an indication of where they might be in relation to Dwimmermount. However, he did find a long rope and grappling hook extending downward from the spire, suggesting that others had scaled the walls and entered the place surreptitiously.

Looking around further, the party found the naked, mangled bodies of humans, along with tufts of thick hair -- wolf hair, as Dordagdonar surmised. This, coupled with the presence of many images of the moon, led Brother Candor to think that perhaps there were werewolves about, a fact soon confirmed by encountering a pack of six of them. As luck would have it, the characters possessed a scroll of protection from lycanthropes and used it effectively. It'd been literally years since I'd seen a player use a scroll of protection, so I had to look up the rules on how to use them and was very surprised to discover they only protected against melee attacks, not ranged weapons or spells. Go figure. At any rate, the characters eventually defeated all the werewolves (who are a surprisingly weak lycanthrope in D&D) without anyone taking sufficient damage to worry about lycanthropy (and a good thing too, as the full moon is in approximately 2 nights).

Investigating further, Brother Candor concluded that this place must have been a druidic temple of some sort, judging by its sun and moon iconography. Druids are a weird and largely unknown order of clerics devoted not to gods but to natural phenomena; they have a close relationship with elementals as well. Druids haven't been seen in civilized lands in a very long time and many believe them a myth, like paladins. He further surmised that many of the werewolves they encountered might well have been druids who'd succumbed to lycanthropy, whether voluntarily or forcibly he could not guess. Whether it was the druids, the werewolves, or some combination of the two with whom the Termaxians were negotiating he could likewise could not say. Regardless, he felt it boded ill.

Long ago, the characters found a map in Dwimmermount that depicted ley lines radiating out form the mountain fortress. They made a rough copy of it and carried it with them. Using it, they found a location to the southwest of Dwimmermount that was noted as a nexus of magical power and marked by sun and moon symbols. On this basis, they guessed that this might be their present location. If so, they'd need to travel some distance before they could reach civilization of any sort, never mind Adamas. Low on spells -- they haven't had the chance to rest recently -- and provisions, they dared not risk sleeping in the druidic temple. Instead, they decided to climb up the spire, scale down the side, and head out into the wilderness, preparing to make the long journey back to Adamas and the lands they know.

12 comments:

  1. I can't help but notice that "what you're playing" has changed from S&W to Labyrinth Lord. Checking your posts, I see that back around session 33-34 you mentioned your game was drifting into "proto-AD&D," in part due to the Advanced Edition Companion. I also see your Dwimmermount posts now carry the LL "tag."

    Has your game now switched over to full-blown LL-play thanks to the AEC? Is this something that was purposefully adopted by your group or just your interpretation of where you now stand with "gradual gaming evolution?" Do you intend to post about the transition?

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  2. Another great post. The Dwimmermount posts don't often get a lot of comments, but they're one of the main reasons I read this blog. Keep it up!

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  3. Great-sounding adventure; I'm really enjoying these write ups. Unexpected/unplanned teleportations can be so much fun as the party tries to figure out where they are. In my experience, the best is the first time it happens to a group, and it dawns on them that they're "not in Kansas, anymore." I still recall the look on my players' faces when they finally realized they'd been teleported from one end of Oerik to the other. :)

    security word: "taltesto," a hastily improvised command word for a wand.

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  4. These summaries make me want to play in this type of game, and they give me ideas to use in my games, so I'd consider them a big success.

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  5. Like Paul, I find the Dwimmermount recaps one of the highlights of the blog. Thanks!

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  6. I enjoy these posts too.

    I'm amazed that they figured (a) they should go through a further gate rather than try to get back home and (b) they should then strike out overland from the mysterious spire. As a DM, if I didn't already know where the spire was, I would be greatly tempted to make it Somewhere Very Else right at that moment, and not at all the sort of place from which you could walk back to Adamas. And I might put in some kind of phase of the moon business to limit the working of the spire gate. You want to visit other worlds of adventure via teleportation? OK, cool.

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  7. As a DM, if I didn't already know where the spire was, I would be greatly tempted to make it Somewhere Very Else right at that moment, and not at all the sort of place from which you could walk back to Adamas. And I might put in some kind of phase of the moon business to limit the working of the spire gate. You want to visit other worlds of adventure via teleportation? OK, cool.

    Truth be told, I considered locating the Temple on the Moon, which is a locale (along with the Red Planet) that I want to visit at some point, but I backed away from that this time simply because I didn't feel up to detailing the Moon and its inhabitants on the fly. That's probably a terrible admission given my preference for extemporaneous refereeing but there it is.

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  8. "...because I didn't feel up to detailing the Moon and its inhabitants on the fly."

    I'd be very tempted to populate it with Wells' Selenites.

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  9. Selenites are a good option and I am considering them, but, for whatever reason, I wanted to take more time to consider my options for other worlds and I hesitated to just pull the trigger and run with whatever came to mind. Like I said, I'm a hypocrite.

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  10. Instead, they decided to climb up the spire, scale down the side, and head out into the wilderness, preparing to make the long journey back to Adamas and the lands they know.

    Awesome. Simply Awesome.

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  11. Ha! This all sounds rather familiar. An interesting use of an interesting module, unless I have missed my guess! :D

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  12. Matthew,

    Good eye! Yes, I was caught a bit flat-footed by the players' decision and decided to make use of the map and basic outline of a module I had handy and would otherwise not have used. It worked strangely well, even if I changed I fair number of details to bring them in line with the campaign.

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