Monday, April 20, 2009

Dwimmermount, Session 10

Yesterday's Dwimmermount session was dominated primarily with investigation rather than combat. The players had become convinced that what they believed to be Level 2 of the dungeon was in fact a small sub-level that they'd thoroughly explored. The only means of further progression was downward, either through a hole in the floor of one room or by means of an odd, magical elevator. Both methods led them downward into a cavernous level at least some of whose chambers were filled with the silvery-black oil they'd encountered elsewhere. Since they weren't keen on this route -- at least not until they'd identified the oil with some certainty -- they decided to return to Level 1 and find a different set of stairs downward to see where they led.

Doing so they descended obviously deeper than the sub-level they'd recently explored. Whether this means they're on a level roughly parallel to the sub-level or even further down is still unclear. Not long after doing so they had to contend with some giant spiders, a seemingly common menace in Dwimmermount. Having defeated them, they then set out to map as much of this new level as they could, to get a sense of its size and relative relationship to the levels above. In short order, they discovered that the level seemed quite extensive, with lots of chambers and twisting corridors that went in every direction.

They came across several statues, images, and bas-reliefs that showed a similar image -- a bearded human man -- that they took to be representations of Turms Termax, the mysterious god of magic worshipped by the ancient Thulians and whose cult survived the fall of the Thulian empire into the present day. Other oddities they encountered were:
  • A topographical map of what they assumed to be the entire world, with Dwimmermount at its center.
  • An obelisk with strange glyphs written on it
  • A collection of metallic "scrolls" that used the same strange glyphs
  • A pumping machine that seemed to be processing the black oil into silvery "coins" that were then dropped down a chute to a lower level of the dungeon.
  • A symbol of a three-lobed, burning eye
The party came across a group of human warriors dressed in armor of an unknown style fashioned from a weird silvery-black metal and wielding large two-handed swords of the same metal. Dordagdonar took one of the swords into his possession. He intends to take it, along with the oil he'd previously collected, to an alchemist in Adamas to see if he can learn something about its nature and origin. He is increasingly convinced that this substance, whatever it is, holds the key to understanding what is going on in Dwimmermount, as well as to determining how the party ought best to proceed.

This was one of those sessions where a great deal actually happened, but its events are hard to relate in an intelligible fashion to anyone who wasn't there at the game table. Indeed, I suspect that the significance of this session will only become apparent later, after the characters have correctly identified the silvery-black oil. That's the focus of the next session, which I expect will be much more heavily focused on events in the city-state of Adamas ...


  1. they had to contend with some giant spiders, a seemingly common menace in Dwimmermount.How are you running the giant spiders, James? Are they you garden variety "save or die" poisonous kind and, if so, are you players just getting good saves vs poison and/or dodging spiders? I don't remember reading about any deaths by poison so far and I'm interested in hearing how things are working in practice.

  2. for the amusement of James . . .

  3. I use straight save or die for poison and several henchmen have already died due to it, but so far no PCs have done so. The players seem comfortable with this approach, so I haven't seen any need to change it.

  4. silvery - black and toxic . . .
    mix with silver and you have a variation of pewter . . .
    coat on your headgear and you go insane (the mad hatter ; -)

    is your unnamed oil MERCURY in its natural state?

    from Wikipedia . . .

    "Nyarlathotep differs from the other beings in a number of ways. Most of them are exiled to stars, like Yog-Sothoth and Hastur, or sleeping and dreaming like Cthulhu; Nyarlathotep, however, is active and frequently walks the Earth in the guise of a human being, usually a tall, slim, joyous man. He has "a thousand" other forms, most of these reputed to be quite horrific and SANITY-BLASTING. Most of the Outer Gods have their own cults serving them; Nyarlathotep seems to serve these cults and take care of their affairs in their absence. Most of them use strange alien languages, while Nyarlathotep uses human languages and can be mistaken for a human being. Finally, most of them are all powerful yet purposeless, yet Nyarlathotep seems to be deliberately deceptive and manipulative, and even uses propaganda to achieve his goals. In this regard, he is probably the most human-like among them."

  5. A very cool mystery with the strange liquid, James!

    That's the part I really like with games where the GM have set up a mystery, and the players get to find things out. I love to get the pieces one by one and try to fit them together, or to sit there and chuckle as they with raised eyebrows try to make sense of the fragments they've found.

    Maybe that's my biggest beef with indie games where the player narrative if the big thing. I miss the exploration in those moments, even if I love everything else about it.