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Saturday, June 20, 2009

[Playtest Campaign] Down, down, down, and the flames grew higher...-

(c) Copyright Kyrinn S. Eis All Rights Reserved

After surviving the tentacular horror that erupted from the Qerzyk sewers; the fire-storm from the docks; and the run-in with the Hierophantic Church wizard, the parties have decided to stay together in their Kherstic League assigned exploration of the Undercity. Some of the party went to ask for the improved armour and weapons for their larger force, and had a funny series of vignettes with the K-League personnel: From the ore-cart 'train' operator and their crash at the end of the line; the snobbish subterranean terrarium 'Druids'; the distracted Armoury clerk who was reading a colour comic book; the shipping and fulfilment workers in the shop; and the interaction with the less than delicate war veteran NPC, Byllys. The hydraulic freight elevator was operated by tiny green humanoids clearly well-integrated to Kherstic League.

A continuation of events in previous sessions involving human Spacers encountering difficulty upon reaching Urutsk was had just as the characters emerged with their gear being loaded onto wagons and carriages.
My fiction and games tend to be rather bitter-sweet and in this scene, three survivors were aloft in some sort of sail-'chute gondola, and through the use of Clairvoyance, and then Clairaudience, one of the party members came to understand that of the three occupants, one had died of his wounds, a second felt he was too badly injured to make the attempt to 'ditch' the craft, and he suggested to the woman, that she take the entire potion, rather than the two of them likely not receiving the benefit at all. She imbibed the entire potion, bade him farewell, mentioned 'to the 909th', and made her leap. The woman glided, and used a sash to brake and finally landed not far from where the party ran to meet her. She was then asked a few questions, before being picked up by a Kherstic envoy.

With the 20 veteran Men-at-Arms now wearing cold-cast platemail, and bearing polearms and longswords, the party re-entered the formerly hidden surface entrance. They quickly re-searched the areas they had previously fought a (troll) and six (ghouls). They failed to spot a secret door. BTW, I am using Christopher B.'s Cold Mountain dungeon map, and the players so totally screwed up their mapping so as to make it pointless for them to continue.
Things were weird for them as they encountered nothing but guard posts and torture chambers, clearly hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. However, by the time the entered the second troop barracks, I had successfully lulled them into complacency. Animated corpses, superficially akin to Sons of Kyuss began to appear from the overturned cots and tables. Ceanek (Cici) throw an alchemical fire-bomb, and once the worms began to take damage, their shrill cries subjected the party (including Kitty, the bear) to a Control (Spells) Critical Test and all but two of the characters failed it -- including the cursing M-a-A's. As the affected ran back up[ the stairs, into the first barrack, the cries alerted the critters in that room. At first sight of them, the affected fled down the side corridor, and ran into the Armoury. Once behind the thick door which dulled the sound, the party present were freed of the effect. I am using the three dots on Chris' map as murder holes (it doesn't need to make much sense), and with one good strike, Ashta smashed through the thin stone with a mattock, revealing the 20x20 room that cuts into the Armoury. I placed a psychic Lift Shaft there, and soon that lot began fiddling about with its operation and made an initial reconnoitre of the next higher level (which they realised 'ought' to be at street level).

Cici and the psychic (sounds like '70's sit-com) briefly did what they thought would help, but it was to no avail. Cici was separated between the two barracks, in the parallel corridor. She tried to use her Turning ability, but the fear did not permit that. She settled on throwing a bomb on either side of her down the corridor, and settled in for meditation. Her mace allows her to 'power-up' the +1 to Hit/+2 to Damage weapon by +1/+1 for every full five of her Dodge Points invested in the weapon. We had already discussed that if all of her points were invested, though her body die, her spirit would remain in the weapon. Cici did so, and found herself at the hilltop monastery, on the perpetually mist-shrouded stone bridge. She saw herself as a scared little girl, and eventually took her hand and guided her through the mist. Cici came out of meditation clear of the effect, and immune to it for the remainder of the encounter, and all but 5 DPs still invested in the mace.
Renewed, she was able to turn the lot of critters pounding on the armoury door (I gave her that boost), and she was able to enter the Armoury and join the others.

They discover that while Kitty was cowering at the base of the stairs that lead to the kennel, that it was occupied by Worg who exhibited at least human-level intelligence when contacted by the psychic. The beasts were trying to tunnel to their food source, but the stone was too thick.
Up a level, the characters proceed down a corridor until Ashta realises that it is made of ship metal (the weapons had been identified as full metal (as opposed to alloys or metalloids), now rare on Urutsk), and that something 'odd' was up ahead. The psychic decided to reach out and was contacted by an organic AI which instantly identified him as being other than fully Human, and fired at him but missed --the mechanism being so old and all... ;) Delver, the Western Isles Vrun lesser noble who had continued to change more toward his Aelbaan ancestry after using several doses of Mummy Dust from their first group adventure, was the next to be attacked. His Energy Reflection aberration manifest, and the LASER was disabled by its own beam.

Further down the same corridor they came to a heavy sliding door with no obvious controls. Tybalt cast his Jaunt spell and hopped to the other side of the door.
The Men-at-Arms got bored and started taunting the undead to fall into the shaft, while others tinkered with the hatch the LASER had lowered from. Mela Mela, the apothecary, clambered up once the Grogs had spent four hours dismantling it from its lowered base. Thousands of spiders (the player shivered in disgust) fled from her torch light and allowed her to creep along the conduit until she could see into a room in which Tybalt, three other Humans,an Aelbaan (they'd not yet met one), and a bipedal insectoid with tech gear on its harness were frozen in a shimmering electrical stasis field in what looked like a brig.
Mela reported this to the party and they then fiddled with the door frame until a stream of the liquid-like energy could be seen. When Cici cut the stream with a dagger, she exploded and coated the party with her tiny chunks of gore. But-- the psychic paid his points and we instead wound back the tape to that moment. I gave him and her an Initiative roll, and he won, saving her life.

They then retreated down the other side of the corridor, past the Lift Shaft, and they decided to fire an arrow into it instead. 10d6, and 36 points of electrical damage later, half of the M-a-A's were at 0, the others dead, and the party badly wounded (3/4 made their save for 18). Byllys was one of the hardier ones and was still up, and began resuscitating those of his brothers he could while the party downed 1d6+3 healing potions and with remnants, tried to revive as many of the fighters as possible.

Meanwhile, the field had dropped, and the insectoid began to attack one of the humans. The Aelbaan began trying to tear the bug's head off, and was assisted in attacking the creature by one of the others. Tybalt seemed stunned (his player, actually) and didn't participate in time before the Aelbaan had accomplished his mission. The other human was dead, having been fed upon.
The Aelbaan began speaking in its language, then using its psychic powers to boss folks around as they forced the partially open door.

The party reunited, bolstered by the other humans (an Yirinn, and a Kaukara, both male), and all were bossed about by the Aelbaan who recognised that both Delver and Ashta have diluted kindred blood.

We held it there at 1:40 AM.