Friday, June 19, 2015

"I'm gonna pimp my undead."
[5e Dwimmermount]

I was planning on including another one of Arnold Kemp's rival adventuring parties in this weeks session, even wrote up stats for this group of NPCs to harry the PCs with, but we were down one player and I didn't want to unleash these enemies without everyone being present.

The session started with some fine-tuning details about hobgoblin patrols on the first level, and then Sulla, Ilona, and Horatius ventured down to the second level to search for the four hobgoblins who refused to follow "Queen" Ilona.

The party ventured south and found the Hall of Truth, a place of legend in Dwimmermount where one could become blessed by the gods. Sulla took a look at the letters on the pillars of the room and translated them for the others. Horatius, led by his lack of self-control, immediately touched the pillars in the correct order and was bestowed with the permanent ability to cast Healing Word. Sulla attempted to do the same but was not blessed by the gods (instead, lost 2 hit points permanently). Ilona declined to make the attempt.

The player of Sulla knows Latin and he asked a few pointed questions about the room and kept saying the letters on the pillar were slightly off because the word was "veritas" and that's when the player of Horatius followed one of his character traits and touched the pillars in the right order, I don't remember if I gave him Inspiration for that or not. I determined the spell by rolling a 1d15 and using the 1st-level cleric spell list.

Horatius led the party west, looking for the western stairwell leading down from the first level, but they eventually found that there were no paths that led that far west. They began looking for secret doors and found a small cache of books worth a great deal of money. Sulla mentioned how valuable he thought the books were and Ilona suggested that at some point they would need the hobgoblins to act as labor to clear out the heavy treasures.

Using Passive Perception merely as an indicator that something was off in the room really helped this scene, because it meant everybody started looking for a secret door and Sulla wasn't merely pointing them out anymore.

They entered a room with broken statuary and one lone statue, Sulla recognized it instantly as an elemental creature of some kind. He attempted to address the creature and it spoke of soft things that deserved death. Horatius grew impatient and struck the creature, it fought briefly but before it could fly away Ilona split it into pieces with her silvered pick.

In the room beyond they found graffiti in a multitude of languages, none of which Sulla understood. There was also a chest (a mimic) filled with 27 scrolls of Comprehend Languages. Sulla used one and found that every line of graffiti said "Seek not the gods!" but behind the identical phrase in a plethora of languages was a spell: Tasha's Hideous Laughter. Without the materials to transcribe the spell Sulla would have to return later.

I'm thinking of including a few unofficial spells from now on since I discovered that Sulla already has a copy of the spell but has simply failed to learn it. More details on these new spells once the PCs stumble upon them.

The room full of graffiti looked nothing like this!

The mimic revealed itself by getting up and walking out of the door. They followed it for a bit then realized it must be going to the same place the previous mimic had traveled to, on a lower level, and so they let it go and returned to exploring the southern areas of the second level.

I cross-post these blog entries to G+ and one of the players read a comment there that asked if these were surveillance mimics and so now he believes these mimics are spying on them, but he hasn't tried to hinder them or kill any of them yet. Primarily because he has no reason to in-game, the two mimics they have crossed paths with have only given them treasure and magic scrolls.

They ran into the four hobgoblins, camped out in one of the southern rooms, and one of them tried to hit Sulla but failed miserably. Sulla responded with a Fireball which incinerated all four of the hobgoblins. (If they had killed or defeated the leader, then the other three hobgoblins would have joined up as followers, especially after the leader's feeble attempt to hit Sulla. I rolled a 1.)

They traveled onward and found a room with more of the silvery-black skeletons guarding an abandoned workshop. Another secret door was discovered behind a tapestry and a small panic room with the centuries-old corpse of a Termaxian cultist was inside. Some very well-preserved wine and food were found in huge barrels and Ilona pointed out that they would have more things for the hobgoblins to carry upstairs.

Their path finally connected to the eastern part of the map and they returned to the throne room, but before they arrived they encountered a gelatinous cube. Horatius almost walked into it and Sulla's skeleton was engulfed and absorbed almost instantly (farewell Zombie Lord skeleton, we hardly knew ye), however this cube was much easier to defeat than the previous one which had harried Ilona and Horatius (and Marius and Brüghaht) on the first level.

I use Gelatinous Cubes often enough that I ought to have a miniature for them! (see image) Everybody's higher in level and does a lot more damage. I was surprised at just how quickly the cube died. I had been rolling for random encounters throughout the session and we were getting close to a good stopping point so I decided to just put a random encounter in, rolling up the cube randomly it made sense that the cube would be trying to get into the throne room since Levity was supposed to be there waiting for the rest of them to catch up.

The party returned to the old throne room, and Sulla took one of the burned hobgoblin corpses and reanimated it as his new skeletal servant. He put the old breastplate from the Zombie Lord onto the skeleton and gave it the Zombie Lord's old greatsword then discussed other ways he might be able to "upgrade" his skeleton, and that's where we ended. We're not playing next week and Levity's player won't be with us the next time we play, so it's possible that Levity was not in the throne room at all.