Sunday, October 2, 2016

Return to Skull Mountain - Brief After Session Report

  Today's session was after a non-combat session about the sage and the stars.
  Today the characters were

  JL - Brigid, 6th level human Barbarian (custom class)
      Byron, 5th level Cleric henchman
  JR - Seeker, 4th/6th elven Magic-User/Thief
      Kaspar, 3rd level human Scout (custom class) henchman
      Marion, 1st level human Bard (custom class) henchman
  AJ - Starfalcon, 5th level half-elf Ranger
  ST - "Clint", 5th level human Paladin
      Willem, 5th level human Hedge Mage (NPC class) henchman
      Arthur, 5th level human Man-at-Arm henchman
      Akio, 3rd level human Monk henchman
      Baldric, 1st level human Fighter henchman
      Meritus the Tall, 1st level human Cleric henchman
      Spearman hireling
      Healer hireling (custom)
  NH - Thorin, 3rd/3rd half-orc Fighter/Thief

  Willem, the spearman, and the healer stayed in the kitchen/hall area of the Entrance behind a barricaded North Door in a base camp with food, equipment, components, holy water, etc. They had a horn to signal if attacked.
  The party proceeded directly to what they are calling the Pilgrim Doors and unbarred them. The went down the stairs beyond and soon emerged into landing area dimly lit by magic. Starfalcon sensed a secret door, so Brigid (the toughest fighter) opened it and began to enter. When the green slime spattered onto her armor Byron yanked her back and Clint burned it off with his Flametongue. As they were checking her for damage Clint thrust his Flametongue into the secret passage and watched the green slime seep into cracks in the floor.
  They began to explore the passage when Akio noted a skeletal figure in plate & mail armor and a bardiche stalking them. The skeleton was killed in short order.

  The party soon noted that a huge corridor, 20' wide and arching to 24' over head, seemed to 'box in' a huge space. The 'inner' wall of this corridor was decorated with bas reliefs - the northern half images of followers accompanied by fire elementals and devils as they attacked good places and people, the southern half similar but with ice elementals and devils. The outer wall had rooms and off-shoot corridors and the inner wall had a set of massive doors that seem to give access to the inner area.
  The party decided to clear out everything else before even entering the central space.

  In monk cells they were attacked by a starving ghoul that had been trapped for long years - Brigid and Clint took it down swiftly. In another room they found an Ioun Stone hidden in an ancient bedroll. In one place a section of the bas relief stepped out of the wall and fought them fiercely. After it was destroyed they returned to camp.
  The next day they found a massive statue to a fire elemental with devilish features. Byron Blessed it...
  ...and it exploded into a gout of flame that engulfed the entire party. With henchmen down (negative but not dead) and Seeker one point above zero they retreated to camp again, healed up, and returned.
  In another section they found an abandoned prison with dozens of cells. Beyond that was a large torture chamber - and the undead Headsman and Torturer, eager to fight!
  Brigid went berserk and charged the undead Headsman and his (obviously enchanted) bardiche while Clint closed with the Torturer and his magically-hot branding iron. This was a very tough fight for the party and if Brigid hadn't been berserk they would have retreated.
  The Torturer was tough and his branding iron was doing a lot of damage [1d8+7 from the blow and 1d8 heat]. When Clint was healed by Byron they learned to their horror that magic couldn't heal the heat damage! Brigid fought the Headsman fiercely, but he was almost as tough and his bardiche hurt, although not as much.
  Clint had to swap out with Starfalcon but stumbled (he was using Boots of Striding and Springing) was was out of battle for a round. Even with henchman pouring missile fire in and Seeker causing damage (he prefers to outthink his foes) with a spell (the first time in 2 levels) things were pretty grim!
  After a lot of rounds and a lot of badly hurt party members they prevailed. They checked on last room and found the gear of another party the two undead monsters had killed, then returned to camp.
  Before that happened however....

Thorin as a fascinating character to watch being played. His stats are fun - 17 strength, 16 dex, and a 19 con; as well as a 5 intelligence, 5 wisdom, and 6 charisma. NH plays him as a guileless innocent who happens to be nimble, strong, and tough. He is illiterate but very open, very kind, and very warm-hearted. His low charisma comes from his tendency to not speak, his confusion over all but the most straightforward topics, and his tendency to just appear out of nowhere, staring at you.
 Way back at first level, 18 months ago real-time, I rolled a random encounter and added a bracelet to a treasure haul, amused to see what happened. When the party retrieved everything I rolled reaction rolls for the bracelet for every party member. With Thorin it rolled 100. The bracelet has been worn by Thorin ever since. Why? It appeared on his wrist while he was sleeping and he just - accepted it.
In the many adventures since sometimes NH gets a note that says 'your bracelet tells you not to touch that' or something like it. The player has always had Thorin just do so, never saying anything to anyone. Tonight the bracelet told him to touch Clint and Clint's burns healed (Thorin's had already been healed). When the party asked him how he did that he simply said, "My bracelet told me to" and he went about his business.
At camp they did tests and queries and eventually figured out - Thorin's bracelet is an Agathion. I've been having fun with that for months!

  The party thinks they have just a few more rooms before they enter the central area.