Sunday, August 21, 2022

Silver Gull Update: Kaboom!

August 8th

Sneaking ahead, Reine discovered a room with cages and gates holding the hollow-eyed and tormented husks of the damned, manes, kept pennned for The Librarian's experiments. She made it only partway through the room before they all turned as one to gaze at her. Reine swiftly backed up to the party.

In whispered voices, they got their bound Succubus to explain what they were. But the explanation was cut short by the squeak of a metal gate. The PCs turned to see an army of the damned shuffling towards them.

Finch waded in, slaying four in a flurry of blows, giving Zee room to run up and brace herself to use the fully automatic mode on her automatic crossbow.

The Crossbow emptied an entire 6 pound drum of bolts, killing another 19 manes, leaving one startled creature left, which Reine promptly killed with a spear throw.

Sometimes, you have to give your PCs a mountain of 1HD mooks just to let them feel badass.

Much of my inspiration for this
adventure was taken from
"What Ho, Frog Demons!"
by Chris Kutalik.
Carrying on, they passed through a room with a fiendish pipe organ, and through the Librarian's bedroom. Through a room with cages manes and Onibi, and through a long hallway. Afraid that his supper of poisonous werewolf stew might get cold, they pushed on without looting or exploring until they wandered into a fiendish brewery where  Kraastachaa Frog Demon was heating saké for tasting.

The demon was confused, seeing the Librarian's Medusa concubine (the PC's succubus minion, Delgradia in disguise) passing through, and demanded to know why she didn't just use the secret door between the bedroom and the library.

Delgradia, being a succubus, is an ace liar. She claimed that the chefs made a new stew that they are sending specially to the Librarian and suggested an ale pairing. As with the demon in the room above, she tricked it into turning it's back for a backstab... Only this time Reine did her minimum of 6 damage and a battle began.

Terrified it would croak and give the game away, Reine tried jabbing the Frog Demon in it's throat pouch with the butt of the spear. I ruled that she would do half damage, but if she beat it's AC with her attack roll by 5 it would be temporarily unable to use it's voice, and she got very lucky.

This is the kind of stuff I love about OSR games. Being as incomplete as it is, characters are more likely to just try something that they imagine and not worry about the rules.

Zee closed into Melee while Delgradia took the sake off the stove to reheat the stew and Finch chugged another potion of stone giant strength. The demon chomped down on Finch and, in a single bite, dropped him to -2hp. He would bleed out 1d4hp a round and die at -12 by my house rules.

While Zee kept up the pressure with dagger attacks, Delgradia joined the fray with claws, letting Reine drag Finch to safety and force the only potion of healing they had found in the entire campaign down his gullet.

I thanked my players... I has been waiting to roll on a potion miscibility table for years. Thankfully, Finch came out alright and the potions were compatible. He still had super strength enough to soften up the Frog Demon, until Zee scored a killing blow.

Logic let my players figure out the correct route from there to the Library. They hid well back while Delgradia delivered the soup, simpering and apologizing for it's late delivery. The Ogre Magus Librarian. Despite having only a 20% chance of succumbing to the poison, the dice were kind to the PCs and the Librarian died while commenting on the fine flavor of his supper.

Pillaging the room, the PCs found some rare inks, decorative inkwells, rare books, and magic scrolls they could not decipher. The party has zero spellcasting ability whatsoever.

They honored their bargain with the succubus and set her free, getting her to swear that she would not kill needlessly, nor come back to harm the PCs. She agreed and left them.

My Alchemy rules can be found
in Strange Ways: Six Classes and
Alternate Magical Systems for
Any OSR Adventure Game
The PCs discovered records of the Oracle's predictions and sheet music for dark magical rites performed on the organ. Zee began studying this while the other PCs found the secret door back to the bedroom and plundered silver chains an jewelled slave collars, along with a blindfold that grants it's wearer infravision through it... And a 410lbs. of gold inside a camphor wood coffin.

Jokes about bondage gear swiftly gotten out of the way, the PCs headed to the organ room to study it. While Zee read, they decided Finch would stand guard and Reine would take two hours  to mix the water of vitality, a weak healing potion (that has the additional problem of being extremely addictive,) to help Finch.

The Organ had three songs notated:

Accompaniment for a Hecatomb, that combined with a human sacrifice could summon several powerful types of demons.

Reggia pur Shuugay, which opens a gate to Carcossa, R'yleh, or Yuggoth, depending on celestial alignment.

And Anthem of Chaos, which heals fiends and refreshes all expended uses of their abilities.

None of which were clearly explained to the PCs, naturally. The players became convinced that Reggia pur Shuugay would call the Oracular demon, and we're debating playing it when I rolled wandering monsters.

My campaign is run using Frog God
Game's Swords & Wizardry Complete
I determined that 2d8 members of the remaining cult of frog demonettes (12/13, it turned out) a few rooms over were returning to the ritual room that serves as their lair after raiding the kitchen. With only one missing, I decided that remaining one was raiding the brewery... The demonettes had a hidden passage into the reserve cellar that the brewmaster was not aware of, so that made sense 

The party got surprise, and the encounter was rolled as minimal distance. After thinking it through, especially as the PCs were scattered around the area, I decided that the demonettes just obliviously opened the door Finch was guarding, and the lead two just walked in.

Finch acted fast, throwing his last bottle of Gorgon Breath through the door and shutting it while Zee moved to intercept. Reine opted to keep brewing Finch's medicine.

The first frog demonette died horribly, but the second one made a break for it. Zee ran him down in the brewery, then returned to the group, triumphant. Realizing that the dungeon was still active and they were low on resources, they opted not to play the organ. Instead they headed back to the brewery, and stole one of everything that looked valuable. Then decided to check one last door for our game night before quitting.

The chamber they entered was a fungus farm used by the brewmaster and librarian. They recognized a lot of items Reine could use as reagents for Alchemy. Unfortunately, they did not recognize the violet fungus mixed in with the other giant mushrooms until they attacked Reine, and she had escaped only by the skin of her teeth.

Zee opted to use up another drum of ammo rather than close for melee.

August 15th

My House Rules and setting back-
ground can be read inthe Xen
Weird Fantasy Campaign Setting

primer, downloadable here.
We opened our session with a quick inventory: the PCs had been in the dungeon nearly 12 hours. They had used up all but three bombs, all of their healing potions, half of their strength potions, most of their lamp oil, and over 60 crossbow bolts. This represented using up almost every alchemical item Reine had made in an entire campaign's worth of downtime in one foray... And Finch was still badly wounded.

They decided to finish mapping the third floor and then flee the dungeon. They would come back with porters the next week to clear the heavy treasure.

They opened a door they had previously ignored and happened upon the last frog demonette of the group they had petrified 30 minutes earlier. Zee shot him three times before he could finish croaking "Hey, what took you guys so long? I'm starving!"

The room included a giant statue of a frog demon, piles of gems, a gold idol (8,900gp value!) and a few art pieces. It also had a ritual circle for demon summoning,

The party decided to split up: Reine and Zee scoured the room for treasure and secrets while Finch rigged the idol for detonation.

During the search, I rolled another wandering monster, and determined that the quasits that were actually doing the prophesy for the Oracle had come to investigate. Had it not been for the fact that the PCs established clearly that Finch was working with a beacon lantern aimed only at his work-site and the others were using infravision, they would not have noticed the invisible demons at all. As it was, I gave them a 5-in-6 chance of surprising the PCs and rolled a 6  Even then the PCs only heard a door creak and saw footprints in Infravision.

With a magic sword that lets him see invisible, Finch waded into the battle, blissfully ignorant that he was facing up to eight attacks with save-or-die poison per round.

Reine got smart and sacrificed a bunch of expensive alchemy reagents to cover the quasits in powder, letting the whole party attack them at reduced penalty.

Finch, it turned out, had not run out of luck yet, and managed to kill the lot with only one save v poison, and 3hp left.

The PCs then blew up the shrine, causing a pulse of energy that banished the manes and onibi in the Ogre Mage's lab. 

This was the last monsters in the dungeon that could move on dry land, and we're not mindless undead. Which meant I stopped rolling for random encounters. They earned it. 131/177 monsters down.

It also was a great time to sing Happy Birthday to Reine's player.

They chose not to swim in a tunnel flooded with sulfuric acid, circled through a room with a fiery volcanic chasm back to the library, and called level 3 mapped.

Despite my warning that they would go past 15 hours on dungeon and I was going to start levying penalties for fatigue, The PCs decided to carry the 400lb. chest up the stairs and load it on the hand cart from the kitchen, then bring it up to level 1 in multiple trips 

At the very last moment they remembered the 44 skeletons in the gateroom of the dungeon programmed to kill anyone who moved through without the accompaniment of a demon of the Hot Hells.

Improvising, they took the last two bombs Reine had made, and rigged them up in the hallway outside the door. They planned on having Finch trigger the attack, then lure the skeletons out into the estimated blast radius. Reine would use Finch's muskets to set off the bomb when he was clear 

They didn't account for just how hard a shot that would be using a torch in Finch's hand to aim and firing through the legs of a dozen skeletons.vReine missed the first shot forcing Finch - nearly dead already - to fight a holding action.

The shot in the second musket was her last chance, and we all held our breath. She beat the AC by 2 and sent up an explosion that wiped out the skeletons, and did 4 less damage than I ruled would have collapsed the ceiling.

Staggering out into the moonlight having used every bomb, bullet, and nearly every bolt. They stopped long enough to ask "Hey, where's out Ornithopter?" Before we ended the session.

This adventure cleaned the party out of almost all of their disposable magic items, alchemical goods, and ammo. it drained a campaign's worth of resources. Which was a lot of fun.


In the week of downtime, they camped outside the dungeon, then walked back to town on Day 2. They managed to locate their crashed Ornithopter during they voyage. the Frog Demons that stole it were dead.

Replenishing supplies and banking their treasure with their henchmen, they prepared The Silver Gull for it's first flight in centuries on Day 3.

On Day 4 they retrieved their wrecked ornithopter and brought the ship down near the dungeon. They loaded the loot they stashed in the skeleton room and used sand bags to create sage paths through the acidic sludge near the Dungeon entrance. There was not sufficient time for the dungeon to begin restocking.

On Day 5 they scouted the rest of level 2 and, once secure, they brought their henchemen into the dungeon to steal the library and loaded the remaining treasure onto The Silver Gull.

On Day 6 they returned the Silver Gull to its dry fock to finish repairs. They had their treasure appreaised by the local jeweller. Finch gets up to date on his gossip.

On Day 7, with certificates stating the value of the treasure, the PCs arrange for that wealth to be banked as credit with the Nolden trading company for finishing the repair and the outfitting of the Silver Gull for long-range travel. Finch gets a day of serious rest.

My Living Gossip Table

We pick up agan one week later on the 8th of the Tide of Pendle. Here is the gossip that the PCs will start with at the beginning of the session.

Things to do in Orhan as of the 8th of the Tide of Pendle:

  •  The Djinni who guards the holy oracle of the Water will allow you access to the cactus sages now that you have slain the demons of the Oracle of inkandus.
  • The Oasis of Birds remains mostly unexplored: what other treasures are still within it's strange walls?
  •  The Ankheg nest has been cleared by a group of local youths who consulted a sge about the timing of Ankheg molting and managed to catch them when they were soft and weak. This new adventuring party is hailed as being home-grown heroes. People are already comparing your party and theirs.
  • A strange frost struck a local grain fields. in the hottest part of summer. The plants within 20' of the patch are now growing in warped and twisted shapes
  • You could see from the air that the Tower of Sendivh has collapsed!
  • Gwydon the machinist is seeking away to summon objects lost into the astral plane by creating an orrery.
  • There is another ruined temple in the cactus Forest to the South just passed the petrified wood. Most consider the terrain is too risky to navigate by foot, but some of the locals thought you might be able to reach it by ornithopter. Meanwhile, the young adventurers whi vanquished the Ankhegs have announced plans to make an expedition to the ruin, themselves.

No comments:

Post a Comment