Friday, 18 May 2018

Ravenloft VI

Raising the Dead (16th May 2018)

The Party
Bernard – Human Cleric
Grumbold – Dwarf Paladin
Malfeseus – Elf Rogue
Meegosh – Gnome Wizard
Millie – Half-Orc Barbarian

The Last Bowl (Day 9 - continued)

After clearing out three rooms of mummies, the rest of the party decided that they needed a rest to recover from the wounds they had taken and to re-sharpen their weapons. I, however, was still full of vim and vigour and ready to continue exploring. Whilst waiting for the rest period to finish, Grumbold and I explored the rest of the cavern and took a look at the arch and room beyond in more detail (but without crossing the threshold).

The bowls that the gaseous forms retreated to after the mummies were defeated were full of what appeared to be blood. The room beyond the arch held a great sarcophagus with two candelabra. Grumbold and I could not work out any more about the room from that distance, so returned to the rest of the party.

The fourth side room offered pretty much the same as the previous three except that the entrance glyph had already been set off. After a short battle, the final mummy expired and its spirit flew to the remainder of the four bowls. However, the effect this time was different. Once the fourth and final bowl was filled with blood they all began to bubble up and overflow, with the blood making straight for the sarcophagus in the room. Smoke escaped from the interior of the sarcophagus and the sound of an enraged being emitted from within. Within the space of a few short breaths, a fifth mummy burst from its tomb. The shout of “I am Kaga Ra” did not fool any of us and we put it down quickly under a hail of fire and sword strokes.

A quick search of the sarcophagus revealed a little treasure in the form of gold coins, a ring and a magical dagger. I warned people not to touch it, but the cleric was drawn to its false beauty. The candelabra, I revealed to my comrades, was a mechanism for opening a false bottom in the tomb of the false Kaga-Ra. Steps led down to another level of this dungeon.

Going Down

At the bottom of the steps was a huge room. Unlike the caverns above, these seemed to be carved neatly from the rock. In the middle of the floor of the room was a mouldering pile of bones. Several beings had met their fate here. There were several doors leading off of the main room but most of these were small cells that contained either dead bodies or had been totally ransacked. The few doors that did not close off a cell needed to be explored, and Millie set off to do just that.

After the door in the north-east corner was kicked off its hinges, a black mist rose from the coffins laid within and amalgamated into over a dozen spectral shapes. I didn’t hang around and shaped a couple of Fireballs that proceeded to destroy most of the denizens of the chamber. Unfortunately, the few that escaped could travel through solid stone and attacked me – well, why wouldn’t they try to be rid of their most potent enemy? I was sorely tested but still managed to save an ailing Brother Bertrand who had succumbed to their touch. Unfortunately, all the commotion attracted the attention of a couple more ghostly beings that wailed so loudly that several of my friends quailed in terror. A terrible battle ensued but we were finally victorious as they retreated back through the wall from which they came.

We all decided to take a short rest again and try to trace where these beings had come from. A short jaunt round behind the steps we had come down revealed their bed chamber and we finally put them to rest. A quick search of their rotten belongings revealed a page of writing with clues as to what had happened when the wailing banshees were living beings, but we could not decipher all of it.

Millie, as restless as ever, decided she wanted to go kick some more doors down. She passed through the double-doors in the main chamber like a hot knife through butter (my, that girl is strong!) and led us around a few short corridors to another bed chamber. The bed had an incorporeal incumbent who reluctantly rose and began to talk to us, revealing that her name was Mama-Ro – a name mentioned on the paper we found in the banshee room. I must admit, I found what she had to say rather boring and set off in search of the cup of tea she had promised us. Unfortunately, she must have had a thing about putting the kettle on in a certain way as she flew into a rage as I entered her kitchen.

I think I was the target of her attacks as she made a bee-line towards me (I wonder why they call it a bee-line? Bees never fly in a straight line). Luckily my trusty magic saved the day as a Gust of Wind kept her away from me and dissipated her to the four corners.

Well, after a quick search of the boudoir and kitchen revealed nothing of interest we headed back to the main chamber in search of the third and final door. Again, Millie did the honours and we all filed along a narrow winding corridor, accompanied by a grinding sound, which led to a room with a large, dark pool of water that had flowing inlets and outlets from north to south. To the left, just before the pool was a set of iron bars that stretched from floor to ceiling that separated us from a chamber full of cogs and spikes. Through the bars we could discern two more entrances (in the south and east) also with floor to ceiling bars. The grinding noises we had heard earlier seemed to emanate from this room.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Ravenloft V

Mummies and mage's owlbears ... oh my! (9th May 2018)

I was unable to make the previous session due to ill health, but Meegosh got back into things this week...

The Party
Bernard – Human Cleric
Grumbold – Dwarf Paladin
Malfeseus – Elf Rogue
Meegosh – Gnome Wizard
Millie – Half-Orc Barbarian

Mages and Owlbears (Day 7)

I was not feeling myself for the last few days, and have missed many a twist and turn in the tale due to the effects of amnesia (as a player I could not attend the session so was faded into the background). However, I finally snapped out of my stupor inside a cavern with my friends talking to a mage, who was doing his best to appear friendly.

After a short discussion with the mad mage, his pet owlbear, Cuddles, turned up at the cavern entrance and proceeded to hem us in. The mage’s mood turned and he somehow managed to cast a mass suggestion on the party without my being able to respond. We all fell under his spell except for Millie who proceeded to attack Cuddles which enraged the mage further although he pleaded for calm. Anyway, long story short, Millie and Gur made short work of Cuddles whilst the rest of us took our frustration out on the mage when we realised we had been duped.

After our adversaries had been despatched, we searched the area for any treasure and clues we could find and were rewarded with four of the Crystal leaves we were tasked to find to get the dimension jumping device back in Pureforge to work, a Wand of Fireballs and a cryptic map. We each took a turn at deciphering the map, and I pocketed the wand as I thought I would be the best qualified to use such an arcane device.

Going Underground (Day 9)

We decided to follow up on the map in the hope that we might find more clues and perhaps a bit more treasure and set off straight away. We travelled in a north-westerly direction for a couple of days and finally arrived at a small, long abandoned village with a well, as depicted on the map, in the centre. Millie led the way, rather more quickly than she hoped, down the well shaft which opened out into a small cavern at the bottom.

We all followed down the rope after her and explored the large cavern we found at the end of a short tunnel. There were four side caverns and a main one with an arch containing four bowls before it. Malfeseus and I managed to decipher three of the four sets of runes above the smaller cavern entrances and upon the main arch above the bowls; Finger of Death, Negative Energy, Disintegrate and something else.

Each of the side caverns had a Glyph of Warding as per the list we deciphered set above them. By various means we set off each glyph and investigated the contents of each room in turn. They all had a sarcophagus within them that upon opening revealed a gaseous form that corporealised into the form of a mummy. Each got progressively harder to kill and more able to control our fears. After each mummy was dispatched, it returned to gaseous form and the spirit fled screaming to one of the bowls around the arch at the entrance to the main sepulchre.

However, after fighting three tough opponents the rest of the party decided that they needed to rest up whilst I explored the arch and bowls.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Ravenloft III

Pureforge Harpies (25th April 2018)

The Party
Bernard – Human Cleric
Grumbold – Dwarf Paladin
Malfeseus – Elf Rogue
Meegosh – Gnome Wizard
Millie – Half-Orc Barbarian

Image taken from internet - copyright may apply

Rude Awakening in the Night (Day 3 - continued)

It was during Grumbold’s watch that strange happenings began. I was fast asleep at the time but from what I was told after the encounter, the two ladies in the party (Annabella and Millie) just got up and walked out of the magical protection of my hut. Grumbold most likely assumed that they were off on a comfort break amongst the bushes as they headed off, presumably for privacy’s sake, in different directions and were soon cut off from sight, but it was only after he heard the war cries of Millie and the screams for help from Annabella that he decided to stumble into action. He began by awakening other members of the party and then rushed outside to see what was happening.

I was the last to be awoken but I very quickly sprang into action. It was dark outside but my night vision allowed me to catch a glimpse of what was happening. Two winged beats with the upper visages of people and lower bodies of birds seemed to be trying to carry off my companions whilst singing a song of enchantment. A swift Lightning Bolt made one of the horrors think again about singing and attacking Annabella and the bear, but the sounds of fierce combat came from my right with renewed vigour, so I was drawn in that direction.

When I got closer, I noticed that the harpy, for that is what the vile creature was, I had scorched earlier was now attacking Millie and Grumbold. Malfeseus attempted to shoot the winged beasts when the opportunity arose and Bernard sought out the best way he could help; he headed off to aid the lady Annabella as it looked like the rest of us had the other combat under control. Millie was having a bad time of it and looked like she had taken a few scratches form the wicked talons upon the harpies’ bird-like feet but Grumbold could not hit a thing. So, yet again, it was down to me to rescue my comrades. Another Lightning Bolt and an Acid Arrow soon put paid to the last of the flying carrion.

After checking over our wounds, we slept the remainder of the night quite peacefully; even Grumbold seemed a little more refreshed when he awoke the next day.

Arrival at Pureforge (Day 4)

The following day saw us arrive at the steadfast known as Pureforge. Upon arrival we were confronted with twenty foot high palisades and guard towers. We were challenged by an uppity Protector named Titus, but after arguing the toss about coming in as we wanted to help rather than attack them we were finally allowed to enter, as long as we left the bodies of the two harpies outside. Our gratitude was extended to Elias, the governor of the town who over-ruled his guardsman.

Upon entering we noticed that the large interior was split into what looked like four sections; a place to grow crops, an area that seemed to have guardsmen practicing and patrolling, another area that seemed to house people building things and an internal area that was palisaded off. There was also a central hall that dwarfed all other buildings within the compound. What was unusual was that we could see no women or children; only men with some kind of markings on their faces, a different pattern for each sector.

Elias took us into the central hut and told us a little about the way things were set up in Pureforge. He had arrived, by planes walking, several years ago to a place in turmoil and was eventually promoted by dint of his wisdom to set up the current scheme. The men did all the work but were not allowed to mix outside of their caste, hence the facial tattoos. If inter-caste fraternisation took place then banishment was the only option for the perpetrators. This was the only way to protect the village and to stop the free-for-all that existed before he arrived from reoccurring, apparently.

The stockaded area within the town walls contained two of the five castes; the Architects and the Breeders (women). It seems that Elias arrived at Pureforge by planes walking as previously stated but he did it with the aid of a device; a device that was stockade behind the internal palisade within the Architects’ quarter. Outside the stockade, but within the town walls were the Builders, the Feeders and the Protectors. This seemed to me to be a bit of an unusual set up. Why the segregation and such harsh punishments for such lowly “crimes”? Something did not feel right in Kansas.

Anyway, after going on about how wonderful things were here in Pureforge since he had set up the new system, Elias invited us to stay one night but we would then have to move on unless we wanted to join one of the factions. He said that he would meet us for dinner later that evening in the central hut but until then we were free to go to the building that we would call home that night.

Not content to sit on our hands we all popped out in the pretence that we wanted to see what it would be like if we accepted Elias’s offer and stayed in the town to live. We visited all of the sectors except the Architects and Breeders sector behind the internal palisade and gathered all sorts of rumours. Many of the people seemed to be unhappy with their lot and tension was rife; a powder keg that could blow with just the tiniest of sparks.

The Plot Thickens (Day 5)

After being stood up by Elias for our dinner date, we grabbed some food anyway and, after giving the central hall a once over based upon the rumours we gathered that something was untoward there, we headed back to our abode. We were sure that something occurred in the central hut but as we could not find anything when investigating there we had to content ourselves with speculation.

Malfeseus decided that as he was the most agile amongst us, he would investigate what went on behind the palisade that night. He was protected by a spell from Brother Bernard and a variety of other magicks and set off on his way. When he reported back to us just under an hour later he told a tale of woe that he had gathered from Mary, previously Matron of Baldor, whom we knew about from a letter contained within the ivory casket Malfeseus and I had found. She told him that the women were kept against their will to provide children for sacrifice to keep the town safe from incursions by Baba Yaga and her with minions. Now I know for sure that this place is rotten to the core and something needs to be done about it.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Ravenloft II

Session 2: Angels and Demons (18th April 2018)

The Party
Bernard – Human Cleric
Grumbold – Dwarf Paladin
Malfeseus – Elf Rogue
Meegosh – Gnome Wizard
Millie – Half-Orc Barbarian

Wraith - possibly copyrighted, from the internet - owner please contact me if you do not feel my use of it is fair
From the Diary of Meegosh Krackle

The Tower of the Paragons (Day 1 - addendum)

In my haste to record our amazing adventures last time I took out my diary, I missed a few items. Nothing important I should warrant but none-the-less I shall summarise the points here…

It was actually some chappie called Sir Gareth Puresword who put the kibosh on the dark lord; the priests were only brought in to purify the land – they don’t seem to have done a very good job in my opinion. The witches managed to scrape together the entrails of the dark lord and scatter them for burial throughout the land, perhaps in the vain hope they could bring him back from his remains? Bunkum and fairy stories as far as I can tell, no logic to it whatsoever. Still, I guess our intrepid band will become involved in some quest later on to find all these gribbly bits to stop the return of the dark lord. If I found them, I would probably just incinerate them and be done with it. Anyway, back to the tale...

We appeared on another plaque in another room, presumably one floor up from the level we had just left. Unfortunately, there was no way of knowing as the walls, floors and ceilings were all made of stone and there were no windows or arrow slits for us to look out of to gauge our whereabouts. What appeared to be a library was in a sorry state of affairs; tables and chairs overturned, books spilt from the shelves and a sense of damp, mould and decay prevailed. Grumbold and I set about righting a few items but to no avail as that great bear, Gur, proceeded to trash a table or two in his wild perambulations.

I managed to find an eerily intriguing book entitled “Ravenloft: Demi-Plane of Dread” and sat down to discover its contents. Whilst reading said tome, the others continued to stir about in the detritus and throw books at each other. I am not one for such sacrilege, but each to their own I suppose. I was happy to indulge their whims but being bonked on the back of the head with a heavy book is not my idea of fun. It was only then that I realised we were not alone. A strange ghostly apparition seemed to flit around the room for a while before returning to its lair within the walls.

Once we had discovered there was not much else to this room we tried to trip another of those plaques to move onwards but it seemed that only our dwarf companion could do so – was it because he tripped the first one and subsequently only he could do so again or, after a little study of the plaque, was it due to the divine code he followed?

The third level of the tower was a little better kept; dusty and musty yes, but there was still no sign of the tapestry we had been tasked to find. Malfeseus and I managed to espy a casket that would require further study but we were rudely interrupted by the appearance of four gaseous forms. The party sprang in to action but it appeared that most of their blows were either non-effective or only caused a minor irritation to the beings. Even our goodly cleric’s admonitions seemed not to have any effect. Once again it was down to poor little Meegosh to rescue them. A few lightning bolts and a very brave, and might I say insightful, move lured some of them away to split the apparitions between levels. My bouncing between the two levels of the tower was just enough to give the others a chance to finish off what I had started. It also gave Malfeseus and me the opportunity to investigate the casket (nothing of interest in it unfortunately) and get to know each other better.

After all that action, many of us had taken a few injuries. Where these corporeal beings touched us, our flesh turned necrotic; not nice. I decided to keep us all safe and conjured up my little magical safe place (a small magical hut) so that we could rest and recover from our ordeals. We all managed to grab a bit of sleep and heal up but our dreams were troubled. Grumbold seemed more affected than the rest of us; he no longer took to grumbling about our shortcomings and seemed a little more introverted. This was by no means a bad thing from my point of view. He can be such a sanctimonious grump sometimes: but I am beginning to like him all the more for it nevertheless.

Tower of Paragons (Day 2)

After our rest we pushed on to the next level. Again, the plate required Grumbold to activate it. We appeared in what seemed to be a man’s bedroom. The place was dusty and musty smelling and as there was no other plaque on the floor to another level assumed this was our final destination. We all set about looking for clues to the missing tapestry and the tower’s guardian angel (I forgot to mention that this place was supposed to be guarded by an angelic being but from what I had seen so far that is a most absurd notion – what angel would suffer a wraith to live?). Malfeseus called to our attention that the tapestry was most likely the one hung above the great four-poster bed that dominated the room; the four-poster bed that had an angelic occupant who, when we looked at him, began to rise.

Well, I for one was not taken in by the ruse. As we looked at this so-called angelic being, all the goodness dripped away from it to reveal some kind of fallen angel. Grumbold and Millie charged straight in to deal with the demon, and I fired off a lightning bolt to see what that would do. The demon soon recognised its mortal foe and proceeded to hunt me down. It slashed me with its great sword and followed me to the Ethereal plane just to get at its true enemy. Now, I am not embarrassed to say I was rather scared and the sight of all that blood (my own) made me completely faint away.

Bernard, our cleric, managed to conjure up some magic that brought me out of my daze so I could get up and finish off the diabolic being. The final straw was Bernard throwing a book at it - the being whimpered and collapsed in upon itself, leaving just a cloak and an amulet behind.

We gathered up what treasures we could find and returned to Carlian’s abode. We recounted our tale over some rather tasty roasted rodents (at least I hope they were) and I used my powers of divination to work out that the amulet would be a most welcome asset for our resident priest as it would improve his healing abilities. Carlian also did some divination of his own and mentioned two persons who had arrived on this plane just before we did; a certain Hammerstein and his accomplice lord Frack.

We still had most of what passes for a day on this plane ahead of us, so we headed on towards the next location of our quest; the town of Pureforge, located on the moorlands to the north. We managed to cover a great distance before we set up camp for the night in my little magical hut. Again, our dreams were fraught with impure deeds but we all managed to get fully rested except for our trusty paladin Grumbold.

Onto Pureforge (Day 3)

After another fitful night, Grumbold was reduced to a stumble. He just could not keep up with the rest of the party; so much for the stamina of dwarfs eh? Every now and then Millie plonked him onto Gur to rest whilst we trudged onwards. Unfortunately we could only cover half the distance of the previous day before I needed to set up camp again.

It was during Grumbold’s watch that things began to happen again…