Friday, 19 September 2014

Doggerland : Aftermath

The final playing session of this campaign was last week, but I had plenty of after campaign paper work to do this week. I wrote a follow-up session about how the characters were rewarded for their efforts and tried to complete any small items that were left undone.

I have asked the players whether they would like to carry on using their characters for a further adventure in Doggerland sometime next year using 3rd Edition rules. Some have already answered, so it looks like that will be a go next year sometime. I will now be awarding experience and levelling up their characters in readiness for the conversion session which will take place before the next game starts.

This week I attended the first session of a new Pathfinder campaign run by the DM of the Dragon Warriors adventures from last year. I have rolled up a Half-Elven Sorceror - about time I played one of the magic using classes since getting back into RPGs a couple of years ago.

The Destruction of the Temple

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Johan – Cleric
Maximillian – Thief
Tarquin - Fighter
Theoderic – Fighter
Vox – Magic User

Death Throes – Thunorsday 4th September (Day 91) – early evening

Zuggtmoy’s screams rent the air as she scrabbled for purchase on the smooth granite flagstones of the throne room. Her pseudopods could get no purchase as she was inexorably pulled into the bright beam that lit the rest of the chamber. As soon as she was completely immersed within the purple light the screaming stopped and the light shut out.

Johan rushed to check on Vox and he was able to stem the bleed he had sustained when he was dashed to the floor of the throne room by the demon queen. Vox groggily looked around him but was still dazed enough to not know what was going on.

As the party regained their feet and eye-sight after the brightness of the purple column of energy had disappeared and the chamber had been dashed back into the dimness of the mould induced luminescence they began to feel slight tremors in the ground below their feet.

Bow was first off the mark and he raced to the ascending throne device. However, he passed the details of its manual activation (which he still knew even though the Skull had winked out of existence) onto Max as he ascended the shaft. The rest of the party followed Bow up the shaft one-at-a-time as the throne room began to collapse slowly around them.

They exited the main Temple building as the thunder of collapsing earth got louder and louder. As they exited the Temple they met with the remainder of the Thuringian raiding party as they too fled towards the road that led away from the Temple.

When the adventurers and their Thuringian allies had made it beyond the confines of the Temple’s outer defence works, the ground began to shake more and a bright purple glow began to emanate from the ground. All of the material belonging to the edifice was slowly but inexorably dragged into the glowing sphere of energy that had now appeared just below the ground surface within a large crater that was rapidly forming.

Finally, there was a brief titanic implosion and the whole of the Temple and its local environs disappeared into the purple ball of energy, which winked out of existence with a final rush of inflowing air that ended with a great thunder clap.

Return to Castleford – overnight

On the way back the small army met with its supply train and rear guard. The party swapped stories with the leaders of the expedition who then told tales of strange creatures and beings that they had encountered within the dungeon complex. They mentioned the party’s handiwork on the first two levels but also mentioned that they had only just scratched the surface of what was also encountered therein. Many men-at-arms and acolytes were slain but also many prisoners were taken.

The wagon train moved throughout the night in its haste to get back to the safety of Castleford’s doughty walls. As it travelled, the acolytes from the Sol Invictus temples from all around were there to Heal and succour the wounded.

Guests of Honour - Freyasday 5th to Godsday 13th September (Days 92-100)

When the wagon train arrived at Castleford it was immediately waved through the main gates and escorted to the castle. The prisoners were led to the dungeons whilst the remaining injured soldiers were taken to the infirmary for further Healing. The party was asked up to the keep where they stayed as guests of honour for the next week or two.

The adventurers spent most of the intervening week or so retelling their tales of danger and derring-do to those that would listen. They also headed out to the merchants’ quarter to pick up the items that they had previously ordered; Tarquin, Bow and Max had special magical rings that were due for delivery any time soon.

On the Godsday (13th September) following their return to Castleford a great banquet was held in the party’s honour. Again they are guests of honour and are treated to a sumptuous feast as well as a reward for their contribution to the downfall of the Temple in Vannin. Each member of the party was awarded 10,000 gold coins and a small plot of land with a rent of 1,000 gold coins for their efforts. Again, Vox eschewed the ceremony but he was given his reward the following day personally by the Prince.

A few days after the great banquet, the adventurers were escorted to their new lands and introduced to those that would work for them.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Doggerland Final Session (Zuggtmoy's Realm)

The End of the Matter (10th September 2014)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Johan – Cleric
Maximillian – Thief
Tarquin - Fighter
Theoderic – Fighter (NPC)
Vox – Magic User

Zuggtmoy's Realm - Courtesy of TSR/WotC

The Throne – Thunorsday 4th September (Day 91) – early afternoon

The knowledge of how to use the throne mechanism in the main Temple above ground thrust itself into Bow’s mind. Now he knew how it worked the party had a second means of entry to the interdicted area inhabited by the demon queen Zuggtmoy.

He led his companions back up to the dais and throne in the Temple above and then gave them full instructions on which tiles to press, in which order and details of the passwords required in order to work the mechanism. He could get down using the powers of the Golden Skull.

Just as the party were about to approach the dais, they were disturbed by the tramp of many feet at the far end of the nave. Suddenly, the whole of the here-to-for gloomy Temple lit up as bright as daylight and each party scrutinised the other; the adventurers recognised that it was the military force from Castleford led by Prince Thrommel, the baron Tancred, the lady Mathilde and the High Priest Ralph, accompanied by several of their associates and scores of men-at-arms. The military contingent also recognised the companions and each wished the other party good luck as they set about their tasks; the adventurers to dispel the demon queen and the Thuringians to conquer the rest of the dungeon complex in order to give them the opportunity to do so undisturbed.

The party arrived one at a time into a throne room very deep below the ground level. The dais upon which the throne sat was constructed from large, seamless slabs of sickly-coloured porphyry whilst the rest of the room was coated in layers of slimes and moulds. Bow tested them with a variety of materials and found that they seemed harmless in themselves but they were slippery, so dangerous under foot.

When the party were all down safely – it took several minutes for each person to be able to come down after the throne returned to its position in the upper Temple – they cautiously made their way to the large set of stairs to the west that led further down into the depths. Their torches and lanterns lit the way through the maze of slime and mould trails but as they approached closer to the stairwell they could see a dim light source emanating from the bottom of the stairs.

The party split up with half moving across the throne room towards the doors on the opposite side of the room led by Tarquin, whilst the rest descended part-way down the stairs. Those that went down the stairs could make out in the half-light from the fluorescent moulds growing on the walls three columns of precious metal that rose to the ceiling, topped with the visage of a demon; one each of gold, silver and copper. The rest of the chamber expanded about halfway along its length to incorporate a large, round dark pit in the centre, and it culminated with a wall faced with a heavy dark purple drape with a very large gem-encrusted throne before it upon which was seated a black-hooded figure; they couldn’t tell whether it was a very small person on a normal sized throne or a normal sized person on a very large throne- their perspective was out by the juxtaposition. They decided to back up and follow their companions through the door on the southern side of the chamber to see if it would lead round the back of the throne and thus give them more of an element of surprise.

Animated Armour

The party followed Tarquin through the more westerly of the two wooden doors (some members of the party could not move to within twenty feet of the central magically locked and shielded double valves – the same Antipathy spell affected this side of the doors too) and entered a small chamber that had a black wooden throne butted up against the eastern wall which looked directly down the western corridor opposite. Other than some ghastly murals painted on the walls, there was nothing else in the chamber.

As there was nothing of interest other than the black wooden throne, which Tarquin said to avoid, the party advanced past the murals and into the corridor beyond.  Tarquin led the small band of adventurers into a second chamber beyond which had the same ghastly murals of moulds and fungi being ordered to carry out unspeakable acts upon innocent humans whilst demonic looking people looked on.

Unfortunately, the fighter’s attention was on the wall-paintings, and as he stepped into the chamber, the four suits of armour, set two on each of the north and south walls, came to life. In his haste to move into combat, he pointed his Wand of Wonder at the animated armour and spoke the trigger word. The room filled with flame as a Fireball ripped through it, but luckily only Tarquin and Bow from the party were in range and were the only ones slightly injured. The animated suits of armour seemed to bear no damage other than minor scorch marks.

The adventurers took the fight to the animations whilst Vox, who had cast a Flying spell upon himself, explored the main arrival room without having to touch the floor. After a while he got bored and decided to join the rest in the fight that he could hear emanating from the distant room. As he passed the entrance to the stairwell down to the pillared throne room he heard a cackle of laughter. He decided that as the fighters would most likely have everything under control in the fight, he would head back to the stairs down to see where the laughter came from. As he reached the top of the flight of stairs, he saw a bright, sickly purple light suddenly shine forth from deep within the room.

The party, however, were getting the worst in the fight and Tarquin had been seriously injured, so they decided to fight a retreating battle back out of the room. Tarquin went against his previous wary thoughts on the black wooden throne, and sat upon it in the hope that perhaps he could command the animated armour. Alas, this ruse did not work and they attacked him whilst he sat there none-the-less.

The party managed to escape the black wooden throne room and slammed the door upon their exit. They headed back across the slime covered floor to the stairs down where they joined their companions Vox and Johan, who had been first to leave the room in support of the mage.

The Three Pillars

Vox headed down the stairs still in Fly mode but his covetous thoughts betrayed him. A voice in his head said that if he wanted to take the copper pillar he could. He was sorely tempted to take the pillar but decided after a long pause to advance to the edge of the brightly glowing pillar of sickly purple light that now stretched from ceiling to floor from the central pit and lit the entire room to see what he could now see beyond it.

The party slowly filtered into the room but nothing seemed to change – the hunched figure still sat upon the large throne and the bright purple light neither dimmed nor grew in intensity. Eventually the whole party had moved up into a position where they could all see the throne and the person upon it. Tarquin touched the copper pillar on his way past and he too was asked within his head whether he wished to take it. He ignored the voice and the impulse to seek a way of moving the obviously extremely heavy pillar of solid metal.

The Ritual Begins

Vox, Max and Cormac advanced upon the dais to attack the black-cowled figure whilst Bow moved into direct viewing range of the throne. He set up the Golden Skull and readied the Sword of Solitude for the ritual whilst Johan drew a chalk circle and a variety of holy symbols around him on the floor of the throne room and then cast a Protection from Evil spell on the holy space. Tarquin and Theoderic took up positions in order to aid either group of their companions or defend them from any summoned minions that the demon queen may deign to conjure from the Abyss.

As the small party approached the throne they were all offered the precious metal pillars as an attempt to appeal to their greed but all of the party ignored the enticement; their goal was to call out the demoness and cast her back to her own realm. Seeing that her enticements were being ignored, the black-robed crone then changed tack. She tried a bit of reverse psychology and warned them not to take the jewels from the throne and then began to fiddle with some of the jewels encrusted upon the arms of the throne.

Bow had not started his ritual just yet, as he wondered what the black-robed figure was up to. He fired a single silver tipped arrow in her direction but it missed her and skittered away after hitting the back of the throne. He then began the ritual. At the same time, Vox cast a Lightning Bolt from his circlet, and Cormac also added a strike with his trusty sword. The magical attack managed to hit the figure upon the throne and then rebounded off the stone work to hit her again.

The old crone howled with rage but carried on threatening that no-one would get her treasures and fiddled more with the jewels upon the arms of the throne. She got herself worked up into a berserk frenzy and after just a few more moments of fiddling with the jewels encrusted upon the arms of the throne a variety of different coloured lights shot forth and struck the ceiling and floor of the chamber, blasting holes where it hit. One such beam though, reflected off a particular surface in the eaves and it rebounded to hit the crone and turn her into a pile of ash.


Johan saw all of this and reacted as if he knew what was due to happen next. He lit his Candle of Invocation and was lucky to Gate in a Valkyrie; exactly what he wanted to enable him to protect Bow whilst he conducted the ritual. Just as the Valkyrie appeared, a Babau demon also appeared right in front of the chooser of the slain. The demon then summoned another of its kind from the Abyss and the two denizens of the Void took up fighting the Valkyrie.

At much the same moment, the demoness herself appeared on the throne in all her tentacled and hideous glory and began to attack her assailants. She magically teleported most of the party back into the original throne room but Vox and Cormac stubbornly avoided the magical command. Bow was most annoyed as he had completed just over half of the ritual and would need to get back in place to complete it. What would the demoness do in the meantime to hinder their progress?

As the rest of the party rushed back into the fray, Vox and Cormac put up a brave fight against the demon queen whilst the Valkyrie held her own against the two Babau demons. Zuggtmoy summoned three strange looking mould creatures to her side, and they slowly advanced upon Bow’s vacated position but they were not quick enough to make it before the ranger could begin the ritual again.

The demon queen, annoyed that Vox had hit her again with his Magic Missiles (although this time it was not damaging) used her telekinetic abilities to pull him out of the air and dashed him into the ground. The impact knocked him unconscious and he slowly slipped towards death.

Max managed to slow one of the Babau demons enough with a back stab so that the Valkyrie was able to finish it off with her next blow. Cormac still hacked away at the demoness whilst Johan and Theoderic helped the Valkyrie against the remaining demon and prepared to defend Bow against the mould creatures.

Zuggtmoy’s End

Max then turned his attention to the demon queen to aid Cormac whilst Bow finally completed the ritual. A scream rent the air as a magical pull dragged Zuggtmoy and her remaining minions towards the glowing column of sickly purple light; the gateway to her realm. Unfortunately this magical draw also pulled half the party towards it too, but luckily there was someone close enough to each of those drawn thither to prevent them from being dragged to the netherworlds. Vox was moved to safety by the Valkyrie as a final act before she returned Valhalla.

When Zuggtmoy crossed into the purple light she let out a final scream of defiance and then the gateway shut. Everyone in the chamber was left temporarily blinded due to the brightness suddenly disappearing, but Johan was able to crawl to Vox just in time to administer a few Healing spells to arrest the mage’s descent into death.

Bow looked around for the Golden Skull and the Sword of Solitude, but these had also disappeared. Max advanced upon the throne to begin prising out the gems but Johan warned him that for every jewel prised out, a demon would be summoned. He said that this was best left to those with the knowledge of how to deal with such artefacts.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Doggerland Session 9:44 (Final Preparations)

The Golden Skull (3rd September 2014)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Johan – Cleric
Maximillian – Thief
Tarquin - Fighter
Theoderic – Fighter
Vox – Magic User

Return to Nulb – Freyasday 26th Hextember (day 87) – late evening

The darkness of the underground warrens pushed down heavily upon the exhausted minds and bodies of the adventurers. Their feelings of foreboding eventually got the better of them and rather than head towards the tower for safety decided that it might be best in their beaten state to return to Nulb and rest up before tackling whatever may have ripped their horses to pieces.

The evening had drawn in but the darkness above ground was less foreboding than the catacombs from which they had just emerged. The overgrown path that returned the party to Nulb was full of many noises in the darkness that made the adventurers nervous but nothing emerged from the undergrowth to waylay their retreat.

The party emerged from the Gnarley and upon entering the village requested board and lodgings from the Thuringian soldiers based in the newly built fortification. They were given the best quarters available and were fed as well as could be on the strength of their badges of office that had been presented to them by the Prince himself.

Whilst the spell casters rapidly made their way to a private space in order to replenish their magical strength, the fighters and thief decided to carouse with the soldiers. In the confusion, Bow slipped out and paid a visit on Mother Screng at her herb shop.

An Audience with Y’Dey and Otis – an hour of Bow’s time

Bow rapped upon the door lintel and was greeted by the wizened old face of Mother Screng. He asked if she would talk to him about the latest developments in their adventure, but the miserable old hag responded that it was far too late at night and that he should return in the morning. Bow realised desperate measures were called for so he showed her the Skull and three amulets that he and the party had already gathered. A brief look of fear and then panic crossed her face as she ushered him straight in to her parlour. She then sent her daughter out to gather another person from the village with whom to share this moment.

Mother Screng placed a kettle of water back on the fire to brew a pot of tea which was ready at just the same time as the burly smith entered. After a few words had passed between the three villagers, the old hag muttered a spell and cast off their magical disguises to reveal the Canoness Y’Dey, Otis the head ranger, and Murfles a goodly spy.

The four of them sat down around the table in the small back room and Y’Dey cast a few protective spells to hide whatever they were going to discuss next from any scrying eyes. Bow then removed the items again from his pack and placed the Skull and the three amulets upon the table to whispers of awe. He then drew the Sword and laid it alongside the other artefacts which drew more sharp intakes of breath. Y’Dey then used her magical abilities to determine which amulet went where upon the Skull and as the amulets were placed into the recesses available for them they moulded themselves seamlessly into their allotted positions.

After the artefacts had been fitted together Y’Dey then told Bow how, when and where to use the completed Skull and Sword to destroy the demoness Zuggtmoy. She then cast many spells upon the Skull which made it shrink and take on the form of an innocuous necklace and trinket to hang around his neck in a small leather pouch, whilst the magical protection would also guard it from all but the most powerful of scrying magics until it was ready to be used again. She then gave Bow the command word to make it large again so he could add the final amulet when it was found.

The three villagers then gave Bow directions on how to get to the Interdicted dungeon level that Zuggtmoy was imprisoned within and also to the third door which they told him the Temple had the final amulet for. If the Temple acted true to form they would blow the door off its hinges at New Moon in a couple of days’ time and then leave the amulet behind thinking it had served its purpose. Bow would then be able to recover the final amulet and advance upon the demoness’ realm in order to banish her.

Finally, after sipping the last dregs of their tea, Otis mentioned that the baron would be leading a force into the dungeon to act as a diversion for when they re-entered the evil Temple. Bow thanked them for all their help and cheekily asked whether the canoness would Heal the wounds he had picked up in the last fight – she agreed to this and fully healed him.

Then, after a quick look to make sure he had not been tailed he slunk back to the party in the Thuringian fortification and fell asleep on his cot without telling his fellow adventurers anything of his side adventure.

A Third Earthquake – Godsday 27th Hextember to Moonday 1st September (days 88-90)

The party returned to Castleford the following day on horses leant to them by the Thuringian soldiers, but they asked that they be returned to the next patrol that would be headed back in their direction.

Upon arrival, the party handed over the horses as requested and returned to their usual lodgings in the Talehangers’ Inn where they set about Identifying and evaluating their treasure. Johan recouped all his spells after a long bout of Healing his companions and then set about making enquiries about where and how he might be able to set up a temple to the Old Faith once his adventuring days were over. After they had spent a couple of days getting this resolved, they then spent a large amount of it carousing. On their daily travels they noticed that military activity had picked up in the town, much like it had done before the raid on Nulb several weeks ago – something big was about to kick off again but only Bow was party to the knowledge.

During their stay in the Talehanger’s Inn, on the night of the New Moon, a third and more powerful earthquake was felt by all the townsfolk. Again, lightning brightened the sky and thunder rebounded off the distant hills. The town’s residents were set to panicking and wondered again what was happening in the world. They reasoned that although it was the stormy season earthquakes were generally unknown in this part of the world, so they passed the night washing away their fears with cups of ale and wine.

A couple of days later, all of the treasure had been identified and evaluated and a variety of equipment had been bought and sold; Bow also collected the Ring of Protection that was ordered a week before from a travelling merchant. The following morning, the party headed back towards the Temple; this time they made the journey on foot.

Return to the Temple – Thunorsday 4th September (Day 91) – mid-morning

The road via Nulb back to the Temple was deserted and the grounds around were pretty much as they had left them. It seemed that the Temple had gone to ground after so many of their number had been slain by the party and the third door-sundering ritual had been completed.

Johan was determined to find the first amulet that he presumed was still hidden amongst the rubble at the main Temple entrance doors, so he cast a Detect Object spell and looked about for traces of the amulet that had once been his. However, because the amulet had been magically disguised by Y’Dey he could not detect it even though it was only a few feet distant on a chain around Bow’s neck; Bow smiled wryly but said nothing to his companion. After he had failed to find anything within the rubble outside the upper Temple building, he called for the party to enter the Temple and search about inside – only Bow and Vox knew that their search would be in vain, but they chose to say nothing.

Bow, his mind full of the details that Y’Dey had given him decided to wander off in search of the third amulet. The rest of the party were split on whether to follow him, much to Johan’s annoyance for wanting things wrapped up neatly. However, he decided to follow the ranger as he could always come back after the third amulet had been found to look again for the first amulet which he still thought was lying around in the rubble close by the main entrance doors.

As Bow reached the main stairwell down to the elemental room of the first dungeon level, he felt an irresistible urge from the disguised Skull to investigate the throne and dais at the end of the nave. He was unsure what the feelings meant but he had become aware that the throne was important somehow. As he walked up the dais the feelings became stronger but he still could not put the feelings into words. He decided to sit upon the throne much to the insistence of his companions that he should not, but he still got no more than the nagging feeling that it was important but he was unsure why.

The Secret is Out – late morning

Bow strode ahead and took the steps downwards two at a time, whilst the rest of the party lit torches and lanterns and struggled to keep up with him. He walked with purpose and retraced his steps back down through the Elemental room, through the left hand curtain and down the side corridor past the rat room that Max had been ambushed within.

They then passed the prison cells and advanced along the long, dark back corridor until it led them down the spiral stairwell. Bow then led them past all of the decaying Temple guard and bugbear bodies to the angled corridor beside the water room within which Tarquin had nearly drowned.

At the next junction the party asked Bow what he was doing because rather than head eastwards, as expected, along the main processional and down the next set of stairs that was guarded by an antipathy ward of some kind, he instead led them off south down a wide corridor that ended with two sets of double valves. He replied he was acting on a hunch, as he still did not want to give away the secrets he had learned from Y’Dey. They decided to believe him and humoured him in the hope that he either achieved the goal of finding the amulet or ran out of steam and returned the search back into Johan’s methodical hands.

At this point, Vox cast a Strength spell upon his warrior companions just in case they blundered into something or someone unexpectedly and fortuitously this also allowed them to push open the huge double doors that were positioned on either side a little more easily. Cormac opened the western set to reveal a south-westerly angled corridor whilst Bow opened the eastern set. However, Cormac was ignored when Bow descended the stairs and shouted that he had found the remnants of the third wrecked door.

The rest of the party filed into the large octagonal room and saw the carnage within. They also spotted the old rag that they had lit and dropped into the hole in the Temple floor eighty or so feet above several days previously. The party then spread out and began to search for the third amulet, which Bow was fortuitous enough to find.

He then led them back to the wide processional corridor towards the warded stairwell. Everyone was able to descend the stairs towards the bound and sealed double valves except for Bow, Max and Theo; the magical dweomer was far too powerful for them to overcome and they could progress no further than a few steps downwards before they had to retreat. Bow tried every which way to descend the stairs but he just could not overcome the nauseating feelings he got when he approached the stairs.

Finally, he pulled out the disguised Skull from its protective pouch around his neck and said the command word to return it to its normal shape and size. He then placed the final amulet in position and watched as it too sealed itself in place. Johan gasped in surprise that he had been hoodwinked by the ranger and felt misgivings alongside a newfound lack of trust in his companion. However, the mission to destroy the demoness in her lair took precedence, so he kept his thoughts to himself.

As soon as the amulet locked in place, Bow was rewarded with the feeling that he now knew how the Skull worked, even down to the point that he also now knew the other way into the Interdicted part of the Temple complex via the throne on the dais in the main Temple building above ground.

He told his friends what he had discovered, and rather than split the party and be without some of their companions when they faced Zuggtmoy, all agreed they would take the same route as him to enter her realm.