Saturday 21 June 2014

Team Adventure - Nobody's Home

Saved from certain death by the time egg, Alurax began to investigate the contents of the library, finding the books on the evil Outer Planes very interesting. Gullhar made his way down one of the corridors that, according to the very artistic map he had been making, had not so far been explored. The rest of the party followed along and found that it led to a room that was completely filled with water, to a depth of about thirty feet or so. Beyond that room was another corridor, at the end of which were two golden doors.

Alurax, who had now rejoined the party, decided to swim across the pool but halfway there, a water weird materialised and attacked. It missed due to Alurax’s high armour class, but had another go – and missed again. Alurax, having found that his trident had little effect on the weird, climbed out of the far side of the pool, none the worse for wear. The rest of the party followed suit, Alagon swimming across and Elysia flying everyone else. The water weird did try to catch itself a victim but was simply unable to get anywhere near them.  On his crossing of the water, Alurax spotted a large metal disc in the middle of the floor of the pool but had no time to investigate it.

Alagon led the way to the golden doors, but found that he couldn’t open them as they appeared to be locked. He called on Gullhar to deploy Larsh, and the polar bear began to hammer on the doors, shaking them but not opening them. Finally, with the assistance of Alurax, the doors were pulled off their hinges and the party peered through the opening.

Inside was what appeared to be a bedroom of sorts. There was a huge fur rug on the floor, a large four poster bed, a bedside table with some paperwork on it and on the far side of the bed, a large metal chest. Nobody could decide whether to enter the room so Gullhar took the initiative and went in, heading for the chest, which – if the examples of the other rooms were anything to go by – was where the goodies would be found. However, he noted that there seemed to be no lock to the chest and its lid seemed to just slide off. He was about to do so when there was a flash of magical power and before the horrified eyes of the party, Gullhar crumbled to dust.

At once, Alurax deployed his time egg to wind back the previous five minutes and the party found itself on the far side of the golden doors again; Alurax explained what was about to happen and the party resolved to be more cautious when investigating the chest.  They tried various means of getting it open without touching it but found that it was impossible to do so. Having reached what appeared to be a dead end, they retraced their steps to the laboratory and took the other narrow passageway.

Alagon took the lead and after a couple of turns in the passageway, which was only five feet wide, he noticed a symbol on the wall ahead. He moved closer to see what it said and it suddenly glowed with a sinister magical power. He began to feel very confused, seeing weird visions of the rest of the party without faces, the walls sprouting tentacles and other strange hallucinations. Gullhar dragged him away and back to the laboratory, where he crawled into a corner, whimpering and gibbering.

Using her magical knowledge, Elysia deduced that what Alagon had seen was probably a Symbol of Insanity and there were only three ways around it – a heal spell, a wish or a restoration. She decided that the only way to get clerical help was to find Ferros and that meant a teleportation to Vergez.  She held on to Alagon, told the party to await her return and vanished.

She arrived in the city safely. Unsure as to where Ferros might be, she sent Relic to find him but the pseudo-dragon had no luck. Elysia then asked the guards at the city gate if they remembered a cleric and a horde of zombies and skeletons leaving at all. The guards at the western gate said that they had seen him leading his merry band up the western road and Elysia set off, having hired a couple of horses and tied Alagon safely onto one of them. 

Two days later, she arrived at a site where a large number of zombies and skeletons were working hard on digging foundations, clearing trees and transporting stone blocks. She swiftly found Ferros, consulting an architect on the progress of the new temple of Foik. He was pleased to see her but when she explained what she needed, he told her that he was not a high enough level cleric to cast any of the spells she was asking for. He recommended a friendly cleric in Vergez and after bidding him farewell, she rode back to the city again.

By now it was October 16th,  which meant that she’d been away for four days. She hoped that the rest of the party had been okay in her absence and had not wandered too far from the laboratory.  She found the cleric and after explaining the situation and mentioning Ferros’ name, they agreed a sum of 10,000 gold pieces to heal Alagon. The spell was swiftly cast and Elysia teleported back to the laboratory. To her great relief, the party was still there, having spent their time exploring the safe areas of the dungeon and reading the scrolls and tomes in the library.

The party decided that it would be best if they explored the passageway at a crawl so that they would not see the symbol that had caused Alagon so many problems. This approach worked, but as they neared the mid-point of the passage, Alurax crawled over a glyph of warding and it exploded beneath him, causing him a great amount of burn damage. The lead was taken by Alagon, who was keeping a keen eye out for suspicious looking glyphs and symbols. Thus it was that he spotted one ahead and managed to trigger it with a ten foot pole. It sprouted sickly green fronds, replete with barbs and thorns, which shimmered in the air for a few moments, before dissolving into nothingness.

The far end of the passageway debouched onto a long hallway, off which opened five doors. At the far end of the hallway, there was another five-foot wide passageway. Alagon tried the door nearest to him and found that it led into a bedroom which, from the state of the furnishings, had not been used for a long time. He searched it but found only perfumes and women’s clothing.

Gullhar sent Larsh through another door and the sound of clanging and crashing was soon heard. Once Larsh had come out, Gullhar went in and found that the room was a disused kitchen. A small passageway, only three feet high, led off it; he followed and found a low-ceilinged room where the withered skeletons of eight hobbits were chained. In the eighth compartment, a violet fungus waited for victims but it failed to hit the doughy elf and he – along with Alagon – soon hacked the malevolent plant to pieces.

The next door led to a large dining room with an oaken table, at which there was a large silver chair. Too big to be easily portable, the party noted it as treasure and moved on. They also investigated an old bathroom, but there was nothing of interest there.

Finally, they found another bedroom, in which were two beds and more female clothing. Alagon, whilst searching the bedside tables, found a large sapphire in a pouch, but sensed great evil coming from it. Alurax looked into the gem and sensed a malign intelligence therein, trying to establish mental contact.

With his elvish abilities, Gullhar detected a secret door in the wall opposite the door, which – when followed – led back to the bedroom with the metal chest.

There was only the narrow passageway to investigate now, and Elysia sent Relic up it to see what he could find. He reported that it led back to the library, and that there were two dangerous glyphs there, which the party wisely decided to avoid. 

Returning to the library, the party pondered their options. Finally, they decided to look again at the water room, where the mysterious silver disc suggested that there might be something underneath. But what?

Sunday 15 June 2014

An Adventure for Every Monster - Djinni

Otherworld Miniatures do it again!
Frequency  Very rare    
No appearing  1
AC 4
Move 9”/24”   
HD 10
% in lair Ni1
Treasure type Nil   
No of attacks  1
Damage per attack 3-24   
Special attacks  See below
Special defences Nil
Magic resistance Standard
Intelligence Average-high
Alignment Chaotic Good
Size  L (10.5 feet tall)
THAC0  13
XP value 725 + 5/hp

Abilities include
Create nutritious food for 2-12 persons
Create water/wine for 2-12 persons
Create soft goods or wooden items with permanence
Create metal items of up to about 1000gp in weight for a short life span
Create an illusion with both visual and audial components which lasts until dispelled
Become invisible
Assume gaseous form
Wind walk
Form a whirlwind (doing 3-18 pts of damage)

Alzabir, city of adventure, danger and mystery!  A city on the edge of the desert, the terminus of a hundred caravans, home to a dozen races, the air thick with the heady scent of a thousand spices, the cries of prayer, the music of exotic dances and the screams of the dying. Ships from every port imaginable, crammed full of riches, put into its harbour; alluring houris ply their trade from marbled courtyards, masked assassins prowl the alleys. In the palaces, the sheikhs live in unimaginable luxury, in the slums the poor fight for every last scrap of food.

The city has recently been the scene of a battle between two creatures who share an ancient and inimical enmity – djinn and efreet. Nobody knows how they entered the city but enter it they did and their battle crackled through the air above the houses and the palaces before exploding like a second sun.

Whilst the efreeti was destroyed, the djinni was gravely injured and although it was able to recover its abilities, it had suffered total loss of memory in the process as a result of the magical energies to which it had been exposed. Now it wanders the city of Alzabir in human form, unable to recall who or what it is, but nevertheless curious about the environment in which it finds itself.

Normally djinn would limit the number of wishes they give to three, along the lines of strict agreements brokered with humans but this djinni, having no memory of the existence of agreements, has started to spontaneously grant wishes when it overhears them being made. As such, some very unusual occurrences have been noted in the city, both good and bad. Nobody knows why this is happening but some people have a shrewd idea of what might be causing it.   

There are several interested parties who would like to find out what’s going on and turn it to their advantage. The party may find themselves being hired by any one of them or perhaps making a grab for power themselves.

1. City Administration who would like weird things to stop happening in their city.
2. Cult who think that an angel has fallen from heaven and is performing good deeds (or taking revenge on evil doers) and believe this to be a sign that their time has come.
3. Cult who thin that a devil has risen from hell and is using wishes to corrupt people and lead them astray) and believe this is a sign that they must take arms and fight said devil.
4. The mainstream city religions who don’t want anything to upset their little world and would quite like things to go back to the way they were.
5. Rich merchant who wants the mysterious wish-giver for his own.
6. The city folk, who have got wind of the mysterious wish giver and are trying to seek him/her out so that they too can get what they want.
7. Agents of the Efreeti who want the djinni killed to finish the job their efreet bungled
8. Sages who would absolutely love a real live supernatural entity to examine, probe, dissect…
9. Thieves’ Guild who don’t know what is granting the wishes but can be fairly sure there’s a good market for it.
10. Agents of the Djinn who are looking for the lost djinni.

The DM should ensure that as many of these factions meet and clash as possible and that the party is stuck in the middle of said clashes.

Monday 9 June 2014

Team Adventure - Catching Fire

The party’s first action was to knock on the bronze doors; well, it was worth a try, but there was no response. Then Alurax decided to see if they would yield to the party’s default solution of throwing oil bombs at them. Again, there was no effect – apart from some smoke marks on the bronze (that’ll take ages to get out!)

At this point, Gullhar decided to make use of Larsh, the polar bear; with Alurax’s help, the doors started to yield; they were barred on the far side but that was no obstacle to the bear’s formidable strength. Finally, they gave way and flew open. The party stumbled in and found themselves in a large room, at the end of which were two sets of green curtains. Halfway down the room on each side was an alcove, in which was a large stone statue.

Elysia was wary about moving into the room without checking it out thoroughly; she sent an Unseen Servant to pull the curtains aside and Relic to fly in and see what lay beyond them. He reported back that there were two rooms there; one had a red stone floor, the other a pale blue one. 

As the party moved towards the alcoves, the inevitable happened – the two statues animated and moved to attack. Gullhar and Larsh were facing one, Alurax and Alagon the other. Larsh tried to swipe and bite at the statue but his claws broke on the enchanted stone and he fell back, growling in irritation.

Alurax attacked with his trident, Alagon with Whitefyre and they damaged the statue that they were facing. Lydia tried to attack it but her sword bounced off the stone without doing any damage.

Gullhar took damage from a nasty stone punch. The doughty elf returned the favour and sent chips of stone flying off as his sword hacked into the statue.  The next round, he scored another hit and managed to dodge the return punch from the statue’s stony fist.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the hall, Alurax and Alagon attacked again; Alurax’s trident missed its mark but Alagon hit with Whitefyre and the statue shattered into hundred of chunks of rock.

Now the party’s attention switched to the statue that was facing Gullhar. Elysia fired a salvo of Magic Missiles at it but they bounced off the stone, having no visible effect. Alagon launched his attack, hitting the statue; it missed Gullhar, who was trying hard to avoid being hit. Unfortunately, his efforts were in vain as a crushing blow sent him sliding across the obsidian floor.  Alagon used this opportunity to hack again at the statue and this time, he succeeded in destroying it.

The party picked itself up and started to search the alcoves in which the statues had stood. They found several long-dead bodies and a collection of adventuring gear and magic items, which were squirreled away for later identification and use.

The party split up to explore the two rooms at the far end of the hall. Lydia and Alagon went into the room with the red stone floor and found that it was warm, whilst Gullhar and Larsh investigated the blue-floored room and found it to be very cold. The far end of the room was revealed to be not stone, but ice. As Gullhar and Larsh ventured onto it, the ice cracked and fell in, plunging them into a pit lined with brown mould. Alagon and Lydia rushed in to see what had happened. As the brown mould started to suck the heat from Gullhar, Elysia flew in and pulled him to safety; Larsh clambered out on his own. Alagon used his healing hands to repair some of the damage that Gullhar had taken.

They then decided to try the other room. Gullhar, ever adventurous, went down the passage on the far side of the room and found a strange dial mechanism which he began to turn this way and that. Unfortunately for the rest of the party, who were still in the main room, the floor vanished underneath them and they fell into a pit of white phosphorus. Due to the heat of their bodies, it ignited and they were all set on fire; Elysia flew out of the fire, taking Alagon with her. Alurax and Lydia clambered out of the pit, having been badly burned; the fire was also starting to affect Gullhar, who was rescued by Elysia, still using her Fly spell.

Having taken quite a lot of damage in the three rooms, the party decided that they would camp in the main hall while Alagon recovered his ability to lay on hands. They were now starting to realise the disadvantages of exploring dungeons without a cleric.

Eight hours later, they woke; in the outside world it was now October 12th.  Alagon and Lydia tried to use their healing powers but found out, to their discomfiture, that they could only heal half the damage that the party had taken in the phosphorus pit. The party, being down on health and the ability to take damage, needed to tread warily as they explored the rest of the dungeon. Gullhar tried the door past the ice room. He failed again to get the lock open but Alurax had better luck with the door beyond the hot room.

Beyond this door was what appeared to be an old abandoned laboratory. There were various shelves, flasks, jars, racks of manuscripts, scrolls and the like. A large metal cabinet proved irresistible to Alurax but as he opened it, a fire trap went off and he started to jump about, trying to put the flames out. Inside the cabinet were hundreds of glass bottles of various shapes, sizes and colours. All seemed to be locked shut by something.

Being elves, Gullhar and Elysia managed to find two secret doors but as they were examining them, something invisible tried to strike at Alurax. It missed but the party were now alerted to its presence. They tried to hit it but failed dismally. The invisible creature struck at Lydia, doing her significant damage. The party lined up across the laboratory to try and isolate it but it moved towards Elysia and attacked her. Relic then used his ability to see invisible objects and creatures and stung their attacker, putting it into a catatonic trance. As the party watched, the little pseudo-dragon perched on top of the comatose attacker, and – now being aware of its location, Alurax, Alagon and Gullhar hacked it to pieces. 

Believing the laboratory to be secure, the party investigated the secret door that Elysia had found. It led to a hidden chamber, in which there was a desk and a lever on the wall. Not being a man who can resist a lever, Alurax pulled it and the door slid shut again, sealing them in. On the desk was a mace, which – when touched by Alurax – tingled with magical power. Alagon got the impression that there was something evil about it.

In a drawer of the desk was a folded vellum sheet, which Alurax picked up and read. The explosive rune on it went off, blasting both Alurax and Alagon. Almost miraculously, the sheet was still legible and they realised that it was a guide to the bottles in the laboratory cabinet.

As well as the vellum, the drawer also contained a lump of amber with a black pearl inside it and a silver jar full of a strange liquid; Alurax took a sip of it and felt an incredible strength and power course through him.

Having seemingly exhausted the hidden chamber’s possibilities, the party decided to try the secret door that Gullhar had discovered. They moved down a passage, past a side branch and found the rear of another secret door that led them into a library. As they entered, a loud and continuous barking sounded, coming from nowhere in particular.

Alurax decided to move into the room but as he did so, something attacked him from behind, knocking him over and ripping into his armour. He very quickly fled the room and the barking stopped. A bit of experimentation revealed that the creature (whatever it was) only attacked its targets from behind. The rest of the party entered, kept their backs to the walls and began a search which soon revealed another secret door.

Beyond this one, there was another hidden room; this too had a desk in it but as well as that, a large rock in one corner. There was also a helmet on the desk, which Alurax picked up and tried on. There did not seem to be any immediate effect from wearing it.

Investigation of the rock soon revealed that it was hollow and it yielded to a few heavy blows from the party. Inside was a large collection of books and scrolls, which Elysia moved in to investigate. She was reluctant to examine them further because she sensed they might be magically booby-trapped.

Meanwhile, Alurax had got a bit bored and had wandered off down one of the corridors out of the library. Unfortunately for him, he walked straight into a fire trap which went off and killed him. On realising what had happened, Alagon decided to use his time egg that he had received at Christmas to wind back time five minutes so that he could prevent Alurax from going down the passageway in the first place. The impetuous fighter was admonished for splitting the party and getting himself killed. The party got the distinct impression that there were going to be many more opportunities for Alurax to do himself some serious harm before they left the dungeon.