Continuing on from Sunday’s session..
Damn, this got ugly. If it weren’t for the henchman sacrificing her armor, the services of a (startlingly tolerant) wizard, and the blessings of Buckshot, the party would be dead right now. As-is, several of them are permanently scarred physically and all of them mentally. God I love this job. (From one of my rogues: “That was the most Metal game of D&D I’ve ever played”.)
As you may recall, I’m running the new module “Forgive Us”, by Kelvin Green (Full review coming tomorrow, after I have time to digest it all). Spoilers after the break.
We left our “heroes” as they released a competing party’s magic-user (bound and gagged) to his fate in the dhimmi quarter of Tangiers. It was now 12:30, and they had about 5 1/2 hours until sunset and the probable seizure of their ship..
—————-Here be spoilage————–
The party poked around in the carpenter’s shop, discovering furniture worth at least 20gp, and quietly consigned it to the cart in the courtyard. They also found a dead man upstairs; the combined sight of him, the words, “Allah, forgive us” scrawled on the wall in his own blood, and the, ahem, leavings of the previous party’s magic-user undid the Lady Elizabeth. Leaving her to her illness, the party explored what was evidently a training ground for thieves or assassins, finding nothing of value. This didn’t stop our friendly rogues from jacking the deck of cards left behind from a poker game (they’d already gotten the silver from it off the other party). The doctor, examining the corpse, found it partially-mutated, with the death an obvious suicide at least two days previous. Hernando and Brydren the hireling, wearing gloves, cast the corpse out of the window onto the pile in the courtyard for later torching.
On trying the door to the Butcher’s shop, they heard a crash as something within slammed against the door. An immediate consensus was reached to spike it shut and leave it be for now.
The party split up, recconoitering the other houses with a newly-looted master-key; they found evidence of violent struggle in the potter’s and abandoned meals everywhere, along with a dozen empty or broken bunks in the Guild’s quarters – but only one more body. Following a trail of broken pottery and blood, they descended to a cellar below the compound; the stench within overcame Brydren and Elizabeth for almost a quarter hour. While investigating the obvious battleground, they found a locked vault door (with 2 keyholes and a plaque marked “to the Fairest”) the easy way, and a pit trap the hard one..
The party repaired upstairs to recover their senses and set Elisabeth’s sprained ankle. While the gentlemen examined the upper stories of the whorehouse and the private residences, finding horrible black fluids and a foul idol matching the description given by their erstwhile prisoner, she snuck away to try her luck in the locked upstairs office of the Scrivener. She managed to pick the lock leading into the office, but failed her attempt on the safe. A short sharp pain in the finger alerted her to its security system, and she managed to crawl to the head of the stairs before losing consciousness.
Meanwhile, the gents found a door the master key would not unlock. Hernando declared his shotgun to be a skeleton key; he merrily deafened himself and the Doctor, but the henchman’s helmet saved him from the worst of it. Inside, they found the gang’s leader dead of self-inflicted wounds, and stole his keys and papers (including his suicide note, inscribed “My fairest Fatima, and my sons..”).
Returning to the scrivener’s, they uncovered the Lady E. motionless at the head of the stairs; a quick application of backhands, smelling salts, and a full Turn later, she rejoined the conscious. They looted the safe (finding more keys, some very interesting shipping manifests, and a sack full of cash), before voting to return to the Vault door (on the grounds that “hey, we have like six new keys, some of them fuckers have to work”). Clearing away the barricade in front of it, they found the locking lever for the pit trap, which was ignored in favor of stringing a ladder over the opening.
As they entered the Vault, I cued up this. I knew the piece well enough to time the “clank” at 0:25 to them opening the Vault door, describing a shadowed room filled with cloth-covered heaps, racks, and tables. Each party member was told they could roll 1d20 – or two.
I paused the music just before the horns kick in (at 3:02) as I described the treasures they found. Elizabeth rolled twice.. and I hit “play” again as I dropped the d20 for the monsters’ first free attack on her. She damned near shit herself. ^^
(note: I toned down the monsters to only 2 attacks and 3 HD, and cut all the treasure values by 75% here and upstairs. They still nearly killed everyone..)
Anyway, the party sprinted out of the vault, throwing caltrops behind them and running back the makeshift bridge.
The 8 beasts sprinted after them, heedless of the ‘trops, and the lead pair tripped the trap: one fell in, wounded, but the other successfully caught itself and charged the party. The remaining six turned and ran back into the vault as the party began firing and slashing at the headless tentacled horrors in panic. Both the Doc and Hernando (now calling himself “The Brown Wind of Plundering!”) pumped buckshot into the fleeing beasts. The rest of them missed. Next turn, the trapped beast hauled itself bodily from the pit, as the six neglected horrors appeared – they’d only turned back to get a running start! Some fell, wounded by the caltrops and failing to jump the pit, and two were killed. In the ensuing melee, Brydren was pulled into the pit, and a horrible screaming was heard, accompanied by a spray of blood and ichor (she would have died, but gave up her helm to a Splintered Shields check, and killed it with her newly-looted greatsword.). She spent the next 2 rounds piling up bodies to give her a way out of the pit before rejoining the party.
The melee grew more heated; the headless monstrosities attacked heedless of injury or the roar of the party’s guns. One grappled the doctor and savaged him (knocking him down to 3 HP), and he failed a mysterious Poison save. He struggled ineffectually for his dagger on the first round, before succeeding on a Strength check and kicking it onto Bryd’s sword. Meanwhile, Elizabeth struck off the tentacles sprouting from the neck and right arm of her adversary, weaving an impenetrable web of steel with her saber but unable to land a blow. Hernando was struck repeatedly by another pair (who kept rolling ones for damage…), feeling his arm and leg begin to numb and burn, before he struck them down as well. Finally, the good doctor and Spaniard simultaneously Sneak Attacked the opponent of Elizabeth, and stood panting among the carnage. Bryd lay unconscious at (exactly..) 0 HP, and most of the rest of the party were in terrible shape. The party re-laid the ladder and cleared their caltrops; Meantime, Doctor Byron treated Bryd’s wounds, and discovered “he” had maintained a bit of a deception from them. The rest of the party shoveled all of the body parts into the pit trap, rolling a barrel of high-caliber booze in after them (the Spaniard washed his wounds and Bryd’s with the alcohol and both took a good “medicinal” belt, earning a +3 to their Disease saves – which saved both their lives). After one more quick toss of the Vault (recovering a few more interesting items, including a scroll of Cure Disease..), the party dropped a lantern into the pit and cranked the lid shut before fleeing the cellar.
Now sure of what had befallen, they stashed Brygitte in the cart (with faithful, irritable Roy guarding her completely incompetently) in a nearby alley, and reported the situation to the hunchback. He could not procure the services they needed, and the diseased members of the party (in a “fuck it, why not?” mood) trotted over to the Vizier’s mansion while Elizabeth dropped off the party’s valuable blackmail materials at their ship. She paid out a double-day’s pay to the crew and Sailing-master to “enjoy themselves” once the cargo was offloaded, then returned to the negotiations in-progress.
I’m proud of them for blackmailing this son of a bitch with his own magic items…
In exchange for the return of his lion and idol, he agreed not to prosecute them for clear piracy (and in lieu of the payment he had offered the other party, as well..). He gave Brygytte a potion that healed her wounds somewhat, before snuffing all the candles in the room and procuring a white taper. Lighting it, he opened the leaden casket; the flame sputtered and turned pure white. A blindfolded priest was led in and Blessed the party, and each afflicted person stripped and passed their wounded areas over the flame. Instantly the corruption flared into flame, bursting off their bodies as white fire crawled up the inflamed veins and jetted from the mutating pocks dotted across their flesh (excising 1 permanent HP from Brygytte and Byron, and 2 from Hernando). They now have bitching scars..
On the way home, the party passed the home where Elizabeth had chatted with her father’s sagely friend, finding it burnt to the ground. A pair of annotated Qurans, a Bible, and some manner of Persian text sat in the rubble, damaged only by water and ash. Hernando stole them on “general principle”.
The party returned to their ship for a candlelight “discourse” (treasure-divvy), granting Brygytte a full share for her badassery and courage – elevating her to full henchman status. I ruled the XP and overall terror of the experience was enough to make her a 1st-level Fighter, and the rest of the party wound up with enough XP to reach level 2.
Upon examining the black-painted eagle sculpture they raided, it began whispering to them of its power and value; they promptly stuck it in a coffer, sandwiched between the Qurans, and wrapped it in pillows and blankets until they couldn’t hear it anymore. It’s somewhat miffed.
The good Doctor recognized the symbols and text on the icon of Solomon they found as being sigils of binding some entity, and a prayer praising Solomon’s wisdom, requesting of Allah that said be shared.
He didn’t read it aloud off the card that I handed him, so Death Frost Doom may actually not kill these fuckers. :b
They stored that one on the desk in the captain’s quarters, accompanied by the 20gp ebony furniture set stolen from the carpenter’s.
• 600 XP from kills
• About 500sp each in cash and kind (Brygytte kept a small rack of perfumes she found in the vault as part of her share), plus assorted non-magical books, a spellbook, and a Clerical scroll.
• Another 95gp worth of commercial goods from trading the whiskey for its weight in salt and clothing, plus the quarter-ton of furniture and silks they looted on the way out.
• Being forewarned of the contagion and the presence of an infected individual in the Butcher’s shop, only seven more civilians died or were executed in clearing the compound; the thieves’ guild has a new owner, who owes the party a favor and the Vizier about 12.
• The suffered no difficulties from the port authorities, and paid their taxes like good monkeys
• The immoderate bonuses have raised Crew morale by 1, and another crewman will be applying to the ship tomorrow (as well as a few possible men-at-arms)
• Lady Elizabeth is now officially promoted to Quartermaster, and Brygytte to Leftenant of Marines. Ol’ Roy has been promoted to Cabin Boy.