Wednesday, 4 September 2019

THE LOST CITY PART 8

Actual play adapted from module B4: The Lost City. Will contain spoilers.
Lost in the desert, four foreigners (Luke, Kostas, Romulus and Xavi) found refuge in the mysterious city of Cynidicea, joined the Brotherhood of Gorm and orchestrated a plot with the Sisterhood of Madarua. Now in their third day, the party continue to explore, in spite of losing Brother Theodosius to shapeshifting fox-people and Kostas nearly losing his leg.  The last instalment concluded with the bloody pulverisation of a pair of giant
tuataras. Read part seven here 

Aware of the sound of heavy breathing, the party dismiss the light cantrap and attempt to hide in the shadows. The heavy door flies open, trapping Luke behind, while Xavi and Romulus become aware of a dark lumbering shape squeezing through the door. Initiative is rolled!


ENCOUNTER!
  • Xavi gains the upper hand, blinding what turns out to be an ogre with a light cantrap cast directly into his eyes. The creature swings wildly, but is unable to harm the humans. Luke squeezes out from behind the door, wounds one of the ogres, but is unable to prevent a second ogre mortally wounding Romulus with its axe. A third ogre also attempts to squeeze through, temporarily blocking Romulus.
  • Miraculously, the puny Romulus manages to shove his way through the ogre scrum, but receives a second axe wound to the chest, penetrating his armour. He loses a lot of blood [lethal damage table, loses 2 max hit points in addition to other damage]. A second attack of opportunity is intercepted by Luke, bravely bearing the brunt of the blow as he orders his men to flee.
  • Dashing through the darkness at high speed towards a door they have yet to open, Luke takes a fall. Fortunately the ogres are not swift enough to catch him, and the party have enough time to make it into the dimly-lit hall of worship and hide behind a statue of Gorm.
  • The three ogres enter, one of whom has a light spell permanently floating in front of his eyes, cursing as he makes his way to the unexplored northern chamber. The other two ogres begin turning over stone pews in search of the party. Seizing the moment, Luke orders his men to retreat again. Sadly, their retreat is not stealthy and the ogres are alerted, resuming their pursuit of the hapless adventurers.
  • Luke casts a second light cantrap upon his mace, enabling them to traverse the corridor back to the consultation room where they had previously encountered the gargoyles. Still running, and with the ogres in hot pursuit, they hear a *click* as they cross the intersection before the door, but nothing happens.
  • Entering the consultation room, they are relieved to see the gargoyles have returned to their slumber either side of the door. Romulus and Xavi, both wounded, make their way to the far exit, standing guard on the other side of the open doorway. Luke positions himself behind the desk, awaiting the arrival of the ogres. On the ground he spies a potion, a mace, and a bag of coins from when he had smashed the desk open earlier.
  • He positions his hand above the mace, and waits for the ogres to arrive. 
  • As soon as they are within sight, Luke grabs the potion and the mace and makes a dash for the door. The gargoyles reanimate just as the ogres enter the room, one of whom swoops down to intercept the intruders, the other swooping towards Luke. Luke suffers a nasty bite but is spared the rest the attacks thanks to his armour and shield. He crawls towards the doorway, slamming it shut behind him. They do not look back.

TURNS 2
Luke gives the potion to Romulus, not realising it is poison. The young soldier gasps, turns purple, and dies. A shocked Luke attempts magic, but to no avail. Luke uses his healing magic on Xavi.

Downcast, they return to the gnomes in the large quarters.

TURN 3
The gnomes are saddened to hear of Romulus' death, and Luke holds a small service in  the boudoir/morgue, wrapping his body and laying it on a couch beside the dead woman they found in the refectory. Xavi's morale drops, but the remaining gnomes are still feeling positive. Their leader, Thorinn, takes a contingent to join Luke and Xavi on their next recce. One of the injured gnomes has recovered, but he is to remain on guard with his two injured companions.

Thorinn is clearly looking to Luke for guidance, as he is a little unsure where to turn next. His expedition has been a mess so far, so he asks Luke if he can reach out to the Brotherhood of Gorm. Luke informs him to wait until after they have resolved the situation with Auriga and the Magi of Usamigaras.

Thorinn also states that he believes the Cynidiceans have been driven made due to their diet, which relies heavily on psychedelic mushrooms. Although very, very mild, the neurotoxin is never fully metabolised, and after several years can induce extreme states of altered consciousness.

Luke considers the fact that he has been eating a lot of mushrooms since arriving...

TURN 4
The party swiftly scurry through the Gargoyle chamber. They are not attacked, in spite of the fact that Luke is carrying the stolen mace. He believes it to be magical. The gargoyles have returned to their perches either side of the door. At the crossroads of the corridor outside, the gnomes and Luke investigate where they had previously heard an ominous "click", and confirm that a very rusted pit trap mechanism has been installed. They decided not to disarm it.

TURN 5
With only the light from the gnomes' bio-luminescent octopus to guide them, the party make their way cautiously down a long corridor.

TURN 6
A sliding granite door opens into an abandoned room, that apparently shimmers as though being viewed under glass. Xavi recoils in agony: the room is hone to a gelatinous cub! He falls to the ground, suffering fatal wounds and serious acid burns!

ENCOUNTER!
After five rounds of wailing, two near-deaths from the gnomes, and the utter corrosion of Xavi's armour, the party declares victory and leaves. Only judicious employment of his miracles enables Luke to spare the dying.

TURN 7-10
The party rests in the abandoned cleric's quarters. They find no treasure. Xavi is depressed, temporarily paralysed and wounded. Best estimate is four days until he can don armour again. The two wounded gnomes are seriously wounded and will be out of action for at least a few days.

TURN 11-12
The remaining party return to their hideout in the old tapestry/polymar room. Luke realises the mission has been a disaster for the gnomes. One is dead and four are out of action. The remaining three gnomes remain optimistic, however: Thorinn agrees to hold tight until Luke visits him tomorrow.

TURN 13...
Luke and Xavi limp back to their cloisters on the upper level. Luke breaks the bad news concerning Romulus to Kostas. Kostas assures him he still supports Luke, but his confidence is clearly wavering. The party rest up ahead of the dawn meeting with Pandora, Helena and the Sisterhood of Madarua.

DAY 4

After their morning repast and ablutions, Xavi, Luke, Kanadius and a contingent of Brothers journey to the Sisterhood on the level below.  It is an important day: Helena is to report back with the findings of her two day reconnaissance.

The most significant information is already known to Luke: each evening, at sunset, Auriga travels to the top of the pyramid with a contingent of four allies. They stay up all night, talking about the stars. Just before sunrise, they return to their quarters, wherin Helena estimates a further eight magicians reside.

Helena was unable to access their quarters.

Secondly, the Magi have a secret entrance to the area of worship on tier five, just as the Brothers and Sisters do. They usually send two-three individuals here at two hours after dawn, who then journeys on to the city via an entrance in the statue of Usamigaras. thus far Helena has been unable to identify the password to either door. The individuals return with water and other supplies after an hour or so.

Thirdly, the Magi in the city are almost completely cloistered. She was unable to gain access to their temple complex, but she believes that most of the Magi here are in fact priests rather than wizards. They have a leader, but he seems unconcerned with the activities of Auriga, as far as Helena can tell.

Once she finished an argument broke out, with Pandora calling for a lightning strike at sunset to decapitate the order and install a friendly or subservient replacement for Auriga. Kanadius suggested caution, but was keen to act decisively. Luke discussed the possibility of bringing Auriga into the fold, having been impressed by his vision for Cynidicea.

After some debate, Kanadius warmed to the idea of using poison (the same one that had killed Romulus), but Pandora was adamant the way forward was to strike with arms. While the debate raged, a Sister of Madarua burst into the chamber, proclaiming some terrible news:

"I have returned from the chamber of worship: it is crawling with Zargon's followers! They have posted guards to our entrances down to the city! Their numbers include bestial humanoid monsters, and a red-haired brother and sister!"

To be continued... here...






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