Sunday, July 24, 2016

Idalium Game 47: Hey, Abbot!!!

Session date: Monday, March 14, 2016
Game date: Saturday, October 19, 208

Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 3, hp 15, xp 7991/8800
Caryatid, Magic-user 3, hp 15, xp 9624/10000
Simon Sackwell, Halfling 1, hp 4, xp 403/2000

Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 2426/4000
Brother Guntur Valto, Cleric 1, hp 5, xp 1265/1500

Fully expecting a further attack from the Brothers of St. Rathmus, now revealed to be shapechanging ratmen, the adventurers moved to defend their position. Tod and Brother Jibber (even in the absence of their player) moved their pallets onto the trapdoor under the stairs and slept there, holding the trapdoor closed with their weight. They resumed their schedule of watches, with one person awake on the ground floor in the central courtyard, and another patrolling the second floor and peering out the windows to watch for any oncoming attackers.

In the middle of the night (around 2 AM) Tod and Jibber were awakened by someone testing the trapdoor beneath them. Their weight held it closed, and the movement ceased and did not recur. All was quiet for another hour or so, but then, while Gulleck was patrolling the second floor, his keen dwarven eyes picked out movement in the darkness outside. Four ratmen in monks' robes were scurrying over the roof of the stables that lay directly north of the guesthouse. Gulleck could see dimly crossbows hanging from their necks on lanyards. They moved quickly to the guesthouse and he could hear their feet up on the rooftop.

Simon was awake on the first floor, and ran into the courtyard to see what was happening. He could see two figures silhouetted against the starry star, peering over the edge of the open atrium above the second floor. One raised a crossbow, there was a twang, and a bolt torn through Simon's sleeve, grazing his arm. Simon ran for the stairs, hoping to get a better view and shot from the second floor.

Gulleck called out a warning to wake the others, and then came up with a plan to intimidate the ratmen. He rummaged in his belt pouch for a potion they had obtained from the Night Walkers, which he suspected of being a potion of growth. He climbed out a window onto the tiled roof of the stables, and drank the potion, quickly ballooning into an eight-foot tall dwarf! The giant dwarf clambered up the side of the guesthouse, using the window for footholds, and pulled himself onto the roof. The clay tiles of the roof crunched worryingly under his feet. There were two wererats aiming crossbows down into the courtyard, and their jaws dropped when they looked up and saw him. Panicked, they fired at him while staggering backwards.

Gulleck lunged for the wererats, but unfortunately rolled a natural 1, a fumble. Well, what else could I do except the roof collapse beneath him? And so, Gulleck plunged through the roof into Caryatid's bedroom (luckily she had awoken and moved into the hallway to see what was going on). The dwarf cursed and clambered clumsily up the collapsed rafters back up to the roof, only to find that the wererats had fled. Unfortunately, it turned out that the ratmen on the roof had been a diversion, and that two other rats had dropped lightly down into the courtyard, entered the room where Grimbo (the group's hobbit guide) was sleeping, and abducted him through a secret door that led out of the guesthouse. (The party had discovered and barricaded this door, but the ratmen opened it from the inside without difficulty.)

Angry at the loss of their companion, the group wasted no time in leaving the guesthouse and marching to the inner sanctum temple, the one place in the monastery that they had been forbidden access to. Gulleck was still double-sized and so was his magical axe, and he set to work hacking at the wooden gate until the bar that held the door could be knocked aside and the gate opened. The group entered the courtyard of the temple. Across the courtyard, they could see a sort of lattice-sided porch that served as an entrance to the temple building itself. Gulleck was in no mood to waste time, and literally smashed through one of the walls ("Hey, Kool-Aid!"), surprising a small monkey that was perched on top of (and chained to) a post upon which hung a large wheel covered with small bells. The monkey frantically spun the wheel, bringing forth a tinkling of bells. Gulleck charged in and smashed the wheel to the ground, the post snapping as it fell. The monkey scampered away, dragging a three foot long piece of wood behind it on its chain.

Now that they were in the temple itself, they decided to be a bit more stealthy. Caryatid had an invisibility ring they had recently found in the hearth of the blacksmith's shed. Putting this on, she crept down a hall and into the main temple shrine, to behold a grisly sight in the flickering light of a number of braziers. Two wererats stood by an altar, one wielding an evil-looking dagger. Grimbo's wrists and ankles were tied to the altar with ropes. A dozen or so giant rats lurked in the shadows of the room. Caryatid returned to the group and they concocted a plan. Simon would sip from the invisibility potion that they had, and the two of them would creep into the room and attempt to spirit Grimbo away before the wererats could sacrifice him.

That was the plan, anyway. What happened was Simon got distracted by a door on the other side of the shrine, and wandered off while Caryatid was trying to deal with Grimbo. He found a robing chamber with four large chests against the wall. He started exploring the chests, finding only clothes, before remembering he was supposed to be helping Caryatid.

Caryatid decided to mock the wererats and whispered strange things in their ears, trying to convince them she was the voice of the original gods of the temple, or the spirits of the monks they had killed, or something. The wererats were confused and alarmed and this voice coming from nowhere. Simon returned around now and fed the remaining invisibility potion to Grimbo. The wererats were freaking out at this turn of events, and they decided to carry out the sacrifice immediately regardless of the disappearance of their captive, but Caryatid had cut the ropes restraining Grimbo, and pulled him down off the altar, just as the wererat plunged his dagger towards the altar. Gulleck and Meat ran into the room, and the battle was on.

The adventurers were beset by the filthy giant rats that had been lurking in the corners. Gulleck was bit by multiple rats, but his axe killed one after another. One of the wererat monks grabbed Meat by the arm and bit his arm fiercely. As Meat struggled with it, trying to dislodge its teeth from his arm, Gulleck's axe came down and severed the head from the rest of the wererat's body. The other wererat observed this in horror, and attempted to flee, but Grimbo, invisible and hiding on the ground, managed to trip the fleeing wererat, and he was quickly restrained with some of the rope.

The adventurers marched their wererat captive into the room with the chests, where they found that unlike the first three chests that contained merely clothes, the fourth chest seemed to open into a deep shaft into hell itself, with flames and leaping demonic creatures at the bottom. There was some argument over what to do with this, and eventually someone forced the wererat to enter the chest, upon which they were all surprised to find his standing in the chest as if there was nothing out of the ordinary. They yanked him out again, and Gulleck carefully reached into the illusion, feeling around to see if anything was hidden. His hand came back holding a miniature spear, only six inches long. But when he lunged with this tiny spear at the floor, it suddenly snapped out to ten feet in length, striking the floor with an echoing crack, and then snapping back to its former diminuative size.

There was another door leading out of this robing chamber, and they asked the ratman where it led. To the abbot's chambers, was the reluctant reply. "Well, let's go see him," grunted Gulleck and pulled the door open.

"Hey, Abbot!!" the ratman screamed in a panic, the punchline of a joke that had been running for several sessions. We had to stop here, on more of a cliffhanger than we usually do, but it had grown late, and the rest of the adventure would have to wait for the next session.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Player Journals from Session 46

Journal of Tod Quasit Jr.
After what could only be described as the worst meal ever we dragged Meat's comatose body back to the barracks and settled down for the night.

Wait. I forgot to mention that after the unspeakably horrible death of Axle the Thief, almost as if a god was watching over us, a giant bird carrying its dinner home to the nest dropped the food right over the well in the Abbey. The food turned out to be a halfling ready to join our party. I mean... what are the chances? Jibber says the chances are so infinitesimally small that there's no point in even trying to calculate them and has written the entire event off as a Genuine Verified (by him) Miracle and he hopes to report back to the Church with this news and probably get in the Church Picayune for next month or something. So anyhow, Axle gone, Damned if I can remember this new guy's name... in.

As it happened, Munch and I (I'll call the halfling Munch. It's not right but I'll fix it later) took the first watch of the night and it was uneventful. Second watch was Jibber and maybe Gulleck? I fell asleep with my armor on, as I'm want to do. Suddenly I heard the unmistakable sound of Jibber screaming. I lit my sword grabbed that other sword we found and rushed in to find two horrible rat men attacking. We fought and fought but somehow, even though I struck one across the back with the new sword and dealt it a grievous wound, they would not die. Eventually both of them shrank into rats and ran down a trap door in the floor that none of us, despite our meticulous search, had discovered.

We descended down the trap door into an old and rank tunnel. Clearly these ran all under the Abbey. We followed a path, always taking the option to turn left. Eventually we entered a very large room with a statute in the middle. Suddenly, as we were poking around looking for stuff, part of the statue came alive and attacked. A giant worm like thing with tentacles and eyes on the tips and a huge gaping maw with thousands of needle like teeth. It gave off a poisonous foul odor and glowed ever so lightly a putrid green color that filled me with horror and dread. It put up quite a fight but eventually we killed it and carved it into steaks for the BBQ later.

We proceeded out of the room and came across a very old man shackled in an alcove in the wall. He had been tortured and imprisoned for over 800 years. His name was Shovelpooven and he had been a monk at the Abbey before the attack of the Rat Persons. We set him free and asked him about the Lantern Of Griselda's Weaving. He thought he knew of such a relic and gave us directions on how to get to it by using the tunnels. We're taking a short break before proceeding so I thought I'd write this down now because my memory is not reliable lately and if I don't take almost contemporaneous notes I lose the gist of things.

Idalium Game 46: The Rats in the Walls

Session date: Monday, March 7, 2016
Game date: Friday, October 18, 208 to Saturday, October 19, 208

Tod P. Quasit, Jr., Fighter 3, hp 16, xp 4785/8000
Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 3, hp 15, xp 7966/8800
Caryatid, Magic-user 3, hp 15, xp 9599/10000
Simon Sackwell, Halfling 1, hp 4, xp 377/2000

Brother Jibber, Cleric 2, hp 10, xp 2531/3000
Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 2413/4000
Brother Guntur Valto, Cleric 1, hp 5, xp 1252/1500

The players, suspicious that their friendly reception from the Brothers of St. Rathmus had worn out, set a schedule of watched for the night. Two PCs would stay awake in the central courtyard of the guest house while the rest slept, and they would change shifts every four hours. I asked them to tell me who would be on watch during each shift over the course of the night, and then I rolled a die to determine when the attack would indeed strike.

It was around midnight, and Gulleck and Brother Jibber were on watch in the courtyard when the silence was broken by a strangled shriek from Brother Jibber. The players had failed a surprise roll, so despite their careful setting of a guard they were taken unawares.

Gulleck whipped around to see Brother Jibber struggling against a figure in a saffron monk's robe, who was attempting to garrote him with a length of metal wire attached to a pair of wooden handles. The attacker seemed unusually short compared to the monks they had seen, and Gulleck's eyes widened as he noticed that the attacker's head was covered not in hair but in dense matted dark gray fur, and two pointed ears stuck out from the top of the pointed head. He shouted out, and the figure twisted to look over his shoulder, revealing a long snout and large beady black eyes that glinted in the reflected lantern light.

Gulleck barely had time to take this sight in when another ratman was upon him, snarling and hissing. Brother Jibber pushed his attacker away, and brought his magical snake staff to bear. Slamming it down onto the ratman, Jibber spoke the command word "Saaleetha!" and the staff convulsed in his hand and transformed into a large snake, coiling around the ratman and pinning its arms to its sides.

Meanwhile, I was rolling dice to see whether the rest of the party would hear the noise of the battle and wake up. Meat had a penalty, since he was still sleeping off the soporific poison in his dinner, and wouldn't awaken until the battle was just ending, but the others gradually roused themselves. Tod grabbed his magical sword and ran into the courtyard to assist Gulleck. His sword flashed as it bit through the ratman's robes and into its fur, causing it to howl in pain and rage. It grabbed at Tod and attempted to bite him, but he got it in a headlock and struggled to subdue it. However, it began to shake and quiver in his grasp, and then seemed to crumple and collapse, falling out of his headlock and down to the ground, where the yellow robes fell in a heap. A small gray rat emerged from the pile of fabric and scurried between Gulleck's legs and into the darkness near the front door of the guesthouse. Likewise, the ratman snared by Jibber's snake staff performed a similar transformation and followed its counterpart into the dark.

Meat emerged from his room rubbing his eyes and yawning as the others gasped and caught at their breath. Once recovered from the sudden attack, they carefully crept towards the entrance to the guesthouse where the rats had run to, and discovered a formerly secret trapdoor below the stairs to the second floor, now lying open. Peering into the trapdoor, they could see that a crude ladder of metal stapled pounded into the stone led down to a tunnel below the ground. The air smelled stale and dank.

The party decided to pursue the ratmen into the tunnels, though there was no trace of the monks once the PCs descended the ladder. The walls of the tunnel were rough and jagged, though the floor was worn smooth from years of use. The tunnel proceeded unevenly through the earth, and several times, the PCs came to forks in the path, choosing to go left each time so as to more easily retrace their steps.

After several turns, the tunnel opened up into a wider chamber. The light shining from Tod and Simon's magical swords fell upon a hideous statue of an enormous crouching rat. Draped around its neck and shoulders was a horrible worm-like animal, with many legs and intricately carved tentacles ringing its mouth. Gulleck shuddered as he remembered the numbing sting that a live version had inflicted upon him.

As the party entered the chamber, the mouth of the statue seemed to move (or was it just a trick of the swordlight?) and a voice hissed out, "Ah, small beings, you have come to do homage to St. Rathmus! Kneel and pray for my mercy!" The adventurers scoffed loudly back at the voice and strode forward to explore the chamber, but suddenly the great stone worm around the statue's neck slithered into life and crawled with alarming speed towards the party! Caryatid wanted nothing to do with this beast and swiftly pulled forth her "lightning wand", with a "pop" sending a spark of light towards the beast, and when their eyes readjusted to the dim light, the worm was coiled awkwardly on the floor, tentacles twitching feebly. Gulleck put his axe to gruesome use, and the creature was summarily dealt with.

Beyond the cavern with the statue, the adventurers found a hall with a number of small alcoves or cells off it. At the back of each alcove shackles were attached to the rock. In the last niche, a pitiful-looking man was shackled, and slumped blinking and flinching in the light of the swords. He was terribly afraid of the adventurers at first, suspecting them to be the rat monks of St. Rathmus, but the party was able to convince him of their true natures. They learned that his name was Khrisong, and to his knowledge he was the only survivor of the monks of Shree Santo Pelasong, who had served in this monastery for centuries, until the arrival of the accursed Brotherhood of St. Rathmus perhaps a year ago. They had arrived at the monastery claiming to be travelling monks from a distant order, and the Abbot had offered them sanctuary and hospitality. That hospitality was repaid with slaughter, as the Brotherhood revealed their true nature at nightfall. Khrisong was a simple acolyte with no power to call upon miracles, who had joined the monks only a few months before the massacre. The ratmen had kept him barely alive for about a year now, occasionally asking him for information about the monastery, sometimes to translate the contents of the library. They seemed to be seeking to gain mystical power, but to what terrible ends Khrisong was not privy.

The adventurers helped the weak and nearly crippled monk to his feet, and brought him back to the guesthouse, where they planned their next move and attempted to bolster their defenses against any further attacks by the wererat worshippers of Saint Rathmus.