Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Completed Let's Play Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures- Module B4 The Lost City

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by Deuce Traveler, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. Deuce Travelergender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    I have a bunch of the Knights of the Dinner Table Bundle of Troubles. One of my favorite parts is how the players always take the same actions at the first hint of trouble. And the fact that they play the same archetypes even when switching over to other genres, like science fiction.
     
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  2. Montygender: ⚧ Arcane

    Monty
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    A vote for C from the lurker audience. You've geared up for this battle, let's see it.
     
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  3. CappenVarragender: ⚧ Phantasmist

    CappenVarra
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    A
     
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  4. Aziragender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    A
     
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  5. Dorateengender: ⚧ Arcane

    Dorateen
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    I identify strongly with that. Like when I played the Buck Rogers Gold Box adventure, I used the same party of D&D characters, but "adjusted" for the sci-fi setting. The cleric became a medic, I made a dwarven (Venusian) engineer, etc.

    As for this adventure, I'm thinking option B. Not sure if the group can survive a large encounter with vermin. Better to patch up and then go to tier 5. You can always come back and clear the gnawed out hole.
     
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  6. Monstrous Batgender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Monstrous Bat
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    When playing CRPGs I usually go for the more risky and more rewarding option, (C in this case). However, since you're trying to do a PnP simulation (i.e. no savescumming), I'd choose option B.
     
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  7. Deuce Travelergender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    We have the weighted votes in, at 3 for A, 3 for B, and 1 for C. I break the tie and decide to go back, rest, memorize some sleep spells, and hit tier 5. There must be wandering encounters, because this happens.

    You are spotted by the Magi of Usamigaras! Without hesitation, they begin chanting spells to attack you! Looks like some survived after all.

    There are seven of them and us without any sleep spells. Qastur goes first, and I decide not to be stingy on the magic, using stinking cloud to put half their spellcasting out of commission. Midge misses the closest unaffected Magi to her, but shakes off a charm person spell directed at her. That's twice she's made her save against the Magi now. Jaesun the Gay kills the closest unaffected Magi next to him, Myass sling stones to death the Magi Midge missed, and the battle swiftly goes the rest of our way.

    [​IMG]

    After that speed bump, I return to the Brotherhood, rest up, memorize four sleep spells for the magic-users, return to the ladder, and go down into tier 5. The ladder shaft lets out on a room with no furniture. A single door, before you, provides exit. I walk out the door. This room contains a bed, a table, a chair, a lantern and a wooden holy symbol of two intertwined snakes. The furniture is made of wood. A hooded white robe is draped over the chair. Except for the furniture and the robe, the room appears to be empty. The wall slides shut behind you, meeting seamlessly as if only solid wall existed.


    [​IMG]

    So we have a secret door north of us that leads back to the upper tiers. Remembering that, I explore the room. The room is empty, except for the robe. When Jaesun goes to touch it, this odd message appears, showing that all along Jaesun was psychic. As your fingers touch the coarse fabric of the robe, you feel a moment of vertigo. As the world spins about you, you know... you know that this robe belonged to Demetrius, an elder cleric in the Order of Usamigaras. Demetrius sought to destroy the Cult of Zargon... would have destroyed the Cult of Zargon... but his brother, his evil, evil brother... murdered Demetrius before the holy work could begin... Darius... Demetrius' brother was Darius... and Darius is alive still... You feel him... Sense him... to the east and on this very tier of the pyramid... you feel his evil... he is worshipping Zargon... You must kill him... You pull back your hand and shake your head. What spell befell you? Your companions are watching you warily, and with good reason. You had been muttering, you realize. "Darius must die." Turning away from the good priest's cloak, you step away from the table. Cloak? I though it was a robe. Ok, whatever. The Big Bad Evil Guy (BBEG) is to the east of this room. Let's go kill him.

    [​IMG]

    I step out into the next room through the only other exit, which is to the south. Still no eastern door yet. This room appears to be an abandoned kitchen and dining room combination. The cupboards, a table and chairs are covered with a thin layer of dust. Near the table, two large snakes with brown and yellow scales are coiled around the body of a woman wearing a rabbit mask. We are too late to save her, but not to avenge her.

    [​IMG]

    Qastur goes first again, and since these snakes are pretty deadly I use up one of our precious sleep spells. It only knocks out one. :(

    But guess what? Having Jaesun, Magnus and Midge guard this time works perfectly. The second snake runs right into the center of their defensive wall, and the three hit and kill it before it returns the attack. Magnus himself did 18 points of damage. I'm pretty sure now that wielding two-handed weapons adds a multiplied bonus to damage. I'd guess x1.5 or some such. Also, most two-handed weapons do more damage to large and giant creatures. The dwarven fighter is a killing machine.

    I still can't go east. I enter the next room to the south. The room looks like a living room. It contains wall hangings and ornate divans. There are several pieces of sculpture in the room. Everything is covered by a thin layer of dust. Two iron statues flank the door, and no sooner does it swing shut than they animate and march forward to attack. :eek:

    [​IMG]

    One statue goes first and thankfully misses. These aren't iron golems, one of which would kill this party without breaking a sweat. These are living statues from original Dungeons and Dragons, converted into AD&D. Personally, I loved these monsters when I DMed the BECMI version of D&D and they never did get a proper conversion in later editions. The iron statues had a chance for people to get their weapons stuck in them if hit by an edged weapon. The rock statues were full of magma and squirted magma blood at you from their wounds when struck. This module doesn't seem to have those novelties, but it will still be a tough fight. This is going to be a straight out brawl. They have good defenses, good accuracy with their fists, and have decent hit points. My magic spells are useless against them, though magic missile may have been effective. The first two rounds are uneventful. One statue hits one of our front line fighters for only a hit point, and my front line continues to miss. Only the back row does some plinking damage with sling stones. Myass is being an odd underdog. He has the lowest stats out of everyone, yet seems to hit more often than anyone else of late.

    On the third round we start taking severe points of damage from the statues, but Jaesun finally gets a couple of strong hits in to down one. We swarm the second one, with Magnus the Irascible finally overcoming his hitting slump and bringing the statue down to single digits. Myass plinks him with a sling stone, and Jaesun the Gay finishes the creature off. Jaesun is down to 26/27 hit points, Magnus to 29/36 hit points and Midge to 15/25 hit points. But hey, we won. And with that, we finally find a door that leads east. This door leads to a long corridor. I'm getting nervous, so I use a cure light wounds on Midge. Somewhere to the east is the BBEG we are hunting and I have no idea about his defenses. Midge goes up to 23/25 hit points from Myass' spell.
    We walk through an eastern door at the end of the long corridor, and we find ourselves in a fairly large chamber with a door to the north.

    The room is paneled with wood and a dusty red carpet covers the floor. A large, heavy desk sits in the center of the room. Several wooden chairs are grouped north of the desk. Behind the door is a large plush chair, while behind the chair on the south wall is a mounted lion's head. Four large painted urns stand in the corners of the room. Finally, on both sides of the north doorway are stone pedestals with stone statues of winged beasts with claws, fangs and horns. As soon as you step into the room, the creatures animate and swoop, screaming towards you.

    We just got ambushed by gargoyles. It's hard to show in the below picture, but we have a gargoyle to the east and another to the north of the party. I move Midge north to protect the casters, and leave Magnus and Jaesun to guard the east. We run into a problem right away as Midge's attack hits, but does no damage. It seems that gargoyles can only be harmed by magic weapons, leaving Jaesun as the only hope against them. Lucky for us gargoyle's do little damage, but maybe we should have tried to find the magic weapon in the king's tomb after all.

    [​IMG]

    At this point, poor Midge is just holding the line and getting cut up, while Jaesun slowly finishes off his opponent. This battle would have been a simple affair if everyone had magic weapons. It isn't too hard, even though we only have one magic weapon in the entire party. But still, the front line got pretty cut up. Midge picks the lock on the cabinet and finds some gold and what may be a magical mace. The mace goes to Midge, who could have used it when she was getting mauled earlier. I have Myass use two more cure light wounds spells on Midge, but she only goes up three hit points to 19/25.

    Things could be better for us. We take the only door left, to the north. Which brings us to another corridor with a four way intersection ahead. I walk up to the center point.

    Suddenly the floor collapses! :rage:

    [​IMG]

    Just a random trap, though we stay on this tier and Myass takes a whopping 10 hit points of damage.

    Muttering to myself, I turn the party east and continue with murder on my mind. The corridor ends in a T-intersection, and I go south and through a door. This room seems oddly damp. A strange, moist odor fills the air. The room contains a low bed, some wooden shelves, and a small chest. The contents of the room seem to shimmer, as if seen through clear water or a thick pane of glass. Without warning, a transluscent pseudo-pod manifests before you. Heh... a gelatinous cube. These things are always fun. Gelatinous cubes are dangerous in low light, since parties tend to walk right into them and get dissolved. When seen ahead of time, they quickly are destroyed. With such low hit points and no special defenses, this thing doesn't survive the first round.

    [​IMG]

    Jaesun the Gay and Magnus the Irascible go first, and between the two they both connect and slay the thing for our fastest completed fight yet. Unfortunately the room is a bust when it comes to treasure. We leave the room and go north. We find ourselves at the end of a corridor, and I am able to locate a secret door with another passage that leads north and east. Finally! I feel we
    are getting close to our goal...

    [​IMG]

    You freeze as your foot depresses a pressure plate in the floor. The walls of the passage before you suddenly slam together with an echoing crash, then slide back into place. At first it seems that the trap misfired, but then other possibilites come to mind. "We won't be sneaking up on anybody in this area," muters Midge.

    Ok, this is some straight out bullshit. I've had Midge highlighted, and therefore in the lead, a few times now and these traps are never discovered by her. I'm glad no one was hurt, but this is getting frustrating. We press on to the eastern door.

    Ten Cynidiceans wearing dark robes and masks of fearsome, imaginary monsters sit in a circle in this room. They are staring straight ahead, but don't seem to be looking at anything in particular. They do not respond to stimuli of any kind. On occasion, though, one flinches, or even cries out, for no apparent reason.

    Ok... odd. I ignore them and search the room. Coming up empty, I take a southern door. A dozen brightly robed men and women masked as various animals are playing games of chance. Card games are being played on one table, dice games at another. In the center of the room is a large wheel of fortune. Many silver and gold coins, gems, and pieces of jewelry are changing hands as people win and lose. Suddenly, you feel Demetrius fully awake in your mind. Without the power to stop him, the old cleric shouts his brother Darius' name and storms into the room, brandishing your weapon!

    Holy crap! Run for your lives, everyone! Jaesun's possessed or he heard about DU's recent poll about moderators!

    [​IMG]

    The Cynidiceans grab for their weapons. Suddenly, a hush falls over the room as a section of the southern wall slides open, revealing a room beyond.

    Accompanied by tendrils of cool mist, a man steps into the room. He is flanked by hobgoblins, and he speaks through a demonic mask hammered from pure gold. "These are the blasphemers to the name of Great Zargon! They must be slain, or they will kill you and take your hard-won gains! The Cynidiceans are enraged by the threat you now pose to them! Drawing blades they rush forward in a mob, reinforced by the hobgoblins. The evil cleric laughs harshly and thrown in his lot with your enemies."

    Holy shit! Here we go! :bounce: There are a whole lot of dangerous bad guys south of us. Two pull away immediately and miss Midge and Jaesun. Myass goes first, but I decide to hold up on firing off his hold person spell, since Darius is not yet in range, and Myass would have to walk through a bunch of hostiles in an attempt to do so. Instead, he fires a sling stone in the hopes of disrupting any spellcasting from Darius, but he misses.

    Jaesun the Gay is up next. I have him move up a bit so he can both engage in melee and be a target to distract from the casters. In the process he takes out an unarmored Cynidicean stupid enough to charge us with a dagger.

    [​IMG]

    Qastur goes next, and it's sleep spell time. He knocks out five of the enemy surrounding Darius (who is spellcasting), but Darius is too high a level for himself to be affected. Midge is up next, but I can't have her shoot her bow at Darius in an attempt to disrupt his magic since someone closed in melee with her, and she doesn't have the movement to try to get past his fighters and stab him to disrupt his magic. With nothing else to do, she tests her new mace on the skull of the nearest Cynidicean. The new mace works great.

    [​IMG]

    Darius is able to get off his spell, as I feared. I'm hoping it is not a Hold Person spell against Jaesun, and I get my prayers answered. Darius casts a Silence 15' radius spell centered on Midge... the party's fighter/thief. o_O

    Abigail goes next. Being way outside the range of any Silence spell, she lets loose with Sleep, taking out four more Cynidiceans and a hobgoblin. Things aren't looking good for Team Darius right now. Magnus the Irascible is up next. Knowing that we have the battlefield shaped in our favor, the dwarf now knows that the priority is taking out Darius. He slips past Jaesun to attack a hobgoblin that leaked through, but misses. Because he can't punch a hole for our magic-users, Qastur can't hit Darius with a stinking cloud. He elects to plink him with a sling stone instead to disrupt his spellcasting instead, but also misses.

    Thankfully, Midge hits something, but all she can do is try to keep her side of the battlefield clear to protect the casters. We've made little progress against Darius.

    [​IMG]

    Confident that Jaesun and Midge can continue to hold the line against the leftovers, Magnus risks a few blows from the enemy as he pushes past their ranks to get next to the cleric. He gets cut up by a hobgoblin blade to the back along the way, then proceeds to miss his own swing against Darius... The next round Darius holds him with a spell. Meanwhile, that fucking hobgoblin next to Jaesun continues to taunt us as our paladin misses him once again.

    Abigail decides that enough is enough. She moves south and casts stinking cloud on two of the remaining enemy fighters. Another hobgoblin decides to show off how badass he is by not becoming incapacitated. After five rounds of dicking around with Mr. Hobgoblin, Jaesun the Gay finally gets around to killing him.

    [​IMG]

    Darius gets hit for one hit point of damage by Qastur, disrupting his chance to cast spells this round. Darius takes it in stride, though, using the opportunity to bash in Magnus' brains. Myass bandages him in order to keep him from dying.

    I can't afford to target Darius anymore, since those Cynidiceans are likely to start waking up soon. Qastur kills one choking in a stinking cloud with a sling. Myass does the same to one of those incredibly lucky hobgoblins. Midge continues to be my hero in this battle, killing off one of the hobgoblins in melee that was giving me trouble.

    [​IMG]

    We aren't winning this fight yet, as our best fighter is down, but I can at least say we've cleared some space. Darius takes the opportunity to get close to Jaesun and Midge, which ends up being a mistake for him. Midge misses him, however. Jaesun and Midge are able to cut him for a few hit points of damage, while Darius continues to miss them. I suppose he's a lover, not a fighter.

    Myass kills off the last Cynidicean who got through the front lines. Qastur and Abigail use the opportunity to kill some more hobgoblins, since they might actually pose a threat if they wake. And Jaesun, Midge and Darius all continue to play the missing game.

    [​IMG]

    After another miss from Darius, and a few more sleeping Cynidiceans are slain by my rear row, Darius finally begins to realize that melee combat is a losing proposition for him. He begins casting again. He casts Blindness on Jaesun, but the paladin resists. Breathing a sigh of relief, we go back to the front row missing a lot, while the back row wipes out Darius' sleeping support. The back row runs out of sleeping folks to kill, and starts to target Darius.

    [​IMG]

    Realizing how absolutely screwed he now is, the cleric surrenders. The party gets a huge amount of experience points, 6601 xp each, ensuring that the cleric is going to get screwed since Myass is stuck at level 3, and loses excess XP, since we never found him a trainer. I suppose we kill Darius, since he isn't mentioned again.

    There is nothing else in this area, so I have the party head out and heal back at the Brotherhood. There doesn't seem to be anything else to do right now. No ladder down to another tier near Darius' location or cache of food that would allow us to escape. I can continue to explore Tier 5, looking for a way down, if that's the consensus.

    Hey, and check out B4 The Lost City in google images. You guys are immortalized!
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
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  8. Montygender: ⚧ Arcane

    Monty
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    :lol: Enough to send anyone into a beserker rage....
     
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  9. Aziragender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    Two-handed weapons were awesome for damage against large creatures in the old DnD. Was it 3d6 for the two-handed sword? Add the damage bonus from strength on top, and it's gravy. :smug:

    Too bad about that hold person spell, but shit happens.
     
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  10. Montygender: ⚧ Arcane

    Monty
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    Yes I liked that about the old DnD. And it made it worth the sacrifice of giving up a shield against large characters.
     
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  11. Monstrous Batgender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Monstrous Bat
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    I see Goldbox spellcaster AI is as retarded as ever. A shame, really. These spellcaster bosses would be actually challenging if they used their spells in a sensible way.
     
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  12. Deuce Travelergender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    I'm on the road again, and will be for the next couple of weeks, so these updates will not likely have the same focus or length. Apologies ahead of time.

    ----


    Ok, here’s the situation. We know we will probably have to go deeper into the lower tiers. We killed the High Priest of Zargon, but have yet to find enough supplies to risk a trek through the desert in an attempt to find civilization. We also encountered gargoyles, which gave us a tough time since the creatures could not be affected by normal weapons. Jaesun had to kill the pair himself. I don’t want to get caught in such a bad situation again, and the mace Midge is using seems to be non-magical, so we are off to face the wraiths armed with magic missile spells and good intentions.

    [​IMG]

    The man gestures towards you and… Yeah, we’ve seen all this before. Weapons at the ready! Let’s do this...

    [​IMG]

    You step forward and the wraiths shriek in anger, blocking your way. You soon realize, though, that short of making your ears ring these haunts have no power over you. You carry on down the passage?

    What? You’ve got to be kidding me! :mad:

    The corridor behind the wraiths appears empty, but then I find a secret door. The floor of this long, narrow room has a red and white checkerboard pattern of two-foot by two-foot squares. Court scenes are painted on the north and south walls. In the east wall there is a two-foot high opening at floor level near the southeast corner.

    [​IMG]

    I move east. As you step forward, three huge pendulum blades drop from the ceiling, arcing across the room in an alternating, swiftly paced stroke. You see that the pendulum shafts are coated with a sticky green goo. I have Jaesun leap back and do what I should have done before. I send the thief in first.

    It doesn’t matter. Midge doesn’t get the option to disarm the trap, and Abigail takes 6 points of damage, which I have Myass heal (mostly). A very narrow crawlspace, a mere two feet in height and width, leads off at ground level into the darkness. Do you risk this crumbling passage?

    This leads to a philosophical point. On one hand it would be pretty stupid to squeeze my party into a crumbling passage. On the other hand, it would be quite stupid to stop and turn back after going so far, especially since there are blade traps to the rear. Curiosity wins over caution, and we press through the passage. Those wraiths had to be guarding something, right?

    The rubble falls in your eyes as you claw your way forward. Thrusting your light ahead, you breathe a sigh of relief as you see that the tunnel widens into a room ahead of you. The low ceiling of this room seems to be made of two large blocks of sandstone that fell crookedly from above. With every step you take, bits of rubble fall from the unsafe ceiling. Moving forward I receive a similarly themed message.

    The rubble-strewn passage before you is only five-feet wide, and your presence this near its mouth causes chunks of stone to collapse. You can tell that your friends do not trust the architecture here. Magnus uses his dwarven masonry skill at this moment.

    [​IMG]

    Magnus wipes sweat on the back of a thick-fingered hand. Sighing, Magnus mutters, “We’ve been tempting fate so far. This construction is waiting for an excuse to come down on our ears. And we won’t walk away from that.”

    We still haven’t found a prize for our efforts, despite me searching nearby walls. I'm hoping whatever crumbles on our heads won't be too deadly. We push on several steps. You turn to face a foor, wedging yourself between the door and the crumbling sandstone wall behind you. Despite my growing concern, I press on again. This room contains two large sarcophagi. Both gleam with golden highlights. One sarcophagus is marked “Alexander,” the other is marked “Zenobia”. :D

    Whoohoo! Ok, so we believe the magical item in Alexander’s sarcophagus, so that’s what we want to go after first. Surrounding the sarcophagi are a number of large wooden chests. The room is littered with broken objects: two smashed thrones, a broken chariot, smashed pottery, broken weapons and torn clothing. Piles of bones cover the floor. On the walls is a mosaic showing famous events from the reign of King Alexander and Queen Zenobia.

    I approach and my heart sinks. The chests contain items a king or queen might need in the afterlife, but all have been ritually “killed,” just like the larger items littering the floor. Four of the chests apparently contain thousands of silver, gold, and electrum coins. You begin sifting through them, only to find, to your anger, that the coinage is nothing but cheap counterfeits.”

    [​IMG]

    What went wrong? All the clues indicated a magical treasure here. In frustration, I start searching everything in the chamber until I come up with a secret door, which leads to a corridor, at the end of which is a room.

    The walls of this room are plain stone. An oblong box made from stone slabs lies in the center of the room. Written in several languages on the side of the box are the words, “May the curse of darkness destroy all who dare to desecrate my resting place.” The box is three feet high, seven feet long, and three feet wide.
    I got news for you. We’re stuck without supplies in the dying ruins of a forgotten city. We’re already cursed. Midge goes in first.

    A gold-crowned creature of darkness leaps from the crypt to attack!


    [​IMG]


    I expected a trap… But we get this… One hit will be enough to make our melee fighters lose a character level, which we can’t fix. Unluckily the wight goes first. Luckily he misses Magnus. Jaesun misses the wight with his magic sword, but Qastur and Abigail make good use of magic missile. Both hit for 10 hit points of damage, lowering the wight down to 15 total hit points. The wight attacks again and I cringe as he misses Magnus once more. The battle ends with an anti-climax, however, as Myass successfully turns the wight. I’ll take it. A win is a win. Looking at the Queen’s Scepter, you recognize its magical writings. It is a wand! Crap… we approached the wrong corpse. The king is still out there, along with his magic sword. You take the Queen’s Crown. I get this message, but I can’t find a wand in anyone’s inventory. I do find the Queen’s Crown in the inaccessible party inventory. Is it a scepter or a crown or both?


    [​IMG]

    I go back to the main room and search the wall opposite of the previous secret door, allowing me to find another hidden portal. This likely leads to the king. Two magic missile spells aren’t enough to try and fight a wraith, so I go back through the swinging blades, taking more damage to two party members, memorize a total of four magic missiles, and return. I also hand the silver daggers of Abigail and Qastur to Magnus and Midge, since normal weapons won’t hurt the wraith, but silver might. Four of the characters get struck by the blades this second time through, but we make it. We also get a nasty surprise.

    The walls of this room are bare. In the center of the room is an oblong box made from stone slabs. Suddenly, rising out of the stone box is a translucent, ghostlike figure. The pale figure has glowing red eyes and a large, dark mouth.

    The banshee outclasses the previous wraith in both hit point and armor class. I’m hoping that we’ll catch a break… like maybe it can’t level drain and I can hit it with normal weapons, because I’m not keen on what I’m seeing here. Qastur and Abigail go first and let loose with magic missiles at the creature. Myass doesn’t have the option to turn, making me wonder if it is even considered undead or if the banshee is so tough Myass has no chance to make an impact. The cleric uses a sling and strikes true but for no damage, confirming for us that the creature is immune to normal weapons. On the second round, Jaesun, Midge and Magnus circle the creature and begin beating on it. The silver daggers work. It retaliates by hitting Midge for 8hp of damage. But I do not get a message about level drain.

    [​IMG]

    Breathing a sigh of relief, I sit back and stab away until the battle is over. By the second round the combined attacks by our melee combatants and the four magic missiles brought the creature down to 16 hps. Midge backstabbed it for 6 hit points in the third round, and it attempted to run but was chopped up by Jaesun, Magnus and Midge. We approached the sarcophagus. Lying in state is the mummified form of a man clad in blemishless full plate armor, still gripping the hilt of his crystal-blue bastard sword. You take the King’s Golden Crown. The full plate and bastard sword is taken and put to use by Magnus the Irascible. The sword supposedly is magical and in his hands gives him a THACO of 15 and 2D4+5 damage to normal-sized creatures.

    [​IMG]

    Midge gets Magnus’ former full plate, Myass gets Midge’s former half plate, and the magic-users get their daggers back. I planned on picking up a silver dagger for Midge at the first opportunity, but when I get to the Brotherhood they only show normal daggers in their shop. I remember now that I got the silver daggers during the Journey to the Rock.. Midge becomes a level 4 fighter at the Brotherhood training hall. I memorize sleeps spells for the magic-users, buy a new normal dagger for Abigail, and transfer her silver dagger to Midge. I feel a little better about my front line fighters being able to take on monsters with special defenses. Time to take on Tier 5…
     
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  13. Montygender: ⚧ Arcane

    Monty
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    Cool update. Been many years since I encountered a banshee, had almost forgotten about them.
     
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  14. Monstrous Batgender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Monstrous Bat
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    The wraith attacked twice but missed both times? I can't help thinking we've been abnormally lucky through this adventure. :hmmm:

    Doesn't banshees have some scream ability which instakills your characters?
     
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  15. Deuce Travelergender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    Magnus was quite lucky. I try to put Midge out first because of her armor class, but boy did that wraith just have a thing against Magnus. He probably resembled the jester.

    According to my D&D books, yes... yes it does... :eek:
     
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  16. Make America Great Again agentorangegender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    agentorange
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    This is very good stuff, reading it all. :kfc:

    I tried one of these FRUA modules a while back but didn't get very far. Might try one again this summer.
     
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  17. Aziragender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    My d0rf fighter with the inferior stats (compared to the rest of the party) sure does rock. :smug:
     
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  18. CappenVarragender: ⚧ Phantasmist

    CappenVarra
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Yeah, I think a banshee is completely immune to turn undead by such a low level cleric. Also, I guess the dude was too merciful to players to have it Wail. Actually, scratch that - this banshee seems to be severly nerfed from its proper P&P stats.

     
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  19. Dorateengender: ⚧ Arcane

    Dorateen
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    Maybe the banshee already wailed that day. Lucky break , indeed.
     
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  20. Jaesungender: ⚧ Fabulous Moderator Patron

    Jaesun
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    Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    Keep in mind the Gold Box Games are based off of FIRST edition rules. Also some stuff just never got implemented, or were altered because of it being a video game.
     
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  21. Deuce Travelergender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    I have a confession to make. I reloaded a handful of times before beating the banshee. In each fight the banshee would just sit and guard during the first round, then let out its wail around the fifth round. The wail could not be properly replicated in FRUA, so instead the banshee was given a single Power Word Kill that it targeted on Jaesun each time and outright killed the paladin wielding our lone magical weapon (although now I'm thinking the silver daggers may be flagged as magic, too, and perhaps our remaining fighters could have continued with just those 1d4 damage pig stickers). At low levels there is no save against Power Word Kill. At this point we would not have been able to kill the banshee, as the four magic missile spells lacked the strength to do the job on their own. We would have had to flee, which would have meant that Jaesun's corpse would have been unrecoverable.

    Not a big deal, as we could have rolled up a new melee warrior. But we would have lost our lone magical item plus the opportunity to grab a second, making future encounters with gargoyles and other high level undead impossible, thus ending this thread right when I figured we were setting up for a meeting against Zargon.

    I would have been fine with a party member dying, as long as we could recover a magical weapon in which to continue the game. Melee characters are easy to replace as we have a place to train them up. And this is what is frustrating with the magical weapon at this location. It is possible for the party to play this module with no magical items whatsoever up until the fourth or fifth tier. At these tiers we begin to see monsters that can only be hurt by magical weapons, plus hints about the magical sword in the crypt. Logically, we should head for the sword so we can kill creatures with magical defenses, but the magical sword is protected by creatures that can only be hurt by magical weapons.

    Also, the banshee in this original D&D module is much different than the AD&D banshee that kills with its wail. It looks like Ray Dyer used the wrong banshee. This is the module's description of what a banshee does:

    Banshees are pale ghost-like figures. Their shape is roughly humanoid, though longer and thinner than most humans. They have glowing red eyes and a large, dark mouth. Banshees are supernatural creatures that haunt certain families. They warn the family that one of its members will soon die. Banshees may also mourn for a person after his or her death. Thus, they may be found guarding graves, catacombs, or tombs. Banshees can only be hurt by magic or magical weapons. They are immune to sleep, charm, and hold spells. They are not undead, and cannot be turned. Disturbed banshees attack with a special wail. All those within 30' of the wailing banshee take 1-4 points of damage each round automatically. Doors or walls will block the sound. A banshee will attack any living creature it sees. It will continue to wail until it is destroyed or until the intruders have run away.

    Ray Dyer made this banshee much harder than the previous version. Jaesun and our lone magic sword could have survived a slugging match with the one above. Even so with a Save or Die AD&D version. But not against one that uses Power Word Kill. So I reloaded.

    But maybe I made a mistake in going for this weapon, too. Looking over the stats of the original Zargon, it says nothing about needing a magical weapon to kill him, making the pursuit unnecessary in the first place. On the other hand, I did see that there are later monsters between us and Zargon that all require magical weapons to kill, so I have to stand by my decision that the reloads were necessary in my mind as I wasn't sure until now that our little silver daggers were also flagged as magical.

    I think Queen's Harvest had a +1 sword somewhere, so now it would seem as I should have jumped into one more module before taking on this. The original module allowed for 1st level characters, but I don't know how a starting party with no magic weapons could have survived.

    This is the only time I reloaded like this. I did have to do one prior reload after we defeated the High Priest, because I shut off DOSBox and found out later I forgot to save. :oops: I had to refight the battle, and in the second go Jaesun fell unconscious and lost out on the XP instead of Magnus. That is why Magnus is close to fifth level, Midge is level 4/4 and Jaesun is still level 3. Magnus did get missed twice by the wraith, and Myass did turn it. THAT was indeed lucky.
     
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  22. Deuce Travelergender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    agentorange , I keep having fun with these Ray Dyer modules, so I have to give them a recommendation for those that like Gold Box games and BECMI. Let us know how it goes if you play.

    *****

    I have the characters rest, memorize sleep, then get down to the secret door on tier 4. I was pretty sure I had searched each room down here, but I have not been mapping like I should, mostly because half the time I forget to bring my mapping paper with me during my real life travels. Anyway, I enter a door near the skull-filled room on tier 4, which I truly thought I had explored before when I am corrected in my assumptions in a quite deadly manner.

    As you enter the room, it becomes considerably darker… and colder. For a moment you look about, somewhat confused, but then you realize… the shadows in this room have animated and are attacking you!

    [​IMG]

    The shadows move first, injuring Qastur and Midge, but they don’t drain points of Strength like in the pen and paper versions of D&D. Midge attacks with her quality mace, but misses. I decide to have her use hers to test whether or not these creatures can be hurt by non-magical weapons. I think the PnP versions can only be hurt by silver or magic. Qastur is forced to fend off his shadow with his silver dagger, but he also misses. For monsters with an AC of 7, they have been surprisingly difficult to strike. This would be a tough fight and I’m glad for the second magical sword we have now, but Myass saves my ass again by turning four of the five undead.
    Jaesun the Gay moves next, doing 11 points of damage to the shadow. Abigail switches from sling to dagger, stabbing the shadow for no damage, thus proving they can only be hurt by magic. Qastur stabs it once more for a handful of hit points, and Magnus the Irascible slips around and kills the shadow, slicing it for 12 hit points.

    We search the room. The jars and casks are filled with various spices used in embaming. The spices have been stored in this room so long that they are now worthless. A bin is filled with rotten linen winding cloths once used for embalming and mummification.

    At this point the only door I am pretty sure I haven’t explored on tier 4 is the one with the two-foot wide hole gnawed in it. What the hell. I have sleep spells that I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll use at this point. We open the door and enter the room.

    [​IMG]

    Painted on the walls of this room are scenes of a throne room with a man giving advice to kings and queens. In the center of the room lies a wooden coffin. Large holes have been gnawed in the sides of the coffin.
    As you near the coffin, three giant shrews rush out through the holes near the floor. The creatures attack you in a blind fury!

    This battle seems simple enough. The shrews aren’t worth sleep spells as they don’t do much damage. They bite Jaesun for a handful of hit points, but they themselves only have 4 hit points and an AC of 4 each. Jaesun and Midge kill the first two of the admittedly hard to hit creatures, and Magnus the last.

    The coffin stands empty before you. Ok, so no treasure, but the fight was insignificant also. I wish in hindsight I had gotten this over beforehand.

    I move onto tier five, and to the intersection with the pit trap. Last time we were here, we took the eastern corridor and fought our way to the High Priest of Zargon, eventually killing him. The western and northern corridors are still unexplored. I head west and travel down a corridor that eventually turns north. Before I have a chance to find a door or open room I run into an odd encounter.

    Whether it’s running or playing, you cannot tell, but either way the giant lizard bounding down the hall towards you will do you harm if you do not first defeat it! Another damn giant lizard, but it doesn’t seem tough for our seasoned veterans. So far I think we can see this adventure as full of undead, giant lizards and drug-addled cultists. Magnus the Irascible makes short work of the creature.

    [​IMG]

    We find a nearby door. This room contains three bunk beds. Lying on them are humans dressed in bright robes. They wear masks of a boar, a tiger and a wolf. When they see you, they leap to their feet. “Greetings, Travelers! We, too, are journeymen, and we shall join you on this most epic of quests!” The man with the boar’s mask shakes his head and grumbles, “I says we eats ‘em now. I just fed, an’ I don’ feel like walkin’ round. An’ we can’ let good grub walk loose.” The two men look at their companion stunned, then turn back to you. The one wearing the wolf mask smiles. Apparently, the men have given over to their friend’s argument, for they approach you, fanning out, licking their lips in a most unpleasant manner.

    Initially I shrugged off their combined threat, but then I notice that these guys have an AC of 5 and plenty of hit points. I would guess these guys are somewhere between 3rd and 5th level, meaning that the sleep spell might be useless or near useless. I decide to just engage in a slug fest. Jaesun takes four hit points of damage before we take the first down. Our superior armor class for the melee fighters ensures we don’t take damage before the second is finished off. Midge takes three hit points of damage before we kill the third.

    [​IMG]

    The dead ‘men’ suddenly change, their masks, clothing, even their weapons all melting into their corpses. Within seconds nothing remains on the floor but a trio of smooth, gray-skinned, asexual bodies. Looks like we just killed three dopplegangers, who are dangerous because they can trick characters and try to kill them in their sleep or when unarmed, but not so much in a straight out fight.

    The room is empty, so I head further down the corridor, hit a T-instersection, and go west. I run into some buddies. Brothers of Gorm spot you and wave to you in friendship. After inquiring as to your progress they explain that they are returning to the order’s lair and offer to take you along. Do you accompany them? I doubt they are dopplegangers, but I turn them down. We are not down too far on hit points and spells just yet.

    The corridor turns and eventually leads to a lone door. Shelves line the walls of this room. Stored on the shelves are items used in religious ceremonies—candles, incense, clerical robes, and so on. Three huge, fearsome human-like creatures wearing animal skins have smashed open a box of candles and are eating them. One of the creatures looks up at you and grins. “These taste awful… but youse look real good…” At first his companions are confused, but when they spot you, they also begin to grin fiendishly. Hefting massive clubs, they laugh and come forward.

    We find ourselves facing three ogres, which should barely be affected by our sleep spells.

    [​IMG]




    If I get lucky I might catch two of them with one. Ogres hit pretty hard, so I don’t mind firing off some sleep spells in this fight. Midge goes first but misses, but so does the lone awake ogre facing her. Qastur goes next, and I do get off the sleep spell, knocking out the rear two. Jaesun the Gay, Midge, and Magnus the Irascible start stabbing away on the fighting ogre while Abigail and Myass kills off the two sleeping ones from afar with well-placed sling stones. The battle is over by the second round, Magnus doing a whole 17 hit points of damage in one blow. We find a ring for our trouble, which I can’t yet identify. We also find 1400 gold coins which we have to leave behind because of the weight.:(


    [​IMG]


    With nothing left to do, I enter the last door from the corridor which led east and towards the center of this level. This large room is obviously a place of worship. On each side of a broad center isle are rows of high-backed wooden benches. Narrow aisles along the walls run past ornate mosaics to two small fountains set in the walls. Just past the fountains, a large dais fills the southern end of the room. On the dais near a stone altar lie three large statues that look like the ones on top of the pyramid. The statues have toppled from their bases. A man and a woman stand near the toppled statues and talk softly to each other. They wear brightly colored clothing and small bronze fox masks. Both have red hair and there is a resemblance between them. I decide to talk to them versus avoiding them or killing them, and find this was a bad move. Their motions are slow and friendly, though you cannot miss the blades each carry. “Greetings, traveler,” the woman purrs. “It has long been since we have seen a man’s rough face unhidden by a gilded mask. Welcome to our chapel of the three elder gods. We are the custodians. Will you be joining us for the ceremony?” You look about the ruined chapel. To hold a service in such a place would likely result in more of a farce than any sort of ritual. “Yes.” You hear Qastur say. You think to yourself, in a fuzzy sort of way, that joining them does seem to be a good idea. How long has it been since you attended a worship ceremony? The man and woman step forward to lead you into the chapel. “Yes.” Jaesun the Gay hears himself say. You can tell by their eyes they are pleased to hear your consent. Abigail is hit for 7 points of damage as one stabs you in your charmed state. She staggers back, looking in shock at the blood on her hands. The party turns their stunned gaze back to the man and woman and you feel the effects of their charm wear off… they are attacking and their masks are gone!

    We’re being attacked by fox furries. Charming fox furries.

    [​IMG]

    The werefoxes go first and use their charm effects. I know lycanthropes can only be hurt by silver and magic. Midge goes next, switches from her mace to her small silver dagger, and attacks the nearest one, but misses. Although the werefoxes aren’t too strong with armor or hit points, Abigail and Myass are not equipped to fight them, and Qastur only has 14 hit points, so I am reluctant to put him into melee. Especially since I find out one of the charm spells worked and Magnus the Irascible is trying to take the head off Jaesun the Gay. And me without dispel magic.

    [​IMG]

    Qastur gets enlisted into the front ranks as I get nervous, since Magnus slices into Midge and takes off more than a third of his health. In desperation I have Abigail cast sleep on Magnus, but he must have more than 4D+1 hit points (I think he has 4D+2) since he shrugs it off, and of course the werefoxes are immune. Myass moves forward to heal Midge, but can’t quite reach her.

    Jaesun finally is able to kill the first werefox, and we get lucky as Magnus misses Jaesun. The new melee combination of Midge, Jaesun and Qastur pays off as our magic-user kills off the second werefox. We have a hell of a time fending off Magnus, but I’m hoping to knock him out since I don’t know if we’ll lose him if we run. It takes some time and Jaesun loses 10 hit points, but Magnus is finally brought down, with Jaesun performing the final blow that knocks him unconscious. Myass heals him and all pretend they don’t know what happened to the poor, confused dwarf.

    Myass uses his remaining cure light wounds spells, but Magnus is only up to 3 hit points. I step forward to search the room. You freeze, staring, your eyes locked on a man standing in the shadows of the great northern passage leading out of the chapel. Even in the relative darkness, you can see light glinting off his golden mask. A priest of Zargon! Hastily, the man turns and runs northward, straight down the corridor that leads out of the chapel. His panicked steps kick up a great cloud. Hmmm… it looks like north is the way to go, but we are hurting pretty bad and down a few spells.

    Jaesun lays on the healing hands on Magnus, making up a bit for taking him out.


    [​IMG]


    Now a strong breeze won’t take him out. Time to backtrack and rest up.

    We are able to return to the Brotherhood without incident. Magnus the Irascible becomes a powerhouse level 5 fighter in the meantime. Looks like we’ve done a pretty good job of clearing out almost everything from tiers 1-5, since I travel all the way to the tier 5 intersection without any encounters. On a hunch I go north this time. As I expected, it leads me to the temple where we fought the werefoxes. That room was too big not to be a central location. I head north towards where I saw the Priest of Zargon.

    This grand hall leads northward to some grand chamber annexed to the chapel. Going further north brings me into another large room. The high, arched ceiling of this room is supported by a double row of pillars. Each pillar is carved into a statue of a king of queen of Cynidicea. A series of mosaic pictures decorate the walls of this room. These start in the northeast corner and continue clockwise around the room. In the center of the north wall is a pair of huge stone doors. At the base of the double doors, the floor is partially covered with sand. There is no sign of the Priest of Zargon, but you clearly see his tracks in the dust, leading towards the stone doors.]
    The art chosen for this area is decent, and a particular mosaic description particularly unsettling:Mosaic: The worship of the old gods Gorm, Usamigaras, and Madarua is replaced by the worship of a large humanoid with many tentacles.

    [​IMG]

    When I get to the double doors I get another message: The doors won’t budge. They are hinged to open outward, and you stand some forty feet below the desert. Odd… where did the priest go? A hidden door nearby perhaps…

    You see a pair of tracks in the sand here, as if the priest stopped at the blocked doors and hurried left.” Definitely a hidden door somewhere… Sand and tracks in the dust lead to a trap door in the floor. Pulling it up, you reveal a ladder leading down to a cavern that trails downward to the south and west.

    We go into the caverns. We are now in uncharted territory. In the original module you’ll find maps drawn for everything up until tier 5, room number 58. Below the chapel are the series of tunnels that Zargon was discovered in, but TSR never provided maps, just a brief description of the other 42 rooms the DM was expected to draw on his own. It was up to the DM to fill out the rest of the descriptions too, including the lair of Zargon. Whatever twisted things we find from here on out is mostly coming from the mind of Ray Dyer himself.

    I have the party walk almost a hundred feet through gray tunnels when this happens. Iron statues move out from your flanks, raising their metallic fists to drive you back. Since I had the original module open and was curious, I took a look at what TSR had written about Tier 6. Nothing in their room descriptions describes where we are standing, nor are there any metallic statues despite this module being the BECMI D&D version which supported iron statues as monsters. It looks like Mr. Dyer decided to toss out what was suggested and go his own way.

    [​IMG]

    Midge and Magnus the Irascible stand guard on our flanks, waiting for the tough to hit monsters to close. The spellcasters start slinging stones and missing. One statue charges headfirst into Jaesun and Midge, taking a few points of damage from the dwarf’s mace. The other runs around Magnus to attack Qastur, screwing up our plans on that flank. Magnus screws his day up in turn, knocking him down to 1 hit point. The statue gets Magnus back for a few more hit points before we run into a ridiculous amount of misses on the left flank. On the right flank, Jaesun and Midge succeed to slowly bring their own statue down before he can do them any damage. A combination of sling stones finally puts a stop to the last statue in the fifth or sixth round. The cave chamber is otherwise bare and we continue southbound for quite a long time.

    Finally, we get this notice. Ahead, the passage opens into a huge underground cavern. The ceiling vanishes high above you, and the walls retreat into the distance. You see… buildings ahead of you. Do you continue? Of course I say yes.

    A weird vaudeville piano tune assaults my ears. You enter the Lost City of Cynidicea. You stand in a world of absolute chaos. No one in this city goes bare-faced, only yourself and your friends. A group of four Cynidiceans in feathered robes and bird masks ‘fly’ about before the cave mouth. When they see you, they squawk loudly and flap their winged arms as they run towards you. Circling several times, they run off to the east, where they circle wildly about one another. All manner of masks and insanities lay before you. Some men sleep along the roadside, and some have lain so long that dust collects on their bodies. Only the slow rise of their chest tells you they are still alive. Men and women howl like wolves, try to burrow into the ground like moles, wrap about pillars as if snakes. The cacophony of sounds is bewildering, and, through it all, marches the occasional priest of Zargon clad in night blue robes, sinister gold mask, and always accompanied by a squad of humanoids.

    [​IMG]

    I expected to find the lower parts of a pyramid or natural caverns, but not this. Ray Dyer has imagined the Lost City sunken underground vice lost in the sands. There are several complexes in here. Picking one, I run into the Brotherhood once more. Men clad in iron chainmail over blue tunics stand before this walled complex. Each wears a mask reminiscent of the bearded man clutching a lightning bolt atop the pyramid. Spotting your necklaces, the men welcome you into the stronghold of the Order of Gorm.

    I have a new place to rest, heal and train. No longer do I need to find my way to the upper tiers with this closer headquarters so close. I enter and meet with the order’s leader. You explain how you came to learn of the Order, and the adventures that brought you to the place where you now sit. Over a bowl of roast mushroom soup, you describe your encounter with the Priest of Zargon. He replies, “You have struck a palpable blow, but it will not be enough. We must break the Curse of Madness over Cynidicea, and that can only be accomplished with the death of Zargon. That is the foundation upon which we must build. You must infiltrate the Temple of Zargon. There you must find a box of Infernal Stones that glow as if hellfire. Bring them here, and we shall see to the destruction of this false god.” The leader of the Order then stands and capers out of the room, humming a strange, cacophonous tune.

    I thought my adventure was about over, and that we might find a large food store and escape once we had killed the High Priest of Zargon. But it looks like we can’t stop until we find the means to slay the strange, alien creature that started it all. And I have no idea how far this rabbit hole goes...
     
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  23. Monstrous Batgender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Monstrous Bat
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    Time for some old-fashioned deicide!
     
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  24. CappenVarragender: ⚧ Phantasmist

    CappenVarra
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Dunno about you, but I have a vaguely bad feeling about this... :paranoia:
     
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  25. Deuce Travelergender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    When last we left, the leader of the Brotherhood tasked us with finishing off Zargon by finding some magical relics, before he walked away whistling a disturbing tune.



    I also found the Magi in the same area, but they still won’t talk with us, even when I send Qastur, Abigail or Myass to speak. We are looking for the Temple of Zargon and the Infernal Stones held there which are somehow connected to the worshipped alien beast. For offensive magic we have three magic missiles memorized between our two magic-users, plus one sleep spell, a hold person spell and two stinking clouds for crowd control. Most of the nearby area and rooms are full of crazed Cynidiceans.

    To call this a home would be a cruel jest. Cynidiceans wander about these buildings just as they do the rest of their city. Occasionally, you spot one who has fallen asleep in a random corner. Knowing that nothing but madness lurks in these buildings, you leave.

    A Cynidicean in a wolf mask leaps in front of you, then darts from side to side on all fours. He howls like a wolf and bellows, “I, the werewolf, shall slay thee!” Rearing up onto his legs, the man curls his fingers as if they are clawed, and he roars again, pawing at the ground as if preparing to charge. I decide to kill him instead of run. Fools! Your weapons cannot harm the werewolf!” Laughing loudly, he leaps forward, willingly impaling himself upon your weapon. Still smiling defiantly, he falls to the ground dead. A group of Cynidiceans clad in black and wearing vulture masks rush over to him and build a box around him out of long boards.

    [​IMG]

    Yeah… crazies all. I get a lot of these types of messages, and a couple actually break out into fights with hallucinating locals, but such incidents are short and one-sided. During one prompt the game asks who is trailing my formation, and I choose Myass since he appropriately does guard the rear. The cleric is accosted by loonies dressed as aristocrats. ”King Alexander,” gasps the leader. “Do you not recognize your follower, Policrates the Herald? We have awaited you! Men, take the king to his rightful place.” You step to your friend’s side. Policrates sees you standing besides Myass and frowns. “Seditious traitor. You are not King Alexander. I spit on you and your foul, bloodless kind.” Policrates storms off, his leering followers trailing after him.

    Eventually I find the temple. You pause before the largest building in Cynidicea. Judging by the symbols and images on the building, this is the vaunted Temple of Zargon. I enter one of the two doors by the entrance. Iron statues march towards you as you enter the Holy Hall of the Priests of Zargon! We are up against two of the automatons, Midge going first and injuring the lead figure, but is hit in return. So is Jaesun the Gay during the next round. A combination of blows finally brings it down, finished off by Abigail’s sling stone. Magnus the Irascible takes out the other. I use up our healing spells and move on.

    [​IMG]

    A Priest of Zargon rises from the unfurnished floor of this barren chamber. Acolytes leap to their feet around him. Clapping his hands, iron statues march from the corners of the room. Chanting begins… I get excited because it looks like we are fighting some squishy humans, but then the enemy goes first and I find my flank attacked by iron statues. Well, shit.

    Abigail knocks out a couple of acolytes with a sleep spell, while the ones that remain standing start casting bless on themselves. Myass and the Priest of Zargon get in a cleric match against one another with Hold Person spells.

    [​IMG]

    Myass’ actual Hold Person spell doesn’t go well. The cleric knocks an acolyte out of the fight, but a second acolyte and the deadlier priest resist the spell. I keep my slingers pounding the priest with sling stones to screw up his casting. It looks like this fight is winnable, but I’m going to be expending my spell slots and the acolytes curse the party. I finally get Jaesun the Gay and the slingers to take out the priest, but in the meantime Magnus the Irascible was being pummeled pretty bad by two iron statues. Luckily for me he clears one out by himself just as I begin to worry.

    [​IMG]

    Jaesun takes out a second iron statue, though he is down to half his hit points from holding back his own opponents. With only one iron statue and three spell spent acolytes left I feel a bit relaxed. Magnus is down to less than a third his hit points when he takes out the last iron statue. Midge was hardly touched at all in the battle, and takes out an acolyte. The couple of survivors wisely surrender. We find some chain mail armor, daggers and robes as loot but keep none of it as I doubt any of it is magic.

    I love the next message: You stand in a blood-spattered sanctuary dedicated to Zargon. You see no furniture, and, other than the corpses, no indication that anyone ever inhabited this place. I’m hurt bad, and decide to flee in order to heal up and restore spells. Probably a good idea, since I am ambushed by priests of Zargon and their goblin guards upon my return. That’s bad luck for me. What’s bad luck for them is that they are in a tight formation, Qastur goes first, and he has… crap! I prepped him with magic missiles and not sleep! Not wasting the opportunity I try to cast one at their spellcaster, then find out he is out of range and decide to take out the nearest goblin instead.

    [​IMG]

    This has the potential to be bad. Jaesun and Magnus have hit points in their teens. I have Abigail move up a bit and cast stinking cloud in between the goblins and the melee fighters, just to make them run around and buy us time. Myass is tapped on spells, so I send him up into melee to augment the line and pull some fighters towards him. Magnus switches to his arquebus and takes out another goblin. I plan to have him in reserve until the goblins get closer and we see what happens with the enemy priest’s hold person spell.

    A goblin gets around our defenses and hit the exposed Abigail. I got to get Myass up there to protect her. The enemy priest finally gets in range and casts Hold Person on Midge. She shakes it off and no one else was in range, so he pretty much blew his opportunity. Midge gets hit by a goblin, but kills it in turn. Jaesun kills another, and Qastur decides to use his last spell to soften up the priest with a magic missile.

    Abigail is attacked by a second goblin before I can get Myass moving, so I have Magnus the Irascible switch to melee and move to help. Jaesun also goes to help, and is actually effective, but this leaves Midge alone against the main thrust. The priest starts casting a spell. Abigail uses our party’s last magic missile to put a stop to it, but I find out that those gray puffs must be columns are some such since they block her vision. In frustration, I just have her remove the one goblin still in melee with her. Qastur tries to disrupt the priest’s spell before it goes off, but he misses and the priest gets off his spell of Spiritual Hammer… I was concerned he might do something effective, but he friggin’ scared me with the lamest spell in his portfolio. I clear out the threat north of Abigail, and can finally swing in to help Midge who is looking like she’s in a tight spot. With her AC of -3, however, her opponents need a natural 20 to hit her. By the time I get most of my formation to Midge, she is down to two goblins and the priest. Jaesun distracts him, Midge backstabs him, and the enemy survivors decide to surrender en masse.

    I stumble into the Brotherhood headquarters exhausted of spells and low on health. The followers of Zargon had some pretty good defenses, and it looks like it was a smart decision to retreat when we did. I notice a message I didn’t take time to read before. All are welcome to train here, even Magi. Holy crap! Myass, Qastur, and Abigail all go up to fourth level, with Abigail and Qastur learning Strength. Myass memorizes a Bless and extra Hold Person, while Abigail and Qastur take time to memorize a Strength and extra Magic Missile each. If Zargon isn’t supported by melee fighters, those five magic missiles I now have memorized should make quite a dent.

    I return to the room where I fought and killed the priests and destroyed iron statues. It is bare except for a secret door I find. I enter it. This room is lit by an unholy radiance cast by a mound of stones placed on an altar beyond the bronze pillars.

    I approach. The stones radiate light, but no heat. Looking into them is an uncanny experience, as if you are looking into the bowels of hell. Do you take the stones? Yes, we do. It’s why we are here. You take a handful, and give one to each of your companions. We are left unopposed this time as we depart and take the stones to the Brotherhood. You meet with the leader of the order and reveal the Stone of Zargon, its fiery light illuminates the small meeting room. The leader is clearly surprised, but inspired. “There is a secret door on the fifth tier of the temple. Walk west from the Great Chapel and keep an eye on the north wall. The priests of Zargon concealed the original entrance to the lower tiers of the pyramid. In these lower tiers dwells Zargon, but he has surrounded himself with powerful minions. Reaching him will be no easier than doing battle with him. But you have already done the impossible! Go now, back to the pyramid of King Alexander! Go and destroy the foul being Zargon. And when you have, we shall set about breaking the curse over Cynidicea, and sending you home!” Inspired, the leader of the order jumps up and cartwheels out of the room.

    [​IMG]

    Wait, first it was stones and now it is a stone? Did I miss something? Also, the Brotherhood leader keeps moving the goal post and is bribing us to do his dirty work without providing men to support, but I have to admit I’m stoked. It seems our journey is coming close to an end, and I have a decent mixture of crowd control and damaging spells. I follow the directions. You notice a fissure in the stone of the north wall. It appears that you could push it open! The secret door opens into a corridor, which stops at a visible door. I open it with anticipation. Four humans wearing stylized rat masks and red robes trimmed with rat fur leap to their feet and look at you. They are surprised, and the shock shows as coarse brown hair grows in patches on their pale flesh!

    Damn it! No Zargon, but some wererats. Lycanthrope disease doesn’t seem to be a factor in the Gold Box games, and I want to save my magic missiles, so I hold off as the front line takes them on with magical weapons. I have Qastur join in with his silver dagger, and he has a fine time, stabbing one wererat twice in two rounds for a total of 9 hit points with his silver dagger, while taking only 2 in return. Jaesun soon kills the one Qastur injured, leaving three to quickly kill off. Midge follows suit with another downed, and the battle is quickly decided from there. Midge gets the third off Qastur’s back, then Magnus finishes off the last. In the northeast corner of the room are stairs down. Hmmm… maybe we are finally getting somewhere. I also find the wererat stash of gold and jewels before heading down.

    [​IMG]

    The steps end at a blank wall. The Stone of Zargon grows warm in your hand, and the stone wall before you turns translucent. The steps lead into the caverns beyond. Do you continue? No.

    No really, I say no. I decide to go back and see if anyone raises a level and to identify a ring Qastur had been carrying around (was a ring of fire resistance). While I am at it, I also heal some wererat-induced scratches. Jaesun the Gay becomes a level 4 paladin and Myass a level 5 cleric. Myass memorizes another Hold Person spell and Prayer. Now I’m ready… too bad my magic-users just missed level 5. I would have loved to have tossed around a couple of fireballs. I go down and find myself in a small chamber with wooden doors to the south (whence I came) and west. I go west, travel through some doors and into another chamber. Across the room stands a single giant scorpion. The creature turns to face you as you enter, its deadly tail stinger arcing menacingly. As you move, it parallels your motions, stalking you, closing in for the kill. Shit! Still no Zargon, and I can’t fuck around with this creature as its stinger could kill with one strike via poison. I plan to have Midge and the rest of the front row guard, while the magic-users let go with their magic missiles. Instead the creature fucks my entire day over by flanking Qastur, avoiding my front row entirely in the process. Luckily it hit for damage and did not poison. Abigail is the only magic-user who can fire off a magic missile this round and she does so. Magnus and my slingers all miss and give the scorpion another chance to attack. It’s a bad thing to have happen, because we lose both the next round initiative and Magnus over it. The cave around you is empty. Only the carcass of the giant scorpion you slew decorates the dull gray of the desert earth. Yeah, and a dwarf carcass. Solemnly, we return to the Brotherhood and put up a Help Wanted sign.

    [​IMG]

    Vaya con Cios, Magnus the Irascible! :salute: Looks like we need another meat shield. :(

    I find myself still staring at that last pic before I post this. I took every precaution and took the scorpion quite seriously, yet the dice weren't with me. High hit point having, high damage dealing Magnus was the central focus of the party's strategy for the last few posts. The party has been severely weakened, and I just realized that Ray Dyer picked the module back up and into play. That was the first monster of the module's second half and things get much worse from here.
     
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