Now that the campaign is in full swing and the players have returned to town a number of times with loot, there is more activity happening with rivals. Since each session begins back in town, they get a brief news update on rumors they're hearing about rivals, as well as some new quest opportunities. (I'm still working through a good procedure for the town activities at the beginning of the session; I appreciate all the recent dialogue here on the blog about towns. Our next game will be session 11, so you won't see new ideas incorporated until later game reports since I'm only writing up game 6 now).
For this session, the players learned that the Delvers were working directly for the Castellan of Muntburg and were the first adventurers to enter Dwimmermount before the player group started serious operations here. Another group, called the Fists of Typhon, have arrived in town, at the behest of the high clerics in Adamas. Finally, a higher level group called the Seekers have also arrived, and they are completely uninterested in the upper levels. The map the players sold to the Delvers was copied and resold to the Seekers, who are mainly interested in the workings of the main elevator on level 1.
The players also picked up a couple of new quest opportunities. The curate of Typhon said that the level 2 Reliquary once held the legendary "Temple of Law", and offered a quest reward if the players found it. The Fists dropped a hint that they'd be operating on level 2A to find the source of the orcs and beastmen . I'm giving the Church of Typhon a pro-human sect that opposes humanoids and barely tolerates demi-humans, and the Fists are aligned with this militant sect. However, the players didn't show much interest in either quest.
Finally, the players also pieced together that there was a conjunction a few months ago, that conjunctions could open portals into the mountain, and the conjunction was near the time when the defenses of the dungeon dropped. They have correctly guessed that someone got into the dungeon during the conjunction, traveled deep enough to learn about how the dungeon worked, and turned off various wards. More hints at a larger story are emerging, as well as foreshadowing of future foes! The players are also aware, from their previous alliance with the orcs, that a Mage named Varaxes is on a lower level; he created the orcs, who rebelled, and now is creating hyena-headed beastmen - the gnolls. The players are hypothesizing Varaxes entered the dungeon at the conjunction.
Cast for this Session:
Marthanes , a desert sorcerer
Tancrede, a cleric of Typhon
Wolfengard, a dwarf fighter
Obsidian, a thief
Mulan, a fighter
Mercenaries: Ed, Owenheim, Mumford
After picking up the rumors in town and rubbing shoulders with rivals, the players went back to dungeon level 2B, The Reliquary. They had 3 new mercenaries on this jaunt - Ed, Owenheim, and Mumford - because it was a smaller session. The kids spent some time puzzling the Hall of Truth (and did not learn the secret of the pillars - they have little patience for puzzles). After searching a series of nearby rooms, their biggest find was a secret room adjacent to the ruined library - it held boxes and boxes of books dating from the time of the Thulians. Unfortunately, while the main PC's huddled in the secret room confirming the contents of the boxes, they heard yells back in the library - poor Ed was killed by some zombies that wandered in from the east. It was a quick fight once the PC's got involved.
They loaded up the books, and checked one more room - this one featured a statue (a gargoyle in disguise). Marthanes deployed the berserkers via Summon Berserkers, and the players quickly left, returning all the way to the surface. I had previously briefed the players on the importance of Dwimmermount's Secret History, and the teens were very excited to see that they had recovered some secret lore. Later that night, I put together a document with the information they discovered (basically pasting the entries from the secret history to a word doc for easy consumption). You'll see in later sessions they know about things like the Manufactory, the Pool of Life, and the Essence Machines - all from reading the Thulian archives. I like how that aspect of the campaign is coming together!
There was time left in the session for the players to return to the dungeon for a brief jaunt; this time they visited the gargoyle again, prepared, and defeated it with magic. The last battle involved an Ossuary haunted by a Necrophidius. Necrophidius is one of those oddball monsters from the Fiend Folio converted to ACKS; it gets an A on the creepy factor, and has a hypnotic dance that wrecked most of the party and almost caused a TPK. They were down to one PC standing (the rest were swaying hypnotically with goggle eyes) before they got it. There was a treasure room near the Necrophidius, so the players greedily loaded it into sacks.
Oh, this was priceless. - one of the items in the treasure was a brooch; Wolfengard put it on (failed a saving throw), and got sad. They asked him why, he said "I don't believe in anything any longer, not even the gods". So Marthanes put on the brooch, and made his save. Then the player with Tancrede had the cleric put it on! Of course he failed his save, lost his faith, and can no longer Turn Undead. Players are awesome - their own worst enemies.
This game saw enough treasure for more guys to start leveling up to 2, including Tancrede (who can't cast spells because he's now an Atheist). The surviving mercenaries went from 0-level men to 1st level fighters. At the end of the session, they decided they'd have to go to the city and get his faith restored sometime soon - via a Remove Curse.