After what seemed like a month away from the role-playing table, we were able to get in another session this past weekend. In fact, the weekend was a gaming bonanza - we also had a nice 4-player game of Dungeon Command on Sunday night, too. But first, let's talk about how poor Arthur the Fair was transfixed by a giant lance and drawn into the mouth of a stone head and ground into a formless mass.
Breaking from the many delves in the giant tunnels beneath the city, the group finally started exploring the topside ruins. Our last session ended with them finding a belt of levitation, which Arthur now used to float near the ceiling, clearing ice and debris and pulling open a pair of clamshell doors that led from their part of the dungeon level into the cool, crisp air of the surface.
Arthur floated higher into the air, so he could crane his neck around and get a nice 360 view of the surrounding ruined city hexes. They now have the start of a surface map for hex crawling. Not far to the north of their position was the edge of the great glacier that splits the northern and southern halves of the city, and the heavy mist and clouds that obscures the north half. Immediately to the north of the dungeon entrance was a fascinating domed building, fully intact when everything around it was tumbled, cracked, and fallen. Most interesting!
But as Arthur looked to the south, he saw a troop of Vikings a few streets over, pointing up into the sky at him, and clambering up rubble piles to get a better look. Arthur quickly dropped down out of view with the levitation belt.
"Did they see you? Are they coming this way?" Those were the types of questions peppering Arthur when he got back below ground. Since the 'voice of reason' in the group had to miss Saturday's game, the callous remnants decided that "dead men tell no tales"; the best way to keep their new entrance to the dungeon secret was to ensure the guys that spotted them never left the ruins... alive. Climbing ropes were made to get everyone topside; the group scouted a good vantage for an ambush; a trap was laid for the other party. Despite a careful approach, the Hersir and his guardsmen didn't stand a chance against the player's hail of arrows and brutal charge on foot. The bodies were dropped down the long shaft after the useful gear and money was stripped off the corpses.
"Those guys were just in the wrong place at the wrong time", remarked Shamus. "Under other circumstances, we might have tried to talk to them. But we can't have word about our special dungeon entrance getting back to the camps."
While everyone was together on the surface, the party went to investigate the large domed building. It appeared to be made out of a dull brown metal, apparently impervious; they could see where ancient obelisks and columns fell onto the building, shattering themselves, but doing aught to the structure. Arthur was invoked to go scout the entrance.
As the thief approached the entrance, a pair of large ball-like structures, flanking the entrance area, rotated in their sockets and revealed (previously hidden) stone faces with large gem-like eyes. Each stone ball was around 10' diameter. The eyes glinted with a faint orange gleam.
The group was cognizant that certain structures in the city would open to someone bearing the right color gemstone passkey, and they were fortunate to have an orange gemstone; Arthur held it out in front of himself, and approached the two round heads. He was able to get to the door, which also had an orange flicker on a nearby panel, and his gemstone opened the door to the domed building. Beyond, he saw a large circular place, dimly illuminated by occasional purple strobes of light. They had discovered an untouched structure that had escaped pillage and ruin!
Greed got the better part of prudence, and Arthur stowed the orange stone to retrieve a chisel and hammer - he had every intent of looting those gemstone eyes from the rotating balls that flanked the doorway. The rest of the party, a safe distance across the square, watched in horror as the stone ball behind Arthur opened a mouth, lanced him with a long, spear-like tongue, and drew the wriggling thief back to it's mouth, where he was crushed and mangled. It looked kind of like the set of "watchers" in the middle row of this picture:
They spent some time with a grappling hook and rope, trying to snag Arthur's crushed remains and drag them back to a safe distance, in the vain hope that the orange passkey gem was still in serviceable condition. No such luck. They had no way to get into the metal dome or safely approach the watchers. A cairn was built for Arthur, and the group returned to the dungeon below.
There's not much more to say; they explored a handful of new rooms in the Mist Dungeon, getting into a few simple combats, and not discovering too much of great interest. We ended after the party chiseled their way into a frozen vault, and braved the chill mist in the frigid room to behold a number of 'specimens' in large upright tanks; there was a long-haired human, a muscular Neanderthal, a white-haired man-monkey, and a thing that was built like the Neanderthal, but had ashen skin, vicious looking sharp teeth, and appeared blind or eyeless. They grabbed some electrum plates off the wall, covered in alien dot matrix script writing, and retreated to a camp site in the dungeon.
Have your players been instructed to not read the blog entries about the Black City?ReplyDelete
After Arthur got impaled by the watcher, and I pulled out the picture, a few of the guys were like 'Oh yeah, I remember reading about those things...' But that article was posted back in May 2011, more than enough time to forget. Ideas for the Black City dungeon have been swirling around out here forever.Delete
It'll be the same with the Asian-themed Spirit Island campaign - bits and pieces will get posted here over the next year, while I don't expect to play it until 2013. I'd love to get the Black City compiled and turned into a publishable adventure, first.
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Yeah...thy'll probably stay away from those things from now on.ReplyDelete
The Black City sounds like a hella awesome crawl. I've been following eagerly for the last couple months.ReplyDelete
Maybe you mentioned earlier and I've overlooked it, but: any chance of publishing maps and notes in any form when the campaign's over?
It's my goal to compile The Black City and the island of Thule as a publishable campaign megadungeon, and much of it has been written with that in mind... I'm avoiding any kind of promotion until I have an actual first draft manuscript and can confirm it's been tested a bit - otherwise it's just vaporware and sketched notes, right?Delete
Fair enough, no need to get folks hopes up. Wouldn't question your decision to hold off until you've got a level of completeness you feel is right.Delete
Though, speaking for myself: seeing just the sketchy notes would be fine as long as there was a vaguely keyed dungeon to go with them. Existent is better than perfect. I tend to think of vaporware as something discussed that never sees the light of day in any form.
Also "A Careless Transfixion" sounds like the title to some '80s album. Maybe Duran Duran.ReplyDelete
Just wanted to stop by and say how much I'm enjoying these actual play reports. I'll be sure to be a bit more vocal about that in future.ReplyDelete
Great as always.ReplyDelete
Cool post. It's great to read these and get an insight into a type of game I rarely get to play. The high fatality rate is fun too. I'm curious, have any of the original characters survived so far? If not, which character survived the longest?ReplyDelete