April 7th, 2019
Weather: Warm, sunny, windy.
Aldwyn, human knight (264 points)
Bruce "the Mild" McTavish, Jr., human barbarian (250 points)
Crogar, human barbarian (254 points)
Dryst, halfling wizard (462 points)
Felix Aurelius, human cleric (250 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (389 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human necromancer (332 points)
5 Skeletons (~25 points)
Hayden the Unnamed, human knight (295 points)
We started off in town, with Gerry having purchased a new skeleton and enchanted up as his new buddy. They gathered rumors, mostly about the evil of eye monsters and occasional flashes of something on the moon during certain times of the year, and headed off to the dungeon.
The plan was to get up into the "crystal ball room" and scry around the dungeon using Dryst's Crystal Gazing spell. With that in mind they climbed up Felltower's mountain and went around to the "dragon cave." They paused while Gerry used one of the many skulls of intelligent beings he has collected to make a Skull Spirit. Then they went in.
Nothing molested them in the caves, although at Felix Aurelius's insistence they checked out the pool-and-mushroom room that he'd heard about. He found it very restful and peaceful. They ate some of the brown mushrooms for food, drank some of the Essential Water, and moved on - collecting the Skull Spirit on the way out.
They climbed the stairs up, dismayed that there was harmless phosphorescent slime on the walls and floors - and Aldwyn took the time to bother Bruce with descriptions of yellow slime learning to navigate mazes.
At the top of the stairs they moved quickly to the staircase up and checked it - not blocked, no guards.
So they found and opened the crystal ball room and set to work.
Dryst's first scry was how to open the repelling doors on level 2. He got a vision of the doors, but only of four of the crystals and they didn't seem to be in a pattern. The vision held there for a minute and then stopped.
He tried to scry the location of one of the statue heads - and got nothing, just a failed attempt.
An attempt at the giant orichalcum doors had the same effect - just failure.
Finally he scryed the door that won't open on the middle level, asking to see what hand they had to touch to open it. It showed the red hand in the mummy's room. Questioning the spirit of one of the Brotherhood members told them they needed to touch only one hand, and swear an oath to the Brotherhood in some way.
They decided to go there and have some people who had touched no hands touch that hand.
On the way, the did some map-updating exploration around the level with the crystal ball, finding nothing of interest except some dead scorpions in cages that had been shot to death with arrows. Possibly by Galen - he couldn't recall, he's killed a lot of things.
Next, the group did a quick tour of the level above. Galen moved ahead and scouted, and didn't find much of anything - the orcs clearly aren't contesting the way up to the level. Several blockages and blockades still clog the halls. The PCs moved to the first blockage and dug a path through it with picks and shovels, with a Silence spell to keep the noise to zero. Crogar wasn't happy with all of this stealth, he wanted to fight something so he wanted noise to attract monsters. But he wasn't able to sway anyone.
There was a short side-trip to the "stone bird room." There was discussion of if it was a statue that killed things, or an actual cockatrice. But the map said there were two secret doors in the room. They checked it thoroughly and found nothing. So they brought Galen off of rear guard and had him check, and he was sure there weren't any secret doors. Why are they on the map? They're not sure.
From there they headed to the altar, and had the new guys touch it. Felix gained some unknown effect (which never actually came up in the game, anyway), Bruce had some of his silver turned to gold, and Hayden gained +1 to all stats for the day. Gerry touched it, and received a magical boon that would mean all hostile magic had minimum rolled effects on him, all beneficial maximal. That, sadly, also didn't come up.
From there they investigated the black hand print on the floor - and found there map misplaced that in another room. Oh well. Felix using Walk on Air triggered the trap, and the floor disappeared. Below was a cylindrical chamber with a coating of some stinking, rotting soup of stuff. They tried Seek Earth to look for gold (nothing turned up) and silver - and detected silver off to the left somewhere. They decided to investigate that - and for good measure, see what was in a room labeled with a $ on the map, and possibly pry off a meteoric iron door they'd seen listed on the map notes as well.
They went down the spiral staircase and found they couldn't force open the door to the big temple, it was swollen shut. A crowbar was created and used, but still, no effect. Crogar stepped up and smashed the door with his axe, but couldn't make a scratch in the iron-bound heavy wooden door. So Dryst used Destroy Water to dry the door out, and then it was forced by Hayden.
In the temple they found some offerings to the desecrated statue - some lizardman-made fetishes of bone and leather (that Felix ground under his heel), some silver and copper coins (11 and 22, respectively), a silver ring (ultimately worth 100 sp), and some colored glass "gems." They took the valuable bits and left the rest.
Meanwhile Aldwyn investigated the "meteoric iron door." That turned out to be a small stone cabinet door for some kind of religious relic, that had meteoric lock pins in it. It wasn't clear if the pins had been removed but he was no expert on locks. Disappointed, they moved out.
They checked the whetstone found all the way back in Total Party Teleport II, and determined it wasn't any better than a normal dwarven whetstone, so they sharpened a pair of blades and then moved on.
By this point they'd spent hours in the dungeon, so they took an extra rest.
Then they headed to the mummy's crypt. They went back to digging and cleared the blockage, only to find that the tough, brown mold had infiltrated the blockage, as well. Bruce was sickened by it, but Felix was able to heal him with Cure Disease.
Getting to the mummy was simple from there, but risky - so they boosted up with HT of Bruce and Aldwyn and sent them in, backed by Dryst. They found the crypt, bypassed the bas relief faces that didn't fire at anyone, and went into the mummy's chamber. They found the detritus of the previous fight, but no mummy (and no one could recall if they'd closed the doors, or destroyed the mummy's corpse.) Bruce and Aldwyn touched the hand and lost 5 FP each (ouch) and suffered 5 hours of reduced stats. Both swore oaths while they did so.
They moved back to the group, using Cure Disease to clean up the spores that they picked up on their trip. One thing they did note, though, was the mold stopped at the edge of the statue room with knife-edge sharpness.
All of the upper floor exploration done, they headed to the GFS and down.
They reached the middle landing, and tried the new "only touch one hand" approach. It didn't have any real effect. They tried it while saying an oath, while saying various Brotherhood related phrases, while having both touch it with a total of six fingers (five and one), and even tried it while pushing it. Only the last revealed anything - it seems to be blocked from the other side. So they gave up and headed down.
At the bottom of the stairs Galen went ahead first - and unfortunately failed to spot the incoming danger - a pair of bronze spiders jumped in from the ceiling down the hallway. One landed nearby, and one landed on Galen, smashing him to the ground, breaking his right arm and biting him. The second spider then leaped at Crogar and hung on him, biting him. They managed to smash the spiders in only a few seconds, especially thanks to a hellacious smash by Hayden, but they did their damage - Galen could scout, but couldn't use his bow. Also before his smash, Hayden had thrown a javelin and missed his target, hitting Crogar in the groin. Oops. They carried the spiders back a few yards to the staircase and left them there, healed Galen, and moved on - now with Galen armed with a sword.
They made their way toward "Phase Snake Junction," intent on dealing with the obsidian golems they'd encountered there. On the way they found that one of the black crystal hemispheres they'd smashed was intact - so they quickly backed off, and destroyed it with a Stone Missile.
At the "golem hallway" they investigated, first by sending servants down a little bit, but it didn't trigger the golems. So they sent a servant and a Wizard Eye down a bit, and then Dryst used magic to create an earth wall and then turn it to stone. The servant proceeded as previously ordered to the end of the hallway and found a door with a handprint on it. It passed a total of four pairs of alcoves, and thus eight golems.
Dryst couldn't order it around, so he shaped a hole in the wall and called through it. The servant touched the door and was destroyed.
He made another servant, and they gave it one of Alaric's preserved hands, which Galen carries around with him. That one made it to the door. It touched the hand to the door, which opened, but the servant was destroyed. Dryst hurried his Wizard Eye in and found an octagonal room with another door on the far side. Eventually, the door closed.
They shaped a hole in the wall and moved past it, deciding to set off the trap and fight the golems in the middle, with two cut off and slowed by the wall. They set up with Bruce and Hayden in the back - Bruce with the Ebony Death Goddess statuette ready - and Crogar and Aldwyn in the front, the skeletons, spellcasters, and Galen in the middle. All of the spellcasters were invisible.
The golems did indeed trigger when they passed, but past the third pair, not the second. They stepped out, attacking immediately. The two in the front used their paralysis rays on Crogar and Aldwyn at short range, paralyzing them both after a waiting Aldwyn got in some slightly-effect stabs. Hayden and Bruce suffered the same a second later, but Bruce managed to toss down the Ebony Death Goddess statuette and tell it to protect the party members. The middle golems smashed a skeleton each.
The EDG quickly enagaged, and in short order destroyed, one of the golems. The other dodged back into the force wall and then came back out, destroying another skeleton, and then another, after the EDG attacked the golems in the back. Gerry put Great Haste on himself and then the EDG, while telling his skull-spirit to attack the golems. It did, harmlessly. It couldn't even usefully run interference.
The skeletons were quickly destroyed, and Galen was smashed down with a broken leg after whacking a golem and injuring it. Felix meanwhile moved up and tried Stop Paralysis, a central part of the plan. But it didn't work - the (very strong) paralytic ray effect resisted and nullified his casting. Meanwhile, the golems on the front end both grappled their opponents - Aldwyn and Crogar - around the neck, preparatory to Neck Snapping them.
It was quickly obvious that the golems couldn't see the invisible spellcasters. But a new threat could - as invisible Felix backed up, he was menaced by a floating metal robed figure - an iron spectre. It could see, and launched paralytic and fear rays at the spellcasters. Somehow Felix managed to un-paralyze Crogar, but in short order Crogar and Aldwyn had their heads twists badly, suffered severe neck damage, and dropped unconscious. They managed to survived two additional seconds of attempted neck snaps before the golems dropped them to move on to new foes.
The melee degenerated a bit, here. Galen fought from seated, keeping an Obsidian Golem off-balance most of the fight - yes, a scout fighting left-handed from seated. Galen's good.
Meanwhile the EDG chopped off the limbs of several of the incoming golems, eventually facing four of them at once. Gerry put Shield on it to maximize its defenses, which helped. Its armor-slicing swords did good work against the golems. (As a GM note, I let Felix's player control it as he had the stats handy. He kept having it slice for limbs, which often resulted in damaged but functional golems - when he finally chose to just hit body, its many attacks just chopped them into chunks and destroyed them. Don't waste damage when fighting constructs.) Felix zapped the Iron Spectre with a small Sunbolt and damaged it, but not seriously. Then, one of the golems let got of (presumably sufficiently demolished) Aldwyn and grabbed Felix. It neck-snapped him and wounded him badly, and he passed out. It went for one more and put him to -59 HP, 1 less than automatic death. Then Felix failed a death check, badly, and expired.
The EDG finished off seven of the golems, eventually, including kill-stealing from Galen the one he'd been whittling down from his seated position. The Iron Spectre managed to put fear into Dryst, putting him at -8 (!) for anything not fleeing - and his terrified charge and attack on it did little. An obsidian golem, though, punched him in the hand and mildly wounded him. Thanks to all of the HP spent on casting spells, Dryst went negative, rolled an 18, and passed out. The Iron Spectre tried to slice up Felix but failed, and then as it turned to deal with another threat Gerry hit it from behind with a fully-charged Skull Missile and destroyed it. He also did the same for a golem, turning himself invisible before charging up another and destroying the remaining golem.
The party was a mess - paralyzed fighters, a dead cleric, unconscious wizard, etc. But they had a buffed EDG to guard them and Gerry still up.
It was late, so I ruled that if they could get people mobile and get enough people to carry loot, I'd handwave it all home. They managed to wake people up with a single Awaken spellstone, wait out some paralysis, and Dryst used Create Servant to make enough brutes to carry things. Guarded by the Ebony Death Goddess.
Their loot worked out to be ~1000 sp or so each.
Poor Crogar - there were two big fights, and he was basically taken out in both of them. A lot of it was unavoidable - he's a 254 point guy delving well below where the dungeon was stocked with, say, 250 point guys in mind. Also, he's a shirtless savage barbarian, which is a great template but also maximized around combat, not Perception and resistance . . . and it was Perception and resistance that really mattered.
Once again, the Skull Spirit proved mostly useless. It's a nice addition in certain circumstances, but the PCs encountered not one living foe this session. Toxic damage isn't helpful against non-living constructs. It's certain, though, that there will come a delve when one matters.
It's amusing to me when the PCs visit places that they've been to years ago, especially on faulty information - witness the attempt to salvage the "meteoric iron door" in the demonic temple, the "black hand" on the floor, etc. Some of the group is new, but half-understand shorthand leads to a lot of repeat visits.
The obsidian golems remain a challenge. I designed those well. The Iron Spectre is not quite as lethal, but it's a tough foe combined with the right allies. I wasn't sure the Ebony Death Goddess would be that useful, but in fact it was decisive. The lack of serious magic resistance by the front-line fighters is why; you can't be strong against everything and it's especially tough to be strong against magic. And yes, the Ebony Death Goddess will see print at some point.
Since Gerry's skeletons are all destroyed, it's probably worth taking the time to see what kind of improved undead servitors he is due.
Bruce and Hayden were very impressed by the Ebony Death Goddess. They now worship her and want to get tattoos of her. Thus are heresies launched.
XP was 5 for everyone except Dryst, who received 3 xp. Galen was MVP because of his left-handed casually badassery. Gerry probably earned it, but Galen was just being awesome. That's worth a point.