Sunday, 27 September 2015

[Actual Play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

The Claw of Corvis

In a dingy inn, in the north of the city, the arcanist-exorcist-assassin, Ichabod Grimes, was sat making a list of alchemical reagents he needed ready for his next trip across the boarder to Khador. Ichabod though was better known in "The Snowy Rabbit" by his Khadoran cover identity, Grigor. Grigor was an alchemist trader, and so Ichabod was bald, though sported bushy muttonchops that matched his Khadorn guise.

He was sat drinking vodka and chatting with the barman, when Julian Helstrom, captain of the city watch, entered and approached him. The captain slipped across the table a note that bore the seal of the Order of Illumination. Ichabod looked at the note, and folded it back up, and together with Julian, they left the bar, making their way to the cathedral of Corvis.

In a side chapel of the grand, baroque cathedral, which only a few months past was the epicentre of the events of the Longest Night and the battle with Alexia Ciannor, was Darcy Dimiani. She was knelt praying. Julian approached, and knelt and said a little prayer. He then realised Darcey's vow of silence, and so explain the matter.

A body had been discovered in the eastern district of the city, bearing the marks of the same killer that has killed 4 others in the last 8 days. With the city watch still stretched thin after the events of the Longest Night, Julian has asked for them to investigate.

Once dressed in a more suitable attire, and with Ichabod masquerading as her valet, Darcey and Ichabod are taken by carriage to the crime scene. Down a dirty alley, with the gloomy skies of Corvis drenching the city, the body was left where it was found, in amongst the trash from the shops that used the alleyway. The guards left there by Helstrom lifted the sheet from the body to let the witch hunters to look at the victim. It was clear to both Darcy and Ichabod that the man had his throat slashed, with no sign of struggle. There were three cuts to the neck. The top of the skull had also been removed. But but not by a clawed creature. The top of the cranium had been opened up with a precision surgical tool. It then became clear to Darcy that what ever had cut open the throat was a metal tool, and not some clawed hand or paw.

The guards informed Darcy and Ichabod that the victim was a known vagrant who lived under a nearby overpass bridge. It was there that the two investigators went in order to question the other homeless. Darcy handed out alms and return the destitute and homeless who huddled under the arch explained that the dead man had recently left Asc Solvin Asylum. The man had been put there by his sister but had since been released yet had not been taken in by his family. The vagrants also asked if they would be helping to find the others who had gone missing over a week ago.

The witch hunters were driven to the lonely island upon which the city prison sat. The gloomy tower groped towards the sky, and was covered in rusting barred windows from which prisoners peered out. From the courtyard, Darcy and Ichabod were led into the prison via the quest entrance, which while perhaps cleaner, and more inviting, was still cold and ominous. The steps into the basement of the prison were damp, and the wails of the prisoners were muffled. A corroded heavy door swung open and they were led into the morgue, a chilly chamber, illuminated by gas lamps and a crackling voltaic lamp. The attending surgeon, Dr Straven, was a stern looking lady in her 40s, wearing a dark, buttoned up dress, over which she wore an apron that was stained. Aligned in the centre of the chamber were 4 tables, upon which 4 bodies were laid out, with sheets covering them. At the head of two of the tables were jars that held what remained of the brains. Dr Straven pointed to were the report was if they wished to read it, and then she left.

Darcy and Ichabod began to examine the bodies in turn, and it was clear all had been victims of the same weapons and injuries and surgical tools. In the trunks under the bodies were the possessions of the victims, but something did not make sense with one of the victims. The man had been found wearing a military uniform, a dress uniform, and it bore the family crest of the Bersque family, and that is also had medals that showed that the owner of the jacket had participated in a war some years ago. But that did not make sense from the records, as it confirmed that all the victims were from the same asylum. Furthermore, Ichabod noted that there was a common chemical stain on the jacket and the clothes of two of the other victims. The chemical was one used in the steel processing business. It could not have been run off from the factories because the bodies were found in another part of the city. Had the bodies been dumped?

With the jacket with them, the two witch hunters were driven quickly to the Bersque estate, and there they met with the lady of the estate. In a warm drawing room, attended to by the servants of the house, Darcy and Ichabod confirmed that the jacket was indeed the dress uniform of Lady Bersque's dead son, who had been buried two years ago. More disturbing, is that when she was visiting the body last week, she witnessed grave robbers, stealing the coffin from the tomb. She also mentioned that the men had spoken of a inn that they would be meeting at, called "The Laris Eye".

They travelled to the northern graveyard, with night drawing in, and the city becoming a cluster of lantern lights out in the distance. The graveyard was unnerving, and of course with the events of the Longest Night, Darcy was ready to face any of the undead that may well be lurking in the grave yard.

Having found the tomb, Ichabod pried the lid off, and they both peered inside. The coffin was indeed gone. They then looked up and saw a lantern light drawing closer, and the caretaker of the graveyard yelled out, asked who was there. Drawing closer he recognised Darcy, both from the nights running up to the Longest Night, and from the paper. He knew of the grave robbers, but he was in no position to confront them, nor could he get the city watch to help secure the graveyard.

Given the evidence that they had, Darcy and Ichabod travelled back to the city, and to the Laris Eye, hoping to find out more about the grave robbers. Two hours passed, and it was a combination of overheard conversation and the same tell-tale chemical stain, the allowed them to spot the men they were looking for. They followed the men out of the bar, hoping to tale them back to where ever it was and to whoever it was they were working for.

There was a scream from a nearby alleyway, and a woman rushed out crying for help. Her brother was in trouble, and she needed help. In the commotion the men they were following disappeared into the city. Darcy drew her Execrator pistol, as Ichabod donned his knuckledusters, and they walked cautiously into the alleyway. There, around the corner, chewing on the body of a young man, were two decaying swamp shamblers - zombies that existed in the boggy marshes and rivers of Widowers Woods. Darcy took aim and fired her pistol, and blew the head off one of the monsters. The other hobbled over and wildly clawed at her, as three more clambered out of the nearby sewer grate.

Darcy dodged backward, making some clear distance between herself and the gang of undead, and fired again, exploding another skull, as Ichabod futilely tried to smash the zombies apart with his fists. Dodging the reaching claws, Ichabod backed away and called upon his arcane powers. Telgesh runes encircled him, and in two blinding flashes of divine energy, annihilating two more of the swamp shamblers. Darcy was had already lunged into combat, having drawn her dagger, and finished off the last of the zombies.

With the undead destroyed, Ichabod drew his sword and decapitated the dead man, in order to prevent his reanimation, and Darcy blessed the body and doused it with holy water. With that done they asked for someone to get the city guard, and they headed off in search of the grave robbers.

Ichabod had determined which of the factories was nearest and they headed there as quickly as possible, and soon they had caught up with the thugs as they entered the sewers beneath the factory. The waste from the factory gave off a strange viridian glow, and Darcy and Ichabod sneaked into the sewers. The were cautions, with Ichabod drawing upon his magic to better see traps they lay hidden before them. Both of the witch hunters passed a rusting door, and hid behind a archway. There was motion ahead of them, but could barely see who it was, as a shot was fired. Ichabod called upon his arcane powers and unleashed a holy bolt that briefly illuminated the sewer and obliterated a box behind which the thug hid. Ichabod moved forward, hoping to get a clearer line of sight. Nearby a large pipe pumped alchemical waste into the sewer. He unleashed another arcane blast as the thug charged towards him, trading blows. Darcy kicked open the door and found a stair case leading up. She proceed to ascend it, and barely found her footing as the steps gave way to a pit filled with spikes. She looked up and saw another thug hiding at the top of the staircase, who fire at her, catching her in the shoulder. Darcy leapt over the pit trap, firing her gun, killing the thug. His body cartwheeled over the railings and past Ichabod, and plunged into the sewer. The body bobbed up revealing the flesh already being dissolved.

Ichabod drew his sword and continued his fight, when he heard another man descending a metal latter. The man cried out, "Jovan, Jovan! We need support!". Darcy watched as a man in a dark green tricorn hat and long coat stepped around the corner and drew a strange, dark metal pistol. He whispered to it, whispered her name, causing the Telgesh runes along the barrel to glow a sickly green. The figure aimed at Darcy and fired. Acid green lighting crackled along the barrel and trailed the bullet that erupted from the gun. It slammed into her chest, cause her to collapse to the ground, crying out in pain.

Ichabod heard her scream and looked up, seeing the men on the gantry way above. He bolted away from the thug he was fighting, and leapt up the pile of boxes and jumped upwards. He pulled the garrotte wire from his pocket watch and wrapped it about the neck of the thug, pulling the man down from the gantry, and into the canal.

The gunman turned his back on Darcy and headed to confront Ichabod, thinking Darcy was dead. But Darcy was barely live. She spat out blood, her lung perforated. She aimed the Execrator pistol at the back of the gunman and pulled the trigger. The holy bullet hit the man, and in a fit of pain she watch as a ephemeral mist erupt from his mouth and nose and eyes. He dropped the strange pistol, and it clattered into the canal, and the mist like form disappeared. Ichabod slew the last thug, carving the man apart with his blessed sword.

Darcy, in dire need of medical attention, dropped off the gantry, providing cover to Ichabod. She fired again and caught the gunman, or now the gunman free of the spirit, between the eyes. Ichabod used a few vial of alchemical salves and sealed Darcy's wounds. Together they headed up to the chamber above, and peering in, they could see a mechanika armed surgeon, and a room filled with cadavers and tanks of chemicals. The man was quick, dodging the daggers that Ichabod threw. Darcy instead too aim at the vats of chemical behind him, causing a spray of caustic acid to spray out. Ichabod saw his opening and charged in, but failed to land a blow against the surgeon, who in return sliced at Ichabod, the three metal claws cutting deep and causing Ichabod to pass out from shock. Darcy knew she had to act quick, and took aim with her pistol, killing the surgeon.

Darcy rushed over and attended to Ichabod's wounds, and together they stumbled out of the lab, and back into the streets of Corvis.

In the days to follow it emerged that the killer was known Gavriel di Maro, who had served in the Cygnaran military, and more recently at the asylum. As for the gunman, he was known as Jovan, but as the head of the Order of Illumination chantry explained, the pistol was more sinister. it was the Imprecator, and the anchor for a vile ghost, that of Errigan.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

[Actual Play] AD&D 2nd - Ravenloft, House of Strahd Session 5

Thenn and the late Quidiana's players were unable to make it. However, we have a new player that took over Lady Ioana Gundar!

Ravenloft Session 5

Kolbo awakens to a rap at his door. His sleep was light - the now paranoid dwarf had slept in his armor, magic flail at his side. Kolbo gets up and stands to the locked door’s side, “Who is it?”

Another set of pawing raps. Another question, unanswered again. Another rap. Kolbo yells, “Who is it!?”

In the other room, Trayvon hears some commotion. The half-elf walks in the hallway to find a portly silhouette outside the inn’s king’s room.

Trayvon - Level 6 Half-Elf Wizard 
Str 13, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 6, Chr 14
HP 16, AC 10, Quarterstaff, Darts
Trayvon is in Barovia to find his brother and clear up the cattle dispute.

Trayvon asks the figure what’s going on at this late hour. The portly figure turns and slowly approaches him, hands outstretch. Realizing that this is some sort of undead, Trayvon strikes with his quarterstaff, a wet crunch echoing throughout the inn. Kolbo dashes out of his room and smashes the zombie’s flailing body with his flail. Hearing the commotion, Lady Ioana Gundar hastily dons her brigandine and steps out from her room. The party is then joined by the silent elf, Belzon.

Belzon - Elf, Level 5 Fighter/ Level 6 Thief
Str 13, Dex 18, Con 9, Int 8, Wis 7, Chr 10
HP 28, AC ¾ (Leather Armor, Buckler), Longsword, Shortbow
Belzon is in Barovia because the darkonian merchant he worked for skipped town without paying him.

Kolbo explains to the others that this zombie was a clerk he’d met in Castle Ravenloft. It must have followed him down to town. Oh, and Strahd is a monster. Also his is not a crazy dwarf.

Belzon hears some shuffling downstairs and the adventurers scatter to their individual rooms. Four more zombies climb the stairs and surround Lief’s body. Waiting a few minutes and realizing the zombies won’t just wander off, Kolbo leads the charge and makes short work of the shamblers. Kolbo asks if there is a temple nearby and Ioana indicates that there is one on the outskirts of town.

The adventurers find carnage in the streets, dozens of zombies dragging villagers from their homes and eviscerating them. A pack notices the adventurers, who try to run and are caught by wolves in an alley. They put up a resilient defense atop some parked wagons, raining down missiles as the enemies approaches and then finishing the stragglers in melee.

The party arrives at the temple to find a rundown structure, it’s belltower leaning heavily to the side. The door is unlocked and upon entering they find a series of disused pews and a giant raven statue atop an alter. Belzon quickly notices snoring come from one of the side rooms. Knocking at the door, the party awakens Brother Donovon. Kolbo requests healing and then lambasts the priest for not having cure light wounds prepared. After Lady Ioana Gundar threatens Donovon at arrowpoint, the priest suggests he cast sanctuary upon the temple so they can rest and he can pray to the Morning Lord for new spells. While they sleep, Trayvon uses invisibility, 10-foot radius to hide the party.

The next morning, after a generous 60 gp donation, Donovon heals Kolbo’s body and spirit. 

The party sets out, still invisible, to town with Brother Donovon. They find the villagers rebuilding, collecting corpses and putting out the remaining fires. The party overhears the angry villagers, blaming magic, vistani, and even the Devil Strahd. As they reach the town square and fountain, they overhear a villager and constable talking - they found the burgomeister’s corpse amongst the dead. The constable decides to head to the town mansion and tell the burgomeister’s son of his father’s fate. The party follows at a distance, still invisible.

The constable informs the burgomeister’s son, Ismark the Lesser, of his father’s death. After a brief somber moment, Ismark sparks up, “That makes me burgomeister now, doesn’t it?” The constable informs him that he needs to be appointed by the Count. Someone must go report the attack to the Count, so perhaps it should be Ismark?

Kolbo leaves the invisible radius and dramatically informs the Barovians that their liege lord is a monster, murdered the burgomeister, and in fact orchestrated last night’s attack. His arguments are logical and they believe him. Leant their ear, Kolbo offers to fund an army with his recent "inheritance" to depose Count Strahd.

Hearing all the excitement, a young woman joins Ismark at the door. Her flowing dark brown hair and flowing green cloak are striking - but perhaps more striking is the sword and pistol at her hip. Only Kolbo and Belzon have ever seen flintlocks before. The group hands the burgomeister’s daughter, Ireena Kolyana, her father’s signet ring. She thanks them but informs that while she will keep the ring safe, it is not her family’s - it belongs to the office of burgomeisters. Kolbo suggests that Ireena be burgomeister and Lady Ioana supports this claim. Coming to no conclusion, the constable suggests that they meet with the town elders and choose an interim burgomeister.

The town meeting is a mess. The elders debate for an hour, then vote. Every time they vote for themselves - except Ireena who votes to Ismark. Kolbo suggest that in this time of hostility they enact emergency powers. The elders inform that according to their charter (currently unrecognized by Strahd), the sheriff would take over under marshal law. But the village hasn’t had a sheriff in 15 years. One by one, the elders volunteer themselves to be sheriff.

Trayvon decides to elicit some public support. Convincing the crowd that Ireena Kolyana would be the best choice to temporary powers, the Barovians begin chanting Ireena’s name just before the next vote. One by one, under pressure, the elders agree that Ireena should be sheriff. Even Ismark, reluctantly.

Convening a war council with Ismark and the adventurers, they begin to make plans. First, they send riders to raise levies in addition to the village’s 10 constables. Randomly determined, the riders are able to gather:

Master Engineer Kobin
60 Abber Mercenaries
60 Falkov War Veterans

Here is the table used to randomly determine levies:
  1. Nazbif the Nebulous: AL (CN); Int Genius; AC 8; MV 12; HD 5; hp 13; THAC0 19; #AT 1, DMG 1d6, SA grease, fireball, fly, lightning bolt 1x per day, SD none, MR nil, ML (11), XP 270
  2. Driena Wolfswift: AL (CN); Int Average; AC 8; MV 12; HD 3; hp 16; THAC0 18; #AT 1, DMG 1d6, SA cure light wounds 1x per day, SD none, MR nil, ML (11), XP 150
    Wolves (10); AL (TN); Int Low; AC 6; MV 18; HD 2; hp 12; THAC0 17; #AT 1, DMG 1d8, SA none, SD none, MR nil, ML (11), XP 90 ea
  3. Jason Morningstar: AL (CG); Int Average; AC 4; MV 12; HD 4; hp 20; THAC0 17; #AT 1, DMG 1d6+1, SA club+1, cure light wounds, aid, protection from evil 1x per day, turn undead SD none, MR nil, ML (11), XP 240
  4. Gundarakite Rebels (20): AL (CG); Int Average; AC 7; MV 12; HD 1; hp 5; THAC0 19; #AT 1, DMG 1d6, SA short bows, SD none, MR nil, ML (13), XP 35 ea.
  5. Angry Villagers (50): AL (TN); Int Average; AC 10; MV 12; HD 1; hp 4; THAC0 20; #AT 1, DMG 1d4, SA none, SD none, MR nil, ML (13), XP 15 ea.
  6. Falkov War Veterans (30): AL (TN); Int Average; AC 9; MV 12; HD 1; hp 5; THAC0 20; #AT 1, DMG 1d6, SA none, SD none, MR nil, ML (11), XP 35 ea.
  7. Conscripted Villagers (50); AL (TN); Int Average; AC 10; MV 12; HD 1; hp 4; THAC0 20; #AT 1, DMG 1d4, SA none, SD, none, MR nil, ML (9), XP 15 ea.
  8. Abber Mercenaries (20); AL (TN); Int Average; AC 8; MV 12; HD 1; hp 4; THAC0 19; #AT 1, DMG 1d6; SA slings, SD 50% concealment from missile weapons, MR nil, ML (11), XP 35 ea.
  9. Master Engineer Kobin; AL (LN); Int High; AC 7; MV 6; HD 2; hp 9; THAC0 19; #AT 1, DMG 1d6, SA THAC0 14 with siege weapons, SD none, MR nil, ML (11), XP 150
  10. Petrovna Vistala; AL (LE); Int High; AC 7; MV 12; HD 3; hp 11; THAC0 19; #AT 1, DMG 1d6, SA Any unit or hero within 50 ft of Petrovna gets +1 to attack and saving throws, SD none, MR 20%, ML (11), XP 120
  11. Alexi Shadowborn; AL (LG); Int Average; AC 1; MV 12; HD 5; hp 31; THAC0 14; #AT 1, DMG 1d8+2, SA cure light wounds 1x per day, turn undead, Any unit of hero within 50 ft of Alexi may used his morale score, SD none, MR nil, ML (15), XP 180
Kobin is inducted into the war council and the rest of the levies will assemble over the next two days. The council also sends a fast rider with money to hire mercenaries in Nova Vaasa - a venture that may take almost two months. As the logistic meeting continues, there is a knock at the door. In the dying afternoon, the fast rider has returned, informing the council that the legendary poison mist has surrounded the village outskirts. Ismark curses their bad luck, and Kolbo informs the council that this is clearly not a coincidence. Perturbed, Ireena asks the adventurers to seek out the vistani, who are rumored to have an elixir that can allow individuals to cross the poison mist.

With the light of day waning, the party of adventurers set off to the Tser Lake waterfall and the vistani camp at it’s side…

Session XP: 5910 (+5000 XP is for making Ireena the sheriff. That’s awesome)
Session Loot: nil

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

What?! No Miniatures in a while?!

Here we go.

Guild Ball Mortician team


Garden of Morr terrain, for use in lots of games.

Gravestones for use in Guild Ball and other games.

NSFW - The Kingdom Death Wet Nurse .... after the jump break

Thursday, 17 September 2015

[Actual Play] AD&D 2nd - Ravenloft, House of Strahd Session 4

Ravenloft Session 4

The adventurers - Grayven, Quidiana, Thenn, and Kolbo - stand shocked as they see Marvin beaten to a pulp only 70 feet away. They hear some shuffling to the left and a few zombies come into view, shambling towards the melee they just heard. Quidiana and Kolbo shut the doors, and Kolbo’s slams shut a little too loudly. Bracing the door as Strahd’s zombies bash against it, Grayven ties the double door handles together with straps of his fishing net. The doors hold and the party flees back in the chapel.

Reviewing their means of escape, the party decides to climb the spiral stairs connected to the southern part of the chapel. The party ascends the dizzying spiral, climbing tens and then hundreds of feet. Finally, they turn a radius and see the top of the stairs bathed in dull light. Ascending, the party finds a belfry with a knockerless bell in the dark rafters. The high tower gives them a great vantage point to view the castle grounds. As the party figures out where to travel next, Quidiana moves to guard the staircase… and finds that a shear stone wall has appeared, blocking the stairs. Kolbo tries to disbelieve the wall and walk through it. He smacks his head on the cold stone. Realizing something is wrong with this room itself, Quidiana informs the party that they are in a place of great evil, the antithesis of her patron, the Morninglord. Kolbo responds, “So what, it’s a night peasant?”

Searching the room for traps, Quidiana feels a powerful shove as she’s near the rampart. She grabs the stone parapet before falling out. The party, fearful, gathers in a circle, backs to each other and weapons ready. Quidiana tries to turn any unseen undead. As she lowers her holy symbol, that’s when Strahd descends on them.

The elder vampire drops in the middle of the party’s circle from the rafters. He grasps at Kolbo with his left hand, but his energy draining attack is deflected by the dwarf’s sturdy helm. Kolbo counters with his own blow and the flail strikes Strahd in the shoulder - the first pain he’s felt in a century. Grayven casts the light spell on Strahd’s face, effectively blinding the vampire. Quidiana casts Protection Against Evil on Kolbo. Thenn moves to attack with his longsword, but misses.

Strahd withdraws to the parapet, stepping dangerously close to direct sunlight and begins to cast a spell. Thenn and Kolbo follow him. Kolbo’s flail swing should have crippled the vampire’s spellcasting, but some evil in this room made the attack harmless. Thenn tries to push the vampire over the edge, but fails. The vampire’s spell conjures and an arc of lightning emerges from his fingertips. Kolbo dodges out of the way, but his armor is still brilliantly electrified with static charge, searing even his hardened dwarf body. Quidiana and Grayven are less lucky - their corpses collapse, cooked by the overwhelming current. Blind but content with himself, Strahd transmutes into a green mist and glides back down the stairs, past the stone wall. 

Kolbo and Thenn are stranded. They loot their comrade’s corpses for anything useful. They search the stone wall and the floors for any trap doors, but find nothing. Surveying outside the tower, the closest place they could climb to is another tower 60 feet below. They only have 40 feet of rope.

The thief and fighter climb down the rope and find nooks in the stone wall to descend without incident. They find themselves on top of another tower with a large spiral staircase. They go down and stop suddenly when Thenn hears the dull beating of a heart. He moves forward silently until the stairway opens up. He finds to his left a large, black beating heart, 10 feet in diameter, with arteries connecting to the ceiling. To his right is a bridge leading to another tower. After considerable debate, Kolbo and Thenn decide to leave the heart alone and keep descending these spiral stairs. Kolbo really wants to escape Castle Ravenloft.

As the two go down the stairs, a series of halberds slash out from the walls, wounding Thenn and bounding harmlessly off Kolbo. Eventually Thenn and Kolbo come to a landing with a few doors and a threshold out to the battlements. Thenn and Kolbo head west on the battlements towards a guard tower, hoping to find some clue as to how they can open the gate.

Finding nothing in the guard tower, the remaining adventurers head to the turrets by the front gate. Stepping through a third story door, they find a winch and brake for a large rusted chain. Releasing the break, the chain budges but doesn’t unwind. Heading to the other tower, Kolbo and Thenn find a second winch, which finally lowers the drawbridge. Heading to the portal, Kolbo bashes through the old wooden gate and flees the castle with Thenn.

Coming the crossroads on the Old Svalich Road where their adventure started, dusk fast approaching, Kolbo and Thenn are faced with a choice. Do they turn right and flee through the county gates or turn left towards the village of Barovia? They decide to play it safe and find shelter in the village.

Barovia is a small town with clay roofed wood hovels mostly for shelter and cottage industries. Only a few buildings stand out - the general store and Blood on the Vine tavern. The adventurers immediately go to the tavern. It is a dingy place, sparsely attended, but the barkeep is still spit shining his pint glasses. He greets Kolbo who is still in shock over his brief time in Castle Ravenloft. Arik shows some empathy and offers Kolbo the King’s Room for a mere 5 silver that night. Thenn takes the room above the stable for just 5 coppers.

As night falls the survivors seek what comfort they can in their warm beds. In the distance, thunder rumbles - a second storm approaches…

Session XP: 25,000 divided amongst Kolbo and Thenn for escaping Castle Ravenloft.
Session Loot: nil
RIP: Grayven, Quidiana Wolfswift

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

[Actual Play] AD&D 2nd - Ravenloft, House of Strahd Session 3

Ravenloft Session 3

Standing in the destroyed throne room, a hundred fried bats around them, the adventurers hear muffled voices coming from the door to their left. Thenn steps over and tries to listen, making out a few common words from one individual, but the other person was unintelligible. Kolbo suggests opening the door and tossing a fireball in, but Grayven had just used the two he’d memorized. Instead, the Grayven casts invisibility on Thenn.

Thenn knocks on the door while the rest of the party hides behind the secret door. An aged, portly scholar opens the door and, in a confused manner, asks if someone has brought dinner. Thenn sneaks into the room and finds a cluttered desk, shelves and floor covered in books, scrolls… and a pile of coins. The scholar appears to be chained to the floor by a long steel shackle and a padlock. Amongst the books is a middle aged halfling filling his pockets with coins while the scholar isn’t looking…

Marvin the Mediocre - Level 6 Thief/Level 5 Fighter
Str 9, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 7, Wis 9, Cha 7
HP 22, AC 8, Two-Handed Sword
Marvin is petitioning the Count over an inheritance issue related to his grandfather’s pants.

Thenn cuts the alarm bell cord and positions himself to be ready to attack. The scholar closes the door and tries to begin a converse with the halfling again, who seems to only speak the halfling tongue. Kolbo decides, since Thenn is taking so long, to kick in the door while Grayven follows him in. Seeing some rather harmless individuals, Kolbo introduces himself. The scholar, Lief, explains that he was kidnapped and chained to this desk to account the Count’s tax incomes. Lief explains the little surroundings of the castle that he knows about and warns the adventurers not to steal any of the taxes. The party ignores him and finds 3,400 gold pieces (Marvin had already pocketed an additional 300 gp) and a cleric scroll containing heal, restoration, cure serious wounds, and cure disease. Lief seems fearful that the Count will punish him now, so agrees to follow the party.

The party enters the double doors of the throne room and finds a narrow room with skeletons on the right and left. Afraid they might animate, Kolbo and Marvin dismantle the skeletons with their flail and sling, respectively.

Passing into the Hall of Grace, the party is disconcerted by a low moaning sound near the center of the room. Searching the southern wall, the Quidianna finds a secret entrance to a room reeking of grease and oil. A number of cogs, pulleys, gears, and levers cover the room. Kolbo begins experimenting with the levers on the east wall when he triggers the trap. The floor he stands on suddenly rises, leaving a 10 ft tall gated elevator in front of the rest of the party. The elevator continues to rise up the lengthy shaft, one so long that Kolbo can’t see the top with his darkvision. The rest of the party franticly mashes the controls and tries to stop the cogs as Kolbo pounds the roof of the elevator he is atop looking for a secret door. Eventually, just as the elevator picks up speed, Quidianna finds the controls to stop the elevator. Adjusting them slightly, she brings elevator back down and returns Kolbo to the party.

Fleeing the elevator room, the party decides to continue their exploration to the east. As they open the double doors, they find a grand balcony before them, light softly emanating from the void below, silhouetting two high backed chairs. Thenn, still invisible, decides to sneak forward and investigate the thrones, but his coin purse jingles a little too loud. Two rotting corpses spring up, cartilage creaking from disuse, and walk towards the party with hungry glares. Lief flees the scene.

Quidianna brandishes her holy symbol of the Morninglord but fails to turn the undead and the heroes valiantly lop off the arms of their foes. Emboldened by Quidianna’s aid, Marvin prepares to face off against a weakened shambler when the zombie’s severed arms rise up and claw at this chest, tearing out handfuls of flesh. After the zombies are dispatched with a stunning overhead cut by Marvin’s longsword, the party finds a box containing 30 platinum and 8 gold pieces beneath one of the thrones.

The adventurers descend the stairs to their north and find themselves in a large grand, cathedral ceiling chapel, the balcony they just fought on cantilevered above. The chapel has a raised altar with a stone statue of a man draped over it. Marvin inspects the statue, it appears to be a cloaked man whose stone grasp clutches a silver raven figurine. Grayven believes that the man might have been afflicted by the spell stone to flesh and offers to attempt to dispel it’s magic. As he unweaves the centuries old magic, the figure begins to move and it’s stone skin cracks, but never breaks. Quidianna is able to pick up the raven figure.

Further exploration of the chapel reveals aged blood stains amongst the overturned pews and the remnants of chapbooks to a deity called Andral.

The party heads west through another set of double doors and finds themselves in another long hallway, mirroring the Hall of Grace above. It is lined with armored statues every ten feet. Marvin Quidianna attempts to don the armor from one of the statues, only to find that it is a cheap tin replica of plate mail. Grayven also searches for a secret door in the center but finds nothing.

Marvin sneaks forward and opens the set of double doors at the end of the hall and finds himself in the gargoyle filled foyar near the castle’s main entrance. The torches are out now and the gargoyles glare down at him in the minimal dawn light. Marvin sneaks forward further while the others are look for a secret door. As he steps into the middle of Castle Ravenloft’s entry, 4 margoyles descend from their ceiling perches. Before Marvin can even draw his sword, he’s crushed to a pulp in a fury of fists, fangs, and lashing tails.

The rest of the adventurers can only look on in horror as the margoyles ascend to their perches out of sight…

Session XP: 540

Session Loot: 3708 gp, Scrolls of heal, restoration, cure serious wounds, and cure disease, and a silver raven figurine.
RIP: Marvin the Mediocre