Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Session 3: Let Sleeping Gods Lie

Continuing from last session, the group finished exploring the second level of the dungeon, then descended into a series of subterranean caverns filled with a couple of deep pools.  They decided to plumb the depths of the pools by having the sorcerer cast Light of Aten on some stones, then threw them into the pools and watched as they sank into the murky depths.  Nothing bad ever came from throwing stones into ancient forgotten ponds, right?

They similarly cast Light of Aten on an arrow and shot it across the second pool, around which no path existed, and they caught a shadowy glimpse of a large stone idol in an alcove on the opposite shore.  The monk decided to strip down and swim across the pool and investigate the idol.  By himself.  Nothing bad ever came from splitting the party in a dungeon, right?

On the far side of the pool he saw a hideous effigy - a humanoid proboscidean that combined the worst qualities of man, elephant, and octopus - and which bore a striking resemblance to a sketch of Chaugnar Faugn they had seen in a scroll fragment.  The monk checked the idol carefully for secret compartments, and pulled on its trunk and each of its tentacles in hope of finding a concealed lever.  Disappointed, he decided to swim back to the rest of the group, and made it about half way across before Bad Things happened.



Feeling something slimy brush against him, the monk began to swim faster, and then tentacles as thick as a man's thigh began to thrash about, hunting for him.  One of them wrapped about his leg and attempted to pull him under, but he was carrying the light-enchanted arrow retrieved from near the idol, and he drove it hard into the tentacle, which then let go, allowing him to escape safely to shore.

As the party stood on the shore debating whether the time had come to vacate the dungeon, they saw the surface of the pool begin to froth and boil as something large began to rise from the depths.  This observance decided the issue of whether to stay or go, and as they fled they saw a huge tusked creature emerge from the pool.  Its bellow of rage was like the trumpeting of a hundred elephants, and it shook the very foundations of the cavern.  The party fled the dungeon, half-carrying the monk, whose leg was injured by a falling rock as a cliff face began to collapse.

Limping back to camp, they found a party of concerned on-lookers drawn by the roars of bestial rage issuing from yonder collapsing cliff.  Explaining what had happened, they consulted the scholar, Cruro, about how to end the threat.  Cruro's only suggestion was that he had read that Chaugnar Faugn was associated with dreams and portents, and that perhaps sleeping dreamers in camp were empowering the creature.  As it happened, the camp had recently grown as camel trains of merchants arrived to cater to the adventuring parties exploring the ruins, and among the merchandise was a healthy supply of Akla, a recreational hallucinogenic drug derived from the venom of the Dream Weaver spider.  Everyone quickly ran through the camp waking anyone in a drug-induced stupor in hopes of putting the creature back to sleep before it burst free of the caverns and destroyed the entire camp.  Finally, the entire cliff face collapsed and as the dust settled all was quiet.  Perhaps the thing had returned to the depths of its pool.  For now.

The party spent the next week or so resting in the camp and recovering their wounds and they heard rumours of people disappearing from the camp in the middle of the night, and the sighting of pale, ghoulish creatures that some claimed were vampires, while others insisted were the spirits of the dead citizens of Thrace, come to punish the intruders.  Meanwhile, the less wounded party members spent the time scouting out new areas of the ruined city to explore and the warrior, Ebin, met a swordswoman named Sathera who was about to lead her team into some newly discovered caverns and she suggested that Ebin and his group meet up with them when they were up to it.

It was still several days before all of the party members were healed up enough to tempt fate again, by which time Sathera and her team had still not returned.  Concerned, Ebin suggested that they go in search of the overdue adventurers.  Entering the new dungeon, they saw evidence of Sathera's passing: mud tracks on the floor, dead creatures slain by sword and axe, and so on.  While investigating a room the party set off some shriekers, which attracted the attention of the dungeon's denizen's - a party of degenerate black robed albinos who wielded crude stone weapons.  The fanatics fell upon the party with crazed zeal, and did not flee, even in the face of horrific casualites.  The zealots were little match for the party, but a pair of the crazed attackers managed to fall upon Thorsten the sorcerer and beat him to death with stone axes.

Thus ended the session, with the demise of the party's sole practitioner of the dark arts, leaving only one original party member left alive.  The dungeons of Thrace continue to live up to their deadly reputation.

This was an amusing session, particularly since the entire encounter with the thing in the pools was completely ad-libbed and based entirely on the paranoid musings of the players who were sure that some tentacled horror lurked in the watery depths.  It hadn't occurred to me, but hey, a good idea is a good idea.  Players will always conjure up greater terrors than I'd be able to come up with on my own, so why not let them dictate the course of events?

7 comments:

Shane Mangus said...

Hehe, I'm loving this!

Anonymous said...

Great write-up, I love the way your campaign sounds. Isn't it amazing how players will imagine the worst fates for their characters and then blab about it in front of the DM, never thinking they might be giving him ideas? Mine do the same thing.

Don said...

haha, well hey...we HAVE to talk to each other, and we pretty much have to assume the worst case scenario right? :-)

So you're saying there was a couple big murky pools in the dungeon and they DIDN'T have a tentacular monstrosity in them until we speculated one into existance?

Sean Robson said...

The campaign is shaping up nicely. At least, I'm having fun!

@Don: yes, that is exactly right. The idol was just there for a bit of setting flavour. In retrospect, however, isn't it totally appropriate that an alien god of dreams and portents could be summoned forth by speculation and fear?

Don said...

haha, yeah that works nicely. :)

burned said...

I should have discovered your blog sooner through Shane's. Instead I came across it through the Robertson Games OSR feed yesterday.

I've been up late tonight, catching up on all your posts since 2010 (Not every single one mind you).

Anyway, I have enjoyed your recent session write ups. They are very entertaining.

I look forward to more from you and thanks for sharing these sessions.

Sean Robson said...

Thanks very much for the kind words, burned. When I discover a new blog, I like to get caught up by reading past posts, too. Time consuming, but worthwhile to catch some real gems that I missed the first time around!