Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
The Favorites of Selune - Gardmore Abbey - Session 7

The session started where the previous session had left off: The Favorites of Selune are standing in front of the watchtower in Gardmore Abbey, wondering how to get in. There is clearly something strange going on, with the tower apparently extending into another world, and impossible to enter by normal means. But the group is still searching for the cards of the Deck of Many Things, and the cards they have show a "pull" towards the watchtower, indicating that there are cards inside. After some unsuccessful attempts, the cleric has the idea of touching the wall of the watchtower with one of their cards, which causes a portal to inside to open.

Stepping inside the heroes find themselves in scene right out of a Lovecraft horror book, a warped room resembling the expected inside of a watchtower, but with non-Euclidean geometry, and a rubbery floor slowly "flowing" towards a crevice in the middle of the circular room. Two cards form a bridge over the crevice, while a third card creates a door on the other side of that crevice. At the bottom of the crevice is a sort a black lake, from which globules float up from time to time, and out through the door.

So the rogue attaches himself with a rope to the warlord, and crosses the bridge. Unfortunately the two "cards" that make up the bridge are in reality mimics, who attack as soon as the rogue is on the other side. And the moving floor causes the warlord to fall into the crevice, where he lands softly, but on a black pudding that also attacks. Some of the floating globules also join the fight. The confined space with the floor moving towards the crevice and the two halves of the room not connected by a bridge any more makes this a difficult fight. Both the mimics and the black pudding have attacks where they grab a character with tentacles or pseudo-pods, and then deal automatic damage if the hold isn't broken. But the warlord manages to climb out of the crevice, using the rope he is still attached to. And the warrior scores an early critical hit on the mimic on his side of the bridge, bloodying it with a single strike, so that it is killed early.

The black pudding crawls out of the crevice, attacking the side with the larger number of heroes, but using an area attack that manages to grab characters on both sides. With the minions having dies early, that leaves the mimic on the side of the warlord and rogue, and the black pudding on the side with the other 4 group members. Perceiving the black pudding to be the greater threat, the rogue jumps over the crevice, leaving the warlord alone. But the warlord fails his escape roll from the grab of the black pudding pseudo-pod, then receives a critical hit from the mimic, and goes down.

Now I had a problem, because I knew that one player had an object that could have helped the warlord. But as the player wasn't thinking of that, I felt I shouldn't intervene. So even with the warlord succeeding his first death save, he is then crushed by the black pudding pseudo-pod before the others could kill the pudding. First character death of the campaign! Now if somebody dies in my campaign he can either make a new character of the same level, or try to get a resurrect with the help of the other group members. The player of the warlord wants to keep his character, and so the others carry his corpse into the next encounters.

After having killed the remaining monsters, the Favorites of Selune manage to leave the moving floor room through the door, and find themselves one "floor" up in the tower. The wizard is trying to leave the tower by touching the walls first with one card, then with two and all three cards they have. Using more cards clearly has a bigger effect, but apparently the number of cards they have isn't sufficient to open a portal back to the real world. So they have to continue onward through the watchtower. Everything in the second room seems to be flowing upwards, from the globules still floating through the door to the walls itself. But chaotic influences attack the characters, which at first they are able to resist with endurance checks. What follows is technically a "skill challenge", a series of skill checks based on the player's actions. But whenever they fail, they accumulate a "chaos point", which comes with some mutation like an extra limb, sprouting tentacles, or a melting face. The skill challenge has three stages, in which the heroes manage to get to an exit, traveling through various psychedelic scenes. Fortunately for them they each remain under 3 chaos points, so their mutations disappear.

But getting to the exit of this chaos is jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire: Behind the exit is a room which apparently previously was the top of the watchtower, and is now inhabited by a beholder and his mutated minions. One of the minions is recognizable by his sword and harness as the missing father of Berrian, the leader of the eladrin. The beholder is offering to let the heroes live if they help him to get out of the watchtower, in which he is as trapped as they are. The wizard remembers his earlier attempts to escape which ended with the conclusion that they would need more cards to do so. Feeling a pull of their cards towards the beholder, they ask him whether he has cards of the Deck of Many Things, and the beholder is willing to give them the three cards he holds. Touching the walls with all six cards together works, and moves the whole watchtower back from that Far Realm into the real world. Only problem: The beholder now also is in the real world, and free from his pocket dimension prison. So he keeps his word and doesn't bother with attacking the players, but yells "I'm free" and escapes floating through the roof.

As the mutated minions have crumbled to dust, the Favorites of Selune find themselves on the top floor of a now rather ordinary watchtower. They collect the sword and harness to give news of his father to Berrian, and leave the tower by means of a now normal staircase and door, still carrying the body of their dead comrade. At this point we ended the session.

Oh, how I would've loved to been a paladin in that situation, adamant that we should accept death (or at least "certain" death in attacking) rather than let such an evil out into the world. And let myself hopefully get talked out of it if the others argued well enough, because the only people that demand the party do it their way no matter what are people you don't want to play with...
I had counted on our warlord reacting that way. But with him being dead at that point in time, he had a difficult negotiation position. :)
Please forgive the off-topic comment.

Thank you telling me about empire for ipad. I bought it along with the battle of the bulge you mentioned.

Re your ipad memory, watching CNBC business channel today, Walt Mossberg at CES showed off the La Cie who has a portable wifi 1TB server that you can pair with 5 mobile devices.

Thanks again for all your efforts and have a great 2014.
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