Every-two-weeks-Friday-night games are gone in favor of weekend-game-whenever-we-can-make-it-fit-night game. We met up early, had supper. Theoretically discharged social energies, sent the kids to bed and got ready to play. More on that later on.
After their encounter with the group of kruthiks and zombies, the « heroes » rested up and… nearly decided to go back to the caravan and let the husband’s corpse rest wherever it may be.
A few of them argued that they should go back in the hole and solve this puzzle.
This is one of the problem I struggle with regarding the party at this point – they basically have no motivation to adventure. I have failed to pull it out of them and the core role-player of the group is playing a sociopath… which can be intimidating to the budding role-players. I love the sociopath PC, but we need to find a way to rein him in a little – to make him somewhat fit with the party… even if its a bit against his will. More on player/PC motivation to come…
Lord Adelinde’s note book contained cryptic notes leading to the location the heroes were already in. A few scribbled maps made them believe that they were near the adventurer’s quarry: Aararlo tomb.
Note to self: create names that you can pronounce… or at the very least, practice it a few times around.
According to the notes Aarlarlo was a legendary gnoll warrior that has been buried here with his treasures and a few servants. Lord Adelinde was persuaded that a valuable artifact was hidden here – though he did not write what it was.
The heroes decided to risk the adventure – perhaps the treasure would be worth it.
Rolen and Arkanys devised a plan where they would cover themselves in kruthik blood and carry body parts – the smell of the defeated kruthiks might help in fending off any remaining members of the horde. Kruthiks are in there for the food – if the prey is too strong, they’ll keep their energies for easier prey.
It did not take them long to stumble into a cave filled will young kruthiks, feeding on corpses at various stages of decomposition.
The critters rapidly sense the incoming footsteps… as well as the blood of their fallen elders. They fled the room in haste through various crevices in the walls, a flurry of wild clicks filling the air.
What they left behind is some kind of crude burial room. One gigantic coffin sounded by a few smaller ones. On the wall above the giant coffin hung a dream catcher.
A giant gnoll zombie – roughly twice the size of a regular human – stood among the corpses, surrounded by a batch of smaller zombies. It held a bastard sword in one hand and his eyes were aglow with hatred – something the heroes are not used to see on a zombies.
Following another one of Phil’s advise to change the flavor of the encounter, I used a solo monster instead of a group of monsters. I knew the fight was going to be easier than the first one. I wanted to give it a different feel to try and satisfy the more story-oriented players of the group.
Sensing something was odd with the dream catcher device, Arkanys quickly teleported in front of it and seized it. Something was afoul indeed: the device, usually used to keep evil spirits out, was actually rigged to keep evil spirits in! Over the years, the evil spiritual energy in the room was dense enough to raise the entombed into the horrors standing before the heroes.
While Arkanys was working the tribal macrame, the rest of the crew started to work on the zombies.
In no time – in great part due to Dali‘s magical prowess and the power of Iris‘ faith – only Aararlo and a corruption corpse were left standing.
Arkanys then slashed at the dream catcher – releasing a wave of radiant energy, burning at the remaining undead. The corruption corpse at his side was thrown 25 feet away from him – giving the Shadar Kai enough time to ready his blade and prepare his vengeance.
Followin up on some good advice from my friendly neighborhood ChattyDM, I made the room’s interactive element more interesting than the player’s regular powers. In this case, breaking the dream catcher did a level 5 turn undead – enough to get rid of the minions, seriously injuring the artillery and possibly hurting the solo monster.
Sadly, so to speak, the party managed to get rid of all the minions before Arkanys got to the dream catcher. Nevertheless, I feel the prop worked, even though it was less cool than I wanted it to be.
Aararlo, however was unfazed and used his necrotic tendrils to latch onto Marisol, crushing her in his deathly grip.
While Benerra, the death-dealing rogue was embedding dagger after dagger in the monster’s forehead from afar, Rolen shot at the abomination’s tentacles in hopes of helping Marisol free herself.
Arkanys made short work of the corruption corpse and turned around just in time to see the abomination fall from one well-placed arrow go straight through Aarlarlo’s walking corpse.
The giant rotter fell to the ground… only to rise back up a few seconds later.
He was left alone and we usually take the creature pieces off the board as soon as they are dead… so I basically raised him right after he fell.
In retrospect, I should have left them remove the piece from the board and just put it back in later – I wasted a good suspense moment which might have made the encounter something special.
With the might of the six heroes combined together, Aararlo was quickly put to the ground and dismembered.
Searching the room and the corpse, they noticed that what first seemed to be the dream catcher’s frame was actually a crude bow.
Rolen quickly established that it was Aararlo’s bow – a crude-yet-effective weapon that could cause terrible bleeding to its target.
The also found a healing potion and a nice cache of gold pieces, as well as a ring worn by one of the lesser zombies.
Dali noticed that the ring matched Lady Adelinde’s ring and the corpse was most likely her husband’s – the body which they were to bring back for last rites.
Deciding that they would not want to carry the damned thing – even less than subject the widow to the sight of a zombified and horribly mutilated body, the heroes decided to give it its last rites on site and keep the ring as proof of their deeds.
The fight was way more easy than I wanted to. The main reason being that this is the first time I ever used solo / elite monsters. Aararlo actually had 2 action points to use and he used none! He could’ve done some serious damage and at least threaten the group. Raising him at a more climactic moment would have been great as well.
Nevertheless, I had handled this well. The fight lasted about one hour of game time. While I had no other combat encounter prepared, I had a pretty cool role playing scene that would tie in mostly everything and should send the heroes packing towards the Oracle of Spellgard.
Next post will tackle part one of the more role-playing-oriented part of this session.