Sunday, August 1, 2010

Exploring the Elven Temple at the Gold Star Anime

Another month has passed. Once again I strode into the wilds of Edinboro to arrive at the Gold Star Anime and escort a party of brave adventurers into the Majestic Wilderlands.

When we last left off the party has reached the ruins of an old Elven Temple and were beginning to explore. Unfortunately two of the players, Tim who played the Elven Mountebank, and Little Jerry who played Hunter the doughty halfling fighter couldn't make it this. But this night game brought in three new players, Ted and his two sons Tate and Bob. And unbelievably this is the night where I forgot to bring my new game player packet of sheets, and references.

But I did have two copies of Swords & Wizardry and the Majestic Wilderlands. As usual making character proved to be a snap with only delay coming with the buying of equipment. I think I need to make up some standard packs to buy to help speed up that part.

Ted made Gordo a 4th level Human Fighter normally wielding a broadsword and shield but with a Great Axe and Longbow to use when the situation calls for it. Tate made Typhon a Gnome 3rd level Mage of the Order of Thoth. Finally Bob made Leon Shadow Walker a Human Claw of Kalis. Apparently he likes playing assassin type. I was little leary of this but I decided to roll with it and see how it played out. Bob is a younger player and somewhat over enthusiastic being an assassin. I refereed players like this in the past I found they get the most enjoyment if they had a mission. In his case, the goddess Kalis commanded his chief to assign him to stop the Elven Temple from being renewed. This goal would likely him into conflict with Janus however not all what it seems.

Josh returned with Hazzar a Human Thug and Big Jerry with Janus a female Elven Cleric of Silvanus.

Ted, Bob and Tate were all pretty new to Swords & Wizardry and older editions of D&D. Along with the fact the session was starting in the midst an existing adventure I railroaded their introduction a bit. Instead of running a separate sample combat I made it part of the intro. They were a party of treasure seeker one of many such groups adventuring into the Dearthwood. They were beset by Orcs and running for their lives when they stumbled over the Elven Temple along with Hazzar and Janus.

The combat went well, it was a straightup fighter with nearly two dozen orcs including a 4 HD leader type. The best part of the combat is when Typhon the mage let loose with a sleep spell when two orcs came gunning for him. He didn't realize that it would work on every enemy within line of sight and he gutted the orc raiding party. Also Typhon decided he had to have a orc henchmen and with Leon's help cowed one into his service through intimidation.

After the fight the parties met and introductions were made. To say that Leon Shadow Walker and Janus did not hit off was an understatement. The bickering got bad and Hazzar just simply walked off and dragged Janus along with him to one of the buildings. They explored it and found it was a old meditation chamber.

Meanwhile Leon Shadow Walker, Gordo, and Typhon were checking the next building over. They became wary when the smell of a delicious feast was smelled outside of the door.

Back at the Meditation Chamber Janus decides to cast Detect Evil. This caused all hell to break loose. See Detect Evil isn't a focused spells. It detect ALL Evil within a 120 foot radius. And it happened to cover the door that Leon Shadow Walker was standing. Needless to say Janus ow knew that Leon had ill-intentions toward the Temple. As for the meditation chamber. it was infested with over 13 giant centipedes. A timely sleep spell* by Janus dispatched 8 and the other 5 were quickly slain by the two with Crossbows and daggers.

*At 6th level Clerics of Silvanus learn a limited selection of Magic User Spells.

The Goddess Kalis is the only god that doesn't have a religion. Either she appears as a figure of evil in various mythologies or the focus of small cults like the Claws of Kalis. Because of this she often has a more closer relationship with her worshipers then what is typical. Hence the reason why she warned Leon that he has been discovered.

What happened took me off-guard. Leon start running for the edge of the wood and start yelling "You all going to Die!". Now I figured that the "Leave!" part got dropped in the roleplaying somewhere. Gordo and Typhon followed him deciding that discretion was the better part of valor. I think that I was too vague in the warning and Bob thought something in the ruins was talking to him.

Hazzar look confused and Janus just about had it. Janus went to the Meditation Hall entrance and stated that if that how it is he will smite down if he showed his face. Hazzar and Janus went over to the Temple Entrance and started shooting the giant rats scurrying along the steps.

Leon was ready to leave and convincing Gordo and Typhon to come. I reminded Gordo that he needed silver to get better gear and Typhon that elven lore is a powerful aid to magic. Then it dawned on me was Leon was thinking so Kalis spoke again reminding him that if he left his mission would not be completed. And the last part was heavy in the implied threat to his well being. Kalis is NOT a merciful goddess.

So they returned to the temple to help with the last of the giant rats were being. During the conversation Leon's miscommunication was explained and the party prepared to adventuring into the temple. Hazzar went to the edge of the steps to examine a pile of debris when two MONSTROUS rats jumped him. Being 3HD creatures with 3 attacks (claw/claw/bite) they tore into Hazzar dealing some serious danger. After two rounds they were killed and the party was rewarded with over 2 thousand silver that the two rats put into the nest.

When they entered the temple they could see it's majesty despite it's ruined glory. There was six statues on sides. The six on the left were of elven warriors and the six on the right were of elven scholars. While the party went to examine them, Leon went up to the remains of the altar. He knelt to secretly pray to Kalis for guidance went a swarm of giant centipedes poured out and engulfed him. He proved resistant to their poison and in the second round a sleep spell caused them to drop away onto the floor. The party resumed looking at the statues.

At the bottom of each statues there were inscriptions.
“He could bear the load of a dozen.”
“He outfought his enemies by his wits”
“If you saw his blade, it was too late.”
“Virtue is healing.”
“A good offense is better than a good defense”
“A good defense helps when a good offense fails”

They found that by meditating in front both they and the statue would glow and they would received a boon. The warriors granted ability increases of 1d6, the scholars various benifits like Darkvision, healing for the party, Haste, Shields, etc. The boons last for 24 hours and only granted once for one person. The party had a lot of fun figuring this out.

There was a single door exiting the main Temple chamber. When carefully scouting it Hazzar heard the voices of several individuals carrying a large chest. The party prepared and rushed into the back room. There two evil curates in vestments of demon worshipers were carrying a chest. One casted a evil prayer causing the party to suffer a -1 penalty.

The other stepped forward and cause light wounds on the Gnome Mage. This caused Typhon to flee the fight, he spent the next two rounds finding a sword for his orc henchman and to his credit he rushed back once he found it.

During the fight one of the cleric dashed into a side room where he rousing a group of drunken orcs. It took several rounds to do so. His compatriots had the upper hand for a short while but the combined effort of the party caused his downfall. When the orc finally roused the last cleric was shot in the back and dropped like a stone (The player rolled a critical hit).

Quick on his foot Hazzar ordered everybody out and has the Orc rushed into the backroom Hazzar tossed oil flasks. Out of the 12 orcs, 3 died and the rest severely burned. The party then setup at the door and hacked down a orc as it came out. I believe the plan was to hack every orc this way but Gordo roared and with his broadsword rushed into the fray. He gained Haste for 24 hours meditating in front of one of the statues and slaughtered the remaining orcs.

With victory won they went back into the room. They found various demonic implements in the chest along with a broadsword and several hundred gold pennies. (worth 20 silver each). The mage and cleric determined that the implements where for desecrating the temple. Possibly turning it into the service of the demons.

Leon upon seeing the Sword grabbed at which point burned him forcing him to drop it. Janus stepped forward and picked it up*. It's glow brightened the room and it sang acknowledging Janus as its rightful wielder. It was a +1 broadsword of Silvanus. Apparently the cultists were going to use it as part of the ritual.

*Cleric of Silvanus are my version of Rangers and can use any weapons.

Also in the room the party saw stairs going down into darkness.

And that where it ended. At least until next month at the Gold Star Anime.

Some comments. I don't like railroading but I will do in special circumstance like a one a month game with varying players. Once the players got together I pretty much try let things goes naturally. The only time I stepped outside of being a referee was to remind Ted and Tate that their character had motivations as Bob was clearly the leader of that trio.

The interaction with Kalis are a consequence of playing a Claw of Kalis and I think Bob got into it has he was trying to use the connection at different times. I felt kinda bad for inflicting the centipede swarm on his prayer moment but that how it was written. He walked up, didn't check and bam! Dungeon crawling is not for the unwary.

But I have to say that everybody did well even with the in-game difficulties and the adventures ended on a high note especially when Bob and Tate cheered on their dad when he slaughtered all those orcs.

A final comment was the dungeon I was using is of my own creation and is an experiment. I will go into more details in the next post.

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