NPC massacre: Telengard session report 12

This week the Snowocaust trapped Ross, which meant he also could not provide a ride to Adam. With Bob off for the month to look after his wife while she recuperates from a procedure, that left us with Tom, Richard, & John playing. I was getting pretty worried earlier when Tom suggested canceling due to the weather, since we skipped last week too and I think that that the whole thing can easily lose momentum if we go more than a couple of weeks between games.  Maybe I should do more to encourage the players to write up the summaries of the sessions, or otherwise be engaged with the campaign outside of game night.

Since level three of Telengard nearly led to a TPK last time, I suggested they look into the rest of level 2. Grettir the living statue was still very keen to have his humanity restored, and believed that drinking the gorgon’s blood would restore him to flesh. Unfortunately he’d been badly damaged by the Umber Hulk last session and healing spells did nothing to repair him. Grumble the dwarf, always one to calculate risks, thought they’d better have a plan, and the party tried to decide if it was ok to look at a gorgon through a mirror, “Perseus style,” or if they’d need to blindfold themselves, avert their eyes, or what. The player’s uncertainty was heightened by the fact that they knew the rules may not be the same from edition to edition, and having DMed more recent editions made them unsure if the rules about this had changed from one edition to the next. I took this opportunity to check the 1e Monster Manual versus the B/X rules and in fact the B/X write seems more clear to me, but at least between those versions the rules are very similar. Even so, they also know I’ve been mucking around with the monsters and very few of them are “as written” in the books so even this is little help. So, off to the sage! As I often do, I found myself checking the 1e DMG for sage rules, since I know more or less where to look for the rules there. The sage offered to research the answer for 1200 GP, and the party negotiated down to 1000 GP but even this price was too steep when, as Swinlow pointed out, they could just hire a hireling and use him as a guinea pig. The Lawful fighter and dwarf would have none of this, though, and so instead they decided to just hire some extra muscle. After being reminded about the bulletin board posts I’d handed out a few weeks ago, they decided to check out the “Savage Swords of Delos,” who had posted a notice that they were monster slayers and looking for work. It turned out that they were just a pair of mercenaries, but they eagerly agreed to help the party slay the gorgon, even after Grettir clarified that a gorgon was “just like a medusa.” (I’d been using the “gorgon” for “medusa” even though technically there is another monster by that name in the Monster Manual. I’ll call them something else if one appears later on.) Next they considered anti-medusa tactics and decided to outfit everyone’s shield with a mirror in the inside. They also discussed having goggles or visors made with a series of mirrors to look through, periscope style, and thus avoid direct eye contact. I can’t remember the last time “technology beyond the setting’s standards” came up but this created a lively discussion. In the end I ruled that while mirrors are understood in Telengard, coming up with a relayed series of mirrors to allow one to see only reflected images would require a “Tinkering” roll. All three PCs failed this so they could not work it out. (In hindsight I probably should have just made the resulting device give a penalty to hit and AC equal to the suggested penalty in B/X for fighting a medusa with averted eyes…) With that the party re-entered the dungeon and took path to the left, where the dark elves had come from and which now was marked by a bloody trail. The first room they found held four “small” giant spiders, and on the first round one fatally bit the dwarf Grumble. Actually he was just “mostly dead,” as I allow a roll on the Death & Dismemberment table when a save or die roll is failed, and Grumble was merely comatose. A bit later in the fight, one of the mercenaries died too.  Back to the surface, the party paid to Neutralize the poison (1000 GP!) and at the temple, the Bishop asked pointedly how the quest to find the source of the larva was going. Mac’s vision of the way to Valhalla being blocked by a web, and the presence of the spiders, made the Bishop suggest they were on the “right track.” (It killed me to nudge the party along a particular path but I really wanted them get closer to a particular sublevel of the dungeon, as I want to playtest it before making it public more widely and I’m actually kind of excited about it).

So, they persisted in their exploration of the “drow” area, and although the remaining Savage Sword of Delos, Jack the torchbearer, and Grettir the living statue perished in the fights, the party killed two larger spiders and then two driders and a drow cleric.  The Savage Sword provided a brief bit of levity when he cried “Die, gorgon!” as he charged the drider (they had no idea what they were in for).  On the cleric’s foul altar, the party found a portal that leads to an outdoor area, apparently on the side of a mountain, with a cave carved to look like a demonic face. They wisely decided not to explore it immediately, and I hope that with a fuller table next week they’ll get into the “special” sublevel.  The party brought Jack, their trusty torchbearer, to the surface in order to fulfill their promise that they would return his remains to his kin should he die in their employ, and also carried out the dead mercenary, but left the crumbled remains of the statue where it lay.  In fact they did not suffer so much as scratch in the second expedition, although all of their NPC helpers were killed off.

Next week, will they still search for the gorgon known to lurk on level two, or will they pass through the portal on the drow altar?  Or will they decide to do something else entirely?  Maybe give level three another try?  Should be interesting.

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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