City Campaign

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Re: City Campaign

Post by Runeweaver » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:47 pm

Love the commentary, with meaningful death as well. Keeps things edgy. Love it.

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Re: City Campaign

Post by bernyleung » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:21 pm

Maybe you could turn this into a book? Or a series of them?

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Re: City Campaign

Post by Vegomatic » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:25 pm

I don't often comment on these posts, but I gotta say Thank you!

It is an excellent read. Wish I had your imagination and story telling ability... I have to rely on things written by others when I am the game master. Perhaps I can learn a few things... and steal a few things... ;-)

I hope others follow suit and share their stories and adventures.

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Re: City Campaign

Post by AnimeSensei » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:21 pm

When we last ended, the party was suddenly attacked by a strange tentacled beast in the bowels of an ancient temple. Sorry for the picture quality.

Maka recognized the creature in front of everyone as one from his youth; akin to the Boogeyman, beings calls Possessors are mutli-tentacled horrors that feast upon the brains of humanoids. Though he couldn't believe one of his nightmares from his youth was standing before him, there it was. He informed the group of what he thought it was and they all agreed it seemed an apt description. They thought maybe it was an illusion but then it flew from its perch on the dais in the center of the room and attempted to grasp Ashe in its tentacled mouth, but she was small enough it only got a glancing bite. It then moved on to Weir and succeeded in fully grabbing his head, but not before the rest of the party was able to shoot it full of enough arrows that it staggered in the air and came crashing down against the wall, leaving Weir bloody and chewed close to where he was grappled. The party investigated the creature, and it was definitely not an illusion, but a thing of nightmares. Margit found a secret hatch leading down in the center of the dais, but upon discussion by the party they decided that Lam (who was not doing well in the room outside, still tied up by the party) if he has the same condition as Tristival, only has a few days left before he succumbs to whatever he has contracted. They help him get to his feet and decide to take him back to town. They take excretions from the cave fisher they fought earlier and Ashe creates a type of sovereign glue to keep the door to the chamber shut, just in case anyone or anything is lurking down below the dais. Lam gets more and more lethargic as they go and is subject to personality changes/bursts of anger. Occasionally when speaking a random word of unknown origin comes out of his mouth and he has no idea that his words don't make sense. It takes 2 days to get back to the city due to Lam's pace being slow. After the first day his skin becomes even more translucent and slimy; during day two he starts to show elongated fingers and strange protrusions coming out from around his mouth, about 2 inches long.

As the party returns to town, they send Dante and Almaris off to find a healer. They locate an awakened cleric of Sarenrae, a female dwarf named Hilda. She ushers them into a temple filled with beggars, lepers, and other untouchables. She places Lam on a table, straps him down (he is getting more erratic) and begins her inspection. She asks what bit him, to which the party gives to whole story of the creature. Hilda is highly concerned about the bites on Ashe and Weir's heads but upon closer examination between them and Lam, she feels the bleeding ear of Lam's may be an entry point to something that is causing his issues, and neither Weir or Ashe have the same ear wound as Lam. She decides that something has likely been implanted or burrowed into the ear and states she will have to perform surgery. Margit and Maka are the only that choose to stay in the room (Maka pretends to be a relative to ensure nothing fishy is going to happen if they all leave). Hilda pulls out a wand, casts a few spells of healing (and puts Lam to sleep), and gets to work probing the ear. She finds something odd inside and attempts to magically pull it out, but it is lodged firmly. Each time she pulls, more and more blood comes pulsing out of the ear until she finally dislodges the object and begins to pull it out. Margit and Maka watch in horror as a small squid/tadpole-like creature with hooked tentacles is withdrawn from the ear along with a large amount of blood and pieces of brain still attached. Unfortunately this is too much for Lam's body to handle and despite her best efforts to save him, Lam passes away on the table from the trauma (natural 1 on the roll to see how well he fares). The small creature is placed in the chamber pot in the room and slowly starts to slow its movements as it starts to die. Hilda informs the rest of the party of Lam's passing and asks for information on next of kin. The party really doesn't have a good answer but says they will be in touch. Hilda states she will look at the creature over the course of the evening and see if she can identify it.

The party decides to break for the evening and meet back up at the temple in the morning. Maka is conned into a date with Vilna (the noble he has a relationship with that the party saved earlier), where she informs him that he has been shirking his duties and she wants him to step up more. She is tired of having to head events that both of their houses sponsor on her lonesome and needs him to be more involved. He says he'll do his best. She makes him promise to be around in 2 days for the next event they need to both be at. Margit goes back to work for the evening at the tea shop she works at; her boss is none too pleased with her absence as many customers come just for her. He states that his other server isn't nearly as in demand and states he would like her to do her job better to keep the business steady. Margit and he have an understanding, as he knows her secret of who she really is/was, and come to an agreement that Margit may be out more lately due to some of the recent events. Ashe goes back to her lab and finds the door broken open and the place in disarray. Someone has broken in and gone through all of her possessions, some things have been stolen. Upon speaking with her landlord, there have been several people suddenly interested in her: Peacekeepers, constables, and random people he doesn't know. He states that if it weren't for her always being a good tenant she'd be out of a place to stay. She states she'll somehow get the money to cover the damages and pay him back ASAP to which he agrees to. She also finds several messages in the room, many threatening or telling her to turn herself in for the murders of the people in the building she smashed up, along with others seemingly more understanding and wanting to meet up with her. She goes back to Maka and asks again if she can stay with him, to which he replies she can stay with the servants for a few more days, but he is none too pleased to have to keep giving her room and board. Weir goes back to the Dead Rabbits and decides to scratch an itch by way of leading a raid upon a Peacekeeper barracks in the Churl. They manage to lure several Peacekeeprs out and pelt them with rocks and cause a general commotion, showing that Weir is still around and still leading the Dead Rabbits. While doing so, some of the kids in the group ask him what's up with Ashe. Apparently the scuttlebutt among the mundanes is that she burned a building down and by doing so killed everyone inside. On the flip side, the guilds are all talking about her as well; the Sapient Consensus wants her tried but wants to interview her as well. The Delvers want her put on trial. The Defenders of the Mother, the White Conference, and the Brewers all seem to want to know more about what happened in that house; the guilds know the truth of how the people died and know the whole "it burned down" story to be a ruse to keep the mundanes out of the know.

In the morning, the group meets up outside the temple and Weir proceeds to inform Ashe that the guilds are all looking for her. She tells everyone that her place was broken in to and robbed while they were gone and she doesn't know who did it but has lots of notes left by different people. Maka recognizes one of the nicer notes left from one of the White Conference's recruiters, Lundergast Cumberbatch. The party thinks maybe some of the guilds are looking at recruitment for Ashe?

The party buys some universal solvent and goes back down to the temple. The door is still firmly glued in place; they unstick it and proceed into the chamber again. The top of the dais is now open; someone apparently attempted to leave. They cautiously approach the hole at the top and look down; there is a ladder dropping down into a blood red room below with nicely carved flagstones. They drop a torch down for better light. They make some noise to try to lure anything to the hole but nothing appears. The proceed down and hear the cadenced mutterings of someone with a female voice coming from the right and the sounds of something crunching what sounds to be bones coming from a door on the left. They sneak closer and in the room to the right they see a figure standing before and altar, apparently in the throws of some ritual. Beyond her, circled in salt, is a goat-headed demon. She turns as they enter the room and states she thought they'd be back. It appears to be Ventia, the second-in-command of the Delvers and the one that Kressle said had tried to set them up. The party doesn't get much time to say anything as she launches a throwing axe at them but completely misses (Natural 1). The party advances, weapons drawn. Ventia breaks the summoning circle and attempts to maneuver past the party as the demon (Schir Demon) attacks. The party actually manages to take Ventia down along with the demon, though the fight is rather difficult. The demon manages to wound Weir with its halberd and the wound appears to perhaps be infected. Ventia has a masterwork longsword, a masterwork chain shirt, and a ring covered in rubies that flicker with flames when you stare inside of them. Weir recognizes it as a (minor) Ring of Energy Resistance (Fire). They tie Ventia up to a pillar and check the room with the bone crunching. A quick examination of the door shows a metal bar holding it locked; there is no way to unlock the door from the other side; whatever is in there is stuck unless the party unlocks the door.
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They carefully open the door and they see a garbled monstrosity chewing on what appears to be the remains of a humanoid carcass; it looks an awful lot like what used to be Tristival. There is a torn up bag in the corner that the party assumes was used to carry his body down here. Almaris and Dante recognize the creature as a Corpsefeeder; the name gives the party enough info for what it is/does. It drops it's current meal and starts to approach. The party decides to engage and starts to enter the room when the creature stops for a second to disgorge its putrid stomach contents over everyone. Margit takes a pretty nasty hit. The party is able to fell the horror, but after the battle Margit doesn't feel the best. There appears to have been two cells in the floor; one has been forced open and is empty; the other is still closed and contains the shriveled corpse of another Corpsefeeder.
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There is a door in the wall at the end of the room. Margit inspects it and it is extremely hot to the touch. Weir puts on the ring to protect him from the heat and opens the door to look inside. Beyond is a magma cavern, with heat shimmering in the air. Up on a ledge is a creature that appears to be made of fire and magma. Weir closes the door and tells the party not to advance. The cavern appears to be too hot to enter safely and he didn't see anything that would tempt him to enter. (This was supposed to be the boss room; Ventia was supposed to escape the fight and run here but the PCs beat an encounter a good 4 CR above the party level. :shock: ) They turn back to get Ventia and head out.
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They make sure Ventia is tied up well and head up to the room with the dais to make camp. After a long rest, Ventia slowly wakes up. The party doesn't allow her to regain her bearings before they start the interrogation. She seems rather calm and actually quite coherant. She states that she crafted the list that they were all on, and was doing so at the behest of "The Masters." The Masters apparently live deep underground and give her visions and speak to her in her mind. She found this temple long ago and willingly chose to do the bidding of these Masters in return for power. They helped her rise through the ranks of the Delvers very quickly and fulfilled their end of the bargain. She now does their bidding. She states that the Masters see special talent in each person in the party and only want them to join their throng. Ventia states how lucky they are to have been chosen. They find this incredulous, to which Ventia states that the Masters even saw potential in Ashe, who had no magical ability until recently. The Masters saw her potential before anyone (including herself) saw it. The party asks about the implant in Tristival and Lam and Ventia states that the Masters give her "seeds" that she uses to help with a conversion to be one with the Masters. After the conversion is complete, the people whom have been chosen know where to go and how to get there as they head out to visit where the Masters reside. The party asks if Ventia has had this happen to her, to which Ventia sadly says no, she is not chosen like the party, though she wishes the Masters would allow her the honor. She states that she has no fear of death if they kill her, the Masters have promised rewards both in this life and the next, and she has no reason to doubt them. The party takes all of this in and thinks what their next course of action should be. The current vein of thought is to bring her to the Sapient Consensus, as they are extremely close to Killiam, and this could be a security issue for the city if people really are being body snatched.
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To be continued!
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AnimeSensei
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Re: City Campaign

Post by AnimeSensei » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:58 am

William wrote:
Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:03 am
Thanks, you/this adventure Rocks TFW.
...................................Calling on an old reference if out there.
I get it and I thank you Shad.. err, William.
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Re: City Campaign

Post by William » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:03 am

I hope they keep their Minds and Flay (er kill) that thing next session.
Man, I wish I were still up for long nights of gaming. :mrgreen:
Thanks, you/this adventure Rocks TFW.
...................................Calling on an old reference if out there.
AnimeSensei wrote:
Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:58 am
I get it and I thank you Shad.. err, William.
EDIT - O.K. But you could have made me/us wait "Until Next Time Folks". no biggie. ;)
Last edited by William on Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: City Campaign

Post by AnimeSensei » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:54 am

Well it won't be cthulhu, it's just close enough of a mini to what I need and is creepy and dangerous looking enough the PCs will take it fully seriously and be afraid of the thing. The party is only level 3; cthulhu would be bad. :p More to come in 2 weeks.
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Re: City Campaign

Post by Runeweaver » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:47 pm

It is indeed a fun read. Thanks.

Can hardly wait for the Cthulhu fight!

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Re: City Campaign

Post by GriffinTamer » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:49 pm

Hey Zach,

Thanks for posting this story and taking the time to include so much detail! It's a fun read, and also good food for thought re designing city adventures. It brings out some of the pitfalls and advantages of the city as a campaign setting. Seems like you're doing a great job of making use of the advantages, such as using the characters' contacts and local knowledge to help move the story along and provide interesting twists.

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Re: City Campaign

Post by AnimeSensei » Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:59 pm

The game picks up a few days after the party rescued the hostages. They are fully healed. Ashe has spent the last few days tinkering and figuring out more about what happened to her. Weir spends some time with Marguerite (his girlfriend) and her family. Margit spends time at her job at a tea shop. Maka broods at home. Almaris and Dante go back to their business and catch up on duties they've neglected. During the past few days, the party has talked to each other and everyone knows any info the characters may have missed out on due to real life players not being able to make it to the sessions.

Ashe heads out of the house to go to the market when people start staring at her. This is not entirely odd; she is a blue skinned gnome, so sometimes people look, but it's not entirely unusual in a city as large as this. People start pointing and then some guards approach. She decides it's best not to run and asks if she can help them. They ask her if she was anywhere near a certain house a few nights ago (the one where the girls were held). She keeps a cool head and successfully talks her way out of the situation and accuses the guards of assuming all blue-skinned gnomes look alike and how terrible that sounds. They ask if any of her family perhaps could have been there as they are looking for a blue-skinned gnome who was in the area. She says her family wouldn't be involved with anything and they eventually decide there is no info to be gleaned here and move on. Ashe decides it might be best to go into hiding and goes to Maka's estate in the Sharp to hide out. He lets her in grudgingly.

Dante and Almaris conclude that it's been a while since they heard from their friend Lam Vincenti in the Delvers. The last they saw of him, he and his boss Ventia came and took the body of Tristival (the guy the PCs fought in the sewers who had some weird transformation happening to him). That was almost a week ago and Lam said it would only be a few days. They go to the Delvers to find him but no one has seen him or Ventia for days. There is no sign of Tristival's body. They go to Lam's home and it's dark and cold. No one appears to have been around for a while. They turn to leave and almost trip over a small woman standing beside them. It appears to be Kressle, (the shopkeeper who was killed by something magical before the Tristival incident) and she is no longer dead; a large stocky man is behind her and appears to be her guard or protector. This is highly odd as she was a mundane and typically they don't come back to life after they are violently killed. She states that if they are looking for Lam, she knows where he went to and can offer info for a price. Almaris and Dante aren't sure this feels right; Kressle is supposed to be dead (but looks very much alive) and she wasn't the most pleasant to work with before (but that could be because they kind of broke into her store the last time they spoke with her). Kressle informs them that Lam may be going to his death, and while she'd like to help him, she doesn't want to stick her neck out too far, so they can take or leave the offer. Almaris asks what the payment is and Kressle says all she asks for is a favor to be performed in the future. Almaris accepts. Kressle gladly hands them a map of the undercity and tunnels, stating that one of her contacts in the Delvers heard Ventia and Lam discussing going to the "Pool of Grafag" in a dangerous, less traveled, and avoided area underground. Both Almaris and Dante, while they are veteran explorers, have never been there but have heard stories of people disappearing in the area, and also some odd people that do appear to go there from time to time, but this is all conjecture and hearsay. Rumors, even. Kressle states that she fears that Lam is being led to a place he may perish and says that's all the info she has on the subject. She also states that she heard Ventia hired the thugs to kidnap the 3 girls to either get the PCs arrested or killed, but she doesn't know why. As she turns to leave, she says that Ventia owes her for a resurrection spell as well; the party assumes that is referring to Kressle being brought back from the dead. She leaves with her burly companion/guard.

Dante and Almaris decide it's best to meet up with the group and discuss these developments. They call a group meeting to go see if they can find Lam, Ventia, and Tristival's body. The party disguises Ashe after she states it appears she is wanted by the authorities. They all head down to the Deep Gates as they feel that the guards there might have some info with their logs of who goes in/out of the area. The guards do note that Ventia and Lam went through the gates about 4 days ago but they haven't come back. They were carrying a large parcel that the PCs believe could have been large enough to hold a body. The guards say they assumed it was for a campsite or other supplies. The PCs decide to follow the map Kressle gave them and head down to the Pool of Grafag.

They make it to the pool without incident; the area is dark and heavily unexplored. Once they get to what appears to be the pool, Dante does notice boot prints going up some rocks leading to natural bridges that cross portions of the lake. The tracks appear to go towards an opening about 10' up on a wall that is accessible by way of these natural bridges. Some of the party notice the water moves from time to time like something may be in the water. The party decides to cross the lake by way of the bridges but stays pretty close together.
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They start making checks to go across the bridges and jump from ledge to ledge when Ashe suddenly slips and falls towards the water. Tentacles immediately break free of the water and snatch her out of the air and the party watches as she helplessly is squeezed by some monster from the deep. Dante's animal companion panther Toron jumps in the water and starts tearing at the beast while the rest of the party pelts it with arrows. After a short wile they kill the monster and it releases Ashe who swims to shore, but is badly hurt. After some healing, she is up and ready to go.
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The party advances through the opening and comes across a split in the tunnel. They see something glittering down a hallway and Margit decides to go sneak and investigate. The hallway is strangely free of debris. She jumps over a deep puddle in the ground and continues onward as the rest of the party watches something huge and clear rise from the puddle to start to follow her. A gelatinous cube! The party quickly dispatches the creature and find some gold and a strange stick covered in what appears to be a glitter-like substance. The party looks it over and discovers it is actually a magical wand (Wand of Glitterdust) that Ashe quickly latches onto. They continue down the other hallway and come to a room that appears to have had something work the stone at some point. The floors are mostly smooth and there is a statue of a woman holding a sword standing in front of a tunnel on the other side. The party approaches and the statue moves and blocks the way with her sword. She says nothing and the party cannot get a response from the statue except if they move closer the statue becomes more threatening. Margit decides to sneak past and is nimble enough to successfully get behind the statue and investigates the next tunnel. About 20' behind the statue is a closed stone door. She whispers back to the group "there's a door!" and the statue immediately turns around and attacks her. The party quickly realizes this is a Caryatid Column and when arrows and Weir's sap hit the creature the weapons seem to take heavy damage and even break. They do take the creature out and is cracks into large crumbling stones, but Weir's sap is destroyed along with many of the arrows.
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Margit is able to open the stone door and they enter what appears to be a structure that was made long ago. There are flames, tentacles, and eyes adorning the walls. They continue onward and Margit notices that some of the doors open upwards by way of mechanisms. She successfully jams the doors in the up position and they continue onward until they find a room with 3 doors wreathed in carved flames, each that appear to move up and down, and a strange lever in the middle of the room. Margit notices that he lever opens the doors but she can't ascertain which will open. She does not notice any traps. They party decides to tie a rope to the lever and stand WAY back and pull it. As soon as they pull it, a voice echos "10....9....8....7...." the ceiling shakes, the doors Margit jammed start making grinding noises, and the rooms feels like it may collapse at any moment. They stop pulling the rope on 4. Weir pulls it again and it starts the countdown again. They tie another rope to the existing rope and move back farther and pull. They allow it to count down to 0 and they hear some mechanism moving. They go into the room cautiously and find that the left door has opened. They try again and the left door closes and the right door opens. They try again and the right door closes. They assume this would mean that the door Margit jammed would have opened as they hear the gears moving up ahead but by now the mechanism is so damaged that they only hear a soft grind when it attempts to activate. They notice a panel in the wall directly ahead that needs something to be presented in order to activate. They figure out this should open the door. Nothing they try activates the panel. They pull another time and the door to the left opens. They decide to follow the hallway behind the door.

They end up in a room with a strange pyramid inside. It is covered in runes. On the wall is a strange panel that has boxes in it and some sort of magical lights on the side. Margit searches it for traps and discovers it is a mechanism where something can be traced on the wall boxes and if done correctly, it appears the pyramid will open. The PCs deduce that if they put the symbols from the pyramid in the boxes in the right order, it will solve the puzzle. (Look up the game Mastermind if you want to play the game at home.) Dante is able to translate the runes on the pyramid and they are Power, Dominance, Secrecy, and Control. They solve the puzzle order in 9 guesses. The pyramid opens, producing a pair of magical gloves and a small note. The gloves have kind of a sticky grip and the party figures out they are a pair of gloves of arrow snaring. The note reads "The farmer always brands his stock so as to claim them as his own. However, he does not consume his prized stock, only the unneeded. Prove your worth." There are no other clues in this area.
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They go pull the lever again to open the right door; a wave of heat hits them as they proceed down the tunnel. Margit sees a door at the end of the tunnel and goes to investigate; before she can get there she activates a burning hands trap that she narrowly avoids. She unlocks the door and is greeted by a very hot room with statues dripping lava into holes in the floor and a stairway leading down. She notices a part of the floor that is extremely hot and pushes on it safely to reveal magma underneath. The party decides to go down the stairs and all avoids the dangerous area on the floor. They enter a very hot room dripping with lava and notice a large fire elemental hiding behind what appears to be a small volcano. Ashe uses her wand to bling the creature who cannot make it to anyone to cause any harm before they dispatch it. They notice on the side of the volcano where the elemental was, a stalagmite glowing red hot covered on the top with runes. They deduce this is the brand the note was mentioning and all decide none of them want to brand themselves. They go get some of the tentacles from the lake monster and brand them instead to see if that works.
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The brand does activate the panel on the door and it opens. It reveals a room with Lam sitting in a corner holding his head. Some of them also see a treasure pile in the room, but some don't (due to a will save). Dante calls out to him and Lam tells him to leave. He says that he and Ventia came here and something attacked them in the next room. He doesn't remember much but he has been essentially losing himself since then and doesn't know if he can stay in control of himself much longer. He advises they tie him up, which they do. Dante takes this time to investigate Lam's body and notices some rather large bite marks on his head, dried blood all over Lam's head, neck, and upper torso, and that Lam's ear has been recently bleeding profusely. He hasn't seen Ventia since he was attacked and passed out.

The party opens the next door and the room is empty of any occupants. There is a large dais, some braziers that are unlit, and a pulpit, but nothing else in the room. They all enter to search the area and the door suddenly closes. A scream tears through each of their minds and suddenly the realize they are not alone in this room and likely never were. A massive creature covered with tentacles is suddenly apparent on the dais in front of them and it attacks.
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And we ran out of time. We'll do the battle next session. :)
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