Hot time in the old town tonight! Or last night. Or Tuesday night. The return of my #TorDnD dungeon, Day of the Comet mini-game I'm running in the middle of Tim's campaign. Gives me a chance to take the 5e ruleset for a spin, gives Tim a chance to play, it's been pretty successful, though I thought I could do it in two sessions, rather than three. Three it is, though: next session ought to be the last, according to my pacing. I probably could have had one less beer & kept things moving a little more quickly but then, that's why they call it a beer & pizza game, right? The social aspect is a big part of the gun, anyhow. I just don't want to step on Tim's toes by dragging on & on, & as you know from my Oubliette campaign, pacing is something I struggle to nail down. I tried to keep things moving first game & was pretty pleased with how I handled it but this session I backslid! Still a ton of fun, just doing a post-mortem. (Map by Jonathan Roberts, miniature photos by Liz.)
This session was a lot of fun; we left them at a crossroads, a hub with several passages going off of it. They had burned the spider-webbing closing up one passage; I would have given them smoke inhalation damage but I'd already established the ventilation in the "dungeon" because I zoned out the carcinogenic fog's path to know what zones had obscured vision. They took that path first, heading up to encounter...the mother & sister that the pale human woman Marjan had told them to expect. Went & Alia, with Went's pet, a Chuul named Pan. The two strange women get the drop on the monk & the thief, but plenty of Charisma checks go around the table & they talk. In the room is a metal column, melted & chipped free of the ice, with all kinds of levers & dials & knobs & greebles & whosits & whatsits, that periodically rearrange themselves-- ticker-ticker-ticker-- like a Rubik's Cube. Carl's cleric Domen plays with it, unleashing a lightning blast that destroys one of Went & Alia's igloos. Only after making some random rolls first though! There are suspicions all around, of course; Went offers them a shield with a blinking, peering eye on the front, if they bring her the Horn of Zargon or piece of a broken rod...
After a short rest & a Constitution saving check ("no, no reason at all!") they are off, & back down to the collapsed tunnel they discovered on the way in. The party descends on Tim's bard Satinsheet's magic rope & wades into the fog. Thick & heavy, they push against it...only for Bridget's rogue Columbine to feel a strange magnetic force jerk the weapons out of her hands-- a force enough to send Aegwyn, Jonathon's paladin, flying to stick to one. Inside, there are furry man-apes, things with a single narwhal tusk snaggletoothing out of their mouth pouch, below their spider-eyes. With them is a rickety golem, a robotic contraption that seems to be made from a disassembled pillar much like the one they found near Went & Alia, with some kind of glass tank with a crystalized brain in it on top? The room is star shaped, in three dimensions, & there are portals to the Ethereal Plane opening & closing & teleporting at each of the corners. In the middle are five pillars, like larger versions of the pillars with lights in Marjan's camp, & they exert a strong magnetic force as you get close to them.
They fight & it is pretty brutal; the two furry alien beings use weapons made from the bones & horns of other ape-monsters the PCs have seen. Spells seem to bounce off the golem, but they bring it down & kill the two creatures. They carry a bisected blue sphere, visually similar to the driftglobe Scott's monk Kal-Ra found, but while it does shed a strange blacklight effect, it doesn't seem to float. They are able to disassemble enough components from the golem to get one-use items functionally identical to scrolls for colour spray & confusion. From there it is uphill-- but not back up the hole-- towards a web-choked doorway. The PCs wisely conclude that this is probably the same chamber that the room with the iron golem also led to, the slippery tunnel with the webs at the end they didn't explore. To be entirely honest, this chamber was going to have a hook for Irene's ranger, Wren, but since she was out & it was late & I'd had a couple of IPAs...well, I just skipped right ahead to violence. With a little menacing. Drider!
You know how I like driders. This one had a body more like a furry wolf-spider than a sleek weaver. It also had a pet phase spider &...a web golem!? Now then this is a fight! Driders are nice & easy to run; they get three attacks a round & can ignore webbing & gravity. Done! So I filled the whole room with webs, & different levels. Didn't take as much advantage of the terrain as I meant to, but the web golem did get to engulf someone, so I take it as a win! I was also pretty tame with the phase spider's etherealness. Having the fight earlier & more sober would have showcased some of the stuff in the room better, but I have no complaints! Just self-evaluating. It was fun, & I had the players scared-- there were death saves being made. When the battle was done, they found a book of ancient elven poetry, an IOUN stone &...thirty-seven electrum pieces I've decided I like electrum, as the ancient defunct coinage of dead kingdoms. Make non-decimal nature of it do narrative work. Better storytelling though numismatics!