Saturday, June 24, 2023

Arath Session 12: Exploring Dyson's Map

Arath gets to the bridge that crosses the water. I check the dice, and they decide that the water is a thick sulfurou slop. It is drinkable, but it’s not pleasant. There is something living in the water… yeah. It’s a demonic aboleth sort of thing that the goblins pay tribute to. They keep feeding it scratchers, and giving it pretty rocks they find, so it allows them to survive. It has charmed the leader of the goblins, and they are now worshipping it.
Arath sees a tentacle rise and drop in the water. He continues across the bridge with a little bit of hitch in his step. The dice decide that it doesn’t try to charm him or attack him right now; it is interested in him, and it watches from below the surface. Yeah. I want NO part of that right now.
Something definitely lives the southern cave (area 7). Arath attempts to sneak again, and fails with a 1. I’m going to use the luck here, because I don’t like the idea of bumbling into something that might be quite powerful. He nails the re-check, and sneaks up the stairs to see what’s in the cavern beyond.
This is a tall, narrow cave with a 60’ ceiling that is open, and sunlight shines in. The walls are lined with sleeping vampire bats. There are dozens of them here. In my imagination, Arath awakens the bats, they chase him into the goblin hall where they gorge themselves on goblins as Arath watches in hiding, then he goes around and picks up all of the treasure and pockets the XP. Then he does the same thing to the Aboleth - it is killed by a hundred vampire bat bites.
That is not going to happen. The odds would be SO high that a piece of that would fail. Like, incredibly high odds of catastrophic failure.
Let sleeping bats lie. He does.
The lower area (6) abridges the water, and Arath wants to avoid that entirely. That looks like the kind of place you stand if you want a bunch of tentacles to grab you and put you into the water. Yeah. In fact, that’s its purpose – this is a place where sacrifices were offered in the past to this aboleth.
On to area 8. I don’t know what this is… it was a complex of some kind at some point, although the odds of it still being inhabited are pretty low. Is it clearly a temple of some kind? Heck no. It was a humanoid barracks at one point, but it’s in ruins. It’s now inhabited by undead. It’s going to be a small pack of ghouls that call this place home. That’s nice. They hate the aboleth, and it hates them, so they just hang out here, occasionally going out in search of some bats or scratchers to eat. They are hungry a lot.
Arath opens the door into C. A ghoul is here, and it attacks him immediately.
Round 1. Arath wins initiative and misses. The ghoul hits with one claw for 5 and Arath fails his armor check. He’s at 21.
Round 2. Arath hits with a 12 for 8 damage. The ghoul fails its armor check, down to 4. It hits with both claws, dealing the +3 for a bite as a free action. Arath makes both armor checks, so he suffers 7 total damage; he’s at 14.
Round 3. Arath misses. The ghoul misses with both claws.
Round 4. Arath hits for 6. A failed armor check later, and the ghoul is destroyed.
It has treasure! It has 4 instances of mundane wealth (I rolled a 1), but no magic. This is kept in a small chest with a broken lock. The ghoul is aware of it, but doesn’t really care about treasure.
The first instance is 14gp in gems.
The second instance is 4 gp in silver (so 40 sp).
The third instance is 22 gp in gold coins.
The fourth instance is 10gp in copper (so 1000 cp).
All told, this treasure is worth 50 gp. That’s quite the good haul. He also earned 5 XP for killing a ghoul, so that’s nice as well.
He tries to rest, but two more ghouls break in on him while he’s trying to recover (coming from A). He fails his mind check, so gets surprised. The first ghoul hits with a natural 12 for 5 damage, but the second misses. Arath soaks half of that, so suffers 3, and is at 11 hits. This could be bad… Arath also loses initiative, so it’s all bad, actually.
Round 1. The first ghoul immediately hits with two claws and gets the free bite, dealing 3 and 3 damage, with 3 Arath cannot soak. He makes one of his armor checks, so suffers 8 hits, and is down to 3. YIKES. The second ghoul hits once for 3, and after a successful armor check Arath is at 6. On his action, Arath drinks a double draft of potion, recoving 10 hits to put him at 16, then attacks having lost his edge. He still manages to hit for 6, and is lucky that the ghoul fails to soak. It is at 6.
Round 2. The first ghoul hits twice with the free bite, while the second gets a natural 12 with one claw for 5. Arath fails all three armor checks. DAAANG. That is 14 points of damage, putting him at 2. Arath flees.
Round 3. Wow. Lots of stuff could happen here. Arath could have about 60’ on them (since he used his action to run). He is partway down the stairs by the time they emerge from the door. Problem: they have a move of 90. They will gain 30’ per round on him. He fails a mind check, but I use luck to re-roll, and get a success; he calls out loudly in goblin “help me friends!” as he runs. He is going to cross the bridge and head for the exit.
Round 4. It is likely that the goblins hear this and respond. BARELY. I rolled a 9. Dang. Okay…
By the end of the round, Arath is about to cross the bridge (still calling this out) and the ghouls are halfway down the stairs. The goblins are starting to mobilize in their cave.
Round 5. Arath crosses the bridge and is almost to the number 3 on the map. He sees a tentacle flop in the water a bit north of the bridge, but keeps booking. The ghouls are about 20’ behind him (maybe less) when the goblins emerge from the cave and start firing arrows. It is very likely that they focus on the ghouls; they know about the ghouls and fear them, and have been ready to fight them for a bit. Someone called out in help in goblin, and is running from them, so poses no real threat at the moment. The dice agree, and the goblin commander issues an order to kill the ghouls. However, it is likely that the Aboleth starts whispering in his ear… No. The aboleth is waiting.
Round 6. Arath is halfway up the tunnel in area 1. Ten goblins fire arrows; the first ghoul is hit once, and the second ghoul is hit twice (once for 4 damage). Since Arath is now on the edge of sunlight and the goblins are attacking, it is likely that the ghouls turn and attack them instead. The dice agree.
Arath keeps running until he gets to his skiff. It is now near nightfall. He climbs aboard the skiff and tries to rest. It is likely that the shadelings would avoid the skiff entirely; I presume its magic (along with the everburning torch prominently displayed) would repel them. The dice completely and totally concur (rolled a natural 1). That’s great news. Arath is able to rest for the night as dozens of shadelings howl nearby, but none actually approaches the skiff.
Well. The dice are very kind to me. When Arath returns the next morning (he brings the skiff all the way to the cave entrance this time), he enters to find a relatively quiet cave. He sneaks in with a natural 12 to find a single ghoul standing, picking apart one of the goblins and eating it. The goblins are all dead (including the leader), and the one ghoul is peppered with arrows and lays having been vanquished. The remaining ghoul has several gaping wounds, but remains standing (at 2 hits). Arath calls to it, and it charges him. He wins initiative, but he misses his first attack. The ghoul misses twice. In round 2, Arath hits it for 6, and slays it despite a successful armor check.
Arath ‘defeated’ all of these creatures, but it’s hard to argue he gets the full XP. I will award him 10 for the two ghouls, +5 for successfully getting the goblins involved.
The dice tell me there is one more encounter ahead, and it is in area D. Both the goblins and ghouls might still have treasure.\
Goblins first. I am going to rule that they have at least one instance of monetary treasure, but will roll beyond that. They have only that one instance, which is a bag filled with 600 cp.
This time when Arath crosses the bridge, the Aboleth attempts to speak to him. Uh oh. He makes his mind check with an 11 (whew) to fight off the charm. It tells him that it sees his aura, sees the mark of Ubek upon him, and wants to be his friend. It wants to help on his journey. The successful mind check tells him to scream ‘f-off scumbag’ and keep heading east. He does. My guess is that the Aboleth is going to be ready to strike the next time he crosses the bridge…
Checking area D, Arath finds the entire room is filled with a strange mold. He fails his mind check badly, and goes to investigate it; the mold of maddening releases spores into the air. Again, Arath makes his mind check (lucky guy!) and leaves the room, which was once a barracks of some kind. I’m going to say this was once a bandit hideout a long time ago, and it has since fallen into ruin. That seems reasonable. The dice agree with conviction.
Back to the main building.  The ghouls have 1 instance of level 2 mundane treasure, and no magic. Arath uses a luck point to reroll this (because he can), but still finds no magic. He only recovers a necklace worth 8 gp.
He waits a minute to reset his luck before trying the next thing… or, he could use his potion of levitation here to cross the bridge out of range of the attacks. That seems wise. This is a high level monster that will definitely try to drag him into the water, and if that happens he is almost assuredly dead. Potion it is.
For reference, tunning across the bridge, he would have been attacked by 4 tentacles that try to grab him and pull him underwater. That’s not nice. Let’s see… a successful attack with a tentacle (level 4 attack) deals 2 damage (not a big deal) but also forces a might check to break free and keep from being pulled into the water. Each additional successful attack beyond the first, impose -1 edge to the might check. In my simulation, 2 would have hit (one for 12), and Arath would have failed the might check; he would have used luck to re-roll and make it, barely getting away from the aboleth. But that didn’t happen, because he drank the levitation potion, pushed off the wall near the number 7, and landed far on the other side.
He loads up his winnings and sets sail on his skiff. In reviewing the map and my ideas for this area, I decide that area 3 is full of non-magical mushrooms of various sizes, and that the air in this entire cave is hazy, humid, and heavy with sulfur that makes a foggy mist everywhere. The water in which the aboleth resides would be strangely warm… soupy bath water sort of thing.
I update Arath’s character record… he’s earned 25 total XP and I convert all of the various wealth into ‘wealth’ and give it a total. I figure it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day the form it is in…
Arath - Pensive Fighting Man 2 (XP 127)
Armor 5; Hits 26; Move 60’; Greatsword (6); Sling (1)
Might 4 (5); Mind 2; Reflex 1
Fortitude; Luck; Two-handed (+1 edge); Warrior (+1 to hit)
Greatsword 6; Scale Mail 4+1 (Armor of the High Centurion; grants +1 edge with Gallans; no penalty to sneak); Sling 1; Adventurer’s Pack; 7 days rations; Gauntlets of Might +1; Boots of Traveling; Everburning Torch; Decanter of Sustenance (4 people of water per day, healing potion 2x per day); 20’ Levitating Desert Skiff; 70 gp in wealth (coins and jewels)

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