Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sodden Temple - III

Friedrich - DP
Zed - MU
Derek - F
 Jimbo - porter
Toral - DP
 Laria - hireling
 Tory - hireling
Alamon - DP
Darius - F

Word around Nidus was that someone was spending lots of silver.  Alamon, the sole survivor of an expedition to the monastery of St Eudo, met up with several strangers and Derek and Toral who knew of the source of the wealth: the Sodden Temple.

The party cautiously approached the temple and saw a red and black robed figure dart inside. Closer inspection showed many footprints leading into it, including some plate-sized prints of what might be an elephant.

They timidly entered, proceeded to the room with the small pedestal, and . . . had a hard time remembering what the different symbols meant on it.  They decided to try and avoid the room they knew to be littered with copper coins fearing a new brundlphant occupant or ambush.  After some experimentation they opened a door to a small room to their left.  It contained some robes and three brass torcs which intrigued the party but no one was brave enough to try them on.

They opened a door to the right, and after a short passage opened a door to a room with a corpse in the middle of the floor.  It had been sliced cleanly in half.  Alamon crouched, investigating, and found some treasure and tall wooden shoes in a satchel on the corpse.  While searching the body he saw a glint of metal underneath the reliefs in the room, and running completely around it.

The room had two doors.  They decided to proceed straight by hooking a grapnel to the door handle and pulling from a prone position.  On successfully opening the door a blade whirred just above everyone's head.

The next room had a damp crate and nothing else.  After long, timid investigation, the party discovered it held two potions, a scroll, and some plants in a bell jar.  This was all put into Jimbo's pack.  On searching the dead-end room's reliefs, Toral found a secret passage.  Entering the small passage they were confronted with the reek of rotting flesh.  Opening another secret passage revealed a room with a huge carcass, eight fly-headed figures feasting on it, and 50 brass urns around the periphery.

After some hesitation-- the fly heads seemed content to keep eating- Zed cast sleep and dropped half of them.  Then the ever diplomatic Derek nearly gutted one with his battle axe.  Those fly heads still awake engaged.  Derek sacrificed his shield to avoid certain death to the acid spittle of one of the creatures.  Jimbo was splattered and knocked unconscious.  Toral dropped one with mace to head.  Alamon commanded one to sit, its silken robes sizzling in its own acidic spittle.  And Friedrich dropped one from the second rank with a spear to its solar plexus.

The urns were revealed to have gold coins, 16 in each.  The party greedily started filling packs.  They noticed that Jimbo's fall had crushed the bell jar in his and that little brown beetles were crawling everywhere.  Toral asked the All Father to aid Jimbo and his petition was granted.

Happy to have gold coins, the party began a frightened scurrying toward the exit, fearful that the brown, lady-bug like beetles meant something ominous.

Back at Nidus, shopping commenced.  They found a vendor who tasted their potions for them, tasted one of the bugs, and put on one of the brass torcs all for a price.  The bugs turned out delicious, the torc dangerous.  More shopping led to plate armor for those without it, a new shield and place to stay.

Some Thoughts
I really like how the players didn't just go in an clean this place out in one sweep. As different parties consisting of different players return again and again and interact with the location, it starts to have a feeling of verisimilitude of its own. That's cool.

I'm being forced to make a lot of decisions about what I want my world to be on the fly.  Usually when I feel myself just having finished allowing something I regret.  I want the party to test their own potions, that's part of the risk and fun right?  But Nidus is a teeming, exotic city, why wouldn't some beggar taste them for them for a price?

I know I don't want magic available for sale like so much toilet paper.  I was feeling very reluctant about the players even finding a library or sage to identify stuff for them.  I'm conflicted, because it's smart that they wanted to, but I want them to have to experiment, feel mystery and tension too.

We started the session with my revised version of JB's random relationship chart.  Probably because I pared it down to 30 entries, it seemed like everyone was related to everyone.  That wa pretty funny, two sets of twins.  The relationships themselves were forgotten pretty quickly, but the amusement of parsing them seemed to be a great ice breaker.  I wonder if rolling almost anything randomly around the group would work similarly.

My most consistent player and a reader of this blog used player knowledge at least twice last night. Don't know what to do about that.  Might have to start making magic items do the opposite of what my posts say they do, hear that bastard! ;)

Darius' player was a new, with only video game experience in regards to rpgs.  She managed marvellously and I'm happy that she might be back next week.  I'm always looking to cut down the testosterone ratio in my sessions.

Also, an old high-school friend drove into town a matter of minutes before we were heading off to the game site.  I said "want to play D&D?" and he said "sure."  That was cool.  He hasn't played with me since high school and has never seen me DM.

So, overall, like last session, not very much happened: barely any combat, a trap averted, some weird treasures found, Nidus explored a little and the players safe to prepare for another excursion.  But that was plenty to allow for running jokes, amusing npc interactions, and good times in general. It was surprising to me that I could pull it off after such a long day at work and after such a long week.

One thing that helped is that it seems like I've passed a tipping point of infrastructure on this blog- magic items, npcs, random charts-- that makes playing with little time to prep possible.  Looking forward to next week.  I think the players are going to find they made a BIG mistake.

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