Two sessions have passed since my last campaign update. This is an update of the first of those two sessions. I can be a bit lazy with campaign posts simply because they are more time-consuming than other posts and, quite frankly, I always wonder if folks really read them.
The grinding continues. After the battle with the hezrou demon and his dretch minions, the party was left without the majority of its NPC fodder. The hezrou’s blasphemy spell had wiped out all but two of them. I had to ret-con that due to some poor math on my part at the end of that session. I had told the party that those 3rd level NPCs were paralyzed, but when I was calculating XP between sessions, I realized that they were flat-out dead. Since that did not change the outcome of the immediate situation, I thought it fair to enforce the ruling. I tend to let “ties go to the runner… er… player,” and if I mess up a ruling in favor of the players, I usually let it ride. However, considering the power of the hezrou, I thought it best to play this one by the book. So, apart from some secondary PCs, the party was now down to two NPC dwarf fighters.
Ok, blah blah blah, here are the highlights in more or less chronological order.
- The PCs gathered up their dead, eight total (sans Roxxxor, who had been consumed by the lava), and used a gemgate (a magic item from Relics & Rituals that opens a temporary, teleportation portal. Think those magic red portals from the He-Man cartoon) to take the bodies back to a dwarven temple in Bard’s Gate. It was sort of a weird pop-in “Here are some dead guys!” pop-out move. The players were mainly concerned that the unholy magic of the Orcus temple might cause the dead to rise. Their initial plan was to throw the bodies into the lava pit, but after seeing the NPC dwarves weeping and performing last rites, it dawned on the players “oh yeah, we might want to at least role-play some respect for the fodder.”
- Snaggletooth, the party’s resident fairie dragon, cast stone shape to form a wall in front of each door (although, notably, the party forgot about the magic backdoor they themselves used to enter the temple)
- A spectre (who I described as looking like me) started peeking through the blocked doors and, after a magic arrow to his face, battle was commenced.
- A Vampire Warrior that appeared badass entered through the magic backdoor (so badass that I broke out my Warduke miniature for him), the spectre came through one of the regular doors, and a loud pounding was heard at the other door.
- The spectre was dispatched fairly quickly and the “oh, I’m a big, bad Vampire Warrior” was put in his place almost immediately by a turn check (unfortunately for him, he had arrived in a consecrated area and, well, the DM forgot his inherent turn resistance. As I said, if I botch things, I tend to let them slide).
- The pounding continued and eventually the door and wall blocking the one entrance gave way to reveal a cadaver collector.
- The party was rather concerned at this point: the vampire, while not doing squat, was still there. The cadaver collector was trampling the party again… and again… again. (Yeah, he has other attacks, but was being pretty effective just rolling over the PCs).
- Then the party said, “hmm, the collector is made out of a lot of metal, right?” and broke out two freakin’ magic items, both of which they had acquired in Rappan Athuk itself:
- a gauntlet of rust
- a shield covered with rust monster scales
- Both of these items work via touch attacks (I had to make this ruling for the shield since it wasn’t detailed in the RA material, but I figured as long as the PC wasn’t trying to actually bash with it, the rules for the gauntlet should apply to it as well).
- Before long, the already ineffective Vampire Warrior was without armor (bye bye +3 chain shirt) and fled.
- Although the cadaver collector was putting the hurt on the PCs, before long, he was a pile of rust. Yeah, an AC of 29 is great… but not so great when your touch AC is frickin’ 9.
- Suffice it to say, the players found the Achilles' heel and worked it like a $2 whore.
- After combat was over, the wizard successfully cast antipathy versus Chaotic Evil off a caster level 16 scroll and the cleric began his hallow spell.