Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Total Dungeon Kill

This last Sunday's Gold & Glory game at King's Hobby, the group avoided a TPK.  Instead causing a TDK, Total Dungeon Kill, or nearly so.

I've modified Dwimmermount to better fit my campaign. Still, spoilers ahoy!

The Internet has failed to provide
me a dungeon crevice picture, so
you get rainbow unicorn man instead.
On the Reliquary level of Dwimmerhold is a room.  Bisecting this room is 5-8' wide crevice. Filling this void is roiling, pinkish mist.  On the far side is what no adventure can resist, an unexplored passage.

One tossed rock and a lucky listen check later. An echoing splash reveals liquid far, far below and that a large open space lurks beyond the pink haze.  Referee "Rules a kinda hard 3d6 under Dexterity Check to leap across without incident."

Let's recap; Players know that failing means passing through weirdo mist (historically nothing good has come from weirdo). Followed by a probably fatal impact into what was fair but incorrect of them to assume is water. That they possess a Goblet of the Pegasus, a  potion of Lascivious Lift (levitate), and several Zealots who could likely call down some divine aeronautics.

Risking great peril guy with 17Dex immediately springs (roll...) successfully across and secures a rope. Referee amends ruling, "With aide of rope it is now kinda easy 2d6 under Dexterity for safe traversal" and reminds, "You have more or less fool proof ways to fly across, I advice against risking probable death, but whatever."

A volunteer is found to "pay" the goblet, which fills with his blood. Most of the party partake of this grisly libation and start flying across. But, not the Zealot of Set and his somewhat loyal Thief henchman. Hell No! They cast aside the meek fears of lessor men and toss their fates into luck's fickle embrace.  [A Referee can not expect a better, or at least more entertaining player than he, tip of the hat.] As probability dictates, the high Dex thief makes it. Probability has less to say about the 12Dex Zealot. Who rolls 1,6*, then another 6.  "Weeeee, uh ohhhhhh", Referee mimics the Doppler effect of rapidly receding sound.

Save to grab rope, side of crevice, otherwise avoid disaster. Failed. Referee rolls d100 for "Passing Through Weirdo Mist Teleports to Another Plane/Planet Check", no such fun.  Referee "Falling damage, yeah hold on, I need to find more dice...", gang hears the crash / splash of the no longer living Zealot, Set is not pleased.  [Several steps later into this hapless tale Zealot player remembers and cons Referee into letting him retcon a Feather Fall prayer. 1st time Zealot death avoided.]

The gang's token Ogre, perhaps overly enamored with his newly realized aptitude for flight, immediately plunges into mist. To rescue his comrade in arms, or perhaps just to loot his body? We will never know.  d100 Tele... nope, big guy doesn't show up in someone else's' plane :(.

This is when party, based on description, guesses that the liquid is probably Azoth (concentrated magical mojo). Also at this time they discover the huge lake (cavern walls are beyond range of Ogre's light source) was home to a "larger than is right" Arcanoplasm whose 12' pseudopod reaches up to engulf and deal a goodly amount of squeeze to the soaring Ogre.  Due to the big brute's lack of other tasty magic the Arcanoplasm "eats" remainder of his Fly. Referee now informs Zealot (floating more or less on top of the Arcanoplasm and recently "not actually deceased") his only magic item, the really neat, coveted by every other player, were-rat slaying Pantherman** Battle Axe had also been "ate". Cries of genuine dismay from around the table.

Round about now is when the Wonderbus wielding White Hand Assassin and Wand of Awesome toting Hermeticist decide to join the fray. [Sadly forgot to check if they got teleported away by pink mist.] Wand of Awesome conjures Phantasmal Monsters which no one will see due to...  Assassin unaware that is launches a Sphere of Annihilation*** loads the "Black" ammo, aims in the amoeba thing's direction, towards the huge lake of concentrated magical potential...  BOOM goes the Wonderbus, black sphere shoots forth, slowing growing to 1' diameter and "coasting" to a stop (Referee rolls...) just above surface of Azoth. Tendrils of the silvery black substance start sucking up into sphere...

Sphere of Annihilation meets Lake of Indestructible
"Oh my", Referee thinks and asks for a moment. Thinking; event horizons, black holes burst xrays when sucking in matter. So, SoA sucking Azoth will burst random magical effects, Booyah! Three per round sounds 'bout right  1) Infrared light blinds everyone in Azoth chamber 2) Target is teleported behind caster, interpreted as everything within the chamber below sphere (taking on role of caster), Azoth, Arcanoplasm, and everything above, adventurers, switch places. 3) All weapons animate and "flee" from their owners [What's better than dead characters? ones left alive to cry over their lost loot Just kidding, kind of ;)]

All of this is too much for the 1st level Mage, who expires and is forgotten.  The Ogre and Zealot remain engulfed by Arcanoplasm, are unable to fly, and fall towards cavern floor. Followed by tons of Azoth recently teleported above them.  In a fit of niceness Referee calls for only 3d6 falling/crushing damage. Guess the Arcanoplasm cushioned the blow.  Next up in the parade of "Very Bad Things", saves to avoid subsequent drowning.  Then, since they're swallowing and wallowing in "activated" Azoth they each get hmmmm, a roll on the "Heinous Blunders Table" (normally reserved for d20 natural '1' after epic casting failures, so ~0.25% of time. This is Referee's first time ever using, he does a happy dance).  Ogre starts coughing up spores containing his consciousness (which he doesn't know and better not be reading this blog, nor follow that link, grrrr!).  The Zealot gets Cronified.

Meanwhile the Sphere is sucking in Azoth, growing bigger, sucking in more Azoth.  This continues, and continues...

The Assassin, who had immediately said "I fly North" when Referee announced Azoth/everything else inversion, gets and makes a save to flee chamber before Azoth comes crashing down. Luckily there was passage to North. [Forgot he was blinded, and rightly should have flown into a wall. It was quite challenging keeping this event from bogging down. I almost always choose "Forward Action", rather than looking things up, worrying if I'm correct, etc. For instance, the building action and tension would have been lost and wasted if I looked up what the heck an Arcanoplasm was in the book. From name and statblock containing "detects casting within 100'" it became a magic sucking bloboid. But, I do always retcon or otherwise compensate for my mistakes that negatively impact players.]

The adventurers who have been watching from above in the "crevice" room, flee.

The Assassin, now beyond range of crazy magical rhumba time, guesses correctly and locates dry land before his Fly wears off.  He subsequently avoids great peril from "Triple Secret Random Dungeon Fate of Very Probable Doom Table" (Jeff Rients Cinder Miscellenum pg 24 "Dungeon escapes") and joins up with other survivors later that day.

Set I beseech thee, get me the hell outta here!
Referee (for 2nd time this campaign) reminds the Zealot "who oft faces certain doom" of the prayer that extricates one from certain doom "Take me back to Paradise City" aka Word of Recall. He amazingly gets it answered****, ethereal serpents swallow and transport Ogre and Zealot, now a Crone, to his temple, The Tower of Set in the City of Towers.  But not before a half damage squeeze by Arcanoplasm. Which "kills" Zealot for the 2nd or 3rd time. The Sorcerer Priests of Set are not amused to discover an Ogre and raggedy old, dead Crone dripping Azoth all over their serpenty sanctum.  But recognizing their Zealot's accouterments they allow Ogre to drag off his corpse. The priests plan to dig it up for animation later, after players believe he's been safely "rested".  Set remains not pleased.

Meanwhile... all of Dwimmerhold is shaking and rumbling.  The fleeing adventurers fly past various dungeon denizens who are (roll, roll, roll) too busy to cause problems.  They make it to the surface as half the hill collapses into itself*****.

Eventually the gang regroups at their current haunt, the Fun and Fancy tavern.  They agree to pay Vog Mur's exorbitant fee to grow a clone of the Zealot/Crone in his flesh vats. Thrice dead Zealot/Crone soon emerges and is free of "defects".  But, like all who dance with the darkness beyond, permanently loose one point of Constitution and +/- 4dFudge Wisdom.

Referee rules that Cronification means Zealot now has 1/2 original Strength and 1/2 original Dexterity (because the world is cruel and unfair we always round down). Also "she" has an "effective" Charisma of 3.  "Effective" being Referee-speak for "I'm not exactly sure, will figure it out later." At the very least he won't be able to "participate" in normal society and will probably get an "evil-eye" ability.

Lost: 1st level mage, Pantherman Axe, Wonderbus, Wand of Awesome, few other minor magic items, lots of weapons including expensive Blunderbus and crossbows, most all of the Azoth (this is huge, campaign altering), large portions of several levels of Dwimmerhold.

In addition, Zealot lost his average looks, youth, and gender.  Ogre is slowing exhaling his mind...

Gained: The attention of the Invincible Overlord, who is one or more of Sorcerer/Lich/Vampire/Demon, ruler of The City of Towers, and not someone you want taking an "interest" in your activities. The unending ire of the Eld.  WTFs from various Dwimmerhold factions. Chaos within Dwimmerhold that clever players would exploit...

All because one guy had the courage to dream, "I can totally make that roll." :)

After that, cause there was still an hour left, gang decides (truth be told the Referee probably overly encouraged them) to go play cards with the recently discovered skeletal dealer and its "Deck of Many Things"!!!

I feel, this.

* There is always some chance of failure when rolling Xd6 ability check. If your ability is higher than max possible roll then any '6' rolled "explodes" (i.e. 6 is added to total and die re-rolled, recursively)

** Reskinned Minotaurs from deeper within Dwimmerhold. Which the gang had previously encountered and "befriended".

*** I had thought of this Wonderbus ammo as more of a Black Hole whose "gravity" and size grows the more stuff gets sucked into it.  I expected it to be shot and left in some dungeon room, slowly sucking in air and anything fool enough to touch it. Previously decided it wouldn't grow *that* much even if shot into solid rock, maybe expanding across a couple levels. I had not considered it getting fueled by tons of Essence of Magic.

**** Zealots don't pre-memorize. They may "pray" for any spell of any level.  But to be "heard" (i.e. cast it) they must roll Xd6+Y under their Wisdom, where X is level of spell, and Y is number of spell levels they have cast previously. More or less, details in G&G PHB.

***** I considered obliterating this dungeon. I strongly support player choice/consequence and efficacy, no matter how shattering (for instance players can launch the Firelances of the Ancients nuking the planet, or loose a Great Old One which more or less same effect but with SAN loss.  If it comes down to it we can all hop a dimensional rift to Harn, Shadowrun or a zillion other worlds weighing down my bookshelves.)

But, one) I like Dwimmerhold. After heavy adaption, it connects to a lot of content, history, and other stuff I'm disinclined to reveal to my players reading this blog.

And, two) there's some top shelf sheznag up in that dungeon thar. Powers I suspect could and would stop an Azoth fueled black hole; the metal gods, prison defenses, peeps on level 9, and the Campaign's current gods (who are the "directly meddle in the affairs of mortals" type) would not let such an entertaining dungeon be so quickly lost.

So, I will stack the levels of Dwimmerhold in Blender, cut out a large sphere centered on The Reservoir, and figure out how the inhabitants deal with player caused habitat destruction.

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