We wrapped up The God That Crawls just before the holiday break.
First, it was a blast. Second, both the scenario and some callbacks from previous adventures meant we got lots and lots of sessions out of it. (I swear, the money I’ve paid out for LotFP products and other OSR material seemed like a lot… but pro rate it out across hours of enjoyment, it’s actually an incredible investment!)
We ended up going into the pages of The God That Crawls by accident, which is detailed in this write up of the Seventh Session.
I want to add that my players are very clever, so I wanted to run The God That Crawls “The Hard Way” — tracking the actual positions of the party and the God. The seemed to offer more chances to be smart over rolling randomly to see if the God popped up.
I went to a FedEx/Kinkos, printed the catacombs maps at twice the book size (they looked great), and laminate the maps. Using erasable markers (green for the God and red for the party) I tracked positions each round or turn.
You can see the results in the image below…
In the Eight Session the group made preparations for the expedition. First they had to catch up the two players who had not been present the week before, then buy supplies, choose spells, and so on.
They then returned to the church, carefully looking out for trouble, made their way up into it, and made their way down into the pit.
When they got down, Father Karl and other parishioners of the church cut their rope ladder and struck the gong, calling the God That Crawls.
They had just begun their exploration when the creation came upon them. A retreating battle took place, with the Player Characters lobbing flaming flasks of oil and flaming arrows at the creature. _
However, during the retreat the group had split up… three PCs going one way pursued by the creature, three going another into the room with the gem and the mirror on the wall.
The group that ran into the room with the gem grabbed for it, ending up in the Null Space beyond the glass. The other group put the final blows to the God That Crawls.
In the Null Space, panic set in, and the one PC managed to shatter the glass. When their friends heard the shattering glass, they rushed to the sound and saw their friends peering out from them from the scattered shards on the floor.
All sorts of plans were made and discarded, and then, in a panic, one of the PCs passed the gem through the shard of glass…
And that was that. The mirrors became normal mirrors, trapping the three PCs in Null Space.
[A note on this: The Player decided they were going to have a “No Man Left Behind” policy and work to find a way of rescuing their friends from Null Space. This has set in motion a whole, unexpected track of encounters, as well as a path to Carcosa, since I have decided the device to reach Null Space (The Spatial Transference Void) is located on that world. But that will all pay off in the future.]
In between sessions the three Players who had characters lost in Null Space made up new characters. Each one of them was given a rumor that I roll from the rumor table each time a new PC shows up. But I also gave them details about the adventure I had forgotten to dole out before, since I had jury-rigged the adventure into Munich on the fly.
You can read the backstories/rumors I provided to each PC here:
1. What you know…
You have pursued rumors of the death of St. Englebert for years. The actual story of his assassination in On 7 November. 1225 bit of a mystery.
The common story told is that a group of disaffected nobility was behind his assassination, which may have been intended to take Engelbert captive rather than kill him. (His allegiance to the pope and the emperor, and his uncompromising defense of the law and the rights of religious persons and bodies, brought him into conflict with the nobility.)
Englebert was canonized after his death, a symbol of faith
But you have heard rumor that a cult of some sort based in Munich was in fact behind his death. You have pursued these rumors and found yourself joining two others with similar interests. Sharing your information, the three of you ended up talking to a priest about the shuttered church in a darkened corner of Munich. He offered you wine as you spoke.
When you woke on a slimy floor in a darkened room, you realized you had been drugged…
2. What you know…
You have been been pursuing rumor of ancient Roman catacombs built under the earth where Munich eventually grew. From what you have heard, the Romans placed more than a dozen caches of treasure in the walls. They’re were there to be retrieved later, but never were.
Searching Munich you found a series of long-unused tunnels under the city that led to a door of steel-reinforced wood. It was barred on the outside with a warning written in German: “Warning. Do Not Enter. Unstable.”
Searching carefully, you discovered that the doorframe was indeed unstable. But curiosity got the better of you. You lifted the bar, opened the door, and entered anyway.
Your lantern light illuminated a 30×30 foot room ahead of you, with corridors leading off to either side. But more importantly you saw a marker for a treasure cache in the far wall. It has already been smashed open. A skeletal arm (hand inside) hung out of the hole, the ulna and radius ending in melted stumps.
The hair on the back of you neck stood up and you quickly returned to the door to examine it. You saw two thing immediately. First, the the doorway was in fact RIGGED to collapse. And second it was ABOUT to collapse. You quickly shot back out through the door and the stones around the doorway fell with a loud clatter, blocking the door.
Afraid you had attracted attention, you left quickly.
Eventually you joined with two others also pursuing the catacombs. Sharing your information, the three of you ended up talking to a priest about the shuttered church in a darkened corner of Munich. He offered you wine as you spoke in his apartment.
When you woke on a slimy floor in a darkened room, you realized you had been drugged…
3. What you know…
A cult that worked to blaspheme god and man established a base in Munich 500 years ago after infiltrating a monastery of devoted monks.
The cult did horrible things to people, often to the best of people, to see how those deemed to serve god would react to their experiments and to mock the gods openly. They performed unholy rites with dark rituals of a faith of their own invention. You have heard, in fact, that they wished to build a god of their own invention.
Searching Munich for more information, you joined with two others who had heard rumors of catacombs under Munich. Sharing your information, the three of you ended up talking to a priest about the shuttered church in a darkened corner of Munich. He offered you wine as you spoke in his apartment.
When you woke on a slimy floor in a darkened room, you realized you had been drugged…
Each new PC had been drugged by Father Karl and dumped into the pit the same night the other PCs went down. (I like getting new PCs together as quickly as possible. No needing to roleplay out and justify the group gathering up. The fun is in the playing in a group, not all the nit-picky, in-character justification that often take up to an hour to resolve…
So, in Session Nine the group that was already down in the catacombs hears the bang of the gong. They are scared, wondering if more creatures are being summoned.
They decide to go to the pit entrance and find the three new PCs. Introductions are quickly made. The rumors I had handed to the Players of the new PCs are discussed. Exploration continues.
The God That Crawls RETURNS. They flee, running down a corridor. They attack with fire again, but the rolls aren’t going their way and they realize they could soon end up with out any way of seeing down in these dark tunnels.
One of the PCs starts flinging open doors along the corridor, one after another. He finds small cells, each holding a statue. He runs into one of them, grabbing the statue. (It should be noted this is the same player who grabbed the gem the week before, managed to get himself and two other PCs trapped in Null Space.)
He is cursed with the Mother May I curse, which requires him getting permission to do anything from his companions.
Meanwhile, the God That Crawls is still coming after them. One of the players has a brilliant idea (I love my players). She wraps a rope around a cot in one of the cells, sets a bone headdress she took from DFD on it, and runs the other end around a corner where the group hides.
She knows the God is drawn by sound, and as everyone waits silently, she peers out and sees the God crawling along the floor past the door. She yanks the rope which topples the cord and sends the bones scattering. The God is drawn by the sound and goes into the sound.
Another PC had set a rope on the door itself, yanks it, pulling the door shut behind the creature. The group moves as quietly and quickly as it can, sealing the the lock on the reinforced door, and hammering a cord of thick rope under the door.
Now, the module state that if a door is closed on the God it will wait silently for a full day until it hears now. I assumed this was written so that if the PCs close a door behind them on the run the God will wait outside, trapping them. But, still, a door is now closed. Does the God wait or not. I decide the God will wait until it hears a noise.
The group, now breathing a sigh of relief, continues quiet exploration. They finally come across their first Cache. They hammer it open, find scrolls and silver. They are thrilled! They start moving faster, hoping to find as many Caches as they can before new danger arrives. (They still don’t know if the God they killed had come back, or if there were many.)
As they hammer away on more Caches, the God hears the noises, starts dissolving the rope. Within time they are aware the God is coming. They flee. They have already scouted ahead, and are pinned down a corridor lined with bells. They bolt for it… But are aware the bells will draw the creature.
The clever player who had come with with the trap for the God with the rope and cell casts Unseen Servant, having the servant run along the wall with an iron spike. I roll a random result: the God pursues the Unseen Servant instead of them. They get out, up to the church.
They are in rooms they haven’t explored yet. They move through secret doors. They find Father Karl and other parishioners guarding the pit and spring out at them, getting surprise, hamstringing them, dropping them down into the pit for the God (drawn by their cries of pain) to consume.
Father Karl and several parishioners had remained at the top of the pit, waiting for the noises to stop from below. But the party came up through an unknown trap door in a storage room, ambushed the priest and the parishioners. They questioned them, hamstrung them, and tossed them down into the pit to be consumed by the gelatinous blob that was their revered saint. (I think Conan would be proud.)
Having survived, and certain more treasures waited, they decided they would be going back down. They wanted to build plans and gather supplies for plans that would distract the creature, delay the creature, and, if possible, trap the creature.
They could have gone straight back down, but decided to resupply properly. Also, the M-U had gained a bunch of spells from the treasure caches – many of them useful for distracting the creature (Unseen Servant in particular), so the group decided they would take 10 days to prepare, allowing the M-U to create some scrolls to take down with them.
Session Ten began with renewed debates about whether to go back to the church. Treasure clearly has been left behind… but now priests are dead (there’s a religious war going on, don’t you know), and they are pretty sure the God can’t be killed.
They decide to go back and begin to plan. They prep spells and buy two barrels of gun powder to trap the God between weak foundations they had spotted in their last expedition and a blast that brings down the roof at the other end of the corridor.
I made a random roll each day for an encounter in the city. Things became rather dramatic, even though they never made it back to the catacombs till the next session..
Now, they had killed a priest and some citizens in Munich. And there’s a religious war on. And an Army from Norway has landed in the Holy Roman Empire. So things are tense.
I decided that Father Karl’s absence (along with the other men) would be noticed by the locals in the neighborhood, but wouldn’t cause alarm across the city for three days. After that, they would hear town criers announcing a hunt for Protestant Fiends who had murdered a priest and his faithful. (The bodies had vanished, of course, but folks just vanishing can lead to such conclusions.)
When I knew they’d be hanging out in Munich I made up a table:
Encounter: 1 in 6 per day
If Encounter, roll d6
1-2 Town Guard on the hunt for the killers confronts them
3-4 Civilian Militia on the hunt for the killers confronts them
5 Agents from Carcosa looking for the World Stone they took from the Duvan’Ku shrine confront them
6 Agents of the Duvan’Ku, aware this group has invaded their shuttered shrine to the south and now are poking around in their shuttered catacombs in Munich want to kill them
a. The party currently has three clerics, all protestant
b. The World Stone, which was the quest object in Death Frost Doom, allows easy access between Earth and Carcosa (though it requires three human sacrifices)
I rolled for an encounter starting on the fourth day. I rolled a one on the sixth day. I rolled again, and came up with a 5. So agents from Carcosa, trailing after them after the PCs destroyed the Pond/Communication dish in Middlehelm, had found them after determining they had gone into the shrine to take the World Stone.
I decided it would be a 3rd level brown Sorcerer (“the Voluminous of the Void”) and three 0 level jale fighters. The sorcerer had disguised his skin to give him the dusky appearance of a foreigner. The jale men wore burlap masks under their hoods, which let them see out, but hid the unearthly primary color of skin-pigmentations of their flesh. Everyone who saw them thought of them as travelers from the middle east.
I won’t go into all the details of what happened in the tavern of the inn where the PCs were camped out. But the PCs confronted the sorcerer (who knew halting German); the sorcerer demanded the World Stone; the PCs refused; the sorcerer threatened to kill them in their sleep if they didn’t hand it over (but would rather not leave such a trail of blood, so asked them once more, nicely); the PCs created a trap, luring the sorcerer and his pathetic henchmen to the Church with the God That Crawls.
The PCs ambushed them in the room with the pit, killing most of the quickly with a lucky roll of the initiative die and a judicious use of muskets.
In the midst of the quick skirmish the jale men threw off their masks and drew their primitive stone swords. I read the description of jale form Carcosa too them… and they knew now that of all the things they’d seen so far, nothing was stranger than what they were encountering now.
They capture of of the jale men, binding him and hiding him under the burlap sack.
While the God That Crawls was consuming the Carcosans at the base of the pit, three of the PCs bolted down the secret ladder to the God’s lair and cracked open three more caches. Meanwhile, the other party members attacked it again with fire and arrows.
These actions taught them two things: They saw that it regenerates after it is killed. And they learned (when the God returned to its lair in under two minutes) that there are several routes for moving around the catacombs that the God knows about that they don’t.
But everyone escaped with the new loot safely.
They returned to the inn with the jale man hidden like trade goods.
The M-U cast Comprehend Languages and they questioned him. They discovered the Carcosans used a one way technology to get to earth to retrieve the World Stone. But they need the stone to get home.
The PCs offered to get him home if they serve as his guide when they go to Carcosa. Since all Karr-El wants is to get home, he accepted this deal. The M-U is already making notes on what she is learning about the language of Carcosa. So preparations for the 17th Century Europeans Head to An Alien World Mini-Campaign are already underway.
So, next week they finally go back into the catacombs. And after that, perhaps, with their new guide, they travel to Carcosa to find technology used by the Carcosans to travel through Null Space and rescues friends currently trapped there…
In the Eleventh Session the group sneaks back to the church. Guards from the bishopric have been posted outside (after Father Karl was reported missing along with several parishioners; he’s been gone more than a week.)
They arrived with a plan to scare away the Bishop’s soldiers from the church and with two barrels of gunpowder to collapse sections of the catacombs to trap the gelatinous saint.
Then they went down into the catacombs. They lured the God around, collapsing one section of a corridor, and then blowing up another section, trapping it.
They continue to look for treasure, thrilled with scrolls and silver….
And then they found the forbidden treasures in the lower level. They began poking around… and their faces lit up. And here we stopped for the night.
Here are some choice quotes from the evening that one of my players recorded during the evening:
“We’re the Scooby-Doo villains now, aren’t we.”
“We’d let loose an ancient, undying god upon the people of Munich!”
“I have a lit arrow and I’m gonna burn the Bibles.”
“This is the most stages of any plan we’ve had.”
“Honestly I didn’t expect us to survive to Stage 3.”
“I’m with Team Forbidden.”
“I need to make a trip to the fish market for some frogs.”
“Whatever you plan to do, I wanna add Faerie Fire to it.”
“I am definitely NOT going across that chasm at all no sir nope okay I’m going across.”
In the Twelfth Session of our campaign the group continued poking into each and every room, as well as finding the secret stairs that led up to the other rooms.
The short of it: They found the axle, the treasures, all of it.
They carried it out to the shrine, where all PCs but the M-U stood with the treasures. The M-U cast Detect Magic to check for magic and curses on the PCs. Nothing seemed wrong… until the Magic Mine went off, blasting apart all the pottery and sending magical powder everywhere. They all also took 2 points of damage, which they took in stride.
There was more arguing about whether to take the haul they had or get out. They decided to get out. But on their way out they remembered they had only opened one cache in the God’s lair, with three left to go.
This mattered, because the God’s Lair Caches can repeat rolls on the Cache Treasure Table list. This matters because normally, if you re-roll the sam number on the table, there is no treasure.
But, not only did they have the advantage of three fresh treasures no matter what, the lucky Players also rolled a 29 and 30 on the table, meaning they hit the two highest treasures AGAIN. And this allowed them to haul their massive haul out.
Once more they chased away guards and priests (who had come to exorcise the church), sending them away by raining magic infused crosses down from the bell tower. This let them get back to their inn in secret.
They all leveled up.
Next week will probably a Mr. Wizard-like exploration of all the stuff they found.
And then they are seeking an adventurer rumored to have traveled to many worlds. This will lead them through Scenic Dunnsmouth.