Fallen World Campaign [LotFP]–Seventeenth Session

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The third session of Scenic Dunnsmouth, the first big fight of the game. Pulled out the battle map and cardboard figures.

The killed Magda (infected) last week. Tonight they went down to the basement.

When the adventurers went down to the basement, they saw a tapestry hanging upon  a wall. Upon the tapestry was the image above, along with smaller images of insects and images of planets and stars…

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The adventurers recognized the ant symbol from the map they had found magical marking the topography of a Bavaria inside the skin of a flayed knight. (It’s a long story… you can read more about it here.) The bug shows the location of Goblin Hill in Better Than Any Man. They group almost journeyed to Karlstadt (and thus Better Than Any Man), but got waylaid in Munich searching for rumors about explorers to other worlds, found their way into the The God That Crawls, and never headed north after all. i simply sits there on my shelf, waiting to be unleashed.

So… the players saw the tapestry and were all like, “BUGS!”

There were also three corpses on the floor. Actually, they weren’t corpses. They were cultists, playing possum after hearing Magda cry out upstairs after being killed by the Magic Missiles. When they heard the adventurers searching upstairs for twenty minutes, they decided to play dead and see if they could ambush anyone who came downstairs.

Three adventurers went down to the basement. They were cautious about the corpses. The cultists revealed themselves, combat ensued.

Meanwhile, upstairs, as the fight broke out downstairs, Uncle Ivanovik showed up, screaming “She was mine to kill!” (He had been tracking them for hours, waiting for the right time to strike.)

After the portion of the party downstairs dispatched the cultists they ran upstairs to help the friends upstairs — only to be attacked in the rear by the Original Spider, who had been hiding in a tapestry behind an alcove. Meanwhile, one party member crashed through a window in an effort to race around the cottage and flank Ivanovik — only to run into Ivanavik’s hunting dogs.

So, they were fighting–for a moment–on all fronts. But Adrian, the Scottish Witch Hunter, got the initiative, fired his pistol into the Original Spider’s head for some solid damage, jumped out of the trap door from the steps, kicking the trap door shut, and flinging himself on it.

Anika, the group’s Magic-User, cast Hold Portal on the door, sealing the Original Spider in the basement for at least 50 minutes–giving the party time to focus on Uncle Ivanovik and his dogs.

In the next round everyone gathered around Ivanovik as best they could, with Anika casting Fairy Fire on him. The +2 bonus from the Fairy Fire was augmented by a bonus I gave each attacker for having multiple attacks on him. Moreover, Werner, a fighter, had gained 10 Blessing points by toasting a glass of whisky with Graupher’s corpse the session before (per the instructions in the Scenic Dunnsmouth rules), and The Doctor (one of the Clerics) cast a Blessing on himself to aid in the attacks as well.

So bonuses were flying left and right. Adrian killed one of the war hounds. The rest of the group reduced Ivanovik to 1/4 his Hit Points, and I decided to make a Morale Check. He failed! I declared he would flee on the next round. (In the game, we all declare actions first, and then roll a single initiative die per side.) He won the initiative! He bolted at 120′ into the mist, vanishing from sight. Or at least he would have, except he still had Fairy Fire glowing on him! Everyone chased him out of the house at one third their combat speed, which allowed them to make attacks with the various ranged weapons they had (two firearms, a crossbow, an arrow). I had everyone roll at once, totaled the damage, and down Uncle Ivanovik went!

They then drilled holes into the basement. Anika had prepared several grenades made of glass spheres filled with gunpowder and rusty nails. They lured the Original Spider towards the holes they had drilled by dropping the heads of Uncle Ivanovik and Magda down into the basement. When the Original Spider approached, they dropped the grenades… and did exactly as much damage as they needed to kill the thing.

Of course, the grenades did a great deal of damage in the basement. I had them roll a d100 and divide it in half. That revealed the reduction in value of the magical library and lab equipment they would later find when they searched the basement.

They did win — but they were all certain they would be dead soon enough!


Having a night to sleep on it and a ponder to think about it, I’m not sure I’ll be bringing the battlemat out again.

In previous sessions, where we played without markers and I made quick sketches for reference, the fights were more fluid and a bit more entertaining. By keeping it in the imagination of the players the combat felt more “alive” even though we used all the rules, positing, and modifiers.

Something I’m going to think more about.

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Fallen World Campaign [LotFP]–Sixteenth Session

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The Lamplighters (the name the Players have given their group), began the session in Scenic Bergenzel, and finished the session still in Bergenzel.

I thought they would have left, for at the end of the previous session, the came across the Mona Lisa in the home of Rudolph Grauph, the Other Worldly Explorer. This is not a copy, but the actual painting by da Vinci from an alternate Earth. Sure, this means that there are now two copies of the Mona Lisa in Europe. But still, it’s authentic and will fetch the party more than enough silver (45,000sp, to be precise) to level everyone up. But there were still mysteries to solve, and the Players suspect that there’s evil-doing they might be able to put a rest to. And because they have, in their heart-of-hearts, a desire to be heroic, they stayed to deal with the mysteries at hand.

The session began with a lot of throat clearing on the part of the Players. They had a many threads of adventure and danger in front of them, and weren’t sure which way to go or what to do. This wasn’t because they were lost or uncertain of their choices. There were simply so many choices!

The Player Characters left Grauph’s home, riding the skiff they took from Herman van Kaus’ boat house.

The priest, Father Iwanopoulous had seen enough weirdness and terror for one night (the stuffed and mounted corpses, the alien artifacts in the Explorer’s home, the attack by Uncle Ivanovik) and asked to be returned to his church.

The PCs agreed and traveled to pick up Herman van Kaus, who they had left (in a state of shock after seeing his niece’s true nature) at his brother’s house.

Herman was still in shock. And Father Iwanopoulous, missing the safety of his church, asked that he and Herman be brought by the adventurers back to his church. The adventurers agreed, dropping them off, and working out a signal for the priest to mark when it will be safe for the those hiding in the church to open the door.

All of this took time on the part of the adventurers, with everyone with a lit lantern tracking the amount of oil used with the poker chip scheme I came up with.

Father Iwanopoulous had told them that a member of the Dietz family was a servant to Jako and Sue Amster. He often went up to the mountain on errands for the Amsters, and Father Iwanopoulous believed he had dealing with Grauph in Grauph’s base up in the Alps.

The whole purpose of coming to Bergenzel was to track down Grauph based in the Alps, since they had heard rumors he had traveled to other worlds. They had heard that he had a home in Bergenzel that he sometimes stayed at, and so Bergenzel seemed the best starting point for their quest. Since arriving in Bergenzel:

  • Grauph’s corpse, which meant no answers would be coming from him…
  • Images he had drawn from other worlds, each with a code of some sort that most likely allowed them access to the world…
  • No clues as how to access those worlds…

The only way forward to using the drawings they had found of other worlds was to find his keep in the Alps and see if contains the answers they seek.

But first, a few notes about how an Other Worldly Explorer ended up in a published module, and how all this fits into notions I had four months ago…


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If you look back at the Random Rumor Table I created for the campaign, you can see how I began sowing seeds of all these ideas and ambitions into the game from start.

The value of a Rumor table is this: I get to say, “These are the things that interest me,” and present them to the Players. It’s a menu of things to explore. But do I expect them to pursue them all?  No. Do I expect them to pursue them all in any particular order? No. While the Rumor are there to entice and focus the Players, it is up to them to decide what to do.

So, the Rumor Table says, “This is what interests me!” And in turn the Players say, “From this list, this is what interests us!” But note we’re all sharing off the same list. This is important! I get what interests me. They get what interests them.

You can see the references to Grauph in the image from the table above. I didn’t know his name Grauph four months ago, though I did know there was a man who had travelled to different worlds. I thought at first I was going to make his home the home of the last scenario in No Dignity in Death. But then I bought and read Scenic Dunnsmouth and fell in love with it. I decided to place the village at the base of the Alps on the way to the home of the Other Worldly Explorer.

The fun of Scenic Dunnsmouth is that you create the village from scratch, using dice and playing cards. The book contains a whole slew of NPCs, each divided into four families with specific traits. There are also special locations that can come up in the creation process, depending on how the dice fall.

I created the town exactly as described, with one forced alteration: I knew the Other Worldly Explorers . There is, in the setting, the possibility that there will be the home to a Worldly Explorer. Where a particular d12 fell, I decreed it would be the Worldly Explorer’s home… and then made it the Other Worldly Explorer’s home.

[The only other solid change was switching some of the names out, to make them make more sense in the Bavarian setting where I had place the town.]

And when I randomly created the home of Jako and Sue Amster, I discovered they had a servant, Isiah, who “is almost always making treks into the mountains to bring back hay and vegetation for the cows.” I immediately decided that his “treks into the mountains” involved interactions with Graup at his keep. Which would tie into the quest the Player Characters had set for themselves.

Part of the fun of the campaign has been the challenge and delight in taking all these terrific modules and finding the elements already in them to inspire me in my efforts to stitch things together. For example, the snow globes found in Death Frost Doom inspired my notion that there were many worlds, some of them at war with each other using earth as a battlefield, that the Player Characters could travel to. This, in turn, led to the notion that while my game was set in 17th Century Europe, I could use all the wonderful Lamentation of the Flame Princess books I had bought no matter how fantastical. (I already owned Death Frost Doom, Qelong, and Carcosa before play began, and have picked up Isle of the UnknownCastle Gargantua, and others since we started.)


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The adventurers, followed Father Iwanopoulous’ directions, heading off for the estate of Jako and Sue Amster on board their skiff. As near the southeast corner of the village they hear gentle mooing from cows. They find a spot to hide the skiff, climb up the bank to the driest part of the village they’ve seen so far. They see cows up ahead.

In short order the following things happen:

  • They come across Jako Amster, who looks down upon them (with the muddy, thuggish armor) and wishes them to go away.
  • They ask about 20 years of back taxes, but he tells them he’s current on his taxes, having paid his taxes for the past five years to the new priest in town. The Players all know that the priest arrived 20 years ago, and this one more piece of evidence to tell them time is _screwy_ around Bergenzel.
  • They ask to see Isaiah, telling Jako they have the authority of the priest in Murnau backing them on this. Jako gets his servant.
  • Isaiah arrives, bent, stooped with age. He is the only person who leaves the village regularly. So, once again, the group knows something is wonky with time in Bergenzel, since those who leave it do not gain its slow-time effects.
  • Isaiah leads the adventurers a little bit away. I have him beg them to help him escape, along with Martin (Jako’s son). Isaiah knows something strange is going in with the village in terms of children born with deformities and something strange going on in Magda’s hut. Jako went to the hut a the instruction of a relative a few months ago. And then he brought his wife. And now they are planning on bringing the boy. The adventurers agree to get Isaiah and Martin out of Bergenzel in exchange for Isaiah leading them to Graupher’s keep in the Alps.
  • Isaiah goes to get Martin secretly out of the house. The adventurers hear shouting, a little boy shrieking. They storm the house from different entrances. One adventurer shoots Jako dead. They find Isaiah bloodied and dazed at the base of the stairs. They rush upstairs and find Martin’s mother about to slit her son’s throat rather than have him taken away from the Original Spider. The two clerics rush in, tackling her to the ground and freeing the boy. But she won’t stop struggling, going for the knife, and two more party members standing over her kill her with arrow shots.

They get Isaiah and Martin to the church and leave them with the priest. They then head to Magda’s cottage.

Carefully they approach the cottage, using trees and shrugs for cover.

Anika, the group’s Magic-User, sends an unseen servant carrying a lit torch toward the cottage’s front door. Everyone watches the torch drift eerily though the thick mist toward the door. The unseen servant knocks on the door.

Everyone waits a moment. The door opens with a creak. A few members of the party can just make out the pale face of a woman, the rest of her hidden by the black clothes she wears.

Anika hears Magda speak… she is casting a Charm Person on one of the clerics. (Charm Person is the only spell she knows, sadly.) Anika casts magic missile. Initiative rolls are made. Magda gets her spell off, and the cleric fails his saving throw. But Anika’s magic missile rush at her with streaks of blinding white light and cut Magda down in one attack!

She falls dead in the doorway. The Charm Person breaks.

As the Players would later say:

“She brought a Charm Person to a Magic Missile Fight.”

The players had their characters carefully enter the house and search the chicken shed attached to the cottage. They searched a full twenty minutes before they could feel the heat from the basement below on the floor and found a secret trap door.

Lifting it, they saw stairs leading down to the basement.

And there we stopped of the night…

Fallen World Campaign [LotFP]–Fifteenth Session

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SCENIC BERGENZEL (AKA Scenic Dunnsmouth)
–or–
DEATH AND TAXIDERMY

SPOILERS BELOW! See previous entries for how we ended up here.

The adventurers make their way up from Herman’s Boat House to the cottage of Adolph and Sheila Van Kaus. Hearing voices from the cottage (just audible over the sound of the bleating of the sickly sheep eating moss around the house), they pause and eavesdrop. They hear Adolph and Sheila bemoaning their fate, Sheila wishing she had a husband who could make her marvelous furniture, and Adolph wishing he had a wife worthy of making marvelous furniture for. (It’s all from the module. It’s great.) The players were amused and delighted and disarmed, and walked up to knock on the door.

Now the house has been infected, which means the couple’s daughter, Kaylee is a product of the cult–an attractive girl with six spider arms and able to fight with all of them with a dagger each. She’s in her bedroom, with the door closed, so while Adolph is rude to the Player Characters, they suspect little danger. They get information about where the Church is and decide to move on.

However, Mike, who plays Vilfolk, a Specialist, has decided that he’s going to stay behind and talk to the couple about fixing their leaky roof. The party doesn’t usually split up. But it becomes clear through the evening’s play that Mike is making sure isolate his character in order to draw out trouble to himself and lure the dangers of the village out into the open.

Now, Adolph and Sheila are supposed to be obnoxious and drive PCs away, due to their family nature. But when one of the Player Characters offers to stay behind, I realize that this is one of the few chances I might have for the infected villagers to get the drop on one of the PCs and get him or her to the Spider to be infected. So, first Adolph refused Vilfolk’s offer. And then, as soon as the party is leaving, the door swings open again, and he invites Vilfolk inside.

Eric, another player, decides that his character Werner, is going to stay with Vilfolk, standing outside the cottage with his crossbow ready, in case trouble arrives.

The rest of the group heads north through the swamp for the church, looking for Father Iwanopolous in order to secure the back taxes they’ve bought from Father Jonah back in Murnau.

Adolph tours Vilfolk through the leaks in the ceiling, leading him to the master bedroom, and then his daughter’s bedroom. Vilfolk is on guard. But as he heads back to the main room with Adloph (where Sheila has been sitting the whole time) Kaylee moves quickly from her bedroom, a dagger in each of her six hands, and strikes! She get surprise! I am convinced that I’m about to take Vilvolk down and then move quickly to dispatch Werner!

But… Kaylee rolls poorly, only hitting twice (!), and then only doing a few points of damage (!). The fight is on!

Sheila has grabbed a dagger and rushes for Werner. Werner fires a crossbow bolt into her. Vilfolk fights Kaylee, then realizes he might not last against all of her attacks. He bolts for the door to join Werner outside. Werner meanwhile drops his crossbow and swings the Spear of Longinus he took from The God That Crawls into Sheila. (This is the first time Werner has used the spear. He does not know it yet, but he is now cursed, unable to be helped by spells cast by Clerics.) Sheila is killed by the blow. Kaylee arrives right behind Vilfolk.

They fight Kaylee in the doorway, blocking Adolph from helping… but still… six attacks a turn. They end up fighting defensively as they call for their companions to return.

The rest of the group is a few minutes away up the swamp. By the time they get back the fight will be over one way or another. But they hustle as fast as they can back south.

Adolph sneaks out a window with a club and tries to flank them. Lots of wounds back and forth, until both Kaylee and Adolph are dead.

Now, I didn’t expect this to happen. But now I’ve tipped my hand… the PCs all gather up, examine Kaylee’s corpse, and quickly surmise some sort of Spider Cult is busy in Bergenzel.

The group goes back to Herman’s shack. They aggressively demand he tell them what is going on. (They are certain everyone is in on it and are preparing to string up everyone.) They drag Herman’s ass up the path to his brother’s place and show him the corpse of his niece. He goes paler than he already is, drops to his knees, and passes out. Suddenly they are not sure if everyone in Bergenzel is already corrupt. (Note: Not everyone is.)

They leave Herman in the cottage, take his skiff, and make their way up to the church for more information.

LotFP Player Map Scenic Bergenzel


They find Father Iwonopolous. They know Father Jonah sent him to Bergenzel 20 years ago. But when they ask about how long he has been in in the village, he says about five years. And even then, in his eyes, he seems hazy and confused about the matter.

They tell him about Kaylee, and he begins to understand that Magda, living in a cottage north of the church, might be at the center of this. Many of the parishioners have invited him to go to her home and try to save her soul. The Players now suspect that getting folks to Magda’s place is ruse to get folks infected.

They ask about Rudolph Graupher. He is the explorer of other worlds they are seeking. (Although they might make some money collecting taxes, they really are here to track down clues to find him. They know his keep is in an hidden location in the Alsp. But they also know he might have a home here in Bergenzel.) The priest knows Graupher, though he can’t remember when he saw him last. But he will lead them to the house.


 

LotFP folio Qelong

They reach Graupher’s house. This was the Worldly Explorer’s Home in the Scenic Dunnsmouth rules. I have made it the Other Worldly’s Explorer’s home. It is the only element I “forced” when setting up the village. Everything else was random, per the Scenic Dunnsmouth rules.

By chance, the Other Worldly Explorer’s Home also is where Uncle Ivanovik (a terrifyingly powerful serial killer wielding a rusty two handed axe) has set up shop in Bergenzel. He is crazy, believes Magda was once his wife, and wants to kill her. He hunts people in the swamp, and then stuffs them like trophies. Here are my notes for the house. Some are straight from the book, others are altered because of my needs for the campaign:

WORLDLY EXPLORER’S HOME

Here lies the abandoned home of RUDOLPH GRAUPHER, a man of wealth who explored the alternate realities of many earths. Trinkets from these other worlds decorate each and every room of his three story brick home.

His parlour contains alien masks carved from a strange, greenish petrified wood, mannequins in Oriental looking silk dresses (three of them, each worth 100sp, though closer inspection reveals there is slit in the back for what might be a tail), and a fez sits on the mantelpiece underneath a shield with an emblem they do not recognize on it and a pair of swords of unseen design behind it. His fine leather furniture is protected by linen sheets. His dining room contains a solid oak table, a set of ten exquisitely carved chairs, and a fabulous oil painting mounted on one wall.

The painting is worth 40sp, but if the player characters have great knowledge of the art world the painting is actually from a famous Dutch museum (actually, a copy from an alternate Earth) (which apparently now houses a fraud) and is worth 45,000sp. No matter what the value of the painting, it depicts a dark haired noblewoman with an enigmatic smile.

At the top of the stairs stands a stuffed creature, like a bear but with feathers rather than fur and eyes all over its face, rearing up as if to attack. Grauphen’s bedroom contains lacquered wicker furniture and a heart shaped bed with zebra fur blankets.

A gem inlaid rapier (worth 650sp) and 4 bottles of expensive scotch (each worth 200sp) are tucked into his dresser.

Per the setup if Uncle Ivanovik has set up house, Graupher is dead and stuffed at the head of the table. There are also several adventurers, naked, gutted, and stuffed poorly, their feet nailed to the floor to keep them upright. They are in fierce poses to mimic the pose of the creature at the top of the stairs. (However, the creature’s taxidermy is done well… the work done on the dead men is not.)

The whole encounter played out with growing terror. At first, looking in the living room from the front door, it seemed like a normal but empty home.

But then one of the characters decided “Since we’re here…” to take a quick look inside. The door was unlocked, after all, so why not.

Stepping inside they saw the first of the stuffed and posed men. And from there the weirdness kept building… more naked and stuffed men. Artifact from alien worlds. And so on.

So they decided to explore the whole place after all. Everyone but Vilfolk made their way through the house, checking for traps, and exploring carefully. Vilfolk waited by the front door with the priest. The water of the flooded swamp reached right up to the doorway.


LotFP folio Gargantua

On the second floor of the house the Player Character found a dozen GLOBES… all showing continents and worlds that did not match any maps they had ever seen before.

They also found THREE SHEETS FROM A FOLIO that had been scattered on the floor.

The pages are covered with DRAWINGS. I described the drawings as looking tentative, as if the hand drawing them were finding the elements of the images “as if in a dream…

There are also, on each page, A COMBINATION OF NUMBERS of some sort. (You can see them you look at the accompanying photos.) The Player Characters will, if they track down the Graupher’s keep in the Alps, be able to use these numbers to travel to the worlds illustrated on each sheet.

Anikia, the Magic-User, meanwhile detects a scent in the room. It is similar to the Lotus Powder the adventurers found in Death Frost Doom, but processed in a different, magical manner. She has enough knowledge to recognize it as a powder used to alter one’s consciousness to dream of other places.

Next to a chair they find a hookah with the residue of the crystalized lotus powder, as well as a small table with a bottle of ink and a red pen which most likely had been used to make the drawings on the pages.

The group looks for other pages, but everything has been torn out of the folio, and most likely burned down in the still warm oven in the kitchen they explored on the first floor.

They also find a journal entry from Graupher.

LotFP folio Isle of the Unknown

So, the folio sheets…

These are props I made that tie directly to images from each of three locations I would love the Player Characters to go to. One set of images is Graupher dreaming of Quelong. Another set of images is the beanstalk that leads to Castle Gargantua. And the third set of images is Graupher catching glimpses of the Isle of the Unknown.

You will note, if you have a copy of Qelong, I stole liberally from Rich Longmore’s fantastic art from the interior of the book.

The Players LOVED the folio pages and are now wondering which world to go to, how to access the codes, and where to go to find their way to these other places.


Meanwhile, down by the front door, Uncle Ivanovik snuck up on Vilvolk and the priest.

Once again, I thought, “This is it! Vilfolk is going down!”

Here are Uncle Ivanovik’s stats:

UNCLE IVANOVIK
Armor Class: 14
Hit Dice: 11
72HP (+2 due to 16 CON)
Move: 120 (40)
Attacks: 1 (+13 to hit [HD11 + 17 STR])
(-2 for AC 15 or better for the Daggers and Straight Razors)
Damage
     Daggers 1d6
     Straight Razor 1d6
     Rusty Two-Handed Axe 1d10
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: Fighter 11
Morale: 8

He’s tough! And the PCs are all Third Level.

He surprised Vilfolk, getting a swing in, but only doing 3 points of damage.

On the next round Vilfolk got the initiative and swung the priest into Graupher’s house, following him, and slamming the door behind him. He bolted the door.

Uncle Ivanovik BANGED once on the door. It would take him a few minutes to break down the door. So he quietly snuck off into the swamp, leaving the group in the house.


The players now have the folio pages. They also know that there is a man in the village who sometimes did errands in the mountains and might know where Graupher’s keep is. They also know that there is a spider cult. They also know that there is something wrong with time in the village. And, most astoundingly of all, perhaps, they have found a painting worth 45,000sp! It’s in their hands and they could head home and forget about the spider cult and the time issues and call it a win.

We left the session there, with the group uncertain about which path they would follow when we reconvened.

Scenic Bergenzel

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Last week I used Scenic Dunnsmouth to roll up the random town. As I mentioned, I’m putting the location in my Fallen World campaign, nestled in a vale in the Alps.

So, here is Scenic Bergenzel for  tomorrow night. Each square is one inch. The brown sheet is for the Players to map as they explore the mist-shrouded town and discover its secrets.

They are looking specifically for the Other Worldly Explorer’s House (for information about how to travel to other worlds). But also to collect 1,200sp in back tax debt from the village, having purchased the debt from a priest for 500sp back in Murnau.

I went to Dyson’s version of his Dunnsmouth and stole a lot.

Fallen World Campaign [LotFP]–Fourteenth Session

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On Monday night, we found out what happened when one of the PCs took a two round ride in a chariot fixed with an axel found in an old crypt. Rauk ended up with a dark passenger — a figure made of blood with a bestial eye stalk, crystalline arms, as well as arms made of dead tree branches.

He managed to dominate the thing… but just as he did this, the chariot burned out from under him (along with the horses going up in flames as well) and he tumbled to the ground, distracting him, and freeing the creature from his concentration. After that, he had to outrun the thing for 21 rounds as it tried to maul him to pieces.

Rauk ran to a village just off the road, using villagers to distract the thing (only one villager died) and rushing in and out of homes. He managed to light thing on fire. It’s body of blood could take no normal damage… but its tree branch arms lit up with a roll of 4 on a d4… causing the arms to continue burning for several rounds with lots of 7s and 8s coming up on a d8. Rauk took several horrible swipes to the back, managing to live long enough to hear it vanish with a pop behind him on round 21.

So now we all know how the Summon rules work!

The group gathered back up and headed to Murnau, gathering information about the shrouded-in-mist-and-mystery town of Bergenzel (which is my campaign’s name for Scenic Dunnsmouth). They are traveling there to find information about an explorer they have heard about who has traveled to many worlds. In the town they not only heard more rumors, but found coins the adventurer had spent in Murnau from lands they could not identify. One had a language they could not read. The Magic-User cast a Comprehend Languages and the dead read the inscription around the image of a man to her: “Lanterius, King of Atlantis.” (This will lead to Isle of the Unknown.)  They also found a coin with the symbol of the Holy Roman Empire, but with the visage of a narrow face, with sharp cheekbones and pointed ears. (This is from Qelong and is from the Empire that has sent mercenaries into the valley.)

They spoke to the priest in Murnau, and bought the tax debt of Bergenzel (worth about 12,000sp) for 500sp off Murnau’s priest.

They traveled into the vales at the base of the alps, making their way through the deepening swamp. They found the boathouse (set at the edge of what had once been a river out of Bergenzel), spoke to an unfriendly member of the Von Kaus family, but got clues about where the adventurer’s home in Bergezenl, as well as the location of the church in order to collect the taxes.

And there we closed for the night.

Fallen World Campaign [LotFP]–Thirteenth Session

[Note: Spoilers about The God That Crawls below.]

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Tonight the players examined their hauls from the catacombs from The God That Crawls.

As noted in the previous write-up, the group brought a huge haul out of The God That Crawls. They have been flipping through the rule book, rented a farmhouse outside of Munich, hired an alchemist to reduce the prices for their magical research, and two guards.

They had hired the same two guards for the last few weeks in Munich. But this was the first time they really delved into the Retainers section. It really felt like they were committing to the game in a whole new way.

The Magic-User learned Identify. Then the group methodically cast it upon three items a day.

Identify
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: Touch

This spell allows the Magic-User to discern the magical properties of an item. The spell requires one uninterrupted day in a laboratory worth at least 1,000 sp to cast. At the end of the day, the Magic- User will have successfully determined one magical property of an item. The character will not know if there are additional properties unless he casts Identify again and another magical property of the item is determined. He will only know all of the magical properties of an item when he casts the spell and no new property is identified; both the “wasted” day and the “wasted” casting of Identify confirming that the item has no further properties. Note that a cursed item will not be identified as cursed, but as the item it pretends to be. This spell does not reveal command words. Each casting of the spell, successful or not, requires the expenditure of 100 sp worth of ingredients.

They learned that the chariot axel lets one travel 1-100 miles in six seconds. They tried it out, with the PC who already owned a chariot before they found the axel (!) very excited about giving it a go. He went for 1 Round, traveling 74 miles before stopping. He took a few Hit Points of damage, which he handles easily. (He’s a 3rd Level Fighter.) His cart and warhorses were consumed by the flame, of course. So in the village he stopped at he commissioned a new chariot and bought two new horses.

Meanwhile, at the farmhouse, the rest of the group continued identify objects: The plant fed with blood, the spear the pierced Jesus, and so on.

They were amazed and delighted when the Identify allowed them the secret of the handle wood box. “There’s a City of the Stars on the far side of the Moon!” they shouted. “We have to go!”

So, now they have a new objective. I have no idea how they’ll get there or what is there. But I’m intrigued enough with their delight to figure it out and make it possible.

Meanwhile, the Fighter–his new chariot ready–got on board, this time declaring he would go for two rounds. He only traveled 34 miles this time, and took, once more, an insignificant amount of damage. But he failed his Save Vs. Magical Device and something [a Summoned Creature] appeared in the chariot next to him.

And there we paused.

The first thing we’ll do at the next session is sit around the table and roll up the creature riding alongside the PC in the chariot.

Fallen World Campaign [LotFP] – Eighth thru Twelfth Session Report

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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…

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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.]

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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.

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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

Notes:
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…


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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!”
“Great!”

“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.

Fallen World Campaign [LotFP] – Seventh Session Report

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At the end of the last session, the Players decided their Character would head for the strange bug marking they had found on a map inside the skin of a dying Knight of the Order Medicinal. This meant they were heading toward Karlstadt! This meant we would soon be playing Better Than Any Man!

I created the inserts for the center and right panels of my Referee screen to help me with running the massive book. In the middle panel are ilustrations of the The Seven, their names, their nicknames, images of their familiars, a listing of their spells, the locations of their homes in Karlstadt. In the right panel is a timeline of the events in the region, the random encounter list, and the rumors found with Karlstatdt. (The left panel are tables from the LotFP rule books (reaction tables, morale table, movement table, and so on.)

Well… I never got to use any of it. Because a funny thing happened on the way to Karlstadt…

On their way from the small village at the base of the Alps beneath the shrine of the Duvan’Ku (DFD), the Player Characters decided to stop in Munich to resupply and let the magic users share spells.

So while the magic users were busy with their homework, the specialist and the fighter went off to pursue more information about the rumors they picked up during play over the last few sessions.

The fighter was curious about the rumors of a man who lived in the mountains and said to be possessed. Digging around Munich for a week and a half (and paying 20 silver pieces as his expenses, per the rules for rumors from Qelong) he found out details of the man who had a base in the Alps.

Apparently this man claimed to travelled to different worlds and come back with treasures. (These rumors will lead the PCs to the Isle of the Unknown if they choose to track this adventurer to his home. The home is abandoned and the man is long gone. But there is a rigged sailing ship in an underground lake that can travel back and forth between the lake and the waters around the Isle.)

Meanwhile, the specialist (who is reading The Million Violations, by the way, which he took from the Duvan’Ku shrine!) wanted to ask around Munich for more information about the Duvan’Ku.

I remembered that in the book in the cabin of Death Frost Doom the players could learn that the Duvan’Ku have been based in Munich 500 years earlier. So I figured, “Sure, why not! There’s something to find!”

I rolled for a random NPC Encounter from Vornheim (after the PC payed his silver.). I got an MU who sold familiars. That didn’t really fit in with setting, so I decided he was a crazy old guy who thought he was an MU who sold mice he claimed were familiars. He also had actual rumors about the Duvan’Ku in Munich at the beginning of the city’s history.

He found a man who claimed to know a bit about the Duvan’Ku having been wiped out 500 years earlier.

At first, thinking fast, I thought I’d drop Stonehall under Munich. But I realized it would be too weird for the immediate locale. It also wouldn’t fit with the Duvan’Ku.

Instead, I decided to fold The God That Crawls into the earth beneath Munich.

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As the PCs puzzled out rumors, Googled the history of Munich, and decided how they would track down tales from 500 years ago from a barely literate time, I decided the Duvan’Ku base had been cleared out, but the potent magic remained. A monastery built in Munich 500 years earlier (when Munich was first founded) had been razed during the destruction of the Duvan’Ku base. It later became the site of a church.(People didn’t know about the Duvan’Ku connection 300 years later (it’s all hush-hush stuff, after all.), but new the monetary had once been there.).

And that latent power of the site ultimately allowed a holy man to become the crawling God beneath the streets of Munich..

The PCs went to orphanages looking for tales of bogeyman stretching back hundreds of years. They figured that since the Duvan’Ku  leave no monuments and keep their deeds secret they were looking for tales of people vanishing in the early years of Munich’s founding.

(This line of investigation began when one of the players declared, “We’ve noy going to find anything looking for clues left by the Duvan’Ku. We need to see this from the point of view of the people the Duvan’Ku affected.” Which is how I had already decided the situation would play out. And then they decided to track down tales of Boogey Men passed down through the centuries. I love my players!)

They finally found tales of Brother Death from the days of Munich’s beginning, connected to the original monastery. They followed those rumors to a closed up church near the southeast corner of the city’s wall built 200 years ago where the monastery had been.

They made their way in to the church at night. (Father Karl  and the parishioners of the neighborhood and watching them, waiting for them to get deep enough inside to force them into the pit.)

The PCs examined the paintings and got far enough into the church to find the pit, and there we stopped.

Not only is a good cliffhanger but to the party members were not present this evening and I don’t want to move for without everyone who might be involved In any decision or action that leads the party going down that picked.

Oh, and the fighter bought a mouse from the man who claims to be a sorcerer. He bought the “familiars” for 25 silver pieces. It should be noted that’s when one of the party magic users cast detect magic on the mouse it was indeed magical.

I am really determined to be as open as I can in letting the characters make the decisions about which way they want to go and what they want to do.

I’m also determined to stitch together the campaign with callbacks and clues and ideas that the players form, letting their curiosity and what they care about become the focus of the game. Between all the LotFP material I have and a let’s-d-this attitude about improvising character details and situations on-the-fly I’m excited to see where we will end up by the time it is all done.

I should also note that the players were fascinated by the snow globes in DFD, so the theme I’ve been building in the campaign (since the start) of many alternate worlds and dimensions is going to pay off in spades.

Fallen World Campaign [LotFP] – Sixth Session Report

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Third Part of Death Frost Doom in my ongoing Lamentations of the Flame Princess game.

First session was the cabin. Second session was the base of the shaft to finding the Sacred Parasite.

The Players stared at the horror of the Sacred Parasite. They saw The World Stone, their quest object, resting on an alter just visible on the other side of the creature. They didn’t know what to do. But they did recognize him both from the mural in the chapel and the carving in the small box they found.

They decided they were going to show the image in the box to the Sacred Parasite. Two of the PCs went back to the chapel to wait by the organ with the Imperial Hymn sheet music ready to go. (Which they had deduced could control the undead.) They were told to start playing if the Sacred Parasite’s singing at any point.

The three remaining PC’s had oil and flame ready. One PC stepped up, extending the box out on the tip of his spear to the Sacred Parasite. (Unwittingly staying just far enough away to avoid triggering an attack.) The box caught the attention of the Sacred Parasite, and, per the rules, he became stunned and stopped singing as he looked at this memory of who he used to be.

So, the singing stops, and then.. from far down the echoing corridor, music plays from the organ. It was a great, creepy, comic moment!

But also in that moment Werner, one of the PCs, BOLTED into the room, no knowing how long the Sacred Parasite would be stunned but knowing this was his chance.

He squeezed his way around the creature, making climbing rolls aided by having read the mountain climbing book found in the cabin. He had three rounds to get to the other side, grab things, and get back. (He didn’t know that was how long the Sacred Parasite would be stunned. He was just hustling.)

He cracked some of the spheres. Souls escaped. The other PCs burned them as the liquid slide along the floor.

Werner reached the altar. He grabbed The World Stone and the book he saw lying there. He left the two goblets knowing he did not want to risk hanging out any longer than he had to in the same room with the creature.

There was some miscommunication on my part. The player in the High Alter thought he could travel faster than 10’ per round. But no, he would have been in there for four minutes. Because I had made the mistake I cut him some slack and he got out one round earlier avoiding being next to the creature as it snapped out of its reverie. Werner ran as fast as he could from the Sacred Parasite. The creature reached for him, missing. The next round the Sacred Parasite vomited its magical poisonous liquid down the corridor and hit one of the PCs–but only for a couple points of damage.

And then they ran.

And I’ll make this short: they ran and they lived. They did it right. They knew their objectives, they mess around, they get out alive.

They climbed up Werner’s rope ladder, spiked the trap door shut, and went down the mountain.

After that they track down a couple of the nights of the Order Medicinal, got some extra exposition about the shrine, and then made plans for the next session to head to a place within scene a marking of a bug on a magical map and found sessions earlier.

And that was Death Frost Doom.

Fallen World Campaign [LotFP] – Fifth Session Report

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My group played in Death Frost Doom across three sessions.

The first was covered in a previous post. The PCs met Zeke, explore the cabin, opened the trap door, and then returned to Zeke’s from the mask  to rest and leave behind some of the haul they had found. They returned to the cabin, made their way down the shaft to the corridor filled with tiny carved faces, and we stopped there for the evening.

The second session began with them moving forward down the corridor, the lantern light reflecting off the small faces and feeding into darkness beyond. They found the huge gargoyle face door. Hesitated a moment before turning the key found in its mouth and proceeded forward.

The first room was filled with the writing desks in the bone hands and arms. Sheets of paper or upon the tables. They searched the room thoroughly and I ruled that they found the traces of some of the answers given by the magical power of the room on the remaining sheets–the impression of the answers left behind from the sheets that have been about them when the hands wrote.

They found answers about villages the Duvan’Ku could raid–which freaks them out. But then they also found answers from sorcerers from Carcoas who would come to explore and had been captured by the Duvan’Ku. Their answers involved the World Stone, which is the item that they had heard about from Sir Boris, a dying knight of the Order Medicinal who had been tortured by the mutated villagers controls by the forces on Carcosa. It was one of the key reasons they had traveled to the shrine. This was the quest item they sought.

But even more disturbing one of the answers revealed that to activate the World Stone would require three sacrifices. Still they pressed on.

They opened the double-breasted doors sealed with a thin layer of frost, each door emblazoned with the symbol of death.

They entered the chapel, too large for their lanterns to illuminate fully the darkness extending before them. They explore the room finding each of the items within. One of them, with taking careful notes so far during play, stood before the tapestry of the hanging women and spoke to Molly, assuring her that the remains had been honored and taken care of by Zeke. Her image vanished from the mural and everyone received 100 XP. To the players took the cursed items from the altar. (Neither the have entered combat yet, so while it detect magic spell cast days later revealed that they were influenced by magic, they have yet to discover what the effect will be or even that they are cursed.)

They played with the organ, and found the hidden valuables within. They found the box with the carved features of the man with a would later recognize as the Sacred Parasite.

They tried various methods of opening a locked panel leading to the crypts, but didn’t make a connection immediately between the teeth in the basins in the door.

Instead they traveled to the door to the north and explored the living quarters area. They found many items, all of them in fact. Including the strange mask with the rotted teeth that stank of the basin water in the chapel. This was an aha! moment. They returned to the chapel, pried a tooth from the mask, and dropped it in the basin.

Nothing happened. And in the moment after that there was a delicious moment of “Ooooooooh,” as all of the players realized at the same instant one of the PCs was going to have to give up the tooth to activate the magic.

The PCs drew straws (rolled dice) with the shortest straw having to give up the tooth. One of the magic users was the designated tooth-offerer. The specialist used pliers from his kit to pry a tooth loose. They dropped it in the basin and the door opened.

By this time several skulls had fallen and they had figured out the timing system about 40 minutes had passed and they knew they had to keep moving.

One by one by one by one by one they opened the vault doors, peered inside, took stock of the kind of people buried in particular crypt, and moved on quickly. (I should note that one of my players is the son of a professor of Greek antiquity (one of the top three in the world, in fact) and he greatly appreciated the accuracy of the dead being buried in groups by the social station.)

They were very clever and booby-trapped each vault door. They left each door slightly ajar and balanced a list later atop it after splashing a flask of oil along the floor inside the doorway of the crypt. Thus if anything inside the crypt pushed open the door the burning lantern would fall to the floor and ignite the oil along the floor inside the crypt. This would of course burn any undead heading to the door, and the bodies would pile up tripping up those behind them as those bodies burned in turn.

It was at this moment that I realized DFDs reputation as some sort of killing machine might not be deserved. My players are being very smart. They were cautious (for the most part), think their way through the puzzles, and all rebuilding their exit strategy if everything should go to hell.

There’s nothing extraordinary about this. The Referee Book makes it quite clear that the game is not about combat, that the world is a dangerous place that is out to kill you, and that you will have to outsmart it if you are to survive. Poking about into every corner is not the strategy at hand. It is to know your ambitions and stay focused on them, mitigating risk whenever you can.

[It was this blog post at Hack & Slash that me maybe understand how this kind of play works. And my players were playing out in style.]

They made their way up the corridor along the crypts, found the Hall Of Memory, and the eyepiece that lets them read Duvan’Ku. (Which one of my players declared the coolest magic item he ever gotten in a game. Which speaks volumes about how engrossed they were in the growing mysteries of the Duvan’Ku and their desire to have more control over their interactions with them. Clearly the Duvan’Ku is an organization to play up in this campaign.)

They made their way up to the turn in the corridor. (Here I made an error. I forgot to bring up the eye of eyes. But we moved on with little loss I think. Though I would have loved to see their reaction.)

They turned the corner and came to the fountains of the children. They opened the crypt. And the son of the antiquarian was properly freaked out because this he had not expected.

They moved a few feet further down the corridor, hearing the strange unearthly song they’ve been hearing the entire time within the shrine louder and louder and now right before them… As the Sacred Parasite came into view.

And here we stopped for the evening.