Saturday, May 16, 2020

19 April and 2 May 2020: Rats! Fatigue!

Dramatis personae

Horace, wizard
Felcanis, elf cleric
Jiro, swordswoman
Lucdalen, elf-hating elf wizard/thief
Kurt, hobbit fighter

Quid occurrit

The party makes it to the door, and Horace remembers something about a second front door behind the first in his reading about the Cairn. Lucdalen casts Detect Magic and finds no magic on the door, but finds some kind of non-magical trap near the top. As the door is locked, Lucdalen casts Mage Hand and tries to pick the lock with it, but fails. So, he shrugs and casts Lockmaster. Problem solved, but … no second door. Suspicious, Horace casts See Secrets and finds the second door at the ceiling, right behind the first, and going to slam down on anyone who walks through the first door. Lucdalen, however, disables the trap.

The group plans to rest a bit after its wizards have cast spells, but Felcanis casts Lend Energy to help speed the resting.

Speeding this up to skip the rest is good because once they step inside, they see some scurrying on the floor from four giant rats, amazed to see light from the door (though some comes from the east). While Jiro hangs back, Kurt runs up to a rat and grabs it, trying to get a new mount. Horace casts Armor 2 on Lucdalen, while Felcanis tries to run up to a rat and smack it with her mace, and misses. Kurt and the rat keep up their wrestling match, while Horace casts Shield 1 on Jiro. The other three rats back away, while the rat with Kurt tries to bite him, and doesn’t do anything from the hobbit-hold. Jiro at last runs up to Kurt’s rat, and sticks her sword into him (the rat has a big set of rat balls). The rat stays awake, but Lucdalen ends his life with Steal Vitality.

After this, the group rests for a half hour, and nothing shows up in that time. They choose to go through a door to their west, which Lucdalen doesn’t think has any traps. Kurt goes into the room, which is empty with no other ways out, and walks around, looking for stuff. Instead, once he tries to go out, he steps on a floor tile which triggers a trap, which unleashes a rain of darts on his left hand and left leg. However, owing to his armor, these darts only go “ping ping ping” instead of hurting him. Lucdalen goes inside to see what he missed, and finds that the trap is out of darts. He also finds that there are some cheesecloth wrappers and crumbs that someone threw into a corner, and these wrappers do not have the layer of dust that the rest of the room has all over it. Horace again casts See Secrets, and finds none in this room.

Then the group goes down a short flight of stairs to the east into the lighted area. They see that this lighted area is a big garden, with Continual Sunlight or something akin all over the ceiling and raising the mana of the area. There’s a stream to their east, running from the outside (they saw a stream outside, so this is presumably the same one) and a bridge going over it, and on that bridge are two ogres. The ogres, whose call each other Grog and Ugh, are grousing about not killing a rat and going hungry, and do not see the heroes. Jiro moves hand over hand alongside the bridge, trying to sneak up on the ogres, but Kurt throws his axe at them, missing them and letting them know he’s there. The ogres, hungry, move to fight Kurt. Felcanis casts Shield 3 on herself, while Lucdalen also starts casting a spell. Felcanis’s spell leads Ugh to say that he doesn’t like “magic woman” because she is “like big snake woman!” while Grog says he doesn’t like either the magic woman or the big snake woman. Horace casts a small Fireball, which burns bright in his hand, while Felcanis fires up a Sunbolt. Kurt throws another axe, which hits Ugh in the leg, and when Grog and Ugh try to rush Kurt and smack his head with their mauls, Ugh’s maul handle breaks. Horace lobs his little Fireball which whizzes past Kurt and the ogres, while Felcanis’s Sunbolt goes past Grog and hits Ugh. Not a good day for Ugh, since he also didn’t kill a rat earlier, by his own admission. Lucdalen gets off his Sleep spell on Grog, who passes out, then Kurt swings his pick into Ugh’s innards, taking him down.

After resting a bit, Horace checks out the nearest tree. It’s an alder tree whose catkins have black-and-blue stripes, which are not normal. Kurt sees some more giant rats beyond the tree, and throws his axe at them, missing them. Kurt then goes to get back his axe, and two of the rats bite into his armor when he does so. The rats swarm around Kurt, and three try to bite but somehow do not hit him (two miss critically, as it happens; I figure the chance of all three rats missing is 1-in-1,260). Kurt whips out another axe and tries to hit a rat but slips and falls, then misses with his mace and axe again while on the ground. Lucdalen steps behind a rat and stabs it from behind with his spear. That rat starts to back off a bit and the others try to bit Kurt in the chinks in his armor, but get nowhere. Horace, bored, casts a small Fireball, while Kurt at last hits a rat with his axe and mace. Lucdalen misses with his spear and Horace hits a wounded rat with his Fireball, which passes out while the others panic and flee from the fire.

After some rest, Horace looks at another tree, which has oddly long-and-pointed cones. This puzzles him, though he does recall that the goddess Rōripermónē sent a servitor to watch over the garden.

Lucdalen spots a door and unlocks it. Horace thinks the room might be part of a temple of tome farming-oriented sect, and recalls that the room has a 1-yard wide hole in the ground with a metal spinner at the top and a big fan blade at the bottom. Maybe they churned butter in it. Anyways, they try to go into the room, and Kurt feels a magical hand keeping him from going inside, though Lucdalen has no problems. Lucdalen and Horace feel some kind of weird magic with the door. Lucdalen casts Suspend Magic on the doorway, which lets Kurt and the others go through the door.

All this spell casting makes the gang rest. As it does so, a man-sized viper slithers through the door. Kurt tries to grab it, but misses, and the snake backs off. The gang keeps resting.

Lucdalen sends a Wizard Eye through an ajar door to the north and sees a big slab floating three feet above the ground. After telling this to Horace, Horace peeks and sees the slab, and thinks the slab is made of pure magic, and it’s at the height of a big banquet table. Lucdalen sends the Wizard Eye into another room, and sees many puddles of a clear liquid as well as a wooden sign in a strange tongue by the door.

Res aliae

This was two sessions worth, which is a grind since the group is spellcaster-heavy. Using the fatigue rules as-written and making sure random encounters happen while characters are resting is a way to make sure those spellcasters don't overcome everything, and Lucdalen and Horace are both built to bypass challenges. Fatigue is also a hassle to track for those who aren't used to handling a spellcaster.

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