Saturday, November 3, 2012

Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad/Crypt of the Lizard King, Session 2

Last night I ran session 2 of my Crypt of the Lizard King adventure arc. As a reminder, this is a part of the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad campaign that Adam M. and I are running.

Last time, a group of 16 zero-level mooks washed ashore near the village of Redflood, after the slave ship on which they were captive hit the rocks and broke up during a fierce storm raging on the Winedark Sea. Morning found them the only survivors, less the First Mate and cabin boy of the Sea Pig. They beat down the First Mate, with hopes of selling him into slavery (no strangers to irony, they), but inexplicably left him tied up on the beach. They made their way to the village, and were sent on an errand to rescue the village's healer from marauding bandits.

During the raid on the bandits' hideout (an old wolves' den, apparently), they lost three members of their band (including one of their trio of urchins), but managed to kill most of the bandits, and to capture two of them, including their leader. At that point, the healer they were sent to rescue asked them to rescue her daughter, who apparently had been dragged off for a little (non-consensual) sexy-times with one of the bandits. He was attacked by a creature unknown, and she did not return either. The PCs agreed to investigate, and that's where we ended the first session.

For this session, all four players returned with their stables of surviving funnel characters. Present were:

Adam (my co-GM): Corn Farmer, Barber, Elven Sage
Wayne: Confidence Artist, Turnip Farmer
Bear: Halfling Vagrant, Urchin, Elven Falconer, Armorer
Gabriel: Corn Farmer, Dwarven Miner, Minstrel

The players decided to "volunteer" the two bandits to serve as torchbearers and point-men. The bandits cleared out the barricaded entrance to the tunnel where the bandit and the girl were allegedly attacked, and they began to explore it. The search revealed the grisly remains of the healers daughter, who looked to have been chewed upon by something with sharp teeth and claws. She was well beyond the possibility of rescue. They also found that the seemingly natural cavern was not actually natural, but camoflage for something else: in this case, a partially collapsed wall of hexagonal stones with a small opening into the darkness beyond.

The stones were marked with symbols of unknown provenance. Gabriel's dwarven miner went to examine them, and they affected him strangely. He described it as being like having a word on the tip of your tongue but not being able to say it. He did say with great certainty, though, that this well was, up until the time of the recent earthquake, the site of a powerful magical ward of some kind. The ward has fallen along with the stone.

First area: They sent their prisoners through hole with lit torches.

A large staircase (west) descends about 25 feet into a large, open room with 4 huge, crudely cut pillars. There are murals on the walls depicting battle scenes among humans and lizard-like creatures arrayed in flamboyant armor and armed with metal weapons.  There are many large ceramic urns here. A few have been spilled or broken. They are empty now, their contents having turned to dust many years ago. A search reveals insects, dead bugs, and a few bones, probably of vermin of some sort.

In the northern part of the room, a cave-in has occurred, and the rock fall has tumbled out almost to the stairs. The rocks are large and grayish, and came from both the wall and ceiling. The pile is about 12 feet high at its tallest. The rocks seem fairly stable. Someone with knowledge of mining or stonework could probably tell how stable it all is (DC 8). {which was failed, of course} A successful check suggests that this rubble is fairly stable, but is the result of several falls occurring over the last several years, with the most recent occurring only in the last few days (probably at the time of the recent earthquake).

Then they saw it: A grayish lizard man came into the circle of light, and almost immediately attacked. WHO DIED HERE?

After dispatching the undead lizardman thing, the PCs were able to examine the room a bit more. They found a rusty (but still serviceable) mace.

To the east was a set of double doors. They checked for traps and, finding none, opened the doors and peered inside.

Double doors open into a 10 foot wide, 10 foot high hallway, sloping downward at a 15 degree angle toward another set of double doors 50 feet further along. Above the entrance to the hallway is an opening in the ceiling, which is as wide as the corridor, and about 6 feet East/West.

The floor of the corridor has a cracked area just under the opening in the ceiling, and roundish gouges mar the beautiful mosaics that line the interior walls. The mosaics are abstract but alien in design, and are made of tile and semiprecious and mundane stones.  If the PCs take the time to pry out the stones, they are worth 5d30 sp total. {As it turned out, they got 49 sp on the roll. Terrible roll. Just for kicks, Adam rolled again and got 118 sp. We went, of course, with the initial roll.}

About halfway down the corridor, there are 18 holes in the ceiling. They are oval in shape about 3 inches wide and 6 inches long. {Since they didn't look up at the ceiling in this area--they were fixated on the pit--they didn't see these} About 10 feet further along there is a dark smear on the floor and some crushed bone fragments, a bent belt buckle, and a broken short sword.
At the end of the hallway is a deep pit about 10 feet East/West and as wide as the North/South mosaic walls. It's 15 feet deep, and at the bottom is a stone roller about five feet thick and almost as wide as the corridor (so 10 feet down to rounded surface of the stone roller). 

The PCs found that they could leap across the pit (about 7 feet across) to a small ledge.

The party checked the doors for traps and found none. However, opening the right-hand door triggered a trap (bronze javelins strike the area in front of the pit). One of the javelins hit Gabriel's corn farmer, killing him, and required the three standing uphill from the pit a reflex save in order not to fall into it. The one who failed was a bandit/prisoner. He took four points of damage in the fall, but survived. 

In jumping the pit, all except one of them made it. another of the party's ubiquitous urchins (Wayne's urchin, I believe). He broke his neck, and is dead, dead, dead. Stuck in the pit with the bandit, and a wearing a valuable suit of chain mail. All of a sudden, the party is down to its last urchin. Who could have foreseen?

Next room:

This huge, oval room (50 x 100 feet x 40 feet high) is dominated by a 25 foot high, bronze statue of a lizardman warrior. It is wearing elaborate armor and carries a vicious-looking spear. It also has uncut rubelite tourmaline eyes (worth 50 sp each). Surrounding the statue are four sarcophagi, each on the cross-shaped dais on which the huge statue sits.

There are two moldering wooden chests here. They may once have contained foodstuffs and drink, but now only contain empty ceramic bottles with stoppers. These may be worth something to the right collector of antiquities.

The room also is ringed with sarcophagi. They contain the mundane remains of lizardman warriors in armor and equipped with weapons. Only bronze spearheads and daggers remain, and the straps of the armor have rotted away. The remaining parts seem to be made of a chitinous material of various colors (red, green, black, gold, and purple). If harvested, the weapons and armor may be worth something.

There is another rock fall in the northern part of the room, and a large crack in the ceiling and floor. A cold, damp breeze flows up from the crack in the floor, which is about 2.5 feet wide. Inspection reveals that the fissure is not completely vertical, and the PCs cannot see the "bottom." It is possible that they could use a rope to descend it, should it not narrow too much, though they could be in danger of becoming stuck if it does narrow.

More importantly, as they began to enter the room, they were almost immediately attacked by more of the undead lizard guys (Properly: Lizardman Tomb Guardians).

The PCs rolled well, and I rolled very, very poorly for the baddies. They killed a total of 6 Lizardman Tomb Guardians. The dwarf climbed the statue to remove uncut rubelite tourmalines worth 50 sp each. There's a large crack in floor here. They also looted the ring of sarcophagi for bronze weapons and more of the odd, chitinous armor. Both elves are now armed with daggers of bronze. Despite a desire to mount the spearheads, the armorer says they don't have the equipment to do it, but it could be done later. A further search, and some scrutiny reveals a damaged mosaic which hides secret door. This is found by the dwarven miner. He moves to open it, and it breaks into pieces and falls to the floor. Beyond, there is a stair leading down.

They pull the bandit guy out of the pit and send him and the bandit leader down the stairs at the front of the party. Here's what they found:

If the players find the secret entrance to this room, they will go down about 15 feet along a stairway that stretches 30 feet to the east.

The room is 15 feet wide, 15 feet high, and 80 feet long. There are more murals on the walls, this time depicting more mundane scenes of lizardman life and culture. Scenes have a very nautical theme, and show a city that seems partly sunken into water or swamp. The walls are painted rather than tiled.

At the end of the room is another sarcophagus. 

A check for traps revealed a needle trap of some kind. When their initial attempts to disarm it failed, I attributed it to lack of proper tools (like maybe a piece of wire or something). Gabriel's minstrel provides a string from his ukulele to disarm the trap. Genius! They open the sarcophagus to reveal a shaft leading down. There's a corroded, bronze ladder here. It doesn't look trustworthy. They decide to send a bandit down, using the ladder and supporting himself with one hand on a rope. He failed his agility check and fell 18 feet. He also is dead, dead, dead. The party tied knots in the rope and eschewed use of the ladder. This reduced the DC for the descent, and everyone else made their rolls.

Now the party stands in a 30 x 40 room with a very large (20 feet wide) stairway leading down to the east. 

And that's where we stopped.