PrinceCon 38 recap — Alex’s scenario

Backstory

The people of the Republic long practiced ancestor worship, calling upon a variety of tutelary deities to intercede for them.  Though active worship has waned, these spirits continue to protect the people and places to which they have become attached.  Some watch over the great families, while others literally strengthen the walls of the cities.

Now, though, the nymphaea (places where ancestor worshipers can commune with tutelary spirits) of the Republic are being corrupted by the Walkers in the Afterworld (a group of Thoki-worshiping OrcTuskan Inferii left over from the destruction of the City of Troll), and lure spirits into a trap that forces them to fight in the new “virtual arena” of the Colosseum until destroyed.

Some of the Gwhi’s ancestral spirits have been trapped, too, and once the Gwhi figured out that the problem was coming from inside Clio, they invaded.  Unfortunately, many more of Clio’s spirits have been destroyed — the Terminus of Walpole was destroyed shortly before the invasion, and Walpole’s walls fell too easily before the Gwhi’s onslaught.

Additionally, the pieces of the destroyed spirits are being used by to create a “master spirit”, Baron Samedhi, which could try to challenge Ronkel’s position as god of death.

Runs

“The Refugees”

Dramatis Personae

Alissandra, Nymphidae Guardian
Brunhilda, Daglirae Hero of Daglir
Corwin, Human Hero of Ratri
Rasha, Human Mage of Magus
Uig Scolari, Human Guardian of Janda

The hook: In the late afternoon, the PC’s are put on “dead Nim cleanup” and told to deal with a Nymphidae named Goldberry, who has been asking around the Hall of Heroes for someone to come see to a refugee from Walpole who has died.

On the run: Goldberry escorts the PC’s to the Nymphidae ghetto on the northwest side of the Olivine Hill. As they approach the gates to the community, they are met by Rowan, who says the ghetto was invaded by 5 strangers in dark grey cloaks who killed several Nymphidae and kidnapped two of the Walpole refugees, Gilly and Willow, along with the body of Thorn, the dead refugee. No one is sure where the intruders went.

The party tracked footprints to a dead-end at the other edge of the ghetto, in an area that has been mostly deserted, where they stop dead at a wall.  Quickly checking the other side of the wall, they see the tracks don’t continue.  They eventually discover that the alley is covered in a hallucination, and find that the real tracks lead to an abandoned building with a trapdoor in the floor.

Travelling as quickly as possible through the tunnel they discovered (Brunhilda noting that it was cleverly, but sloppily, built), the party missed the pit with poisoned spikes at the bottom… and the second… and the third, though to be fair, after the first they put a Levitate upon Corwin, who was taking point.

They eventually end up at the bottom of a dried-up well, at the top of which was a lost Nymphaeum on the eastern side of the Olivine, which had been buried under a landslide long ago.  The PC’s send up Corwin, invisible and with blindsight, who sees 3 tall, man-sized figures in robes standing around two unconscious nymphidae, with the dead body of Thorn nearby… and two more figures, taking up a position watching the well.  They take a few moments to prepare, hasting the two heroes, then while Brunhilda comes charging out of the well, Corwin sneak attacks the two watchers, expecting to drop them because of his 3 levels of sneak attack.  (Unfortunately for Corwin, his targets are undead).  In the ensuing battle, Corwin is knocked unconscious and Brunhilde is brought below negative hit points, and the spellcasters are nearly out of spell points(see below) and low on HP themselves.  Fortunately, the enemy heroes and two of the enemy spellcasters (including the cleric) had dropped, leading to a grappling attempt by Rasha (a mage) and Alissandra (a strength 8 guardian) on the last enemy spellcaster as he tried to escape with one of the Nims down a hidden tunnel (hilarity ensued).  Uig, who had the very last spell points in the party, played the part of a cleric by casting Enhance Ability (Constitution).  Corwin became conscious, and made short work of the final enemy.

Signature moment?: One of the enemy spellcasters was focused entirely upon counterspelling; unfortunately for him, the players had already blown nearly all of their spell points prior to the battle.  However, it was dark up there, and only Brunhilda and Corwin (and their opponents) could really see what they were doing.  Alissandra (who was completely out) hit upon the idea of casting the cantrip Mage Light, and since it was the only spell being cast that round, the enemy caster counterspelled it (and then prepped snowball the following round).

With only 40 minutes before Brunhilda and Corwin would become unconscious again (when Enhance Ability stopped), the party made their way back to Goldberry in the Nymphidae ghetto with the stolen bodies — Gilly lived, Willow died shortly before the party arrived — and the party notes that the wound on Thorn is the distinctive ‘X’ wound on Julius Augustus Arathorn.

Sensing this is important, the party reports this to the Ronkel church.  They are shocked by the news, and want the body immediately brought to the church; the party demures (Goldberry said something about wanting to send Thorn’s and Gilly’s spirits back to their ancestors), but then word comes from Sextus that he will go alone with the party to the Nim ghetto in order to examine the body.  He declares it to be a copycat killing (never mind that the death occurred around the same time as Julius’s murder) and says there is no danger of the madness spreading from this body.

Goldberry thanks the PC’s for their help, and invites them to the ceremony to send Thorn’s and Gilly’s spirits back to their ancestors.  Gilly’s goes smoothly, but Thorn’s is unable to leave.  Communing with the spirits, Goldberry declares that Thorn’s body needs to be returned to Walpole (next run!).

However, this party wasn’t finished yet.  Not by a long shot.  There was still the matter of that tunnel the last enemy tried to escape down.  Returning to the scene, they found that the tunnel had been filled in while they were away.  Apparently, there was a larger organization at work that didn’t want to be followed!  In a fit of conscientiousness that could double as a nomination for Death Wish, the party rounded up a group of Daglirae workmen and had them reopen the tunnel, then followed it down into catacombs of the undercity (using ropes instead of a Levitate because, in Alissandra’s words, “short ropes don’t cost spell points”), where they witnessed more of the “tall men in gray” meeting with some human followers.  The party debated whether to fireball the meeting, but eventually decided to simply observe and then return home after discovering there were dozens of undead wandering the crypts.

“Walpole”

Dramatis Personae

Horace Worthington Gruntworth, Hogbound Guardian Mavors
Horvot, Hogbound Guardian of Gaia
Jonicus, Human Hero (Ancestors)
Lorenzo Domenico, Nymphidae Mage of Magus
Lunarius Tau, Human Guardian

The hook: The PC’s return Thorn’s body to Walpole, where her spirit can then inhabit a nymphaeum.

On the run:  While exploring the destruction of the city, they encounter a horse that appears to have more than human intelligence.  It calls for a group of the Ghwi rearguard, essentially an NPC party of player-level characters from the Ghwi equivalent of HH.  Some of the adventuring Epon have ancient crystal weapons, passed from parent to child, that have the odd inscription “Induemus Lancea”. The Ghwi have no idea what this means.

The party surprises the Ghwi with 4 fireballs, but some of the Ghwi heroes survive to charge the party and inflict serious damage before dying.  The party completes its mission to return Thorn’s body to a nymphaeum, and learns from her spirit that the tutelary deities from the Republic are under attack from unknown sources.  From other statements she makes, they also begin to suspect that her father might have been the Julius.

Also see Steve’s take on the events: http://princecon.org/pcon38/steve-2.pdf

 

“Walkers in the Afterworld”

Dramatis Personae

Holly Wood, Human Hero of Gaia

Horvot, Hogbound Guardian of Gaia

Jaysa Windwhisper, Nymphidae Hero of Gaia

Jonicus, Human Hero (Ancestors)

Puddlebee Hogsworth, Hogbound Cleric of Gaia

 

On the run:

The PC’s are asked to investigate strange disturbances on the property of a leading citizen.  They discover that the grounds contain a nymphaeum.  They also discover a group of undead that bring a kidnapped citizen to the nymphaeum, and battle and destroy the undead.  Retracing the path that the undead took to get to the nymphaeum, the party determines that they came from the triumphal arch.  Worse, there appeared to be traces of many different groups leaving the arch.  The party spent the night following these paths and cataloguing the battles taking place at nymphaea around the city, helping out where needed.

Also see Steve’s take on the events: http://princecon.org/pcon38/steve-3.pdf

“Ritulo de lo Spiritual”

Dramatis Personae

Archion, Human Mage

Crankul, Hogbound Mage of Aru

Falken, Human Mage of Aru

Razyz, Human Cleric of Gaia

Titus Agrippa Postumous, Human Hero

Wrenn, Hogbound Mage of Mavors

In their words:

Acting swiftly we set 4 Walls of Fire trap on the Arch, through which the undead spellcasters are sending in additional forces.  It, the arch, is probably fine.  The undead were destroyed.  The Arch opened to a grey mist-filled area that closed before we could explore, the Ruby of Control on our side appeared in the stone, not a normal spot.

Additionally we observed a sacrificial ritual under Beacon Hill, and bravely watched a person die while also watching them “fight” via the Slate, thus proving they’re evil (the Slate, not us).  After our totally required sacrifice of the townsfolk, we chased the undead, firing shark after shark into the water and tracked them underground via Locate until they vanished under the Capitol.

You’re welcome,

Archion

On the run:

Based on the discoveries of the previous run, the party planned to ambush undead as they came through the triumphal arch at night, and managed to prevent a group of undead from entering the City.

They also went to the nymphaeum at Beacon Hill, in order to try to gain evidence that the Slates were tied into the disappearances of citizens.  The nymphaeum is built into the sheer side of the hill that faced the river, and the entrance was overgrown with vegetation.  Inside, they found piles of dead bodies of citizens, leading the the exchange:

“Shouldn’t we bury these bodies?”

“We can do that… after…”

So the party exited the shrine and lay in wait at the top of the hill, until two undead arrived carrying the body of a kidnapped citizen and entered the shrine.  It was difficult for the party to observe what was happening, so to overcome this problem, Razyz summoned a rat and they cast clairsentience on it.  Through the rat, the party observed a ritual in which the kidnapped citizen’s life force was used to power a Slate match.  Unfortunately, the undead discovered that the rat was enchanted with clairsentience, and killed it.  As the party prepared to charge into the nymphaeum, the undead leaped into the river below, and escaped into an underwater tunnel that led under the city.

 

“It only thinks it’s happening”

Dramatis Personae

Brunhilda, Daglirae Hero of Daglir

Hagrador, Human Hero

Holly Wood, Human Hero of Gaia

Jaysa Windwhisper, Nymphidae Hero of Gaia

Jonicus, Human Hero (Ancestors)

Mungo, Human Hero (Ancestors)

Puddlebee Hogsworth, Hogbound Cleric of Gaia

 

With solid proof that the Slates were tied not only to the disappearances of citizens, but to the destruction of tutelary spirits, the PC’s went to investigate the Colosseum.  They are given immediate access to Eidolinger’s office in the hypogeum, but it turns out to be a trap, and the party is transported to the spirit plane, where they find themselves pitted against a group of spirits in a game that is amazingly similar to the first match that Flynn plays in TRON.  The ball of energy dropped into Holly’s cesta.

And this is when the longest and loudest argument of the weekend occurred, as the PC’s decided whether to passively resist by refusing to play.  Finally, as Holly prepared to start the match…

Jaysa: “Are you throwing the ball?”

Holly: “I’m not serving the ball an onside kick!”

And so begins another argument over who should throw the ball, during which it’s determined that no one has the acrobatics skill.  It finally ended with:

Holly: “I wanted to take acrobatics, but you guys told me it was stupid!”

After winning the match, the party is set up to play another match; this time one of their opponents is not a spirit, but Ke’Flyn, a daglirae of the Daglir church who was trapped in the spirit plane when he discovered how the Colosseum was being used.  Together the PC’s and Ke’Flyn escape the spirit Colosseum, and return to the living world through the beacon at the spirit Beacon Hill.  Brunhilda left the following checklist for the Sunday run.

To Do List

1. Kill Samedhi (evil spirit; use my sword / entrance badge to Colosseum)

2. Kill OrcTuskans (overly tall pointy-eared creatures bent on destroying Clio)

3. Find Nymphaeum under the Colosseum (follow directions) & clean it up.  This is the most important spirit kill site.  The others are feeders.  FYI: this is where Samedhi is.

4. Read Clue Board for info (I put stuff there)

5. Find out who Markus’s father is

Love, Hilda

 

Also see Steve’s take on the events: http://princecon.org/pcon38/steve-5.pdf

 

“Baron Samedhi”

Dramatis Personae

Alissandra, Nymphidae Guardian

Archion, Human Mage

the Auditor, Nymphidae Cleric of Mavors

Cadfael, Human Cleric of Aru

Crankul, Hogbound Mage of Aru

Spirit, Human Cleric of Gaia

 

In their own words:


Our mission:

The prior expedition shut down the Colosseum, but did not destroy the Spirit that was being created with all of the pieces (Samedhi), as well as probably who was creating it.  (Hierarch Daglir — was a sap/dupe.  He was fed some ‘research’ which he misrepresented as his own… but he’s dead now.)

OrcTuskan “Walkers in the Afterworld” .. tall, humanoid (brown robes) — don’t bleed / are undead (carrying potions of cause) .. an old, secret race which was wiped from history.  (Kill if any escape BobWest’s run); this was a great civilization which had a city here in Clio which was buried in a cataclysmic civilization-ending event by Ronkel followers.

It is believed that there is a connection between the Catacombs and the Nymphaeum (temple of Ancestor Worship) which includes a ritual (tied to the Games) which brings forth a Spirit (source of spirits for the Games).  A winning spirit would be kept around; a losing spirit is destroyed.

Descending to the Nymphaeum under the Colosseum, a crystal is broken, which released a ‘mist’, apparently of spirits — and of Samedhi?  Will saves are made, except for our 10th level Mage, Crankul, who casts a Teleport, which we were not able to disrupt.

Find Being on our compatriot reveals his location back above the city; we chase at 360’/round flying.  Back above ground, we find a tremor has leveled the Nymphidae ghettos.  Flying above the city is Crankul, who then descends to the ground (face down, gentle landing), but the FELON Samedhi is now separate from his location.  The FELON possessed a child and was ‘playing’ a very fatal game of Tag on other small children.  Dispel Evil failed and Hold Person (success!) immobilized the killer-possessed child.

Possession-hop to Alissandra … some fighting.  Then Alissandra flies into a wall to kill herself and force her possession to end.

Before Alissandra was possessed, he was willing to chain-lightning a group of small children … but while he was possessed, he chose to fly into a sharp pointy wall.

Another jump… and a Phase-In finally allows conventional combat to finally begin.  Spirit wades in and swings the +0 Soul Sword, buffed by Flame Weapon… quite well.  Other join in and engage — an Air Elemental and even the Auditor successfully attacks and hits.

Summoning for more alliances (Fire Giant & Wyvern) … tendrils from Samedhi attach to the Fire Giant, turning him for a moment; the Auditor works to cut the tendril and possession.

Coming over the side of the building … blue silvery figures (with tails that stretch back to the Nymphaeum) which take the form of galloping Gwhi that charge down the wall, finishing off Samedhi.  VICTORY!!

So noted in the grey leather tome of the AUDITOR

 

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