This session saw the party return to the site of their battle with the masked necromancer to find that the tower was now throbbing like a heart beat and that each beat revealed red, glowing runes that seemed to emanate from inside the rock itself. They followed these runes deep into the bowels of the tower where they found a machine powered by a river of blood and a water wheel made of some strange kind of black stone. Assuming that this machine was evil in intent and origin, they set about trying to sabotage it by jamming the golden mask of the necromancer into the gears of the machine, bringing it to a grinding halt and beginning a desperate battle as those who were using the machine began to investigate why it had stopped working.
It is at this point that I have to give a bunch of kudos to Matt Finch. I populated this dungeon with several of his creations from Monsters of Myth and the results have been spectacular. One design cue that I plan to steal whole-heartedly is giving seemingly innocuous creatures powers that change the way the battle field functions, and then adding a layer of strategy to the dungeon denizens who are able to take advantage of these changes.
For example, one of my new all-time favorite vermin looks for all intents and purposes to be a giant cockroach; however, it is really a denizen of the elemental plane of earth and has a defensive ability to turn rock to mud in a 50' radius. Here's the kicker: when the thing dies, all that mud immediately turns back to stone. Thus, the creatures can be abused by dungeon dwellers to set a battlefield trap for unwary adventurers — when the characters find themselves bogged down in mud, kill the bugs with some well-aimed missile fire and the characters are suddenly immobilized and target practice can ensue.
This scenario is what happened in the middle of the running battle after the sabotage, with the dwarf being the sole party member not stuck in the floor desperately trying to defend his comrades from goblins attacking from several flanks. Beautiful stuff — when the party pulled themselves out of the fire with some well timed spells and those trusty old iron spikes, they knew they earned victory. Or should I say survival? We had a very entertaining evening because Mr. Finch inspired me with an ingenious monster design.
The party did manage to capture a goblin and garner some information from him. He claimed that the machine opened a gate that would allow his people to wipe clean the surface world. When pressed, he bragged that machines like it dotted the landscape. All the characters were also haunted by a dream of a strange altar consisting of what could only be described as flailing tentacles barely conceivable by the human mind. The altar was situated on the top of a tower, surrounded by a blue fog. Far below, the outline of an alien city could barely be seen. In the dream, Arkmed the Dwarf and Dn. Goram were entranced an inhuman melody. When they awoke, they were compelled to do everything in their power to destroy the gate.
Our session ended with preparations to re-enter the bowels of the tower to do just that.
2 days ago