Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Campaign Journal: AS&SH The Anthropophagi of Xamboola (Session 8)

SPOILER ALERT: This journal is extracted from an unpublished and upcoming Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea adventure I am currently completing. This account eventuates from the playtest. You have been warned!

Visitors to the desert-city of Xamboola beware! Demoniacal cachinnations and dull totemic drumbeats sound nocturnal from the outskirts of the city. Too, vile shrieks echo in response to the nightmarish noises, making even those of heroic aspect shudder in repulsion. Residents do not tarry to lock themselves in their homes at night, for something sinister lingers in the fringes of the black of night. Whisperings and warnings intimate that foreign guests residing at the inn of one Aramis D’athak oft disappear at night, never to be seen or heard from again. Where they disappear is not known, nor do the people of Xamboola speak of the hellish noises that darken their oasis city in the gloom of night.

Session 8: Corridors of Unnerving

The Party

Sint the Pict Ranger (Level 3)
Heron the Kimmerian Druid (Level 3)
Xechies the Kimmerian Warlock (Level 2)
Grimnear Hothgar the Viking Berserker (Level 3)
Xjelko the Ixian Thief (Level 3; Hireling)

Part I: Death of the Daemon Rat & the Satrap's Avarice

A huge nauseous rat, scuttled from the dark recesses of the dungeon, as a dozen of her children rushed into onslaught. The mother rat had red eyes and swollen nipples oozing putrid milk, onto which clung blind ratlings. Although the dungeon delvers dashed the crazed rats to pieces, Sint and Grimnear succumbed waves of nausea as the angry bites of the rats racked their bodies. The battle was fierce with some close calls, yet the delvers survived. As Sint and Grimnear dashed the monstrous she-rat to pieces, an explosion of blood and gore rained on the survivors as the large rat emulated. The remnant of the smaller rats died whining deaths.

Afterwards various treasures were recovered, along with the thankful platitudes and rewards offered by Xill - a pearl necklace and a serviceable shield. Returning to the daylight, and relative normalcy of Xamboola, the party began selling off their various plunders. Xechies and Heron nearly met their deaths as they requested an audience with the satrap. The satrap took advantage of their naivety and told them he would take the jewellery they offered, instead of their lives. The two hurriedly left his audience, avowing amongst themselves never to return to him.

At the bazaar a new hireling was located, a youngish tough named Xjelko who claimed his expertise with dungeoneering. For a small fee (30p/month) he agreed to join them as their "thief".

Part II: A Chasm & A Gem

Returning to the depths of the ruinous palace, pursuit of neglected treasure hoard was decided. Where squire sharptooth had met his demise, and where Grimnear had come close, a wealth of treasure had been located. Getting it was the problem. Grimnear knew from painful experience that the whole chasm was riddled with horrid moulds and fungi, yet the lure of untold wealth proved deleterious where common sense should have prevailed.

Experimenting with makeshift rope tricks, and finally hammering caltrops and hooks into the cavern walls, a descent was negotiated, which avoided the toxic billowing mould clouds. And what a hoard was discovered! Armour, an otherworldly dagger, an axe, and other various treasures were hurriedly bagged. Thanking whatever gods they appraised the delvers continued into the depths of the ruined undercity.

After retracing steps, moving cautiously, and encouraging Xjelko in his crafts, some headway was made into the eerie undercity. Various routes were discovered. Some rooms yielded treasures, but the whole place was uncanny and quiet. Too quiet. Navigating some perplexing corridors another iridescent gem was discovered. It appeared much like the one Grimnear had previously touched - thereafter transporting him into the gallery of the ancients, and almost to his doom. With these compunctions in mind, the group began to back away from this gem, avoiding any majick it may contain. Something strange overcame Grimnear and Sint, and they strove immediately for the gem. It would be theirs! Oh how it glowed! Greedily they grasped for it, and it became a physical struggle. Before bloodshed occurred Xechies covered the gem with a cloth, shaking Grimnear and Sint out of their strange state.

Part III: The Eerie Chambers Below

Thereafter an amphitheatre was discovered, capable of seating at least 100, though now empty. Behind a curtain at the front of the amphitheatre was another chamber. Walking confidently into this room, Grimnear tumbled through a trapdoor and into a circular pit. Immediately a gruesome, slithering oozy creature began to engulf him. The party assailed the ooze. Although Grimnear could feel it attempt to paralyse him, he shook off the feeling, pulverising it into jelly.

More creepy corridors were discovered - doors with odd runes, opening into passageways with seemingly no purpose; corridors which seemed to be used to steer people down, as one might steer cattle or sheep; altars with dried blood; other detestable spaces. 

Retracing their steps the delvers found a strange passageway with a one-way filmy peephole, in which an occupant could spy into another room. It appeared that the previous denizens had stood in this hallway and watched guests without the others' knowledge. Shivering slightly in repulsion, the group inevitably decided to bunk down for the night. Although creepy, this seemed the safest haven. In this area they found some cultic robes which Heron stuffed into his pack.

During the night, as the others slept, Xechies awoke to see that Heron had donned one of the strange black robes...

Adventure Rewards

162xp for defeating 18 Rats
700xp for defeating Daemon Rat
300xp for defeating Slithering Slime
2845xp for treasure
1000xp for using +2 leather armour
1000xp for using +2 laser dagger
600xp for using axe
300xp for using potion of diminutiveness
400xp for using potion of extra healing
4000xp for using wand
1000xp for using bracelet charm
1800xp for attendance and role-playing

2821xp each

Previous Post - Session #7 The Rats In The Walls

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