Decaying Lands 24: YOLO

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter 3 (Just Yolks)
Karl Gelt, Exiled Prince 1 (Helpful Waffle)
Tenkos, Cleric 3 [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 3 [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)

Last time the party finished looting the tombs, found some potentially useful stuff, didn't get anybody killed, saw a bunch  more skeletons, and lost another torch.

This time they had a slightly diminished party because of real life stuff. They spent a bit discussing their options, vehemently decided against giving the skeletons the bodies from the tombs, and ended up with their one plan to carry the turn undead casting cleric so they could concentrate.

Sidebar: There was originally a pretty detailed write-up for this session. I accidentally erased it all due to some malarkey with the blogger app which apparently hasn't been supported for years. Oops. Wouldn't even be writing a summary if not for some particular events, but consider this abridged.

The party hemmed and hawed about giving over the corpses to ole staggy, decided against it, asked real nice and stag-head let them leave. Bunch of skeletons waited for them and followed them in front of wherever they walked, eventually all the way to the elevator. Some of the skeletons ended up behind the party, such that the general arrangement was:

  • Stag-head skeleton
  • Skeleton wielding its own arm as a club
  • Skeleton wearing a spiked helm
Ahead (and on the elevator)
  • Large quadruped with sharp claws and beak
  • Skeleton with a carved, wooden leg
  • Skeleton with a shield on its back
  • Skeleton covered in wax
  • Skeleton with blackened charcoal for bones
The party was sandwiched in between. They had hoped they could just push past but stag-head tired of negotiating now that it knew of the elevator and shit went down.

Initiative was a big deal. Rolled for sides and party got to go first, Tenkos immediately busted out his turn undead. Rolled pretty well, all of the skeletons except large quadruped and wooden leg are affected.

Rest of the party got to go. Caleb ran up to the beaked quadrepedal beast and chopped with his massive greatsword. True to form, Just Yolks rolled a massive damage die (9 or 10) and, unfortunately, an equivalent number to hit. Strongest whiff you ever saw.

Karl ran up next, charging the skeleton with the wooden leg. At this point I honestly cannot recall whether Karl hit the thing or not. Soon it would not matter.

Viggo decided to sit tight next to Tenkos, within the ten foot radius of the turn undead.

Skeletons got to go next. The three behind fled down the hall, including stag-head. The three affected skeletons on the elevator immediately started scrambling up the rope and out of the well! The two unaffected skeletons acted next.

The quadruped, possibly by now identified as an owlbear skeleton, went in on Caleb with the old claw claw bite. His plate mail, though mighty, could not stop a critical on the bite and he took some serious hurt.

At the same time, the skeleton with the wooden leg was growing! It grew so tall it broke through the wooden ceiling on the elevator! It grabbed one of the large timbers used to rotate the elevator and brought it down crashing into Karl! *crunch*

The damage of the timber, together with Karl's prior hurt from the flame trap, was enough to bring him down to -3, the awful sweet spot in LotFP where you are guaranteed to die but you've got 1d10 minutes of living left to do.

Sidebar: This was the same amount that Helga died at, way back when in the Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine.

Everyone was pretty stunned, honestly. Helpful Waffle's first character (ever!), first dungeon foray almost at an end, and then it all came crashing down.

Next round came and Tenkos rolled his turn undead check again, not only succeeding but getting high enough to affect the last two skeletons. Now, come their turn, they would all be running away.

Viggo and Caleb sat tight. I double checked the rules about 0 / negative hit points and decided that Karl could trade 1 minute of (slowly dying) life for 1 round of full action. He chose to spend them in action!

First Karl took off his house sigil necklace, gave it to Caleb, and told him this (approximately):

"Find Jahan, give this to him. It is the emblem of lost Altdorf. And beware the Duvan'ku!"

Then the Exiled Prince grabbed one of the jelly bomb / Molotov cocktails that they found in the tomb of Emil the Sapper and raced with a battle yell back down the hallway towards the stag-head skeleton. The corridor was illuminated by a blast of fire and some additional, unnatural white light as the explosion filled the hallway with jelly and flames.

The rest of the party stared for a moment, gave a few more moments to let the skeletons run farther away, and then Viggo and Caleb hoisted up their concentrating comrade and carried him to the elevator. Think they struggled a bit, trying to turn the central shaft (it's meant for at least three) but they wanted the skeletons to keep running away.

Sidebar: The carrying idea was a clever little strategy based around the fact that even if an undead is not turned it still can't approach within 10 feet of a cleric concentrating on turn undead. We realized after that moving into the elevator would have meant approaching the five that fled that way, meaning they wouldn't be turned, but this was fine as is and we'll play it that way next time.

None of the skeletons failed their climb checks (which would have been hilarious and awesome) so they eventually made it up without further incident. Suzie was still tied to the tree, completely unaffected, and there were no skeletons in sight.

The party had emerged with a ton of loot from their delve into the tombs but not without paying a great cost.

Sidebar: It can be hard losing a character, especially your first one, but Helpful Waffle took it in stride. He's got some ideas for his next PC already, so he'll be all right. We also decided that from now on anyone whose character dies gets to name the summary so "YOLO" goes out to him.

Extra special thanks to Ian Reilly for writing an inspiring set of skeleton descriptions and Beloch Shrike for the nugget of an idea that made a memorable moment in this session and set up something extra special for next session. Finally, this little pitstop never would have happened without the excellent doggy rumor provided by Arnold K. And of course this would all be a whole lot of "lonely fun" without my lovely players, who I appreciate a whole mess. Thanks everyone!

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