Decaying Lands 44: Invite Only

PCs Present & Played:

Barthelm Schade, Specialist (James)
Claus Drexol, Magic-User (Vegas)
  Phillip Bachman, linklad
  Lucien Courtet, infantryman
Tenkos, Cleric [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
  Teake's Teeth
  Tinslee & Therese, Teamsters
Viggo Pyreborn, ?? (Peanut Butter)

Hex map showing party's foray deeper into the south.
Expedition into Ghallia-That-Fell Day 8

Travel Summary
Expedition Day; Season Day; Weather; Hexes; Expenditures; Notes
Expedition 8; Fall 60; Rain; 0622; Viggo 2 rations, Barthelm 1 ration 2 arrow, Claus 2 shots; rain up top, wild times down below

Sidenote: I've already removed the expenditures listed out above from character inventories.

Next Watch Sequence
Night 8: DABC

Marching Order
Edward, Freddard, "Eye-Van" the Ratfolk
Indira (axe, torch), Cyrille (polearm)
Lucien, Viggo
Tenkos, Barthelm
Claus, Philip (torch)
Sacha (greatsword), Basille (spear)

A. Tenkos, Timothee (I1), Indira (I2)
B. Viggo, Yvonne (I3), Basile (I4)
C. Barthelm, Joseph (A1), Sacha (I6)
D. Lucien (for Claus), Rosaline (P1), Cyril (P2)

Camp Setup: Horses in the barn, party split between the barn and the church, ratfolk out in the woods.

Last time the party picked up some stray rats, met people (!), learned about King Thessel XV, and arrived at the entrance to the "well."

They planned for their descent into Guillaume's well, deciding who would stay topside and who would go down. After Tenkos briefly floated a plan involving ropes and horses being lowered down a pit of indeterminate depth they settled on the following:

Topside Barn
Agatha (archer)
Joseph (archer)
Timothy (axe, cook)
Tinslee & Therese (teamsters)
Horses (so many)

Topside Church
Sgt Teake
Yvonne (spear)
Rosaline (polearm)
Percival the Ratfolk

Dungeon Expedition
Lucien (Claus' bodyguard)
Philip (torch!)
Indira (axe, torch)
Basille (spear)
Sacha (greatsword)
Cyrille (polearm)
Edward, Freddard, "Eye-Van" the Ratfolk

Viggo donned his magical boots! Yay! He ate his "I'm so hangry" ration for putting it on and was ready to roll. Philip lit up a torch, Indira grabbed another in one hand with her axe at the ready and took point.

They descended the low, flat, wide stairs somewhat awkwardly. Once they cleared the initial passage the wall on their right dropped away completely and each person got hit by a flash of vertigo. They couldn't see the bottom, they couldn't see the other side, and the path was narrow.

Viggo chucked a rock to see if he could hit the other side in the dark and it got a foot past the stairs and dropped straight down! They heard it clatter very quickly but were shocked at the unexpected trajectory. Viggo threw another rock and the ratfolk started to copy him, throwing a pebble or two and then a whole handful. They all clattered below.

Barthelm was worried that even though they could hear the rocks hitting that this stairwell might still be some kind of direct portal to the island of Wilhelm the Wily. He repositioned himself behind Claus so he could immediately grab him if/when Claus tried to go into it.

Claus meanwhile tried an experiment with his cane, slowly extending it over the edge. If he hadn't been prepared for it the force would have ripped the cane right out of his hands.

Claus: "You think we can leave if we keep going down? If we keep going down the stairs do you think there's a point where we won't be able to go back up the stairs?"

Tenkos pointed out that if they did get stuck they could always pursue the exit that was supposed to be at the bottom that linked up with the ratfolk village.

As they descended further they caught a glimpse of a statue perched upon a pedestal in the middle of the 40' wide stairwell. It was maybe twice the size of a person but incredibly gaunt, emaciated even. It's head was tilted back and it looked like it's mouth was open in a silent plea. It's arms were spread, palms up, plaintive. An array of sculpted stone food lay at its feet, lifelike but for the grey granite color.

The rocks got pulled down, the cane got pulled down, maybe food would work? Maybe you need to do an offering so you don't end up like the statue? They also wondered if Wilhelm the Wily / Guillaume le Galapiat would expect that reaction and arrange a terrible fate for anyone trifling with the statue. It basically turned into the "battle of wits" scene from The Princess Bride.

Viggo threw a ration over the edge but it went straight down with a splat. He caught a glimpse of something reflective towards the head and they continued around the stairs, trying to get a better look. It turned out to be a thick golden tongue in the statue's mouth.

Barthelm wanted to try and shoot an arrow really high up so that the horizontal momentum of the arrow might still enough to hit the statue's mouth despite the intense gravity. Miracle of miracles (the first of several this session), it hit!

The arrow chipped out a chunk of the gold, it popped up into the air, and then back down into the mouth. As soon as it did they heard a clicking sound as the legs on the roast turkey rotated to point straight up at the ceiling. They tried to see the chunk and chip inside the mouth from the stairs again but the tongue appeared whole as far as they could tell.

Barthelm: "You saw that the gold itself wasn't affected by this grave-it-y well, maybe the pedestal is immune." Viggo tossed another rock to test if the gravity had turned off but it dropped straight down again.

As soon as the torch illuminated the bottom of the stairs the ratfolk went down to check it out. Eye-van ate the gooped up ration off the ground and they generally poked about.

Claus wanted to experiment to see if the ultra gravity had a height requirement so he bodily Freddard (who was not happy about this), and plopped him into Barthelm's shoulders. Other than vocal annoyance the ratfolk was unharmed but the damage to Barthelm was already done; he acquired an instant layer of filth and grime in his hair. Ewww.

They found a big metal door with a thin slot and knocker centered. Barthelm gave it a check, looking for nozzles, needles, or lock bars but didn't discover anything. He noticed some writing above the slot but Claus shouted out a warning not to read it. Viggo, noticing the reaction, immediately backed away.

Sidebar: Last time they found something they thought were explosive runes Viggo almost died. LINK Afterward James and Vegas both chided themselves for not calling out what they figured were certainly Explosive Runes. Lesson learned!

Instead of directly reading it, Barthelm approached with his silver mirror and read the writing on the door backwards. He recognized the language as Cronov, from the eastern lands. It said:


Claus: "What if I summon a demon through the slot, then there's a demon though there?"
Everyone: "That's a terrible idea."

Barthelm wanted Edward to go through into the room, said there was a lot more food in there and mimed eating. Edward squeaked a demand, made his own chewing motions, and repeatedly held out his hand. Barthelm took out some saltfish but then chucked it into the room! While Edward was busy admiring Barthelm's cleverness Eye-Van rushed past him into the room and started to devour the fish. Barthelm encouraged him to still go in and Edward goaded Freddard into going too.

They didn't get very far.

A few moments after they entered the room a giant stone hand swiped towards Edward. Another reached out for Freddard. Fortunately for them, both grabs missed. Initiative happened, everyone basically ran away (and up the stairs), but poor Eye-Van was too far into the room to get out in one round. They grabbed him on his way past.

The whole group could hear his frantic squeaky screams suddenly get caught off, followed by softer squelching and squishing sounds.

Barthelm: "RIP Eye-Van."

The other two rats were GONE, all the way up the stairs crawling in the darkness. Sergeant Teake managed to shoo them back downstairs after a shouted conversationw with Barthelm. Barthelm in turn snuck over to close the door but didn't encounter any trouble doing so.

They had a theory that the shield is what kept the golems in the room and that if they pulled the shield out of the room then the golems would follow them out and they could push them off the stairs and let the gravity well kill them.

Tenkos: "Not-it to get the shield."

Viggo actually volunteered to dash in, grab the shield, and dash back out. His super speedy hungry boots meant that he could do it before the golems fully activated. He picked it up, noting the shiny reflective center portion was ringed by a dull, heavy matte iron.

He turned and saw in the shadows that the two golems were starting to move again. He went a few steps back towards the door and heard an awful wrench as the hinges ripped out of the metal door that Barthelm was holding. The hinges flew towards him and the door started to follow suite. Lucien, who was closest, had his shield ripped out of his hands as well. It all arced straight towards Viggo!

The hinges hit the shield first and vanished completely! Lucien's shield followed suit, colliding with the metal and disappearing. Viggo hadn't been affected by the shield's power because he had eschewed all metal since his resurrection. The heavy entry door wasn't quite as quick and Viggo hit upon a plan to use his speedy boots to keep enough distance from the door that he could get the golems between him and the door to have the door crash into them.

That's right, Viggo's plan was to stay in the room with the four smashy crushy murder golems and get a door to crash into them. He actually found it to be pretty effective! He didn't take out any of the golems but he definitely caused some damage.

Sidenote: The players raised the question of "well where does all this metal go?" I love the way their brains work, I have the best crew.

Viggo somehow narrowly avoided Eye-Van's fate. He was running back and forth and out of maybe 8 grab attempts the golems only landed two and he was able to break out of them at his first opportunity (partially thanks to advantage on the roll because of his boots). Maybe he will wear his dancing shoes more often.

Sidenote: Peanut Butter also noted that he had been playing Viggo this way before his transformation as well, somehow avoiding all kinds of horrible injuries before dying to a pair of guards that rolled crits. If they could kill him with two stabs then might as well go all in, I suppose.

Barthelm initially tried to shoot at the golems but his arrow just got pulled straight to Viggo's new toy and the arrowhead disappeared. He stepped across the door's threshold and blew his whistle, drawing attention (and a grab!) from two of the four golems. Claus' immediate reaction was to grab Barthelm and help him break the grapple and the two tumbled backward across the threshold, retreating with Lucien and the rest of their retainers in tow.

Sidenote: This was probably a direct contributor to Viggo not getting squashed. He distracted two golems for two rounds, four more attacks and it would have been enough to get Viggo I bet.

The party had a problem though because while everyone else seemed to be safe outside of the room Viggo was still stuck inside. He didn't want to bring his new shield back the way he came because it would decimate everyone else's equipment. He also wasn't sure how long he could keep up the back and forth of using the big metal door and his incredible speed to continue bashing the golems.

"What if you run out the other door?"
"Let's find out!"

He took one more swipe at the golems by standing by the other side's door (this time made out of wood with stone hinges) but rolled really low on damage. The golems all missed as well. Claus double fired his pistols into the room, relying on the metallic attraction of Viggo's shield to pull them into one of the golems. It worked!

Everyone started looking for other things they could hurl into the room and we discovered that Barthelm had one of every "weightless" thing in the equipment list! He rolled on 1 for damage with his Bag o' Nails, so it balanced out. The Teeth wanted to help but weren't sure how to proceed without crippling themselves.

Viggo decided to go for the door. It was unlocked! He popped through, closed it, and stood in the pitch black for a moment before pulling out an unlit torch with his free hand.

But that's not all! Peanut Butter reminded me about the big metal door that Viggo had been dragging about. Since he wasn't using super speed anymore it would have caught up, but did it happen before or after he closed the door? I had him roll for it, it came up as "after." He thought that was better but a big heavy sheet of metal flying relentlessly towards you isn't going to stop for a wooden door. It crashed through, creating dangerous splinters that could have done a lot of damage but somehow Viggo made his save, even with his -1 Wisdom mod. Bonkers!

Sidenote: If I had been paying enough attention I would have remembered for him to take half damage on a save but oh well, I am happy that we did it at all. And no door now.

So Viggo was across the golem room from the rest of the party but momentarily safe (albeit in the dark). The rest of the crew observed the golems heading back to their little cubbies and we ended the session. They'll have two weeks to figure out where they want to go from here.

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