NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People, Session 8


FIRST POST OF 2022: While I wanted to cap off 2021 by catching up to my Nightwick posts, I think it is only fitting that I start 2022 with a game I really look forward to every week and that I hope continues strong in the new year. This post also epitomizes what I want this blog to be about-- the *playing* of old-school games. The thoughts and principles of "classic play" when put into practice do work and yield engaging games.

In Nightwick previously...

The Party

Blossom (Rogue 1)
Bertol (Rogue 1)
Mayfly (Magic-User 1)
Sumac (Changling 1)- our first!
Hirelings: Red, Curly, Pavel, Assmus, Kunrat

(PC Note: Our DM, history expert, offered some great pre-game history facts that have, in part, informed the conception of Nightwick. This one involved a graduate from the famous school of Necromancy in Toledo Spain who was contacted by a bishop to summon the devil in order to cut some other Christian cult out of the miracle business. Its funny that despite being evil, it seems a lot of Church figures had the devil on speed dial.)

At the Medusa's Head...

Another two weeks pass since the last delve into Nightwick. The party has been mainly resting and trying to figure out how they will overcome the giant roadblock that is the Butcher of Nightwick. Review maps and plotting courses, the party decides to try to see what is on the second level of the dungeon. The rogues are feeling especially confident after perfecting their craft just a little bit more. So all is good except for the mysterious itch Blossom picked up after a long week of drinking...

(PC Note: So our Rogues leveled up by creeping ~100 XP over the line after some carousing. The thief class is often seen as weak in BX, but having the lowest progression, 1200 XP to go from 1st to 2nd, is quite meaningful when risking life and limb for every 100 GP. At the current rate, my MU Mayfly has to survive ~6-10 more delves to get to the 2nd level. This is not a knock against our DM nor old-school play mind you, but I think a demonstration of how XP differences among classes is a good constraint vs. 5e's unified progression.)

Nightwick, Right Tower, Level 2
(purple is recently explored)

A RAPID DESCENT TOWARDS 2nd LEVEL: With all haste, the party pushed into Nightwick's right tower and to the stairs located where four hanging bodies were found and the very nice silver bowls. Now replaced by wooden bowls-- the cheapskates.

FURTHER DEPICTIONS of THE LADY: At the bottom of the staircase were two columns each again depicting The Lady, prophetess of the Church of Law, in a lurid manner. However, for these columns, her eyes are hollowed out allowing a red fluid to drain out of them and pool below. North from the stairs is a single door.

A HALLWAY ENDING IN ABSOLUTE DARKNESS: After hearing nothing through the door, Blossom waves Red forward to due the honors of crowbarring the door open. Moving into the hallway our Chaingling Sumac takes point and reports the west direction terminates into absolute pitch blackness that even their dark vision does not penetrate, while the east contains two doors and extends further beyond the torchlight.

Mayfly is puzzled by the darkness, but before a solid theory about what it can be is formed based on years of academy training, Bertol sends one of the hirelings through. Without a rope tied to their waist. The hireling reports its really really dark and (amazingly) walks back out seemingly unscathed (sus -.-). Mayfly casts Light about 2 fit inside the darkness. Instead of eliminating it, the light seems to be surrounded by darkness. Two silver pieces later, another hireling walks through and reports it is just all white and too bright. With other avenues available the party decides to come back to it later.

BLOOD SCRIBBLING: Cautiously moving down the hall, the party checks the north door. Hearing nothing they quietly pop the door open and peer insights. One cultist is licking the red fluid off the wall, hood back, and feverishly whispering. A second cultist is on the ground apparently transcribing those words. The party quietly closes the door, but Mayfly thinks those writings might be very valuable.

A PACT OF DEVIL MEN: The party opens the door directly south and finds themselves face to face with four devil men! The party freezes in horror and anticipation of what might come next as they gaze upon the pointy horn and beards of this group-- three of which are virtually identical. The incongruous one speaks, "Clearly this is not a room you are invited into."  The party, "...uh..." and Bertol quietly closes the door.

And since both doors open inward, Sumac had the idea to tie them shut with a rope running between the pull rings ("---" above on the map). Might not hold forever, but certainly by the party time. Very clever.

BLOOD ORANGES: Not quite knowing what to make of all that, but knowing they still have empty pockets, the party turns north with Sumac bravely scouting in the dark. Sumac reports back there is a metal container (like a modern dumpster) set into the floor. In it are moldy orange peels. To the right of this container is a door and to the left, stairs leading down and a hallway continuing west.

The party checks out the door to the right and enters a room containing a large machine. A puddle of milky orange fluid on the ground. And five crates of bones and five crates of ...oranges?! Mayfly realizes that these are an incredibly valuable delicacy and certainly would fetch ~100 SP per crate! The party, experienced in knowin' when the gettin' is good, gathers up the oranges and absconds with them for a total haul of  500 SP . The biggest haul yet out of Nightwick.

...After a night's rest in Nightwick Village...

Bertol peeled off from the group, happy with his orange-tinted gains, but the rest of the party wanted to quickly go back to see if there was more to be purloined, especially from upper areas of the Abbey that had not been as well explored. This proved to be potentially a mistake...

Nightwick, Right Tower, Level 1
(purple is recently explored)

WE CAN'T STOP HERE, THIS IS (DEER-MEN) COUNTRY!: Entering the northeastern door, the party is brought up short by a goblin barricade. Mayfly tries a 2 SP bribe to see if the party can get any information about the stone vulture archway to the north. All they learn is that's where deer-men reside and the goblin don't go there.

Feeling bold, the party forms ranks with Red and Curly in front and march toward the archway. As they pass under the arch, Sumac spots a formation of deer-men and shortly after their bleating cries are heard! Their attack is swift! Arrows fly toward the party, several striking Red, dropping him, and severely wounding Curly. The party leaves Red's body behind in order to make sure they don't join him in repose.

Just before leaving, Sumac throws a few silver coins at the foot of the statues and notices that while the goblins want to grab them, they dare not move-- at least for that amount.

...back to The Medusa's Head.

Mayfly thinks it is time to visit this wizard "Half-Dan" and maybe brokering some information with the strange blood of the mixed-up beast he found in Nightwick.

 (PC Note: Well that last little bit did not go well at all. I think we certainly have reached a point where solid preparations will have to be made to move through Deer-man territory or make it past the Butcher. One advantage of all the map-making that has been done is that is easy to review where unexplored hallways and doors are. I think I need to draw everything together to see what options the party has. One of our new players also made a good risk assessment that the easiest stuff in Level 2 might still be less risky than the hardest stuff in Level 1.  So exploring Level 2 might be more worthwhile. Of course, there is always the Left Tower, but the hoards of deer-men there too pose a problem. Maybe it is time to sell a soul or something?

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