NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People, Session 11


Infographic of sorts to sum up achievement
(or quantify loss...)

Previously in Nightwick...

The Party

Blossom (Rogue 2)
Handle (Rogue 1)
Mayfly (Magic-User 1)
Hirelings: Curly, Pavel, Tizche, Goswin, Vridale, 

At the Medusa's Head...

A few moons had rolled over Nightwick Village. Bertol and Sumac were off on personal errands. But Blossom, Handle, and Mayfly could not shake the siren's song of the Abbey's riches. They got their hands two gold crowns and a pile of silver last time-- why not again!?

Down a few party members, they quickly scoop up the rabble that regularly visits the Medusa's Head. A zealot Goswin and two brigands-- Vridale and one-armed Jekyll. And off the group goes to the cursed shrine of hubris.

(PC NOTE: 1st Mistake-- Mayfly is sitting on a pile of silver at this point. Roughly ~1000 SP. I should have taken the time to try and outfit the hirelings with better armor and weapons. What is a "better" weapon in Nightwick? Currently, it is spears for 2nd rank attacking and maces to deal with the skeletal dead. This might/will change. Otherwise, a lot of coin is doing nothing for my character.)

RIGHT TOWER: The party returns to the well-trod ground of the right tower due to always fearing the hoard of deermen that reside in the Left Tower. The group decides to avoid the monstrous butcher that resides on the 1st level and instead try their luck with the 2nd level area around the orange juicer
PC NOTE: Oh yes! Fresh squeezed Floria quality orange).

BLOOD ORANGES: Unmolested, the party arrives in the room with the dumpster. To the north is a staircase leading down, south would be the stairs from the first level and also a room of devil men and cultists, east the door to the juicer proper and maybe more oranges ($$$), and to the west, an unexplored hallway ending with a normal steel door-- odd for Nightwick.

Map of Session 11: Midnight Room (west) &
Red Room (north of Midnight Room)

THE MIDNIGHT ROOM: The group decided to give this steel door a try because it will either contain a hideous amount of treasure or a hideous monster(s). Or both! A hireling is sent to investigate and reports back it is painted black and contains a red door to the north and a black door to the south (PC NOTE: Ugh, nothing worse than different colored doors after an already strange door; a choice between "bad" and "worse").

With a nod toward caution, the party decides to spike this door open in order to make it easier to get the hell out should the need arise. Irony arrived shortly because all of Mayfly's inept banging on this spike in a door hinge attracted 8 blind-dead to the room (PC NOTE: A "procession" of blind-dead?)! 

These skeletal beings crowd the doorway where the unfortunate Mayfly (4 hp) and Curly stand in the front rank. The undead thrust their rusted swords bringing both unfortunates to 50% HP. Next round the party scrambles seizing the initiative, reforms the ranks, and fends off another attack doing little damage in return. Third round, more attacks from the dead. However, this time on the party's turn, Mayfly pulls out his scroll and casts Ventriloquism. He throws his voice as far behind the column of the dead as he can and mimics the cry of these skeletal warriors' former foe, "Form the line boys! We'll cut these bastards down!".

This seems to catch the eye-less dead's attention and they turn to combat their old unseen foe.

(PC NOTE: 2nd Mistake- Who forgot to transfer a vocal spell to their spellbook even though they knew there were blind, but sound responding enemies in the dungeon? This guy! Mayfly had plenty of time but figured he was too good for such a simple spell. Well, its just the sort of spell that keeps you alive. Mayfly "defeated" 8 undead with a non-damage spell. Way more powerful than Magic Missle.)

THE RED ROOM: After collecting themselves, the party turns north toward the red door and hearing nothing, carefully open it. Inside they find what is quite clearly a torture chamber complete with rack, iron maiden, a plate of prepared food, and a comfy leather chair. Handel is the first to spot a glint from the rack. And with a closer look, determines its a roll of torture equipment made of silver with gold filigree (1000 SP). Handel grabs it all. Could there also be something in the iron maiden in the corner?

The party deliberates and decides its best to get while the gettin' is good. It is decided to save investigation of the iron maiden for another delve. Fancy "finger-snippers" is enough for one sojourn.

POOL ROOM: Treasure in hand the party moved quickly out and back south toward the stairs to the 1st Level. Through the room where the Lady is depicted luridly, the party fled and they were almost out but brought up short by four floating, grinning cadaverites (PC Note: a "cackle"?). The gods of luck are not with the party and while no one is surprised the subsequent attack is brutal and short.

Jekyll is able to fell one foul creature, but a round later Goswin is rendered a corpse along with Curly. As the fighting continues the rogue Handel is knocked unconscious! Seeing the carnage, Tizche and Virdale flee! With only Pawel, who has been with the party since the beginning, sticking by Blossom. Out of "tricks" and out of hirelings, the party breaks and runs leaving the poor Handel and 1000 SP worth of treasure behind! 


(PC NOTE: DM actually has procedures for leaving the dungeon if you are left behind. Handel survived the attack but was sacrificed in a ritual. So neither he nor his soul made it out of Nightwick. 3rd Mistake- Always pre-split shares of treasure you find in the dungeon so if one member dies or is captured you can still make it out with X-1 shares. We lost all of the treasure D: ...rookie mistake...)

...back to Nightwick Village... 

Mayfly happy to be alive, but angry at himself for losing both loyal hirelings who he enjoyed bossing around and a vast amount of treasure, decided to go carousing. 

Procedurally, I rolled a "7" x 100 SP means that my character spent 700 SP and gained 700 XP drinking and hellraising, but I also failed my Poison Save. So I have to roll a consequence.

Fictionally, that means Mayfly drank, drank, and dank, shouting at anyone with ears about his "heroic" exploits, cowardly hirelings, and being cursed by god. But towards the end of it, some of Curly's cousins caught up with him and took umbrage with Mayfly making light of Curly's death. Mayfly was beaten within an inch of his life and will start the next session at 1 HP.

BUT! The ~100 XP gained from defeating those eye-less dead using Ventriloquism and the 700 XP from carousing was enough to go up to Level 2. And what spell was Mayfly diligently researching while in a half drunkin' state? [Rolls...3...] Floating Disk. Hmm. 

At the end of 11 sessions of Nightwick Abbey, my character stands as such:

MU 2 XP ~2600/5000 HP 7
STR 07 (-1) INT 15 (+1) WIS 08 (-1) DEX 16 (+2) CON 16 (+2) CHA 08 (-1)

Spells: Read Magic, Light, Protection from Evil, Floating Disk
Notable Items: Basilisk Constellation necklace (silver, 200 SP), Scroll(s): Read Magic (x1), Protection from Evil (x1), Protection from Demons (x1)
Wealth: 495 SP

This was a really fantastic session of Nightwick! I think it encapsulated the "agony & ecstasy" of old-school megadungeon play. And all of the above took place in a 2-hour session! It was packed with risk, reward, gain, loss, death, and escape thereof! I've never really had 5e D&D produce as much emotion, suspense, and excitement in the same time period because there's always this "drag" coming from somewhere; like moving through mud.

The mistakes made above lead to some pretty natural consequences. I don't feel cheated, nor was the DM being overly antagonistic, but simply played things out as they would in a malevolent dungeon formed from hubris being burgled by ne'er-do-wells. But I think because these factors matter, it indicates Nightwick is a well-designed megadungeon. I think I'll try to write out some more thoughts about the interplay of all these elements.

But it is this sorta "setback" that makes me salivate for another crack at this dungeon. After this game, I lay in bed thinking about how to do things better. Making lists of equipment and weapons. Strategizing on how I can utilize a platform floating 2 ft. off the ground. Thinking about the enemies encountered so far and how each could be more specifically overcome instead of fought. 

And was it really a "setback"? My MU is now level 2. One step back, but two forward.

Summary of the living & dead
at the conclusion of session 11.

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