NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People, Session 15

Much better numbers... especially the count of deerman heads

Previously in Nightwick... 

And if you want to catch up on *all* the previous fun? 
"Weeknights in Nightwick" archive here.

The Party

Agnus (Fighter 1)
Blossom (Rogue 3)
Corfu (Dwarf 1)
Glurp (Frogling 1)
Mayfly (Magic-User 2)
Sotar (Cleric 1)

Hirelings: Grolmes, Ernko (MU 0), Maynhardus (FM 1), Bartel, Tzich

At the Medusa's Head...

With little gained from the last delve and the near-death of Blossom, the party seeks to reverse the poor fortune the stars thrust upon them. Agnus the Fighter joins the party hearing of the riches pulled from the dungeons. With Blossom resting, Pavel sees little reason to join the new delve, causing the party to scoop up Bartel as a hopeful replacement and off the group goes.

...then down in the Abbey...

THE WEST TOWER: Despite the dire warnings from Blossom about her first delve into Nightwick via the West Tower, the party decides to break with "tradition" and try it anyway. After descending, the party found themselves in a room about half the size of the East Tower containing four columns- three with rose motifs and one depicting St. Gax, holding two keys, and one finger over his mouth.

The party remembers Blossom telling them screaming came from the western door, while the eastern door lead to a host of deermen. The party wants to take their chances with unidentified screaming potentially behind the west door over the screams of deermen.

DISSECTION ROOM: But today no screaming from the west, so the party decides to try the door. Bang! Bang! Bang! The door gives way at last to reveal three hunched figures carving away at a quivering pile on a table. The noise gives the party away so the three figures raise their bloody cleavers toward new prey. 

The party answers this predation with a crossbow bolt from Bartel that hits heavy! While Corfu, Glurp, and Maynhardus form the line at the door. In the flickering torchlight, it is revealed these butchers are men gone mad, covered in skin masks, and seeking fresh material. But their heavy blows find no home and the party's frontline lands skillful strikes! Maynhardus and Bartel drops two and Corfu the third.

Making their way into the room, the party finds a pitiful "man" made of mixed up animal parts. This monster refers to itself as "the cleaner" and says he cleans up the Abbey- and sometimes the visitors that come in there- when they stop moving. Mostly.

The party tries to negotiate with the cleaner to guild them to the lower depths of the Abbey. Its makes reference to a garden. However, the mental stability of this mixed-up man is called into question so the party lets him go. But not before relieving him of a bag of ivory dominos (??? sp).

The last surprise is that after release, "Cleaner" disappears through the west door, but as if just fading from sight as opposed to going through the door.

THE HUNTING ROOM: The party decides to turn northward through the hallway instead risking a door which could reveal their position. The party's flickering torchlight reveals a columned room with base relief on each of the knights riding down wolves, exultation in their faces and fear in the wolves' eyes. However, as the party's torchlight illuminates the pillars the wolves become women by some trick of shadow and light. Little time for reflection as the party finds themselves in the position of quarry!  Black-winged arrows streak from the west- deermen!

With revenge in their hearts, the party forms a front line between the eastern-most two columns with Agnus, Maynhardus, Corfu, Glurp. Ernko drops back with oil flasks at the ready to cover a retreat. Mayfly, begins to mumble a spell. The party is in position right as Mayfly casts light to illuminate the deerman position- eight horrible creatures and eight racks on their head for the taking!

Another arrow flight! The foul magic of The Pit guiding this one. Ernko is speared through his only good eye- dead! Agnus too is perforated and bleeds out! Sotar's faith spares his heart but not his shoulder which explodes in pain as its cracked by a black arrowhead! But this party's hard heart doesn't falter. Tize sends a deerman back to the Pit! Maynhardus and Glurp kill another! Bartel earns his wage with a third! And Corfu expands the seating in hell with a fourth deerman!

Scenting the blood of their dead ilk in the air, the morale of these dread elk faulters. Breaking, they scurring their horry hides back into the poisoned bosom of Nightwick Abbey.

LURID FLORA: Corfu tends to Sotar as the party explores the room. These much thicker columns are covered in bas relief of strange flora. Even the spell-light fails to illuminate exactly what is being depicted as strange flowers give way to some sort of writing which flows back into more bizarre vegetation. Mayfly takes a rubbing. But confirmed by Corfu, each erotically-tinged flower is tipped in rubies! The party sets to work prying these gems out of their sockets (??? sp).

(PC NOTE: Once again, I think I missed to opportunity to better use Mayfly's spell compilation. Light is a 1st level spell that can blind an opponent on a failed save. Only enemies at 10-12 HD even have a 50% chance of saving. By BX rules, a blinded opponent cannot attack. Because Mayfly has two 1st-level spell slots, that is almost a guaranteed defeat of two enemies. Now, the obvious strategy is to save it for some big enemy. Buut, being able to knock down 2 enemies out of 8 is a big help to the party, so maybe I should be more aggressive. Especially to draw morale checks.

...back at the Medusa's Head

Pleased with the victory, but too shocked by it to actually party. The PCs agree to retire for the evening after making inquiries in town as to how to improve the rest and recovery of their downed members.

NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People, Session 14

And here I was thinking the 13th session would be unlucky...

Previously in Nightwick... 

And if you want to catch up on *all* the previous fun? 
"Weeknights in Nightwick" archive here

The Party

Blossom (Rogue 3)
Corfu (Dwarf 1)
Glurp (Frogling 1)
Mayfly (Magic-User 2)
Sotar (Cleric 1)

Hirelings: Pavel, Tizche, Grolmes, Ernko (MU 0), Maynhardus (FM 1)

At the Medusa's Head...

Finally, the party encounters a person of stout heart and iron will- Mayehardus the man-at-arms. Charging a hefty 50 sp, but paid by Mayfly since he comes armed with weapons and chain mail. Most likely should contribute more than the doctor...

...then down in the Abbey...

EAST TOWER: The party returns to the eastern tower with the hopes to move through the north door of THE CHAPEL and avoid the deerman to the west. But the first challenge is provided by the ever-present goblin guards.

Mayfly is curious about what the goblins are doing and guarding. Behind them is not the entrance to the alleged "Great Goblin Kingdom", but a wall covered in a giant purple scab. So what are they guarding? Mayfly then tries to get them to join the party for a bit of silver. This offer is met with an exclamation of: "That guy as money!" and the goblins move to rob him. Mayfly quickly throws the silver behind the goblins, who abandon their posts, spears, and make a grab for the money. The party gathers up the spears and makes their way forward.

THE CHAPEL: The party returns to the chapel with depictions of various saints often with peculiar additions inverting the standard meanings. The party makes its way toward the north door and listens. Hearing nothing they cautiously make their way in... 

MIRROR ROOM: The door leads to a smaller completely circular room paneled with a silvery mirrored substance. There is also another door to the north. Inset in the ceiling is a half orb which is a common depiction of the god of law. Sotar, being from a different sect of the Church of Law, notes that if this were an accurate depiction of god-- it should be cube-shaped. Such heresies in the Dark Country.

But the most interesting thing about this room the party realizes is that only Mayfly's reflection is showing in its silvery coating...

The PCs puzzle over this, but turn their attention toward the north door. While discussing the next course of action, Mayfly feels the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He turns just the nick of time, as his own reflection peels itself off the wall and lunges! 

Astonished the PCs organize themselves, Tizche and Maynhardus take the front and attack! The mirror-fiend cackles as their swords and spears do nothing! Mayfly throws a dagger in fright, hitting Tizche (oops!). The magic mirror-Mayfly mauls Maynhardus- color draining from his person. More out of guilt than bravery, Mayfly attacks the image with this torch- dealing damage- the image's edges burn as if paper.

Maynhardus become the object of mirror-Mayfly's mayhem as its claws lash out again draining more color from his appearance. The party fearing what Maynhardus could become desperately pushing any torch-bearing individual to the front. Corfu the dwarf presses forward and swings his torch toward the creature's face! With a hiss and cry, the creature's face catches fire and it withers to the ground like a spent match. 

THROUGH THE NORTH DOOR: Once the mirror-Mayfly was defeated, Mayfly no longer had a reflection in the silvery walls. But the puzzle of what triggered it still remained. No answers today so the party listens at the north door. Again hearing nothing the party, slips through the door...and is met with a hail of arrows! More f%*^&ing deermen! 

Caught by surprise, the party is only saved by the deerman's poor aim and slim Abbey door frames. The group scrambles to get themselves organized for a retreat and faces yet another volley of arrows. This time the group watches in horror as several arrows find Blossom! The stalwart goes down, collar bone broken, but not dead! Yet.

The party decides this is a route, grabs Blossom, and sprints out of this cursed place. Vowing revenge on every Deerman!

...back at the Medusa's Head

The party licks their wounds and sets Blossom up for 8 weeks worth of recovery...

Stupid *$^%* Deermen...

PRACTICAL MAGIC II: Or A Magic-User's Tools of the Trade

Ben L. of Ultan's Door fame took the starting spellbooks idea and really did a good job with them! 

The pairs of 1st level spells are well done and I'm a big fan of the inclusion of 2nd level spells to entice advancement. Wonderfully included is a description of the original book, what other knowledge might be learned from it (!), and a description of lesser copies. No specific mechanics are given for learning from the tome which is great! This gives the PC and DM something to negotiate over and encourages more free-form play.

The other reason I think starting spell books are a good idea is because by OSE/BX rules RAW,  the DM is supposed to provide the starting spells for a MU. And, BX MUs only can have in their spellbooks as many spells as they can cast (i.e. as many as they have spell slots).

I am sure no one follows this, but an upside is that spells can be better matched to remove "dud" combinations from random rolling and/or pair them more tightly the adventure, setting, or world. Some of this is reflected in the 1e AD&D DMG where Gygax suggests that starting MUs roll once on an offensive, defensive, and utility magic spell table to compose their first spellbook.

Another layer that might be fun is to provide a few pieces of equipment that a student of said book might use in their research, investigations, rituals, and practices. As such here is how I want to fold Ben's work in to my next campaign:

All MUs start with: Dagger (1d4), Hooded Cloak, Quill, Ink, & Paper (5 sheets)
Roll 1d6 for a lesser copy of:

1. Beyond the Convex Mirror: (1) Light, Ventriloquism; (2) Mirror Image
Equipment: Mirror, Lantern

2. Enchantments of the Twilight Court: (1) Charm Person, Detect Magic; (2) Phantasmal Force
Equipment: Wolfsbane, Wineskin (full)

3. Geometry of Unseen Potencies: (1) Hold Portal, Floating Disc; (2) Levitate
Equipment: Plumb bob + 20' cord, T-Level

4. Saffroy’s Principles of Arcane Dueling: (1) Magic Missle, Shield; (2) Web
Equipment: Torches (3)***, Silver Dagger (1d4)**

5. Lesser Emanations of the Archduke: (1) Sleep, Protection from Evil; (2) Invisibility
Equipment: Bag of Chalk, Hourglass**

6. Inner Illuminations of the First Organ: (1) Detect Magic; Darkness* (2) ESP
Equipment: Candles (10), Compass**

* One minor adjustment made here by using the reverse of Light, Darkness. I believe it still fits the theme as Detect Magic and ESP provided "sight" without light.
** As these would be expensive items, I might say these MUs start with (2d6*100) coin
*** Worth remembering that torches do 1d4 damage (fire); but maybe are extinguished on max dmg. or only after 2 hits like burning oil is after two rounds.

NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People, Session 13 there a doctor in the house? Our's is dead...

Previously in Nightwick... 

And if you want to catch up on *all* the previous fun? "Weeknights in Nightwick" archive here.

The Party

Blossom (Rogue 2)
Mayfly (Magic-User 2)
Sumac (Changling 1)
Sotar (Cleric 1)
Hirelings: Pavel, Tizche, Elgast, Grolmes, Ernko (MU 0), Gotchalcus (Doctor 0)

At the Medusa's Head...

It is the 24th of Primes, 1391 and Mayfly finds himself back in Nightwick Village's famous (and only) pub. The group is discussing what to do with the two doctors who have approached them with their services. Since 15 sp per week is a stiff price, the group decided to choose the battle-harded Gotchalcus. But before testing this battle-hardened doc in Nightwich, the group needs to drop by Halfdan's place to get some information on the 15 black stones they have. Halfdan's Tower...

Let in by the very human-mannered black bear, the party proceeds to describe to Halfdan the black stones and their curious property of making the hireling that touched one see their dead mother and aging them slightly.

Halfdan's suprising response is that the party is in posession of the "wages of sin". The stones are the infernal currency of the Nightwick denizens. And very valuable to wizards outside of Nightwick.

Mayfly confers with the Blossom, Sumac, and Sotar about seeking mentorship with Halfdan. The party agrees agumenting Mayfly' scholarship... with a professional would be wise. Halfdan agrees with "tuition" being 5 of the black stones. Deal done!

...on to Nightwick Abbey...

THE EAST TOWER: The party is always avoiding the West Tower due to Blossom's chilling recounting of deermen, beytral, and buchering right at the exit. Plus, in last delve, the Abbey, like an irritated animal, has shifted and resettled after clerical and divine actions in its walls. The party is curious to see what has changed and find other entrances back to the second level.

They choose the north east door in the entrance and listen. Hearing nothing. Sumac calls out to the goblins who respond with threats.

VULTURE STATUES: The party proceeds anyway through the door to a familar sight- two goblins behind a make-shift barricade. What is puzzling is that the wall behind them is covered now in a purple scar-tissue like surface. Not the entrance to the "Great Goblin Kingdom". So what are they guarding?

THE CHAPEL: Cautiously passing under the vulture statues, the party emerges into a large collumned room, not the den of deermen as before. In the ceiling is set a worn and weathered spherical representation of god. Sotar notes this is a heterical depiction, as the true form of god is a cube.

Speaking of depictions, the party notices that many of the alcoves contains altered depections of known saints of law. One alcove contained a mural depicting St. Toad, The Lady, St. Gax, and St. Simon. Everyone is turned away from The Lady in revulsion dispite her being a central figure in the proliferation of the Word of Law. But what is not repulsive is the very fancy silver candel holder on the alter-- bulky and expensive ( 500 sp ).

Moving westward, a second mural is one of St. Gax delivering a sermon and contained a locked tithing box. Blossom examined the lock and figured out it was both trapped and would require further working. Into the bag it goes for later experimenting ( ??? sp ).

A third interesting mural contained a depiction of St. Toad preaching to the froglings. However, red toads were pouring from his mouth and squished dead on the ground. An allusion to spoken lies and heresies.

Once the survey of the room was completed the party assisted other exits. The door to the south would lead to the "sweet-leaf" scented room but a hallway to the west holds for the little bit of movement Sumac saw.

F*%^&KING DEERMEN: Moving west the party is met by a hail of arrows! And in a hideous display of irony, the good barber/surgeon Gotchalcus is the first to fall (PC NOTE: hit on an 18 and damage roll of 8!). The party retreats south. Another flight of arrows and Elgast is the next to fall!

Once most of the party is through the door, brave Sumac attempts to hold back the deermen with a flaming oil flask. But in another cruel turn of events, it is Sumac who is set afire by a leaking flask! (PC NOTE: Sumac only had 2 HP and took 4 damage). With the smell of charred changling corpse lingering in the air, the party beats a hasty retreat. Damn those deermen!!

...and back to town!

The depleted group is able to sell off the silver alter piece and break open the lock-box without incident or being harmed by the spray of acid for a total of 1000 sp recovered. Mayfly and Blossom decide to go out drinking to celebrate life and the lives of their fallen friends- the caurousing pass with little incident. 

Mayfly- MU level 2- 3264/5000 xp