NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People Session 27

If you, dear reader(s), are interested in joining these delves there is an opportunity!

Previously in Nightwick...

Ianthi (Changling 1)
Mayfly (Magic-User 3)
Sotar (Cleric 3)
Verinka (Changling 1)

Hirelings: Elgar, Grolmas, Hartnid, Ticze, Hayno


With various members of the party elsewhere, a smaller group decides that more scouting of the first level of Nightwick is (mostly) smarter and a lot safer (ehhh...) than attempting another move to the second level (sorta true).


WEST TOWER: The party plunges down into the bowels of Nightwick and turns east to see if there is a route by which the West Tower connects to the Hunting Room and then to the East Tower. But first, the party stops to puzzle over the "Shushing St. Gax". Aaand the statue remains silent on its secrets. With a collective shrug, the party moves east through the door.

"TUMOR TURN": Through a short hallway, the party comes upon three walls with large pulsating tumors on them. Knowing these things birth the creatures of Nightwick, the party decides to cauterize them. Initially, the plan was to do this from a distance, however, despite a 16 DEX, Mayfly is unable to hit what amounts to the broadside of a barn. With that whiff, 11 rat-like things drop from these large pustules! The party is set upon quickly. 

The party quickly forms a line with clerics in front and spear-armed hirelings in the second rank (PC NOTE: Spears are an underappreciated MVP weapon). A melee ensues with a couple of the rat things dropping quickly but they are still many in number. Ianthi steps up to end it with a song of Sleep. The rat things are subsequently dispatched quickly. 

The party proceeds with the cauterizing of the wounds, but when the cleric Sotar does this there is a distant rumbling. The party turns north.

PHALLIC FLOWERS to TRASH ROOM: Having been in this large four-pillar room, the party decided to reverse course to travel to the deerman pits on the west side of the West Tower. Reaching the westward end, they pop open the door to...heaps of trash?

Quickly, in a bizarre fade to reality, the trash heaps become "manammals". The party struggles to get good answers out of the group the two leaders are "Stabber" and "Waiter". When asked what's the safest way, the manammals point south. The party checks the northern door in this room and hears the sounds of deermen. South it is.

Who's this guy?

PIT TRAP: Moving south, the party is very surprised when their front rank drops into a pit trap below! The manammals attack the party's last rank! Curse such an obvious trap (PC NOTE: Ugh. I can't believe we *fell* for it...)!

Ianthi breaks an arm in the fall (taking 6 dmg- eep). Ticze gets a belly full of dagger (takes 5 dmg- *%^&!). And Mayfly receives an ugly gash across his arm (5 dmg). Hayno responds by slaying a manammal! But Hartnid is brought down by a javelin! Mayfly, through clenched teeth, casts Charm Person on Waiter. A few more blows are exchanged, but the manammals break off and flee! Mayfly asked Waiter to bring whatever was so valuable in the southern room (Waiter! How could you stab us in the back!? We're friends! Now go get us whatever is there.)

Waiter returns with a gold skull. Intrigued, Mayfly quickly snatches it from the Waiter's hand (PC NOTE: DM, "Make a Save vs Spells..." Ooops.). After an intense back and forth, with an entity now in Mayfly's mind, it is assessed that the gold skull is from "The Maker" someone who the manammals venerate. But it looks like this master is missing pieces of its golden skeleton. A quest! Or at least one that Mayfly thinks might lead to power ✤. Also recovered is some ornate glass vials that would bring a tidy sum of 250 SP.

THE BUTCHER'S DINNING HALL: Feeling somewhat good about that fight, the party decides to risk further ventures on the other side of the Butcher's domain. So, an uninterrupted trip back through the dining hall lead to a west hallway with several doors.

1,000 DICKS ROOM: First room the party hit just had crude paintings of dicks being scrawled by a mad monk all over the floor and ceiling.

SLAYER ROOM: Second room -the party peaks in to see the world SLAYER is written in blood and most likely scat on the floor. Hmm. 

BAD BLOOD ROOM: Third and fourth room the party encounters has a few barrels in each. Jackpot! ...Right? I mean there has to be some fancy vintage wine? Mayfly ordered Waiter to dip his hand into one of the barrels. Upon opening it a rancid blood smell wafts into the room. And after dipping his hand into it, Waiter screams and runs out of the room. A sorta blood ooze crashes out of the barrel and onto the floor.

The party shuts the door and decides to leave this hell-haunted place. For today.


✤ Current state of the conjurer Mayfly: Currently possessing a gold skull of some being, a (maybe) cursed ring on his finger, and a pouch of several coins made from souls. "Evil" by Nightwick standards, which mainly is a demarcator of selfishness or self-obsession.

HOW I PREP CON GAMES: Through Ultan's Door vol 1 by Ben L


Through Ultan's Door Vol. 1
A picture I will always love.

Why run one con game when you can run two?! The second game I am running for ReaperCon 2022 (which as of this posting is today) is Through Ultan's Door by Ben L. In my previous installment, I outlined the principle of running imaginative OSR modules that focus on dungeon crawling as a good setup for a con.

Through Ultan's Door vol. 1 is a prime example of taking old-school D&D and catapulting it into an opium dream dungeon crawl. The setup of Ultan's is that the PCs come from a more mundane world and they delve through the door of Ultan's bookshop for the fantastical treasures of the dreaming. Nice setup, but at a con, we won't be adventuring that long together. How do we get all these elements together?

📝 Here is my prep sheet for the game

Part I: World Building & Opening
So let's though through the 'zine itself to see if we can identify any seeds and goals for a 3-4 hour dungeon crawl. Ultan's has some nice prompts at the beginning of the 'zine helpfully titled "Reasons For Venturing Through Ultan's Door". And looking through them I honed in on one:

You are devotees of the Slumbering God. You hold that the so-called waking world is merely one rung on a metaphysical ladder of dream worlds that flow every downwards, becoming more potent and condensed at each stage, until they pour into the great dream of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI. In drinking deep of the pleasures and horrors of Wishery you approach one step closer to this holy of holies.

Hmmm. That sounds good. So what is the goal? 

Well, looking through the 'zine there is also a notable NPC called The Weaver of Shadows who is a favorite of the god Azmarane and can bestow a blessing. This blessing allows the bestowed to become a favorite of Azmarane too. Okay, that is a good goal- religious devotees want to become favored. But how does all this come together? And why do they need to go to Ultan's? It hit me in one of those free-association ways.

The Cult of Sleep
The PCs will be members of the Cult of Sleep. They awaken in the night being hunted by another faction, The Red Censors, who are trying to eliminate them and crush the cult for good. The Censors are looking for one PC in particular "The Chosen One" (highest CHA score) after killing the previous one. The party needs to get their special PC blessed by the Weaver.

But it rings kinda hollow that say this important event happened, but PCs have no say in the matter. If it were a normal game, it would be fine for PCs to want to capture/kill members of The Red Censors. So, I decided to invent a little mini-game for the PCs covering this event. They get to choose to take a risk for hirelings, better equipment, or maybe magic scrolls. Roll some dice and have a quick narration.

Part II: DM Notes
Since Ultan's also comes with a little random encounter card. There are really few tables that I need to have in front of me. So this part really is about how to further ground the newly generated PCs into the Cult of Sleep in an easy-to-get way*.

So taking a page from Into The Odd and Necropraxis I generated a cult title and some equipment packages.** So I don't know if my cult titles are truly great because I don't think they quite match the gilded sumptuousness of Ben L's writing, but I try. We have: Sandman (fighter), Dreamer (magic-user), Nightcrawler (Darkness-casting cleric) & Shadow (thief). Each gets three pieces of equipment.

And for weapons and armor, I basically stuck to AC 10-12 and 1d6 damage weapons as Ultan's vol 1. is not really a high-powered fight. This also increases the likelihood of players taking the risk above for better stuff. And make that risk meaningful!

* I've run Ultan's a few times before and really I wish I had started writing down everyone's interpretations of what the tenets of the Cult of Sleep must be. Collectively it would make a great document.
**Great post here at Prismatic Wasteland about equipment