NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People Session 41


Previously in Nightwick...

Since Sotar did not delve this session, Mayfly has put pen to paper once again to recount the adventures in Nightwick.

The party awakens once again in Nightwick Village

Von Snorly (Frogling 2)
Mayfly (Magic-User 3)
Grolmes (Fighter 1)
Anston (Fighter 2)
Cherwe (Cleric 3)
Liminal Space (Changeling 2)
Mechtild (Fighter 1) 
Blossom (Rogue 4)

Hirelings: Ticze (Changeling 1), Gerung (Magic-User 1)


A little deep discussion is had with regards to the Abbey other than how to loot it. This is fine with Mayfly after recently purchasing a home and losing all of his money by throwing a party for Grolmes' safe return from the Abbey. On a more positive front, Cherwe's philanthropic efforts impressed the local community so much, she gained a devotee. 

PC NOTE: Carousing is basically performed by rolling 1d8 and multiplying it by 100 sp which is money spent and equal XP gained. However, Mayfly rolled an 8 and only had 600 sp, so he lost all his money and only gained 1/2 the total XP-- so 400 XP.

PC NOTE 2: This is a long one, so appologize if some details are fuzzy or names incorrect.


WEST TOWER: Becoming experienced at navigating Nightwick's hellish halls, the PCs are able to consult numerous maps about the quickest way to the second level. The goal is mainly exploration. Once the party has a better understanding of what's there, future delves can be made with purpose.

The Cult of the Lady
sable four blood drops gules in full
DINING HALL: The party is brought up short of its goal by a group of cultists! Their wavy short swords and blood-drop adorned cloaks signify they are the cult of The Lady. Blossom kills one with a bow, Liminal is able to hypnotize one and walk them into a trap, and Mayfly blinds another. But unshaken, the cultists press their attack requiring one more round of combat before the party finishes them off; 488 SP is found.

THE BLEEDING ROOM: The party is able to make it to their destination, the stair descending to the 2nd level. However, they note something new. A goatman has been ritualistically hung-up, throat slit, and blood dripping into a wooden bowl. This is new-- previously only deermen have been encountered.

WALL LICKING: The party pushes east past previously explored routes and tries a door on the north wall. Opening it, Liminal steps in wearing the cult cloak of the Lady, to see two figures with the same cloak-- one is licking blood streaming from the wall while the other seems to be writing down something while watching the licking occurring. Liminal and Mayfly attempt to look at some of the pages on the floor and discover the following:

The Lord's wife will give birth this month and then again next month.

The Pestilance man will be Father Winter.

A recount of Hoppin' in the Hood's exploits.

The White Lady will send one of her princes to kill the Bishope.

Liminal also licks the wall and receives a horrific vision of suckling a skull-faced matron figure, but no other illumination. Any lasting effects...? 

EMPTY ROOM: Party turns north and tries the first door eastern door-- nothing save for an archway that leads to a scab.

THE NIGHTWICK SHITTER: Continuing north the party hits two doors: east & west. The east door opens into a horrid Nightwick latrine. Could treasure be there? Maybe. Will the party dig through crap? No, everyone is not that desperate.

"UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT": The party is confronted with two lines of magical text below a symbol of a devil sitting on an orange. Using a Read Magic scroll, Mayfly learns that two lines say:

Under rennovation. Under new management.

Peaking in the room, the party is confronted with a monster composed of a maddingly assemblage of parts, not like a manimal, but something where mouths give way to arms that terminate into squawking beaks. It's big and looks far too deadly for the party to tackle. The gold skull lets Mayfly know it is a Knight of Armadeus. A lower demon.

BLOOD BOWL: Further north, the party opens an eastern door to reveal a mess hall of blood-drinking cultists. "Why do you have light?!" one demands. Liminal again steps up with a mostly plausible explanation as the party gently closes the door.

art by Chris Huth
THE MANGLING MASS: Turing west, the party opens a door on their first problem-- a swinging cage containing an amalgamation of undead bodies fused into a grabbing mass. The thing begins to swing the cage furiously toward the party who "nopes" out and closes the door.

A beat later, the party hears the *snap* and the tinkle of a broken chain hitting the floor. Fuuuck.

As the door is ripped off its hinges with a spray of Nightwick goo, the party bolts west!

TORTURE CHAMBER: In this room, there is a rack and iron maiden with gleaming gold spikes ($$$), but given the semi-animate nature of Nightwick's inanimate objects that has to be a trap. More scraping at the door! The party bolts through the west door, down the hallway, and through another door.

COMFY COUCH: This time the party happens upon a room with a singularly preserved luxurious couch. Sure, we'll take that. The hireling MU casts their one spell, Floating Disk, and the party plunges through the next western door trying to outrun the terrible mass of bodies chasing them.

PC NOTE: Several "weak" MU spells only seems that way because many, many adventures are written in such a narrow way as to never need them. Floating Disk is one of those spells. Its not really useful until you are trying to haul out some bulky treasure like multiple large chests, a fine couch, a tesla coil, and/or a giant juicer (all examples from Nightwick). Floating Disk is essentially an invisable mule that monsters won't target.

TORTURE CHAMBER (TOO): This time the party stumbles into a room with a devilman triplet torturing a goatman (hmm... again a change). The party asks what's in the next room to the west and describes what they are running away from.

"Oh yeah you don't want to go west," they all smirk, "that contains the same thing you are running from."

Fuck. Boom! Boom! Goes the door as the horrid mass is trying to break in. Mayfly offers up a precious soul coin to each of the devilmen to hold the eastern door while the party figures out what to do about the western door. "Deal," say the devilmen in a way that makes Mayfly feel like he didn't bargain hard enough.

The party also grabs the tortured goatman: "This should be a distraction."

THE MANGLING MASS (TOO)The party tosses the tortured goatman into the room with the second abominable amalgam and dashes south across the room as goatman blood confetti fills the air: "How quickly one embraces the path to hell..." remarks Anston. 

The party hits a three-way junction: doors east & west and an eerie blackness south. The sound of a chain breaking fills the air. Fuck.

Those of the party that are magically attuned, which is about half, know that night is falling on Nightwick Abbey, and its really best not to be caught once the sun drops. So the goal now is to somehow travel south and east to hit the exit to the first level and since that is well-mapped-- escape.

PC NOTE: Basically we try to stick to roughly ~3-4 hour sessions in & out of the dungeon. Otherwise if we are not back to the surface, we have to roll on a dungeon escape table. Not good. While initally people balk at this idea, I think a time limit, like actual maping, works really well in dungeon exploration because it enhances the meaningfulness of decision-making.

SPIRITUAL TRIALThe party favors eastern directions, so that is the first door Luminal peers into and sees some sorta spectral trial playing out. Relaying this to the party, Blossom's eyes go wide: "That must be the grandmother who's haunting Nightwick Village's most sought-after maiden (PC NOTE: A thread from like all the way back to Nightwick Session 05?). Still no exit!

INTO THE BLACK: With few options, Cherwe & Aston plunge into the black and call the party forth. The party is in a white room. A sense of calm can be felt by the cleric. An archway west leads to more black and a door east seems safe. Mayfly tests the black by poking it with an arrow. No change-- seems clear. The party heads through the east door. Exit? 

The sun is dropping lower...

FOUR REVERSE SIGILS: The party stumbles into another white room. No exit. But there are four sigil impressions on the southern wall. Anston grabs at his chest pulling out the silver medallion taken from a Death Knight-- a match for one of the impressions! An exit! 

He puts it to the wall, gears grind, and... nothing happens. Must need the other three. Damn it! 

The night begins to stain the sky...

INTO THE BLACK (AGAIN)The party reverses course, plunges through the west blackness, and emerges in another hallway: door to the north (no), pool of blood with meat chunks to the west (, and hallway south (...fine). The party moves south finding a wall of blackness eastward. Exit?

Somewhere farmers start putting up animals for the night for safety...

INTO THE WHITE ROOM (AGAIN)After plunging through the black, the party emerges in another, or the same, white room. Whatever. Not an exit! Luminal has a gnawing sensation that in the room with the spectral trial, there was a secret door found previously. However, the party is nervous about disrupting such an event and risk the wrath of the dead to find the secret door.

Outside, the last drops of light are slipping away...

Monster won initiative;
Grolmes had 1 hp.
A SIMPLE SACRIFICE: Desperate, the party decides that Mayfly should pay off the triplet Devilmen again for safe passage out with more soul coins. The party returns to the hallway with the second caged abomination: "But how do we avoid it?" Mayfly grins:

"Grolmes, my brave fellow, what does your sword think of that beast?"

Before Grolmes even can speak, his eyes flutter, as the will of Dhinron, whose sole purpose is the destroy the undead, grabs his mind and sends him hurdling toward the horror.

The mangle-of-corpses, perhaps sensing the sword's intent, quickly strikes Grolmes. The crushing blow cavitates the chest of the hapless hero. The magic sword skitters into a dark corner.

The rest of the party is able to slip past back to the room with the diabolical triplets.

A SIMPLE PAYMENT: Mayfly stipulates payment will be made when the entire party arrives safely and alive at the stairs to the first level. It is done. And with no more encounters had on the first level, the party escapes the jaws of Nightwick Abbey... for now...

PC NOTE: This wasn't "teleporting" out. The DM was rolling both to see the location of the monster on the 2nd level as we were escorted and rolled encounter checks for the distance crossed on the 1st level.


The party divides up the silver and sells the nice couch. 

"More treasure for the rest of the party being one person short", Mayfly observes.

"This is why you are evil"

"But aren't we all glad we're alive to have this conversation?" 

Ahh Nightwick...

We are at about a 40% PC death rate in Nightwick;
hirelings is a solid 50%

PC NOTE: If you have stayed this long reading I really appreciate it. I do hope my and Mycelium Mischef's recountings help illuminate megadungeon play from a player perspective. As well as spark interst in the playstyle!

Mayfly is currently at 8,597 XP which puts him within 1,403 XP of Level 4 (10,000 XP) which might be 5-7 delves more of not dying.

Nightwick Abbey as a whole continues to be a great campaign. I look forward to playing it every week and hate when a miss a session. Enviously looking at the discord messages that pop-up during the game. I think its also a very worthy addition to the very few megadungeons out there and look forward to it being set upon the world.

Here's to 2023!

CRUEL INTENTIONS: The motivations for fae cruelty

Arthur Rackham

A small but good bit I have moved over from Twitter. This is why we should always blog our ideas first THEN put them on social media so we don't have to double post. 

Why are they “cruel" at least by human terms?

First: They can’t create life and so are loathe to destroy it. But certainly will substitute, modify, & transmogrify that life hence all the baby swaps. trades, and turning men into ravens & pigs.

Second: Fae will never let you die (see above). but they also hate the gods and adore worship. So, tricking a bunch of folks into servitude and maintaining that servitude through immortality is the next best thing. But they hate this too because they know it's not true love from humans as the gods know it.

Third: They always take you at your word no matter how sound your mind or body is/isn’t; related- “sound” to fae is roughly “intact”; you and a fox both have equal sound minds & bodies; undead don’t & they don’t make deal with the undead.

DUNGEON23: Flashes of Inspiration

I feel like I have slight writer's block for #dungeon23 so here are some concepts that jump around in my head.

  • Bizzare garden full follies and patrolled by a medusa
    • Medusa would be a stalking sorta creature; turns folks to semi-precious gems
    • Statues exist of great value, but very heavy
    • Statues are of other adventures breaking into secrets; study statues to learn this; some are people the town wants back
    • Blind mole people patrol garden at night & agents of the Devil Swine (below) kidnapping adventures before they are turned to stone
    • peacocktrice
    • Rappaccini's Daughter situation

  • Beholder kind guards a Deck of Many Things
    • Uses Create Food & Water to attract humanoids to assist in guarding
    • Humanoids have formed a religion around this phenomenon; have a special interest in cups/bowls/plates; People of the Feast/People of the Round Table
    • Bothered that the "god" keeps mentioning the end will be in 1 year (this beholder only guards things for 99 years)
  • Devil Swine disguised as a kindly wizard "trapped" in a tower
    • Sends "press gangs" of guards to capture the most beautiful member of a party
    • Want that member to plant a kiss, to wake his sleeping daughter
    • Terrible twist: daughter is a vampire or daughter has to be revived for the swine's purpose
    • Swine is actually the lord of the town the PCs are in?
    • Or assemble every awesome katsuya terada Zelda image in a mood-board and go from there
  • A gigantic pomegranate tree produces fruit that tempts the gods (to humans, the seeds are perfect rubies a single fruit is 10,000 GP + other effects)
    • Rotten fruit has hideous effects
    • A wyrm with brass scales and a poisonous breath is wrapped around the tree
    • Waves of its vile breath float through the dungeon
    • Roots extend downward to an underground cloud?

  • A cloud giant's former castle is now underground; cloud atmosphere; avian monstrosities
    • Dead or just dreaming?
    • New occupants have a sorta parasitic relationship with giant
    • Fay try to keep it asleep; the spinal fluid vampire skulks around taking sips
    • This cloud is what feeds the giant tree above

  • The Colossal Crab Cities of the Kuo-toa (posted about this here)
    • Buried in a flooded plane now filled with sea creature
    • 2+ factions of fish people fight it out
    • PCs may become godlings in the presence of the kuo-toa's weird powers; may go crazy 
    • From former post: All the shell would be is a living reef of Kuo-toa singing mad hymns all the while. A tide pool from a briny hell. Maybe the crab would pick up chunks of cities, towers, and landscapes like decorator crab. Maybe it even has torn a piece of the night sky with it. Maybe this is actually the water elemental protecting itself from the eyes of other gods by disguising itself as a normal spiritual thing (See I have worshipers, cities, bits of land, factions, & sacrifice!). But really its just a crab that wants to eat everything.

  • Cyclops/Ogre at the Ruined Moat-house
    • Raised prised cerulean sheep and grapes of an exquisite type
    • Ruined moat-house contains 2-3 entrances to the dungeon below
    • Cyclops is periodically sleeping, sitting at the "front door" of the moat-house, counting sheep near by etc.; basically, PCs don't always have easy access to the dungeon
    • Cyclops also has some great treasures too (Type E); e.g. 
      • 1,000cp, 10,000sp, 3,000ep, 3 × gems (10gp), 2 × gems (50gp), 2 × gems (100gp)
      • piece of jewellery (500gp), piece of jewellery (700gp), piece of jewellery (800gp)
      • 2 × pieces of jewellery (900gp), piece of jewellery (1100gp), 2 × pieces of jewellery (1200gp), piece of jewellery (1500gp), Potion of Diminution, Leather armour, Shield + 1, Sword +1 (+2 vs Lycanthropes), Spell scroll (light (darkness), remove fear (cause fear), remove fear (cause fear))
  • Monsters Parts
    • Gold dragon mummy
    • Green slime merchants
    • Troll with a magic sword stuck in its back
    • Living statues that think they are gods?
Maybe I just wrote the whole thing? Stack all of these one top of each other?? What to do???

DUNGEON23: What "Dungeon" Means to Different Players Who Are Not All D&D Nerds


In part of my brainstorming for #dungeon23 I reached out to three different people I know to get their opinions of on the following question:
Really Random Question: If I was gonna run a dungeon for you or you wanted to show someone whose never played D&D a dungeon, what would you want in there?

Because the dungeon I create for this event is something I want to be able to pull out and run for people get fantasy but maybe are not steeped in D&D or know the exact difference between "trad" and "OSR". But I still want the dungeon to embody several of the quality of good old-school dungeons-- mainly decisions making, while being something that people "grok" immediately. This is why I'm constantly trying design good "french vanilla" fantasy.

PLAYER 1: ~40 yro, 5 kids, working professional, reads a lot of fantasy novels, Battletech versed:

  • "A good narrative environment"
  • "Choices, problem solving"
  • "I picture LotR or Willow"
  • "PCs with different backgrounds and skills coming together to adventure to gain kills & wealth"
  • Freedom, quests, challenges"
  • "I think less about dungeons and more about wandering through woods & castles"
  • "Abandon homes left vacant from years gone; war that has ravaged the land"
  • "Magic culture receding"
  • Monsters:
    • trolls
    • wraiths
    • goblins/orks
    • dark elves
PLAYER 2: ~21 yro, enjoys D&D, plays NES retrogames, working through Dark Souls
  • "A couple of easy enemy types"
  • "Puzzles that are not immediately obvious"
  • "Roaming baddie that poses a big threat/different course of action"
  • "Options for how to approach things"
  • "stealth vs fighting vs diplomacy" (I joked: steal, steel, or stall)
  • "I like multi-story tower kinda thing"
  • "Or maybe a deep forest maze/mushroom people"
PLAYER 3: ~50 yro, completed Temple of Elemental Evil back in the day, steeped in D&D
  • "Abandon tomb or library, something very old and you have to keep pushing to figure it all out"
  • "Dungeon should show off a variety of D&D"
  • "Want surprises, traps, puzzles, various monsters, and undead"
  • "Lot of treasure"
  • Monsters, "Not all my favorites":
    • skeleton, zombie
    • grey ooze, ochre jelly
    • owlbear/bulette/otyugh
    • giant spider/scorpion/centipede/rats/wolves