Dragons in the Dark

TSC-E16: Magic Mushroom Party!

 

Tags: H.A. A.B. E.B. S.B. E.C. L.C. A.J. Aranna Weaver, Astrologer Ser Aust Booker, Knight Lane Weaver, Soldier Octopus Tentacles, Courtier Perrin Juno, Assassin Coil Mahogany, Zealot Glavas Roh Tentacles, Lower Noble Gary the Snail Juno, Spy The Imperishable Sorceress Daniel J. Bishop


It’s the month of the Wolf, day of the Stoat. The Snack Club have spent an entire week in No-Ombrulsk resting after defeating the Emerald Enchanter. During their week of indulging in their vices, Octopus (EC) partied so hard she disappeared for a week.

The Snack Club decide to stick around in No-Ombrulsk for another week. Aranna Weaver (AJ) spends the week looking for Octopus, but also visits several expensive establishments to pamper herself as well. Somehow, somewhere, she accidentally hires Freya, an enigmatic light footman with heteroachroma eyes… who also happens to be an expert cook. Aranna offers her a job at Dragons in the Dark back in Ool Krut instead of dragging her around on adventures.

Meanwhile, Glavas Roh (EB) and Lane Weaver (AB, played by EB) spend their free time studying their spells, ray of enfeeblement and sleep. Perrin Juno (SB) continues to advertise Dragons in the Dark in No-Ombrulsk, while Gary the Snail (HA) and Coil (LC) both continue working on their “time machine”.

Unfortunately, during this week of downtime, Glavas the Glutton also couldn’t stop himself from spending 440gp on fine dining. For the record, that’s $44,000 in expensive meals. That’s, assuming three meals a day, $2,095 on average each meal. So it must have been exotic. Maybe unicorn steak? Manticore chops? Dragon meat soup? The essence of banshee? Ale blessed by a thousand cultists? Nectar of the gods stolen by a party of adventurers who died in their theft of it? It’s impossible to know.

Aranna eventually finds Octopus. She remembers little of the last week. But together, along with Glavas Roh decide it’s time to head back to Willowby Hall. Lane, Perrin, Coil and Gary the Snail decide to stay in No-Ombrulsk another week to keep studying their spells and running a tourism campaign for Ool Krut.

Ogo the Blind, Ogo Veretta, and Boss Ogo

Octopus, Aranna and Glavas Roh travel safely to Ool Perns as a layover between No-Ombrulsk and Ool Krut. There, they overhear at a tavern how the city’s jeweler, Boss Ogo, hadn’t been seen for over a month. He was last seen going into his home on Dowager Alley and Cheap Street. The revelers believe something’s bad happened, but nobody has the guts to go check in on him (Boss Ogo isn’t well liked). So Octopus, Aranna and Glavas Roh decide to check it out.

They try knocking. Nothing happens. They shout at the windows. Nobody responds. They try to kick the heavy door only to hurt themselves. That’s when Octopus decides to just break a first floor window. They sneak inside. There’s a store counter with storage shelves in the back. They go behind the counter and head into another room. As soon as they step on the floor, there’s a loud shrieking. It wakes up the whole house. Octopus runs out. Glavas Roh and Aranna decide to loot the storage boxes before they go. Glavas Roh finds a necklace of rubies. Aranna find empty and trapped storage boxes. Finally, they book it out of there.

They give up on Boss Ogo’s strange house and decide to leave Ool Perns and head south to home. (Later, Glavas Roh attempts to sell the necklace and finds out it was a fake and only worth 5gp.)

Let’s Check it Out Lane

Meanwhile, in the “future” where the rest of the Snack Club stayed in No-Ombrulsk for an extra week…

They finally decide to head home as well having learned their spells, advertised the heck out of Dragons in the Dark in Ool Krut, and made progress on their time machine.

On their way south, they come across a caravan knocked over on its side. Lane Weaver (played by AB again), who at the beginning of the session, gave up his plate armor so he can cast spells more fluidly, which means he’s much weaker in terms of armor… decides to walk up to the wagon. Alone. Two arrows fire at him dealing 11 damage. He’s at 2HP. Not good. Four bandits sneak up behind Gary the Snail, Coil and Perrin. Not good at all.

Lane jumps into the caravan for cover. He asks the group what spells he should cast. He keeps thinking to go offensive with fireball or control ice or whatever. The group asks him what other spells he has. He goes down the list, the first one is vitality, the most obvious spell he should cast to heal himself.

Gary the Snail is armed to the teeth with a full-plate armor, helmet and heavy sword. Nothing can touch him. He slashes a bandit down. Perrin fires an arrow at another. Coil cuts another down. Lane, trapped in the wagon, decide to look around for treasure in the middle of a fight. He finds a broken chest. Roots around and finds 20gp. Meanwhile, his companions outside are dealing with bandits. Finally, Lane peeps out and casts control ice sending a hailstorm of ice into the forest, hoping to kill the hidden archers. It does.

With the bandits dealt with, Lane, Perrin, Coil, and Gary the Snail head to Willowby Hall.

Magic Mushroom Party!

Back home – The Snack Club decide to build an extended tower at Willowby Hall to research spells, potions and magick. It costs 8,000gp and will take 120 days, set to complete Year of the Leviathan, Month of the Lion, and Day of the Wasp. It requires major funding and empties their vault of treasure by half. All 19 ice necklaces and 12 ice jewels from Dolmenwood are sold for 5,040gp (5600 - 10% brokerage fee), plus 5 Opals for 900gp (ibid.), 1 Ruby for 720gp (ibid.), a pair of garnet earrings for 128gp, 6 golden rings for 1080gp, and 132gp in loose change. It’s a huge investment.

There’s a lot of logistics as well. The Snack Club trade up weapons, switch things around, optimize each member.

In the month of the Wolf, Day of the Ass, Octopus Tentacles is wandering Willowby Hall, exploring the weapons room when she notices something off about the south wall. It’s shifty. She pushes it. And finds a secret door. Walking in, it’s pitch dark with a pungent, earthy smell. With a little light, Octopus discovers the entire room is covered in fungi with a dry fountain in the center of the room. It’s a night garden!

At this point, the Snack Club all crowd into the secret garden and spend the entire afternoon trying the different mushrooms. Some are magical. Halving their gravity for ten minutes, transforming to slime, shrinking like Alice in Wonderland. Others are ordinary with weird effects like itchiness, bad breath, or inducing vomit. IRL, I take a break and let them roll on the table of different mushroom effects. It’s very imaginative. Thanks Ben Milton, for teaching a group of middle school kids about psilocybin.

Planning a Trip to the Cold Wastes

The next day, the Snack Club decide it’s time to prep for their trip to the Mountains of Giants, where Ivrian the Unkind, an ancestor of the Weavers had vanished centuries ago to seek immortality. There’s a lot of planning. How many laborers, torches and rations to bring along. They purchase fur mantles for the cold weather. They also plot out their trip. They could cut through the Great Forest to Illik Ving and risk the dangers of the unknown… or travel along the shore to Ool Perns, No-Ombrulsk and cut across to Illik Ving. They choose the safe path.

They also smartly realize they don’t need to hire any laborers until they get to Illik Ving.

On their trip up to Ool Perns, they come across a captain of the guard and four watchmen hunting for a murderer. Perrin thanks him for the tip and move on. On their way up to No-Ombrulsk, they meet a peddler of the illicit traveling with six guards. He offers the Snack Club bootleg ale and psychotropics. The Snack Club decline, but also help the guy out by warning him of the Ool Perns captain of the guard down the road. From No-Ombrulsk, they make a safe journey to Illik Ving, which is a two day journey from their final destination, the Mountains of Giants.

More Bookkeeping and Accounting

Meanwhile, back in Ool Krut…

The month of the Wolf has come to an end, Raw Skull does the books for their tavern Dragons in the Dark. Perrin had spent three weeks in No-Ombrulsk marketing their establishment hoping to lure patrons to Ool Krut at a cost of 100gp. Aranna’s accidental hire of Freya back in No-Ombrulsk was given a job as a cook. On top of that, there’s Raw Skull’s monthly salary of 100gp. The Snack Club also paid for maintenance, insurance, extra security and extra staff for the month. All in, expenses are 440gp. The insurance was worth it, as during the month of the Wolf, they found termites in their cellar. Two other significant events occurred as well. A talking toad appeared in the alley of Dragons in the Dark and a group of players put on a show. At a base of 250gp + 900gp revenue, minus 440gp, Dragons in the Dark in Ool Krut made a profit of 710gp for the month of the Wolf.

At this rate, the Snack Club may recoup their initial investment of 6000gp in Dragons in the Dark within six months of opening!

Snack Club Human Resources

Back in Illik Ving…

The Snack Club have done the math. They need four laborers to carry all the rations they’ll need on the trip up to the Mountains of Giants. They end up with Franzon, Geanne, Thargis, and Nissel to help them carry stuff. Perrin decides to hire an extra tank and finds Tagetta, a female barbarian which the Snack Club quickly rename to Barbara. As in Barbara the Barbarian. Cute. Glavas Roh wants two archers, but is talked down to one. He hires Naako the Archer.

Armed to the teeth, equipped to the brim, prepared with rations, torches, and fur mantles, and rounded out by a retinue of laborers and fighters… the Snack Club travel through the Cold Wastes.

It is an uneventful journey, fortunately. At one point, they come across gigantic footsteps leading away. They ignore it, not wanting to risk any encounters. (It was a frost giant and my bait didn’t work).

And finally, at the foothills of the Mountains of Giants, they find an ominous mountain where near the top, on an outcropping, vague traces of a stone henge could be seen. There is a switchback of a trail up towards a cave mouth. The Snack Club soldier forward.

And as they approach, the Weavers, Lane and Aranna, hear a woman’s voice. “By Ivrian’s blood and Ivrian’s token, come forth”. Perrin tells Aranna she should cut herself and bleed on the coins she found with her face on it. I don’t know why… but I’m sure Perrin had reasons.

They head up the mountain.

Spoilers for The Imperishable Sorceress by Daniel J. Bishop

They have a clean, simple marching order. Gary the Snail (now with an absurdly high 21AC) in the front. And their hired gun, Barbara the Barbarian protecting the rear.

As they hike up the trail, suddenly, war cries and high-pitched ululations could be heard from behind them. It’s a tribe of angry barbarians. Aranna whips out her crossbow, fires. Glavas and Naako as well. The Snack Club keep running. Another seven appear, chasing them. Lane’s not putting up with any of this. He casts fireball on the lot of them. It blows off the side of the mountain! The Snack Club are now stuck at the point of no return! More barbarians rush out. Lane launches another fireball at them. The destruction is devastating.

The Snack Club scream at Lane for destroying their way back home. Lane’s like, I can cast control ice and make a slide back. Stop being so dramatic. He’s also got planar step. It’s no big deal. Grumbling, the rest of the Snack Club keep going. They come across a Cold Stinger, some strange beast that’s half-scorpion and half-centipede. They kill it no problem. A few stabs from Coil. A shot from Aranna. I didn’t even get a chance to sting them (which causes paralysis). Perrin explores the small cave where it ambushed them from. There are paralyzed squirrels, and rabbits, and a human woman. She’s alive. They’re all alive. They were supposed to be food for the cold stinger. They take the paralyzed animals and make Geanne carry the human woman. We roll up a name for her. It’s Helja. Helja the Paralyzed. The Snack Club don’t bother figuring out how to un-paralyze her.

They keep heading up the mountain. Eventually they come to a dark square cave mouth. It’s clear there used to be huge gates here, but only the hinges remain. Perrin lights up a torch. I have implemented OSE rules where torches burn out after every hour (six turns). Keeps the resource management interesting.

It’s dungeon crawl time. They head into the darkness, dimly lit by their one torch. They find a room with a chair and a box of journals. It’s Ivrian’s diary. It’s written in a cypher. Nobody can break the code without taking it home to study for months. Lane swipes it. But before they stick it in their rucksack, they flip through the pages and find tons of graphic diagrams of Ivrian flensing young women and sticking them in vats, bathing in human blood and milk, a horse-headed demon, and images of weird bee-like creatures with women’s faces. It’s clear the Weaver’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-Aunt is not a sorceress to be trifled with. It’s clear why her nomenclature is “Ivrian the Unkind”.

They head into the next room. Right away, they see a slab in the middle of the room wtih a naked woman on top of it. She’s breathing, but not moving. Octopus walks up to it to examine her. She’s alive/not-alive. It’s an artificial construct. It looks like Aranna/Ivrian. And on the floor next to this mechanical version of Ivrian, there’s a dead body of the real Ivrian, except old, withered and mummified due to the cold. Perrin hypothesizes that Ivrian had transferred her soul into the construct. But if that’s the case… why isn’t she moving?

There are also several vats in the room, and beneath each one are grates where they leak into. Suddenly, three tentacles sneak out the grates and attack Octopus, Coil, and Naako. None succeed. Lane casts control ice and drives a frozen wall against them. The tentacles freeze, shatter and break apart. Aranna draws her crossbow and fires it at the last one. Critical! Her arrow cuts it in two. Octopus looks around. There are no more doors. Aranna searches the room for secret doors. Finds two on the far side of the room.

They take the right one. It’s a sloping ramp that u-turns down to a ledge, and in the large room is a huge machine with a ladder leading up to a door and a drill underneath. Octopus gets in. There are three switches. She turns them all on. The drill starts spinning, faster and faster… and the machine, the Adamantine Mole drills into the ground and before Octopus realizes what’s going on, she’s SIX MILES DEEP into the earth. She panics and begins trying every combination of switches to see if there’s a reverse function. There isn’t.

The Snack Club are now looking into a six mile deep hole and shouting down. Octopus can barely hear them and vice-versa. Eventually Perrin and Aranna come up with a plan to drop a bottle of spider climb potion hoping that she’ll catch it with her telekinesis. Octopus does. But it does very little to help. At best she can climb 360’ up the hole she dug up. Lane then offers to throw his jar of tentacle suckers down. Once again, Octopus catches it. But at six miles deep, it will take Octopus two hours to climb back out.

During this time, all the rest of the Snack Club can do is wait. That’s three hours in the dungeon and three torches used up.

Final Accounting Update: 2 weeks in No-Ombrulsk, 7 characters, 3gp/day living expenses = 294gp

/end session on the Year of the Leviathan, Month of the Panther, Day of the Spider

The Snack Club’s Portfolio

Stored in Wyrmskull Vault

  • Chest of Gold from Hole in Oak = 1,994gp
  • Skull with Ruby Eyes = 1,600gp
  • Diamond = 463gp
  • 102 Emeralds x 10gp = 1,020gp
  • Gold Cube = 30gp
  • Petty Cash = 2,977gp
  • Tavern Income = 2,160gp
  • M.Wolf Interest = (105gp)

SUBTOTAL: 10,139gp

Hidden Cache in Great Forest b/w Mlurg Nar & Gnamph Nar
610gp

TOTAL: 10,749gp

The Snack Club’s Real Estate

  • Willowby Hall (Mansion in Ool Krut)
    • Renovations: Building L1 Tower (ECD. Y.Leviathan/M.Lion/D.Wasp)
  • Dragons in the Dark (L1 Tavern in Ool Krut)
    • Y.Worm/M.Badger = +1,260gp
    • Y.Worm/M.Wolf = +710gp

Chekhov’s Ticking Time Bombs

NEW

  • So the Junos can’t keep their mouth shut and blab about stuff. Guess I have to come up with a hook for the Juno family.
  • Uh… so the Snack Club completely abandoned the Boss Ogo situation in Ool Perns…
  • The Snack Club now have an empty Ivrian body. What will they do with it?

OLD

  • Emma Frog is dead, but her infamous mass prison break in Ilthmar will have consequences.
  • The Redclaws are allied with the Dolmenwood Drunes and HQ at Redclaw Castle

Session Counter for Levelling

Character Player Level Sessions Next
Aranna Weaver AJ L4 13 21
Lane Weaver AB L3 12 13
Perrin Juno SB L3 5 8
Octopus EC L3 3 8
Glavas Roh EB L3 2 8
Gary the Snail HA L3 2 8
Coil Mahogany LC L3 2 8

DM Notes to Myself

I’m rewatching Mad Men right now. Some critics have argued it’s basically a show about nothing. Just the daily lives of ad men on Madison avenue in the Sixties. Going to work. Getting promoted. Having drinks with clients. Buying groceries. Planning birthday parties. Running a household. Neighborhood drama. Office drama. Petty fights.

This week’s session felt like an episode of Mad Men. The Snack Club bought and sold equipment. They studied spells. They marketed their tavern. They hired contractors to build an extension to Willowby Hall. They puttered around the house on their day off. They spent a day high on mushrooms. They planned a trip. They bought weather-appropriate clothing. They hired laborers and security. They ate a lot of food. They did bookkeeping for their business. They rearranged furniture in Willowby Hall to accommodate new characters.

Not a lot of adventure. It was a very domestic session.