Castles & Crusades Saturday Diary: 8 Players (with 10 characters) ‘In Search of the Unknown’

21/9/2019

Castles & Crusades Saturday Diary: 8 Players (with 10 characters) while ‘In Search of the Unknown’ the group fought 50 Skeletons, 4 Ochre Jelly, 12 Derro, 4 Carrion Crawlers, 4 Shriekers, and 18 Stirges!

A full crew tonight, with two brand new players to the Castles & Crusades game. The new players made characters, one player had an AD&D background, and the other player had background in other RPG’s (e.g. RIFTS). They both brought new ways to try and accomplish tasks.

Entering an old museum they found 50 skeletons lining the walls of the room with a table in the centre with scrolls and piles of gold. When the bard lassoed a scroll and pulled it to himself, the skeletons came alive and attacked. The monk and a wizard threw oil on the ground and lit it up with torches and the ‘burning hands’ spell. Another cleric used two ‘sound burst’ spells which blew apart 25 of the skeletons, and as the rest poured through the doorway to attack the players they were able to pick them off. They got the gold and magical scrolls, but it was a tough fight.

They next found a secret room where they were attacked by two oozes – ochre jelly. As they tried to scrape them off themselves, the two ochre jelly divided into four! Careful use of spells finally destroyed them.

From there they found an outpost of Derro (an evil and degenerate subspecies of dwarf). It seemed to be an unguarded encampment but the Derro soon returned. The monk and a wizard dumped oil on the ground and set it alight with a ‘burning hands’ spell. Several players by this point were hurt and several spellcasters were out of spells, so they retreated back to the abandoned museum several corridors away. A few characters stayed behind to try to pick off the Derro.

Derro, however, are quite intelligent, plus they are master thieves, so while the handful of characters remaining gazing through the flames looking for them to attack with their ranged weapons, the Derro retreated out of the room through a back entrance opposite the players and well out of sight. They then resent in a bunch of Derro hiding in the shadows. Through the shadows caused by the flickering flames and the high ceiling, the Derro climbed up the walls and around to sneak attack and backstab the group. The paladin, however, was detecting evil, so even thought he couldn’t visually detect them hiding behind the rocky and uneven protrusions on the walls, he could sense evil approaching from all over, so they backed away as the Derro lunged from the shadows.

The small group of characters pointed out to the Derro that they could take them back to their treasure. The Derro leader paused in his attack and agreed. The Derro followed the group at a distance back to the locked door that led to the museum. The paladin tried to send the group on the other side of the door a warning, but the clever Derro saw through this and immediately attacked. Several characters fell unconscious, and even though several Derro also went down in the fight, the players managed to close and lock the door behind themselves. The assassin in the group tried to set a trap on the door (but she failed). The Derro on the other side then set two traps of their own as the players tried to rest up and regain health and spells.

Somewhat renewed a few hours later, the group left the room, but traps of razor wire and swinging rocks (both undetected by the rogues) caused damage. They then made their way back to the Derro encampment which seemed as though they had left and abandoned their equipment. Failing to detect the traps the Derro had in fact set on their equipment, players were attacked by poison darts as they tried to loot the Derro equipment.

The players were again getting worn down from the clever traps the Derro had left behind. Leaving that room behind they found a room with a pool of water with dead elves lying at the edge. The assassin failed to avoid the contact poison on the elves that was in the water, so she felt herself become physically weaker from the contact poison. She then found a door and failed yet again to disarm a trap that sprayed poison gas in her face, this paralyzed her. Other characters did find their way into the room and discovered that it was once a shrine to Juiblex (a chaotic evil demon lord of oozes). It seems it had been abandoned a while back, although there was enough residue of ooze in some large bowls on the ground for a wizard to fill a vial.

Continuing into a new chamber, their movement and light activated four shriekers, as the players were destroying them, 18 stirges (flying, blood-sucking creatures) flew in to attack. Burning hands again did a good job taking them out, but two more characters ended up falling unconscious before the stirges were all dealt with. When the battle was over, the characters retreated into a small room and the ranger in the group tried to conceal their presence from any other creatures as they again were going to try and rest and regain their health. In two weeks we will see whether they’ll succeed!

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Castles & Crusades Saturday Diary: Deck of Many Things, Alchemical Transformation, Eating Magical Mica.

07/09/2019

The gates of chance opened wide open tonight! While in the Caverns of Quasqueton the group spent time in the kitchen and then Zelligar’s wizard laboratory. There the witches in the party got to work mixing and brewing chemicals involving holy water, bone dust, dragon blood, and other ingredients. Inhaling the fumes, drinking these concoctions, and applying them to their weapons, caused some unique side-effects (depending on whether they could make their intelligence check and their constitution save, I had decks of cards and a book of random tables I made use of, and depending on pass or fails on the dice, the players rolled randomly on the tables)!

One witch’s left arm turned into a tentacle! Another witch who had a 14 Str, caused her right arm to bulk up, giving her right arm a 16 Str. Other characters acquired some temporary alterations – one, for example, transformed into a young brass dragon for over an hour!

They eventually found a vertical shaft in a room that led down to the lower caverns. Heading down the shaft they discovered a highly magical slab of mica in a small cavern. Chipping off pieces and placing them in their mouths had all sorts of extraordinary effects (depending on whether they passed their saving throws)! By this point the assassin in the party – after devouring several pieces of mica – was no longer able to sleep, and then lost the ability to know how to drink, then they DID reacquire the ability to sleep again, but only when someone said the word “the” (which happens A LOT)! And finally, they couldn’t stop crying. The player running this character felt this was probably too much to control, so they used the Deck of Dirty Tricks card they had drawn at the beginning of the game (which allowed them to teleport to a previous place they visited), and teleported to Rogahn’s secret chamber and then passed through a magical tapestry in the room which will take them to a far away land up north (which the group will eventually get to at some point). This takes the character out of the game for a while and they will worry about them later.

Deciding to remain in the lower level, they made their way to a chamber with a skeletal wizard – Marevak, once the wizardly assistant to Zelligar – sitting behind a desk with a deck of cards before him, and a deactivated magical portal which had lost its magical capabilities. Marevak was in poor condition, but this lich-like entity offered the characters to pull cards from this deck of many things. One player chose to pick 3, another 4, and two other characters chose 5! Everything was on the line! When all was said and done:

  • one witch acquired +2 to her Wisdom, gained a 19 Intelligence, lost all her non-magical possessions and money, and changed alignment.
  • another witch/assassin lost all her intelligence, but gained 25 gems of maximum value of her choice!
  • the dragonslayer gained boots of striding and springing, had to fight a wraith one-on-one to the death – and succeeded after having a level drained! And finally gained several wishes (which he used to give one witch back her intelligence, and gave the other witch back her alignment, and then gave himself his level back plus more).
  • the dwarven cleric/fighter lost all his magical items (including a dwarven thrower!), and also gained enmity with an extraplanar being, but he acquired a 4th level fighter follower and his own keep (in the northern territories). The players will NOT forget this evening!

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