Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Real Nightwick Abbey Session 11

This was a landmark session.  Perhaps the reasons while will become apparent in the report.  Slimey's player was absent so the party consisted of...

Barley Brownbeard etc. etc. -- the infamous Dwarven noblemen
Ffraid -- a quiet and indignant Cleric of the Old Gods
Roger le Douche -- Paladin and scion of the House of Mount le Douche
Pillsen -- egotistical and cowardly Magic-User

The game began with Ffraid still in the stocks and Barley Brownbeard still recovering in a peasant's hut.  Slimey had left to try to find some food, and so the wounded Barley was alone.  He spied to figures coming up the road, and quickly became aware they were not simple peasants or guards.  One was debating with the other about the nature of the universe.  Perhaps debating is the wrong word, it was more of a lecture.  Pillsen, as Barley would latter learn he was called, was "educating" Roger on the orbits of the spheres and how these allowed the summoning of the "pixie people."

For his part, Roger was uninterested, but during their conversation he mentioned that he was a paladin dedicated to the God of Law.  Barley, knowing that such people could heal him, approached the pair and asked the paladin to render his services.  Roger, thinking the Dwarf was some sort of mutant peasant, at first declined, but decided to help the needy.  Pillsen attempted to inform Roger that Barley was in fact an infamous Dwarven noble whose wanted posters hang in taverns across the Dark Country (particularly in Braxley Barrow).  Pillsen blinked uncomprehendingly, and the trio preceded on to the city of Lichgate.

They found that the city was still under lockdown.  While waiting outside the walls, Barley found Ffraid who had been moved to an uncomfortable gibbet for her paganism.  Roger was originally glad to see her in such a predicament, as if she was in a gibbet she clearly did something wrong.  She pointed out that she had the only map of Nightwick Abbey in existence (whether or not this is a lie has yet to be seen), and since the good le Douche had come to this country in order to cleanse the Abbey he agreed to try to free her.  They managed to get a meeting with the commander of the town guard, a corpulent man of some wealth.  Pillsen gave him his last 100 gold (while Roger wasn't watching) and the commander agreed that something must be awry and let the pagan free.

Since Pillsen had no money with which to enter the city, they decided to head to the village of Nightwick.  Barley left a note for Slimey, hoping that he would be able to make his way when he had returned from foraging.  Not wanting to get molested en route, they decided to travel with a group of Froglings who they convinced to head to the village to sell there wares.

Upon arriving, the Froglings set up their fair (which caused one player to imagine them as greasy, bemulleted carnies), and the characters resupplied before delving back into the dungeons of the abbey.  They then went into the abbey itself, and decided to venture in a direction they had neglected until then.  They Fought a number of giant rats, found a strangely small pile of treasure with a very elaborate defense system, and did battle with a few skeletons.  Roger attempted to use his detect evil power, but immediately passed out due to the inherent evil of the place.  When he awoke, he told the rest of the party that the abbey itself seemed to be a demon, and he could not differentiate the monsters within it from the thing itself.

At some point, Barley noticed that the hall they were traveling down had totally changed.  The stones that made up the structure were completely different, to a Dwarf's eyes anyway, from those that had previously made up the hallway.  Disturbed, he searched the area and found a secret door.  The chamber beyond did not conform to the map they had been making so carefully, but they could only deal with the reality in front of them so Ffraid tried to render this as best she could.

Soon they found a group of chambers that seemed to have once been a laboratory of some kind.  One section of this laboratory was sealed off with a trap that the party found quite difficult to pass over.  Only Barley and Roger had the bravery to charge into the chamber beyond, and Ffraid and Pillsen waited for them to return.

In the chamber, Roger and Barley found a golden skull with jewels for eyes.  They were incredibly nervous about such an item and Roger, despite his earlier experience, attempted to see whether or not it was evil.  He did find that the skull possessed a malevolent intelligence, and this intelligence was awakened by his spell.  It immediately communicated with Roger and Barley telepathically, explaining that it was the trapped soul of a wizard whom the Sword Brothers betrayed.  When asked the circumstances of this betrayal, the skull simply cursed in Yosemite Sam fashion.

The skull, whose name was Edric, told them that he wished to find the rest of his body, which should be scattered throughout the rest of the abbey.  Barley and Roger were unsure what to do with the thing, so the left it for the time being to return to their party members.  Unfortunately, at least from Roger's perspective, they could still hear the skull's voice in their heads.  They also discovered that it could hear them, but only when they spoke aloud.

In an adjacent chamber, they found a small rally of Hobgoblins who seemed to be looking for something.  One of the party asked them what they were looking for to which one responded "a sku--" before being cut off by the leader.  After that, battle was joined.  The goblins and hobgoblins were overcome quickly, and they made sure to only incapacitate the leader.

They tied him up and waited for him to awaken.  Exploring a tad bit more, they found a room with stairs leading down.  There they were attacked by a number of mites, who the players have grown to hate immensely.  They slew these easily but only because we decided that Barley was no ordinary Dwarf, he was a Dwarf Fighter.  This further cements the increasing AD&D-ness of the Nightwick campaign.  At this point, Ffraid's being an RC style Cleric until level 9 and three point alignment are the only things keeping it "basic."

About this time, the hobgoblin awoke, and Barley began interrogating it.  They got very little out of the creature, since he so loathed Dwarves that he flew into a rage.  They killed him unceremoniously and returned to the room containing Edric.  Edric revealed that he neither knew why the goblins were looking for him, though he did express he would not like to be found by them, nor precisely where he was.  He knew it was somewhere on the first dungeon level, but little else.

The party then debated what to do with Edric.  Barley wanted to keep him as a little buddy in his backpack, while Roger wanted to bury him in a whole and forget he ever existed.  Barley ended up getting his way, and the party attempted to leave.  Unfortunately, they found that the hall that brought them here didn't take them back to the entrance.  Now they are lost somewhere on the first level, and running low on both hitpoints and spells.

I'm sure I'm missing some minor humorous events, but thats the long and short of it.  This session really made me enthusiastic about the Dark Country again, though I must admit I've had a hard time getting some of the darker tone across.  Still, I'll keep on trying, and I hope to run many more sessions in the demon-haunted abbey.


  1. How are the players responding to the way the dungeon itself is changing around them? I'm wary of these kind of techniques, for fear that the players feel as if they're being cheated, so I'm interested in seeing how it works in play from their perspective.

  2. The dungeon changing is fine with me. I believe this event is a great example of fantasy gaming style. I don't know what changed it and can only assume that it is a magic effect. (My P.C. assumes this too.)

    But now we are lost in the dungeon and separated from our thief. This too is just the nature of the game but I can see how some players might get a bit excited about such an outcome. I'm excited too, just acceptably excited.

  3. Well I have taken it right out of Gygax's playbook, but I can't really say much more without spoiling what's going on with this session for my players.