Monday, January 9, 2023

In Fair Cuccagna: Cuccagnat Catch Up

I've missed a couple of sessions in addition to having a report for this week, so before our main event we have two truncated reports in the style of the chronicles of old.

8: A party of 9 entered the Lapis Vaults. They were betrayed by one of the hirelings, Villanus by name, who turned out to be a bunch of super intelligent rats in an uncanny suit. Gax-exiled-from-his-own-council and three hirelings perished in a battle with backwards blemmyes. No notable treasure.

9: A party of 7 entered the Lapis Vaults intent on destroying the shriekers and connecting their two separate maps. This process took longer than expected and first attracted a group of "pseudo"pods, who wandered off after it appeared the goings on were not going to affect the Kingdom of the Monopods, and then a group of glass statues which forced the party to flee, leaving their two new hirelings to die. No notable treasure.

The Great Wen

A Loan Applicant - A Last Scream - An Old Trap - A new Trap - A Treasure Ported - A Mask - The Application of Tools - The Startling Statue - A Trail of Blood - The Gallery - A Deception - A Debate - Disappointment - The Studio - Sneezing Powder - A Return Full Handed

Characters Present
Jules Mozarin, Averois Seer
Maglor, Changeling Medium/Veteran
Boudin, Frogling Veteran
Oro Desiderio, Dwarfish Veteran
Lord Saurr - Crown Cat of Karse, Grimalkin Veteran

Hirelings
Baldassare, Medium and apprentice to the Seer Jules
The Mute Woman, a porter of strangely philosophical mien for someone who cannot speak

Events
  • After two rather disastrous expeditions, the pickings for hirelings were rather light in the Great Wen. The only person seemingly willing to work with the party was the mysterious Mute Woman, one time hireling of Cristobert and Folavril. Maglor decided it was best to have as many bodies as possible and agreed to pay her fee.
  • They boarded the worm ship and made their way tot he isle of Prospero the Blue and once again entered his Lapis Vaults by way of a secret door.
  • They made their way back to the room containing the awful shrieking mushrooms, and indeed they heard their tell-tale "almost human screaming but the words are all slightly wrong" from down the hallway.
  • Luckily they made quick work of the remaining mushroom before any statuary or other horrors could pounce on them again.
  • They back tracked slightly to a room they had previously explored, as evidenced by the triggered and not reset trap just inside the entryway. Beyond was a workroom that seemed to have already been picked over and a slightly ajar door.
  • Jules, being wise in the ways of trapped dungeons, pocked at the door with his 10' pole. His instinct proved correct when a steel bucket of acid fell upon the organic matter of his pole and he lost the first 2 and 1/2 feet of it.
  • Wood was heaped upon this acid to quicken its chemical reaction and render it inert long enough to walk across. On the other side was a store of glass blowing supplies (rods and a small portable furnace). 
  • It was decided that these were valuable but fragile enough that they needed to be taken to the ship forthwith. This was done slowly but without major incident.
  • Upon returning they explored beyond a door in the rotten hall which had formerly served as the feeding ground for a number of shriekers. They found themselves with three potential ways to progress - down a short hall to a chamber seemingly dominated by a mask upon a pedestal, into a room covered with blood stains where bodies had apparently been dragged away, or through a door.
  • After some debate, they decided to see what was up with the mask. Detect magic proved it was magical and that three other doors in the same chamber each led to rooms that so radiated with magic they appeared only as solid squares to the weaver of the spell.
  • Lord Saurr, Crown Cat of Karse, decided to inspect it in cat form (so to be able to flee should "lasers fire from its eyes"). 
  • Upon seeing it was safe, Jules followed him in the room but soon found that a magic moth the cat had noticed on the ceiling issued forth a strange warning: "Leave here, old man. There is nothing here for you!" The voice matched that of the magic mouth near the entrance ("I can't come to the door right now...") but was much more forceful in aspect.
  • Lord Saurr explained that he was going to use his sledge to break the mask off so they may take it home, but asked that the rest of the party back up if they were worried this might cause some eldritch destruction. The entire party did so.
  • The sledge did work to bend the pole the mask was attached to (and that was somehow worked into the marble pedestal such that it  could not be easily removed), but did little to actually sever the bronze. Jules and Lord Saurr debated some possible tools and ultimately it was decided that sawing with a cutting implement (Lord Saurr's sword) was the best plan.
  • Mask in tow they made their way back to the aforementioned door. Maglor heaved it open to reveal a copper statue of a mermaid, made green by age. 
  • Strangely the party's entire back section melted away as Jules, the Mute Woman, and Baldassare were filled with an indefinable terror upon seeing the statue and ran at full speed away from the statue. The statue, for its part, was of rather mediocre construction and did not appear particularly sinister or even notable to those left behind.
  • The non-fleeing parts of the party felt if they were going to explore beyond this chamber - Maglor suspected a secret door - it would be best to do so now, despite the party's separation, because whatever had caused the back ranks to flee may take effect upon any who steps into the room. 
  • There was, indeed, a secret door, though it merely led to passages that, when the party later regrouped, had previously been explored. While this was somewhat anticlimactic it did mean they had linked their maps.
  • Jules and company refused to re-enter the room and so instead it was decided that they should meet in the blood-stained room.
  • Jules instantly recognized this chamber for what it was: the site of their battle with the backwards blemmyes. Now that there was no adversary in sight or hirelings to drag back out, the details of the room could be ascertained.
  • It was a gallery - holding pictures of four figures - an old man holding a sheep in a red toga, an imperious man dressed in green noble finery sat upon a silver throne, a magician in yellow and black robes commanding a thing Jules labeled a "foggoth"* to rise from the sea, and finally a man in autre orange robes in a wooded arcade next to a diabolic statue seemingly playing strange pipes. 
  • Detect magic revealed that the painting of the yellow magician concealed within it some magical item, and removing the back of the painting they found a spell scroll.
  • Now a debate occurred - should they return to the "magic rooms" they had seen near the mask's pedestal or instead head down a dog-legged passage that had been spotted in a previous expedition. Fearing some major entanglement, the party soon decided on the dog-legged passage.
  • The passage did not continue much further than what had been mapped, ending in a door. Jules expressed some disappointment that there had not been more this way, but soon the party was opening the door.
  • Beyond was a kind of art studio -  paints and art supplies were set on tables or held in crates and a glass arm - like those of the animate statues - lay in a prominent position for staining. 
  • Oro's dwarfish eyes detected the use of gold, silver, and lapis in some of the paints while Lord Saurr's sensitive nose detected some strange smell that caused him to make the Flehmen response.
  • While attempting to take some of the paints out of the crates, a dust was disturbed which caused both Lord Saurr and Maglor to sneeze for a great length of time. Maglor's ailment became so bad that he became unable to see.
  • With this new treasure, and the paintings behind them so they could retrieve them on the way out, the party decided now was time to leave and hoped that Maglor's sight would return.
  • Luckily for Maglor he began to see blurry shapes again when they were almost at the exit and by the time the worm ship had made it the Great Wen his vision was almost fully restored.
Monsters Defeated
1 Shrieker

Treasure Gained
Glass rods (500gp), Portable glass furnace (500gp), 4 paintings of wizards (500gp each), expensive paints (100gp), a scroll containing The Exquisite Repose, The Marvelous Magic Mouth, and, Chun's Halo of Unsleeping Eyes

XP Per Player
541

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Cuccagna - a Tale Late in the Telling

 

An Explanation -- Dark Tunnels -- A Bright Snake -- A  Stratagem -- A Bag -- A Pit -- A Spell Gained

Characters Present
Jules Mozarin 1st Level Averois Magician
Maglor 1st Level Changeling
Tomantha, 1st Level Karslish Magician
Bouduin, 1st level Frogling

Hirelings
Baldassare - A cuccagnan magician now apprenticed to Jules
Giustiano and Scalvo - two greenhorn bravos

Events

  • It's been a bit since I've actually run Cuccagna due to home life events but I also forgot to detail the last session I did run. This week we were ever to meet again and at least do some downtime actions and reaffirm where we were after the last session so hopefully play will begin again soon.
  • But the last time the delvers entered the vaults, they entered by the secret passage and made their way through long winding tunnels without sign of enemies until they came at last to a large, well appointed chamber.
  • Inside this carpeted sitting room was a scitalis, whose strange powers had many time vexed the party and killed several hirelings.
  • This time, however, Jules had a plan. Using a large piece of cloth, he draped it before his section of the formation like a wall, blocking sight of the beast. This lowered considerably their chance to hit but did turn them into a pretty effective little phalanx.
  • Boudin fought beyond this sight-block but luckily was unaffected by the creature's powers. 
  • However it was Baldassare's use of "the Spell of Exquisite Repose" which undid the serpent, and Jules instructed the party to force the snake into a large sack purchased for this purpose. Luckily the thing did not seem to use its strange ability to heat its body while slumbering.
  • Venturing just a little beyond into the finely appointed room, one of the characters gathered some amethyst cabochons and then set about leaving the dungeon.
  • Back in town Jules instructed some new hirelings in the construction of a pit, the maintenance of a tarp, and the use of buckets of water and mud to keep the creature unseen and cool. What plans he has for this being are as yet unknown even to the author.
  • Tomantha spent her downtime after this brief delve learning the "the Spell of Exquisite Repose" from those who had it. She was successful.
  • Boudin spent his time in rest along with the previously appearing cleric named Gax-exiled-from-his-own-council.
Monsters Defeated
1 Scitalis

Treasure Gained
2500gp in amethyst cabachons

XP Per Player
695

Friday, October 7, 2022

Some Announcements

 

First there is a new preview up at the IPD Patreon if you want to see what one of our geomorphs looks like.

I also have a new game on Start Playing for anyone who is interested in doing some Swords & Sorcery gaming nonsense. It takes place in Yavana. From the copy I wrote for Start Playing:

Beyond the world we know lies a land of high adventure: Yavana! A realm of steaming jungles, barren deserts, and ancient mountains! Yavana! Where primordial beasts from the dawn of our world still roam! Yavana! Where men pray to gods thought long dead and treat with the demons of outer space! Yavana! Where a cool head and a strong arm could win a king’s ransom in treasure! Be the first to see the strange Temple of Abzu where sharks swim through the air! Plunder the tomb of the First Man, a saurian monstrocity from ancient days! Defy the nefarious necromancer whose curse threatens a city with death! This is a sandbox campaign inspired by Sword & Sorcery fiction and adventure films of the mid 20th century. Players will take the role of warriors, freebooters, and sorcerers attempting to win fame, fortune, and glory. Game rules are Old School Essentials but only human characters are available. Challenge the savage world of swords & sorcery!

Finally, if you've been missing I Cast Light's Nightwick play reports Mycelium Mischef has taken up chronicling the adventures until Warren returns from hiatus. If you're interested in joining the adventures and perhaps dying in a hole, you can sign up here.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Wandering Monster Table

A joke 13 years in the making.

Ornate tables carved with fanciful design and given unnatural life through arcane arts, typically with lions claws for table feet and a set of fangs on a side drawer.

AC 14 (6), HD 4, Attk 2 x claw (1d4), 1 x bite (1d6) THAC0 15 [+4], Move 120' (40'), SV D10 W11 P12 B13 S14 (4), AL Neutral, XP 35, NA 1 (0), TT O, Q

  • Immunity: Unaffected by sleep spells.
  • Magical Origins: Created by powerful wizards.
  • Wanderers: Have no lair. Keep treasure in drawers in own body.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

In Fair Cuccagna - a Pun Delayed

The Wandering Monster Table

The Mute Woman -- A Scheme -- A Scintillating Serpent -- A Companion Lost -- The Fountain -- A Secret Door -- A Terror Out of the Past -- The Room Beyond -- Treasure -- A Compromise -- A Retreat -- A Termination of Contract -- The Golden Sword -- Of Spells

Characters Present
Cristobert 2nd Level Karslish Mountebank [Later in the Session]
Jules Mozarin 1st Level Averois Magician
Maglor 1st Level Changeling
Folavril 1st Level Averois Rogue
Emmelot, 1st level Averois Magician
Bouduin, 1st level Frogling

Hirelings
Baldassare - A cuccagnan magician now apprenticed to Jules
Magdalena - A woman pirate
Zaneta - A woman pirate (eaten by a serpent)
The Mute Woman - A mute linkperson

Events
  • In the Great Wen the party debated which of the new crop of hirelings they were going to pick up, and Jules seemed intrigued by the presence of a mute woman whose services he acquired as a porter. The others were avoided as they wanted shares of treasure and experience instead of a daily wage.
  • Folavril, having heard of the miraculous healing powers of the fountain in Prospero the Blue's manse, quickly came up with a scheme: they would enter the dungeon, retrieve more of the water from the fountain - preferably several doses worth - then demonstrate its effectiveness on the mute woman who was clearly only mute because of the removal of her tongue under mysterious circumstances.
  • The scheme was met with tepid enthusiasm from the rest of the group, who seemed to prefer delving for its own sake and wondered whether the mute woman even wanted her tongue back. For her part she seemed indifferent and, through careful use of gestures, expressed that she saw herself as merely the pawn of fickle fortune and the restoration of her tongue would be the equal of losing it.
  • They again entered by the secret entrance and made their way down the long eastern corridor. Once they found themselves outside the room with the fountain, Maglor spied the strange patterns of a scitalis approaching from the north easterly bend of the corridor.
  • Soon the creature had advanced within the light of the torch, striking more than half of the party with the strange fascination that is the purview of such beasts.
  • It then wrapped itself around Zaneta and began to unhinge its jaw to swallow her. The fighters of the party merely stared dumb-struck while the few magicians tried to figure out a solution.
  • Emmelot used a scroll she had prepared of magic missile to strike the beast, which greatly upset it, and seeing the beast was woundable the mute woman moved to strike it with a wooden scratch plow - her only possession.
  • The creature was bleeding profusely but as it made to retreat - Zaneta still firmly in its mouth - it was decided that the best  course was not to  follow it, even when the fighters regained their senses. And so was Zaneta taken off into the dark never to be seen again.
  • The party was then able to make their way to the fountain unimpeded, and a new waterskin full of the stuff was gathered by Folavril. The rest of the party engaged in a debate of why anyone would keep a single scitalis, much less more than one.
  • They then preceded down the hallway the scitalis had come down, but Maglor's keen senses spotted a secret door they had passed by several times, though only in outline and not the mechanism by which such a thing would open.
  • The party began to search, but as they did so they heard a loud clomping coming from the direction immediately behind them. They turned to face whatever foe now charged them and found a strange thing.
  • It was a Wandering Monster Table* - that is a table imbued with terrible life and given fangs and the ability to ambulate around the dungeon. 
  • Bouduin quickly used his ability to hop to great effect, both hopping onto the table itself and then hopping again to flip it over.
  • The beast... er... table flailed about with its strange, rubbery legs (ending in carved lion's claws of course) but was unable to hit anything. Soon it was dead. Or destroyed. One of those.
  • Beyond the secret door they found an old store room that someone had made a makeshift sleeping area.
  • In the storeroom was a great amount of treasure, quickly found by the efforts of Folavril and Jules. It included coins, fancy objects, books, and a clearly magical sword.
  • They party then debated whether another door exiting the room should be explored or if they should instead quit while they were ahead.** A compromise was made where Jules, the one most fervently for continued exploration, was allowed to examine the door, but not go through it.
  • And so the party exited the dungeon.
  • Back in the Great Wen Magdalena announced that she would no longer be following the party into the dungeon due to the unfortunate fate of Zaneta.
  • Meanwhile, Jules used his read magic spell to read the runes on the sword, which named itself Caliban's Claw.
  • The party wizards then looked over the scroll they had uncovered from within the secret chamber. Jules, Emmelot, and Baldassare tried to add one of the spells - sleep - to their spell book. Emmelot and Baldassare were able to do so, but Jules has yet to comprehend the complexities, much to the amusement of his apprentice.

* I have had this monster on the encounter tables for many years - going all the way back to about 2008 or 2009 - but this is the first time it ever came up as a result. Probably the most appropriate campaign for it too.

** Except for Zaneta

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

In Fair Cuccagna - Wasted on the Young

 

A Dream - Those Half-remembered - The Secret Entrance - A Hall of Great Length - The Fountain - An Arm Restored - A Man Pubescent - The Narrow Theater - A Battle - Cristobert Arrives - The Long Hall Again - A Kitchen - Yellow Mold - Yellow Treasure

Characters Present
Cristobert 2nd Level Karslish Mountebank [Later in the Session]
Jules Mozarin 1st Level Averois Magician
Maglor 1st Level Changeling
Curart Staig 1st Level Karslish Fighter

Hirelings
Maria - a (formerly) one armed man
Baldassare - A cuccagnan magician now apprenticed to Jules
Magdalena and Zaneta - A pair of woman pirates

Events 
  • Cruart awoke from the last day of his convalescence after having a terrible dream. He remembered returning to the Lapis Vaults, challenging the King of the "Monopods"* to single combat, and being slain by him with great ease.
  • Luckily, this was just a dream,** though the wizard Jules Mozarin correctly informed him that it is an omen and should he repeat the actions of the dream he would meet the same fate.
  • This must have been disturbing to Cruart when, heedless of his own warning, Jules Mozarin hired a pair of women pirates despite their presence in Cruart's dream.
  • They also accepted a new full-share member of their party who seemed to have some spiritual connection to the  dream but was quite different: a frogling by the name of Bouduin whose armor and high dexterity made him a prime candidate for the front rank.
  • They took the wormship to the isle of Prospero the Blue and soon decided to enter by the secret door - again much to Cruart's distress.
  • Luckily the dream-born doom was thwarted when, instead of turning in the direction of the "pseudopods,"*** they turned down a long tunnel which took them far away from the lair of those creatures.
  • Instead it took them to a room with a strange fountain. Experimentation with a 10' pool showed that it turned part of the pole into fresh, green wood.
  • Eventually Maria was convinced to try drinking the water and soon found himself apparently 10 years younger and with a brand new arm ripping through the seams of his old shirt. Maria seemed pleased so the party was as well.
  • Some discussion was had as to whether anyone else should drink from the fountain, and eventually Cruart decided to take a drink. He found that he too was de-aged, but to a much more extreme degree than Maria. It left him a few hit points fewer and about 14 years in apparent age.
  • Jules, deciding this that despite the apparent gamble involved in drinking it, decided to fill a water skin with water from the fountain in case they should need healing in the future.
  • Leaving this room, the party then continued along the long corridor where they found a second door. Exploring this chamber they found it was a long, narrow theater with glass statues for players. The statues possessed faces in the form of tragedy masks. Their arms were quite articulate but their legs had been sculpted into the form of a diaphanous robe and therefore had limited articulation.
  • The glass players sprung into hideous action, moving to attack the party. The party backed into the long hallway, pulling some of the seats with them to block the doorway. A fight ensued with clever use of the seats to knock over several of the statues, making them unable to get up, and then lighting them on fire and pouring water on them.
  • During this fight Christobert, who had not joined the party in the Great Wen, arrived - having seemingly been exploring the dungeon alone.
  • The theater seemed absent of treasure so they turned again to the long hall.
  • They passed by a set of stairs descending down to unknown depths and instead explored a chamber which seemed to be a kitchen.
  • The kitchen seemed largely covered in yellow mold. Jules burned up some of the yellow substance with a "firelance of the ancient hyperzephyrians."****
  • Near the area that had been cleared they found a crate containing a large amount of saffron. Luckily this was still-stem intact so they did not confuse it for yellow mold. They wondered if what they had just burned was itself the spice in its powder form, but not willing to risk interacting with the remainder of the substance they decided to leave the dungeon with their treasure.
Monsters Defeated
6 Glass Statues 

Treasure Gained
A crate of saffron (500gp)

Xp Per Player
244

* They are actually not true monopods, as they lack the giant feet and their single leg is often off center.

** We ran a session I did not report but technical errors made me very angry about Foundry and so my adjudication of that earlier instance was taken to be tainted. With the ascent of the majority of the group Cruart was saved from death.

*** As Maglor dubbed them.

**** Torch tied to a 10' pole

Monday, September 19, 2022

Gods of Asterion

Before the founding of Asterion along the shores of the Inner Sea, the Aramites of the city which stood on the same shores worshipped a trio of goddesses: Manat, Al-Uzza, and Al-Lat. In the years after the sons of Orontes came and set the walls of Asterion upon the old city they maintained the worship of these three and had only small shrines to the gods of Ilion.

Manat - Aramite goddess who doles out dooms* upon men, affording them their portions of life and death, fortune and misery, pain and ecstasy. A temple to her may still be found in the desert town of Olizon, to the south of Asterion.

Al-Uzza - Aramite goddess who sunders the veil which prevents us from sight, granting access to visions of other places and other places in time.

Al-Lat - Mistress of the moon and binder of stirrer eddies the hearts of men and women.

Then the satrap Ajaxos came to dwell in Asterion, and due to his ailment - a mystery to all the healers and philosophers of Ilion and Yavana - through out the goddesses and set up for himself new temples to gods from his homeland.

Hyperion - Giver of the light of science to the sons of Orontes. His priests are aesthetics who eat only seeds and who drink only water purified in strange tanks made in some time out of time by those who first knew Hyperion's light. They dwell on the abstract mathematics which bind the universe together and which drive all things in mechanical certainty, or so they say.

Iapetus - Psychopomp and knower of ways. He was the first being to die and it is through him that men may know the way to the underworld, and perhaps eventually transmigrate back to the world of the living and dwell again upon it. He also guards travelers upon the earth.

The Aramites in Asterion venerate him as Japheth, who they claim was a man before his descent into the underworld. Their rites to him are strange to the Ilionians, but they claim they predate the worship of Iapetus by centuries.

Koios - Ponderer, searcher, striker with visions. Koios like Al-Uzza shows that which has not yet come to pass. He is also a blinder, and his punishments turn men catatonic. He is fond of brooding and requires libations and doles them out to his friends as well.

There are gods beyond Asterion which still influence the people within.

Abzu - Aramite god who dwells beneath the ocean deaths. His temple was set in the mangroves near the city but has since been abandoned by man.

Dead Gods - There are many gods of the people who lived in Yavana before even the Aramites. Their names and natures are unknown to the Ilionians but they still may have puissant dooms** to distribute on those that violate their abandoned fanes.

The Saurian Gods - Gods of the beings who lived even before the coming of the Men of Gold. There are tombs where their idols still stand and it is said the worship of them is maintained among the Iguana-people and the Gorilla-people


*In the original sense. Judgements.

**In the normal sense. Bad stuff.