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

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

  • 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

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

  • 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

* 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 - threw 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 ascetics 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.