To recap, last session the party killed a Castilian Caddis Larvae, looted enormous sacks of gold and braces of magic weapons, and fled the newly radioactive underground lake and probable warzone.
Note: In the GLOG hack I'm using coins don't take up inventory slots unless you have over 1,000 of them. The PCs lumbered away from the cave with up to ten inventory slots full of coins weighing down their characters, having shed all non-essential items to haul more swords and coins.The surviving party members are:
-Cazael the spiderling fighter. Fears magic but likes magic swords.
-Bill the wormling orthodox wizard. Has antlers, telekinesis, permanent wizard vision, inability to sleep, magic not-dying amulet, etc. A ticking time bomb.
-Swainson the garden wizard. Formerly a hawkling, then a dryad, then a whole succession of creatures in rapid succession. Currently a Lamassu (lion-bodied human-headed flying sphinx thing).
-Tuck the flealing summoner. Wants everyone to be his friend.
-Klaus the barbarian-sorcerer. Believes things into or out of existence or just hits them a lot.
-Alice the animist witch. Formerly apprentice to a goat. It's complicated.
Most of this writeup will make very little sense even if you've been following the story so far. Don't worry about it!
|We Are The Dwarves concept art.|
They found a tidal cave system. Water rose and fell hourly. The party evaded some cave barnacles but ran straight into a knot of dead antling explorers (Panic Attack Jacks from Veins of the Earth). The Rapture attacked the Fighter, who tried to fight it off as best he could. Tuck the Summoner, perhaps unwisely, used his silver dream-key to enter the Fighter's addled mind.
Unfortunately, Cazael was fighting incarnations of his previous regrets and failures at the monastery... on the surface. Since Tuck had never seen the surface, the sight of clouds, trees, and a horizon drove him into screaming insensibility.
Soon, both Tuck and Cazael were fully controlled by the Rapture. While Cazael tossed his gold-encumbered allies into a 10' deep pool of water, Tuck summoned Pentornax, Traitor's Friend. Fortunately, none of the rest of the party qualified as Tuck's friends as they'd all publicly rejected his "really creepy" declarations of eternal friendship at one point or another, so Pentornax silently failed to stab anyone.
With some combined effort and desperate swimming, Bill, Klaus, Swainson (the very unhappy giant wet cat), and Alice managed to overpower their two addled friends and reverse the situation. Now Tuck and Cazael were in the water; the rest of the party, damaged and tired, clung to the few feet of rock just above the water's surface. The shock snapped Tuck and Cazael out of their murderous trance. Tuck climbed out with the aid of some summoned rope. Cazael sighed, pulled out the potion of water breathing he'd safely carried for months, and waited for the tide to receded.
Note: A 10' deep pool of water, some slimy rocks, panic, and unlimited greed are an excellent OSR trap.Some time later, the party recruited Emilio, a human speleomage fleeing a life of petty wars to find fortune elsewhere in the Veins. Cazael sighed at the arrival of yet another wizard.
After getting lost again, finding yet another a village of intelligent myconids, an anglerfish mimic-cave, a pack of helpful but theft-prone kobolds, and a few other assorted monsters and terrors, the party finally returned to the myconid village on the shores of a caustic lake.
The village had become a sort of improvised arms market. Various factions in the Veins - dragon-bonded kobolds, proud and terrifying Drow, sly Dvergr, and dozens of petty human and inhuman kingdoms - had sent scouts or small armies into the Fungid Valley to drag out the fabled weapons of the Castilian Caddis Fly.
The party converted as much gold into occultum as the local economy could support, bought some magic weapons and a few potions, collected a small reward from their Fungal Ambassodile contact (war having improved his business immensely), and decided to rest in the village's neutral zone for the night.
Bill the Wizard had unwisely taken a potion of "never sleeping again". While this let him watch the party while they rested, he'd found that by 72 hours awake he'd become too jittery to function properly. Luckily, Bill knew the sleep spell and could knock himself out at will. After he'd done so, Tuck decided to "help" his friend.
Once again, Tuck pulled out his silver dream-key. The key was intended to let Tuck and his cultist friends physically climb into the brains of sleeping people, eat food, and get out. Normally, they'd use it on specially drugged, docile, and hungry people.
Klaus and Cazael decided to accompany Tuck on his self-appointed mission to "help fix Bill's brain". They schlooped into the wizard's fevered dreams... only to discover thousands of near-identical goblins had invaded his memories! During the last expedition into Bill's brain, a few goblins had been accidentally left behind. Unfettered by physics they'd multiplied - or fragmented, or fractalized - into a chaotic swarm. The goblins were busy sawing through crystal memory trees, building flying cloud-fortresses, taking turns riding the train of thought off the rails, etc, etc, etc.
Clearly, this couldn't go on. After some debate, Klaus decided to use his sorcerous powers to create a dream-copy of the "Beige Dragon Gomstead", the (fictitious) dragon the goblins had invented and sworn to follow. Obligingly, the Beige Dragon plopped into existence, delighting the hordes of chittering goblins. With some more sorcerous nudging, the dragon picked up a goblin. Another goblin grabbed the first one's feet, then another, then another, until an impossibly long chain of excited goblins was whipping through the dream-air of Bill's mind.
The dragon initially tried to exit by burning a hole in the top of Bill's skull, but Tuck managed to redirect it using the silver dream-key. With a terrific roar, the dragon popped out of Bill's ear, followed by a chain of several hundred screaming goblins. Goblins who had mutated to produce black smoke whenever they "thought too hard" (like now) and pink foam whenever they died (which they soon began to do as gravity took hold).
Gomstead flapped through the cave, spreading goblins, fiery death, architectural ruin, and utter bafflement in all directions. When Tuck, Cazael, and Klaus finally emerged from Bill's ear, they simply grabbed the wizard and ran into the darkness. The disastrous mind-delve had permanently reduced Bill's intelligence. No one was sure of the goblins or Gomstead were "real" and nobody wanted to find out.
After losing track of Emilio, finding a stranded whale, banishing its nightmares with Swainson's (Lamassu-derived) Holy Word, and then tipping it down a very deep hole to, "Somewhere nice? Hopefully.", the party found a large cave full of shrieking purple worm larvae.
They struggled to get through. The larvae weren't harmful individually, but their maddening whine and blood-seeking intent soon drove the party to distraction and disorder. Their only lantern was smashed in the chaos. After using sorcery to create a loud noise to cancel out the worms (and accidentally deafening the party), Klaus created a light source to assist their panicked flight (accidentally blinding the party but not the sightless worms). A vampyric healing amulet Alice picked up back in the village sucked some flesh from Tuck. Swainson tried to fly over the worms and concussed herself on a stalactite. Klaus tested out his new magic sword and ran into a wall, then fell into a pit of worms.
In short, it was a disaster. Klaus was the worst off. When the party dragged him out of the worm pit he was clearly bleeding to death. Bill decided to use his dagger of roiling polymorph to save his friend. Klaus the human barbarian became Klaus the Brownie.
He was not at all pleased, and not just because the transformation had destroyed all his non-magical items and treasures. He could barely lift a full-size sword now, let alone use it. Still, he'd survived, and the party kept moving.
Eventually, they found a settlement marked on their map. Inside the green stone walls, a group of peculiar blind monks glorified in their prediction of the apocalypse. Apparently their entire civilization had been swallowed by fire and caustic death; just as predicted, of course. The rest of the world wouldn't be far behind. The monks used some sort of time lock to skip forward in time, waiting for the inevitable end of the world. They sold the PCs some food and promised safe passage into the Ruins via "the Catacombs".
Instead, the monks lead the PCs into a pit trap and shut the door. The trap slowly filled with carbon monoxide. Evidently the monks still needed to eat and couldn't pass up a potentially enormous meal. Klaus used his sorcery powers to seal the gas-holes. The party pretended to pass out, but realized after a few minutes that the monks could probably hear them breathing. Irritated, Cazael teleported through the door on Swainson's back and slaughtered two very surprised monks. The remaining monks managed to time lock themselves before the enraged fighter could sink his sword into their necks.
After rescuing the party and looting whatever small items they could find, the party tossed all time lock monks they could find into their own gas trap and left through the actual entrance to the Catacombs.
The ghost turned into a giant tick, passed its save against confusion, and bit Bill on the leg, giving him fatal Lyme disease (4 days to live!).
Note: Apparently giant ticks are really deadly in the ol' AD&D Monster Manual. Who knew?The next round, the wight-giant tick failed its save and polymorphed into a Marid, a powerful djinn. The Marid promptly wished Bill out of existence. And so ends the story of Bill.
|Here's Bill's character sheet. RIP Bill. You were 100% wizard.|