Tales (Recaps)

Game 1

Some of this, it turns out, is a set of events that Dek, Creon, and Daedalus have already lived through in Atlantis beta-testing. We are on the road to Khemet, analogous to ancient Egypt. We were sent there by our respective houses because of a theft of Orichalcum by unknown individuals, in unknown quantities. Not sure how we’ll know if we found it all when we catch up to them.

Mission 1: Retrieve the Orichalcum. If we bring back the perpetrators for punishment, all the better, but not required.
Mission 2: If we should come across other sources of rare metals, bring those too.

At the start of the game we are immediately beset by rabid jackals. Fortunately we are not diseased by them and dispatch them.

We make it to a village and do some buying. When buying camels we also buy a map (at full retail). This gives us a general overview of the area. According to the villagers from whom we make the purchases, they did come through here, and they were dicks. This theme will be echoed from a number of future sources. One later on would let us know that not all of them are Atlanteans, that maybe there were some from Helas (Greeks).

In our travels we have to do battle with a couple of nasty spiders, but to minimal injury, Creon doing most of the crushing.

A sandstorm kicks up and most of us take minor or no injuries, except for the hunchback, who gets pummeled pretty well. (Mark was asleep so we rolled for him. But I can’t imagine he’d have done better with those stats.) The sandstorm uncovers a statue of the local Pharaoh of old holding a parchment with a quote that resembles the Ozymandias “Look upon my works and despair” quote. A shifting sand pit promptly eats up Creon, causing Prometheus to leap dive in after him and shout for us to follow. Like dummies we follow, but using a rope. We’re not total dummies. We find a door that takes us a while to open. (Was this the door that required a password or was that later? Either way…)

We work our way to a hall that has three traps protecting it. The first is a wall of ice that sprouts when you try to pass. The second is a wall of electricity. The third is a wall of water fire. Meyno volunteers to go through. Meyno is stopped briefly by Daedalus so that he could be wrapped up to insulate against the cold. He makes it through with some damage. Next, he uses his knowledge of metals and one of Onus’ sai to ground himself and get through the electricity. At last he leaps through the fire. On the other side is a djini-style lamp which has an orichalcum seal on it. Oh yeh, forgot to mention, that’s why we’re doing the unnecessary side-trip: Because we saw some Orichalcum and are heading mission directive #2.

Meyno argues against opening it but ultimately removes the Orichalcum anyway, allowing the Efreet within to escape and promise to destroy use for being Atlanteans. Creon sounds retreat. Onus tries to run in through the walls. Meyno tries to run back through the walls. With difficulty (including two others yanking him through), Meyno makes it but is incapacitated. The Efreet breaks through all the walls, but passes us by in favor of random destruction, away from his prison. We have, as usual, unleashed horror on the world.

We encounter some more Bedouins, who are not a problem. They tell us that when we continue south we will encounter a woman who is in charge there and we should be respectful and basically try to earn her respect because she’d be very helpful.

We approach a Pyramid and as we do, some more Khemet soldiers close in. The Nijplomat makes nice with them and we are taken to the oasis of the pyramids where we meet with the lady of the house. She wants to speak with our leader and takes him inside. Creon does not impress her, due to botchtastic rolls. She comes back out and passes over the too “polished” lip-man, Onus, and instead takes Prometheus inside. They talk and ultimately we come to an agreement: The guys we were following sent some of their people into the pyramid, to raid, and those never came back. The village has a dwindling water supply that used to be stronger. We will go in to the pyramid in return for her helping to heal our injured smith and whatever other kindly assistance she can manage, and investigate. She feels she could not do what needs done solo, but that the group of us can likely manage.

The Pyramid is an interesting and annoying place. Most of our enemies would prove to be traps and the like. The worst of them is where we have to lay in a coffin in order to transport to someplace else. That place appears to be a small room with 4 exits, each of which has beyond it a field of darkness/confusion/etc. that makes it impossible to navigate. Ultimately our solution is to throw a grappling line as far as we can out each to test the distance, then to follow the rope without disturbing it, all of us roped together by a second line, should something happen. This actually leads us from doorway to doorway throughout a complex that we mapped with unknown levels of accuracy. In one room we find a well of water that is pure and clean with a trapezoidal piece of gold at the bottom. In his only useful moment of the entire game, Dynastus swims to the bottom and pulls it free, discovering a drain underneath. As the water drains, he swims back with the help of a line tied to him by those above. Later, a second, similar piece of metal is found in a room suspended from a rope which, if the weight shifts, would cause spikes to fire from the walls. This one is handled by Onus with assistance from Glue made by Daedalus, as he glues some of the spikes into their holes and secures the line so it won’t shift and cuts the piece loose. The other two pieces were more-or-less handwaved, I believe. Unless they were found after I left.

At the time that I left we had come face-to-face with a new opponent, whom I’m trying to recall… dammit. Trying… Let’s see… I skipped initiative because I was going and had Jeff move my miniature out of line. Dang. You’d think I’d remember; I didn’t have to pull that many miniatures all game.


Game 2

I will have to update recap #1 with the information from game 1 (Mainly that we fought a minotaur and won, assembled the pyramid of little gold triangles and ascended to a different area of the pyramid).

So in our new room we decide to take 4 days(!) and heal and have our alchemist, Daedalus, brew up some more healing aids.  After that we finally go through the door into the next room.  On the other side is a stair-stepped hallway going up to a fountain  which is pouring water down the stairs toward us, and, just beyond that, a door.  We’re setting up an idea about how to rope and piton our way up there when first contact with the water causes a number of watery corpses to arise.  They seem to be immune to the currents, but any person who stands in them and fights or tries to advance has to make a roll.  Some folks made their roll every time.  In fact, the only folks I remember failing the roll are Dynastus (twice) and Prometheus (once).  On Dynastus first failure, he barely kept from being flushed down the drain by grabbing a rope which almost dragged Onus with him (but Onus made his roll).  The problem mostly was losing dice to splitting.

The rest of the crew wound up smacking skeletons, which would heal back eventually unless you managed to do enough damage to destroy them.  They were not particularly lethal, just a huge annoyance.  And in a place like this and being just barely beyond “normal mortal”, any injury is a serious problem.

Eventually the skeletons fall, and for the record, Onus makes it to the door first.

There were lots of puzzles in last night’s game, enough so that I can’t necessarily remember them all or their order.

The upshot of our pyramid hunt is that we eventually find a room with a torrent of water rushing downward in a column through the middle of the room.  Standing on a gold square and answering some questions (honestly, I guess) results in the water reversing course (for a while).  We discover there is a room above the column of water and that eventually leads to the major encounter of this place:  A room filled with corpses and a mummy that is looking to restock his room full or corpses.  He raises some dead and comes after us.  The mummy’s head is adorned with a black piece of metal which appears to be corrupted Orichalcum.  These zombies operate as the ones earlier, except we don’t have water to contend with, we have someone flaring an ANIMA BANNER!  So all of us take our hero potion in order to become immune to it.  Well, Prometheus is slow to comply, but does.

During the fight, the Mummy concentrates on Lord Creon and takes him down.  We try some coordinated attacks and that doesn’t have much effect so we go back to singular attacks.  Mostly it’s a rain of smaller blows that does it, since we get that minimum damage roll (1D) on a hit.  I don’t mean to lessen the impact of the zombies on this fight, as they managed to clog up movement, pick away at us the way we were picking away at their boss, and generally be an annoyance.  A lot of them got damaged pretty well by a firebomb from Daedalus.  Likewise, one fire attack on the Mummy caused him to take some continuing damage.

When the mummy goes down, he ‘splodes, leaving us unconscious.  We awaken down at the village near the fire.  There were a couple of “saving throws”, and the only failure (Onus)  meant that he wasn’t healed back to normal like the rest of us.

While we were away (10 days) in the pyramid, the Efreet came by and scorched the village, killing many.  We meet with Amun Ra’s descendant, who says water has returned and the curse lifted.  She also asks what we found.  Creon surrenders our one useful treasure (a Hearth Stone that lends the ability to ask a question of a deceased person with some flesh still on them).  We leave with treasure being a couple scrolls (one has the Obsidian Butterfly ability).  And another piece of a map.

To get to White Palms Oasis, we have to pass a Sphinx, who can possibly tell us how to destroy the effreet.  Well, since it’s on our way…

Jump to the Sphinx camp (because Jim didn’t want to contend with the desert wandering).  Apparently in Sphinx-town they’d seen the people we follow, and they’d gone on toward white palm.  We ask to see the sphinx and are led to a door in the base of the sphinx.  We know that some go in and come back immediately, some go in and are never heard from again, and some go in and come back out with knowledge (though not many).

First room is an easier one.  You have to turn pieces of sphinxes (sphinxi) to face the west and that opens a door.  Next room had something to do with statues with necklaces and statues that don’t have necklaces but seem to have blood on them.  There was an inscription that seemed to be about greed, so we left he necklaces alone and moved on, and that worked fine. 

We find another gold pyramid, half assembled.  It takes a while to figure out if we need to go into the chambers where the gold pieces have been placed or the ones where they’re missing and ultimately we end up (with some trial and error) retrieving the other two pieces of gold pyramid.  One we got by fighting a pill-like creature (think ROPER, but stone) and then laying down a second pillar in that room and finding a triangle beneath it.  The other triangle was at the end of a long chamber filled with an acid lake with an acid-resistant reed boat.  Prometheus commanded (powered) the boat, as it would only move while someone was continually reading a passage on a scroll there in the front of the boat.  So he had to successfully read it (roll) each round to move us two squares, and halfway through the trip one of us is attacked at random by a serpent creature made of crystal.  Onus takes it upon himself to parry for Prometheus, who is busy reading, and that seems to work well.  We get to the end, get the piece, and make it back.

Pyramid assembled, we elevator down to the next part of the mission.  There’s a room with four sphinxi.  They are woman, man, goat, and lion headed, which we determined were Gynosphinx, Androphinx, Criosphinx and LeonSphinx.  There’s a horrible clue that sends us in endless directions because, first off it’s written backwards—so do we do the opposite?  What we do is we head down a corridor and end up splitting up unintentionally because of a magic on a corridor which causes that to happen.  Eventually, most of us are gathered together in one very small room surrounded by acid gas.  Onus, I believe it was, makes it back to the start and goes the other route and finds a room, which Jim was still assembling and reassembling when I left. 


Game 3

Creon (Paul)
Onus (Alan)
Prometheus (Jeff)
Daedalus (Mark)
Dynastus (Darren)

That damn pyramid.  Last game we left off where some (nearly all) of us were trapped in a 10x10’ room with a wall of acid fog just outside.  However, Onus was back where we had started exploring the labyrinth, and since Mark had left early last game he was by GM decree back where Alan was.  A room we had not explored has in it a floating platform over some lava.  On said platform is a staff with a prism in it.  To each side and at the far end of the room are three gargoyles.  Between the gargoyles are a series of floating platforms.  The price for splitting the party is that Onus and Daedalus are left doing this part by themselves.  With Onus doing all the crossing between platforms and dodging traps and Daedalus engineering the ropes and helping puzzle out the process, they manage to not only get the prism but also three small gems that are installed in the mouths of the three statues.  But during this process they had to contend with platforms that were unstable (they would flip over duping their contents), upward gusts of wind from the lava below, and fire-breathing statues.

Meanwhile, Creon is too injured to do too much wandering in acid and Prometheus hadn’t shown up for the game yet.  So Dynastus plunged into the acid using his hand on one wall and his sword stretched out to touch the opposite wall in order to feel around for openings as he went down the hall.  He found an opening at left and ducked into it.  Therein the acid abated.  Dynastus and Creon tried to shout back and forth to one another with no effect other than comedy.  Finally a tug on the room led Creon to follow to the exit, taking slightly more damage.  Dynastus checked this new hall, found an exit and discovered he was back at the beginning so he and Creon moved back to the beginning and found the others.

With all the gems gathered, they headed back to the sphinx room and slide the prisms into place and this causes one of the statues to move revealing stairs.  Down below we find the Sphinx room, wherein she sits waiting to answer a question.  Our question is how to defeat the Evil Fire Elemental we unleashed.  The sphinx directs us to the Temple of Fire in the Valley of Death.  Why is it never the Temple of Taffy in the valley of rainbows?  He says the key we will need to enter the temple is in White Palm, where our foes were headed.

Outside the temple people are interested in how we survived.  It’s been four days so since we didn’t come back immediately they just assumed we were dead and are already collecting our life insurance and everything.  We decline to tell them about how to defeat the tomb.  One interested party decides they aren’t happy with that and wait until Daedalus is out relieving himself and show up to threaten him into revealing the mysteries of the tomb.  He gets away and raises an alarm, drawing the rest of us.  Onus stays in hidden mode so he can spy on the assailants but they spot him.  There’s no fight just now.

We head to White Palm Oasis and Spa, and instead of taking the herbal wrap and mud bath, we opt to take our scroll of introduction to the Chief and his two sons.  The older son, Hagen, shows us some hospitality, the Chief is reserved, but the younger son, Korga, is a nasty little twit.  We don’t have much in the way of gifts, so Creon gives the Sheik a dagger of Hellenic design that is quite old and taken from within the pyramid tomb of the sphinx.  Korga impugns Creon’s honesty over whether that dagger is what he says it is.  We leave.  And it’s good that Dynastus didn’t understand his language.

In order to find our way to the Valley of Death (which we hear has a lovely view of the Sea of Ash), we go see the Sand Voyagers, some folks who may be able to act as guides, for the right price.  Negotiations don’t go too well; we only come out of it with a map.

Onus, meanwhile, has made friends with a young sea urchin who he is paying to do things.  NO, not things like that.  The kid showed up with a hand-written note from what we believe is one of the lead guards of the Sheik, the note saying essentially, not everything is as it seems and Korga does strange things at night.  So Onus hires the kid to watch where Korga goes and then come get Onus.

Prometheus and Creon go out on some kind of errand that doesn’t pay off.  Dynastus is out whoring and that does pay off (he’s easy to please).  And Onus is out looking for his new young ward when he finds the parents who tell him the child has not come back for dinner.  Now he REALLY needs to find the kid because he might be responsible for the kid getting hurt.

Looks like something is up at the Sand Voyager tent after dark.  They’ve got lights and several men are there doing something.  They have a trap door of some kind and are trying to conceal it hastily.  Part of Onus’ surveillance earlier this evening involved sneaking into Korga’s tent and waiting for him.  When Korga came back, he took off all his stuff and went to sleep, whereupon Onus put on all of  his stuff and left.  So now, with Korga’s gear on, he arrives at the door and the guard panic and tell him to get out of sight now and usher him through the trap door.  Below, he finds a hallway and another door and on the other side of it are some men who also assume it’s Korga based on his outfit, and they try to get him to go around to the “other door” rather than just letting him in.

At this point Onus decides to set the original trap door on fire in order to get some attention.  It works, as they try to put out the fire and our guy take the opportunity to bludgeon them silly.  We all go down into the trap door with the unconscious guards and discover that there is an underground encampment, complete with a sacrificial area.  From what we gather at this point, someone (unknown but likely the kid) has been sacrificed in a ceremony.  Their guys (the Sand Voyagers) come at us and Dynastus introduces them to his new axe with nasty results.  We plow through the enemy and yes, they did kill the kid.  This prompts Onus to kill their leader whom had surrendered.  No one objects.

Onus takes the kid back to his parents while the rest of us take the evidence we found (including a diary with Korga’s details about how he hates his brother and made a deal with a great fire spirit in the desert that involved giving up his brother’s intended bride to the fire spirit in exchange for the murder of his father and brother).

I forgot to mention the bride thing.  Hagen has a symbol on his hand that he was born with.  Supposedly he would someday meet a woman with a like symbol and that would be his intended.  Well, she showed up not long ago, but she’s missing now.

When I left, Korga was dead.  While three of us were talking with Hagen and the Sheik, Onus snuck in and killed Korga, with his guards (who did not respect him) allowing it to happen.  They’d just discovered his death the Sheik was grieving (even though his son was evil, murdering scum).

During the course of the game, Daedalus came across a campaign secret:  Orichalcum, when added to items being enchanted, potions brewed, etc, greatly enhances their power.  He even made a heal potion that not only sped up healing per the normal healing potion but actually gave back a point immediately.

Game 4

Last game ended with the guards being investigated for the death of the younger son of the chief of the Oasis of White Palm.  The one that Onus killed in secret.  Well, they can’t seem to pin the crime on a specific guard so we return to the duty to which we are next expected to complete:  Recapturing the betrothed of the older son of the Chief.  She was likely taken to some ruins, to which we head.

There we encounter a lot of rope-and-piton events.  Instead of Onus doing a lot of climbing on the slick stone surfaces, Dynastus does a lot of jumping across expanses.  One area has a well-like shaft (30’ up and up to 100’ down) that has three branches off from it.  Each length of tunnel ends in  a statue of Set.  When the statues are touched, they activate the wall behind them which pushes anyone in the tunnel back toward the shaft.  Ropes and pitons.

In fact, Ropes and pitons may just be shorthand from now on in these recaps.  As in, “We come to a cliff:  Ropes and pitons.”

When all three are activated finally, an audible click happens behind the middle one and there’s an door to the rest of the dungeon.  Rope and pitons across.

There’s a rope bridge across a spooky chasm.  Saves are needed to resist the wind and also to not be overcome with compassion for the dead spirits.  Those of us with low compassion do fine.  Oh, except Onus who makes his save (you want to miss that one) and has to burn a willpower.  In the next room is the body of a woman, encased in a block of “solid fire”.  No one touches it.  There seems to be a gap to put a gem into.

In one room we fight a mummy spirit of some kind.  After defeating it, it turns out it will regenerate here eventually, and just burning the body would condemn his spirit, so Daedalus will eventually haul the body out so we can put it to rest.

Some of the other encounters include firebats which emanate from two torch wall sconces.  First Creon orders us past them and out of the room, which might have worked except that in the next room is another statue we may have to fight.  Someone suggests breaking the sconces so Creon runs back past us and kills a sconce and gets scorched by a firebat.  Dynastus takes out the other sconce.

In the next room is a tile floor.  Those are always bad.  Earlier there was a room with triggers that fired jets of flame at people who stepped on them.  This will be more of that.  So Onus carefully works his way across the room, does the Indy Jones swap-the-bag-for-the-treasure move and gets a diamond from the statue.  There’s a rumbling and so he does the Indy Jones run back, triggering all sorts of flames, but making it safely out.

The gem itself is cool and when placed into the sold fire case, allows the girl to arise.  Turns out she’s quite a B!@+(^.  We get her back to White Palm and convince the chief we need her and his son in order to unlock something at the temple of fire.

We take a while to figure out our path (Valley of Ash or the mountains), load up on rope and pitons, and head toward the mountains.  We basically end up following the path of the other party (the one with the stolen orichalcum).  Wherever they go, we are 2 weeks behind them.

One encounter in the has a giant sand worm burst up from the soil.  The only person to attack it (Dynastus) does no damage with his nasty battle axe, so the group retreats.  It’s the 3 levels of hardening that scare us.  It mauls Dynastus bad enough to send him to two levels into death.  That’s when Daedalus comes up with an interesting and clever plan: He takes the crystal he has that we earned earlier that can create an oasis for 3 days in any area and uses it here, throwing it to the ground beside the rock and magma worm so that the water rushes out of the ground and the sudden cooling of the worm makes him destruct.

Did I mention the valley of ash in which we travel is the inside of a Volcano?  Well, that.

We do a few fatigue rolls.  Onus gets fatigued and eventually Creon joins him.  It’s the only roll I could consistently make.

We eventually find a ruin with a rock in it which has two handprints (both right hands) and a small recess.  We have the Prince and the would-be Princess put their hands into the gaps and use some of their blood in the well, and an entrance opens.  One of us detects a pulse that happens when the seal is broken, so we can count on seeing bad guys when we come out or possibly while we’re still in there.

Rope and pitons.  Rope and pitons.  Rope and pitons.  I’m trying to recall some of the battles inside, but I’m drawing a blank.  All I remember is that we kept using healing potions and then I’d immediately get damaged back to the level I was before.

At the end of the dungeon below, we find a room filled with lava with an elevated path through the middle.  At its end is a lavafall (A waterfall of lava) which surrounds a djinn.  While most of us are dealing with the two lava throwing monsters in the liquid, crazy Prometheus (ever been to crazy Prometheus discount blowout?  His prices are insane!) uses his buckler to shield him from the lavafall and leaps through to the djinn.  When he touches the Djinn, it awakens, it instructs him to “tell your friends to flee” and then he teleports Prometheus out.  We flee and rendezvous in a previous chamber.  The djinni understands why we are here and is prepared to take on the efreet.  Problem is that they are equally matched.  He is counting on us to help him shift the balance in his favor.

Outside the long awaited fight happens.  It’s the five of us (some injured), the prince and princess, and the djinn against the efreet, two fighter types, a Spartan, an archer, a mage, a merchant loaded with magic items, and a metal golem of some sort.  We are outgunned, out magic-itemed, and outnumbered.  And the mage and archer have elevated positions.  There’s a quick speech by the pasha on their side and then we commence fighting.

The note about Dynastus is this.  Because he’s offense oriented, if he misses or does no damage, it’s a slide into defeat after that.  Because once his opponent does damage and his dice pool starts dropping there’s no recovery.  Here he started off injured, and between the Spartan and the Merchant’s magic electrical arrows, he’s down in three turns.  There’s some coordination by Onus and Prometheus to get Prometheus enough height to get up to the archer.  Daedalus is hurling his alchemical Molotov cocktails and taking out the opposing mage.  The archer on their side shifts the balance of the efreet/djinn battle by firing an arrow into their fray, putting the efreet ahead.  Creon eventually goes down, having been injured already before the fight.  The golem did his damage until the mage got taken out, at which point it became useless to them because he completed his mission of taking out Creon and the mage wasn’t there to give him new instructions.

Our side wins the fight, and their merchant (who is a guy from Atlantis, son of the man who gave us our perfect and exceptional items) gets away.

What happens next is several turns of our heroes trying to fire into the Djinn/Efreet combat and even with coordination they can’t seem to have any impact and thus, the efreet is winning.  At that point, the Djinn decides there’s only one course of action: He pretty much self-destructs in order to take out his foe.

In the ensuing blast, our heroes are forever changed.  We get 1 Essence.

Jim handed out a sheet with the character modifications.  I’ll post it on our website (hopefully this week).

We return the prince and princess (who are also changed) and make our way back to port with the Orichalcum, only to find… our ship is missing.  Damn you, merchant! 

Game 5



Game 6