Topic: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

I've been running my first LotFP campaign for a few months now. Lately I've been thinking of this group of players (which has changed membership somewhat) as not accomplishing nearly as much as they could have. Maybe I'm being unfair. After all, I know the details of the scenarios and they don't. Maybe I'm expecting too much. The first adventure was one of my own making but all the rest have been and will be stuff published by LotFP. Here are the dead tree books I own:

2013 Rules & Magic
The God that Crawls
The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children
Better than any Man
The Idea from Space
The Monolith from Beyond Space and Time
Forgive Us
Death Frost Doom 2014 version
World of the Lost
Tower of the Stargazer
Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions
Red and Pleasant Land

My goal is to run them through all of these books (but not in that order). Since we only do one session per month it will takes a few years.

I also have (but probably won't use) the following items in electronic form:

Weird New World
Hammers of the God
Fuck for Satan

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

Since the current motif for LotFP is early Modern Earth I decided to keep with that concept. But, I'm not excising anything from the Rules & Magic Book. So, to handle the existence of demi-humans I'm using the alternate history concept in my games. The main setting is Earth in the 1600's with hidden supernatural elements. But, there are other alternate universes. In some worlds events are almost identical to the main setting until a certain breakpoint where the history becomes different. But, some worlds have so many breakpoints at so many different points in time compared to the main setting that these worlds look very different to the main setting.

There are natural portals that connect these worlds to each other but they are only active and usable at certain times and are only open for a certain amount of time. The analogy I use with players is the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone. It is a natural phenomenon that is not always active but is active at certain times. The main setting is connected to only one other world that arcane scholars from the main setting call the Nexus World. There are many portals on the Nexus World that lead to a great many other worlds. The Nexus World has humans native to it but it also has dwarfs, elves, halflings, etc. Any demi-human in the game is actually a native of the Nexus World that went through a portal to the main setting. I made it clear to the players that Nexus demi-humans have some knowledge of the main setting and know that humans there would have a negative reaction if they knew about their non-human nature.

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

The first scenario was one of my own making and I called it Legacy of Lyonesse. It was set in the "1600's Earth" setting. Out of the list in the first post, the ones that will be set on Nexus World are the following:

Tower of the Stargazer
Seclusium of Orphone
Red and Pleasant Land

Carcosa will be the 1600's Earth setting but they will get trapped in a buried flying saucer that will take them to the planet.

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

During the first session we made PCs and started the first adventure. Blake S. made a fighter. Tanya W. made a cleric (Buddhist). William T. made a wizard ( I have always hated the term "magic-user"). Jonathan L. made a specialist geared to be a thief.

It was June of 1625 and all the PCs were in London. Each of them had met an old man named Simon Edgington at one time or another. He was known to be a scholar of arcane matters. Simon had them meet at his house to discuss a possible money-making venture. He explained to them that the old stories about King Arthur may have some truth to them in a certain aspect. The legendary land of Lyonesse may have a basis in fact. Simon came across a source of information that indicated the Isles of Scilly may have been one large island many thousands of years ago and this may be the basis for the Lyonesse story. A different source he had found indicated that a village called Cadgwith held a remnant of Lyonesse. Supposedly, there was a nearby sea cave called the Devil's Hole that was connected to Lyonesse. He shared this knowledge with them after they promised to give him a finder's fee of 10% of all loot for bringing this venture to them.

Cadgwith is a real place. Use your favorite online map service to see satellite photos the place. I decide the sea cave would be about 1/2 mile South of the village. 

The upshot is that around 15, 000 BC the sea levels were much lower. So, there really was a large island. There were several Deep One settlements in the shallow waters near Lyonesse. The humans living on the island made contact with the Deep Ones. Soon, the humans began worshipping Father Dagon, Mother Hydra and Cthulhu. The descendants of the cult ended up in Cadgwith.

By 1625, about half the Cadgwithians were cult members and they did their best to keep the other villagers "in the dark" about the cave and the cult.

The groups arrived at Cadgwith with a few hours of daylight left. I had decided that for most villagers they met there would be a 50/50 chance they were cult members. Some important NPCs would simply be cult members. The first person they talked was non-cult. They asked about the cave and he said he heard it was cursed. He advised then not to go there. He informed them there was no inn or even a real tavern. The closest thing to a tavern was Old Hoskins who brewed and sold beer out of his house to any who would buy. The group went to see Hoskins not knowing that he was one of the elders of the cult. They inquired about the cave and he strongly urged them not to go there. They left his place and went to the sea cliff to find the cave.

After having spotted the cave mouth at the bottom of the 50' sea cliff they could see that there was about 3 foot gap between the water and the top of the cave mouth. It was low tide. The thief used a grappling hook and rope to go down to the mouth. Looking in, he could see a 30 or 40 foot diameter chamber. At the back of it was a tunnel leading further into the rock. The floor of the tunnel was about 3 feet above the water level. There were rough steps leading out of the water to the tunnel.

One by one the party made their way down the rope and swam or moved along the wall to get to the tunnel mouth. Naturally, most of their stuff got sopping wet with sea water by the time they got to the tunnel. I went easy on them and told them they had managed to hold some torches above the water as they went across. Having assembled at the tunnel mouth, they lit a torch and proceeded forward.

[I'll past more about Legacy of Lyonesse when I get a chance.]

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

Looking in the tunnel, they could see it went forward about 20' then there were steps down. They advanced to the steps and saw that the steps go down about 3 feet then the tunnel goes forward another 20 feet. At that point, there are stairs going up out of sight. The tunnel was well made and faced with stone blocks. The area in between the short stairs and the long stairs was filled with sea water. The players made comments that it looked like at high tide water would flow in the tunnel mouth from the sea cave. They were correct about that.

The party went forward down the short stairway to the lower area and started across with water up to their thighs. At various places in this lower area there are concealed pits just big enough for a foot and leg. In these small pits there are iron spikes angled downward at 45 degrees from the floor. Thus, a person's weight will take their foot scrapping past the spikes with out much problem. Once the foot rests on the bottom of the pit (no spike there), pulling it out can not be done without ripping flesh off the lower leg because of the downward spikes. The cult built the pits so that the victim would be trapped there and drowned by the high tide. I had decided that there were only a few such foot-pits so there would be a 1 in 8 chance of stepping in one. The thief was the "lucky" person who fell in.

The group realized how high the tide would be when it came in and started working on getting the thief out. The cleric fished a crow bar out of the thief's backpack and started using the chisel-end to start smashing the spikes from the stone pit wall. I told them this would take a long time. The fighter and wizard decided to scout ahead while the cleric worked so they lit a torch of their own and went up the long stairs. They found discoloration on the stone walls indicating the limit of high tide and continued up the stairs that took them about 20' above the flooded pit area. At the top they saw that the tunnel went forward about 20; then there was a 45 degree angle split with a tunnel to the left and one to the right. They took the left tunnel. After 20' it bent to the right at a 45 angle. They moved down the tunnel about 30 feet and a shallow alcove with an intricate bas-relief carving on the wall. It depicted an entity that had a bipedal shape much like a human but with fish-like and frog-like exterior features. It wore a strangely shaped crown and brandished a trident. There were similar but smaller figures bowing down to it. They examined the alcove closely and saw that the area of wall below the bas-relief looked like it had been rebuilt at a later point in time from the rest. They began trying to remove those stone blocks to see if they could find anything of value. They only had a crowbar so a told them it would be noisy and time-consuming. They proceeded. The noise of their efforts attracted the guardian of this temple complex. It was a kind of mutated crustacean creature; somewhat crab-like and something like a lobster and mainly misshapen. It was 2HD with 14 hit points and AC16. It was about the size of a small pony. It scuttled to them out of the darkness and attacked.

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

The crab-thing attacks and nearly snips the wizard in half with its claw. He is at 0 HP. The fighter attacks with his backsword and does some damage but some of his strikes have no effect. When the sound of battle was heard by the cleric she loaded her heavy cross bow and went forward. The thief, still trapped and holding a torch, stayed where he was. The cleric gets to the scene and hits the horror with a bolt nearly killing it. It has 1 HP. It fails morale and flees. Fighter and cleric take wizard back to the tunnel mouth then finish the job of freeing the thief. They clumsily transport the wizard back out of the sea cave and haul him up the rope to the top of the cliff. Once there, the cleric thinks to use her healing spell on the wizard. The "crack' of a musket lets them know they are not welcome in the village. They flee through crop fields and make their way from the village. The go back to the last village they had passed before getting to Cadgwith. They seek shelter with the local vicar and find a place to stay the night.

Last edited by Solon (2016-09-13 03:00:09)

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

I forgot something in the last post. The fighter and wizard pried the stones out and found a niche with a bag containing a gem worth 500 silver. Then, the lobster/crab attacked right after they retrieved it.

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

We finished that first session with the PCs in that other village. Blake could not be there for the second session so his fighter became and NPC.

We started the 2nd session with party discussing what to do after having gotten some sleep. They decided to go back and try to get more treasure. They did not go directly to Cadgwith. They took a longer round about way across the countryside and through woods and out lying fields to get to the cave mouth thus avoiding Cadgwith. They set their rope as before and made their way into the cave and got to the tunnel. They went to the "water-trough" and carefully tested for other foot-pits. So, they found a safe way across. They went up the stairs and when they got to the fork they took the right side passage this time. The party proceed down the tunnel and found an alcove with another bas-relief sculpture. This one showed a large human-fish wearing a strange crown and lots of smaller fish-things dancing around it and cavorting. Again, some of the stones looked newer so they pried the stones and found a bag with some strange jewelry worth about 200 silver.

From the alcove there torchlight showed that the tunnel went further but it started a gradual curve to the left. Also, there was another tunnel coming to this main tunnel from the right (thus going off to the Northeast). They moved up to this side passage and saw that about ten feet down it there was a gate/door of iron bars with an integral lock. The party chose to stick with the main tunnel and proceed down. Both the right and left walls continued to curve until the group found themselves in a kind of crescent shaped room. The other end of the crescent had a tunnel which they realized was the tunnel with the first bas-relief they had found. There was also a tunnel leading off to the Southwest. At the apex of the crescent there was a statue on a pedestal. It had an essentially human-like shape although somewhat bulbous. It had large wings on the back and a head that looked a bit like an octopus. Several of them made search rolls for the statue and the thief found the secret compartment in the pedestal. Inside was an odd-looking golden crown worth 1,500 silver pieces. They went back to the Northeast tunnel and smashed the lock so the iron gate could not be opened. They had realized that the passage led in the direction of Cadgwith village.

Then, they went to explore the Southwest tunnel. They found two rooms a short way down the tunnel; one on the left and one on the right. They both had doors that looked fairly new. The thief was able to pick both locks. One room had several cots and bedding. It also had a kind of jail cell in the back where iron bars had been installed floor to ceiling. There was no one in the room. The other room turned out to be a storage room with some iron rations and some old swords and spears.

The party went further down the Southwest tunnel. It bent to the right and then they saw a tunnel to the left and an old door straight ahead. The old door was stuck so they pried it open and found nothing but debris. They went back to the tunnel they seen moments ago. It led a short distance then bent to the left. They peaked around the bend and saw a 20' tunnel that led to a natural cave. Going up to the cave they saw a short flight of steps leading down to sea water. The cave was about 20' by 30' and one of them could see through the water that there was a natural tunnel at the bottom leading somewhere unknown. At that point, the two Deep Ones who had been lurking underwater burst up from the water's surface and threw their spears. The fighter's armor protected him from one spear but the other spear found a home in the thief's chest. The party fled, dragging the thief with them. He was at -3 hp and would live only another 4 minutes. They got him back to the first sea cave that led out to the cliff and he expired. They took his stuff and left his body. They made their way up the cliff, over the countryside and eventually back to London. After selling the treasure they paid Simon Edgington his fee.

After the first excursion, the cult had contacted their Deep One allies so that a couple of them could come and tend the crab/lobster thing back to health. Naturally, the DOs had heard all the ruckus the party was making and prepared for them at the interior sea cave. The tunnel at the bottom led to another, larger sea cave which was the actual lair of the crab thing. No treasure there. Just bones.

The iron gate tunnel led to Old Hoskins cellar.

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

For the third session, I ran Death and Taxes; It's the mini-adventure in the back of Forgive Us. Only Jonathan and Tanya made it to the session. Jonathan made a new thief PC and then we got down to it.

Jonathan's thief was the one who received the letter so the two PCs headed to the village for the funeral. They meet Rev. Brennard and he tells them about the missing daughter and lets slip about the tax men who are in town. They wander the village and meet various villagers that I just made up on the spot. While at the Inn they run across some of the "tax men" and notice the tattoos. I figure there is a chance the cleric might know the symbol so I give her a 2-in-6 chance and she gets a good roll. They now know the Disciples of the Conqueror Worm are in town and up to no good.

At the funeral the next day I give them a chance to spot the girl who is trying to hide while watching her dad's burial. They spot her. After she turns to go back in the woods, they follow and catch up to her. When the thief tells his name she recognizes it as a friend of her dad. She tells him the "tax men" made her nervous so she hid. She also tells about the book.

The PCs convince her to come back and meet with Rev. Brennard. Brennard arranges for her to be fostered at the home of the girl's best friend in the village. That night they dig up the grave of the thief's friend and get the book. The following day they are approached by Godfrey Cushing. He tells them he saw them attend the funeral and guessed they were friends of Blake. He tells them he will pay 100 silver for Blakes' book if they have it. The cleric flatout refuses and the tax men walk away.

Later when the PCs prepare to leave town the Disciples of the Conqueror worm ambush them in between the Inn and the inn's stable. Due to some lucky rolls, things go well for the PCs and the enemy is either dead or fled.

They go back to London and are only able to get 50 silver for the book.

Last edited by Solon (2016-09-22 02:53:09)

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

For the 4th session I ran the God That Crawls. Jonathan had his thief from the last adventure, Tanya still had her Buddhist cleric and we had a new player (Shaun G. ) who played a simpleton of a fighter. I think his INT was 6.

The adventure as written takes place in the year 1600 but in my game it was Autumn of 1625. 

These PCs all knew Simon Edgington (see previous posts) and were summoned to his house. He told them that he had heard some rumors about possible supernatural shenanigans at a church part way between London and Dover. He promised to pay them 100 silver each to scout the place and bring back information. They agreed to do so.

NOTE: During this adventure I meant to look at the entry for room 1:09 but looked at 2:09 and we played that out before I realized my mistake. So, in my version of the dungeon the two are switched.

The PCs set out from London and arrived near the village with only a few hours of daylight left. They saw the church at the top of the hill. The summit was clear of trees but the rest of it was wooded. The looked through the trees and could make out some kind of stonework half way up the hill. They made their way up and found the side entrance. Then, went further up the hill to the edge of the clearing to see the church. They saw a boy with a yoke and two buckets leave the church and go to the village. They went up to the front doors of the church and went in. They soon met another boy who called the Reverend. The priest greeted them and asked their business. They said they were passing through and need a place to stay. Reverend Bacon indicated he would see if a farmer could put them up for the night. He offered to show them the church's artwork first. He gave them the art tour and then conducted them to a farm. The farmer charged two copper for dinner and space in his barn to sleep. The fighter had no money at all so he had to promise to do half a day's farm work the following day.

The next day the fighter started mucking out stalls in a barn while the other two wandered off and into the woods. Some locals seemed to be following them at first but not all the way to the side door. They made their way to the side entrance and saw the sign about the exchequer but went in despite it. I made the prescribed roll and determined that they had 1 turn before collapse. They looked around a little bit then decided to leave. I judged that they had been inside maybe 6 minutes. I forgot about the skeletal arm in the hole. They probably would have stayed in longer if I had remembered. I did retcon that bit later on. So, as they were walking down the hill they heard a "thump" and figured out that the entranceway had collapsed. They went back to the village. The fighter was now done with his chores.

The priest was at the village and said the villagers wanted to offer them a midday feast since so few strangers came this way. The village folk rarely had a chance to offer hospitality. The PCs agreed although the cleric's player expressed some trepidation at the villager's motives. Despite that concern they all ate the food and drank the wine. The cleric made her save but the other two did not. The locals ganged up on the cleric, wrestled her to the ground, put a sack over her head and tied her up. The villagers carried the lot of them up to the church and into the pit room. Having lowered the PCs into the pit, the locals waited until the other two regained their wits before sounding the gong.

They decided not to wait for whatever this cult was summoning. They headed off into the maze. They went to 1:02 but did not spend much time. They went to the cells with the "Venus" idols and managed to get the thief and cleric cursed with having to ask permission to do anything. The players role-played this well. I gave a note to those two players explaining what they had to do. The player with the fighter was a bit confused at first but figured it out and was a little dickish with the cursed ones. They continued and found the room with the ceiling mirror and the gem (remember the mistake I mentioned earlier). After some preliminary examinations, the fighter had the other two boost him up so he could check the mirror. He got sucked into the mirror-space. While there, he grabbed the gem thus breaking the string and shattering the mirror. I did not read the entry closely enough so I just said the PC was forever lost in the void. The other two continued on their way. The fighter's player hung around for awhile then left and has not answered emails about the game since then.

The other two wandered back to the pit room and then tried a different path out of it. They made their way past various rooms down to the second level then the third level then back to the second. At various places they stopped to get treasure out of wall vaults. They were in the long hallway on the left side of 2nd level when the god caught up to them. At first they charged to attack. When it seemed like a bad situation they started to flee but it was too late. The god killed them both.

So, it was a TPK.

Last edited by Solon (2016-11-05 05:43:37)

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

The 5th session was a bit different. I kind of went contrary to the spirit of the game and was very lenient with the players. Since they had a TPK the last session, I invented a way for them to try The God that Crawls again.

They needed new PCs so Jonathan made a dwarf and Tanya made an elf. Rebecca C. was the new player who joined at this session and she made a Halfling and his name was Roscoe. They were all immigrants from the Nexus World.

The dwarf and elf had met Simon Edgington once they had come to the version of Earth that is the main setting. He contacted them about a possible venture. Before telling them any details he made an agreement with them that he would get a broker's fee of 10% of treasure found. 

He told them that he had sent a party to investigate a church but they had not come back. Before he had met with the first party he had hidden a magical crystal ball in the room in which he met them. This crystal ball attuned itself to the first party and magically recorded all there sensory inputs. Simon used the ball to "replay" the memories so that he, the dwarf and the elf would know what had happened. After that one use the ball lost all magic power. But, the three of them saw all that had happened before so they knew about the cult in the village and about the blob-god. I told them that they had already met the Halfling previously so they brought him in on the deal and told him what they had seen in the crystal ball.

The party set out for the village in the morning. When they got near the target area they made sure not to get too close to the village proper. They went right for the side entrance to see how bad the cave-in might be. They opened the door and were surprised to see the entrance way had been rebuilt. The dwarf aced an architecture roll and figured out the entrance would collapse again and that it was built that way. They went to the woods surrounding the side entrance and cut down some young trees to make support beams for the entrance. It took some time but they prevented further collapse.

They then went through various tunnels and rooms stopping along the way to empty the vaults. I used random rolls to see which way the god would move through the tunnels since it had not sensed them yet. The party got some scrolls and potions but they were not brave enough to stay very long. They left before the thing found them.

Rebecca figured out that my random rolls were to see where the blob went and that heightened the tension. The players said they enjoyed it which is, of course, the most important thing.

Last edited by Solon (2016-11-14 04:58:10)

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

For session number 6, I started them on a mission with Death Frost Doom with the intention of soon diverting them to The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children.

Rob H. was the new player who started with this session. Tanya and Jonathan were there, as usual. Rebecca was not able to attend. Blake finally made it back to the game table to play his fighter.

So, there was Tanya's elf, Jonathan's dwarf, Blake's fighter and Rob's elf who had adopted a human name (Adam DaVine) and the mannerisms of a foppish cavalier of the early 1600's. He acts like the stereotypical whoring, boozing upper-class Englishman of the early Modern period. Of course, the pointy ears hidden under his long curly hair would get him burned at the stake as a demon if any NPC humans saw them.

I have the 2014 edition of Death Frost Doom. There is a random table on P. 32 for determining which books are found in the library. One entry is for a book about how to make liquid time but the book is supposed to only give hints rather than practical applications. I decided the book would actually give a formula that an alchemist could use.

We assumed that Rob's PC had already met Simon Edgington at some point prior. Simon invited all the PCs to his house and told them about the liquid time book and that he had a buyer lined up. It only remained for the party to get it and bring it back to Simon. I may have gone into "Monty Haul" mode but the buyer promised 1,000 silver for each surviving party member. Simon told them he had acquired info about the book's location. There was a mountain in the North of England that once had a coven of witches living on the summit. Some 50 or 60 years ago the coven was wiped out by a local militia and some churchmen. That's all Simon knew so they would have to go to the mountain and investigate. Simon gave them good directions to a village called Murton. From there they could make the trek to the mountain called Murton Fell. Both the village and the mountain are real places in England.

The party set out a day later. After traveling the roads of England for a few days they had made it almost half way to Murton. They stopped in a typical farming village with the intent to stay the night in someone's barn. After they had settled in, they were approached by some "village elders" about a problem. They told about the many women who think they have a son named Andrew when they really don't. They told about the shepherd who saw a boy in the woods fitting the Andrew description. They asked the party to investigate. After not getting a promise of a cash reward, the group declined the offer and left the village in the morning. At that point, I communicated to them that I did not expect them to decline and had not brought the Death Frost Doom module with me. They decided that their PCs had a change of heart and went back to help the villagers. They then had the shepherd guide them to the area and then he left.

They looked around the woods for awhile and found the clearing and the cave mouth. They wandered into the clearing and tried talking to the Andrews who merely stared at them. They approached the cave mouth, lit a torch and went in. I described the tunnel walls as seeming to be perfectly smooth. Even the dwarf had no idea how it was done despite the craftsmanship for which his people are renowned. I had decided the Great Crystal had released crystalline construction nanites that had made the wall so smooth that human eyes could not detect any texture.

Going down the tunnel they found more Andrews who did not bother them but were playing with rocks or napping or munching on leftover squirrel. They made their way to the main chamber and there met Wiki Dot Pod. He was cordial to them and a conversation ensued. The players did not ask questions that would explain the details of what was going on but Wiki did reveal that he plans to take over the world. There was some talk of the PCs serving him in his efforts and Wiki seemed possibly amenable to the idea. While most of the party talked with Wiki, Blake had his PC look at the crystal and he found the semen-stained bio-input hole. Once world conquest with a never ending army of Andrews became the topic of conversation, Blake had his PC put a fire bomb in the input hole, lit it and began running out of the complex without a word of explanation to his comrades. When they saw the fighter running away they also ran. Wiki was perplexed by this turn of events until the fire bomb exploded. Then he yelled for the Andrews "Kill then all!" and went to check the damage on the crystal.

I figured that the PCs could outpace little kids so the Andrews gave chase until they could not see the PCs then gave up and went back to the cave. The PCs went back to the village and gave a simplified explanation to the elders. Blake had his fighter attempt to rouse the folk to form a militia and go wipe out the obviously devil-spawned Andrews. I had him make a d20 roll plus Charisma modifier. If he exceeded 13 it would work. It did work.

The folk gathered up whatever weapons they could get and followed the PCs through the woods. When they got to the clearing they found a lot of Andrews ready for them. The villagers charged to the attack but the party did not join the main battle. They skirted around it to get to the cave mouth and let the villagers do the main part of the bloody business.

When they got near the cave mouth they did have to fight 4 of the Andrews. They slaughtered the little kids after taking a little damage and we stopped the session at that point.

Last edited by Solon (2016-11-20 19:17:15)

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

Session 7

Tanya, Rob and Jonathan were there. Blake could not make it this time so his fighter became an NPC. Rebecca was there so I had to retcon a way for her hobbit to be involved. I decided that Roscoe the Halfling had left London along with the group but had gotten food poisoning as they approached the village with the "Andrew" problem. When the party went to the cave, Roscoe stayed behind in the village. After the party had assembled the village militia and went off to war (see last post), Roscoe started to feel better. So he headed off to the scene of the action!

As Roscoe got to the area, the battle was winding down with neither side victorious. Wiki had sent 50 of his kids to the battle and kept the remaining 50 in the tunnels with him. The villagers had wiped out almost all the kids in the clearing but had taken grievous losses. The militia had withdrawn to the side of the clearing farthest from the cave mouth. Roscoe ran to catch up to his comrades. There were a couple of Andrew heads in the clearing that were screaming. That freaked out a few players. The militia began to move back towards their village.

The party decided to wait and see what would happen. No one came out of the cave. Roscoe snuck in to see what was going on. he was soon followed by the rest. There were Andrews in Great Crystal chamber and in the tunnel leading to the outside. The party advanced and the Andrews did not attack. When the party got near the entrance to the Great Chamber, Wiki saw them and ordered an attack. The group quickly figured out about the Andrew power-up, took some damage and fled the caves with Andrews in pursuit.

Once outside they split up and ran in different directions. They outpaced the Andrews like before and eventually got away. After some wanderings, they all made their way back to the village. The locals were now preparing to contact the King and the Church about this deviltry. The party decided they wanted some money so they figured they would go back in an effort to collect some Andrew heads and harvest the crystals. They slept in the village and moved towards the cave in the morning.

When they got there the clearing was deserted of living things. Someone had removed the screaming heads. They moved around the perimeter of the open area to get near the cave mouth. Peaking inside they saw dim lights in the main chamber and shadowy figures moving. Rath'el the elf (Tanya's PC) remembered that she had a potion of speed acquired from the God that Crawls dungeon. She decided she would use it to run in before they could react and see what she could see. She ran past many Andrews to the far side of the main chamber where she found Wiki. Tanya decided to try to end him then and there. In a heroic (or foolish) battle, she managed to dispatch him right as the Andrews were charging towards her. I decided that when Wiki died the Andrews would die. The threat was ended.

The scene was gruesome as they collected a lot of Andrew heads and carried them 1/4 mile into the woods from the cave. They buried them so that vermin would eat the soft tissue leaving skulls with embedded crystals. Then they went back to London and told Simon the whole story. They told him they would get the liquid time book sometime later. I spent a couple of minutes narrating how they would go back to retrieve the skulls then spend about 6 months traveling around the British Isles and parts of France as they sold the skulls.

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

Session 8

Rob and Tanya were the only players to be able to show up. Since Blake had missed so many sessions I decided to use his fighter as an NPC to beef up the party.

It had been many months since the last adventure and the PCs had been selling crystal-embedded skulls. The two elves decided to try their hands at Simon Edgington's quest for the liquid time book (a.k.a. Death Frost Doom). As indicated, they took the fighter with them.

They travelled overland many days to the village of Murton (see post for session 6). Simon had told them that Murton Fell was the mountain where the witch coven had dwelt. Once in the village, they found a tavern and talked with the locals. They learned the locals call the mountain Death Frost Mountain and there are rumors it is cursed.

They find some rooms for a few coppers then leave for the mountain in the morning. They find a trail leading from the village in that direction and follow it. They walk several miles and get to the base of Murton Fell. The trail goes up it so they follow the trail. About half way to the summit they come across the encampment of Ezekiel Duncaster. He greets them in a friendly manner and offers some meat. They thank him but decline and then ask him about the summit. He gets a bit agitated and tells them it is cursed. They ask about the witch coven and he confirms the story is true. They talk of going up and he tells them he can not allow them to go to the summit. The PCs ask if he goes up and he replies that he does so only to place gravestones and get names from the book. Tanya's elf says she wants to help him and offers to go up and get some names for him. Ezekiel hesitates at first then agrees if they promise to just get some names then come right back. The PCs agree then head up the mountain.

They get near the summit and see gravestones. They proceed and start to hear the horrible, unearthly wailing. The PCs see the cottage up ahead. The elves tell the fighter to stay on the trail and go up to the cottage while they skirt around the left side of graveyard and meet him at the structure. This is really Tanya's idea since she suspects the wailing is from some kind of zombie thing hiding in the snow and she wants to stay far from it. She is willing to have Blake's fighter be closer to it since Blake didn't bother to show for the session. The two elves move around the left perimeter and come across the frozen guy in a night shirt. They briefly examine him then move to the cottage and get there about the time the fighter does so.

I'm skipping some details but they did figure out that wood turns to stone on the summit. So, back to it...

They examine the well and draw up some water. Tanya's elf touches some water and feels the numbing sensation. Rob's elf takes a sip and gets the waking nightmares. They decide to leave the well.

They go on the porch and look in the West side windows. They go all the way around the cottage and look in all the windows. Not seeing any person or monster, they decide to go through the front door. I decided against the falling door routine and just had it open normally (for a stone door). As soon as they are in they hear the harpsichord. The PCs immediately go the sitting room. They had already seen the harpsichord through the window so they had a good idea where to go. The sound stopped when they came in the room. They saw the painting and the players were taken aback at the content.

They then went back to the main room and looked around having walked past the kitchen with out stopping. The fighter happens to be Chaotic so none of the PCs could be seen in the mirror. This fact kind of freaked them out. They examined the book carefully and eventually saw the list of names in English names at the end. They wondered if this was the liquid time book and talked of leaving but decided to continue. They examined the clock. I told them there was a panel on the side that looked like it would open. They looked in and saw the mechanism, the pipes going down and into the wall and the birds.

Tanya then said she wanted to take the mirror to the sitting room. I suspect she thought there was a ghost playing the harpsichord and the mirror would show it. I had forgotten that the mirror only worked in the main room so I had it working everywhere. But, it did not reveal a ghost at the harpsichord. They then turned the mirror to face the painting. Tanya suspected that the painting had stolen their souls and speculated that the mirror might counteract the effect. Of course, nothing happened so they put the mirror back in the main room.

They then looked through the kitchen and two bedrooms. They took equipment from the mountain climber looked at his journal and figured he was the frozen guy near the well. In the other bedroom they found the purple lotus powder. I figured the elves should recognize so they did. Neither one of them decided to try it.

They went back to the main room and looked closer at the clock. Rob moved the minute hand 5 minutes forward and disappeared. Tanya's elf (and the fighter) went looking to see if he had teleported to one of the other rooms. By the time they got back to the main room Rob's foppish elf was there again. Thus, they learned it could be used to go forward in time.

Rob had his elf move the hand back ten minutes ( 5 minutes back from the time when they first started playing with it). He got the "timestop" effect and thus made another important discovery.             

Rob suggested they use the "timestop" effect and explore the trap door. I had missed the part in the book that indicated only one person at a time could use the clock. They had the other two characters touching Rob's elf while he moved the hour hand back 12 hours. I figured it should work so they were all "timestopped" together.

None of them had a crowbar so they used a grappling hook to smash the lock.

{It's getting late so I'll try to finish this session tomorrow}

Last edited by Solon (2016-12-18 06:19:54)

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

This is the continuation of the session 8 description. Look at the last post if you have not already done so.

So, they went down the ladder to the dungeon. They walked down past the screaming faces without interacting with them. they used the key to open the door and went into the room with the hands. The players decided not to mess with the hands and examined the big double doors. I had decided that a big copper plate with Latin inscriptions had been nailed to the door. The assistant clerics from 60 years ago (not the 12 who sacrificed themselves) had placed it there and its supernatural power used the liquid time of the mountain to seal the tombs. So, damaging the copper plate is what starts the big thaw out. The PCs did, indeed, force open the doors thus damaging the plate and starting the thaw. Of course, they had been "timestopped" so nothing would start to melt until time resumed.

They walked around the chapel and looked at the plinths, the skulls, the altar area, the organ, the murals, the basins and the doors out of the room. Rob had his elf play "Toccata And Fugue In D Minor" on the organ. I had no idea he knew classical music but he knew the actual name of the piece. His first attempt failed because of the items in the organ. After they retrieved the items, he played the music. Since the PCs are timestopped the skull has not fallen yet.

They used their grappling hook and rope to get the bowl and items from the altar without having to enter the big skull. I told them the task used up a lot of time since it would be so difficult. Tanya put the dagger and necklace in her back pack so her elf is now cursed.

They looked at the basins and took the locket but did not bother to open it and look inside. They tried to open the bronze tooth-door but could not get it to open even when using the grappling hook as a pry bar. They then opened the other door and went into the North corridor. The PCs went through the first door on the right and searched the beds. Tanya found the mask.

Tanya mentioned that putting a tooth in a basin might help with the bronze door so they went back there, pried a tooth out of the mask and put it in the basin. The door opened and they went through it. They entered the Embalming Preparation Room and looked at the various items. My description of the pictures and diagrams in the book had them thinking it told how to make some kind of undead creature. They left without taking any items from the room.

They then went into the Priest Crypts. They looked around a little bit but did not go in very far. The place made them nervous. Tanya's guess about the graveyard wailing being a zombie had them thinking this great number of tombs might contain something similar. They left and went up the nearby corridor that leads to the North.

They bypassed the door to the Warrior Crypts and went to Hall of Memory. They looked around, found the eyepiece and discovered the translation power it had.

That's where we ended session 8.

Last edited by Solon (2016-12-19 01:59:07)

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

Session 9

Once again, Rob and Tanya were the only players and we used Blake's fighter as an NPC.

The PCs were in the Hall of Memory. They took some time to skim through all the books. They got the general idea about the books but did not read in-depth enough to find the clock reference. They did find the inserted note.

They went back to the Embalming Room and looked again at that book (how to make UnThings). They took the time to figure out what it was and took it with them. They also took the 4 bottles of liquid time.

They then went back to the chapel and read the glyphs at the basins and the writing at the murals.

Afterwards, the PCs again went through the door that exits the chapel to the North. They saw the door to the left had a lock and tried the key from the dungeon entrance. Since it did not work, the went further down the corridor to the second room on the right. Quickly realizing that it was a toilet, they left. The PCs went to the Slaves' Room and saw the map scratched into the
floor. They did not search thoroughly and did not see the musical notes. They went to the Chamber of Pedagogy next. They looked around and figured out that the objects were torture devices. They looked at the title of the book but did not look inside and did not take it. Then, they went to the kitchen and looked around. Tanya indicated she would look at the smoke vent and was surprised there was none. They made a human pyramid with the fighter on the bottom, then Rob's elf, then Tanya's elf on top. She made the search roll and found the secret panel. She managed to get it open. I told her how narrow it was so she took off her armor and they boosted her up to it. She made her way in pitch dark to the intersection. Finding one way sloping down to the West and the other going straight up, she decided to go back to the kitchen. They chose not to use those smoke vents any further. They went to the locked door they had seen earlier that leads to the bedroom-library-toilet complex. They spent a lot of time and effort to get through the door and damaged their grappling hook in the process. Going through the door, they saw three doors with one of them having a lock like the door they just went through. They went straight ahead into the library and started searching. After an hour of searching they found the Liquid Time book. They promptly left with out examining anything else. About when they got to the foot of the mountain the timestop effect ended. They went back to the village then started to head back to London.

They met with Simon and gave him an account of what happened. They agreed to loan him the translation eyepiece and he arranged for the buyer to get the liquid time book. He also arranged a buyer for the UnThing book. They sold their acquired treasures (thus passing the altar curse on to others) and took their money.

Last edited by Solon (2016-12-22 21:46:20)

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

Session 10

Tanya, Rob and Rebecca were the players for this session.

I used the Carcosa supplement this time. My plan was to run them through Fungoid Gardens of the Bone Sorcerer.

Tanya's elf (Ra'thel), Rob's elf (Adam DaVine) and Rebecca's hobbit (Roscoe) had all been contacted by Simon Edgington about possible employment. He told them that he had heard of a strange incident on the Isle of Man and he wanted them to investigate. He would pay them 100 silver each just for basic information and more if they brought back deeper knowledge. Simon had heard that someone had found a massive steel object that was buried underground. He wanted the PCs to check it out.

Below is part of the text that I sent to the players a few days before the session.


You leave on an uneventful journey to the Isle of Man. You follow Simon's directions to a small village next to a large hill. From the locals you find out that a herdsman uncovered a strange bit of metal on the hill. You go to the spot and find the metal thing that had been exposed. You dig out some more of it and find it be one big thing made of steel and you find some strange buttons on it.

When you experiment with the buttons a strange light emanates from the object and the dirt and rock that covered it seems to evaporate like water out of a steam pot. At that point, you now see that it is a large steel object whose shape is much like that of a disc or saucer about 20 yards in diameter. What seems to be a door slides open to reveal a fascinating interior of seats and panels. The group goes in and the door closes behind you. A strange voice emanates from the wall speaking a language you have never heard. You spend some minutes looking around at the interior seats and panels that have strange lights. The voice repeats itself but you have no way of knowing how to respond.

The voice rings out a third time and then the entire object becomes suffused with a soft glow. Some of the panels seem to become transparent and now act as windows. You can see outside. The disc begins to rise in the air and you see the ground receding away from you. Soon you are so high you can see the curvature the Earth. It seems your speed increases with each moment. You leave the bounds of Earth and speed past the Moon. As you go by it you realize you are the first people to see the far side which is partly in shadow. Somewhere in that shadow you see a bright gleaming spot as if there was an illuminated city on the Moon.

You leave the Moon behind and your speed away from it increases with each moment. Soon you fly past a planet that looks to be covered with a red desert except for icy poles. Perhaps it is Mars. Soon you see the Sun as a mere bright speck.

At that point, there is a shudder in the disc and a horrifying feeling like reality has pulled itself inside out. Whereas the windows had been showing you a vast blackness with pinpoints of light that are the stars, now things are different. You see a vast field of whiteness and it is filled with pinpoints of black. These black dots speed past you for more than an hour. Then, there is another lurch and the color scheme of the cosmos goes back to its familiar pattern.

Through the windows you see that you are approaching a star whose color is a little different than the Sun that you know. After some minutes you approach what you realize is a planet with two moons. Parts of it have a purplish color and parts are brown or beige. As you approach, you see two ice caps at the poles. There are vast seas of blue water.

Your craft moves through the air and past clouds. Unlike your world, the vegetation seems to come in various shades of purple. The saucer comes down gently in an area of vast grasslands. You saw a desert immediately to the North. Some distance to the West there was a large lake with an island in the middle. It seemed like there was a city on the island. To the East you saw vast purple prairies extending as far as you could see. As the craft descended you saw a tall plateau to the South with the top covered in ice.

A panel opens in the interior revealing some strange objects. The door to the outside opens then all the lights are extinguished and there is silence from the craft.


That's where we started the session. One of the objects was somewhat wheel-shaped (and had some buttons) and one was roughly apple shaped (and had some buttons). They played with the wheel and got a green button to illuminate. Eventually, they learned that it was a universal translator. They made guesses that the other object was a grenade.

The saucer had landed in hex 2005 of the Carcosa map. In regard to the detailed map of that hex, they had landed in sub-hex 1224. They encountered and befriended the lone wanderer but I decided he would be Green rather than Brown. They used the universal translator to communicate. From the long conversation that followed they learned about the various humans of the world and the "gods" that plagued and tormented them. They learned about the Grey Ones who made the spacecraft. They asked their new friend if he could knew how to use the saucer. He indicated that he did not. They asked about the Grey Ones and he told them he thought they were many days to the West. They asked if anyone else might know about the saucer and he told them a sorcerer might know and that there was one across the desert to the North. They asked the Green man to guide them to the sorcerer's cave and he agreed to do so.

They made their way North and into sub-hex 1220 where they encountered the dinosaur riders. The riders questioned them about what kind of beings they were and what they were doing in the area. The party simply told them the truth about these matters. The Red Chief offered them jewels if they would bring the Bone Sorcerer to him after the PCs had gotten the sorcerer to help them go back to Earth. They party agreed to the deal. The Chief sent to riders to escort the party to the edge of the desert.

The enlarged group went North and made their way into sub-hex 1506. A small number of the yellow cannibals attacked but were easily routed.

The group got close to the cave then made camp for the night. The riders left in the morning. The PCs and their Green friend approached the cave mouth. They found a small stream (just a trickle, really) flowing into the cave mouth. They entered and found lots of fungus growing along the stream. Admittedly, I did not describe the place as so full of fungus as the book does.

They went some distance in and ignored the first tunnel to the left. They went forward and found the Bone Cave. They walked around the perimeter of the cave to find its size then went back to the stream. I had decided that the stream would flow into the Mere in room 8. They decided to follow the stream and wound up in that chamber. The hobbit peered into the pool of murky water and was attacked by the Lake Monster. After a couple of rounds of fighting the hobbit was pulled down into the depths never to be seen again. The two elves fled back to the Bone Cave.

They made their way to the Cavern of Bats and I completely forgot about the bats so they did not encounter them. They moved down the tunnel leading to the apprentices and of course they were heard coming before they got there. One apprentice told them to halt before they could see him. They halted and began to parley. The apprentice told them to wait and he would fetch his master. Many minutes passed and the Bone Sorcerer and his apprentices walked down the tunnel and into view. The party saw that he had a pistol that looked like it was made by the Grey Ones. Some negotiation followed. Eventually, the two groups agreed that the sorcerer would go with them to the saucer and try to figure it out. If successful, he would take them back to Earth and keep the saucer.

The party camped outside and the following morning the sorcerer, one apprentice and 10 of the White Lotus zombies came out to begin the journey. The PCs decided the travelers should veer to the East in order to avoid the dino-riders. They wanted the sorcerer to live long enough to help them. Eventually, they got to the saucer. The sorcerer had brought tomes about the Grey Ones. He worked for more than a day but was able to get the saucer working. He took them back to Earth then went to his home planet.

The PCs went back to London and recounted their story to Simon who was much interested. They got some bonus money.

Last edited by Solon (2016-12-30 23:16:42)

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

This thread has now caught up to where we are in the campaign. When I started this thread I may have had too harsh an opinion of the player's efforts. They have had some accomplishments in these scenarios although they have also passed up some opportunities. Tanya's elf, Rob's elf and Blake's fighter are all now 2nd level. Although, that's only true for the fighter because I used him as an NPC a few times but gave him XP like a PC.

Below is a timeline for the campaign including scenarios that are on the horizon.

Legacy of Lyonesse                                                   June 1625

Death and Taxes                                                        Oct. 1625

The God that Crawls                                                  June 1626

The God that Crawls, second endeavor                     July 1626

The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children       Oct. 1626

Death Frost Doom                                                      April 1627

The Fungus Gardens of the Bone Sorcerer               Nov. 1627

In Heaven, Everything is Fine                                    Aug. 1628

Forgive Us                                                                 March 1629

Better than any Man                                                  Oct. 1631

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

We did session 11 yesterday. The players were Tanya, Jonathan and Rebecca. Since Rebecca's hobbit got killed last session, she made a fighter for this session. The PC is a Welsh hellcat named Treasa.

This session I used a scenario called In Heaven, Everything is Fine. It can be found in a book entitled Forgive Us.

The PCs were contacted by Simon Edgington and met him at his house in London. Through his network of scholars, spies and adventurers he had heard rumors that travelers through a village called Ashmanhaugh were reporting that is haunted. He hired the party to go and find out what can be found out. He offered them 100 silver each with more money forthcoming if more than just basic knowledge was gained.

They travelled on foot uneventfully for several days and made it to the village. They arrived about 4 pm. Tanya's elf had memorized Hold Portal and Shield for that day. They went to the center of the village and found a church, a tavern and a smithy. They went to the tavern first. There they met a barmaid and a owner/barkeep who were both merely psychic illusions. They talked quite a bit the barmaid and pumped her for information. She told them it was a wonderful and prosperous village. They asked her about any strange or interesting locations in the village and she told them about the old tower in the nearby woods. I figured the alien baby would go ahead and try to give them a reason to stay fairly quickly. A growing boy needs to drain life essence, after all.

After the tavern they went to the church and met the Rev. Larch (who is real). They talked with him about any strange occurrences and he indicated that he knew of none such. They questioned further about the tower and he was certain there was no tower nearby. Since the book only talked about the baby creating illusions in the moment and nothing about implanting false memories, it seemed to me that the real people would have no knowledge of the tower.

Naturally, the fact that they got two different stories made them suspicious but they decided to go to the tower right after leaving the church while there was still a little bit of daylight. The barmaid had given them directions on how to get to the tower. They walked Westward past some Farms to the woods and soon found the tower. The fighter made a architecture roll while the dwarf failed his. Treasa was able to figure out that it looked like old Roman construction. It seemed to be a three story structure. They walked around it until they found a door and forced their way in the old warped door. They a found ground floor that was one large room with the broken remains of some furniture. The fighter and the dwarf went in to look around but the elf was too frightened to do so. She stood at the doorway with her crossbow ready. The others found a staircase leading up and a trap door in the floor. While the elf stayed at the main door the dwarf and fighter went up to the second floor. There was a hallway with two doors. Behind one was a barracks room and behind the other was a kitchen and dining area. At that point, I mentioned it was getting dark outside so they went back to the tavern to get supper.

At the tavern, rev. Larch and Helen Cox were dining together. She had brought her child along. The party asked the barmaid about the woman and were told that Helen was a widow and she and the vicar were only friends. The group ate supper and rented the one room available at the tavern. The elf slept in the bed and the other two used bedrolls to sleep on the floor.

At that point, I had the players write down their PC's ability scores on scrap paper and then mark off one constitution point. I told them that the PCs felt really bad and but did not know why.

Let me point out that I had not forgotten about Willis. As they left the church, they saw a tuft of grass suddenly catch fire for no reason. As they were walking to the tower, the fighter got jostled but saw no one there. Also, a small stone got tossed at the elf's head. More would happen the following day.

In the morning, they got breakfast at the tavern then went to the church. They asked Larch to come with them since he had no knowledge of the tower that they had seen the day before. He agreed. When the group got to the tower, Larch was startled. He assured them that he had lived many years in the village and had been through these woods before. There was never a tower before now and he assumed some deviltry was afoot. He asked them to come back to the church so they could all pray to God for guidance. They indicated they were going in the tower so he went back to the village.

All of the party went in this time and they went straight to the third floor. There they found two small bedrooms, a storage room and an empty room but nothing of value. So, they went down to the ground floor and opened the trap door. Finding a stone lined shaft with iron rungs, the elf descended with a lantern. She found a small room at the bottom with a tunnel leading out of it. The other two followed her down. They went down the tunnel some 40 feet and found and intersection with a tunnel on the left and one on the right; no way forward. They went to the right with the dwarf in the lead and then the fighter and then the elf. The first two did not trigger the pit trap at the intersection but the elf did. She fell 10' feet and lost one hit point. They moved 30 feet down tunnel and came to a door. The dwarf opened it and saw a 30 x 30 room. Torches in sconces burst into flame and they could see everything in the room. In the center of the room was a low platform with something that looked like a wood and iron golem lying on it. They saw a dais at the back wall with a wooden chest on it. The dwarf tried to move around the platform to get to the chest and the golem got up and started to attack. A brief fight ensued where the fighter lost two hit points and the golem was inoperable after losing eight HP. They checked the chest and got three hundred silver pieces. They then backtracked to the pit area and came up with a good method for getting everyone across so they could explore the other tunnel.

At that point, I indicated we had been playing for 4 hours and needed to stop. I kind of steered the conversation to the idea of quitting this scenario and starting a new one at the next session and they agreed. So, I said that the party left the dungeon and headed back to London. When they got about half between Ashmanhaugh and the previous village they had passed on the trip up North they started to feel strange. Their packs felt lighter and they had no injuries from the dungeon. They checked and confirmed that they had acquired no coins. They went back to London and told Simon their story.

The players indicated that they really wanted to know what had gone on so I gave told them the whole story.

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

Now, that sound great! Did I got it right that you made the whole tower up or this a part of the module?

With kind regards
My blog

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

I had a vague idea about the golem but other than that I just made it up when they got there and went into the building. I did not invent what would be in the golem room until they opened the door. I decided it would have 8 HP and AC 15 when we rolled for initiative.

Re: [Campaign Log] The Underachievers

In case I was not clear, no, the module has no description of the tower. It is left to the GM.