December's always a wasteland for gaming; you just can't get everyone together reliably during the holiday season due to all the parties and family gatherings. So, it wasn't until last weekend that we finally resumed Ptolus. We're playing on Saturdays now, which lets us go a bit later than we could on Sundays.
We'd previously left off with the team heading upstairs to the second storey of Pythoness House. After working their way through minor hauntings (animated figurines in one of the boudoirs) and infestations (rats in the pantry) they located the chambers of the madams who'd previously operated the bordello. One of them had been the head of the cult cell, and was lingering on as an undead creature along with several of her hapless underlings. Their opening ambush got a few arrows into Brother Logan, but a bunch of undead weren't going to last too long against a Church group.
The real payoff at this point was in the bureau of the second madam: as well as ledgers detailing the business of the brothel 3 years previously, there was a personal journal containing clues to what the cultists had been trying to summon those years ago and hints about where various keys might be located. The team quite quickly used these hints to locate the key to the house's strongbox (although not where the strongbox was located) and to recognize half of the
spiral contrivance carried by the
cobbledman, a patchwork creature they fought on a narrow bridge above the house. The critter's many arms lent it a talent for grappling people, but although Cale ended up flung from the bridge, Mali had a feather fall ready for the occasion.
The climax of the session was a rooftop battle against the earthbound rhodintor demon previously called by the cultists. The demon's arcane defenses made it nearly impossible to hit, and the team threw just about anything they could think of at it. Ironically, the most effective attack turned out to be a side effect: oil intended set a wooden walkway afire didn't faze the demon at all. It was fireproof! It was also so blasé about traipsing through the flames that it completely neglected the slipperiness of the hot oil. One comically poor Balance check and 40' of falling damage later, the demon was spending two rounds levitating back into the fray while the team regrouped and rained ordnance down upon it. Cale claimed the kill for that one eventually, lifting a flask of holy water from Marcus's belt and scoring a critical hit to finish off the beast. Both Logan and Marcus had good toe-to-toe moments with the demon, my favorite being Marcus standing firm against the demon's bull-rush in cinematic
You Shall Not Pass! style.
The team was rather depleted after the big battle, so they holed up in one of the bedchambers to rest and recover spells. They were interrupted every hour or two by a rumbling voice cycling randomly through a number of cryptic declarations (
Chaos is the key…,
I must feed…) and once by a patrolling ratlord astride a giant dire rat mount. Brother Logan, conveniently fluent in rattish, managed to talk the ratman into accepting a nominal toll of a few silver coins rather than the encounter spiraling into violence.
At the end of the 8 hour rest period with both Mali and Sebastian's spells recovered, the team basically tied up the loose ends around the house. The major find was the brothel's treasury, located in a doorless square tower by a process of elimination. Rather than discovering a secret ceiling trapdoor and entering the tower from below with the key they'd recovered, Marcus pounded his way through the the stone roof of the tower with the Hammer of St Malleus. As well as netting them a welcome chunk of cash and the missing half of the
spiral contrivance, the brute-force backwards entry into the vault totally bypassed a falling block trap intended to squash anyone entering from below.
From reading the diary, the team know that the
spiral contrivance will somehow get them underneath the stone statue on the first floor into some kind of stockpile the cultists had been accumulating for the
Night of Dissolution, so that's probably where they'll be investigating next when we resume play.
Honest-to-goodness dungeon crawling for a change meant lots of stuff to kill, and bumper XP all around! Everyone ended up levelling, which brought Cale and Logan back up to 4th (6000 XP) and Marcus and the Andovars to level 5 (10000 XP).
|EL||Encounter||— Experience Point Awards —|
|Total XP after session 14||4860||4860||7337||8237||7437|
Total XP at midgame break
Negotiation with the ratlord
Cursed alabaster runestone
|Total XP after session 15
Given that every single character leveled this time, redoing everyone's stat blocks feels a bit overwhelming. I'm not going to tackle that just immediately.
The next game is scheduled for the 19th.