Last session we left of with the group dealing with the death of Fletch’s dwarf barbarian, defeating a bone naga and claiming Ruby Eye of Shazal for the dead sorcerer Gargomel. This session we finished off the apprentice’s secret lair and encounter a whole new set of problems.
Stephen- Halfling barbarian level 1/fighter level 1
Chuck- High elf sorcerer
Liam- Gnome paladin
NPC- Benedict (Level 0 NPC)
The group continued down to the southern area and found a wall with a gargoyle head that turned either left or right. Fletch examined it and was about to roll for traps when I described the new situation.
Aside: I’ve decided to make some traps more like puzzles (and more interesting than just rolling), but structuring them in a flowchart layout (see picture below). This was fun to watch, because it got the group debating on which way to turn the gargoyle head and wanting to be involved (yay!). See the picture below:
The group decided that the gargoyle’s head was function more like a combination lock and thought they may have missed the combination somewhere. Stephen and Liam decided to go back and explore each room in an attempt to find it. I decided to have a random encounter and gave it a 1-in-20 chance (and I rolled a 1)… soooo the bones of the bone naga reformed into a massive bone golem (I used the minotaur skeleton stats from the 5e MM).
Stephen and Liam ran like hell back to the group where a good fight ensued. After taking a short rest (and regaining some HP), the group said screw it and played with the gargoyle’s head some more and managed to guess right and opened up secret door.
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore…
The group found a large room covered in thick roots, vines, and brambles. In the back of the room was an arch that had a wispy green mist danced in-between the pillars. The moment the group entered the room a flash of green light lanced from the arch and enveloped each of the group.
Suddenly the roots dislodged four humanoid-shaped creatures that looked as if they were made up of sticks and branches and two humanoid-shaped creatures made up of vines and leaves. The group launched into combat and had a little bit of a tough time with these creatures. After the second round, the dungeon vanished and the group found themselves in a lush Amazonian style rain forest. Chuck muttered, “nooo.. We didn’t get the treasure in the dungeon…” the group kept fighting, lighting one of the vine creatures on fire with oil and a torch. However the creature ensnared Liam, lighting his little gnome on fire as well.
As the fight continued the jungle would fade, becoming ethereal, showing the dungeon wall behind it, just out of reach. Eventually five of the six plant creatures were killed. As the group turned to deal with the last vine monster a massive pink leg slammed on the ground, crushing it. The group looked up to see a horrid monster; a massive pig head with huge tusks attached to a komodo dragon body. Its body covered in pink scales and hair. Stephen moaned, “Why did I buy you the monster manual as a present…?” I laughed, “sorry dude… This my own. I had a dream about it. I call it a piggard. It’s a mix between a pig and a lizard.”
Suddenly there were cries from the jungle as arrows and spears were let loose from the foliage. The piggard roared as several of the projectiles struck true. Several humanoids with rich brown skin emerged from the trees, shouting at one another and the group in an unknown language.
As soon as the chaos began, it was gone. With a flash of light the group found themselves back within the dungeon. The group looked around, shrugged, and decided to go examine the treasure chest that was encased in magical protection that they had found the previous session.
Decisions… Decisions… Decisions…
The group decided to throw a rope around the treasure chest so they wouldn’t have to touch it and drag it out. The moment the rope touched the magical aura, it lanced out and covered all of the party members. Everyone rolled a Constitution save- Stephen and Chuck failing. When the aura dissipated, Chuck had frog eyes and Stephen was covered in hundreds of hairy brown moles (the trap gave a mutation to those who failed their roll. I used the cosmetic mutations table in my Hubris Mutant class).
The group heard a small click and saw that a small compartment in the front of the chest had opened, revealing a small rolled up piece of parchment. Fletch carefully took it out, and saw in a neat calligraphy, the following:
You have come to plunder
Goods and treasures that are not yours.
So a choice is to be made,
If you desire what is to be had.
Four choices you have,
Potentially all of them good,
But all of them are bad.
Opening this chest within these catacombs,
Will yield fruits of your labor,
But it will corrupt you,
And change your behavior.
Opening this chest under the open sky,
While the sun shines bright,
Will grant quite an amazing sight,
Yet you will pay most dearly in a rather difficult fight.
Opening this chest under the open sky,
At the midnight hour
Will grant you amazing gifts indeed,
Yet others will constantly seek your power.
Finally you can choose to walk away
And leave my treasure to me.
However nothing is simple, nothing is free…
Should you leave, one of you will cease to be.”
The group debated for a long while and finally decided to carry the treasure chest with them back to Gargomel’s. They would give him the ruby, see what happened to him once he got it, and decided to do from there (however the popular vote was to open the chest at midnight).
With that decided the group headed back towards Gargomel’s mansion…
To be continued…