Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pathfinder RPG: Session 8 - Under the Old Light (Part 3)

Lexi, Elven Rogue (played by Jojo)
Sharpblade, Skeleton (Human) Fighter (played by Evan)
Kyra, Human Cleric of Sarenrae (NPC, normally played by Mummy)
Skye Ironblade, Human Paladin? (NPC)
Bulk, Half-orc Fighter (NPC)
Puddlebug, Gnome Alchemist? (NPC)

It has become a habit to start off each of our sessions with me asking the kids, “Does anyone remember what happened last session?” I find it helps jog the kids’ memories on where they are and what were they doing. This time round, I’m impressed by Jojo who not only remembers the last session’s details, but also what the strange room looked like, which she draws out on another notepad.

Pretty accurate re-construction of the strange room
“That’s right,” I nod. “So, who wants to go in first?”

Mummy isn’t playing in this session tonight, and I've told her that I’ll put her character on “auto-pilot”. The kids decide among themselves that the lightest character should go in first, and so Puddlebug the gnome steps cautiously into the room. He makes an observation, “Hmm.. there is rust all over this iron grate, except for over here where the door is. In fact, it looks like there’s a trail of less rusty bars going all the way to the hole.” Stepping lightly, he makes it all the way to the other end of the room.

Lexi is next, and so the elven rogue steps in. After a few Reflex rolls, I tell Jojo, “The rusty iron grate squeals alarmingly under your foot, but it seems to hold your weight. You carefully make your way across the room.” I order Jojo to make a Perception roll. “You notice something shifting under the water! It’s a dark shape that is fairly roundish, almost like a sting-ray!”

Jojo and Evan argue a bit over what it might be. Evan’s first thought is that it’s a Reefclaw from the GM Guide (he reckons that a cross between an eel (possibly electric) and lobster must be fearsome indeed) while Jojo thinks that it’s a real sting-ray, and perhaps she can tame it to become her animal companion. In the end, they decide to throw something into the water. Jojo takes her rope out, tosses one end to Sharpblade, and lowers the other end into the dark murky waters.

“The end of the rope slips into the water, and you can see a dark shape moving towards it. Suddenly, something grips the rope and starts pulling it down!” The elven rogue and skeleton pull up with all their might, and I order a Strength roll. “You pull and pull, and something breaks the surface of the water, clinging on the rope! It’s some kind of grey, blob-like creature!”

Both the kids go, “Ewwww!”

The rope then snaps, and the creature sinks down into the water once again. The end of the rope has been eaten through by acid. Puddlebug shouts a warning from across the room, “It’s a Gray Ooze! I’d recognise one anywhere!”

A Gray Ooze. Ewwwww.
“That thing can live underwater?” asks Jojo, somewhat surprised.

“Sure, it can,” I respond airily. “It doesn’t need to breathe, right?”

Evan then surprises me by solving the riddle of the hole in the middle of the room. “I know! The ooze must have come through the door, and its acid ate away the rust, leaving a trail! Then it got to the middle of the room, and fell through because it melted a hole into the iron grate!”

That boy could have been raised in a dungeon, I muse to myself. I let them both read a bit about the ooze from the GM Guide, and they are intimidated enough by its acid attack that they decide to leave the trapped creature alone.

Lexi makes it to the iron door and rolls well on her Disable Device skill to pick the lock. “This iron door doesn’t seem as badly rusted as the first one. The iron lock opens with a satisfying clank.” The elf pushes the door open and goes through.

Kyra and Skye come over the iron grate floor easily enough. Evan makes good rolls on the d20 for Reflex checks, and so Sharpblade treads carefully across with no problems.

Bulk, however, looks uneasy as the iron grate complains loudly with his every step. I roll a d20, and say, “Bulk makes his way carefully across, but then an iron bar snaps under his foot, and his foot goes down, dangling just above the water! The ooze in the water goes crazy as it tries to reach him, splashing waves everywhere, but in the end, the half-orc manages to extract his stuck foot, and makes it to the other end.”

The kids breath a sigh of relief, and the adventurers pass through the iron door. They troop down a short corridor, which leads to a huge cavern-like room. The room must have once been round, but a massive cave-in has covered half of the room with rubble. “You also notice hundreds and hundreds of fiery lights flying around, like fire-flies. One of the lights flies near, and you see that it is a beetle about the size of a watermelon! It has two fiery red dots on its outer shell that glow like embers. Puddlebug identifies it as a Fire Beetle.”

Fire Beetle chamber
The gnome explains that Fire Beetles are mostly harmless, and are sometimes kept in little lantern-like cages by miners as a source of light. They are attracted to hot things, so this colony must have found a heat source somewhere here. Perhaps in that pit half-covered by rubble in the room.

Lexi and Sharpblade make their way to the pit. The floor of this room slants like a funnel towards the pit. The fire beetles are clustered in greater numbers here, and I tell them that they can see something glowing inside the pit. The pit is fairly shallow, so Lexi climbs down.

“You see glowing rocks embedded in the sides of the pit, like ore. The fire beetles seem attracted to these.” Jojo asks me what ‘ore’ is, and Evan reminds her that they’ve seen plenty of them in Minecraft.

Minecraft came in useful after all
Jojo decides to take some of the ore, and she scrapes out a chunk of it. Sharpblade is more interested in the fire beetles, and tries to pick some of those up.

I tell them, “Just then, there is a rumble, and parts of the rubble gives way!” A large arm thrusts out of the rubble, and a large stone creature pulls itself out of the rubble. I show the kids the picture of an Animated Statue.

Introducing, the T-1000. BC.
“This statue is huge! Lexi barely is taller than its knee! The statue looks down at all of you, and demands in a grating voice, ‘Grrnk-ankh-zzffnaargh-gok!’”

The kids asks me to repeat what the statue said, and so I do. Jojo decides that perhaps it’s asking for the chunk of ore back, so she holds the ore out towards the statue. However, the statue is not appeased, and lifts a threatening fist. Lexi barely manages to dodge out of the way before the fist smashes the spot where she was standing.

The rest of the party explodes into action, with Bulk smashing into the statue with his mace, Kyra with her scimitar, and Skye with her sword. Sharpblade hits it with his warhammer, but hardly dents the creature.

“This statue is extremely tough and seems hard to damage! Evan, your attack barely scratches it!” Lexi manages to duck behind it, and sneak attacks it by sticking her rapier into a knee joint, causing a small explosion of sparks.

I randomly roll to see who the statue attacks. The creature grabs Skye in a crushing grip, shaking her like a ragged doll before tossing her across the room into a heap of rubble. The woman gets up, her arm bent in an odd angle. “Retreat!” she orders.

The rest of the party complies, and soon, everyone has made their way back to the short corridor. The statue is too large to follow them, and bends its head to glare angrily at them.

Skye decides that they have explored enough under the Old Light, and so the party makes it back to the hole in the middle of the curved corridor. They go up the rope ladder, and are greeted by the two guardsmen at the top who seem extremely nervous. When Skye questions them, they say, “Just now, we thought we heard you all coming up the rope ladder, and so we called down to see if everything was alright. And then, this black creature with long, ropey arms sprang out of the hole and before we could stop it, it fled off into the night!”

Adventure Notes:

I noticed only at the last moment that the Animated Statue had a Hardness ability of 8, which means that any damage dealt to it is reduced by 8. That effectively ruled out most of the kids’ current weapons, unless they were lucky enough to score critical hits, or if Jojo got in more of her sneak attacks. Nevertheless, I decided to forgo the safe “The NPCs defeat the creature for you.” routine, and save the Animated Statue as a future challenge for the kids.

Note to self - the kids really should upgrade their weapons. And get into battles which they don’t need to retreat from.

Plot hooks: Glowing Ore, Angry Animated Statue, Black escaped creature with ropey arms

And the Ooze. I think I’ll name it Oscar.

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