Role-playing reviews

Reviews related to role-playing games, with a focus on Gods & Monsters, and a bit of superhero gaming.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

992 9 September 28, 6 PM

Jerry Stratton, May 28, 2016

Screaming bat creature: A bat-like creature with its fanged mouth wide open, by Carlos Cabrera.; creatures; bats

“Those aren’t big birds, sweetheart.” (Carlos Cabrera, CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0)

After a discussion about whether to leave the caverns (and face the tyrannosaur) or go deeper into the ruins (and check out the treasure, and hopefully find a shortcut to the City), they chose to go deeper.

Zah Eil and Riana led the way; Majelica and Eddie the Lizard went next, and Owen and Alvin followed behind. They used the existing torchlight from the walls for light, and Owen’s magical light from behind.

Zah Eil examined the altar on the balcony overlooking the chasm, while Eddie kept lookout over the bridge. “It’s been used,” he said, “and in the last few days, for blood sacrifices.” Zah Eil was also pretty sure they used cups or something like cups.

And they crossed the bridge; as they got toward the center of the bridge, Owen—the light-bearer—was attacked by giant bats, and completely surprised. Fortunately, he did not fall off the bridge. Four bats attacked him; one successfully bit him as he flailed at them. Suddenly, ten bats were swirling around the group and attacking. Most couldn’t get through any of the armor, but Eddie, who was already out of survival, gained two injuries from a giant bat bite. Owen took seven points, gaining seven injuries.

Riana talked to the bats and managed to calm them down. But by this time Owen was dying; Zah Eil figured if they kept him still and safe, he had only a few hours to live. Zah Eil called on the spirits of Ishtar to heal three points and then again for seven points, bringing Owen up to three survival. Owen would now survive, but was still unconscious. As part of her conversation with the bats, Riana promised that they would leave the bridge alone, so the group dragged Owen across the bridge to the other side1

They chose to avoid the bear and the treasure chests, because they weren’t sure if there were guards still in the treasure room.2 They investigated the other end. Through the secret door and thin hallway Eddie was pretty sure the door was easily openable, but man, did it smell on the other side. Riana identified the smell as wolverine musk and waste.

Alvin recognized that the secret area was still trafficked, so it wasn’t a good place to camp out anyway.

So they went to the other doors, which weren’t secret, and found long stairs leading down. And the smell of rotting corpses, which Zah Eil was pretty sure were human.3

They chose not to go down the stairs, and chose to risk the treasure room because Riana did not want to leave the bear trapped on the other side.4

The bear was behind bars, and she talked to the bear to discover that its life consisted mainly of eating people who did not wear a skull on their chests. It showed a strong interest in eating Riana and all of her friends. But was very friendly about it.

Meanwhile, the others were deciding what to do about the chests. Eddie, as the thief, was chosen to check for traps. As soon as Eddie touched the chest, Eddie’s strength dropped to three. Which was a big problem, because they were using Eddie to carry a lot of stuff, including the big stone Tablet of the Arts, Now Eddie had trouble carrying more than a handful of items, and nothing could weigh more than about six pounds. They redistributed Eddie’s stuff, just tossing some things. And gave up on the chests.

They were at a loss as to what to do, but couldn’t stay—if anyone returned, they were far too weak to survive. Riana didn’t want to leave the bear caged up, but for obvious reasons no one wanted to risk having to fight the bear. So Riana befriended the bear using animal companion, verified to her satisfaction that the bear “would not eat me” “or your friends!” and then sundered the man-made stone around the bars at the top of the gate. The spirit pulled the bars out, but they were still attached to chains that went into the ceiling. Alvin was able to make short work of that.

Riana also looked for a mechanism to open the gates to see if she hadn’t needed to use a spirit. She didn’t find any.

Alvin: “Don’t let the bear drink from the basin of skulls.”

They decided to leave to the outside and try to find some way around the tyrannosaur. Zah Eil reasoned that by this point the dinosaur might have tired of waiting. But the only way back was across the bridge, which they’d promised to stay away from.

Riana volunteered to talk to the wolverine to see if there was another exit from its lair. It said there was, and Riana negotiated passage using some dried meats from Alvin. Riana cast fresh air on five of them, and everyone walked closely together through the waste and very big poop of the wolverine lair. The wolverine was a giant wolverine, as big as a human. But it lived up to its end of the bargain, and the other exit from its lair ended up being the one door they hadn’t yet looked at on the other side of the bridge.

They took tabards from the dead men to wear, in case any other guards like the bear was around.

Then Alvin shimmied up the stairs, knowing that at about thirty feet up it was going to flip and become smooth. Which it did. At the top of the stairs, he dropped rope down so that everyone else (except Eddie, who was too weak) could climb up. First, Zah Eil went up, and they discussed what they were going to do—run for the jungle? Go to the giant stairs that they could see in another foundation that were closer to the swamp with the dinosaur?

About this time, Eddie’s strength returned. Riana could not see the tyrannosaur anywhere. They decided to run overland to the other stairs. This meant leaving the bear behind.

Owen, to Riana: “I’d rather not blow a high level spell levitating bears.”

Riana, to the bear: “You can be friends with the wolverine.”

The Bear: “The wolverine smells.”

They made it to the stairs without drawing the attention of the tyrannosaur. Footsteps in the bat guano covering the stairs showed that the stairs were heavily trafficked. The other PCs convinced Owen that this was not a safe place to be, and that they needed to get into the jungle and then to the road. They weren’t completely sure that this was the lost city on Owen’s map, however, so they sent Riana’s familiar Mary, an archaeopteryx, flying north to see if it could find the road; to help ensure success, Riana manifested druidsight on Mary so that Riana could see through her familiar’s eyes.

Sure enough, about twenty miles north was a road, and on it she recognized their friend from the tower, Akudaum, with two other saurians and a giant capybara dragging something big.

The PCs decided to make a run for the border of the clearing and then to the Road.

In response to Caverns of Thracia session reports: I have been wanting to run Caverns of Thracia ever since I saw it—and probably ever since I heard of it, back in the day when Judges Guild was a producer of myth.

  1. Fortunately, they did not set off the stuck pit trap in the middle of the bridge. I expected the odds to fail them on the return trip, but they actually kept Riana’s promise to the bats and found an alternate route.

  2. Owen was sure, but he was unconscious.

  3. Mananubi Patrol A came up as a wandering monster check on the other side of the chasm in the charnel-house, too, but they didn’t know that.

  4. Somewhere around this time Owen awoke from his bat-induced coma, but I don’t have the exact moment in my notes.

  1. <- Thracia session 8
  2. Thracia epilogue ->