I roll 11 for Carys’ duty to the county patrol: it does not come up. I roll 11 for our enemy Mireya: she does not come up. Bastian’s next insomniac episode is due March 20. On the what’s at stake table I get a personal plot for a random character which turns out to be Bastian. So at some point in this session, Bastian should get a chance to learn something about his church’s missing relic.
Carys has 12 HP and her full 11 FP. Bastian has his full 11 HP and 10 FP.
The Temple: March 16
The siblings wake and head toward where Bastian saw the figures enter the side of the temple the previous evening.
I roll for what kind of entrance and get ‘very problematic indeed’, so it is guarded, concealed and locked. Oh dear, lets do the guards first. It is supposed to be a standard encounter so I roll that up. I get 4 Peril 1 creatures but apparently they are potential allies. Rolling for type reveals that they are the primary monster for this temple which further rolling reveals is Demon-kin. Remember undead was the secondary type.
So a small group of imp guards that are not automatically hostile. They have Stealth 11 and Per 13, so they are good guards. I rule that the party has essentially no opportunity for stealth with it being a grassland in the daylight. So both groups see each other. I roll for obvious stuff. The demons are arachnid in form, have horns which can serve as impaling strikers and winged flight. They are only SM-1.
As they approach the temple, the siblings see four strange creatures watching them intently. Each thing looks like four foot tall winged spider with a single long horn protruding from its head. Bastian thinks a second (Hidden Lore: Demons) but doesn’t recognize this type of demon. As they get closer it seems clear that the demons are expecting the siblings to do something specific.
The demons are probably too stupid to speak with (arachnoid body carries a -D6 IQ). So I declare they are waiting for some specific signal which will let them know who is allowed to enter. Bastian has religious ritual, so he will try some generic ritual of entering. I assign a penalty equal to the enemy Peril, so -1. Bastian succeeds.
Bastian whispers to Carys that he thinks he can get them past the demons. Hoping the demons are there to guard the temple from unbelievers, he begins to do an old ritual that priests used to do before entering holy places. Carys watches as the demons seem to relax and move aside. Shaking her head at Bastian’s grin, she walks up to the wall.
Now they have to find the entrance since it is concealed. The perception penalty to find it is (N+Peril) which I assume means number of players plus the peril for a total of -4. Carys fails her roll, but Bastian actually succeeds with an 8.
The wall is carved, but there is no obvious opening. After some searching, Bastian is able to find a carved panel which, when removed, reveals a small door. Crouching down, Carys sees it is clearly locked. The siblings talk quietly, trying to decide what to do. Neither one of them can pick locks, so it looks like forced entry. They aren’t really sure how the demon guards will react to them breaking in. Bastian readies his holy symbol so that he can hopefully keep them at bay while Carys smashes in the door.
Carys rolls against forced entry at -2 for the Peril and just barely succeeds. Let’s see what the demons do by asking the solo 6. Do the demons attack now? No.
Carys takes Bastian’s hatchet and chops the door right where the lock mechanism should be and with a loud sound, is able to get the door open. The siblings look around nervously, but the demons don’t seem to be paying attention to them at all. Bastian shrugs and says that the ritual must have convinced them we were supposed to be here and that whatever we do is fine. They enter the temple for the second time.
Inside the Temple
Remember this is an temple with an unsealed theme, primary monster type demon-kin, and secondary monster type undead. The level we enter is Peril 2. Our goal is the barbarian leader. I roll for what is up ahead and get four (!) possible routes. Rolling each up gives the following options, level change, standard lair, standard lair but promising route, and a safe area.
They enter into what appears to be a section of secret passages. There is a stone stairway leading downward, a passage straight ahead which is marked with some barbarian symbols, a worn path to the right, and what appears to be a totally undisturbed path to the left. Reasoning that barbarians may have marked the correct way to go, the siblings head straight, Carys with sword and shield drawn, and Bastian with crossbow loaded and ready.
Things are what they seem, so that is good. The mishap is a standard encounter. I roll a single, Peril 3 monster again. It gets to be the tertiary monster type which I roll up as Extra-Planar. What does that mean? Demons and elementals are from other planes, but are named separately. Aberrations are also called out separately. Thinking back to DnD, this would indicate stuff like githyanki, invisible stalker, intellect devourer, genie, rakshasa, nightmare, kirin, xorn, etc.
Having no official table for this yet, I have to improvise. So let’s ask solo 6, is this extra planar thing an intelligent creature as opposed to an exotic beast? No, but… it is not stupid or completely bestial. My best idea is an old-style displacer beast. I reference the generic stat block and the leopard (a higher Peril one could be based on a lion or tiger) from GURPS Animalia and come up with the following:
ST 9, DX 13, IQ 6, HT 11, HP 9, Per 12, Will 11, FP 11, DR 3 tough skin, Speed 6, Move 6, Brawling 14, Dodge 12, Parry 10. Sharp claws (1d-2 cut), strikers (tentacles 1d cr), catfall, perfect balance, combat reflexes, enhanced dodge (2).
The siblings enter a medium sized room and notice what appears to be a small, glowing circle on one of the walls. Much more obvious, however, is the large cat in the middle of the room, hissing angrily and waving its tentacles in the air. It immediately moves into pouncing range (5 yds). Carys takes all out defense (block). Bastian fires his crossbow, but cat dodges easily. It is almost as if Bastian aimed at the wrong place somehow.
The beast pounces on Carys, but she is able to block with her shield. She steps back and swings with her sword, hitting one of the tentacles for 1 damage. (I am using the winged quadruped hit location table with wing results meaning tentacle). Bastian drops his crossbow and readies his mace and shield.
The beast lashes out with a tentacle, but Carys blocks the attack. Carys swings, but the beast easily avoids the blade. Bastian advances to striking range.
Again, the creature’s tentacle snakes forward, this time past Carys’ shield, hitting her left leg for 1 damage. Carys strikes back, but the beast crouches under her swing. Bastian also attacks, but misses completely even though he was sure he was swinging right at it.
The tentacle swings at Bastian, catching his right arm for 3 damage. Carys tries a deceptive attack, but misses. Bastian steps back and defends.
The creature returns its focus to Carys, but she is able to keep her shield in place. Carys misses her deceptive attack again. Bastian steps forward and attacks, but the beast dodges.
Carys continues to block the beast’s tentacles, but still her attacks are dodged. Bastian, however, gets a lucky hit to the neck for 6 damage. Despite the major wound, the beast stays up. It is noticeably hurt and moving poorly.
The tentacles flail at Bastian, missing him completely. Carys hits the reeling beast with a cut to the main body for 6 more damage. Bastian hits it again for 2 damage more.
The beast tries to move toward the glowing wall. Carys and Bastian decide to wait and see what happens. It slowly staggers all the way to the glowing circle and passes through. The circle closes behind it.
That went fine, I guess. I figured that an intelligent animal would attempt to flee and saw little reason to pursue it. Rolling for opportunity I get a small hoard of treasure which turns out to be two small gold coins worth 20 sp each. Carys has 11 HP and 8 FP left. Bastian has 8 HP and 7 FP left.
Carys and Bastian attempt first aid on one another, and Carys succeeds in bandaging Bastian’s arm up for 1 HP. Bastian dresses Carys’ wound, but it doesn’t really help. The siblings check the wall, but see nothing strange about it anymore. A brief checking of the rest of the room turns up two small gold coins in the corner.
Checking what’s up ahead gives two routes which appear to be one filled with obstacles etc, and another lair of standard opponents. We go for the lair.
Two doors lead out of the area, one with the same barbarian marking as before, and the other with a crude skull with a x through it. Feeling that the skull is the universal sign of danger, the siblings take the other door.
Things are what they seem, but the mishap turns up a trivial obstacle etc. Rolling for type, it is based on the monster (I assume primary monster, so Demon-kin) and turns out to be a ward. A trivial ward at Peril 2 does 1d+2 damage. Since this is a divine/infernal area, it turns out to be detected and dispelled by theology or religious ritual. Bastian has religious ritual at 12 so he will detect the ward on a 10. He fails to notice it. The damage type is toxic and requires a dodge to avoid.
As they walk further down the path, there are numerous strange markings on the walls. They look somehow familiar to Bastian, but he can’t quite put his finger on it. All of the sudden, there is a shudder in the air and two small green globes appear before them. Of course! Those symbols were an old religious ward! If only he had remembered in time.
Carys manages to dodge, but Bastian does not. He takes 6 toxic damage. Ouch.
Suddenly, the two globes hurtle towards them. Carys manages to sidestep, but Bastian is hit in the chest and falls to the ground. Carys rushes to his side, fearing the worst, but her brother is still alive, just pale and weak. She sits him against the wall and tries to treat him as best she can. After 30 minutes, he regains 1 HP.
She successfully treated him for shock, but not that effectively. He has 4 HP and is notably not reeling, but this is a dangerous spot to be in. Still, they press on. The roll for opportunity says that we find a secret passage or door! It leads to a deadly lair but a promising route to the goal.
The siblings enter into what appear to be quarters for the various priests of the temple. Any valuables have long since been looted, but while checking one of the desks, Carys finds a sliding panel hidden behind it. Perhaps it is a secret way to some inner sanctum! Surely the barbarian leader would seek such a powerful place out. Expecting great danger, Carys leads the way with Bastian staying at least 3 yards back.
The area is what it seems, which is good and bad since there are deadly enemies about. The mishap roll shows a deadly encounter. Well, I was warned. Now I face three Peril 2 monsters. But when I roll on the monster type, I get potential allies and demon-kin. I roll up their obvious traits and see they have vestigial extra legs, fangs and are regular size. Bastian passes his Hidden Lore: Demons roll, so I decide that he realizes this kind of demon is not normally hostile and he can try diplomacy on them.
His diplomacy roll fails, of course, but their general reaction roll was good, so I guess they are helpful.
They enter a series of passages and come upon three humanoid demons. The demons stand on two legs, but have two other smaller legs that come out of their hip, but don’t reach the ground and just sort of twitch. They have long fangs which are visible even when their mouths are closed.
Bastian tells Carys that these are a kind of demon that only attacks people who commit adultery, so they have nothing to worry about. He even addresses the demons in a friendly way. The demons hiss, but do not attack. They say they saw another human down here at some point, but that he did not commit adultery and they don’t know what happened to him.
Our opportunity is a lore point, but I have all the dungeon information already, so maybe it is a good time for Bastian to raise the stakes and advance his plot.
The demons slink off into another passage after asking if the siblings know of any adulterers. They both say no. Bastian looks around to see if he can find the source of the demons.
He passes a Hidden Lore: Demons roll and finds it. Now he will attempt a religious ritual and exorcism roll to close it. The Penalty will be -2. If he succeeds, the goddess Colmyria will send him a vision about the relic. If he fails, the demons from earlier will return and attack!
Bastian tells Carys to keep a watch while he prepares to shut this demon portal. Carys asks him if this is a good idea and he says that so far the demons have been harmless, but something much worse could come through here. It is his duty to close it.
Bastian rolls for religious ritual and succeeds. Now to finish the job, he must roll exorcism against the ‘will’ of the portal which I made 12. I rule that his successful ritual gives him a +2 bonus. He succeeds.
Bastian carefully draws some sacred symbols and chants the holy prayers of his goddess Colmyria. Soon the ritual takes effect and he can feel the portal resist. Calling on his inner strength, he forces it closed. His vision clouds.
What information does he learn? Does he learn what the relic is? Yes. Is the relic something that a saint once owned? Yes. A piece of clothing? No. A weapon? No, and… nothing violent of any kind. Maybe a book? Yes, but… the book was mostly destroyed and is illegible.
Bastian awakes to see his sister looking concerned and standing over him. He describes a vision where he saw their village church as it was in ancient days. He walked in and saw the relic on display; an old book which was burned and torn. The inspired wandering prophet who founded the church carried this book with him. When he died in the fire that destroyed the original church, this book was all that was left of him.
The roll for What’s up Ahead? is a 6! subtracting 6 from it for all the areas I have been through (many promising ones) I arrive at the goal! Remember our goal was the barbarian leader. As per the guidelines of our adventure, he is alone, but Peril 3. I will base him off the generic block, give him some weapons and some kind of ability.
ST 11, DX 11, IQ 10, HT 10, HP 11, Per 12, Will 11, FP 10, Speed 5.25, Move 5. He has light scale armor, studded leather skirt, bronze armbands and a bronze pot helm, so he is pretty much DR 3 most places. An ax (1d+3 cut) and shield at skill 14 seems a fitting barbarian weapon kit, and he has Parry 11, Block 11, and Dodge 9. He seems an even match for Carys and a dangerous foe.
Following the passage, they come upon a medium room. In the center of the room is a small altar and standing before it is a lightly armored man chanting quietly to himself. He whirls around and hits his ax against his shield. “You defile this holy place! I will slaughter you!”
I say that he is 10 yards away, it seems like a good number.
Carys moves forward 4 yards. Bastian fires his crossbow, but the bolt glances harmlessly off the barbarian’s shield. The barbarian moves forward 4 yards.
Carys is at reach 2, so she stabs at him aiming for vitals, he tries to parry and retreat, but fails.
This almost feels sort of unfair. She rolls maximum damage (7) which is reduced to 4 and multiplied by 3 for impaling damage to the vitals. She deals 12 damage!
Carys’ blade strikes true, stabbing deep into the barbarian’s chest. He looks stupidly down at the wound, but stays up. Bastian draws another bolt. The barbarian collapses. Slightly anti-climactic.
We get a large hoard of treasure! The adventure was Peril 2 and I roll a 2 so we will get 4 treasure elements. A magic large knife, a small jewel that appears to be worth 200 silver pieces, and 42 silver pieces. I rolled poorly on my coins! The knife has one decorative and one supernatural embellishment.
On the altar the siblings find a decorated ritual knife of some kind. Bastian thinks it could be valuable or even magic. The barbarian leader had a large pouch containing supplies and 42 silver pieces and a small jewel. Happy with their findings, the siblings gather some of the barbarian leader’s personal effects for evidence and leave.
While retracing their steps, Bastian is careful not to re-trigger the ward that hurt him so badly. Carys makes a face at the demon spiders on their way out.
Will Zaniel be impressed? Did they take too long? What was sealed in that temple, anyway? Come back next time, when some of these questions might be answered!