Good and Evil
"Tearing Apart the Bonds"
After so long, work was light enough to permit another gaming session with my office mates at Indigo Entertainement. Come to think of it, the last time we had a game was quite some time ago... all the way back on March 1, A Gift of Lilith : The Aegis Project. So having this chance, I printed out the character play kits and reached out to some players whom I felt would be interested in having a game.
It would not be until two weeks later before the game actually would happen. And I would have to admit I have to thank Karlo for being the one who reached out to ask around who else wanted to play. In the end, the game had a total of six players in the game, and of the six, two I believe were players who have never tried a table top role-playing game before.
The cast was composed of the following:
Paolo played Sanguinus, Paladin of The Emperor who espoused Valor and reminded him to slay all non-humanoids. Originally, Paolo was interested in having his Paladin "slay all non-humans" but I asked him to reconsider for the sake of the group. Who knew my request would be futile given the next concept to come.
Koko opted to play Bjorn, an Evil Cleric of Zargbriggs. His deity was a dark lord of the depths, who appeared as a Black Obsidian Cthulhu. The God desired secrets as its offerings and had hoped to embrace Bjorn more than just that role of a Cleric. (This was an amusing twist given Rocky's Bjorn in Falling Isthar)
Vrian portrayed Marlow, a thief who had interesting ties with the other characters. He was especially bonded to Lilliastre, whom he shared a con with. The two would secret away part of the bounty away from the rest of the group, whenever the chance permitted.
J.P. was the seductively selfish Wizard, Lilliastre, who loved making others underestimate her by acting all detached and confused. She, however, had a taste for treasure which Marlow appreciated.
Karlo was Wilhem, the Bard, who seemed to be in deep denial of the heroic streak within him. He was knowledgeable in many things, however, but rarely offered to share what he knew.
Ryan played Brandon, a Ranger whose animal companion was a Giant Owl. The owl's savage moments balanced out Bradon's talent for getting into trouble.
The group had journeyed into the dungeon in hopes of finding treasure. To open the game, I quickly sketched a three room map, and had all the players roll 2d6, with the highest one having dibs on telling me some details needed in a scene. This, to be honest, was a borrow of how Houses of the Blooded had the group roll for wagers in determining the details of a party at the start of a game. Very quickly, the group determined that the first chamber was filled with Skeletons, and Bjorn had not chosen to turn them away. Instead, the group had to destroy the skeletons and reduce them to ashes.
The third chamber was filled with water, but given the events in the second chamber, the players were forced to act. Though Bradon's Owl sensed the incoming threat, it was not able to warn the others as it fluttered away from the cube. Bjorn noticed this, but rather than warn the others, he continued to hiss at the ranger to do something. By the time someone else noticed it, part of the Gelatinous cube had descended onto the party! Bjorn rushed away from the assault even as the others did their best to bring the monster down. Guided by the whispers of his god, Bjorn slid down the angled tunnel, into an underground lake that teemed with undead life!
Back where the cube lay, Sanguinus had hoped to strike at the thing, but Marlow's ducking underneath him had the Paladin trip and fall to the ground. Marlow slid the Paladin's shield off and used it to protect himself from the Gelatinous cube's descent. Wilhem quickly sang a song on the merits of cooperation as Marlow and Sanguinus considered a way to use the shield and the Paladin's halberd to shove a safe area beneath the cube. Lilliastre fired off a few magic missiles, but saw another tunnel away from the scene which ended with a dragon's head. The dragon, much to her happiness, was one made of stone. Just as its stony maw opened to unfurl fire upon her, she ducked beneath it and saw a concealed passageway that was magically locked. A riddle, the lock demanded, and Lilliastre willingly accepted the challenge.
It's always 1 to 6,it's always 15 to 20,it's always 5,but it's never 21,unless it's flying.
Brandon commanded his owl to attack, but in the assault the owl instead got caught in the gelatinous cube's morphing body. With the owl trapped in the cube, Marlow decided he wanted to help his ranger friend, so he leapt up into the cube and kicked the owl free - only to find himself this time trapped inside! The group struck the gelatinous cube a few more times, weakening it with each strike, until one final blow from Sangiunus brought the whole thing down!
Lilliastre called upon his former mentor, Google, to advise her on the riddle. The master lamented on her choice of name, mumbling how he preferred it had she used the nickname he gave her (Chrome). "The answer is a die," he told her, and once spoken, the tunnel leading to many more riches opened before her. But the treasures were a mimic, another monstrous beast that sought to swallow her whole. Detecting the true magic within the orb wreathed in flames, and the magical bow, Lilliastre realized she only had one free hand to grab something while her other hand casted Magic Missiles to keep the Mimic at bay. She took the orb and made to run back to the others.
From the Gelatinous Cube's death, coins and other items showered the scene. Wilhem found a dark statue of the deity of Bjorn and felt the evil within its craftmanship. Sanguinus felt it too, and when he threatened to destroy it, the whole dungeon began to shake from an earthquake. The group quickly voted and opted to run instead, with Sanguinus and Wilhem taking the lead. The two forgot about the spear trap chamber and nearly once more fell victim to its sharp blades! Lilliastre hurried behind them, running past the poor Marlow who tripped from the shaking and nearly fell into the same tunnel where Bjorn had done so. Quick handiwork had Marlow fashion a double noose from his rope, looping one end around the running Sanguinus and the other around Lilliastre to have him pull her free and into safety.
Rocks continued to fall, first small, until larger ones dropped and pinned Brandon and Marlow beneath rubble! Sangiunus, Lilliastre and Wilhem leapt out of the dungeons to safety with Sangiunus demanding that Wilhem take the evil icon out of his pack. None of them knew that the same rocks pelted Bjorn's area (and the stone all around him pleaded for him to flee). But the shaking made Bjorn misstep his path and he fell from the bone bridge into the waters, being pulled down by the very armor he wore.
"Sacrifice," the deity whispered, "Two lives for your own... or yours for theirs."
Bjorn made his choice.
And as Sanguinus took the idol from Wilhem's hands, he smashed it into the ground only for black smoke to bellow forth, and once the gas dissipated, a tired but whole Bjorn came into view from where the idol stood.
Sanguinus howled and vowed to avenge the others, drawing his blade to attack the evil Cleric. Wilhem, still entranced by the darkness, raised his own hands to defend the cleric, even if he did not completely comprehend what he was doing. Lilliastre drew the flaming sphere and trained it at Bjorn, asking them all to calmly stop.
And almost in response, the deity offered one final gift: All Bjorn needed do was ask, and he would be pulled to safety. Bjorn consented, and when the deity asked if Wilhem counted as a friend, Bjorn admitted he was not.
Sanguinus raged as the Cleric vanished. And both Wilhem and Lilliastre tried to calm him down as his rage called for blood. But for now, the Cleric had evaded them, and it would not be today that vengeance would fall into the Paladin's hands.
It was a fun romp, even if many players were adamant in not helping each other out! When Bjorn opted to sacrifice the two other players to survive, I decided to ignore the Last Breath rules for now and simply see how determined Bjorn's player was to do what he said he would.
I asked him to walk up to the two other players, take their character sheets, and TEAR THEM UP in front of them as a show of his dedication to the sacrifice. Everyone in the group screeched in shock and horror as Bjorn's player opted to do exactly that. Vows for revenge came very quickly! Ah yes, drama for the future sessions await.
Sadly, Paolo who played the Paladin, might not be able to play in the succeeding sessions. So this may take the story in a very different turn of events.