Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Maze of the Blue Medusa (Actual Play Report) - Session 2

A continuation of this post. It should be noted that we wrapped this campaign after Session 16, and I only took detailed notes for the first four sessions. That said...

THE HEROES (level 2)
Fitzy, Air Genasi Sorcerer/Fighter. Regrets not buying armor before this thing started.
Teka, Human Fighter.
Jezebel, Human Fighter.
Nagus, Ferengi Cleric of the Great Nugget.
Moonblossom Honeywine, Wild Elf Bard. Totally down with this maze thing.
Ea, Tiefling Monk.


Our heroes (minus Smallbeard) are chastising Gibba Gognata for eating all the chess-men. They are ineffective in getting him to realize the error of his ways, but manage to convince him to join them on their adventure, at least for a short time.

Moonblossom opens a door. There’s a room made from white marble, glowing subtly. On the far end she sees another door. The room is conspicuously empty. With a gleeful “fuck it” she steps inside and instantly, awfully, becomes paralyzed by a vision of her worst fear (a world without sound or color!)
                A line-drawing appears on the floor leading from one door to the next. Intuitively, she represses her fear and starts walking on the line, believing that it is the only safe path across this room. Fitzy runs in next, and the line drawing gets far, far more complex (he fears a complex feeling of disappointment and regret stemming from a difficult relationship with his father). Nagus follows, the complexity escalates, and then Moonblossom figures out what’s happening and yells at everyone to go back until she gets to the far end. Fitzy doesn’t listen. Gibba takes one look at this scary room and goes back to gnawing chess-people. His adventuring career is a short one.
Moonblossom and Fitzy reach the far end and, fatefully, impatiently, they open the door. A lizardman negamancer and three primate-slaves are waiting in ambush! [Random encounter – At this point, I was certain I’d just killed them.]
Moonblossom is dual-wielding a sword and dagger; she wades right in and kills the nearest primate with a flourish. Fitzy is trying to use some thunder cantrip thing effectively and almost gets it to work, but the negamancer closes ranks, curses him, and more-or-less exsanguinates him in two rounds. Teka start throwing stuff across the room but it’s too far [nobody bought bows?!], and the negamancer turns one of Teka’s low attack rolls into a fumble, dealing crucial damage to Fitzy and knocking him out. Nagus tries to run across the room without touching the lines but is overwhelmed by fear and falls over, screaming and crapping himself. (His fear? He’s naked, everyone’s laughing at him, and he’s down to a single gold piece which he holds over his genitals. The gold piece slowly shrinks, but no matter how small it gets, his genitals are still smaller). Jezebel (who fears drowning) takes a deep breath and just starts walking toward the fight, tracing the fear-lines with her boots as she does.
Moonblossom is fighting for her life. Despite being outnumbered and badly injured, her swords sever enough veins and arteries in her primate foes to kill them, and she turns her gaze to the negamancer. For a brief, shining moment, it seems like she might win. She stabs him in the chest, but there’s nothing there, just dust. The negamancer stabs Moonblossom and finds a heart pumping blood. Moonblossom falls. Jezebel, courageously walking forward since the fight broke out, undistracted, undeterred, reaches the negamancer a moment later. She doesn’t hesitate. She just hits it with her greataxe very, very hard, and it collapses broken on the floor.

Jezebel drags Fitzy and Moonblossom out of the room and into a shallow hallway. Two solid Medicine rolls later, she stabilizes them. It’s a long wait as the others cross. Hours pass. Nagus is shoved across the room first – Cleric magic being what it is – and the group has to resist the urge to wander apart and explore further while the others cross the room.
One of the primate livers begins to swell and burst; it twists and distends, taking on the shape of a hairy skull. Everyone watches in horror as a thing emerges over the next few minutes: a red-bearded dwarf, scarred and armored, who claims to be equally surprised at what just happened. He is Crimsonbeard, and he has been lost in this maze for quite some time.
“How did you… what did you just do?”
“Oh, that? Magical gut bag. Not really sure if it works in reverse. It’s some kind of teleporting bladder device, you see. Put your head inside, and you can come out through any nearby organ, long as it’s not in use. I think, anyway. Dunno for sure. Haven’t tried it before.”
“So you just stuck your head inside a bladder and came out here? Why here? Who are you?”
“Crimsonbeard!” He extends a gore-covered hand. Nobody shakes it. He cooly brings it back and uses it to slick his hair. Faintly: Gagging sounds.
“I’m a treasure hunter, y’see. Here for the treasure.”
“You find any?”
A beat.
“Magical gut bag!”
[That was one of my favorite character intros.] Crimsonbeard joins the party and they share stories around the campfire (actually a light spell on an ape skull, but it does the trick)

The party cautiously decides to explore while the most injured members rest. They take a dozen footsteps before an ambush scarab launches itself at them from the ceiling, right at Fitzy’s head. Crimsonbeard tries to be a tank and goes from full health to dying in a single round. Teka, Fitzy, and Moonblossom pull off a coordinated sequence of hits – the scarab breaks, the day is saved. Nagus uses his last healing spell on the weird greasy dwarf. Everyone realizes, huddled in the glow of an enchanted skull, that it is no longer night on the other side of the painting. If they lose track of the hours, they could be stuck here forever…

I was searching for some visual spice for this post and found this within seconds. Thank you, internet.
This session was great. They only explored one room and the room outsmarted most of them. I found Jezebel saving Moonblossom in such a dramatic fashion super entertaining (they’re married IRL), especially when contrasted with Teka knocking out Fitzy (also a couple). I bent the rules a little for flavor reasons: Jezebel shouldn’t have been able to get to Moonblossom in time, but she was courageously confronting her fears and not letting anything distract her, which was the whole point of the challenge – it was just too good to go unrewarded.

Anyway, it was a short session with lots of tired players, so I was pleased when it got exciting early and stayed there.

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