Secrets of the Ooze

Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Episode 26

July 28, 2019

Jack spent time clearing his vision. The thick black inky water got in his eyes and made it so he could only see in black and white, while a headache pounded in his skull. While he was busy doing that the rest of the group climbed up the embankment and beheld the alter.

At the water’s edge and curving upwards towards the center of the room was a ramp. In the darkness, Samson lite a torch. A massive stone rough-hewn plinth was at the center of the room. It had two candlesticks with black wax now burned down to the ground and a bowl filled with bubbling inky black water. A few small skeletons in various states of decay lay nearby.

Aldormo goes over to inspect the site, and as they do so, a bubbling noise can behind them sounds out.

Samson attempts to driving a mindless ooze as others brandish weapons and make noises. No effect, when Samson swings his fire, a pseudopod extends forth and grips it sticking to it. The group is trying to free him from being trapped, and in so too are risking themselves.

A desperate pull, a leap to the other side of the room, action rings out in the hollow cave beneath the tree.

Samson’s mouth is filled with the oozing slime as he chokes on it. Aldormo gets caught and lets out a scream as they sink in with one hand extended terminator style. Lastly, Jack silently succumbs to the ooze. Jack makes an unrecognizable symbol with his hand as he says, “peace out” and expires.
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End of session

Dwarf a la Carte

Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Episode 21

March 31, 2019

The heroes find themselves amidst the tallest branches. Surrounded by webs, barely able to make out a cart hanging a short distance below the lowest limb. This tree is over 400 feet tall, and its lowest branch is still 200 ft above the ground. The view obscured by the shell of spider webs and various web sacs. These sacs hold small birds and other things most not moving, a few squirming at a jerky rhythm, not stopping nor-tiring.
The branches form catwalks with whatever thing that took you from one level to another, long destroyed.

The group spot a nearby web sac. They hear grunting coming from it. As they approach, they see it is a tree person. Its limbs were sticking out through the web bag as it flails around wildly. They identify it as a forest-kith, although its bark is stained black and is rotting. He takes a swing at Rasotto, much to the surprise of everyone. Rasotto frees an arm making a little more difficult to cut them loose as they continue to flail wildly.
*Rarwggliglr* the voice of bubbled gurgling mixed with crackling of stick. There are four such creatures around also stuck in silk sacs.

After a short argument breaks out about the nature of the creatures, Rasotto is urged to free the beast by his companions but hesitates. Jack sees this as an opportunity to give a scan of the area and sees a giant spider’s leg disappear from view as the spider that was following them crawls beneath the catwalk-like tree branch the party is on. It crawls towards them unseen heedless of gravity, upside down. Seeing the giant arachnid disappear set them on edge.

A after some debate, Rasotto cuts open the cocoon holding the rotting forest-kith. He starts screaming at the party. He runs toward the party flailing. After getting the giant axe destroyed the creature, its bark skin starts to knit together with a black ooze. Jack pushes the defeated sunbleached tar bleeding forest-kith with the handle of his axe and shoves him off the side of the ledge. He falls into the webs below.

The spiders pounce on the now slowly flailing tree child. Seeing this, the party uses this opportunity to try to climb higher, but the spider finished fast and started climbing up after them.

The party with no way forward decided to fight together rather than risk falling and separated. And so an epic climb-fight broke out. Punctuated by the dwarf falling, dagger extended overhead onto the back of the spider and trying to pierce the beast, climbing to better positions and Jack tossing one-handed the spider off the surface below.

Dwarf and spider fall into the web below. The spider climbs inside hoping to surprise the group as they climb down on the inside. Rasotto, the hardy dwarf, tries to free a shield and the porters who had fallen just before the fight. In the effort, Rasotto dislocates his arm. The dwarf crawls over to the cart and tries breaking open the chest.

The pounding causes the web to suspend the cart to break.

Two hundred feet fall.

Dead.

I am Batman

This is the last campaign I started under my cousin as the DM.

He was playing a half-elf thief as a GM NPC, my brother was playing his trusty Dwarf, and I was playing my Goblin as usual.

We began by sneaking into town while other member walked in, due to racial hatred towards goblins. I was trailing them on the rooftop since I was forced to climb the palisade. I got it in my mind that I would master climbing and become Batman by swinging from rooftop to rooftop. This worked out twice, each time I was elated and trailing them.

The third time…

*Failure*

Roll to maintain grip… *Failure*

I fell and broke my leg. As a goblin in a dark alley barely unable to walk. I was approached by a vagabond. I fought this person who made his home in the dark side paths.

Meanwhile, they met a dwarf merchant that forced their service to an evil jin that was chained to the wall. Double-crossed by the dwarf who was supposed to be a friend of the thief.

While they tried to make good on their escape, I took a nap on top of the alley man’s remains, ate only available food source nearby. The man. I failed a Constitution Save and threw up. I then proceeded to eat that too (I know…, I was purposely disgusting).

In the night I saw a priest and an old man walking by. I tried to throw a dagger and sneak attack him, and I rolled a solid hit…
but some magical force caught the dagger, and it fell down. The old man looked over and smiled tapped on a ring and smiled. I fearfully skulked back into the dark alley.

In the afternoon, I tried climbing to the top, I failed to start. Eventually, I climbed to the top and slept up there. The very next evening tried climbing down safely with a knotted rope and fell to death, with a crappy roll.

Body carried by rats to jin. He revived and cast geas on me and commanded me to spy on the party for jin and send word back to him at every town.

Geas: an enchantment spell that commanded any subject to undertake a task or suffer possibly fatal pain and sickness

We left town, in search of an ancient artifact under the employ of a mysterious and evil jin.

We concluded playing RPGs with my cousin. I moved away, and we didn’t yet know about virtual tabletop RPGs. We do now, but it has been years since we played.

The Desert Adventure

Trapped in a square cell, on top of each other with only a hole in between them and a small arrow slit looking out onto a forested area and coast. We spend some time trying to get free and trying to think up a solution to the problem. Can’t and some try and rest, while others try and stay awake.

Rooms are promptly flooded with poison gas. Wake up as slaves.

We make our escape as we are transported via chains across a desert. Weakened and beleaguered, thirsty and desperate we track the slavers.

All hyped to murder slavers and then…

*low hiss*

The ground shakes as we plunge and are engulfed into a sand whirlpool. We awake glued to a ceiling of a sand cave 50 ft in the air. Our feet stuck, much like Luke’s feet were in the cave at Hoth. The assassin played by my eldest brother manages to free his short sword and frees his legs. He uses his short sword as a pick and tries to scale the cave, but he can’t get leverage. He falls and catches himself with his cloak gliding down. But the cracks in the ceiling get wider and eventually collapse.

We are captured by temple raiders on their way to a pyramid temple.

The temple entrance is smooth and hidden. Eventually, we find the door before the raiders decided to use us as miner and mine into the temple. On the long corridor in, I spotted traps, but the savvy temple raiders saw my attempt to signal to the party where the traps were.

After a few more traps and a false treasure room, we enter a sizeable underground cavern deep in the dark. We are about 150 ft above the ground on the cavern wall and below is a city, complete with an underground river. The streets were lit with glowing mushrooms.

The climb is precarious and dangerous. Some of the raiders don’t make it. On the ground, they free us but promise a share to treasure if we act as a vanguard into their incursion into the secret city.

Assault on the City is met with resistance, and quickly they get guards and establish defensible lines. In the first fight, I am critically that cause me to lose my hand.

The final fight is me storming a residence turned temporary barracks by myself with people who readied to fire crossbows. My inevitable death was probably why we stopped this session.

Cursed (Blessed) Platinum Coin – Part Three of Three

The fall of the goblin happened as a cliff hanger and would only be resolved halfway through the next session. I had prepared another character, a cleric, to replace my dead one. But my GM had other plans for me.

As the dwarf and paladin managed to push back the oncoming horde, since the dragon left after a clean hit and being near-immortal, it decided that it would go back to its lair and lick its wounds over its horde.

They went looking for me to bury the body and what they found was me suspended a few feet above the ground. I was unconscious, and when they touched my body, I fell to the ground. An old wizard came out and talked with the group. This was when I was awoken and the wizard being brash and my head hurting I tried to stab him, but again I was frozen in place. The paladin was laughing at me so when I was unfrozen I yelled, “I ‘m gonna fight ya” and stole his sword and was about to cut him when I was put to sleep.

After the hilarity of interparty fighting died down. We made a promise to find Wizard after town and help him. So the party went back to town, without me (I was still sleeping). The Paladin and Dwarf started arguing about who should be able to buy a magic item since they only had enough gold for one (with the reward form saving the town). They decided to fight each other. As an aside, my GM allowed called shots on a roll of a 20. So the dwarf and paladin start an escalation of called shots.

I am gonna cut your beard off! *miss*

I am gonna cut your hand off! *miss*

On and on it went to the point when the shopkeep came out and yelled at them (the GM using the GM voice to move the story along).

I am gonna cut you your legs off! **20**

The paladin was made as tall as the dwarf. We looked blankly at each other. My brother smug face was lived short as the shopkeep murders dwarf with an enchanted blade.

I managed to get blamed once I awoke and found their bodies and was in the process of going to jail when I escaped. I ran out and was corned by the guards. The wizard saves me, creates a thinking zombie from the paladin and we go to a weird dimension where the dwarf is stuck fighting himself to try and save himself from himself.

The weird dimension was so cool. My brother’s character starts out watching the fight. Then a guy grabs his shoulder. Then he is dodging an axe, then he makes an attack, he murders himself, he stands there and sees someone, he reaches out, and the cycle continues.

To get there was travel to an unknown dimension where the wizard instructs me to close my eyes. I am surrounded by fire and brimstone, and the Wizard speaks an ancient, evil-sounding language.

Next thing we know we are back and it has been 3 months in the world, but in our time it has only been moments. The wizard had buried the zombie, and we dig him up. The party is back together, but now there is a guy with black gauntlets of giants strength chasing us.

That is how this campaign finished.

The campaign was finished merely because we didn’t return to play it.

Cursed (Blessed) Platinum Coin – Part Two of Three

After the kerfuffle in the Orc Lair, we decided that now that we had some treasure at least it was time to find the nearest town. The nearest town was through a forest mysterious forest. When we were crossing it, we heard a voice calling out to us from the trees. When we called back silence. We decided not to pursue the voice since it was a likely ambush.

At the town, they initially didn’t want me to enter because of my goblin heritage. The town’s people were convinced by the paladin that I was his helper, and we were allowed to traverse into town and spend our spoils. I purchased my first armour upgrade, a chain shirt and the dwarf spent the majority of his money on a dragon skull tattoo that covered his now bald head and face (beard still intact).

When we went looking for an Inn to finally have a rest, we heard war horns. We were quickly conscripted into the militia. The town was under attack by a different coloured dragon than the one that was on the mountain and a horde of angry orcs. The paladin and dwarf waited on the wall near the gates waiting for a siege. I ran to get in line with the archers, but the wall was much too big for me to see over.  This was when I noticed the ballista. One the first few swoops of the dragon I missed, the others were busy throwing oil at orcs and getting into the courtyard. The siege crew finally entered where I was shooting and loaded a bolt for me. This was when I scored a critical. The ballista launched an excellent shot, but the leader exclaimed that they didn’t tie the rope that was attached to this bolt to the wall yet. I rolled a dex check and failed, I only had time to grab the line. I was given the option to let the rope go or hold on. I held on. I rolled a subsequent strength check to see if I was simply pulled off the wall or was now dangling to a rope attached to a flying dragon.

I climbed that rope throughout a few rolls and made it to the dragon.  I recalled this moment at the table clearly when playing ICO: Shadows of the Colossus years later. On the back of this dragon, I stabbed at it with my shortsword, each strike prompting a strength test to hold on with one hand. Eventually, I failed. I fell. It took several turns for me to fall from such a height. The valiant efforts the dwarf and paladin repelling the orcs at the gates. Eventually, the speck that was me disappeared from view below that tree line of a nearby forest.

 

Miniatures…

Miniatures are great. I currently don’t use them much as I play Warhammer 40k and get my miniatures fix from actual miniatures games and don’t feel the need to always include them in the RPGs that I play.

I remember picking up the unpainted pewter miniatures and being enthralled by them. Instantly going on adventures in my head with them. But this time I was to play in a game that used miniatures. A game that my cousin DMed that brought both of his gaming groups together.

This was a return of a familiar name, Barbos Hawkscar, but not as my character. This time as a Wizard PC played by one of my cousin’s friends. I am just glad that such an awesome sounding name got to live on as another character. I wonder if he did the same thing as I can choose it from the list because it sounded vaguely heroic. There were at least 3 other of my cousin’s friends. I don’t remember what characters they all played. This session was memorable for another reason.

A green blanket covering boxes and towers transforming the coffee table into a valley system. Miniature trees, pillboxes, and a CD rack were converted into a stone shire adorned the center of the valley as well as a large rock with moss on the bottom.

Searching and moving boulders lead to actually hidden treasure. Tiny Lego gems were hidden in the scenery’s mossy base.

Battling Goblins and orcs on the edge of a ruined cliff castle (CD rack). I found a magic sword inside the shire that was actually a sarcophagus, that the fighter claimed as his since I was an archer thief and didn’t have the proficiency.

After this, we climbed a mountain cliff and entered a magic circle leading to a mystical tower surrounded by liquid metal (tin foil).

After we set about and I threw a dagger in the mysterious liquid metal. I decided to attempt to climb down. I had forgotten I had rope to use, and promptly fell into the liquid metal died…

Just like that, my first character death. I was saddened but young and only used to dying in video games. The next time I played I brought a new goblin with the same name into play. I did this several times, most of them died too. It was a blast.