Monday, September 24, 2018

Curses! (Foiled Again)

Naoidheamh 14, 6639; next holiday is Beastnight, 9/35

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
    • Herman Thorpe, Ectomancer
      • Baelnar Grimtor, Dwarven Sapper
  • (As-yet-unnnamed), Thrassian Gladiator
    • Kurt Steinbacke, Dwarven Deep Monk
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Craydos Silverskin, the Gold Skinscribe
    • Pentzkin Singletossle Pocketspringer, gnomish beastmaster
    • Alun Tsornyl, Sylph Ranger
  • Te'a Tsuki Megumi, Elven Polydoctorate
    • Harvey Usagi, Rabbitwere
  • Fayleen Ross, Darklord
    • Zai-car, Zaharan Ruinguard

Some of the party still having things to do, the remaining members decided to investigate the map they found. Incidentally, the map lead them to the same location that the Fae treasure map lead...

After some discussion, the group made an educated guess, and teleported to the vicinity of where they believed the treasure lay. It was a good guess; they landed in the correct hex, near a small village. A dusty farmer type wandered out to greet them. They asked if he knew where a certain hill was found; he laughed, and answered, "Well, it was nice meeting you, seniors, senioras, senioritas, but no one leaves that place alive. It's a tourist trap - literally. I wouldn't go in unless I had a deathwish!"

Still, the party pressed for the location, so he lead them to a low hill. Part had collapsed, leaving a low cliff of sorts; a bright red line was drawn in front of the entrance, and a fence surrounded the entire area. Several signs, in various languages, mentioned that stepping over that line will kill you, the local government can't be held responsible for you doing that, and if your religion or home country prohibits or regulates suicide, this counts if anything does. Shrugging, the party assured the man that they would be able to pass through the traps. Fayleen, using her new Gnomish Joke Book, summoned a bug, which was hit with a flurry of arrows as it entered. And then a scything blade, which bisected it. Following the traps in, and trying to disable or avoid them, the party slowly moved inside. They removed a high-powered Cancellation trap, avoided a pit full of yellow mold, dispelled an anti-magic shell and double lightning trap, blocked a slamming wall trap, crawled under a spinning blade trap, then dispelled yet another cancellation trap. The next slamming wall trap, though large, seemed poorly repaired; after that, there were only two pits, covered with blankets. Finally, a pile of stones were stacked over a trip wire; that trap didn't even reset after use.

At the end of the traps, they party reached four fearsome skeletons, clad for battle! Two skeletons held out their polearms, losing the head of one polearm, and the head of the other skeleton in the process. The first skeleton lost its armor; the fourth skeleton, already missing an arm and a leg, tried to raise its sword, but only managed to pivot a full 360 degrees. The priestess turned them easily, though frankly, a loud shout could have put those fellows down. They were a single hit point each, and likely would have killed themselves trying to wield their own weapons. Interestingly, the skeletons were not human, but orcish.

The wooden doorway was trapped with two magical sigils: a 12d6 fire trap, and an enervate trap, both of which were dispelled.

Inside was a somewhat homely room, with three occupants. First was what was obviously a mage of some sort, wearing rotting robes, sitting in a broken wooden chair, his feet propped on a casket. Second was a huge orc, crammed into a defensive position. The third, after some investigation, was inside the casket - a desiccated priestess. Additionally, there were a number of items in the room; a large rug, a fold-up table, and a huge pile of various items, from swords and armor to boxes, bags, and brooches. Most importantly, there was an anti-magic field that filled the entire room...

The entombed priestess was wrapped in some sort of ritual-level binding, a black rag with fine text written on it. The party attempted to communicate with her, but learned something else important: the Staff of the Dead has a 25% chance of raising the corpse as a zombie. The corpse stood, moaning, and began to lumber towards them. Laurita quickly Turned the corpse, and it was blasted into dust... or, rather, it started to blast into dust, but the magical bindings held the corpse together, so it was merely un-zombified. The second cast worked much better, and they asked the dead priestess three questions, which I should have written down but did not. The priestess answered Gróin's suspicions: she was Ajeela!

Meanwhile, the other party members managed to find a pair of secret exits, one of which was a deathtrap, and the other of which lead outside. After successfully triggering the deathtrap and plummeting to his doom, Harvey was rescued and healed by Gróin and company. Using Rhea's Gloves of Curse Prevention, the party gathered the various rings (including the two on the hands of the huge orc), dropped them into a bag, and lugged them through the secret tunnel. Gróin and Laurita, left in the room to talk with the corpse, found themselves suddenly very interested in some of the treasure; Gróin picked out a dashing pair of glasses, while Laurita picked a lovely amulet. After a bit of back and forth, the rest of the party returned, and found that they, too, wanted to grab some items for themselves. Rhea, still wearing the gloves, found that none of the items satisfied her; she picked through them all, finding nothing. Finally, irritated, she tried on a belt, and finally felt relief. Curious at what it did, she crawled out through the exit, stepped away from the anti-magic field. She read the word written on the belt, presumably the command word: "Behold!"

In an instant, the belt activated, and she found her clothes flung open! Startled, she quickly re-dressed, and looked up to see a small child staring open-mouthed, and a pair of very large rabbits rolling on the grass in laughter. Embarrassed, she rejoined the group. The belt, by the way, is enchanted with the Knock spell, self-targeting, usable three times per day. The others chose magic items as well: a scroll for the polydoctorate, a smooth rock for the ruinguard, and so forth.

In the chamber, Laurita had asked Ajeela's corpse if she wanted Atonement; she agreed. Laurita placed her hand on the corpse's forehead to begin the spell, but before she could even start, she found herself suddenly switched into Ajeela's body! And, worse, Ajeela herself was in the priestess's body! (As an aside, this was actually an ideal situation; Ajeela, being a 14th level priestess, and Laurita, being a 9th level priestess, were able to keep all their spells and such in each other's bodies.) After much consternation and accusation (from both sides), they figured out a possible method to return everyone to normal: go to Ajeela's church, and return her eyes, and from there cast the Atonement spell.

Gathering up the various magical items, they stuffed them all in a bag, sorted out which ring was the anti-magic field, and stuck it back into the chamber. Additionally, they added a few more traps, and re-hid the secret exit. They told the farmer, and he didn't seem as shocked as they expected... He rushed back to his house, and returned with simple NDAs for them to sign - non-disclosure agreements. Adventure-tourists frequently came by, and the village made a significant amount of money from them, from selling goods and from recovering their gear if they all snuffed it in the hill. The non-disclosure agreement ensured that the party wouldn't tell anyone that they actually managed to escape the traps... there had been a number of adventurers that had actually made it through, but it was much more mysterious if he could say that none had ever returned. The party was a little leery, until he explained that the signs were there to keep people out, and if anyone went it, it was their own dumb fault; he couldn't stop an adventurer if he tried. They agreed, and signed.

In Foreston, they visited a church of Alehim, and restored Ajeela's eyes; she and the priestess swapped back into their proper bodies, and she healed Gróin's eyes... though he did get a bird-foot out of the deal. Oh well. Ajeela decided to stay at the temple, for now, but said she would be willing to return if the party had a great need.

While that was happening, the rest of the party took their items to a sage, who looked them over. It was a fairly fast job - most of the items were cursed, and his great tome of reference material meant he didn't have to do much study. Here's the list he came up with:

  • Cursed and evil:
    • Rug of Curse Attraction, which causes anyone who touches it to yearn for a cursed item.
    • Amulet of Infection: once per hour, curses a random item (this is what the priestess chose).
    • Deck of Many Thongs: cursed. Oh, gods. A deck of cards in the style of "nekkid lady" playing cards, except it's all pictures of men in thongs. And orcs. And ogres. And trolls. The curse is the after-effect of that image, burned into your brain...
    • Cursed coins: a bag of 1000 gold coins. Each one causes a point of (one of) STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, or CHA damage. Cumulatively.
    • Clown Doll: a freaky doll that always teleports to just ahead of the user any time it is discarded.
  • Cursed, but not evil:
    • Ring of Flight: causes you to be weightless
    • Ring of Unebriation: immune to drunkeness... but not hangovers. May actually be evil.
    • Leather Armor of Hunger: +2 armor, but must eat 4 times a day.
    • Gauntlets of Meager Power: grants strength of 8 (-1) or -5 points, whichever is less.
    • Arrows of Returning: return upon being fired. Instantly. Before hitting the target.
    • Sword of Sarchasm: a sentient sword. "Oh yeah, great job, picked the cursed sword that can talk to you in your sleep, nice work, idiot."
    • Grind Stone: when used for any task, that task must be continued for the next 24 hrs. You will get an XP or stat boost from it, though!
    • Box of Fun: a brightly colored box. When opened, randomly tosses 1d6 cursed items at everyone within 15'.
    • Scroll of Chainmail: reader must make 10 copies and distribute them to his friends, or be at -4 for all actions.
    • Lenses of Powersight: you see everyone as lesser than yourself, and easily defeated.
    • Goggles of Science:
    • Mask of Misplaced Identification: causes anyone within 20' to hear the description of an item in the best light (if bad) or worst light (if good).
    • Belt of Opening: actually has a 3/day knock spell, self-target only, command word "Behold!" Oh, yeah.
  • Evil, but not cursed:
    • Sword of Corruption: deals corruption points instead of damage
    • Bag of Glitter: as dust of appearance, except it curses everyone within 10', and anyone they touch, making invisibility and stealth impossible. Note that it isn't cursed, but casts curse when used.
    • Staff of the Greater Demon: command word 'destroy'. Nothing else is known about the object.
    • Packrat: a stuffed rat. Turns any object it is placed inside into a bad of devouring.
  • Neither evil, nor cursed:
    • Ring of Unsleeping, aka Ring of Paranoia: (the second ring the orc was wearing) grants +2 bonus to AC and saves, and constantly warns you of danger
    • Amulet of Kitten Immunity: immune to all kitten- or cat-based magical effects.
    • Seven League Boots: each step carries you seven leagues*.
    • Helm of Allure: You are irresistibly attractive to anything even vaguely living; automatic success on seduction.
    • Sword of Decay: if it hits a target (0 AC regardless of armor), there is a 25% chance to cause rust as a rust monster.
    • Sword of Healing: causes 1d6 healing on the target. On top of the 1d6 damage it does as a sword. Handy against undead!
    • Sword of Retaliation: magical bonus equal to the number of times the creature hit you; does no damage if never hit.
    • Effreeti Lamp: rub to collect three wishes!
    • Potion of Age Reversal: causes the imbiber to age in reverse.
    • Bag of ???: looks like a normal bag. Has some sort of acid in it. If someone puts something into it, then hands it to another person, the object is gone; holding it again returns the object to the bag. It's magical, but the sage would need to do some intense study to actually figure out what it does.

While Rhea was interested in the corruption-causing sword, Fayleen was adamant that she destroy it. Luckily, the Packrat had caused the bag they stuffed it in to become a bag of devouring, so they stuffed all the cursed items and the sword into the bag, erasing them from existence. Handy, that! As a note: let me know if there were any uncursed items you got rid of, or cursed items that you kept.

*Seven leagues: a league is the distance a man can walk in an hour; in ACKS terms, seven-league boots essentially cause you to travel a full day's journey in a single step. I mean that literally - these boots are based on your normal (land-based) movement speed. You can take a step in the boots once per hour.

There wasn't any XP to be gained this time, from treasure or enemies, but the party did gain a powerful new friend, and a bunch of dubious magical items. As before, starting XP is 137,669 XP.