Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Recap: Dungeon Politics

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One of many sad, naked women in the Maze
We had another session of Maze of the Blue Medusa this weekend. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it's going to be a weekly thing, since the next couple weeks are no good for most of the group.

However, I'm honestly not worried, since I had to do nearly zero preparation for this session. Since I've worked out my basic conversion rules for 5th edition, and the module is so well written and masterfully organized, I was able to run for 5 hours this weekend on literally zero hours of prep.

It was awesome.

Maze of the Blue Medusa: Dungeon Politics


Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Megan: Aniria Lightningblood, Firbolg Tempest Cleric, accidentally destroyed her home, now an adventurer
Makayla: Coria Kelvardil, Moon Druid Elf, traveling the world and cataloguing all the animals she can find
Jackie: Derrik Evanwood, Human Bardbarian, punch things, woo women, deal with alcoholism
Tom: Alan Resnik, Human Phoenyx Sorcerer, secretly a noble with a bad family, trying his best not to burn the place down


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I forgot to mention that one of them is named Jeff
When we last left our heroes, they were following a jeweled hummingbird through the maze in search of artwork to bring to a dragon, Lady Crucem Capilli. They had just pulled the swords from the back of an old man who was begging them to kill him. They finished searching the goo piles of the gaseous knights that had attacked them, and found a grotesque little mummified hand holding an eyeball and attached to a snake's body, which Alan poked and then they left alone.

The group began to feel a wave of unspeakable melancholy wash over them, and for the next several minutes, at least one of them was very depressed. Derrik drank a lot.

The hummingbird lead them over rope bridges (with some treasure down below) and into a room where a strange creature who looked like the an ogre-shaped shell was quietly rocking a baby to sleep. It told the party to be quiet, and they moved on. Making their way across some weird and fantastic stairs, they discovered a small room that seemed to resemble the cloakroom of a fancy party or restaurant.


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Howdy do, peasants!
There, a mechanical peacock told them that all of them (with the exception of Alan) were quite under dressed for the wedding that was about to take place. Coria, having transformed into a cat, was also exempt from the severely classist insults directed at Aniria and Derrik. However, the peacock, whose name was Zacchaeus Wybrow, told Alan to take some food for his journey and come back any time.

The group asked Zacchaeus if he knew where any of the God-sisters were. He said he wasn't sure about Charity and Zamia, but Chronia was in the entrance halls if they just kept heading North.

The melancholy had lifted, but the jeweled hummingbird had flew off in the meantime. The group decided to head back to the rope bridges and explore a room to the North. Inside, they found a very odd scene: A chess set was trying to mentally command a four foot long caterpillar/snake creature to vomit up the chess pieces it had eaten.

After finally wrestling the cater-snake to submission while fighting the mind control of the chess pieces, the group convince the creature to vomit up the pieces it had eaten. They took a liking to the strange cater-snake, whose name they learned was Gibba Gognata. Gibba promised he'd behave if the group gave him some petrified flesh to eat. He also gave them a scroll of Flesh to Stone, in exchange for the group not telling his mother (the Medusa!!) about the whole incident.


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The eternal struggle of instinct verses intellectualism, now with cater-snakes
The group was just about to leave and find some stone for Gibba to eat when a voice cried out "Unhand that reptile!" A lizardman sorcerer and his mammal thralls had entered the room, and began to attack. While Alan and Derrik dealt with the mammals, Aniria ran headlong towards the lizardman.

Coria decided to use Thunderwave to knock the lizardman off the rope bridge behind him, and try to destroy the magical control orb he was using to command the mammal slaves. It worked, and he dropped the orb off the bridge, but only a few seconds later the lizardman cast a spell that undid the damage to himself and the orb. Aniria was quite angry, and pushed him off the bridge before he could cast another spell. The fall didn't kill him, but the landing did.

As Derrik finished off the last mammal, the group suddenly found themselves unable to move their feet. They craned their necks to see behind them, and saw a strange moon-headed man wearing a weird monocle-like eyepiece. The mummified hand snake was with him, as was an armored, twitching giant ferret. He told them they weren't supposed to be here in the dungeon, and asked them questions. While they were in his light, they couldn't lie.


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Couldn't have said it better myself
He used his strange monocle on Alan, who was forced to reveal his last name was not Resnik but Xanthudides. The moon man, who Gibba called Mr. Zooth, was seemingly impressed. He told them he was going to send them away, and they were to look for his two lost sons, Anole and Anolis. If he met up with the group again and they hadn't found his sons, he would be forced to capture the party and bring them straight to the Medusa.

He squinted at them and suddenly they were gone. As they disappeared, Derrik saw the jeweled hummingbird appear again, sucking out the bone marrow of one of the dead mammals.

When they reappeared, they were in a totally different place in the dungeon and Gibba was no longer with them. Aniria, who had taken a liking to the childish creature, was very disheartened.

Coria continued to chart her map, poking her head into various rooms to get a sense of where they were. They found a room with a bunch of finger bones wearing wedding rings on a table, a room with a body outline made of swords, a chained-up vampire, a magically dark room, and a literal knot in space time.

They also found a small puppet show, which they decided to sit and watch. Surprisingly, they were undisturbed, and they managed to avoid the harmful spells that the puppet show kept casting on them to enhance the mood.

The puppets told a story about a country of lizardmen ruled by a tyrannical leviathan. They begged the medusa to help, and she battled the leviathan and freed the lizardmen. Then, they all sank to the bottom of the ocean. Nobody really liked the play.


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The medusa has some nice stacks
The group carried onward, but suddenly heard a noise in a hallway up ahead. They ducked behind a wall, and saw a group of humans in bird masks, squawking and strutting like they were actually birds. They were all headed up a pillar made of petrified bodies, to a door on the upper balcony of a room. The group decided to go the other way.

They passed by a stone relief of a stormy sea, and a room that contained a box of suicide notes next to a tightly sealed glass tank with a rope in it. They found a closet with a bunch of frozen-in-time adventurers, and some stone steps. Coria urged the group to keep pressing south, as they might still find Chronia's room if they kept searching.

The group passed by a strange creature: a time elemental, a monster who moved like a lava lamp with multicolored sand flowing through it. It told them that the Medusa had trapped it here, ever since the frozen-in-time adventurers had brought it in as a bounty. It couldn't corrupt its pure gold chains, nor could it use its powers, for then one of the adventurers would escape its time hold.

The group felt bad about having not helped the chained-up vampire from earlier, and this time elemental, Fulvious, seemed much nicer. Aniria broke its chains and the creature thanked them before disappearing. The group heard an angry shout from the closet and bolted towards the next door, locking it behind them.

They ended up in a room with a huge shifting sculpture in it, which was moving and rocking violently. The group edged carefully around the room, but Aniria and Derrik were both touched by the strange object, which caused their magic to become "echoed" - it would repeat itself in an unpredictable manner when cast.


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Cool, but weird and probably deadly
The group tried a door on the side of the room, but it ended up locked. However, they heard a voice on the other side. The party asked if there was yet another trapped creature in the dungeon, and the person laughed and replied that she wasn't trapped at all. In fact, she was exited to talk to people from outside the dungeon! She unlocked the door and moved back.

The party entered a monstrous room that looked like it had once been filled with art and decor, but all of it had rotten away with time. Standing in the center was the source of the voice: a young woman, naked except of gold and amber jewelry. She asked the group their names, and was also surprised to hear Alan was a member of house Xanthudides.

She introduced herself as Chronia Torn. The group was extremely happy, they had made their way back to the entrance halls! Chronia was eager to hear their stories, but asked them how much time they had - everything around her aged about a year every hour.

The group agreed to take a rest in this room, where they should be safe, and Chronia suppressed her powers as much as she could, meaning over the course of an hour they would only age 6 months. Alan, only 19, was excited at the prospect of growing up.

Chronia introduced them to her pet, Fracture-of-the-Bone, a strange beast that drank her blood and regrew from it's own cracked, dead body. It looked like an emaciated dog that had been shattered and rebuilt poorly, it moved with twitching and spastic strides, and it burbled baby-talk. Chronia found it adorable for some reason.

Derrik was completely smitten with Chronia (as he was with most women), and when she asked for some light music he immediately obliged. Aniria and Coria began chatting with the God-sister, asking her about the dungeon and telling her about their adventures in it.


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If I could catch time in a bottle...
The party told Chronia they were here, in part, because Ashen Chanterelle had told them the three sisters needed rescuing. Chronia told them Ashen was one of her servants, and although her heart was in the right place, no rescuing was needed. Charity and Zamia were both in the places they wanted to be in, and Chronia enjoyed the art and surprises from the Maze and the Medusa.

Chronia was shocked to hear that Lady Crucem Capilli was planning to burn down the maze, and suggested the medusa should know about it. Unfortunately, the medusa had stopped responding to Chronia's letters some time ago. She suggested the group bring the dragon lady artwork until a plan could be formulated.

Coria got more information for her map: she learned that there were three liches in the dungeon, the Laughing Lich (in the Reptile Archives), the Loving Lich (brooding over her sister Zamia in the Gardens), and the Lying Lich (who Chronia didn't have a location for). She learned that the only way to the Reptile Archives was through the Art Gallery, and she learned that Zacchaeus' wedding had actually happened a long time ago, and that's where all the dead creatures were.

Chronia also asked them to get her some silk clothing, she had heard there was a method for making imperishable clothing in the Reptile Archives. She said she would trade a Tear of Time for such a thing, which was one of her magical tears that could undo any event from a person's past when they swallowed it. All the characters immediately thought of things they would change.

Meanwhile, Alan was investigating Fracture-of-the-Bone. The creature seemed to want to drink his blood, and Alan obliged a little nibble. The beast only got a small bite in, but Alan felt his hand tingling as if he had been poisoned. He decided not to let the creature have another bite.

Near the end of their rest, Chronia asked the group where they planned to go next. Derrik complained that they wanted to find a way out of the godforsaken maze, and Chronia suggested they go see Lady Nine-Bones. She gave them directions out of her room to get to Lady Nine-Bones, and an amber crafted letter stating that the group had her permission to be in the maze.

The echoes had faded from Aniria and Derrik's magic, and the group was rested up. Unsure about the letter and if it would help them face Torgos Zooth, the moon man, or convince the Medusa they were supposed to be there, the party headed out to see Lady Nine-Bones.


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Fracture-of-the-Bone: secret political dungeon mastermind
We got through a lot of rooms this week. It was nice having more time, and we did actually spend about an hour in Chronia's Room. I'm excited for Lady Nine-Bones and what's going to happen next!

If the group continues exploring at this pace, I'm hoping we'll have about 8 or 9 more sessions of the Maze. That would be perfect for this campaign!

Thanks for reading!

2 comments:

  1. Very intriguing story complemented by the characters experiencing it. It almost seems to have a Terry-Gilliam-like quality to its lush absurdity and hints of myths and legends.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed! The guy who wrote the dungeon is massively creative, and every room is its own puzzle.

      I'd highly recommend his blog, http://falsemachine.blogspot.com/

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