Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Recap: Nice Day for a Dead Wedding

We finally got back together to play Maze of the Blue Medusa! I'm hoping the next break isn't nearly as long.

I also started to institute a "no phone/low phone" policy at the table. I know, that's like GM'ing 101. And it really does help the game. I just didn't really have a problem with it before!

Anyway, on to the recap...

Edit: This series was written before allegations about the authors of this module were released. To respect the players of the game, as well as the brilliant writing of Patrick Stuart, I've decided to keep these posts up. However, all links and art have been removed. Thank you for understanding.

This story is part 4 of a series. The campaign was completed.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 |

Maze of the Blue Medusa: Nice Day for a Dead Wedding

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

The group had just stumbled upon the bride and groom of the wedding, frozen in time a moment before their first kiss. Aniria and Derrick, disliking the ashen dead that were slowly wandering the room, began punching them into small ash piles. Alan discerned that the Time Stop effect must have been performed by a powerful spellcaster. And Coria, still in Allosaurus form, was being pulled by the small ghost-child Tyko Wort into the next room.

In the next room, they found a little loop that had been carved into the floor and filled with wine. Floating in a circle in the wine was a glass swan, about the size of a child. It glowed with an unusual aura. Derrik began to drink the wine, much to everyone else's disgust, but it seemed unspoiled.

Alan told them that this was part of an old tradition among nobility - the happy couple's souls were placed in the swan until they were married. This was partially due to a misunderstanding about how souls worked, but also to keep the young couple from breaking off the ceremony or eloping. Everyone thought it was a bit creepy.

Tyko urged them onwards, and the group explored the gift room. Derrik wanted the incredibly valuable chandelier, and decided to toss Alan upwards to cut it down. Alan discovered that the chandelier was stuck in place, unable even to swing. It looked like a magic item they would have to come back for.

Meanwhile, Tyko pulled Aniria over to a bookshelf in the corner of the room, pointing at it. Coria wanted to read the books, but Aniria simply began pulling on them, hoping to find a secret lever. Surprisingly, her plan actually worked! The bookshelf slid to the side and revealed a door behind it.

The group cautiously opened the door using Derrik's mage hand. He was a bit drunk, though, so it took him a few tries. Inside, they saw another blackened corpse, but this one seemed cognizant, and was wearing a golden crown.

The corpse told them she was a lich's phylactery, only in need of some candles to light her way. She knew the secret history of the three God-sisters, Chronia, Zamia, and Charity, and would exchange that information for the candles.

Coria had doubts about the undead creature's story. However, as an Allosaurus, she couldn't communicate without losing her Wild Shape. So, a quick game of dinosaur charades ensued, and Coria told the others that she was positive there couldn't be a creature functioning as a phylactery.

Caught in a lie, the corpse revealed its name: Sophronia Wort. (The players wouldn't realize the relation to Tyko Wort until several hours later. Stay tuned for that exciting development.) She said that the truth was she had stolen the crown, and was stuck here because her soul had been captured by "The Empty Knight". If they brought her information about "The Golden Beast", she would tell them how to restore all the misplaced spirits in the wedding.

Coria had already peeked into the next room, and the party correctly deduced that the suit of armor standing in the corner must be the Empty Knight. They went into the room to fight it, partially to help Sophronia, partially because it was the next room on their path.

Alan started the combat be leveling a Firebolt spell at the Knight. It seemed to bounce off harmlessly, but that didn't stop the Knight from announcing that assault is a crime, and now Alan would have to die.

The group converged on the Knight, who proved to be a formidable foe. Derrik, armed with his three magic swords, decided to test out the sword with grapes on it (the grapesword). This made the Knight announce that it was a crime to attempt to impair or intoxicate a law enforcement official, which meant the grapesword made people drunk. Derrik was extremely pleased.

Alan decided to change into a Gaseous Form, slip inside the armor, and then change back to try to control the suit by wearing it. However, when he slipped through its visor, he found himself not in the suit of armor but in the infinite vastness of space. Needless to say, he was a bit overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, the knight successfully dispatched Coria's allosaurus form, and turned its powerful blade onto Derrik. Aniria cast Shatter, hoping to break the armor, while Derrik just kept raging.

Alan found a rock in the space he was in. It was moving very quickly. He followed it in his cloud form, eventually watching it crash into Ahneria. As this happened, his form was jettisoned out of the armor. He realized that this Knight had been formed by a meteorite, an extremely rare thing.

With that in mind, after his companions had worn down the Knight quite a bit, Alan yelled, "You can't enforce Earth laws, you're from space!" and destroyed the construct with a Scorching Ray.

The group went back to Sophronia, hoping she would help them now that the Empty Knight was destroyed. However, she began telling them more and more lies, contradicting herself and making empty promises. Aniria slammed the door shut in her face.

The party continued North, passing through a prison chamber and a room with a mysterious clockwork golden ball in it. Tyko kept pulling them forward, carrying them towards an unknown goal.

The group found a room that was set a bit lower than the others, and filled with murky grey water. A man-sized black fish glowing with holy light swam around in the room, and the group recalled Sophronia had mentioned an "Angelfish" in one of her rambling lies. Aniria didn't want anyone to hurt the creature, as it was from a higher plane and therefore sacred.

Their first plan was to have Aniria distract the fish while the others swam past on Coria's back, but they realized it would be easier if they all just held on and Coria swam as fast as possible. Still, the fish had a chance to attack them, doing quite a bit of damage. Coria was bit on the ear, which apparently turned her right ear holy.

In the next room, they found piles of boxes and furniture that Tyko seemed to be leading them to. Derrik and Aniria dug through the boxes, trying to figure out what exactly they were lead here for. Alan and Coria kept watch, and noticed that the door to the North was starting to rattle and leak Gold.

Aniria found what they were looking for just in the nick of time: fat, white candles that Tyko seemed to be excited to see. As more and more gold poured out of the door frame, they leapt back on Coria's back and swam across the Angelfish's pool, taking more damage from the fish. This time, Coria's left arm was turned holy.

When they had crossed the water and turned to look back, a bloated monster made from liquid gold was watching them from the other side. It told them its name was Torcul Wort, second son of Sophronia Wort (this is where the players figured out Tyko was the first son. Funnily enough, Makayla, whose character has the highest Int score, was the one who put the pieces together. Everyone else was like, "oooooohh!") and construct of pure gold. He called them names and told them to kill Sophronia, but at this point the players were beaten up enough that they needed to rest badly.

Tyko lead them back to the room with the golden sphere, and gestured for them to light a candle near it. They knew from speaking to Chronia that the candles sent spirits back to their bodies, and so they had Tyko stand far back form the candle. The moment they lit it, the machine's clockwork gears broke down.

The party went to Tyko's room for a short rest, fighting some more golden specters along the way. One of them possessed Derrik and he nearly killed Zacchaeus the mechanical peacock. Afterwards, Derrick found a mysterious letter, addressed to him. Oddly, it was written in common, and used a nickname for him that nobody had called him since he was a child. The letter read:
I assume you are reading this after your encounter with the aurum specters... if so you are only a little behind schedule. Obviously, her mask cracks mirrors, but I'm sure you've worked that out already. Try to keep up. Will see you at the end. - Levalliant G.

The group made their way back to the bride and groom, frozen in time. They tried lighting the candle near the pair, and something extraordinary happened. The ashen corpses regained their souls and died of old age, and the happy couple regained their souls and were just about to kiss when the bride screamed "oh my goddess, is that a dinosaur?" and fainted.

The groom demanded to know what was going on, and the adventurers tried their best to explain what they knew. He introduced himself as Marquis Aeolis, and upon hearing that Sophronia Wort was alive, demanded to be taken to her. The party was hesitant, but the Marquis demanded it.

They went to Sophronia's vault and opened it. The creature was already prepared with more lies, but Marquis Aeolis wouldn't have any of it. He demanded to know what was going on.

Coria, for nearly the entire game
Sophronia responded by casting Feeblemind on the Marquis, rendering him incapable of thought or speech. Derrik drew his blade and began to fight her toe-to-toe, as the group realized she was actually a lich. They desperately began to prepare their spells and weapons.

Aniria, realizing that the wedding swan was still glowing (despite the married couple's souls being out of it), ran back to the swan and cast a powerful Shatter spell upon it. However, the swan was untouched. Coria tried biting it with her powerful Allosaurus jaws, but with similar luck.

Alan, however, realized that the swan could only be opened once the marriage was complete. He grabbed the Marquis (still feebleminded) and the bride (still unconscious) and shoved their faces together.

The swan opened its beak, and Sophronia Wort's soul flew out of it. She howled in pain, and her body collapsed into black ash, leaving only her golden crown.

The group, with the Bride and Groom in tow, went back to Tyko's room to rest for some time. Tyko seemed upset at the death of his mother, and Aniria did her best to comfort him. The bride introduced herself as Lady Torc, and the Marquis explained everything he knew.

Long ago, the Triarchy (a civilization with the three God-sisters at its helm) was on the verge of collapse. Sophronia Wort, the scholar Xanthoceras, and Ambassador Draco Scabra decided to take the sisters and a portion of the nobility into the Maze for safekeeping, to wait out the collapse.

While in the maze, Aeolis and Torc fell in love and became betrothed for marriage. Obviously, they invited everyone in the nobility, which meant that the rest of the Triarchy's nobles were dead. The Marquis only remembered up to the wedding ceremony, and couldn't explain anything that happened afterwards.

He did know a few other things, however. He knew Torcul Wort was a constructed son of Sophronia, built to find liars and cheats. The "boy" never called people by their names, just by how they gained their fortunes. He wasn't popular with the nobility.

Aeolis also told them that the golden sphere was called the Golden Engine, and was used to dispose of enemies of the state by turning them to gold. The Marquis guessed that it had been activated, and Torcul Wort had survived due to his golden form. But how it was activated and what happened afterwards were still a mystery to him.

The group went back out into the wedding one last time, gathering the pieces of the Golden Engine and the chandelier that Derrik wanted, then made their way back to Lady Crucem Capelli. Tyko, the Maquis, and Lady Torc decided to stay in Tyko's room until they figured out what was going on.

As they brought their prizes into Lady Capelli's room, her face lit up with glee. She told them to tell her exactly how they found such treasures. So they did.

We stopped there for the night. The characters had another chance to level up, since they had found the wedding candles and lit them. I'm guessing they'll be heading to the gardens next, since Coria really wants to go and it's the other half of the "starting areas".

I'd say the group is about 1/3rd of the way through the dungeon, and for 4 sessions that's pretty good. They have more information now and should be able to move quicker through the areas, and the final areas shouldn't take too long. I'm really curious what they'll do when they meet the various inhabitants of the dungeon. There are a lot of open-ended problems in this dungeon that the group will really have to figure out.

Thanks for reading!

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