Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Recap: The Blue Medusa

Yet another session of Maze of the Blue Medusa under our belt! After this week's events, I'd be surprised if we have more than one more game in this campaign. Which actually works out nicely, as it means I have a few different campaigns wrapping up at the same time.

What will I do with my free time? Who knows. Probably more campaigns, new characters, more adventures!


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 11 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: The Blue Medusa

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Megan: Aniria Lightningblood, Firbolg Tempest Cleric, accidentally destroyed her home, now an adventurer, rushes in to danger but loves cute things
Makayla: Coria Kelvardil, Moon Druid Elf, traveling the world and cataloging all the animals she can find, cartographer and voice of reason
Jackie: Derrik Evanwood, Human Bardbarian, punch things, woo women, deal with alcoholism, collect magic swords, learn about the feelings of trees
Tom: Alan Xanthudides, Human Phoenyx Sorcerer, not-so-secretly a noble with a bad family, someday hopes to burn the maze down, actually quite good at social graces, enemy of trees

When we last left our heroes, they had just finished rescuing the moon-children of Torgos Zooth from the clutches of a mad mathematician named See-more. They had also learned that in order to get clothes for their immortal time-bending friend Chronia Torn, they would have to use a loom which destroyed light and spawned shadows into the world. Not wanting to take that risk, they decided against using it, and now had to break the news to her.

Chronia's power to speed up the age of the things around her seemed to not affect her pet, Fracture-of-the-Bone, which they found her petting as they arrived. Derrik joined her in petting the gaunt dog-like creature while Coria broke the news.

Chronia, eternally naked from her condition, was a bit distraught about the idea that they weren't able to find clothes for her. However, they offered an alternative idea: clothes made from gold! They had a ton of it after fighting Torcul Wort, and perhaps some sort of armor could be made. Coria promised to look for a way to make such an object.

Coria also asked Chronia to write a letter to the Medusa. The group was planning on traveling to Torgos Zooth, and they would be closer to the Medusa than they had ever been. They wanted to make sure such a meeting went smoothly.

Meanwhile, Aniria was covering the eyes of the moon-children and Alan was being poked by his pet hand-snake Mr. Grasp. They wanted to get the children to their father as soon as possible, and Mr. Grasp knew where they should go to do that. However, Derrik was having a great time petting Fracture-of-the-Bone, and didn't want to leave the creepy dog creature.

Derrik was really resisting leaving the strange creature, and nobody could quite figure out why. But they eventually convinced him, suspicious that something in Fracture's friendly nibbles might be having an effect on their companion.

Following the directions of Mr. Grasp, they entered the Almery, where they had been teleported once before. They fended off some roaming cannibals and climbed up a pillar of petrified corpses before finding a large map room with a tile map on the floor. Coria was extremely excited to see the map, which appeared to be the entirety of Ahneria. However, Mr. Grasp urged them through the room and up to a finely decorated relief of a nomadic king.

After inspecting it a bit, they realized it was actually a secret doorway! Alan pushed one of the jeweled eyes and opened the wall, revealing a finely decorated stone room. A large, armored weasel-like creature lay in a pile of straw near the door. The moon-children put fingers to their lips, saying the group shouldn't wake Overdose the Armored Chem-Stoat. The group snuck past and found themselves in a large office.

Inside, sitting at his mahogany desk, was the moon-man Torgos Zooth himself. He looked up just as his children leapt off Aniria's shoulders and ran to him, shouting and laughing. Though he kept his stern demeanor, he thanked the group and seemed deeply grateful for the return of his children.

The group decided to ask Torgos how they could escape the maze. They knew about the island that lead back to Ahneria, but the party simply didn't have the power to overcome a fleet of warships captained by the Neonate Empire's chameleon women. They had arrived via a painting portal, but the portal had been closed by Ashen Chanterelle.

Zooth was surprised to hear about Ashen Chanterelle, and that the party had been in contact with a dragon who wished to burn down the maze. After some thought, he asked them to recall as much as they could of their conversation while he lead them deeper into the maze.

Zooth strode off, opening a mirror portal in the wall and motioning the heroes to follow him. They passed by several statues, which Zooth casually explained one by one. Victims of the Medusa, mostly those who tried to kill her or committed some other offense.

However, one statue made him pause, a statue of a child holding a puzzle cube. The child was emaciated, its fingers worn to the bone gripping the cube. The cube itself was unpetrified, held in place by the child's fingers. A pool of dark blood had formed beneath it, dripping from the cube itself.

Zooth carefully explained the importance of this statue. The child was the last in the line of savant kings, bred by the medusa to design elaborate puzzle traps for the creature now contained in the cube. The creature in the cube was none other than Denrosathal, Closer of the Gate, Mnemoclast, Archdevil of Memory, father of the Blue Medusa. He had been trapped in his prison for over 14,000 years.

After he was sure the group understood the gravity of the situation, Zooth lead them further into the Medusa's collection of stone prisoners. Upon reaching a cavernous room lit with blue candles, he knocked upon the door frame and announced the group's presence.

Appearing from behind a bookshelf, a tall and lithe woman draped in a blue dress appeared. She carried a dagger and rapier at her side, and held a porcelain mask to her face, which was ringed with her writhing snake-hair. The group quickly bowed, realizing this was the Blue Medusa herself, Psathyrella.

She bid them to not stand upon such formality, and one by one they raised their eyes to her, Coria remaining bowed the longest. Alan noticed the variety of books in the Medusa's collection, Derrik eyed her seemingly endless collection of rapiers. Aniria simply smiled and waved.

Zooth bade the party to tell Psathyrella about their encounter with the Dragon named Lady Crucem Capilli. The medusa asked a few questions, but for the most part was unshaken by the information that a dragon was threatening her maze. Rather, she asked the group if they were here to kill her. They responded truthfully: they had come here on accident, and were simply trying to return to their own world.

The Medusa contemplated this. She then asked them to do her two favors: kill a particularly annoying creature that she had taken on as a servant, a creature known as Dendro Blackpoll, and deliver a book to Chronia Torn. If they did as much, she would help them escape. She might even throw in a rapier or book, as a memento of their meeting.

The party agreed. The Medusa bid them good luck, and Zooth lead them back to his office and through another exit into the Almery. They walked past a couple fountains and a room containing a pair of odd helmets before Zooth stopped.

He told them there was one more room before they reached the chamber containing Dendro Blackpoll. In it, they would find a potential ally. It was up to them whether or not they wanted to use him in their mission.

Rounding the corner, the party met a large devil sporting curled horns and cloven feet, holding a wavy dagger and muttering to himself. He introduced himself as Halo Nilotec, but only after questioning the party on their names and why they were here.

Halo had been sent by the Medusa to kill Dendro Blackpoll as well. She had cut off a snake from her hair and given it to him, transforming it into a dagger that surely knew the exact time to strike and kill Dendro Blackpoll. In return, she would unpetrify his brother Pylos, and they could get back to their task of freeing Dendrosathol. However, Halo was extremely cautious about simply killing Dendro Blackpoll. He revealed to the party that Dendro Blackpoll was, in fact, the severed and stitched-together hands of Dendrosathol himself. Halo worried that if he killed the hands, Dendrosathol would know, and erase Halo from all memory.

The group was confused by this. Coria agreed that being forgotten by everyone was a terrible fate and began having second thoughts about killing Dendro Blackpoll, the hands of Dendrosathol. Aniria was annoyed that Halo was being so indecisive. Alan and Derrik just wanted to get their hands on the supposedly magic dagger and see if it really was as powerful as Halo claimed.

After much debate, the group decided that hanging around such an indecisive devil wasn't worth it, and he wasn't that useful as an ally. After allaying Coria's fears of being erased from history, they pressed onward to the chambers of Dendro Blackpoll.

The room was divided in half. One half was tiered into three levels, stacked with books, rings, and a massive greatclub. The other side was flat, covered in paintings of many subjects, and sculptures of hands. In the center of the room stood Dendro Blackpoll. The creature seemed to be once made from the hands of an archdevil, but had morphed into its own sort of creature. Connected at the wrist, each hand's middle finger had grown a face and moved like an elongated neck. At the point of connection, the hands had sprouted little devilish wings.

As the group entered, Dendro was arguing with Blackpoll. Dendro, the left hand, was convinced that he was a person who just happened to have the shape of a hand. Blackpoll, the right hand, retaliated, saying he was basically a hand that had learned to think and talk. They noticed the group, and asked them to weigh in. Derrik had strong opinions about the inane conversation.

After a moment of debate, however, the hands agreed on one thing: these intruders must be killed. Blackpoll picked up his greatclub, and the party drew forth their weapons.

The group quickly discovered these devilish hands were immune to non-magic weapons and fire, rendering Derrik's axe and Alan's magic obsolete. Derrik quickly switched to one of his magic swords, while Alan began using Telekinesis to attempt to wrest Blackpoll's club away from him.

Coria transformed into an Ankylosaurus, swinging her tail against the hands. Fortunately, her druidic magic infused her strikes, allowing her to damage the monster. Aniria used the size of the room to her advantage and called a thunderstorm into existence above the battle, striking down with lightning to hit Dendro. Meanwhile, the hands attacked with pokes, grasps, and the greatclub.

In the chaos of the battle, the group began to realize their attacks weren't always connecting. An attack that harmed Blackpoll seemed to have no effect on Dendro, and vice versa. This sparked Aniria's rage when a powerful lightning blast failed to do anything to Dendro. Fortunately, Coria was able to beat the monster back, and soon Dendro was hanging limply at Blackpoll's side.

Blackpoll raised his club up in a mighty strike, but Aniria brought another God-infused lightning blast down upon him, burning him to a crisp. The monster died, and the group breathed a sigh of relief. Now all they had to do was deliver a book. Alan discovered a valuable tome among Blackpoll's collection, and pocketed it.

They decided to take another exit out of the room, to avoid having to deal with Halo again. They stumbled across a room where tiny toy soldiers waged grisly war upon each other, and by entering they inadvertently became deities of the slaughter. Aniria attempted to save some of them, but her benevolence only caused more divide and massacre. Coria pulled Aniria away before the firbolg got too frustrated or upset.

They took the known path back towards Chronia's room, heading down the petrified pillar and past some paintings. Coria saw a figure up ahead using her blindsight, and the group called out to it. However, Derrik couldn't see anything, so they approached slowly. Suddenly the figure lunged forward, and Coria felt a sharp pain in her back, followed by a terrible bolt of electricity. She stumbled, and Derrik wheeled around, yelling "See-more!" The mad mathematician appeared, frustrated that his invisibility had been removed. Fortunately, all it took was one claw from Coria and he was down, spitting blood and trying to crawl away.

The party questioned him on what he was doing and why he had attacked them. He said he was trying to get the Zooth boys back, as they were useful in his research. Aniria, after making sure Coria was alright, healed See-more's wounds and bound his hands. The group made a quick detour to deliver the mathematician to Torgos Zooth, who glady accepted such a prize.

They went to the chambers of Chronia Torn, and Derrik immediately began petting Fracture-of-the-Bone again. The group delivered the book, and told Chronia that the Medusa had asked for her. Chronia seemed delighted, but had completely forgotten to write a letter back to the Medusa.

This caused even more suspicion in the party, as Chronia was only asked to write this letter a few hours ago. Not only that, Derrik's love of Fracture-of-the-Bone was getting to unhealthy levels. After Chronia scratched out a quick message to the Medusa, the group was forced to Polymorph Derrik into a cat before they could get him away from the strange dog-beast.

The group returned to the Medusa's chambers, their journey uneventful. There, they discovered the Medusa sitting with a man in green robes, a smile sitting above his small goatee. They were discussing something, but when the party entered, the Medusa turned her attention to the group.

She was impressed by their trustworthiness in completing both of the tasks she had laid out for them. Not only that, but she read Chronia's letter with great interest. She thanked them, but told them she had another request of the party.

At this point, the man stood and introduced himself as Levalliant Green. Alan realized they had received a note left from him earlier in the maze, not once but twice. The group wondered who he was and how he knew they were coming. Levalliant seemed to regard their concerns with nothing more than passing amusement, and launched into an oration regarding the state of the maze.

Levalliant told the group that Lady Crucem Capilli and Halo Nilotec had both been hired by the Neonate Empire, whose capital city of Nyctopolis had fallen into dark dealings. The Chameleon Women were here to salvage the reptilian history and artifacts from the maze before Crucem Capilli burned it down, releasing Dendrosathol. Why the Neonates wanted Dendrosathol free was somewhat irrelevant, but it was imperative that he not be set loose.

The Medusa chimed in, saying that the group's final task would be to slay Lady Crucem Capilli. Torgos Zooth and herself would ensure that the Chameleon Women, and their warships, were dealt with. Levalliant simply remarked that after being frozen in stone for 5,000 years, he was happy to be free once again.

Alan and Aniria began questioning Levalliant more about how he knew so much about them, the maze, and the world outside it when he had been petrified so long. Coria didn't want a confrontation, and Derrik simply meowed.

Levalliant smiled and asked them if they really thought it was a coincidence that they had found the painting that had lead them to the maze. Why would he have written notes for them if it wouldn't have happened? Aniria, suddenly realizing this man knew far more than he was letting on, grabbed his collar and lifted him into the air.

She demanded answers. The group had suffered in the maze, to be sure, but she had only joined the mercenary company because her family had been killed. How far back did Levalliant's knowledge go? Had he known everything? And if so, had he caused everything?

Levalliant just smiled and deflected the question, saying if they wanted more answers, perhaps they could help him get something he wanted. Coria managed to talk Aniria down once again, and they left in quite a huff.

The group headed back to the island, passing through Chronia's room to do so. They informed her that her letter had been delivered, and the Medusa seemed keen to read it. They also warned her (as Derrik meowed fitfully) that her pet, Fracture-of-the-Bone, might be malicious. Chronia was upset by this news, and the party left with the tension unresolved.

Back on the island of Elatior, the group rested. Around the island, the warships of the Neonate Empire watched like silent sentinels, the last barrier between them and their home. Just one more fight, and they could leave the maze behind for good.

They slept fitfully.

We stopped there. My two favorite characters, the Medusa and Levalliant Green, finally made their appearances! I didn't play them exactly how the book recommended, but being a DM is about building a story using the tools you have, not following someone else's plan.

I think we'll probably only need one more session of this campaign to wrap things up. The players are interested in what will happen after the Maze, but honestly I'd rather have them return to their various homes and work things out with their  pasts. Plus, then we can have some fun NPCs in the future of Ahneria! And in the meantime, I can start a new campaign...

Thanks for reading!

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