Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday Recap: A Grave Situation

Such friendly faces
We got together for a little pick-up game this weekend, and just happened to have everyone that was in the game with Kaim'ango the edgelord. So, I figured we could carry on an adventure with these plucky young heroes!

By the way, this dungeon was inspired by this reddit post. When all else fails, use the resources on the internet!

This story is part 2 of a series. The campaign was completed.
Part 1 | Part 2 |

Monday Recap: A Grave Situation

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Megan: Gemma Ashton, Human Rogue, talks a lot, designs clothes, trying to rebel against her mom
Shannon: Ryn Darkiron, Human Bard, in a band, hair color changes daily, now touring in a tavern near you
Quinn: Chaz Greymoon, Human Barbarian, unaccomplished junkie, selling drugs for kicks
Makayla: Karen Iona, Human Wizard, quiet and awkward, learning magic from the mopiest guy in Garton

We began our story by figuring out what had been going on for the past month in each of the character's lives. Gemma had been begrudgingly taking her lady training, Ryn was now touring around and hoping to invent some sort of huge Sending Stone that could amplify her music (thus causing it to be "rock" music). Chaz had tried to get into running the underworld but found out that it was way herder than he expected, and had resorted to simply selling illegal drugs on the streets.

Karen, however, had begun her training with the guard leader Kaim'Ango, a man for whom the word drama was not nearly dramatic enough. In his forested tower, he spoke briefly of the lack of guards in the city, since they had been drawn away for other missions. He gave Karen a letter, which contained a mission he believed only she and her friends could handle. Karen left the tower, emerging in the middle of the city of Garton.

She decided to gather her friends starting where she knew one would be: Gemma's home in the High District of Garton. Gemma agreed to help on the quest (though they didn't actually know what it was yet), and asked her butler if he could track down Ryn or Chaz. The shifty butler Jared told them that he actually knew Chaz, and could ask to meet up with him that night. After a bit of sleuthing, they found out that Ryn would be playing at the Coldiron Inn that night, and Jared coordinated Chaz to be there as well.

They met again at the Inn that night, where Ryn had set up her band (featuring tons of percussion for extra loudness). Sure enough, Chaz was in the back of the tavern, ready to make a deal with Jared. The girls roped him in, and once Ryn's set was over she joined as well. They all agreed to go on the adventure, and Karen finally opened the letter containing their task.

As it turned out, they were just being asked to kill some rats in a basement. The group was underwhelmed, but apparently there would be payment in gold and alcohol. Gemma insisted they do the job quickly and get it over with, since her mother would probably become suspicious if she were out for more than one night.

Something strange is afoot at the Shining Whale!
They made their way to The Shining Whale, a lovely two-story tavern owned by a grumpy old dwarf named Grador Bottlebringer. His eyesight was going but his hearing was great, and he wanted the group to take care of all the rats in the basement so the noise would stop. His barkeep, a dark-skinned young man named Samuel, seemed nervous about the group. Ryn gave him her information so she could perform here later.

The heroes headed downstairs and started investigating the cellar. It seemed to be a standard wine cellar, with racks of wine bottles and barrels, and a set of torches dimly lighting the place. Karen took down one of the torches and began to swing it beneath the shelving, looking for signs of rats.

What she got instead was a glimpse of a disembodied hand crawling beneath the wines. After shaking off the shock of the scene, Karen reached out to grab the thing with her Mage Hand spell. However, it quickly skittered away before she could catch it.

The hand popped out into the open on the other side of the room, cautiously "looking" at the group. Gemma though it was moving in a slightly cute way, despite its pallid skin and broken fingernails. She and Ryn slowly approached it, whispering words of encouragement. Chaz, on the other hand, decided to just chuck a wine bottle at it.

The bottle hit the little hand and it stopped moving. Gemma rushed over, and fixed it up as best she could with a wrap made from her spare cloth. It seemed grateful, but wary of Chaz. Gemma decided to give it a glove of its own, so it looked fancy despite being just a hand. The hand "thanked" her, then scuttled underneath the wine shelves again.

Karen searched for it again with the torch, but it had seemingly disappeared. Ryn inspected the shelf it had crawled under, and found a single empty wine bottle among the many full ones. she realized it was attached to the shelf, and pulled on it. The entire shelf lifted up and swung easily, and the group revealed a secret passage underneath the cellar! Unfortunately, the crawling hand was nowhere to be seen.

They walked down a short passage and came upon a room filled with crates, with straw littering the floor. Karen noticed the shape of a person behind some of the crates, the top of his head visible by torchlight. She called out to him, and then watched in horror as the head hopped up onto a crate of its own volition, with no body attached to it.

The head introduced itself as Kyle, a zombie who lived down below the tavern. The group was suspicious, but Gemma believed he didn't mean to hurt them. Rather, he seemed to need help: the crates around him contained his other body parts, and he couldn't exactly open them with just his head.

What's up, dude?
Ryn recalled that certain types of undead imbued with Shadowfell magic could be divided up into their parts and still survive. Kyle wasn't too willing to discuss where he came from until he was back together, but he did say he had been packed into crates in order to covertly arrive in the tavern basement. Undead weren't really accepted elsewhere in the city.

Ryn also realized it was odd for an undead to be so talkative and intelligent, and convinced the group to help Kyle so they could get more information about him. Also, he said he could help them with the "rat" noises the tavern owner was complaining about. Chaz seemed interested in Kyle's demeanor, since Kyle seemed like the type of guy who would partake in illegal substances.

The group began to pop open the tops of the crates, finding some limbs, some random items, and plenty of biting insects that disliked their homes being disturbed. The search was eased a bit when Karen had the excellent idea to make Kyle move his limbs around inside the crates, but they managed to find a few more bug nests before finishing the job.

As black tendrils of necromantic energy sewed Kyle back together, he began to explain his situation to them. This basement was a bit of a sanctuary for undead, where they could live and be free from the scrutiny of the living world. The little hand, whose name was revealed to be Alehandro, was such an undead. The "rat noises" were actually coming from a group of skeletons called the Bone Brothers, who loved to roughhouse and make a racket.

The party thanked Kyle, and headed deeper into the basement. Gemma found Alehandro again and he joined her as they walked. They came across a fine dining room, where a gaunt, grey-skinned man was siting before a plate of bones picked clean.

He introduced himself as Reginald (or, as Kyle put it, Reggie), and politely asked if any of the group members would have a hand or foot they would be willing to give up. He was a terribly hungry ghoul, and was hoping to get a taste of living flesh once again. He wasn't completely unreasonable, though, and offered an Amulet of Health in exchange for the limb.

Slightly disturbed but grateful for the politeness of the offer, the party declined and pressed onward. They finally reached a huge bedroom, adorned with dusty furnishings and dark tapestries. A large weapon rack holding several scimitars was set into the wall. Piles of bones lay around the room, which began to tremble and roll together as they entered. Soon, they were face-to-face with eight shambling skeletons!

The skeletons introduced themselves, all of them with frightfully bad pun names. (You, dear reader, I will spare the pain of these names. Just look up some good skeleton puns if you've got an itch to scratch.) They said they were placed in this room by a creature called Kyeran, and were meant to guard something. The party managed to convince them they wouldn't need to resort to violence, but the skeletons seemed a bit disappointed in that. They said they would only stop making noise if Kyeran commanded it, and they would only lead the group to Kyeran if they got to roughhouse a bit with their new guests.

The best one was probably Howard Sternum
The party agreed, and the skeletons drew scimitars, claiming it was no fun if only they were able to lose limbs. The skeletons attacked, startling Ryn and Karen with their ferocity. Chaz downed a vial of buff-up drugs and drove to the front of the party, but the skeletons had already descended on the group. Karen unleashed a powerful Thunderwave spell, sending some of the skeletons flying, but it was too late. Gemma fell unconscious from her wounds, followed by Karen, Ryn, and finally Chaz.

They woke up some time later, with the blank-faced skeletons standing over them. Karen checked her limbs, relieved to find they were still attached. The group sat up, and the skeletons apologized for being so rough. Apparently, unconscious friends were not nearly as fun to play with. The group healed their wounds and asked to see Kyeran.

One of the skeletons opened a secret door behind the nightstand, and the party approached slowly. Inside the dusty chamber were piles of valuables, art, weapons, and a table with a wilting purple rose on it. Sitting next to the table was a white-skinned man wearing armor and wielding a longsword. He looked up as they entered, his eyes merely red pinpricks in the darkness.

He introduced himself as Kyeran, a former servant of the Mage's Guild during the War of Fools. The mages had been using this flower, the Midnight Blossom, to grant undead a level of intelligence and servitude. Kyeran had escaped after the fall of the guild, taking the blossom with him, and started this sanctuary for undead. Samuel helped him ferry the wayward dead into the basement. The Midnight Blossom was waning, however, and Kyeran had ordered Reginald to bring Kyle here to help revive the flower, but it turned out that Kyle had a different set of gardening skills.

The party first made sure that the skeletons wouldn't roughhouse as much, but after that they decided to make sure the midnight blossom was properly taken care of. Gemma said she would even pad the bedroom with cloth so the Bone brothers could have fun once again.

On their way out, Chaz, who was still a bit woozy from the drugs he had taken, decided to let Reginald have one of his hands in exchange for the amulet. The others decided to leave, and go talk to Samuel upstairs.

Samuel was nervous to talk to the party, but they covered for him when it came to confronting Grador about the "rats" in the basement. It turned out, Samuel was actually a poltergeist disguised as a corporeal human. It was only thanks to Grador's poor eyesight that he hadn't caught on yet. The group promised to help Samuel and Kyeran restore the flower, and Samuel expressed his gratitude.

Meanwhile, Chaz woke up a few hours later, down a hand but with a cool prosthetic. Reginald had already finished his meal, and gave up the Amulet of Health as promised. Kyle was there too, and offered Chaz some Shadowfell-infused drugs as thanks for helping the undead refugees. Chaz also happened to wander upstairs just as Grador remembered the gold reward he was supposed to give to the now-absent party, so Chaz happily accepted the hundred gold for himself.

Over the next week, Gemma and Karen researched exactly how to care for a magical plant such as the Midnight Blossom. They went to the Mage's Guild and discovered that magical soil for a plant of that nature would prove very expensive. Fortunately, Ryn had a great idea: a Benefit Concert! (Or Bone-fit concert if you prefer.)

It's time to party!
Ryn, Gemma, and Karen all got started with organizing the concert. Gemma's mother rented out a huge ballroom, Ryn amped up her band, and Karen made sure the city guard would be there to make everything go smoothly. Meanwhile, Chaz got a job at a morgue, stealing extra body parts to help Reginald out. In return, Kyle started supplying him with more magically-infused drugs, which Chaz started selling for good money.

After about a week, the "Benefit Concert for Local Homeless" was prepared, and Gemma had added a bit of a twist: everyone was to wear a costume! She helped sew masks and such for the local population, but the real reason was to allow the undead to join in the fun.

Once the party had gotten underway, Gemma and Karen slipped away to the Shining Whale, where they began to line the basement with fabric to muffle the Bone Brothers' sound. Grador had been invited to the gala, so Samuel let them in.

At the party, Ryn set up her band, and was excited to see the Bone Brothers themselves had arrived the help play drums for the concert. Kyle had also come, and was happily smoking with Chaz backstage. as Ryn kicked off the song, another spirit from the sanctuary flew up through the stage and began to sing. It was quite the show!

The dancing had just kicked off when the party heard a terrible rumbling. They looked up to see the entire roof lifting off the ballroom, and a huge armored giant looking into the room. It said, "Oh, wow! I love parties!"

The room broke out into chaos.

(Chuckles) I'm in danger.
We stopped there for the week. That last bit was a setup for my next Chaos Quest game, which hopefully will shake up the city of Garton quite a bit. Stay tuned for that recap!

I really like this crew. It's fun to play simple characters solving mysteries or exploring. I hope I can keep that feeling when we start up the exploration campaign I have in mind!

Thanks for reading!

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