Tuesday, June 28, 2011

DarK Legacy of Evard, Session 7: Look out! More tieflings!

Session 7: Vontarin’s Cellars of D&D Encounters: Dark Legacy of Evard began with the PCs assembled on the stairs leading down to the cellar from the trapdoor in the mansion’s banquet hall. In Session 6, our heroes followed the advice of Mother Grivelda and searched for clues to Nathaire’s whereabouts by heading to Vontarin’s long-abandoned manor. They discovered that the forgotten house was home to a band of tiefling bandits who welcomed no visitors.

Below the trapdoor in the floor of the banquet hall, a steep, narrow stairway descended 20 feet from the trapdoor to a dank passageway of gray-green brick. When a blast of fire scorched the first couple of characters going down the steps, the party realized that Vontarin had used an imp statue as a magic trap to guard the entrance to his secret sanctum. The PCs had missed finding the password upstairs, but a successful Arcana check allowed them to pass through the trap unharmed for five minutes.

At the bottom of the stairway, the party found the Cistern Room— a chamber with three large pits yawning in the floor. The pits were once cisterns used to store water collected from catchments in the manor’s roof. Fire destroyed those catchments as it ravaged the upper floors years ago, and the cisterns had run dry. Barrels, sacks, and crates of different sorts were heaped at the west end of the room, next to iron double doors.

The iron doors were unlocked and opened easily. Beyond the doors was a Misty Hallway that was formerly another one of Vontarin’s traps. The old enchantments had dissipated, but the hallway was still filled with a thick, purple mist hanging eerily in place. The mist was harmless, but it scared the group and it was several rounds before they all mustered up the courage to dash through it. Past the purple mist, large iron double doors led to the north and to the east. Judging by the brackets and rusted chains discarded in the corner, our heroes could tell that the set of doors to the north were chained up at some point. A broken bronze seal that secured the chain in place remained among the links. Glyphs and a stylized sun symbol adorned the seal. A successful Religion check allowed the party to realize that the seal— which looked aged but recently broken— was intended to avert evil. It was a prayer to Pelor.

The characters decided to open the set of doors to the north. The doors opened onto the Vontarin family crypt. Two impressive stone sarcophagi stood in the center of the room. Rows of old bronze plaques lined the walls, marking the locations of additional tombs. Along one side of the room were several bedrolls. Apparently, the tiefling bandits thought nothing of sleeping in a creepy old crypt and they had made the room into a barracks. Gathered in the crypt were 4 Fell Court ruffians, 1 Fell Court blackheart, and Harrumor the Fell Court hellmage. (For more information on the Fell Court, see pages 48-51 of Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale)

Once most of the PCs were engaged with the tieflings in the crypt, a reinforcing group of bandits threw open the large iron double doors to the east and attacked. Group 2 consisted of 4 ruffians and 1 blackheart. The tieflings in the reinforcing group had been waiting in the Menagerie. That cage-filled room was where Vontarin kept interesting creatures he intended to study.

After our heroes had dispatched the ruffians and blackhearts in the crypt and in the menagerie, they got down to the business of interrogating Harrumor, whom they had captured toward the end of the fight. The interrogation took place in Vontarin’s Workroom, which the tielfing hellmage had chosen as his own when the gang settled on the manor as their hideout. Bookshelves, worktables for alchemical instruments, and cupboards full of glassware still indicated that the room had once been the laboratory of a wizard. A good deal of the material was missing— the shelves were mostly empty and much of the glassware was broken. Complex arcane sigils inscribed on the walls had been deliberately damaged with a hammer and chisel at some point, leaving small piles of stone chips beneath each one. Judging by the dust on the shelves and glass, the place was cleaned out a long time ago.

Successfully interrogating the surly hellmage allowed the adventurers to find out that a wizard (presumably Nathaire/Vontarin) had entered the mansion earlier and forced his way toward the workroom. The tieflings tried to fight him, but he was too powerful. Harrumor said that the wizard acted as if he was possessed by some foul spirit. Before they fled from the basement, one of the tieflings managed to glimpse the wizard searching the laboratory. The wizard seemed furious that so much was missing. Harrumor told the PCs that the gang did not see the wizard leave the basement, but when dawn came, he was gone.

After executing Harrumor (no one wanted to be responsible for an angry tiefling hellmage prisoner) and finishing exploring the cellars, the party realized it was getting late in the day. Having exhausted the leads available in Vontarin’s mansion, they decided to return to Duponde before nightfall.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tomb of Horrors, Session 10: "Are You Acererak?"

Knowing that desperate times call for desperate measures, Kurson ran toward the jeweled skull and launched himself into the air. A successful Athletics check allowed the deva invoker to jump high enough to reach the skull, which was floating in midair ten feet above the floor. If he could just grab the blasted thing, they could stuff it in their handy haversack and see what happened. Unfortunately, Kurson failed on his grab attack (Strength vs. Reflex, and the Acererak construct’s reflex was 26). As the deva landed empty-handed, the skull slowly turned toward him and then its blood-red ruby eyes glowed with terrible power as it blasted Kurson with its Drain Soul attack power (+18 vs. Fortitude; when a victim of the drain soul attack fails its second saving throw, the victim’s soul is trapped in one of the construct’s soul gems).

Session 10 of our Tomb of Horrors adventure took place this past Thursday night at Total Escape Games. By this last session of play, Acererak’s tricks & traps and the Tomb’s various monster guardians had all taken a fearsome toll on the party and everyone was on their second or third characters. The final version of the adventuring party would consist of Adaka (githzerai shaman), Drek (drow ranger), “Jeff” (drow warlock), and Kurson (deva invoker).

Session 9 actually ended with the party exploring beyond the False Treasure Room (where they fought the efreet urn slaves) and discovering a section of passageway that led to a large, empty chamber. The PCs found that two portals on the far wall of the chamber could not be activated, no matter what they tried. Literally finding themselves trapped between a rock and hard place (the stone plug beneath the statue in the False Treasure Room had closed behind them), Jeff suggested they try using his Hand of Fate ritual. As the warlock performed the ritual, a translucent blue hand appeared and, with a gesture, it “answered” the PCs three questions about possible courses of action in finding Acererak. The Hand of Fate’s answers allowed our heroes to discover a secret door that opened onto a small, empty room. Upon closer examination, they found a single hidden keyhole that was set at the center of the room’s far wall.

Jeff had his devil lackey insert Key #1 (from the Ruined Laboratory) into the keyhole. With a rumble, the entire wall sank down into the floor, revealing a burial vault whose arched ceiling rose 25 feet overhead. The room appeared to be empty of everything but dust. Upon closer examination, though, Drek found another hidden keyhole beneath a thin layer of painted plaster in the center of the room. Jeff again had his devil lackey try Key #1, but this resulted in the lackey being blown 20 feet into the air (2d6 necrotic and radiant damage), then taking falling damage as normal (2d10 damage). After that, Mr. Lackey could safely insert Key #2 (from the staircase outside the Mithral Gates). Inserting that key and turning it to the right more than once caused the floor of the empty crypt to begin to slowly rise. Once the floor began to rise, each character in the room had one action with which to leave. Everyone was able to skeedaddle safely out of the room just before the slowly rising floor suddenly slammed upward at high speed.

A new wall of gleaming mithral stood where the old wall had sunk down. A door was set in the wall, and an inset ring hung at its center. As depicted in the photo you see above, after Adaka (with assists from Drek and Jeff) rolled a sufficient Strength check to open the door, the party found that the true crypt had risen from beneath the floor. A stone dais on the far side of the chamber holds a jeweled skull that sat amid bone shards and dust. Its eyes were blood-red rubies, and its teeth were set with diamonds. (I used a little Lego Stormtrooper helmet to represent the Acererak construct.) Treasure lay scattered across the floor of the crypt. There were many gems, as well as a couple of magic items and several potions or elixirs.

After everyone eventually (cautiously) entered the chamber, there was much eyeballing of the various treasure items, especially the potions and elixirs. They also thoroughly checked the small room for secret doors. An Aracana check on the skull didn’t tell them very much. Finally, Adaka decided he would pick up two of the potions. As he did so, dust swirled on the far side of the crypt as the jeweled skull ominously rose into the air. Slowly, it turned from side to side, as if appraising the members of the party, and then it attacked!

The Acererak construct used its drain soul power as often as it could (recharge on 5 or 6, and it could use it in the crypt even if it hadn’t recharged). On the initial hit, the target was dazed and restrained (save ended both). After that, on the first failed saving throw, the target was instead stunned and restrained (save ended both). With the target’s second failed saving throw, they died and their soul was trapped in one of the skull’s soul gems. The soul’s former body crumbled into dust at the end of their next turn.

Each round at the start of the construct’s turn, I was supposed to roll a d6 to determine if teleportation magic moved the fight to another chamber in the Tomb. That sounded like a huge pain to me, but I went ahead and did it. As you can see from the photos that accompany this post, the fight eventually moved from the crypt to the Chamber of Mists to the False Treasure Room to the Chapel of Evil and then back to the crypt, where it remained for the duration of the encounter after the skull was bloodied.

Adaka ended up being the only PC to succumb to the construct’s nasty drain soul power. Korsun was hit with it a whopping four times, but he managed to succeed on his first saving throw each and every time he was hit. Wanting to spread around the love, I made certain that Drek and Jeff were also hit, but they too managed to succeed on their saving throws.

I reduced the Acererak Construct’s hit point total to reflect the four member adventuring party, but otherwise I chose not to mess around with its stats. In the midst of the encounter, I also made a decision not to use its consume soul power (as a minor action, the construct could expend a consumed soul to regain a quarter of its hit points). I made that decision for a couple of reasons. One, even without using the power, the encounter was proving to be difficult enough for the party… and since I had already racked up a TPK previously (see the post on Session 9), I didn’t feel the need to annihilate everyone in this fight. Second, I wanted to leave open the possibility that Adaka’s trapped soul could be rescued at the end of the encounter. Anyway, even with reducing the construct’s hit point total and not using consume soul, the fight still lasted an astounding sixteen rounds.

At one point during the encounter, Drek’s player was questioning whether they were really in the midst of the big boss fight or if it was simply another example of Acererak yanking their chain, so he decided to use a free action to ask the skull, “Are you Acererak?” Hence the title of this post. The skull didn’t answer, but after the fight I told the players that the skull construct wasn’t really Acererak. As a demilich, Acererak’s soul now resides on another plane of existence where he nurtures an insidious plan to make himself into a god. Acererak built the Tomb of Horrors as an altar where countless adventurers would sacrifice themselves for his purposes. Each group of adventurers destroyed in the Tomb would generate spiritual energy, which the demilich could siphon to a hidden phylactery in preparation for turning himself into a deity.

Although they ultimately failed to break Acererak’s power, as Drek, Jeff, and Kurson defeated the powerful construct and left the Tomb (toting a soul gem that glowed with an inner light, revealing an image of a tiny figure inside it), they could take satisfaction in the fact that word of their accomplishment in surviving the infamous Tomb of Horrors will spread into the wider world and garner them lasting fame.

“This ends the expedition to The Tomb of Horrors. We hope you and your players will have found it exciting, challenging, and rewarding.”

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dark Legacy of Evard, Session 6: Look Out! Tieflings!

Session 6: Vontarin’s House of D&D Encounters: Dark Legacy of Evard started off with the PCs following Mother Grivelda’s advice and heading for Vontarin’s long-abandoned home about a mile southwest of Duponde. They need to find Vontarin’s restless ghost (now possessing the young wizard, Nathaire) and put it to rest again. Valkan, Mother Grivelda’s grandson, was happy to lead the party directly to Vontarin’s old manor house, but the Vistani boy was unwilling to venture into the manor grounds. Valkan’s caution was prudent since the PCs would find that Vontarin’s home had been taken over by a murderous gang of tiefling cutthroats who were using it as their secret hideout. The tieflings have been preying on barge traffic on the nearby White River, waylaying the occasional traveler on the road to Duponde, and pilfering from the town’s warehouses and stores. Townsfolk knew that the bandits were lurking nearby but had no idea who they were or where they were hiding.

We had two full tables again at Total Escape Games in Broomfield, CO for Wednesday night’s session. Erik W was a real trouper for showing up to DM the second table even though he’d just had his wisdom teeth removed the day before. The six players at my table ran Arturo (human warpriest), Brandis (human paladin), Dude the Barbarian, Jarren (human wizard), Silas (drow vampire), and Torrin (dragonborn fighter). Jarren and Torrin were run by new players at their first Dark Legacy of Evard session.

Valkan, following an old cart track, led our heroes into the countryside outside of Duponde. After a mile or so, he turned onto a long, tree-lined lane that wound through the thickets on a small hill and finally ended in a cobblestone court before a ruined mansion. It was at that point that Valkan wished our heroes good luck and then returned to his grandmother’s house.

The party stood in the courtyard near a large fountain whose waters were black and slimy. Studying the mansion from that spot, they could see that the old building’s upper story showed signs of fire damage, and most of the roof had collapsed at some time in the past. Small gargoyles and elegant cornices leaned at crooked angles. Thick ivy covered the walls and grew over what was left of the roof. Heavy shutters covered the ground floor windows. A large front door faced the fountain and courtyard, and a smaller door to the right led into the side of the ruined mansion. Succeeding on a Perception check, Silas caught a faint whiff of wood smoke in the air. He then noticed that a very thin stream of smoke was coming out of the chimney around the side of the house. He also saw that the path leading up to the mansion was well trodden, by both humanoids and beasts.

After sizing up the outside of the place, the party split almost immediately. After helping Brandis and Silas break down the side door, Arturo went back out to the front door and joined Jarren and Torrin there. Dude the Barbarian went through the side door with the paladin and vampire.

Torrin blazed the way for the front door crew, barreling through the doorway only to be brought up short when two crested felldrakes charged and attacked him. Two tiefling Fell Court ruffians had also taken up defensive positions inside the manor’s grand foyer. After Torrin charged through the front door, the dragonborn took a lot of damage throughout the course of the encounter—mostly because no one else followed him into the house. Torrin’s player (a new player) was heard to say “I don’t want to die!” a few times. Luckily for Torrin, Arturo could stand outside the doorway and shoot healing in to him. It’s always nice to have a cleric in the party.

Over at the side door, Silas, Brandis, and Dude the Barbarian were battling in the kitchen with a hissing felldrake, the tiefling Fell Court underboss, and two tiefling ruffians. (The encounter set up only called for three ruffians, but since this was a strong party with six characters, I added another ruffian to the monster mix.) Brandis got pretty beat up as the monsters all seemed to take quite a shine to him.

In the end, though, despite splitting the party, our heroes prevailed and defeated the tieflings and drakes. After the fight was over, the PCs searched the old mansion. In the back of the house, they found a large room that must have been a grand dining room back in its day. An old table and chairs stood near a large heap of provisions in sacks, barrels, crates, and other containers. Those goods were new and bore the markings of various trading posts and provisioning companies from the area. And then, close to the large heap of stolen goods, the PCs discovered a trapdoor in the floor! Pulling up the trapdoor, they found that it revealed a staircase leading down to the old mansions’ cellars. The party was chomping at the bit to head down the staircase, but I told them that would have to wait for next week’s session.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tomb of Horrors, Session 9: The One with the TPK

Since many of you have been waiting with bated breath to find out what happened to our heroes in the Pillared Throne Room, let’s cut right to the chase: No one walked out of there alive, dear readers. Zerbitt attempted to escape the Chamber of Hopelessness by nimbly tumbling, dodging, and weaving his way through the Cursed Armory, but the thief was quickly cut down by the slashing swords and battering shields that flew off the walls and attacked him. Back out in the huge throne room, Laramie and Marrak both eventually succumbed to the mummy crypt master’s relentless rotting slam (double attack) and stunning strike attacks.

After having to miss a week of play because of an unavoidable work obligation on my part, we returned to our Tomb of Horrors adventure this past Thursday evening with the surviving characters in a tight spot. Going into Session #9, I really debated with myself about whether to throw the PCs a rope, especially Zerbitt and Marrak since they were the only two surviving original members of the party. But in the end, I decided to show no mercy. In previous encounters, I had cut them some slack, but before going into the Pillared Throne Room a couple of weeks ago, I had made a resolution to not do that any longer and instead let the chips fall where they may. This— I told myself— is the dread and legendary Tomb of Horrors, after all.

Still, this past Thursday night was my first TPK as a DM and I did feel kind of badly about it. From sitting on the other side of the screen, I know what it’s like to be a player and get attached to your character, so my first TPK isn’t something I approached lightly. But still, I only felt kind of badly about it… This is the dread and legendary Tomb of Horrors, after all, and not a Sunday School picnic.

So after the bodies were cleared away and the blood was cleaned up, I let the guys start over there in the Pillared Throne Room with four new characters. I told them they could think of the huge chamber as their last save point. Their new characters were Adaka (githzerai shaman), Drek (drow ranger), Jeff (drow warlock), and Kurson (deva invoker). Jeff’s character sheet looked suspiciously like Elric’s, but you didn’t hear it from me.

This iteration of the party had an easier time passing beyond the Pillared Throne Room since they quickly homed in on the throne as the key to the exit. When Jeff touched the silver knob on the scepter to the front of the throne where a replica of the crown was inlaid in silver, the throne sank down and revealed a hidden 5-foot-wide passageway leading south.

Mithral Gates

Making their way through the hidden passageway, the party found that a wide landing opened up ahead of them. The landing’s walls and ceiling were untarnished silver and copper, inlaid with ivory. A rising staircase was carved of multicolored semiprecious stone, and two massive mithral gates stood closed above it. Upon the fourth step was a large, cylindrical bronze key. Upon closer examination of the mithral gates, they saw that where the gates met, a hemispherical cavity with a hole at its center was set at waist height.

After picking up the bronze key on the steps, the party decided it would just be a little too convenient for it to be the key that opened the gates. Then Adaka noticed that the hemispherical cavity looked like it would be a perfect fit for the scepter from the Pillared Throne Room. Sure enough, when the gold ball on the scepter was placed within the cavity, the mithral gates swung silently open.

False Treasure Room

Through the open gates, the party could see an imposing chamber. A ceiling of untarnished silver rose above the polished stone floor. The room’s ivory walls were inlaid with gold. Across the way, two iron chests stood to either side of a granite sarcophagus graven with ancient glyphs. A thin stream of smoke rose from a large brass urn set with filigreed gold. In all four corners stand 9-foot-tall statues of fierce demonic warriors cast in black iron, and their fearsome weapons were raised. As the PCs cautiously edged into the chamber, Kurson was able to read some of the ancient glyphs on the sarcophagus. The glyphs across the front of the sarcophagus spelled “ACERERAK”!

The PCs spent quite a bit of time examining everything in the chamber. They decided that Acererak was either in the urn (huh?) or in the sarcophagus, so Drek’s player suggested rolling a die and on an odd number the party would remove the brass topper from the urn, while on an even number they’d open the sarcophagus. Everyone agreed, so he rolled a die and it came up a 1. Now as you know, dear reader, a 1 is always the absolute worst result you can ever roll in 4e D&D, so you’re probably as surprised as I was that— rather than roll again— they still went through with the plan and took the topper off the urn. Ah, well, I had been patiently waiting ten weeks to scare the crap out of them with the cool Efreet Fireblade minis I had purchased just for this encounter, so when they went for the urn, it was fine with me.

As they removed the brass stopper from the urn, it shuddered as two large humanoid forms burst from the top— efreet warrior slaves, howling in murderous rage. Once I explained to them that the appearance of the fierce efreets was part of a skill challenge that involved the party attempting to disrupt the urn’s summoning magic (either through Arcana, Athletics, or Thievery), it was a round or two before anyone actually attacked the monsters. When someone hit an efreet and the party found out it was “just” a minion, a massive sigh of relief could be heard. Adaka, Drek, and Jeff focused on taking down the efreets, while Kurson did Arcana checks on the urn to disrupt its summoning magic. They racked up an impressive number of successes that way, but also a couple of failures, so it came to the point where the next success or failure would determine the outcome of the skill challenge. Kurson arcana’d it up once again and rolled with good results, so the urn cracked and collapsed.

After that, this current version of the party proved that it has just as much trouble opening sacrophagi as the previous version of the party had opening doors. Drek tried to open the sarcophagus and failed, so then all four of them tried to open it with simultaneous Strength checks. And they failed three times. Giving up on the sarcophagus (at least for the moment), Drek turned his attention to the chests. He opened the first one with no problem, but he fumbled the check on the second one so a poison needle jabbed him and he took ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends). And then, quite amazingly, he didn’t save for five rounds! Wow. Anyway, he ended up getting both chests open and found an impressive amount of loot.

After they took a short rest, the party was ready to tackle the sarcophagus again. And again they failed with the simultaneous Strength checks. I let Kurson try to blast it with some invoker-thingy, but nothing happened. So again they tried the Strength checks… and succeeded! Okay, not really, but I had pity on them and there was nothing important in there anyway, so I let them open it on their fifth try. Inside the sarcophagus were bones, ruined jewelry, a broken staff, and a shattered skull. And there was nothing magical or particularly remarkable about any of it. Bummer.

After much searching for secret doors, skull punting, standing in the sarcophagus, and frustration, they finally figured out that the iron statues could move. Of course, it was the last statue they tried that was the one with the ring pull underneath it. The ring pull raised a small plug of stone, and under the plug was a narrow chute that dropped 10 feet down to a corridor to the west.

What will happen as Tomb of Horrors adventuring party #2 explores the corridor to the west? Will Adaka, Drek, “Jeff”, and Kurson succeed in finally coming to grips with and defeating Acererak, or will they be destroyed like those who came before them?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dark Legacy of Evard, Session 5: "No soup for you!"

Session 5: Vistani marked the beginning of the second chapter of D&D Encounters: Dark Legacy of Evard. In the previous week’s session, the characters made their way to Duponde’s graveyard and battled restless undead. They discovered that Evard’s Tomb had been opened, but the skeleton was still in its coffin. No sign of Nathaire could be found, but it was clear to our heroes that Duponde’s current Shadowfell-troubles began when the scholar triggered some kind of magic trap at the pillaged tomb.

For Session 5 at Total Escape Games, the players at my table ran Arturo (human warpriest), Brandis (human paladin), Eldan (elf necromancer), Enzio III (human assassion), Roth (dragonborn blackguard), and Traytin (elf fighter). Between Sessions 4 and 5, the party took an extended rest, so everyone started this off this week with full hit points and healing surges, as well as 1 action point and access to his daily powers. They were locked and loaded, and ready to rock and roll.

After their battle with the undead in Duponde’s cemetery, our heroes saw the first rays of dawn begin to glow dimly in the east. Suddenly, they experienced the same dizzying jolt they felt hours ago at the Old Owl Inn. After a moment, the feeling passed and they noticed that the world seemed brighter, colors had returned, and the oppressive dread they’d felt all night had faded away. Duponde seemed to be returning to the normal world!

With the arrival of dawn, Duponde had indeed shifted back from the Shadowfell to the world. The question is how long the respite might last, and whether the PCs can unravel the mystery of what happened at Evard’s Tomb. Eldan, not surprisingly, wanted to entirely bypass solving the mystery. He proposed instead that the party take the golden holy symbol that Brother Zelan had given them, sell it, and then use the proceeds to move the inhabitants of Duponde to a new location that wouldn’t have these bothersome Shadowfell-troubles. Not a bad idea, but if I let them do that, I’m not sure what we’d do for the next 8 Wednesday nights, so I told him we better just play out the adventure like Wizards of the Coast had written it.

Nathaire’s Journal

During their extended rest at the Chapel of Peace, the characters managed to decipher Nathaire’s journal. It took hours to work out the difficult arcane lore, cryptic symbols, and the tricky code the scholar had created to protect his notes from snooping eyes. Successfully reading the journal, though, allowed the party to learn:

  • Nathaire is a talented wizard and a student of umbral (shadow) magic.

  • He is extremely ambitious and impatient, seeking shortcuts to true power.

  • He has created a ritual he intended to use to summon the soul of a dead spellcaster so that he can drain it of arcane energy, storing the stolen power in an orb or similar vessel.

  • Nathaire has been searching for Evard’s Tomb because Evard is famed as the discoverer of shadow magic. Nathaire dreams of making himself just as powerful as Evard was.

Valkan’s Summons

Shortly after the characters finished their extended rest, a human boy named Valkan came to them to deliver a message. He bowed to them and said, “Forgive me for troubling you, masters. I am Valkan of the Vistani. My grandmother told me to tell you that you must come to her house today, before the night falls again. She peers into the unseen world, and she says that you must know what she sees. I can take you.”

With a successful History check, Eldan recalled that the Vistani are a clannish people who are known as rovers, mystics, and troublemakers. They’re said to travel into the Shadowfell from time to time. The characters were a bit reticent about following Valkan, but Brother Zelan suggested it might be wise to hear what the elderly soothsayer had to say. The priest didn’t fully trust the Vistani woman, but he knew of Grivelda’s reputation as a seer of that which is hidden.

Mother Grivelda’s House

Valkan led our heroes along the road south from Duponde into the countryside. After a walk of a mile or so, he turned down a lane leading to a lonely farmhouse that had a large, painted wagon parked in its fenced yard. He showed the characters to the house’s front door and knocked once before going inside.

“Grandmother, I have brought them,” he called.

Through the open door, the PCs saw an old woman in a colorful shawl sitting by a fire. “Good, Valkan, very good,” she answered. “Be a good boy and put the teapot on the fire for me. Our visitors and I have much to talk about.”

She waited for the party to enter, and then gave them a chilling smile. “Now, sweeties, answer my riddle: Who is buried in Evard’s Tomb?”

In the discussion that followed, Grivelda shared that she knows that Evard was the one who survived the wizards’ duel fifty years ago. Evard disguised Vontarin’s body so that the priests from the monastery who discovered it would think that Evard was the one who had been killed in the duel. Clever and cunning Evard did this so that his many enemies would believe he was dead. Grivelda has no idea where Evard is now or whether he is still alive. However, her gift of second sight has shown her that Vontarin’s ghost possessed Nathaire when the rash scholar disturbed the tomb.

Mother Grivelda said that what Nathaire put wrong must be set right. She told our heroes that because of Evard’s curse Duponde will again fall into shadow at each sunset, and there it will stay until sunup comes again. For a few days and nights, it will stay like that, but soon Duponde will not return from the dark side. Grivelda said the characters must find Nathaire and wrest Vontarin’s soul from within him, quieting Evard’s curse in doing so. She suggested the party begin by looking in Vontarin’s abandoned manor.

When she asked if there was anything else she could help them with, Eldan asked if she had any of the Vistani’s famous cabbage soup. The old woman looked surprised and said, “You know of our cabbage soup?!?” Before anything more could be said, though, a bone chilling howl arose just outside.

Howling Wolves

Three lean wolves bounded through the trees outside Mother Grivelda’s house. Alongside the beasts were two humanoid wolf-creatures with long claws, running swiftly on their hind legs. Drawn to the outskirts of Duponde by the dark curse that has settled over the town, a pair of werewolves and their pack of gray wolves were on the hunt!

By an odd coincidence, just a few moments after we got to this part of the session, “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon began to play on the radio in Total Escape. Weird, huh?

Okay, so anyway, at the beginning of the fight I had a Leeching Shadow creep in through the back window of the farmhouse and attack Brandis. There was actually no leeching shadow in the encounter as written, but I’ve grown quite fond of the critters over the course of the adventure and so I used my DM’s prerogative to insert one into the fight. It missed Brandis anyway and was promptly killed by Arturo, I think.

Since there were six players, I also added a second Frenzied Werewolf to the monster mix. The two werewolves had an at-will power called lycanthrope fury that allowed them to use both their claw and bite attacks, but at the expense of taking 5 damage. The tactics sections of the encounter material said that the werewolves ought to use this “power recklessly,” so I had them use it every round. Hey, you only live once. Well, unless a necromancer gets a hold of you, of course. Whenever a character was hit by a bite attack, he took 1d8+5 damage and at the end of the encounter he had to make a saving throw. On a failure, he contracted werewolf moon frenzy (stage 1). Brandis, Enzio, and Roth all got hit by bite attacks, so they had to make their saving throws once the fight was over. Brandis and Roth both failed their saves, so they found themselves experiencing the fever which every adventurer knows is the start of werewolf moon frenzy. (In stage 1 of the disease, the character takes a -2 penalty to Will. At the end of the party’s next extended rest, Brandis and Roth will need to make Endurance checks to see if they recover or if the frenzy progresses to stage 2.)

Once the fight started, Grivelda grabbed Valkan and her broomstick, thumped her broom on the floor, and magically jumped into the rafters of the house with the boy. Eldan once again threatened innocent bystanders (during Session 3’s encounter, he set the townspeople’s house on fire when they wouldn’t let him come into their home so that he could escape the dusk beast that was stalking him) when he cursed Grivelda and told her that if she was a magic user, she ought to be down on the ground zapping wolves. The old woman gave Eldan a dirty look and snapped, “You’re the big hero, you take care of it.” Once the fight was over, Grivelda came down from the rafters and passed out healing potions to everyone… everyone except Eldan, that is. All she gave him was another dirty look and said, “No soup for you!” She also retrieved a bundle from beneath loose boards in the kitchen floor and gave Brandis a +1 vicious longsword.

With Mother Grivelda’s advice to guide them, the characters have a daunting task ahead. They need to find Nathaire and put Vontarin’s ghost to rest again. Since they have few other leads at this point, next week they’ll check out Vontarin’s old manor house.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tomb of Horrors, Session 8: The Waste Matter Hits the Fan

As Jack turned to make her way toward the dais, she reached out to touch one of the columns that filled the throne room. Scores of the massive columns, each carved of colorful pastel stone, supported the ceiling of the huge chamber. As soon as Jack’s fingers came into contact with the pillar, she started to float quickly upward toward the ceiling 20 feet above. The columns in the throne room were actually Pillars of Levitation! Jack found herself helplessly bouncing along the ceiling, heading directly for the mosaic of the green devil face in the chamber’s northwest corner. She desperately reached out to try and grab onto one of the other pillars, but she found that a sinister magic imbued the columns and ceiling with an icy slickness. Laramie, seeing his floating comrade’s predicament, ran below Jack and attempted to throw her a rope, but the well intentioned druid rolled a 1 on his Acrobatics check. Doh! Zerbitt, rapidly positioning himself below the green devil face, held up his 10-foot pole so that Jack could grab onto it, but by that time the magical breeze propelling Jack was too strong to be resisted. Zerbitt and Laramie watched helplessly as Jack was sucked into the devil’s mouth and disappeared from sight. Uh oh.

As you’ll recall, at the end of Session #7 of our Tomb of Horrors adventure we left our four heroes trapped in the Juggernaut Corridor. A terrifying magical construct (played by a plastic baby elephant that I picked up at Hobby Lobby) was advancing, then suddenly retreating, charting an erratic course along the corridor on its heavy bloodstained wheels. At the start of our most recent session, Jack (revenant human assassin), Zerbitt (human thief), and Laramie (eladrin druid) breathed a sigh of relief as the construct rolled past them, heading back east toward its start area. (Unfortunately, Marrak’s player wasn’t able to join us for Session #8 because of a family emergency. We missed you, Steve!)

Once the construct was past them, Jack was the first of the group to make a break southward toward safety. As she neared the doorway at the end of the hallway, though, the floor suddenly collapsed underneath her. She fell straight down about ten feet and then the pit turned into a slide-like chute that deposited her in a 5-foot-diameter crawlspace. She could see that the crawlspace went off to the north. After Laramie and Zerbitt jumped into the pit and slid down the chute to join her, the party made their way through the crawlspace. Another corridor and a wondrous door lay beyond the narrow crawlspace.

Pillared Throne Room

After exiting the crawlspace, the group saw that an enormous door filled the corridor from floor to ceiling, gleaming with the dull sheen of adamantine. Once they pushed through the door, the party was in a huge chamber. A gentle breeze was blowing through the room. The ceiling of the room was supported by scores of massive columns, each carved of colorful pastel stone. In the northwest and northeast corners, just below the ceiling, the walls were set with mosaics of green and blue devil faces. Other than being set up so high, they appeared to be exactly the same as that first seen in the entrance hall to the tomb. Jack also found three doors (two blue and the other a faint lilac color) set at different points along the chamber’s north wall. Meanwhile, across the room, Zerbitt and Laramie discovered a huge dais to the south. Atop the dais rested an obsidian throne inlaid with silver and ivory skulls. A gold crown and a scepter of gold and silver rested innocently upon the throne. (The crown was solid gold and set with white diamonds while the scepter was crafted of a silver-gold alloy, with a golden ball at one end and a silver knob at the other.) The front of the throne was set with silver panel featuring a replica of the crown. In the farthest corner of the room, Zerbitt and Laramie also came across the charred remains of a half-dozen adventurers circled around a huge, glowing orange gem.

After Zerbitt used his 10 foot pole to carefully push the crown and scepter into his pack, he and Laramie spent a while messing around with the throne. They tried to push it, sat on it, and tried to push it again. Nothing happened. Giving up on the throne for the time being, they moved north to join Jack. Zerbitt and Jack both tied rope to two shovels and tossed them up into the devils’ mouths. Both shovels, along with the rope, were sucked into the mouths and disappeared. It was after this little experiment that Jack decided to touch one of the pillars as she made her way across the room. After disappearing into the green devil’s mouth, Jack was teleported nude to the Tomb’s entrance hall. Standing next to the 'original' green devil face in the hallway, she found a shovel and some rope at her feet. Picking them up, she made her way back to the Chapel of Evil, hoping to find her gear laid out on the altar(like had happened before), but nothing was there. Heading back out into the Great Hall of Spheres, she decided to go through the misty archway. The archway teleported her to the top of the hill above the entrance to the Tomb. Discouraged, she slowly made her way back down into the entrance hall…

Meanwhile, back in the Pillared Throne Room, Zerbitt and Laramie once again set to pushing the throne. It once again wouldn’t budge, not even a bit. Stumped by the throne, Laramie decided to pick up the gem. With a successful Arcana check, the druid found that the gem was a powerful magic item that allowed a creature to make a single wish for anything it desired. Not realizing it was actually a Cursed Wishing Gem that reverses or perverts the wish, bringing doom to that character and all named in the wish, Laramie wished that Jack would appear and be standing next to him.

At that exact moment back out in the entrance hall, poor Jack— still nude and still pitifully clutching her shovel and rope— found herself being drawn irresistibly toward the evil-looking face of the great green devil. Unable to stop herself, she was swept into the devil’s dead black mouth. The mouth, a sphere of annihilation, instantly and completely and forever destroyed her.

In the Pillared Throne Room, Laramie wasn’t exactly sure what had just happened, except that it probably wasn’t anything good. Jack hadn’t appeared, and the gem he was holding had begun to pulse with a sinister red glow. A second later, it exploded in his hand.

Careful what you wish for! Wish magic was a popular part of older editions of D&D— not just for the power it offered players, but for the fun a DM could have twisting the wishes in amusing ways. This gem in the Tomb takes that concept to its worst level.

Apparently deciding that he didn’t have much to lose after the gem exploded in his hand, Laramie boldly put on the crown and sat on the throne. Nothing happened. Well he could see within the darkened room as if in normal daylight, and he suspected that while wearing the crown he would be immune to the effect of the pillars of levitation… but other than that, nothing happened.

Heading back up to the north end of the Pillared Throne Room, Zerbitt and Laramie checked out the lilac door. Opening the door, they found a small, bare chamber that had another door on the opposite wall. Pairs of swords crossed behind shields hung there— three such sets were on each of the side walls. When Zerbitt entered the chamber, shields and weapons flew off the walls of their own accord, battering and slashing the thief until he dropped to the ground, unconscious and dying. Stunned by the speed and ferocity of the trap’s attack on his ally, Laramie quickly rallied and reached into the chamber, grabbed Zerbitt, and dragged him back through the doorway to safety. After the druid healed his gravely wounded companion, the pair of adventurers took a short rest.

Undaunted by their experience with the Cursed Armory, Laramie and Zerbitt decided to open one of the blue doors. They chose the one to the west. Behind it, they found an empty chamber. Empty, that is, except for an unconscious drow lying on the dusty floor. After rousing the mysterious figure by poking it with Zerbitt’s handy 10 foot pole, they discovered that the drow was Jack’s “brother” (don’t ask), Rylan! Welcome to the Tomb of Horrors, Rylan! As Zerbitt and Laramie introduced themselves and invited Rylan to join their quest against Acererak, they studiously avoided mentioning what had just happened to Jack.

Wondering what and/or who they might find behind the second blue door just across the way, the trio of adventurers opened it and discovered a large wooden sarcophagus resting upon a low stone table. Piling into the small chamber, Zerbitt, Laramie, and Rylan attempted to lift the sarcophagus and carry it out into the Pillared Throne Room. Their plan (are you ready for this?) was to throw the sarcophagus against one of the pillars, breaking it open in that way so that if there just happened to be anything scary in it, the scary thing would touch the pillar and float up the ceiling. Yeah, I know… but I didn’t say it was a good plan, I just said it was a plan.

It will probably come as no surprise to you that in attempting to lift the sarcophagus off the table, our heroes dropped it. The lid slid off, revealing the mummified remains of a human, its tattered wrappings partially undone. A huge gem was barely visible in the corpse’s left eye socket. Zerbitt lit a torch and tried to set the mummy on fire, but unbeknownst to the thief, the corpse’s wrappings were imbued with resistance magic that overcame its normal vulnerability to fire. Doh! Good try, though, Zerbitt. Next, Laramie and Zerbitt synchronizingly stabbed the mummy with their swords. (By that point, Rylan was slowly edging backward out of the chamber, wondering just what he’d gotten himself into by teaming up with these two crazy loons.) When stabbing the mummy didn’t provoke any sort of reaction from it, Zerbitt decided he’d use his sword to pop the gem out of its eye. And that, dear reader, is when the shite well and truly hit the fan.

As soon as the gem popped out of its eye socket, the corpse animated as a Mummy Crypt Master. It hit Zerbitt with stunning strike, sliding the thief 3 squares out the doorway and into one of the pillars. Up Zerbitt went, levitated out of the fight. As Laramie and Rylan scrambled out of the small chamber, the mummy crypt master pursued them. While trying to dodge the monster’s relentless attacks, the druid and drow watched as Zerbitt was sucked into the blue devil face’s gaping maw and disappeared from sight. Zerbitt was teleported into the Chamber of Hopelessness. That small chamber was strewn with numerous skeletons and it was foul with the scent of rot. A small fountain spilled water into a basin that overflowed and drained away through side holes along the floor. In glowing letters, a grim warning was set along one wall: “You who dared to violate my tomb now pay the price. Stay here and die slowly of starvation, or open the door to the south and enter where certain but quick death awaits.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, deciding quite rightly that the two of them were no match for the vicious mummy, Laramie and Rylan hatched a desperate plan— they’d make their way over to the blue devil face and follow Zerbitt through it. Yeah, I know… but I didn’t say it was a good plan, I just said it was a plan.

Well, Rylan was able to make his way past the crypt master by doing some kind of acrobatic spider climb deal up along the walls, so he had no problem getting sucked into the devil’s mouth. He was duly teleported into the Chamber of Hopelessness. After giving the bewildered drow a moment to take in his dismal surroundings, Zerbitt walked over to him and said, “Hey, have you seen this cool gem I got back there?”

Out in the Pillared Throne Room, Laramie didn’t have any nifty move that would allow him to zip along the walls past the mummy and up to the devil’s face in the corner, so he’d have to do it the old fashioned way: touch a pillar and float over to the devil’s mouth. But first he’d have to take off the crown, right? Right. (Because wearing it made the PC immune to the effect of the pillars of levitation, remember?) But when Laramie tried to take off the crown, he found that he couldn’t remove it from his head. Uh oh.

In the Chamber of Hopelessness, Rylan pooh-poohed the grim warning on the wall and opened the door to the south. Beyond it lay the Cursed Armory! Just as Zerbitt was starting to say, “You know, just before we found you, I almost died in that…”, Rylan dashed out into the armory, running as quickly as he could for the closed door to the south. As the drow entered the first space, two pairs of shields and weapons animated, flew off the walls, and attacked him. Those attacks bloodied him, but still he pressed on. Two more pairs of shields and swords flew off the walls and attacked him. In the blink of an eye, the drow was dead-dead, knocked down to -66 hit points. Zerbitt, still back in the Chamber of Hopelessness, stood with his mouth hanging open, unable to believe how quickly he had just seen Rylan battered and slashed to little bloody pieces before his eyes.

And that, boys and girls, is where we had to end our eighth session of Tomb of Horrors. Laramie is out in the Pillared Throne Room all by his lonesome, getting pummelled by the mummy crypt master. Zerbitt is trapped in the Chamber of Hopelessness. Will Marrak rejoin them just in time for a TPK?? Will another “brother” of Jack and Rylan’s (don’t ask) somehow appear in the Tomb and tip the balance of power in the party’s favor, averting the disaster that is unfolding???

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dark Legacy of Evard, Session 4: Zombies, Shadows, and Ghouls... Oh my!

At Total Escape Games in Broomfield, CO we once again were able to run two full tables of players for D&D Encounters: Dark Legacy of Evard. This season of Encounters (a 13 session mini-campaign featuring a town that has passed into the Shadowfell) really seems to have captured the interest of local D&D players. We have had new players showing up every week. In fact, this past Wednesday night we could’ve easily run three tables. Several guys showed up a bit late and decided just to pass on playing when they saw that both tables already had six players sitting around them. So take note, dear readers: It’s best to show up early if you want to play DLoE at our FLGS, Total Escape Games!

The six guys at my table played Arturo (human warpriest), Brandis (human paladin), Eldan (elf necromancer), Enzio III (human assassin), Nadarr (dragonborn paladin), and Silas (drow vampire).

Chapel of Peace

Soon after our heroes’ battle against the pack of dusk beasts that had been terrorizing the residents of Duponde, a pair of town guards found them and said that Brother Zelan at the Chapel of Peace was asking for them. The guards led them to the western end of town and then to a small temple that had a crumbling bell tower. The shrine was serving as a makeshift stronghold. A number of townspeople huddled inside, and six nervous militia members guarded the doors and watched the street.

The characters found that Brother Zelan was a stubborn, aggressive old man who said that he’d be out hunting monsters with a mace and holy symbol himself if he didn’t have to look after the people seeking shelter in the chapel. He asked the PCs about what they’d seen and done so far that night, interrupting with remarks such as “Serves them right!” or “That foul creature had it coming!”

When he’d heard their tales derring-do, Brother Zelan provided the party with some news of his own.

“All this trouble started in the graveyard just down the hill. Just before the shadows came, I heard voices chanting in the distance. I went out on the steps to look around, and I could see ghost lights dancing in the trees and dark figures skulking about the tombs. I think I saw that wizard fellow who has been staying at the Old Owl.

I started toward the scoundrels, but before I could confront them, I heard a terrible cry. A wave of dark power swept out from the cemetery and changed the night to… to this.

But enough talk. I have a gift to aid you heroes. When I was a young acolyte here, some fifty years past, the wizard Vontarin came to the chapel and put this in our keeping just before his duel with Evard. He said that this was a potent talisman against the power of shadow, and that if shadows ever threatened Duponde, it could be of service. Maybe you can go to the graveyard and put it to use?”

Brother Zelan gave the characters a golden holy symbol containing a red gem. Then he urged them to hurry to the graveyard and investigate what happened there.

Pillaged Tomb

Duponde’s cemetery was filled with mossy old tombstones leaning at odd angles. Crooked cobbled paths littered with cracked stones and wiry tufts of grass led between gnarled, leafless trees. The unnatural gloom hanging over the town was especially dense there— palpable fear lingered in the air. Ahead of the adventurers was a stone mausoleum, its roof decorated with small, leering gargoyles. But between our heroes and the tomb, several clumsy figures dressed in dirt-stained garb shambled through the shadows. They looked freshly slain. It was time to roll for initiative.

The 3 grasping zombies (three laborers who helped Nathaire open the mausoleum) attacked the party, using Slam and Zombie Grasp. Once the zombies attacked, a couple of leeching shadows emerged from the bushes and hedges and flowed toward the PCs. At the same time, a ghoul flesh seeker also rushed out of hiding and used the cool sounding Prepare for Sacrifice against Nadarr. But it missed. In fact, it and the other ghoul flesh seeker never hit with Prepare for Sacrifice, which really depressed me because I was so wanting to get to use their uber-cool sounding Render unto Orcus attack.

Nadarr did get hit by a leeching shadow’s Shadow Meld attack, though, so that really lifted my spirits. I think the dragonborn has been hit with that attack every session the leeching shadows have appeared, so it’s becoming a bit of a tradition at our table. As has the fact that Eldan (which this past week I was informed is pronounced “El-don”) continually gets himself in precarious predicaments. Like the deal with the war cart. This week he climbed up on one of the benches in the cemetery and found himself surrounded by a leeching shadow, a grasping zombie, and a ghoul flesh seeker. He eventually escaped and hid behind a tombstone.

Anyway, there was combat, the shadow monsters and undead were vanquished, and then the party got down to the business of searching the mausoleum. Discarded on the path, they found several crowbars that someone had used to open the tomb. Inside, the tomb contained a large sarcophagus, which had also been forced open. Inside was a black-boned skeleton clad in tattered robes. The characters had been told by the townspeople that those bones were the mortal remains of Evard. The bones were well preserved, despite being blackened. They looked undisturbed, as though whoever opened the sarcophagus stopped as soon as the seal was broken. With a successful Arcana check, the party could tell that some kind of magic trap had recently been triggered there.

Our heroes also found Nathaire’s journal inside the mausoleum, near the base of the sarcophagus. The journal, a book bound in black leather, was written in a code that looked as if it would take some time to decipher. Perhaps the same amount of time needed to take an extended rest. Yes, the party finally got to take an extended rest at the end of this session, so next Wednesday night they should have full hit points and healing surges, as well as 1 action point and access to all his/her daily powers. The players who have been here for all four sessions can also level up their characters (to 2nd level).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tomb of Horrors, Session 7: Of Sirens and Constructs

Since I’m a week behind in posting our Tomb of Horrors sessions, I’m going to fly through this write up (hey, it’s not like anyone died-died in this session) and mostly let the photos tell the story. But I promise I’ll make it up with a super-duper write up for our most recent session (in which PCs were dropping left and right).

In the photo above you can see Zerbitt checking out the dead end southern corridor. Prior to that, back at the intersection, Marrak had taken point and triggered the pit trap that lay there. With an impressive move (for a dwarf), he managed to fling himself backward and avoid falling into the pit. Of course, then he (and Jack) would clumsily fall into the trap several times just trying to jump over it while exploring the corridors.

Anyway, back to Zerbitt… The canny thief was actually able to disable a cave in trap at the end of the southern corridor after Laramie spotted that the ceiling was unstable. After Zerbitt disabled the trap and made certain that the blank wall at the end of the corridor was really just a blank wall (and not, say, a secret door), the party headed back up to the intersection. That was when Jack, with all of 4 hit points and 0 surges, attempted to jump over the pit trap and failed his Athletics check. Oops. It took a healing potion and a bit of mercy from your humble DM to save the unconscious and dying Jack (I let Laramie give Jack the potion and use one of his own surges for the 10 hp buff since Jack didn’t have surges left). Once that was all sorted out, our heroes explored the eastern hallway. They found that the last four squares before a door were made up of glowing blue floor tiles… an electrified floor trap! Zerbitt was able to disable the trap (although he might have been zapped once or twice in the process, but I won’t mention that). Beyond the door, the corridor started to fill with a strange silvery mist. As the party bravely made their way through the mist, they discovered that the corridor led to the…

Cavern of Mists

From out of the mists steps a regal human female. As she prepares to attack, her voice rings out like music: “Forgive me…”

Once they discerned that the siren’s heart wasn’t in the battle, but that she was under some sort of compulsion to fight, the party spent a bit of time trying to break Acererak’s control over her. But while they racked up four failures during that skill challenge and only one success, the siren was pounding them but good and they finally (wisely) decided just forget the skill challenge and take her out the old fashioned way: through combat.

It took them quite a long while, but our heroes were eventually victorious. During the fight, Zerbitt and Laramie ended up taking dirt naps but they were both saved by Marrak (it’s always nice to have a cleric in the party). The party came out of the battle against the cavern siren with more than a few bumps and bruises, and also one silver sword with some mysterious runes etched into the blade.

After taking an extended rest (the last one they’ll be able to take in the Tomb??), the intrepid adventurers went back out to the intersection of the corridors and headed north. At the end of that hallway, they discovered a secret doorway which opened for them only after they slid the aforementioned sword into a slot hidden in the door. Beyond the doorway they found the…

Juggernaut Corridor

From ahead comes a dull rumbling. Bursting through the swinging stone doors, a massive construct fills the corridor as it advances on heavy bloodstained wheels.

This encounter was pretty funny, mostly because of Marrak’s almost paralyzing fear of the construct. And because, after the construct had rolled past where they stood safely on the stairs, the entire party took off behind it because they were convinced that what they needed to do was find an exit somewhere up the corridor to the north. But as they all went sprinting up the corridor and turned the corner, they were confronted with a dead end! And that was when the construct reversed course and started back toward them. Well, of course, at that point they were trapped in the dead end. Between Jack’s earnest protests that the hallway just couldn’t be a dead end and Marrak’s curling up into the fetal position as the construct drew ever nearer, I could hardly keep from laughing out loud.

But everyone except Jack actually managed to make it past the construct and back to the safety of the stairs, and then it was closing time at Total Escape Games so that’s where we had to end our seventh session of Tomb of Horrors.