Sunday, October 7, 2012

[Actual Play] Session 1

For our first session proper (and by "proper" I mean "conforming to my experimental new school plus old school GM procedures, on which more in a later post), we had four PCs: Brother Charles (from last time, a tankish kind of 4e class), Father Bernard (cleric), Brother Canus (an artificer, buffer/debuffer class), and Brother Lucas (a ranger).

TIMESKIP

Since the prelude, a couple things have happened. Father Laurentius has succeeded Augustine and is now the Abbot, in charge of the whole mission. He's sent a couple monks back to Rome to give the news and ask for advice from the pope about all the supernatural goings-on.

ONE BURIAL AND MANY FUNERALS

We started things with the burial of Augustine of Canterbury (later sainted). Turns out there's a crypt below the Church of Saint Martin. That can't be infested with undead, right!?


But of course it is infested with undead, which they discovered when they tried (with NPCs Bros. Cadrus and Codrus) to inter poor old Augustine in one of the two empty clergy-crypts below the church. There was a statue of Saint Martin there, and two deacons, two bishops, and old Martin's bones himself got reanimated and joined the party.

The party wisely decided to back on up. Those undead deacons were crawling on the ceiling man, and the bishops were shooting bone-shards outside the range of their torchlight. BAD SCENE. So the squishier members retreated up the 5' wide stairs, while Brother Carolus held things down midway up the stairs, just out of line of sight of the Bone Bishops.

The chokepoint tactics worked; and, even though Brother Carolus almost got killed by a Bone Bishop during mop-up, the party survived with some sweet XP. (I always underestimate the strength of a 4e party.) Cheers to Bro. Bernard for stopping Bro. Charles from bleeding out just in time.

After informing the cyng, ├░egns, and Bishop Liudhard about the situation, the monks of the Order decided to explore a bit farther into the crypt.

First thing, they took the cloak off of St. Martin. This thing is their first magic item. I'm not using 4e-style magic items. Whenever they find one, it's unique, and I assign whatever properties to it I feel appropriate. It's only a half-cloak (since St. Martin gave the other half to a naked beggar), but the thing has at least one other miraculous property the party doesn't know about yet. Brother Lucas is currently wearing it.

SECRET DOORS, HARD CHOICES, & ELVES

After a lot of exploration, the party discovered the following:

REANIMATION

Watch out for those undead. The party didn't dismember them after the battle, and so, a while later, they had to reprise their battle with six of the undead laity. It wasn't a problem, but, if more had arisen, it could have gone very, very badly.

ELVES

The terrified children telling stories about seeing elves in the Blean Wood may not be lying.

After all, it's a pretty creepy forest that people stay out of anyway. According to the scop Gadd, a hipster kind of poet/historian that entertains the cyng in his mead hall, the elves are serious business: shadowy demons that feed on deer and man, playing music and laying out banquets to lure men into their territories.

The party interviewed Huss, Ulf, and Helga, three kids who said they'd just seen elves in the forest, and, using their info, entered the wood directly north of Canterbury. They found a miniature scorn pole facing C-bury as well as faint, faint tracks leading off to the NE. Since it was getting dark, they decided to head back to town. (I kept missing all my random encounter rolls!)

BODY OF WATER

There's a secret door in the crypt, behind a painting of the crucifixion, that leads 70' down to a 60x20' pool of water at least 10' deep, beyond which the party can only see 10' of 60' wide stairs that go up for who knows how long. Brother Charles is terrified of water (because his player has had bad experiences in the past with D&D bodies of water), and so they are being PTSD-level-cautious about this area. They've left some jerky tied to a rope bobbing in the water, "fishing" for whatever might be lurking there.

ANTIPOPE PLATE

There's a pair of symmetrical secret doors on either side of the clergy crypt tunnel. They lead down 30' to a 10x10' gold plate with an icon of an antipope on it. "MATTHAEUS 16.19" is written on both (i.e., N and S) side of the plate. Here's the biblical reference:
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 ESV)
And this is kind of what the relief sculpture on the plate looks like, except imagine a skull wearing the miter, and invert the skull such that the keys are "above" the skull + miter combo: 

In any case, they piled about 200 lbs of rubble on the plate (and Brother Charles) jumped on it before they gave up trying to force it open. It remains a mystery for later. 

THE STATUE SHAFT

The last discovery of the night was that the statue of St. Martin conceals a shaft 60' deep that enters into a domed room 40' tall, making a 100' drop in toto. Weird thing, though? That room had starlight in it, grass on the floor, and you could hear cicadas. There were trees too, six big ones lining a central lane:

And the domed ceiling seemed to be an orrery. Weird. They lowered down Brother Lucas (the ranger character), and he almost got torn in half by a tree. He wrenched free at the last second, though, and, with the brothers pulling and a tremendous effort climbing, the bro made it back to the crypt in one piece. 

They retreated back to Canterbury, locked everything down tight, and that's where we ended up for the night. 

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