I last wrote play recaps about my Dungeon Fantasy campaign more than a year ago, soon after it started. Writing detailed reports about my other campaign at that time exhausted me, so I tried a more summarized format for this one. That didn’t stick either. I’m taking it up again, but primarily as a way to provide recaps for my players since the roster changes from session to session due to the campaign being open in nature. I could use some refreshers as well since I must confess I’ve become lazy with my own notes lately.
What has gone before (sessions 6-33)
After exploring the caverns under the “hobgoblin outpost” (which I’ve started writing up in the last report but never finished), the group decided not to follow some tunnels which led deeper underground but to return upstairs and check two areas they haven’t so far. One yielded an encounter with an angry ghost who mopped the floor with the party. They managed to retreat and vowed to defeat it later. The other led out of this dungeon section and into a large, built-out, fortified cavern dubbed the “lava cave” due to a stream of lava flowing through it. Exploration ensued but eventually the group passed the source of the lava and found an enormous underground lake of it on the other side. In the lake, against the far away cavern wall, a stone castle was carved out of the top of an island. There was a bridge leading to it, so that was the group’s next destination.
Both the “lava cave” and the stone castle deserve articles of their own, but for now a fast-forward will have to suffice. Within the castle there was an ominous door heavily warded with magic. Dubbed the “red door” due to the primary magic circle covering it being made of blood which shed red light, the party eventually disabled the warding rituals and ventured beyond. This is where the last couple of sessions have been happening.
Beyond the Red Door (sessions 34-38)
The area on the other side looked like cellars belonging to the castle, but soon the party noticed that the entirety of it was both a low-mana zone and infused with a background of demonic energies, making it low-sanctity as well. A creepy feeling of otherness permeated the atmosphere, and figments of darkness were playing tricks at the edges of everyone’s vision. The deeper the party went, the more twisted the whole place looked, with the corridors themselves starting to seem jagged and sinister. The stone displayed strange properties, from slightly bleeding at places to sometimes resisting being shaped by magic. One such attempt even produced a “living” rock which sprouted spikes and attacked the group. Big Ron, the current party Wizard, concluded that the background magical aura, which was already present in the entire castle, was much stronger here. It had mind-affecting properties, and anyone staying for more than a dozen hours would end up with their mind in a haze, “claimed” by the place and unable or unwilling to leave.
The party proceeded forward, undaunted. The area was in complete darkness without any light sources. After going through several storerooms they found a “hell’s kitchen”. It was a kitchen, originally belonging to this part of the castle, but it was now inhabited by a couple of “butcher demons”, like the one the party previously encountered in the servants’ quarters of the castle. They were joined in their attack on the group by one of the humanoid corpses which they were spit-roasting; it blazed its way to the fight in a stream of fire and proceeded to display further fiery abilities. The party of course prevailed (the demons seemed weaker than the one previously encountered) and looted the kitchen.
In a room opposite the kitchen there was a crack in the wall. Following it revealed a small cave with a pool of water in it, and several smaller tunnels branching off away from it. One tunnel yielded an undead corpse crushed under a cave-in and another some large crystals Alyssa the thief pried away. The third terminated in a submerged section. Since nobody was interested in diving either through the pool or the third tunnel, they returned through the crack to the cellars.
The next storeroom had a several yards wide hole in its floor which was obviously not an original part of its design. It proved just a dozen yards deep and a tunnel lead off from it, so the party descended down. The cavernous tunnel winded horizontally and started to climb vertically, and its stone eventually took on a reddish color and a jagged texture. After an encounter with a steam vent which burned Tallus the wrestler, the tunnel’s ceiling opened up to reveal another cellar room above it. The tunnel also continued further onward, but the group decided to climb up into the room and continue that way instead.
The room exited to a corridor which terminated with a wall on one side and a large double door on the other. Examination revealed the wall end contained a discrete door which acted as “secret” from the other side, the other side being the previously explored cellar area. The metal door was locked and trapped, severely zapping Tallus with lightning. The corridor beyond led to another such door, as well as a large metal hatch on the floor before it. Both the hatch and the other door were locked and trapped, but the trap pointed to the other side. Since the side they came through was a “simple” cellar, Acor concluded through his architectural knowledge that the area beyond must be some sort of secret, secure place which also didn’t want anything escaping from inside of it.
His suspicions were confirmed as beyond the second metal door there were two rooms with rows of prison cells. They were filled with corpses and skeletons, but in one of the rooms some of the “corpses” still seemed alive (barely moving) and a trio of demonically altered humanoids (such as were previously encountered when the red door was opened) was torturing them. Most of the party didn’t pay much attention to stealth so the trio attacked, but they were swiftly dispatched by Sir Barrister the minotaur knight’s halberd and Gugro the alchemist’s death cloud potion. Gugro examined their bodies and found some left-behind surgical instruments in them. The party eventually granted mercy to the barely living wretches and proceeded onward beyond the prison block.
But that is the tale of the latest session, which I will publish in the next post. A big reason for writing it up separately is trying to get a hang of a format in which I can write about the course of my games in a sustainable manner.