Session 10 (Jon’s DCC Game)

Session 10  10.17.12

 (P)tarth: wizard and portal master(Kevin), accompanied by his french Familiar (Imp named Ganbon)
Abattoir: hobbit and luck-providing bobble head(mike C.) (Ok, abattoir is not really his name – It’s ‘Abathon’ or something like that).
Kreglar: Priest of Cthulhu (or something like that) (Dave M.)
Soltar the Evangelist: Priest of Arestimus (Dave P.)
Marlowe: Elf (stef)
Almuric: thief and masked avenger (Reuben)

We had gathered in Kevin’s cellar for the usual dice and bullshitting. Beers were opened and Reuben ate what looked like a pot pie of some kind. Mike D. was absent so there were no peanut M&Ms or Twizzlers. Dave P., however, had returned, no longer a bachelor.  Unfortunately, Jon. C. left half his notes at home (including Dave P.’s “Zordinar” character sheet, so Dave P. rolled up a new guy). Jon C. left to return home and retrieve his missing items, but the traffic was unrelenting and the weather was bad so he soon came back.
At the end of last session we had managed to open the portcullis, chased away a beastial figure of some sort, dropped another into the moat with a sleep spell and Kreglar had obtained a black banner with a skull. Pablo Von Ott (Mike D.s PC) felt ill and returned to the village for some Immodium while Sotar (Dave P.’s new PC) wandered in through the gate and announced that he was here to help.  “You look like a trustworthy fellow,” we replied.  “Take your place in the ranks!”

We reviewed our rumors as (P)tarth climbed up onto the roof of the gatehouse via a ladder to inspect the portcullis. We recalled that there were rumors telling us that a fantastic treasure could be found under the tower, stay away from the well, the keep was originally built by a pair of brothers who were chaos lords, etc.  As we did this, (P)tarth lowered the portcullis and cast ‘ward portal’ on it.  He was upset with us for having retreated ‘too early’ last time when we were sprayed with pumpkin seeds and plant zombie spoo.

Having had our egress cut off, we advanced a bit into the soggy courtyard.  The west wall of the castle had collapsed and the gatehouse was somewhat ruined.  There appeared to be some ruined buildings on the north side of the castle and a large building to the east that was decorated with toad-like gargoyles.  There was a pit in the northeast corner that appeared to be filled with mist, a well in the center of the courtyard and a tower in the southeast corner. Last session one of the monstrous sentries had run into the tower in the southeast corner via a small door that gave access to the parapet on the walls.

Almuric and Kreglar decided to look at the well even though they had specifically been warned to stay away from it.  As they walked towards it, it appeared to be further and further away — WTF? Crediting this problem to someone having fucked with evil bad chaos magic at some point in the past, we decided not to mess with it for now.

We decided to start with the southeast tower, instead.  Kreglar and Marlowe approached the door, as the rest hung back and (P)tarth remained on the roof of the gatehouse. Marlowe tried the door, couldn’t open it so he and Kreglar decided to return to the gatehouse, climb the ladder and attempt to open the door that led from the parapet on the wall into the upper story of the tower. As we were walking back to the gatehouse, the hobbit tried the door again and this time it opened!  Putting it down to his luck, the hobbit and Sotar the cleric fired up a couple of torches and began to enter… Sotar reported hearing a moaning, whimpering sound.

Suddenly, an axe hacked down from above and clanged off Sotar’s shield which he raised just in the nick of time — clang!  Some of the hobbit’s luck must be rubbing off.  There were several bestial creatures with bloody spears and bits of ragged armor marked with chaos runes gamboling around inside the tower’s darkness.  The hobbit and the cleric tried to form up a shield wall to keep the monsters in the tower where they could not use their greater number to advantage as Almuric hunkered down by the keep, loading his crossbow, Marlowe and Kreglar raced back to support their companions and (P)tarth strolled casually along the battlements, chatting to his French imp. “Zere zeems to be a battle over zere, no?” said the imp, adjusting his beret and twirling his wee mostache while puffing away on a cigarette.

The beast men appeared to be a mix of birds, beasts, etc., and were all disgusting and stinky.  Each had one big bloodshot eye and bad hygiene. The door on the battlements flew open and a cow headed man stomped out, followed by an owl headed man.  Down below, vulture and salamander headed-men were forcing their way past the cleric and the Halfling.  Almuric fired his crossbow, critically wounding one, then fumbled in a comical manner (that’s what the table said).  Kreglar cast a ‘bless spell’ and power oozed through his body — suddenly even Marlowe (who was standing next to him) got a +5 on all of his rolls.  Surging with confidence, Marlowe tried to blast the bull-headed beast man on the parapet with ‘Color Spray,’ but rolled so badly that only a few colorful sparks dribbled out of his fingers and bounced off the beastman without effect.

Over at the door we began to fight in earnest, killing and maiming beastmen and getting only a few wounds in turn.  Although scary looking, they were not very good at combat.  (P)tarth cast the ultimate color spray where surging rainbows of power whooshed out of his hands and enveloped the two beastmen who were advancing upon him on the parapet.  Meanwhile, down in the courtyard, despite some comical fumbles and underwhelming criticals, we managed to kill the rest of these stink beast-creatures.

The inside of the tower was a foul charnel house — blood, guts and skins scattered everywhere.  The floor of the place was covered in rotting flesh, guts and bones.  A stairway led down underground, a spiral staircase would up to the battlements and there were three peasants suspended by chains, beaten, bloodied and barely alive.

Up on the battlements, Almuric and (P)tarth slit the throats of the incapacitated beastmen. (P)tarth found a fancy torc decorated with skull medallions and chaos runes; after a whispered conference with Almuric, (P)tarth allowed Almuric to try it on despite the objections of his French Imp.  “But mon Frere, ze Torc she is obviously magical, no?  Must keep it for yourself, eh?” Meanwhile, Padre Sotar was tending to the peasants, who were mostly unconscious, trying to heal them, as Marlowe searched the bodies of the beast men, looking for a key to the manacles. Kreglar was digging through the offal on the floor.  A squealing, disgusting leech-like worm tried to attach itself to his skin and Kreglar batted it across the room with his spear.  It hit the wall and the hobbit burned it with a torch, killing it.

Up on the battlements, Almuric tried to put on the torc and, like trying to force two magnets together, it flew out of his hands and landed in the ditch.  Gondan retrieved it from the ditch, shouting, “Zoot alors!” and gave it back to (P)tarth ,

After being unlocked from their chains, given sips of water, a bite to eat and some healing, the prisoners were basically ambulatory and wanted to leave immediately.  Since the gate was sealed by a portal spell (!), we lowered the peasants from the battlements with ropes and they made their way back to town on their own power.  Sotar went with them when he saw (P)tarth commanding his imp to follow them and caught up just in time to see Gondan swoop down at the heads of the peasants as they cowered, screaming.  Sotar chased the imp off and escorted the poor unfortunates as far as the main road, where a passing trader promised to help them get back to Hamlet (…or maybe the trader clapped them into irons as soon as the cleric’s back was turned and sold them as slaves; we shall probably never know). Having balmed his conscience with providing for the less fortunate, Sotar returned to the keep to rejoin the group where a nasty surprise awaited him later…

Kreglar had been paying attention when the rumors were being presented in the village of Hamlet and continued to sweep aside the offal and guts that covered the floor because he had heard that there was a ‘great treasure’ hidden under the tower.  Under the rotting mess, he found a wooden trap door which he pried up with his spear, revealing a small hole filled with treasure.  There was a quantity of coins, a fine elven cloak (probably ‘elven’ with a small ‘e’ since Kreglar did not disappear when he put it on) and a jeweled shortsword.  “Mine!” screamed the hobbit and he grabbed the sword. Since he had been fighting with a dagger up until this point, we were glad to see him better armed. (P)tarththen gave the skull torc to Kreglar in exchange for the fine elven cloak.  Rather than wearing it, Kreglar stowed it in his pouch.

We then argued over whether or not we were going to press on or wait for Sotar the cleric. The vote was 6 to 1 against waiting (Marlowe wanted to wait because Sotar appeared to actually be able to heal people, a feat that the other cleric, Kreglar, had only accomplished once). We then proceeded down the steps to the north that led to deep under the castle, Marlowe the elf and the hobbit going ahead (with infravision) and the rest a distance behind with torches. (P)tarth declared that if anyone surprised him, he would, without hesitation, blast them with a color spray.
“Did you miss me?” shouted Sator the cleric, as he came clumping down the steps.

“TRIGGER EVENT!” shouted (P)Tarth, as he blasted the helpless cleric of law with color spray.  The cleric rolled down the steps, blind, paralyzed and regretful.

“Shhhhhh!” said the hobbit. He and the elf had seen some gold coins on the steps below and suspected a trap.  Who leaves gold coins on the stairs?  Almuric used his thiefly skills to investigate.  The coins were real and normal, but there was a rough passage to the left and a secret door to the right.  The steps continued down into darkness.  Almuric opened the door and found a small chamber with three obviously looted chests in it and a sprinkling of coins on the floor among some beast-man like tracks.  One of the chests had a false bottom that contained a silk tabard adorned with a symbol of chaos (which Almuric put on), a steel vial of some sort of liquid …”and two, no, excuse me, one silver ring…” said the wily thief. We split up the coin on the spot.  Overcome by curiosity, Marlowe tried the potion and felt stronger and more powerful (a potion of cocaine!).

When Sotar was sufficiently recovered, he told Almuric, “Take that thing off,” pointing at the chaos tabard.  The thief refused.  We then followed the winding passage, which led upwards and was obviously natural.  Suddenly it led to a small room with a sarcophagus in the center and an exit at the far end.

Session ended here.

Session 09

Session 09 (10.3.2012)
Kreglar (priest): Dave M.

Marlowe (elf): Stef
Abothon(sp?)(hobbit): Mike C.
(P)tarth (wizard): Kevin
Zordinaire (wizard): Dave P. (absent)
Almuric (thief): Reuben (absent)
Pablo Van Ott (Wizard): Mike D. (absent)

To start with, we had to name our group, so, given the dysfunctional nature of our group and our decided lack of heroism, calling ourselves “The Stormblades” or “The Heroes of Hirot” or a similar high falutin’ name seemed a stretch. We finally settled on the name, “Kharma’s Bitch” for all of the wrong reasons, but we are a company of men (and elves and a hobbit) who seem to live in the moment and all the shit we pull is bound to catch up to us eventually, so…

Having settled that matter, Ptarth (the P is silent!) began to bitch bitch bitch about the lack of treasure. Kreglar snuck off to the city to ‘see a friend’ with a mysterious bundle and came back with his pockets jingling with coin… certain treasures once seen in the Jarl’s hall and promised to the group as a reward are missing… finally, Marlowe suggested we load all of the wagon wheels, clay pots, sheepskins, jars of gooseberry jelly and other miscellaneous items we had been given by the inbred villagers for saving their miserable hides and we hauled it all off to the city in one of the former Jarl’s oxcarts and sold it.  After paying the teamster rates for hauling all this shit, we realized the princely sum of 5 gps each. Yeah, our group name fits.

We were also all interviewed by the adventurer’s guild.  I don’t know what others said, but Marlowe gave his guild representative a pointed earful on the woeful margins that adventurers were expected to work on these days.  Lives lost, wear and tear on equipment, stamina points permanently removed from injury, risk of corruption from spell casting, fumbling and being subjected to critical hits and zombification… all for 5 gold? That’s not like adventuring in my grandfather’s day, when one could expect fistfuls of gold for killing kobolds and giant rats.  And five gold doesn’t even begin to cover our expendables (rope, spikes, torches and arrows).  And now our hobbit has only one ear!?! It is outrageous I tell you — I’m ready to chuck it all and go into the chicken and egg business…” The guild representative yawned and shuffled his papers and thanked Marlowe for coming in.

Ptarth cast ‘Find Familiar’ and proudly shows off his new friend, an imp named Ganebon. In exchange for serving, Ganebon gets to keep Ptarth’s soul when Ptarth dies. I’m not sure Ptarth has a soul, so Ganebon is probably getting the worst of that deal.

Kreglar moved into the now vacant chapel of Justicia and hung a large “UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT” banner above the door but hasn’t quite decided to best approach for PR in selling an ancient uncaring tentacled god who drives his followers insane to a bunch of dirt farmers. Seeing how shitty their lives were when they worshipped the ‘Goddess of Justice,’ I’m thinking that a temple of Cthulhu in Hirot is so crazy it just might work. In addition to meditating and counting his gold like Scrooge McDuck, Kreglar spends time considering recruitment arguments like, “Justicia claimed to care and did nothing when the hound attacked your village. Cthulhu won’t care what happens to you, so he is the more honest alternative…”

Marlowe (me) cast ‘Patron Bond’ and came up with the result, “Useful Pawn.” If I understand correctly, this is the most mediocre result I could have gotten — better than corruption, I guess. My patron, Elrond Hubbard, Elven God of Self Actualization, considers me a tool, nothing more.  At least I can cast Invoke Patron now, although, given my mediocre result, my patron is likely to resent me bothering him.  Also, since I gained a level, I gained a new spell.  Rolling randomly gave me “chill touch.”

Wedding bells were also in the air. Dressing in his hobbit best and putting his hat at a rakish tilt to disguise the fact that he was missing an ear, Abothon went to the old hag Emay’s house to fulfill his promise to marry her. She appeared at the door, looking sixty years younger and fresh as a daisy, her arms around a vaguely man-shaped cloud of dark energy with flashes of fire where its eyes should have been.  She kissed Abathon on the forehead and then she and her ‘thunder-man’ vanished into the ether, leaving the hobbit’s heart broken and his cherry unplucked. Under his shirt, however, Abothon found a magnificent coat of lightweight magical chainmail — a parting gift from his two-timing fiancé. Inconsolable, he retreated to the inn where he blubbered into his beer on the stool next to the Lore the bard.

Kreglar has a shield that will allow him to intimidate enemies. Marlowe has a helmet that will allow him to intimidate enemies.  They agree to have an intimidation contest which Marlowe wins.

Finally it’s time for us to go on our next adventure.  I don’t remember what it is or why, but we travel to another shitty little one-horse town named ‘Hamlet’ where they apparently have rumors of trouble with ‘beast men.’  And it’s no wonder, because they always build their shitty little towns right next to a long abandoned castle where evil people once plotted and planned.  Of all the places in the world to build a town, why do they always pick ‘right next to the ancient haunted ruins’?  Darwinism means these villagers should have been wiped out eons ago; perhaps by saving them, we are just enabling them.  Is that what we are?  Enablers? While grilling the villagers, we discover:

·         Look for treasure in the keep’s remaining tower.

·         The keep was once ruled by a pair of Chaos Lords who were brothers.

·         A great treasure vault can be found beneath the keep!

·         Beware of the well!

·         Nothing good can come of disturbing the ruins; you will release the horror under the hill!

·         One of the villagers was doing the dishes late one night after her husband had said he was getting ready to go to bed.  She heard a noise and went to the bedroom to check on him.  He was missing and the curtains were open, so she ran to the window.  She saw someone who looked like he was dressed in her husband’s clothes running away, but when she called out to him, he turned and she saw what looked like the face of a tiger instead of her husband’s face.

Finally, after gathering our supplies (Lamp oil? Lamp oil! Ten foot pole? Ten foot pole! A dozen spikes? A dozen spikes!), we are ready. We march up the hill towards the stinking, decrepit keep and can see the broken stone walls covered in vines, brambles and rubble, a dry moat with a broken bridge, a half raised portcullis, etc.  A black flag marked with a red skull flaps from the battlements. The whole place smells like mildew.

Nearing the ruin, we see three human bodies bound to stakes by vines. As we draw closer, they start to thrash around and we can see that the vines are growing into and out of their eyes, ears and other orifices… this looks distinctly unhealthy and uncomfortable and Marlowe declares that if vines were growing into and out of MY body, I would want someone to put me out of my misery. After the zombie-ghouls with the snake surprise inside, we decide to take care of this problem from a distance. Fwip fwap fwap go some arrows and one of the plant-people is mostly skewered.  We shoot him once more and he explodes, spraying seeds and a mucus like slime all over the place.  Yuck.

There are two of the vine-zombies coming at us, moaning and shuddering.  A sleep spell has no effect, so Zordinar attepts to enlarge Marlowe, but blows the spell and, as a side effect, rats scurry out of his sleeve. Marlowe manages to spear one, but she rips her way free  and slaps him to zero hit points with her vine encrusted hands. Kreglar uses some sort of spell to hold the zombies in place for a moment and the rest of the party manages to hack them down and save Marlowe’s life, but half the party are covered in ‘pumpkin guts,’ some of us are all hacked up and some of us are out of spells, so, over the objections of Ptarth, we returned to town for a night’s rest, baths, a wash-up and some healing.

The next morning we were back at the ancient keep. The drawbridge has just a few rotted planks remaining.  Looking at the battlements, the hobbit claims that he sees something peeking at us from behind a merlon up there.  Zordinaire tossed a sleep spell up onto the battlements and suddenly this creature, snoring, tumbles over the battlements and falls through the bridge, taking ½ of the planks away, and then lands snoring in the ditch.  It is asleep under some vines and broken boards so we can’t get a very good look at it, but our general impression is that it looks like a mongrel-person of some sort.  Almost immediately we hear a yelp and a snarl from upon the battlements, a ringing bell and there is a mechanical noise and the portcullis slams down.  Then a creature lopes along the parapet towards the tower.  With the expending of some luck and by some face-planting into the site of the ditch by Zordinar later, we are across what remains of the drawbridge.  Kreglar strains to lift the portcullis but cannot, so Ptarth sends his familiar, Ganebon, flapping up to the battlements with instructions to raise the portcullis if he can do so without risk to himself.  Ganeborn returns and says that there is a crank wheel of some sort up there, but he is too small to turn it.

Having cast spider climb upon himself to cross the bridge, Pablo Von Ott scuttles up onto the battlements, cranks the wheel to raise the grate and then tears down the black flag with a skull and tosses it to Kreglar.

We are past the gate and we have taken the flag — what next?

Beyond The Black Gate Art

Here is a short, step-by-step of how I produced a full page illustration for Goodman’s adventure, Beyond the Black Gate.
The original art is drawn on 14×17 inch Bristol and reproduces down to around 8.5×11 inches.
You can learn about the adventure here:
I start off with a pencil drawing which is pretty rough. The client usually sends a description with things that he specifically wants in the image; in this case, adventurers investigating mummies with terrified/frozen looks on their faces, a brazier that burns with an icy, swirling misty tentacled fog and a huge egg on a fur on an altar made of a big block of ice (if I remember right). I drew my usual freakish-looking adventurers with goggling eyes and WTF expressions. (click any image to enlarge).  In this case, I wanted to leave a space at the top for text, etc., and told the client I would make that part a solid black.
After the client has had a chance to see it and make any necessary changes, I go in with ink, using a combination of old fashioned ‘dip’ pens with india ink, brushes and rapidiograph and similar pens for finer lines.  During inking I sometimes go back in with ‘china white’ (opaque white paint) to put white marks in over black and get good crosshatching effects, but I don’t think I did that here.
Below is the art as it reproduced in the final publication (you can see the copy up top).

Look at this:

I was looking at the back endpaper of my DCC RPG book (published by Goodman Games) and just feasting my eyes on this work by Peter Mullen:

I know it’s going to make me sound like a complete suck-up, but Mullen is, in my opinion, the best artist working in art for RPGs today.  His pictures just blow me away with their dark humor and the way in which Mullen manages to squeeze 100 different stories into the one panel.  It reminds me of many of Hieronymous Bosch’s paintings:

When I was a kid, we had a lot of ‘picture books’ (many of which were pretty old, dating back to the 50s or earlier).  My favorites were the ones with drawings that were like ‘panoramas,’ broad views with dozens (or more) small dramas all taking place in one picture, so your eye can wander around and take in all the different interactions taking place within the single panel.  Like a ‘Where’s Waldo,” there was no ‘central theme’ or ‘focal point’ in these darwings.  The one panel is a collection of little vignettes; the visial equivalent of a puzzle with a lot of different pieces that all add up to a whole. 

In the case of Hogarth’s “Gin Lane” (below), it’s a social critique of what happens when gin is cheaper (and safer) than water, milk or tea.  Bosch (above) painted hell — some say he was crazy or hallucinating because of the ergot fungus; others claim that his paintings were filled with secret messages for fellow mwmbers of ‘mystery cults,’ still others say that many of the scenes and symbols had meanings that would have been more obvious to his contemporaries but have become less familiar to the modern viewer.  I just know that I like them.

Whenever I look at work like Mullen’s “Into the Frying Pan,” (top), I get discouraged and jealous.  Discouraged because I like looking at Mullen’s work more than my own and jealous because I’s love to be able to say that I drew/painted something like that. I’m trying to channel those feelings of envy in a more productive direction and allow that maybe my envy means that Mullen has raised the bar for me and it’s time to shake things up and challenge myself to do better.

Goodman DCC Art Previews

I just got a package from Goodman Games with my artist complementary copies of some of the adventures I have been working on, so, since these things are shipping I guess I can let you have a peek behind the curtain.  All three of the below pics are “title page” illos — they are not the cover, but are the first page you see after you open the cover and list the author, artists, etc.  For more info on Goodman DCC Adventures, go here.  These pics are from People of the Pit, Doom of the Savage Kings and Sailors on the Starless Sea.

Episode 01: DCC RPG

Episode 1, Session 1: The Portal Beneath the Stars

Good Evening and welcome to Jon’s Dungeon Crawl Classics Campaign. Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we will be entering ‘the funnel.’  The basic premise of ‘the funnel’ is that each player generates a handful of 0 level mooks and those that survive get to become actual characters.  We had a fullhouse; Dave M., Dave P., Mike C., Mike D., Reuben, Kevin S. and me (in addition to Jon C. as DM) and each player had 3 characters rolled up… so that means we were starting with 21 zero level characters! Needless to say, I don’t remember most of their names.

Some of the players(like Dave M.) had appropriate figures picked out to represent their mooks on the battle mat; others used small plastic tiles marked with cryptic hieroglyphics (Mike D had a beer stein, a pair of buttocks and what was eithersome pasta or waves drawn on his tiles) or initials and numbers for identification,so game 1 was a bit of a clusterfuck… but that was how it was supposed to be.  So goodnight, good bye and good luck — you will need it… (warning: long and chaotic story follows)

I can’t tell you much about anyone else, but I can tell you about my characters.  I started off with Slobodan the Beekeeper (yes, I rolled ‘beekeeper’ on a chart so it is officialand everything) who was armed with a jar of honey and a hammer, Gregor Samsa the Elven artisan who had a staff and a lump of clay and Marlowe the elven candlemaker who had 20 candles and a pair of scissors.  With our 18 assorted companions (who included peasants, a butcher, a wainwright, at least one noble, a tax collector, and an outlaw and who knows what else and were variously armed with a pushcart, a sheep, a chicken, pitchfortks, glass beads and other random things), we were attending the bedside of one of the stalwarts of the village who was drawing his last breaths.  From his deathbed, old man Roberts pointed a shaking finger out the window at the rarely seen ‘Emptystar’ in the sky and wheezed that many years ago, when he was just a young shaver, he had seen that fateful star in the sky in the vicinity of an old monument near the old stone mounds… a gate had opened up to another world — a gate that gave access to treasure and danger, but Roberts was too afraid to pass through… much to his regret, for he had to spend the next 50-60 years plowing the soil and shoveling pig shit just to barely get by… if he had taken the risk, perhaps he would have gotten rich. Now the star had reappeared but he was too old… gasp, choke, cough, mumble grumble…

We of course set off immediately for the old stone moundsand found the monument since we were familiar with the area.  The monument in question looked like a  stone arch without wall or door; it was an ancient thing and no one knew its purpose since it predated the village.However, today the gate looked different. Instead of being just a pile of stones with a hole in it big enough to walk through like a very modestly scaled and unornamented Arc de Triomphe, we could now see an extradimensional stone hallway through the old stone gate instead of the mounds and grass one normally might expect to see.  At the end of the hall was a door.  Eagerly, we butchers, bakers and candlemakers crowded in, elbowing each other out of the way in our eagerness to get rich.
The door did not budge to our gentle prodding but we did note a few small chips of gemstone embedded in the surface of the wood. One of the more well educated of our number noted that the gemstones were arranged in an order similar to the stars of the night sky… and, if one were patient, the stars ought to assume exactly this position in relation to ‘The Empty Star’later this very evening.  Not content with waiting, BigShitz the dwarf (I’m not sure that was really his name — it sounded something like that) and Lenny tried to force the door.  There was a flash of light and the smell of brimstone and one of them (I think it was Lenny the wainwright) fell dead on the floor; burned to death by some sort of fire trap. Lance said, “I could have told you that was going to happen,” in a nasal voice.

But the door was open and we could see a room where 4 statues dressed in lacquered armor holding spears stood flanking a door. As we strolled through the doorway, statues began chucking spears and those who were not killed gained spears which were much superior weapons when compared to our butter churns or bedwarming pans or whatever else we were armed with.  Mooks named  Marcellus, Mallikar and Othellus get either knicked by or killed with spears… Markbar the glassblower gets impaled as well…Lance said, “I could have told you that was going to happen,” in a nasal voice.  But all I remember is that my three mooks are in the back so by the time I get to the doorway, the statues are out of spears to throw.  Unfortunately for us, they are also out of spears to loot, but Slobodan, Gregor Samsa and Marlowe notice that the armor on the statues looks real… and we begin undoing straps and removing the armor to wear ourselves.  It’s a bit bulky and musty but it fits!
Meanwhile, the rest of the group has proceeded through the next door, driven forward by greed despite the death of 2 or 3 so far (this just means we will have to split the treasure fewer ways, right?). This is a large square room with a door in each wall and a tall statue of a barbarian with a broadsword and a grimoire standing in one corner.  The statue is of obvious ancient origin, and, although crude in execution, Gregor Samsa the artisan has to admit that it had a certain barbaric vitality and the sculpture was obviously quite old, but, at more than 30 feet in height, it is not portable enough to be considered treasure.  Ptath the apprentice went to investigate the sculpture and try to read the runes engraved upon the stone statue’s grimoire while Bigshitz sniffs around for gold or jewels.  A few scorched patches are observed on thefloor by Ptath but he chooses not to share this information.  Bigshitz then opens one of the doors other than the one we just came in from and the statue turns on its base and fires agout of flame  from its hand, burning the dwarf to death. “Alas poor Bigshitz; I knew him not at all,” Marlowe muttered as he appropriated the late dwarf’s pitchfork. Lance said, “I could have told you that was going to happen,” in a nasalvoice.

After a few more doors are tried and a few more mooks are scorched, Tor and Vos (both noblemen) decide that the statue can’t point in two places at once and both try to open and jump through doors at the opposite ends of the room simultaneously. The statue spins quickly, both Tor and Vos make it through with only slight scorching. Slobodon the Beekeeper, who is standing to one side minding his own business, gets caught in a stray gout of flame and dies a horrible death, illustrating perfectly the noble-commoner relationship.  The nobles do whatever the fuck they want andthe commoners die because of it.  Lance said, “I could have told you that was going to happen,” in a nasal voice.
Vos finds himself in a musty crypt with seven niches filledwith crumbling bones.  He notes withinterest that there are armor and weapons mounted on the walls and the bonesseem to be moving!  The bones are old andbrittle and don’t move very well, but start crawling towards him in a menacingmanner.  A skull bites him and Vosdecides he has had enough and retreats, somehow surviving the firetrap.  The bones do not follow. Lance said, “I couldhave told you that was going to happen,” in a nasal voice.

Another gout of flame kills Mosair the elven glassblower. KreglarPoagseeker scavenges a hammer from the corpse of the beekeeper and attempts topound a spike into the seam between the base of the statue and the floor in order to keep it from spinning.  This spike was previously the property of Lenny (I think?) but then appropriated by Gregor Samsa.  After a promising start,the Poagseeker manages to bend the spike beyond usefulness and returns it toSamsa with a shrug. Lance said, “I could have told you that was going tohappen,” in a nasal voice.

Tor, meanwhile, managed to get into a short hallway thatended in another door.  Eager for fameand treasure, the impetuous noble heads for the far door…

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, Marlowe and GregorSamsa are done mourning the loss of Slobadan the beekeeper and agree that theywant to try to get some of the valuable weapons and armor in the tomb room thatVos just vacated.  They manage to getinto the room without getting burned and the piles of bones slither towardsthem.  Marlowe destroys one bone pilewith his pitchfork.  Gregor whiffs, getsbitten on the ankle and falls over, impaling himself to death on a shard ofbone.  Marlowe quickly does the math andsees six piles of bone coming after him and decides that discretion is thebetter part of valor and bugs out. Lance said, “I could have told you that wasgoing to happen,” in a nasal voice.

The gang’s only female, a somewhat addlepated tax collectorwith a name that sounds something like “Melanie Assneck,” runs through the doorthat Tor passed through backwards andit seems to work… the flames miss.  A sheepfarmer who may or may not have been The Poagseeker sends his sheep forward andsees it blasted into muttonchops by the fire. One of Reuben’s characters tries to shield himself with a handcart thatwas formerly the property of another dead party member.  Slightly singed, Tor and friends see achamber with clay tablets fastened all over the walls and a stone throne in themiddle of the room.  A giant snake with asingle horn on its head crawls forward, hissing, “I am Ssserangnag (orsomething like that) and you intrude upon my guardianship!”  Tor slams the door in the snake’s face andretreats back to the statue room, shouting “Snake! Snake!”

Lance said, “I could have told you that was going to happen,”in a nasal voice.

One of Reuben’s mooks decides he wants Samsa’s armor andrigs a hook onto the end of a ten foot pole to drag the corpse out of the roomwithout activating the bone piles.  Bythis time the statue trap seems to be out of oil… it keeps turning andsputtering as doors are opened but we are safe for now. Just as Reuben dragsthe dead Gregor Samsa  from the room, Torruns up to him, waves his sword under his nose and says, “Bugger off!  The armor’s mine!”

Lance said, “I could have told you that was going to happen,”in a nasal voice.
The snake is now trying to open the door while the rest ofus are trying to hold it shut.  Inspired,one of Reuben’s characters uses his 10 foot chain to attach the door handle tothe statue’s leg.  It holds until one ofthe other mooks opens the door in the north wall.  The statue turns to spray the door, pullingthe chain and ripping the door off of its hinges. The snake slithers into theroom. Lance said, “I could have told you that was going to happen,” in a nasalvoice.

One of Reuben’s characters throws a net over the snake andit shakes back and forth, trying to get the net off of its horn and head.  The one hitpoint wonder, Marlowe, stabs itwith his pitchfork and Vor slashes it with a sword.  Almuric the hobbit kills it with a slingbullet (lucky shot!) and the snake melts into ashes, leaving only the horn whichis snatched up by Kreglack and coveted by Ptath.
At this point, half of the party decides to explore the roomwith the throne and the other half decides to explore the newly opened door. Thetablets on the walls of the throne room appear to tell the story of an ancientalien intelligence from beyond the stars that visited our planet in eonspast.  With their aid, a barbariansorcerer king rose to power with his seven lieutenants.  We surmise that the lieutenants are buried inthe room with the alcoves.  Marlowe sitson the throne and discovers that he can see s window filled with stars abovethe doorway, but the stars look unfamiliar.

Meanwhile, Tor, Vor, Melanie Assneck, and Zordunir theoutlaw explore another room.  It is longand dark, with pillars and a pool in the center that appears to reflect starsfrom the night sky.  Glowing figures ofcrystal move slowly from the far end of the room.  Ina panic, Melanie Assneck jumps into the pool and discovers it is only 3feet deep.  Zordunir attacks one of thecrystal men, knocking a chunk out of it,  and it attacks him back.  They seem to be attracted to light, however,and Zordunir retreats as someone else throws a torch across to the far end ofthe room.  The crystal men shuffle offtowards the light.  Tor sees a door atthe far end of the room, and, eager as always, opens it and discovers a set ofstairs.  Drawing his sword, he descends the staircase.