This time he’s still got a scholar to rescue and a high priest to slay.
Currently Jevan is level 3, has 15 out of 21 HP, is out of Epiphany spells and has one use of Forked Lightning. Call Lightning can also be used to cast Forked Lightning. He’s also taken a total of 10 sanity damage, leaving him with a rather fragile two points.
He leaves the initiation chamber, noting that the candlesticks look valuable and that he ought to pick them up on his way out, assuming that the high priest isn’t load-bearing. At the intersection he carefully opens the north door and enters the corridor. A short way up, he tries the left hand door, and discovers it unlocked. Behind it is a room containing chests scattered around the floor, and garish purple curtains. What he doesn’t notice are the eight animated corpses hiding behind the curtains.
Jevan checked the first of the chests – locked. It wasn’t until he examined the second one, and had just reached the conclusion that it too was locked that he noticed the curtains being pushed aside and 8 near-skeletal undead moving towards him. With a curse he made a break for the door, and just managed to slam it shut, though one of the undead dealt a heavy punch on his way past. (2 damage)
The module doesn’t describe where the guard corpses are, but it made sense to me to put them behind the curtains. There’s quite a bit of treasure in the room as well as two Enchanted items. We’ll be reducing the amount of treasure to account for being a solo character if Jevan goes back.
He’d hoped that either the undead would be set to stay in the room, or that the door handle would be beyond their capacity. Neither were true, and the first of the animated corpses opened the door and lurched through.
The GME really has it in for Jevan; every time it could have screwed him over, it has.
Defence 8, Hits 1, Attack: Fist, +0, 1d6+1
Only one of them can get out of the door at the time, but they will try and push out and overwhelm Jevan if they get the chance.
Jevan kills the first two but then starts to be overwhelmed. Realising that they’re slow, he dashes back down the corridor (though once more, he doesn’t escape unscathed – 2 more damage), and stands behind trap that he’d fallen into earlier. He casts Spellbound weapon on his Sling, and waits for the Undead to get into range
As the undead approached in a mob, Jevan started loosing sling stones at them.
He’ll get three rounds of attacks at the undead before they get to the edge of the pit, and one more round if any are smart enough to get around it.
The three stones fly true, and three of the undead fall, their skulls shattered. The remaining three reach the pit; the one in the middle just walks right in, whilst the two on the sides, by pure chance, walk around it. Having backed off down the corridor whilst they approached Jevan fires a final stone before drawing his sword. Only one zombie makes it to melee range, and after flailing a bit, is quickly dispatched.
Jevan returns to the treasure room, and decides to smash open the chests just in case they have something immediately useful in them.
There’s coins as expected, but also a healing potion. Unnoticed by Jevan, one of the coins is an enchanted item. There’s also a strange chair covered by a cloth – it’s carved with symbols indicative of good health and wards against disease.
Enchanted items are randomly generated; I rolled up a coin that allows the bearer to dim lights, and a chair that offers protection against disease.
The potion is taken and drunk, the coins will (hopefully) be picked up later.
A search behind the curtains reveals a door that leads into natural looking tunnels. Jevan pushes the chair against it, and then leaves.
Further up the corridor, there’s another door.
He very carefully opens it and sees small octagonal room, furnished as a library. On the desk are a whole lot of letters and a tome bound with black leather and silver, titled The book of the Unspeakable One.
Two of the letters on the desk are progress reports on the construction of the Lighthouse, whilst the third reads
Our preparations are almost complete. We will arrive in Freeport on schedule. Make sure that all is ready for us. The Brotherhood is counting on you.
Jevan takes the letters, but decides to leave the book behind for now. There’s only one path left; the corridor ends in a set of dark double doors.
Jevan opens it very cautiously and looks inside
Beyond the doors is a long hall flanked by six pillars that each appear to have giant snakes coiled about them. Frescoes on the walls behind the columns continue the serpent theme.
An altar of black basalt stands at the far end of the hall, and a strange yellow symbol is inscribed on the wall above and behind it.
Between the altar and the wall stands an idol of some tentacled horror.
Behind the altar stands a small man wearing black robes with a full hood.
Jevan decides to try and sneak in. Just remembering at the last moment to douse his lantern, he manages to slip in and hide behind the nearest pillar unspotted. Fortunately there are torches set on the walls and the temple is dimly illuminated.
Despite rolling Agility with two banes, the sneak check was still successful.
Carefully, and seemingly still unseen, he advances up to the second set of pillars. He’s advancing to the third set when the high priest notices him; at the same time Jevan notices the shadows of the two acolytes hidden behind the third set of pillars.
The high priest throws back his hood and reveals himself to be Milos and monologues, “You are the first outsider to ever reach the Temple of the Unspeakable One. Your achievement deserves congratulations. It is also your doom!” as Jevan dashes for the cover of the third pillar. The acolyte with a clear shot fires, but the bolt glances off a pillar.
“Technically, I don’t think I’m an outsider anymore,” retorts Jevan as he casts Forked lightning at Milos and the acolyte. The acolyte manages to avoid the blast, though Milos is mildly singed.
“You’ll pay for that. Don’t think of calling up that fog, you’ll kill the librarian before you even inconvenience me.”
Jevan stays where he is and sacrifices Call Lightning for a last use of Forked Lightning. This time the acolyte fries, and Milos is once again struck, but is still standing.
The second acolyte moves around to Jevan’s side of the pillar and casts Rend; the effort nearly kills her, but Jevan shrugs off the destructive energy. Milos casts Erode, but again the magic has little effect on Jevan.
Really lucky here, both those spells are very nasty; Rend does 3d6+1 damage, and Erode Impairs the target for a minute, doing 1d6 damage each round. Destruction magics do damage to their caster, which for the two cast translates to 1 hit.
Jevan draws his sword and stabs the Acolyte facing her, piercing the woman’s mail and killing her. Milos calls upon reserves of arcane power, exhales and a cloud of poisonous gas expands out towards Jevan, who starts choking. Milos cackles maniacally, drawing on the power of his Nameless god to heal himself. Milos cast has the Poison Gas spell from the Death tradition.
The cloud dissipates after being cast, but Jevan is now poisoned. Milos used a once/rest power to heal up 2 hits at the cost of 1 sanity. He also gained a point of Strain to inflict a bane on Jevan’s ability to resist the spell.
Milos casts Injure on Jevan, drawing upon both his arcane might and his devotion; Jevan gasps in pain as a wound opens beneath his armour, and then charges towards Milos and swings, but the priest avoids the blow. The effort does however cause Milos to lose control of the arcane power gathered around him, and a burst of power explodes outwards from the priest. Jevan weathers it, but Lucius, stashed behind the altar isn’t so lucky.
This is a side effect of the Sorcery path; drawing upon the extra power causes Strain, which eventually causes an uncontrolled magical burst. Lucius is now on 0 hits; if he takes any more damage, he’ll be dead.
Jevan casts St Astrid’s flame, causing Milos to glow with an unearthly light, whilst Milos casts the Killing Touch spell, and reaches forwards with clawed and darkened hands.
At the end of the round, Jevan takes more damage from the poison, and Milos keeps control of the new influx of arcane energy remaining from his reckless use of sorcery.
Jevan lunges at the now glowing Milos and hits, expending his last use of Spellbound Weapon to add damage to the blow; it’s still not enough to drop Milos, who casts Killing Touch again, this time more successfully; dark power floods into Jevan overwhelming him…
The Killing Touch spell did its job, as Jevan only had 6 HP left at this point. He really should have backed out of melee range after the first time that Milos tried to cast it. We’re now going to invoke Defy Danger and put the cost onto Corruption rather than Insanity as that makes the most thematic sense at this point.
Jevan comes around. He’s covered in blood. In fact, everything is covered in blood. Milos is nowhere to be found, instead there’s the partially destroyed body of a serpent-man. Its robes and the horn-rimmed glasses perched absurdly on its head the only signifiers of its former identity.
Someone is whimpering behind the altar.
Once rescued Lucius explains what he can; that Milos had arranged to have him kidnapped, and then tortured to find out what he’d discovered during the years that his mind was disconnected from his body. As Lucius remembered little, Milos had lost patience and was on the verge of killing him as a sacrifice.
On the way out, Jevan loots what he can. The book from the library would allow the discovery of the Destruction and Death traditions given enough time to study it, and there’s a total of 12 silver, 230 copper, one Onyx gemstone (worth 1gc), and of course the pair of candles from the initiation room, each worth 5gc.
Jevan isn’t levelling up because going by the levelling guide in Terror in Freeport, I should either have started this one at level 0, or not levelled up after part 1.
The investigation parts of the module would probably have benefitted by being properly prepped gamebook style before I started playing; something I’ll do before starting playing through Terror. The dungeon crawl section worked pretty well though IMO, even though it ended up being significantly bloodier than expected. (Thanks, GME. Thgme.)