Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pavelorn - TPK miraculously averted

Pavelorn - Session V - Shrine of Evil.

They didn't look like this - whoops
The town of Zolfarth is largely abandoned, and the ruins shunned a dangerous, unholy and the abode of evil.  The abandoned "shrine" (a basilica complex in actuality) in the South East corner has the most evil reputation of the abandoned locales - with claims that those who wander near at night vanish, or if they fail to vanish they see strange and unnatural things.

The party's Clerics have been interested in "cleansing" the shrine for a while, and this session the party endeavored to begin the process.

Starting early on a bright morning the party wandered through the broken and shattered ruins of the city and reached the shrine walls without incident.  Covering approximately 300' square feet the shrine's grounds were a bit more expansive then expected.

The gates led to a short path the the basilica itself, its front doors closed, and flanked by two towers. The entire structure appeared oddly twisted and melted, but largely intact, with a priory off to the East.  A small way shrine or crypt was built to the West of the gate and to the East massive stone plinths dominated a large overgrown graveyard.

Exploring the crypt directly besides the gate, the party discovered the body of a holy man drained of blood (and promptly beheaded it - dragging the parts into the sun beyond the gates of the shrine) and a few vials worth of holy water in an old font.

The sarcophagus in the crypts main room was terrifyingly empty, and two small chambers on the side of the main room were filled only with bones, despite being behind concealed doors.

Leaving the crypt the party ventures towards the main doors, but as usual is reluctant to enter any large doorway and instead opts to climb over the priory roof with a grappling hook. The hook catches, but is thrown back and three scaled imps flap back with it.  Retreating one imp is skewered with a bolt, but doesn't fall and during the battle that follows Sarin the Cleric is seriously injured before the imps are slain and combust spectacularly.

The roof overlooks a large central courtyard, filled with purple flowers.  Interestingly the roof top vantage also reveals a huge white pentagram between the plinths of the graveyard.

Climbing down from the roof the party is careful to avoid the flowers, save for one of the clerics, who boldly plucks a flower, and promptly falls asleep. The sleep is obviously unholy and magical, and while the Clreic sleeps it off Lune and his flunky Bol investigate the church proper through a 30' archway to the West.  The church is a wreck, twisted and scorched a huddle of bodies lays near the altar and the statutes flanking it have been defaced (literally).  While exploring the pillared nave three somnolent corpse-like men walk languidly, but at high speed, up the aisle and attack.  Lune, Bol, Higgans and the wounded Sarin manage to destroy them, but not before Lune is pummeled to within an inch of his life.

Once the incautious Cleric wakes up (and collects the flower that put him to sleep) the party searches the rooms to the side of  nave and discovers that to the West they are in bad repair and mostly empty.  the last contains a giant 3 eyed lizard that isn't immediately hostile.  The room also appears to contain a strongbox and some tapestries, so the lizard is drugged with the sleep flower, slaughtered and the contents of the room looted.

On the East side one room is empty, but another contains what appears to be a man trapped in a pit of mud.  Ropes, thrown to the fellow are unsuccessful at saving him, but when holy water is poured into the hole he sizzles and burns, sinking into the mud.  Carefully closing that door the party finds a Northern room full of gold candlesticks and the body of an man in antique garb.  The body is anointed and the gold looted.

In a brash attempt to find more wealth the adventurers examine the altar, but it is empty except for a reversed holy inscription and five headless bodies scattered around it. Beyond the altar a U shaped hall has doors on either side and the one to the West has dried blood covering it and the floor in front of it.

Foolhardily the incautious Cleric decides to press on and the bloody door is pushed open with a pole.  Inside a dread ritual has been performed and the heads of the corpses on the stairs are arranged in a circle.  Otherwise the room appears empty.  Continuing a streak of blase exploration, the Cleric prods a head over to the side and all five heads turn to face the door.  The dead mouths open and a growing black figure of smoke crawls from each.  Holy water is thrown, and Higgans quickly douses a bundle of bolts with more holy water.  The blessed bolts and holy water fell three of the creatures before they reach the door.  One touches the incautious Cleric, who collapses unconscious with a scream.  Dalgrin (the hired crossbow contest winner and burly taciturn farm lad) manages to fend off the other spirit and then both without being touched.  Blessed crossbow bolts and silvered weapons seem to be the only thing that can harm the inky terrors, as Bol's spear point passes directly through one.   Still the remaining spirits are melted with the rest of the party's holy water Sarin's silver sword and more holy bolts.

With the narrow escape behind them, the party sets the ritual room ablaze and flees to the tavern (the Giant's Sword) with the giant lizard in tow and stories of besting it in ferocious combat.

Note:  Somehow 4 1st level adventurers and 4 0-level retainers manage to annihilate 4 wights (yup that's what the smoke things were).  I am not sure how. Great luck and the lower HP of D6 HD I suppose.  Also nobody died 2 of 4 adventurers reduced to 1 HP, one knocked unconscious and level drained - but no deaths. Astounding


  1. Shouldn't a 1st level adventurer be dead, if he was level drained?
    Whatever, sounds like fun was had!

    1. The adventurer was drained to 0-level and had to make a save vs. death, but thankfully he passed - or we'd all have been eaten for sure when he popped back up as a wight.

  2. So, dousing the crossbow bolts with holy water makes them do normal damage against undead?
    You are far more generous a DM than I.

    1. Well that's one way of looking at things, I wasn't GMing, but had I been I think I'd have allowed the holy water bolts as well. Two reasons: 1)TPK by trap without a snowball's chance is un-fun and unsporting 2) In OD&D many monsters have specific weakness and 1/2 the equipment list is devoted to items that exploit these weaknesses. Holy water and silvered weapons (which the party was well supplied with) are the weaknesses of wights. Still it was one bad dice roll away from going terrible - and that's fun times.

    2. I was the ref. Seems just as reasonable as dousing them with holy water causing damage, but I could see going either way.