I’ll give it a try. Actually, the players’ dice are hot so far, so they will probably never get the ooze! In fact, in the second session, I think I wasn’t pushing them hard enough, because they decided to make their own problems:
Second session report
The party sensibly realized that they could just return to town and rest. As per town rules, they used their two checks to recover Injured (success) and Afraid (failed) before arriving. Once there, they only stayed for lunch: I ruled that Jora’s parents would provide them with free fresh rations (I have ways to restrict this if they abuse it) before returning to the Crypt.
After much checking of light supplies (Warrior: Lantern. Thief: Candle) and mutually agreeing that light would not be a problem (hilarious in retrospect, read on), they entered and noted that the Tomb Guardian that had fled had not returned. The dwarf was suspicious that the other guardians might reanimate from their loose bones, so they put the leftover femurs and humeruses in a sack and stomped them to powder (Good Idea). They looked for tracks of Jora or the fleeing Tomb Guardian, but I ruled that the fight had obscured them here.
They agreed to proceed down the hall. First, the Thief wedged some ribcages and loose bones above the arch to the Chamber of Ablutions, so that if someone tried to get behind them from that direction, the bones would clatter to the ground and alert the party (successful Sapper Ob 2, Tripwire Alarm, Turn 1). The Dwarf tried to help with Trapwise, but the Thief used Loner against himself to, appropriately, negate the helping die.
The Thief scouted ahead and discovered the end of the passage and the second arch. There is a niche there on the map, so I described an empty chair in it. The Foolhardy Warrior immediately sat in it. The Priest examined it and realized (successful Theologian Ob2, winging it, Turn 2) that it was dedicated to the Faceless Lord, for whom people in earlier days left an empty chair at funerals and on the grimmer holy days. Everyone, especially the Afraid Thief and Warrior’s player, was creeped out. Fortuitously, this was also two turns after Haathor-Vash was alerted to their presence (by the fleeing Tomb Guardian last session, so maybe not fair?). I rolled in secret to see whether she would try to possess the Thief (arm ring) or Warrior (torc) and got the latter, which is great, because now everyone will blame it on the chair.
I decided to keep the Health test (failed vs., Turn 3) and subsequent possession secret from everyone but the Warrior, although the module implies it is obvious, because I thought it would be more interesting for the Warrior’s player to run her evil self than to have me take over, and create creepier situations for the other players. I told her that she:
- wanted her treasure and revenge on the interlopers,
- but was also curious after eons of boredom.
- Could see in the dark.
- Always knew where her treasure was.
That was the third turn, so the lantern went out. Since they were already nervous because of the Evil Chair, everybody panicked like a bunch of five year olds. The Thief, roleplaying his Afraid, dropped his candle, leaving them in total darkness. I love my players!
The Warrior relit the lantern with an instinct helped by the Dwarf’s Delving Nature (successful Ob 2 survivalist, “starting a fire in bad conditions” + 1 for darkness - 1 for tinderbox). The Priest then lit a candle, since no one trusted the Thief with the light anymore.
They entered the Chamber of Vigils. Everyone tried to figure out what the ash in the copper bowl was by stirring it or, in the Dwarf’s case, tasting it (he constantly tasted anything made of metal or stone to determine what kind). I described some charred wood in the bottom. The Priest annoyed all the other, less patient characters (not players) by ascertaining the room’s purpose (successful Ob 4 Theologian, Turn 4). The Grind hit and they were H&T. Everyone except the Dwarf ate.
They followed the tracks of the fleeing Tomb Guardian in the floor ash (Good Idea) to the Altar of Ascension. They theorized about the purpose of the amphorae and goblets (I described the former as clay and the latter as tarnished silver or coppery metal, some jewel-encrusted; actually tin or brass with fake gems). The possessed Warrior tried to get the party interested in opening the sarcophagus, but first, despite cries of “you’re wasting our light” from Thief and Dwarf, the Priest decided to try to understand the symbols and then copy them. I had her make both tests and combined the consequences (failed Ob4 Lore Master with Beginner’s Luck, Twist, Turn 5. Failed Ob1 Scholar, Condition. Turn 6): At first, she couldn’t understand anything. She started to copy, until the symbols flowed from her half-finished transcription into her skin (Twist). Suddenly, she understood everything (Unhinged = Sick)… and the lantern went out again.
Dwarf: “The Priest is clearly possessed. I beat her unconscious.”
Priest: “What? Wait, don’t!”
Thief: “I grab the Priest’s candle!”
Warrior: “No, I grab the candle!”
DM: “You fight over the candle. It goes out. The last thing you see, before the darkness smashes into you like a fist, is the Dwarf raising his hand against the Priest. You hear thuds and whimpers.” (Dwarf’s successful Warrior vs. Priest’s Health Beginner’s Luck; having forgotten the PvP rules, I offered the Priest a choice between Angry or Afraid and she chose Angry for RP reasons. In retrospect, I think she should have been knocked out, plus a Twist. Turn 7).
Dwarf: “If she’s still awake, I’m out of here.” He grabbed a random goblet and left the Crypt by retracing his steps (successful Ob 4 (detecting direction + darkness) Dungeoneer + Delving Nature. Turn 8). The Grind hit, so everyone was H&T… except the Dwarf, who was already H&T and Exhausted! He got Angry from bumping his head against the walls while stumbling through the darkness.
Thief: “Warrior, use your Instinct! Light the lantern! Light it! Quick!”
Possessed Warrior: “Oops, I dropped it and it broke!”
Thief: “WTF? Ok, take this candle and light that!”
Possessed Warrior: “I grab your arm and pull the ring off it.”
Thief: “…I… pickpocket the Torc off your neck while you’re distracted and stick it in my pouch.” (successful Criminal vs. Beginner’s Luck Health. Twist as per PvP rules: Tomb Guardians will arrive soon. Turn 9). They swap jewelry.
Possessed Warrior: “I grab your pouch.”
Thief: “It’s dark, and I made my roll. How do you know I have it, let alone that it is in my pouch?”
DM: “That is suspicious, isn’t it?” /waggles eyebrows suggestively, ends session.
As noted, I love my players! They will roleplay to the death. However, the fact that they were so eager to do dangerous things makes me worry that they didn’t feel threatened enough by the environment. But they kept hitting their rolls, so what could I do? Things will no doubt get worse next time.