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[actual play] DCC #13: Crypt of the Devil Lich *spoilers*

Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:25 am
by Alex Anderegg
Session 1

My players had been asking to play a high level campaign for ages; so after an ill fated session in my previous campaign where three characters got trashed, I was all for it. Especially since I had just gotten a copy of Crypt of the Devil Lich, and it looked fun. (Oh, and it had a ton of handouts--handouts are awesome.) I told the players to make some 15th level characters and to gird themselves, 'cause the Devil Lich was going to rock their world.

The next time everyone shows up, characters are introduced:

The Not-So-Incredible-Hulk -- playing a human kensai
Trumpy -- playing a half-giant barbarian
Always Plays An Elf (APAE) -- playing an elven arcane archer
Double D -- playing an elan cerebremancer (Basically a twinky character using the psionics rules; but whatever, the Devil Lich eats munchkins for breakfast--well if she ate breakfast anyway.)

Hmmm, notice anything wrong here? I guess everyone had a dream character, and that dream was all about kickin' butt. When I pointed out that the party needed a thief, Double D pulled out an assassin and volunteered to run two characters. (He had made up 3 different level 15 characters, complete with background, between sessions.) When I pointed out that the party was in desperate need of a cleric I got a general consensus of, "Cleric? Who wants to play a wuss?"

Knowing that the adventure was doomed without a cleric, I pulled out the pre-gen cleric that comes with the module, Avril Arglebargle, or whatever his name is, and ran the "wuss" myself. I played Avril as a very surly cleric, and he rarely healed characters who whined about their hitpoints.

Once we got this all wrangled out, I read the intro text and started everyone at the entrance to the crypt. The lich, Chalychia, was quickly renamed Shelly by the party--at least they didn't vote for Charlie Sheen. With a, "Huzzah" and, "Death to Shelly," the party stormed the entrance and slew the mad vampire monk hanging out there . . . and then spent an hour of real time figuring out how to get into the main crypt.

The fake doors had them mightily puzzled; furthermore, anytime the PCs got stumped about what to do next in the dungeon, they would return to the fake doors to try them again, "Just in case."

After finally--finally!--finding the secret door, the party entered the Disco Room of Death, but didn't set off any of the traps :( Double D's assassin had such a high Search skill that there were very few traps he didn't find. The allips there didn't even have a chance to attack, but they did creep everyone out.

They headed into the Room o' Many traps--and were doing fine, except for a couple of points. First, the assassin found the secret door that bypasses the wall/pit/illusion/ooze/etc. combo--and then doesn't tell anyone because he didn't feel like it. Second, after discovering there was pit, cloaked in darkness and silence--however he had not discovered the gelatinous puddings lurking in the pit--Trumpy's barbarian just jumps into the pit. He's immediately engulfed and paralyzed.

I dunno why he did that. But in the previous disasterous campaign there was a lever with a sign on it saying, "This is a trap." Guess which PC pulled the lever and died from the sprung trap? Yup, that'd be Trumpy.

Even though it might be against the rules to dimension door into a living creature, I let Double D's cerebremancer attempt to retrieve Trumpy's character. He somehow makes his Fort save* against paralysis and dimension doors back out clutching the barbarian.

Next, the party hits the Hall of the Prophets. I read the quite long flavor text. There's silence from the players for about two seconds once I finish. Then one them says, "I quietly close the doors. Then I run away, crying like a schoolgirl."

Good job to the writer of this area for establishing atmosphere. (I don't have the module handy right now, so I can't name names.)

Everyone decided to check out the rest of the level before going back to the Hall of the Prophets--so they hit the Library. They made quick work of the flesh golem there, but the zombie librarian creeped the players out a bunch. While the combat was going on I had the zombie simply dusting the shelves, and sometimes he would turn to the characters making noise and go, "Sssh!"

The reaction to the zombie could be that there were some childhood memories from the first ten minutes of Ghostbusters, and part of it was the feeling that, as Double D put it, "It's the monsters that ignore you that are the most dangerous." Anyway, again good job to the writer of this area for instilling terror in the hearts of players.

The party did raid the interesting books from the library; but while I tried to urge them to read them, or at least skim a few pages, the feeling was, "Uh-uhn. You're not pulling any of that Call of Cthulhu stuff on us today, Mr. GM!" Oh well, I shouldn't have ever shone them that quote about CoC characters prefering live grenades to open books.

By this time the players had been spending a lot of time screwing around, searching for traps and secret doors every ten feet, and going back to the first area to try opening the fake doors again. Since they had seen the hourglass in the Room of the Prophets, and I wanted to move things along, I set the alarm on my cell phone to go off every ten minutes. At first everytime the alarm sounded, I would just mumble to myself, roll some dice, and pretend to make notes, but when this didn't spur much alacrity I began handing out (temporary) penalties to die rolls. That got things moving.

And the party moved right into the Scrying Room. After I read the flavor text, the Hulkster's kensai charges into the room, gets zapped by one of the hold person traps, and everything goes to down the toilet. The psuedo-flesh golems advance, and the aracane archer peppers them full of arrows, unleashing the hell wasps inhabiting the golems. In desperation Double D apologizes to Hulkster--who has wasps crawling into every orifice of his character--and casts a maximized fireball into the room. (Hulkster's PC didn't die from the blast though, and Avril Arglebargle, grumbling, cast a heal the next round to get rid of the wasps inhabiting the kensai. Still, it was an all in all bad day for the Not-So-Incredible-Hulk.)

Eventually the party pulls out a victory, but it's at this area that the players realize this dungeon means business.

Rereading the poem that they found pre-adventure, the players know that the first piece of the sword True Death is in the crystal globe.

Having no where else to go, the party finally returns to the Hall of the Prophets. They picked a prophet and corresponding door and went through it. I had the prophet they picked yell out various warnings to each of the PCs as they went through, just for fun. The best one was, "Duck!" The character spent the rest of the dungeon reflexively ducking anytime danger came near.

End of Session 1

*Actually the character he was playing was an elan, one of the psychic races. They have a spiffy racial ability to boost their saving throws as an immediate action. However Double D did this after the die was rolled, and I dunno if that's legal under the rules.

Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 5:01 am
by ynnen
Wow. Great session report!

I especially love hearing how much trouble the entrance and the "disco" room give people -- Those were two of the rooms I contributed to the module. I'm glad to hear the fake entrance doors were confounding (too bad the cleric was an NPC so no one tried turning them). I'm a bit saddened that no one spring the traps in the Allip room. Ah well -- not everyone hits everything.

Sounds like you and your group are having a great time. I can't wait to hear how the rest of the module goes!

Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:59 am
by Jengenritz
I liked the trick with the cell phone, that was a neat idea.

They pulled the lever in that previous game, eh? Let's see what they do in the Lever Vault!

I believe the writer on the Hall of Prophets was our own Mr. Goodman.

Glad you guys are enjoying the adventure!

Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:05 pm
by Harley Stroh
My old group's longest running D&D campaign was with Mr. Anderegg as GM. His current players are in good ... er, evil hands.

We often found ourselves in similar instances ("We go back to the fake door ... again!"), even though we weren't playing Devil Lich. Something about Alex's style as a GM made us really mistrust him.

Of course, all our suspicions were always dead wrong at all the wrong times. :)

//Harley and Co. still bear a grudge against the Viet-Goblins