Tag Archives: serial killers

Carrion Crown Chapter 2, Trial of the Beast, Session 6

Sixth Session (11 page pdf) – We get to the heart of Schloss Caromarc and its guardian rips one of our party members into bits! Then we summon the Beast to help us out… GOLEM FIGHT!!!

We spend some time going up one more deathtrap bridge and being ravaged by another trap – holing up and resting – repeat. The worst of that was a leech swarm – immune to weapon damage, can’t do fire damage since they’re in the water, and with no save they do hit point and STR and CON damage. You do get to save against the permanent DEX drain and distraction though.  Even if I had say a 5d6 lightning bolt, it wouldn’t have killed them since the swarm has 39 hp. “They’re only CR4” says the GM…  Fuck you, whoever designed this monster. The castle design starts making even less sense with the four “holding towers” but we’re used to that.

guardian_towerThen we get across and discover a big hideous flesh golem. Vlad runs up to it and it rips him apart into pieces immediately with quad claw + rend. Oswald takes a couple shots at it but it is like AC super high and has DR and it’s clear we’re not going to be able to take it.  Icobus’ Oracle curse (he can’t speak in combat, just make insane Azathoth piping) finally comes into play, because he pops Obscuring Mist and tries to get us to retreat, but Oswald no comprende and advances into the mist instead and gets dropped too (thankfully, just short of permanent fatality). We backed off and greased the bridge and let it fall to its death. May as well use this deathtrap against others too! We saved Oswald but Vlad is just dhampir parts.

The finale was cool and thankfully didn’t require our physical intervention (being down a party member and suffering from a variety of negative levels, stat drain, etc.). With the help of Waxwood the invisible servant we figured out we needed to climb to the top, activate the lightning attractor, power the Beast controller, call the beast, and have him fight the boss golem. Then we sat there controlling him Pacific Rim style.

Here’s where I had my best idea of the adventure.  We had already drooled over the adamantite trapdoor below.  “Hey, he could rip that off and Oswald could give him shield proficiency! And he could smack the bad guy with it to bypass his inevitable DR!” And sure enough, Nigel tried to have the Beast use his double crossbow- can’t hit.  He used his ogre hook – DR 10 reducing it to almost nothing while the Beast got owned by the Promethean.  Then he switched to doing slams with the adamantite trapdoor – and the hit points just melted off. Without that the numbers would not have been in his favor, we might have had to go down there to try to finish him off (yeah right!).

Then Girl broke up the “slave herd thrall” or whatever the Beast-controller device was called, she freed him from the townsfolk at that trial and sees no reason to not free him from his psycho-dad-creator too. The rest of the party was dubious but let her have her way.

Then we rescued the Count, nursed him to health, and figured out what his problem is – predictably, a dead wife (“Did she die in a fall?” thought Girl) that won’t come back to a raise dead (“Yeah, I wouldn’t want to come back either,” mused Nigel.)  Then he gives us a paltry reward of 3000 gp and sics us on the Whispering Way guys who betrayed him after he betrayed them after they blackmailed him.  “Why do we care exactly?” we ask ourselves.

The adventure has gotten on a pretty hard railroad now.  We kinda kept with freeing the Beast from his trial as just a lark and for 200 pp each, but “Go get half your party killed visiting my dad’s castle” and “For no reason I’m sure you want to go fight werewolves and cultists to recover an idol that even the University it was stolen from doesn’t care about” is weak motivation. We’re only following the trail of breadcrumbs “because clearly we’re supposed to, that’s where the next chapter is” and that’s kinda demotivating. The bad guys are Whispering Way cultists, but this is Ustalav – there’s a lot of cultists everywhere. And we’re not inquisitors. We’re probably more like inquisition targets, with an orc, a witch, a dhampir, an Azathoth worshipper, a Zon-Kuthon worshipper, and… Well, a human crossbowman is kinda normal I guess, but it is Oswald.

Matt’s trying to decide if we should raise Vlad or not.   He got kinda disenchanted with the character especially after some conflict over his counter-party actions… He let one of the serial killers go because he’s a fellow Norgorber worshipper, Icobus had found out, and since the killer (besides being dangerous and likely coming after us for revenge at some point) had killed Vaus’ fiancee this was turning into “Hey so what do we do about him?” with Vaus thinking “Maybe I should kill him” and that turned into a metagame discussion of “Hey as a group we haven’t really talked about our agreement on coop vs pvp limits/settings” which turned into aimless interpersonal squabbling in email among various group members. Sigh. So he’s deciding before next session whether to raise Vlad or swap to Urgathoan inquisitor or similar. Otherwise, we all leveled to 6 and I immediately took the Flight hex for Sredni Vashtar’s Girl!!!

Carrion Crown Chapter 2, Trial of the Beast, Session 5

Fifth Session (12 page pdf) – Schloss Caromarc is creepily well-kept but seemingly abandoned, except for traps and occasional golems. It is also riddled with non-OSHA compliant bridges, which conspire towards our downfall…

The castle is cool and creepy, full of abandoned rooms and taxidermy that against all our expectations doesn’t animate and attack us.  Good for that.

However, let me just pause a second to ream on the castle/dungeon/adventure design here.  We keep having to cross bridges that require like multiple DC15 Acrobatics checks to not fall off and die.  Of course, the average fighter in his armor has like a -1 Acrobatics skill.  First of all this is a game rule fail from someone who didn’t bother to read the Acrobatics skill entry – you should only be hitting DC15 if you’re trying to cross a 6 inch wide balance beam, not a three foot wide rope bridge or anything with handholds. Second of all, it’s a worldbuilding fail – this is a castle built by people, for people to live in. Anything requiring a DC5 let alone a DC 15 skill check to “not die” on a routine day doesn’t pass muster. “Well the Count could cast fly” doesn’t excuse it – he can’t fly all day every day, and if you risk death every time you have to take a crap (Sredni Vashtar’s Girl kept looking for a privy to wash up and there aren’t any, I’ll note) or want a snack the numbers will catch up with you. Does he carry his own big crates of stuff around? Do his own drywall? Oh, “his golems carry stuff for him?” His golems are clumsy as hell, has he lost 1M gold pieces worth of them to falls?  (I can imagine a town downriver constantly traumatized by wounded flesh golem attacks from the water… “Why God why?!?”).

Anyway, the vast majority of this session was a fight with a summoned erinyes who totally owned us. Our crossbowman was useless against her, my spells were useless against her, and everyone else was either screwing around (Vlad) or generally clinging to things for dear life (Oswald, Icobus). Everyone nearly died several times. Only her clock eventually running out saved us.  And if we didn’t get across before the bridge burned we’d be literally stuck, none of us can fly yet so it would be ‘adventure over.’ I don’t know if they assume ‘well of course they should be fifth level so they would all have fly now’ but screw them. Pett, you make creepy stuff which is good, but it feels like this adventure made certain assumptions that were not necessarily reasonable. If we didn’t have our rope of climbing we’d just have had to quit and leave the whole castle because it’d just be impossible to traverse.

Faceless_Flesh_GolemThe fight with the weirdo homunculus-led golem was interesting; we figured out just from looking at the thing “don’t even bother hitting it, kill the homunculi” and sure enough. Yay video game design.

This session was a mix of enjoyment and frustration mainly from us banging our head against “you know, going across this next bridge is sure death for half of you…  And no, there’s no way to bypass or improve it.”

Carrion Crown Chapter 2, Trial of the Beast, Session 4

Fourth Session (10 page pdf) – We prove the innocence of the Beast, though one of the two serial killers escapes.  Then it’s out to Castle Caromarc, where the troll gate guards take out a party member!

With Franklin & Bash style flair we get the Beast off his capital sentence. Speak with Dead! Skin suits! Paperwork! Victory! We hustle him out to the edge of town and he goes home to Castle Caromarc and invites us to visit.  Sure, we think…

Then we go out into the swamp and meet a swamp dryad. “She’s all made of plants and stuff but hot.” We had to Google for an example to prove to ourselves that could happen.

Mossy_dryad_girl__by_PlastikStarsWe freed her wolf from a trap, which made us feel like we were level 1 again.

Then we got to a troll and troll-hound occupied gatehouse, and that really made us feel like we were level 1 again.  They totally murdered Icobus as part of a large complex combat. I can’t say our tactics were great but this is a dangerous level; I remember in Rise of the Runelords we lost our fighter to an ogre hook about this time.  But he didn’t stay dead, we’re just high enough to pull off a Reincarnate! He came back as an orc, which is interesting since orcs are persona non grata in Ustalav. Sredni Vashtar’s Girl was horrified that he died but she was really happy to take part in the reincarnation – she had kinda hoped that he’d been more virtuous in his previous incarnation, though, orc isn’t exactly a step up on the wheel of karma.

Carrion Crown Chapter 2, Trial of the Beast, Session 3

We continue with Trial of the Beast, the second chapter of the Carrion Crown Adventure Path. Sorry if the session summary’s a bit briefer than usual; I found out I was doing it late and only had Evernote on the iPad to do it with, impeding my typing speed (swapping attention between gaming and the summary is hard enough when you’re not having to hunt-and-peck).

Third Session (9 page pdf) – We’re making headway on the Beast’s defense, and investigating a ghast-filled ruined lab gives us the clues we need to go confront some serial killers in their super dangerous lair! Now if we just weren’t our own worst enemies…

We scamper out of town quickly to get some investigation done before the mob violence hits. We cleanse a lab of ghasts and are quickly led to an alchemist’s factory in Lepidstadt, Vorkstag & Grimes, which operates with an unknown workforce “Willy Wonka” style.

Just an aside.  This happened with the skinsaw cult lumber mill in Rise of the Runelords too – how the hell do you run a business when everyone is a monstrous freak who attacks everyone else on sight? That’s not a sustainable business model! I mean, they have to sell shit, don’t they? And deliver it? And buy supplies? “Notes with gold attached” only goes so far – there’s literally not a person in this place that can show their face in polite society.  Anyway.

We totally lucked out on this one – the very first room we break into is the mother lode of Buffalo Bill style people skins and Beast costumes!  Vladimir wanted to just ‘go take it all to the cops’ but I pointed out that “here’s some evidence we found somewhere, and removed, trust us” is not usually well regarded in law enforcement circles.

And then we get to fight the alchemists – eek!


So that was pretty messed up. “HI I’M THE SKINLESS MAN!” Well, I had a trick for him – Sredni Vashtar’s Girl just learned Vomit Swarm from her little evil hell-weasel and she used it on them – much to the rest of the group’s chagrin. Vladimir couldn’t resist running into the swarm, of course. The skinless man tried to get away and went to climb down a ladder into a three story room full of acid vats – Girl was like “slumber hex!” and he fell three stories. But not into a vat, which was actually OK with me because I wanted him alive for arresting purposes; live freaks are better than corpses for getting the Beast off the hook.

I had Sredni Vashtar get more hands-on this time – he went down to bite the skinless man and delivered a Cure Moderate touch attack to kill an undead in the last fight. It’s hard to bring their abusive-relationship dynamic to life in game as much as I’d like (without going over the top) so I’m experimenting with it.

Then we wandered the freaky factory – we sent Vladimir to go get help from the authorities since he’s the fastest, and then we start searching rooms and we find him in one of the rooms poking around!  I was kinda pissed. Just say “no, I want to be here for the looting,” don’t lie to us… That’s dangerous. You can “be evil” all you want but when your dicking around endangers me, that’s when you get put on the optional-to-save list.

I reckon the end of the trial’s next time, then I suspect we need to go waste Doctor Frankenstein out in the swamps.