Monday, August 1, 2011

Finishing Castle Amber (with Alt Ending)

Well, last week was my military buddies last day in town. We all got together for a bit of pasta and a D&D session with one singular goal in mind: finish the Castle Amber module. You can see my other play recaps one, two, three, four, five, and my alternate ending idea for the CAS inspired black sand desert and the alternate crypt.

I warned them up front that this could end in a TPK and secretly I knew that when they faced down the mummies in the tomb of Steven that was the most likely spot for TPK.

Things started out all right enough for them, they combined a ring of telekinesis, a flight spell and invisibility to make short work of the necromatic colossus with a well pitched bag of undead killing dust to the face. They defeated the beast of perigon and obtained the Ring of Eibon again employing a combination of an elf, flying outside of a castle window firing lightning bolt into the castle and then running about on the roof top, while their dwarf who is an animal with 46 HP at 5th level (now upgraded to 56! HP at 6th level) just stood toe-to-toe with the beast and took like 40 damage over 3 rounds without dying, until the beast of Averoigne bit his leg off at the knee. They waited a couple of weeks and fit the dwarf with a peg leg and continued on.

They performed the ritual combining the four items together to create an extra-dimensional rift that sent them to the demi-planar home of Steven Amber. They even did ok evading a death knight and sacrificing a mule to the crazy amputee gardners of the poison flower ruin/garden in the middle of the desert.

It was however a bit of a surprise when an albino orc took aim with a Winchester rifle and blew a large chuck of plate mail armor from the shoulder of the main leader of the party - the elf. The party responded with a barrage of magic missiles, hold person spells, and suddenly they had suppressed 20 out of 30 of the albino orcs in two or maybe three rounds at the most....

But all things turned around quickly when they opened the door to the Tomb using the gold crown they had found in the Amber Lion/Golem at the silver gate in the castle (I read to them about the tapestry of a gold crown and pheonix on a field of sable, and they came up with the idea that the doors could be opened by touching them with the crown. Initially I was planning for the doors to be unlocked but I thought it was a cool idea to touch the doors with the crown so I made it work and had the doors swing open with a loud rush of air at the first touch by the crown).

That was when everything fell apart - nine mummies attacked. Everyone in the party failed their saves and were paralyzed for a round giving the mummies a free attack. Then the mummies gained the initiative for the second round. Two out of seven of the party members were below zero by round two. By round 4 the number grew to 3 and the mummies hadn't yet taken damage. I realized I probably had a TPK on my hands but I was prepared for it. However, when three mummies rolled 1's in a roll on the party's cleric, keeping him alive, things began to turn around for the group. The clerics had both already tried turning to no avail, however, the cleric was able to run backward out of the tomb, with the mummies returning to their feet and giving chase, this allowed the party magic user to barrage them with magic missiles (he was sixth level casting 3d6+3 damage per spell!). This combined with some lucky strikes by the cleric, and things started turning around.

B/X Mummies are sick.

I was planning to have magaen creatures jump out of the side rooms but that would have ended the night without a doubt. So instead I made up some fun stuff for the players to find in there. One room had the implements of mummification, in another room was a large espresso machine and potion mixer with a sign that said (drink at your own risk), in the third room they found several automaton creatures that served steven, they interacted with them and figured out how to get to Stephen's casket and remove the curse.

As a side-note, also have to say that the most resilient character of the party was the dwarf, the combination of a low AC of 1, 46 HP, awesome saving throws, and wielding a +2 mace with another +1 to attack and damage due to strength meant that he just started dropping mummies every couple of rounds.

All the characters ended up with a little bit of mummy rot but that was cured by Steven Amber using his ring of wishes. He also healed them all up, regenerated the dwarf's leg, and gave them all a 10,000gp gem/jewelry, and a random magical item each. I rolled up some cool stuff for them and we quit the night. This is an awesome adventure but a bit of a monty haul relative to what I normally run my players through.

We decided that we might bring these characters back for another game - Master of the Desert Nomads and the Temple of Death. I think the PC's are of an appropriate power level for those two adventures. I already have an idea on how to pull them into the first adventure, but that is a tale for another evening...

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