Skip to main content

Unfathomable! Session 18

 What's cooler than cool? A frozen ice lady!

The Campaign: Operation Unfathomable! and Odious Uplands!, both by Jason Sholtis

The Ruleset: 5e

Ye Dogs of Destiny:

  • Brother Ded, a monk/political shit-stirrer. 
  • Mort, a fugitive from Imperial justice. (absent)
  • Greta, a baby-eating hag-turned-Citizen Lich.  (absent)
  • Ulther, a ranger and artifact smuggler. (absent)
  • Zinee, a wooly neanderthal druid/cosmetologist. 
  • Toljin, a magical boy raised by pirates. 
  • Doloth, an unwilling-Citizen Lich.

The Story So Far

Ye Dogs of Destiny have traveled into the Underworld at Imperial behest to find the fabulous Nul Rod—but rather than return it to the Sorcerer-King's vaults, they have left it with the Gods of the Void Above, Erebos and Nyx, thereby carving a new, unknown destiny for Universe. What will they do now?

Session 18

Psaltir 18 (6th day in the Underworld), 5th Bell

The Party, fresh from visiting the Celestial Spheres, treating with Primordial Gods, and deciding the Fate of All That Is, decided they were curious about the frozen lady back in the first ice cave they encountered. 

They went back to the small cavern filled with snow, snow maggots, the dead body of Prince Eryean, and prominently featuring a column of ice with a well-dressed woman frozen in it. They knew to avoid her eyes, which have an ensorcelling effect, and tried hacking the column free so they could drag it out of the cavern. Brother Ded used his newly acquired (and totally inappropriate for character build) greatsword to chop through the ice. It took the better part of an hour, because the ice kept growing back, sometimes so fast that it caught the blade. Ded persisted, however, just having fun swinging a big sword in a non-combat situation. They pushed the column over with just enough gentleness that it didn't shatter (which would be disastrous for the woman inside), where it immediately froze to the ground. They chipped it free again, rolled it onto a blanket, and dragged it out of the cavern. They hoped that the column would start to melt now that it was away from the unnatural cold of the cavern. Instead, the opposite occurred: the cavern started to thaw (screams of despair could be heard from the miniature Ice City next door) and the Party was now standing in a snow-choked passage outside the cavern. At this point they gave up and chucked the lady and her ice column down the Oracular Pit. They grabbed up Prince Eryean's body, figuring it would be good to present to the Imperials in lieu of the Nul Rod.

Heading back towards Thontorius's saucer, they reached out to him via the chained sending stones to ask about something or other (I forget what), and he responded that he was, regrettably, in a spot of bother. The saucer was surrounded and under imminent threat of attack. "Firebomb beetles again?" "No. An man and a woman in elaborate costume and a company of headless chaps." "Ah, what are they doing?" "The woman is yelling something about the destruction of a temple?"

The party called the three Apis Irregulars and asked them to hold off on the search for their lost teammates and come back to ambush these Nul Cultists. The PCs were able to sneak up, and found it was the same group that they had encountered in the cavern, previously: nine decapitantes, Urethria the Priestess of Nul, and Yithbara the Inquistor of Nul. They were out on patrol looking for surface dwellers to round up when everything went down at the Temple of Nul, and now they were all that was left of the local Nullite franchise. They had packed up their things and were making their way back to the Black Ooze River Valley, but made a last detour to harass the one thing they had seen on their patrol that they couldn't account for: Thontorius's flying saucer. It had to be connected to the Temple massacre!

Brother Ded tried to bluff the Cultists that it was Thrantrix the Ineffable who had destroyed their Temple, but Urethria was wearing the Eye of Nul Mind Control Helmet, and plucked the truth from his mind. He then tried to dishearten the cultists by revealing some of the things Mother Futility had shared with them about the nature of the cult, but that didn't bother the priestess one jot.

Combat combat combat. With the additional numbers of the Apis Irregulars, attacking the Cultists from two sides, and the considered application of the Moonbeam spell, the battle was pretty evenly matched. They kept Yithbara stunned and sidelined for most of the battle and tried to take out as many of the decapitantes as they could. Unfortunately, Urethria could override the the decpitantes' nervous systems, and bring them back after they'd fallen. The fight might have gone either way if fought to the bitter end. However, they concentrated a lot of their damage on Urethria and when she got low enough to feel threatened, she called a truce and offered the PCs a coffer of 600 gold to let them go on their way. Peace in our time!

The Party returned to the saucer, were they where grilled extensively by Thontorius about exactly what had happened to the Nul Rod. They were of different minds about how honest and forthcoming to be, but Thontorius is a researcher, and was patient and methodical in going over every scrap of information from different angles for hours until he had a pretty decent picture of what happened.

Brother Ded rather generously volunteered to give the Apis Irregulars 42% of the haul (252 gp)  from this last band of cultists, which seems suspiciously out of character.


Half the party was absent, so I had to cut back by encounter plans for the session on the fly. I'd planned on having a couple enemies converge on the PCs at the same time. But that would have been too much for the current roster. A Battle of Three Squads is likely to show up sooner than later, however.

Last session, Toljin sacrificed a 2nd-level spell slot in order to connect to his god(s). This session, I told him he now had an additional Channel Divinity each day as a result of that encounter. I haven't put any thought into the balance of this exchange. It made narrative sense. And we're in the endgame, here, so there aren't any long-terms headaches if things go off the rails at this point.


Popular posts from this blog

Knaves, fancypants

I've prepared a new layout document of Ben Milton's Knaves . Knaves is a great, light rules set that has an extremely elegant core mechanic while retaining total compatibility with OSR material. It's pretty much the rpg of my dreams. This document contains the complete rules, plus a bunch of useful hacks from the community, plus a few of my invention, plus some useful resources from Ben Milton's previous effort, Maze Rats . EDIT: I've updated the layout to fix errata and make a few tweaks. Further, I've made 3 variations: KNAVES TABLET LAYOUT The Tablet Layout is meant for scrolling on screens, and contains hyperlinks. KNAVES SPREAD LAYOUT The Spread Layout is set up to print on Letter-sized paper. KNAVES A4 LAYOUT The A4 Layout is set up to print on A4 paper, and is probably the most elegant of the three versions. This is presented with generous permission from Ben Milton, and should in no way be an excuse for not purchasing a copy of Knav

Maze Rats by Post

In my previous post , I reviewed a bunch of my favorite rulesets for optimization for Play-by-Post. It occurred to me almost immediately that I hadn't really thought about Maze Rats enough. In fact, I'd mis-remembered and mischaracterized it. Upon reflection, one of the mechanics I took issue with is actually a big strength. Re-reading the rules, it seems like just a few very simple hacks could make it a highly-optimized PbP game. As follows: Danger Rolls are rolled by the GM. Danger rolls usually fail, so it is in the player’s interest to describe their actions plausibly and mitigate as many risks as they can, in the hopes that they don’t trigger a danger roll. 2d6 + ability bonus ≥ 10 If you have taken enough precautions to have a distinct advantage in an action, but not enough to have eliminated the distinct possibility of danger, the GM will give you a roll with advantage. 3d6 keep 2 + ability bonus ≥ 10 Because each character only has 3 ability scores (S

Reviewing Rules for Play-by-Post Optimization

I’ve played a lot of PbP games: all your favorite flavors of OD&D, AD&D, and their retroclones, Call of Cthulhu, Marvel Superheroes, Traveller, Dungeon World, etc. ad nauseam. In almost every instance, I forgot what ruleset we were using at some point. Which is a good thing. Once chargen is over, you spend a lot more time describing your characters actions and poring over the GM’s descriptions than you spend interacting with rules. When you do roll, it’s usually a combat to-hit roll, which you’ve probably programmed into the online dice-roller as a macro. Pretty much any game will work for PbP. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t points of possible optimization. Point 1: Resolution. Anything that can keep the action moving is a boon to PbP. A game that requires a back-and-forth exchange of information to resolve an action is going to progress very slowly. A good rule of thumb is that it’ll take 2 or 3 days to get a response from any given player. At that pace, an exch