Iâ€™m running Tomb of Horrors for this leg of the Storm Point campaign. You may not want to read on if youâ€™re playing the game yourself.
When we got together for the latestÂ Storm PointÂ session, it had been over two months since the previous session. Scheduling is always difficult over the holiday season, and it spilled over a fair bit into the new year this year. But we finally got everyone together, and last Sunday, we had a full house for the return to the game.
We picked things up right where we had left them, with our heroes continuing to explore the dead city of Moil, searching for the epicentre of the funnelled death energy ((Yeah, it’s a whole thing…)). They had just slain a massive undead creature made of bones and the rubble of the city’s towers, and took the opportunity for an extended rest. I’ve been making the characters make Endurance checks every now and then to avoid losing a healing surge to the necrotic cold of the Shadowfell, and I decided that, after an extended rest, each character would recover one fewer healing surge than usual, as well as having to make an Endurance check to avoid losing a second surge.
The reason for these checks and the loss of healing surges is twofold. First, I want to emphasize the fact that the characters are on a different plane, one inimical to life, and they need to realize the danger of that. Second, I want to put a clock on the game – if the characters stay too long, their life-energy will drain away.
I decided that this session, I wanted to get the characters into the final dungeon area at the end of the adventure. So, I routed them to the gate puzzle. I let them spot the Vestige ((Player: “What’s a Vestige?” Me: “Well, when a god loses worshippers and fades away, it leaves an impression on the world. That’s a Vestige.” Player: “So… you’re telling us this is the negative space of a dead god?” Me: “Pretty much.” Group: “Well, crap.”)) coming at them a fair ways off, making the threat of its presence obvious enough that the characters were motivated to unscramble the puzzle of the gate. They failed the skill challenge, and took the damage from the misfiring gate as they passed through.
Two of the party didn’t make it through the gate before the Vestige arrived, and they took some nasty damage – and were set up to take quite a bit more – before they were able to escape through the gate. It nicely put the fear of (dead) god in them. The fact that they landed in a room with bodies hanging from chains, a big demon face is the middle of the floor, and two nasty sword wraiths waiting for them helped accentuate the point.
The fight went fairly quickly, though the gang seemed well-threatened by them. When they wrapped it up, they were faced with the puzzle of the archways.
The whole thing with the arches struck me as nicely retro, with the silly, nasty effects of the arches, and the hidden exit guarded by a sphere of annihilation. The characters spent a fair bit of time monkeying around with the arches, winding up variously shrunk, donkey-headed, half-disintegrated, and stripped of magic items. They finally figured things out through the clever use of theÂ hand of fate andÂ speak with dead rituals to gather information, and made their way through the exit to the next room.
That’s where we stopped for the evening.
Between this session and next, I’m planning to take a hard look at the rest of the dungeon, to pare it down to two to three sessions of play, while still getting the best of the cool, nasty, fun stuff in the game. That way, we can get through the last two adventures inÂ Tomb of Horrors and wrap up theÂ Storm PointÂ game in the epic tier and end on a high note.
Or, y’know, TPK. Whichever.