Dateline – Storm Point

***SPOILER ALERT***

I’m running Tomb of Horrors for this leg of the Storm Point campaign – indeed, for the rest of the campaign. You may not want to read on if you’re playing the game yourself.

***SPOILER ALERT***

So. One more session to go in the Storm Point campaign.

We actually got a fair bit accomplished this session, partly because of some tricks I stole from Dungeon World. We opened up with the characters in Pluton, just having defeated the bloodshard golems. I’ve pared down the adventure so that we can wrap it up in one more session, so I cut out a bunch of the horribly tough, slogging encounters, and let the characters see the final tomb in the distance, with nothing but a mile of rocky plain and a huge wall of black ice in the way.

At the wall of ice, things started to bog down a bit as they were looking for a way over, under, or around it. After about five minutes of them trying to come up with a way of defeating the wall without engaging the wall, I interrupted and said, “You know, you guys are epic level, now.” They blinked at me for a few seconds, then Thrun drew a pair of daggers and started using them to climb the 150-foot tall wall of necromantic ice, and the rest of the party followed suit.

The climb was a fairly low DC for this tier ((I set it at DC 20.)), but I decided that, if the character didn’t beat it by enough, they would lose a healing surge to the life-sucking cold of it because they stayed in contact with it for too long. And then the same thing climbing down. I managed to suck a couple of surges from two of the party, which was, frankly, better than I had hoped to do.

After the wall, they reached the tomb itself. I described it as a giant skull floating in the middle of a hole in the ground, which dropped away to the astral sea below. They had to cross a 50-foot-wide moat to get in. I was about to describe the crashing boulders flying around in the moat that they would have to use as stepping stones to the entrance, but Faran pulled out the shadow bridge ritual. Because this was pretty much a direct reaction to me telling the players to be epic, I omitted the boulders and had this work, because it was a good chance to reward the cleric who has been collecting and hoarding rituals, and almost never getting to use them.

Inside the tomb, I started describing the maze of extra-dimensional portals and rooms, but they jumped right in with hauling out their mattock of the titans and smashing their way through the walls. This, however, didn’t work for them, as most of the rooms didn’t exist contiguously, or even in the same plane. I explained that to them, and started a special two-part skill challenge.

In the first part, they had to describe the way they were trying to find their way through the tomb to the necromantic engine at its heart. They managed that quite handily. The second part didn’t require any roll; I just asked each player to describe a weird and deadly challenge in the exploration of this tomb that they beat by being awesome. That got me four exciting, character-created scenes for the adventure.

Which led them to the big combat for this session. It involved an aspect of Vecna, an assassin devil, several undead servitors, and a bone collector. I ran it as a rather chaotic, three-way battle: the bone collector was guarding the secret entry into the heart of the tomb, while the aspect of Vecna and his minions ((Which included the assassin devil.)) were trying to win their way into the heart of the tomb to stop Acererak from usurping the godhood of death.

Enter the PCs, and all hell breaks loose.

They woke the bone collector so, rather than facing it after they clean up the Vecna cultists, they got to fight both at once. The bone collector, for its part, was flailing at everyone. And the aspect and devil didn’t worry too much about catching each other in their area attacks.

It was a pretty rough fight, mainly because so many of the creatures drained healing surges, but our heroes triumphed in the end. And in the now-empty pool that the bone collector had used as a hiding spot, they found the teleport circle to the necromantic engine.

When they used it, I read them the description of the giant god-flesh golem that Acererak is now using as a body, and we closed the session for the night.

Next time, the climactic battle, and the end ((One way or another.)) of the Storm Point campaign!

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