Dateline – Storm Point

***SPOILER ALERT***

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

***SPOILER ALERT***

We had a full house at the last Storm Point game ((The previous session, I had run out of prep time, so we ran a session of D&D Next playtest, using the Caves of Chaos adventure again. The big thing from that playtest: we really liked the new fighter mechanic.)) , which was nice, as we were heading into the next phase of the campaign. I had let the characters advance up to 14th level, with the idea that we were going to start on the next adventure int he Tomb of Horrors book.

The reason for going this way is that the majority of us are getting tired of D&D. We’ve been playing it for a long time, and are starting to be ready for a different system. On the other hand, we’re liking this campaign and these characters, and don’t want to just end it without some sort of resolution. So, what we’re planning is that we will run through the Tomb of Horrors book ((Well, I may collapse some of the adventures in the interests of shortening the amount of time it takes us to get through things. You may have noticed that we don’t get a whole lot done in a session.)) , which will take the characters up into the Epic tier, and provide a nice, memorable conclusion to the campaign.

What then? Well, we’ve been talking over some of the options. If we want to stay with the fantasy style game, maybe Dungeon World. Apocalypse World and Night’s Black Agents also got some interest, and I forgot to even bring up Ashen Stars, which I think this group would really dig. But that’s a good year or so away, so I’m not sweating it right now. We’ll make the decision when the time comes.

Anyway.

I started the session asking how the characters had kept busy during the downtime, and let each player tell a short story about something cool they had done in the time between the last session and the current one. Then, I told them that they were getting bored, with nothing big and exciting going on, and asked them what they planned to do about it.

They decided to go ask Bitaryut the Blind – the seer that they’ve had some dealings with previously ((And, because he had tried to use them to further his own plots, they had something to hold over his head.)) – if he knew of anything that they might be interested in. He had a parchment covered in runes and sigils that looked very much like the markings that our heroes had seen in theGarden of Graves, designed to funnel the energy of death to a collection point. That intrigued them enough to go looking for the stone portal in the desert where a merchant had copied down the markings.

After some investigation of the portal, they discovered that it opened with a small sacrifice of blood rubbed on the stone, leading to the Shadowfell – specifically, to the dark, ruined city of Moil. They dithered and bickered for long enough that Thrun, the dwarf fighter, just jumped through the portal.

On the far side of it, Thrun was immediately attacked by some very powerful zombies and wights. The rest of the gang followed him as they were able ((In initiative order, of course.)) and joined the fray, but the fact that they had started the combat separated meant that it was a tougher fight than it had initially appeared. The terrain didn’t help them much, as I had overlooked the bit of the description that talked about how the floor of the tower on which they were fighting was tilted, so I had the floor shift and tilt during the combat, showing how the building was unstable and teetering on the edge of collapse.

They did triumph, however, after a tough fight, and took stock of their surroundings. I described the dilapidated towers and crumbling bridges, the dark and the cold, and let them get the idea of what a bad place they were in. But it was late by that time, so we called it for the evening.

Next session, they need to figure out where the runes are in this place, and what they’re meant to do.

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