Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Play Report: Skull? Skull Mountain!

This is my report on Skull Mountain from the perspective of a player.  I have never read the module so there are elements that have remained a mystery.  And I have forgotten some of what happened.  To the degree that memorable = interesting, this might indicate the best parts of the module.  Or it might indicate when both me and the DM got tired
 My character, Mouse, a 7th level thief, was the only PC.  His NPC henchmen/companions include Bharti (6th level bard—he likes money and it is mutual), Mwangi (4th level druid— he likes hippos, also mutual), Lomi (4th level fighter—beautiful and also virtuous, Mouse is still working on the mutual), and Speedy (1st level thief— he does his level best)
“We took a job to go and see the weird things happening at Skull Mountain, the place where long ago bad men decided they wanted to live in caves that look like a skull and do so many bad thigns to travelers and when there are no travelers bad things to each other.  And now those bad men have come back.  Or some other new bad men pretending to be them and doing the same bad things or other bad things like that.  Probably worse.  And with robbers.  The robbers and the demon worshippers they came together and made a plan to hurt the local big man—so they kidnapped his son and took him to Skull Mountain.”
Bharti cast invisibility on Mouse and Speedy.  The two thieves went ahead to scout the area while Bharti prepared invisibility spells for the other party members.

Skull Mountain by KristaE
Skull Mountain, a photo by KristaE on Flickr.
“And so myself, Mouse, or as people call me today, Big Mouse, myself and Speedy, we observed the site that is called Skull Mountain because it looks exactly like a skull even more than you can imagine would happen naturally, we watched it throughout an afternoon and evening. At dusk, about a dozen of the demon-worshippers, they came out and assembled in an open area in front of the skull to scream and shout in a frightening way like those men like to do when they are worshipping the dark powers.  We circled around the celebrants and climbed up to the cave mouth.  Guards were posted here.  I (Mouse) climbed up the rock face to look into the eyes of the skull.  In each eye hole, a pair of men tended a large hot fire, feeding it with a strange powder that created bright, oddly-colored flames.  I climbed down and with my young student, we ventured inside the cave mouth, going far enough to find the stairs that led up to the eye-caves.  That was enough.  The sound of the drums was starting to really bother us, especially Speedy because he is not used to danger.
“When we returned as a group the next night, we brought wax for our ears to muffle the sound of the drumming.  As expected, the evil worshippers were in the same place, once again conducting one of the rituals they enjoy so much. 
“Myself and Speedy, we led the others along the safe path to the cave mouth.  Since we all could not see one another, there were some times that would be awkward if we were not in the middle of danger.  “We waited for a very very loud part of the drumming and then dashed into the cave in couples.  Or, Mouse and Lomi were a couple.  The other three were a three.  We climbed up the stairs to the eye holes.  We climbed the stairs and found a pot of boiling oil next to a hole for pouring on people who enter the cave uninvited.  (This will be important later.)  We also found the tunnels that lead to the fire-chambers for those eye-hole-caves.

“Mwangi gave me a magical stone to make me dead quiet and then I did what needed to be done—sneak into the eye-hole-caves one by one, and wait for one of the guards to put down his sword and pick up the bag of power and then—stab him and push him into the fire.  Then hide.  The other guard is confused and turns around—now he is worried, where is his friend?  Why can’t he hear his own voice?  Stab, stab all his questions are answered. 
“After a few minutes, the evil people outside realize that something is wrong for them inside their home.  They end their ritual and come inside to see what’s wrong.   Too many things.

bonfire I by Brayo
“With arrows, standing side-by-side Mouse (i.e. myself) and Lomi shot the guards at the cave mouth dead and then replaced then, shooting arrows at the all these robed men trying to climb up the steep rocky steps.  Mwangi with his shaman magic and Bharti with his magic magic.  As the survivors make their way up, we retreat, using their own cave as our fortress.  They charge into their home—Speedy is ready for them—he pours the boiling oil.  (Learned men call this one irony. And draw a sign like this: #.)
“I call it ‘All the demon-worshippers are killed by their own wickedness!’  We take their money and then find our way down into the lower caves where we hope to find the big man’s son.

“It’s very strange down there.  Lots of tunnels leading here-and-there-nowhere.  Maybe the smoke from the fires caused some problems in my brain because this is where I forget so much.  There was someone invisible—not our friend, but an enemy, trying to stab us.  Also there were men with heads like lizards and this is very frightening and ugly and also evil because they are trying to stab us with spears and bite us with their mouths at the same time.
“But we just kill them and we find the big men’s son and we hear more lizrd people so before they can find us we just run away and go back and get our reward.”

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