I’m a bit behind on the B/X campaign notes, so I’ll try to consolidate a bit:
- 7th level Cleric of Death (Lawful)
- 7th level Cleric of the Church of Lloth (reformed)
- 8th level Thief
- 6th level Magic-user
- 6th level Halfling (absent)
After leaving the catacombs and returning to the city to raise the dead cleric (and 2 weeks for the raised cleric to recover) the party is hired by the city to look into a cult problem in the Old Quarter and “take care of it.” Discretion required. After a little legwork in the Old Quarter by the thief, the party follows a proselytizing cultist back to their secret headquarters. The upper areas are occupied by dozens of homeless peasants, so the PCs are able to infiltrate pretty easily.
Using the ruse of delivering a message to the aforementioned proselytizing cultist, they gain entrance to the hidden temple area and are directed to the barracks area. Knocking on the barracks door, they deliver a blank rolled up scroll (the “message”) and then the magic-user shoots a fireball into the barracks area. The cultists residing within are blown to smithereens.
This of course raises an alarm, and the party proceeds to hack their way through a white ape, an indoctrination room, a creepy kitchen preparing drug-laced meals, across a bridge over a chasm guarded by two platemail wearing minotaurs and into the main temple area. An Evil High Priest (EHP) is preaching a dark sermon to a congregation of about 40 religious fanatics when the PCs interrupt. Their initial volley almost kills the EHP, who flees down a back passage while the congregation assaults the party. I figured the magic-user wouldn’t bother memorizing sleep and I was right, so the horde of 0-level cultists is taking a toll on the party. However, the MU whips out a wand of frost and blasts them with cone of cold, wiping out almost all of them in one shot.
Following the EHP, they come upon the main residence of the cult leader and are immediately assaulted by four chaos mutants and a dozen mutated women of the cult leader’s groupie harem. The EHP is standing in the back and manages to say “The master will kill you for this!” before dying horribly under the party’s onslaught. The rest of the pack is dispatched with another cone of cold, followed by profuse looting.
Returning through the temple to explore a side passage, they hear a piercing scream. Rushing down a flight of stairs they find a room of captives chained to the wall. Two were obviously slain only moments before, but a third claims to be a merchant, offering a huge reward if the party releases him. Suitable compensation is negotiated and they release the merchant, who flees, though not before telling them that the cult leader has taken the lovely priestess of the Temple of Charity to be sacrificed.
In hot pursuit, the party comes upon the cult leader preparing the priestess to be thrown off of ledge into the chasm. After a quick fight, the cult leader is downed. However, moments later, as the party is freeing the captive priestess, the leader comes back to life! With a death grip on the priestess he begins dragging her to the ledge, intent on taking her with him over the edge. The party members begin to furiously hack away at the leader’s limbs, freeing the priestess. However, before dying for good, the cultist points his finger at the magic-user and says “Die!” A ray shoots from his fingertip, instantly slaying the magic-user. Kicking the corpse over the edge, the party hears sickening crunching sounds as something in the pit consumes the cultist’s dismembered body.
So, the party returns to their ship (which they recently named Pearl of the Gods, a sort of back-handed honor to the Isle of Dread), raise the magic-user and return to the city magistrate for their reward. In the process they let slip that something is still alive in the pit. The magistrate is quite adamant that the party destroy this “thing” before any compensation be paid, so off they go back to the temple. On the way they swing by Ace Hardware and purchase a dozen casks of oil and a pig. At the chasm they lower the pig down on a rope and when the thing below feeds on the poor animal they start rolling casks of oil on its head, like depth charges on a U-boat. One flaming arrow later, the chaos abomination is incinerated. They retrieve a crispy tentacle from the beast as proof of the deed and return to the magistrate for their promised reward.
A couple of weeks later, after the magic-user has recovered from being raised, they show up at the merchant’s house for their reward. “Reward? What reward? Who are you people?” is the response. Well, as you can imagine, that doesn’t go over well with a bunch of psychopathic murder-hobo treasure hunters. One of the clerics and the magic-user proceed to toss the joint and brutalize the merchant and his staff. Ultimately the cleric quests the merchant to deliver the reward, plus 20% (6,000 gp total). The merchant swears never to pay, but delivers that amount to the Pearl the next day. Originally I joked that it was all paid in copper pieces, but after doing the math we realized it would require 600,000 actual copper coins, so I retconned it back to gold pieces. Oh, and now they have a new enemy.
A few weeks later, the thief awakes one night to the sounds of someone creeping around the ship. After waking the rest of the party, they narrow the intruder’s path to the main cabin where they keep the charts and log books. Nothing appears to be missing, but they soon discover that their original logbook has been replaced with a forgery. The forgery is written in a simple code, which the thief is able to break. It details all sorts of ‘frowned-upon’ activities. They ditch the forged logbook overboard and quickly forge a new replacement. And not a moment too soon, either, for at the crack of dawn a troop of soldiers arrive at the Pearl to conduct a “random” inspection…of just the ship’s log books. Finding nothing out-of-order, the soldiers depart, somewhat dejectedly.
They immediately suspect the merchant and head to his mansion. During the course of their “investigation” they discover the merchant left the city almost two weeks ago, and that he was one of the backers of the party’s expedition to White Plume Mountain. They track him down to an estate outside of the city, infiltrate the manor house and discover a secret door in the cellar leading to a swinging bachelor pad of evil Chaos. They determine the merchant must belong to a rival cult of Chaos and perhaps that’s how he was captured in the first place. At any rate, they encounter the merchant having a heated discussion with a vampire (though not the same vampire that escape the party at White Plume Mountain). The vampire escapes and one of the clerics casts locate object to find coffins. Fast on the monster’s trail, they corner it and beat the living hell out of it. Unfortunately, when reduced to 0 hit points it just turns to gas and escapes again.
Using locate object again, they track the vampire down to a set of backup coffins deeper in this suspiciously large cellar complex. Oh, and along the way they’re attacked by a phantom stalker just like the one from the temple catacombs, though this time they manage to kill it before it can self-detonate into a fireball. At the backup coffins they find two vampires gathering up items like they’re getting ready to GTFO. This time the PCs stake them in the heart, thus finally killing them.
Back up top, they interrogate the merchant to discover that he is the owner of Blackrazor. When asked why he would own such an evil weapon, he points around to all the evil-looking stuff in his little chaos temple and says “Really?” So, it seems he teamed up with a master vampire and some crazy mage to get revenge on the PCs, and wound up getting more than he bargained for. Before leaving, one of the clerics quests him to deliver Blackrazor to them at the Pearl of the Gods.
The next day the party discovers that the merchant was murdered on his way to deliver Blackrazor and the notorious blade is (of course) missing. Having nothing else to go on, they track down some rumors of strange goings on in the Old Quarter (because strange things always happen in the poor part of town). Naturally, the strange disappearances and such are the work of the vampire and crazy mage who are turning peasants into ghouls. They track down the villainous duo’s hideout, kick in the door and slaughter heck out of a small army of ghouls (at this point, the clerics are powerful enough to dust them at will). Finding another secret door in the hideout’s cellar (because in D&D every cellar has a secret door), they confront the master vampire that eluded them at White Plume Mountain, and the mage from the temple catacombs. The vampire conveniently wields Blackrazor. Despite that bit of awesomeness, the vampires dies rather quickly and anti-climatically, leaving only the mage and another phantom stalker, who are both soon dead (though they do manage to get in some good licks on their way out the meta-physical door).
The party delivers Blackrazor to the Church of Death (Lawful branch) for destruction and are hailed as great heroes of the city. More to come on that later.
Wizards recently released DA2 Temple of the Frog for B/X D&D which I’d love to run. In fact, I think it’d make a nice capstone for the B/X campaign before moving on to other games. Unfortunately, it sounds like they forgot to include some of the maps in the PDF, so I’ll have to see if I can track them down somewhere.