Pre-game Pitch: Over in the Cathedral District, Abbot Van-Wolff at the St. Mugrunden’s Abbey, seems to have been experimenting with Arcanum and something has gone wrong. Locals are complaining of green energy and restless dead. The Adventurer’s Co-Operative has won a bid to delve into the catacombs, find out what we can and take whatever isn’t nailed down. The Cathedral District Councilors are not pleased with this decision but their neighbors insist.
Found a One Page Dungeon in this reddit thread – The Mad Abbot’s Lair by Mark Murphy.
Added some chtonic details about the portals, decided that the portals happened when green-lightning zombies were killed and we were off to the races.
The players, John and Aaron, had both played in different sessions of this campaign but they and their characters had never met. Aaron’s character, Glim, had gone on the adventure where they explored a portal that John’s character, Roscoe, had shut and left alone when an otherworldly dooksalf fired its bow at him. I like the way the campaign world is slowly building and the characters could discuss their adventures with some context.
The players solved problems creatively, using tables and alchemical flasks to destroy the green-energy-overwhelmed-abbot. They out-thought the the rival Cathedral District’s knightly constabulary who were waiting to kill and rob them outside the catacombs. Good stuff.
I loved the very human reaction Glim had when he saw the results his bomb had on green-energy-possessed priests and acolytes. And the collection, “NOPE,” when they looked at one last cave and found giant spiders as they backed out and left. “Too bad there were not other areas to explore,” Glim said as they backed away.
When a treasure was described as a magical treasure, I rolled on the tables below and got Blood and Hibernation. I decided the magical staff had a needle in it and when it took blood from its wielder (1d4 HP damage) it didn’t kill or knock those it hit unconscious but knocked them into a months-long hibernation.
I came up with a story about who St. Mugrunden was, a saint who would find young women about to be burned and she’d offer herself up in their stead. After being burned to death she’d show up at a witch hunter somewhere else and do it again. I like this story and will have to use it again. I also wanted to make sure the players didn’t decide this green otherworldly energy wasn’t somehow about this saint and so I used the advanced technique of saying to my players, “This backstory is just a red herring and has nothing to do with the rest of the adventure.”
The random table offered a cool bit at the end where they found a penny Roscoe had thrown through a portal near the entrance they had first come through. Nice creepy moment, totally randomly rolled. The players missed a few rooms and that was just fine. It was a fine delve and a fun dungeon.
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