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Saturday, 2 February 2019

The Adventure Continues .... 23. Better The Demon (v2.46)

We had a handful of different issues in the last session. Nothing too drastic, and only issues that would have (mostly) affected either a MP or DM hosted game - both of which is our current situation. There was one other minor issue that would have affected all game types, but nothing too serious. Here is the rundown.

The List of Fixes

1) GUBRIEL ROCK PUZZLE: When the players went to respond with the correct answer to the Gubriel Rock test, the rock did not reveal its treasure. I had to alter the code to ensure the variable was checked against the Main PC even when playing a different PC.

2) SUCCUBUS JOURNAL ENTRY: There was a trigger that started a conversation with the succubus when the players came within sight of the demon. However, the journal entry for the appropriate conversation line was missing on its node, so while we received my own coded "Journal Updated", the actual journal entry did not fire and update. Thankfully, the journal rights itself on the next trigger point, but it has now been fixed anyway.

3) PICK LOCK INTERACTION (MP): The pick lock GUI could fail interaction after first usage in a MP game. An incorrect variable check has now been fixed and checked working.

4) RUNE LOCK INTERACTION: The runes selected with a Rune Lock interaction (four runes to activate) could fail to enable correct interaction after first usage. Checks have been put in place and the code made more efficient to ensure the runes display their correct state. NB: This fix likely needs to be in place before any interaction with the rune locks within the Ancient Crypt.

5) UNDEAD DRAINING: This occurred because I recently altered some code to give DM feedback. The problem was, I used the same variable to send the feedback to the DM (or player) as the one who received the draining. Therefore, none of the draining (either levels or abilities) was targeting the correct PC when called. This has now been fixed. (For our own session, we are considering replaying the last battle where the scripts would have been most used.)

6) INCORRECT LIFE ESSENCE COUNT: The statistics was showing an abnormally high figure for Life Essences collected. The problem appears to have been because I had done some testing between the save game sessions, which allocated around 60 (3x20) Life Essences, which upped the global count, but were never actually present on a player reload. I have since edited the global value to the correct value and edited the script that adjusts the value to ignore "tested games". I will watch this closely in case it was caused by anything else.

The Gubriel Rock
The Demon In The Dark!
Brendagoth's Revenge?
Giant Spider Attacks!
Clay Golem Surprise!
Another Dangerous Encounter
The Rune Creation Chamber
Melakar The Dread Wraith!
The Adventure Continues ... 23. Better The Demon

So, We Meet Again!

NB: Contains spoilers for ALL backgrounds.

As Elana approached the Gubriel Rock, she heard a question within her head and to speak an answer before the great revolving boulder known as the Gubriel Rock would reveal its secret. Without hesitation she remembered the passages from the book they discovered in the Eastern Tower where Soul resided and spoke the word she knew would release the Magnici Devadi book, which the rock contained.

The ancient and extremely delicate tome in hand, she returned to the group. Then realising transporting the book was not going to be easy, the heroes decided to leave the book in a safe place while they continued to explore the Ancient Crypt. At least with the finding of this ancient tome, they knew Zak, the hermit, would be happy; as long as they could make their escape!

Finding the last runes and escaping the Ancient Crypt was the heroes next task. It was also the reason why it was Elana who had come ahead of the group rather than Helden. For earlier, the group had heard a female cry out across the chasm at them: it was the succubus demon! Knowing the demon's past influences with male adventurers, the females of the party had decided to take the lead, and ensure their male counterparts stayed away from the beguiling nature of the demon.

Now it was Myara, Elana and Threska who approached the succubus demon, who stood alone in the dark within its Demoncage. "Please help me", whined the seductive demon. The female half of the party were having none of the demons guile, however, and questioned the demon carefully. (Their male counterparts had remained back close to where the Gubriel Rock had stood.)

As the conversation continued, it seemed that the Demon was in quite a strong bargaining position, because it held runes that the heroes needed to escape the chambers. Not the exact runes, but ones that would allow them access to a temple area where they could acquire the ones they needed. The female heroes, played their hand carefully, however, and believed that they could win the runes without aiding the demon by using the secret word that Dringle had given them when performing the reversal of the Demoncage Ritual to free the demon. From what Dringle had said, it would destroy the demon and end his own curse.

Playing along at first with the succubus, the female heroes placed the ritual bowls and items required within them around the circle. Then they chanted the words needed and added the word Dringle had given them. However, it was a ruse and had been all along! The demon had out-smarted the heroes and it had now been freed. Furthermore, it then came to light that the demon was in fact the one and the same Brendagoth, a barbed devil the heroes of Isil Ia Dom had once encountered many years ago. At that time, the barbed devil had escaped, but had seemingly survived its return to the Outer Planes, although it had been demoted in rank and changed allegiance to serve a different cause - it's own! The devil had been reborn as a succubus demon, bent on its revenge to destroy those that had caused its downfall all those years ago.

To this end, the succubus also summoned a second demon to aid in its attack. At the sight of this, the female heroes could do nothing more than run - and run straight back to the support of the males. The succubus had no idea that it was running into a second trap - even though this trap had never been intentional. However, because the males waited on the far side of the chasm along a narrow ledge, it meant that once the females had gone over, it left the succubus vulnerable to attacks from the waiting hordes of summoned creatures and additional attacks of the male heroes waiting on the other side. The succubus's own demon trapped behind its summoner and unable to offer any further help. It was due to the fortuitous circumstances that the heroes were in that meant their victory was assured. Brendagoth, the demon, now faced a beating for a second time, and at its defeat, the second summoned demon dissipated with it.

"Thank goodness Herreta had the foresight to trap the demon on the other side of the narrow ledge", said Myara, and the rest of the party had to agree, knowing it went a long way in helping the heroes have an advantage in the battle.

After the battle, Helden was able to gather the runes that had fallen from the demon, and sure enough, the few collected were found to make a difference. Having followed the halls back to one of the rune locked gates, they presented the runes that included one from the demon's collection and the rune lock opened and allowed access. The heroes could now explore the northern regions of the crumbling crypt.

The northern section of the Ancient Crypt was even older than the area they had been exploring. The crumbling walls were lined with sealed walls that guarded the way to more mausoleums, which Helden was able to break down and allow Myara access to the chambers to search for any more runes they may need. In the course of their search, giant spiders dropped from the ceiling and came out of the shadows, giving the fighters another excuse to draw their blades .. and blood. Compared to the combat with the demon, however, these were a simple task.

Eventually, after much searching of the northern end of the crypt, the heroes found enough runes to try another large gateway that had blocked their progress to the north-west of the crypt. Thankfully, and although still four missing from the set, the heroes had the right runes now to bypass the large gate, and was made much quicker with Myara's abilities.

Beyond this large gate was the temple itself, and the heroes were able to investigate some corpses that lay strewn around the ground here, and finally glean some information from a book near one of the corpses to discover what had happened. It seemed an ancient sect of Abbathor followers had come here with somebody called Malakar to progress their evil plans. However, it appeared that whatever their original intentions (something related with the runes), Malakar, their leader had taken steps just a bit further than some of the followers had originally intended.

The heroes did not have to wait long to see the proof of what had happened, when wights stood from the ground and started to approach the heroes. The spell casters did not need to wait for Helden to give the order, and immediately summoned creatures to make a barrier between them and these undead. Threska and Elana then started trying to turn them, as the fighters kept their distance and used missile fire. Nobody wanted to get too close to a wight, which had the ability to suck the life from you ... especially Helden, who for this very reason, hated undead.

The well timed  summons and powerful turnings made their mark, and it was not too long before the undead showed signs of being rebuked and the summoned creatures were able to drive them back to the graves without too much retaliation. The battle over, the heroes sighed a relief,  as nobody had suffered any draining.

The temple had two exits: further west (opposite the way they had entered) or south. Myara asked to go south first, and so Helden agreed and the rogue led the way checking for traps. As the group turned a corner, there was a heavy scraping sound behind them, and from the shadows of an alcove, a large humanoid statue had animated; it was a clay golem closing to attack!

The golem had caught the heroes off-guard, and this turned out to be a battle tougher than the succubus because not only had they been surprised, but they also were soon to learn that Myara's arrows had no effect. The clay golem had resistances to both weapons and magic! Thankfully, Helden and Flint managed to form a barrier between the golem and the more vulnerable members of the party. The battle that ensued turned out to be one of attrition, which the party won, mainly thanks to the supporting healing from the clerics as the fighters took blow after blow from the lumbering monster.

At the end of the corner from where the golem had attacked, the heroes found a chamber that appeared to be some kind of sacrifice pit that disappeared somewhere into the mountain deep below. It turned out to be a dead end and there was nothing new found here, and so the heroes doubled-back to the last passageway they had to explore of the area that led west. At the end of this passage, after dealing with a couple more wights in much the same way as before, the heroes opened a door onto a chamber that supported some strange devices.

Next to a large circular device, the biggest in the room, Helden spied another husk of a body, similar to those they had encountered before, but this one was different. Karasten confirmed that this looked like magik and not the touch of undeath. From a nearby large tome, the heroes were soon to learn the nature of this room, and from a smaller book next to the corpse, the final understanding of what had happened here.

It turned out that the large circular device was a means of extracting Life Essences from living beings, which the sect of Abbathor wanted to follow up by Gathering peoples to use within its magik to collect Life Essences. Then, in another nearby device, they could use the Life Essences to make the magik runes. However, it seemed Malakar, the husk on the floor near the large device had other plans, and simply wanted to convert (drain) everyone to a state of undeath, where they could then "live" forever, and serve Abbathor forever. Not everyone had wanted this, but their fate had been sealed by the evil high priest.

"Watch out!" Helden cried out to Myara, but his cry came too late. Her curiosity simply got the better of her and she stepped through the large circular gateway. The leader had just been using the second device to construct the runes they were missing using some of the Life Essences they carried, when the halfling had wandered close to the large Life Extraction archway.

"Arghh! That felt awful. I feel weak now. But hey, I just got four Life Essences!" It had been a small reward for the sacrifice of her constitution, but the rogue at least knew what it was like to use the magik of the gateway. Elana sighed at the folly of her small friend, and Karasten hoped that it may be possible to find a way to reverse the effect some way. For now, however, the rogue had to accept that things were going to be a little tougher for her now, until anything could be done.

There had been two other doors that the heroes had not yet tried, due to being locked. On the body near the archway, they had found a key. It did not fit the door in the room they were in, but it did turn out to fit the door in the corridor just prior to the rune chamber. Myara used the key to open the lock and Helden stepped into the dark room first. There was a terrible scream from within the darkness, and the heroes were about to discover what had become of Malakar: A dread wraith!

Helden immediately ordered the group to send in the summons and Scraps to form a barrier between Melakar and themselves. Then, it was a matter of standing their ground or run! The odds of the latter increased when the heroes also noticed a couple of wights come to the support of their leader. In response, the clerics starting turning and Karasten cast spells. It seemed, for now, the battle ensued, but was this going to be the death of them too?

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DM REPORT: Eventually, the heroes were victorious in this battle, but the code was broken that affected draining. While previous battles had also been affected, the outcome was less likely to be much different compared to this one. At this point in time, we have decided to replay the battle with Melakar now that the code has been fixed. However, as the heroes had been victorious previously, I added the benefit that if the result differed too greatly (i.e. the heroes lost), then I would simply reload and allow the previous result to stand. However, because this battle would affect the PCs final Life Essence count and constitution attribute states, then I felt the battle was worth replaying to have a balanced result if possible. So, join us next time to see what happens .... ;)

GAME TIME SINCE START: 45 Hours 45 Minutes.
QUESTS ACTIVE: 12 QUESTS COMPLETE: 18 (Ignoring Rule Info)

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