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The Lost City

An old school D&D circa 1981 campaign starting with B4 The Lost City.

The continuation of this campaign can be found at The Isle of Dread.

See also: The Lost City house rules

Warning: Spoilers for B4 The Lost City follow.

27 February 2006

The party consists of:

After becoming separated from their caravan & lost in the desert; Durazz, Shalia, & Gen come across the ruins of a city with a pyramid in the center. On top of the pyramid stands three statues. They find a secret door proped open by a dead hobgoblin that leads into the pyramid.

When opening the first door they come to, the outer door suddenly swings shut. It seems to be weighted to close by itself. (They must have jossled the hobgoblin body slightly on their way in.) They wedge it open with a rock.

The second door leads to a room with three bronze cylinders directly under the statues. Each cylinder has a door on it. The door leading into the room also closes of its own accord, like the outer door.

The fighter opens the door on the right cylinder, and a trapdoor opens up dropping him a room below. The mage and the cleric start to feel a bit dizzy. The mage opens the door that closed and spikes it open. The cleric gets out her rope to help the fighter back up. The fighter, however, falls to the attacks of three fire beetles.

The cleric and mage eventually manage to kill the fire beetles from above with sling bullets and daggers.

15 XP per PC

Advice from the DM: Each PC has a 1 in 6 chance of finding traps if they search the area of the trap. With three PCs, that's a 42% chance of finding a trap if the whole party searches. (Thieves of level 3 or higher & all dwarfs have even better chances.)

Also, many traps can be avoided through caution. e.g. Many traps triggered by the opening of a door can be avoided by standing to the side of the door while opening it.

6 March 2006

Rule note: The decision was made to use my Classic D&D injury table house rule.

The cleric & mage retrieved the fighter & beetle corpses from the lower room. While the fighter was recuperating, they made a satisfying, if nasty, meal from the beetles.

After about seven hours of rest, they heard some movement in the room below. They remained still & quite. They heard voices speaking a language they did not understand. After a moment, the voices were gone.

Once the fighter was ready to go, they headed back down to the lower room. With appropriate checking for traps & listening at doors, they began exploring the pyramid.

The first room they came to seemed to be the long abandoned quarters of a cleric. They found nothing of value except a holy symbol in the shape of a balance. The cleric did not recognize the symbol. The second room was much the same, but contained a five foot long gecko, which attacked. Then, a second gecko dropped from the ceiling in front of the mage.

The battle was brief but fierce. One gecko finally bit off the arm of the cleric, who then shield bashed it & killed it. The other fled bearing many wounds from the mage's dagger. The mage followed it into the corridor & killed it with a thrown dagger.

The fighter & mage applied a tourniquet to the cleric's arm. The contents of the room were much like the last, but also included a human body one of the geckos had been munching on. It was pale, wearing a gold-inlaid bird mask, & of a race the PCs could not identify.

They took the mask & the gecko corpses & headed back to the top room to recuperate once more.

69 XP for the cleric, 68 XP for the others

(I'd forgotten to take the GP value of the holy symbol into account when figuring XP before. It didn't split evenly by 3, so—since it was a holy symbol—I gave the extra point to the cleric. Don't forget to factor in the XP bonus for your prime requisite if you get one.)

Advice from the DM: In combat, I'll give you +2 for flanking; +1 for higher ground. But you'll probably have to specifically tell me that you're trying to outflank a particular opponent.

27 March 2006

While resting in the pyramid's upper room, the PCs heard sounds of movement in the room below again. The fighter tried peering through the open trap door, but saw nothing but darkness. After a moment of peering, however, the sounds of movement stopped. Then it seemed as if they just sat down.

After a full eight hours rest, the PCs dropped a few of the fire beetle glowing bits through the trap door. They saw six humans wearing vulture masks with their skin painted blank. They had several wooden boards as well as some construction tools. The vulture-men merely looked silently at the PCs & did not respond to questions.

The PCs descended into the room with the vultures & checked the doors on the west wall. The corridor beyond the southern door showed some signs of recent passage, so the PCs choose to explore it. The vultures silently followed them. They found some stairs leading down & then a room with a dead hobgoblin with a giant bee sting in its arm.

After searching the room & the hobgoblin, the fighter tried a second door in that room. Behind this he saw a cage containing a giant beehive & a pile of treasure. Five giant bees were in the room, & there was a one foot square hole in the ceiling. He quickly closed the door.

The mage suggested the fighter go back to the central room & retrieve some oil. When the fighter left—after some glancing about—two of the vultures followed him while the other remained with the mage & cleric. The fighter consolidated all the oil into a single jar & brought it back. They then lit the oil & slipped it into the bee room hoping the smoke would either drive the bees off or make them docile.

After a bit, they checked & it had worked. No bees were visible. The fighter then crawled in with some sacks & started collecting the treasure. Glancing up into the hive, he could see there were bees inside it. Two large sacks, four small sacks, & a backpack were filled with treasure. The mage then splashed some oil (from her own reserves) onto the beehive & lit it.

In the mean time, the vultures had begun building a coffin for the dead hobgoblin.

The PCs decided to stow their loot in the upper room. As they left—after some more glancing about—two of the vultures stayed to finish the hobgoblin coffin. The remaining four followed the PCs to the central room. They did not follow the PCs up the ladder, however, but waited for them in the central room.

The PCs then explored the northern door on the west wall. They found a storeroom full of rotted & worthless cloth & foodstuff. Then they found three jars—one filled with sand & two empty.

They then entered a room with several crates & ten sprites. The mage conversed with the sprites a bit. The crates turned out to contain fireworks. The mage asked the sprites if they could take one of the crates, & the sprites consented.

The PCs then checked out the last unexplored door in this corridor & found a room filled with green slime. They sagely left it alone.

610 XP per PC

(I'd messed up on the XP calculation again—there were more bees. Add 17 more to the 593.)

5 rooms, 4 encounters, not a single "to hit" roll or saving throw! Yeah!

3 April 2006

Intermission A session of Toon. A flying panther cub & flying squirrel participate in the Toon Olympics.

10 April 2006

Our intrepid adventurers investigated the remaining unexplored area on their map of the pyramid's second level. Here they encountered members of the Brotherhood of Gorm. The leader was suspicious of them, but gave them water & told them of about the pyramid's history.

The ruins are the remains of a great city. The pyramid was built both as a temple to their gods & as a tomb for their greatest king. But there appeared a cult worshiping a monster named Zargon. More & more of the people joined the cult & sought oblivion in rare wines & bizarre drugs. The city fell into ruin, & the people moved into an underground city where they live out their lives in their dream worlds. The Brotherhood of Gorm is one of a few groups who are trying to return their people to the worship of the old gods.

The PCs then let slip that they'd looted the Brotherhood's treasury. (The treasure they'd gotten from the bees.) The PCs returned the loot to the Brothehood, & then headed down the stairs to the pyramid's third level.

Behind a secret door they found in the first corridor, they encountered four oil beetles. The mage's sleep spell affected three, & the fighter (nat-20) dispatched the remaining one as the mage & cleric administered the coups d'grace to the sleepers. (What is the plural of coup? Aha! coups) The room had crates of fresh food & casks of good wine. They took about a weeks worth for each of them.

Next, they found a statue attached to a wall with a wand that could be moved. The fighter first moved it to the left. The wall shifted about fifty feet revealing a door. The fighter listened at the door & heard what seemed to be chanting voices. They decided to leave, but first, the fighter turned the wand on the statue to the right. At this, the statue breathed poisonous gas, which caused the fighter some nasty coughing (1 hp) before he got out of it.

Next, they came to a door with a button next to it bearing an unusual glyph. The door would not open. Upon pressing the button, some grinding noises were heard for a bit. Then the door opened revealing a long corridor with a door at either end. Next to each door—inside the corridor—could be found a group of eight buttons, each with a different glyph.

Opening the door on the other side, they found two statues of warrior women creating an arch with crossed spears. As the fighter walked through the arch, he stepped on a loose stone. He warned the others not to step on it.

They next came to a locked door. With some effort, the fighter managed to force the door open. Inside, they found an altar & two warrior women.

55 XP per PC

24 April 2006

One of the warrior women called out, “There are three of them!” The PCs attempt to parley did little to calm the warriors' outrage at the intrusion. They told the PCs to “Get out!” & they did.

After returning to the first corridor of this level, they discovered another door with a button by it. The door would not open, but after pressing the button & waiting for the grinding noise to stop, the door opened easily—they found another corridor with 8 buttons at each end identical to, if not actually the same, as the last.

Beyond the corridor of buttons, they discovered a room with shelves of mouldy books lining the walls. They choose to skip it.

They next came to a room in which a section of floor was found to swivel down to form a ramp. After taking a much needed rest, they followed the ramp down into...

...a dwarf-jester's tomb. A small coffin held a jake-in-the-box likeness of the jester himself. There were also some empty jars.

The next room the PCs explored contained the (unanimate) mummy of a soldier & nine (animate) skeletons. The skeletons attacked. Six were turned by the cleric. Sword & mace (secured to the stump of the cleric's arm) took care of the rest. Alas, they found no treasure but the mummy's armor & halberd.

30 XP per PC

15 May 2006

The fighter took the mummy's plate mail & loaned the cleric his chain mail.

The next room investigated contained a nest of 10 giant rats. After a couple of rounds of fighting, the mage ended the encounter with a sleep spell. The fighter & cleric were then awakened to aid in the coups d'grace. Within the nest were found 300 gp & 4 gems.

When the PCs got to the next door, they heard a click & the sound of something large rolling down the corridor. They quickly dispensed with the normal listen for noise/search for traps routine & simply went through the door. A giant boulder rolled past.

The room held a sarcophagus & two flaming brass jars. The PCs moved on with only a cursory glance about.

The next room held a bejeweled sarcophagus & a carrion crawler. The fighter & cleric handily defeated the crawler before it had a chance to act. Again, however, the party choose not to investigate the coffin.

After hearing some grunting noises beyond the next door, they decided to return to the skeleton room for some rest.

They returned to the grunting room to find it occupied by yet another sarcophagus & two white apes. The apes began beating their chests & acting threatening, so the PCs attacked. Before they could close, however, the apes threw stones at them, & the fighter was hit & badly hurt. The fighter returned the favor, but the ape was still fighting. The mage cast her spell & the wounded ape fell asleep. The second ape soon choose to beat a hasty retreat. All of the PCs hit it as it fled, & the cleric chased it down to deliver the fatal blow.

858 XP per PC

The cleric reached 2nd level!

Rule notes: We're borrowing a 3e rule & allowing the cleric to swap a memorized spell for a healing spell on-the-fly.

Also, PCs roll d(n - 2) + 2 for hp. e.g. a fighter rolls d6+2 instead of d8. This is equivalent to rerolling 1s & 2s without the extra rolls.

22 May 2006

The vulture-masked people who had been following the PCs finally wandered off.

The mage opened the sarcophagus & a mummy fell out. It wore plate-mail & had a very nice sword. The fighter claimed the sword; & the cleric, the armor.

They next came to a partially opened door with the charred outline of a humanoid figure on the wall opposite it. Lacking a standard-issue ten-foot pole, a quick trip was made to the skeleton room to retrieve the mummy's halberd. Standing to one side, the fighter pushed the door open with the halberd, but nothing happened. Peeking in, he saw three ghouls defiling a mummy in an opened sarcophagus. The cleric stepped forward & turned them. After dispatching the undead, a search of the sarcophagus turned up a jeweled necklace & two jeweled bracelets discarded by the ghouls.

They next encountered a ghostly king & queen who warned them to turn back. The fighter & mage fled in terror. Not knowing a way up to the higher levels, the PCs cowered in the skeleton room for half an hour while the fighter & mage calmed down. They decided to go back, & again they saw the ghostly figures. This time it was the cleric who began to flee in terror, but the mage & fighter restrained her.

After some further investigation, they found a secret door leading to a long room. Prodding the floor as they advanced, a pendulum blade swung down from the ceiling...

1091 XP per PC

The fighter & mage reached 2nd level!

29 May 2006

Another Toon intermission: Flying panther cub, flying squirrel, wrecker, & hen explore Mars & foil Martian schemes.

5 June 2006

Another member of the caravan stumbled upon the pyramid: Silverbow (I'll refrain from badly missssspelling the actual name) the elf (played by Alex). Also in search of food & water, the elf explored the pyramid finding the evidence of the party's activities. He suddenly caught up to them.

Two more pendulum blades were activated with only the mage taking damage. (Or did the cleric take damage as well?) After negotiating some obstacles, the party came upon a tomb with two intact sarcophagi, many intact wooden chest, but a number of other smashed items. Two secret doors were found. The first led to a empty room with a stone sarcophagus. The second also led to a stone sarcophagus, but a banshee emerged from this one. The cleric turned in vain. The fighter began attacking with his new sword. The elf shot arrows. The banshee merely wailed.

Once the mage & elf had fallen to the wailing, the cleric began trying to move them out of the range of the wail. The fighter seemed to be harming the banshee but finally fell as well. The wail then also claimed the cleric as she attempted to retreive the fallen fighter.


12 June 2006

A new party:

Lost in the desert...blah...blah...blah...

The PCs climb up the tubes in the first room & find that they lead to spaces inside the statues on top of the pyramid with levers to move the arms & speaking tubes.

The dwarf discovers that sometimes, standing to the side of a door does not prevent the trap from hurting you.

Otherwise, not much happened. The party just began exploring the 2nd level.

26 June 2006

Let's see...

20 XP per PC

The cleric is promoted to Priest (reaches third level)

3 July 2006

Toon interlude: Flying panther cub, flying squirrel, wrecker, & hen explore a desert island.

10 July 2006

The PCs began exploring the 3rd level. They found the secret door leading to a store room of food & wine. They discovered the corridor with the buttons.

They came to a room with a door that was not locked but wouldn't open. The dwarf tried forcing it, but could hardly budge it. The elf, however, managed the task. It seems the door had been spiked shut from the inside. Part of the floor in the room beyond swung down providing access to the 4th level. The PCs decided to continue exploring the 3rd level.

After deciding to skip a room with some unwholesome looking yellow mould, they returned to the button corridor, & the dwarf pressed a random one. When it stopped rotating, they following a corridor to a room with an altar & a hostile-looking 6' lizard. The dwarf closed & dealt it a vicious wound. The lizard took to the air. The dwarf & elf shot arrows at it & the cleric used his sling. The lizard then flew directly at the cleric, who was still in the doorway. The cleric moved aside & let it by. The PCs then followed it & killed it before it got out of range.

Returning to the room, they found a human body behind the altar with a full canteen, a bunch of gold, a couple of gems, a dagger, & a set of thief tools.

They then tried the other direction from the rotating corridor. Here, they came to a metal door with lightning bolts engraved on it. When approached, the door would glow & buzz. Some experimenting suggested was locked as well as dangerous to touch.

251 XP per PC

Rule note: I found where it says that Strength modifiers are not applied to missile damage. (p.B7)

24 July 2006

After much experimenting & mapping & erasing, the party figured out the rotating corridor on the 3rd level.

In the process, they set off a gas trap in a statue of Usamigaras, broke down the recently repaired door to a shrine of Madarua, & met the warrior maidens of Madarua.

Asking how to get to the underground city, Pandora--the leader of the warrior maidens--explained that the route they knew of was currently blocked by a large boulder. The dwarf volunteered to attempt to remedy the situation. Pandora invited them to eat & rest first, which they did.

A few of the warrior maidens led them to the boulder on the 4th level. The dwarf set about reducing the obstruction with spikes & fireworks. In the meantime, another group of warrior maidens appeared on the other side of the boulder. They were coming from the city to the shrine on the 3rd level.

After much noise & smoke, the dwarf's strategic placement of the fireworks managed to fracture the boulder sufficiently to allow passage. The warrior maidens & the PCs headed back to the 3rd level.

The party then investigated what they believed to be the final unexplored area accessed via the revolving corridor. There they met the followers of Usamigaras.

I’m going to give XP for “defeating” the NPCs that the PCs had peaceful encounters with. (After all, monsters aren't worth that much XP anyway! (^_^)) If the PCs later end up killing those same NPCs for some reason, they won’t get the XP a second time. The following includes the XP for all the Brothers of Gorm & Warrior Maidens of Madarua encountered thus far.

108 XP per PC

31 July 2006

The leader of the Usamigaras followers was happy to hear that the PCs had cleared the boulder away. He then made it clear that they had been in the middle of a service & that the PCs should go now.

The warrior maidens allowed the PC’s to rest safely with them. The PCs asked about the electric door, & Pandora informed them that that area was under the control of the brotherhood of Gorm. The PCs then visited the brotherhood who revealed the passphrase to Kram--but warned him that non-followers were not allowed in that area. After stopping off to pick up more fireworks, Kram went through the electric door & found the room where his initiation ceremony had taken place.

Descending to the 4th level, the PCs made sure to wedge some stones (altar fragments) so as to keep the ramp from closing completely. Exploring the 4th level, they encountered the ghostly forms of the king & queen. Mozilac failed his save, but was restrained by the dwarf. Lia found a secret door...

63 XP per PC (The followers of Usamigaras plus one third level NPC I forgot to include in the previous sessions total.)

14 August 2006

The PCs made their way into the tombs of King Alexander & Queen Zenobia.

First, they explored the queen's tomb, which held naught but a stone sarcophagus. Kram, as is his wont, knocked on the lid after finding no traps. A scratching sound came from inside! Mozilac cautiously withdrew to the corridor, while Kram & Lia moved the stone lid. They shifted it so as to only provide a narrow opening.

Withered hands began scraping at the opening, trying to get out. Kram poured a flask of oil into the opening followed by a lit torch. The monster within began banging against the lid. Kram then clambered on top of it. The monster's pounding became more & more desperate, but the dwarf kept his balance.

As the oil began to burn itself out, & the monster's efforts to free itself continued, Kram poured another flask of oil into the sarcophagus.

Suddenly, the dwarf & the stone lid he stood upon were thrown aside, as a flaming wight rose from the sarcophagus. As the monster leapt out, Mozilac--who had been watching from the doorway--entered, invoking his patron. At this, the wight cowered in the corner, & another splash of oil finished it off.

It was a blackened wight.

A crown was found upon the wight's head, & a sceptre was found in the sarcophagus.

The PCs next explored the corridor leading to the king's tomb, where they found the bodies of an elf, a cleric, & a magic-user. They then entered the tomb to find the body of a fighter, his sword nearby, & encounter the banshee. Mozilac attempted to turn the creature while Kram grabbed the sword & the fighter. They then retreated to escape the bashee's wail.

Mozilac cast Detect Magic & determined that the sword of the fallen fighter & the sceptre taken from the queen's tomb were magical. They searched the outer tomb area, but the dwarf determined the treasure there to be fake & nearly worthless. After a bit of rest, they decided to confront the banshee again.

Within the stone sarcophagus they found a wooden casket. Within the casket, they found the corpse of the king wearing a crown & plate mail & his sword.

The PCs then returned to the outer tomb to rest.

3,450 XP per PC Everybody gained a level.

The DM says: "Two monsters defeated, & I didn't make a single 'to hit' roll!"

Note: The elf now has the magic-user's spellbook. Though Read Magic will be required to make use of it.

21 August 2006

As their rest was coming to an end, the PCs discovered that giant bats were living in the ceiling of the outer tomb. The bats also awoke & attacked. Mozilac passed out after being bitten by one bat that looked slightly different from the others (it was wearing cufflinks).

After defeating the bats & waiting for the cleric to wake up, they found another room to take a short rest in. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Kram answered. A person in a green robe & bird mask handed him a pouch containing a powder smelling of cloves. Then she wandered off.

Kram decided to go ask the Brothers of Gorm about the powder. They ran into a group of brothers on the way, but they knew nothing about the it. So, the party continued to the Brotherhood's area on the second level. The leader had a similar pouch of powder but said he had found no purpose for it either.

After a night's rest, the party resumed exploration of the fourth level. After looking through a few rooms that had been visited by the previous party & a room filled with (inanimate) skeletons, they came to an embalming room where they were surprised by five shadows. Despite temporarily losing a few points of strength, the shadows were dispatched. A potion & a chest containing 3000 gp were found.

1,135 XP per PC Lia gained a level.

28 August 2006

Continuing to explore the tombs of the pyramid's fourth level, the PCs fought giant shrews & zombies. They liberated some jewels from a coffin. They discovered a trap door to the fifth level.

On the fifth level they fought two rock pythons & found a necklace on the pythons' last victim. They discovered two magnetic statues. They fought two gargoyles & found a cache of gems, a magic mace, & a potion.

Lia fell into a pit but saved herself by casting web. After rescuing the elf from her own web, they found a bunk room with three humans wearing yellow robes & masks: boar, tiger, & wolf. The NPCs said they had come from the underground city but had become lost in the pyramid.

2,270 XP per PC Kram gained a level.

25 September 2006

The PCs found a sanctuary dedicated to the Cynidicean gods. There were a couple wearing fox masks who acted very wary of the PCs. The PCs stood up the three statues that had been toppled.

The PCs found a secret trap door leading down.

The PCs next came to a door that they heard voices behind.

Voice 1: “These don’t taste as very good.”

Voice 2: “No, but they’re chewy.”

The dwarf knocked.

Voice 2: “Who could—”

Voice 1: “Shh!”

The dwarf knocked again.

Voice 2: “I’ll g—”

Voice 1: “Shh!”

The dwarf knocked again.

Voice 2: “Shouldn’t we—”

Voice 1: “Shh!”

The dwarf lit a firework & tossed it in the room. The door was flung back open, & three ogres emerged & attacked. They were rather quickly dispatched. In the room was found candles (which the ogres appeared to have been eating) & other ceremonial articles. Also found were three sacks—presumably the ogres’—of gold coins, a magic ring, & a scroll.

The next room was a pool of acid with a locked box in the center. The PCs brought a pew from the sanctuary (cut down to fifteen feet). When placed on the box, however, the box began to sink. So, Mozilac & Kram held the pew cantilevered over the acid while Lia crawled out on it. Using a urn they had retrieved from another room, Lia poured some of the acid on the iron padlock dissolving it. Inside were found many silver coins & a scroll of cleric spells.

Finally, the PCs discovered a wine room with a drunken owlbear, which they made short work of.

As the cleric of Bacchus celebrated the liberation of the wine, the elf decided to take a couple of weeks to sacrifice 1,000 gp to the gods of magic & research Read Magic.

1,350 XP per PC Mozilac gained a level.

The DM needs to learn the rules & notice when monsters have multiple attacks per round!

30 October 2006

The PCs found a group of Cynidiceans sitting in a circle & staring straight ahead. They didn't seem to react to anything, but would emit random screams. Another group of Cynidiceans were found having an imaginary ball. A third group were gambling.

A secret door was found in the gambling room that led to a cleric of Zargon & 6 hobgoblins. The cleric cast blight on the party as the hobgoblins formed a protective rank in front of him. Lia cast sleep, & the hobgoblins decided to take a nap. Kram charged the cleric & whacked him solidly. The cleric then cast silence on Lia. Lia moved forward to administer coups to the hobgoblins leaving Mozilac outside the radius of the silence spell. Mozilac cast hold person paralyzing the cleric. Despite the impressive victory, no treasure was found in the room.

The PCs next discovered a room with a gelatinous cube. Kram quickly recognized it, & the party made short work of it with flaming oil. Again, however, no treasure was to be found.

Next, the PCs found a small room containing a locked chest & a tapestry. Lia, however, noticed that the tapestry didn't seem to move despite the breeze they felt when opening the door. A closer inspection revealed that it was not made of woven fibers. The polymar attacked with surprise. It transformed into an elephant. The party did manage to dispatch it in a few rounds, although it did some damage to Lia (& Kram?). Thankfully, the chest yielded the first treasure of the night.

The PCs returned to the room with the gambling Cynidiceans. Lia cast sleep on 11 of the 12 gamblers. Mozilac held the final one. The PCs gathered up the gamblers treasure hoping (rationalizing) that the lack of material to wager might help them reform & perhaps return to the old gods.

9,163 XP per PC Kram & Lia gained levels.

And so we come to the end of The Lost City. Foregoing the options to expand the adventure, the PCs will soon find there way to The Isle of Dread...