Actual Play: The Shrine of Pluto Part II [DCC]

Summary

As our valiant band of would-be adventurers looted the barbarian bodies (and those of their friends) additional patrons of the inn from the previous night arrived - either they had slept late or it took time for them to build up their courage.

In the funnel, all are Redshirts
The entrance cavern sunk into the depths of the earth. Borrowing a goat from one of the many farmers in the band, a hardy dwarf drove it down. Tragically both of them perished around the same time from the toxic air they had been breathing. A swarm of rodents of an unusual size (large, not small) emerge from the side of the corridor and began consuming the dead. One climbed atop the goat and also died from poison air, yielding a vital clue - the air was not poisonous close to the ground. Hugging the ground the remainder of the company charged at the rodents and with only a few fatalities - peasants and slaves whose names history will forget - persevered.

The next chamber featured an statue of a hideous being with a combination of goat and humanoid features wielding a skull-tipped mace, one of the less pleasant aspects of Pluto. It did however, have nice sparkly gems. Oooh sparkle. Icy blue. One of a pair of halfling brothers, Ringo, scaled up the 7-foot statue to grab one. Oops. As he pried it loose he was frozen solid and shattered. Though he did get the gem, for which the survivors were grateful. They tried for the other gem, the brave farmer trying for the other gem, hoping to pry it loose and get clear fast enough. He too was shattered by the ice. Oops. But again, another gem was obtained. For which there was much celebrating. 

While there were some cracks leading to rodent lairs our brave(-ish) adventurers pressed deeper into the complet, reaching their first door. Thankfully it wasn't trapped, though it did open to a narrow walkway over a floor fifteen feet below. There were three other doors to the north, east, and west, with their door on the south. In the center was an elevated platform with another nasty goat-man statue looking at them with icy blue eyes. A rumbling sound emitted from the platform as it rotated to face them and its eyes fired beams of cold, freezing a poor gong-farmer dead. The gang ran, some getting frozen, others falling, others getting away to the east door. Some of those who fell perished, landing on pointy piles of bones whilst some others managed to crawl back up and escape, slamming the door behind them.

Adventuring, it turned out, was a dangerous profession...

Notes

We didn't get as long a session this week, with some communication hiccups and a little trouble getting to a quorum - though we did manage to get some fun gaming in.

There is definite a certain fun in watching zero-level characters go forth to their horrible deaths. One of the players asked if they really needed to level up at the end of this...

The poison trap at the entrance is based on a real shrine to Pluto - in the city of Hierapolis in Anatolia (modern Turkey) there was a shrine to Pluto, a Plutonium whose entrance has carbon dioxide gas. To avoid the suffocating gas priests would drop down low and crawl on the ground - or hold their breaths. Failure to do so could result in death. Admittedly I've probably cranked up the danger factor for purposes of drama and funneling but it was neat to actually find a real-world deathtrap. 

Yes, the statue of Pluto is from D&D's Orcus. Pluto was a Roman composite god - largely from the Greek Hades but also with aspects from Plutus (god of wealth), Dispater, and Orcus (both gods of death). I decided to borrow the D&D version of Orcus for the image above. While I'm inspired by our own world's history I want to emphasize this is still a fantasy setting and the D&D version of Orcus seems a good way to emphasize that.

We've probably one session left in the funnel. No fear, I wouldn't expose zero-level characters to the demon Orcus. Well, probably not...

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