Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 5:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.
A half Pepperoni, half ground mystery meat pizza was ordered to satisfy all concerned.
++++ START OF SESSION ++++
When we left the previous session the Party heard approaching hooves from behind. Ignoring the sound, apparently the galloping beasts went down another route and it faded away.
The Party continued forward until they heard the sound of music. No, not the Von Trapp family, something more guttural, Flailing Wailers. A group of eight humanoids each having four arms and two legs. They were in a dead-end hallway that widened to a thirty feet wide at the last seventy feet. Whilst this group was "singing" Jacko decided to sneak up on one and kill it from the back. Huang did the same.
I'm not going to go into game legals but that seemed like a completely Chaotic Evil thing to do.
The Flailing Wailers ignored the party and sang on. Eventually the monsters did attempt to strike back, but who could tell if was it out of a sense of self-defense or a random act by the GM's die roll?
The humanoids were insane, but the party (obviously) did not know that. The GM's die roll was the cause for activation of self-defense, the creatures were supposed to respond with an attack at 88% or less, but I had rolled in the 90th percentile three times it a row when it came to determine if the creatures would strike back.
Speaking of die rolls, Players finally noticed I was making a tic mark on the board every time something died and then rolling percentile dice.
Eventually their number came up and there was a surprise.
The Party was attacked from the back of the Party the where the Jaundiced Grappler was assigned to guard the rear. Normally a good position due to its eight foot width, it should block most attacks from that direction. Upon hearing a the sound of a rushing mighty wind, the Grappler fled. (I think it must have encountered one before.)
It was a Rift Vortex and it was making its way down the same hallway the party had just been. As it was explained in evening debrief, a Rift Vortex is a one foot wide ball that generates a forceful suction that behaves like a mighty wind. Characters within 10 feet must roll versus Bend Bars/Lift Gates to avoid getting pulled in. Characters from 11 to 40 feet must roll versus Open Doors with a +1 to avoid it. Anything beyond that is felt as a gentle breeze. A nyone who gets pulled in gets crushed to a ball the size of a molecule. Essentially non-recoverable death, but there are exceptions. If a bag of holding is involved it will send the victim and anyone within 40 feet to the Ethereal Plane. A Portable Hole will do the same to the Astral Plane.
The players were not armed with this knowledge so their reactions were natural.
After the first round it became apparent rolling initiative against an object that was moving constantly was pointless. So the combat rounds were front-loaded. Characters moved at constant rates from their positions starting at segment one of each round (as well as the Vortex).
On the first round when the Jaundiced Grappler started running, it only had a speed of 6', the Rift Vortex moved 11' that round (a variable 9'-15' i.e. 1d7+8. How you get a seven sided die, I don't know.)
Unfortunately for the Jaundiced Grappler, it only started running after it discovered the Vortex 10' away. It did not make its Bend Bars/Lift Gates roll. Good-bye Grappler.
Fortunately for the rest of the Party, the Grappler was in the rear and the first victim so they had at least one more round of reprieve.
Most of the party still in the rear retreated down the line interrupting the ongoing fight with the Flailing Wailers, except for Grok, who like the Jaundiced Grappler before him, had a unencumbered speed of 6'. The Vortex was moving 12' this time. Grok also did not make his Bend Bars/Lift Gates roll. However Grok had just recently acquired a Fanny Pack of Holding due to the judicious play of a card and got pulled into the Ethereal Plane along with the Madger who was also within 40 feet. One of the Flailing Wailers also decided to willingly go near the Vortex (did I not mention they were insane?), and joined Grok and the Madger.
Addendum: Jacko threw his Javelin of Lightning at it. Whether it struck or not it promptly disappeared into the Rift, amid Player cries of Bulls**t, this was their first clue this was not going to be easy.
Jacko cornered, looking for an escape route in this dead end, decided to utilize his new girlfiend from the previous level to teleport away because he fit within his girlfiend's teleport carry-on weight limitation (sorry no checked baggage with a teleport spell), along with Tanzen since he was light. Since teleport is limited to the same plane, and since they were on a demi-plane, they teleported down the same corridor well away behind the rift.
This left the rest of the Party to fend for themselves. (Jacko's Teleporting out did not seem like the most selfless of acts.)
Next the Rift Vortex moved into the 30 foot wide area. Even so, not knowing the die rolls required the Party members one-by-one attempted to run past the Vortex along the sides of the wall. This meant they were at best 15 feet away so they only had to make a die roll versus Open Doors +1. All of the Party Members made it, except Barkinus their Charmed Evil Temple Cleric and the remaining Flailing Wailers. (Perhaps Jacko should have taken his chances instead of Teleporting? It would have looked better on his resume.)
Addendum: Sum Ting Wong, also didn't make it. It was one of Huang's Monk followers (and also gender challenged).
When the Vortex reached the end of the hall it bumped into the wall carving out a perfect sphere into the stone. Shortly thereafter it apparently achieved some sort of how much it could consume threshold and ceased to exist.
This left Grok, his new friend the Madger, and one of the Flailing Wailers in the Ethereal plane with no apparent way out. The Wailer simply wandered off, Ethereally that is. Grok and the Madger were essentially ghosts, invisible to the party unless they can find a spell.
Party debrief. Nobody in the party knew what the Rift Vortex exactly was. So Jacko's new girlfiend cast a Legend Lore and got it fully explained to them (as above).
Module-wise on this level a Rift Vortex appears at a 1% chance every time something dies on this demi-plane and they had achieved 16 kills so far for a 16% chance.
So should I reset Rift Vortices back to zero after a Vortex appearance or should I keep going from 16% ?
Common sense dictates a reset. However I can be gamey about it keep going up from 16% and use it as an "incentive".
++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++
++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++
Grok the Dwarf, a third level Doughboy (Battlemage subclass).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Probe (an Infiltrator, Thief subclass).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Larcenist (Thief class).
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the North Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Brother of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Sum Dum Gai - Brother of the Winds (Monk, Fighter subclass).
Gangnam Bang Mi - Sister of the Winds (Monk, Fighter subclass).
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Pinger. (Fist level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Vixine Numar, a human Servant (a Chosen One, Cleric subclass). Recently raised a level.
A Dark Enchantress Demon. Grok's new girlfriend who folds her wings over her shoulders to look like a cloak.
A Madger, a half humanoid, half badger creature who made a deal to serve with the party.
Two Mynxes, half female humanoid, half cat. They can shape change either way.
MISSING or CAPTURED CHARACTERS (PCs or NPCs)
Gargoyle (Elefus henchperson, demoted from Sidekick, out of town on business, acting as courier to BlackMoor).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass) - Gone off to BlackMoor to check his Investment Account.
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Adept (a Ranger, Fighter subclass and Cleric).
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus.
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.
++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++
This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.
There may be a few hours time delay in posting to Kenzerco Today.
Old fashioned text games hosted below: