Lucked out and had a large group come to the game. This included the return of Rage Claw and Lilith as the player was taking a break from his other hobbies to put gaming back in the rota. I’d run him through a short 1-page dungeon to get them some gear and xp so they were 3rd level by this point.
The characters were glad to see Rage Claw again and brought them up to speed. Lairn was there in the mists, and since he’d read the mind of the false priest, he had a rough idea of what remained in the rooms they’d not explored. They had a few locations they wanted to hit, and a few they definitely wanted to avoid, and a few debatable ones as well.
On their way out of the temple, they encountered Mary Amber, an attractive swordswoman that asked them lots of questions. While they kept her busy, Lairn used his amulet of mind reading to figure out she was 50/50 on whether she should let the party go or kill them all…and the deciding factor was how entertaining they might be. So Lairn made a large show of exactly how prone their curiosity was to getting them into trouble and that they wanted to go to one of the rooms where the ‘magen’ were crafted (magen are the homunculus that the Amber family use, like the boxers they fought waaaaaay back at the beginning of the adventure).
So they went into this giant laboratory filled with tables covered in alchemy gear and walls covered in arcane symbols and figures. Also there were four nude figures, two with swords and two unarmed, at the opposite end of the 140’ long room. When they saw the party, two ran forward while the other two moved slowly towards them.
Several party members spilled into the room and fired arrows or spells at the approaching creatures. They took damage but kept coming. They discovered that one of the unarmed ones could stretch his limbs 20’ and grapple people…while excreting acid from his skin. The other unarmed one could charm people (well, dominate them actually because the description of their power is much stronger than charm) and the last one could fire a 3d6 bolt of lighting (which he did repeatedly). This fight gave them some serious trouble… Lysander, who was guarding Lairn, got charmed and told to kill the elf behind him to protect them all. Poor Lairn had no Shield spell up and took a beating before Alren could move up to defend him. Long Tom Held Lysander and the archers and Rage Claw tore the hypnos apart. Lightning Lad inflicted some terrible wounds on Rage Claw, but Alren managed to kill the dangerous construct.
Mary, suitably entertained, left while they were waiting for the Hold spell to wear off. They searched the room and found a safe and Lairn copied as much of the arcane formula as he could. Jayna took advantage of Lysander’s condition to make inappropriate comments only he could hear.
One of the rooms they wanted to go to was the fortune teller’s room that Claude had told them about. They made their way up the steps and found themselves in a parlor with an older woman sitting at a table with a deck of cards. She offered the party the chance of drawing from her ‘Deck of Fate’
Now, in the module you have 10 cards you can possibly draw from, half good, half bad. But where is the fun in that when you have access to a Deck of Many Things?
There are 22 cards in a DoMT, half good and half very, very bad. The players knew what they were drawing from (except Lairn’s player who has never encountered such an item). When you encounter a deck, you can choose to draw from it. You must pick a number (up to 4) and keep drawing cards until you are dead or up to that number.
So, Lucian said, “Go large or go home!” and choose to draw 4 cards. The first card he drew was the Void, which sent his soul into another realm, imprisoning it in the grasp of a demon. Oddly, the card states that your body continues to live and you can even communicate like an automaton, so I basically ruled it that he was more or less a shell with no motivation or free will, but with all his abilities otherwise intact.
His body continued drawing cards however, unable to stop. The next card he drew was ‘Death’ which sends a minor death to fight for your soul…which he no longer had. A skeletal apparition holding a scythe appeared and raised it, only to stop and glare angrily at him before disappearing again. Yes, that was creative interpretation of how those cards interact but frankly they are so vague I didn’t feel that was out of line.
The next card he got was the Comet, which portended great power for him if he could defeat the next hostile creature(s) he encountered. He’d basically get a whole level regardless of the xp he earned.
His last card was the Moon, with four gem stones surrounding it. This gave him four Wishes. He had 40 minutes to use them.
Some players wanted to talk his body into using them for selfish ends (*cough* *cought* Rage Claw *cough*) but others tried to figure out a tortuous path that would enable him to both get his soul back and make it so he could benefit from the Comet (which really is going above and beyond). They tried wishing for his soul back, but that only revealed where it was trapped. After a lot of debate they decided on wishing for the following:
The power to destroy the demon that held his soul.
To teleport him into the demon’s lair.
And a final wish to escape from the lair…
The demon in question was a Nalfeshnee, a Type IV demon…normally a being of great power. It sat on a flesh chair admiring the soul that had appeared out of nowhere in it’s outstretched hand, while sub-demons writhed and moaned in the embrace of agonizing tortures.
As for the wish for enough power to destroy the demon, I treated it as every buff spell in ACKS+the Player’s Companion as though cast by a 20th level caster.
Lucian was teleported, invisible and inaudible, into the demon’s realm. A couple of hasted backstabs woke it up real quick. The demon snarled and stood to its height. Lucian lept over it (with his acrobatics and Jump spell) and stabbed it twice again. Thanks to his Giant’s Strength and other buffs, the demon fell into pieces. His buffs immediately disappeared so he grabbed his soul and the treasure in the demon’s lair, and then wished himself back.
Restored, Lucian felt a rush of power as he leveled up.
After that, everyone was eager to give it a go. Some were more cautious than others and drew one or two cards. Others went all in and drew 4. Highlights include:
Lilith lost all her magic items (luckily just a Ring of Warmth and some +1 darts). But she gained a Treasure map to a fabulous amount of treasure (I goofed and had the map detail what they stood to find).
Rage Claw (who only drew one) got the coveted ‘Avoid any scenario once’ ability.
Guido was sucked into the earth on his first draw and Imprisoned.
Morna, Rage Claws hireling, lost all of her experience and was reduced to level 1.
Lairn gained a tremendous rush of power in the form of 50,000 experience points which took him straight from 3rd to 6th level (yes, I know you aren’t supposed to gain more than a single level per adventure, but I’m calling the DoMT an exception to that rule). On top of that, he gained a loyal Hireling and a miscellaneous magic item.
Jayna drew and was the luckiest of all, pulling 3 red and only one black card. She lost all of her material wealth, but gained the same 50,000 xp (sadly as a 6th level character this only took her to midway between 7th and 8th, but she’s not complaining), a sword of gold dragon slaying, a misc magic item, a treasure map to a slightly less amazing hoard, and a loyal retainer of her own.
Alren took a go. He drew two wishes, but then drew Death and had to use one to banish the increasingly frustrated death spirit. I think that guy will be back for this party… I mean, now it’s personal. He then drew Judgement, and had to be judged on his behavior in his current alignment (which was unaligned) or change alignment. Knowing he would be destroyed for deviating from the path of the unaligned in any way (basically, had he ever taken actions which had helped any side of the Cosmic Struggle), he cast his soul to Chaos rather than face judgement. The Unwanted Child gladly accepted his incautious prayer, as a similarly unwanted child denied power and equality by his ‘betters’. Then, with an angry glare at his reeling friend Lairn, he made his wish. “I want the power and respect I’ve always been denied. I want a demon of my own.”
Now, Lairn has a bound demon that grants him power and that was what he meant by the wish. And to the layman, most celestial spirits can be called ‘demons’ though to the scholarly they go by another name.
The Unwanted Child heard his wish, and granted it. And then they faded to the mist.