Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Its Hour Come Round at Last 1.14

In the previous chapter, the Lamplighters, having barricaded themselves in the library of a ruined monastery to recuperate. gathered round Jeffery Llywellyn as he read a thousand year old scroll describing a series of events in the provinces of Britannia during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

***

Dies Jovis, Julius 6, 119 - Aquae Sulis, Britannia, SPQR

"That afternoon, we returned to Gaius' villa to refresh and see our children.  They had spent the day horseback riding and making music.  After the spa, I regretted not joining them.  Nonetheless, an early meal and bedtime awaited them, while we were to dine on on Gaius'  barge floating down the River [Avon].

"Our host had gone all out.   We dressed near twilight and rode to the docks carried on litters.  As we traveled we saw the lucky residents and guests dressed in their finery and heading for the play.  My wife noted with excitement that we would attend tomorrow.

"Once at the docks, I gasped.  To see here in Britannia of all places, such a barge.  Behold, the polished wood handrails, posts, and columns.  The bright canopy of colors covering nearly a third of the deck.  The couches piled with pillows.  A bowl of fruit and glass of wine waited each of us.  Behind our couches, a slave stood with a large ostrich feather fan.   A dozen black oars jutted into the water.

"Braziers were lit as we climbed the gangplank.  Gaius greeted us and promised a night of dining, music, and action.  We relaxed on our couches to sip wine and listen to the Greek musicians from that morning.

"The first part of the trip brought us through twilight.  Evening birdsong filled the air and the smells of cooked foods wafted up through the decks.  On either side of the bank we could see farms and orchards, and to the south a faint fog formed.

"A magician from Tyre, whose name I forget, entertained us with juggling as we ate boiled eggs, small rolls covered in poppy-seed and honey, and hot spicy pork sausages.  Plenty of wine and water with floating fruit satisfied our thirst.  My wife and I as well as the Ciceros ate with relish.  The strain of the day seemed to dissipate.  

"However, as the magician performed some trick with scarves, the barge lurched.  Gaius quickly returned to the desk.  He apologized but told us his pilot had knocked small hole in the hull as he clumsily steered the barge over some rocks.  However, he he knew a flat field nearby where we could continue our meal as repairs were made.

"Quintus immediately suspected foul play.  He seemed increasingly paranoid about eating or drinking, claiming we were all about to be victims.  Fortunately, Flavius calmed him to some degree.

"One shore, our meal continued under a great pavilion tent with pastry pies of wild boar, pickles and mushrooms.  The magician entertained us with sleight of hand.  Then we ate boiled crab stuffed with bread and cheese as a man and his little dog Muffin made us laugh.  Such an amusing dog.

"Two beautiful dancers entertained us as oysters and potatoes were served.  Gaius offered them for a night, and while I was tempted, my wife's look kept me quiet.  However, Flavius asked for both.

"Finally, a pair of gladiators went through some clever maneuvers as we ate chilled berries with honeyed cakes.  Flavius offered Gaius a handsome some for the gladiators to fight to the death.  One of them, the short one I think or no perhaps the tall one, was killed much to everyone's delight." 

I ran a brief combat between two low point fighters until one dropped to zero and I declared him dead.

"Finally, the repairs were complete, Gaius informed us we were an hour and a half delayed, but would be back in Aguae Sulis soon.

"Though night was warm for Britannia, there was still a damp chill. The braziers and wine helped.  Everyone dozed on their couches until we were close to town.  Flavius noticed first that it appeared we were gone longer than expected as the dawn was breaking to the east.

"The smell of smoke made us realize something wasn't right.  We stood by the rails toward the town watching the strange orange glow illuminate the night.  Then the wind shifted and the screams came with it.

"Rounding the bend, we saw the town in flames.  Boats moored on the docks were in flames.  People were running about with torches and weapons.  After we saw a woman in the distance jump to her death from a rooftop, Gaius told us he was taking the barge back down river.  He refused to come close to the town.

"Flavius was furious.  'My niece and nephew are at your villa!' he shouted.

"Gaius agreed to set the barge to shore and give those who wanted to go armor and a gladius, but he would not risk going into the town.  With some discussion, Flavius, Quintus, and myself decided to rescue the children, while Titus would accompany Servia and Julia to safety."  Titus' player had to leave early, so we found a good stopping point for him.

"Flavius claimed the armor of the slain gladiator as his own, then we three set ashore a mile from town.  After some discussion, Quintus and I agreed with Flavius that we should circle the town instead of going through it.  While it would add distance, we hoped to avoid the worse.

"Even then we could spy figures jumping to their deaths.  Near a granary on the edge of town we found several townspeople hung.   A nicely dressed patrician screamed, "He is here!" before dousing himself in oil and fire.

"Truly, the world had gone mad.

"Near a series of shops and homes we spotted a mob rushing toward us screaming.  'We have seen him!  We have seen the King!' We thought it best to hide, but Quintus knocked over a cart of wine jugs sending them crashing to the ground.  Flavius led us into an alley where we used debris to limit the attackers approach, and the three of us held off twenty men and women from whom reason had departed.

"The entire time Quintus yelled.  'I knew it!'

This encounter saw Flavius use Tactics to build a makeshift barrier and limit the assailants that could get them at a time.  

"The gods blessed us that day as we escaped with minimal harm.

***

"But at the villa we were not so lucky.  The gates of Gaius' home had been burst open, and many servants and slaves lay dead.  Among the survivors, we learned that the fires had begun not long after our troubles on the river.   The lunacy spread through the town as mobs rushed from villa to villa chanting.  'Give us your children and they shall be spared!  The Last King demands your children!'  Thinking they might be Briton raiders from the north, the servants hid the children.

"Unable to stop the onslaught, those who survived watched as the mob drug the children out of their hiding places - as if they knew - to a woman on a pale horse.  Tall and thin she wore white robes and a pale mask.  When she descended, they saw she wore a pendant with a strange symbol that seemed to writhe.  She spoke with children then blew a long horn.

"As they waited, she told the children, 'The King might choose you for a great honor.'

"Then a thing appeared form the sky.  Covered in hair, it landed - great wings held high - and snatched child away.  Soon two more appeared.  We wept but she just smiled and the mob moved on."

***

Dies Veneris, Julius 7, 119 - Aquae Sulis, Britannia, SPQR

"We quickly conversed and decided the arena was our destination.  Flavius noted with a calm yet distant demeanor that the dawn was not far off.  I didn't see how the night had passed so quickly.

"Weary, we struck on."  They were losing FP at this point as they rolled to stay awake.

"The town as quiet now.  The fires that had engulfed it the night before were dying down.  The screams had become silence.

"Overhead, in the inky night we spied lit by a pale light a boy flailing as he flew through the air.  Shortly there after we saw the thing of black fur, wings, and ram horns.  Quintus became ill now.  He was convinced that anyone we might would be dangerous.

"As we crossed the streets that stank of fire and blood we heard low crying but saw no one.  The street to the arena was particularly terrible with corpses everywhere and burned buildings.  The gates yawned open and above them an enormous torn banner read 'The King Arrives.'

"Dismounting we marched inside ready for any confrontation, but the air was dead and the silence watched us.  Bodies were everywhere - littering benches and aisles, tramped on staircases.  Some of those with swords had fought and killed, while others had fallen on their own blade.

"Stepping in the center of what would have been the gladiator arena, we saw the stage set with what appeared to be a throne room.  The actors in costume each lay dead, a pale mask in their hands, with no signs of violence but a look of profound horror on each of their faces.

"I struggled to stay calm by thinking of my daughter.  Flavius seethed at the waste.  Quintus suffered the most.  Deluded and afraid he stabbed each dead actor so they could not follow us.

"One of the black furred creatures swooped into the Senator's box, and when it did we saw three figures inside.  We marched with the silence of death to the arena steps and to the box.  Two creatures sat on the top of the arena watching us, but did nothing even though Quintus menaced them.

"Two stone columns flanked the Senator's box's great oak door.  On the door had been painted the strange symbol of the play.

"Flavius shoved it open, and as we entered we spied a man seated at a desk writing on wax tablets, a flat man and tall woman kneeling on the floor, and what remained of a man on the settee.  "Welcome of the Court of the King," the corpse wheezed and it flowed and oozed over the settee like an octopus not a man.

"I stumbled backwards as the fat man rushed Flavius and Quintus.  The pale woman began making strange gestures with her hands.  As she did, an odd glowing symbol appeared in the air.

"The man at the desk, Carbo, packed each wax tablet in a satchel and rushed to the window.  The great horned-bat thing appeared and made off with the satchel as Livius Carbo threw himself from the window.

"I gained enough sense to rush across the room only to see Carbo laying broken below.

"The woman finished her gestures and a light flowed into Quintus and Flavius, yet only Quintus backed away in horror.  Flavius yelled and buried his gladius in the fat man.

 "The woman began her gestures again and without much thought, though I am but a scholar, I buried my gladius in her throat.

"The creature on the settee laughed at us.  Flavius, now in a rage, having lost his reason like yet so very different than the cowering Quintus, yelled at it.  'Are you the King?'

"The creature wheezed.  As the sunlight poured into the room and the boneless thing began to dissolve into a grey dust, it rasped.  'I am not he.  I come to prepare the way for he who comes after me.'"

***

"We found the children in a room off the box along with nearly forty others.  Many of them never recovered from their shock.

"My daughter, Avinina, faired better than most.  Good feelings between my family and the Cicero's continued and she was eventually married to young, Philo.  The pair live outside of Roma now, managing the Cicero's interest in the City.

"Young Faulta had no recollection of anything that occurred.  Though even as a grown woman she will not go out at night.

"Quintus suffered progressively worse paranoia until he was locked away by his brother.

"Flavius' had trouble with his temper.  He never lived to serve in the family mercantile as he was killed fighting the Picts during the construction of the wall.  Some of his soldiers say he smiled when he died.

"Titus, Julia, and Servia were spared the worse of the events.  Titus returned to Londinium and after the death of his father became the family patriarch.  His sister Servia never remarried, but did move to Roma with her son years later.  She and my wife, Julia, remained friends up until my wife's death.

"And myself?  The things we saw I have never forgotten.  Most nights when I can not sleep I wander my home checking the windows and watching the sky.  There is a Stranger in the city, I think, and pace some more."

***

This session was inspired by Ripples from Carcosa.  While Call of Cthulhu / BRP is a decent system, one which I ran in the late 1990s, running GURPS this past year I have come to appreciate the depth of the characters.

I have wanted to pickup many of the the new GURPS titles, but will have to wait until I can afford them.

That said, I did get a new softcover print-on-demand of GURPS Thaumatology.    

The story of the Lamplighters returns with Its Hour Come Round At Last 1.15.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Zoog's Night Hymn

Previously, I looked at the Zoog's emotion control power, which I called it the Deep Song after Frederico Garcia Lorca and Billie Holiday.

For the Zoog's Sleep Power, I decided on Night Hymn after Longfellow though John Barrymore always tempts me. 

For the power itself, I started with Affliction (10 points per level) that also produces the Special Enhancement Incapacitation: Sleep that adds +150%  to the cost - now 25 points per level. (B35-36)

 Affliction comes standard (B35) with a range of 1/2D 10, Max, 100, Acc 3, Rof 1, Recoil 1.  I decided to best represent this, I would use Malediction at +100% to act like a regular spell (-1 per yard of range), but I wanted to limit it to hearing only.  Typically Sense-Based modifiers add +150% since they allow attacks to ignore DR, however since I have already added Malediction this will be a limitation to Malediction instead - Sense-Based: Hearing (-20%) (B106, 109).

This brings us to 31 points per level.

Then we want it to be an Area Effect (B102) at 4 yards with an Emanation limitation. (+80%) placing us at 41 points.

Next the ability is an Essence power - what I am using for Psionics or Magic - giving us a -10%.

Additionally, it costs 2 Fatigue Points to use (which means 8 Fatigue Points for the Area Effect) at another -10%.  This has the potential of being a one shot ability unless the Zoog gets an Energy Reserve.

I debated giving it a Limited Use limitation (-40%) but the Zoog is already pretty limited. I did decide to require a 15 second recharge so that the Zoog didn't just dominate any combat with a -20%.  (B120)

The Zoog seemed to annoy everyone with its music, so I later added a Nuisance Effect at -2 to reflect the irritating dirge-like quality of its song. (Powers 104)

Since the ability was a song, I debated whether I should require the Environmental Limitation (Air), but I decided the Sense-Based (Hearing) should cover it.

This brought the power to  Zoog's Night Hymn (Affliction 1 (Sleep +150%, Malediction with Sense-Based Hearing +80%, Area Effect - 4 yds +100%, Essence -10%, Costs 2 FP -10%, Nuisance Effect  2 -10%, Recharge 15 seconds -20%) [36/level]

This ability seems pricey for an area affect that causes sleep for minutes equal to the margin of failure and then stun.

Could I change it any more?

Does it need a limitation to only effect living creatures?

Maybe unless Sleep does that already.  Would it be different if I linked it to a Skill roll instead of an Attribute roll?

Is something inaccurate?

All in all I like GURPS Powers, but as Michael Wolf noted this took quite a bit or work and I still need to review it.

Just bought a new copy of Print-on-Demand GURPS Thaumatology, so I am going to play around with magic next.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Its Hour Come Round at Last 1.13

Last session, the cadre defeated the intelligent Risen in the monastery and had taken refuge in the library.

This was a heavy roleplay session inspired by Cthulhu Invictus.   

***

Monday, September 11, 1206 - Auvergne, Kingdom of France

McKinley treated Llywellyn and Pierre's wounds, while Merriweather examined the scrolls for anything about portals to other worlds or times.  Benjamin returned from hiding and aided Merriweather in the search.

After a day of rest, Llywellyn felt well enough to translate and read the Roman scroll.

***

Dies Lunae, Juno 27, 119 - Londinium, Britannia, SPQR

Rather than give them exposition about the scroll, I had them play out the story to see what happened.

Jeffery began:

"I swear by the gods and my family that this is the true account of Tulius Varro, a scholar and equestrian of Londinium, in the third year of the guidance of the Princeps Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus."

Late in the month of Juno, Varro and his wife Julia along with their seven year old daughter Avenia left Londinium by carriage for the resort spa of Aquae Sulis to the west.  The roads being what they were in Britannia the journey took about nine days.

Stopping in Corinium, Tulius saw a handbill for a play to be performed in Aquae Sulis entitled "The King Returns" by Livius Carbo - once a successful playwright in Roma.  He and his wife had attended one of Carbo's productions while in Italia a few years earlier and both agreed they would like to see the newest production. 

***

Dies Jovis, Julius 6, 119 - Aquae Sulis, Britannia, SPQR

"Waking the morning of the sixth day of the month of the God Julius, my wife and I left our quarters we had been given by our host, Gaius Ravulus, the previous day and breakfasted on dates, bread, and honeyed wine.  The dining area was bright and spacious with summer flowers scenting the air.  The southwest of Britannia is slightly warmer than the rest of this province.

"Two musicians played a flute and kithara while a young woman sang softly in Greek.  As we sat enjoying our breakfast, we were joined by the Cicero family of Londinium.  I only know them by their reputation, but the patriarch Appius Cicero owns numerous ships and trades throughout the lands of the Roman people.

"While he did not join us, his younger brother Quintus (a scholar of nature) and his sons Titus, a legate, and Flavius, currently serving in the Legion, attended their sister Servia and her two children.  I learned later that day that Servia's husband had been killed in Germania earlier that year and her father, Appius, had sent her, her brothers, and her uncle to Aquae Sulis for relaxation and recuperation.

"My daughter Avenia took right away to Philo - a boy of ten - and the youngest Cicero, the three year old girl Faulta.  Julia, eyeing a possible match for Avenia, made quick friends with the melancholic but beautiful Servia.  I made conversation with Titus and Quintus, and soon found the three men clearly obsessed with the new play by Livius Carbo.

"I say obsessed as I first took them to be fans of Carbo's work like Julia and I.  Yet soon, I determined they were suspicious of the new play.  I determined this was a realm of politics I had no desire to be touched by and so kept my conversations with them shallow.

"We learned that while Gaius Ravulus had obtained tickets for us, they were not until the following night.  And that the play would occur at the local arena rather than smaller theater stage.  It would also occur after dusk and the entire stage would be lit by oil lamps.   The later was very strange for the the theatre.  Like something from one of the more primitive Celtish peoples practices, but that sort of thing was coming in vogue then and we did not think to ask.

"My wife and Servia decided to spend the morning in each others company and so I decided to shop for both her and Avenia.  The children were to be entertained through out the day and we would see them again in the evening.  Gaius had a river barge dinner planned for us that sounded lovely.

"Later that day, while attending the spas which Aquae Sulis is known for, I again found the Cicero's.  I decided for the sake of Julia and Avenia to make a good impression and there for joined them for a soak in the hot springs.

"They were clearly frazzled by their morning, and I gently persuaded them to share their concerns.  What I soon learned I then took to mean all the present male Ciceros were mad.  They claimed Carbo's play was dangerous and that the handbills that the slaves were handing out caused mental strain just by looking at them.  While I know know this to be true, at the time I was justifiably skeptical. 

"I learned they had visited a local metalworker who apparently made medallions for the guests of the night's performance and that said metalworker had just that morning hung himself.  Furthermore, they told an awful story of finding at the gardens a young girl who had killed her own cat, saying over and over. 'Mother, there is a stranger in the city.'

"Eventually, I escaped them for my massage.  However, an incident at the spa made me think the Ciceros weren't completely mad and that something was truly occurring. 

"No sooner had Flavius begun his massage that his attendant began slashing herself and covering the young man with her blood.  We heard the screams and rushed to the young man's aid, only to be shocked by the scene.  Though truth be told Flavius handled the situation quite well.

"As they were dragging her away, she cried.  'Please let me die.  Show me pity!'  Then sobbed.  "Not upon us, oh King.  Not upon us.'  I would have taken her for merely unstable had I not learned then  that she had been recently owned by Carbo himself and had been an actress in his play."

***

One of my challenges for this session was to take new, low point characters and put them up against the involved fright checks of GURPS Horror for 4th edition and try to simulate Cthulhu Invictus.

I don't think it was quite the same,  The characters were able to be disturbed by events without spiraling into too much Sanity-loss to early on.

Quintus picked up a Paranoid quick early on while Flavius's player was so successful with his rolls, he rationalized everything.

The characters predominately had TL2 skills inspired by what is available in Cthulhu Invictus.  For a campaign in the Roman Empire, I would do to get GURPS Imperial Rome and make full characters.

This particular story finishes with Its Hour Come Round at Last 1.14.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Zoog Deep Song

In addition to the GURPS Basic Set: Characters book, creating this power was informed by both GURPS Powers and GURPS Psionic Powers.

As it was not mentioned during my session write-ups, the Zoog was based on creatures by the same name appearing in H.P. Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

The Zoog (the first non-human character in the game, run by Tali's player) had a special power where the music played from its nose flute could influence emotions and put living creatures to sleep.

Here I will discuss Zoog Deep Song.  A subtle power, it worked to bolster the group's morale - despite their continued dislike of the Zoog - and could, had the Zoog survived, been useful to the group in their relationships with others.  Too bad they found the creature hideous.

First I started with Emotion Control. Rather than use the Suggestion (IQ/Hard) skill as referenced in Psionic Powers for Emotion Control, I linked the Emotion Control advantage to Musical Instrument: Nose-Flute (IQ/Hard). I decided not to Link the power to Affliction (Sleep) as each would be a separate affect.

The basis of Emotion Control is the Mind Control advantage (50 points), then I added the Emotion Control limitation (-50%.)  The power only works to influence emotions rather than a form of domination.  I added an enhancement Rationalization (+20%) to demonstrate that those effected by the power had did not realize they were effected.  I then added the limitation Essence (-10%), which serves as my psionic or magic limitation.  I added a cost of 2 Fatigue Points for use (-10%) and the Short Range 1 limitation (-10%).

This gave me Zoog Deep Song for 20 Points. (Mind Control 50 (Emotion Control -50%, Rationalization +20%, Essence -10%, Requires Fatigue Points -10%, Short Range 1 -10%)

Other than creating my own powers for the Fragments of the Last War campaign just as it went on hiatus (or really ended as most of the original players have left), this marked my first foray into power design.

As I borrowed many traits from Psionic Powers, I will see how  I do working on my own Affliction Power for the Sleep ability

Additionally, I created something of an Illusion power for Alfred Church even if I am not totally happy with it.

Its Hour Come Round at Last 1.12

Continued from the events in Its Hour Come Round at Last 11.

In this episode the Lamplighters and their medieval allies find the monastery and what's inside.

Once again, we have a player character death - and two near deaths.  After Episode 10 with three PC deaths, this brings the PC casualties up to four.

We used the battlemat again.  This time for the camp on the hill and the monastery chapel.

Harris Benjamin's player has moved and the character is now on NPC status.

***

Friday, September 8, 1206 - Auvergne, Kingdom of France

Riding west from the village, the group kept watch for any more Risen.  By sundown, Merriweather spotted a hill (Survival - Woodlands) he thought would make a secure camp.  They set about clearing away all brush to the tree line, then setup camp near a small cave in the center of the hill.  Because of the attack on the night before, they decided to set a watch of three instead of two.

Jeffery Llywellyn thew a rock into the cave.  Nothing immediately happened, so they began cooking supper.  Hew, who was sitting close to the cave, jumped up in surprise as he noticed three-foot long, sharp-teethed worms poured out of the cave.  The group spread out and attacked the worms.  Of the group, only McKinley was bitten by the worm.  He made a HT save to avoid any disease.

The Zoog, who was in the trees, began playing its music to bolster the morale of the group. Merriweather heard the Zoog and fired his shotgun into the trees, narrowly missing it.

After dispatching the worms, Llywellyn climbed into the cave and searched through the rubbish.  Critical success HT check not to catch a disease.  And found an old wood and iron chest.  Inside was a bone scrollcase sealed on either end in wax.

Finding nothing else but filth, Jeffery climbed back to the camp.  His clothes now stank so he stripped, rinsed them, and left his clothes to dry in the fire.  Opening one end of the case, Llywellyn gently removed the papers.  Carefully reading them, he realized they were written in Latin and described a series of events in the Roman province of Britannia during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian.  He suspected they had been copied at some point in the last millennia.

Pierre, Hew, and Loioc cooked the and ate the worms, much to the chagrin of the modern visitors.  Afterwards they rested for the night.

***

Saturday, September 9, 1206 - Auvergne, Kingdom of France

Waking early, the next morning, the party rode on toward the monastery.  Around midday, they spotted it as well as wandering Risen.  Moving cautiously, they avoided contact with the undead and finally arrived at the open outer gates to the monastery.  Seeing no one, living or undead, inside, they tied off their horses and entered.  Unknown to the group, the Zoog followed them undetected to the buildings - Stealth.

Opening the doors to the monastery, they entered with care, watching for any Risen.  McKinley noted the similarity between the Risen and the eyeless assassins who had attacked them.  He insisted that there was probably a fungus rather than necromancy involved.  That said, he noted he had no idea what the fungus could do to the living.  McKinley's player has made decent use of the Intuition advantage to help him look for connections.  Here he tired to see if he could determine what might be causing the Risen and on a successful I mentioned the eyeless men.

Entering a second long hall their torches (all but one of their electric torches failed during the past weeks), they found the room filled with thousands of tiny mirrors.  The gaze was so bright McKinley, Benjamin, Hew, and Loioc were temporarily blinded by the gaze.  HT roll.  Merriweather and Llywellyn were surprised by the use of these mirrors in the Middle Ages.  Admittedly, I had been reading X2 - Castle Amber when I wrote this episode.   As they approached a third set of great doors, they heard the sound of harpsichord playing.  Jeffery seemed surprised to hear an instrument he said wouldn't been invented for nearly two centuries.  Jeffery Llywellyn, Connoisseur (Music).

Carefully opening the third door they found themselves in the monastery's Chapel.  Both Pierre, Merriweather, and Lllywellyn confirmed at last the monastery was Catholic and Pierre noted that none of the art had been desecrated.  The chapel was a long hall with two rows of bench seating on either side of the room.  They realized quickly that several Risen sat on the benches.

To the back of the chapel where the altar should be sat what Llywellyn believed to be a seventeenth century harpsichord.  Pierre felt ill with this talk of the future. 

Seated at the anachronistic instrument, a hunched figure played Baroque music.  Above the harpsichord, some twenty living people hung by ropes along the wall.  They writhed and cried, but their voices were silenced by the music.  As the man finished playing, he turned to the party.  They saw now that he resembled the Risen but exhibited far more self-awareness.

"Ah visitors," he rasped.  "Come to listen to Pachelbel, no doubt."  Llywellyn stepped forward and fired a crossbow bolt into the thing's chest.  The rest of the group was surprised by this, but quickly decided Diplomacy was over.  "And here we were discussing our love of music," the creature laughed.

Everyone, but Harris Benjamin passed their Fright Checks.  He crawled away, still blind, trying to escape.

It held a hand out toward one of the writhing people.  A ropy wisp of green lashed at the prisoner, then embraced them.  The screaming began again as the harpsichordist drained life from his human prisoner.

The Risen in the room rose and advanced on the cadre.

Pierre and Bertrand began fighting off the advancing Risen while Jeffery rushed toward the back wall.

The Zoog began playing a rousing tune to boost the morale of this former captors.  McKinley, Hew, and Loioc stumbled blindly.

As Jeffery Llweyllyn lowered the screaming prisoners to the floor, he was hit by an excruciating pain as a vapor from the Risen harpsichordist's hand drained his life.

The Zoog leapt from the rafters onto the Risen's hand, interrupting it.

Pierre held the Risen monks off his companions as Hew and Loioc regained their eyesight.  McKinley hung onto the doors to the chapel and fumbled for his pistol.  Merriweather unloaded his shotgun into more Risen.

Hew and Loioc drew their weapons and surveyed the room. 

The Risen harpsichordist attempted to grab the Zoog, but missed as it scurried around the body biting.

Llywellyn let the prisoners down in mass and then began hacking the rope that bound them.  Pierre made his way to the harpsichord.   Merriweather destroyed more Risen as Hew fell to a mob.  Loioc tried to save the Scot as the Risen crushed his skull.

Many of the prisoners, now freed, rushed out of the chapel.  Pierre held off the Risen and told them to stay in the monastery yard.  Jeffery rushed the harpsichordist, lightly injuring the creature.

The Risen grabbed the Zoog and crushed it in a sickening squelch.  So dies another player character.

Loioc tired to pull Hew away from the Risen only to be attacked himself and forced to retreat.  Merriweather destroyed several more Risen and yelled for Pierre to help Jeffery.

The harpsichordist swiftly drew an obsidian black sword and struck Jeffery dropping him.  Reduced to -1 HP, Jeffery failed his HT check to stay conscious but passed the Will check to avoid the sword from draining his Essence. Pierre rushed the Risen harpsichordist and struck it hard.  Having a Strenght of 13+ makes a world of difference for melee characters.

The two were locked in battle for several seconds as Pierre blocked the Risen's attacks and sliced into it.  Finally, the Risen stepped back and drained all life from Loioc, killing the man. 

McKinley's vision finally returned and he pulled his pistol.  Benjamin was nowhere to be seen.

Merriweather took numerous breaks to reload through his murder spree and at no time was hit by any of the Risen monks.

The Risen harpsichordist finally wounded Pierre enough to drop him unconscious.  Like Jeffery, Pierre was reduced in Hit Points, failed his HT save, but passed his Will save.

Bertrand watched the Frenchman drop as he finished loading his shotgun.  Merriweather and McKinley proceeded to shoot the Risen until they dropped the creature.  It crumbled in a puff of blue dust.  McKinley wondered if they were all infected with fungus.

He proceeded to patch up Jeffery and Pierre - First Aid - while Bertrand finished off the last of the Risen - including Hew and Loioc.  Harris Benjamin returned to the chapel at this point to tell them none of the former prisoners had remained in the monetary.

Deciding they needed somewhere to wait for their companions to recover, they searched the monastery and found the library on the second floor.  Barricaded with the books and scrolls, they rested.  Merriweather and McKinley decided to give the obsidian blade to Pierre.

***

Pretty heavy combat session, but we had the chance to use maneuvers and saw three player characters drop below 0 hit points.  We saw one more PC die (from physical damage and a failed HT roll.)

The story continues in Its Hour Come Round at Last 1.13.