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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Dead Gods - Tcian Sumere

We finished up Tcian Sumere tonight. It's a very good dungeon. I tweaked a few things, namely a xeg-yi that's in this observation hall. It's not meant to be fought, and really it's just an odd encounter. I removed it. Overall though this place is extremely creative and quite momentous. It's not every day that you stumble on the mortal body of Orcus.

The Party

(Jessie) Bidam - Platinum-Scaled  Dragonborn Fighter
(George) Theran - Drow Wizard
* They are joined by an NPC bard named Srivlanka Flumph, daughter of a tremendously wealthy Donald Trump-type guy.

We hadn't seen each other in two weeks so there was quite a bit of pre-game chatter that ate into the session a bit. That was fine. To make sure we got done tonight, I turned the three rooms full of ghouls into skill challenge combats. That worked like this: Everyone rolled initiative, told me what cool move they did, then we rolled to see how it went. Because the rooms had no gravity, there was all sorts of wacky maneuvers. My favorite was Srivanka Flumph using her whip to swing Bidam around to slice ghoul heads off.

The group was in the secret fortress of Orcus in the Negative Material Plane. They were looking for a mysterious drow that they had seen in a scrying pool...

The Phylactery
5. Sacristy: In this room is a 5 foot tall glass cylinder. It is filled with green fluid with organs inside. Bidam cast Identify on it and learned that it was a phylactery of sorts - Orcus had needed it when he first transformed from a balor to a demon lord.

This container held the remains of Orcus when he was a balor! The group smartly kept their distance and used a shatter spell on it, causing the toxic contents to spill out. Bidam spotted the giant demon heart, and realized it would be perfect for the Heart of the Lady of Pain he was trying to create. He took it.
Statue of Orcus
4. Temple of the Knell: This is a temple to Orcus, complete with a statue of him. On a horn of the statue is a circlet. The group honed in on the circlet, grabbed it with mage hand, and used identify along with some guesswork to figure out that this thing definitely had a special magical use. They didn't completely figure it out, but here's the deal: If you touch this circlet to the Wand of Orcus, the wand is destroyed!

10. Visages: In here is a shaft of light. I got rid of the visages that were in here as an encounter because we were low on time. The shaft of light contains the spirit of a balor named Glyphimhor. He has a few powers but isn't really harmful. The heroes bowed to him and sucked up to him to get information out of him. They learned:
  • His master is called "Tenebrous" (the heroes know that Tenebrous is, in fact, Orcus).
  • Tenebrous is killing gods and powers using magic he learned in the ruins of Pelion (exploring the ruins of Pelion is in a future chapter).
  • Tenebrous needs some vital secrets from two drow that lost their memories. One drow is in the prison (Theran saw this drow in the scrying pool last session).
3. Moribund Shadows: This is a cool room with moving shadows, but there's not much to do. It's mostly atmosphere to mess with the group's head.

8. Prison (Outer Room): A visage is in here warping the heroes' senses. I had Srivlanka use her countercharm to fend off the effect. There's also a flesh golem in here.

Bidam was anxious to try out his Orcusword and its ability to cast lightning bolt once per day. Poor Bidam. Flesh golems actually get healed by lightning! Bidam groaned in dismay as he watched the lightning make the golem's muscles bulge.

The golem charged forward and pummeled Srivlanka. Theran unloaded with his new wand of magic missiles (he has decided to never use the 7th charge so he won't risk it turning to dust). Bidam chopped down the golem, and the group proceeded to the next room...

Kestod, the mysterious drow
9. Prison (Inner Room): The drow is chained up in here. A visage is trying to invade his mind and find his lost memories.

The group made quick work of the visage. The drow looked to Theran (who is actually a regular elf made to look like a drow by a slaad lord) and said, "My brother! Free me!"

As written in the adventure, the drow is a vampire. He kills himself at the first opportunity. He is devoted to his goddess Kiaransalee and thinks that the best way to keep his secret (before he lost his memory, he knew the location of the Wand of Orcus) is for him to die.

In my campaign world, Orcus was killed by George's old character Altor in a demi-god form. So in my version of this, Kestod just wants to die because he knows that the visages and Orcus will never stop pursuing him.

So Srivlanka picks the locks on his shackles. He delivers his dialogue, indicating that there is another drow who knew what he knew. This drow is named Erehe, who lives in the Vault of the Drow (!) on Oerth. Yes, next adventure, we go to the world of Greyhawk and play through what is essentially a sequel to a beloved Gary Gygax adventure!

Kestod asks the group for a weapon. They balk. They don't trust him. Dammit, this guy wants to kill himself! They take him along, come across some ghouls. The drow throws himself at them and is killed.

The funny thing about this place is when you die in here, you go somewhere special. It worked out so well. The heroes headed right to that place...

2. Cauldron of Lost Souls: In this room is a cauldron filled with swirling energy. When you touch it:

"Faces stretch out of the colors, beseeching the poor sod with imploring looks."

They see the drow's face in there! Basically, the soul of anyone who dies in Tcian Sumere ends up trapped in this cauldron. Nasty, right?

The group tried to figure out how to free the souls, but realized they needed spells they didn't have (dispel magic, bless, etc).

6. Observation Tower: This room is basically an observatory where you can look out into the void of the Negative Material Plane. They found a map that undead would pay 5,000 gold for. The group ended up bringing it to Vrischika in Sigil, so she could sell it in her magic item shop.

The Place Has Been Fully Explored: Getting out of Tcian Sumere is tricky. I planned for this in advance. Getting into Tcian Sumere is easy. Getting back through that portal requires a "key" - bones from a bone pile near the statue of Orcus. I had Srivlanka take an elf skull and hang it from her belt, so that she accidentally activated it so we could cut to the chase.

Back in Sigil

The group returned to Sigil. Bidam agreed to record a new sensory stone depicting Srivlanka's heroic actions (she was an extremely useful NPC ally). She had originally planned to record a sensory stone of the heroes being bastards, but they were on their best behavior. She had taken a liking to them anyway, so she decided to let things be.

She bid the heroes farewell. When she returned to Tradegate, she took a look at that black gem she'd found in Orcus' Throne Room. Orcus activated it, and summoned her to him!

Her father, Gonard Flumph (my Donald Trump rip-off NPC) will come looking for the group next session. His daughter has disappeared and he is hellbent on finding her...

Click here to head to the next chapter of Dead Gods.


Jason Raabis said...

Greyhawk content coming up next?! Can't wait! I think the way you knit these adventures into a coherent campaign is top notch; despite what you often say about ready to use modules, you certainly have filled in all the gaps with great content and modified existing content to suit. Here's hoping the party somehow arrives in front of the Greyhawk Ruins!

Sean said...

Jason: Thanks! I think I'm ok at adding some filler, but I'm not very good at making up my own campaigns. I end boring myself haha. They'll go to the Vault of the Drow, and then it looks like the group does have to go up to the surface and find a way home. I think I am going to have them go to the city of greyhawk, but first i have to see exactly where the vault of the drow is located on the world of greyhawk.