Monday, February 27, 2012

Wot's Through That Portal, Part 2

So, Those Things That Come Out of The Jungle

The Buta-Kala are ogre-sized demonic humanoid figures. Their distinguishing features are bulging eyes, severely overgrown eyebrows/mustaches, elongated arms (like orangutans), long claw-like fingernails, and grotesque, curving fangs. Baaaaaaackground: These are the prominent villagers of the ruined city that long ago forsook their now-forgotten god and as a punishment were turned into these evil spirits. Their wild cries sound like some kind of language pushed to the edge of bestiality.

If you're lazy, the Buta-Kala can be approximated by substituting Ogre Magi stats, with the caveat that they will launch into an immediate frenzied attack rather than any sort of carefully thought out tactics and replacing weapon attacks with 2 1D6-damage claw swipes. The Buta-Kala will attempt to carry off any player who falls
unconscious during the battle. There will be 4-6 of them and while tremendously strong, they aren't very smart, leaving room for clever parties to avoid them/lay traps/etc.

The Buta-Kala will retreat either if 2 or more of them are killed or if they are able to carry off an unconscious party member.

The Treeeeeeeeeasures

The aromatic oil and incense can be used to repulse the Buta-Kala -- for each container of oil tipped on or incense cone burned on the old altar stone, the Buta-Kala will stay in the jungle for the night -- the incense has to stay burning, the oil just has to be poured on the stone. If they choose to retain the items, the oil is worth 200gp per container and the incense 50gp per cone to an interested buyer.

The two kris blades are blessed blades that can damage evil spirits. For the purposes of this scenario in my particular campaign, this means that they an extra D6 on top of the Strength + Sword roll against the appropriate enemies -- they still do a bog-standard D6 worth of damage. You could just make them +1 weapons or +1 weapons vs. spirits or whatever works best for you.

Following the Buta-Kala OR What's in the Jungle OR Where'd the City Get Drinking Water

Any sort of expedition to find the Buta-Kala after they've run off into the jungle (more likely if they're carrying somebody) or into the jungle itself during the daytime will reveal that the jungle immediately surrounding the ruins is scattered with coral jewelry, volcanic glass knifes and other detritus, including a handful of heavily rusted metal blades.

East of the ruins an experienced tracker or a determined search will reveal what might have been a fairly broad and ancient path, not almost completely overgrown and forgotten. Following the path will lead to a small freshwater dribble. The water will have a foul stench to it and any party members drinking from it will become violently ill, vomiting up the contents of their stomach and contracting a fever that will keep them indisposed for the next 8-24 hours (Constitution/Vitality checks every 8 hours, a successful result means the illness ends).

If the creek is followed, it will slowly grow larger until it is a respectable gush coming out of a 5' by 10' crack in a rocky outcropping near the center of the island. The smell will be more powerful and a small ground-hugging mist can be observed lapping at the trees as it flows out of the cave along with the water. Entering the cave will reveal a 30' wide circular chamber with a misty and corrupted volcanic spring littered with an incredible amount of bones (enough to account for a hundred or more people) and an old lady puttering over a camp fire. If a party member has been abducted, they will be lying in a stupor near the fire, stripped nude and with various colorful patterns drawn on them.

Of course, the old lady is not what she appears and is actually a Rangda.

The Rangda is a hag-like creature with similar physical stats to a standard D&D hag if that's how you roll. Her big magic attack is to create a magical field 30' around her that will cause all inside to make a Saving throw vs. Death Magic (or Vitality vs. Willpower in my case) or immediately start attacking themselves with their own weapons. Any character doing so will automatically hit themselves once per round, rolling damage normally. They will continue to do so until they die/fall unconscious -- they can be broken out of these trance by being slapped/physically restrained, which will allow a reroll of the save for every round they're trying to be roused or automatically rescued by the use of an appropriate spell (Protection From Evil, etc.). Those not doing so will be attacked physically by the Rangda, who strikes with two 1D4 claw rakes as well as any further magic attacks that you would find fun/appropriate.

If the party is carrying burning incense from the ruins, the Rangda's suicide magic is ineffective, although she will do her best to put the incense out. This also goes for if she is doused with the aromatic oil. Any wielders of the two kris blades will receive a significant bonus to their save and instead of attacking themselves will go into a meditative state until they make their save.

If the Rangda is killed, the mist and smell disappear, along with the toxic effects of drinking from the spring, which is now clean. The bones will remain and some investigation of the spring's pool will reveal some ornate jewelry and scattered coins as well as the possibility of minor magical items (again, left to the discretion of the DM).

Most importantly, the Rangda will no longer be able to summon the Buta-Kala and future nights spent on the island pass peaceably.

Getting Off the Island

The hanging portal is the most obvious way to get off the island, as, if you're a kind DM, it will lead straight back to the portal that the party entered originally (although in my campaign, the odds are that Zorlac has tracked the group to the portal and has prepared a welcoming party for them). If you're not feeling so generous, the portal may instead lead somewhere else -- one potentially hilarious (for the DM) idea would have the destination of the portal change and have it based on astronomical events (in the current world/plane, of course, which would mean that the party would have no idea what they were).

The caveat here is that like the rest of the ruins, the portal is in fairly bad shape. Any sort of manhandling or rough activity on or around the portal stands a good chance of damaging the structure, which should then set off a chain reaction of the portal itself falling from its chains and smashing on the floor. Should the party be working with Corsica Nyne and it looks like they're seriously considering returning to Fenrecz without the book, she will intentionally smash one of the chains, causing the aforementioned destruction of the portal.

There are enough trees and lianas on the island to Kon-Tiki a raft together, with the main problem being the construction of a sail. Given enough clothing/bedding/tents donated to the process and somebody willing to do some serious seamstress work, a small sail could be created from random bits of cloth. With a party of a half-dozen able-bodied workers and somebody with at least a small bit of sailing/boating experience (somebody better have an axe as well), a minimally sea-worthy raft could be constructed in one day (if you started in the morning and you wouldn't have enough light to push off when you were done, unless you were particularly foolhardy).

The main obstacle to getting the raft off the island will be getting it through the barrier reef without crashing into the reef itself. There are some pretty large gaps in the reef; however, odds are that the raft is going to be pretty clumsy to maneuver and successfully getting it through will be tricky -- if any sail is lowered and the group relies entirely on paddling/using a sweep, it should be doable if they pick the right gap. If the party manages to convince the sea-slugmen to help, it will be an automatic success.

Another option will present itself if the party successfully engage the sea-slugmen in a conversation about the island and its surroundings. Information of note:

  • Ships that pass by the island almost always appear and disappear in the same two directions (the boat that came most recently came and disappeared from one of these)
  • There's a number of wrecks lying on the seafloor around the island. Most of these are just some bits of the hull; however, there's a small dhow-style boat that hit the reef a couple months ago. There's a big hole in it, the rest of the ship appears to be in good shape.
  • There's a group of crabmen that live in one of the outer reef structures. While they don't generally bother the sea-slugmen, they will come and eat their eggs and occasionally attack the sea-slugmen themselves when food is scare.
Although the sea-slugmen aren't smart enough to put it together themselves, if the party suggests it, they will readily agree to bring back the dhow to the island in exchange for help dealing with the crabmen. Fortuitously, they do raise a particular kind of sea-sponge that, when a fist-sized chunk is eaten, will enable the imbiber to breathe water for the next two hours. They will provide the party with 12-18 of these chunks, although they will dry out and become useless if left outside of water for more than 5 minutes and will start to break down after a week even when left in water.

The crabmen make shelter in a small coral grotto and there are 8 of them -- they don't have much of value to outsiders aside from their shells and claws, which could be recycled by the party as armor and weapons. They'll be armed with coral-tipped spears and their claws. To get inside the grotto, the party will either have to weigh themselves down or be proficient swimmers.

When the sea-slugmen bring the dhow back to the island, it will be in decent condition, albeit with a 2'-wide hole near the front of the hull. Anybody with shipbuilding or carpentry skills will be able to patch it using wood from the island in a days work. The hole will still leak slightly unless the party is able to come up with some kind of sealant; however, diligent bailing will make the boat seaworthy again. Perhaps most important, there will be two large chests in boat that when opened, will reveal most importantly, a set of sails (the originals would need heavy repairs) and trade goods (some amount of coin, jewelry, valuables -- roll yer own!).

The closest populated island is just under a week's worth of sailing away, with the other direction being 10 days. Both of these are with decent winds and will be easier in the dhow, which can tack (it is likely that the raft cannot).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

So, Where'd That Portal Go?

A couple of adventures ago, the party was involved in a theft from The Library of Zorlac, a handy-dandy structure/adventure from Zak's Vornheim book. Their client, aside from being a bit strange, paid in good coin and the group didn't seem too disturbed by the potential danger of filching a book from such an obviously powerful figure -- the job actually went pretty smoothly, as the client knew exactly where the book was and a careful stakeout job enabled them to strike at a point when the library (Magic, in case you were wondering) was unattended. The resulting flight through The Warrens was seen as good maneuvering to lose any pursuit, with the added benefit of allowing the mage to hide Sibley's Field Guide to Minor Demons (that he had grabbed behind the client's back, against his instructions, during the robbery) in an inconspicuous spot of loose stone and mortar.

They were a little perturbed when the client opened a door and was then observed to leap through a strange hanging portal, disappearing as he fell through (apologies as I've forgotten who originally came up with this particular portal concept, my brain isn't what it used to be), mainly because they'd only been paid half up front.

Pursuit was put off as there was no way for them to determine where the portal might lead to and hell, there are plenty of other opportunities to pick up coin in Fenrecz. Of course, once the party is done being caught in the centuries-old death-dream of a dinner party cum demonic sacrifice gone horribly wrong/right (depending on what you're looking for from a dinner party or not -- if it's tasty tasty souls, the result was definitely "right"), they'll have the small matter of being tracked to one of their hidey-holes (probably the Tainted Bone, where they're on good terms with the Order of the Distributed Brothers of the Masses) by a desperate Corsica Nyne, who has the abilities to pick off the party one by one unless they agree to help her recover the volume stolen by the man (?) calling himself Vistula Cronin.

Should the party tell her where the book has been taken, she will attempt to force the party to accompany her through the portal. If they do so, they will have a short fall from a hanging portal into a half-destroyed chamber in a ruined city carved out of volcanic stone. The pitted stone structures lie on a barrier reef island, surrounded by the open ocean of the tropics. Rudimentary searching of a mostly-intact structure near the portal will uncover evidence of a camp -- ashes from a fire, small pieces of garbage and detritus, some odd scrape marks indicating that something, perhaps barrels, were moved to block the entranceway and in a couple spots, blood stains.

With the island sloping down slightly from the center, the ruins have scattered paths and stairs going up a couple hundred feet before petering out into the jungle. At the highest point of the city is a large T-shaped foundation, any roof or walls long since destroyed. At the junction of the foundation is a large flat circular stone, notable in that it is a lighter color than the other rock, which is vaguely maroon, and also in that it's smooth instead of pitted. Diligent searching around this rock will uncover a portion of the foundation that can be pried up by 2-3 strong men and a strong lever. Under the flagstone will be found: five large cones of incense, three great clay pots filled with aromatic oil and two kris blades, ornately carved and decorated with red and blue coral. Scattered colored fibers indicate that these items were once wrapped in some sort of tapestry or blanket.

The city overlooks a small sandy beach, with the rest of the island being covered with dense jungle with occasional rocky outcroppings. The island is no more than six miles across and is vaguely circular. Searching the beach below the city will show evidence of a small (15-20') boat having been pulled ashore.

Between the island and its barrier reef is a shallow shelf, ranging from 5-20' deep. Continued observation will reveal the movement of several large (4-6') and brightly colored nudibranchs. These slugmen, of which there are around three dozen, live on the inner side of the reef and subsist on eating fish and large sponges, which they grow on the sides of the reef. These sponges provide them with a powerful toxin that they can excrete through their skin -- any skin-to-skin contact will result in exposure to the poison, which has a paralytic effect that will be fatal in a very short time (2-5 rounds) to any air-breathing creatures (due to drowning). They won't attack anybody who enters the water, although 2-6 slugmen will track their movement from a short distance.

The slugmen, who communicate through pheremones released into the water, will be open to telling anybody who manages to "talk" to them (a wild Rego Auquam should work in my Ars Magica-based system, I leave it up to the individual DMs as to how effective Comprehend Languages and its ilk should be) that some surface-walkers showed up some time ago in a large vessel outside the reef, used a smaller vessel to travel to the island, then left again 5 days later. They should be able to give a decent idea as to which direction the large both arrived and left. They know nothing about the ruin on the island or anything else about what's on land.

If anybody chooses to spend the night in the ruins (or worse, the jungle), the Buta-Kala come.

The first sign that something is going on will be floating orbs of light visible deep in the jungle, floating between the trees. If the party wanders after the lights, they will attempt to lead them further and further from the city before the Buta-Kala ambush them. If left un-investigated, the lights will eventually form into hanging lines, as if a festival were taking place, faint sounds of revelry, tinged with animal-like cries, will drift into the city. If the party goes into the jungle now, something equivalent to Bilbo disturbing the elf-king's feast will take place, culminating in an ambush. Otherwise the noise will slowly increase until it sounds nearly on top of the ruins, at which point it abruptly stops. A minute later, the Buta-Kala come out of the jungle and attack anybody they can find.

Next time: Wait, what do those things we found do? And who are the Buta-Kala?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We Can't Stop Here, This is Wasp Country

The Fasean Monks are a little-known and hated religious order, living a life of isolation and often open conflict with their neighbors less because of their desire to be left alone and more because everybody else wants nothing to do with them. Their monasteries resemble nothing so much as a huge stone colony of fistularis coral, with half-a-dozen giant horns/funnels, 20'-100' high, extending from the main building toward the sky. Strangely elongated and resonant moans and groans emanate from these great protrusions, carrying for miles around the monastery, although typically any settlement close enough to hear these sounds is deserted, for a variety of reasons.

Each of these horns is carefully shaped and carved so as to amplify and distort noise that travels through it. At the bottom of each is a small chamber, separated from the horn by a ceiling with a single small hole. In the chamber is a curious chair-like device, the most prominent feature of which is the strong bindings and manacles and has the secondary features of a number of needles, hammers and other odd instruments, as well as a crude pull-stop control panel. One of the levers on this control panel will raise the chair such that the seated will have their head pass through the hole above. The edges of the hole will show evidence of wet plaster, as if a seal had been created there. The other controls manipulate the various instruments so as to allow the controller to slowly build a crescendo of pain in whoever is unfortunate enough to be seated.

Although these horns will often lie silent, any Fasean ritual will require some Divine Song, for it is through the sound emitted by the supplicant that Fase (fah-shay) receives the prayers of his faithful (as well as cleansing the supplicant of his sins). The most important and august of these ceremonies will require all chambers to be in use and the Divine Songs carefully synchronized. Since these rituals are very important and fall on a semi-regular basis, most Fasean monasteries have a ready supply of supplicants on hand, usually kept in a small dungeon underneath the monastery.

Aside from the sounds generated by the temples themselves, the other major calling-card of Fasean monks is the presence of Giant Wasps. Although the wasps bred in this manner by the Faseans are mostly non-aggressive, they are very territorial in a short radius around their colony and their sting is strong enough to kill the infirm or small outright. These wasps, which are usually kept in a state of hibernation in caves dug underneath the monastery (yes, below the prisoners, who serve as a ready alarm system/food supply should something go wrong with the wasp colony), make their nests out of chewed stone and mud, which can be extruded and dried into shapes, shapes that can be of extensive size and complexity, especially when guided by a high-ranking monk, who it is said know the secrets of controlling the insects by thought alone.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Character Health in the Cortex System

As you may already know, the mechanical basis of the hacky system that I'm currently running is based on the Cortex System, a fairly recent addition to the RPG scene that's been mainly used in genre-specific systems like the Serenity RPG. Mechanically, it's very similar to other existing systems where player Attributes and Skills are represented by dice (d2 to d12+d12) so somebody attacking somebody with a Bow would use Agility + Bow as an opposed roll against the defender's Agility + Dodge (assuming the defender knew the attack was coming and was dodging).

The way character damage is handled is by two damage tracks (actually, it's three, the third is specific to magic- and occult-related mishaps and is beyond the scope of what I'm going to talk about here): Stun Points and Wound Points*. The first is the combination of Agility and Vitality attributes, with the full maximum amount for the die size taken as a # of points, the second as a combination of Willpower and Vitality, using the same methodology.

Given this formula, let's see what we have for a collection of various characters:

Stun Points/Wound Points

Weakest PC possible: 8
Average NPC: 12
Average starting PC: 14
Best possible starting PC: 24
Most Powerful PC Possible: 48

So, the most buffed-out character possible has six times the damage capacity of the weakest possible character, not quite four times the damage capacity of the average starting PC and twice the damage capacity of the best possible starting PC.

As a point of comparison, the most damage you could take from a single weapon blow from an NPC is 36 points (d12 weapon with a x3 critical) -- this attack would almost assuredly have associated damage from reoccurring blood loss and non-damage track effects like limbs being severed/mangled; for now, let's just concentrate on pure damage. Such a blow would kill all of the above characters outright except for our theoretical most powerful PC.

So what we have is a system where death can come easy and quick for basically any PC, largely regardless of who they face. On one hand, I like the idea that combat is now far more savage and terrifying -- PCs should think twice about engaging foes toe-to-toe, even if they're just gutter thieves and thus emphasis should be placed on overcoming foes through a large variety of tricks and stratagems -- if you stand a good chance of dying going toe-to-toe, logically more time should be spent coating floors with oil, researching magical weaknesses, etc.

The problem with this is that players in general, and my players specifically, are used to the idea of swatting aside kobolds like flies and this new paradigm just seems to frustrate them because deciding to rough up the smuggler's bodyguards in the alley behind The Tainted Bone, instead of being a show of strength, can easily become a life-or-death struggle with multiple characters suffering near-mortal or permanently disfiguring wounds.

I've been meaning to have a player summit sometime soon, I think this will be one of the questions up for debate: whether they miss the insulating effects of HP and if so, why.

* - Stun Points are like the "abstract combat" aspect of the hit points system, in that they are points that are lost without any real impact on the character, you're essentially "spending them" to not get hit. Wound Points are flesh being cleaved, blood being spilled, etc.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Lost City of Kazim-Kazim

For many years, the trade routes running to Fenrecz through the Great Southern Swamp came from two cities, the island fortress/floating city of Schelotto and the grand stepped city of Kazim-Kazim, the most westward outpost of the Celestial Caliphate, the three cities forming a roughly equilateral triangle across the two "horns" and the center of Oest Bay.

About 100 years ago, the Caliphate ships arriving in Schelotto and Fenrecz did so bearing outlandish stories of the disappearance of Kazim-Kazim, rocks, plants and and an eerie fog replacing the stepped districts and Sultan's Palace, with no seeming trace of human habitation left behind. Although these were laughed off as drunken captains overshooting their destination, further investigation revealed that the stories were true, the city was gone, much to the concern of those residents of the city who had been elsewhere at the time of the disappearance.

Multiple expeditions to discover what might have happened proved fruitless, with more than a few never returning at all. Most prudent folk presumed the latter was due to ships lost to heavy seas and other such accidents, although tongues wag about the gods or demons that destroyed Kazim-Kazim continuing their vengeance on those that would seek the Lost City. As time has passed and the city has drifted out of the general consciousness, such expeditions have become more and more rare, with only occasional mad scholars and glory seekers sending ships down the eastern edge of the bay, spurred on by occasional stories of having seen the Palace drifting above the clouds or hearing the cries of vendors drifting over the waves.

Wot Really Happened

Kazim-Kazim was, in antiquity, an independent Sultanate formed by settlers moving out of the East and changed from a fishing village on a naturally protected cove to a major port, a port that served mainly traders coming from the East, lands that were later to become the Celestial Caliphate. Kazim-Kazim grew in wealth and quickly came to the notice of the Celestial Caliphate, who moved quickly to establish a temple there and while Kazim-Kazim remained largely autonomous, the Caliphate's influence slowly grew to the point where Kazim-Kazim was considered part of it.

Kazim-Kazim owed its wealth and odd name to the fact that the city was, in fact and in secret, two Kazims, existing simultaneously in two different planes, the peculiar geometry of the city arranged such that the Palace existed in both with the rest of the cities overlapping, although not literally, as rules regarding building in spaces left open for "spirits" or "gods" were strictly enforced in both cities. It so happened in our particular plane that the Caliphate's interest became too great for the Sultan to bear and with both the independence of the city and the secret of the cities under threat, great magics were spun such that one city left one plane and joined with the other. This caused some problems in areas of the city where building codes were not enforced; however, it generally went without much of a hitch, unless you counted the wholesale slaughter of everybody known to be sympathetic to the Caliphate a "hitch".

While the "disappearance" of the city has largely gone well for those who caused it, there are occasions when the powers-that-be in Kazim-Kazim have need to access to the abandoned plane of reality and at these times, when a heavy fog descends on the shore, it has been said that mysterious ships of well-armed and hardened men slip in and out of where a port might be, going where and doing what, who knows, except that particularly brave or foolhardy adventurers may be able to follow, even into the mysterious fog itself.

(Debts and apologies owned to China Mieville, amongst many others.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nightwing Temple, part the third

The Top of the Tower

At the top of Nightwing Temple is Hrafnsmál the Corvus Demon, literally sitting in a large nest made out of sticks and other random pieces of wood. Attended by several (3-8) large ravens, he is usually reading a book or peering into his seeing pool.

Hrafnsmál is obsessed with locating an ancient artifact that he calls the Brazen Cup, to the point of complete disinterest in all other matters. He will offer (and pay) non-extravagant rewards for information about it that seems legitimate and if its location becomes known, he will attempt to hire the party to retrieve it, explaining that due to his odd appearance, he cannot travel openly. He will insist that Ásmundur accompany the party if they accept.

In combat, Hrafnsmál fights with Fuglur, his quarterstaff, as well as with an automatic attack that causes 1D6 of cold damage to everybody meeting his gaze and then causes a further -1 die step for the next 2 rounds due to being chilled to the bone. He can also cast a Frost Bolt-esque attack spell as well as Darkness (adjust for your particular system). He will also be assisted by the large ravens who flock around the tower (3-18 arriving the round after combat starts), the birds will specifically target the eyes of the party, plucking them out on critical rolls unless measures are taken to protect the eyes (covered helms would count, for example). He can't be damaged except by magical items.

If defeated, Hrafnsmál's material form disappears and he's banished from appearing on this plane for a year. Needless to say, when he does come back, he'll be a little peeved with the group that destroyed him.


Secreted in Hrafnsmál's nest is an impressive collection of gems, jewelry and assorted coinage.

Aside from material wealth and Fuglur, there is also:

A small hand-held scrying pool -- a small silver dish with handles -- if filled with water and concentrated on for a minute or so, the water will first turn cloudy and then opaque, allowing the holder to make a Rego Imaginem roll (or the equivalent ability/skill check) to scry with the following difficulties:

Self (will show invisible items nearby): 3
Known* person, item or geographical feature: 7
Unknown geographical feature: 11
Unknown person or item: 15

This roll is affected by proximity to ley lines.

* - The scryer must have met, seen, or been to the target being scryed.

Collar of St. Konnac -- a silver torc, open-ended on the front, with two dog's heads facing each other. When worn, it radiates an Aura of Truth -- nobody standing within 30' of the wearer may knowingly tell a falsity -- any attempt of dissembling will result in complete honesty, with the speaker not realizing what has happened until they are done speaking. The effect is even more dangerous for the wearer -- if they attempt to lie, the torc will pull itself tight and attempt to strangle the user. An impressive combined Strength/Bend Bars/Lift Gates roll must be made to try and remove the torc -- players may also try and break the torc with weapons at the very likely risk of damaging the user as well.

There is also collection of books, all being histories or mythological poetry in which the Brazen Cup is mentioned.


I lied, no maps. Look, it's a pretty simple setup. Isolated temple, outbuildings are rubble, main building has a foyer/entry, a large main area with pews and an altar, a tower with a spiral staircase, a few small rooms behind the tower where the valravns live, a top to the tower and a cellar used for storage that connects to some twisty little tunnels (I put a necromancer and a ghost mansion at the end of mine).

If somebody wants maps, I'll make 'em though.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The New Digs

So I decided to pull up stakes and and move the whole shebang over to Blawgger. Mainly because almost every gaming blog I read is also over here and I was tired of being unable to post comments with the Wordpress account, so instead decided to bring the mountain to Mohammed.

(Plus it's not like I'm exactly uprooting a major reader base either.)

The Fenrecz campaign played again on Sunday with the result that at the end of the night, the party were all inhabiting the phantasmal bodies of ghosts stuck in an endless cycle of a dinner party gone horribly wrong, meaning that the party needs to to figure out some way to fix said dinner party in order to re-inhabit their earthly bodies, currently lying unconscious in a long-abandoned swanky mansion far below the current surface of the city of Fenrecz. One of the side-effects of having new vessels is that they needed to re-roll their physical stats. Except for the dwarven wrestler, everybody is now significantly stronger than they used to be, which should be helpful in getting out of this particular jam.

(The absolute best moment of the session was when two players simultaneously decided to eat/drink the food and wine being circulated throughout the ancient and abandoned mansion on mysteriously floating serving platters. My glee was palpable.)