Tuesday, January 23, 2024

A Dream Within a Dream

We played another session of Savage Krevborna on Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, and I managed to work in a little Poe reference just for kicks.


Pendleton Torst, rogue anatomist

Catarina Redmoor, prioress of an unusual convent

Geradd, dissolute swashbuckler 

Panthalassa Laurentide, a very weird orphan

Raoul Carathis, necromancer

Daytona Midnight, dhampir gunslinger

Asudem, a drowned antiquarian brought back from the dead

Bonnie Prince Dio, cambion knight


When the elevator from the third floor to the fourth settled into place atop a pile of bleeding, writhing zombies, the group found a cambion knight awaiting them. Introducing himself as Bonnie Prince Dio, he informed the party that he had been sent by Hell to bring the false Daytona to heel. Thankful for help, even help of infernal origins, the group pressed on. 

Their explorations brought them face to face with four gargoyles who swooped down from pillars to attack when they attempted to leave the chamber. After the gargoyles were destroyed, they found a room that had a dusty mirror spanning one of its walls; when the dust was cleared away, they could see the six individuals that some of the party had met in the "dream of the Burgundy House." By reading their lips, they could tell that the six cultists in the glass were mouthing the words "Don't break the mirror." There was some debate over whether that message should be trusted, but they decided to leave the mirror intact. 

The corridor they followed ended in a stone block that had been painted with a figure wearing a tragedy mask. The figure's left hand was upheld with two fingers extended; the figure's right hand was held downward with two fingers extended. They discovered no traps on the block, and when Panthalassa tried hitting it with her pickaxe there was no effect, but when Asudem copied the figure's gestures the stone block slid up into the ceiling to reveal a chamber beyond. 

In the chamber they found a black crown, adorned with black opals, sitting upon an equally black throne. On the east wall was a man-size carving of a goat's head--albeit one flayed of flesh. Raoul cast a spell to detect magic on the crown and learned that it emanated a demonic aura. When the crown was removed from the throne, the block slid back into position, sealing them inside the chamber. It also caused all their light sources to dim. A bas-relief of people looking up at a glowing purple sun appeared on the stonework in the room. 

Raoul placed the crown on his head, which immediately made him look more imperious and commanding. Whereas everyone else only saw a black void within the stone goat's head, he now saw a swirling gray mist. He stuck his hand into the mist--and felt multiple cold pairs of hands grasp him and pull him into the void. The rest of the group simply saw Raoul disappear inside, which caused them to panic. Both Geradd and Daytona tried to enter the darkness inside the goat carving, but they were both rebuffed and suffered necrotic wounds for their trouble. 

However, Daytona had the bright idea to see if the purple sun from the bas-relief could be pried off the wall--and it could! Using it as a kind of magic lantern that consumed the void beyond the goat's mouth, he was able to clear a safe path through the darkness to a throne room where Raoul sat upon an ornate black seat. Raoul appeared to be asleep and he now wore princely black robes. He had also been transformed back to his usual appearance, instead of a fish-man hybrid. When he awoke on the throne, he awoke screaming with no memory of what had happened to him.

The stone blocks trapping them inside had also now lifted. In the next chamber they explored they found further bas-reliefs, though these seemed to depict a number of seaside towns being destroyed by massive waves from the ocean. There was also a human skeleton partially embedded in the wall, its arm extended to hold a sconce with a green candle. Unfortunately, stone blocks dropped down at either end of the passageway and water began to pour into the chamber at an alarming rate. Panic again ensued. Geradd figured out that the skeleton's bones could be removed from the wall and that each bone held enough air to act as a temporary breathing apparatus. After those who needed to breath were equipped with a source of air, all they had to do was wait until the water receded and the stone blocks retreated. 

In a further tomb, they found twenty stained glass knights, each kneeling and facing a plain stone sarcophagus. The glasswork that made up the knights had a rose pattern that resembled the dress that Rosaria, one of Dorian Margrave's wives, was wearing in the dream. Despite correctly guessing that the stained glass statues would react poorly to opening the sarcophagus, they opened the sarcophagus. Predictably, all twenty of the glass knights attacked en masse. A massive battle commenced, but Catarina, Daytona, and Asudem's gun shots were putting down statues left and right, and Geradd's wild glaive strikes sometimes took out four statues at a time. Assistance was provided by the giant skeleton that Raoul summoned and from a demon soldier that Daytona conjured. 

Once the legion of glass knights was destroyed, they found a room that could only be opened when someone bled into the open mouth of the statue positioned outside the door. (Daytona did the bleeding.) They found themselves in another throne room, but this chamber was inhabited by three undead creatures whose eyes and mouths were sewn shut. There was a black scepter, also decorated with black opals, upon the throne. Raoul moved to collect the scepter; the three undead creatures seemed to lunge at him, but instead of attacking they bowed to him. 

After this, they found the stairs down to the fifth level of the Necropolis. As they descended, Raoul used the scepter to make a purple "sun" illuminate the darkness above them. At the bottom of the spiral staircase was a small landing; they discovered that the landing was an "island" in a sea of blood. (Daytona confirmed that it was actual human blood.) On the landing was a jetty, to which was tied two rowboats. They decided to scout out the area using the rowboats. The current brought them to a waterfall of blood that rained down from above. They also observed that there were a number of still-living degenerate dwarves hanging from chains high above them. 

Back at the landing, they took a corridor that ended in a long hallway. In the hall, a number of candles were burning in alcoves. Scrawled upon the ceiling was a sentence, "Take this kiss upon the brow." They could see that the writing continued further down the hall, so they proceeded farther into the hallway to read it. "And, in parting from you now" was followed by "Thus much let me avow." And then "You are not wrong, who deem." Then "That my days have been a dream." As they read this final line, they head a loud click as a massive boulder rolled into their path, ready to crush them. 

We'll find out how they get out of this one next time.