Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Curse of the Dertflinghans: Chapter Five


22 April. Old West Road - Tonight we take well-deserved rest. Our camp lies in a small hollow near a trickling brook and, according to our guide, we should reach Dertflinghan tomorrow evening if our journey continues without anymore incidents.

We awoke this morning and made ready to depart the abandoned church in which we had barricaded ourselves the night previous. Mannleigh seemed no worse for wear and so, when the supplies were packed and divided, we struck out on the Old West road again. However, we had scarcely walked twenty paces when Rutter, typically a loyal and well-controlled hound, leapt over the churchyard wall and into the shadows of the dark trees that populate the more overgrown portion of the cemetery. He ignored the commands of his master and so we were left with no choice but to strike out after our faithful canine companion.

After running through the undergrowth in the direction of Rutter's bark we finally found him hovering over the ruins of a small collapsed mausoleum. It was the good Egon who noticed what caused Rutter's excitement - a small opening amidst the rubble, perhaps the size of a loaf of bread. Although too small to allow passage, it was apparent that the opening led to a large underground space, and so, owing in no small part to Rutter's instincts, we all pitched in and slowly began shifting pieces of rubble as to allow a proper investigation. (I should mention that Ms. Poundwood assisted us in this endeavor, which solidifies my admiration for American ladies with their straightforward air and propensity for physical labour.) By noon, we had cleared enough to get a clear view of the pit and, when the sun shone down the opening, saw a narrow stair winding down into a chamber of dressed stone.

We decided to have a quick rest and to take tea after our labours. When all were fortified and armed, we began our descent into the darkness. The tomb (for the malodorous atmosphere could point to no other possibly) seemed as though it had not been disturbed by human feet for hundreds of years, and indeed, I felt confident in dating the construction at no later than the 15th century.

After a few minutes stroll through the dark passage we came to a mighty door, reinforced and locked. It took a few attempts but, in the end after a concerted effort the door gave way to reveal a small dark chamber. Ms. Poundwood and the trustworthy Johann began searching the room. As the rest of us waited outside the door, Rutter began to growl. We were not alone.

Mannleigh held the good Rutter back and kept him calm while the Austrians and myself drew our weapons.  For a moment I felt as if a great bat flew overheard, but I swept my torch and it seemed as if it were gone.  We waited still longer, every second seeming an eternity, and then, with superhuman speed,  a dark figure burst through the door at the end of the hall and seemed to glide through the air towards us. It was the same monster who led the hell-spawned children from the previous evening.  Within a moment we were embroiled in a bitter melee with the creature, and as one of the girl-spawn did the night before, he seemed to transmutate into a great wolf beast right before our eyes.

I'm not certain how it happened, but after delivering a most vicious blow to its torso with Flasher, Mannleigh seemed to send the creature to flight. More specifically, it was as if the monster dissipated into a black mist and then floated away into the darkness.

We ran out through the doorway by which the monster had charged us and found a large and dusty tomb. Growls from the darkness revealed the presence of the hellish children. We pressed our advantage on the foul horrors in spite of our fears but, through various forms of trickery, they all escaped our lethal intent.

Upon returning to the small antechamber, we found Emma standing over an old broken chest holding an aged tome.  The first yellowed page bore the title, "The Curse of the Dertflinghans," but the rest of the book seemed to be written in some form of incomprehensible code. Until I can discover the cipher its contents shall remain a mystery - RA.

Game Talk:

This was the first game we played using my simple dungeon tiles and re-painted Heroquest furniture. It worked quite well, and besides the infinite number of possible layouts, the entire terrain set fits in a small box, so it's great for transporting to and from geek night. I took some shots of the game to give an idea of how the pieces layout. In short, most of the furniture represented searchable locations where characters could use a special action to find treasure by passing a TN:4 Mind + Sharp Senses check.

The crypt in all of its glory.

Bella wasted most of the game trying to break down this door.

The hunters prepare to meet the vampires.

Chris atmospherically held up extra tiles when I was taking close-up shots.

Near the end of the game.

The tiles aren't as fancy as many products out there but, for the cost of around six or seven bucks with no painting required, I think they serve their purpose well enough. I'm hoping to use the tiles for many other genres of gaming in the future.

Thanks for reading,


CWT said...

Good to see such an inventive touch with the tiles for the underground dungeon! The HeroQuest furniture is a nice, nostalgic touch - it takes me back to my own copy of that game!


Sire Godefroy said...

Good one! A simple yet effective way to play dungeon games even with limited space for dedicated tables. Thanks for sharing.

Btw, the writeup is once again very well done. Keep it up!


Gyro said...

Excellent writeup (as usual) you should do batrep commissions! looks like another fun one...